Catching up on Classics (and lots more!) discussion

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Chit Chat & All That > Classics NOT on the shelf

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message 1: by J_BlueFlower (last edited Oct 10, 2017 06:44AM) (new)

J_BlueFlower (j_from_denmark) | 1675 comments Looking at the group shelf it puzzles me why these books are not there:

In Search of Lost Timeby Marcel Proust (or just the first part Swann's Way )

Ulysses by James Joyce

The Trial by Franz Kafka

Hamlet
Romeo and Juliet

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia, #1) by C.S. Lewis

Oedipus the King by Sophocles

The Godfather by Mario Puzo

The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri

The Best Short Stories of Anton Chekhov by Anton Chekhov

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland #2) by Lewis Carroll

Most of them I have already read, so I will not suggest them.


message 2: by Darren (new)

Darren (dazburns) | 1919 comments I know what you mean JBF

whenever I see Ulysses, The Trial or The Godfather nominated I think "ah, so this is the Revisit thread..." then realise it isn't!

others I do a double-take with include:
The Red and the Black
The Sorrows of Young Werther
Brighton Rock
Eugene Onegin


message 3: by Francisca (new)

Francisca | 368 comments Well, there are a LOT of classics! It takes awhile to get to them, and I'm sure we'll never be able to read all of them!

Also, many of the books you mentioned, J_Blueflower, are books I read as a kid, so I might be less inclined to nominate them now (even though CS Lewis himself would say that no book is worth reading as a child that isn't worth rereading as an adult :D). It could be that others feel the same?

One of the things I find so valuable about this group is that people's reading habits are different, so what someone thinks is an obvious "how can you have not read this" is totally new to someone else: it helps us stretch and find new authors and new favorites! :)


message 4: by Brina (new)

Brina Francisca was going to say something similar. Unless there is a new category children's classics, I'm going to be inclined to nominate or read them in the group as they are books one can easily read on their own. As for the books you mentioned, I say keep nominating and law of averages says eventually they will get picked. If not you can always set up a buddy read with others who are interested.


message 5: by Sue (new)

Sue K H (sky_bluez) | 3219 comments Probably, like you, many people have already read them so they don't nominate them or vote for them. I don't nominate or vote for books I've read as an adult because there are too many I haven't read that I need to get to.


message 6: by Melanti (new)

Melanti | 2384 comments Francisca wrote: "(even though CS Lewis himself would say that no book is worth reading as a child that isn't worth rereading as an adult :D)..."

Does that mean The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was never worth reading in the first place?? I loved that series as a kid, but I tried re-reading it when the movie came out and it just didn't hold up to my memory of it.



For my two cents - some of the kids classics just aren't the best discussion fodder, and don't always get a lot of participation. I personally avoid voting for them since we can usually get a better discussion out of one of the other books.


The Divine Comedy kept barely loosing last year, and we eventually did a Buddy read for it. There was quite a bit of participation for it too.

I think there was also a similar buddy read for Kafka.

I've never been a big Romeo & Juliet fan, but I agree it's strange that we've read other Shakespeare plays, but not Hamlet. I don't think it's even been a buddy read.

Sue wrote: "Probably, like you, many people have already read them so they don't nominate them or vote for them. I don't nominate or vote for books I've read as an adult because there are too many I haven't re..."

Yep. I never nominate something I've already read, and rarely vote for something I've read. So many books, so little time!


message 7: by Greg (new)

Greg (gregreadsalot) | 73 comments J_BlueFlower wrote: "Looking at the group shelf it puzzles me why these books are not there:

In Search of Lost Timeby Marcel Proust (or just the first part Swann's Way )

Ulysses by James J..."

About Proust: I just finished the fifth volume of "Time" and so far it's the great one! Definitely could be a stand alone read, and is a psychological study of an oh-so-wrong relationship that is absolutely stupendous. As Proust matures, so does his writing, imo.
Okay, now, about Ulysses. Fabulous! But I'm about 4/5ths of the way through "Finnegan's Wake", and it's just as good, maybe better. Joyce's writing is just so amazingly even all the way through both books, all the while handling his over-the-top affectations hilariously perfect.


message 8: by Loretta (new)

Loretta | 2668 comments Melanti wrote: "Francisca wrote: "(even though CS Lewis himself would say that no book is worth reading as a child that isn't worth rereading as an adult :D)..."

Does that mean The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardro..."


There was a buddy read of The Trial by Franz Kafka a year or two ago which I participated in.


message 9: by Michele (new)

Michele | 1010 comments Are books added to the shelf only after they have been read by the group?


message 10: by Melanti (new)

Melanti | 2384 comments Michele wrote: "Are books added to the shelf only after they have been read by the group?"

Once they've won in the polls.


message 11: by - Jared - (new)

- Jared - ₪ Book Nerd ₪ (jared_w) | 32 comments Can I nominate a book?
I thought that The Sea Wolf by Jack London was absolutely awesome!
I also really enjoyed the The Wrong Box by Robert Louis Stevenson.
And this one: All Quiet on the Western Front
This may not be considered a classic but I also liked I Am Legend and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?.


message 12: by Melanti (new)

Melanti | 2384 comments (_.- Jared -._) wrote: "And this one: All Quiet on the Western Front ..."

The group actually did read that one a few years ago: https://www.goodreads.com/group/comme...

I liked I Am Legend too.


message 13: by Bob, Short Story Classics (new)

Bob | 4959 comments Mod
(_.- Jared -._) wrote: "Can I nominate a book?
I thought that The Sea Wolf by Jack London was absolutely awesome!
I also really enjoyed the The Wrong Box by [author:Robert Louis ..."


I have read The Sea Wolf and several others written by London and over the years I have nominated several. Unfortunately London has not done well in our group polls.

If you have read All Quiet on the Western Front by all means post your thoughts in the thread Melanti listed. This is one of the best I have ever read. As for the others you listed I have not yet had the pleasure.


message 15: by Bob, Short Story Classics (new)

Bob | 4959 comments Mod
Nominations are open from the 1st-14th every month. On November 1st we will be nominating books for our January 2018 group reads.

Any of the above listed books not already on our bookshelf is eligible for nomination and if seconded will move forward to the monthly poll. The only way a book makes it to the bookshelf is by winning the poll.

This method allows us to add 40 books per year, 12 New School reads, 12 Old School reads, 12 Short Story reads, and 4 Quarterly Long Reads.

Nomination Folder Open again on 1st day of the month

I hope to see some of these books nominated,


message 16: by Mark (last edited Oct 28, 2017 01:56PM) (new)

Mark André If anyone would like someone to read Ulysses with, I am always available. Joyce is my favorite author; and U. is my favorite book. - )


message 17: by Avril (new)

Avril (oscarrae) | 1 comments Wheee are the November titles please?


message 18: by Melanti (new)

Melanti | 2384 comments New School: For Whom the Bell Tolls
Old School: Walden
Short: The Raven and Other Poems

And, of course, we'll be reading The Woman in White until the end of the year.


message 19: by Christine (new)

Christine | 1217 comments And the November Revisit the Shelf selection is Madame Bovary.


message 20: by Melanti (new)

Melanti | 2384 comments Christine wrote: "And the November Revisit the Shelf selection is Madame Bovary."

Thanks, Christine. I knew that list looked a little short... Must have had the group bookshelf sorted wrong.


message 21: by Cynda (new)

Cynda | 3048 comments Darren wrote: "I know what you mean JBF

whenever I see Ulysses, The Trial or The Godfather nominated I think "ah, so this is the Revisit thread..." then realise it isn't!

others I do a double-take with include:..."


Yes Darren. I have the last 2 months have nominated
The Sorrows of Young Werther but on one else was interested at the time. I will bs sure to nominate it again.
I am also interested in
Reading or Re-Reading any Shakespeare plays. I ready to retry tje history plays starting with
King John


message 22: by Bob, Short Story Classics (new)

Bob | 4959 comments Mod
I don’t know if certain comments are criticism our just wishful thinking, but over the past several weeks I have noticed a lot of chatter about the classics already on our group bookshelf. Mostly confined to this thread and a little in the current nominations thread. Some people seem dismayed that certain authors or books are not a part of our group. This is not an academic literature group, we’re a group of readers, most having an eclectic attitude toward their individual reading genres, but deeply enjoy the ‘classics’ from time to time. That certain authors have repeatedly won in our monthly polls may be a simple result of popularity. I see no harm in that, this group should primarily be about fun and secondarily about education. After all we’re not paying to be members, there are no tests, quizzes, or prizes, just personal enjoyment.

If any member has ideas on how to make our group better, short of creating new categories, please post your thoughts and the moderators will discuss them. If we think the idea has merit we will institute it, if we can’t agree, we may have the group decide using a poll. Most members understand how our group works and how are books are selected. I won’t say our methods don’t have flaws, but it is simple and fair.


message 23: by Francisca (new)

Francisca | 368 comments Thanks Bob for your comment - I’m sure mostly it’s people’s enthusiasm for certain authors, but I’ve been feeling a little weird about some of the comments too...

And I just want to add that I think this group is really well run and I find does pick a variety of books - certainly in the months I’ve been participating it’s gotten me to read books and authors I probably wouldn’t have considered otherwise, as well as go back to old favorites. 😊


message 24: by Cynda (new)

Cynda | 3048 comments Bob wrote: "I don’t know if certain comments are criticism our just wishful thinking, but over the past several weeks I have noticed a lot of chatter about the classics already on our group bookshelf. Mostly c..."

Seconding Thanks Bob.
When books have been decidely too much work for me, I have moved on to another book. I use Goodreads to encourage me, not prod me.


message 25: by Mark (new)

Mark André Bob wrote: "I don’t know if certain comments are criticism our just wishful thinking, but over the past several weeks I have noticed a lot of chatter about the classics already on our group bookshelf. Mostly c..."
Sorry Bob! I didn't mean to make so many waves in your pool here.
Good luck with the Cliff Notes! I'm sure on some level they satisfy a need. And thank you to everyone else for your hospitality. - )


message 26: by siriusedward (new)

siriusedward (elenaraphael) | 2054 comments Thanks Bob,Melanti,Pink and Katy for this awesome group.I think the categories are well selected and just enough.
And this group has helped many with liking and reading more classics precisely because this group is fun ,enjoyable,encouraging to explore more (in our fashion) , non judgemental,respectful and non critical. also not demanding and rigid.This is a fair group with a good selection of books every month with options for buddy reading .
The moderators are also fair in moderating the discussions.


message 27: by Darren (new)

Darren (dazburns) | 1919 comments Jared - I Am Legend is a good shout

also Tin Drum that somebody mentioned elsewhere


message 28: by J_BlueFlower (new)

J_BlueFlower (j_from_denmark) | 1675 comments Bob wrote: "I don’t know if certain comments are criticism our just wishful thinking,"

Neither. Of course I can only speak for myself, and if I absolutely must choose then “wishful thinking”.

I was simply looking at the group shelf and saw: No Hamlet, No The Trial, nothing by James Joyce, and that puzzled me. Why would that be?

It is like for instance the “1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die” does not have Shakespeare – not a single item by him. The official answer is that there are only novels on the list (which isn't quite true).

What could the reason be in this group? That too many people already read these books, so that cannot get elected? If 60% of the group read Hamlet in school, I guess it would not get many votes, no matter how classic.

Anyway, I wanted (here comes the wishful thinking, I guess) to push things just a little bit in the direction of more variety. I was thinking if some future members looks at the group shelf – would her first comment be “wow, you covered everything”, or “what?!, no Hamlet!?! No Ulysses!?!”

And the simplest way to do that is making other people aware of it. I do not see it as a problem, only in – my eyes – a possibility for improvement. As a democratic group the votes are the final word. ….. (so actually I think the right label is not “wishful thinking”, but “election propaganda” ;-))

And I think it is working. Time will show, but it feels to me like Joyce is getting a lot of attention now.


message 29: by Pink (new)

Pink | 6554 comments There's so many great classics to choose from that I think there will always be some 'I can't believe you haven't read that' moments. I certainly feel that in my own reading life.

Shakespeare has always proved unpopular in polls, until this year he'd only won once. I suspect people have bad memories from studying him at school and so don't choose to read his plays for pleasure.

As for Ulysses, maybe the length and complexity puts people off? I love the book, but understand that not everyone wants to try it for fear of it being too difficult. You'd think it would make a great group read for this reason, which it would, but it hasn't won yet.

Our polls have averages of 200-300 people voting in each category, with more popular books often winning ahead of difficult or obscure books. That's why we end up with seasonal reads too, especially at Halloween and Christmas. I for one could do without seeing A Christmas Carol being read across multiple groups every December, but I understand that people like a nice atmospheric holiday read!

All of this is one of the main reasons we set up buddy reads in our group. As time and again a nominated book that generated lots of interest lost out in polling. I think we cover as many bases as we can, with 5 group reads, buddy reads and several challenges to encourage us to read a wide variety of material. Though we're always open to suggestions for improvement!


message 30: by J_BlueFlower (new)

J_BlueFlower (j_from_denmark) | 1675 comments Just airing a thought: A group read category where only authors new to the group shelf are eligible? Or twice a year only authors new to the group shelf are eligible in all the groups?


message 31: by Darren (new)

Darren (dazburns) | 1919 comments J_BlueFlower wrote: "Just airing a thought: A group read category where only authors new to the group shelf are eligible? Or twice a year only authors new to the group shelf are eligible in all the groups?"

I was going to suggest this!

apart from Joyce, the other two that most surprise me are Graham Greene and Evelyn Waugh

I think Pink is right about some authors being perceived to be "difficult" (which might explain Mann, Balzac, Zola, Stendhal, Goethe, Pushkin, Solzhenitsyn), and it is tempting to continue reading more titles by "comfy" authors that you know you already like, and even then it's quite possible that the people who nominated/voted for each of the seven Jane Austen titles were different sets of people for whom that particular title was their first Austen!


message 32: by Bob, Short Story Classics (last edited Nov 06, 2017 04:42AM) (new)

Bob | 4959 comments Mod
J_BlueFlower wrote: "Just airing a thought: A group read category where only authors new to the group shelf are eligible? Or twice a year only authors new to the group shelf are eligible in all the groups?"

I don't want to be negative, but nominating new authors is not the problem. Our current nominations show that:

New Authors compared to total Nominations in Five Categories
Short Story 6 of 9
New School 15 of 17
Old School 7 of 11
Long Read 8 of 13

This is a total of 36 new authors out of 50 books nominated, granted some authors have been duplicated in the different categories.


message 33: by Brina (new)

Brina I see both ways although I've learned to let it be. Ideally I love reading classics by authors all over the world. We have personal challenges and games and buddy reads for this. For instance if there was no classic of Asia square on Bingo I probably wouldn't have read Fumiko Enchi.
This group is for people who read an assortment of books and are as the group says catching up on classics. That being the same popular authors are going to be repeated especially as the group is constantly adding new members who may not have read these authors. I read Dickens for the first time this month and I'm encouraged to read more now. Ditto Hemingway and Steinbeck. I think this group is fair and the moderators do an amazing job running the group and making things seamless from month to month.


message 34: by Pink (new)

Pink | 6554 comments Oh we have more new authors than I thought!

Darren, I need to read more of Greene and Waugh as I've enjoyed what I've read so far. All the other authors you listed above are ones that I keep putting off myself but mean to get to...one day...perhaps I'll incorporate some of them in my 2018 challenges!


message 35: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen | 3941 comments A big thank you to all of the moderators--I love this group!

It seems to me that the best way to add diversity of any kind to our group reads is to read the books in our own challenges and comment on them. That seems to get people interested in them. We tend to really enjoy picking up ideas from each other. :-)


message 36: by Darren (last edited Nov 06, 2017 05:39AM) (new)

Darren (dazburns) | 1919 comments lots of new authors do get nominated, but do poorly in the polls, Waugh and Greene are recent examples (Maugham is another)

the current group structure works very well though, so adding new "rules" or "themed" nominations (New Author Only, World etc) would be problematic, as well as seeming to condescend to tell people what they "ought" to be reading

the Buddy Read route is good too - there's no way Darconville's Cat or Underworld would ever have won a poll and I've given up on nominating Nietzsche, so I'll be sounding out support for that soon...


message 37: by Katy, New School Classics (new)

Katy (kathy_h) | 9558 comments Mod
Darren I do love the variety of books you suggest!


message 38: by siriusedward (new)

siriusedward (elenaraphael) | 2054 comments Darren wrote: "lots of new authors do get nominated, but do poorly in the polls, Waugh and Greene are recent examples (Maugham is another)

the current group structure works very well though, so adding new "rules..."


Nietzsche is a good idea.

And I am with Brina, it is due to Bingo and Other challenges that we are encouraged to read more books esp. those that otherwise we wouldn't have read.
It is esp. good to read others challenges and comments as Kathleen said.


message 39: by Nente (new)

Nente | 780 comments I think it's not much of an issue that the group bookshelf doesn't have every classic we would like - after all we need 3 new reads each month, and the shelf isn't even close to 1001 books yet =)

In any case, what this thread did to me was finally prod me into keeping more of an eye on buddy reads. It even turns out that some buddy reads were going on in which I could/should have joined...

And a big thank you to moderators for your work in organizing buddy read schedule and threads, in addition to group reads.


message 40: by Pink (new)

Pink | 6554 comments I agree everyone's challenges are great for giving me inspiration too!


message 41: by Renee (new)

Renee | 864 comments Definitely I agree about the challenges! I've added many books (and authors) to my TBR list that I would never have even known of without lurking on everyone's challenges :)


message 42: by J_BlueFlower (last edited Dec 01, 2017 02:31AM) (new)

J_BlueFlower (j_from_denmark) | 1675 comments Well, I guess that is the end of me compiling about no Ulysses on our shelf ;-) It won the long read with two votes.

Oh, wait,.... now I have to READ it?! Oh, what did I get myself into?! ;-)


message 43: by Sara, Old School Classics (new)

Sara (phantomswife) | 5478 comments Mod
LOL. Yep, that happens, JBlueFlower. I tried Ulysses once before and didn't get far. I am hoping that reading with a group will make it go differently for me.


message 44: by Katy, New School Classics (new)

Katy (kathy_h) | 9558 comments Mod
Yes, everyone who voted for Ulysses better at least try to read it. But I'm not holding anyone down to finish it if it doesn't work for them. But hey, we can all try it now.


message 45: by Greg (new)

Greg (gregreadsalot) | 73 comments Bob wrote: "I don’t know if certain comments are criticism our just wishful thinking, but over the past several weeks I have noticed a lot of chatter about the classics already on our group bookshelf. Mostly c..."
FUN!!! Yes. So, is Ulysses fun to read? Yes, fun, and very, very funny. Would it work as a group read? That'd be tough, because what's funny is sometimes only how it sounds if you're reading it out loud. At least, that's what I found.


message 46: by Sara, Old School Classics (new)

Sara (phantomswife) | 5478 comments Mod
There must be a reason it is considered to be so important...on the other hand, I said that about Lolita but the reason for that one was certainly hidden from my view.


message 47: by Mark (new)

Mark André Ulysses is a very special book. It's warm, sad, touching, sometimes funny, often intimate; very long, complex and magical! - )


message 48: by Mark (last edited Dec 02, 2017 07:53AM) (new)

Mark André Katy wrote: "Yes, everyone who voted for Ulysses better at least try to read it. But I'm not holding anyone down to finish it if it doesn't work for them. But hey, we can all try it now."

"gentle as a mushroom" (fw. 617)


message 49: by Aprilleigh (last edited Jun 06, 2018 01:48PM) (new)

Aprilleigh (aprilleighlauer) | 561 comments Mark wrote: "If anyone would like someone to read Ulysses with, I am always available. Joyce is my favorite author; and U. is my favorite book. - )"

I might take you up on that at some point. I purchased a copy after realizing the one I picked up from the library wasn't going to cut it for the group read (yes, I know it was a long read, but even long books rarely take me months to read). Still trying to decide if I should read some of his other works first.


message 50: by Mark (last edited Jun 06, 2018 02:25PM) (new)

Mark André Hi Aprilleigh! - )
Even though A Portrait of the Artist is in a way a prequel to Ulysses (Ulysses is a stand alone book, and one doesn't necessarily need any warm-ups to read it.) since the hero of A Portrait: Stephen Daedalus is sort of a co-hero in Ulysses, I prefer to recommend Joyce's collection of short stories: Dubliners as a convenient way to introduce oneself to Joyce's Art.
I have my own little reading group: James Joyce Symposium where you are always welcome to stop by to chat or ask a question. And I am available 24/7/365 for anything at all related to Ulysses! - )


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