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Topic: I need a recommendation

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Subject: I need a recommendation
Date Posted: 6/8/2010 9:20 AM ET
Member Since: 7/9/2009
Posts: 186
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So, I was thinking yesterday that it's been too long since I read a "classic". I was feeling guilty that I've been reading too much contemporary lit. So, I need a suggestion. Which classic should I read that isn't too painful? I don't mind a challenge or a book that's long, but I don't want something that's going to kill me.

Ideas?

Date Posted: 6/8/2010 4:47 PM ET
Member Since: 2/16/2009
Posts: 483
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I have two suggestions for you: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  Both are excellent books, easy to read, and not overly long.  Each has a way of drawing the reader in and also incorporates some humor as well. 

 

 

 

Edited to add the rest of the title!



Last Edited on: 6/8/10 9:05 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/8/2010 9:21 PM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2009
Posts: 9,464
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Gotta to stretch "classic" like a rubber band to get To Kill A Mockingbird in, but I second Huck Finn. However, it is the most pessimistic book in all American Lit.

Date Posted: 6/9/2010 4:23 AM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2007
Posts: 702
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Ah, come on, John.  It's fify years old (barely)!  Or, did you mean that it doesn't fit the classic category in other ways?

Date Posted: 6/9/2010 6:13 AM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2007
Posts: 5,039
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With "apologies" to John, some classics I'd suggest are: Little Women, Catcher in the Rye, Ethan Frome, The Great Gatsby, Gone With the Wind, The Ugly American, Tess of the D'Ubervilles, The Postman Always Rings Twice and Silas Marner.  I guess I prefer the "more modern" classics.  (And I agree that To Kill a Mockingbird is a classic for sure!)

ETA:  I guess in my mind a "classic" is a book that endures, no matter the reason.  To Kill a Mockingbird qualifies.  But then, so does Valley of the Dolls.  It's classic in it's own category.

 



Last Edited on: 6/9/10 7:30 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/10/2010 3:16 AM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2007
Posts: 702
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Does anyone read Valley of the Dolls any more?  I'm not disagreeing; I just haven't heard of anyone that has read it other than those of us who did back when.   I'll have to look up exactly when it did come out.  I'm sure it's not 50 years old (not that we've agreed on that time frame), because I KNOW that I didn't read it when I was 10!

Date Posted: 6/10/2010 5:46 AM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2007
Posts: 5,039
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Valley of the Dolls came out in 1966--so, it's only 44 years old.  But still a classic (to me).  I read it last year and it was a hoot and a half.  A page turner.  Couldn't put it down.  And yes, pure trash.   But books this fun will surely endure.

Date Posted: 6/10/2010 12:14 PM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2009
Posts: 9,464
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I could put you on to many more, classic by your definition. Black Cat books they were known as; early Grove Press. Unfortunately, Mother found them under my bed and burned them. They were great fun, while they lasted. wink

Date Posted: 6/10/2010 12:14 PM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2009
Posts: 9,464
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I could put you on to many more, classic by your definition. Black Cat books they were known as; early Grove Press. Unfortunately, Mother found them under my bed and burned them. They were great fun, while they lasted. wink

Date Posted: 6/10/2010 2:58 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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Ha ha ha ha-----so you were one of those unfortunate kids whose parent(s) kept track of what you were reading, Professor?   Not me!   The only constraint ever on my reading material was (1) the public library had to have it to be checked out; (2) anything intriguing I found in the used book place and wanted to buy had to be paid for out of my (Depression Era) "modest" allowance  (PENNIES counted, in those days!);  (3) it had to have been given to me at Sunday School. or (4) it had to be published in Grandpa's copy of the K.C. Times or Star.   (The newspaper used to run Thornton Burgess's nature stories for children, among other things. 

Once in a while, when my mother got home from work, she'd make a crack about me having my "nose in a book AGAIN".    Mostly, none of the adults ever showed any concern with what I was reading---I suppose they thought ANY book was good for a kid to read.    One time, I was given as a gift an unexpurgated edition of The Arabian Nights, the one translated by Sir Richard Burton (that old critic of Victorian mores, NOT the Welsh actor).   Had she known about his cheerfully wicked literal translations of the "hanky-panky"  in it, my Methodist Episcopalian grandmother would have had a conniption!

Date Posted: 6/10/2010 7:11 PM ET
Member Since: 7/9/2009
Posts: 186
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Okay, I've read Huck Finn - great book. And I've read Mockingbird - which I DON'T like. And, I've just ordered Valley of the  Dolls.

Keep the suggestions coming! 

Date Posted: 6/11/2010 5:15 AM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2007
Posts: 702
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Oh, no!  Be still, my heart!  You are the first person that I've ever heard that disliked Mockingbird.  Tell me why.

Date Posted: 6/12/2010 2:49 PM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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Oh, my -- I'm with Vivian. Disliked To Kill a Mockingbird? I'm gobsmacked.

Date Posted: 6/12/2010 6:26 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2007
Posts: 5,039
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I have to agree with Vivian and Deb---I've never met ANYONE who didn't like (er, love) To Kill A Mockingbird. Sarah, just wondering....what turned you off?

Date Posted: 6/13/2010 7:45 PM ET
Member Since: 2/22/2009
Posts: 4
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Those are all nice classics. Here are a few more that I love: Dracula by Bram Stoker, Crime and Punishment by Dostevsky, Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, and Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov.

Date Posted: 6/18/2010 12:36 PM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2008
Posts: 123
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OOooh, brain overload here!!!

I definitely second the Louisa May Alcott recommendations--Little Women, An Old-Fashioned Girl, and Eight Cousins are all wonderful. R. L. Stevenson is great--probably Treasure Island is the best to start with, although my personal favorite is Kidnapped, with it's sequel Catriona. You might try a Jane Austen or two, see if you like her...

Date Posted: 6/19/2010 10:43 AM ET
Member Since: 7/3/2009
Posts: 10
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Certainly Ethan Frome. It is not a terribly difficult read. I would also recommend E.M. Forster. I love him so perhaps that is why I suggest him a lot. Either way, Howards End and Maurice are some good reads. Additionally, I would recommend some Willa Cather. While I was pained to take a course entirely focused on My Antonia, I would still recommend it. There is, however, Cather's book One of Ours. While not her most notable, it is perhaps my favorite. She tackles a lot of issues in the book, but it is still a very enjoyable read.