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Topic: Feb Book

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Subject: Feb Book
Date Posted: 1/25/2011 9:58 AM ET
Member Since: 9/20/2008
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After the success of Madame Bovary I was wondering if anyone was interested in doing another selection for Feb. It can be within are challenge parameters or just a book that people want to read. Personally, I truly enjoy the discussion and the varying perspectives people offer on the selected reading. I see no reason to stop. What is everyone's thoughts on the matter?

Date Posted: 1/26/2011 11:06 AM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
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I enjoyed the discussion as well.  The ongoing commentary even if we've only read a chapter or two was what was different this time. 

Maybe this method helps readers stay involved? I know that when I have to wait to finish a book I forget some of the finer details of the story.

 

As for a February book, I'd love it if we could offer 3 book suggestions

or

offer 3 category suggestions.

For February I plan to read my Family Conflict selections. I have two in this category. Winter of our Discontent by Steinbeck and Howard's End

But I am not above reading from a different category. I am in a gothic novel phase right now so Wuthering Heights would fit this mood.

Then again, the frontier selection is calling my name too. I really want to read Silas Lapham because someone said W.D. Howells is a pretty good writer.



Last Edited on: 1/26/11 11:09 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/26/2011 10:31 PM ET
Member Since: 9/20/2008
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Tome,

With the exception of Silas Lapham I like all of your suggestions. I am not opposed to reading it I just know nothing about the book or its author. Please share any info you might have on either. Otherwise the idea of reading Steinbeck, Bronte or Forester sounds good to me. The only book I would add to the list right now is W. Somerset Maugham's The Moon and the Sixpence .

 

 

Date Posted: 1/27/2011 11:49 PM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2009
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Silas Lapham is a fine example of American Realism. It is also very dull. I wouldn't recommend it for other than a palliative for insomnia.

Date Posted: 1/28/2011 7:30 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
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I am in big trouble. 

Off to find another book to replace Silas. I don't  NOT have a high tolerance for boredom.

Date Posted: 1/28/2011 8:03 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
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Several members have The Good Earth on their list for Non-European author.

Interested in reading it together? 

Date Posted: 1/28/2011 10:05 PM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2009
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YOu mean we are using Americans as non-european authors? Isn't  that sidestepping the purpose of the category?

Date Posted: 1/28/2011 11:18 PM ET
Member Since: 1/24/2009
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Good evening.  I really enjoyed the conversations of Madame Bovary, so I would be in this month.

I had plans to read Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights this month, but I would be open to anything.

ETA: I also like the suggestiion of having about 3 books to pick from....just in case some of us aren't as "read" as others.  I, myself,  am classic newbie...except for what I had to read for American Lit. wink



Last Edited on: 1/28/11 11:20 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/28/2011 11:33 PM ET
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What part of an American author makes him or her European?  One's  ethnic heritage or descendants of an American born author don't count.  This goes for Australians, Canadians, and any other country in which Europeans invaded settled but created citizen children of the new country.

If the book was not written in Europe proper and it's 50 + years old and It's a classic that an average well read person has heard of then it'll work. 

America, Canada, Australia, South Africa and Eastern Russia are not part of Europe. 

Authors born in America, Canada, Australia, Africa, for example, are typically not European citizens.  Mark Twain for example, was born in Missouri. His parents  were from Virginia and Kentucky.  Perhaps John and Jane Clemens's parents came from Europe, it still doesn't make Mark Twain European any more than you or me.  Twain, you, me, are American and therefore NON European. 

For me, my choices are The Good Earth  by the American author Pearl S. Buck who spent a great deal of time in Asia.

or Cry My Beloved Country by Alan Paton who was born in South Africa.

Or maybe I'll finish Huck FInn

 

Just my thoughts.

 

 

 

 



Last Edited on: 1/29/11 2:07 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 1/29/2011 5:11 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
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Of course, there were a few writers who were as British (or French, etc.) as they were American----I remember thinking along those lines when I read The American (1877) by Henry James and The Buccaneers (1938) by Edith Wharton, to give a couple of  examples.

And a kind of 'globalization' seems to be going on in the realm of literature . . .  One of the authors I have read, Thomas Keneally,  whose book The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, made me think, is (nominally) an Australian.  BUT, when a survivor of the Holocaust, working in a California jewelry shop, got to talking with a customer, an Australian visitor to the U. S., and discovered that the customer was the author Thomas Keneally, he seized upon the serendipitous occasion to tell Keneally the story of Oskar Schindler and how Herr Schindler had "saved" a sizeable group of Jews fromHitler's "final solution", the Nazi death camps.   He must have felt that he had found someone upon whom he could rely  to tell the real-life story that truly needed to be told to the world, and told well.

When I first started reading "post-colonial lit" in the mid-Eighties, there were some writers, passionate and articulate, speaking out around the world, such as Nadine Gordimer, a white woman writing in her native English language from her home in that part of Africa dominated by the Boers.    From India came books by R. K Narayan, V. S. Naipaul, Anita Desai, and others.  Another writer from "Down Under" (besides Keneally) was Patrick White (remember, Australia was not simply a colony, but a prison colony of England).  And a New Zealand woman writer, Keri Hulme, penned a fine novel, The Bone People.

The aforementioned all wrote in English, whether it was their native, or an acquired, language.   If you take a look around these days, outstanding literature---novels, stories, essays, biographies, and memoirs----is coming from everywhere,   Some of it has to be translated into English, true, for all of us monolingual readers.   But high-caliber literature is being produced, never fear.  Just recall how  the Nobel Prizes for Literature for the last few decades have been awarded to writers from "hither, thither, and yon."

 



Last Edited on: 12/30/11 3:20 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 1/30/2011 3:17 PM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2009
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I guess what I mean is that if I read authors from Asia or Africa [or even from what used to be referred to as The Balkans], I get a different perspective of the world from what I am used to. If I read an American writer, I do not.

Date Posted: 1/30/2011 10:04 PM ET
Member Since: 9/20/2008
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I see what you are saying John. Reading something with an Asian or African perspective would be interesting. Do you have any suggestions?

 

Also as far as the book of the month goes I suggest these three to vote on:

 

  1.  The Good Earth
  2. Ivanhoe
  3. Jane Eyre

They all seem to be popular selections this year.

Date Posted: 1/30/2011 11:29 PM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2009
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I haven't read Ivanhoe in a long time, but a discussion on it should be interesting. It gets my vote, but I will go along with whatever is decided on.

Date Posted: 1/31/2011 12:01 AM ET
Member Since: 1/24/2009
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I only have Jane Eyre, so that is what I vote for.

ETA:  However, I will read whatever is chosen.  To be honest, I started Jane Eyre Friday and can't put it down. lol 



Last Edited on: 1/31/11 8:29 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/31/2011 10:06 AM ET
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I guess what I mean is that if I read authors from Asia or Africa [or even from what used to be referred to as The Balkans], I get a different perspective of the world from what I am used to

 

I need a list of suggestions too. I could not find anything that was classic 50+ years and written by an Asian or African or Aboriginal.

Most classics are written by Europeans or who have European ancestry.  

I've already read Things Fall Apart which was pretty good, but I don't care to read it again.

Date Posted: 1/31/2011 10:07 AM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
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Also as far as the book of the month goes I suggest these three to vote on

  1. The Good Earth
  2. Ivanhoe
  3. Jane Eyre

 

All of them sound good. I don't have a preference either.  Ivanhoe's on my list. I guess I'll vote for that one, although it intimidates me for some reason. 

Subject: Japanese writers
Date Posted: 1/31/2011 1:32 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
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About Asian authors----if you've never read anything by Yasunari Kawabata, maybe you'd ought to take a look at something of his.  He was  the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968.  Works of his that I have read are: The Sound of the Mountain,  Snow Country, and  Palm-of-the-Hand Stories.  The first two are novels, and the third, a literary experiment of his, consists of a collection of short-short stories.   Snow Country is "the passionate story of a geisha's affair in an exotic pleasure resort" that the San Francisco Chronicle called "a vignette of Oriental decadence, beautifully presented. . .a work of art."   If you read this little novel in the wintertime (as I did), you will probably find yhourself, along with the principals, longing for the spring that seems so far away from the Snow Country."  

The third work, a literary experiment of his, consists of a collection of short-short stories.  Think 'as a haiku is to an epic poem, so is a palm-of-the-hand story to a prose saga.."   In the haiku, you count the syllables---in a palm-of-the-hand story, you count the words    Makes one remember the English+language saying "Brevity is the soul of Wit", hunh? 

Another Japanese writer worth your consideration is Junichiro Tanizaki, who wrote TADE KUU MUSHI, which was "so well rendered into English by E. G. Seidensticker" as Some Prefer Nettles (1955).  The N. Y. Times quotation continued "There is not a false note in the translation."   In this novel  the hero, Kaname, lives in stylish, Westernized Tokyo, and seeks retreat from a 'modern' marriage in the elusive, evocative world of his childhood---the 'floating world of traditional Japan."

That mention of "the floating world" makes me think of Kazuo Ishiguro,  whose first two novels were A Pale View of Hills and  An Artist of the Floating World.  both set in post World War II Japan.   BUT, the "provenance' (if one may use that notion about written artworks) of Kawabata and Tanizaki is . . . . . .well, more 'authentic', because  Ishiguro was practically a Brit, born and raised in London.  I believe he did not even visit Japan until after he was a published author.  You will remember how thoroughly BRITISH his The Remains of the Day was? (He must have gotten the ideas for those first two novels from his Japanese parents, who moved to England and saw to it that Kazuo obtained an "English" education.)

The reason I am not including Kobo Abe, Kenzaburo Oe, Fumiko Enchi, and Yukio Michima is the 50-year old stipulation Tome Trader mentioned.    But a couple of titles I would recommend are The Woman in the Dunes (Abe), and The Waiting Years (Enchi).



Last Edited on: 12/30/11 3:16 PM ET - Total times edited: 7
Date Posted: 1/31/2011 7:30 PM ET
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I am going to vote for Ivanhoe as well.

Date Posted: 1/31/2011 8:06 PM ET
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Thank you, Bonnie.

You've given me much to look up and hunt around for.  If I can find a copy of Some Prefer Nettles or Snow Country I'll be all set. 

Ishiguro is one of my favorite authors. I've read his more English style books and like two of the three very much. 

Date Posted: 1/31/2011 8:06 PM ET
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Ivanhoe is a bit of a romance, I think. That would be appropriate for February. No?

Date Posted: 1/31/2011 9:06 PM ET
Member Since: 2/16/2009
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I would be happy to read Ivanhoe in February.  He's sitting on my TBR shelf.  I'd like to dislodge him.  :)

Date Posted: 1/31/2011 9:21 PM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2009
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Thanks for the help Bobbie. If you can't find a copy of Snow Country, Tome, I can loan you mine if you promise to send it back. smiley

And I will work on something similar to what Bonnie wrote for other possibilities.

And since when did this group worry about being totally strict with the 50 year stricture, or any other.

Date Posted: 2/1/2011 12:31 AM ET
Member Since: 1/24/2009
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So is the winner Ivanhoe?  I don't know that book.  Will have to find it....and fast! giddy up horsey!

Date Posted: 2/1/2011 12:41 AM ET
Member Since: 10/4/2010
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I'm down for Ivanhoe. smiley

Date Posted: 2/1/2011 3:42 AM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2007
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I would love to join the February discussion even though I'm not doing the Challenge this year.  However, I read Ivanhoe for last year's challenge and, although I liked it, I don't want to re-read it so soon.  As with Madame Bovary (also read last year for the Challenge), I'll just quietly lurk if this is the chosen book.

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