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PROT358's Photo PROT358 Posts: 24,696
11/1/15 12:59 A

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The Prince and the Pauper: I wouldn't call it great literature, but is was a great reading experience. It is set in Tudor England. Twain must have done some research, because I learned some historical and cultural facts through this novel.

Paradiso: While I appreciate the technical skill of creating this trilogy, this one lacked the energy of The Inferno. Also my version had no explanatory notes, so this one was difficult to understand

Apology: Apology is Socrates' defense of his alleged "lewd" conduct at his trial. (If you know your history, he was found guilty and killed with poison). It might not be entertaining, but it is a great example of argumentation and made even more relevant by it being true.

A Study in Scarlet: The first of the Sherlock Holmes books, and it surpassed my expectations. I was expecting something stuffy. Sherlock solved the case before I had my wits gathered, and then methodically explained his conclusions while cross-examining the culprit.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: While it is certainly great fiction and its impact on American literature probably cannot be overstated, something about it doesn't feel right. Maybe it's the dissonance between the lighthearted "anyone looking for a moral will be shot" while it also hits upon themes of racial equality with the runaway slave Jim. It's like the book accidentally discusses serious themes and then quickly tries to revert to good old fun and games like The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. It's an important book, but not as cohesive as I would like.

A Midsummer Night's Dream: This was a re-read, and my version was illustrated! It was a wonderful reading experience. Very entertaining.

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: This is the true account of Frederick Douglass's time in slavery and how he eventually secures his freedom. What struck me the most was how articulate and educated his words sounded on the page. For a man who picked up reading and writing by bribing white school boys, this literature on the page looks like it's written by a privileged, well-educated white man. It is very well-written, both technically and in content.

The Sign of the Four: The second Sherlock Holmes book. I felt like this one had a better story than the first.

Crito: This one is like a companion to Apology. When Socrates is imprisoned awaiting his execution, this is the account of a man who visits him and tries to tempt him to escape. The dialogue between the two outlines his reasons for staying.

Aesop's Fables: While each fable is great individually, it was a little exhausting and repetitive to read them all at once. Many of his sayings we still use today.

Sophie's Choice: It is strongest when it deals with the Holocaust and Sophie's backstory. The present day romance between her and Stingo was so sexually graphic, it was rather shocking. I don't consider myself prudish, but I felt like parts of it were told in a distasteful manner. However on a stylistic and technical level, the author is very talented.



PROT358's Photo PROT358 Posts: 24,696
9/9/15 9:51 P

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Pride and Prejudice: While the story of first impressions, love, and courtship is well known, this time I finally appreciated the nuance and attention to detail. My favorite of her books.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest: This story takes place in a mental asylum. The conflict is between a protagonist (a resident), who we assume is not crazy, and the head nurse who demands perfect control. Interesting, funny, this book is everything. The movie won best picture too!

All Quiet on the Western Front: This book is the story of war from the front lines, in this case a German soldier in World War I. He watches his friends die, ducks from bombs, faces poison gas and machine guns, almost starves due to dwindling rations, and somehow just survives. There is also a surprise ending.

The Odyssey: Before I had only read this one is parts, so it was nice to read it in its entirety. The nonlinear narration struck me this time. The language at times was a bit unapproachable, but the story itself was timeless.

Kidnapped: It is set in Scotland during their fight for independence from Britain. The main character, a young boy, has several adventures and narrow escapes while struggling to regain his birthright from his wicked uncle.

Hiroshima: This one follows six characters on the day of the bomb and its aftermath. Each chapter is broken into six segments where it follows each character's storyline. As a documentary, it is well-researched and very moving. As a novel, it's somewhat less complete or satisfying.

PROT358's Photo PROT358 Posts: 24,696
9/9/15 9:49 P

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Sense and Sensibility: Usually Austen's writing style isn't my favorite, but this was a pleasant surprise on the usual themes of courtship and love.

Things Fall Apart: The majority of the book describes African (Ibo) culture before European colonization, and it de-bunks our prejudices of primitive savages in huts. Their traditions were nuanced, and in some ways similar to our own. At the end the whites come with their Christian religion, and the narrator feels as though his whole culture is vanishing.

The Iliad: One of the oldest stories ever told of the Trojan War and the heroes who fought in it.

Ethan Frome: A thwarted love story set in the frigid northeast with a surprising ending. It didn't have the same momentum the second time.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer: It's adventures of an almost adolescent boy on the Mississippi, and it's funny and entertaining! It has faked deaths, buried gold, a love interest, and so on. I'm usually not a huge fan of Mark Twain either, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one!

Purgatorio: This one is structured similarly to the first part, The Inferno, in that it has levels with specific people groups. The world is ranked and ordered. However this version had no explanatory notes, and it lacked some of the excitement of The Inferno.

A Journey to the Center of the Earth: A group of men enter an inactive volcano in Iceland, and travel in an underground labyrinth. As they go into deeper levels of earth, they even find prehistoric plants and animals (and dinosaurs!) It was a very interesting book and not at all what I expected!

PROT358's Photo PROT358 Posts: 24,696
6/1/15 9:26 P

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Daniel Deronda: While it feels like I have read many love-gone-wrong books before, this one is a standout.

Lady Chatterley's Lover: Even now some of the descriptions were a tad too much, though the plot and characters kept me engaged.

Tarzan of the Apes: While the writing is good, it does not reach greatness and can't compete with other great novels. But it is a fine example within its genre.

The Awakening: I assumed that the story of the fallen woman I had read before with Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary. Somehow it tells the story in a different way than those others, and while similar it stands on its own.

Kim: Explores the culture and customs of colonial India, and highlights the tensions between the native population and the British. But the story and characters fell short for me.

Candide: It aims to disprove that we live in the best of all possible worlds. The characters experience many forms of cruelty. The author concludes that all you can do is tend to your own home and family as best as you can.

My Antonia: Explores the challenges immigrants faced when trying to settle in the Nebraskan frontier. The setting and land itself is a sort of character and adversary. But I prefer her novel O Pioneers! more because it has more plot and character development.

The Beautiful and Damned: It describes the roaring twenties and a married couple's ultimate downfall due to drinking and reckless spending.

Dead Souls: A Russian classic that tells the story of a man who creates his fortune buying the rights of deceased serfs so that he has the appearance of prosperity on paper. Eventually the whole charade unravels.

Fahrenheit 451: This one made me wonder: Is the right to own and read books the worst freedom they can take from us? I think Bradbury does operate from a presumption that a society must be allowed to read, which is narrower in scope than it could be.

The Grapes of Wrath: In contrast, this novel explores many more freedoms and rights that can be taken away - the rights of a worker or the right to a fair or minimum wage. It explores the relentless poverty that many migrant Americans faced in the 1930s. While Of Mice and Men touches on similar themes, this novel exposes just how bad things really were. Very eye-opening!

PROT358's Photo PROT358 Posts: 24,696
5/4/15 10:10 P

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The Aeneid - enjoyed it more the second time

Sons and Lovers - pleasantly surprised

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court - I'm appreciating Twain's humor more as I get older

Short Stories from O. Henry

The Wings of the Dove - this one had many unexpected twists. I enjoyed it and found it very memorable.

The Country of the Pointed Firs

Agnes Grey

The Canterbury Tales

Madame Bovary - I hated it the first time, but probably because I read over a long period of time. This time I powered through it in two days. While I did not love it, this time was much better. In terms of the adulteress genre, I think Anna Karenina does things better because it has meaning on more levels.

PROT358's Photo PROT358 Posts: 24,696
3/12/15 9:26 P

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It has been a long time, and I have a lot of catching up to do! I will be brief.


2014:
The Phantom of the Opera - noted I did not enjoy it as much as when I was a teenager.

Ceremony

The House of Mirth - like many of her novels, it picked up pace about halfway through after a slow start.

The Woman in White - a very enjoyable mystery. I think Wilkie Collins should be better known than he is.

Germinal - the best book I have read in months. Discusses the workers' conditions and lack of rights in a coal mine in France in (I think) the 1800s, and the consequences once they go on strike.

Fathers and Sons

Crime and Punishment


2015:
Julius Caesar (Shakespeare) - I read this one more slowly and with more appreciation than as a high school student, and I really enjoyed it this time.

The Red and the Black

The Bostonians - I could not get into this one.

The Three Musketeers - as good as it was the last time I read it.

Vanity Fair - I don't see the greatness here, but I persevered and finished it.

1984 - holds a lot more meaning now than as a high school freshman. The teachers assigned us that one way too soon!

The Origin of Species - My impression while reading it was that he did not use science or research to back up his claims. He just stated things as fact - "clearly," "obviously," etc. For a work that has had so much sway on science and how we teach science in schools, it doesn't seem a watertight argument.

The Metamorphoses (Ovid) - a refresh course on the Greco-Roman myths, and it was told in an engaging way.

The Interpretation of Dreams (Freud) - this one was well-researched, and he found a way through my skepticism. I might not believe all of it, but he supported his claims very well.

BEN1126's Photo BEN1126 Posts: 3,688
12/31/14 7:56 P

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I haven't been here in a while, so I want to list my classics before the end of the year:

"Kafka On the Shore" by Haruki Murakami - If you haven't read Murakami, you are missing out on a great talent. Characters well developed, plots intricate, might be fantasy or science fiction.

"Our Mutual Friend" by Charles Dickens

"No Thoroughfare" by Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins

"The Mystery of Edwin Drood" by Charles Dickens - Dickens' last novel was unfinished at his death. Still a very readable book and as it was my intention to read all of Dickens' novels, this concluded those wonderful books!!

"The Double: A Petersburg Poem" by Fyodor Dostoevsky

"The Gambler" by Fyodor Dostoevsky

" The Executioner's Song" by Norman Mailer

"The Sound and the Fury" by William Faulkner

"Go Tell It On the Mountain" by James Baldwin

"Lucky Jim" by Kingsley Amis

"The Ways of All Flesh" by Samuel Butler

"The Shining" by Stephen King

"The Age of Innocence" by Edith Wharton

"Pale Fire" by Vladimir Nabokov

"Mc Teague" by Frank Norris

"American Pastoral" by Phillip Roth

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PROT358's Photo PROT358 Posts: 24,696
9/6/14 11:34 P

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Of Mice and Men: Called one of the greatest short stories ever written and for good reason. Steinbeck captures the times and desperation so very well. My one quibble is that the character of Lennie seems unfinished and just "too good."

I, Claudius: A great piece of history told in first-person. And Graves seems a pretty researched historian. It has all the trappings of a great story - an unlikely hero and plenty of villains and crimes.

Anne of Green Gables: The book follows its heroine from childhood all the way through young adulthood through many true-to-life adventures. It is a story about growing up and what she learns along the way.

Around the World in Eighty Days: I have a hard time getting into Jules Verne. He has a great scientific mind and loves to explore unknown possibilities, but the science and experimentation overwhelms the plot and characters.

PROT358's Photo PROT358 Posts: 24,696
8/8/14 1:29 P

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O Pioneers! A story about early settlers on the Nebraskan frontier. Highly descriptive language, but also interesting characters and plot.

A Christmas Carol: Dickens is my favorite author for good reason! I enjoyed it much better this time when I read it more slowly. A great classic, but falls short of Great Expectations.

The Mayor of Casterbridge: While I love Hardy, I found this the weakest of his books that I've read. Maybe because I could not empathize with the main character? Still a good read and similar in theme and plot to his other tragedies.

The Importance of Being Earnest: I loved reading it and found it very funny, but I bet it would be even better performed. Has some elements of a comedy of manners and also layers of meaning and irony.

Animal Farm: It seemed to function less as a story and more almost like a parable. The plot and characters took second string to Orwell's political leanings, but he makes his point in way that is enjoyable to read and yet persuasive.

Anthem: Some dystopian novels wallow in the muck of the "system" so much the reading becomes less enjoyable. This one has a compelling lead character and enough movement to stand as a story while also illustrating her philosophical beliefs.

PROT358's Photo PROT358 Posts: 24,696
7/9/14 2:49 A

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Frankenstein. I think this one is much more than a horror story. It touches on ethics of scientific experimentation, what rights the creation has, and what duties the creator has to its creation.

King Solomon's Mines. This is an adventure novel, often considered the inspiration of many spin-offs, including the Indiana Jones series. As an adventure novel, it is truly great. As a work of literature it has its shortcomings.

This Side of Paradise. One of Fitzgerald's earliest works. It works beautifully as a document of history of the 1920s, and he probably has done that better than anyone else. As a standalone novel I found it rather sparse.

Lady Susan. One of Jane Austen's lesser-known works. It is in letter form, which I found very distracting and more difficult to read. It is distinctive enough for me to identify it as hers, but also not one of her best.

Persuasion. This heroine is I believe 27-years-old, which makes her an older, more mature character than other Austen novels. Her social commentary on human nature and love I found pretty on-point.

The Aspern Papers. A novella by Henry James concerning a man who goes to great lengths to recover some personal papers from a poet named Aspern. It doesn't sound like much of a plot, but he maintains the suspense so well until the ironic ending.

The Turn of the Screw. Another novella by Henry James. Somewhat of a psychological thriller with a governess, supposed apparitions, and the safety of the children she cares for hanging in the balance. I think it matches any great psychological movie - Shutter Island or The Sixth Sense - but unlike those, the ending is ambiguous.

Siddhartha. A narrative about a man in the time and place of Buddha searching for answers and truth, and surprisingly written by a German man fairly recently. The search for meaning might be universal, but as a Christian I have reached very different conclusions.

PROT358's Photo PROT358 Posts: 24,696
6/4/14 10:55 P

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For Whom The Bell Tolls. A graphic and realistic story set during the Spanish Civil War. Beautiful characterization.The best of Hemingway that I've read.

The Lord of the Flies. Reads almost like a parable discussing the baseness of human nature. An apt metaphor, but at literal value has some shortcomings.

Northanger Abbey. A Gothic-satire with the typical Austen elements of a heroine and romance. It had moments of great storytelling, but in some ways the satire element ruined the story for me. Not enough momentum or characterization.

To Kill A Mockingbird. While I got much more out of it now than I did in high school, it is very didactic and heavy-handed in its moralizing. It is best in its description of character, setting, and childhood.

Daisy Miller. Tells the story of a young American girl and flirt who is perceived to be socially inappropriate. Centers on the discussion as to whether she is knowledgeable and calculated, or whether she is unaware and innocent. .

Washington Square. A young, plain heiress receives romantic interest from a penniless man who professes his love. The girl's father remains convinced that it is not love, but that the boy is after her money. You don't learn the true answer until the last page. A page-turner and an insightful look at human nature.


Currently Reading:
-Frankenstein
-King Solomon's Mines

PROT358's Photo PROT358 Posts: 24,696
5/3/14 10:59 P

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Thanks for the updates, Ben! I always enjoy hearing what you've been reading.

I figure it's time for an update of my own!

Paradise Lost. A masterful retelling of the account of Genesis chapters 1-3, of creation, original sin, and the eviction from the garden of Eden. Much of it is told from Satan's perspective, and it shows his scheming and presents him almost sympathetically.

Bullfinch's Mythology. This one is subdivided into three large sections which read as three sub-books, so that's how I'm treating it:

---The Age of Fable: a presentation of the basic stories of ancient mythology: Greco-Roman, Norse, German, Hindu.

---The Age of Chivalry: a collection of stories and legends surrounding King Arthur, his court and knights.

---Legends of Charlemagne. This one I expected to be more factual and historical, but this one is much more like a myth: griffins, elixirs, and episodes that you have to suspend your rational judgment. Still an interesting read.

Moby Dick. This book alternates between chapters of action or narrative with passages of explanation, particularly on aspects of whaling. I've heard complaints that the explanatory chapters are boring ... maybe from some readers over-anxious just to "get to the story." I found them fascinating. However I find the pacing a bit off. The titular character does not make his first true appearance until maybe 80% through the book. I expected much more cat-and-mouse action. It seemed a lot of it was talking about the upcoming confrontation with the whale, and comparatively very little on the actual confrontation. I found it unbalanced and a bit anticlimactic, considering he devoted some 200+ pages on the capture and dissection of a sperm whale that really did little other than to provide background information and insight into whaling. Still a very satisfying read.

The Return of the Native (Thomas Hardy). This one centers on a pair of couples who choose to marry the wrong one for the wrong reasons and in some cases even remain in love with someone other than their spouse. Hardy remains one of my favorite authors - highly descriptive and tackles somewhat gloomy or pre-doomed relationships bound to end in tragedy.

The Old Man and the Sea (Hemingway). It's about an old fisherman who has lately had no luck with catching fish, and has become a sort of joke. He goes alone far out to sea and catches a massive, record-breaking marlin. It's about his sense of identity as a fisherman and about his respect for his opponent.

The Sun Also Rises (Hemingway). Its hero is a man who was injured in WWI and rendered impotent, which I believe is the determining factor that thwarts what might have been a good, loving relationship. The book comments strongly on masculine identity and the aimlessness in the aftermath of war.

Currently reading:
-For Whom The Bell Tolls

BEN1126's Photo BEN1126 Posts: 3,688
5/1/14 11:28 P

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I haven't been here in a while, so I have a lot of books to comment on.

"Lolita" by Vladimir Nabokov. This is a re-read.
I found myself bogged down reading this great work because my wife and I had started playing an on-line game called "Quiz-up".
Of course, I centered on classic lit, which I did fairly well in. Players can move up more quickly paying money to double, triple, or quardruple their score. ( I admit to doubling up a few times).
I was addicted and played this game rather than read. ( Probably a better addiction than booze or drugs or insipid TV shows).
Finally I said enough, I want to read these classics rather than answer the same questions over and over!

"The Complete Short Stories of Flannery O'Connor- A great writer from the South who died too soon.
"Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Bronte and "Wuthering Heights" by Emily Bronte.
Both re-reads from High School. Didn't remember WH that well, but liked that book better.

"11 Science Fiction Stories" by Phillip K. Dick. The ideas behind his stories have been used to make Hollywood movies.

"MaddAddam" book three of the Oryx and Crake trilogy. No Zombies in this post apoplectic trilogy. It's a man-made disaster from man's over manipulation of the planet. Not as good as the first book, but better than the second.

"Vampires in the Lemon Grove" by Karen Russell. I believe I found this book of short stories while reading a review in "The New Yorker" ( An excellent magazine). These stories are as good as any short stories I've read in the past few years including "Noble prize winner' Alice Munro!


Edited by: BEN1126 at: 5/1/2014 (23:30)
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PROT358's Photo PROT358 Posts: 24,696
3/1/14 11:25 P

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I have a lot of catching up to do!!

A Farewell to Arms: This is a subtle book that's just as much about what is said as what is not said. As for Henry's final conclusions about fate, I know Hemingway is trying to make a point. I'm not completely sure what it is, but this one stayed with me long after I finished it.

The Picture of Dorian Gray: The story itself is pretty simple, and reads almost like a parable. But given the preface in which Wilde discusses the role of the artist and art, and with the mode of Dorian Gray's demise being a piece of artwork, he's definitely commenting in a much broader, more abstract way, which reduces the plot concerning Dorian to an illustration for his point. An enjoyable read, but I don't fully understand it.

The Moonstone: In his time, Wilkie Collins was considered a rival of Charles Dickens, yet I hadn't heard of him. It's a shame he has been so poorly remembered. This particular book was an elaborate mystery with many unexpected twists and turns, and as a reader it was very enjoyable because he kept the suspense moving the entire time.

Nana: Considered scandalous in its day, it tells the story of a lower-class actress/sometimes prostitute who rises the ranks, uses men and women for her purposes, and ends up very rich and successful ... yet somehow she is never fully satisfied. It appears that ironically she wants what is denied her - a good name and clean reputation.

Women in Love: Also considered scandalous in its day for its sexual thematic content, I thought it read pretty tame by today's standards. It's about two sisters who both are seeking a different type of love: one a transcendent, complete, almost spiritual understanding, and the other rooted entirely on lust, power, and domination. As these two interwoven plots reach their conclusions, you have the feeling that each story ended the only way it could.

NWME4EVRMARYANN's Photo NWME4EVRMARYANN Posts: 1,564
2/27/14 11:00 A

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Haven't been getting much reading done this week.
Need to change that!

If you are tired of starting over, stop giving up !

Exercise is a celebration of what your body
can do, not a punishment for what you ate.

If you are tired of starting over, stop giving up !

Exercise is a celebration of what your body can
do, not a punishment for what you ate.

You'll never change your life until you change
something you do daily. The secret of your
success is found in your daily routine !

Pacific Quest Trail My ID #877


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NWME4EVRMARYANN's Photo NWME4EVRMARYANN Posts: 1,564
2/16/14 8:58 P

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My 2014 list
1 per month

Classics:
The Red Badge of Courage
The Swiss Family Robinson
Little Women
Treasure Island
Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Uncle Tom's Cabin {started 3/16/2014 }
My Antonia
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Gone With the Wind Martha Mitchell
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Finished:
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Ann Jacobs finished Jan 2014


Edited by: NWME4EVRMARYANN at: 3/16/2014 (23:18)
If you are tired of starting over, stop giving up !

Exercise is a celebration of what your body
can do, not a punishment for what you ate.

If you are tired of starting over, stop giving up !

Exercise is a celebration of what your body can
do, not a punishment for what you ate.

You'll never change your life until you change
something you do daily. The secret of your
success is found in your daily routine !

Pacific Quest Trail My ID #877


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NWME4EVRMARYANN's Photo NWME4EVRMARYANN Posts: 1,564
2/11/14 1:54 A

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I started Incidents in the Life of a Slavegirl by Harriet Jacobs
( originally Linda Brent, her pen name.) c1861 today.
Sounds like it will be a great book so far.

Edited by: NWME4EVRMARYANN at: 2/11/2014 (02:03)
If you are tired of starting over, stop giving up !

Exercise is a celebration of what your body
can do, not a punishment for what you ate.

If you are tired of starting over, stop giving up !

Exercise is a celebration of what your body can
do, not a punishment for what you ate.

You'll never change your life until you change
something you do daily. The secret of your
success is found in your daily routine !

Pacific Quest Trail My ID #877


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PROT358's Photo PROT358 Posts: 24,696
2/10/14 12:38 A

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I have read most of those, and those are some great books! I don't think speed matters, or how long it takes you to get to them. You are reading, enlarging your world, and improving yourself. I made sure all the books you listed are on the master reading list too!

Oh, and there is no "deadline" for commenting on our monthly books. I welcome any comments at any time! Anything to get a good discussion going :)

Edited by: PROT358 at: 2/10/2014 (00:39)
NWME4EVRMARYANN's Photo NWME4EVRMARYANN Posts: 1,564
2/7/14 4:46 P

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I have been stuck in the house since I found this group,
finally able to get out and about today. I have been wanting
to read some of the classics for years and just never got to it.

Sooo, after I found this team, I decided to read one classic a
month for the year. I am already a month behind but plan to
catch up. I am starting with some "easy" ones and will discuss
some of the club's books if I can get them read in time.

So, to stay accountable, I am going to list my choices here:
In no particular order, my baker's dozen plus one:

The Red Badge of Courage
The Call of the Wild
White Fang
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Swiss Family Robinson
20,00 Leagues Under the Sea
A Tale of Two Cities
Little Women
Treasure Island
Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Uncle Tom's Cabin
To The Lighthouse
My Antonia
A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains.

I know it is pretty sad that a person gets
to 61 and has never read them, so that is
my goal for this year. The only one I have
ever read is Little Women, when I was 12,
but that has been a little while, so I wanted
to read it again.


If you are tired of starting over, stop giving up !

Exercise is a celebration of what your body
can do, not a punishment for what you ate.

If you are tired of starting over, stop giving up !

Exercise is a celebration of what your body can
do, not a punishment for what you ate.

You'll never change your life until you change
something you do daily. The secret of your
success is found in your daily routine !

Pacific Quest Trail My ID #877


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1/28/14 1:55 P

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Thank you AWKSWAN :) I actually havent read The Count of Monte Cristo but its sitting on my bookself waiting to be read! I have a little bit of a problem with buying more books than I can possibly read at one time! I just know that when I get older and have my own house im going to have books all over the place and stuff! I just wish I wasnt so busy with school constantly so that I could read more. Pitifully enough, im still reading the Mayor of Casterbridge but its really good and getting pretty exciting! We have really bad weather coming there next few days so school is actually canceled and im hoping to catch up with homework and get some serious reading done! Up next for me is Pride and Prejudice. I have read Sens and Sensibility a few times and I love it, but for some reason ive never gotten around to Pride and Prejudice. What is everyone else reading right now?

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1/28/14 1:47 P

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Thank you AWKSWAN :) I actually havent read The Count of Monte Cristo but its sitting on my bookself waiting to be read! I have a little bit of a problem with buying more books than I can possibly read at one time! I just know that when I get older and have my own house im going to have books all over the place and stuff! I just wish I wasnt so busy with school constantly so that I could read more. Pitifully enough, im still reading the Mayor of Casterbridge but its really good and getting pretty exciting! We have really bad weather coming there next few days so school is actually canceled and im hoping to catch up with homework and get some serious reading done! Up next for me is Pride and Prejudice. I have read Sens and Sensibility a few times and I love it, but for some reason ive never gotten around to Pride and Prejudice. What is everyone else reading right now?

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1/26/14 11:12 A

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I had to laugh when I read your post, Blaze. I, too, hated Frankenstein in college, mostly because I think I was expecting Stephen King. Frankenstein is a much more philosophical horror. I just didn't have the perspective or patience to appreciate it then. When I read it again a few years later, I enjoyed it much more.

One book I've never been able to finish is The House of the Seven Gables. Never made it more than halfway through. It's my go-to book when I'm suffering from insomnia.

I've never read Tenant of Wildfell Hall, though it's been on my "to read" list forever. Thanks for putting it back on my radar!

My favorite classic is The Count of Monte Cristo (unabridged, Robin Buss translation). It's the only book I've ever insisted on reading in seclusion because I wanted to savor every sentence, be totally immersed in the experience.

Anyway, welcome! I'm new too, and this board isn't terribly active, but I hope you post more! Talking classics with others who enjoy them would be wonderful!

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1/22/14 9:46 P

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Omg!!! I am literally so excited to have found this group! I am only in college, but I bave read tons of great classics over the past few years. I am currently reading Frankenstein and must admit that I LOATHE it. I usually LOVE British literature, but im not so enamored with the gothic genre. I have to read it for school and skipping the reading and doing sparknotes completely stresses me out because I feel unprepared, so I desperately hope that the tedious paragraphs depicting scenery become less frequent in the second half. I have recently read Little Women and I LOVED IT! I read it as a very young child, but remembered next to nothing of the plot line. I'm also currently reading The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy and I have enjoyed it so far.
One less famous book that I recommend if you love British literature is The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte! I read it over the Thanksgiving holidays but I cannot recommend it enough to my fellow bookworms!
Have a Blessed Day,
Blaze 6106

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1/22/14 9:45 P

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Omg!!! I am literally so excited to have found this group! I am only in college, but I bave read tons of great classics over the past few years. I am currently reading Frankenstein and must admit that I LOATHE it. I usually LOVE British literature, but im not so enamored with the gothic genre. I have to read it for school and skipping the reading and doing sparknotes completely stresses me out because I feel unprepared, so I desperately hope that the tedious paragraphs depicting scenery become less frequent in the second half. I have recently read Little Women and I LOVED IT! I read it as a very young child, but remembered next to nothing of the plot line. I'm also currently reading The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy and I have enjoyed it so far.
One less famous book that I recommend if you love British literature is The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte! I read it over the Thanksgiving holidays but I cannot recommend it enough to my fellow bookworms!
Have a Blessed Day,
Blaze 6106

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1/22/14 9:41 P

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Omg!!! I am literally so excited to have found this group! I am only in college, but I bave read tons of great classics over the past few years. I am currently reading Frankenstein and must admit that I LOATHE it. I usually LOVE British literature, but im not so enamored with the gothic genre. I have to read it for school and skipping the reading and doing sparknotes completely stresses me out because I feel unprepared, so I desperately hope that the tedious paragraphs depicting scenery become less frequent in the second half. I have recently read Little Women and I LOVED IT! I read it as a very young child, but remembered next to nothing of the plot line. I'm also currently reading The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy and I have enjoyed it so far.
One less famous book that I recommend if you love British literature is The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte! I read it over the Thanksgiving holidays but I cannot recommend it enough to my fellow bookworms!
Have a Blessed Day,
Blaze 6106

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PROT358's Photo PROT358 Posts: 24,696
12/30/13 8:49 P

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The Scarlet Pimpernel: This was my second read of the adventure novel. This time it struck me that it was narrated from a third party's perspective, not the Pimpernel's, which added to the suspense. Lots of twists I had forgotten. An enjoyable read that took maybe two days to finish.

Anna Karenina: Some call this the greatest novel ever written; others say it is War and Peace. It is a very impressive book in its depth and scope. I call it a rather philosophical exploration of love in its many types and forms - nursing a dying man, remaining with an unfaithful spouse, the love of a mother for her son, and so on. It explores what makes "love" in its purest sense, and it concludes that it is not the romance between Anna and her lover.

Bleak House: A sort of mystery (and satire, romance, melodrama, comedy, etc) by Charles Dickens; some consider this his finest work, though I am partial to Great Expectations. It has a very wide cast of characters, similar to the preceding. They are all suspicious and their motives uncertain, but I had a hard time keeping them straight. Several unexpected twists, and the pace accelerated towards its conclusion.


Happy New Year, everyone!

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11/14/13 10:41 P

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Jane Austen is definitely worth another try.
There isn't much action in her books, but she writes very well of the early 19th Century England. The main characters are so introspective.
Usually they are only interested in getting married to a monied husband.
It seems in this pre-industrial revolutionary time, the only jobs are in the Church, the military, being a doctor or inheriting a fortune. That's for men! The women need to marry well!



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11/14/13 10:02 P

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Thank you for taking the time to list all of the books you have read recently! I was wondering what you were up to. You always pick such good books! Usually either books I have recently read or books I really want to read. I've been trying to talk myself into giving Jane Austen another try. I read Pride and Prejudice and later Persuasion, and kind of suffered through them. Maybe I formed my opinion too soon or was too young to appreciate them?


Great Expectations: One of my favorite and most perfect books I have ever read. If I could take false credit for having written a book, this one or Les Miserables would be it! I love everything - the suspense, the dimensionality of the characters, the twists, the ending. A near perfect creation beginning to end!

Les Liaisons Dangereuses: An example of a very early novel (1700s) written as an fictional correspondence of letters. It deals with a man who makes sport of seducing two women, one married and the other a virginal schoolgirl. The subject matter was considered salacious in its day, but relatively tame by our standards.

Jude the Obscure: A fine work of Thomas Hardy dealing with marriage, religion, duty, fate - many of the same themes of Tess of the d'Urbervilles only expressed differently. It made my read-again list.

Lost Illusions: A novel that helped pioneer the realism movement (though there is one plot device near the end that seemed too obviously inserted and out-of-place). It's the story of two men, a poet and an inventor, who each try to make their fortunes with much difficulty and varying degrees of success.


Books-In-Progress:
-The Scarlet Pimpernel
-Anna Karenina

BEN1126's Photo BEN1126 Posts: 3,688
11/11/13 10:34 P

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Thank You Prot for listing all your wonderful books. You keep this thread going.

It's been a long time since I last posted, so I have a lot of great books and classics to list:

Nikolai Gogol an Eighteen century author wrote some excellent short stories and plays, including "Taras Bulba", "Dead Souls", and "The Inspector General".
He brought humor and satire to Russian Literature.

The Secret of Evil by Roberto Bolano - short stories and snippets of novels published posthumously by a great South American Writer.

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L Shirer - A reprint of a classic work

The Thief by Fuminori Nakamura - A novella about a thief who may be dealing with the devil

I Married a Communist by Phillip Roth - One of the Best living American writers

The Magus by John Fowles- A young teacher is tested with different realities.

A Naked Singularity by Sergio de La Pava - An humorous look at a lawyer trying to make sense of a weird legal system.

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen- One of her best works

Tolstoy on Shakespeare by Leo Tolstoy - Tolstoy really doesn't like Shakespeare - I wonder if this great novelist is jealous.

The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio - One hundred mostly wonderful bawdy and lewd short stories.

A House For Mr Biswas by V. S. Naipaul - Epic story of a poor man trying to build his dream house

Home by Toni Morrison - A black Korean vet goes home to his sick sister in the segrated '50s South.

A Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin - The movie "Lincoln" was based on this book. The book, of course, is better!

As You Like It by Wm. Shakespeare

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen - Not her best, but still very good!

Love's Labor lost by Wm. Shakespeare

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath - At the beginning you wonder why she is writing about this insipid, naive girl; then she becomes mentally ill and you follow her sad story to the end.

Main Street by Sinclair Lewis - A great book by a Nobel Prize winner

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PROT358's Photo PROT358 Posts: 24,696
10/15/13 2:35 P

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The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. This book is about a man's conflict between two women, one representing duty and the other desire. I say the pinnacle isn't so much the love triangle or intrigue, but what conclusions he draws in the last chapter. In my opinion this one had a slow start, but by the end I was interested and invested in the characters. To get the full effect I really should read it a second time.

Dracula, for a second time. From the first reading I will readily admit that the author stumbled upon a really great story, though it has its flaws. The second time since I knew the plot, I saw more of the writer's weaknesses in the craftsmanship. It's still a great story but could be better told in other hands.

The Four Feathers, a classic adventure story. He had the opportunity to place a lot of the action in an exotic location (Africa), but it seems a lot of it is retold to us secondhand. It is still exciting but not quite as strong as it could have been.

The Virginian, another classic adventure story considered the predecessor of the Western genre. All the elements are there - the schoolteacher from the East, the Clint Eastwood-type of rugged hero, the villain, the wilderness, the Indians, the final showdown. A very familiar and also very American story.


In-progress:
-Great Expectations
-Les Liaisons Dangereuses
-Anne of Green Gables

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9/13/13 10:13 P

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I have more catching up to do!

-David Copperfield. A bit of a slow start for me, but more a meditation on "real" love and what that means, and how to find the relationships that matter.

-Collected Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald. I call it brilliant. Highly recommend, but of the collection "Winter Dreams" was my favorite.

-The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde. A bit of a let-down. Part of what bothered me is HOW the story is told. (I suspect it was written when just the earliest fiction was coming out, and back then it was popular to write the story as if it were real - which means fake diary entries, letters, newspaper articles. Dracula a fine example). Anyway I felt it was a lot more speculating around the story and not enough of actually seeing it occur. Not to mention the whole mystical Jeckyll-to-Hyde transformation seems a pretty illogical plot contrivance.

-The Magnificent Ambersons. A lesser-known classic dealing with high society around the beginning of the 20th century. It talks about the loss of the "gentleman" (or the privileged folk who get by on inherited wealth and contribute nothing), and the rise of the entrepreneur. Really the loss of a whole way of life. As for the upper-class characters, sure they have their flaws but they are also very human and relatable. And there is a fairly decent love story tied in as well. Definitely recommend!

-The Wind in the Willows. A children's classic that talks about the value of friendship. I'm sure I would have loved it more as a child, but even now I found parts of it laugh-out-loud funny and very entertaining.

-The Little Prince - another children's classic, almost more of a parable, that teaches life lessons about love and what really matters in life. A worthy read for any age.

-The Inferno, John Ciardi translation. I love that this particular edition has explanatory notes at the end of each canto and a plain-English summarization of the canto before you read it. The supplemental material helped my comprehension immensely. As for the piece itself, structurally and linguistically a challenging feat - the terza rima rhyme scheme, the allotted number of syllables, and lines per canto, and cantos per whole. Content was less exciting since this is my third re-read, but I intend to read Purgatorio and Paradiso for the first time soon!


Currently reading: The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, Ship of Fools by Katharine Anne Porter, and Unlimited by Jillian Michaels.

By the way, where is everyone else? What have you guys been reading lately?

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8/9/13 10:00 P

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Time for me to get caught up!

-Love in the Time of Cholera. By far the best book I have read all summer. It tells the story of a man in love with the same woman, and who must wait many years for their right moment (if it ever comes). It is not a "feminine" read. The author won the Nobel Prize for Literature, and I think the story and characterizations are masterful.

-The Wasteland and Other Collected Poems by T. S. Eliot. These are among my absolute favorite poems. Complex and brilliant.

-The Scarlet Letter. An American classic, and I found it much more readable this time than in high school. A must-read.

-Hard Times by Charles Dickens. Dickens is my favorite author, but this one left me dry. I felt no emotional attachment to any character, and the only ones I felt were well-drawn were the ones I didn't like. (Not to say I have to "like" something for it to be worthwhile). He is capable of much better.

-The Call of the Wild. My first Jack London novel, and I think it would hold almost universal appeal. Not too feminine or masculine. And to survive the Alaskan wild where the only law is the law of survival, the content and violence is a bit shocking at times. An excellent read.

-White Fang. Also an excellent read sharing many of the same themes, but I feel the other was a stronger story.

-Maggie: A Girl of the Streets. This is a quick read you could do in one sitting, so almost more of a novella. It tells the story of how an ordinary, lower-class girl became seduced with a man she thought loved her. But he abandoned her and ruined her. I don't sense any condemnation from the author, but almost compassion or pity. I almost detect a sense of shared blame, that it is just as much a story of the larger community failing her.


Currently reading: David Copperfield and Babylon Revisited and Other Short Stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

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7/22/13 11:30 P

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The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. It is about an immigrant family who moves to Packingtown (the blue-collar factory district) of Chicago in the early 1900s, before there were really any regulations on work hours, workers' rights, or of the food industry. While the author mainly wanted to show the unfairness of the system and how it treats the workers, the readers were most outraged about food preparation and what they pass off as fit for human consumption. The back of the book says that Theodore Roosevelt even sanctioned a thorough inquiry into the matter, and that it is very rare for a book to have that kind of effect outside of its literary context. While "enjoy" might be the wrong word, I found the book very interesting even though the gloom and brutality was a bit relentless. Definitely worth a read.

I also read an adaptation of The Odyssey by Simon Armitage. It was in play form and in modern English. I thought I grabbed the original but was pleasantly surprised with this rendition. The rendition itself clearly isn't a classic though. I intend to reread the actual text soon!

Currently reading: Love in the Time of Cholera, The Call of the Wild, and White Fang.

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7/13/13 11:51 P

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Time for me to catch up!

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. I'm not sure if this counts as a true classic, but at least a classic to the genre. It has a definite gothic romance feel to it similar to Wuthering Heights. Without spoiling anything, I think the author manages the characterization and plot very well. I didn't find the protagonist particularly likeable, but it served a purpose.

Brave New World: Truly a classic, but somehow different than other dystopian novels. I feel that in some other dystopian novels the characters simply serve as a means to an end, the end being the way the author expresses his political opinions. Here the characters seemed believable enough to stand alone. I think it was executed very skillfully, and it held my attention until the end. And what an ending!

Beowulf: While it language is challenging, I find the code of behavior for the warrior very interesting. While reading it I thought that this is the sort of story a people would tell and retell with a sense of pride. Beowulf sort of epitomizes their construct of a perfect hero.

Wuthering Heights. This is my second time reading it, and I liked it a lot better the first time. This second time I became more aware of how it fell into typical Romantic stereotypes. Neither the plot or characters struck me as terribly authentic. Of course not all will share my opinion.

Next up: The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, Love in the Time of Cholera, The Call of the Wild, and White Fang.

PROT358's Photo PROT358 Posts: 24,696
6/18/13 10:11 P

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Last night I finished reading The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. Putting the historical significance aside, as a piece of literature I was very impressed. I can hardly believe that a 14- or 15-year-old girl could write so well (technically) and have such great insight. I consider myself a moderately accomplished writer, and my diary from that age is a far cry from quality, publishable content. I think it holds a lot of insight into the psychology of an adolescent girl's thoughts and struggles.

Next up: (I'm not sure if this is a classic, but it might count as a classic to the mystery genre) Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

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6/7/13 10:23 P

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I just finished read The Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling. (It was printed as two separate books, hence the plural). I found it interesting, and very different than the Disney rendition, but I consider it for an adult audience rather than for a child. I think it would be better if he had simplified the language and made the target audience for children instead. It is set up as a selection of short stories, some of which stand entirely alone apart from the others. My favorite: Rikki Tikki Tavi. I think I would have preferred a linear storyline. A worthwhile read, but nothing spectacular.

Also, I am still reading The Diary of a Young Girl. I hope to finish it this week.

Happy weekend!

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5/30/13 11:20 P

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I just thought I'd poke in here really quickly to recommend The Great Gatsby movie. I read the book for the third time a few weeks ago, and the movie was for the most part true to the book and very well done.

Happy Friday, everyone!

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5/26/13 12:27 A

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Yesterday I finished 20,000 Leagues under the Sea by Jules Verne. It is a great adventure story, but their travels and experiences get a bit repetitive and predictable. There is a character who is a great scholar of science, and has this cocksure arrogance that all but says, "Elementary, my dear Watson." Like he somehow relishes making ordinary folks look stupid. But Jules Verne was such a pioneer in the field of science it makes sense, and this character might in a way serve as his mouthpiece. Verdict: a worthy read, but room for improvement.

In-Progress:
-The Diary of a Young Girl
-The Jungle Book

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5/18/13 7:39 P

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I have been stuck in some non-classic literary pursuits! I finished The Spark Solution and The Game of Thrones series. Lately I have been sifting through a lot of children's classics.

Last night I finished A Little Princess. I know I'm not in the target audience, and as an adult I can see that neither the plot or characters are terribly original but I still somewhat enjoyed it. And I think I would have loved it as a young girl.

In-Progress:
-The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. I just barely started, and already I'm completely absorbed. It's hard to imagine that this is the writing of a thirteen-year-old girl, but also it is all so familiar and universal.

-A few more children's classics: The Jungle Book, 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, The Wind in the Willows, Anne of Green Gables, and The Blue Fairy ... all available from the Barnes and Noble children's leatherbound collection.

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4/21/13 12:50 P

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4/17/13 9:47 P

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I just finished the children's classic Peter Pan, which I read in one day. I found it almost identical to the movie, which I appreciated. It brought back all my childhood nostalgia. I particularly love the codfish line. I'm not sure I would call the the reading level appropriate for a young child, but the content definitely.

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4/12/13 7:53 P

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The Great Gatsby is on my TBR list.

I finished The Naked and the Dead. Norman Mailer was only 25 when he wrote this classic work.
He rose to literary stardom at a very young age.
The officers in the book, except for one young Lieutenant, are basically idiots. I don't know
if Mailer was an officer in WW2, but he didn't have a very good opinion of them.
But then he showed that most of the enlisted men were drunks and womanizers.
One of the best parts of the book was when the platoon was climbing a mountain without any climbing equipment.
His descriptions are quite vivid. You can feel their pain and anguish.
A very good read by a very young author!
I highly recommend this book!


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PROT358's Photo PROT358 Posts: 24,696
4/11/13 12:50 A

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I just finished reading The Great Gatsby for the third time. The first time was required reading for high school, and I was too young to appreciate it. The second time was required reading in college. I remembered how I didn't like it the first time, and while I liked it better the memory colored my second read. This time I read it voluntarily, completely for myself, and finally I view it as a great American masterpiece. Underlying the glitz and glamour of the 1920s the characters have an unhappiness, an emptiness, which makes it ultimately a very tragic read.

BEN1126's Photo BEN1126 Posts: 3,688
4/4/13 10:42 P

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Prot, I read "Red Badge of Courage" back in High School. Great Book!
We want to thank your brother for fighting the War in Afghanistan.
It's a very troubling time.

The most recent classic I read is " Brideshead Revisited" by Evelyn Waugh.
This is different from some of his more satiric books. Maybe biographical, it's about a young atheistic man being influenced by a Catholic family. Brideshead is a great estate that is slowly disintegrating.

Now I am finishing "The Naked and the Dead" by Norman Mailer.
This is a book about WW2. Well written, but Mailer perhaps gives too many back stories of all the individuals in the platoon. His descriptions of the trials and the suffering of these heroic men make you feel like you are experiencing them yourself.

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PROT358's Photo PROT358 Posts: 24,696
4/2/13 11:56 P

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Today I finished The Red Badge of Courage. I think it very aptly captures the horror, terror, and carnage of war, and also in some respect the senselessness of it. My brother just returned home from the war in Afghanistan, and it struck me that while the methods of warfare have changed very much remains the same. It was a very quick read ... almost one I could read in one sitting. I think this one is beginner-friendly for someone who is just starting to dabble in classic literature.

PROT358's Photo PROT358 Posts: 24,696
3/17/13 12:31 A

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I just finished reading Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata, which won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968. It is a story of doomed love between a city man travelling in snow country on holiday and a resident hot springs geisha. Both the setting and the plot are masterfully told. The sad irony is that the harder they try to love each other, the further they drift apart. Highly recommend!

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3/13/13 9:12 P

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Last night I finished Howards End by E. M. Forster. It had a slow start for me, but then quite a few twists and an unexpected (but, in my opinion, a satisfying) ending. Has lots of material for further discussion and reflection too.

I'm also reading Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata, which won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968. I started reading it about five years ago and didn't finish. From what I remember it was very conscious of word choice and setting and read similarly to a poem. It tells the story of a doomed love.

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3/4/13 11:32 P

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Today I finished The Good Soldier. As someone who typically reads 19th century British literature, this one definitely reads as more modern as part of the 20th century which was a welcome change for me. One quibble I had was that the narrative isn't linear. He rambles so that he jumps ahead then goes back to explain. The pieces fit in a jigsaw fashion, but I think it was less readable than it could have been.

PROT358's Photo PROT358 Posts: 24,696
2/28/13 1:12 A

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I finished The Secret Garden. While I thoroughly enjoyed the beginning, both in content and even writing quality, the second half of the book was a bit of a let-down. I can't quite put my finger on why I found it slightly disappointing, but I feel like somehow it lost its way. I would still recommend it, but I probably would have enjoyed it more as a child.

Today I started reading The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford. It's a short classic at only 200 pages in my version and very readable. So if you're new to classics and aren't sure where to start, I recommend this one. It centers on a couple having an affair, as narrated by the cuckholded husband. So far the characters and pacing are spot-on.

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2/21/13 12:16 A

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Great Expectations is one of my absolute favorites, and it is coming up on my re-read list. And all the other three you listed are on my to-read list.

Today I finished Black Beauty, more a children's classic. What struck me as unique was that the story was told from the horse's point-of-view and secondly the author's emphasis on proper treatment of animals. It seemed less a standalone story than a message, at least to me. But I'm sure I would feel differently if I had read it as a child. After reading the lengthy Les Miserables I felt like a few smaller works, so today I also started The Secret Garden. This is my first time reading it, and so far I am pleasantly surprised.

BEN1126's Photo BEN1126 Posts: 3,688
2/20/13 11:24 P

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Prot, that is quite an accomplishment reading Les Miserables three times. It's a wonderful book!
I've only read a few books twice: War and Peace, Moby Dick, Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer( which is more a child's book than Huck) and some others I can't remember.

These books are from January and February:

Demons ( The Possessed) by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Another great classic by Dostoyevsky, written around 1870. He is a master of the psychological workings of the minds of would be revolutionists.
There are many Russian names to keep straight, but it is well worth the time.

The Arabian Nights translated by Richard Burton
If you are going to read "The Thousand Nights and a Night", read Burton's unexpurgated translation. The stories can be hilarious. Many go back many centuries and have been copied by many European writers. I read the thousand nights and a lot of other stories that were included in different editions.
How a tale can evolve in different cultures would be a book in itself.

Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence
This book was probably pretty racy in its day, but now it seems more like a long winded story of the difference in classes in British society after WW1.
The sex is an added bonus and keeps your attention. ;

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
This is first time I read this great book since high school. I hope high schoolers still read it. Probably one of Dickens' greatest works, the characters and story line are wonderful. The movie adaptations ( I've seen ) have changed the book, so go to the source.
If there is only one Dickens' book on your list, make this your choice.

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2/14/13 11:37 P

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I just finished reading Les Miserables, the book our team is currently reading, for the third time. Since I already knew what would happen next, this time I paid closer attention to his writing style, which I admire. I think he gets a bit grandiose in places being a product of Romanticism, but overall a fantastic read about the scope of human nature, both the good and the bad.

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2/5/13 12:11 A

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I just finished The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum, a children's classic. While I love both the book and the movie, I was surprised to see how far the movie strayed from the book. The wicked witch plays a far smaller role in the book, and there are many more side-adventures in Oz that didn't make the movie. And Hollywood changed the ending! (Hint: Dorothy was not, in fact, dreaming; Oz is an actual place that she visited!) An entertaining read!

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1/21/13 8:42 A

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I convinced my book group to read a classic, rather than just contemporary works. We re-read Great Expectations. It was a great discussion. Now we are reading a more "modern" classic - A Tree Grows in Brroklyn, which I had never read. I have only read about 50 pages so far, but would highly recommend it.

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1/12/13 11:12 P

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Atlas Shrugged is on my to-read list. Did you watch Part 1 of the movie that was released maybe two years ago? I saw they're making a Part 2.

I finished "And Then There Were None." And the last thirty pages or so really surprised me. Highly recommend!

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1/10/13 11:40 P

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I totally agree in not liking condensed versions of books. Even when the book could have used some serious editing ( see review of "Atlas Shrugged"), I don't like abridged editions period.
I bought "War and Peace" in an abridged edition by accident and didn't read it till I got the complete edition on my trusty kindle.

This may be a cult classic, but i was disappointed:
"Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand
I would consider this dystopian vision of the United States an epic science fiction novel. As the laws become more draconian (there are neither a President, Congress, or a Senate), the inventors and men of vision suddenly disappear. They don't want to leave their inventions to the "looters".
The heads of state seem to have their jobs handed to them. There are no elections or ways around the system unless you pay graft.
The god these great men believe in is the Dollar.
When you read some books, the author may refer to other writers, he or she admires. The only writer mentioned outside her universe is Aristotle.
Even the composer most admired is of her own invention. He disappears too.
Rand philosophies throughout the book. It becomes quite repetitive.
Two minors characters are the most developed.
This work seems mainly anti- communism, and as such falls well short of the great George Orwell's "1984" and "Animal Farm".


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1/8/13 9:06 P

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I started Moby Dick only to realize the version I had was abridged ... so I decided to wait until I find the full version. I read Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie, and she certainly lives up to her reputation. And you won't see the ending coming unless you're like me and watched the movie first. (I truly hate a "mystery" where you can tell who it is, or the culprit is the most suspicious one).

I'm also nearly finished with And Then There Were None also by Agatha Christie. It is a "closed room" mystery. The premise is that a mass-murdering maniac summons 10 people to an isolated island on a false pretext, and all 10 have either accidentally or purposefully committed a murder in their past - and it is a murder that won't stand in a traditional court, so this is a form of vigilante justice. The maniac, who is no doubt one of the main characters, begins killing off the others one at a time. I can't comment as to the ending, but so far it is very-well constructed and engaging.

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i'm in the middle of Manon Lescaut by Abbe Prevost. I picked it up at my local book exchange, i don't get as much time to read as i'd like, but i try to read a little every day!



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12/3/12 11:54 P

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I just finished Jane Eyre. Upon first impression, I assumed it would be a chick flick romance in the vein of a Jane Austen novel, at least similar in treatment of themes, characters, and tone. That assumption proved very wrong! The two main characters are not the typical characters found in an Austen romance; they are more nuanced, less perfect. The tone is somewhat darker, and the conclusion not as "tidy". Jane Eyre also has some gothic elements, while part of me wonders if it was at least partially intended as parody. This book kept surprising me, doing something other than expected.

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11/17/12 5:37 P

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I'm glad you enjoyed it! It is a very good book, completely unlike anything I have ever read. I agree with the dark opinion of human nature, the horrible things people are capable of. I knew there was a movie but it didn't sound very good compared to the book, so I think I'll pass.

As for me, I'm almost done with Jane Eyre and really enjoying it! Happy weekend!

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11/11/12 8:33 P

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PROT, I read "Blindness" by Saramago, after reading your interesting description.
I was reminded of Margaret Atwood's "The Blind Assassin", but it was completely different.
Saramago never gives the characters' their names. he always describes them as "the first blind man", or "the doctor's wife", etc. There was a movie made from this book that I saw a few years ago, but the book is much better. Civilazation completely breaks down as the blindness spreads. This is a very good book, better than any Zombie apocolypse novel.

I also finished "Emma" by Jane Austen.
Emma is a matchmaker who doesn't think she will ever marry. She tries to set up her young friend with a good husband, but is impeded by their fickle behavior.
Not much happens, but Austen delightfully describes many pretentious and comical characters.


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11/10/12 10:27 P

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I read "The Bell Jar" by Sylvia Plath. It is thinly veiled autobiography that deals with her own struggles with suicide, depression, social acceptance, and madness. The psychological portraiture is very convincing, very well-drawn, though I don't think this is a book you particularly enjoy. Someone else compared it to a female protagonist's equivalent to A Catcher in The Rye, and I don't think the comparison is far off. Not to say the protagonist (Esther) is a dead match to Holden from the other, but the feel is similar. Worth a read!

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I read a book by another Nobelist: "The Tin Drum" by Gunter Grass.
This book is hard to describe. Oscar, who likes to play a tin drum, decides at the age of three that he doesn't want to grow up. So he deliberately falls down the stairs to stop growing. He does stop growing for a while, but intellectually he stll grows.
At the beginning of the book, he says he is writing from a mental hospital.
So the reader doesn't know when he is telling the truth or exaggerating.

The time frame is from the early thirties through WW2 into the fifties in Poland. The book sometimes is poetic, sometimes prose, with some parts reading like a stage play. There are a lot of characters and sometimes funny and sad situations.
This book is considered one of the most literate books of Germany since WW2.

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PROT358's Photo PROT358 Posts: 24,696
10/30/12 12:36 A

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It's been a while since I replied! First I read The Hunger Games trilogy, which aren't classics, but at last I have something to add to our list.

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It is a sort of dream-like fiction that blends the realistic with fantasy. Once I got into the writing style, which I can't find anything to compare it to, I got completely absorbed in the characters and plot and overall craftsmanship of the book. Some critic said that it, along with the book of Genesis, should be required reading for all humanity, and I agree.

I also read Blindness by Jose Saramago, which won the Nobel Prize for Literature and by that merit I think is at least a worthy mention for our list. It might be too recent to count as classic, but it's at least very good. It's about a nation of people who spontaneously go blind, the contagion spreading from one to another, until everyone (but one person) is blind. It explores the dark side of human nature and what lengths desperate people will go to when faced with adversity. Also highly recommend!

I'm currently trudging through Don Quixote still, The Mayor of Casterbridge - which I'm struggling to get into, and The Bell Jar.

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10/28/12 8:12 P

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I recently re-read a wonderful classic that probably has the best opening and closing lines in Literature: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." & " It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done..."
Of course the book is " A Tale of Two Cities" by Charles Dickens.
Having been reading Dickens in the order written, I have been looking forward to this great book. I am afraid I haven't read it since High School. My loss. But not anymore!
It's an Extraordinary Book that be on everyone's list of TBR!


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10/4/12 8:51 P

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A few weeks ago, I started "Middlemarch" by George Eliot. Since it was a little tough reading starting out, I also began " The Night Circus" by Erin Morgenstern.
Guess which one fascinated me and although quite long, I finished today? Middlemarch!!

Eliot ( real name Mary Anne Evans ) weaves a wonderful story of several main characters.
She develops her characters and shows the inner working of their minds.
Their stories are compelling.
In comparison, Morgenstern's characters are very one dimensional.
I suppose I shouldn't compare a wonderful classic with a new writer's first book.
However "T N C" got a lot of press about being a very good book.

The more I read the classics, the more I find a lot of new books lacking.

SHAMILTON- Anna Karenina was another great work by Tolstoy.
In my humble opinion, Shakespeare is the greatest writer, but Tolstoy is the Greatest Novelist!
Like "The Doll's House", the main character in Middlemarch leaves a fortune to wed an impoverished writer.

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9/17/12 8:41 P

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Yes, I'm reading Anna K. at the moment, and I'm amazed at the perception Tolstoy has for the motives that drive us. He has the ability to engage us in the lives of most of the characters, perhaps because we have all of those personality traits present in the main characters. In other words, we are all a composite of the main characters, in varying amounts, depending on out life experiences. Oddly enough. the strong and satisfying characterizations reminds me of one of my favorite books, the Wind in the Willows, which is a child's book, but a delicious read for all that. The author was asked if the characters were based on people he knew and he denied it, which may be true. There is no denying,however, that we are all a little bit of all of the characters. The characters are animals and are so vivid and real and clean in their motives, completely understandable. It's a joyful read. Last week I read A Doll's House. At it's first publication, it must have been deeply disturbing, the portrayal of a woman who would leave a comfortable, if emotionally bankrupt life, for an unknown and very likely financially impoverished existence. She would have been shunned in every level of her previous life. What incredible courage.

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9/16/12 10:30 P

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"The Death of Ivan Ilych" is a wonderful story (or very short novel). Tolstoy really hits at our ideas about the death of others. It always has moved me.

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9/16/12 9:23 P

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I finished a wonderful collection of short stories and novellas by Leo Tolstoy. They included "The Death of Ivan Ilyich". For those who are intimadated by the length and complexity of "War and Peace" and "Anna Karenina", I would recommend them. Written after his master works, they are tightly wound and beautifully written. Tolstoy can fully develop a character with a few sentences.
Some of these pieces could have been expanded into novels, but Tolstoy was experimenting with a more compact writing style.

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8/28/12 7:34 P

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Finally finished "The Divine Comedy" by Alighieri Dante. From the early 14th century this is one of best works of Italian Literature. Dante wrote that this was a vision he had of the Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise. It was a great reading experience!

Pro, I would have appreciated your publication with its explanatory notes, but I was already 80% into the book.
I like the challenge! Like climbing a mountain. Trying to understand it on my own. emoticon emoticon

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PROT358's Photo PROT358 Posts: 24,696
8/28/12 12:18 A

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Well you could buy my version for dirt cheap I'm sure. Mine is translated by John Ciardi, published by Signet Classics, ISBN 0-451-52798-4. This one is solely The Inferno, but they might have the other two annotated and translated by the same translator and publisher (I hope).

Last night I finished Gone with the Wind and cried so pitifully I couldn't make out the words through my tears. I think most of you know what the story is about, but let me say the writing and craftsmanship are brilliant. I like to read books that are high quality, and I think this one fits. It's far more than just a romance or cult favorite or emotional ride. This is impressive literature. The movie stayed fairly true to the book, but toned it down. Rhett swears more in the book and there are some references him propositioning Scarlett to become his mistress, and none of these made the movie. And that infamous final line is, "My dear, I don't give a damn." No "frankly" about it! A wonderful, epic, tragic read not quite on the same caliber as War and Peace, but still I highly recommend!

Edited by: PROT358 at: 8/28/2012 (00:19)
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8/27/12 11:09 A

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I guess that's a drawback to buying on a kindle. My translation by Rev. Cary and illustrated by Dore has no cliff notes, at least not on the front or where I can refer to them. emoticon

When I purchased most of my classics, there were only a few publications to choose from. Now there can be dozens of different publications of the same book.
It's probably wise to sample a work before buying and check the reviews, esp. of the formating.



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8/26/12 7:22 P

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GWTW is a great read. A great character portraiture of the four leads and a great sweeping account of the time. The writing quality and craftsmanship is pretty good too. It has been on my list for some time but I've enjoyed it much more than I expected. I'm about 40 pages away from the ending, and I'm pretty sure I will bawl. I've never bawled over a book before. And that is a great question, because usually our idea of "classic" is reduced to a very narrow elite. I say this one counts, but if not a very near miss.

I'm a bit disappointed to hear that about your version of The Divine Comedy. My shabby mass market paperback of The Inferno has lots of supplemental material. First a preface on Dante, how he got excommunicated from the church, Beatrice, the political upheaval between the Guelfs and Ghellibines, the symbolism of the structure, etc. Every canto was prefaced with a plain English account of what I was about to read and followed with plenty of footnotes on the allusions and historical parallels. If you're reading naked text I bet it would be pretty confusing. I'm proud of you for tackling it, and I think you'll have company on that one soon!

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8/26/12 6:52 P

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i've never read "Gone With the Wind". I'll have to put it on my list too. It made a great movie.
Margaret Mitchell has never been in the same lists as Steinbeck, Hemingway, Faulkner, and Fitzgerald, etc. 50 - 100 years from now her tome probably will be read by more people than all the others.
BTW, does a Classic have to be Great Literature?

Prot, you will probably understand the Comedy better than I, since you had it in school.
Reading the Purgatory section, I didn't know who Beatrice was. It turns out, she was a woman
who Dante admired from a young age.
emoticon

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8/25/12 10:32 P

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I loved The Inferno! The whole Divine Comedy is on my reading list too. I'm almost done with Gone with the Wind, which is just over 1000 pages. And since it won the Pulitzer Price and as I'm reading it I've come to reevaluate its status. I think it might count as a real classic, or at least an American classic. A very worthy read.

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8/25/12 10:11 P

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I am about 75% through Dante's "The Divine Comedy".
It is in three sections: The Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise. I am 1/3 through "Paradise". Probably the only person in the State or maybe Country reading it for "fun" and not for a course. That's on my bucket-list. Read all the Great Books.
It is a wonderful book, but "The Iliad" is an easy read in comparison. emoticon

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8/23/12 6:48 P

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Hi Rania,
I am glad you joined the team. I don't believe I have read any book more than a few times.
What do you like about Jane Austen? I think her humor and character developement stands the test of time.

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8/23/12 5:57 A

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I am brand new to the Classics Book Club and I'm currently re-reading all the Jane Austen books! I must have read each at least a half dozen times, but this time around (as a thirty-something) I have noticed so much more! Currently finishing up Northanger Abbey

rania


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8/21/12 10:06 P

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I'm almost halfway through "The Divine Comedy" by Dante. I haven't seen any comedy yet, maybe it will be in the section on Heaven.

Prot - I looked back at your review of Ethan Frome. You were right on. This would be a wonderful book for those who want to read a classic. When I was coming to the end of the book, I wondered how would Stephen King finish it. emoticon
That's why Edith Wharton is a great writer.



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8/18/12 12:44 A

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Some great picks! Most of those are on my reading list too. That one character in The Moonstone wouldn't trust me. After I finish Don Quixote and Gone with the Wind, next up on my list is Robinson Crusoe! And this will be my first time reading it.

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8/17/12 8:49 P

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These are books I've finished over the last month. I was on vacation last week and actually didn't read as much as usual. We did enjoy watching the Olympics at night.

"On the Origin of Species" by Charles Darwin
Darwin's book is the basis for the theory of evolution. Written before the use of DNA, Darwin hypothosized his theory of evolution by painstaking observation.
Darwin believed there was one species of different animals, fauna and flora that evolved into different types. He never denies the hand of God being involved in creation.


"How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie
Carnegie's book is old, but still should be read. He quotes such greats as Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin, Napoleon, and Disraeli. These men and others he cites
knew how to deal with their subordinates without putting them down. He said never to get into an argument, but try to see your opponent's point of view and reach a compromise. ( This book should be required reading for our Legislature!) Time will tell if this book is a classic.


"Tom Jones" By Henry Fielding
A great romp from the 19th century. A "Bastard" falls in love with a woman above his class and faces many obstacles before getting together with her.

"Ethan Frome" by Edith Wharton
This is a wonderfully written short novel about a poor farmer in a loveless marriage.

"The Moonstone" by Wilkie Collins
One of the earliest mysteries, published in 1868. This book was written from the view point of different characters. It is the fascinating story of a stolen jewel, quicksand, nasty villains, and a mystery that isn't revealed till near the end of the book. It would make a good mini-series.
NB: One of characters is always re-reading "Robinson Crusoe" to find answers to life, and he doesn't trust anyone who hasn't read it since childhood.



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8/11/12 6:30 P

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It's been awhile, so I thought I'd report back. I'm halfway through Don Quixote and it's picking up speed. I finished Nicholas and Alexandra, and though I wouldn't call it a classic I really enjoyed it. A few days ago I started Gone with the Wind. An American classic, but again not sure if it counts as a classic in the strictest sense. After these I think I'll read Robinson Crusoe.

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7/23/12 11:02 P

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I read poetry occasionally. I really love what my English profs called "prose poetry," which is prose that is so well-written and so careful of word selection and nuance that it sounds like poetry. A few favorite examples: "The English Patient" and "Surrender" by Sonya Hartnett. From what I remember of the book, "Interpreter of Maladies" by Jhumpa Lahiri might fall into that category as well. It's always a pleasure to read something beautifully crafted.

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7/23/12 8:33 P

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You all have been reading some fantastic things. Does anyone read poetry? I have been doing a lot of that. I love the cadences and rhythms of the English language.

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7/21/12 6:44 A

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I just finished reading "The Story of King Arthur and His Knights" by Howard Pyle. We learned about this book in high school English and in British Literature in college, so I guess it could at least count as a minor classic. The language tries to imitate the language of that era, so at times a slightly challenging read. But the pacing is right and the tale is so captivating I didn't mind much. A very good read appropriate for young and old!

However this book contained nothing of Lancelot or several others. After looking at Wikipedia I discovered all the Pyle works on Arthur add up to four volumes, this being only the first. Wikipedia also told me he wrote on the mythology of Robin Hood, which sounded very interesting too. It appears I have more reading to do!

I've read about 1/3 of Don Quixote, and given the topics of chivalry and knighthood I thought they were a good pairing. I'm also starting "Nicholas and Alexandra" by Robert Massie, which doesn't really count as a classic but should be a great read.

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7/18/12 8:29 P

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Hi PROT358,
I like your reading choices. Don Quixote is one of my favorite books along with War and Peace.
I have added Lolita( will be a reread) and Far From the Madding Crowd to my book list.
I haven't read Swiss Family Robinson yet but I did read Robinson Crusoe a while back.
Currently reading Tom Jones by Henry Fielding.

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7/16/12 11:04 P

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Just finished the children's classic Swiss Family Robinson. The Disney movie version (from maybe the 1960s) deviated a lot from the book - adding a love interest and shoot 'em up ending that weren't in the original. This book is more like a journal chronicle of how a family survived and thrived on an unpopulated island. The Father is the main voice. He is very clever, knows a lot more about survival than I ever will, but comes off as a bit of a know-it-all. And while I am a Christian, this book is heavily steeped in Christian undertones a bit heavy-handed in my opinion. But other than that a very enchanting read.

I'm also just over a fourth done with Don Quixote, and the narrative is picking up speed.

What about the rest of you? Is anyone else enjoying some summer reading?

Edited by: PROT358 at: 7/16/2012 (23:05)
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7/11/12 12:15 A

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Just finished reading Lolita. An extraordinary read that made my read-again list. The ending brought me to tears. I'm still trying to figure out how Nabakov humanized what we would call a sexual predator. I found myself feeling everything he was feeling, even rationalizing his misdeeds. I think it is a stunning psychological portrait as well. It's not long, so please do yourself the favor of reading at least once!

Currently working through Don Quixote - a slow start - and Swiss Family Robinson. I know the latter isn't a classic in the strictest sense, but it is a children's classic and it gives me a break from the almost 900 pages of the other.

Edited by: PROT358 at: 7/16/2012 (22:59)
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7/5/12 8:25 P

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Just finished Treasure Island.

I think you all know the basic premise. Pirates, treasure map, double-crosses, black spots, getting marooned, etc ... and Pirates of the Caribbean borrowed a LOT from this text. While reading it I had vague recollections of Muppet Treasure Island; the book was much better. The only small quibble I had was that the prose felt a bit old (I haven't checked, but I'm guessing 1700s) and, partly due to piratey jargon, I had to read a lot more slowly than usual. But lots of action and great fun.

Also started Lolita today on my break at work today. 50 pages in and loving it. As GreasyJoan said, the prose is so lyrical, so poetic that it is a worthy read for that reason alone. And the story isn't half bad either!

BEN1126's Photo BEN1126 Posts: 3,688
6/30/12 10:27 P

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These are the most recent classics I've read:

"The Essays of Ralph" Waldo Emerson
His essays read like sermons.



"Little Dorrit" by Charles Dickens

This book follows a familly that has been raised in a Debtors' prison. Little Dorrit's Father was put in this prison and she was born there. Each day she goes outside to earn a small wage to put bread on her Father's table. He keeps his dignity and when finally freed, takes his family on vacation in Europe.

Dickens' own Father had been inprisoned for debt. Dickens shows the hypocrisy of the Government and how little is ever accomplished.
Usually Dickens wraps up all the characters and their destinies at the end of a book. Unlike most of his novels, Dickens leaves a lot of questions unanswered with this book.



"The Last of the Mohicans" by James Fenimore Cooper

This book is set around the 1740s. It depicts the war between the English settlers and the invading French and hostile Canadian Indians.
Several movies have been based on this rousing adventure of Hawkeye and his companions.


*Prot358- I am glad you finished "War and Peace". It is a Great Work of Art that I loved reading too.

*Greasy Joan- Now I know what you mean by overly melodramatic. "Little Dorrit" was certainly that. Dickens is still such a wonderful writer. This may not be as good as some of his books, but it still is rewarding reading.


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PROT358's Photo PROT358 Posts: 24,696
6/23/12 5:35 P

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After starting it in March, I finally finished War and Peace and loved it! It has a very wide cast of characters, and I only got them straight about halfway through the novel ... so I should really reread it some day to get the whole picture. But after knowing these characters for nearly 1000 pages I am going through serious withdrawal!

For those not familiar, it takes place around 1812 when Napoleon invades and tries to conquer Russia. Parts of the book are historical descriptions of battles and the destruction of war. Other parts are more character-driven, so that there are love intrigues and plenty of subplots set against the backdrop of war. I often skimmed the battle scenes because I was in such a hurry to learn about the characters, but if I had the control to slow down all of it is exquisitely written and not too cerebral or weighty to be enjoyed. (People always gave me strange looks when they saw me with that book. Some even said out loud, "That must be boring." It's not! Highly recommend!)

Next up Treasure Island and Lolita.

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6/23/12 1:35 P

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How is "Little Dorrit" going? Right now I'm reading more by Anthony Trollope and Barbara Pym. These are all rereads. And I often read poetry---I was thrilled that the USPS introduced some stamps depicting 10 poets.

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"The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope."
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5/29/12 7:19 P

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I will have to put "Far From the Madding Crowd" on my ever expanding reading list.

The last Conrad book I read was "Nostromo". The main character is fascinating.
Previous to that I re-read "Heart of Darkness" and another of his novellas: "Typhoon".
I read "Victory" and "Lord Jim" years ago. Don't remember them.
I prefer Dickens ( now reading "Little Dorrit") and I am also plodding through Ralph Waldo Emerson's Essays.
Anything you read is better than most of the lousy reality TV shows.

Edited by: BEN1126 at: 5/29/2012 (20:49)
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PROT358's Photo PROT358 Posts: 24,696
5/28/12 4:53 P

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Definitely reread Ethan Frome.

As for "gloomy Hardy," Far From The Madding Crowd wasn't as gloomy. Just finished reading it. Great commentary on nature (particularly pastoral settings), the importance of selecting the right marriage partner, and being true to onesself. Lots of twists too!

Still halfway through War and Peace but picking up the pace.

Can't say I've read much Conrad aside from "Heart of Darkness" three times. It took three times to make sense of it. Any recommendations?

Edited by: PROT358 at: 5/28/2012 (16:54)
BEN1126's Photo BEN1126 Posts: 3,688
5/23/12 6:46 P

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I read "Ethan Frome" so long ago I forget it. It's on my latest Books to be Read list.
I love Hardy too, even though he can be a bit gloomy.
Did he ever write a "happy" book?
He is like Joseph Conrad, difficult to read but so rewarding!

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SMOKY_TEA's Photo SMOKY_TEA Posts: 13,583
5/23/12 11:31 A

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You are reading some great things, Prot! I always saw "Ethan Frome" as being a bit different from Edith Wharton's other works in that she's not looking at jaded upper-class sophisticates, but at more "rural" people.

The entrapment of an unfulfilling marriage, the necessity of doing one's "duty" and the frustration of unacceptable love are theme she returns to again and again.

I also like Tolstoy and Hardy a lot. Even though Hardy can be more than a little melodramatic, the power of his prose makes everything he writes well worth reading.

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Natalie, Ohio
"The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope."
BARACK OBAMA

“There are two means of refuge from the misery of life — music and cats.”
Albert Schweitzer


BLC: Spark Sisters Rising
"Nevertheless she persisted....."


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PROT358's Photo PROT358 Posts: 24,696
5/22/12 9:03 P

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I too love "The Waste Land." It makes my top, all-time favorite poems list. Although it's not a poem you exactly "enjoy," it holds a lot of meaning. Let me also add "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" to the favorite poems with meaning list. Brilliant.

Just finished "Ethan Frome," which is also put on the read-again list. For those of you unfamiliar, this is a great novella (also not too complicated) you could read in one sitting. Without giving away the ending the question I'm left with is what is to blame for the way things ended - societal structure, marriage, duty, a certain character's failure to act. I believe it ended this way because it was fated to end this way, that it was an unavoidable ending. Still a very good read!

Currently reading "Far From The Madding Crowd" and about half done with "War and Peace."

Edited by: PROT358 at: 5/22/2012 (21:04)
SMOKY_TEA's Photo SMOKY_TEA Posts: 13,583
5/21/12 3:17 P

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I really like "The Waste Land". I had a couple of professors explicate the poem very nicely when I was a student which helped and then the ideas just resonated of all of the different hapless people wandering around the "unreal city" of London and feeling estranged; feeling out of their own time but not in a time in which they could feel comfortable. I find it very powerful also I know that many people hate it.

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Natalie, Ohio
"The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope."
BARACK OBAMA

“There are two means of refuge from the misery of life — music and cats.”
Albert Schweitzer


BLC: Spark Sisters Rising
"Nevertheless she persisted....."


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