Page 94 of 115 FirstFirst ... 44849293949596104 ... LastLast
Results 1,861 to 1,880 of 2299
  1. #1861
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Faldrath's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    So Paulo
    Posts
    1,210
    It's funny that I mentioned I was reading Calvino earlier, and this latest discussion reminded me of this magnificent little article of his that I will fondly suggest to everyone here:

    Why read the classics?

    Hopefully it might help people discover new things.

  2. #1862
    Lesser Hivemind Node fiddlesticks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Zrich
    Posts
    751
    Quote Originally Posted by Kelron View Post
    In the last couple of weeks I've read The Picture of Dorian Gray (thought provoking but kind of dull reading) and The Great Gatsby (was dubious due to the subject matter but it fully deserves its reputation). I've just started The Sound and the Fury. I went into it with no idea what it was about, and it's certainly not easy reading, but I'm enjoying it.
    To Kill a Mockingbird is the one book I feel everyone should read at some point in their life. It's a beautifully crafted coming-of-age story and a great look at what makes us human. And unlike some classic works of literature it's very easy to get into. For something a bit heavier try Crime and Punishment. And while it's certainly not to everyone's taste, I'd like to recommend Moby Dick. It's not an easy book to immerse yourself in, but it's very rewarding once you do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zephro View Post
    I've found I can't read much before the 20th Century except Dostoyevsky. Austen and Dickens are just painful to read.
    Dickens' work has its ups and downs. I loved A Christmas Carol, Tale of Two Cities and David Copperfield since they show of his wit and skill at creating memorable scenes and characters. But I have to admit that I never made it through his Pickwick Papers, because it's so terribly bloated. And I agree that Austen's writing hasn't aged very well.

    However, I'd argue that there a plenty of 19th century writers whose writing has stood the test of time. Mark Twain, Tolstoi, Lewis Carroll, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, Goethe, H.G. Wells, Artur Conan Doyle and Oscar Wilde are still very readable today. Though with foreign language books it's often a matter of finding a good translation.

    Which reminds me, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is another one of those great American novels that is worth a look.

  3. #1863
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    1,834
    Quote Originally Posted by fiddlesticks View Post


    Dickens' work has its ups and downs. I loved A Christmas Carol, Tale of Two Cities and David Copperfield since they show of his wit and skill at creating memorable scenes and characters. But I have to admit that I never made it through his Pickwick Papers, because it's so terribly bloated. And I agree that Austen's writing hasn't aged very well.

    However, I'd argue that there a plenty of 19th century writers whose writing has stood the test of time. Mark Twain, Tolstoi, Lewis Carroll, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, Goethe, H.G. Wells, Artur Conan Doyle and Oscar Wilde are still very readable today. Though with foreign language books it's often a matter of finding a good translation.

    Which reminds me, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is another one of those great American novels that is worth a look.
    Fair enough on Carroll, Shelley, Stoker and Wilde. It was a rather sweeping generalisation I made. I've not actually read any Twain or Tolstoi to my shame. However I'd say HG Wells was more 20th Century in style and actual writing period, he published he first books in the late 1890s and most of his career was in the 20th Century.

    Dickens however can fuck right off. I've tried to read A Tale of Two Cities twice and it is just too bloated and overly florid, it's a perfect example of why writers should not be paid by the word. I guess what I meant was that I prefer the more psychological and terse approach writers took in the 20th Century, but things like Crime and Punishment really prefigure that movement, so don't seem like the melodramatic victorian romantic tradition.

  4. #1864
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Kelron's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    2,027
    Thanks for the suggestions. To Kill a Mockingbird and Catch-22 are my two favourite books ever, so good suggestions but I've already read them. I've read The Catcher in the Rye too, though it's probably worth rereading sometime.

    I'd been thinking about trying some Dickens and Austen, but the small amount I have read when I was younger never appealed, and they do look like incredibly heavy going. Still, I've read some stuff like Herodotus and Cervantes that's not exactly easy reading, so I might have a look.

    Will definitely be reading more of the American authors, and I've been planning to try Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy for some time.

  5. #1865
    Lesser Hivemind Node postinternetsyndrome's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    841
    Reading that article made me want to read classics too! Gonna have to get on that.

  6. #1866
    Lesser Hivemind Node fiddlesticks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Zrich
    Posts
    751
    Quote Originally Posted by Zephro View Post
    Fair enough on Carroll, Shelley, Stoker and Wilde. It was a rather sweeping generalisation I made. I've not actually read any Twain or Tolstoi to my shame. However I'd say HG Wells was more 20th Century in style and actual writing period, he published he first books in the late 1890s and most of his career was in the 20th Century.
    True, Wells feels like a modern writer in a lot of ways, or maybe it's just that a lot of modern writers cribed from his style. Anyway we're fundamentally in agreement, the 20th century has given us a lot of excellent writers who deliberately use a more simple and straightforward prose. It puts a greater focus on their actual ideas and makes it easier to relate to them, which is definitely a good thing.

    Though I think part of the problem with older literature is that many themes and concepts that were common in the 19th century feel very alien to us modern readers. Austin's writings in particular are strongly grounded in the culture of Victorian England and thus very outdated. Dicken's themes are a bit more timeless, but even his works definitely belong in a bygone era. We often lack the necessary social context to fully appreciate them. I'm not saying it's impossible, but it requires more effort than reading something that is more closely associated with our modern society.

    As for books that are definitely not classics, I'm currently slowly making my way through Patrick Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind and not really enjoying myself. I'm 500 pages in now and I strongly considered stopping 200 pages ago, but a friend gifted this to me on my birthday so I feel obligated to finish it. The main problem I have is that I find the main character absolutely insufferable and given that almost the entire book is either about him doing stuff or his friends telling him how amazing he is for doing stuff there's not a lot left to actually like. If there was at least some kind of genuine conflict or tension, but absolutely nothing of note has happened in the last hundred pages. I heard that this is the first entry in a trilogy, but unless the other books are a signficant improvement I'll stop at this one.

  7. #1867
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    UK, Derby
    Posts
    1,447
    Quote Originally Posted by fiddlesticks View Post
    As for books that are definitely not classics, I'm currently slowly making my way through Patrick Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind and not really enjoying myself. I'm 500 pages in now and I strongly considered stopping 200 pages ago, but a friend gifted this to me on my birthday so I feel obligated to finish it. The main problem I have is that I find the main character absolutely insufferable and given that almost the entire book is either about him doing stuff or his friends telling him how amazing he is for doing stuff there's not a lot left to actually like. If there was at least some kind of genuine conflict or tension, but absolutely nothing of note has happened in the last hundred pages. I heard that this is the first entry in a trilogy, but unless the other books are a signficant improvement I'll stop at this one.
    I liked it more than you, and would quite like to read the second book, but I definitely agree it's not even slightly the dazzling work of fantasy so many hold it up as. Kvothe is... I wouldn't say insufferable but he is fairly uninteresting in the main (and the first book at least gives the parts of his life I found interesting pretty short shrift). Rothfuss doesn't really seem to understand how to make a protagonist who is essentially a god among men come across as flawed and appealingly human too, with the result that too often we get the worst aspects of both (as in, he vacillates between being flat-out unable to do anything wrong - robbing the story of any real tension - and acting like a whining, implausibly oblivious child). I think he's a fairly good writer in a technical sense but I've read plenty of authors, genre or otherwise, who created a far more interesting world and told a far better story with much less skill in putting words in the "right" places.

    EDIT: For what it's worth, I enjoyed it a lot more as it went on - I thought the opening section was dreadful, and the later two-thirds or so greatly improved - but I don't think you'll change your mind over anything you haven't read yet, and I wouldn't blame you for it, either. I bought it in last month's Kindle sale, and for pocket change, it was okay, but I'd be somewhat annoyed with myself if I'd paid much more.
    Last edited by Eight Rooks; 19-12-2013 at 02:31 AM.

  8. #1868
    Quote Originally Posted by Zephro View Post
    Dickens however can fuck right off.
    Ah, but few writers are more florid than Wilde! The difference between the prose of Wilde and Dickens, however, is that while Wilde often has the ear of a poet, Dickens has the ear of a Christian Missionary.

    Also, I wholeheartedly agree with your earlier recommendation of Woolf's Orlando. It's a brilliant, daring and original novel, but to appreciate why requires a little study, in my opinion. For instance, understanding something of the relationship between Woolf and her father (and his work), and the life of Vita Sackville-West and her 'lost' inheritance, gives the novel resonance you don't get on face value alone. I urge everyone to give it a spin.
    Last edited by glimpse fade yelp; 19-12-2013 at 03:39 PM.
    "Oh, evolution. It wasn't meant for everyone."

  9. #1869
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus coldvvvave's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Moscow, Russia
    Posts
    1,674
    Quote Originally Posted by fiddlesticks View Post
    As for books that are definitely not classics, I'm currently slowly making my way through Patrick Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind and not really enjoying myself. I'm 500 pages in now and I strongly considered stopping 200 pages ago, but a friend gifted this to me on my birthday so I feel obligated to finish it. The main problem I have is that I find the main character absolutely insufferable and given that almost the entire book is either about him doing stuff or his friends telling him how amazing he is for doing stuff there's not a lot left to actually like. If there was at least some kind of genuine conflict or tension, but absolutely nothing of note has happened in the last hundred pages. I heard that this is the first entry in a trilogy, but unless the other books are a signficant improvement I'll stop at this one.
    The main reason I kept reading it is to laugh at how bad the protagonist screws up to end up how he did. Second novel fails to deliver on that though as it's basically a number stories with some clues to the larger plot. Still, can't say I wasn't enertained. It did feel exactly as an edgier version of Harry Potter.
    Quote Originally Posted by Drake Sigar View Post
    You are an enemy of gaming.

  10. #1870
    Network Hub Gerbick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    York
    Posts
    279
    Just finished Outer Dark by Cormac McCarthy (I'm somewhat bingeing on his novels at the moment, having read The Road and Blood Meridian in recent months). McCarthy has a knack of pulling me into each place he writes about, even when nothing much is happening. Outer Dark is not as bleak and startling as The Road, nor as grim and visceral as Blood Meridian, but I was still caught up in the lives of the central characters in ways that not many other writers manage.

  11. #1871
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sketch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    2,635
    Been reading The Name of the Wind. If you say something's an easy read, often people will think it's due to a lack of maturity or depth etc. but I'm really enjoying it as it flows well yet is intriguing. Probably helps that I'm reading it directly after reading some of the first Malazan book.
    steam: sketch

  12. #1872
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    1,596
    Quote Originally Posted by Sketch View Post
    Been reading The Name of the Wind. If you say something's an easy read, often people will think it's due to a lack of maturity or depth etc. but I'm really enjoying it as it flows well yet is intriguing. Probably helps that I'm reading it directly after reading some of the first Malazan book.
    Yeah, I really enjoy Trudi Canavan's books because I think they're just really easy reads, but I always hesitate to mention that when I recommend them because I don't want people to think they lack merit because of it. It is a silly notion.

  13. #1873
    I'm coming to the end of my current backlog of reading.

    Can anyone recommend something for me?

    Ideally, I'm looking for something literary, original, and with a bit of black comedy thrown in. I don't get on well with fantasy and sci-fi usually (Pratchett, Adams, Gaiman don't do it for me), but I'll keep an open mind. Any era is good.
    "Oh, evolution. It wasn't meant for everyone."

  14. #1874
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus mrpier's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    1,313
    Quote Originally Posted by glimpse fade yelp View Post
    ...something literary, original, and with a bit of black comedy thrown in.
    Well, almost anything by Kurt Vonnegut springs to mind there.

  15. #1875
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    1,596
    Quote Originally Posted by mrpier View Post
    Well, almost anything by Kurt Vonnegut springs to mind there.
    And catch 22.

  16. #1876
    Quote Originally Posted by mrpier View Post
    Well, almost anything by Kurt Vonnegut springs to mind there.
    I'm a big fan...read 'em all I think! But that's definitely the kind of thing I enjoy.
    "Oh, evolution. It wasn't meant for everyone."

  17. #1877
    Quote Originally Posted by Serenegoose View Post
    And catch 22.
    I got about a quarter way through it a few years ago but set it aside for some reason. Might be a good time to try again...thanks.
    "Oh, evolution. It wasn't meant for everyone."

  18. #1878
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Faldrath's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    So Paulo
    Posts
    1,210
    Quote Originally Posted by glimpse fade yelp View Post
    I'm coming to the end of my current backlog of reading.

    Can anyone recommend something for me?

    Ideally, I'm looking for something literary, original, and with a bit of black comedy thrown in. I don't get on well with fantasy and sci-fi usually (Pratchett, Adams, Gaiman don't do it for me), but I'll keep an open mind. Any era is good.
    Ever read Auto-da-Fe? One of the greatest books ever written, and it certainly ticks your three conditions.

  19. #1879
    Moderator Anthile's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    People's Republic of Germany
    Posts
    2,526
    Thomas Pynchon can be pretty funny if he wants to. He's essentially a smarter Neal Stephenson.
    New! A Steam curator page focusing on Immersive Sims WIP
    Not exactly new! The Fall of Infinite Games 2014 - A handy release schedule for the dark season.
    Kind of old! Thrust Issues: A Marvelous Guide to Fencing in Dark Souls 2

    to wound the autumnal city.

  20. #1880
    Quote Originally Posted by Faldrath View Post
    Ever read Auto-da-Fe? One of the greatest books ever written, and it certainly ticks your three conditions.
    I haven't, and reading the blurb on Amazon it sounds like just the thing. Thank you!
    "Oh, evolution. It wasn't meant for everyone."

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •