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message 1: by Lesley (new)

Lesley | 1568 comments With over 50% of the votes, the category chosen for this month's reading choice is Modern Classics.

You choose what book/s in this category you want to read posting your choice here.

Remember to link to the title and author, and tell us what you thought of the book.

Broadly speaking a modern classic is a book written in the 20th Century that continues to be read by subsequent generations. Much like a traditional classic, but written reflecting times of change in the modern age.

Here are some links to help you with what could be considered a modern classic.

https://www.goodreads.com/genres/most...
https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/...
https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/3...
https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/2...

Now the rest is up to you. Looking forward to seeing what everyone reads.


message 2: by Erica (new)

Erica | 856 comments Mod
I think I'm going to read The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy...it's been sitting on my bookshelf for so long!


message 3: by Jane (new)

Jane I'm going for Remains of the Day. Loved the movie but I really need to read the book...


message 4: by Sweetp-1 (new)

Sweetp-1 | 402 comments I am going to book club later today and expecting to come home with either 1984 or One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest. I also have a copy of White Teeth sitting in my to read pile


message 5: by Ciska (last edited Jul 27, 2014 02:15PM) (new)

Ciska I'm going to read 1984... this has been on my to read list for awhile.


message 6: by Angie (new)

Angie (seren-lucy) | 1147 comments I'm still deciding...


message 7: by Angie (new)

Angie (seren-lucy) | 1147 comments I'm going with Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China. I'm not sure if it's technically a modern classic, but I'll go with it.


message 8: by Lesley (new)

Lesley | 1568 comments I've been pretty slack on my reading just recently, but I've been trying to pick what to read for this category - so, so many on my TBR to choose from!

Looking at what is appearing here I thought I would go with 1984 that's been moving up and down my list like a yo-yo, but seeing Angie's choice, well.... Now I'm torn, but I think Wild Swans has more appeal, so that's where I'm going.


message 9: by Angie (new)

Angie (seren-lucy) | 1147 comments Ella's Gran wrote: "I've been pretty slack on my reading just recently, but I've been trying to pick what to read for this category - so, so many on my TBR to choose from!

Looking at what is appearing here I thought ..."


Yay! It's going to be my next read.


message 10: by Darkpool (new)

Darkpool | 1020 comments Contemplating The Pursuit of Love depending on when the current borrower returns it to the library.


message 11: by Lesley (new)

Lesley | 1568 comments Darkpool (protesting GR censorship) wrote: "Contemplating The Pursuit of Love depending on when the current borrower returns it to the library."

Wasn't this purported to be about her family somewhat loosely disguised?


message 12: by Darkpool (new)

Darkpool | 1020 comments Wikipedia refers to it as "semi-autobiographical" so you may well be right!


message 13: by P.D.R. (new)

P.D.R. Lindsay (pdrlindsay) | 1636 comments Read most of the lists, or hate 'em.

Will pounce on a PG Wodehouse because laughter is a bit scarce right now and Wodehouse is a brilliant writer.


message 14: by Erica (new)

Erica | 856 comments Mod
I've just finished my August Read: The God of Small Things. I thought it was very well written, she moulded several different time sequences together seamlessly which I imagine would be very hard to do!


message 15: by Lesley (last edited Aug 13, 2014 10:32PM) (new)

Lesley | 1568 comments I am at Chapter 9 in Wild Swans just past the first section of photographs. It struck me when looking at these how lifeless the people's eyes are in them with the exception of the author's mother and on one occasion her own mother. Is that the culture or what the lifestyle under continuous war and hardship has done?

By this stage the Communist Party has pretty much conquered with the author's family seemingly readily embracing it, yet the treatment of the women becomes almost cruel under this regime.

Another thing that strikes me is how personal and familial love was so scrutinised and controlled by the government, particularly the Communist regime which penalised putting family first. Quite contrary to the historical importance of the clan in Chinese culture.

Finding this read quite arduous in places, yet interesting and wanting to keep going. Long way to go yet, so reading on ...


message 16: by Angie (new)

Angie (seren-lucy) | 1147 comments I'm around about the same place. It's a slog, but I know must continue. It's important I learn more about this time in China's history.


message 17: by Lesley (new)

Lesley | 1568 comments Angie wrote: "I'm around about the same place. It's a slog, but I know must continue. It's important I learn more about this time in China's history."

I've got some more library books arrived in, so I won't be rushing Wild Swans. How about we read the rest keeping pace with each other. Say a set number of chapters in a week or two week intervals type set up? That way we can pace each other and talk about it too.


message 18: by Jane (new)

Jane I've finally read Remains of the Day. What a fabulous book. The movie was great and very faithful to the book, but inevitably there were additional layers between the pages. Highly recommended.


message 19: by Lesley (new)

Lesley | 1568 comments Jane wrote: "I've finally read Remains of the Day. What a fabulous book. The movie was great and very faithful to the book, but inevitably there were additional layers between the pages. Highly recommended."

Jane, I have to confess I've not read the book nor do I recall seeing the movie, yet the title is familiar to me. I've added this to my TBR. These group individual reads are not good for my to read shelf ... sigh! ☺


message 20: by Jane (new)

Jane If it helps your list, I see I didn't read the rules as thoroughly as I should have... It was written this century! The movie always good for a spare evening though :)


message 21: by Angie (new)

Angie (seren-lucy) | 1147 comments Ella's Gran wrote: "Angie wrote: "I'm around about the same place. It's a slog, but I know must continue. It's important I learn more about this time in China's history."

I've got some more library books arrived in, ..."


Great idea. I'll happily pick up one of my library books this weekend. I see that The Silkworm is being held for me, so I'll pick that up tomorrow. Small chunks at a time will see us through!


message 22: by Lesley (new)

Lesley | 1568 comments Jane wrote: "If it helps your list, I see I didn't read the rules as thoroughly as I should have... It was written this century! The movie always good for a spare evening though :)"

From what I can see it was published in 1998, so that fits the 'rules' okay. Anyway what are rules for if not to be massaged to fit!


message 23: by Lesley (new)

Lesley | 1568 comments Angie wrote: "Ella's Gran wrote: "Angie wrote: "I'm around about the same place. It's a slog, but I know must continue. It's important I learn more about this time in China's history."

I've got some more librar..."


Good. So what about if in the next two weeks we read chapter 9 through to chapter 14 inclusive and report back here on Saturday 30 August with a coffee for a chat.

Don't panic if you don't get all that read 'cos the world won't come crashing down ☺
But if you are getting further than that let me know so I can keep up.
Lesley


message 24: by Angie (new)

Angie (seren-lucy) | 1147 comments Ella's Gran wrote: "Angie wrote: "Ella's Gran wrote: "Angie wrote: "I'm around about the same place. It's a slog, but I know must continue. It's important I learn more about this time in China's history."

I've got so..."


My photo section must be further on than yours, because I'm up to Chapter 13. Still happy to go with the plan though, as it'll give me time to read other books too.


message 25: by Lesley (new)

Lesley | 1568 comments Angie wrote: "Ella's Gran wrote: "Angie wrote: "Ella's Gran wrote: "Angie wrote: "I'm around about the same place. It's a slog, but I know must continue. It's important I learn more about this time in China's hi..."

That's interesting. My copy has a set of photos after chapter 8 and again following chapter 20. If we both get up to chapter 14 as above, then we'll go from there. ☺


message 26: by Lesley (new)

Lesley | 1568 comments Angie, we were supposed to meet back here yesterday!!!! Things went a bit awry for me but here I am at last.

How are you find the book so far. It's quite a different read for me than it was almost 20 years ago. I think this is because we know more about our world at first hand now than we did then. What do you think?

I have been continuously surprised at how they (the officials) were almost anti family. Your duty was to the Party first and if that meant your family went without so be it.

Another thing I find horrible is the encouragement of the Party officials to have people 'reporting' on each other and the underlying corruption fed by those attitudes.

An amusing thing in the last couple of chapters was when she was talking about the change in appearance. Bright coloured, decorative, fitting clothing was abolished. Everybody was required to wear dark coloured, shapeless uniforms and practical flat shoes. But the part that struck me was when she talks about the women's hairstyles. No longer allowed to have the fluffy bobs which were replaced by short, straight hair.

I had always visualised Chinese women with long, straight hair and never with fluffy (curly), but when I went back and looked again at the photographs, there was her Mother with quite a bush of fluffy hair!

Their lives were very proscribed and controlled, and yet they all considered it was a better life than what they had had.

In the next half of the book we should come across the events that lead up to the Tianamen Square uprising, but I'm not sure how far forward that will be.

Anyway, let me know what chapters you want to read to next and by when.

Lesley


message 27: by P.D.R. (new)

P.D.R. Lindsay (pdrlindsay) | 1636 comments Got sidetracked onto Bleak House which must be a classic.

I love the opening, Fog...it's great read aloud. And all those weird and wonderful characters. Dickens was so good at quirky characters.


message 28: by Lesley (new)

Lesley | 1568 comments Finally I have finished Wild Swans. I found the topic so harrowing that I could only handle small sections. For this reason, and because I kept stopping to read more around some of the history, it has been a slow read. I don't believe you could say it was a book enjoyed, but this time reading it I saw the lives of the ordinary Chinese quite differently. I never realised, and am quite horrified, at the out and out cruelty dictated from the top, and that there were so many willingly embraced the practices of cruelty and torture proscribed. Pleased I read it again.


message 29: by P.D.R. (new)

P.D.R. Lindsay (pdrlindsay) | 1636 comments Could never finish 'Wild Swans'. Just too much inhumanity.


message 30: by Angie (new)

Angie (seren-lucy) | 1147 comments Ella's Gran wrote: "Finally I have finished Wild Swans. I found the topic so harrowing that I could only handle small sections. For this reason, and because I kept stopping to read more around some of the history, it ..."

Hi Lesley!
I'm struggling with reading at the moment, so Wild Swans is sitting next to my bed untouched. I will get it finished before the end of the year, but need a break from it at the moment. Very impressed with your effort. I, too, can't get my head around the anti-family or party-first way of life. Must have been terrible living through such a time.


message 31: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen Dixon (kiwikathleen) | 1467 comments I've just finished reading The Handmaid's Tale. Couldn't for a while figure out why I'd decided to read it, but then realised I must have planned it for the August 'Modern Classics' read. It fits, as though it was originally published in 1985 which makes it only one generation old, and I really don't know if younger women are reading it now or not, but this edition has a lengthy introduction (11 pages), a Select Bibliography, and a 13 page Chronology of Atwood's life and concurrent world events. All that at the beginning of the book where one is almost forced to read it.

Happily, I really enjoyed it.


message 32: by Lesley (new)

Lesley | 1568 comments Angie wrote: "Ella's Gran wrote: "Finally I have finished Wild Swans. I found the topic so harrowing that I could only handle small sections. For this reason, and because I kept stopping to read more around some..."

It's a pretty rugged read and possibly not for just now Angie. I have to say I'm not sure there is a lot of change even today. It's the 'leaders' who seem to benefit and the ordinary people who suffer... Just put it back on your shelf for 'one day'.


message 33: by Darkpool (new)

Darkpool | 1020 comments Kathleen wrote: "I've just finished reading The Handmaid's Tale. Couldn't for a while figure out why I'd decided to read it, but then realised I must have planned it for the August 'Modern Classics' rea..."

Some of the Year 13 English students at my school read it as part of a unit on Dystopian literature. Not sure what else they study in that unit.


message 34: by Jane (new)

Jane I'm not surprised that year 13 students have a dystopic literature unit. So much YA literature covers the genre: The Hunger Games, Divergent, Wool... I dont think I read anything quite like it when I was a teenager.


message 35: by Jane (new)

Jane Oops... apostrophe crime. Don't.


message 36: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen Dixon (kiwikathleen) | 1467 comments Darkpool (protesting GR censorship) wrote: "Some of the Year 13 English students at my school read it as part of a unit on Dystopian literature..."

Jane wrote: "I'm not surprised that year 13 students have a dystopic literature unit. So much YA literature covers the genre: The Hunger Games, Divergent, Wool... I don't think I read anything quite like it when..."

I look at some of the textbooks we sell in the bookshop and often think they have some great units to work on. Almost wish I was back at school (though I certainly don't wish to be a teenager again).


message 37: by Darkpool (new)

Darkpool | 1020 comments yep, certainly seems to be a very fashionable genre at present, and I'm pleased that their study includes something that's neither YA or written in the last 5 years.


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