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Somewhat Off-Topic: What have you been reading lately?


misswonderly3
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On 7/26/2019 at 4:47 PM, Vautrin said:

I've read The Portrait of a Lady, 100 Years of Solitude, and 1. Look Homeward, Angel and liked each,

though to differing degrees. I've also read Moby Dick and, I'm sorry to add, more than once. Even

if one has little interest in whales and whaling Melville's style is so unusual that it's one of the best

things in the book. Okay, I'll throw in 2. Martin Chuzzlewit and The Life of Samuel Johnson just for the

heck of it. :)

1. I guess living in ASHEVILLE, it's got a deep meaning for you.

2. I keep thinking about reading some of the lesser known Dickenseses, this and also BARNABY RUDGE.

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3 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

1. I guess living in ASHEVILLE, it's got a deep meaning for you.

2. I keep thinking about reading some of the lesser known Dickenseses, this and also BARNABY RUDGE.

Actually I read it before I moved to North Carolina. For some reason I lost interest in

Wolfe and never read any of his other books. Maybe Look Homeward, Angel has

something in it that appeals to younger readers. I live outside Asheville, but I did visit

Wolfe's home a long time ago. As you may know, there was a fire there a number of

years ago and it took awhile for it to be restored so it could be open to the public again.

Martin Chuzzlewit is another of those tales of an arrogant though unaware

young man who must go through a lot of tribulations before he learns to be a better

person. There is also a hilarious section set in America, making fun of the braggadocio

and cluelessness of the inhabitants of the new country. Next I'm going to read The

Golden Bowl, blindfolded with one hand tied behind my back.

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On 7/26/2019 at 1:47 PM, Vautrin said:

I've also read Moby Dick and, I'm sorry to add, more than once. Even

if one has little interest in whales and whaling Melville's style is so unusual that it's one of the best

things in the boo

More than once, I admire that. Thank you for mentioning whales and whaling, the so-called diversions. I'm sure you're right they are more interesting that I gave them credit in an earlier post. I dissed the novel for having these and that wasrather silly, really. It's my lack of patience was at issue, not the novel itself.

On 7/26/2019 at 1:47 PM, Vautrin said:

Okay, I'll throw in Martin Chuzzlewit...

I read half of this some years. I think I ran out of gas, not out of boredom, other constraints probably. Earlier I plugged MiddleMarch as a very good BBC TV production, and Martin Chuzzlewit is another, (Paul Scofield and Tom Wilkinson, for two) The latter's portrayal as the unctuous (as well as other sundry negative traits) Mr Pecksniff is a gem for the ages. All six episodes are available on a single disc. The love interest between Mark Tapley (whose signature attribute is to be always cheerful) and Mrs Lupin, the hostess of the Blue Dragon, is rather sweetly depicted. Mrs Lupin is a widow and slightly older than young Tapley, which adds a certain charm. There is a scene prior to Tapley's venture in America, and one after. The lump in my throat over these two led me to search for the corresponding passages in the book, but I couldn't find them. Are they elsewhere in the narrative, or did the TV production enhance the relationship a bit? If so, the enhancement was deftly applied and touched my inner sap. As I grow older my perennial instance that "I am not sentimental, dammit?" is losing it's insistent quality as my resistance grows dimmer and dimmer. But I at least maintain, probably defensively, that these types of things have to be done effectively to reach me. I'll spare you the delicious scene of rapprochement where Tertius Lydgate, the new doctor in town, woos Rosamund Vincy in MiddleMarch. Perfection!

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4 hours ago, laffite said:

More than once, I admire that. Thank you for mentioning whales and whaling, the so-called diversions. I'm sure you're right they are more interesting that I gave them credit in an earlier post. I dissed the novel for having these and that wasrather silly, really. It's my lack of patience was at issue, not the novel itself.

I read half of this some years. I think I ran out of gas, not out of boredom, other constraints probably. Earlier I plugged MiddleMarch as a very good BBC TV production, and Martin Chuzzlewit is another, (Paul Scofield and Tom Wilkinson, for two) The latter's portrayal as the unctuous (as well as other sundry negative traits) Mr Pecksniff is a gem for the ages. All six episodes are available on a single disc. The love interest between Mark Tapley (whose signature attribute is to be always cheerful) and Mrs Lupin, the hostess of the Blue Dragon, is rather sweetly depicted. Mrs Lupin is a widow and slightly older than young Tapley, which adds a certain charm. There is a scene prior to Tapley's venture in America, and one after. The lump in my throat over these two led me to search for the corresponding passages in the book, but I couldn't find them. Are they elsewhere in the narrative, or did the TV production enhance the relationship a bit? If so, the enhancement was deftly applied and touched my inner sap. As I grow older my perennial instance that "I am not sentimental, dammit?" is losing it's insistent quality as my resistance grows dimmer and dimmer. But I at least maintain, probably defensively, that these types of things have to be done effectively to reach me. I'll spare you the delicious scene of rapprochement where Tertius Lydgate, the new doctor in town, woos Rosamund Vincy in MiddleMarch. Perfection!

I suppose to some degree Melville was following the old adage to write about what you know.

Even with his uniquely weird style there are some parts of the book where all the information

about whaling gets to be dull, but to me they are survivable and a minor annoyance to the

greater pleasures of the book. I've meant to read Middlemarch for the last few years, so maybe

I'll get around to it in 2020. As I recall, the gradual romance between Tapley and Mrs. Lupin is

in the novel but it takes place at long intervals between other action, so it's a bit non-continuous.

In a novel this long it's not unusual for some characters to "disappear" for stretches of time.

Tapley also aids Martin in taking stock of his character and making improvements to it. The

overly sentimental occurs sometimes in Dickens but I think for the most part he manages to

keep it at bay. I enjoyed Martin Chuzzlewit as much as any other Dickens' novel even if it is

not as famous as some of the others.

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10 hours ago, Vautrin said:

As I recall, the gradual romance between Tapley and Mrs. Lupin is

in the novel but it takes place at long intervals between other action,

Yes, that makes perfect sense, in fact, it was naive to think I would find those Tapley-Lupin segments in the same order as the screenplay. But the adaptation, as I said before, does a good job of covering it. I didn't think, just for the record, that the TV adaptation over sentimentalized that little romance, I thought it was just right.

Tapley is a feel-good character in a way, for his insistence to be "jolly" all the time and he is altogether quite a decent chap. In the TV show he is given a weird accent that is probably cockney or related to it.

10 hours ago, Vautrin said:

Tapley also aids Martin in taking stock of his character and making improvements to it.

...and I believe he practically saves Martin's life while in America. As you and others probably know, Dickens visited America in 1842 and was none to pleased about the place. MC was his first novel post-America visit and he airs his decidedly naegative views.

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2 hours ago, laffite said:

...and I believe he practically saves Martin's life while in America. As you and others probably know, Dickens visited America in 1842 and was none to pleased about the place. MC was his first novel post-America visit and he airs his decidedly naegative views.

It makes a lot of sense considering the 19th Century Gilded Age US was like a caricature of the poverty-filled societies he wrote about and detested.

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on various points-

I'll save MARTIN CHUZZLEWIT for the winter, for some reason I really enjoy reading DICKENSESES in the winter...I've read one almost every winter for the past ten or so years AND AM GETTING to where there are not too many left to conquer.

after reading DANIEL DERONDA in its entirety, it would be hard for me to even try MIDDLEMARCH. DANIEL DERONDA is an interesting novella scattered like pearls throughout 700 AND SOMETHING pages of masterful navel-gazing and highly positive depictions of Jewish persons which, while needed at the time, REALLY LAYS IT ON TO THE POINT WHERE I IMAGINE MORE THAN A FEW READERS OF THE TIME IN WHICH "DERONDA" WAS WRITTEN WERE WILLING BY ABOUT PAGE 478 TO GO AND SINGLE-HANDEDLY ESTABLISH THE STATE OF ISRAEL JUST TO GET GEORGE TO SHUT THE **** UP ABOUT IT.

ELIOT, DICKENS and NABOKOV are all MASTERFUL WRITERS- often better at weaving GLORIOUS tapestries of words and setting a scene or describing a person than they (SOMETIMES) are at TELLING AN OVERALL STORY..."nothing happens" for long stretches of their work, and yet it's still impressive to see them fill a page.

i actually do think that thoughtfully abridged versions of DICKENS and ELIOT would not be a bad idea. A 120 page edition of DANIEL DERONDA would be sensational.

i think a key to MELVILLE would be to listen to MOBY DICK as an AUDIOBOOK. AS i get older, there are certain writers who i prefer to LISTEN to as opposed to READING (concentration is a struggle for me...

OH LOOK, A BUNNY RABBIT...!

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On 7/26/2019 at 6:01 AM, LornaHansonForbes said:

My first thought whenever I meet or read anyone who professes to have 1. read in full and 2. liked any of the following: PORTRAIT OF A LADY, MOBY DICK, MIDDLEMARCH, 100 YEARS OF SOLITUDE and ANYTHING BY THOMAS WOOLF- GOD FORGIVE ME, but my first thought is "you're lying to me."

I mean, you may be a good person- but you're lying to me about this, and nothing you say can convince me otherwise. I'm like the cops in the JonBenet case you are LYING about one or both of those things and MY MIND IS MADE UP.

It's like people wearing YOKO ONO TEE SHIRTS, like, you MUST be doing this ironically, I accept no other explanation.

We had to read the highly abridged version of Moby Dick in high school.  My takeaway from that whole thing was "Call Me Ishmael." It's all I can remember.

I really enjoy reading, but I have such a hard time paying attention.  I have no idea what my problem is.  One book that I read that I really loved was To Kill a Mockingbird

I have a really hard time reading and enjoying 19th century literature, specifically British literature. I can't stand Charles Dickens. Though, I must admit that I only read Great Expectations in school.  That's the only Dickens I've read. I feel like that is enough.  

I also hated The Picture of Dorian Gray.  The 1945 movie version was way better.  I also can never remember if it's called The Portrait of Dorian Gray or 'Picture,' I have to google it each and every time to make sure I use the right title. 

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28 minutes ago, speedracer5 said:

We had to read the highly abridged version of Moby Dick in high school.  My takeaway from that whole thing was "Call Me Ishmael." It's all I can remember.

I really enjoy reading, but I have such a hard time paying attention.  I have no idea what my problem is.  One book that I read that I really loved was To Kill a Mockingbird

I have a really hard time reading and enjoying 19th century literature, specifically British literature. I can't stand Charles Dickens. Though, I must admit that I only read Great Expectations in school.  That's the only Dickens I've read. I feel like that is enough.  

I also hated The Picture of Dorian Gray.  The 1945 movie version was way better.  I also can never remember if it's called The Portrait of Dorian Gray or 'Picture,' I have to google it each and every time to make sure I use the right title. 

the only thing I remember about MOBY DICK is the narrator waking up in the tattoed arms of QUEEQAG in the first 20 pages or so.

GREAT EXPECTATIONS has never been a favorite, it works wonderfully as a film, as a book...eh. I also can never recall the portrait/picture thing, but DORIAN GRAY ain't no big deal either.

BRIT LIT BOOKS THAT I WOULD RECOMMEND TO SOMEONE NOT A BRIT LIT FANATIC OR FINDS IT (UNDERSTANDABLY) CHALLENGING:

THE WOODLANDERS by THOMAS HARDY, LUCKY by JACKIE COLLINS, THE GO-BETWEEN by LP HARTLEY, MAURICE  by EM FORSTER, and A TALE OF TWO CITIES by DICKENS- which is his least DICKENSY book. 

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1 hour ago, speedracer5 said:

I have a really hard time reading and enjoying 19th century literature, specifically British literature. I can't stand Charles Dickens. Though, I must admit that I only read Great Expectations in school.  That's the only Dickens I've read. I feel like that is enough.  

You mean you've never read a Christmas Carol? That one is much shorter and to the point. It's a good one for the Christmas season. We read that in school at a really young age. I don't really like British literature either but I love 19th century literature, particularly the Young Hegelians like "Saint Max." 

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2 hours ago, Gershwin fan said:

You mean you've never read a Christmas Carol? That one is much shorter and to the point. It's a good one for the Christmas season. We read that in school at a really young age. I don't really like British literature either but I love 19th century literature, particularly the Young Hegelians like "Saint Max." 

I have seen (I know, not the same as reading) so many iterations of A Christmas Carol that I think I would be content to never hear the story again. 

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3 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

the only thing I remember about MOBY DICK is the narrator waking up in the tattoed arms of QUEEQAG in the first 20 pages or so.

GREAT EXPECTATIONS has never been a favorite, it works wonderfully as a film, as a book...eh. I also can never recall the portrait/picture thing, but DORIAN GRAY ain't no big deal either.

BRIT LIT BOOKS THAT I WOULD RECOMMEND TO SOMEONE NOT A BRIT LIT FANATIC OR FINDS IT (UNDERSTANDABLY) CHALLENGING:

THE WOODLANDERS by THOMAS HARDY, LUCKY by JACKIE COLLINS, THE GO-BETWEEN by LP HARTLEY, MAURICE  by EM FORSTER, and A TALE OF TWO CITIES by DICKENS- which is his least DICKENSY book. 

Jackie Collins of the "Sister of Joan Collins" fame? I thought she wrote romance novels!

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14 hours ago, laffite said:

Yes, that makes perfect sense, in fact, it was naive to think I would find those Tapley-Lupin segments in the same order as the screenplay. But the adaptation, as I said before, does a good job of covering it. I didn't think, just for the record, that the TV adaptation over sentimentalized that little romance, I thought it was just right.

Tapley is a feel-good character in a way, for his insistence to be "jolly" all the time and he is altogether quite a decent chap. In the TV show he is given a weird accent that is probably cockney or related to it.

...and I believe he practically saves Martin's life while in America. As you and others probably know, Dickens visited America in 1842 and was none to pleased about the place. MC was his first novel post-America visit and he airs his decidedly naegative views.

Even in the face of overwhelming odds Tapley remains upbeat, though I think there were

a few times when even he had some doubts, though he kept on being jolly. Yes, Martin

came down with a serious fever due to the pestilential conditions of the new town where

they settled, which was totally unlike the  glowing recommendations of the founders,

and Mark nursed him back to health. The satire on America is very biting and

entertaining and something that would not be out of place today. 

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7 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

i actually do think that thoughtfully abridged versions of DICKENS and ELIOT would not be a bad idea

Normally I would contest this notion but I am much more amenable now, Dickens yes, but maybe not Eliot. Some years ago I ran across a book in a thrift shop that had four condensed novels of Dickens. I scoffed back then and worried after leafing through the book that the stories might have been left a bit threadbare. I recently saw this book again at a library book sale and now wished that I had gotten it for a better look.

 

4 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

GREAT EXPECTATIONS has never been a favorite,

I recently audio book-ed this, brilliantly read by Grahame Malcolm. I found the early parts of the story much more rewarding, especially the chapters before moving to the big city. There was a moving passage early on that very nearly made me weep out loud, caused primarily due to the narrator's voice (Malcolm). As Pip leaves Miss Havasham's for the first time, he is struck dumb with grief for feeling so unworthy due to class difference, aggravated by his blossoming love for Stella. After all this miserable treatment and now woefully depressed he makes his way off the grounds. He walks through the coal shed with wobbly knees where "he leaned against the wall ... and wept." Perfectly rendered by the narrator's voice. It was an example of feeling the pain, wow.

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Too add, I always thought it too bad that these novels (Dickens, e.g.) were serialized. They got paid by the word which inevitably results in prolixity (if that's the right word). What would these novels be like if they were penned as is done today. If an argument would be made for condensing these novels, the drawbacks from the serialization process would be a good support for it.

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2 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

I have seen (I know, not the same as reading) so many iterations of A Christmas Carol that I think I would be content to never hear the story again. 

I can never get past the FLAMING CASKET/GATEWAY TO HELL that nearly takes SCROOGE McDUCK in the DISNEY VERSION, I remember seeing that on the big screen in the early eighties when i was not old at all and it scared the **** out of/ utterly enthralled me.

ROAST DUCK FOR YOUR HOLIDAY?

latest?cb=20130903173604

I literally could never watch DUCKTALES and not think of the flaming coffin and wondering if the image of it was what SCROOGE MCDUCK saw every time he closed his eyes while swimming through the giant pile of gold coins.

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THE BEST THING DICKENS WROTE- hands down- is (for me) A TALE OF TWO CITIES. It is a masterfully written novel and one that is important to me on a personal level. it's also his most efficient tale- 400 pages, all wisely used.

I liked both DAVID COPPERFIELD and THE OLD CURIOSITY SHOP much better than I expected to.

I read OUR MUTUAL FRIEND and LITTLE DORRIT and DOMBEY AND SON and BLEAK HOUSE over various winters and the overall experiences of reading them were good, but each was something of a let-down.

I actually read a fair amount of EDMUND DROOD and liked what I saw.

HARD TIMES I did not find memorable.

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7 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

i actually do think that thoughtfully abridged versions of DICKENS and ELIOT would not be a bad idea. A 120 page edition of DANIEL DERONDA would be sensational.

You actually reminded me of this quote from Teddy Roosevelt on Charles Dickens-

“The wise thing to do is simply to skip the bosh and twaddle and vulgarity and untruth, and get the benefit out of the rest.” – Theodore Roosevelt, on reading Charles Dickens

 

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9 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

THE BEST THING DICKENS WROTE- hands down- is (for me) A TALE OF TWO CITIES. It is a masterfully written novel and one that is important to me on a personal level. it's also his most efficient tale- 400 pages, all wisely used.

I liked both DAVID COPPERFIELD and THE OLD CURIOSITY SHOP much better than I expected to.

I read OUR MUTUAL FRIEND and LITTLE DORRIT and DOMBEY AND SON and BLEAK HOUSE over various winters and the overall experiences of reading them were good, but each was something of a let-down.

I actually read a fair amount of EDMUND DROOD and liked what I saw.

HARD TIMES I did not find memorable.

You are well read, Lorna. Congrats! I fear I will ne'er catch up wi' you. Winters with Charles Dickens, interesting. That's probably why I'll never catch up. We don't have winters where I dwell :lol: .

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Personally I stick to the unabridged editions. If people, for whatever reason, prefer an

abridged version that's fine. Great Expectations has had so many adaptations that the

original book seems to get a little lost in the crowd. I've always liked it and read it >1. Like

other Dickens' characters, Pip has to go through a number of humbling experiences before

he sees the light, at least as Dickens considered it. A book I've always enjoyed is Tristram

Shandy. Hard to summarize and with not much of a plot but a very wild, unusual piece of

literature. ~~~~~~~~~. I don't take advice on literature from overweight American

imperialists and won't be starting now. :)

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4 hours ago, Vautrin said:

~~~~~~~~~. I don't take advice on literature from overweight American

imperialists and won't be starting now. :)

Let me guess. You dislike him because of the Perdicaris Affair? lol. Roosevelt was right that Dickens can really be a bit of a bore. Dickens could have really benefited from a better editor. 

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5 hours ago, Vautrin said:

Personally I stick to the unabridged editions

And i as well. With the advent of CD audio books I sometimes get antsy that there are enough discs for the length of the book and go through any trouble necessary (including bothering librarians who don't know either) to nail it down.. The notion that if there is no indication, then it must be unabridged, does not always satisfy. That's a good rule of thumb but sometimes I'm not convinced. Now that I have access to the Library of Congress (due to some vision impairment) and am sensitive to time (number of hours) rather number of discs, I am immediately en garde when there are more than one item per book (or oeuvre) and ensure discrepancies in time duration are ironed out before choosing. In other words, only unabridged will do.

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