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Taylor

Taylor

Joined February 2016

taylornapolsky.com
review
Taylor
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Pickpick

This book is, to put it simply, a masterpiece. Incredibly powerful, discursive and entertaining to boot. It challenged me intellectually and rocked me dramatically. The work doesn‘t seem cliched despite having come out in the eighties, and with its extreme influence it has had on the genre, but rather quite the opposite. It‘s different. It‘s original. Here is no kind of regular arc that we find so commonly in the superhero movies of today.

7 likes1 stack add
quote
Taylor
American Psycho | Bret Easton Ellis

A young girl, a freshman, I met in a bar in Cambridge my junior year at Harvard told me early one fall that “Life is full of endless possibilities.” I tried valiantly not to choke on the beer nuts I was chewing while she gushed this kidney stone of wisdom, and I calmly washed them down with the rest of a Heineken, smiled and concentrated on the dart game that was going on in the corner.

review
Taylor
Giant Days Vol. 3 | John Allison
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Pickpick

While I wish there was more of a continuing narrative, rather than it feeling like a bunch of sketches without much overall progress, I still am liking it. I still find myself unexpectedly invested and interested in what will happen, and the few major turns in the plot are pretty compelling.

Also, the humor has returned in this volume. It made me laugh again, although not as much as the first volume.

review
Taylor
Giant Days Vol. 2 | John Allison
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Pickpick

Another fun edition of this comic. I liked Vol. 1 more, as it was funnier and had me laughing out loud constantly, whereas with this one that wasn‘t the case, but I still had a good time with this and look forward to continuing the series.

review
Taylor
Demons | Fyodor Dostoevsky
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Pickpick

Ha, I can‘t believe I actually finished this book. It‘s been so long that I‘ve been reading it....

So now that I‘m done: it‘s my favorite Dostoevsky novel.

Really, a remarkable book!

I think it‘s because the novel is challenging, but also entertaining, so the perfect mix of the two. There‘s this edge to it that keeps me having to pay close attention, which I really like because it makes the payoff so satisfying.

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Taylor
Winter | Karl Ove Knausgaard
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Pickpick

While I liked this pretty well, and there are definitely some eye opening insights, it also sort of feels like more of the same, thinking about it in comparison to the previous book, “Autumn.” It gets a little repetitive. Not all of these meditations, these mini-essays, nail it—and I‘m not quite sure I want to sit with two more books of this material....

review
Taylor
Giant Days Vol. 1 | John Allison
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Pickpick

This was such a fun read!

Cute comic. Amusing and refreshing, with great artwork and a snappy pace.

review
Taylor
The Italian Teacher | Tom Rachman
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Pickpick

Let me tell you, I felt for these characters. No, they‘re not sympathetic; and yes, they can be obnoxious, and make awful moves or questionable decisions. But the characters are real. They‘re very human, and that‘s what I appreciated about it. Because it was like a mirror, where I could see myself, or people I‘ve known, doing dumb shit, making mistakes, taking it into account, and then just going on to live more days, trying to do better.

blurb
Taylor
Demons | Fyodor Dostoevsky

Halfway through this, and I had to take to Litsy to exult. I don‘t know how this novel isn‘t one of Dostoevsky‘s more popular ones, but it definitely deserves more recognition.

3 likes1 stack add
review
Taylor
Autumn | Karl Ove Knausgaard
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Pickpick

How, how does Knausgaard link all these inanimate objects, machines and animals or insects to huge themes of humanity, ethics, et al.? I‘ve been going back over the text to discover the moments he transitions from banal description to something much greater and universal. It‘s remarkable how he derives so much meaning out of this stuff, and these leaps in subject matter happen with so much naturalness and fluidity, I‘m astounded by it.

review
Taylor
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Pickpick

A special novel. It had me breaking down life in all its moments—from the mundane and boring to the extraordinary, and the strange, beautiful tie between these.

blurb
Taylor

This novel is modern, artsy, thoughtful, and it‘ll get gut wrenching out of nowhere; kind of a slow burn but I‘m really enjoying it. It‘d make for a cool television series. I‘d watch that.

7 likes1 stack add
review
Taylor
The Brothers Karamazov | Fyodor Dostoevsky
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Pickpick

So. Much. Better. Than. “The Idiot.”

I also found that with this translation (Pevear and Volokhonsky) it moves at a wonderfully energetic pace that feels modern; the ideologies brought up are still compelling and relevant; the plot is gripping and easy to follow; the whole work is an entertainment.

“The Brothers Karamazov” is totally accessible. It really doesn‘t deserve its reputation as a book to be intimidated by. Give it a shot.

review
Taylor
Out in the Open | Jesús Carrasco
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Pickpick

Grim, savage, and mesmerizing in the way you don‘t want to put it down. This is a page turner—consistently gripping—with prose that is clear but never simple, and somehow feels shot with truth all through it. The Cormac McCarthy comparisons are common here, but with the violence, dust, and even vendettas, it gave me a mood of Tarantino as well.

review
Taylor
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Pickpick

Really odd, meandering, at times challenging to follow, at other times boring, (repetitive!), but cool for its mysteriousness and undeniably unique point of view. This is what keeps it interesting. And that‘s what this fiction is: Interesting. And different.

Think Beckett, but not as fun and brilliant. What is though?

You have to put in work, but for the reader craving unique, experimental fiction that is quite comprehensible, this is it.

review
Taylor
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Pickpick

I‘ve read this twice now. (Rereading stuff: sure it takes time, but it is so worth it.) Loved it initially, but with the second go-through I find myself appreciating it even more. It‘s written with a cutting sense of humor and a sharp intelligence, in this exploration of how to reconcile ourselves and our humanity amidst the relentless and forceful system we have no option but to navigate within.

9 likes1 stack add
quote
Taylor

In fact, all the comic-book shops in the world are really just one essential place, and their entrances but doors to a single coincidence. That‘s why you always see there, no matter where you are, the same dreamy, awkward clientele.

review
Taylor
Tomb Song | Julian Herbert
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Mehso-so

There‘s way more politics than I felt like reading about; and the prose is so filled with unrecognizable references and annoyingly difficult trains of thought that it was tough to just settle in and enjoy the non-story, the retrospection and lack of narrative.

Herbert writes with this brand of hypersexualized machismo that I‘m not a particular fan of.

Thank God it‘s a short novel.

BarbaraBB Excellent review! 4mo
Taylor @BarbaraBB Why thank you. 4mo
6 likes2 comments
quote
Taylor
Tomb Song | Julian Herbert

Regaining your senses means your demons have returned to their place. They can‘t torment anyone any longer. Except you.

quote
Taylor
The Brothers Karamazov | Fyodor Dostoevsky

There is no more ceaseless or tormenting care for man, as long as he remains free, than to find someone to bow down to as soon as possible.

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Taylor
Seasonal Associate | Heike Geissler
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Pickpick

A depressing and stifling account of a woman who ends up working in one of the dreaded Amazon warehouses. It‘s quite readable but experimental in form, the perfect blend for me. Read it because it‘s important to read translations. And read it for a very intellectual—and triggering even—take on consumerism, capitalism, exploitation, dehumanization... Hey I said it was depressing.

7 likes2 stack adds
review
Taylor
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Pickpick

This is a book I had to work for, to dig up the meaning and the gems. (I read it twice.) It definitely didn‘t come easily, and it would‘ve helped if I were a Spanish speaker. But all in all this collection is filled with approachable lines mixed with a cutting edginess that I‘m attracted to.

6 likes1 stack add
review
Taylor
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Pickpick

I think this book merits a reread, even though normally I save rereads for only the books I find to be without exaggeration incredible.

But the prose in this collection is so distinctive, the ideas so quirky and the choices DeWitt makes (I'll say it) tricky, that it gives the work as a whole an air of gobsmacking impressiveness.

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Taylor
Calamities | Renee Gladman
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Pickpick

Essays about writing anxiety? Essays about not particularly wanting to write? Gladman turns the unfortunate angst of making art into art that is both readable and enjoyable; although it does tend to get repetitive.

4 likes1 stack add
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Taylor
Ghost of | Diana Khoi Nguyen
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Pickpick

I appreciate the mixed media, with the photograph experiments as well as the sort of "word art" with poetry laid out in interesting shapes and designs. The main theme of this collection is strong—omnipresent even when the content isn't directly tackling the sobering subject. I suspect I'm giving it three instead of four stars because many of the forms feel too standard for me personally.

review
Taylor
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Pickpick

Some of these poems I really loved, many of them I liked and appreciated, while others I couldn't get into as much.

With my favorites the work is stunningly powerful, with lines that lay out vivid images, unwinding with heat and intensity, unwinding in such impressive, inventive and moving ways that it is quick to make a writer jealous. Lorde writes with such talent and sheer force of genius that it‘s easy to see why she‘s so famous.

review
Taylor
The Idiot | Fyodor Dostoevsky
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Mehso-so

I wrote a pretty long (for me) review of this on Goodreads, but since Litsy for some lack of reason doesn‘t allow nearly the word count Goodreads does, I can‘t get it out at all the way I‘d like to.

Thus, I‘ll put it this way: “The Idiot” is Dostoevsky trying to write a Charles Dickens novel. That‘s what it is basically. And because he‘s really doing a Dickens thing instead of his own thing is why I feel it doesn‘t work.

BarbaraBB That may be a recommendation actually 😉 5mo
Taylor @BarbaraBB Ha no it‘s not a recommendation! That‘s the downfall of it. Trying to do Dickens is always a problem IMO, because only Dickens can do Dickens. 5mo
Garand Hmm. I think you missed the point of the novel. Possibly this is the uneducated (of Dostoevsky) view point, however this is most certainly not the type book that The Idiot is. It‘s not simply a novel, it was an outlet for Dostoevsky‘s frustration with Russia in 1840. He addressed the problem of modern society by making a christly character come into society, seemingly out of nowhere.The reactions to him were simple. They thought he was an idiot. 1mo
7 likes3 comments
review
Taylor
The Last Samurai | Helen Dewitt
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Pickpick

A glorious testament to the human spirit. Astoundingly original, here is a rich and earnest interrogation into what we are truly capable of—intellectually, creatively, morally.

This book was published in '07 and feels like it's pushing the boundaries of modern fiction even if it were written today.

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Taylor
Fire Break | George Albon
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Pickpick

Tones, melodies, landscapes, humans developing...all of it and more recorded in this diverse collection of moods, with Albon managing to somehow put into words not observations, but the (precise) act of experiencing the array of emotions and sensations evoked from viewing a special sight, from being suddenly struck by a bright idea, or from living out a moment that maintains in the memory, to alter and rearrange over time.

quote
Taylor
The Idiot | Fyodor Dostoevsky

I saw there was nothing there, an empty and smooth space, like the palm of my hand, and I went on feeling all the same. Such faintheartedness always repeats itself with a man when he wants very much to find something...in the case of a considerable and sad loss: one sees that there‘s nothing there, an empty space, and yet one looks fifteen times over.

quote
Taylor
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Out of her womb of pain my mother spat me
into her ill-fitting harness of despair
into her deceits
where anger reconceived me
piercing my eyes like arrows
pointed by her nightmare
of who I was not
becoming.

4 likes1 stack add
blurb
Taylor
The Idiot | Fyodor Dostoevsky

This book is boring me, to my surprise, and to be honest I really have my mind on what I‘m going to read next....

review
Taylor
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Pickpick

Loved this dreamworld haze of a novel about fitting in and figuring out who you are: spiritually, sexually, personality-wise.

It really digs into the subject of the body, the constant adjustment and readjustment to this flesh we are so close to but also somehow estranged from. That this novel is weird is kind of a given...but it‘s sexy too, which was a nice switch from what I generally read.

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Taylor
Staying Alive | Laura Sims
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Pickpick

Event and landscape are captured in this impassioned project. While nothing is quite spelled out plainly, the intensity of the images and scenarios described is powerful. I also really appreciate the afterword, where Sims talks about Cormac McCarthy and how one of his novels informed this work.

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Taylor
Whatever Stasis | Chris Tonelli
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Pickpick

I read this twice—slowly, methodically—to soak it in. Tonelli has a knack for nailing a precise sound, and the geometry of the poems somehow manages to reflect the recurrences we see every day, in some way capturing life‘s patterns (which seems impossible I know!), and making at least a sliver of sense of it.

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Taylor
Still Lives | Maria Hummel
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Pickpick

Maria Hummel is highly skilled at suspense writing, and she really knows how to plant one question after another to keep the reader intrigued. But I actually desire more than just a whodunnit, and here there‘s that too—plenty of explorations about our disturbing (and heartbreaking) fascination with violence inflicted on women‘s bodies. It also investigates fame...ambition...and I could keep going. It‘s creepy at times, and Gillian Flynnesque.

review
Taylor
Collected Works | Lorine Niedecker, Jenny Lynn Penberthy
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Pickpick

A special poet. Niedecker is pursuing something both grand and unique in scope. She goes at her lines with precision and exactitude but it never feels boringly perfect.

review
Taylor
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Pickpick

I love how this book flows. It's a wonderful concept, and one of those fast reads that is still rich with depth.

quote
Taylor

when I was young I could in equal measure celebrate and take everything about living for granted but 40 is so cool 40 is seeing and knowing not seeing and wanting 40 holds beauty as the accumulation of bliss & survival 40 widens its arms 40 seeks all the June sun instead of shade & flies with more than usual mechanical luster & says yes to all the right things 40 knows what it wants & mostly gets its every fineness

review
Taylor
theMystery.doc | Matthew McIntosh
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Pickpick

What a thrill this is!

It‘s monumental, intriguing, can get creepy, and is quite, quite sad: as this is really a book about death and dying—exploring that territory—so there is immense gravitas, and McIntosh succeeds in creating something that is, without embellishment, profound.

Here we have over 1,600 pages that feel like 300. I normally have two books going at once, but didn‘t want to share this reading experience with anything else.

review
Taylor
Crime and Punishment | Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky
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Pickpick

This novel blew me away. So much passion, intellect, and soulfulness...intense cynicism as well as views of hope.

I connect with Dostoevsky in a way I hadn't expected to, and can't wait to keep reading him.

Gezemice One of my favorites! 6mo
Taylor @Gezemice Yeah reading Dostoevsky is divine. 6mo
6 likes2 comments
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Taylor
theMystery.doc | Matthew McIntosh
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Such. Good. Prose. 👏

review
Taylor
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Pickpick

An astounding novel. This is filled with incisive observations and a consistent sense of humor that's both biting and erudite. Yet at the same time there is so much heart and earnestness: characters who feel endearingly real, leaving the reader fond of everyone.

Then there is the ending, which lands with the most perfect tone and sensibility. It took me out.

Really it's one of the best contemporary novels I've read.

5 likes1 stack add
quote
Taylor
theMystery.doc | Matthew McIntosh

The problem is our society. We have no place for the schizophrenic. In the native cultures there were the holy men, the shamans, they were protected and revered, and you‘d bring your little papoose to him for a blessing or a prophecy, and the society would make sure he was fed and clothed because he sure as hell couldn‘t take care of himself. But now we leave them to fend for themselves.

3 likes1 stack add
review
Taylor
People on Sunday | Geoffrey O'Brien
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Pickpick

The rhythm of it and the thoughts that kind of do and kinda don‘t connect really grabbed me. There‘s lots of subtext that makes for a rich rereading of each and every poem.

quote
Taylor

Simone, over the phone, had given me a list of questions for the president if I had a chance as well as a selection of words she believed he would be inspired to look up in the dictionary when he had a minute (Simone had said if he actually only had one minute, he should just read the definition of the word “elitism”) because it was obvious to her he didn‘t precisely know what they meant.

blurb
Taylor

Let me tell you—this novel is hilarious. It cracks me up on nearly every page. It‘s funny in the same kind of way that the Harry Potter books are funny.... Just tons of heart and wit and spunk.

review
Taylor
Like a Solid to a Shadow | Janice Lobo Sapigao
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Pickpick

A soulful meditation on uncovering the past, learning about one‘s self and legacy. This work feels comprehensive: rooted in history, but also the “now”; and futuristic in the way Sapigao unabashedly incorporates the digital age into the work.

review
Taylor
There There: A novel | Tommy Orange
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Panpan

While I really liked reading about the experience of being Native American—getting that viewpoint, reading about the history, and all the politics involved in such—this is pretty much useless as a novel.

There are too many characters—I got sick of trying to keep them all straight (and eventually gave up)—and the writing is bland, aside from some exposition sections, when it would get interesting.

Jinjer I took notes as I read so keeping track of the 12 characters wasn‘t my problem. I liked the first 2/3 or so but the last 1/3 of the book was just meh for me. The intense part was in the bus station. After that, yawn. 6mo
Taylor @Jinjer I didn‘t much enjoy the first 2/3s of it either, but yeah, it got even worse at the end. I have a low opinion of this book. It‘s just I read so many terrific contemporary novels and then this one somehow ends up getting across the board praise and acclaim 🙄 6mo
Gezemice I felt the same. I wondered if you took the Native American elements out of the story - and there were not really that many - would this have received any acclaim? I highly doubt it. As a novel, it is a mess. 6mo
Taylor @Gezemice A mess is right... 6mo
3 likes4 comments
quote
Taylor
Collected Works | Lorine Niedecker, Jenny Lynn Penberthy

Have we experienced a cycle from which we are likely
to recover, or have we seen the death of an era?