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Topic: Are Lawrence Durrell books - Alexandria Quartet - classics?

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Subject: Are Lawrence Durrell books - Alexandria Quartet - classics?
Date Posted: 8/20/2009 4:51 PM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2006
Posts: 368
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I do not know this author at all. Today I was pricing books while cashering during my volunteer time at the FOL store. I asked a co-worker if I should shelve the 4 books in fiction or what. A customer about to be served identified herself as a retired librarian. She was adamant about their being classics. Are there other opinions out there? I bought all 4 and will start the 1st one - Justine - soon. Then I'd like to send all 4 on to the same person or return them to the store to reput in the inventory. Do you know of anyone who'd like all 4? They are like new, and I will do my very best to keep them that way as I begin to read. Thanks for your input. At the store we are curious about the responses I may receive.

Date Posted: 8/20/2009 6:10 PM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2009
Posts: 9,450
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After you finish, send them to me and I will be happy to send you four credits.

Durrell a "classic" writer. If not, close. He does have also a very large following, almost a cult. My old office-mate was and maybe still is secretary/treasurer of something called Lawrance Durrell Society. Every year they have a convention in some interesting location that Durrell frequented. They always paid his way for ten days of fun and games.

Ihave read three of the four and personally his prose is a bit too, how do you say, purple, for my taste. But he is very good.

Date Posted: 8/21/2009 8:19 AM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2006
Posts: 368
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Thanks for the information. I shall try "Justine" the first of the series.   I'm responsible for shelving children's classics and Newberry and other award winner books. You'd be surprised how much minor, sometimes major, contention there can be over whether a book belongs in children's classics or adults. My idea is that with authors like Twain or Verne  most people will look for them in the adult section, not children's. Oh well, I'm just a volunteer.

Date Posted: 8/21/2009 10:03 AM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2009
Posts: 9,450
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Since you mention children's books and that you deal with them and get to watch the kids:

I was raised in a house full of books. I went through all Twain readable to me at that age when I was about eleven or twelve. Really liked Roughing It; still do. The smokehouse was full of books, too. Mother put stuff out there I was not supposed to read. My dad had acquired The Thousand Nights and One Night unexpurgated in some imported series. Mother said I was NEVER to read that terrible trash. So I nearly went blind out there (the smokehousewas dark, no windows) looking for whatever was supposed to be so bad. Accounts of bestiality meant littleto a farm boy and the best I ever found was, like, "And he swived her until she swooned." I did learn that you can't censor what kids read. :)

On a very limited budget, Mother bought us the best kids books. I still have them. There used to be Junior Literary Guild books. Do you know of them?  MOre questions about children's lit later; must go right now.

Date Posted: 8/21/2009 3:11 PM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2006
Posts: 368
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Yes, we occassionally got something somewhat like you described, although I can't recall the exact title. We still get solo copies of children's books called "The Great Classics". Boy do they move fast. We put them out and they are gone! People like to but our older hardbound copies of classics, both children and adult.

Date Posted: 8/24/2009 10:57 AM ET
Member Since: 9/25/2006
Posts: 314
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A couple of people whose opinion I respect said to me that the Alex Quartet was a tour de force. But the times I dipped into one of its volumes, the high modernist prose really made my brain hurt. I liked Bitter Lemons, about the political turmoil in Cyprus in the early 1950s, but I always like stories about expatriates in trouble.