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

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

  1. Flaneur

    Flaneur Friend of Leo's

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    As a man with groaning bookshelves- and finally, the time to explore them- i'm happy that literature is still enjoyed and discussed. I'm reluctant to dismiss the tastes of others- what's the point? Sometimes I eat a banquet and sometimes a sandwich.
    IMG_20180206_144615310_HDR.jpg
    Here's my current Banquet Sandwich......:)
     
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  2. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Doctor of Teleocity

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    I have a very old complete set of Dumas' novels I inherited. Great reading for this teenager 50 years ago.
     
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  3. ICTRock

    ICTRock Tele-Afflicted

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    I guess if we're asking contemporary Americans what they think is great it is unsurprising that this list is ... lacking. There are important works of literature missing which have been replaced with modern drivel.
     
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  4. SolidSteak

    SolidSteak Friend of Leo's

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    I mean normally on a list of "great" books (like it says in the title) it would likely be either books by Steinbeck and Dostoevsky or books by King and Herbert, but not both. Aren't most lists like that? It just threw me to see Harper Lee and then Rowling and some other book series I've never heard of.
     
  5. Toto'sDad

    Toto'sDad Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Admittedly a tough read, but I'm working on it.

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. SolidSteak

    SolidSteak Friend of Leo's

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    20 or 30 years ago I would have been more shocked not to see Tom Clancy on a "favorite books" list. I'm sure he's still widely read even 5 years after his death, but it seemed to me like everyone had a copy of Red October in the 80's and 90's. I guess that would have been a "favorite books you are currently reading" list though.
     
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  7. kelnet

    kelnet Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Yeah, those would be lists created by either one person or perhaps a panel of literary cognoscenti. However, there are plenty of lists where ordinary folks indicate their favourites.
     
  8. eddy b.

    eddy b. TDPRI Member

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    Demian, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, The Basketball Diaries, Infinite Jest, Jitterbug Perfume, Death of a Salesman, The Razor’s Edge, Post Office, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Illusions, and every David Foster Wallace essay. That’s my short list of my must read books.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2018
  9. P Thought

    P Thought Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I would respectfully ask you to take another look at Mockingbird. It's a great book, and if the OP list mainly reflects books that people read and enjoyed in high school, I'm glad it's at the top.

    The narrative voice seems like an adult, as you say, because it is an adult, Scout grown up, and the story is a memoir. The story's first line, "When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem. . ." introduces the climactic scene that comes at the end, but the "flashback" to the story doesn't start yet. In the second paragraph, the narrator Lee/Scout starts a very adult-like background about Maycomb and the Finches, saying, "When enough years had gone by to enable us to look back on them, we sometimes discussed the events leading to his accident." But then in telling the story itself, Lee uses the perspective of a five-year-old (I think she's eight at the end) Scout, a very smart girl who already knows how to read, but she is naive in her understandings. Through all the Boo Radley business she shows how prejudice and superstition develop, and how wrong people can be about people.

    It's a "coming of age" novel (so's Huck Finn, metaphorically, about America). Schoolteachers use COA stories to relate literature to young people. The town's hypocrisy is exposed through the Ladies' Missionary Society as well as the school, Calpurnia's church, and the Robinson trial. Through the story of Tom Robinson and the Ewells, and the tragic miscarriage of justice, Jem and Scout come of age, and at the same time Maycomb grows up, too: Mr. Underwood, Link Deas, and Heck Tate stand up against the hate and ignorance of Bob Ewell, and Boo Radley is a figurative mockingbird. . . .

    I've always thought it's important to consider the author's life and times in understanding any piece of literature, and Harper Lee's story is engaging for young people. It's easy for them to connect her personal story--her lawyer/legislator dad and his involvement with the "Jonesboro Boys" case, her childhood friend Truman Capote, her shirttail relation to Robert E. Lee, the tremendous (and not altogether pleasant) impact of the book when it was published in the middle of the Civil Rights Movement, and Lee's subsequent withdrawal from public contact.

    The plot structure, narrative viewpoint, historical background, setting, themes, allusions, and language are all accessible to young people, and teachers can get away with talking about writing, without losing too many snoozers.

    Harper Lee did try to write more, but she suffered I think from the same thing that happened to Joseph Heller with Catch-22: her first book was such a smash that she could not follow it. Go Set a Watchman, a discarded draft of Mockingbird, was published against Harper Lee's will, after she was far along in the dementia that claimed her. A dirty trick, I thought, and I ain't reading it.

    I used to always show the movie after reading, but in late years I stopped. The movie loses most of the flavor of the story. It's pretty much a vehicle to show off the acting skills of Gregory Peck, who's a great actor all right, but most of the message is cut.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2018
  10. Matt Sarad

    Matt Sarad Tele-Meister

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    Only read 33.
     
  11. Recce

    Recce Friend of Leo's

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    FYI: Outlander is a group of historical fiction books by Diane Gabaldon about a time traveling woman who ends up in Scotland and then Georgia around the time of the Revolutionary War

    Alex Cross books were written by James Patterson and are modern day thriller suspense type books.

    I have read books in both series and enjoyed them. Not sure they are top 100 in books.

    My dog is named Molly Claire Wet Paws. The Claire is after the main character in Outlander. Why? Not really sure.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2018
  12. Greggorios

    Greggorios Friend of Leo's

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  13. po-boy

    po-boy Tele-Holic

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    like others have pointed out, this is a list of contemporary favorite books and not a list of the greatest works of literature -

    some of these choices wouldn't be on my personal list, but that is fine - whatever it takes to get people reading and keep them reading -

     
  14. teletimetx

    teletimetx Doctor of Teleocity

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    Somewheres over 30 on the list I either haven't read or didn't recognize as a "novel", perhaps a novel idea to include a TV series on a list of novels...someone had to say it that way...maybe it's sad that some portion of civilization considers watching television as the equivalent of reading.

    Thing is there are so many, many great books out there. You can spend a lifetime reading and just sort of scratch the surface. Last book I read was Louise Erdich's "Round House"; another excellent novel disguised as sort of a coming of age story. I've been a big fan of the English writer Penelope Fitzgerald, who I found to be the kind of writer that I can re-read and still find more. Turns out she's not much liked by my wife's book club...who knew?
     
  15. Old Tele man

    Old Tele man Friend of Leo's

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    It's nothing more than a POPULARITY contest, with zealots voting multiple times for their specific "horses in the race."
     
  16. Mjark

    Mjark Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Maybe they are Americas favorite novels that's no indication of literary merit to be sure. Probably the opposite. I see a lot trash in there.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2018
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  17. kelnet

    kelnet Telefied Ad Free Member

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    How do you know that people voted multiple times?
     
  18. Old Tele man

    Old Tele man Friend of Leo's

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    Because that was ONE of the instructions/rules stated by TV-host Meredith Vieira, people could VOTE only once per day but could re-vote over and over again each subsequent day.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2018
  19. kelnet

    kelnet Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Wow, that negates the entire premise.
     
  20. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    What? No Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin series?
     
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