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Topic: I Started Ivanhoe

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Subject: I Started Ivanhoe
Date Posted: 2/2/2011 10:26 AM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
Posts: 25,000
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Ivanhoe's been on my TBR pile for a while. I have a rather attractive copy with an introduction by Diana Gibbaldon who is know for her Outlander series. Gibbaldon boasts of reading Ivanhoe at the tender age of 9.  Hmmm, that's some dense reading for a 9 year old. I am suspicious.

It's a rather fat book so I thought I'd get a head start. I am glad I did.

Just a heads up. If you're not familiar with English history, particularly the Norman conquest and the time of King Richard, you'll be sorry. I am so glad I read both Sarum and London by Edward Rutherford last year. I wouldn't know what the heck Scott's talking about if I hadn't. 

FYI, you'll need a mental machete to get though Scott's prose. 

Or maybe it'll be just me re-reading whole pages to find some clarity. If you need training wheels like I do, Sparknotes is available. LOL. Phew!

 

Good luck all.

 



Last Edited on: 2/2/11 10:28 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/3/2011 8:28 AM ET
Member Since: 9/20/2008
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Thanks for the heads up Tome! I am going to just do a brief historical overview of the time period. I just got the book via the Kindle.

Date Posted: 2/3/2011 12:50 PM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2009
Posts: 388
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So, we're definite on Ivanhoe for February? I bought my copy yesterday, so I'm on board if so!

Date Posted: 2/4/2011 7:36 AM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2009
Posts: 551
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Tome, "mental machete" and "training wheels"--I love your way with words!

                                                                                              Rose

Date Posted: 2/4/2011 8:49 AM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2007
Posts: 702
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I am completely ignorant on many phases of history.  I actually enjoyed Ivanhoe last year without knowing much of the background.  I especially enjoyed the Robin Hood parts.

Date Posted: 2/4/2011 4:31 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
Posts: 25,000
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thank you, Rosecheeky

Date Posted: 2/5/2011 10:36 AM ET
Member Since: 1/24/2009
Posts: 9,492
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Thanks for the heads up Tome.  I'm still waiting for my copy to come in.  Hopefully its at the Post Office as we speak.  Now I'm seeing if I can find some Spark Notes....to spark my knowledge. 

ETA:  GOT IT!!! laugh



Last Edited on: 2/5/11 3:07 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/5/2011 10:21 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
Posts: 25,000
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Yay, Lori.

Once you get used to the writing the reading is a piece of cake. For me, it takes a chapter or two to adjust, I guess because last night I began to enjoy it. 

 



Last Edited on: 2/6/11 8:44 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/18/2011 6:19 AM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2009
Posts: 551
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I'm about halfway through it. I really had no idea what it was going to be about, but I'm okay with it so far (not enthralled, though).

                                                                                                                               Rose

Date Posted: 2/20/2011 12:03 AM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
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I quit it and I am okay with the decision

 

A) It's tedious

B) The characters are pretty stock. Villians are super bad. Good guys win. Women are super beautiful and we're never allowed to forget about it. The old lady's a crazy hag.

C) There's little to no feedback going on here on these boards so why am I forcing myself to read something I am not wholeheartedly enjoying? 

D. I really, really am tired of the anti-semitism in this book.

Now I  do understand that Ivanhoe is an old book and probably historically this was the of way attitudes in the days of knights and armor and Richard the Lion Hearted and the Crusades. The Jews were persecuted and hated by just about everyone. Yet they made big money no matter what.  Blah, blah, yadda. Yes, I know there's a Shakespeare--Merchants of Venice--reference. Blah, blah, blah, yadda.

Was Scott an anti semite? No, I don't believe so. I believe he was pointing out some of the Christian hypocrisy of that time as well as his current time--maybe. I dunno. I don't care. I just got bored of it all.



Last Edited on: 2/20/11 1:13 AM ET - Total times edited: 4
Date Posted: 2/20/2011 9:19 AM ET
Member Since: 2/16/2009
Posts: 482
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Thank you for confessing, Tome.  Ironically, I made the decision to shake Sir Walter's dust from my heels yesterday afternoon!  It was such a relief, what a boring book.  The thees, thous, and forsoothes were killing me, as another reviewer said - it was if Scott were making it blatantly clear that he was writing a medieval novel and don't you forget it.  I ditched on chapter V with the introduction of Isaac of York.  I'm going back to Roughing It, by Mark Twain.  He's got his own prejudices but at least I haven't come across a "forsooth" in the first 100 pages.

Date Posted: 2/20/2011 12:33 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
Posts: 25,000
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I tried to read Roughing it about 5 times. I got as far as his gold mining adventures. 

Date Posted: 2/20/2011 12:59 PM ET
Member Since: 2/16/2009
Posts: 482
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I'm only at the Salt Lake City part.  The trip is rather a meandering  one...

Date Posted: 2/20/2011 11:27 PM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2009
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Thanks, Tome. I took a good shot at Ivanhoe. I really liked this book when I read it 30 or 50 years ago, but found it excessively tedious in all the ways you list and a couple more. It wasn't on my list anyway, and I am getting back to worse stuff. Ipicked Fenimore Cooper'sThePilot for my sea story, and Cooper's prose is indescribably awful.I will post a sample soon, so all of you can get some laughs.


Roughing It    First devoured that one when I was about 12. I also used it extensively later writing what I always thought my best published paper. It is the first sustained example of the way Twain created the naive but reliable first person narrator, which he perfected in Huck Finn and Hemingway did a pretty good job of emulating. Gatsby, too.

Watch what he is doing along those lines and maybe you will appreciate it more.

Date Posted: 2/21/2011 9:28 PM ET
Member Since: 10/4/2010
Posts: 244
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This is hilarious (to me, anyway): I was debating whether I should 'fess up (apostrophe required...?)  that I quit Ivanhoe around p. 4...& now I see that many others dropped it as well. No longer have to hang my head in shame. wink I quit for the reasons Tome originally posted: didn't know enough about the time period (& wasn't willing to do the research to find out -- too much like school, & I wasn't enjoying the writing style anyway).

In my defense (though I know it's probably not needed), I did recently look up the size of military units (brigades versus divisions, etc.) & the command hierarchy in order to better follow The Killer Angels...so I'm not a total sloth;it  just takes the right book. (& that was an amazing book, by the way, in case you haven't read it.)



Last Edited on: 2/21/11 9:28 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/21/2011 11:00 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
Posts: 25,000
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I quit Ivanhoe around p. 4..

 

Oh I could kick myself for making it to page 300. I so didn't want to be a quitter because I am such a ...well...quitter.

 

 

Case in point: I quote quit Killer Angels halfway in.  LOL. cheeky



Last Edited on: 2/22/11 2:34 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/22/2011 12:57 PM ET
Member Since: 10/4/2010
Posts: 244
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re: "Oh I could kick myself for making it to page 300."

But just think how much more enriched your life is than mine! You're 296 pages more enriched! wink (Enriched how or w/ what, I don't know.)

(Just to further my unnecessary defense: did I mention that my copy had the smallest print on the planet? Seriously, it was like the small print they don't want you to read on your credit card statement. And I don't even wear glasses. It was a sign!)

Date Posted: 2/23/2011 5:54 AM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2009
Posts: 551
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I am still plugging away on Ivanhoe (I never give up on books). Occasionally there has been an interesting page.

The odd thing is that I have always loved stories involving medieval times. But this one is excessively wordy, and not much happens. This would be a perfect book to read during Lent.

                                                                                                             Rose

Date Posted: 2/23/2011 3:10 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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Rose:       as  a penance for your sins?    What have you been doing, anyway, my dear?

Date Posted: 2/25/2011 7:43 PM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2009
Posts: 388
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lol...for some reason, I haven't been able to even BEGIN Ivanhoe, even though I made a special trip to the store to buy it! I see that I'm not alone in my reluctance to read this book!

Date Posted: 2/26/2011 8:41 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
Posts: 25,000
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Arika, return it and get your money back. Or at least a store credit.

Date Posted: 2/27/2011 11:31 AM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2009
Posts: 551
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Bonnie, I take on difficult endeavors during Lent/Advent for the sake of fortitude: I figure it's good for me (can't get away from that 12 years of Catholic school background).

I do balance my reading, though: I've been getting The Enquirer and The Star every week for the last 30 years!

                                                                                                                       Rose

Date Posted: 2/28/2011 6:09 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2008
Posts: 662
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Should I admit to liking Ivanhoe?  I first read the book when it was assigned to me in ninth grade.  So many of the students disliked it so strongly that the teacher later dropped the book from the curriculum.  (I was one of the few who liked it.)  Last year, the students in my British Literature class had to read it, and I re-read it with them.  I discovered that I still liked it--but I also discovered that only a few of my students liked it.

Whether you like the book or not, I highly recommend following it with Thackeray's Ivanhoe spoof: Rebecca and Rowena.  (He tells us what happened after "happily ever after.") :)  It's very entertaining; you can find it online here: http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/t/thackeray/william_makepeace/rebecca/index.html

Date Posted: 2/28/2011 7:44 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
Posts: 25,000
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Dana,

I don't mind if you like it. Not that you need anyone's permission.

I love Grapes of Wrath and seems like everyone I talk to hates it.

Date Posted: 2/28/2011 7:44 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
Posts: 25,000
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Dana,

I don't mind if you like it. Not that you need anyone's permission.

I love Grapes of Wrath and seems like everyone I talk to hates it.

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