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Classics that are, or aren´t, a good read

 
 
Roberta
 
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Reply Sat 23 Feb, 2008 05:43 am
The discussion here inspired me to read Dostoevsky again. Haven't read him for years. Pulled off my shelf a book of his short works and chose "A Gentle Creature." The narrator/main character is demented, despicable, passionate, obsessed, and self-delusional. As the reader I was a little confused and totally absorbed.

Dostoevsky. I love dat guy.

Thanks, Hingehead, for starting this thread.
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hingehead
 
  2  
Reply Sun 24 Feb, 2008 06:46 am
Your thanks much appreciated Boita, I wish my original motivation was more noble than a sudden dislike of Melville.
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msolga
 
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Reply Mon 25 Feb, 2008 02:30 am
Roberta wrote:
The discussion here inspired me to read Dostoevsky again. Haven't read him for years. Pulled off my shelf a book of his short works and chose "A Gentle Creature." The narrator/main character is demented, despicable, passionate, obsessed, and self-delusional. As the reader I was a little confused and totally absorbed.


Yes. Of course!

you have inspired me to revisit Dostoevsky, Roberta. (At the right time, obviously! :wink: )

A master indeed!
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Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Feb, 2008 04:34 am
hingehead, Noble, shmoble. You got me and a bunch of other people thinking about and talking about good books. As for Melville, what can I tell ya? As I said earlier, his Bartleby the Scribener is worth reading (big time).

msolga, Glad I've inspired you to return to Dostoevsky. Yes, a true master.
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barackman28
 
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Reply Thu 17 Apr, 2008 02:05 pm
Dostoyevsky's master work is, in my opinion, "The Brothers Karamazov".

I am unaware of any alternate spellings of the title, such as "The Brothers Karamozov"
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edgarblythe
 
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Reply Fri 18 Apr, 2008 04:49 am
barackman28 wrote:
Dostoyevsky's master work is, in my opinion, "The Brothers Karamazov".

I am unaware of any alternate spellings of the title, such as "The Brothers Karamozov"


Doing a quick search, I find both spellings in abundance.
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jessica3282
 
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Reply Mon 28 Apr, 2008 09:55 am
Great thread! I now have a long list of summer reading. Thanks everyone.
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dagmaraka
 
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Reply Mon 28 Apr, 2008 10:18 am
Dostoyevsky is my number 1 guy. Started reading when I was maybe 13 and read many of his works. I think Idiot remains among my favorites, also the Notes from the Underground. He has to be read in Russian though, or at least in Slovak, I tellya. I re-read Crime and Punishment and Brothers Karamazov in English...it's still great and captivating, but it loses half of its soul, the certain jenesaisquoi. Love all the russian late 19th century "romantic" period really (not that the reads are all that romantic themselves).

Loved Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls, but haaaaaaa- ted the snows of kilimanjaro. gah, just gah.

Anything by Steinbeck, especially the Cannery Row and Grapes of Wrath. Wonderful color of characters and observation.

Love love love William Sarroyan for his approach to text, the way the sentences flow, and depth of characters. The Human Comedy or Tracy's Tiger or the Daring Young Man on the Flying trapeze are among the most memorable reads of my life.

Marquez. Waited one year for finish the last 10 pages... just didn't want to get there. I have a love and hate relationship with magical realism, usually I love it...but if it has an artificial feel, it's just hateful. Or I am, rather.

Kafka for his mysticism...though there are short stories that do make me want to just smack him on his head for being such a self-absorbed bundle of self-pity. I've no sympathy for that...
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hingehead
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Nov, 2010 04:08 pm
This just came up on a library list, if you are interested. Sadly I don' t think they took 'great read' into consideration:


In an attempt to validate a mathematical model of mine I have implemented a crowd sourcing survey addressing the question, "How 'great' are the Great Books?". [1]

In 1952 Robert Hutchins and friends edited a set of books called The Great Books of the Western World. [2] According to Hutchins, the items of the set were selected for their ability to discuss Mortimer Adler's 102 "great ideas" (art, cause, fate, government, judgement, law, medicine, physics, religion, slavery, truth, wisdom, etc.). By reading the books and discussing them with fellow readers, one was expected to further and enhance their liberal arts education. Think of it as "life long learning" for the 1950s.

Using a variation of the venerable TFIDF (term frequency, inverse document frequency) algorithm, I have attempted to measure the "greatness" of the Great Books. In an effort to validate the model, I am soliciting as many people's input as possible. I'm shooting for 100,000. If the results match the model, then I may be able to say the model represents reality. Interesting!?

The survey is really simple. A random idea is selected from the "great ideas". Two books are randomly selected from the Great Books. The poll-taker is then asked to choose the book they consider "greater". After the question is answered the process is repeated. Apparently this voting process is called the Condorcet Method. [3] ("Thanks Andreas.")

Please consider answering the survey at least ten times. It will take you less than sixty seconds. Don't think too hard about the questions because there are no wrong answers. If you go so far as to take the survey 100 times, then you might get an idea of the sorts of books from the Great Books you consider... great. For a more thorough introduction to the survey, see the introductory blog posting. [4]

Fun!?

[1] survey - http://bit.ly/bPQHIg
[2] Great Books - http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/1074025
[3] Condorcet method - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Condorcet_method
[4] blog posting - http://bit.ly/cRNg1t

Eric Lease Morgan
University of Notre Dame
ossobuco
 
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Reply Mon 15 Nov, 2010 04:56 pm
@Setanta,
Rereading this thread, I've kept myself from replying until now, but must add, the reason I remember liking Karamozov - after I plowed through the names business - was because I found it very funny, a word I would have used then instead of amusing or hilarious. I was seventeen. I could reread it, could be interesting to read 1/2 cent later.
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ossobuco
 
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Reply Mon 15 Nov, 2010 05:21 pm
@hingehead,
Oh, hinge.

First, a sad note - in my father's downward slide, looking for positions that interested him that he could possibly fill, he applied for sales in/at Great Books. Got some kind of no. I can only guess it was about presentation at whatever audition meeting he had. He might have known Hutchins, not sure.

Three decades later I had a friend who pretty much self educated by attending Great Books meetings in the eighties and nineties; who knows, maybe she is still doing that, I should ask her. How to put this - I always thought she was behind the curve on this and that, which sounds snotty and is snotty. After all, I'm figuring on rolling ahead of the curve. In the meantime, I'm sure she has learned a lot, and I haven't read (many) of those books.

Oh well, I'd probably be horrible at book clubs.

I'll fill out the survey..
hingehead
 
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Reply Mon 15 Nov, 2010 05:36 pm
@ossobuco,
Hi Osso, I've never heard of the 'Great Books' thing.

A lot of stuff in the survey is greek classic, I couldn't even vote most of the time. I think this thread is a better guide than survey's results.
ossobuco
 
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Reply Mon 15 Nov, 2010 05:55 pm
@hingehead,
Ai, gevolt. What a bunch of phoo.

Doing some looking online, I think my dad did know about Hutchins but not well. He and I drove up to the place in Santa Barbara. Hours with him hopeful and then going back home, not.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Hutchins
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Nov, 2010 06:09 pm
@ossobuco,
Dammit, I wish my father and I could talk. For any of you-us a2kers who still have the chance, move on it.
Oh, a tangent I'm doing again, eh?

But put me in the camp of distrusting classics by canonical means.
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tsarstepan
 
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Reply Mon 15 Nov, 2010 06:31 pm
@hingehead,
hingehead wrote:

Fun!?

[1] survey - http://bit.ly/bPQHIg

Yawwn.... Sorry. I was really overwhelmed by the so called great great books.
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