The Great American Read. Do You Agree With The Results?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by hekawi, Nov 3, 2018.

  1. tele_pathic

    tele_pathic Friend of Leo's

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    I've read most of those. IMNHO, The Great Gatsby and TKAM are two are the most overrated American novels, ever. I just don't understand why they are so highly regarded. Especially TKAM. Scout, is not a believable character. She's just not. She clearly embodies the voice of an adult. There's nothing about her that seems like she's 10-12 years old. She seems like a 27 yo. Man, I hate HATE that book.

    Regarding Twain. Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. TS is not as culturally insensitive as HF. Say what you want, I don't care. If a teacher MUST teach Twain, s/he should teach TS, not HF. I'm not saying HF should be banned, only that HF is tooo culturally insensitive and the "things" that can be taught in the book could also be taught in TS.
     
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  2. tele_pathic

    tele_pathic Friend of Leo's

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    Oh, and this list is absolutely trash!!! For the reasons others have already pointed out. These seem to be books people were assigned in high school or pulp fiction, mass market rubbish.
     
  3. raito

    raito Poster Extraordinaire

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    I read it. And while not a waste of time, only one thing stood out. The title is accurate. Every single character is a dunce.

    Pat Frank's Alas Babylon stomps The Road and nearly every other in that genre. Maybe Neville Schute's On The Beach is better, but if it is, it's only by a nose.
     
  4. thesamhill

    thesamhill Tele-Holic

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    Yep. The methodological critique is "social acceptability bias." In allowing only ONE choice the pollsters created an expectation in some of the respondents that the choice should be meaningful.

    So you get a bunch of people who want to think of themselves as the kind of people whose favorite read was "To Kill a Mockingbird" and respond as such.

    The word "bias" is deliberate. It means "influenced," not "dictated." Not everyone exhibited that bias, but to me it would appear that enough did to affect the overall results.

    Just a face-validity check on statistical results, as would be expected by a critical reader in response to claimsmaking based on data collection and statistical reporting.
     
  5. cnlbb

    cnlbb Tele-Afflicted

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    My favorite movie might be 'the apartment.' While I would make an argument that it's a very good movie, I wouldn't put it in the top 100 films ever made. As such, I'm perfectly fine - if occasionally surprised - by this list.
     
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  6. tele_pathic

    tele_pathic Friend of Leo's

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    I see what you did there! Nicely played!
     
  7. notmyusualuserid

    notmyusualuserid Friend of Leo's

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    Your criticisms are valid, but only if you allow that such lists 'prove' anything about popular tastes. In a country with an amazingly diverse population of 300 million a snapshot such as this is meaningless.

    I wonder what the sample size was, and its demographic?
     
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  8. getbent

    getbent Telefied Ad Free Member

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    well, there you go right there!
     
  9. Greggorios

    Greggorios Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Good thread. I think Slim hit the nail on the head. People who have been exposed to and enjoyed more "literary" works like older classics (Melville, Dickens, etc.) and more modern books (John Irving, Hemingway, etc.) may find their favorites there. Folks who either were never exposed to the more "literary" stuff or simply never "took to it" will find their favorites in books that receive greater mass media exposure. Same thing with music.
     
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  10. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Doctor of Teleocity

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    Nice catch!

    I think A Tale of Two Cities belongs.
     
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  11. thesamhill

    thesamhill Tele-Holic

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    a
    "PBS and the producers worked with the public opinion polling service “YouGov” to conduct a demographically and statistically representative survey asking Americans to name their most-loved novel. Approximately 7,200 people participated."

    https://www.pbs.org/the-great-american-read/about/show/

    7,200 is a pretty good sample size for a poll. It's not hard to match a sample that size to population demographics. Not perfectly representative of every nuance, sure. Neither is the image of a cell through a microscope, but it's better than just making stuff up.

    You have got to admit, yuks aside, that this list looks like a bunch of people got asked, "what's your most-loved novel" and thought, "I would like to be the kind of person who honestly could respond to that question by saying 'To Kill A Mockingbird'" so that's what I'll say"...

    ...but if they were a little bit tipsy and talking to a good friend they would have confessed that it was actually 'The Slaughterhouse Strangler's Unexpected Visit to the Dungeon of Love' or whatever.
     
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  12. Teleterr

    Teleterr Friend of Leo's

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    I read alot of his early stuff, then got tired of horrible things happening to the main charactors ; so that title I didn t recognize. Recommended ? Hes an excellent writer just somewhat of a down. GARP seemed like it would be his book for a list, what w the movie etc.
     
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  13. john_cribbin

    john_cribbin Tele-Afflicted

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    Was there an, 'I don't read nuffink', option?

    That would have easily topped the poll ...
     
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  14. notmyusualuserid

    notmyusualuserid Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks for that.

    This seems contradictory though?
    1. Each author was limited to one title on the list (to keep the list varied).
    2. Books published in series or featuring ongoing characters counted as one eligible entry on the list (e.g. the Harry Potter series or Lord of the Rings) to increase variety.
    That would allow people to vote for Rowling as an author rather than, say, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire? Were any votes for, say, Chandler's Marlowe novels counted in the same way? If not, why not?

    I'm not trying to pick a fight or be a contrarian. Just agreeing with your broad point that lists like this don't have much value apart from striking up talking points - such as this thread. :)


     
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  15. WetBandit

    WetBandit Friend of Leo's

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    Ready player one is awsome! One of the coolest stories of our time.

    And my personal all time favorite

    51g+ZkDvL-L._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
     
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  16. SolidSteak

    SolidSteak Friend of Leo's

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    I got to #2 and #3 and was like, "Oh? I guess they're just putting anything on the list... that's cool." Seems like a good mix of "literature" with popular fiction... kids books on there? Kind of overly eclectic selection IMO. Like walking into a department store and asking, "what's your favorite thing here?" I'm a huge Stephen King fan, and Dune was awesome, but I wouldn't expect to see them on a list with Steinbeck or Dostoevsky under normal conditions.

    I dunno. Without even reading the whole list I'd probably guess I've read 25% the things and liked most of those.
     
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  17. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    I read a lot of books off Oprah's Book Club list. Haven't had a bad one yet.
    I fail to understand why "classic" is an issue for some people above though just because they may have been an assigned read in school. They are for a reason.
     
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  18. kelnet

    kelnet Telefied Ad Free Member

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    What do you mean by "normal conditions"?

    It's a list of people's favourite books. It's certainly not a list of what people think is the finest piece of literature ever written.
     
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  19. Antmax

    Antmax Tele-Meister

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    I have read thousands of books, but barely scratched the surface of this list. My biggest surprise was Outlander, I saw 1.5 episodes of the TV series and my wife said it was based on books. I would never have expected it to be above the Harry Potter series (Which I haven't read either).

    I would have hoped Lord of the rings would be above both :(

    I guess I don't read a lot of popular fiction or read things just because they are classics. Most of these, if I wasn't forced to read them at school then I haven't read them.
     
  20. kelnet

    kelnet Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Clearly, your tastes are different than the taste of most Americans. However, I don't think too many people anywhere would list Anna Karenina as their favourite novel. It's like Joyce's Ulysses. They are unquestionably great works of literature, but not something that most people would read multiple time because they love them so much.
    The list is definitely filled with Best Sellers, and those novels that swept across the nation, like Joy Luck Club and Memoirs of a Geisha. I wonder how many of these novels were featured on Oprah.
     
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