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Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Fiesta Red, Feb 17, 2020.
"The Gospel According To Luke" by Steve Lukather.
I should have saved my money and bought Moby Dick.
It was first mentioned on page 4 of this thread, but I first came into this thread this morning to mention it as well.
The Holy Bible.
Want to talk overrated? Think of all the killing and suffering that has occurred over the centuries in the name of this book. The Crusades. The Inquisition. “We’ve got to save the souls of these savages.”
Most overrated book ever, and it’s not even close.
This is a valid point if you are viewing literature as a vehicle to teach social studies or history or something like that. (Which is exactly how most schools seem to approach the book.) From a literary point of view, TKAM is a remarkable book in terms of voice and point of view of the narrator. My personal opinion is that literature ought to be taught for its literary merits, and that if your primary rationale for having students read TKAM is the political/historical/race relations subject, then the history teacher or social studies teacher ought to be the one assigning the book.
I recognize that this may be my own quirky point of view, but as an American I have noticed that my countrymen (and women) have not moved far from Puritanical roots when it comes to demanding that literature and other forms of art have some sort of moral message, or at least be of some practical purpose, as if literature were really just moralistic essays or parables that have been encoded into stories for children and infantile adults.
Thumbs up. I like to combine Lit and History but you always have to emphasize the Lit is just fiction.
Thumbs down. Americans like good guys to win and bad guys to get what's coming to them... but so does the rest of the world!
I can agree 70s/80s SK was the best for sure. I did enjoy Dr Sleep which of course was pretty recent. But yeah the 90s and 2000s, not so much there for me.
I don't grasp the connection between my original comment and your reply.
(Also, I must point out that in To Kill a Mockingbird, the good guys lose.)
"Yes, of course, but apart from that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?"
Oh man, you folks sometimes... well, everyone is entitled to their opinion, and it's worth every penny paid for it. Including mine...
If you find Moby Dick too much, you might like reading the story that inspired Melville to write it: The Wreck of the Whaleship Essex. Quite the read, and gratifyingly short for those modern attention spans. https://www.amazon.com/Wreck-Whaleship-Essex-Owen-Chase-ebook/dp/B015QN5Q54
My personal opinion is that many readers have a focus on exposition to the detriment of other aspects of the literature. Oh, well.
With regard to Stephen King, I still think his Dark Tower series is a masterwork whose complete scope is hard to fathom. Every book he wrote from 1978 to the 8th and final book in the series, were connected in some way to each other, and to Mid-World and Roland's quest. Here's a little image that depicts many of those relationships.
i stole it from somewhere that may likely have stolen it from him.
i think orange is the new black called the new testament "fan fiction".
I feel the same way about Faulkner. I can appreciate prose and style but occasionally i do like to know what the heck is going on.
I was just disagreeing with the puritanical morality play comment. I think as long as the good guys win Americans are relatively satisfied.
In TKAMB there is a satisfying moral element (as in all coming of age stories, from Robinson Crusoe to Treasure Island to Huckleberry Finn to Steppenwolf) but that doesn't make it a morality play. And ultimately the bad guy does receive capital punishment at the hands of a mockingbird. Yay for the good guys!
a really fun book to read to contextualize some of the criticisms in this thread is Love and Death in the American Novel by Leslie Fiedler. I read it in grad school and again a couple of times after... it has its issues, but some of the ideas make you see how another perspective can be valuable.
I heard Lionel Richie provide songwriting advice and I could tell he had a whole bunch of ideas about song structure and story telling that I thought I'd love to hear, but he hasn't ever offered the whole thing... Fiedler is like this in the book, where he lays out his perspective as to how it all works (in the american novel) and the idea that there are just a few books that the others spring from... that paradigm seems to hold across many arts and crafts.
I read and loved the Gulag Archipelago, all three volumes.
It's one of my top 5 all time favorites. I highly recommend it.
I've read Neuromancer a few times, and I think it's a good book. It was unique and innovative early on, and I think it stands the test of time. I think it stepped forward into the future, and immediately immersed the reader into a jarring, fully fleshed out, novel and unconventional, future conception in a way that few author's seem to manage.
I would consider Clockwork Orange and Nueromancer to be on a similar level. Another book that impressed me similarly was the beginning of the Wool series, though I have only read the first novel, and I think it fell off quite a bit after the first couple of sections, though it was still a good page-turning plot, but I thought the interior dialogue was great for a while.
I usually figure if I don't get a book, that people rave about or that is a "great" book, it is more about my own lack of context or my own deficiency as a reader. For instance, they first time I tried to read The Sound and the Fury, I was baffled, I had just read "A light in August" and wanted to read some more Faulker. But I didn't say, "this book is overrated...I don't see what anybody likes about it... this is terrible, this is rubbish". I had to try a few times, and read a little criticism and figure it out. Same with Shakespeare, same with Joyce, same with a lot of other things I've read. Some books are kind of like puzzles that you have to figure out. Some books are also utter rubbish...but then they probably won't stand the test of time. If I feel the need to read a book, like Moby Dick, or Hamlet or something many times, it's usually because more things come out of it. I think that's what makes a great book, is it rewards repeat reading, and it communicates things that you probably have never thought of in ways that you never imagined. If you don't understand it, It's probably not the authors fault. Calling "Ulysses" overrated is kind of like calling Einstein overrated because you can't work the maths. All opinions aren't equally valid, despite what is often spewed forth on this forum by many people.
If you just want to read exciting page turning plots all the time, there are lots of books that aren't for you (I'm not really referring to you @marc2211, just to people in general). There are certainly plenty of options, and I think any reading is better than no reading certainly, and I like to read stuff like that too very often.
If you want to try to mine into granite mountains that are great books and look for diamonds, sharpen up your tools, and prepare to hack away with some real effort and tenacity.
The process of writing a book can help a person understand their life better. And it can help them learn to write better.
The problem is, all this publishing. There's just so many books, that get published and distributed even, and nobody reads them. I can't think of anything more demoralizing than to publish a book and have nobody reading it. Even if they buy the book and don't read it.
Too few people read books at all, in 2020. Too many of the books that are read are fizzy and lacking in substance. This is such a weird happenstance, where all kinds of books get out there, not collectively of that great quality. But fewer and fewer people read any of this, at least not in a serious way.
I think a book ought to change you, at least sometimes. "The Forever War" by Dexter Filkins, once finished, made me not want to get out of bed, the rest of the month. If you can't remember most books you have read in the last six months, I'm not sure you're doing it right.
I would like to clarify something. An individual work of art may be akin to a "Puritan morality play," but that is not what I talking about exactly. I am talking about a larger, more over-arching attitude that art in its various forms must justify itself on either practical or moral grounds. That attitude is a remnant of our puritanical past.
The contrary view is that a work of art may be admired and studied for no other reason than its artistry, even if that book/poem/painting/play/movie/whatever doesn't actually transmit a moral message or is of some practical value. e.g. "Rock Lobster" is not a lesser song because it lacks a moral message or a practical application. (Well, I will concede it does admonish us to "look out for that piranha.")
One of my friends wrote a book of short stories. His goal was to do a contemporary version of Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio but set in San Diego (of all things)
It is a first book, but by a professional writer. It is not good. But, several of his friends and colleagues praised it on Amazon, so, if you didn't know.... you could buy it and be sad.
I have a relative who virtue signals at every breath about how he does not watch television (but seems to have knowledge of contemporary culture and tv... hmmm) anyway, the stuff he reads is crap. (I know, too harsh) and he still buys books based on the cover art...
when I say crap, I mean it would be hard to defend in any sensible way. I do not like some authors... some even mentioned here... but, I don't dwell on it and I know these authors have fans etc... so, that is nice. Some people just LOVE gilligan's island or whatever... I think people read more now than ever... they just don't read novels (a relatively new form itself) or short stories (again, not that old.) they read, blogs, and twitter and facebook posts etc... but, I think I read recently that people actually read more now than ever... just not the stuff that some folks would say is 'good'...
Gravity’s Rainbow, by Thomas Pynchon.
I’ve tried to get through it at three different ages, and I’ve been unsuccessful each time.
I read a fair amount, but each time I attempt to plow through it, I quickly get frustrated.
Has anyone here ever read Swamplandia!, by Karen Russell? Many hated it, but I loved it.
In The Heart of The Sea is also a good read.
“Good-bye... little Robin-Marie...”
I agree with many here that the only way to make it thru Moby Dick is to skip every second chapter.
Who's Ahab, by the way ?