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Old 08-21-2013, 12:12 PM   #31
DrNefario
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I liked War and Peace, I don't think it deserves its reputation as a hard read. I admit I skimmed some of the lecture-y bits in between the sections of story, but the actual story was pretty gripping.

On the other hand, I failed to get anywhere with Don Quixote. The tone of it just failed to click with me. I keep meaning to have another go at it, but it's never quite high enough on the list.
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Old 08-21-2013, 09:54 PM   #32
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Welcome back, crich70 - thanks for your great contributions to the library here; I've downloaded quite a few! I definitely want to read Frankenstein, I've been in love with the concept of Frankenstein's monster ever since I was a child! (When I say "in love", I do mean it in the most apprehensive manner, of course!)
Thank you. You're quite welcome. I'm not nearly as prolific as some of the others here at MR who have uploaded books of course. Patricia is one of the most prolific of course. And when she passed on the library was named in her honor. An honor which she truly did deserve. Anyway I wouldn't get very far without Sigil and Calibre. Not to mention the occasional use of Gimp. Without them I would be lost while trying to make clean ebooks from raw Gutenberg files.
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Old 08-21-2013, 10:29 PM   #33
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On the other hand, I failed to get anywhere with Don Quixote. The tone of it just failed to click with me. I keep meaning to have another go at it, but it's never quite high enough on the list.
Hi DrNefario;

I am a spanish-speaking and fortunately I could read Don Quixote in my native language, moreover, I re-read it THREE times Believe me, is a great book, a great story, a very funny story. But maybe I can understand you: the first six chapter are good but not very good. But with and after chapter seven ("Of the second sally of our whorty knight Don Quixote of La Mancha") the book becomes extraordinary. Of course, the first six chapters may seem too much but remember that the first tome has 52 chapters and the second tome 74 (so those 6 chapters are nothing). I don't know but perhaps in the english translation the book may lose something (in spanish is very funny the speech of Don Quixote). But my advice is: TRY AGAIN with this book

Regards
Rubén
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Old 08-21-2013, 10:46 PM   #34
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I should also say that when you're getting started with the classics I think it may be a good idea to start out collecting authors; try and read one major work of most (all!) classic authors. Then move to a second work in each, and so on. I also find that it's nice to contrast reads- after reading Plato, I will take up something like Steinbeck or Hemingway as a change.
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Old 08-22-2013, 12:00 AM   #35
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Hi DrNefario;

I am a spanish-speaking and fortunately I could read Don Quixote in my native language, moreover, I re-read it THREE times Believe me, is a great book, a great story, a very funny story. But maybe I can understand you: the first six chapter are good but not very good. But with and after chapter seven ("Of the second sally of our whorty knight Don Quixote of La Mancha") the book becomes extraordinary. Of course, the first six chapters may seem too much but remember that the first tome has 52 chapters and the second tome 74 (so those 6 chapters are nothing). I don't know but perhaps in the english translation the book may lose something (in spanish is very funny the speech of Don Quixote). But my advice is: TRY AGAIN with this book

Regards
Rubén
When I read it many years ago, I was expecting some dour classic, and was really pleasantly surprized with the humour in the book. The scene where he takes part in the battle between the two sheep "armies" made me laugh harder than anything else I've ever read. It was slapstick at its best. I think first time readers should approach it as something closer to Mark Twain than, say, Tolstoy.
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Old 08-22-2013, 12:48 AM   #36
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Hi DrNefario;

I am a spanish-speaking and fortunately I could read Don Quixote in my native language, moreover, I re-read it THREE times Believe me, is a great book, a great story, a very funny story. But maybe I can understand you: the first six chapter are good but not very good. But with and after chapter seven ("Of the second sally of our whorty knight Don Quixote of La Mancha") the book becomes extraordinary. Of course, the first six chapters may seem too much but remember that the first tome has 52 chapters and the second tome 74 (so those 6 chapters are nothing). I don't know but perhaps in the english translation the book may lose something (in spanish is very funny the speech of Don Quixote). But my advice is: TRY AGAIN with this book

Regards
Rubén
If memory serves "Don Quixote:" is also the first modern novel. The first (known) novel of course is "The Tale of Genji" which was written by a woman of the Japanese court but "Don Quixote" is the first such novel in the west (to my knowledge).
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Old 08-22-2013, 03:52 AM   #37
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No mention of Virginia Woolf yet? How come?

Mrs Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, and The Waves are fantastic books (in order of ascending difficulty).

And as you don’t seem to shy away from very long books, Neverwhere, I’d also recommend Marcel Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past.
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Old 08-22-2013, 06:05 AM   #38
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No mention of Virginia Woolf yet? How come?

Mrs Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, and The Waves are fantastic books (in order of ascending difficulty).
Depends what you want to read.

Authors like Dickens, Eliot, and Trollope were the "mass entertainment" of their day. They wrote for ordinary people as popular entertainment. Authors like Joyce and Woolf were writing as "art" and their books are a lot more work.

I'm not saying there anything wrong with "literature as art" rather than as entertainment, but you do need to be aware of it before deciding what you want to read.
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Old 08-22-2013, 08:33 AM   #39
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Great recommendations so far. I'll just add a few I haven't seen mentioned yet.
From the Russians, I would add Turgenev's Fathers and Sons, Bulgakov's Heart of a Dog, and Sholokhov's And Quiet Flows the Don. The latter two are not public domain, but the Turgenev is.
Since you like science fiction, try David Lindsay's A Voyage to Arcturus.
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Old 08-22-2013, 10:01 AM   #40
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Depends what you want to read.

Authors like Dickens, Eliot, and Trollope were the "mass entertainment" of their day. They wrote for ordinary people as popular entertainment. Authors like Joyce and Woolf were writing as "art" and their books are a lot more work.

I'm not saying there anything wrong with "literature as art" rather than as entertainment, but you do need to be aware of it before deciding what you want to read.
Of course there are differences in accessibility, but they are all considered “classics”, and while other modernist writers such as Joyce and Faulkner were mentioned here, she was strangely omitted. It is of course entirely possible that the reasons for that are circumstantial, but I seem to remember that it happened on MR before, and maybe the appreciation for her writings is different here from what I’m used to (in Germany, when talking about important early 20th century writers, you will almost always hear the names Joyce and Woolf).
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Old 08-22-2013, 02:34 PM   #41
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Of course there are differences in accessibility, but they are all considered “classics”, and while other modernist writers such as Joyce and Faulkner were mentioned here, she was strangely omitted. It is of course entirely possible that the reasons for that are circumstantial, but I seem to remember that it happened on MR before, and maybe the appreciation for her writings is different here from what I’m used to (in Germany, when talking about important early 20th century writers, you will almost always hear the names Joyce and Woolf).
Interesting, among those I associate with Woolf is virtually ignored (I've no idea if that's justified or not, as I have been inadvertently ignoring her works as well :), and any comment on Joyce is usually just about the ironclad impenetrability of most of his writings...
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Old 08-22-2013, 02:36 PM   #42
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Read "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" if you think Joyce is inpenetrable; it's highly readable and very enjoyable.
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Old 08-26-2013, 01:07 AM   #43
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Great recommendations so far. I'll just add a few I haven't seen mentioned yet.
From the Russians, I would add Turgenev's Fathers and Sons, Bulgakov's Heart of a Dog, and Sholokhov's And Quiet Flows the Don. The latter two are not public domain, but the Turgenev is.
Since you like science fiction, try David Lindsay's A Voyage to Arcturus.
I always appreciate the recommendation of fine Russian authors.

I've sampled Bulgakov before but have not tried the other two. Just need to amend by Russian TBR list.
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Old 08-31-2013, 02:44 PM   #44
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Looking at the books you mentioned in the first post of this thread, it occurs to me you might like Alexandre Dumas (of the Three Muskateers fame) and also The Count of Monte Cristo - another cracking adventure story. Of course, the Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes stories as also classics.
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Old 09-01-2013, 05:03 AM   #45
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I'll try to remember all my thoughts...

Austen: everything everything, but my own personal favorite is Pride & Prejudice. Second is Emma. You already read my third fave.

Avoid the suicidal French (yes!) but try the funny... if you haven't read Moliere, start with the Imaginary Invalid and see if you don't just want to binge on the rest of his stuff. He's hilarious.

Other folks' comments about Don Quixote are right on: he's hilarious, you have to read it in the kind of mood you'd be in to watch a Jim Carrey movie (or old Steve Martin Saturday Night Live bits) and then you'll really get it. He is also the great grandaddy of all western literature, as someone else mentioned. I happen to have studied this book at an Italian university my junior year abroad and the lecture course I took, the professors could not stop emphasizing the fact that all italian literature, and specifically The Divine Comedy owes its existence to Don Quixote
-> interesting tidbit... totally OT: in Italy this title is pronounced as if the 'x' is the American "sh" sound, which is apparently how it was pronounced at the time of publication. The US and latin current pronunciation, with the 'x' pronounced like an 'h' or 'j', respectively, is a dialectical change over time which the Italians refuse to recognize.

sticking with the hilarious, i second the recommendation for chaucer's The Canterbury Tales (not so accessible, but the descriptions are just dang funny), Swift's Gulliver's Travels (try hard, hard, not to laugh at basically every other sentence or at least about every fifth page.)

shifting gears a little, the extremely accessible and mightily enjoyable series by L. M. Montgomery that began with Anne of Green Gables and continues with all 9 titles prefaced by "Anne of..." could keep you happily occupied for some time. This is more along the lines of Jane Austen in that it's a colorful look at a place in time, and there are lots of foibles and calamities and memorable characters.

Let me add a hearty endorsement to that recommendation of Rudyard Kipling, adding that you are most likely familiar with at least the animated movie The Jungle Book, which is just one of the many Just So Stories which are all very well worth the read. Among them, a short story called Toomai of the Elephants.

this:
Quote:
- Anything by Ernest Hemingway
amended to say Everything!! but especially I recommend grabbing a copy of his complete Short Stories and reading it from cover to cover. All the novels are... a canon unto themselves. Just don't miss the shorts!

You might be interested in some lesser-known (to most english speakers) classics like

Italo Svevo - Confessions of Zeno/Zeno's Conscience
Italo Calvino - Marcovaldo or the Season in the City (and pretty much everything else! and that's a lot, he was very prolific.)
-->I'm also a big fan of the work he did collecting and documenting Italian Folktales
Alessandro Manzoni - The Betrothed aka I Promessi Sposi

I didn't find any English translations of Federigo Tozzi in my quick search, but it was a quick one. If you're interested in more Italian classics, he's really, really worth it, especially Con Gli Occhi Chiusi, which translates to With Eyes Closed.

then there's Boccaccio's The Decameron which i emphatically recommend. It's what he's most remembered for, but he was prolific in both fiction and non-fiction and there's plenty there to keep you busy. Also, there are several film adaptations of the Decameron of which Fellini's is required study at most film schools.

Another favorite of mine, Luigi Pirandello (a Nobel Prize in Literature winner) lots of great prose and of course the much imitated play Six Characters in Search of an Author

Enjoy your journey!
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