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Old 04-20-2021, 10:49 AM   #1
issybird
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Welcome to the Classics Salon

We’re kicking off a new reading venture and hope people will drop in. The concept is simply that of reading with friends.

The Classics Salon will be a low pressure, unstructured, no rules reading group devoted to the classics, defined for Salon purposes as public domain everywhere. There will be a new selection each quarter. People can participate as they will, although it’s hoped that enough will show up for a lively discussion.

And I think that’s it.

To start things off, the following three novels have been proposed:
  • Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
  • Daniel Deronda by George Eliot
  • East Lynne by Mrs. Henry Wood

I’ll note that the first two titles have been suggested in earlier threads as of potential interest and the third could be something of a palate cleanser if the others seem a little daunting.

Do people have suggestions for order? We’re looking at a start day of May 15 for both reading and discussion. This list would carry us through the year.
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Old 04-20-2021, 11:34 AM   #2
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Congrats on starting this new venture! I hope it’s a success. The titles look terrific.

The only thing I would suggest for order might be to have Don Quixote go second or third. This is for a purely selfish reason; it’s the one I’ve already read and for me it might be nice to have the first one in the order be something I haven’t. But I don’t have a strong feeling either way so if others prefer the Cervantes first then that’s fine for me too.

ETA- And I like the snazzy new classics icon.

Last edited by sun surfer; 04-20-2021 at 12:05 PM.
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Old 04-20-2021, 12:07 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by issybird View Post
Do people have suggestions for order? We’re looking at a start day of May 15 for both reading and discussion. This list would carry us through the year.
So you're suggesting that reading and discussion should happen concurrently? Folks who are spoiler-sensitive would, therefore, need to avoid the discussion thread until they've read the book. Which is fine, just asking for clarification.

As for order? whichever of the three is shortest would be my preferred starting point.
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Old 04-20-2021, 12:57 PM   #4
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The classics I would most like to be prodded to read include these:
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  • Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
  • Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  • Bleak House by Charles Dickens
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Old 04-20-2021, 01:03 PM   #5
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Isn't "War and Peace" the poster child for chonky doorstops?

Like, I read an abridged version that was like 1500 pages years ago.

EDIT: I'm seeing ~587k words for War and Peace. By comparison the Harry Potter books are a bit under 1.1 million words combined. The entire Lord of the Rings series including The Hobbit is ~565k words.

Last edited by binaryhermit; 04-20-2021 at 01:17 PM.
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Old 04-20-2021, 01:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by issybird View Post
We’re kicking off a new reading venture and hope people will drop in. The concept is simply that of reading with friends.

The Classics Salon will be a low pressure, unstructured, no rules reading group devoted to the classics, defined for Salon purposes as public domain everywhere. There will be a new selection each quarter. People can participate as they will, although it’s hoped that enough will show up for a lively discussion.

And I think that’s it.

To start things off, the following three novels have been proposed:
  • Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
  • Daniel Deronda by George Eliot
  • East Lynne by Mrs. Henry Wood

I’ll note that the first two titles have been suggested in earlier threads as of potential interest and the third could be something of a palate cleanser if the others seem a little daunting.

Do people have suggestions for order? We’re looking at a start day of May 15 for both reading and discussion. This list would carry us through the year.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Catlady View Post
The classics I would most like to be prodded to read include these:
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  • Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
  • Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  • Bleak House by Charles Dickens
So are we open to nominations? I like Catlady's, except for the one's that were read in the previous book clubs. I also like Don Quixote.
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Old 04-20-2021, 01:13 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by CRussel View Post
So you're suggesting that reading and discussion should happen concurrently? Folks who are spoiler-sensitive would, therefore, need to avoid the discussion thread until they've read the book. Which is fine, just asking for clarification.

As for order? whichever of the three is shortest would be my preferred starting point.
You could use spoiler tags for a certain period at the beginning of the discussion.
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Old 04-20-2021, 02:12 PM   #8
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You could use spoiler tags for a certain period at the beginning of the discussion.
One could, indeed. But personally, I prefer to simply avoid discussions that might have spoilers for those few books where I care. Mostly I'm not particularly spoiler sensitive.
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Old 04-20-2021, 02:30 PM   #9
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@Catlady: I can honestly say I have less than zero interest in reading ANY of the Russians. I was totally put off them at a young age, and haven't felt any desire to ever return. I haven't read W&P, but I have read the other two in my youth. And don't care to repeat the experience.

That particular Dickens isn't high on my list, but there are a couple that would be interesting to me. A Tale of Two Cities and especially Nicholas Nickleby. The latter because I have an Audible version of it read by the inimitable Kobna Holdbrook-Smith and would love an excuse to read it. Of course, it's stupendously long, so would likely overwhelm my audio reading for at least a couple of months, but I'm game if we ever get around to considering it as a group read.

(Nickleby would actually lend itself quite well to a group read, given that the Audible version is divided up into 19 roughly two hour segments, lending it to a "serial read" of a segment or two a month. )
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Old 04-20-2021, 02:34 PM   #10
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I agree that War & Peace is way too large.
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Old 04-20-2021, 03:10 PM   #11
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In order to launch the reading, and not get initially bogged down in the nomination/selection process, the 3 titles in the first post were proposed as the candidates to kick off the 2021 reading process. They are quite different in style and subject matter.

As we read, we can generate a list of titles to add later on.

As issybird noted, we'd like to keep the pre-set rules/procedures at a minimum and focus on the reading experience, and sharing your thoughts, opinions, etc. with other readers. Discussing while reading may well pose challenges, but we will learn and adapt as the reading begins.


Where would you like to begin?
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Old 04-20-2021, 03:27 PM   #12
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Pick one. Preferably not DQ, for the simple reason of length and the time between now and May 15th. But I'm fine with any of the three.

ETA: Daniel Deronda has a "free" Audible version read by the incomparable Nadia May (aka Donada Peters, aka Wanda McCaddon). So, of the three, that gets my nod.

Last edited by CRussel; 04-20-2021 at 03:35 PM.
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Old 04-20-2021, 03:30 PM   #13
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...


Where would you like to begin?
What's the rush? Let's nominate and vote. If we don't want to get bogged down, then go with the old rule: three nominations per member, first ten books with 3 nominations (or one week) move on to the poll, then read, then discuss.

FWIW, the first post was the first time I'd seen those three books "nominated". And as far as classics, wouldn't Middlemarch be more appropriate than Daniel Deronda?
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Old 04-20-2021, 03:53 PM   #14
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Congrats on starting this new venture! I hope it’s a success. The titles look terrific.

The only thing I would suggest for order might be to have Don Quixote go second or third. This is for a purely selfish reason; it’s the one I’ve already read and for me it might be nice to have the first one in the order be something I haven’t. But I don’t have a strong feeling either way so if others prefer the Cervantes first then that’s fine for me too.

ETA- And I like the snazzy new classics icon.
Thanks! As for Don Quixote (or any of the other titles), if there’s an objection other titles could be entertained. You don’t seem averse, though; the main feeling seems to be not to have that come first.

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Originally Posted by Catlady View Post
The classics I would most like to be prodded to read include these:
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  • Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
  • Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  • Bleak House by Charles Dickens
Les Miserables has been on my short list for a while so I’d love to get to that. A few of these have already been read in earlier book clubs and especially for substantial works, those who’ve participated in a discussion about them already might (reasonably, it seems to me) wish to invest the time in something new. One final note about War and Peace; it might not be of interest to those who followed the very popular online discussion of that last spring. I did, and I know astrangerhere did.

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What's the rush? Let's nominate and vote. If we don't want to get bogged down, then go with the old rule: three nominations per member, first ten books with 3 nominations (or one week) move on to the poll, then read, then discuss.
We really, really want to get away from that model. It’s too time-consuming and takes a lot of effort that could better be spent reading and discussing.

Quote:
FWIW, the first post was the first time I'd seen those three books "nominated". And as far as classics, wouldn't Middlemarch be more appropriate than Daniel Deronda?
As I said in the first post, Don Quixote and Daniel Deronda were gleaned from earlier posts expressing an interest in discussing them. East Lynne is a little out of left field, but why not? It doesn’t all have to be serious. And Middlemarch was already read in the Lit Club.

Ultimately, it’s a case of so many books, so little time. We can’t read everything, more’s the pity. Can we hold some thoughts? If things go swimmingly, we could well want another selection this year. Does anyone have a serious objection to one of the proposed titles?

Given the input so far, I’d propose for a schedule:

May 15: Daniel Deronda
Aug 15: East Lynne
Nov 15: Don Quixote

This breaks up the two serious works with the lighter selection and postpones Don Quixote until the end, when a substitution could be made if it were thought it wouldn’t work out.
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Old 04-20-2021, 05:40 PM   #15
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@Catlady: I can honestly say I have less than zero interest in reading ANY of the Russians. I was totally put off them at a young age, and haven't felt any desire to ever return. I haven't read W&P, but I have read the other two in my youth. And don't care to repeat the experience.
That is exactly why I want to read them--I too was put off by them in high school. Plus I still feel guilty about reading only the Cliff Notes for Anna Karenina.

Quote:
That particular Dickens isn't high on my list, but there are a couple that would be interesting to me. A Tale of Two Cities and especially Nicholas Nickleby. The latter because I have an Audible version of it read by the inimitable Kobna Holdbrook-Smith and would love an excuse to read it. Of course, it's stupendously long, so would likely overwhelm my audio reading for at least a couple of months, but I'm game if we ever get around to considering it as a group read.

(Nickleby would actually lend itself quite well to a group read, given that the Audible version is divided up into 19 roughly two hour segments, lending it to a "serial read" of a segment or two a month. )
Yes to Nicholas Nickleby. I reread A Tale of Two Cities a couple of years back when I went on a little Dickens binge, so wouldn't want to read it again.
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