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Hip & Well Read Message Board › Summer 2012's Classic Read

Summer 2012's Classic Read

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Michelle
user 8289180
Group Organizer
Philadelphia, PA
Post #: 46
For the newbies, every summer we do 1-2 classic reads. That past has included Nobokov, Steinbeck and Tolstoy.

Let's start thinking about the next one(s)!

Post ideas here. Discuss these ideas.


Women in Love - DH Lawrence
Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
Stranger in a Strange Land - Robert A Heinlein


I'll keep posting and we should all discuss. Please provide your recommendations as well.
Michelle
user 8289180
Group Organizer
Philadelphia, PA
Post #: 47
Bulgakov: The Master and Margarita
Calvino: If on a Winter's Night a Traveler
Kafka: The Metamorphosis
Orwell: Down and Out in Paris and London
A former member
Post #: 1
I'll nominate "The Jungle" by Upton Sinclair. I've been meaning to read it for years. I'm also an idiot when it comes to poetry. So, I'd always be up for a book of classic poetry (though, I'm not sure it would apply here).

Thanks.
Michelle
user 8289180
Group Organizer
Philadelphia, PA
Post #: 49
Thanks!

Let's keep it going...

The Sot-Weed Factor - John Barth 1960
Appointment in Samarra - John O'Hara 1932
Herzog - Saul Bellow 1964
Demons - Fyodor Dostoyevsky 1872
Requiem for a Dream - Hubert Selby Jr 1978
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - Betty Smith 1943
A former member
Post #: 5

1- McTeague by Frank Norris - 1899

Frank Norris' McTeague, first published in 1899, is a riveting tale of murder and greed set in the squalid, urban world of turn-of-the-century San Francisco. More significantly, the novel is the premiere document of American literary naturalism and provides a vital glimpse into the turbulent American society of the period. Through his focus on the transformation of the slow-witted, naive dentist McTeague into an animalistic, hunted murderer, Norris creates a story in which desperate characters on the fringe of society are corrupted and destroyed by their uncontrollable desires. As the leading American innovator and novelist of the literary genre known as "naturalism," Norris wrote McTeague to create a literature that would unflinchingly expose society's grim social truths with brutal objectivity. In Norris' words, "naturalism," would be a "drama of the people, working itself out in blood and ordure . . . a school by itself, unique, somber, powerful beyond words." In McTeague, Norris accomplishes this goal by examining in merciless detail how social and psychological limits defeat his characters.

2- The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton- 1905

Edith Wharton’s dark view of society, the somber economics of marriage, and the powerlessness of the unwedded woman in the 1870s emerge dramatically in the tragic novel The House of Mirth. Faced with an array of wealthy suitors, New York socialite Lily Bart falls in love with lawyer Lawrence Selden, whose lack of money spoils their chances for happiness together. Dubious business deals and accusations of liaisons with a married man diminish Lily’s social status, and as she makes one bad choice after another, she learns how venal and brutally unforgiving the upper crust of New York can be.

3- The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford - 1915

Handsome, wealthy, and a veteran of service in India, Captain Edward Ashburnham appears to be the ideal “good soldier” and the embodiment of English upper-class virtues. But for his creator, Ford Madox Ford, he also represents the corruption at society’s core. Beneath Ashburnham’s charming, polished exterior lurks a soul well-versed in the arts of deception, hypocrisy, and betrayal. Throughout the nine years of his friendship with an equally privileged American, John Dowell, Ashburnham has been having an affair with Dowell’s wife, Florence. Unlike Dowell, Ashburnham’s own wife, Leonora, is well aware of it.

When The Good Soldier was first published in 1915, its pitiless portrait of an amoral society dedicated to its own pleasure and convinced of its own superiority outraged many readers. Stylistically daring, The Good Soldier is narrated, unreliably, by the naïve Dowell, through whom Ford provides a level of bitter irony. Dowell’s disjointed, stumbling storytelling not only subverts linear temporality to satisfying effect, it also reflects his struggle to accept a world without honor, order, or permanence. Called the best French novel in the English language, The Good Soldier is both tragic and darkly comic, and it established Ford as an important contributor to the development of literary modernism.

Laura
user 10995609
Philadelphia, PA
Post #: 3
Too many choices! So let me add one...I recently heard a discussion on NPR about The Quiet American and how relevant it remains today. For the life of me I can't find the story containing the discussion or I'd post it to tempt the rest of you.

As for the others listed, a lot of great choices. I would suggest we not do a Russian author this go around just to keep it different. I really liked Lady Chatterley's Lover so would be game for Lawrence. The structure of Calvino sounds fascinating. On the other side, I can offer what I consider better suggestions for classics in the scifi genre than Heinlein (don't get me started!).

Happy picking everyone.
Jessica
jessypie
Chicago, IL
Post #: 5
Oh, The Quiet American sounds like a good choice. I've never really read much Graham Greene but I'm not sure why. I think out of what's listed here so far, this one would be my first choice.

I'd also love to read more Rushdie (I read The Enchantress of Florence recently, loved it, and have Midnight's Children on my to-read pile right now).

I've never read The Jungle so I'd be fine with that choice too.

I really like the idea of not doing a Russian author this time just to encourage diversity in our summer reading selections (even though The Master and Margarita has been on my to-read pile for ages, too).

I don't have any new suggestions to offer at the moment but will be thinking about what else I'd like to read!
Michelle
user 8289180
Group Organizer
Philadelphia, PA
Post #: 54
Okay, so so far it looks like given responses:


The Quiet American by Grahme Greene
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
Calvino: If on a Winter's Night a Traveler


I'd like at least two more for the vote. So either pick another that's been mentioned, or offer more ideas!

Thanks guys!
Ketki
user 14616836
Philadelphia, PA
Post #: 1
So many choices! I vote for Salman Rushdie's 'Midnight's Children'. Though I am intrigued by 'Quiet America' as well.
-Ketkee
A former member
Post #: 15
Lord of the Flies by Golding

Please not Rushdie. He's still alive and his works are far too recent to be called a classic read. Then again, what is the definition of "classic."
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