What are you currently reading? (part 2)

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Yasna
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Re: What are you currently reading? (part 2)

Postby Yasna » 2019-03-25, 15:15

I finished reading My Name Is Red, which I mostly enjoyed. One thing that got tedious for me were the constant references to the will of god to justify this or that painting style. I don't mind god playing a major role in a character's life, such as the missionaries in 沈黙 (Silence), but something about artists massively censoring their own creative works based on religion irks me.

I also finished The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics. This is an absolute must-read for liberals of all types, and it's only 160 pages.

I'm currently reading a collection of short stories by Cho Se-hui called 난장이가 쏘아올린 작은 공 (The Dwarf).
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Re: What are you currently reading? (part 2)

Postby linguoboy » 2019-03-25, 15:55

Yasna wrote:I also finished The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics. This is an absolute must-read for liberals of all types, and it's only 160 pages.

I think there are very few "absolute must-reads" in this world and yet another straight white male Baby Boomer criticising every kind of identity politics except white identity politics doesn't make the list. (To quote Ta-Nehisi Coates, "That Trump ran and won on identity politics is beyond Lilla’s powers of conception. What appeals to the white working class is ennobled. What appeals to black workers, and all others outside the tribe, is dastardly identitarianism. All politics are identity politics—except the politics of white people, the politics of the bloody heirloom.")

I've kinda of fallen into a lull in my reading. Right now I'm only actively chipping away at two works, a short story in Ó Flaithearta's collection Dúil and Stefan Zweig's final novella, Schachnovelle. Although I like Zweig's writing, I didn't think I'd enjoy the latter as much. Like Ó Flaithearta, he's an excellent stylist but the story is also genuinely starting to intrigue me even though I'm not a fan of chess at all.
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Re: What are you currently reading? (part 2)

Postby Yasna » 2019-03-25, 19:23

linguoboy wrote:I think there are very few "absolute must-reads" in this world and yet another straight white male Baby Boomer criticising every kind of identity politics except white identity politics doesn't make the list.

Your immediate fixation on the racial, sexual, and gender identity of the author shows exactly why this book was necessary.

(To quote Ta-Nehisi Coates, "That Trump ran and won on identity politics is beyond Lilla’s powers of conception. What appeals to the white working class is ennobled. What appeals to black workers, and all others outside the tribe, is dastardly identitarianism. All politics are identity politics—except the politics of white people, the politics of the bloody heirloom.")

Hah. Coates is pulling a sleight of hand there, redefining identity politics as anything that appeals disproportionately to a certain demographic. That's nonsense. Just because a given poverty alleviation policy might appeal disproportionately to black Americans doesn't make advocating for it identity politics.

P.S. I'd be happy to send you my copy of the book. PM me an address if you're interested.
Ein Buch muß die Axt sein für das gefrorene Meer in uns. - Kafka

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Re: What are you currently reading? (part 2)

Postby linguoboy » 2019-03-25, 21:07

Yasna wrote:
linguoboy wrote:I think there are very few "absolute must-reads" in this world and yet another straight white male Baby Boomer criticising every kind of identity politics except white identity politics doesn't make the list.

Your immediate fixation on the racial, sexual, and gender identity of the author shows exactly why this book was necessary.

As if. There's a reason why I repeatedly see this particular argument advanced by members of this particular demographic and it has everything to do with the history of power relations in this country and this particular demographic's dominance of them. As Coates points out, Lilla complete fails to see that having everything which the rest of us have had to win by through decades of organising, coalition-building, protest, etc. simply given to him as his absolute birthright is itself a form of "identity politics". Now that the rest of us have managed to use "identity politics" to come close to making us his political equals, he has to come up with some rationale for why they are fundamentally wrongheaded.

Yasna wrote:
(To quote Ta-Nehisi Coates, "That Trump ran and won on identity politics is beyond Lilla’s powers of conception. What appeals to the white working class is ennobled. What appeals to black workers, and all others outside the tribe, is dastardly identitarianism. All politics are identity politics—except the politics of white people, the politics of the bloody heirloom.")

Hah. Coates is pulling a sleight of hand there, redefining identity politics as anything that appeals disproportionately to a certain demographic. That's nonsense. Just because a given poverty alleviation policy might appeal disproportionately to black Americans doesn't make advocating for it identity politics.

In what sphere? In the political arena it absolutely does. Just look at the conversation around reparations for slavery.

Yasna wrote:P.S. I'd be happy to send you my copy of the book. PM me an address if you're interested.

I work in a library. I have easy access to all Lilla's books. I'd rather read the works of someone criticising the unjust status quo rather than advocating for a return to an even more unjust status quo ante.
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Re: What are you currently reading? (part 2)

Postby Yasna » 2019-03-28, 5:45

linguoboy wrote:There's a reason why I repeatedly see this particular argument advanced by members of this particular demographic and it has everything to do with the history of power relations in this country and this particular demographic's dominance of them.

It shouldn't matter, but some of the most intelligent critiques of identity politics have been made by "oppressed minorities" such as John McWhorter and Glenn Loury. Here's a recent piece by young black writer Coleman Hughes if you'd like a taste of this intellectual landscape.

Reparations and Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Pyrrhic Victory

As Coates points out, Lilla complete fails to see that having everything which the rest of us have had to win by through decades of organising, coalition-building, protest, etc. simply given to him as his absolute birthright is itself a form of "identity politics". Now that the rest of us have managed to use "identity politics" to come close to making us his political equals, he has to come up with some rationale for why they are fundamentally wrongheaded.

It's almost like you're not even familiar with the arguments made by Lilla and other reasonable critics of identity politics. All of them acknowledge that not all identity politics are bad, and that important progress has been made through some types of identity politics.

In what sphere? In the political arena it absolutely does. Just look at the conversation around reparations for slavery.

Apples and oranges. Most poverty alleviation policies directly affect citizens of all races, genders, and sexual orientations, and can effortlessly be framed without resorting to identity. Reparations for slavery? Not so much.

I'd rather read the works of someone criticising the unjust status quo rather than advocating for a return to an even more unjust status quo ante.

Where has Mark Lilla advocated returning to a more unjust status quo ante? Please be specific.
Ein Buch muß die Axt sein für das gefrorene Meer in uns. - Kafka

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Re: What are you currently reading? (part 2)

Postby Aleksey » 2019-04-07, 16:51

Some episods of Tom Sawyer, Robin Hood, offered by Lingualeo. :mrgreen:

I also tryed Harry Potter, but it still seems to hard.
Too many new words. :hmm:

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Re: What are you currently reading? (part 2)

Postby linguoboy » 2019-05-07, 15:12

Just finished Ahmet Altan's Son oyun (Endgame in Alexander Dawe's English translation). It's a solid noir thriller burdened with a lot of needless philosophising. You could have easily lost a fifth of the text. The God-as-novelist analogy Altan keeps returning to is precious to begin with and gets more and more tired with repetition. There's also a lot of obsessive love chatter between the romantic leads that I ended up skimming over. Some reviews praised the "unreliable narrator" but, really, I didn't see any significant discrepancies which challenged me to consider whether what he was telling me was true. Maybe I was just too impatient to finish the damn book and move on to something else.

I also read 獣の戯れ by 三島 由紀夫/Yukio Mishima in Andrew Clare's new translation (The frolic of the beasts) because a friend gave it to me. Not his best novel, but a lesser work by a master is still well worth reading. Plus it was short. There's plenty of jarring imagery and talk of obsession but I don't know that it added up to much in the end beyond "Desire will fuck you up". Books I read recently that I did really enjoy include two novellas by Yoel Hoffmann (first published as ספר יוסף and translated as Katschen / The book of Joseph), which I think I talked about elsewhere, and Nabokov's Pale fire, which was immensely clever and entertaining. Now that's how you do an unreliable narrator!

Not sure what to move on to next so I'm back to the Han. (The episodic nature of the text makes it easy to read a bit at a time while the lack of a propulsive narrative makes it easy to put down and not pick up again.) I have a friend who wants me to start The bone people by Kerri Hulme so we can talk about it but he described it as somewhat difficult to read so that's putting me off. I also feel it's high time I read something in another language, I just can't decide what.
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Re: What are you currently reading? (part 2)

Postby vijayjohn » 2019-05-07, 22:11

Quick, read La muerte de Artemio Cruz before I do!

Still trying to get through Kalila wa Dimna For Students of Arabic by Munther A. Younes, also trying a leisurely review of what little I'd read of Colloquial Hebrew, and recently started on Mahommed Kadery's adaptation (with side-by-side English translation) of Ziya' al-Din Nakhshabi's طوطی‌نامه.

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Re: What are you currently reading? (part 2)

Postby Yasna » 2019-05-11, 4:12

I finished reading 난장이가 쏘아올린 작은 공 (The Dwarf), which is essentially one of those labor movement novels that bemoan the plight of factory workers. The dynamics were somewhat different owing to the fact that South Korea's industrialization came later than that of other countries whose labor movements we commonly hear about. It reminded me of 蟹工船 (The Crab Cannery Ship) by Takiji Kobayashi.

I also read Night of Camp David by Fletcher Knebel, a 1965 novel which poses the question of "what would happen if the president of the U.S.A. went stark-raving mad?" It was really well executed, and a timely read.

I'm currently reading 무엇으로부터 위로받으세요? (What do you get comfort from?) by Dongwon Jang.

linguoboy wrote:I also read 獣の戯れ by 三島 由紀夫/Yukio Mishima in Andrew Clare's new translation (The frolic of the beasts) because a friend gave it to me. Not his best novel, but a lesser work by a master is still well worth reading.

What's your favorite Mishima novel? I'm ashamed to say I still haven't read anything by him, though I have 金閣寺 (The Temple of the Golden Pavilion) and 潮騒 (The Sound of Waves) waiting on my shelves.
Ein Buch muß die Axt sein für das gefrorene Meer in uns. - Kafka

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Re: What are you currently reading? (part 2)

Postby linguoboy » 2019-05-13, 15:03

Yasna wrote:
linguoboy wrote:I also read 獣の戯れ by 三島 由紀夫/Yukio Mishima in Andrew Clare's new translation (The frolic of the beasts) because a friend gave it to me. Not his best novel, but a lesser work by a master is still well worth reading.

What's your favorite Mishima novel? I'm ashamed to say I still haven't read anything by him, though I have 金閣寺 (The Temple of the Golden Pavilion) and 潮騒 (The Sound of Waves) waiting on my shelves.

I've bounced off Golden Pavilion at least twice already. It's one of the most highly-regarded of his novels and I just don't understand why I can't get into it.

I still think 春の雪 (Spring snow) is his greatest novel and one of the greatest novels I've ever read. The whole 豐饒の海/Sea of Fertility tetralogy is worth reading though it yields diminishing returns. If you want to start with something more manageable, his short stories and plays are also masterful. 真夏の死 ("Death in midsummer") is a perceptive examination of grief that blew me away when I first read it.
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Re: What are you currently reading? (part 2)

Postby Yasna » 2019-05-16, 14:15

linguoboy wrote:I've bounced off Golden Pavilion at least twice already. It's one of the most highly-regarded of his novels and I just don't understand why I can't get into it.

I still think 春の雪 (Spring snow) is his greatest novel and one of the greatest novels I've ever read. The whole 豐饒の海/Sea of Fertility tetralogy is worth reading though it yields diminishing returns. If you want to start with something more manageable, his short stories and plays are also masterful. 真夏の死 ("Death in midsummer") is a perceptive examination of grief that blew me away when I first read it.

Alright, I'm going to start with 金閣寺 then eventually find my way to 豊饒の海. I'm very hesitant to start a trilogy, never mind a tetralogy, but this one seems worth the time investment.
Ein Buch muß die Axt sein für das gefrorene Meer in uns. - Kafka

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Re: What are you currently reading? (part 2)

Postby Yasna » 2019-05-17, 3:06

I finished 무엇으로부터 위로받으세요? (What do you get comfort from?), which consisted of the author's photographs from South Korea, Kyoto, Hokkaido, and Bali together with his impressions.

I'm currently reading 인간병기 흙피리 (Ocarina), a thriller by Jeong Geon-seop.
Ein Buch muß die Axt sein für das gefrorene Meer in uns. - Kafka


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