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Topic: Books "everyone" has read

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Subject: Books "everyone" has read
Date Posted: 2/6/2008 8:53 AM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
Posts: 3,823
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I was reading the forums at Amazon yesterday and saw that there a few books that it seems everyone has read...except for me. So, now I'm wondering if you guys have read these.

Sho-gun by James Clavell

Hawaii by James Michener - Some thought The Source is Michener's must read book. There was a bit of dissension on this one.

The Far Pavilions by M.M. Kaye

There were also a few Gore Vidal books discussed, but there wasn't a strong consensus of which book was the best. It was mostly his books about the presidents that were mentioned, but his Roman books, Creation and Julian were mentioned too.

Are these books as wonderful as the guys at Amazon say? According to them, these are all must read books of historical fiction. Now, I feel the need to read these books to "complete" my reading experience, lol. I've already requested some of them.  Have you all read these books? Am I the only reader of H/F who hasn't read these?

Date Posted: 2/6/2008 10:19 AM ET
Member Since: 9/19/2006
Posts: 2,940
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I haven't read any of them.  I do have The Far Pavilions, but haven't gotten to it yet.

Date Posted: 2/6/2008 11:43 AM ET
Member Since: 6/2/2005
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I haven't read any of them either ;)

Date Posted: 2/6/2008 12:07 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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Yes to Sho-gun and The Far Pavilions. Both are epic novels. I read the first many moons ago when I was in college - about 25+ years. I remember enjoying very much. But I don't think I'd go back and read it again. I don't have much of an interest right now in Asian history.

The latter book I read about 2 or 3 years ago. Well, I read most of it. I stopped about 3/4's of the way through. I can't say it's boring. It's just that I lost interest. It's like a movie that maybe could be better if the director cut some scenes.

Date Posted: 2/6/2008 12:46 PM ET
Member Since: 6/24/2007
Posts: 112
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Sho-gun is excellent! but...

Hawaii is superb!!! One of my top 5 favorite all-time books of any genre.  I've read it several times and it's my favorite of all Michener books.  The Source I would put at #5 on my Michener list, after Hawaii, Centennial, Chesapeake and The Covenant-but that's probably because of the part of the world it deals with.

Haven't read Far Pavilions, but just got Shadow of the Moon by the same author which came highly recommended from somebody-can't remember who now.

Date Posted: 2/6/2008 2:00 PM ET
Member Since: 9/23/2007
Posts: 106
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Haven't read Sho-gun or Hawaii.

I have either seen the movie of Far Pavilions or read the book--can't recall which--some time ago.  I do remember that I enjoyed the story.

Date Posted: 2/6/2008 3:04 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,507
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I have read, and enjoyed greatly, Hawaii by Mitchner. I like his books, generally, but I've not read all of them by a long shot.

Sho-Gun sounds good, I like historical epics. I've never heard of The Far Pavillions.

Date Posted: 2/6/2008 4:53 PM ET
Member Since: 3/6/2006
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Nope, haven't read any of 'em

Date Posted: 2/6/2008 6:28 PM ET
Member Since: 3/18/2007
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I have read Julian by  Gore Vidal and thought it was terrible.

Date Posted: 2/6/2008 7:08 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
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I haven't read any of them either.  I'm not even interested in them.

Date Posted: 2/6/2008 8:41 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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I am not a regular reader of historical fiction, but I did read James Michener's Hawaii with a certain fascination.  What interested me was the way the white, yellow, and brown 'races' commingled in the history of Hawaii.  He did this be tracing some individuals of each racial/ethnic group as they made their way to the Islands.  A lot of the book had to be omitted when moviemakers attempted to turn it into a film, with Julie Andrews, Max von Sydow, and others.  Reading their story was a lot more 'palatable' than reading a history of Hawaii, for sure!  There's a kind of a joke about Michener's tomes, up in Minnesota-----how in preparing for a Minnesota winter, one stocks up on coffee, whiskey, "white food" (Scandinavians' favorite kind), firewood, and a couple-three Michener books.

Date Posted: 2/7/2008 2:56 AM ET
Member Since: 3/31/2006
Posts: 28,452
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I was a huge MM Kaye fan in my 20s.  The Far Pavilions was wonderful!  I also read Hawaii, which was excellent, but I couldn't stomach any other Michener.  Centennial was like torture for me.

Date Posted: 2/7/2008 11:56 AM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
Posts: 3,823
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Thanks for the feedback! I went ahead and requested a couple of them and wishlisted the others. I'm going to try them all. I just wish they were all available in trade PB's because they are so much easier to read, especially when the books are so huge.  I am liking the idea of having all of these long, fat books that will last a while for me.

Has anyone read Michener's Alaska? I didn't even know he'd written this one, but I love books set in the Arctic, Alaska, really any freezing land, so I'm wondering if this one is any good. I kind of wish I'd requested Alaska instead of Hawaii.

Date Posted: 2/7/2008 12:20 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,507
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I've read Alaska, I didn't find it as strong as Hawaii but then, I've been to Hawaii and not Alaska, maybe that was what I liked best about it.

Date Posted: 2/7/2008 1:41 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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Alaska is good, but I agree with the above posters that Hawaii is one of the "jewels" in Michener's crown, and not to be missed. 

Have not read Sho-Gun yet; I remember the Far Pavillions from the PBS miniseries decades ago, and it is on my TBR list.

Cheers,

Catt

 

Date Posted: 2/7/2008 1:57 PM ET
Member Since: 9/23/2007
Posts: 106
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Ahhhhhh---Catt, that is where I saw the Far Pavillions.  I watched it on the PBS miniseries.  "Decades ago" really is not fair to me is it?!?!?!?!  Well I guess we all have to face reality sooner or later.

Date Posted: 2/7/2008 2:14 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
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No, no, Linda ... I'm sure you were watching reruns "decades" later :-)

Date Posted: 2/7/2008 2:25 PM ET
Member Since: 9/23/2007
Posts: 106
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Suuurrrre!!  Thanks anyway  :-)

Date Posted: 2/8/2008 10:31 PM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2007
Posts: 2,408
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I read Sho-Gun when I was 15 or 16 and remember really liking it. I read Far Pavilions at about the same time but I don't remember that one as well. I've not read Hawaii but I've seen the movie. I remember being really angry at Max von Sidow for a very long time over that movie!
Date Posted: 2/11/2008 11:31 AM ET
Member Since: 7/4/2007
Posts: 240
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I just read Shogun about a week ago. It was a wonderful book. I love Japan so it was right up my alley.