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About binhoker

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  1. Who is the Great American Novelist?

    Uncharitable perhaps, but we are discussing the great american novelist. Franzens latest work, tackling the anxieties of the elite middle class in America, dealt with its well trodden subject matter ( hellers "something happened " comes to mind ) with the deftness of a sitcom pilot writer. The whole book ( to me) sagged under its own false gravitas and absurd plot contrivances. A famous rockstar, a Neocon and an environmentalist walk into a bar... Not to say the author doesn't have some talent, but after what felt like 500 pages of inert prose I expect considerably more that he was able to offer. I also think Cormac Mccarthy is a hack.....COME AT ME!
  2. I would put forward JM coetzee's " disgrace" or Arundhati (sp?) roy's " the god of small things" . Both won the booker when that actually meant something.
  3. Who is the Great American Novelist?

    I would say faulkner and bellow are the two greatest, and was surprised to see my choices reflected in the article. Seeing Franzens name pop up in this thread so often is depressing though, his books seemed to me at best liberal, handwringing, airport novels.
  4. Much as I did enjoy the book ( particularly in its early going ) I thought its initial nostalgic regretful tone was suffocated under the weight of some misplaced guilt issues on the part of the protagonist and his (and the authors) queasy stumble towards the pedestrian and unnecessary denouement. Barnes continues to produce these well intentioned but minor character pieces. Those that enjoyed this should read " Talking it over" one of his earlier works that this book brought to mind.
  5. Pick my Path

    I get through 6 or 8 books a month ( depending on the length ) and don't really go for genre fiction of any stripe ( which are quicker reads I found). It is something I make time for, I find not watching television helps. I also have to tear myself away from the allure of forums and petty internet squabbles, regardless of whatever trailer believes they have merited.
  6. 1Q84

    I'l check "blind willow.." out at some point, I do like the idea of Murakami more than I have enjoyed any of his work, but then I'm hardly his audience as I find little merit in magical realism and can't make it more than two pages into any fantasy work without sending the tome windmilling across the room.
  7. Books, books, books...

    I just finished the disgraced Jonah lerher's "Imagine, how creativity works", which was interesting for numerous reasons. The scandal around the "making shit upisms" in the book highlights how the internet has made it impossible to get away with said making shit up ( shame lerher wasn't creative enough to imagine a scenario in which people would be obsessed with Bob Dylan, and be somewhat suspicious if some heretofore unheard of quotes appear to directly support a books central thesis). Its a real shame, an interesting oddity from a prodigiously talented writer on neuroscience......who is also apparently a fucking idiot. edit: paul theroux's travel book " the old patagonia express" and leonine man of the UK left Terry Eagleton's " the meaning of life" next.
  8. Who would have thought a dominant atmosphere of female subjugation would arise from an industry trading heavily in male power fantasy? This is why I usually wait until my wife has gone to bed before I indulge my grottiest and most lowbrow of pastimes.....or possibly my second grottiest.
  9. 1Q84

    I likes aspects of underground, was fairly ambivalent about Wild sheep chase and one other of his I read whose name escapes me ( perhaps wind up bird chronicle?). I never really did see anything in his books beyond a silky nipponoweirdness.
  10. Books, books, books...

    I'm currently embroiled in a fairly scrofulous non fiction orgy at the minute. I've just polished off "mao" by Jung Chang and her husband ( 900 pages of abject misery ), The crisis of islam by Bernard Lewis which is a breezy polemic, and a good counterpoint to Edward Said and Last, and far from least, King leopold's ghost by Adam Hoschild (sp?) which is a beautifully researched, maddening and oddly relevant piece on the de facto genocide in the Belgian congo. For something lighter in the midst of that, I read Martin Amis's Lionel asbo, which continues the unfortunate trend of Amis producing the greatest sentences in the english language and carefully weaving them into a pile of shit. King leopolds ghost though.......get it.
  11. New people: Read this, say hi.

    Hey folks, I'm here to criticise people for having poorer taste in books than I, and to generally add nothing of note or interest. I hope you people are better people than I am.
  12. The Sense of an Ending

    I read this a few weeks ago, having read a few of the authors previous works over years. I can see why this suitably myopic unreliably narrated mood piece did well at the awards, I ultimately found myself reminded of stronger and more subtle works throughout. The books reliance on a telegraphed twist felt like a contrived peepshow act. Genteel reflections on the pain of returning were, to my mind, much better explored in Kazuo ishiguro's works. His "an artist of the floating world" Is a work I could not recommend more. As talented a writer as Barnes can be, I thought this effort traded on off the shelf sentimentality and torque teased plot contrivances at an inflated price. In conclusion. 78 out of 100.