Author Topic: "Classics" you haven't read  (Read 7860 times)

clarion

  • Tyke
Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #25 on: January 13, 2009, 12:31:56 pm »
I read the murder passage...

I admit I gave up before I got that far. Perhaps I'll give it another go one day. Or perhaps I won't. I know which is more likely.

d.


Crime and Punishment is by far my favourite book. If you can read it intensively enough, you really become drawn in. I was "Raskolnikov" and I was terrified of being discovered.
I don't think it works if youonly dip into it from time to time.

Yes!  That's it - you do become Raskolnikov.  And it was my favourite novel for a long, long time.

If you can't get into it, I would recommend reading 'Notes from Underground' or 'House of the Dead' first.

My confession:

I had a huge collection of Dostoyevsky, and I read it all except The Idiot, which I couldn't get into at all, and The Manor of Stepanchikovo, which kept calling me, but I never started :-[
Getting there...

clarion

  • Tyke
Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #26 on: January 13, 2009, 12:33:04 pm »
...1) Machiavelli's - The Prince...

Don't bother.  You're not missing much.


Quote
Other books keep barging in front though, I will try and read them soon.



Relax, and read those instead :)
Getting there...

Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #27 on: January 13, 2009, 12:34:39 pm »
Remember those Readers Digest abridged classics ? What was the point in those then ? Why would you want to read a bowdlerized version of a book rather than the actual book ?
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

clarion

  • Tyke
Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #28 on: January 13, 2009, 12:54:41 pm »
Well, having read the full version of Gulliver's Travels, I'm rather glad there was an abridged version for when I was a sensitive minor! :o

Seriously, Superstoker enjoys classic novels, but he struggled with the Three Musketeers and Count of Monte Cristo etc, but very much enjoyed some carefully abridged versions.
Getting there...

arabella

  • no se porque yo no lo se
Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #29 on: January 13, 2009, 01:16:12 pm »
I'm starting to suspect that classics do date - my 2 are not the slightest bit enthused by most of the things I read as a child (and not just 'cos it was girly) eg Swallows and Amazons series, John MAsefiled (though I only really enjoyed Jim Davis),  Alan Villiers, RH Dana, my favourite Hdgson Burnett was 'the lost prince' which seems to have faded into oblivion.  Also stuff like Baroness Orczy.
(you will have spotted that I went for the historical novel genre).

to the original question, I can no longer remember what I have and havent read, I know I read Brothers Karamazov but can't remember any other Dostoievsky, some Turgenev (I read Fathers and Sons, everyone else read Sons and Lovers (forgot author)).

It took me several years to get beyond the first page of Redgauntlet (Scott) and I can still quote the beginning (I'll spare you).

I am getting lazy and may never get around to reading the rest of Chaucer, though I have his complete works, the Parliament of Fowls is supposed to be good.  Also les Chansons do Roland, Mallory, Froissart.

I have no desire whatsoever to read the confessions of St Augustine.

I would like to read Requiem pro un campesino espanol without recourse to a dictionary.

And I have read Ulysses, the 'no punctuation' bit is just hype - after all, there isn't punctuation in spoken word either, the brain inserts it - which is what my brain did with Ulysses. 
I also read the Gulag Archipelago (age 13/14)  though I think this isn't a classic.

JB Priestly - has anyone even heard of him now?
Orwell seems to have been reduced to Animal Farm and 1984
etc.
In the dark, all views are the same.

Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #30 on: January 13, 2009, 01:20:58 pm »
My favourite Orwell is Down and Out in Paris and London. Never got round to the Road to Wigan Pier though.
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

Jules

  • Has dropped his aitch!
Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #31 on: January 13, 2009, 01:28:41 pm »
I've read it all. Even "Keep the Aspidistra Flying" and the Penguin four volume set of the collected letters, essays and journalism.

I was a bit of a fan about 25 years ago.
Audax on the other hand is almost invisible and thought to be the pastime of Hobbits ....  Fab Foodie

Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #32 on: January 13, 2009, 02:34:42 pm »
Read the lot (except for the essays, etc) in my early teens, along with many other books. Discovering girls & beer cut down my reading a lot.
"A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Type-Writer Girl, 1897

vorsprung

  • Opposites Attract
    • Audaxing
Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #33 on: January 13, 2009, 02:51:53 pm »

I have no desire whatsoever to read the confessions of St Augustine.

But it is great.  Obviously he is a bit repressed but hey

As for "classics" I haven't read

Vanity Fair.  I started it, was amused but I then started something else and the copy I had vanished
War and Peace.  I've read a lot of other Tolstoy but not the "big one"
The Interpretation of Dreams.  I've had a copy for approx 15 years but never got around to it
The Masks of God.  I've read "the hero with a 1000 faces" and I started the masks of god, but read someat else instead
Audaxing Blog follow @vorsprungbike on

ChrisO

Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #34 on: January 13, 2009, 05:29:59 pm »
I love classics and often tend to go for them rather than modern stuff.

There are some I haven't read but not many that I haven't read but want to read (or feel that I should).

Joyce and War and Peace are the main big omissions.

My favourites are:
Dickens - read all and loved most. Perfect as a book for Tube journeys and (done well) great for TV.

Fielding - Tom Jones is the most brilliant novel ever.

Thackeray - I used to love Kubrick's film of Barry Lyndon until I read the book and realised he'd butchered it. However I've never liked Vanity Fair, and have made several attempts at reading it.

Crime and Punishment is extraordinary, I can't see how anyone doesn't find it fascinating.

Austen is also brilliant and so perfectly written - I don't bother with TV versions.

The Brontes are uneven but brilliant in parts.

DH Lawrence I read but never liked.

Conrad is over-rated I think, other than Heart of Darkness and frankly you might as well watch Apocalypse Now in which Kubrick makes up for what he did to Barry Lyndon.

Orwell of course.

Have read most of the modern Americans - apart from On The Road (I'm not sure it is a classic really). Catch 22, To Kill a Mockingbird, Catcher in the Rye, Mice and Men etc. Apart from Catch 22 none of them grabbed me.

Solzhenitsyn I think counts as a classic, certainly the Gulag Archipelago. Not easy but an enduring work I think.

And I will never ever again try to read Gabriel f**king Garcia f**king Marquez or Isabel c**ting Allende.

To Arabella's post, I've been quite pleased that my kids have enjoyed adventure classics. Maybe you just need to try something different. Depends on age and inclination of course but my boys, especially the middle one who is only just nine have loved being read classic books that they wouldn't read themselves. We've done:

Treasure Island and Kidnapped - not easy reads for children with the older language and Scots dialect but cracking stories.
Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer - also need occasional translation.
Conan Doyle - Hound of the Baskervilles is great. Meaning to try The Lost World at some point.
Currently on Jules Verne - Around the World in 80 Days and probably Journey to the Center next.


My

Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #35 on: January 13, 2009, 05:36:19 pm »
I've been about 12 pages into The Count of Monte Cristo for a year now.

The language is so flowery its best read aloud...

Depends on the translation. I read the Penguin translation and loved it. A friend was griping about how dull they found the book, so I looked at her translation. It was an american edition which had completely missed out all the irony and totally lost the point of half of the converstations. I had a similar experience with "Phantom of the Opera" (though in that case I was the fool who had bought the american translation, because it had a shinier cover :-[ ).

Rule of literature: don't read American translations of french novels. American translators don't seem as tuned to french humour as British translators.
Have you seen my blog? It has words. And pictures! http://ablogofallthingskathy.blogspot.com/

Zoidburg

Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #36 on: January 13, 2009, 05:40:57 pm »
Wuthering Heights.

Well I say haven't - I did start once but binned it because it was depressing and written in a grinding venacular I found tedious.

But thats just me.

her_welshness

  • Slut of a librarian
    • Lewisham Cyclists
Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #37 on: January 13, 2009, 05:48:01 pm »
Wuthering Heights.

Well I say haven't - I did start once but binned it because it was depressing and written in a grinding venacular I found tedious.

But thats just me.

It's not just you - I hated it (but finished it in the vain hope that there was some spark of hope for some of the characters). The other Brontes works are not bad.

I have just finished my dissertation, which has been about the London Library, and its stuffed full of writers (past and present) whose works I should have read:

Belloc
Conrad
Shaw
Eliot
Kipling
Fielding
Woolf

Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #38 on: January 13, 2009, 05:56:05 pm »

And I will never ever again try to read Gabriel f**king Garcia f**king Marquez or Isabel c**ting Allende.


Just shows, dunnit. I agree with you about DH Lawrence, but I do like Marquez, and the odd bits I've read of Allende

Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #39 on: January 13, 2009, 05:59:50 pm »
I've read every Hardy novel.  Even "A Laodicean", which is poo.

That's the equivalent (to rip off Christopher Brookmyre) of being a Queen fan and having "Hot Space" in your collection.
Never tell me the odds.

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #40 on: January 13, 2009, 06:12:37 pm »
DNFs:

On The Road - seemed very dull, and I confess I couldn't read it without punctuation
Riddle of the Sands - (probably a 2nd Div classic, but still dull)
The Kite Runner - (again, a bit marginal.)
Grapes of Wrath

Finished and Loved:

Catch 22 (Hilarious yet moving. The sequel was another DNF)
... Mockingbird
Mice and Men
Zen ... Maintenance (does this count?)

There must have been others, but until my bibliophile partner made me start a book diary I forget 2/3rds of what I read. (or start).
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #41 on: January 13, 2009, 06:13:18 pm »
I rarely DNF anything, but Foucault's Pendulum bored me rigid.
Never tell me the odds.

Basil

  • Um....err......oh bugger!
  • Help me!
Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #42 on: January 13, 2009, 07:47:48 pm »
Whereas I DNF loads of books. 
When I was younger I used to start books, really enjoy them for a while and then about 3/4 of the way through, lose interest.  I would then force my way through the rest due to some sort of mistaken guilt reverence for "the book".
Luckily, I now feel able to do what I like.
Quote from: Kim
And remember that friends who organise things on Facebook aren't proper friends anyway.

Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #43 on: January 13, 2009, 10:30:06 pm »
I love classics and often tend to go for them rather than modern stuff.

...
Conrad is over-rated I think, other than Heart of Darkness and frankly you might as well watch Apocalypse Now in which Kubrick makes up for what he did to Barry Lyndon.
...

Strange - I love Conrad.  I found Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim and especially Nostromo utterly absorbing. 

Otherwise, I agree with most of what you said.  And you've reminded me to read Tom Jones.

(BTW, Coppola directed Apocalypse Now, not Kubrick)

Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #44 on: January 13, 2009, 10:35:12 pm »

Any corseted chick lit by George Eliot/the Brontes/Jane Austen



Eliot and Austen only turn into chick lit when transcribed to television, because the brilliance and (particularly in Austen's case) wit of the writing are lost. Probably most of the complexity of Eliot's sub-plots are also lost on screen.

If you want a readable Bronte, try Charlotte's 'Shirley'. The story of an independent woman who was christened with a boys' name.

I don't think any film versions of them come over well, for the reasons you state.  I recently read Great Expectations for the first time, having seen bits of the various film and TV versions.  Lovely though David Lean's film looks, it completely misses the charm and wit of Pip the narrator.

Mr Larrington

  • A bit ov a lyv wyr by slof standirds
  • Custard Wallah
    • Mr Larrington's Automatic Diary
Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #45 on: January 14, 2009, 10:16:57 am »
The only DNF in the Library at present is The Trial.  There's a couple of DNSs, but only The Poetic Edda is likely to pass muster as a classic.

On checking a recent list of Books Published By My Employers Which Have Won Major Awards, I was not sure whether to be appalled or gratifed that the number of them I have actually read is this: 0.

I am a Palestinian Philistine.
External Transparent Wall Inspection Operative & Mayor of Mortagne-au-Perche
Satisfying the Bloodlust of the Masses in Peacetime

clarion

  • Tyke
Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #46 on: January 14, 2009, 10:23:52 am »
You didn't finish The Trial?! :o

Easier not to have started, but I thought it stood out from a lot of turgid crap that passes for classics.
Getting there...

Mr Larrington

  • A bit ov a lyv wyr by slof standirds
  • Custard Wallah
    • Mr Larrington's Automatic Diary
Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #47 on: January 14, 2009, 10:42:01 am »
You didn't finish The Trial?! :o

Easier not to have started, but I thought it stood out from a lot of turgid crap that passes for classics.

I had to start it, coz it was a present from Matthias Who Is Called Oscar (who was staying with us at the time), but by about halfway I found myself not really caring about what happened to Josef K.
External Transparent Wall Inspection Operative & Mayor of Mortagne-au-Perche
Satisfying the Bloodlust of the Masses in Peacetime

Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #48 on: January 14, 2009, 10:48:31 am »
I rarely DNF anything, but Foucault's Pendulum bored me rigid.

+1 for that, I cant think of a more pretentious book.  I DNF'd on War & Peace too.



citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #49 on: January 14, 2009, 11:17:04 am »
Fielding - Tom Jones is the most brilliant novel ever.

Thackeray - I used to love Kubrick's film of Barry Lyndon until I read the book and realised he'd butchered it. However I've never liked Vanity Fair, and have made several attempts at reading it.

Similarly, it was Lindsay Anderson's brilliant film that made me want to read Tom Jones. Likewise, I soon realised that the film was totally different to the book. I still love the film but I love the book even more - it is one of the funniest things I've ever read, not to mention one of the rudest (I don't think you could get away with filming half of what happens in the book without giving it an R18 certificate).

I've seen the film of Barry Lyndon but not read the book.

Quote
Austen is also brilliant and so perfectly written - I don't bother with TV versions.

Some of the TV versions are good (Persuasion with Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds was brilliant) but they usually bear only a passing resemblance to the books. Austen is a bitingly funny and clever writer and that is always lost in the screen adaptations. One of the worst screen versions was Andrew Davies' take on Emma, which left out key episodes in favour of gratuitous dancing scenes, and interpreted other episodes in such a way as to miss the point of most of the scene entirely.

I love Jane Austen - well, all of her books except Northanger Abbey.

Quote
DH Lawrence I read but never liked.

Bloody awful. I once got top marks off my English teacher for a parody of Lady Chatterly's Lover, which I'm very proud of.

Quote
Have read most of the modern Americans - apart from On The Road (I'm not sure it is a classic really). Catch 22, To Kill a Mockingbird, Catcher in the Rye, Mice and Men etc. Apart from Catch 22 none of them grabbed me.

The best of 20th Century American literature is just about as good as literature gets - but you've missed the very best exponent out of your list, namely F Scott Fitzgerald. I always assumed The Great Gatsby had to be overrated until I actually read it. I'm also a huge fan of Raymond Chandler, who owes a lot to Fitzgerald (as do Philip Roth and the rest of them).

d.