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What are you reading? 
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Post Re: What are you reading?
You know what...question.

What makes a novel "epic"? Length? Content? Both?


Tue Aug 31, 2010 1:34 pm
Post Re: What are you reading?
ed_metal_head wrote:
Care to read another Russian epic novel and let us know if he was telling the truth?
Not really.

ram1312 wrote:
What makes a novel "epic"? Length? Content? Both?
I'd say that, colloquially, epic seems to connotate a very long story featuring adventures and heroism. There's nothing incredibly heroic about Raskolnikov from C&P, though he might fit Schrader's definition of anti-hero (one who possesses a heroic soul but does not do heroic deeds).


Tue Aug 31, 2010 5:11 pm
Post Re: What are you reading?
ram1312 wrote:
You know what...question.

What makes a novel "epic"? Length? Content? Both?


Good question. I'd say length is the first ingredient, but you need the content to call it epic. What content? I'm not entirely sure, but for some reason "sweeping" comes to mind. Not the dust/broom kind but rather something that encompasses a great deal...be it locations, time period, themes etc.


Wed Sep 01, 2010 1:25 pm
Post Re: What are you reading?
Yeah...I guess I'm thinking the term is evolving.

I mean, we know the old school epic stories, but what are the new ones?

Anyways, almost done with The Cheese Monkeys. It's a pretty fun ride so far. Nothing deep or anything like that, but it is pretty hilarious.


Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:11 pm
Post Re: What are you reading?
I would argue that All-Star Superman qualifies. It's 12 issues, which is long enough to qualify as a "maxi-series," and it's a very dense 12 issues. More to the point, it is very much concerned with Superman as an enduring, archetypal character, and it emphasizes the universal traits that embody the character rather than the fetishistic details of ongoing continuity. Many creative teams have tried to tackle the story of the end of Superman's career, but, for my money, this is the one that actually captures the feeling of the passing of a legend.


Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:22 pm
Post Re: What are you reading?
I have to have at least 2 reads at once, so I'm currently in The Divine Comedy and The Graveyard Book.

The Graveyard Book is sort of jarring for me because I'm used to reading Neil Gaiman penning work for adults and I guess it's strange to see a man who seems to have a strangely recurring theme of voracious lady parts hidden in his novels to see him write something for a younger audience. Regardless I am enjoying it as Gaiman's imagination is always very expansive and I'm obsessed with his books, so I have to read them all someday anyways.

I didn't really want to read The Divine Comedy mostly due to my distaste with Western religion and culture and the rather uncomfortable brushes I've had with it when regarding my own religion, but my husband finally convinced me to give it a chance. I'm honestly not sure how to really contemplate it I find it interesting but I only finished really learning the English language about 3 years ago and I know little to no Old English so it's a bit hard for me to read at this point.


Sat Sep 04, 2010 3:50 am
Post Re: What are you reading?
Chie1989 wrote:
I have to have at least 2 reads at once, so I'm currently in The Divine Comedy and The Graveyard Book.

The Graveyard Book is sort of jarring for me because I'm used to reading Neil Gaiman penning work for adults and I guess it's strange to see a man who seems to have a strangely recurring theme of voracious lady parts hidden in his novels to see him write something for a younger audience. Regardless I am enjoying it as Gaiman's imagination is always very expansive and I'm obsessed with his books, so I have to read them all someday anyways.

I didn't really want to read The Divine Comedy mostly due to my distaste with Western religion and culture and the rather uncomfortable brushes I've had with it when regarding my own religion, but my husband finally convinced me to give it a chance. I'm honestly not sure how to really contemplate it I find it interesting but I only finished really learning the English language about 3 years ago and I know little to no Old English so it's a bit hard for me to read at this point.


Divine Comedy?

Only really learned the English language 3 years ago?

Holy shit...that's fucking awesome.

You are a strong person, my friend. Please do not let up posting here.

But what you say about 2 reads, at once. I am totally with you there. Although, for me, nowadays, it seems I need a fiction and a non-fiction at the same time. By non-fiction, I mean, like, something about being in the kitchen. You see, I like to cook. So anything about that craft I seem to need around.


Sat Sep 04, 2010 11:23 pm
Post Re: What are you reading?
Chie1989 wrote:
I didn't really want to read The Divine Comedy mostly due to my distaste with Western religion and culture and the rather uncomfortable brushes I've had with it when regarding my own religion, but my husband finally convinced me to give it a chance. I'm honestly not sure how to really contemplate it I find it interesting but I only finished really learning the English language about 3 years ago and I know little to no Old English so it's a bit hard for me to read at this point.


Hmmm. I’m somewhat drunk right now (I don’t often drink, and I’m afraid the alcohol has gone right to my head). But this post confuses me.

Why would anyone be reading The Divine Comedy in Old English? More importantly, how are you reading it in old English? I’m not that familiar with the reception history of Dante, but I’m fairly certain the Divine Comedy wasn’t translated into English until the early modern period. In any case, Old English faded before Dante wrote his poem. Do you mean you’ve been studying Italian for three years? (I ask partially because your English is wonderful, especially for someone who has only been studying it for that short a time). Or have you simply kidnapped a medievalist and forced him to translate Dante’s Tuscan dialect into the language of Beowulf? In my state, this seems plausable.

Anyways, I apologize for this post. Don’t judge me if I’m missing something patently obvious.


Sat Sep 04, 2010 11:52 pm
Post Re: What are you reading?
Reading through The Turn of the Screw. Interesting read, reminds me I have to watch Let the Right One in.


Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:30 am
Post Re: What are you reading?
I just finished Richard Preston's The Wild Trees. (Preston, you may recall, wrote The Hot Zone, a book about the Ebola virus that you don't want to be reading while you eat a plate of spaghetti with marinara.)

Wild Trees is about giant trees and the people who obsess over them. The trees are colossal redwoods: the tallest soar more than 350 feet into the air, and contain separate ecosystems within their crowns. Dr. Steve Sillett is to tall-tree-canopy research what Robert Ballard is to ocean-floor studies. In fact, Sillett married in the redwoods. Not in the forest, but up in the heights of the trees themselves.

The book is beautifully written, and the stories of how the trees were discovered is just fascinating. It's well worth your time.


Sun Sep 05, 2010 9:23 am
Post Re: What are you reading?
Last summer at this time I was reading Pynchon and Vonnegut.

This summer it's Frank Miller, Alan Moore, and Robert Kirkman. I started off catching up on The Walking Dead, which was excellent. Then I moved on to Y: The Last Man, which was also quality.

Now, I've started to delve into the Batman graphic novels. I breezed through The Killing Joke and I'm now about midway through The Dark Knight Returns.


Sun Sep 05, 2010 5:54 pm
Post Re: What are you reading?
I've never cared for drunk people in the real world. They're a bit douchey. But on Reelviews? So much fun...


Sun Sep 05, 2010 8:03 pm
Post Re: What are you reading?
I just finished the Hunger Games trilogy.


Tue Sep 14, 2010 12:15 am
Post Re: What are you reading?
Right now it's A Visit From the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan's multiple-narratored novel that meditates on the nature of time while connecting a good dozen disparate characters. It's got all of the crazy ambition and stylistic abandon of a first novel and for that alone it's actually a bit disappointing -- this author hasn't really grown from her first novel so much as broadened the cast and aped David Foster Wallace and David Mitchell (look them up! Both are great and deserve a big readership) to a satisfying but sleazy-ish end. It's still fairly good despite my misgivings.


Sun Sep 26, 2010 10:27 pm
Post Re: What are you reading?
majoraphasia wrote:
Right now it's A Visit From the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan's multiple-narratored novel that meditates on the nature of time while connecting a good dozen disparate characters. It's got all of the crazy ambition and stylistic abandon of a first novel and for that alone it's actually a bit disappointing -- this author hasn't really grown from her first novel so much as broadened the cast and aped David Foster Wallace and David Mitchell (look them up! Both are great and deserve a big readership) to a satisfying but sleazy-ish end. It's still fairly good despite my misgivings.


A big readership won't help David Foster Wallace now. But you're right, he deserved it.


Sun Sep 26, 2010 10:30 pm
Post Re: What are you reading?
Frogster wrote:
I just finished the Hunger Games trilogy.


Ah! Cool. The NY Times had a nice essay about young adult lit ("The Kids' Books Are All Right") that focused on Suzanne Collins and her trilogy. I picked up the first in the series (The Hunger Games) and went through it fairly quickly -- very hard to put down, it's true. I meant to send a message to this forum's very own Shade to issue my obligatory "My comments about Harry Potter and YA lit were far more uninformed and adolescent than either of us knew" but ended up forgetting to do that. And so, Shade, my comments about Harry Potter and YA lit were far more uninformed and adolescent than either of us knew. That goes for everyone I rolled my eyes at for reading Harry Potter, of course.

I'll read the second novel, Catching Fire, eventually. Word is that it's great. How was the final novel, Frogster?


Sun Sep 26, 2010 10:33 pm
Post Re: What are you reading?
Ratel wrote:
majoraphasia wrote:
Right now it's A Visit From the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan's multiple-narratored novel that meditates on the nature of time while connecting a good dozen disparate characters. It's got all of the crazy ambition and stylistic abandon of a first novel and for that alone it's actually a bit disappointing -- this author hasn't really grown from her first novel so much as broadened the cast and aped David Foster Wallace and David Mitchell (look them up! Both are great and deserve a big readership) to a satisfying but sleazy-ish end. It's still fairly good despite my misgivings.


A big readership won't help David Foster Wallace now. But you're right, he deserved it.


I know. Sad sad sad. Have you read Franzen's Freedom? He wrote the Richard Katz character around David Foster Wallace down to the tobacco chewing.


Sun Sep 26, 2010 10:38 pm
Post Re: What are you reading?
I'll take the opportunity to make this third post into a push:

Go read David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas NOW. Ratel will offer further support.... yes?


Sun Sep 26, 2010 10:40 pm
Post Re: What are you reading?
majoraphasia wrote:
I'll take the opportunity to make this third post into a push:

Go read David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas NOW. Ratel will offer further support.... yes?

Sure, why not. I think everyone should read Mitchell's work...Though, actually I have to admit I...errr haven't yet. But if it in any way compares with Wallace's Infinite Jest, Cloud Atlas has my full support.

Quote:
I know. Sad sad sad. Have you read Franzen's Freedom? He wrote the Richard Katz character around David Foster Wallace down to the tobacco chewing.


Not yet. Though I've purchased Freedom with the intent of doing so. It sits on my shelf as I type this, in fact. I plan on tackling Freedom just as soon as I can get a break in my own writing. Whenever that may be...


Sun Sep 26, 2010 10:56 pm
Post Re: What are you reading?
Ratel wrote:
majoraphasia wrote:
I'll take the opportunity to make this third post into a push:

Go read David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas NOW. Ratel will offer further support.... yes?

Sure, why not. I think everyone should read Mitchell's work...Though, actually I have to admit I...errr haven't yet. But if it in any way compares with Wallace's Infinite Jest, Cloud Atlas has my full support.

Quote:
I know. Sad sad sad. Have you read Franzen's Freedom? He wrote the Richard Katz character around David Foster Wallace down to the tobacco chewing.


Not yet. Though I've purchased Freedom with the intent of doing so. I plan on tackling Freedom just as soon as I can get a break in my own writing.


And you call yourself a Yalie*? Un-frigging-believable, sir. Do the other lads taunt you for your slacking ways? Does Harold Bloom give you the finger every time you stop to adjust your ascot?


*I have no idea if Ratel is a Yalie. I'd bet money on it but I have nothing but a guess to go on.


Sun Sep 26, 2010 11:05 pm
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