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Topic: Premature Praise?

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Subject: Premature Praise?
Date Posted: 9/22/2014 7:57 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
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I just started reading Vanity Fair. Never have I come across a book in which the author is so present in his own story. He's breaking the 4th wall constantly and I don't mind!

And when Becky Sharp threw her Dixonary gift out of the carriage I knew immediately that I am going to love to hate her.

 

has anyone read Vanity Fair?

Date Posted: 9/23/2014 8:21 AM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2008
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the author is so present in his own story

another book like that is The Way of all Flesh by Samuel Butler. Butler stops the story for a few sentences and imparts some life lessons throughout the book.

I've never read Vanity Fair. I used to have it in a pbk that had Nicole Kidman on the front cover. I don't know if I still have it or not.



Last Edited on: 9/23/14 10:44 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/23/2014 6:11 PM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2009
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I really enjoyed the book. I also liked the DVD with Reese Witherspoon.

Date Posted: 9/24/2014 4:27 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2009
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Vanity Fair is so witty! Thackeray makes the story such a treat to read.

                                                                     Rose

Date Posted: 9/25/2014 10:05 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
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Yeah, it was great to read about that avaricious hussy, Becky, and her social-climbing career and to hope she'd  come to grief, ultimately, 'cause she sure deserved it! 

Charles, how could you not have read it?   You've read almost everything else any of us mentions . . . .

Date Posted: 9/25/2014 10:13 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2008
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mention something else. maybe I've read that.

Date Posted: 9/26/2014 6:33 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
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Charles have you read  "The Woman in White" by Wilkie Collins? That was pretty good.

Date Posted: 9/26/2014 7:52 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2008
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No I haven't read any Collins. At one time some of the people I knew were reading The Moonstone but I never got on that bus. I got burned out on Dickens trying to read David Copperfield. I guess I don't have the patience to take the time it takes to wade through those old big books. Never read any George Elliot. The Mill on the Floss is too big. I've never read Trollope either. At least not his fiction. I have read a couple of his travel books. In college I was an American lit major so I guess I lean that way. I like mostly the modern British writers.

Date Posted: 9/26/2014 8:44 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
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Geez, I feel old-----when I was in J-school in the late Nineteen-Forties, in my lit class, American Novels, we read authors such as Theodore Dreiser, Sinclair Lewis, Ernest Hemingway, and John Steinbeck.   (I was graduated in June, 1949,  and started working on newspapers for the next several years.  I remember reading Thomas Wolfe, Truman Capote, more Willa Cather, Thomas Costain, and other good writers, and a little of the 'bulk fiction' of  those decades.)  But I don't know when American literature became "modern" . . . .or who the "modern" British authors are?

I was saddened to hear that Charles doesn't have the patience to take the time "to wade through those old big books".    That phrase makes reading something such as Adam Bede or The Way We Live Now sound like slogging through a swamp, but I never found it so.  Does everything have to proceed at a break-neck pace?   Do I have to take a course in Speed-Reading?



Last Edited on: 9/26/14 8:48 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 9/26/2014 9:12 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2008
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1949. That was the year Betty McDonald published The Egg and I. Did you read that? When I was much younger I thought the ending of An American Tragedy was set up for a sequel. remember the final scene is a repetition of the opening scene except Clyde is missing of course. That book had a big impact on the 30's and 40's gangster movies. Dreiser's description of Clyde walking down a long hallway toward the chair was repeated many times in the movies.

Don't be sad Bonnie. I'm not.

Date Posted: 9/27/2014 2:51 AM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2009
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I love Wilkie Collins (The Moonstone and Woman in White are especially brilliant) and adore Charles Dickens (David Copperfield is my favorite of his books). Right now I am reading The Old Curiosity Shop for book club , which meets on Monday morning. As for George Eliot, the only book of hers I really like is Mill On the Floss. I am so grateful to have access to these marvelous works.

                                                                                                                                         Rose

Date Posted: 9/27/2014 6:09 AM ET
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I stayed at a small hotel once in London. The lady of the house had a set of hardcover works of Dickens. The books were large with lots of illustrations. We were welcome to read any of them if we liked. I decided to try David Copperfield because of that scene in Gone With the Wind where Melanie reads aloud David Copperfield to the circle of ladies waiting for the men to return. I always remember that first line. 'I am born.' I managed to finish the book but didn't enjoy it much. I have read Great Expectations twice. That one I like.

Date Posted: 9/29/2014 9:36 AM ET
Member Since: 9/25/2006
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Without planning to, I read this year A Tale of Two Cities, Oliver Twist, and Martin Chuzzlewit.ATTC rocked because of the descriptions and Syd's nobility. OT had great descriptions, the baddies were really strong characters but the story was silly and disorganized.MC had a few strong characters but best was the satire on the various faults of people in the ante-bellum USA.

Date Posted: 10/2/2014 8:12 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
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Okay, the word premature is in the title of this thread for a reason. I tend to peter out on books like we've discussed thus far. I've read David Copperfield. I actually finished it. I can honestly say it was good at the beginning and then proceeded to have long stretches of nothing and then it finished leaving me with a is-that-all-there-is? ending. I also like the story of Great Expectations. The beginning is edge-of-your-seat stuff to get readers attached to this serial story--I get that. But I got bored when Pip went off to the city. Finished by watching a couple versions of the movie. Favorite Dickens, to me, is A Christmas Carol. Not because it's short, but because I enjoy a good ghost story and Ebenezer Scrooge says the most wickedest things ever! I just love his lines: "Then they better get on with it and decrease the surplus population."  I mean wow! 

Now Vanity Fair. The plot, the story itself, is a great one. I was right, as it turned out, I do love to hate Becky Sharp. I never felt sorry for her--ever. I didn't care for simpering little Amelia, ghastly glutton, brother Jos, and George Osborne-- that rake! My favorite character was Dobbin, the poor man. I would have married him. Great characters and there are more too numerous to mention. 

About 20% into the story I grew tired of Thackeray's chronic presence and interruptive ramblings that goes on for pages and pages. I found myself skipping his "wit" and trying and trying to find where he finally gets on with the story. His writing was droll at first, then it just got dreary. I ended up watching the 1998 BBC version of this story on youtube. At first I'd read and then watch. I appreciated that the show stayed with the book version and did not take artistic liberties. I especially appreciate that the dialogue on the show is the same as in the book. But the story was so good that I couldn't stop myself from binge watching it.  Besides, like I said, reading the book became a chore, due to Thackeray's writing style.

 

Date Posted: 10/3/2014 6:13 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
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Laura, this comment isn't exactly what you mean, but I wanted to report what happened when I read Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go.  It was the fourth novel by him that I read.   Two of the earlier three were set in post-WW II Japan, and were melancholic in tone, to say the least.  (They were A Pale View of Hills and An Artist of the Floating World.)

You probably read Remains of the Day, also set in post WW II days, but in England.  It, too, was melancholic, as a butler, upon his retirement,  reviews his career "in service" to a Nazi sympathizer and is emotionally undone by these thoughts and feelings.

But I believed it would be interesting to read more of Ishiguro;s work, so I undertook to read a book one of my grandkids told me about---Never Let Me Go.   It's a dystopian novel, about an inhumane use of biological technology in the near future.  The writing is good, but the book gave me the shudders, and I have to question the raison d'etre of such a book.



Last Edited on: 10/3/14 6:14 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/13/2014 1:00 AM ET
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The reason of such a book? My guess is he's exploring the ugly possibilities of organ transplants and "donations." 



Last Edited on: 10/13/14 1:00 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/17/2014 5:34 PM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
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Love discussions such as this as it helps me choose new reads.  For those who haven't discovered Wilkie Collins,you don't know what you are missing.  Having read The Moonstone and Woman in White, which were long but soo good,  I turned to Classic Ghost Stories because Wilkie Collins was the first author listed.  I was not disappointed at all!



Last Edited on: 10/17/14 5:37 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/18/2014 11:32 AM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2008
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what do you do about people who don't like the same thing you like?

Date Posted: 10/19/2014 8:58 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
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Well, there was once someone who twitted me about my 'narrow' reading range.  I believe she said it in response to my mildly bad-mouthing mysteries, particularly those about "chick-dicks"  (female detectives).  So . o . o . o, I read Nice Girls Finish Last, by Sparkle Hayter.

Ain't never gonna bother doing sumpin like that again.

Date Posted: 10/26/2014 12:10 AM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
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what do you do about people who don't like the same thing you like?

 

I didn't know we had to do anything with them.