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Topic: Which classics have HEAs?

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Subject: Which classics have HEAs?
Date Posted: 8/12/2008 6:11 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
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I'm wanting to read some classics - older and more 'modern' classics I guess is how to describe them!  that have 'happily ever afters' or 'good endings'I'd like to know what to expect, preferably some that I know end happily or at least not with everyone dying(The Great Gatsby, Romeo and Juliet) or never getting together with the one you love (Age of Innocence). If there are some 'tragic' ones worth reading I'd appreciate knowing what they are and why they're worth reading(I did enjoy The Great Gatsby though I can't help but wonder what happened to the little puppy Daisy got near the beginning...anyways!) Was thinking about reading/listening to 'fahrenheit 451' again but can't remember if it ends'ok' or not....and nothing with an animal dying. I swear I was forced toread those books in jr high and  high school and it made me sick.

Here's some I'm wondering about:

Fahrenheit 451

Jane Austen's books

Jane Eyre

Grapes of Wrath - from the title I'm not optimistic but it might be agood story?

Phantom of the Opera - have to admit I've never even seen the movie though I love the song! seems like there are some deaths in it but not sure if the main character(s) end ok or not...

also any others that are good reads that have good endings..I *think* from what I remember about the movie that Gone with the Wind is ok(and I intend to read this one day!) because frankly I think she got what she deserved! I might feel differently reading it though.

Date Posted: 8/12/2008 6:51 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
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>Spoiler alert<

 

Jane Eyre & Jane Austen's books have happy endings (Sense & Sensibility might be considered bittersweet, but its still ends with a wedding and everyone paired off)

The Phantom of the Opera (one of my favorites) has a bittersweet ending, I don't want to give it away, but not everyone dies and it is about redemption and second chances

I didn't like the Grapes of Wrath, that one seems more tragic to me.  Also steer clear of Thomas Hardy, the man could generate enough depression to keep the manufacturers of perkaset in business single-handedly

Edited b/c my computer had a spaz attack

 



Last Edited on: 8/12/08 6:57 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/12/2008 6:53 PM ET
Member Since: 4/16/2008
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Pride and Prejudice has a happy ending. and if I remember correctly most of her other books do as well. They aren't tragic endings...though I've not read all of them. Sense and Sensibility was nice. Emma was a good one as well.

I would stay away from Grapes of Wrath. it's very long and depressing and at times very dull. If you are interested in that I would just watch the Henry Fonda movie. I don't remember how accurate it was but you get the general idea.  Also, stay away from Upton Sinclair's The Jungle. Very depressing and a lot of feeling sorry for yourself in it.

I really enjoyed Jane Eyre and it's definintely worth reading.

I just read Brideshead Revisited and though it's not your normal happy ending you don't get a horrible feeling or a tragic feeling. It's almost a bittersweet ending.

Daphne DuMaurier's Rebecca is a good one to read as well. There is drama throughout but the ending is good in my opinion.

My Antonia by Willa Cather is good. not too long but not too short. Interesting as well.

The Black Tulip by Alexandre Dumas is outstanding! And has a wonderful warm and fuzzy ending.

I have found that if you stay away from the ones that are commenting socially then you will most likely have a satisfying ending. and always read the description of the book first. You will find the more classics you read the easier it is to tell from the description the kind of ending it will have. I have also avoided "popular" books or ones that are touted as being "must reads" and haven't been disappointed. I've noticed that a lot of those tend to be more depressing or have unhappy endings. Also, look around at what other people are reading who have similar interests to yours and try some of the authors they like. Or look back for a time period that interests you and find the authors from that time and read up on them. Usually you can tell from what the author's life was like what kind of stuff they will be writing.

good luck! there are a lot of good ones out there and I hope you find what you are looking for!

Date Posted: 8/12/2008 6:58 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
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Also, one of my other favorites with a happy ending is The Count of Monte Cristo.

Date Posted: 8/12/2008 7:13 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
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thanks! I tried watching the movie of 'the count of monte cristo' and it was kinda scary for me :-( a lot of torture though I think it ended good...

I just got Rebecca in a couple of weeks ago and one by Betty Smith that was recommended. I've been wanting to read Jane Eyre and the  Jane Austen books.

thanks for the advice!

Date Posted: 8/13/2008 8:49 AM ET
Member Since: 7/1/2008
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Also Anthony Trollope. There is a discussion in Hidden Gems on what classics are must reads you might enjoy and find emlightening. And you can read War an Peace, just read the alternate "Peace" chapters.

Elizabeth Jane Howard's Getting it Right is excellent and has a great ending. Good movie, too (author wrote script). I think it was Gielgud's last movie. Not much play in the States.

Date Posted: 8/14/2008 4:59 PM ET
Member Since: 4/16/2008
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Hi Susanna,

Which Monte Cristo movie did you watch? the one with Guy Pierce and Jim Caveziel? The book is much better than the movie though it is very long. The Black Tulip is by the same author and I usually recommend that first to people to make sure they like his writing style because it's much shorter. I hate it when I start a book that is ginormous and don't like it but feel like I need to plod through. I read Dostoevsky's The Idiot and though there were parts I enjoyed a lot of it was boring and it took me over a year to read since it was so long and I had to put it down every few pages.

(well now I've had to edit because i hit the wrong button. argh!)



Last Edited on: 8/14/08 5:01 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/15/2008 6:48 PM ET
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Hannah, I'm not sure who was in it but I think it was a newer movie 5-7 yrs ago..I was at my friend's and her hubby was watching it with surround sound in the room where we were sewing(big open area) so I could hear it and see parts of it reflected in the mirror accents she had on the wall...lots of torture and I'm a real wimp when it comes to that stuff!

Date Posted: 8/15/2008 10:35 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
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don't worry, there's no torture in the book, and its such a great story!  But its way too complex and long to be captured effectively in a movie.

Date Posted: 8/17/2008 4:15 PM ET
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that was prolly the Guy Pierce movie then. i liked the movie, but the book is a million times better. Overall I like Dumas' writing style. he captures your attention regardless of how long the book is...well, he captures mine...lol
Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 8/17/2008 8:34 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
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Fahrenheit 451 has what I would say is a hopeful ending, but I wouldn't call it happy.  Bradbury's novels tend to be a little dark in my opinion.

And I saw your mention of Romeo and Juliet...as my former Shakespeare proferssor said: "In the tragedies everyone ends up dead.  In the comedies everyone ends up married."  Pretty much all the comedies have happy endings, I'd say, though The Merchant of Venice and Twelfth Night are debatable.

Date Posted: 8/21/2008 10:26 AM ET
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A tree Grows in Brooklyn? Joy in the Morning? Cress Delahanty? the Friendly Persuasion? Puddn'head Wilson?

Date Posted: 8/21/2008 5:34 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
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The Friendly Persuasion and Except for Me and Thee are by Jessamyn West.

Date Posted: 10/16/2008 8:56 AM ET
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Susanna,

If there are certain things that bother you particularly, you might mention them.... I don't know if there are any but for awhile there were about 6 subjects in books that were off-limits.  I think I stuck to "Hop on..."  no, I guess that one was bad too, lol.  Maybe "Green Eggs and Ham."

Seriously if say what happens to the dog is an issue, then you probably need to mention that.  I find Trollope very soothing too and I enjoy them on audio.  I don't exactly know if they are HEA but it's okay.  I've been working on the Prisoner of Zenda for a long time in doctor's offices.  I'm going to listen to it next although it's short enough to be readable too.  (It was on my PDA).  I assume it ends happily.

Thank heavens I can read books with dogs in them now.  (My dog had died and I couldn't handle dogs at all for awhile, plus a bunch of other topics.)

Date Posted: 10/16/2008 7:51 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2008
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If you're thinking of trying Shakespeare, I highly recommend Much Ado About Nothing.  My daughter (age 14) and I both find it just plain funny.  If you want to check out a good movie version, go for the Kenneth Brannaugh version.  It's very close to the script, and very well acted--especially by Emma Thompson and Kenneth Brannaugh. 

I loved Jane Eyre!

Date Posted: 10/18/2008 1:05 AM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
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I dont like death (human or animal) they forced us to watch Old Yeller almost every year and I hated it even knowing the ending. and that movie where the couple loved each other but he married someone else and they went their whole lives apart ' age of innocence'? don't like that too well.

I did enjoy ' a tree grows in brooklyn' and 'joy in the morning' :-) also re-read Fahrenheit 451 and it was ok..thought the guy was an  idiot and the only thing I felt bad about was the poor dude they killed when they couldn't find the one they were after...

planning on reading 'phantom of the opera' since someone was talking about a book titled 'phantom' by susan kay. that one's always intrigued me though I'm not counting on a HEA! does anyone know if one of the movie versions follows the book pretty closely or all they all different? seems like there' sat least 2 versions and not sure which is the better one?

Date Posted: 10/18/2008 11:09 AM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
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I'm a "Phan" of Phantom of the Opera in all its forms, but none of the movies follows the book at all.  The closest is the silent version with Lon Chaney.  I love the 2004 musical version, but its nothing like the book.

Also another great classic that ends happy after a lot of drama: The Woman in White.

Date Posted: 10/24/2008 8:16 AM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2008
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None of Jane Austen's books have tragic endings, and Charlotte Bronte's are really good too--although in Villette, they sort of leave it to your imagination at the end. Anne Bronte's are nice ones too. I'd also recommend David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. Now there is a good book.

Have fun!

Have you ever read Louisa May Alcott? None of those are tragic either...that I've read, anyways. And I've read most of them.

 

HML

Date Posted: 10/24/2008 9:07 AM ET
Member Since: 2/21/2008
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Geez...that is a good question.  Have I read any classic books with a happy ending?

I have read all the Alcott stuff too and I agree they do have happy endings.  No, I have never read Jane Austin-couldn't get into them (okay, lots of dirty looks in my direction.  I do like the movies though!)

An American Tragedy , well the title gives you a clue

All Quiet on the Western Front  not a flowers and sunshine kinda book

McTeague a book about winning the lottery and greed and jealousy that occurs (in fact it was made into a silent movie called "Greed")

All excellent books and in my top favorites, but downers.

I know!  Try North and South  by Elizabeth Gaskill.  It was originally written for a magazine.  It takes place in England during the height of the cotton industry.  But it does have a happy ending.  Then watch the BBC production with Richard Armitage.  Trust me-you will thank me!

Deb

Date Posted: 10/24/2008 11:07 AM ET
Member Since: 7/1/2008
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Also Cranford! Wives and Lovers!

Date Posted: 10/24/2008 3:57 PM ET
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I love North and South!  I read it after I saw the miniseries, and I loved both.  It was the perfect blend romance & social commentary.

Date Posted: 10/25/2008 10:52 AM ET
Member Since: 9/23/2006
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Oh sure, Vanessa - you forget in Little Women - BETH DIED!!  Some of us are sensitive, ya' know?  I actually think my mother tortured me with some of those books on purpose.  Black Beauty was another one. 

Susanna,

I had to laugh at your post because another topic had us speaking of the issue of kids and books.  I said there were some books that I thought should never, ever be read and named Old Yeller and The Yearling, lol.  How many kids did Disney traumatize with that?

I was old enough when I saw "Ring of Bright Water" but I really wished they hadn't ended it like that.  Clearly, I do not "like a good cry."

 

Date Posted: 10/25/2008 5:46 PM ET
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Oh sure, Vanessa - you forget in Little Women - BETH DIED!!  Some of us are sensitive, ya' know?  I actually think my mother tortured me with some of those books on purpose.  Black Beauty was another one.

I've never read Little Women, although I do like the movie version.  I don't think I recommended it as a HEA.....

Date Posted: 10/26/2008 3:09 PM ET
Member Since: 9/23/2006
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Oh, I apologize, Vanessa.  I see what happened - I skipped down to the next message. 

I hope you realize it was tongue in cheek anyway (although totally undeserved)!  I know many people love that book.  People did die and I knew it; it's just that I didn't want it to happen in my books.

The old Phantom of the Opera was a fun movie.