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Topic: unexpected satisfaction

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Subject: unexpected satisfaction
Date Posted: 7/16/2014 11:41 AM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2009
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I had chosen to read Jack London's Call of the Wild (and Other Stories) for my Classic Challenge. What a stupendous surprise: I am loving this book! All these years I'd thought London's stories would not appeal to me,

Anyone else finding a classic book a wonderful, though unexpected, experience?

                                                                                                     Rose

Date Posted: 7/16/2014 1:44 PM ET
Member Since: 9/25/2006
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I started both of these out of duty but ended really enjoying them, reading like hours at a time, something I rarely do: Look Homeward Angel by Thomas Wolfe and A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.So now I'm looking forward to Wolfe's subsequent doorstop novels and to Dickens' later novels like Dombey & Son and Our Mutual Friend. 

On the other side, I found Oliver Twist to be a much bigger chore than I expected. I know we read Dickens for characters not story but the plot was such a mess.....

Date Posted: 7/16/2014 6:40 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
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I read Dracula last year; I enjoy stories written in a letter-type format (aka epistolary style), and hadn't realized that Dracula fell into that category.  It was one of my best reads of the year.  Good on you for trying out Jack London.

Date Posted: 7/16/2014 9:03 PM ET
Member Since: 6/8/2013
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East of Eden sat on my bookshelf for a long time. I only acquired it because I figured at some point I should read Steinbeck. What a great book! I now declare it the best book I've  ever read and Steinbeck the best author eva!

Ross Macdonald and his Lew Archer detective series has become another favorite of mine. I never could get through a Raymond Chandler novel but I can't get enough of the Archer stuff. 

 

Date Posted: 7/17/2014 8:22 AM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2008
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I went through a Ross MacDonald phase years ago. It's been so long ago I don't remember any of them now, but I was hooked for a while.

Now that you have started with Steinbeck you might as well try The Grapes of Wrath.

Date Posted: 7/17/2014 11:49 AM ET
Member Since: 6/8/2013
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I'm going to get around to "Grapes of Wrath" eventually. I've read "of mice and men" and " in dubious battle" and liked both of them. I have "the red pony" on my shelf now and will probably read it today since it's been brought to my attention. 

I was going to start "A place to come to" by Robert Penn Warren today but think I'll give "The Magus" a shot instead. 

Date Posted: 8/13/2014 1:31 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
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While you're digging into Steinbeck (who is one of my favorites too), try "Travels with Charley" and "The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights" -- not his most famous works, but certainly among his best, IMHO.

Date Posted: 8/15/2014 9:07 PM ET
Member Since: 6/8/2013
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Thanks Elizabeth, travels with charley has been on my wish list for awhile, sounds like a good one! I'm not as familiar with King Arthur but I'll look into getting that one next. The next Steinbeck on my list is "cannery row". 

Date Posted: 8/20/2014 1:01 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
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Grapes of Wrath. Love that book. It's the first classic I ever read.

I wasn't much of a scholar in my high school days so when I was 20 years old I decided I was going to read the classics that all the other kids had to read in school. I was going to find out what I missed. I became auto-didactic. 

I don't know how I knew about Grapes of Wrath but I picked up a copy and fell in love with the writing. I know so many people hate Steinbeck but I love his writing. 

G of W is one of the few books I've read more than once. It's the only book that I've written in, circling my favorite chapter for its descriptive richness. It's like a painting, chapter eleven, which describes in vivid detail the empty houses with doors swinging open in the wind and what happens to a house when it has been abandoned to the elements. It's just outstanding and I can read it over and over. 

Ever since I read that book I've been searching for more like it. I've read many of Steinbeck's books: Winter of Discontent, Tortilla Flat, The Pearl, East of Eden, Cannery Row, Travels with Charley, and some parts of Mice and Men, but nothing compares to Grapes.

 



Last Edited on: 8/20/14 1:03 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/20/2014 1:20 PM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2009
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Grapes of Wrath has always been my favorite Steinbeck novel also! I'm so glad you like it, and that you've chosen to become an autodidact. Though I've attended college, I've always said I've learned far more since leaving school. For me, reading is an ongoing love affair...a process of becoming interested in a subject, sating myself with information,  then moving on to the next subject...over and over and over again. Don't waste time berating yourself for not being a scholar in the past. Only look forward.

Date Posted: 8/20/2014 6:54 PM ET
Member Since: 6/8/2013
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I'm forty and did very little reading before last year. Reading, at some point, has to be rewarding for me to stick with it. Being on sites like this one has made me a reader because of the ability to search through so many reviews and recommendations. In the past, except for the rare exception, I could never relate to any of the stuff I had read. 

I'm struggling with my reading right now. The last book I really liked was "the child buyer" by John Hersey. Haven't enjoyed the five or so books I've read since that one. 

Date Posted: 8/21/2014 2:42 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
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Dracula was one such for me.  I read it as part of a challenge, and I do NOT like epistolary style.  I hadn't known that it was one, and when I started it, I was like "oh, not this".  But it immediately grabbed me and held me absolutely enthralled.  "Oh, not this" quickly turned into "Oh, so THIS is what all those other books/authors are trying to achieve."

Date Posted: 8/21/2014 3:17 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2008
Posts: 2,675
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Date Posted: 8/21/2014 3:20 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2008
Posts: 2,675
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Grapes of Wrath. Love that book. It's the first classic I ever read.

You might like Whose Names are Unknown by Sanora Babb. It tells the same story as Grapes by a woman who lived it.



Last Edited on: 8/21/14 3:20 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/21/2014 7:19 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
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Thanks for the rec, Charles. I am going to see if my library system has it.

 

Sharla, I was surprised that I enjoyed Dracula as much as I did too. I don't like epistolary books usually. 

 

Doug, I reject more books than I read. I find this is so as I get older. I haven't forced myself to read a book I wasn't enjoying since college. Life's too short. I too find my ratio to be about 1 good book out every 5 I pick up.  I have stopped berating myself for my pickiness.

 

Barbara, thank you. I agree with all that you said, especially this: " For me, reading is an ongoing love affair...a process of becoming interested in a subject, sating myself with information,  then moving on to the next subject...over and over and over again."

Well said.yes

Date Posted: 8/21/2014 8:23 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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One of the best things about getting out of school, whether just for the summer, or for really getting out, by finishing college, was always the way that "Now, I get to choose  which books I'm gonna read!"   (I say this with apologies to the ghost of Miss Ila Maude Kite, English teacher extraordinaire)

Date Posted: 8/23/2014 11:44 AM ET
Member Since: 6/8/2013
Posts: 1,022
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Thanks Laura, I still feel a little bad about putting a book down but like you said life's too short/not enough time. 

I finally made it through a book Vonnegut's "Mother Night", good stuff. 

How do some of you handle your reading? One book at a time or more than one? For awhile I was reading up to four books at a time but lately I find my interest will go to only one of the books and the others get neglected and eventually abandoned. 

Date Posted: 8/23/2014 12:37 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2008
Posts: 2,675
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I sometimes have a novel going and some history or other non fiction going at the same time. I have two places in my house where I read and each place has a book near it so I read according to where I am sitting. I rarely have two novels going at the same time.

When I was a university student I read bunches of books at the same time. I think I could still do that if it were required but I am long past those times.



Last Edited on: 8/23/14 12:39 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/23/2014 2:29 PM ET
Member Since: 6/8/2013
Posts: 1,022
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I have a similar routine right now. Usually one fiction book and one non fiction going at the same time. 

 

Just started reading "cannery row" and made a request on Elizabeth's suggestion of "The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knight". 

Date Posted: 8/23/2014 11:17 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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A nice thing about having choices of which book to pick up when one gets a chance to read is rather like going to a nice smorgasbord and surveying all the lovely choices on it, and .........a-ha!  there's the thing I'm exactly in the mood for!    I do take the precaution of not having two books that are alike going at the same time, because I don't want to get the plot and/or characters confused.  Full disclosure:  My memory is really pretty good, but I'm gonna be 87 on my next birthday, and I don't wanna become any more of a "crazy old lady" than I already am.)

Date Posted: 8/24/2014 11:05 AM ET
Member Since: 6/8/2013
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Wow, Bonnie. I'm half your age and get plots mixed up all the time. Good going. yessmiley

Date Posted: 8/24/2014 9:26 PM ET
Member Since: 2/3/2010
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I have to confess that my attention span is not good.   So I am usually reading 6 to 8 books at a time and listening to 2 to 3 audio books at the same time.  Luckily my library loans books for 30 days and allows two renewals,  though I generally take only the month.  The books are always different so keeping up with plots is not hsrd.

Date Posted: 8/29/2014 6:53 PM ET
Member Since: 6/8/2013
Posts: 1,022
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Didn't enjoy "Cannery Row", next up will be King Arthur...

Still struggling with the reading. Couldn't get through an Elmore Leonard novel. I'm trying out Jim Thompson "The Grifters" He's supposed to be some bar none superman writer but I'm not feeling it. Didn't even make it through Fahrenheit 451 by Bradbury. 

Am enjoying non fiction "A peace to end all peace" but it's a little more detailed than I care for plus I didn't know anything about the majority of the topics I'm reading on, so it's taking quite awhile. 

Date Posted: 8/30/2014 3:16 AM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2008
Posts: 2,675
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If you get a chance The Grifters was made into one of my favorite movies. John Cusack, Anjelica Huston and a very early Annette Bening.

Date Posted: 8/30/2014 11:54 AM ET
Member Since: 6/8/2013
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Thanks Charles. Think I'll abandon the book and check the movie out. 

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