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Your (least) favorite fiction books

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Postby 1%homeless » Tue Jan 27, 2004 8:32 pm

Congratulations marie, you hit the 1000th post mark. :) I tried reading Das Parfum in the original German, but I lost patience after a while. :D It took me about an hour a page to read it. I didn't get to finish it because I had to return it back to the library. I think if I tried again, I would have a lot more patience though. After going through some Latin, I have a whole lot more patience now. :)
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Postby Carola » Tue Jan 27, 2004 10:06 pm

mariek wrote:
I've never heard of Robertson Davies, I will have to check him out. Which is your favorite? Would you recommend the Deptford Trilogy, the Cornish Trilogy or the Salterton Trilogy first?




I haven't managed to get hold of the Salterton Trilogy yet (I guess Adelaide is a long way from Canada!) but I really loved the Cornish Trilogy. However everything I have read of his I have enjoyed.

I remembered the author of "The Pope's Rhinocerous" - it was Lawrence Norfolk. And how did I forget one of my all time favourites - Dickens' "Pickwick Papers"? If I could write just one book like that I would be happy.
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Postby ingrid70 » Tue Jan 27, 2004 10:47 pm

Pickwick Papers is the first book by Dickens that I read, and it would have been the last if Great Expectations hadn't been required reading, and if there hadn't been an adaptation of Our Mutual Friend on TV. Not my favourite Dickens.

If rereading makes a favourite, I have three: Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen), Ulysses (James Joyce), Orlando (Virginia Woolf). There is some tv/film adaptation of Orlando, but I've only seen a part of it, and I loved it. I've got no idea who made it, anyone here who knows it?

As fantasy goes, I love Pratchett (he's been mentioned before), Raymond Feist (esp. the Empire series), Tolkien (yes, him again), Wim Gijsen (sorry guys, a Dutchman), Ursula Le Guin, Jack Vance. In fact, we've got a separate bookcase for sf and fantasy.

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Postby klewlis » Tue Jan 27, 2004 11:05 pm

I tried Pickwick Papers twice and couldn't get into it.

We all forgot about Little Women and Gone with the Wind...

When I was a kid my favourite was The Trumpet of the Swan (EB White), as well as The Borrowers series, the Little House on the Prairie series, and the Black Stallion series... those were the days!
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Postby Keesa » Tue Jan 27, 2004 11:21 pm

ingrid70 wrote: In fact, we've got a separate bookcase for sf and fantasy.


Really? We do, too! It has a lot of Tolkien stuff on it...some people may remember my strange stances on Tolkien's books vs. Jackson's movies (how I adore the former, therefore abhor the latter...it's more complicated than that, but, anyway...) And, a lot-a L-O-T-of Stephen Lawhead, even though I dislike his writing half the time and love it the rest of the time... Also David Eddings, Brian Jacques, three books by Ann C. Crispin...Lewis's Space Trilogy...the second two books of the Joona series (mental note: look for the first book next time you're at the bookstore...), "The Child of the King," by...someone...lots of fantasy books! But I would recommend Tolkien and the Empyrean Saga more than any of the others I've read.
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Postby mingshey » Tue Jan 27, 2004 11:51 pm

I don't have time for sf and fantasy these days(greek and books for my work are on the head of the list), but surely i'll have to check the local library out for old sf's. I left the Amber series half read and there's "A stranger in a strange place" on the shelf untouched. :(
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Postby mariek » Wed Jan 28, 2004 12:07 am

klewlis wrote:Reading Keesa's I remembered the book that I hate - The Scarlet Letter. I had to read it in college and couldn't stand the writing style and thought the story was stupid. A friend said that the style is similar to Jane Austen, so I have avoided Austen ever since!


Blech. I didn't like The Scarlet Letter either... and I don't think it's just because I was forced to read it for school. Just couldn't get into it. And I'm not sure how it can be compared to Jane Austen. :? Jane Austen is MUCH better, and I'd read her stuff anytime. Pride & Prejudice is one of my faves. Oddly enough, I was never forced to read Jane Austen for school.
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Postby mariek » Wed Jan 28, 2004 12:11 am

Lex wrote:Have you read Diamond Age? I think it is better than Snow Crash (although Stephenson still hasn't learned how to end a novel).


Yes. I read Diamond Age before Snow Crash. I don't know why I liked Snow Crash more. I should probably reread Diamond Age... I lent "indefinitely" my copy of the book. :(
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Postby Keesa » Wed Jan 28, 2004 12:41 am

klewlis wrote: We all forgot about Little Women and Gone with the Wind...

When I was a kid my favourite was The Trumpet of the Swan (EB White), as well as The Borrowers series, the Little House on the Prairie series, and the Black Stallion series... those were the days!


I love the Little House series, and Charlotte's Web, by E.B. White, which I love in spite of severe arachniphobia...I never really cared for The Trumpet of the Swan, though, not in the way I liked Charlotte's Web.

And I love Little Women!
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Postby mariek » Wed Jan 28, 2004 4:39 pm

1%homeless wrote:Congratulations marie, you hit the 1000th post mark. :)


Oh neato! I didn't even notice that. Guess that means I should spend more time studying and less time on the internet. :lol:
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Postby annis » Wed Jan 28, 2004 5:32 pm

Lex wrote:Have you read Diamond Age? I think it is better than Snow Crash (although Stephenson still hasn't learned how to end a novel).


I agree completely with Lex on both points. But Stephenson is hardly the only SF author who veers off into disorder at the end of his novels.

It also occured to me that Ilium by Dan Simmons might appeal to some. I didn't care for it especially, since he's just working over ideas he covered just fine in his earlier books, now with a Transhumanist patina (talk of The Singularity, etc.).
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Postby Emma_85 » Wed Jan 28, 2004 9:17 pm

1%homeless wrote:Congratulations marie, you hit the 1000th post mark. :) I tried reading Das Parfum in the original German, but I lost patience after a while. :D It took me about an hour a page to read it. I didn't get to finish it because I had to return it back to the library. I think if I tried again, I would have a lot more patience though. After going through some Latin, I have a whole lot more patience now. :)


Arghh... for some reason it's popular, nearly every German class has read it (luckily not mine, we read some thing else that was terrible instead :wink: ), and some even read it for fun! I read about a quarter of it, because everyone said it was so good. I though it was sick myself, especially after I found out what the ending was (after putting the book down and refusing to read any more I asked my friends how it ended). I don't want to read a book about a mutated, mad, child killing, psychopath (very very psychopath this guy).(warning, spoiler if you highlight the text)!
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Postby 1%homeless » Thu Jan 29, 2004 12:16 am

Arghh... for some reason it's popular, nearly every German class has read it


:lol: Is the book that annoying? :)

Deutschland is very intersting. I doubt teachers here in the US can get away with assigning a book like that for class.
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Postby mingshey » Thu Jan 29, 2004 12:40 am

I think it was the autumn semester of my freshmanhood. And it was when I just finished Michael Ende's "die unendliche Geschichte"(I almost skipped over it, lol). When I got in the class of Math Practice, I saw the relic of the previous class there. It was full of the names right out of the book I read. Gmork, Ygramul, etc. It must have been a German-related class(German literature, or something like that). What a deja-vu!
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Postby mariek » Thu Jan 29, 2004 4:56 am

Emma_85 wrote:Arghh... for some reason it's popular, nearly every German class has read it (luckily not mine, we read some thing else that was terrible instead :wink: ), and some even read it for fun!


Interesting. I never knew this one of of those "school" books.
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Postby Keesa » Thu Jan 29, 2004 1:17 pm

I've always wondered why high schools pick the books they do. Surely not because these are the best books ever written, the most uplifting, or the most ennobling. Mamma still has all her paperbacks (we're very careful with books here) from the time she was in high school, and the choices really surprise me. "Hamlet" and "Macbeth" instead of Much Ado About Nothing and The Taming of the Shrew (or even all four; reading a Shakespeare play is the work of an afternoon; they could have done all four), Conrad instead of Austen, Golding instead of Dickens...Brave New World instead of 1984! (Actually, I'm not sure that either of those were on her high school reading list, come to think of it, even though they are on the same shelf...I know 1984 wasn't required reading because she's told me so. I'm not sure about Brave New World.)

Speaking of Shakespeare, I've just remembered another book I loathe. Romeo and Juliet. Yuck! It's not the ending that I dislike (everybody dies, etc.), it's Romeo. That guy is the most wishy-washy twerp that ever made it to the leading role in a play...Act One, Scene One; enter Romeo. "I am so distraught with love over this beautiful but unsuitable girl that I shall kill myself!" Act One, Scene Two: "I am now so in love with this other beautiful and unsuitable girl that I shall kill myself!" Act One, Scene Three: "It has just rained on my new hat! I shall kill myself!"

Admittedly, this is a little extreme, but let the least bit of difficulty come up and the chap's trying to kill himself...I'm surprised he made it to the end of the book alive! (Well, almost the end...) Spare me from men like Romeo...
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Postby bingley » Thu Jan 29, 2004 2:52 pm

the choices really surprise me. "Hamlet" and "Macbeth" instead of Much Ado About Nothing and The Taming of the Shrew (or even all four; reading a Shakespeare play is the work of an afternoon; they could have done all four), Conrad instead of Austen, Golding instead of Dickens..


Easy. Much Ado About Nothing and the Taming of the Shrew are comedies. Austen is about people finding a marriage partner. Dickens was very popular and he makes people laugh. None of them are SERIOUS LITERATURE WITH SERIOUS THINGS TO SAY ABOUT THE HUMAN CONDITION, WHICH IS A SERIOUS SUBJECT. So, no sniggering in the back row.
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Postby Lex » Thu Jan 29, 2004 3:07 pm

bingley wrote:
the choices really surprise me. "Hamlet" and "Macbeth" instead of Much Ado About Nothing and The Taming of the Shrew (or even all four; reading a Shakespeare play is the work of an afternoon; they could have done all four), Conrad instead of Austen, Golding instead of Dickens..


Easy. Much Ado About Nothing and the Taming of the Shrew are comedies. Austen is about people finding a marriage partner. Dickens was very popular and he makes people laugh. None of them are SERIOUS LITERATURE WITH SERIOUS THINGS TO SAY ABOUT THE HUMAN CONDITION, WHICH IS A SERIOUS SUBJECT. So, no sniggering in the back row.


Comedy can't have serious things to say about the human condition? My good sir, I think you underestimate the human condition.

Besides which, part of a literary education should regard the art of literature, which need not have a message at all.
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Postby mingshey » Thu Jan 29, 2004 11:50 pm

I hope bingley has mentioned there are many school teachers like Father Jorge in the Name of the Rose. ;)
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Romeo's a "nancy-boy"

Postby Geoff » Fri Jan 30, 2004 12:06 am

I'm rather indifferent about most fiction. But I've really got to go with Keesa on how irritating Romeo is. Nothing like a 15 year old hormone inflicted rich kid to mope about trying to find vain reasons to die.

Mercutio was the hero; "You insult my friend?, Let's Rock" 8)
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Postby Bert » Fri Jan 30, 2004 3:25 am

Keesa wrote:I've always wondered why high schools pick the books they do.... "Hamlet" and "Macbeth" instead of Much Ado About Nothing and The Taming of the Shrew....
Speaking of Shakespeare, I've just remembered another book I loathe. Romeo and Juliet.....Yuck!

4000 years from now these will be available free of cost on a website such as this one, devoted to the study of another dead language; Ancient English.
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Postby Keesa » Fri Jan 30, 2004 2:09 pm

Bert wrote:
Keesa wrote:I've always wondered why high schools pick the books they do.... "Hamlet" and "Macbeth" instead of Much Ado About Nothing and The Taming of the Shrew....
Speaking of Shakespeare, I've just remembered another book I loathe. Romeo and Juliet.....Yuck!

4000 years from now these will be available free of cost on a website such as this one, devoted to the study of another dead language; Ancient English.


Hehe. Probably so. I would like to hope that Romeo and Juliet never makes it that far into the future, but I don't suppose that's likely. Most people seem to like it...
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Postby Raya » Fri Jan 30, 2004 5:29 pm

Every culture seems to have its version of <i>Romeo and Juliet</i>: from the Chinese <i>Butterfly Lovers</i> to the Indian/Arabic <i>Laila Majnoon</i> - it's timeless, the theme is universal, blah-di-blah-blah. :roll:

I agree, Romeo is a prat! (What does Juliet SEE in him?!) Gotta give Shakespeare credit for creating the character so well that we hate him. :D

And, by the way, I <i>did</i> study <i>Much Ado About Nothing</i> for IGCSE. As far as I've seen, the comedies are taught as much as the tragedies; the plays which are left off tend to be the Histories and the less-known plays like <i>Timon of Athens</i>. Oh, and <i>The Merchant of Venice</i> is banned in many schools for its anti-Semitism, though if you ask me, I tend to sympathise with Shylock...
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Postby MDS » Fri Jan 30, 2004 5:43 pm

I've always wondered why high schools pick the books they do. Surely not because these are the best books ever written, the most uplifting, or the most ennobling.


Wow, how true that is. In my high school we did a Shakespeare play per year (Romeo and Juliet, Taming of the Shrew, Macbeth, Hamlet and King Lear) as well as two literature books. My biggest problem with the books is that they havn't been changed in over 30 years in most cases. The other problem being the books chosen do not reflect the maturity of the general student. I know for most in my English classes, the books we read were "challenging" but if you dont demand that in class how can you expect it for book reports and the like?

For example, Gr. 9 we read Animal Farm, now fantastic book in my opinion but most of my class finished it scratching their heads as to why oh why the animals talked. Ahem, yes. In my OAC (Gr. 13) year we read Lives of the Saints which I almost fell alseep reading, now this book is MUCH more straightforward than Animal Farm or To kill a mockingbird or any of the others we read in school.

I'd be interested to hear what others have read in school and what they thought of the assigned books.
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