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What Are You Reading Currently? [OFFICIAL THREAD]

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Lol there are quite a few parts that I ended up skipping. Some were boring, others perverted. I'm trying to keep myself busy these days so I picked it up and started reading. It's interesting enough imho, thought there are potholes. I also have " East of Eden" but I've been too lazy to start it after seeing it is over 600 pages lol

 

:(

I was only joking and you didn't pick up on it. 

 

I just preordered this:

 

murakami%20cover.jpg

 

I read a Murakami novel recently, and really enjoyed it. He has an excellent writing style.

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Do not shy away from lengthy books. They take time but they are often very rewarding. The best novels tend to be twice the size of our average 250 to 300-page novel.

I started it at a majlis yesterday, I'm still at the beginning and it's starting to get interesting. I just hate the constant descriptions of the land. It's so annoying but you have to read it because it's significant to the rest of the story. I like John Steinbeck, though, so I will keep going.

:(

I was only joking and you didn't pick up on it. 

 

I just preordered this:

 

I read a Murakami novel recently, and really enjoyed it. He has an excellent writing style.

Wow, you suck at joking lol. That cover looks interesting, what's it about?

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The Museum of Innocence

 

Translated from the Turkish by Maureen Freely

First published in English 2009

 

I spent much longer to read the quoted book than I had thought, partly because I lost interest half way through. It's not as good as his previous books. The start was typical Pamuk, which is to say it was fast and completely pulls you into the story, but then it stalls in the middle, completely loses its movement and interest factor, till things began to happen by the end of the book when it's too little too late to salvage the novel's reputation. I'm tempted for a 3/5 but I will be honest and rate it at 2/5.

 

It's basically a story of the obsession of a rich Istanbul businessman who is engaged to be married but falls in love with a teenage distant relation of his. He goes to ridiculous, comical lengths to try to get the girl, not by doing stupid things, but by not doing anything that might change the course of his obsession.

 

The story, which is the story of his love life, is told in first person limited who is showing the visitors the items displayed in 'the museum of innocence', a museum he created in memory of his beloved with her personal belongings he amassed over the years from her house.

 

Through the story the social dilemmas of the Istanbul bourgeoisie in the 70s and 80s come to light, foremost among them the question that remains at the heart of the modern Turkish experience: Are they European or not? Should they behave and act like Europeans do to modernise themselves? Or is there any other way?

 

Anyway. . .

 

I have picked a couple of books and started the following. It looks promising, so many things I learned already about the Shias of the Gulf I didn't know before, having read it through 100+ pages.

 

This is a pre-'Arab Spring' document which means the author's findings aren't tainted by events whose results on society and politics are still unknown.

 

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Transnational Shia Politics: Religious and Political Networks in the Gulf by Laurence Louër

 

First published 2008

 

 

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The Pearl by John Steinbeck

 

First published 1947

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 The Pearl by John Steinbeck

 

First published 1947

 

I read this novella in two post-dinner sittings over a single Gran Habano divided by two.

 

A parable of human greed - that's how I have seen it described, and this phrase fits the story to a tee.

 

A native Indian, a worker in the pearling trade in a small Mexican town, dives into the river In search of a pearl to pay for his son's treatment, and accidentally finds the "Pearl of the World" - a large, round, shining beauty no one has ever seen before - and thinking he's found a treasure that would buy him not only his son's treatment from a spider's poisonous sting but also his future, he revels in his glorious find and proceeds to sell the item to convert it into money.

 

Soon the family finds itself in the clutches of evil when the greedy of the town try to steal the prized possession from him, attack him and hurt him, and may attack his wife and his son. Ironically, the pearl which was a promise of a happy and rich future becomes a raison d'être for a series of unending misfortunes which consists of an attack of attempted murder, of burning down of his brush shack, and of the family leaving the town incognito to save their lives from the human vultures vying to steal the pearl from them.

 

All the while, his wife begs and implores the man to divest the pearl from his possessions but it has become an ego problem for him. He is so much blinded by the luminous dreams of a great future as not to see that that future would never dawn on their household because they do not even know if they will survive the vagaries of the circumstance the found pearl has put them in.

 

In its bared state, it is a simple, straightforward story. However, the characterisation of the native Indian population offers insight.

 

They know the cunning and dishonesty of the rich white man, in turn his imperial greed and rapacity, yet the natives have failed to devise an appropriate response to their centuries-long subjugation and their status of an inferior race which, in the eyes of the white masters, is only a shade above that of wild animals. This is illustrated when, knowing he'd be cheated, the whole tribe knowing that he'd be cheated, he still goes to the same cartel of pearl buyers who collude to keep the prices down, then buy pearls from the local divers and sell them for high profits in the pearl market of the capital.

 

This is offset by the man's steely resolve to leave the town, if he must, to sell the pearl for its appropriate price. And so he becomes the proverbial pioneer amongst his people to break the chains that bind them to their piece of land, advised against by his brother in words that convey the the threat of unknown that lies beyond the road, the madness of the capital and all that exists beyond their shore of the Gulf.

 

There is an unmistakeable echo of the lyrical prose of Hemingway in Steinbeck's storytelling. I have not read much of both of them to say that definitively but, let's say tentatively, the dream-like sense of this novella has a good deal in common with the musicality of "The Old Man and the Sea.", a novella of Hemingway.

 

The cinematic scope of Steinbeck's folkloric novella is vast and rich as if you are watching the actual scenes from the primordial landscape being played out in front of you in words, which is how I felt as I read along, not least because its first draft was originally intended to be filmed.

 

By my grading it should get 4/5.

 

http://gulgasht.wordpress.com/2014/07/03/the-pearl-by-john-steinbeck/

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^ That book was such a disappointment!!!

 

I remember you had enthusiastically started the thread about Hosseini's book when it came out. A few of his fans joined in, and everyone promised to review the book after they had read it but no one returned lol.

 

I bought the book as soon as it came out, not because I couldn't wait for it, but because my sister wanted me to get it. So she read the book first and gave the same remarks as yours. After that I never found the urge to read the book. But maybe I will, just to see for myself how disappointing it really is.

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I started this novel a few months ago but couldn't go due to the vagaries of life. I am reading it anew and I am dumbstruck by the rich imagery and the emotional scope of the writing, by the author who is with full justification one of the most influential prose stylists of the English language, a Russian who has also written with equal mastery in his native language.

 

It's the famous story of a prisoner condemned to death by beheading for committing that unspeakable, horrendous, unimaginable crime of 'gnostical turpitude', and no one amongst his persecutors can describe with any clarity what the crime entails!

 

More later.

 

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Invitation to a Beheading by Vladimir Nabokov

 

Translated from the Russian by Dimitri Nabokov in collaboration with the author

 

First published in English: 1959

Edited by Marbles

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Just purchased:

 

 

9781871031416.jpg

 

Sufi Essays - By Dr. Seyyid Hossein Nasr

 

& . .

 

 

 

al-ghazali-s-marvels-of-the-heart.jpg

 

 

The Marvels of the Heart (Kitab Sharh Aja’ib al-Qalb): Book 21 of The Revival of the Religious Sciences (Ihya Ulum al-din) - by Abu Hamid al-Ghazali
Translation: Walter James Skellie
Introductio: Timothy J. Winter (Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad)

Edited by Ali Musaaa :)

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Translated from the Russian by Dimitri Nabokov in collaboration with the author

 

 I am dumbstruck by the rich imagery and the emotional scope of the writing, by the author who is with full justification one of the most influential prose stylists of the English language, a Russian who has also written with equal mastery in his native language.

 

Excuse me, brother.

 

It appears that the English version is a translation and the original must therefore be in Russian.

 

So I don't understand what you mean by saying that the author is one of the most influential prose stylists of the English language.

 

I understand that the author may have contributed to the translation, because it says that he collaborated in the task.

 

But we don't know how or to what extent.

 

So I believe that the credit for the quality of the English prose should go to the translator.

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So I don't understand what you mean by saying that the author is one of the most influential prose stylists of the English language.

 

I understand that the author may have contributed to the translation, because it says that he collaborated in the task.

 

But we don't know how or to what extent.

 

Vladimir Nabokov is one of the most influential prose stylists of English because he wrote half or more of his later novels directly into English. He also wrote with same mastery in Russian. And translated both ways.

 

Anyhow...

 

Now, I finished Nabokov's novel and also read the following. Don't know if I will get the time to review it but much has been made of this mega-mega-mega selling big-buck making only novel of Harper Lee, set in 1935 about the trial of a 'negro' wrongly accused of raping a white girl.

 

It's a nice piece of writing in many ways but there are unsavoury holes in the voice and narrative, the biggest problem being unnecessary digressions from the main story, which reads like it's forced into the main story to fatten up the average-sized book. Not to mention [uS] Southern lingo carried in the dialogue which temporarily tortured me till I got somewhat used to its nuances. Rated 3.5

 

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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

First published 1960

 

 

Also read the following

 

03bg_zpsd73a4c8d.jpg

 

Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair by Pablo Neruda

First published 1924

Translated from the Spanish by W. S. Merwin

Translation first published 1969

 

The mastery of Neruda's lyricism shows when he marries the terrestrial metaphors of earth, sea, wind, trees, moon and stars to the human anatomy of his beloved - his beloved, not a woman mind you, but his ideas, his country, his revolutionary dreams, which poets of the last century were wont to express in the metaphor of a beautiful and desirable woman.

 

There are some beautiful sections in the poems and some powerful lines which I am too lazy to type out as I read it out a coming-apart hard copy published in England back in the 80s. But I enjoyed this collection and can't wait to read more Neruda. 5/5

Edited by Marbles

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I have some research due and, when my tempestuous business engagements are soon eased, I am going to selectively read and re-read some works to gather the relevant material. Apart from journal articles there are about a couple dozen books to list but here I mention those under the radar currently.

 

khan_zpsd5ab8c7c.jpg

 

1. Back to the Future: The Khanate of Kalat and the Genesis of Baloch Nationalism 1915-1955 by Martin Axmann

 

saints_zpsba20bfff.jpg

 

2. Muslim Saints of South Asia: The Eleventh to Fifteenth Centuries by Anna Suvorova

 

nand-lal_zps5d731d3d.jpg

 

3. The Selected Works of Bhai Nand Lal Goya - translated into English by Pritpal Singh Bindra from the Punjabi translation of original Persian by Dr. Ganda Singh

 

A Sikh disciple of Guru Gobind Singh who was a scholar of Farsi and Arabic and is credited as one of the main pillars of Indian school of Farsi poetry.

 

mux_zps16ce2218.jpg

 

4. Multan Under the Afghans 1752-1818 by Dr. A.M.K. Durrani

 

nukh_zps0069fe9a.jpg

 

5. Poetry and Resistance: Islam and Ethnicity in Postolonial Pakistan by Nukhbah Taj Langah

 

 

No covers found for the following.

 

6. A Portrait of Saraiki Lands by Zahoor Ahmed Dhareeja (Language: Saraiki)

 

7. Multan Through the Ages: Writings and Pictorials by Shakir Hussain Shakir (Language: Urdu)

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I have some research due and, when my tempestuous business engagements are soon eased, I am going to selectively read and re-read some works to gather the relevant material. Apart from journal articles there are about a couple dozen books to list but here I mention those under the radar currently.

 

khan_zpsd5ab8c7c.jpg

 

1. Back to the Future: The Khanate of Kalat and the Genesis of Baloch Nationalism 1915-1955 by Martin Axmann

 

 

 

mux_zps16ce2218.jpg

 

4. Multan Under the Afghans 1752-1818 by Dr. A.M.K. Durrani

 

I should get them.

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^ You can get the one on Baloch nationalism from any Oxford bookshop but the one dealing with the Afghan rule of Multan is long out of print. My copy says it's published in 1981; I acquired it from a family friend of ours who is a lecturer in history and maintains an enviable private library.

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Hm, they are on my search list now.

 

Reading "Sar e Waadi e Seena " atm.

 

Sar+e+Wadi+e+Sina+Novel+By+%28Kuliyaat-e

 

Great choice.

 

One of the poems in the collection has the same title as the book. It was written in the wake of Israeli occupation of Sinai during an Arab-Israel war. But the poem stands tall in spite of its historical or factual origins, and remains one of the masterpieces of modern Urdu poetry.

 

No one will come to save you; you'll have to come to your own rescue.

Edited by Marbles

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Inna lilla...

 

I greatly enjoyed his first and only collection of fictions. I think I read it last year. I wish he had given more thought and mind to writing more than the he did.

 

Jamil Ahmad, aged 83, dies in Islamabad.

 

Jamil Ahmad, the author of an acclaimed collection of short stories about life in Pakistan’s tribal badlands, has died after a long illness, his family said on Monday.

 

Ahmad, a career civil servant, found fame as a writer late in life with The Wandering Falcon, which drew heavily on his experiences as an administrator in Pakistan’s desolate border areas with Afghanistan and Iran.

 

The book, shortlisted for Asia’s top English-language literary prize in 2011, captures the raw romance—and brutality—of Pakistan’s wildest terrain in the years before the rise of the Taliban.

 

Ahmad died at his home in Islamabad, aged 83, said his son Taimur Aziz. “He was not well and was bedridden for the past three months and had become very weak. He had a heart attack on Saturday and passed away,” Aziz said.

 

Link

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Am reading — Сигизмунд КржижановскийКлуб убийц букв The Letter Killers Club, Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky

 

And — Михаил ШишкинПисьмовник  Letter-book, Mikhail Shishkin

 

The former I had never heard of not even once before and it is just what I have been wanting lately. Found it while looking for something else.

 

The latter, I am reading because I feel as though I've neglected contemporary Russian literature; on account of the infinite superiority — how much better they know!  of most modern authors over us infantile, superstitious, self-Crossing, very un-European hordes who look backward with their heads in the clouds. Whose lips are too often kissing priest's hands and Icons to be engaged in destructive criticism of politicians and institutions, or in kissing something else on a foreign proverbial anatomy. They are convinced Russia would be great if we could just get rid of those damned Russians.

 

Misha Shishkin is very talented I hear though and writes well. He loves Russia so much he lives in Switzerland. But the cover is very pretty, no?

 

41F04380441044C043C043E0432043D0438043A0

Edited by Servidor

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worldofmysteryfiction.jpg

 

An anthology of short stories surveying the entirety of modern mystery fiction as a genre. Covers all the known and many lesser-known authors.

 

 

124822.jpg

 

Who killed Daniel Pearl? by Bernard-Henry Levy

 

A lot of speculation. The author, apparently a philosopher,  imagines the last moments of the unlucky journalist, filling in details about his execution and traces through the steps of the journalist in an attempt to find meaning in the mess. Pakistan is portrayed much the same way as in other post-9/11 books: dirty, corrupt and drugged on violent extremism. The author's central thesis is that Daniel was onto something big, a sinister plot.... to know more of which I have to finish the book.

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Bradbury is my favorite.  I don't love all his stories, but I always love the WAY he writes, and I do love many of his stories.  I've read The Martian Chronicles several times.  It's my preferred light enjoyable reading any time I need something to relax with.  My old paperback inherited from my dad one summer when I was a teenager has been on many travels with me. 

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Among other things, I have also been reading the following books.

 

payl_zps2f5d070b.jpg

 

Paul Celan: Selected Poems

Translated from German by Michael Hamburger and Christopher Middleton

This selection first published 1972

 

Celan's poems deploy a highly complex imagistic landscape which is not easy to decipher on first reading, much so because he was under the influence of surrelist movement. Themes of loss and death are recurrent; he was a Jew who lived through Nazi atrocities and whose parents perished in a concentration camp.The best thing about his poems is the force of his lines, the usual one-worders which, placed so, completely alter the meaning of the stanza and, in some cases, the mood of the poem. A good artist without doubt.

 

I came to like more poems in one book than I normally do. I'm very picky but with Celan, it's hard to leave out and not like many if most of his poems included in this particular selection. Among others Fugue of Death, There was Earth, Psalm, Below, Language Mesh, Aspen Tree, In memoriam Paul Eluard, Speak, You Also are some worth reading. Here is a meaning-changing stanza from Below

 

Led home, syllable after syllable, shared

out among the dayblind dice, for which

the playing hand reaches out, large,

awakening.

 

A few selected lines from Speak, You Also

 

Speak, you also,

speak as the last,

have your say.

But keep yes and no unsplit

And give your say this meaning:

give it the shade.

 

And later, this:

 

Look around:

look how it all leaps alive -

where death is! Alive!

He speaks truly who speaks the shade.

 

But now shrinks the place where you stand:

Where now, stripped by shade, will you go?

Upward. Grope your way up.

Thinner you grow, less knowable, finer.

 

And look at these spine-tingling lines, a little word-painting of a captive and a flash of thought that goes into his or her mind, look at this beauty: From Language Mesh

 

Eye's roundness between the bars.

Vibratile monad eyelid

propels itself upward,

releases a glance.

Iris, swimmer, dreamless and dreary:

the sky, heart-grey, must be near.

 

Towards the end of the poem, he thinks of what lies outside the cell and at the same time transposes the mood of his condition on to the remembered thought of his beloved. Simply brilliant.

 

The flagstones. On them,

close to each other, the two

heart-grey puddles:

two

mouthsfull of silence

 

I like Cekan almost5 out of 5.

 

 

flan_zpsfca381e7.jpg

 

Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose by Flannery O'Connor.

Edited by Sally and Robert Fitzgerald

First published 1969

 

She was an original writer from the American South who died young. I have read only a couple of her stories, which this book includes, but I picked up this book to read Sections I & II on the recommendations of a very learned person. In compact, rather slanted prose, she highlights the true role of a writer in his presentation of life as it is, as an art form which advances the understanding of human condition, that which shows the readers the perennial human conflict.

 

Those essays were written partly in response to the demands some critics had been making in her time (1930-60s) about the role of writers as social commentators who must write to give 'moral lessons' and end their fictions with a 'message'. O'Connor attacks these ideas and calls it shoftsighted and misplaced.

 

It's a very educating collection of essays for young writers whose concepts have been distorted by the demands of the publishing industry and by the scrupulous 'creative writing' courses that teach a lot of topical top tips but neglect to impart the factors which constitute good writing.

 

 

Postscript: Woah, I set out to tell you only of what I had read recently but ended up writing almost-essays! Might as well post 'em on me blog. . .

Edited by Marbles

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kafka_zps9c5fa2d1.jpg

 

The Complete Stories - Franz Kafka

Translated from the German by various translators.

 

It's stupid to read in one go one after the other a compendium of collected short stories which took an author his entire lifetime to write. Having read and loved The Metamorphosis and a few other stories I was initiated a few years ago into the fan cult of Franz Kafka and his discerning artistic eye. I read Description of a Struggle and Wedding Preparation in the Country [which was a work-in-progress when Kafka died and remained unfinished], and In the Penal Colony which perfectly captures the gut-turning landscape of Kafka's stories with characters who take pride in their violence as art.

 

I'm going to put this collection back and forget Kafka for the next new months...weeks.

 

cat_zps72ffb57a.jpg

 

The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger

First published 1951

 

This book kicked up a controversy and was banned from various places [all the more reason to go into one's reading list] but later it was recognised and lauded and put on may "best 100..." lists. I want to see for myself what's the fuss was all about.

 

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(salam)

 

Just read The Devil's Double few days ago.

 

post-19560-0-95277400-1407674184_thumb.j

 

This non-fiction book by Latif Yahia is actually a really old one, published originally in 1992 in Arabic and later published in English in 2010. It's an autobiographical account of the author who lived during Saddam Hussein's regime and was entrusted (rather forced) with the task of being his son's (Uday Hussein) body double.
 
I've written a bit of a longer review here: http://www.iqraonline.net/the-devils-double-book-review/
 
Wassalam

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(salam)

 

Just read The Devil's Double few days ago.

 

attachicon.gifdevils doble.jpg

 

This non-fiction book by Latif Yahia is actually a really old one, published originally in 1992 in Arabic and later published in English in 2010. It's an autobiographical account of the author who lived during Saddam Hussein's regime and was entrusted (rather forced) with the task of being his son's (Uday Hussein) body double.
 
I've written a bit of a longer review here: http://www.iqraonline.net/the-devils-double-book-review/
 
Wassalam

 

I watched the movie based on it, it was overall good.

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I watched the movie based on it, it was overall good.

 

I have not read the original book but by the sound of the book and watching the movie it appears to me that the movie is a lowbrow caricature of the original story.

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Just finished "The Hunger Games." I am so disappointed. This book was so hyped up, probably because of the movie, but fell short. The story stopped making sense after a while, and the writing was weak. What a waste of time. -_-

Will you try the Rosie Project? I've just started reading it and it looks promising.

 

The%20Rosie%20Project%20jacket.jpg

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