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Old Jan 29th, 2013, 03:37 PM   #121
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Re: Top ten favourite novels

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Originally Posted by stromatolite View Post
^Actually, my point is that people pretty much stopped posting lists here after the thread turned into a hardcore literary discussion forum.

That's a shame. It's nice to learn what people like to read, whether highbrow or lowbrow.
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Old Jan 29th, 2013, 03:54 PM   #122
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Lets talk about what we are reading rather then engage in literary criticism. I enjoy some books that others have no interest in and they have lead me to explore other books. And, where I have no interest in Twighlight or Harry Potter, I can appreciate how someone might enjoy those genres.


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Old Jan 29th, 2013, 04:06 PM   #123
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Re: Top ten favourite novels

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Originally Posted by SilverPersian View Post
I've been trying to read Harry Potter in Italian to try and improve in my reading skills. I guess people might use them to learn Ancient Greek and Latin.
Is English your first language? It never occurred to me to read the books I know the contents of in the language I'm learning, I'm always looking for books written originally in that language for some reason

PS don't get me wrong, I love HP but it's just not "Greatest of all time" material
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Lets talk about what we are reading rather then engage in literary criticism. I enjoy some books that others have no interest in and they have lead me to explore other books. And, where I have no interest in Twighlight or Harry Potter, I can appreciate how someone might enjoy those genres.


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Sounds good to me. I'm currently reading "North and South". How about others?
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Old Jan 29th, 2013, 08:01 PM   #124
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Re: Top ten favourite novels

There is an exact thread of what we're currently reading!!

Do let's stick to the topic, eh?

By the way, HP may not be the greatest of all time material but in terms of 'impact' (it IS an elusive concept, I admit) and making money, it's right up there!

Maybe the Russian forgery 'protocols of zion' had a bigger impact..it led to the Holocaust.
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Old Jan 30th, 2013, 03:08 AM   #125
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I find that I have a tendency to obsesse over certain authors (McMurtry, Steinbeck, Wouck) more then genres


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Old Jan 30th, 2013, 03:25 AM   #126
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Re: Top ten favourite novels

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HP is so 'useful', isn't it
It is the best

I know lots of useful Italian words now that I'm reading HP, such as owl, shooting star and drills

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Is English your first language? It never occurred to me to read the books I know the contents of in the language I'm learning, I'm always looking for books written originally in that language for some reason
Yeah my first language is English. You could be right that looking for texts written in the original language might be better ... it might mean you get more access to idiomatic phrases and avoid the awkwardness that can go along with translation. I decided to try HP because I was already (very) familiar with the story, and I thought the lack of overly poetic language might make it more accessible.

(Sorry for derailing the thread again. I promise I'll stop now).
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Old Jan 30th, 2013, 08:58 AM   #127
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Re: Top ten favourite novels

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There's one thing I honestly appreciate about Austen. In the era when women could rarely get proper education, when most of them were similar to characters in her novels (which is not their own fault, that's how the society was), she made something big and it made a difference. I don't like her novels, but there's a bigger picture. As a female, I have to appreciate her role in history when it comes to women's emancipation. It gives me another perspective.
True that. Have you read Middlemarch? Don't get me wrong, I immensely enjoy reading her novels but I just want something a little more.

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Lets talk about what we are reading rather then engage in literary criticism. I enjoy some books that others have no interest in and they have lead me to explore other books. And, where I have no interest in Twighlight or Harry Potter, I can appreciate how someone might enjoy those genres.


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Originally Posted by fantic View Post
There is an exact thread of what we're currently reading!!

Do let's stick to the topic, eh?
Yes, let's. There is already a thread for what we're reading now.

The reason why this thread came about is that I've started keeping lists of my favourite novels, poems, plays as well as favourite composers, painters. It helps me to remember and compare.

My list has changed a lot because I've been reading a lot. Whereas my list for films has not changed a lot recently and will most likely not change a lot in the future because I haven't been watching a lot of films.

These lists also help me remind myself why I fell in love with a piece of literature. I read Rebecca years ago but it reappeared on my list because it has stood the test of time for me. The protagonist is like me in a lot of ways and I remember when I read it I felt like the author was in my mind. Now, the plot may not be the greatest ever and it is slow reading at times but for this reason it is one of my favourites.

I also disagree with whomever that said this is turning into literary criticism. I don't think so. I don't think we've even begun to scratch the surface of that. It is merely a list of what we like. I also agree that we shouldn't be judging people on what they like. I haven't read Twilight, I don't want to read Twilight. Maybe that's narrow-minded of me but good for you if you like it. The subject matter just doesn't interest me.

These lists also help to identify books we've read and we are interested in reading and create discussion around it.
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Old Jan 30th, 2013, 09:14 AM   #128
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Re: Top ten favourite novels

^Sorry, I probably overstated the point about literary criticism a bit.

But the tone of the discussion did get a bit less light-hearted (and sometimes a bit more judgmental) after about the 7th page of the thread, and at that point people stopped posting lists.

Maybe that's a coincidence, but at the same time I can imagine that people who usually read for enjoyment without giving much thought to the literary merits of what they are reading might have been discouraged from posting.

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Old Jan 30th, 2013, 09:15 AM   #129
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Re: Top ten favourite novels

There are better books than others. sometimes it's clear, sometimes not.
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Old Jan 30th, 2013, 10:21 AM   #130
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Re: Top ten favourite novels

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As I've gotten older I've just in general moved away from this near unchangeable Canon that is filled with superior writers than you have to love and appreciate or there's something wrong with you. I was obsessed with that when I was younger, and to a large extent my reading is still influenced by it. But I just can't get behind it anymore. It bothers me how the Canon and the "classics" is mostly shorthand for Western classics with a small sprinkling of Middle Eastern ones (While the Eastern "Canon" is comparatively ignored). It bothers me that 95% of the people that have chosen the Canon are white men who bristled for years at including authors from Africa, India and other such places. Nowadays I just read what interests me and don't read what doesn't. For me personally that still includes largely members of the Canon, but I supplement it with whatever I want. I appreciate the type of Canon central literary theory people like Harold Bloom preach, but I don't have enough time or interest in trying to force myself to like authors like Austen or DeLillo just because some guys from prestigious American and British universities said I need to.
Discussions about the "Western Canon" far too often turn into gratuitous PC bashing of Dead White Males and pleas for tokenistic inclusion into the canon of authors from whichever minority, regardless of actual literary merit.

As for the use of the "Western Canon" and other such similarly minded lists, I see inclusion of a work of literature in those catalogues as a guarantee of quality, but not necessarily of enjoyment. I've read a lot of Immortal Classics of World Literature over the past few years, and the time spent reading them has almost always proved to be more than worthwhile - they're classics for a reason. That being said, I've used those lists with care, steering clear of stuff I suspect I'll find boring/unenjoyable (like say Moby Dick and Don Quijote, or Anna Karenina, the latter mostly because I already knew the ending, etc.). The Nobel Literature Prize winners' can also make for an interesting reading list - some of the unusual choices there can lead you to widen your horizons so to speak, but on the other hand can also lead you to waste your time with a lot of sanctimonious, humourless, middlebrow oppression pr0n.
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Old Jan 30th, 2013, 10:49 AM   #131
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Re: Top ten favourite novels

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True that. Have you read Middlemarch? Don't get me wrong, I immensely enjoy reading her novels but I just want something a little more.
Yes, but I don't get the other part. You want more than what Eliot was writing?

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the latter mostly because I already knew the ending
Yes, but that's not how it ends, there are hundred pages after her death. My opinion was always that the protagonist was Levin despite the fact that the book is named after Anna. It ends with Levin.
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Old Jan 30th, 2013, 02:07 PM   #132
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corswandt View Post
Discussions about the "Western Canon" far too often turn into gratuitous PC bashing of Dead White Males and pleas for tokenistic inclusion into the canon of authors from whichever minority, regardless of actual literary merit.

As for the use of the "Western Canon" and other such similarly minded lists, I see inclusion of a work of literature in those catalogues as a guarantee of quality, but not necessarily of enjoyment. I've read a lot of Immortal Classics of World Literature over the past few years, and the time spent reading them has almost always proved to be more than worthwhile - they're classics for a reason. That being said, I've used those lists with care, steering clear of stuff I suspect I'll find boring/unenjoyable (like say Moby Dick and Don Quijote, or Anna Karenina, the latter mostly because I already knew the ending, etc.). The Nobel Literature Prize winners' can also make for an interesting reading list - some of the unusual choices there can lead you to widen your horizons so to speak, but on the other hand can also lead you to waste your time with a lot of sanctimonious, humourless, middlebrow oppression pr0n.
I would also consider Pulitzer Prize winners of which I have read several and have not been disappointed


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Old Jan 30th, 2013, 02:10 PM   #133
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^Sorry, I probably overstated the point about literary criticism a bit.

But the tone of the discussion did get a bit less light-hearted (and sometimes a bit more judgmental) after about the 7th page of the thread, and at that point people stopped posting lists.

Maybe that's a coincidence, but at the same time I can imagine that people who usually read for enjoyment without giving much thought to the literary merits of what they are reading might have been discouraged from posting.
Yes, I often read for enjoyment and not because something is a literary classic. I find many gems of books that are not exceptionally well written but certainly worth a read


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Old Jan 30th, 2013, 02:29 PM   #134
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Re: Top ten favourite novels

That was the point I'm trying to make. We're all reading, and the whole point of this thread is to share our favorites. And I think the idea of a canon almost always turns it into a weird, pretentious conversation about what we should be reading. I studied literature in university, and there were many moments where I questioned my line of studies, because I found myself having to defend "lowbrow" options pretty much all the time. Isn't it more important that people are reading at all?

And I'm of course aware that I've done my fair share of snobbery, and I have to remind myself to be less critical of others.
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Old Jan 30th, 2013, 02:37 PM   #135
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That was the point I'm trying to make. We're all reading, and the whole point of this thread is to share our favorites. And I think the idea of a canon almost always turns it into a weird, pretentious conversation about what we should be reading. I studied literature in university, and there were many moments where I questioned my line of studies, because I found myself having to defend "lowbrow" options pretty much all the time. Isn't it more important that people are reading at all?

And I'm of course aware that I've done my fair share of snobbery, and I have to remind myself to be less critical of others.
Senile old minds think alike!!!!


The lowbrow stuff serves purpose in that if it gets someone interested in reading, it is worthwhile and, if it were not for the bad or average stuff, would we fully appreciate the great stuff?


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