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Old 30th Apr 2003, 11:37   #1
Colyngbourne
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Default Another ten books...

By way of proper introduction, a mish-mash of books I couldn't do without

1. 'The Cloister and the Hearth' - Charles Read.
Erasmus' parents in C15th Holland separated by family, villainous burgomasters, cruel circumstance and the church. Long-winded but just about my favourite.
2. 'Middlemarch' - George Eliot.
This has everything in it. Nothing more needed. Joint favourite
3. 'The Mouse and His Child' - Russell Hoban
The best children's book for me, though for sheer fun, C. Day-Lewis's 'The Otterbury Incident' came close.
4. 'Mansfield Park' - Jane Austen
A heroine who is passive, and who wins through simply being and staying. To me, she is the most human of Jane Austen's girls.
5. 'Aquarius' - Jan Mark.
Torn between this and Jan Mark's 'Eclipse of the Century' - she is one of the two best writers for young adults. She never resorts to any normal conventions for stories.
6. 'To Kill a Mockingbird' - Harper Lee
Everyone should read this one, as the other contributor said on her list.
7. 'Brave New World' - Aldous Huxley
I still find this the most chilling book I've ever read, twenty years later.
8. 'We Speak No Treason' - Rosemary Hawley Jarman
Romantic as it may be, RHJ corrects the general misperceptions about Richard III in this novel.
9. 'The Vampire Lestat' - Anne Rice
Her previous book 'Interview...' turned on its head the idea of the vampire as objective monster and evoked our sympathy, but in this book the vampire takes centre stage as hero. Never bettered.
10. 'Dance on My Grave' - Aidan Chambers
The 'other' best writer for young adults, an ex-monk examining some of the hardest issues for teenagers head-on - identity, death, belief, love, sexuality. This one because I read it first 23 years ago but the others in the series of (to be) six are equally good.

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Old 30th Apr 2003, 14:15   #2
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Default Re: Another ten books...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colyngbourne
6. 'To Kill a Mockingbird' - Harper Lee
Everyone should read this one, as the other contributor said on her list.
TKAMB is certainly a popular choice on this board, which I guess is testimony to the good taste of the users of this board. It was a book I had to read for school ages ago, but is one that I have returned to on many occasions. A true classic.
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Old 1st May 2003, 9:48   #3
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Default likewise, as an intro, 10 core books

1. Post Office, Charles Bukowski
2. Ask the Dust, John Fante
3. The Idiot, Fyodor Dostoevsky
4. The Rebublic of Whores, Josef Skvorecky
5. Pan Tadeusz, Adam Mickiewicz
6. My Golden Trades, Ivan Klima
7. The Castle, Franz Kafka
8. A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole
9. Hunger, Knut Hamsun
10. Journey to the End of the Night, Louis Ferdinand Celine
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Old 1st May 2003, 9:52   #4
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OK, I feel a bit ignorant here, wislawita :)

I've only heard of three of your authors and one of the books. Admittedly, I'm probably in a minority there, but can you give us a bit of a pen-portrait on them, please? Cheers.


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Old 1st May 2003, 10:07   #5
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I am in pretty much the same boat, I am afraid.

I did once read The Idiot, but it was quite a few years ago when I was pretending to be precocious, and so I didn't really take much in.
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Old 1st May 2003, 14:40   #6
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I, too, am feeling very ignorant, and it's not a feeling I like!
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Old 1st May 2003, 15:37   #7
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Yup, me too - Dostoevsky and Kafka are the only ones I recognise really.
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Old 1st May 2003, 18:54   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amner
OK, I feel a bit ignorant here, wislawita :)

I've only heard of three of your authors and one of the books. Admittedly, I'm probably in a minority there, but can you give us a bit of a pen-portrait on them, please? Cheers.


.
Um, it'd help if I knew which 3 authors I didn't have to give the pen portrait treatment :?
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Old 1st May 2003, 19:03   #9
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Someone wanted pen portaits...

1. Post Office, Charles Bukowski

Work of brutal, simple genius by the Dirty Old Man of American underground (so-called) writing. A man is driven mad by soul-destroying work. Completed in 1970.

2. Ask the Dust, John Fante

This inspired Bukowski to write. Hard-boiled, beautiful prose about Italian Americans living in depression-era Colorado. Written in the 30s.

3. The Idiot, Fyodor Dostoevsky

I think this is one of the one you know?

4. The Rebublic of Whores, Josef Skvorecky

Genius! Dark, funny tales of workshy jazz fans in Communist Czechoslovakia.

5. Pan Tadeusz, Adam Mickiewicz

The national hymn/epic poem/treasure of Poland. Written in the 1700s. Amazing characterisations.

6. My Golden Trades, Ivan Klima

More tales of Communist-era Czechoslovakia. A writer/intellectual relegated to doing menial jobs and making the most of it.

7. The Castle, Franz Kafka

Again, one you know?

8. A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole

Abolutely mad and brilliant. JKT died before this was published and his mother got it published posthumously. The crazed narrator rages against his modern world of 20th century New Orleans and tries to live a medieval, chivalrous life of total self-deception. Not unlike Don Quixote somehow...

9. Hunger, Knut Hamsun

Genius. The ultimate in tortured-narrator type psychological novels. A starving artist wanders the streets of what is now called Oslo going mad with hunger and resolutely refusing to sort himself out.

10. Journey to the End of the Night, Louis Ferdinand Celine

An insanse rant written by a qualified doctor. The slums of Paris sketched in horrible colour.

Those are my quick pen-portraits, as requested.
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Old 1st May 2003, 19:30   #10
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I seem to spot a common thread running through many of these :wink: but they sound intriguing and I think I will certainly follow up some of them. Thanks for the explanations.

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