I am 400 pages into rereading House of Leaves for the first time since I read it the summer of 2000, only reading “The Navidson Record” part this time through because at the moment it is all I am interested in. Full report will follow upon completion.
funnily enough i just picked up richard hell’s “go now” this weekend, and had another whirl with it. first time i read it was maybe 10 years ago. it really held up the second go around. i actually found a lot of stuff in there that i’d forgotten about, and i still think it’s his best work, a really dark and stunning bit of intellectual scab picking. even though i knew what was coming at the end, it still seemed quite shocking, which is a neat trick to pull off.
‘The Absoulutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian’ was better the second time around. I don’t know how this could possibly happen, for it was flawless the first time. I suppose it could be due to the fact that I was reading it more slowly, for a class, with discussions involved. This gave me a platform to gush about it.
I just recently reread Dance Dance Dance, which I haven’t read in about 5 or 6 years. I haven’t read any Murakami in a long time really, and I forgot a lot about his writing. It was lots of fun, although I found that he has some pretty strange quirks as a writer. Lots of weird (bad) metaphors and a little too much pontificating on “connectedness.” I still liked it a bunch though.
I thought Dos Passos’ “Manhattan Transfer” was great the first time i read it, a couple of years ago, and it just, i don’t know, blew me away last week. It could have been written today, yesterday, or tomorrow for that matter. A hell of a book.
I tried reading House of Leaves multiple times and liked it but it was just too much. I think yours is a great idea–I was only interested in the Navidson Record, too, but felt obligated to read all that Johnny Truant stuff and got bogged down in it and put the book away before finishing it. It’s kinda ridiculous how I feel “obligated” to either read every word or read not at all, since it keeps me from enjoying things I otherwise might have.
Do you have a job? Do you actually write anything other than HTMLGiant posts? How will you feel when you look back on your undead life and realize that most of your writing energy was expended on some message board? BTW, it took me two seconds to write this post, and my thesaurus remained closed.
Manhattan Transfer and USA are two of my most important books. I lost my copy of USA a ways back unfortunately, but I still go back to Manhattan Transfer here and there, to specific scenes I remember liking a lot, and Idunno… some parts definitely do still resonate with me, I love his imagery and his sentences, but looking at it five years later, some of the scenes read a little too melodramatically to me. Like the small part of the guy sitting on a park bench crying and talking to himself, and even the part where the drunk guy lights himself on fire. Maybe it was just because when I was younger I was dazzled by the new idea that communist and anarchist movements were considered in the US, despite what high school history tends to teach us. It feels a little more like propaganda than realism now.
Yeah, I’ve tried through the years to re-read it straight through but just get really bogged down by the Truant stuff. I was totally fine with it the first time around, but to be fair I was also 14 the first time around.
i thesaurus’ed ‘thesaurus’ on thesaurus.com and got: glossary, language reference book, lexicon, onomasticon, reference book, sourcebook, storehouse of words, terminology, treasury of words, vocabulary, word list – i like ‘storehouse of words’
I’ve reread “When I Was Five I Killed Myself” by Howard Buten a few times in the past few years and love it every time. I’m really hoping that the rise of ebooks brings the rest of Mr. Buten’s novels into English availability. (As he’s American and was originally writing for an American audience, I doubt there’d be much difficulty in translating his work from French. In fact, it may already be available in English. I think it’s time I renew my quest to contact him online.)
The last I reread was “Last Exit to Brooklyn” by Hubert Selby Jr. I actually loved it a little more. I got very stuck in a few really beautiful moments/phrases in it. It absolutely holds up every time I read it.
Just start from the beginning and read all four of his books in chronological order: 1) Ice at The Bottom of The World (stories) 2) Charity (stories) 3) Fishboy (novel) and 4) House of Prayer #2 (memoir).
I often reread stories/plays/poems/essays to teach. Don’t teach novels, is that a copout? So be it. Last pleasure reread was probably Becket, Unnamable from the trilogy. Still seemed innovative and fresh.
nausea by sartre is always good but makes me melt differently each time and with hardly any memory of how i felt it before
tsim tsum by sabrina orah mark is somehow consistently better every time i read it
and unconventions by michael martone is so magical it’s like i never stopped reading it i think
Yeah get on all those. I read USA as one big book and it was great. Manhattan Transfer does the same business but on a smaller scale. The Camera-Eye technique gets better and better as the trilogy progresses.
I think my favorite thing about Dos Passos is how the rest of his novels appear to be significantly worse. I thought Three Soldiers was pretty weak, and when I read another one of his later novels, Most Likely to Succeed, it was just one long bore, and I’ve heard everything else by him is not worthwhile.
And when you read USA, if you haven’t read The Naked and the Dead yet, you’ll learn just how big of an unimaginative hackjob that book was.