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Old 4th Jun 2010, 9:54   #1
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Default Which is better? #5

I thought it might be fun to resurrect these comparison threads. For those who eschew objective value judgements about art, feel free to simply choose your personal preference, or even to make an arbitrary decision according to which name you prefer the sound of.

Raymond Chandler or James Ellroy?

Agatha Christie or PD James?

GK Chesterton or Somerset Maugham?

John Irving or John Updike?

Kazuo Ishiguro or David Mitchell?

Robert Frost or Emily Dickinson?

Mozart or Bach?

Rachmaninov or Prokofiev?

Miles Davies or John Coltrane?

Frank Sinatra or Tony Bennett?
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Old 4th Jun 2010, 10:56   #2
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Default Re: Which is better? #5

I think I'm going to have to go with Ishiguro over Mitchell... I'm finding Mitchell's latest quite annoying, approx 100 pages in.

I haven't read any Updike yet but Irving has gone down in my estimation with his latest also, so I'm going for Updike.
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Old 4th Jun 2010, 11:19   #3
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Default Re: Which is better? #5

Raymond Chandler or James Ellroy?
Chandler, because I like his books, rather than Ellroy, whose books I just admire with a certain amount of confused frowning.

Agatha Christie or PD James?
James by default. I've never read any of her books, but I've read a few chapters of a Christie and it was completely awful.

GK Chesterton or Somerset Maugham?
Maugham, as I've liked the books of his I've read, and didn't much care for Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday. Plus, even though he never said that irritating quote, "When people stop believing in God, they don't believe in nothing - they believe in anything," he did say the broadly comparable, ""You hard-shelled materialists [are] all balanced on the very edge of belief - of belief in almost anything." So he deserves a ducking, the silly billy.

John Irving or John Updike?
Ooh, a tie. I want to like Updike but his books keep turning out to be annoying, all written with the same fluid attention to detail and painfully dense as a result. A couple of the Rabbit books are worth it but I haven't read anything else by him that I'd save from the flames. Irving, on the other hand, was my gateway drug to the world of adult fiction, after reading A Prayer for Owen Meany at the age of 17, shortly followed by all his other novels. But I've found less to like in his books as I get older, and I haven't read his last three at all. I am also fearful of going back to the best ones - Meany and The Cider House Rules - for fear that I won't like those either now. It shouldn't matter though, as I liked them then, and that should be enough.

Kazuo Ishiguro or David Mitchell?
Ishiguro. I don't find Mitchell's new one irritating, as Ang does, but something he said in an interview struck me. He said (more or less) that he wanted each book of his to be so different that nobody reading them, without the author's name on the cover, would know they were by the same person. He meant that as something to be desired; I think it a weakness. A good author has a distinctive voice; Ishiguro certainly does. So although his scope and subjects are narrower than Mitchell's, I think he's definitely the greater artist.

Robert Frost or Emily Dickinson?
We're getting into the "No idea, don't know either" territory. Did Frost write 'The Plot Against the Giant'? I quite liked that (and read it, I think, in a John Irving book).

Mozart or Bach?
No idea, don't know either.

Rachmaninov or Prokofiev?
No idea, don't know either. However Prokofiev's contribution to reality TV theme tunes must stand him in good stead.

Miles Davies or John Coltrane?
No idea, don't know either.

Frank Sinatra or Tony Bennett?
Frank, because all I know about Bennett is that Monty Python used to take the piss out of him for being a cheesy lounge singer, and they'd never have dared do that with Frank.
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Old 4th Jun 2010, 11:33   #4
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Default Re: Which is better? #5

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ang View Post
I think I'm going to have to go with Ishiguro over Mitchell... I'm finding Mitchell's latest quite annoying, approx 100 pages in.
*fingers in ears* lalala I can't hear you! (I'm looking forward to the Mitchell, hoping it lives up to my expectations.)

Anyway, here are mine:

Raymond Chandler, although I don't think, when I posted the question, I appreciated how tough a choice this would be. Got me thinking about how great they both are.

Agatha Christie, if only because without her we'd never have had David Suchet playing Poirot.

GK Chesterton because he gets a mention in Brideshead Revisited.

John Irving because Owen Meany and The Cider House Rules in the credit column outweigh the ones in the debit column.

Kazuo Ishiguro, despite giving away a huge revelation from Never Let Me Go in a Culture Show interview.

Robert Frost, always.

Mozart, if only as a protest against Radio 3 who said they though wall-to-wall Mozart (as they did with Bach one Christmas) would be 'too chocolate-boxy'.

Prokofiev, because I don't associate him with overblown thumping piano as I (probably unfairly) do Rachmaninov.

Miles Davies, for Kind of Blue.

Tony Bennett. Croakier but with more heart.
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Old 4th Jun 2010, 11:34   #5
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Default Re: Which is better? #5

Raymond Chandler or James Ellroy?
Chandler. He is the ideal of which Ellroy, though good, is only the shadow. And Ellroy has become too clever by half lately.

Agatha Christie or PD James?
James. Agatha is painfully old hat these days. And she cheats.

GK Chesterton or Somerset Maugham?
Maugham, by a mile. Much deeper, and more wicked.

John Irving or John Updike?
Updike is the least boring, but I don't like either.

Kazuo Ishiguro or David Mitchell?
David Mitchell. I've liked everything he's written to date. Ishiguro is good, but... he doesn't leave me aching for more.

Robert Frost or Emily Dickinson?
No idea.

Mozart or Bach?
Bach. In a sense, he taught Mozart, and every other composer, what classical music is all about.

Rachmaninov or Prokofiev?
Can't decide. Rachmaninov is prettier; Prokofiev is more provocative.

Miles Davies or John Coltrane?
Miles Davis, if only because of Sketches of Spain.

Frank Sinatra or Tony Bennett?
Sinatra. Bennet tries, but doesn't achieve, that casual ease that Sinatra puts into his performance. I used to dislike Sinatra, but was converted by multiple enforced (don't ask) listenings to Songs for Swingin' Lovers.
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Old 4th Jun 2010, 11:40   #6
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Default Re: Which is better? #5

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Self View Post
Rachmaninov or Prokofiev?
No idea, don't know either. However Prokofiev's contribution to reality TV theme tunes must stand him in good stead.
Philistine!
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Old 4th Jun 2010, 11:46   #7
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Default Re: Which is better? #5

Quote:
Originally Posted by amarie View Post
Philistine!
My secret shame!

And I was wrong about 'The Plot Against the Giant'. It's by Wallace Stevens.
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Old 4th Jun 2010, 12:01   #8
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Default Re: Which is better? #5

Frost's most famous lines are from the last stanza of 'The Road Not Taken'.

Quote:
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
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Old 4th Jun 2010, 12:51   #9
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Default Re: Which is better? #5

Raymond Chandler or James Ellroy?
Can't really comment here...

Agatha Christie or PD James?
I think it's got to be James, though I perhaps developed my love of the detective genre on a staple diet of Christie as a child I grew up to like James's greater complexity and 'Children of Men' remains a big favourite - and cracking movie.

GK Chesterton or Somerset Maugham?
No idea...

John Irving or John Updike?
No idea... I really should read some though right?

Kazuo Ishiguro or David Mitchell?
Mitchell as I've liked all his books and the only Ishiguro I read either bored or annoyed me by turns.. I know I hear the sharp intakes of breath from out there in the ether!

Robert Frost or Emily Dickinson?
Robert Frost - Dickinson is too twee sometimes. Every time I see a path diverging I think of him...

Mozart or Bach?
Bach always, oh those cello sonatas. I had several peices of Bach play as special music before my wedding.

Rachmaninov or Prokofiev?
Rachmaninov - though I must admit to not knowing any Prokofiev (or not being able to recall them now)

Miles Davies or John Coltrane?
Hmmm, difficult... Miles Davis I think but both were parts of the soundtrack of my youth care of my Jazz loving father...

Frank Sinatra or Tony Bennett?[/QUOTE]
meh - shmooze away gents neither float my boat really.
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Old 4th Jun 2010, 13:43   #10
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Default Re: Which is better? #5

Raymond Chandler or James Ellroy?

Never read either so can't choose on this one

Agatha Christie or PD James?

Now Children of Men was excellent but her more recent stuff was daft, and I did really enjoy reading tons of Christie in my early teens, so I would say Christie overall.

GK Chesterton or Somerset Maugham?
I enjoyed The Man Who Was Thursday but that's all I know of Chesterton, but from commentaries on him, I think I would like more of his stuff. But like the Christie, I read a couple of dozen Maughams in my mid-teens and was totally hooked on him, so Maugham wins this one.

John Irving or John Updike?

Never read Updike yet; loved A Prayer for Owen Meany; The Cider House Rules less so, but still a vote for Irving.

Kazuo Ishiguro or David Mitchell?
Love them both, but Ishiguro definitely. The better writer by far. I always feel deeply personally affected by Never Let Me Go.

Robert Frost or Emily Dickinson?

Frost - I *love* Out, Out; and After Apple Picking, and The Death of the Hired Man, and Birches.

Mozart or Bach?
Bach, I think. The Mass in C minor for one.

Rachmaninov or Prokofiev?

Prokofiev - Lieu. Kije, Romeo & Juliet, Peter & the Wolf

Miles Davies or John Coltrane?
I don't really know jazz but I think from the bits I have heard, I probably prefer John Coltrane

Frank Sinatra or Tony Bennett?

Frank Sinatra, even though he seems really creepy.
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