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what are you people reading?
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Power Poster
Joined: 2007-06-10
Posts: 1624
Location: inside the dome
Post 2011-01-12 03:57   [Quote] 
There have been recent threads on daily music listening, favorite bands, non-FZ guitar solos, overrated and underrated guitarists, and even employment.

So my twin occupations (cataloger and librarian) compel me to ask: what are you people reading? Admittedly, I don't have nearly much time as I once did to spend reading. And unlike listening to music, I can't do it at work or in the car - at least not as much as I'd like to. But I still manage to soak in the printed word whenever possible. In 2010, these are some of the books that I enjoyed:

The Getaway; The Grifters; The Killer Inside Me; Heed the Thunder - Jim Thompson. Hard boiled fiction at its best. Thompson has many imitators - he was to crime fiction what Hemingway or Raymond Carver were to mainstream American letters. His work hit the reset button. He makes Dashiell Hammett look like Inspector Gadget. The stories often center around criminals, not detectives. And Thompson's knack for balancing a portrayal of the dark side of human nature with simple, eloquent prose is in my opinion, unparalleled. Heed the Thunder is his second novel is about a small town not unlike his hometown and is not crime fiction. Many of his books have been made into films, with mixed results.

Guitar Player Repair Guide: How to Set Up, Maintain, and Repair Electrics and Acoustics - Dan Erlewine. Dan is the man. I've always said the best way to learn is to get in there and start breaking things. Now my mistakes cost half as much as they used to. StewMac should erect a statue of Erlewine in front of their headquarters.

The Stranger - Albert Camus. I haven't read it for 15 years, but still have my old copy. I decided to read it again, in two sittings, it was worth every minute.

Hospital of the Transfiguration - Stanislaw Lem. This book makes me wish that Lem had taken more time off from science-fiction to write serious prose. It is brutally honest, darkly comic, and terrifying in how accurately it depicts the many shades of human emotion. People in this book speak and behave as people do in "real life." It nearly drove me to learning Polish so I could read the original. Supposedly it's a retread translation, from Polish to French to English or something like that.

The Best of Lester Del Rey. Awesome stories that I reread a few times each year. My wife and I share this volume. My favorite is "For I Am a Jealous People."

Songs of the Distant Earth - Arthur C. Clarke. Typical grandiose Clarke sci-fi. Simple prose, simple ideas, and the occasional orgy.

Last Night's Fun - Ciaran Carson. There needs to be more non-fiction about traditional music and the experiences one can have and the people one can meet while playing and absorbing and enjoying same. How about a Last Night's Fun for the FZ set, tentatively titled, I Can't Remember Last Night's Fun but it Sure was Fun... or something like that.

The Black Corridor - Michael Moorcock. This recent compulsive re-read was spawned by numerous mentions of Hawkwind in another forum post, and the encouragement of a fellow Zappateer Very Happy I hit up Amazon a few minutes after finishing it.

Pornografia - Witold Gombrowicz. I love the manic style of the first person narration. If there were a shrink like Gombrowicz, I'd be healthier and probably broke. Up there with Lem, too bad they couldn't switch places for a few months.

Mysteries of Winterhurn - Joyce Carroll Oates. She makes me terribly jealous, pumping out books like a spinster pumping out quilts. When I manage four posts on ZT in a week, I consider myself prolific. This is a spooky book, and reminds me a bit of the gothic fiction of Daphne du Maurier.

Tristessa - Jack Kerouac. I put off reading this for so long, literally for years I ignored it (it was just too short, I guess). When we moved, we had fewer books and my wife's battered copy stuck out at me like a sore nose. I finally did read it, before bed on my air mattress in January. and it nearly had me in tears - learning where the bottom fell out for Jack, reminiscing about his time in Mexico while in love with a very sick girl. He rejects everything he thought he learned in Dharma Bums. The two books should be read together.

The Anubis Gates - Tim Powers. I had to put together a "steampunk" reading list for work, and so I forced myself to read this book. I recall everyone at my high school passing it around. I give up. It was a lot of fun and wasn't half bad. I could do without so much dialog in a book, but it was fun. I like fun. Use your imagination.

Lies Inc. - Phil Dick. I read this December 2009, so why not include it here? It's my new favorite Phil book. If only he could have stuck around longer...

So what are you people reading?
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Joined: 2010-09-05
Posts: 104
Location: Lake Elsinore, CA
Post 2011-01-12 04:28   [Quote] 
Modern Recording Techniques by David Miles Huber and Robert E. Runstein

Look Into My Eyes by Peter Masters

The Real Frank Zappa Book (naturally)

Mostly read articles nowadays, but I've been trying to get more into reading books recently. Though I tend to side more with informational stuff than stories. All three books listed are very excellent if you happen to be interested in those things they're about, however.

Now that I got that over with, I'll just play my imaginary guitar again.
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Joined: 2005-08-26
Posts: 3105
Post 2011-01-12 04:32   [Quote] 
at a recent estate sale i visited i picked up 20 or so 1960's book club edition scifi books...

i've read a lot of scifi over the years, heinlein, pohl, niven, the list goes on and on...

i have some gardening books, and some books on art, but i mostly look at the pictures in those, and not the text so much....

i love my books, but years of attending estate sales have taught me that when i die they will most likely wind up in the dumpster along with all my cassette tapes, cds, and harddrives full of zappa shows...

i read my friend's blog, she's funny and insightful, and everytime she has a new post is a good day...

when asked i generally respond 'crap, i read crap'...

in the past i read two or three newspapers a day, but i only grab the sunday paper now, and that mostly for the comics...

oh, yeah, i have a buttload of books of the newspaper comics, not comic books like superman or green hornet, and among my favorites of those are get fuzzy, pearls before swine, sherman's lagoon, zits, calvin and hobbes, and bloom county/outland...

and doonesbury... reading doonesbury through the years shows you how much things haven't changed.... it's almost eerie how the things trudeau was writing about in the 70's were revisited by the country in the 80's, then again in the 90's and again and again... highly recommended...

when i visit dallas i visit multiple locations of half price books...

there are 18 in the dallas/fort worth metroplex... i usually get to 8 or 10 in a weekend, one weekend i made it to every one... if you are lucky enough to live near one i envy you...

i'm looking for the last doonesbury not in my collection, among other things, and i've found during my excursions 7 pogo books from the 50's....

what a waste of brain space, huh?

told you i read crap...

and maps... i love maps, and have hundreds...

did i mention the vines?
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Joined: 2006-04-13
Posts: 50
Post 2011-01-12 04:44   [Quote] 
I'm reading the diaries of James Boswell (author of the fantastic biography of Samuel Johnson). This Boswell guy is AWESOME: A 17th century dandy who loves good friends, whores, wine, and improving himself! His daily thoughts are sooooo modern...and a wonderful window on olde London. Getting ready to hit the new Mark Twain autobiography....
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Busy Poster
Joined: 2006-12-30
Posts: 664
Location: Virginia
Post 2011-01-12 04:45   [Quote] 
Diaries 1969-1979, The Python Years, Michael Palin. Just started it. It was a Christmas Present.

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Post 2011-01-12 04:47   [Quote] 
and another thing,

i do love my books, some for what may be silly reasons...

at an estate sale a few years ago i found 2 scifi books that had been culled from my junior high school library... the check out cards are still inside them, i recognized some of the names of kids who checked them out as being a year or two older than me... they must have been pulled from the library before i went to school there, or my name would have been on the cards too... how cool would that have been?

at an apartment i used to live in in dallas people would put books in the laundry room for others to have.... i found a copy of 'last exit to brooklyn' there, that had previously been owned by the brooklyn public library... it had been chewed a bit on one corner by some rotten chihuahua, but is still a cool thing, at least i think so....

and a final groovy find from an estate sale was the elementary school yearbook (well, pamphlet, actually) from the small rural school i attended in the 60's... it came from a student 2 years younger than me, who was in my sister's class....

she had signed the last page for him, the inscription reads 'your steupidd'

i love my books...

did i mention the vines?
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Power Poster
Joined: 2005-07-27
Posts: 1124
Location: USA
Post 2011-01-12 04:55   [Quote] 
Currently I'm reading two

My bedside book is Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon

My road book is The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

This past year I managed to read:

Maus by Art Speigelman

Rampaging Fuckers of Everything on The crazy Shitting Planet of The Vomit Atmosphere by Mykle Hansen

The Wild Party by Joseph Moncure March

The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara

The Commitments by Roddy Doyle

Jazz by Toni Morrison

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Kind of a short list this past year I hope it will be longer this year.
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Busy Poster
Joined: 2005-08-17
Posts: 567
Post 2011-01-12 05:05   [Quote] 
I read a lot. Always have. When I was a young teenager, I was struck with the idea how words on a page could not only transfer and document an idea but propel, even compel those words into action.
"Stop it!", "Raise The Flag!", pick a slogan or an ad scheme, an architect's plan.
Fascinating or pretty powerful I thought. Always read a lot of fiction in those days, too, sci-fi to stephen king and then into my twenties and thirties, with big ticket items like Kerouac, Tom Wolfe, Mailer or my favorite, Henry Miller or Hermann Hesse. Subscribed to GRANTA for a bunch of years, history book clubs, now the folio society. But I'm strill rather uninformed about 20th cent fiction. Don't like the popular existentialists, Bukowski, or even Kafka or Sartre or whatever. To me, Camus is all gimmick. blecchh. But still I guess a lot of Signposts along the way. Then I picked up Rushdie to Aurundhati Roy, Vikram Seth, Thomas Pynchon. At last, people I could learn from.
Nowadays I'll read fiction if it relates to something else I study which is usually history. That's what took over in several forms for me tho started back, again in the early eighties. This last decade I spent a considerable amount of time with 1st-2nd cent CE palestine studies, the western Crusades, the full history of Byzantium which isn't really studied here in the states, thru Mediterranean history, esp Venice up through the 1500's, when things started shifting farther west. Roughly the last 4-5 years has been looking at Europe 1250-1550.

The last book of fiction I think I've finished was Dante's Inferno. I read two english translations, side by side, canto by canto. I've been reading Joyce's Ulysses off and on now for 21 months and am only half thru. Read a historical fiction account last year of the black plague in England by John Hatcher, all based on known facts. One of those interpolations where figures are picked or speeches of 'what would be said' and so on flesh out a narrative based on how things would go. Well done. Vivid.
This winter I read elizabethan scholarly-type about theater, studying up to act as dramaturge for a shakespeare play in the park I get to help with this spring. Rain or shine we'll do the tempest. I procrastinate.

navel gazing
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Power Poster
Joined: 2005-10-12
Posts: 6552
Location: Sampa Hell
Post 2011-01-12 05:50   [Quote] 
scoobie wrote:
Admittedly, I don't have nearly much time as I once did to spend reading. And unlike listening to music, I can't do it at work or in the car - at least not as much as I'd like to.

Interestingly, I have the same problem with music - I don't listen to as much music as I would like to, since being a musician myself I can't listen to it "at work"... and when I do stop to hear some music I usually waste about 20 or 30 minutes deciding what to listen headhammer

Anyway, after a three-year period of reading nothing but music theory and TRFZB (due to my masters/DMA), I'm currently reading Charles Mingus's autobiography Beneath the Underdog, and Them Or Us (The Book) - which I'm finding so much fun that unless someone does it first, I'll start a thread about it as soon as I'm finished.

I would mention the last fiction book I'd read before that, 3 or 4 years ago... but that would be totally futile since it was not translated to English or any other languages, probably never will, and most likely you'll never even hear about it... still one of the best books I've ever read. OK, I'll mention it anyway: O Cheiro do Ralo ("the smell of the drain") by Lourenšo Mutarelli.

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Power Poster
Joined: 2007-12-20
Posts: 2384
Post 2011-01-12 07:06   [Quote] 
nitramziarreh wrote:
I usually waste about 20 or 30 minutes deciding what to listen headhammer
I usually take some music with me to listen to on my way to work, while on the bus/train. Deciding what I take with me often takes enough time I end up being very much in a hurry. Fortunately not 20 or 30 minutes though.

I mostly read books on music. A few years ago, I started to get interested in post-punk and obscure german Neue Deutsche Welle (the more mainstream NDW has been part of my "listening menue" since my earliest teens), and found a few enjoyable books on that.
Currently reading: one from the "Edition Blechluft" - most interesting chapter for me is the one about the (post-)punk scene from Limburg. I think the main trigger to buy it was a chapter on Sunny Logemann, but it turned out there's not much material to collect about her - well, that's also what that chapter very much is about...

A few months ago: The John French book on Beefheart. Before that a nice little yellow book on Bj÷rk.

I read a fiction/poetry book maybe once in five years. Not my department for some reason.
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Power Poster
Joined: 2007-01-14
Posts: 2861
Location: Obshire
Post 2011-01-12 07:58   [Quote] 
Apart from reading all the pages in here I tend to go for sci-fi: Bester, Vonnigut, Dick, Banks etc.

But I have just started (for the 100th time) Lord of the Rings.

I am sure I have hobbits in Obshire.

"Intoxication is just weakness leaving the body!"
Is that Bob without the "B"?
Nope - It's Ob with everything in it!
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Power Poster
Joined: 2006-01-24
Posts: 4655
Location: Highlands/Scotland
Post 2011-01-12 08:23   [Quote] 
Currently reading:
Philip Norman: the stones
Kelly Fisher Lowe: The words & Music of FZ (again, because the mistakes put me off the first time)
Stephen King: Under the dome
Batman Chronicles-Vol3

2oooad (Weekly)
The Megazine (Monthly)
5 different Batman Titles (Monthly)

Enjoyed reading in the past year:
Robert Greenfield:Exile on Main St. A season in hell with the Rolling Stones
Stephen King: Blockade Billy
Scott Parker: The Hook The recordings of FZ vol 4
Andrew Greenaway: Zappa the hard way
Van Gogh The master Draughtsman
The Rhondo Hatton Reports online
Batman Chronicles-Vols 1&2
Charles Nicholl: Leonardo Da Vinci The Flights of the Mind
Ingo F. Walther: Picasso (2 book set)
Jane Kallir & Ivan Vartanian: Egon Schiele Drawings & Watercolours

"Well, look, it depends on what the intent is. If the intent is to rip me off, then I hate it. If the intent is to find out what's going on, then I think it's fabulous. ."
- FZ (from They're Doing The Interview Of The Century)
GoFund Tom Brown, you'll love it, it's a way of life...

Last edited by hoops on 2011-01-12 08:35; edited 1 time in total
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Location: West Haven CT
Post 2011-01-12 08:26   [Quote] 
this thread
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The Jack
Joined: 2011-01-12
Posts: 3
Post 2011-01-12 08:37   [Quote] 
I don't read as much as I'd like to, but I'm working on it. I intend to read more, and last year I read a great deal more than I've the previous years so I'm definitely making progress.
Right now I'm reading a book called "Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance" which is a philosophical work by Robert Pirsig, and it's great. It delves deep into the problem of "Quality" and other philosophical question while also being very personal and beautiful.

Some of my favourite authors are Jack Kerouac (with The Subterraneans being my favourite of his books), Charles Bukowski, Henry Miller and a swedish author whose name is Sture Dahlstr÷m and who's something of a fusion of Kerouac, Miller and Bukowski. I also enjoy Hemingway, Kafka, Dostojevsky and many more.

I read a whole bunch of good books last year; Lolita by Vladimir Nobokov was great, so was The Stranger by Albert Camus and The Idiot by Dostojevsky. I also read Maggie Cassidy by Jack Kerouac and fell in love with it. I finally read something written by Haruki Murakami and enjoyed both Norwegian Wood and South of the border, West of the sun very much. I also decided to finally read some of Bret Easton Ellis work and I found Less Than Zero to be great (both Rules of Attraction and Imperial Bedrooms fell a bit short however, but I'm looking forward to reading the rest of his work). I also read a great short story by Anton Chekov, so I'm definitely going to read more of his stuff.
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Joined: 2010-12-15
Posts: 90
Location: NY
Post 2011-01-12 13:28   [Quote] 
Currently reading George Carlin's Last Words. it's ok, but he keeps jumping around in the time line which is a bit annoying.

I just picked up these last night with some Xmas gift cards:

Henry Rollins - Dull Roar
Henry Rollins - A Preferred Blur
Will Ferguson - Hitching Rides With Buddha
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