Books to read, suggestions please.

G

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Hi all,

For some reason something inside me has awoken ( :nuts: ), I want to read 'classics', something I've avoided at all costs in the past, I've had no interest, but now I feel a need to increase my literary knowledge. :dunno:

I'm thinking of stuff like 'Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea', 'David Copperfield' and stuff like that......

Give me a list of 'must read standards' for me to work through!

Cheers,

Rob.

 

meninblack

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Dickens - Great Expectations

Hardy - Far From the Madding Crowd; Jude the Obscure

Emily Bronte - Wuthering Heights

Stella Gibbons - Cold Comfort Farm

Orwell - 1984; Animal Farm

Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird

Joseph Heller - Catch 22

Dostoevsky - Crime and Punishment

 

Pete the Feet

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Dickens - Great ExpectationsHardy - Far From the Madding Crowd; Jude the Obscure

Emily Bronte - Wuthering Heights

Stella Gibbons - Cold Comfort Farm

Orwell - 1984; Animal Farm

Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird

Joseph Heller - Catch 22

Dostoevsky - Crime and Punishment
I see a pattern here Tovarich.

 

irb

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For Dickens, agree with Great Expectations as an excellent place to start. David Copperfield is a great read too. Dombey and Son is a good follow on if you're minded to keep going.

For Hardy, as well as those already mentioned, you must read Tess of the D'Urbervilles. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte has to be on any list like this as do Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and Middlemarch by George Elliot.

If you want to try translated classics Zola's Germinal is an impressive read.

Remember literature is very personal, so there's no guarantee you'll enjoy everything that's counted as a classic.

 

meninblack

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And let's not forget the Bard: read Macbeth, Hamlet, Julius Caesar and Romeo and Juliet as an absolute minimum. Better yet, watch them well performed by great actors.

 

rabski

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Shakespeare is not a good starting point to go in 'cold', as it takes some time to get into the language. Once you do, however, it's a truly magical world. Twelfth Night and Merchant of Venice are essential.

Most Dickens is drudgery frankly, though does have the occasional touch of genius.

To Kill a Mockingbird is a great recommendation, as it Catch 22, though I'm not sure I class this as a 'classic'. Somewhat different, although again not possibly a 'classic' The 39 Steps by John Buchan, is what my contemporaries would have described as 'a spiffing read'. Dated, but a great novel. Don't ignore the original Frankenstein either.

FFS, whatever you do, do NOT attempt War and Peace.

 

meninblack

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If you fancy getting more modern and adventurous:

William S Burroughs: Cities of the Red Night / The Place of Dead Roads / The Western Lands

Robert Frost: Selected Poems

Anthony Burgess: Earthly Powers

John Fowles: The Collector; The Magus

T.S. Eliot: everything

 

Pete the Feet

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Bram Stokers Dracula isn't a bad read.

I really like most of John Steinbeck's output. Before the Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden and Mice and Men. Try Cannery Row first followed by Sweet Thursday, easy to read but what great writing.

And avoid James Joyce's Ulysees.

 

pure sound

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A couple of fun more modern books might include Fight Club (much better than the film) & David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas (or Ghostwritten) and of course Ian Banks Wasp Factory.

 

meninblack

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Further essential reading:

H.P. Lovecraft: any collection of short stories

H.G. Wells: The Time Machine; The War of the Worlds

Edgar Allen Poe: any collection of short stories

 

Tel

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Hardy is total shite, one of the worst authors I have read, I picked up Jude the Obscure and left it on a train about a third in, I didn't want the possibility that I might be tempted to try again!

Herman Hesse - The Steppenwolf or Narcissus and Goldman, either are more approachable than the Glass Bead Game.

One of the most descriptive books in the language has to be The Gormenghast Trilogy by Mervyn Peake, the first two especially are excellent

Also go with TKAM by Harper Lee, staying in America, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck is a must before moving on to East of Eden ( I preferred it to Grapes Of Wrath)

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut is as good an introduction to his work as any but then I am biased having read them all.

Hemingway and Faulkner are also worth a visit.

Candide by Voltair is a given and also The Stranger (L'etranger) by Albert Camus

I will think of some more but don't worry quite a few of the above books are quite short and give an insight into the writer

 

meninblack

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Gormenghast and Camus: great recommendations. You need to give Hardy another chance, Kev!

If you never have, the Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes novels are easy to read and the storytelling is fantastic.

Avoid: Tolkien - all just twee, stupid shite. Most French "serious" novelists - dull and unreadable. Tolstoy - unimaginably dull. Evelyn Waugh - the lighter stuff can be funny, the serious novels are preachy and heavy and awful.

 

Tel

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Catcher in the Rye by JD Sallinger

Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers

The Big Sleep - Raymond Chandler

The Trial -Kafka

About a Boy - Nick Hornby

The Dice Man - Luke Rheindhart

 

voiceofthemysterons

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MindSpace.
Mark Twain. Life on The Mississippi.

Jerome K Jerome. Three Men.

Paul (and Jane) Bowles. Short stories esp.

Alasdair Gray. Everything.

Michael Moorcock-anything other than the s&s stuff.

China Mieville. City and the City.

Iain M Banks (RIP). The Algebraist.

The last few are a bit modern I suppose, but good reading anyway.

 

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