Author Topic: Not the 50 books you must read before you die  (Read 13545 times)

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Offline bijou

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Not the 50 books you must read before you die
« on: March 28, 2011, 09:44:34 AM »
1 Ulysses by James Joyce

Only a “modern classic” could condense one man’s day into an experimental epic that takes years to plough through. If the early description of the protagonist going to the lavatory doesn’t make your eyes swim, the final 40 pages, untroubled by punctuation, will.

2 Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

The finest dystopic novel of the 20th century, coining such terms as “doublethink” and “thought crime”, but indirectly responsible for the rise of reality television and the career of Davina McCall
    
  

3 Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Directly responsible for too many newspaper articles starting: “It is a truth universally acknowledged…”

4 Emma by Jane Austen

Often cited as Austen’s most flawless romance, but even the author had to admit she had created a heroine “whom no one but myself will much like”.

5 Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D H Lawrence

Infamous, explicit tale of an aristocratic woman and her gamekeeper that’s pompous and verbose more than it is naughty.

6 The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

Not nearly as bawdy or easy to understand as your English teacher promised (“Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth…”). Plus no cover puff from Stephen Fry, so probably not worth reading.

7 The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald

Jay Gatsby is not as great a character as everyone thinks he is. Neither is this book, or the author, or the million of people who pretend to like it. Full of people doing tedious things, breaking off only to sleep with each other’s wives.
...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/8408894/Not-the-50-books-you-must-read-before-you-die.html

I was forced to read The Great Gatsby at school, I thought it was dull, it's nice to know I'm not missing something.  :-)




Offline Celtic Rose

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Re: Not the 50 books you must read before you die
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2011, 11:27:42 AM »
My opinion on the list (which, we all know, is all that really matters  :-))

I like Pride and Prejudice, and I read L'Etranger and Candide in French.  Candide was enjoyable, L'etranger (the outsider/the stranger) was awful both times I had to read it.  The Metamorphosis was bizarrely awful.  Da Vinci Code was also awful, but I enjoyed all the Harry Potter books.  Twilight was so-so.  Horribly written, but somehow fascinating.  Angela's Ashes was depressing, but quite good over all.  Girl with the dragon tattoo is still on my to be read list. I watched Eat, Pray, Love with a friend, and we both hated it, one of the least likable protagonists ever. Les Miserable was actually pretty good, and Canterbury Tales is funny.

Offline DefiantSix

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Re: Not the 50 books you must read before you die
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2011, 11:35:42 AM »
The list is pretty accurate, in my book.

I've read many of these books, and their assessments are in close harmony with my own.  Nineteen eighty-four, Les Miserables inclusive.

edited to add: Except for the Harry Potter series.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2011, 11:39:21 AM by DefiantSix »
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Offline DumbAss Tanker

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Re: Not the 50 books you must read before you die
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2011, 05:08:52 PM »
I would've had to put A Tale of Two Cities on that list, I literally could not force myself to read it in high school, I could only drive my way through about 50 pages before I had to throw in the towel.  I had a similar experience with the incredibly-tedious-as-well-befits-a-Russian-novel Crime and Punishment, but I made it about halfway through that one before totally losing interest and deciding to rely on the classroom discussions for the eventual test on it.
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Offline Duke Nukum

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Re: Not the 50 books you must read before you die
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2011, 05:18:51 PM »
I gave up trying to read Finnegan's Wake and started just opening the book at random and reading a few paragraphs. Never tried Ulysses.
1984, I tried to read it in high school but failed until much, much later.
We had to read The Great Gatsby in school.

One book we had to read in high school that I really, really hated was Lord of the Flies.
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Offline Duke Nukum

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Re: Not the 50 books you must read before you die
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2011, 05:20:08 PM »
Oh yeah, I tried to read Gravity's Rainbow but couldn't get past the banana breakfast thing.
“A man who has been through bitter experiences and travelled far enjoys even his sufferings after a time”
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Offline Splashdown

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Re: Not the 50 books you must read before you die
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2011, 05:48:36 PM »
Some of Chaucer's Tales , especially "The Miller's Tale,"  are as bawdy as the English teacher promised; the listmaster probably never got to read the good ones.

Chaucer is the first use of the fart joke in the English language. Mel Brooks owes much to good ol' Geoff.

Hated Gatsby, probably because my English teacher sucked all of the goodness out of it.

Mark Twain's great quote comes to mind...

"A classic is a book people praise but don't read."



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Offline ExGeeEye

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Re: Not the 50 books you must read before you die
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2011, 09:08:27 PM »
Nineteen Eighty-Four is in current use as a how-to manual by FedGov.  It should be required reading.
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Offline MrsSmith

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Re: Not the 50 books you must read before you die
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2011, 10:30:30 PM »
I gave up trying to read Finnegan's Wake and started just opening the book at random and reading a few paragraphs. Never tried Ulysses.
1984, I tried to read it in high school but failed until much, much later.
We had to read The Great Gatsby in school.

One book we had to read in high school that I really, really hated was Lord of the Flies.
We had to read that one.  It really was horrible.  I have never understood the sadism of English teachers.  I'm about to get into it with my youngest kid's teacher.  She had to read "To Kill a Mockingbird" earlier this year, which really upset her.  Then recently was assigned to watch one of the Anne Frank movies.  I didn't let her watch the new one, with the concentration camp experiences, but even the old one left her in tears.  Crap like that is just not necessary for kids.  :censored:
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Offline Splashdown

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Re: Not the 50 books you must read before you die
« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2011, 04:59:10 AM »
We had to read that one.  It really was horrible.  I have never understood the sadism of English teachers.  I'm about to get into it with my youngest kid's teacher.  She had to read "To Kill a Mockingbird" earlier this year, which really upset her.  Then recently was assigned to watch one of the Anne Frank movies.  I didn't let her watch the new one, with the concentration camp experiences, but even the old one left her in tears.  Crap like that is just not necessary for kids.  :censored:

On the first day of classes, the first thing I do is apologize to my students for all of the bad, bad books that middle school English teachers made them read. Most English teachers have a way of crushing any love for literature that a kid may actually have.
Let nothing trouble you,
Let nothing frighten you. 
All things are passing;
God never changes.
Patience attains all that it strives for.
He who has God lacks nothing:
God alone suffices.
--St. Theresa of Avila



"No crushed ice; no peas." -- Undies

Offline MrsSmith

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Re: Not the 50 books you must read before you die
« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2011, 05:26:01 AM »
On the first day of classes, the first thing I do is apologize to my students for all of the bad, bad books that middle school English teachers made them read. Most English teachers have a way of crushing any love for literature that a kid may actually have.
Some do much better.  My youngest brother is dyslexic, so had great difficulty reading.  A middle school English teacher took the time to find out what he was interested in, then told him half the story of a book, leaving him desperately wanting to know what happened...and handed him the book.  I remember how angry my brother was, but he read that whole book.  It was the first book he ever read.  It's just sad that they aren't all like that...
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Offline vesta111

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Re: Not the 50 books you must read before you die
« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2011, 06:02:33 AM »
 Lolita gave me the willie wuss, all men that are in their 40-50+ should read that and keep their hands to themself.

The story of" O" left me totally confused about life in general.

For best military Marine story--Battle Cry brought tears to my eyes.

Navy Sub storeys, On The Beach, Blow Negative and for the skimmers, The story of MidWay.

Fiction is Aztec , and just about anything Louis L'Amour wrote.

True life are the Ann Rule storeys about real life crimes that give me night mares.

Biography's of famous people written by the people that hate them.

Too many books, too little time to read them all ----Leon Uris is one author I could make time for his storeys of Israel captivated me for years.

Offline JohnnyReb

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Re: Not the 50 books you must read before you die
« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2011, 06:57:48 AM »
Read maybe 15 of those and half of that number was required reading. I did enjoy Les Misérables by Victor Hugo and was never rquired to read it...maybe that's why I enjoyed it.

Lord of the Flies....english teacher, "Read between the lines. What is the author trying to say?" ...hell, I don't know, can't I just read it for face value. Why do I always have to look for some deeper meaning. That toucky-feelly stuff just ain't me.
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Offline Splashdown

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Re: Not the 50 books you must read before you die
« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2011, 07:30:24 AM »

Lord of the Flies....english teacher, "Read between the lines. What is the author trying to say?" ...hell, I don't know, can't I just read it for face value. Why do I always have to look for some deeper meaning. That toucky-feelly stuff just ain't me.

Agreed!
Let nothing trouble you,
Let nothing frighten you. 
All things are passing;
God never changes.
Patience attains all that it strives for.
He who has God lacks nothing:
God alone suffices.
--St. Theresa of Avila



"No crushed ice; no peas." -- Undies

Offline Eupher

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Re: Not the 50 books you must read before you die
« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2011, 10:17:06 AM »
I struggled with William Faulkner.

Started out with one of his masterpieces - As I Lay Dying and progressed to The Sound and the Fury. Then I moved to Sartoris and blew a gasket. Never read another word by Faulkner after that.
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Offline Splashdown

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Re: Not the 50 books you must read before you die
« Reply #15 on: April 13, 2011, 10:24:29 AM »
I struggled with William Faulkner.

Started out with one of his masterpieces - As I Lay Dying and progressed to The Sound and the Fury. Then I moved to Sartoris and blew a gasket. Never read another word by Faulkner after that.

I like As I Lay Dying.

The only other one of his I ever liked was a short story, "A Rose for Emily." *shudder*  :puke:
Let nothing trouble you,
Let nothing frighten you. 
All things are passing;
God never changes.
Patience attains all that it strives for.
He who has God lacks nothing:
God alone suffices.
--St. Theresa of Avila



"No crushed ice; no peas." -- Undies

Offline Duke Nukum

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Re: Not the 50 books you must read before you die
« Reply #16 on: April 13, 2011, 03:58:11 PM »
Read maybe 15 of those and half of that number was required reading. I did enjoy Les Misérables by Victor Hugo and was never rquired to read it...maybe that's why I enjoyed it.

Lord of the Flies....english teacher, "Read between the lines. What is the author trying to say?" ...hell, I don't know, can't I just read it for face value. Why do I always have to look for some deeper meaning. That toucky-feelly stuff just ain't me.
I never had an issue with reading for metaphor and allegory and all that, it was just there was never any positive message about humanity between the lines.
“A man who has been through bitter experiences and travelled far enjoys even his sufferings after a time”
― Homer, The Odyssey

Offline chitownchica

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Re: Not the 50 books you must read before you die
« Reply #17 on: April 13, 2011, 04:50:38 PM »
One Hundred Years of Solitude - my sister loved it and I have her copy. I've tried reading it several times and can't even get through the first chapter.

I haven't read the other books. I've seen some of the movies though.

I got lucky and didn't have to read The Great Gatsby in high school. My brother did, but hated it. I had to read Lord of the Flies and was ok with it, although it creeped me out. I loved To Kill a Mockingbird. I've read it several times. I think my favorite required reading was Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.  I didn't like the Scarlet Letter in high school, but read the Cliffs Notes version in college to refresh my memory for a lit class, and liked it.

Anything by Charles Dickens is painful to me. His wordiness makes it hard to follow the story IMO.

ETA:  I discovered Roald Dahl short stories in 10th grade. We had to read Lamb to the Slaughter, which I thought was very interesting, especially considering some of the other things we had to read. Sometime in my 20s I found a collection of published stories entitled The Roald Dahl Omnibus.  Wow - talk about wild tales! I wonder if his love for the drink influenced his stories, or if he just had a vivid imagination.

« Last Edit: April 13, 2011, 04:54:49 PM by chitownchica »

Offline compaqxp

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Re: Not the 50 books you must read before you die
« Reply #18 on: April 13, 2011, 08:13:12 PM »
In my personal opinion 1984 is a very good book, however, being a huge fan of anything by Orwell I'm biased.