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Thread: Recent Purchases/Borrowings

  1. #3201
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
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    Chicago
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    344

    Default Re: Recent Purchases/Borrowings

    Quote Originally Posted by Ater, Lividus, Ruber, & V View Post
    The Housekeeper is not a testament to her literary prowess. Her other works are dark, psychologically poignant, verging on disturbing due to the gentle prose describing some awful things.
    Hotel Iris certainly wasn't a testament to her literary prowess either. It read like poor erotica you could find on Literoitca. There was no overarching deep psychological analysis of the sexual acts or why the characters enjoyed them. None of the poetic beauty I'd expect to find in Japanese works with sparse prose. It was just short, un-detailed, easy reading that to me amounted to little more than lazy erotica. None of the characters were very clearly fleshed out and at no point did it seem like Ogawa was actively trying to discuss anything profound. It was basically just "teenage girl does some BDSM with the creepy old man in town."

    Short prose and sparse characterization aren't by any means uncommon in the traditional Japanese writing style, but with someone who excels at it like Kawabata reading his works is like sipping cool water that you want to take your time with and enjoy. There's a poetic beauty to his writing that makes it seem like he really put time into each sentence and every character's action. Hotel Iris just seemed like something hammered out and sent to the Publisher after a quick weekend blitz of writing. I'm not sure if the bibliographies of hers I'm seeing include short stories but if they're mostly novels and novellas it seems like she publishes at a very rapid pace.

    Perhaps her better works probably aren't available in English translation, but considering The Housekeeper and the Professor won one of japan's most prestigious literary awards I'd expect it to be of a much higher caliber than Hotel Iris.
    Last edited by Isahoinp; 22-May-2017 at 08:38.

  2. #3202

    Default Re: Recent Purchases/Borrowings

    I just purchased a book by Susan Daitch, an author that I've never heard of before. I'm looking forward to reading her. Her latest book, The Lost City of Suolocidir has been compared to 1984 and 2666. Previously, she's received praise from Salman Rushdie and David Foster Wallace. Back in the early 90's, her work was showcased in a magazine with two other young writers, David Foster Wallace and William T Vollmann. I have high hopes !

  3. #3203

    Default Re: Recent Purchases/Borrowings

    I'll also add another book that I'm really excited about that I recently purchased ; Almanac of the Dead, by Leslie Marmon Silko

  4. #3204
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
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    Cuiabá, Brazil
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    112

    Default Re: Recent Purchases/Borrowings

    Brothers, Yu Hua
    The Crow-Girl, Erik Axl Sund
    Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow, Peter Hoeg
    Akutagawa's short stories collection
    Freaknomics

  5. #3205
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Bangalore
    Posts
    1,692

    Default Re: Recent Purchases/Borrowings

    Quote Originally Posted by lucasdiniz View Post
    Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow, Peter Hoeg
    I am keen to know your view. I have this with me unread for a long while. I've read another book of his which failed to impress me. This seems to be more appreciated work.
    Jayan



  6. #3206
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    Oct 2015
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    Cuiabá, Brazil
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    112

    Default Re: Recent Purchases/Borrowings

    I am really looking forward to read this one. Probably the next one on the list.

  7. #3207
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
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    Chicago, IL, USA
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    130

    Default Re: Recent Purchases/Borrowings

    I read it when it first came out...feels like it was last century. (Oh wait, it WAS last century.) In any event, it turned out not to be quite what I expected but I must confess to enjoying a great deal. The translation (it was Smilla's Sense of Snow; the translator was the excellent Tiina Nunnally) was fluid and compelling, the story clever and well-plotted, and it was just a pleasure to read. Might be time to revisit!

  8. #3208
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    Northern Minnesota: "icebox of America"
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    Default Re: Recent Purchases/Borrowings

    I read Smilla, as well, when it first came out. Though the book, genre-wise, wasn't a typical read for me, I enjoyed the cultural aspects of the novel. Overall, I found the book to be an enjoyable read, but felt that, as a "literary sensation," it somewhat failed to live up to expectations.

  9. #3209
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
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    Chicago, IL, USA
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    Default Re: Recent Purchases/Borrowings

    A Quiet Life, Kenzaburo Oe

    The Tale of the Unknown Island, Jose Saramago

    Henry von Ofterdingen: a novel, Novalis

    The Monkey King, Timothy Mo

    Renewal Time, Ezekiel Mphahlele

    The Ventriloquist's Tale, Pauline Melville

  10. #3210
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
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    Chicago
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    344

    Default Re: Recent Purchases/Borrowings

    Quote Originally Posted by tiganeasca View Post
    A Quiet Life, Kenzaburo
    IMO that's one of if not his weakest books that's available in English translation.

  11. #3211
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    Jan 2017
    Location
    Chicago, IL, USA
    Posts
    130

    Default Re: Recent Purchases/Borrowings

    Thanks (I think); I can only hope to disagree.

  12. #3212

    Default Re: Recent Purchases/Borrowings

    Finally got my hands on a copy of Darconville's Cat by Alexander Theroux. Paid way more for it than I'd like to admit.

  13. #3213
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Balkans
    Posts
    318

    Default Re: Recent Purchases/Borrowings

    Samanta Schweblin - Fever Dream

  14. #3214
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Recent Purchases/Borrowings

    Finally, Michel Houellebecq - Submission


  15. #3215
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
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    Chicago, IL, USA
    Posts
    130

    Default Re: Recent Purchases/Borrowings

    The Blind Owl by Sadegh Hedayat

    Our Musseque by Jose Luandino Vieira

    Nights of Musk: Stories from Old Nubia by Haggag Hassan Oddoul

    Mother's Beloved: Stories from Laos by Outhine Bounyavong

    Family by Jin Ba

    Love in Exile by Bahaa Taher

    Debi Chaudhurani, or The Wife Who Came Home by Bankim Chandra Chatterji

    Krishnakanta's Will by Bankim Chandra Chatterji


    I got the Chatterji, the Taher, and the Vieira based on reading other works by these authors and quite enjoying them.

  16. #3216
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    Jul 2009
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    Utrecht, the Netherlands
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    562

    Default Re: Recent Purchases/Borrowings

    Quote Originally Posted by tiganeasca View Post
    I got the Chatterji, the Taher, and the Vieira based on reading other works by these authors and quite enjoying them.
    Chatterji is interesting indeed. His The poison tree is available on Project Gutenberg as an e-book: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/17455

  17. #3217
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    Oct 2009
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    Northern Minnesota: "icebox of America"
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    1,002

    Default Re: Recent Purchases/Borrowings

    Driving an hour tomorrow morning to one of my favorite book sales of the year. Although it's run by a library, most books are not ex-library copies, but donations from patrons. Hardcovers are 50 cents and paperbacks 25 cents. There's even a room where all books are 10 cents each. The fun thing is that you never know what you're going to find. And since they hold the sale on a work day, there's usually a pretty small crowd in the morning. For me, it's like Christmas in October.

  18. #3218
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Guadalajara
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    5,273

    Default Re: Recent Purchases/Borrowings

    That sounds awesome Stevie, good luck! You should take some pictures and post them here.

  19. #3219
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Curitiba, Brazil
    Posts
    280

    Default Re: Recent Purchases/Borrowings

    Fiction
    Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things
    Claudio Magris, Danube
    Octavia E. Butler, Kindred
    Marcelo Britos, A dónde van los caballos quando mueren
    José Luís Peixoto, A Child in Ruins
    Bernardo Ajzenberg, Gostar de ostras

    Non-fiction
    Alice Kaplan, Looking for the Stranger: Albert Camus and the Life of a Literary Classic
    Stanley Milgram, Obedience to Authority

  20. #3220
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Chicago, IL, USA
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    130

    Default Re: Recent Purchases/Borrowings

    Knowing how much fun there is in the chase, I wish you happy hunting, StevieB...though I suspect by now you're home already. But the thrill of the chase and the glow of the acquisition still remains!

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