what book are you reading?

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Martijn
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Re: what book are you reading?

Post by Martijn » Tue Aug 19, 2008 09:09

alex_cornetto wrote:I'm currently thumbing the pages of "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius" by Dave Eggers.
We were browsing through some of Dimitra's photos during the weekend and I saw one taken in early 2005 when I was reading that book. But I didn't finish it! And I have been meaning to finish it forever now, but it is still in a box somewhere back in the Netherlands.

(That, of course, is the kind of thing that everyone logs into Anorak for. Sorry.)

I finished the aforementioned Dutch book. I'm not sure if the author did it on purpose (he might, for the book was mostly written to avenge his former colleagues) but the way people do things, they're so Dutch.

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Re: what book are you reading?

Post by crystalball » Tue Aug 19, 2008 10:19

humblebee wrote:I'm just about to start Lost Railways of Lincolnshire by Alan Stennett.

What?
What what?
Martijn wrote: I finished the aforementioned Dutch book. I'm not sure if the author did it on purpose (he might, for the book was mostly written to avenge his former colleagues) but the way people do things, they're so Dutch.
Does that annoy you, Martijn? I find that, on the very rare occassions I read Greek books nowadays, I feel like the author is trying to show just how Greek everyone is. But it's probably because we are looking at our countries from the outside now.

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Re: what book are you reading?

Post by alongwalkhome » Tue Aug 19, 2008 13:46

crystalball wrote:Does that annoy you, Martijn? I find that, on the very rare occassions I read Greek books nowadays, I feel like the author is trying to show just how Greek everyone is. But it's probably because we are looking at our countries from the outside now.
I get ridiculously over-excited when someone gets all Southie up in someone's grill in movies: like Mahky Maahk in The Departed (or Depaahtid) but in reality, I'd run a mile or at the very least roll my eyes. Why is that?

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Re: what book are you reading?

Post by DimitraDaisy » Tue Aug 19, 2008 18:22

crystalball wrote:Does that annoy you, Martijn? I find that, on the very rare occassions I read Greek books nowadays, I feel like the author is trying to show just how Greek everyone is. But it's probably because we are looking at our countries from the outside now.
But, Marianthi. That cannot be. No author can be trying to show just how Greek everyone is, because that would involve an understanding of the fact that not everyone is so Greek, that is, that people in other places might do things slightly differently. Which would involve an understanding of the fact that there is a world out there, outside the borders of Greece. And that cannot be.

Hello, by the way. I've just finished a book called 'Eat, pray, love'. (It is by Elizabeth Gilbert.) I liked it.
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Martijn
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Re: what book are you reading?

Post by Martijn » Tue Aug 19, 2008 23:41

crystalball wrote:Does that annoy you, Martijn? I find that, on the very rare occassions I read Greek books nowadays, I feel like the author is trying to show just how Greek everyone is. But it's probably because we are looking at our countries from the outside now.
It didn't annoy me that the author did it and the longer I think about it, the more I believe he exagerrated on purpose. But I did find the people's behaviour slightly annoying, like I generally find very Dutch behaviour slightly annoying. Which is really unfair and it's only because it's my own country (and because I've left it now). When a character in a book's behaviour is very Enlgish, I am happy to read about it, because I'm so proud that I live in this country and recognise it. Even if the actual behaviour is very annoying.

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Re: what book are you reading?

Post by RITH » Wed Aug 20, 2008 10:33

Martijn wrote:But I did find the people's behaviour slightly annoying, like I generally find very Dutch behaviour slightly annoying. Which is really unfair and it's only because it's my own country (and because I've left it now).
Although I can think of a thousand things that annoy me here, I'm still curious what you consider very Dutch behaviour. I wanted that to be a question, so insert question mark please.

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Re: what book are you reading?

Post by SophieC » Wed Aug 20, 2008 11:01

humblebee wrote:I am now reading Christie Malry's Own Double Entry, as discussed above, and bloody loving every minute. Wonderful.

If I were still in academia I'd write a study on corporate sabotage in fiction, taking in Christie Malry and ending with Fight Club. Or something.

JamieC, did you ever read John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces? I seem to remember talking to you about it. If you haven't, you should; you'd love it for the same reasons as the BS Johnson.
knowing how much people love that book i'm ashamed to say i gave up on it half way through due to underwhelmingness. it should tick all my boxes but like lots of things i go to with an overwhelming sense of expectation, i come away disappointed. i know it's suppose to be farce, but i would kind of like to have the characters have some sort of basic grounding in reality. what i'm trying to say is it's not your fault it's mine. i'm so sorry.
When the people are being beaten with a stick, they are not much happier if it is called 'the People's Stick.'

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Re: what book are you reading?

Post by Martijn » Wed Aug 20, 2008 16:08

RITH wrote:Although I can think of a thousand things that annoy me here, I'm still curious what you consider very Dutch behaviour. I wanted that to be a question, so insert question mark please.
I've been thinking of this question all morning and still haven't come up with a proper answer. (The fact that I don't know the English translation of 'kleinburgerlijkheid' doesn't help either.) It is not something I can easily put my finger on. I suppose it's the same that makes me recognise Dutch people from miles away when I'm abroad. I think the real answer lies within myself though: they just act like me.

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Re: what book are you reading?

Post by RITH » Wed Aug 20, 2008 16:50

Martijn wrote:The fact that I don't know the English translation of 'kleinburgerlijkheid' doesn't help either.
It helps that I understand Dutch though, doesn't it?

I understand how it's more a feeling than something you can actually put a finger on, and also how indeed it's dead easy to spot a typically Dutch person anywhere. I need to think this over as well!

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Re: what book are you reading?

Post by Carys » Wed Aug 20, 2008 17:02

For years, and until very recently, I thought "Going Dutch" was running out of a restaurant without paying your bill. I'm just saying...

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Re: what book are you reading?

Post by RITH » Wed Aug 20, 2008 17:10

Virginia Plain wrote:For years, and until very recently, I thought "Going Dutch" was running out of a restaurant without paying your bill. I'm just saying...
Ahem... I would never ask a girl out on a date and then let her pay her half. Except when it's a normal friends-so-no-date date. Then she can pay just as well as I.

Phrases using Dutch were created because the Netherlands used to be a rival to Britain.

Wikipedia:
English rivalry with The Netherlands especially during the period of the Anglo-Dutch Wars gave rise to several phrases including Dutch that promote certain negative stereotypes. Examples include Dutch courage, Dutch uncle and Dutch wife. The particular stereotype associated with this usage is the idea of Dutch people as ungenerous and selfish.

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Re: what book are you reading?

Post by annie » Wed Aug 20, 2008 17:17

RITH wrote:Phrases using Dutch were created because the Netherlands used to be a rival to Britain
you get it with the french too. a condom is a 'french letter' in english, but 'capote anglaise' in french. heh.

i've just started reading 'how the mind works' by steven pinker. pretty interesting so far.

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Re: what book are you reading?

Post by Martijn » Wed Aug 20, 2008 17:28

I wouldn't do it on a date either, but 'going Dutch' is something that happens regularly in the Netherlands. I knew a group of friends who had dinner together several times a week. Every day they would calculate how much everyone had to pay and they even made a separate 'price' for the one person who was vegetarian and thus had hadn't eaten exactly the same. In many restaurants that are popular among students, bills are itemized per person without you having to ask for it explicitly. The main reason for all this, as well as for the (in)famous drug and prostitute policy is pragmatism though.

But we should perhaps move this discussion to the Netherlands thread.

x-post: Annie, aren't you Belgian? Not that that wouldn't allow you to have an opinion on French-English rivalry, I'm just making sure if I got things right. :-)

On-topic I am reading Doris Lessing's The Grass is Singing. And enjoying it.

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Re: what book are you reading?

Post by annie » Wed Aug 20, 2008 18:12

yes, i am belgian. i just remembered reading an article relatively recently about how there are some disparaging terms and expressions in both french and english referring to the other nationality, dating back from a time when great britain and france weren't the best of friends. i wish i could remember where i saw it now! i can't think of any expressions used in belgium about dutch people, or vice versa, but i guess there probably are some. there are definitely many french jokes about belgians being stupid.
as for 'going dutch', it always seems sensible to me (depending on the level of nitpicking about who ate and drank what though). i'd personally be quite offended if a date insisted on paying for my dinner, it feels a bit patronizing. if i asked a guy out it's not like he would expect me to pay for it all, is it?

sorry for going completely off topic!

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Re: what book are you reading?

Post by postalblue » Wed Aug 20, 2008 19:03

It's Brazil we go Dutch all the time. Ok, maybe not always, but it's not frowned upon at all.
New Postal Blue single out now on Cloudberry Records.
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Re: what book are you reading?

Post by Wise Child » Thu Aug 21, 2008 03:59

Still Life With Woodpecker by Tom Robbins

Probably the most important book ever, since he deals with issues of the last quarter of The Twentieth Century.

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Re: what book are you reading?

Post by indiansummer » Thu Aug 21, 2008 09:38

Wise Child wrote:Still Life With Woodpecker by Tom Robbins

Probably the most important book ever, since he deals with issues of the last quarter of The Twentieth Century.
Er... even if it's rilly rilly important as you say, doesn't that make it the most important book of the last quarter of the twentieth century?
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Re: what book are you reading?

Post by Wise Child » Thu Aug 21, 2008 15:54

I found a first print paperback at a book fair. Soon after I started reading it, I had to re-glue the spine. August 1980, five months before Reagan took office. (Very first hardback edition several months older) So, he really isn't taking on direct issues. It reads like it was set in 1979. One theme of this book is Babyboomers starting to question their own hype and bullshit, while at the same time being goofy and esoteric.

I'm a little more than halfway through the book, so I can't give a final criticism of it.

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Re: what book are you reading?

Post by indiansummer » Thu Aug 21, 2008 16:24

Fair enough! i've got 30 pages left of The Electric Michaelangelo, and whilst it's well-written and oddly compelling, it hasn't quite managed to develop anything approaching a plot yet.
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Re: what book are you reading?

Post by postalblue » Thu Aug 21, 2008 21:22

Tunesmith - Jimmy Webb
New Postal Blue single out now on Cloudberry Records.
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