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Old 4th Jun 2010, 13:59   #11
beer good
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Default Re: Which is better? #5

Raymond Chandler or James Ellroy?
Will go with Chandler since I haven't read Ellroy (yet).

Agatha Christie or PD James?
Will go with Christie since I haven't read James (and am not likely to).

GK Chesterton or Somerset Maugham?
Will go with Maugham since I've read Chesterton.

John Irving or John Updike?
Updike.

Kazuo Ishiguro or David Mitchell?
Ishiguro since I haven't read Mitchell.

Robert Frost or Emily Dickinson?
Come on, give me at least one question where I can make an informed choice...

Mozart or Bach?
Thank you. Mozart. All the way. Bach is a bore.

Rachmaninov or Prokofiev?
Rachmaninov - that Paganini rhapsody being the one I think of whenever the name comes up.

Miles Davies or John Coltrane?
Finally my kind of question. This one's tricky. On the one hand, Miles wrote and played a lot of stuff that I wouldn't want to be without, and almost everything he did up until the early 70s is somewhere between solid and utter perfection - Kind of Blue, ESP, Sketches of Spain, In A Silent Way, Tribute to Jack Johnson, etc etc etc.

On the other hand, Coltrane was a madman, and even if he was a great sideman his solo career is like nothing else; at the risk of sounding morbid, it's like he knew he had only a limited time and had to take, to quote a phrase, giant steps. He quit drugs, found God, and just took off, from Blue Train to Ascension in 8 years. Here's an anecdote: in the late 50s, he told an interviewer that he could hear music in his head that he was trying to figure out how to play, but thought it would get him arrested if he tried. By the mid-60s, the same interviewer asked him if he could still hear it; Coltrane replied "Oh, that... I must have played that years ago."

So Coltrane.

Frank Sinatra or Tony Bennett?
Sinatra. Not just for the voice, but for the concept albums. Check out Watertown; it's an album like a Richard Yates novel.
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Old 4th Jun 2010, 19:03   #12
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Default Re: Which is better? #5

Raymond Chandler or James Ellroy? Chandler, based on having read only one book by each.

Agatha Christie or PD James? My only exposure to either is via my parents' obsession with all things Christie when I was growing up, which would probably prejudice me towards James...

GK Chesterton or Somerset Maugham? Maugham. I really enoyed both The Painted Veil and The Razor's Edge.

John Irving or John Updike? I like both but consider Updike to be in a completely different class. Snobby, I know.

Kazuo Ishiguro or David Mitchell? Ishiguro. I still haven't really warmed up to Mitchell.

Robert Frost or Emily Dickinson? I like poems by both but don't consider myself enough of a poetry connoisseur to actually have a preference.

Mozart or Bach? Bach.

Rachmaninov or Prokofiev? ?

Miles Davies or John Coltrane? ?

Frank Sinatra or Tony Bennett? Sinatra.
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Old 4th Jun 2010, 20:18   #13
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Default Re: Which is better? #5

Raymond Chandler or James Ellroy?

This is the only question I feel I can answer with any authority, and I prefer Ellroy. It seems to me that Chandler's influence is not as far-reaching as a lot of people think, and Ellroy has said that his own source of inspiration can be traced to Hammett. Chandler was a very good writer of prose, but a sloppy storyteller, who didn't seem to care all that much about crime, as a subject, while Ellroy does. Which may not matter to everybody, but since it does to me, and because Ellroy, as a person and as a writer, is appealingly batshit crazy, I'm sticking with him.

Agatha Christie or PD James?

Haven't read either, want to read both, but I'm more interested in James than Christie.

GK Chesterton or Somerset Maugham?

I've only read The Man Who Was Thursday by Chesterton, and nothing by Maugham. But I like the cut of Chesterton's jib.

John Irving or John Updike?

I've never made it through an Updike novel, and of Irving's fiction I've only read The Hotel New Hampshire, which I didn't like. So it's a toss-up, I guess, but Irving comes off as smug to me. Don't know why.

Kazuo Ishiguro or David Mitchell?

Ishiguro. I've only read one Mitchell novel, and I was very disappointed by it, whereas Ishiguro wrote The Remains of the Day, which is perfect.

Robert Frost or Emily Dickinson?

It's been ages since I've read either, but I think Dickinson.

Mozart or Bach?

Mozart. At least I'm more likely to know his music than Bach's.

Rachmaninov or Prokofiev?

I'm by no means an expert, or even an amateur enthusiast, of either, but the Prokofiev I've heard appeals to me very much.

Miles Davies or John Coltrane?

Barely know either one, but I think Coltrane.

EDIT: I should add, this kind of jazz leaves me utterly cold, so Coltrane is sort of a default pick.

Frank Sinatra or Tony Bennett?

I think Bennett is underrated, but I still have to say Sinatra.
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Old 4th Jun 2010, 21:10   #14
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Default Re: Which is better? #5

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Ishiguro. I've only read one Mitchell novel, and I was very disappointed by it, whereas Ishiguro wrote The Remains of the Day, which is perfect.
If you substitute "one Mitchell novel" with "two Mitchell novels," this sums up my feelings exactly.
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Old 4th Jun 2010, 21:38   #15
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Default Re: Which is better? #5

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If you substitute "one Mitchel. novel" with "two Mitchell novels," this sums up my feelings exactly.
Which two? Mine was Ghostwritten, and it left me baffled by the global praise Mitchell gets.

Still, my friend who works for Viking/Penguin has met Mitchell, and says he's a very, very nice guy. So there's that, I guess.
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Old 4th Jun 2010, 21:43   #16
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Default Re: Which is better? #5

He is indeed (reputedly) a very, very nice guy. And Ishiguro is a total ruthless bastard.
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Old 4th Jun 2010, 21:48   #17
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Default Re: Which is better? #5

I read Cloud Atlas several years ago (and I think I still may be the only person on Palimpsest who didn't rate it ) and I just finished Black Swan Green yesterday. I didn't hate them or anything, I just don't see what all the fuss is about.

It sounds like if the thread was called "Which is nicer? #5" Mitchell would win in a landslide.
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Old 4th Jun 2010, 21:53   #18
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Default Re: Which is better? #5

That same Viking/Penguin friend is not too keen on Mitchell's stuff, but did really like Black Swan Green, so I still plan on giving that a look. And Cloud Atlas, too, because it just sounds interesting. But so did Ghostwritten.

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And Ishiguro is a total ruthless bastard.
You can tell just by looking at him. Eyeglasses. Sweaters, sometimes. What an asshole.
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Old 4th Jun 2010, 22:08   #19
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Default Re: Which is better? #5

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I read Cloud Atlas several years ago (and I think I still may be the only person on Palimpsest who didn't rate it )
I don't think we had star ratings back then (at least I don't have one marked on my review of it) but my recollection is that, notionally, I gave it which I later upgraded to in retrospect because it was, so, clever and entertaining and such. I had the same feeling about Jacob de Zoet now I think of it.
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Old 4th Jun 2010, 23:02   #20
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Default Re: Which is better? #5

Yeah, it probably wasn't as unanimous as I made it sound, it's just one of those books that seemed to receive a lot of Palimp acclaim (Remains Of The Day, Light Years, Small Island, etc...)
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