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Old 02-08-2013, 08:28 AM   #91
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That is a nice list.
Which list? The BBC's Big Read list?
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Old 02-08-2013, 08:35 AM   #92
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The one posted by BellaZora.

The BBC one also has many nice books on it. I'll have to check some out that I've always wanted to read but never did.

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Old 02-08-2013, 08:48 AM   #93
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I took the quiz. I have read at least part about a dozen of them, but most of them I haven't even heard of.
Of course I'm not American so I really don't know what should and shouldn't be on that list, but I did notice the absence of Toni Morrison, Mark Twain and other big names. I would have expected a "classic" like Catch 22 to be there as well, but maybe I'm just showing my age now...
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Old 02-08-2013, 09:57 AM   #94
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I have to work with this type of "common core" educational lists, only at a college level. The reason for the more obscure books is that the list is built up in reverse. A committee came up with a bunch of discussion questions on topics they thought 10th graders should be exposed to and then had to go out and find books that met the questions. Its not a literature list by any means.
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Old 02-08-2013, 01:22 PM   #95
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Originally Posted by pdurrant View Post
Which list? The BBC's Big Read list?
My granddaughter's list was on Facebook and differs from the BBC link you posted. Here is the list she posted:
Spoiler:
Have you read more than 6 of these books? The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 1984 - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma -Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Inferno - Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams (Saw the movie)
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Last edited by BelleZora; 02-08-2013 at 01:25 PM.
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Old 02-08-2013, 03:07 PM   #96
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"Oh. Yeah, Fantasy. *snort*"

Fantasy did get a very bad name. At first you basically had only Tolkien, in the Epic / High Fantasy genre (of course there was "other" Fantasy, but IMHO, Tolkien started Fantasy as most people know it today). Then, starting in the 70's with Brooks and later Eddings, more people began to write Fantasy. Now there is so much of it that it seems *everybody* writes Fantasy and I doubt I'll ever read 5% of it. And I suspect that there's really bad Fantasy too...
To be honest, I read the Lord of the Rings last summer for the very first time, and I didn't want to see the films when they came out. I was like "Fantasy? *snort*" until some kids persuaded me to read Harry Potter and I found out I liked it. So I came to LOTR and found many interesting parallels ...

I agree that there are lots of bad fantasy books, but I guess there a lots of bad books in any genre. This seems to be getting much worse with the rise of ebooks, when anyone can publish without all those qualiy controls. Sometimes I am just overwhelmed when I look at those "free book" lists and can't figure if I'd want any of those for free.
So, to get back near the original topic: Don't you feel that these "canon lists" are getting more important with the numbers of books exploding, as it is getting harder and harder to find the good stuff in this jungle?
Looking at the BBC list I just thought I would rather go back to Jane Austen than reading some random new stuff (now that's showing my age, probably ...)
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Old 02-08-2013, 03:38 PM   #97
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If any book of the 20th century will survive the test of time, it's Lord of the Rings. It's endured despite being looked down upon, now you can study it in college literature classes.

I don't think it's all that hard to weed out the bad books. When we look back at the past, we only see the best, and it gives the impression that the books were all really great. But there were a great many books that are simply forgotten. There are a great deal more books, but we also have more tools at our disposal to help us make our decisions.
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Old 02-08-2013, 06:24 PM   #98
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My granddaughter's list was on Facebook and differs from the BBC link you posted. Here is the list she posted:
[/SPOILER]
Darn, I got 48.
Not even half
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Old 02-08-2013, 09:12 PM   #99
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A committee came up with a bunch of discussion questions on topics they thought 10th graders should be exposed to and then had to go out and find books that met the questions.
I was wondering about that when I saw title on codfish. It's almost like they were asking -- what environmentalist title can we throw in without risking a right-wing backlash?

Maybe I'm too cynical. Maybe.
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Old 02-08-2013, 09:31 PM   #100
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If any book of the 20th century will survive the test of time, it's Lord of the Rings. It's endured despite being looked down upon, now you can study it in college literature classes.
It's the bestselling novel of that century. But that's doesn't mean it will "survive the test of time." The bestselling book of the nineteenth century, Uncle Tom's Cabin hasn't. As for being studied in college literature classes, lots of books are, including Uncle Tom's Cabin, and it doesn't necessarily imply endorsement.

IMHO, the "test of time" will have less to do with whether Lord of the Rings is good, and more with whether, at any given time, fantasy is a popular genre.
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Old 02-08-2013, 10:10 PM   #101
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If any book of the 20th century will survive the test of time, it's Lord of the Rings. It's endured despite being looked down upon, now you can study it in college literature classes.
Let me premise - I am a big fan of Tolkien's. I read everything he has written, completed or not, many times over. As a kid I re-read the Lord of the Rings twice a year. I watched the animated movie over and over, despite how much it sucked. And played MERP way more than I care to admit.

But... no. Just no.
It's a fun book. It's an astonishing world. It's a beautiful story. It made me weep.
But there are countless works from this century that have a literary value LOTR not only does not achieve, but did not even aspire to.

And, as far as college classes go, they read Dan Brown, Harry Potter and, by now, even the shades crap. The fact that we dedicate college classes to what is, basically, entertainment, is a sad testament to how dumb this society is getting, how little we expect of our children, and how much we are wasting money that should be used to teach REAL skills.
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Old 02-09-2013, 12:05 AM   #102
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And, as far as college classes go, they read Dan Brown, Harry Potter and, by now, even the shades crap.
Cite?
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Old 02-09-2013, 04:13 AM   #103
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And, as far as college classes go, they read Dan Brown, Harry Potter and, by now, even the shades crap. The fact that we dedicate college classes to what is, basically, entertainment, is a sad testament to how dumb this society is getting, how little we expect of our children, and how much we are wasting money that should be used to teach REAL skills.
Sorry, I live in Australia (where we apparently have distinctly different names for levels of education) and I'm not studying literature (so it's all text books for me) - when you say to 'college', to what level of education are you referring? If you're referring to tertiary education, to what major or units of study are you referring?
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Old 02-09-2013, 04:45 AM   #104
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But... no. Just no.
It's a fun book. It's an astonishing world. It's a beautiful story. It made me weep.
But there are countless works from this century that have a literary value LOTR not only does not achieve, but did not even aspire to..
But how do you define "literary value"? Isn't the fact that people still appreciate a work after a long time some indicator? Many of today's bestsellers will be forgotten in a few years, I think (and rightly so in many cases ..)
LOTR may not show the subtlest use of narrative language, but it has the most amazing treatment of different languages and cultures, it draws widely on a lot of European myths and medieval literature.
So I wouldn't deny it "literary value", though I would be hard put to choose it as the one book of the century. Or choose any book.

If influence on other works is a valid factor, then certainly LOTR is very high on the list. I think "novelty" is indeed also a factor of literary value, that's why Gullivers Travels are still interesting these days.

In the end, this how the "books of the century" lists are made - if people think a book is important and should be on the list, it gets there. Depending on the type of the list, these people are some sorts of experts or the general public (the BBC list for example show what people actually like reading, not what the "experts" think they should read).
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Old 02-09-2013, 05:53 AM   #105
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I think that there are more than a few people who mention books for those lists that they have always heard of as being important, rather than finding them good or important themselves.
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