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Topic: What is everyone reading for July?

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Subject: What is everyone reading for July?
Date Posted: 7/2/2011 11:20 AM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2009
Posts: 551
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I'm almost through with Lorna Doone (my book for May--I had expected to finish it weeks ago). I've read most of Pickwick Papers (my book for June), and then I'll be starting Kim (for the children's books category).

Lorna Doone started picking up about halfway through and it was quite bearable. I do not, however, recommend it to anyone.

Pickwick Papers has lots of wit--thank heaven!

How about the rest of you?

                                                                                             Rose

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 7/2/2011 8:39 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
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I m reading Norman Mailer's first novel, The Naked and the Dead on my Kindle.  Powerful in its miserable realism, but stylistically very rough.  Mailer became a much better pure writer as her matured.

Date Posted: 7/2/2011 10:44 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
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Attempting Pride and Prejudice for the third time. I must keep an open mind. I have the tendency to dismiss it as revived chick lit. 

 

I am enjoying Mr. Bennett's sarcasm much more this time.

Date Posted: 7/2/2011 10:59 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2009
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Pride and Prejudice as CHICK LIT? Are you somewhat crazed?

                                                                     Rose

Date Posted: 7/3/2011 1:16 AM ET
Member Since: 5/4/2009
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I'm reading Boccaccio's Decameron - hopefully I'll be finished with it by next weekend. I hadn't really heard of the book before I chose it as my 'short story collection' pick, so somehow I got it into my head that it was something like Dante's comedy - a medieval spiritual/allegorical book that can be somewhat dry. I'm finding it to be surprisingly easy to read and unexpectedly funny. I am surrounded by non-readers, and when I originally told them about this book, they were really put off by the fact that it was written in the medieval period - that it would be too boring or dry or long to read. But, when I tell them some of the stories in it, they keep wanting more and more.  I can't really recommend it enough!  :)

After I finish that one, I hope to complete Shakespeare's English history plays by the end of the month. I have Henry VI Part II, Henry VI Part 3, Richard III, and Henry VIII remaining. Even though it's only attributed to him, I think I'll do Edward III also. I'm really excited about the series so far. In the past I felt that his history plays would be dry and boring, but I'm completely fascinated by reading how what Henry did to Richard in Richard II has affected later generations.

 



Last Edited on: 7/3/11 1:19 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 7/3/2011 9:03 AM ET
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I'm going to try and read through all of Shakespeare's plays as well.  Shakespeare was my favorite subject in college, but we always focused on the better-known plays and I feel like I missed out on a lot of them.

Date Posted: 7/3/2011 2:15 PM ET
Member Since: 2/16/2009
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I'm finishing up a non-fiction book, The Lost City of Z, by David Grann.  While it is not a classic, it tells the story of British explorer, Percy Fawcett's infamous search for El Dorado in the Amazonian jungle.  It has been intriguing and I plan to follow it up with my classic adventure selection, SHE, by H. Rider Haggard, who was a friend of Fawcett's.  The book has made me very thankful for the northern Midwest's lack of  poisonous frogs and carnivorous insects and its limited number of snakes!  Even the recent heat wave is nothing compared to what our intrepid explorers are putting up with!

Date Posted: 7/4/2011 12:57 AM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
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Pride and Prejudice as CHICK LIT? Are you somewhat crazed?

 

No, not crazed. 

Suspicious that Austen's work what with all the spin-off movies and spin-off books and book clubs and other fan based flotsam and jetsam, is just hype disguised as "classic" lit.

We have members here at PBS that scream out how they're Austen fans.  Typically when everyone and her mother is raving about a piece or series literature, it's tripe. Just a pattern I've noticed. Twilight anyone?

But I have to find out for myself, hence my third attempt to get past chapter 9.

 

 

 

 

 

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 7/4/2011 7:56 AM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
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I do not read chick lit, and could not make it past page 25 of Twilight, but Jane Austen is one of my favorite classic authors.  The writing style of two centuries ago may take some getting used to, and I admit the formal tone of the dialogue can feel stilted, but it is a mistake to assume the characters are weak and shallow on that basis.

Not that I'm trying to convince anyone to like Austen.  If you just don't like the style, that's fine (I can't stand Thomas Hardy's style, myself) but don't let the hype fool you.  Jane Austen's writing has survived 200 years, and will still be around long after all the "Team Edward" shirts have decayed into dust.

Date Posted: 7/4/2011 11:04 AM ET
Member Since: 2/16/2009
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My two cents worth, Jane Austen wrote about family and relationship issues, often with a quiet (cynical?) sense of humor.  Perhaps these qualities inspire thoughts of "chick-lit" similarities?  However, I slogged my way through Twilight (I have a 14 yr old DD) and I have read all the Austen books and see no similarities in writing quality, lol! 

Date Posted: 7/4/2011 1:50 PM ET
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Jane Austen wrote about family and relationship issues, often with a quiet (cynical?) sense of humor.

Yes, I am picking that up much better this time around. 

 

The writing style of two centuries ago may take some getting used to, and I admit the formal tone of the dialogue can feel stilted

After reading so many other classics thanks to this forum the writing style is now second nature.  Like putting on well worn slippers.

 

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 7/4/2011 2:36 PM ET
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I am not saying Jane Austen is difficult to read, but I think her style is different from most other classic authors, and may be offputting to some readers, no matter their experience in reading classics generally.

Date Posted: 7/6/2011 2:08 PM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
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Planning to read Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility.  I haven't read any of her work yet.

Date Posted: 7/6/2011 10:28 PM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2009
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Hmmm, I have read all that British stuff, the good, the bad, and the more worser still yet (Pamela, Tristram Shandy), but the observation on different style surprises me. I can't think of anything in her style that distinguishes it one little bit from British novels of 50 years before or 50 years later.

Date Posted: 7/7/2011 5:45 AM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2009
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John W., I agree with you. I don't really get all the fuss about Jane! I have a friend who really adores her (she's a member of the Austen Society, and went on a month-long visit to Austen haunts a few years back), and I just sort of quietly don't say too much.

                                                                                                                              Rose

Date Posted: 7/9/2011 3:42 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
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Austen's work isn't off putting, it's just that the story--Pride and Prejudice to be specific-- is dull in comparison to the Brontë Sisters' works. I miss the darkness and the gothic thrills.

Still reading it though. Sloggy.    I am wishing I still had a copy of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

 

So I sneak in a little goofy H.P. Lovecraft for relief.

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 7/9/2011 4:20 PM ET
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I tried to read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.  I was taken by surprise by how much I hated it.  It seemed slightly clever at first...but I realized it was only Jane Austen who was clever, not the zombie killings shoehorned in at random.

While I do not condone the "No One Needs To Read This" thread, I consider Wuthering Heights one of the worst books I have ever read, and wanted to strangle the fat old relic of a professor I had who went into raptures over it.  I guess we all have our different tastes.

Date Posted: 7/9/2011 5:58 PM ET
Member Since: 5/4/2009
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I don't have a lot of experience with Austen - I read P&P 10+ years ago and Northanger Abbey earlier this year (for the challenge).  I've read very few gothic-type novels. Northanger Abbey is written as a parody of the traditional gothic romances that Austen would have been exposed to. I really enjoyed it. :)



Last Edited on: 7/9/11 5:59 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: What is everyone reading for July?
Date Posted: 7/9/2011 6:03 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2011
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So far I've read Brideshead Revisited (for the 3rd time), and just finished The Place of the Lion by Charles Williams. I'm reading On Christian Teaching by St. Augustine, and the Dog Vinci Code by John Rogerson to understand my sweet beagle a little better.

Date Posted: 7/10/2011 1:11 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
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I tried to read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.  I was taken by surprise by how much I hated it.  It seemed slightly clever at first...but I realized it was only Jane Austen who was clever, not the zombie killings shoehorned in at random.

 

LOL. Exactly. I thought it would be zany good fun, but there's a fine line between funny and twelve-year-old humor and P&P&Z is great if you're a preteen. That's why I swapped it out. Zombies are so overrated.

 

 Wuthering Heights one of the worst books I have ever read

cheeky

Date Posted: 7/11/2011 9:45 AM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2009
Posts: 551
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Anything with the word "zombies" in it is not classic.

                                                              Rose

Date Posted: 7/11/2011 11:49 AM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
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It's not? blush

Who knew?wink

Date Posted: 7/20/2011 2:27 AM ET
Member Since: 5/4/2009
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I finally finished up The Decameron. I thought several of the stories were pretty amusing. However, after a while, the nearly constant anti-woman themes got to me. The very last story just put it over the top for me. That being said, I'm glad I read it. I think that I've read some of these stories in other works, like maybe Shakespeare and Chaucer.

I also finished up Measure for Measure. In general, I love Shakespeare's plays. I liked this one also. I started it thinking that it was supposed to be a comedy, but I found it to be wonderfully more complex than his standard, cookie-cutter comedies. In that respect it reminded me of The Merchant of Venice.

 

Subject: July Classics reading
Date Posted: 7/23/2011 12:05 PM ET
Member Since: 5/15/2010
Posts: 143
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In answer to the original question of what are we reading this month:

I had slated Homer’s The Odyssey as my classic sea saga  and was planning to read the Robert Fagles’s translation, but my local Borders was going out of business last spring and offered some great bargains, so I picked up Simon Armitage’s The Odyssey: A Dramatic Retelling of Homer's Epic.  I turned into a huge Armitage fan when I read his translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Totally fresh and engaging and lots of fun to read – in fact, I talked my book group into reading it last year, and I read it for the 2010 classics challenge. Anyhow, his version of The Odyssey (which was broadcast on BBC radio) was rockin! I took it in to work and now one of my workmates (who is in my book group and who loved Sir Gawain) is reading it.

So now that I finished The Odyssey I’m going to attack Seamus Heaney’s version of Beowulf. Last year I did the classics challenge lite and this year I’m aiming for the complete challenge. Getting there, but I've decided that the only way for me to complete this challenge is to put my Historical Fiction challenge on hold -- HF books tend to be hundreds of pages so they're easy to get bogged down in. (plus, they're a fun distraction!)



Last Edited on: 7/24/11 11:55 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Roy
Subject: July reading material
Date Posted: 7/28/2011 8:18 PM ET
Member Since: 6/2/2011
Posts: 10
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The Inferno (Longfellow's translation)  *****  

Tome Trader: I agree with you about Wuthering Heights. But in regards to "Zombies are so overrated" I couldn't disagree wtih you more! George Romero rocks! 



Last Edited on: 7/28/11 8:21 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
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