Discussion Forums - Classic Literature

Topic: "Challenging" Reads

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Date Posted: 7/9/2014 11:17 AM ET
Member Since: 9/25/2006
Posts: 314
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When I taught English in Latvia, I liked to take visitors on walks to see art nouveau buildings in Riga. Great place to jog, too, but watch the cobblestones.....

Date Posted: 7/9/2014 6:52 PM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2009
Posts: 611
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Holy smoke Matt....great bldgs!! I wish So.Cal architecture had some of that personality going for it. We have a repugnant blend of everything but the kitchen sink, pseudoMexican, and Mediterranean as our style. Well, when you tip the USA sideways everything rolls downhill to California....so why not an architectural melting pot as well I suppose.

Date Posted: 7/16/2014 8:59 PM ET
Member Since: 6/8/2013
Posts: 1,022
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I received a copy of "the magus" today, it felt "difficult" before I even had it out of the package. The back cover comments make it sound very accessible so hopefully it is!

I do agree with (I think it was Charles) about age and reading, plus this website which makes books so easy to acquire. I have over 70 unread books on my shelf so if something I'm reading doesn't grab me relatively quickly, I have no problem abandoning it. 

Date Posted: 7/17/2014 9:48 AM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2008
Posts: 3,012
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I have only read two books by Fowles. In each case I read the book after seeing the movie. The Collector I found much better than the movie and for me the book was also better than the movie of The French Lieutenant's Woman. I seem to recall a movie was made of The Magus, but I haven't seen it or read the book. You'll have to tell us about it if you finish it.

Date Posted: 7/17/2014 9:12 PM ET
Member Since: 6/8/2013
Posts: 1,022
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The Red Pony isn't a challenging read but it sure is a challenge to find any value in it. I like Steinbeck but my reading of this was like watching one of those "saw" movies. Well written but I'm completely missing the point of it. 

Date Posted: 7/23/2014 6:39 PM ET
Member Since: 6/8/2013
Posts: 1,022
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The Magus wasn't challenging, just long. For some reason I confused it with "The Recognitions" by William Gaddis, which appeared at the end of the list Anita posted. 

The Magus is a good read but ultimately disappointing as any book of this type would be. The book jumps all over the place and doesn't really get consistently interesting til halfway through the 700 or so pages of the novel. While gripping and entertaining, when it was all over it seemed a bit nonsensical. And the lead male character really becomes someone I detested. My impression of him at the beginning of the book was a free spirit with intellectual leanings towards the end of the book, he comes off as one of the most naive and weak men I've ever read about. 

Date Posted: 8/8/2014 3:33 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2009
Posts: 551
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Doug, you've sure talked me out of ever reading that book!

                                                                       Rose

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