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Biweekly Book Thread #1



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  #41  
Old May 14th, 2010, 8:32 pm
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Re: Biweekly Book Thread #1

Yoana, I think I didn't explain myself well. I meant that the rating becomes not just from the book itself, but from people's perception of it, and many people (me too, sometimes, I admit it) get sometimes biased for reasons that don't have anything to do with the quality of the work. At least, I know of too many people (a few of them, self-called intelectuals) that before giving their opinion about a book or a movie check whether the author is ideologically acceptable or politically correct enough.

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Actually he became famous for his plays, and they're undoubtedly the works of a genius.
That's why mentioned Dorian Gray and not The Importance of Being Earnest. Wilde was a genius, and I've never denied it.


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  #42  
Old May 14th, 2010, 8:52 pm
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Re: Biweekly Book Thread #1

My opinion on Virginia Woolf certainly doesn't fit that description, because when I first read Mrs. Dalloway I was 16 and I didn't know a single thing about her. Still, she blew me away. For me, there's a very genuine literary quality there.

That said, I actually tend to agree with you. I know such people too, and not just books, they'd do that with music, too.


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  #43  
Old May 14th, 2010, 10:05 pm
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Re: Biweekly Book Thread #1

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Originally Posted by Hysteria View Post
I can't see anything in them which should make them stand out or have the title of 'classic'. I tried explaining to my year 12 English teacher that "classic doesn't automatically equal quality". She wasn't impressed
Well, entertainment doesn't always mean quality either. I think we need to make a different between good books and books we enjoy to read. There are many books I didn't enjoy reading but I still understood why they were considered good. I don't think the quality of literature has anything to do with how enjoyable it is... It's a complicated issue.
Also, the fact that they don't seem very original or extraordinary to us now, especially in terms of plot, is because we've seen it all, so to speak. There are so many stories everywhere, in books, movies, etc that nothing comes across as original anymore. But many contemporary writers were influenced by classics so that's why some stories appear unoriginal. Also, there is the historical perspective to keep in mind. An author like Jane Austen would probably be succesful now as well but her books wouldn't be considered ahead of their time. In Jane Austen's days most people didn't write about witty and powerful women which is why her books are so appreciated. She was a smart woman, way ahead of her time.

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Originally Posted by MmeBergerac
The structure doesn't convince me; when I read it I felt the book lacked internal logic.
I thought that was part of the point. The characters acted from their feelings and desires and not necessarily thought things through before doing so. The book is partly about acting irrational because you followed your heart.



Last edited by Trixa; May 14th, 2010 at 10:33 pm.
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  #44  
Old May 15th, 2010, 6:16 am
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Re: Biweekly Book Thread #1

I love this thread! I can already tell that I'm going to lurk here often.

The first book that popped into my mind was Wuthering Heights, probably because I read it recently. I found few redeeming qualities in any of the characters, so I didn't really care for it.


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  #45  
Old May 15th, 2010, 9:31 am
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Re: Biweekly Book Thread #1

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Originally Posted by MmeBergerac View Post
Wuthering Heights. I think many people's opinion about the book is based on trying to find qualities on Heathcliff that he lacks (tormented hero, etc; I just think he's mean). The structure doesn't convince me; when I read it I felt the book lacked internal logic.
Ditto. I think it's interesting for non-loving-Heathcliff reasons, but the people who go on about how great he is baffle me a bit - he's a total menace, and that's rather the point of the novel.

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Dr Jekill and Mr Hyde. Is that supposed to be a horror story? Even for Victorian times, I think it's dull.
I felt the same until the last chapter or so when we got Jekyll/Hyde's perspective re: twin demons inside the self. That made the story for me. It was so interesting!

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Originally Posted by Hysteria View Post
2. Are you glad you read the classic, even if you didn't like it?
Like with Twilight, I'm glad I read them so now I can explain why I dislike them.
Haha, I feel exactly the same way. (About the same book too)


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  #46  
Old May 15th, 2010, 6:22 pm
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Re: Biweekly Book Thread #1

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Ditto. I think it's interesting for non-loving-Heathcliff reasons, but the people who go on about how great he is baffle me a bit - he's a total menace, and that's rather the point of the novel.
I don't necessarily think he is great but I think it's unfair to not have some sympathy for him. The only one which is beyond redemption in my opinion is Hindley because he was abusive towards little Heathcliff purely out of jealousy. It's not like Heathcliff decided to just hate everyone for no reason and hurt them. He hurt them because they hurt him and because they destroyed any chance of his having a relationship with Cathy. Of course, Cathy herself played her part in his sorrows but he loved her too much to take it out on her. In the end, I believe Heathcliff was redeemed because he realized his game had gone too far. He could have tormented little Catherine and Hareton but decided not to. He is a tragic and a flawed hero, but he is nevertheless a hero. His love story is a tragic one and so was his fate.
I don't know, I guess I just don't understand how some readers cannot have any sympathy for his situation at all and therefore end up disliking the novel which is a shame because it truly deserves to be a classic.
It portrays people the way they are, IMO and shows the dark side of love.


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  #47  
Old May 16th, 2010, 2:19 am
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Re: Biweekly Book Thread #1

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Originally Posted by Trixa View Post
I don't necessarily think he is great but I think it's unfair to not have some sympathy for him. The only one which is beyond redemption in my opinion is Hindley because he was abusive towards little Heathcliff purely out of jealousy. It's not like Heathcliff decided to just hate everyone for no reason and hurt them. He hurt them because they hurt him and because they destroyed any chance of his having a relationship with Cathy. Of course, Cathy herself played her part in his sorrows but he loved her too much to take it out on her. In the end, I believe Heathcliff was redeemed because he realized his game had gone too far. He could have tormented little Catherine and Hareton but decided not to. He is a tragic and a flawed hero, but he is nevertheless a hero. His love story is a tragic one and so was his fate.
I don't know, I guess I just don't understand how some readers cannot have any sympathy for his situation at all and therefore end up disliking the novel which is a shame because it truly deserves to be a classic.
It portrays people the way they are, IMO and shows the dark side of love.
I do have sympathy for him - and in that way, that's the point of his being a menace. I'll explain. By making each of her characters do and say these horrible things, she makes them real, flawed and ultimately more sympathetic. So many other novels of that time try to present these glorified or caricatured characters that you either blatantly love or hate with no real concrete reason behind that feeling, or behind that character for the way they are. It is in this regard that I enjoy reading Wuthering Heights - it's refreshing, even if it's a bit slow at points and the characters do get to me at times (the point, I know, but it's occasionally annoying).

Of course, I do disagree with you in thinking he's a 'hero' - to me he's just a man made sad and angry by his own faults. The novel is a bit of cautionary tale in that way - not incomparable to Shakespeare - whereby Bronte warns us of the evils of the human condition. Through showing the disastrous results of Heathcliff and Catherine's love, she does everything everyone else was afraid to. There, in my opinion, lies the book's worth as a piece of classic literature. It's just her style that gets to me sometimes.


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  #48  
Old May 18th, 2010, 7:49 am
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Re: Biweekly Book Thread #1

Thanks for all the great posts and discussions. Hope you had fun

The next topic will be up soon.


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  #49  
Old July 27th, 2010, 3:46 pm
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Re: Biweekly Book Thread #1

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The main ones that pop to mind as you say 'overrated classics' are The Lord of the Rings and The Picture of Dorian Gray. Absolutely nothing connecting them though.

TLOTR I dislike because I found it unnecessarily long, unnecessarily tedious, and had large chunks in Elvish, a language made up by the author, and therefore unreadable. Tolkien also didn't seem to have much grasp of what was and was not interesting to read - he spent ages describing the land and the scenery (which I can understand him being a bit preoccupied with as a fantasy author) but then spent only a couple of pages on action before back to chapters of near monotony. I keep telling myself that I might have been too young/inexperienced when I read it the first time, but I simply cannot bring myself to pick it up again.
You could say that an artist's work does not appeal to everyone. Lord of the Rings appealed to me, when I was thirteen, because of the description. I could feel the quaintness of the Shire, the beauty of Rivendell, and the spleandor of Lothlorien. There's a part of their journey through Lothlorien which says that Frodo, even though he was blindfolded, relied on his other senses more. I loved that description, and would read that again many times.
As for Elvish, I wanted to learn it. I would practice saying the words again and again, and there really is a beauty to it. I can say a few simple words, however, I'm not good at it.

I guess it's not very appealing to most people, because you have to read countless of descriptions before you get to the action. However, it is a bit of a guilty pleasure to me to read the worlds created by a master at his craft, a real literary genius. (Despite my loving the descriptions of LoTR, I must confess I disliked Twilight because of the descriptions of Edward, so I know how some people may feel about LOTR.)


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  #50  
Old July 28th, 2010, 9:12 am
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Re: Biweekly Book Thread #1

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Originally Posted by MC
You could say that an artist's work does not appeal to everyone. Lord of the Rings appealed to me, when I was thirteen, because of the description. I could feel the quaintness of the Shire, the beauty of Rivendell, and the spleandor of Lothlorien.
I know what you mean! Tolkien's ability to translate his imagination into words has never failed to amaze me. I loved reading those parts. But I have to admit that when I was rereading FotR I realised how many pages were spent in such descriptions, and of course I did skip them to reach the parts with some action.


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  #51  
Old July 28th, 2010, 1:46 pm
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Re: Biweekly Book Thread #1

MC2456 and bellatrix93, I guess this is just one of those 'taste' things again. Of course, just because I don't enjoy LOTR doesn't mean that I think it's an entirely bad novel - I give Tolkien props for being really imaginative and creating such a detailed and foreign world, but I just didn't enjoy reading about it. However, I absolutely love The Hobbit and can read it over and over again without getting bored.


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  #52  
Old December 22nd, 2012, 9:06 pm
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Re: Biweekly Book Thread #1

I hope we can still post here.
I think one of the overrated classics would be Romeo and Juliet. The writing style/poetic style it was written in was pretty good b/c Shakespeare was good at that sort of stuff. But story wise, it was unbelievable and a bit silly. And the story only happened over the course of three days!


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