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Old 02-09-2013, 08:20 PM   #121
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In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez (one of the books on the 10th grade list that I had never heard of :-) is currently selling in ebook form for $1.99 and the Sony Store and Amazon.com!
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Old 02-09-2013, 09:15 PM   #122
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katsunami View Post
Is it because it's all made up?
If so, that's a problem. If I think it couldn't really happen, it will feel fake. I couldn't get through Frankenstein. Since there's plenty else I do like, it's no loss for me.

However, if a book is good, it couldn't really be all made up. Harry Potter fans surely think that the emotions the characters experience are like those real people experience. I read one Potter book and didn't buy into it. Could be I was missing something.

We're in a fantasy book boom. There may be an even bigger boom in Ayn Rand books, as shown in the right-hand column of these links:

100 Best 20th Century Novels

100 Best 20th Century Nonfiction Books

Just because a genre is trendy doesn't tell us whether the trend will continue. No one can predict how long these booms will last.

It could be that Tolkien characters are actually less "all made up" than Rand characters. It depends on whether real people placed in extraordinary circumstances would really think or interact as these authors portray.

Last edited by SteveEisenberg; 02-10-2013 at 01:01 PM. Reason: removed unnecessary words
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Old 02-10-2013, 12:14 AM   #123
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Quote:
You're pretty well read

You're familiar with words like 'Bildungsroman,' 'synecdoche,' and 'anagnorisis,' but perhaps not with today's updated literary curriculum.


I agree that there are HUGE holes in this list - Classics that many of us would have been assigned, and are probably still truly on the English Lit menu in the US. Mark Twain, Pearl S. Buck, Whitman, Orwell, Chaucer, Thoreau, Dante, Joseph Conrad, Melville, Jack London, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and many more classics were on my school's list, and are still regarded as major classic authors, but I don't see any of them here. Stephen Crane's Red Badge of Courage was the book we had to go along with Civil War lessons. Where is that?

I read a number of the books on their list in college, not high school. I think Molière was assigned at the college level too. Honestly, those plays were a bit naughty for my High School, even conceding that many MTV videos back in the 80's were already worse.


Spoiler:
"The Odyssey," by Homer
I've read it

"Metamorphoses," by Ovid
I've read part of it

"The Nose," by Nikolai Gogol
I've read it

"Candide," by Voltaire
I've read it

"Fathers and Sons," by Ivan Turgenev
I've read it

"The Gift of the Magi," by O. Henry
I've read it

"The Metamorphosis," by Franz Kafka
I've read part of it

"The Grapes of Wrath," by John Steinbeck
I've read it

"Fahrenheit 451," by Ray Bradbury
I've read it

"I Stand Here Ironing," by Tillie Olsen
I've never heard of it

"Things Fall Apart," by Chinua Achebe
I've never heard of it

"To Kill A Mockingbird," by Harper Lee
I've read it

"The Killer Angels," by Michael Shaara
I've never heard of it

"The Joy Luck Club," by Amy Tan
I've read part of it

"In the Time of the Butterflies," by Julia Álvarez
I've heard of it

"The Book Thief," by Marcus Zusak
I've heard of it

"Oedipus Rex," by Sophocles
I've read it

"The Tragedy of Macbeth," by William Shakespeare
I've read it

"A Doll's House," by Henrik Ibsen
I've read it

"Master Harold ... and the boys," by Athol Fugard
I've heard of it

"Sonnet 73," by William Shakespeare
I've read it

"Song," by John Donne
I've read it

"Ozymandias," by Percy Bysshe Shelley
I've read it

"The Raven," by Edgar Allan Poe
I've read it

"We Grow Accustomed to the Dark," by Emily Dickinson
I've read it

"Loveliest of Trees," by A. E. Houseman
I've heard of it

"Lift Every Voice and Sing," by James Weldon Johnson
I've never heard of it

"Yet Do I Marvel," by Countee Cullen
I've never heard it

"Musée des Beaux Arts," by Wystan Hugh Auden
I've read part of it

"Women," by Alice Walker
I've read part of it

"I Am Offering This Poem to You," by Jimmy Santiago Baca
I've never heard of it

"I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," by Maya Angelou
I've read part of it

"Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West," by Dee Brown
I've read it

"Son of the Morning Star: Custer and the Little Bighorn," by Evan S. Connell
I've heard of it

"The Story of Art, 16th Edition," by E.H. Gombrich
I've read it

"Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World," by Mark Kurlansky
I've heard of it

"Black, Blue and Gray: African Americans in the Civil War," by Jim Haskins
I've heard of it


IMO this quiz is hopelessly skewed toward the 'mod.' In fact, I have seen a number of these books promoted recently (Cod, SOn of the Morning Star, the Civil War books) which makes me wonder how many are fairly new? That wouldn't test general familiarity to classics
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Old 02-10-2013, 12:28 AM   #124
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Originally Posted by Latinandgreek View Post
I worked as a book buyer for a university book store in Canada. Harry Potter and the Twilight novels were on course syllabi, as was The Hunger Games. I even recall seeing Nora Roberts on an old syllabus. I believe that Twilight and The Hunger Games were being used in a third year english course on YA sci-fi and fantasy.

I do think that anything can legitimately find a place in onto a university or college course; after all, appraising the 'value' of a book is subjective.
I don't particularly object to this either, as long as they are used in appropriate courses for people in the major, and not as general ed requirements.
Quote:

I do think, however, that classical learning has been much too marginalized lately in North America. Having completed university degrees in Canada and Europe I find that I much prefer the European approach to higher education. While I had much less freedom in my course choices in Europe, all of the students who had completed the same degree that I did (classical philology) at my university had, at least in theory, covered 90% of the same material I did in my classes, and all major authors were covered.
Where did you study? It doesn't make sense to talk about the "European" approach to higher education, since the approach in the UK (3 years to a BA and fairly regimented) and the approach in, say, Germany (6+ years, very few requirements) are *vastly* different.
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I do feel like my North American degree (from the University of Toronto) left me with large gaps in my knowledge that I had to make up for in graduate school, and never could quite make up for.
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Old 02-10-2013, 12:32 AM   #125
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BelleZora View Post
The BBC posted a Big Read Top 100 books list challenge in 2003. They believed that most people had read only 6 of the 100 books. My 11th-grade granddaughter tells me that she has read the following on the list, most school requirements:

1. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
2. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
3. Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White
4. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
5. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
6. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
7. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
8. Animal Farm - George Orwell
9. Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne
10. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis
11. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
12. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
13. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
14. Harry Potter series
15. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien

She and her sister, also 16, love to discuss The Hunger Games Trilogy, House of Night series, and The Mortal Instruments series. They believe that they are average readers among their friends. They discussed Animal Farm seemingly endlessly in my presence.

If they are average, book writers and publishers should remain busy for decades.


I've read most all of the books on BelleZora's list

and 51/100 of BelleZora's other list. Definitely saving that link for future reference

Yes, Narnia has essentially been given two slots on both lists. Maybe they meant the rest of the books for the other one.

I am a bit surprised to see Milne there. My Mother read those to me when I was small, and I read them to my kids at kindergarten age. Charlotte's Web, Narnia, Alice in Wonderland, and The Secret Garden are usually an option in the middle grades (4th-7th), not high school. On the whole, though, I'd expect more 10th graders to know this list than the other one, though they may not have read them all recently

Last edited by Shushan; 02-10-2013 at 01:01 AM.
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Old 02-10-2013, 12:40 AM   #126
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoffC View Post
I've read 4, but there's a lot never heard of.

Using Firefox, I had problems with script on the page.
Same here.

Twas a slow, buggy poll and dreary
I clicked on 'til I was weary
of many a sad book of yesteryear

Oh how I remember tapping
book reports and character mappings
anxiously awaiting my English paper scores
(no, I had no teacher named Lenore)
but now I'll read these NEVERMORE

...well maybe a few.
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Old 02-10-2013, 05:06 AM   #127
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveEisenberg View Post
There is a boom on fantasy books. There may be an even bigger boom in Ayn Rand books, as shown in the right-hand column of these links:

100 Best 20th Century Novels

100 Best 20th Century Nonfiction Books
I found both lists interesting.
But did it say somewhere "100 Best English Language Books"? Maybe I missed that.
Or did they just assume there isn't anything else worthwile?


(yes, I mean "originallly written in English", of course)
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Old 02-10-2013, 05:58 AM   #128
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Originally Posted by Katsunami View Post
I don't get why so many people "sneer" at Fantasy. Is it because it's all made up? Is it because it's "childish", with its Elves and Dwarves? I don't know. Yeah, there is enough bad, superficial, commercial Fantasy out there (about 90% of all Forgotten Realms novels for example), but there is also good stuff to be found.
I think the reason is because the reader has to work harder to suspend disbelief. In other words, I can read a literary novel and believe that everything in there has happened to somebody, somewhere, even if the particulars never all actually happened to one person. But I can't believe somebody used an invisible energy wave summoned by their mind to move a starfighter out of a bog, nor do I believe that somebody created a ring that made the wearer invisible.

Now, those who can suspend disbelief and accept the new rules of a fantasy novel (and even get enjoyment out of knowing and understanding those rules) have no issues enjoying fantasy, but that is not the masses.
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Old 02-10-2013, 06:43 AM   #129
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But I can't believe somebody used an invisible energy wave summoned by their mind to move a starfighter out of a bog.....

. and forgetting to bring the bog roll to wipe it off before flying off to save the Galaxy....again. Cheers for saving the Galaxy but your fighter smells like the back end of a pigstye














But I can't believe somebody used an invisible energy wave summoned by their mind to move a starfighter out of a bog
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sregener View Post
I think the reason is because the reader has to work harder to suspend disbelief. In other words, I can read a literary novel and believe that everything in there has happened to somebody, somewhere, even if the particulars never all actually happened to one person. But I can't believe somebody used an invisible energy wave summoned by their mind to move a starfighter out of a bog, nor do I believe that somebody created a ring that made the wearer invisible.

Now, those who can suspend disbelief and accept the new rules of a fantasy novel (and even get enjoyment out of knowing and understanding those rules) have no issues enjoying fantasy, but that is not the masses.
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Old 02-10-2013, 12:41 PM   #130
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I don't particularly object to this either, as long as they are used in appropriate courses for people in the major, and not as general ed requirements.
Where did you study? It doesn't make sense to talk about the "European" approach to higher education, since the approach in the UK (3 years to a BA and fairly regimented) and the approach in, say, Germany (6+ years, very few requirements) are *vastly* different.
I studied in Croatia. I am under the impression that European curricula have been much more unified since the Bologna Process was implemented, which allows for mobility between European universities and has somewhat standardized the length of study needed to obtain various degrees. Credits between Bologna accredited universities are (at least in theory, from what I can tell) entirely transferable and the ECTS system point system (again, theoretically) yields courses that carry the same amount of weight and expected amount of time/effort per point at all universities in which the Bologna Process has been implemented. Again, I'm not sure how well this works all around Europe in practice, but it should lead to a much more similar experience studying at various institutions of higher education in Europe than is the case in North America.
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Old 02-11-2013, 02:30 PM   #131
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Originally Posted by Katsunami View Post
I don't get why so many people "sneer" at Fantasy. Is it because it's all made up? Is it because it's "childish", with its Elves and Dwarves? I don't know. Yeah, there is enough bad, superficial, commercial Fantasy out there (about 90% of all Forgotten Realms novels for example), but there is also good stuff to be found.

Why must "literature", at least for some people, be stuff that's almost unreadable, using words that 9.5 out of 10 people will never encounter outside of that specific book, and so deep that you can't even see the end of it even if you reach the last page, and always be "socio-" this or "socio-" that?

(I actually remember a movie about a young writer who said almost the same to his Professor when in university, getting a 4 out of 10 for his latest work, but having it published in the hundreds of thousands a few weeks later, becoming an instant classic. What was the name of that movie....)

Some Fantasy stuff such as Lord of the Rings is well thought out, has a huge world to explore; not only through Lord of the Rings, but also The Silmariollion, his other works such as Lost Tales and Unfinished Tales, and even the "History of Middle Earth" if you want to.

For my part, LotR is as literary as Shakespeare, Chaucer or Nietzsche. And who is to judge that I am wrong?
I agree. I love Science Fiction and Fantasy, but I gravitate toward the more realistic types of stories in these genres. I also enjoy alternate history novels.

Look at all the things we take for granted now that were "science fiction" decades ago. Cell phones, video calling, space travel, organ/limb transplants etc.

Regarding the FB list, I've read 36 books on there.I'm currently reading The Hobbit, but didn't finish it yet so it wasn't counted.

Last edited by voracious71; 02-11-2013 at 02:39 PM.
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Old 02-11-2013, 02:40 PM   #132
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Oh, well.

One read : Candide. Because hey, i'm french, and you can't escape Voltaire in classes then), a few i heard of, most of them unknown to me.
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Old 02-11-2013, 03:13 PM   #133
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I've read Steinbeck back in secondary upper school here in Sweden. But I where surprised that they had put Fahrenheit 451 on the list and not 1984 or A brave new world that I would consider are far more important books.

And it is not so strange that american high schools are focusing on their own litterature. In Sweden we focus a lot on August Strindberg because he had a huge impact on the swedish culture.
When I went to the university I've read a class only about Ingmar Bergman, but the funny thing was that it was held in english by a canadian professor Marc Gervais.

But I missed Goethe, Dickens or Döblin. I even found it strange that there where so little modern american litterature (from after the 1950's).
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Old 02-11-2013, 03:33 PM   #134
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Originally Posted by Katsunami View Post
I think having a 15-jear old read Shakespeare or Homer (or even classics) should be classified as torture.
My 14 yo LOVES Shakespeare and is upset that the teacher is making them read a simplified modern English version since she's already read a lot of his works.
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Old 02-11-2013, 03:51 PM   #135
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Your 14yo is the exception to the rule.
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