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Thread: What should I read first??? I'm 17 and value style over content.

  1. #16
    Registered User Delta40's Avatar
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    Dec 2008
    Fremantle Western Australia
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    I love coetzee and winterson. Winterson especially.
    Before sunlight can shine through a window, the blinds must be raised - American Proverb

  2. #17

    have u guys heard of
    joshua cohen, adam levin, shteyngart, or lipsyte

  3. #18
    let's get some more responses up in here

  4. #19
    Haribol Acharya blazeofglory's Avatar
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    Jun 2007
    I side with style, yet not to the extent of appreciating ulysses. Nabokov is alright and i even hate Faulkner. In fact simplicity also is not an impediment and by being simple also we can make a good style

    “Those who seek to satisfy the mind of man by hampering it with ceremonies and music and affecting charity and devotion have lost their original nature””

    “If water derives lucidity from stillness, how much more the faculties of the mind! The mind of the sage, being in repose, becomes the mirror of the universe, the speculum of all creation.

  5. #20
    what about sam lipsyte's the ask
    danielewski's house of leaves?

  6. #21
    joshua cohen's witz

  7. #22
    Registered User billl's Avatar
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    Apr 2009
    I'm not sure if this will help, please don't blame me if you think I'm way off base, but I think Nicholson Baker might be worth a look. Any student of my posts on this site will recognize that I can be counted upon to throw out a flurry of recommendations for this guy every couple years or so. Sometimes his content can be at least a little, uh, compelling, at least for some of us probably (e.g. The Fermata), but something like The Mezzanine (his first novel) has only as much substance as one wants to put in it, I think. If you're really lazy, it's remarkably shallow--but nevertheless fascinatingly broad. And, while structure might be a rather obvious quality of the book, I really loved it for its style as well, in much the same way I love Nabokov's writing for the style. (I do know where you're coming from, in the OP.)

    But he isn't like Nabokov, he's got a particular angle of his own, I think. Maybe you can find a way to give one of his earlier works a shot, maybe via a preview on Amazon or elsewhere on the net. (Check the first four books, or maybe you can find an essay somewhere. His work after 1994 should be approached with great caution, though--it is generally a great step down from the earlier stuff.)

  8. #23
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    Oct 2006
    Style over content? Hmm. Joyce Carol Oates! But that makes her sound shallow! Stephen King. Frequently there is only the desire to shock and be bizarre so if it's style WITHOUT content then he's your huckleberry

  9. #24
    anyone else care to respond

  10. #25
    Join Date
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    Don't look for another Nabokov; authors are individuals. That said, for glittery style, try Fitzgerald and Waugh's Brideshead Revisited. Tolstoy wrote immensely entertaining novels which are beautifully written. Ulysses, if you don't get frightened by the difficulty, is an epic masterpiece, one that will stay in your mind for a long time.

    I've see you mention on other threads that you don't want to read non-contemporary writing: if true, that is an absurd and arbitrary requirement. The stuff that's survived the wear of time endures for a reason.

  11. #26
    The Ghost of Laszlo Jamf islandclimber's Avatar
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    Feb 2008
    Vancouver Island
    For contemporary writers...

    Pynchon is brilliant. My favourite writer. Provocative, surreal, disturbing, difficult. Time is irrelevant, place is a forgotten notion, feverish dreams slip into absurdist awakenings, and there are many brilliant rivers of words flowing from page to page. Gravity's Rainbow is his best work in my opinion. Of his long works, Against The Day is maybe the most accessible. Incredibly entertaining too.

    Georges Perec's Life A User's Manual is one of the most brilliant books of the past 50 years. It is an Oulipo work though, so the constraints held within make for some interesting content at times. A unique writer, with an interesting style.

    Laszlo Krasznahorkai. The Melancholy of Resistance. James Wood said "Reality examined to the point of madness." This explains Krasznahorkai's writing quite well. His sentences feel at times endless. His prose like some perpetual motion machine. Until it stops, without warning. His characters balance on a precipice between despair and revelation, but rarely take the plunge either way. The only writer I could think of to compare him to, would be Beckett. That same, haphazard, yet tightly structured prose, sentences that cut circles of random size, a content filled with half-apocalypses, and enigmatic revelations that even the characters don't understand. I'd highly recommend The Melancholy of Resistance, War and War, Satantango. His new work, a collaboration with artist Max Neumann, Animalinside, looks intriguing.

    William Gass' The Tunnel. Grim, desolate, depressing, but wonderfully lyrical spirals of prose, hypnotic. It vacillates between l'art pour l'art, and dark psychological truth.

    Joseph McElroy's Women and Men. It's baffling, it's humbling, it's profound. It sucks all genres into an infinitely dense ball and then explodes them, like a literary big bang. I don't even know how to describe this book. One of the best, surely.

    Péter Nádas' Book of Memories. If you were to go by the recommendation of Susan Sontag... It is "the greatest novel written in our time." And it is brilliant. Intricately linked and interwoven stories. A discarding of rules and laws and an attack on all boundaries.

    But I suppose, all these books I mention have a style inextricably linked with the content. One cannot have one without the other. That's what makes these great works of literature. The style puts a microscope to the content and makes it that much more profound, and the content elucidates the style to make it really live, breathe, dream. They are inseparable.
    Last edited by islandclimber; 12-26-2012 at 05:04 AM.

  12. #27
    The 5&1/2 Minute Hallway The Truth's Avatar
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    Jul 2012
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    Finish Infinite Jest before you do anything.
    “Why did god create a dual universe?
    So he might say
    ‘Be not like me. I am alone.'
    And it might be heard.”

    ― Mark Z. Danielewski, House of Leaves

  13. #28
    hey thanks

    islandclimber, i really liked ur response
    that's exactly what i was looking for
    and those r exactly the types of writers i was looking to hear about

  14. #29
    The Ghost of Laszlo Jamf islandclimber's Avatar
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    Vancouver Island

    I hope you enjoy. Post-modern literature is a fantastic journey.

  15. #30
    can u tell me your 10 favorite books

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