Author Topic: "Classics" you haven't read  (Read 7864 times)

vorsprung

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Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #50 on: January 14, 2009, 11:27:18 am »
I rarely DNF anything, but Foucault's Pendulum bored me rigid.

It took me about 50 pages to get going then I thought it was a real page turner
Mind you, I like most of Ecos stuff.  "The Island of the day before" wasn't too great though :)
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Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #51 on: January 14, 2009, 11:41:44 am »
I cant believe no one has mentioned Ernest Hemingway yet. I loved The Sun Also Rises and For Whom the Bell Tolls but really haven't got round to any of the rest.
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

citoyen

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Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #52 on: January 14, 2009, 11:43:51 am »
I cant believe no one has mentioned Ernest Hemingway yet. I loved The Sun Also Rises and For Whom the Bell Tolls but really haven't got round to any of the rest.

In my last comment about C20th American authors, I knew there was a name I was missing but I couldn't put my finger on it...

d.

her_welshness

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Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #53 on: January 14, 2009, 12:27:58 pm »
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]

Persuasion, in my opinion, is her best written work - Northhanger Abbey I did not get at all. The Amanda Root/Ciaran Hinds 'Persuasion' was much better than the Rupert Penry-Jones one. Pride and Prejudice is brilliantly funny - Mr Bennett nearly has all the best lines!

Eccentrica Gallumbits

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Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #54 on: January 14, 2009, 12:47:09 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.

I am that Queen fan, but I haven't read A Laodicean. I struggle with Hardy's novels - I much prefer his poetry.
My feminist marxist dialectic brings all the boys to the yard.


Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #55 on: January 14, 2009, 01:30:57 pm »
I struggle with Hardy's novels - I much prefer his poetry.

So did he.

clarion

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Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #56 on: January 14, 2009, 01:55:32 pm »
I struggle with Hardy's novels - I much prefer his poetry.

I prefer his bike :thumbsup:
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ChrisO

Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #57 on: January 14, 2009, 06:52:30 pm »

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


Oh if you liked Tom Jones you'll enjoy Barry Lyndon. 

My bad on Apocalypse Now (and no redemption for Kubrick). Point remains the same though - a rare case of a film that I think is actually better than a classic book.

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...


I keep thinking of the dancing scenes in The Armstrong and Miller show.


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).


Yes true I do like F Scott Fitgerald though the Great Gatsby is really his only classic innit.

Hemingway also, and I'm not averse to Saul Bellow but again, it isn't that I don't like them they just don't grab me in the way that Tom Jones, P&P, Crime and Punishment or Hard Times have, where I want to tell everyone how much I loved it.

And I adore Raymond Chandler. Very little would give me greater pleasure than to hear of the discovery in an attic of a box filled with unpublished Chandler novels.  I just wasn't sure it would count as a classic in the sense of the OP.

And anyone in the above posts who put Captain Corelli's Mandolin or the Kite Runner will be damned to suffer eternity in a book club meeting every Tuesday in purgatory.


Jezza

Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #58 on: January 14, 2009, 07:20:42 pm »
Captain Corelli's Mandolin

I thought it was rather good. But perhaps not a Classic in the same vein.

I have to agree above with Apocalypse Now. Heart of Darkness seemed rather turgid compared to it.

nicknack

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Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #59 on: January 14, 2009, 07:25:35 pm »
I think Vanity Fair is the only classic I've failed to get through.

The only Austen I've read is Emma. I suppose I may get round to the others.

I think I've read all of Dickens' novels and may well do again.
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Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #60 on: January 14, 2009, 11:03:12 pm »
I rarely DNF anything, but Foucault's Pendulum bored me rigid.

Just kept going with no changes of pace all the way through? ;)

Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #61 on: January 14, 2009, 11:20:16 pm »
And I adore Raymond Chandler. Very little would give me greater pleasure than to hear of the discovery in an attic of a box filled with unpublished Chandler novels.  I just wasn't sure it would count as a classic in the sense of the OP.

ChrisO - I left it deliberately vague, so we're not tied into a Leavisite canon.  So I started with Kerouac, borderline at best.

And I'd say there's no doubt about Chandler's classic status - he definitely had a classical, elegant style to his writing.  And Marlowe is one of the great creations of 20th century fiction. 

Anyway - I was going through some old books which have lurked at the backs of shelves, so I can add a couple which I haven't read.  Yet.  I'll stand them somewhere prominent as a reminder:

To Kill a Mockingbird (I saw it was already mentioned, but it was only 75p in the local Oxfam)
Tristram Shandy by Laurence Stern (another charity shop find)
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

I don't know why I haven't read these - they're just books which I've forgotten about as I've gone onto something else.  All bought because they seemed to be books I should read.  Maybe they are.

citoyen

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Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #62 on: January 15, 2009, 12:17:17 am »
And I adore Raymond Chandler. Very little would give me greater pleasure than to hear of the discovery in an attic of a box filled with unpublished Chandler novels.  I just wasn't sure it would count as a classic in the sense of the OP.

As Deano says, Chandler is definitely "classic" - not least for defining a genre and remaining unsurpassed within it. Much parodied, nevefr bettered.

d.

Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #63 on: January 15, 2009, 08:07:07 pm »
I think everyone should read "The Rachel Papers", "Money" and "London Fields" by Martin Amis, but I know some people can't get on with the clever-clever style and vocabulary.  I'm sure they'll all be regarded as classics in a few decades' time, although they're thrillingly nasty compared to the stuff mentioned above.  "Success" is also a brilliant and ingeniously constructed short novel, but his later stuff isn't so accessible.
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CAMRAMan

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Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #64 on: January 15, 2009, 08:17:02 pm »
War and Peace holds no appeal either.

Apart from the over-analytical bits at the end, I enjoyed War & Peace. Great for historical background (from the Russian perspective, of course) and context fro the whole sad attempt by Napoleon to inflict his will on the Russian people.

I've never read anything by Shakespeare.

I started the Dice Man, but got so pissed off with it, that it just sits there.

I read loads of the classics when I was in Sweden, but for the same reason as everyone has mentioned, it was 20 years ago - no ebooks then - and they were all the library had.

Anyone read Eyvind Johnson or Vilhelm Moberg?
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ChrisO

Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #65 on: January 16, 2009, 06:36:14 am »
We don't seem to have mentioned much science fiction have we ?

I suspect it suffers from being interesting and popular and therefore more difficult to count as a classic.

My 12 year old son, who reads a lot anyway, was looking for a book to read on the plane on the way back from Abu Dhabi.

Knowing he liked the film I pointed out a copy of I Robot on the shelf and he exclaimed "Oh really, there's a book of it !"

Cue explanation of Asimov and the Laws of Robotics and that it had been around for quite some time, even before I was born in the days when we had no internet and had to fend off woolly mammoths.

clarion

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Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #66 on: January 16, 2009, 09:03:15 am »
Despite not liking Asimov's politics (nor his fondness for a cheap pun, as in a lot of the short stories - don't get me onto the Sakkaros! ::-) ), I enjoyed a lot of his writing, and IMO, I, Robot and the Foundation Trilogy count as classics...
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Mr Larrington

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Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #67 on: January 16, 2009, 09:29:18 am »
I think everyone should read "The Rachel Papers", "Money" and "London Fields" by Martin Amis, but I know some people can't get on with the clever-clever style and vocabulary.

That's me, that is.  I did get to the end of "London Fields" eventually, but it was bloody hard work, and I never did understand why Keith Talent's Cavalier was always described as being "heavy".
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αdαmsκι

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Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #68 on: January 16, 2009, 09:33:40 am »
I tried to read Stevenson's "Treasure Island" but got bored because I felt nothing was really happening.  The other classic I tried & gave up with was Conrad's "Heart of Darkness"; I couldn't get on with the writing style and I gave up because I couldn't figure out what (if anything) was going on in the story.  Ooo, & I also gave up on Solzhenitsyn's "August 1914" (tho whether it's old enough to be classed as a classic is datable).  The first section was brilliant and then he seemed to get bogged down with the general just charging around on horseback from battlefield to battlefield.

I've never read any works by Austin or Dickens, but I'd like to give them a go at some point.  I ended up reading quite a few classics during my two fieldwork trips to China because that was the only stuff the English book shop in Lanzhou stocked.  God knows why, because it isn't the sort of stuff that's particular easy to read for people who are learning English as a foreign language  :-\  It was great for me, tho and I ended up reading a variety of stuff, inc.

  • Elliot's "The Mill on the Floss", which I was initially sceptical about but in the end thought it was brilliant
  • Tess of the d'Urbervilles - tragic but wonderfully written & I've since read Jude the Obscure
  • Lady Chatterley's Lover
  • "The Invisible Man" by HG Wells (keeps Chris O happy as it's a science fiction book  :D)
  • "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne - gave up on it


I think everyone should read "The Rachel Papers", "Money" and "London Fields" by Martin Amis, but I know some people can't get on with the clever-clever style and vocabulary

The only book I've read by him is London Fields, again when I was in China.  It enjoyed it, but not enough to encourage me to go off and read more books by Amis.
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clarion

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Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #69 on: January 16, 2009, 09:35:15 am »
If Martin Amis's tossed-off trash are classics, then they are classics I shall not read.  I got part way through Time's Arrow before I realised it was just a small good idea wrapped around with the author's smug self-congratulation, and that I would never get those hours back.
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citoyen

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Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #70 on: January 16, 2009, 11:18:33 am »
If Martin Amis's tossed-off trash are classics, then they are classics I shall not read.  I got part way through Time's Arrow before I realised it was just a small good idea wrapped around with the author's smug self-congratulation, and that I would never get those hours back.

Time's Arrow wasn't even his own idea.

I liked The Rachel Papers but I read it when I was 17, which is the right age to read it - much older and I doubt I'd have been nearly so impressed. It does have some great lines, though.

d.

her_welshness

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Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #71 on: January 16, 2009, 02:17:28 pm »
I got through abour 40 pages of London fields, after picking it up from a Freecycle chap. Not for me.  :-\

Torslanda

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Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #72 on: January 16, 2009, 07:54:35 pm »
Erm. . .

. . . all of the above, I think!

Certainly no Dickens. Only Shakespeare was 12th Night for O-level literature. Only Thomas Hardy was likewise ('The Mayor of Casterbridge')

No Dostoyevsky, Solzhenytsin or other Eastern 'classics'. No Bronte, Catherine Cookson (fishheads and heaving bosom) or any of that bolleaux. No Kerouac, Sartre or pseudo classix moderne, a total croque de IMHO.

Read loads of Freddie Forsyth, thoughbut.  ;)
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Well that's the more blunt way of putting it but as usual he's dead right.

Torslanda

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Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #73 on: January 16, 2009, 08:02:17 pm »
Oh Yeah. Forgot.

No Frank McCourt - or any other of that kind of 'Four Yorkshiremen sketch' genre of literature.  ::-)

None of those books that seemed to feature in Asda/WalMart's top 20 over this summer.* (Want a top seller in Asda's top 10? Write a story about child abuse as a retrospective kind of biography, fact or fiction, doesn't matter.)  :sick:

J

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VELOMANCER

Well that's the more blunt way of putting it but as usual he's dead right.

Re: "Classics" you haven't read
« Reply #74 on: January 16, 2009, 09:38:14 pm »
If Martin Amis's tossed-off trash are classics, then they are classics I shall not read.  I got part way through Time's Arrow before I realised it was just a small good idea wrapped around with the author's smug self-congratulation, and that I would never get those hours back.
Time's Arrow isn't great.
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