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Books Read in 2017-2018 > The Magnificent Ambersons - Spoilers

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message 1: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3979 comments Mod
Please use this thread to discuss the book freely!


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... My review:

4 stars

I struggle to review a book like this as I rarely give a summary of the book and never give a spoiler. I like to just tell what I love or don't love about a particular story. But sometimes that feels nearly impossible and I cannot always say why. I think, in this case, it is because this is a quiet book in which not a lot happens. The story is one of character, and of the changes brought to our country during the industrial revolution. The protagonist is an old-money, spoiled and selfish man who expected to live his life doing absolutely nothing and living above the means of every other person in his life. Unfortunately for him the world he knows is changing dramatically and rapidly, and those changes bring him to financial ruin. Not too surprisingly the end of this book is both sad and slightly hopeful. The writing here is exquisitely beautiful. As a modern reader it often feels dated, but also allows one to better understand the era. Our way of speaking says so much about how we live our lives, reflecting our culture, society and education. I read a review by the author Karin Slaughter in which she discusses the difference between a modern novel of historical fiction set in the same time and place versus an older novel written at the time. She writes about the beauty of the language and how much it allows the reader to feel a part of the time, and I completely agree. I enjoy historical fiction, but it is good to read a book that is instead a historical book of fiction.


message 3: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3979 comments Mod
I'm only a few chapters in but I'm enjoying the book immensely!


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... Loretta wrote: "I'm only a few chapters in but I'm enjoying the book immensely!"

Oh good!


Bryan--The Bee’s Knees (theindefatigablebertmcguinn) | 276 comments I finished the book Saturday evening--I agree a bit with Kelly in that it was not an easy book to rate or review, although I also gave it four stars. My difficulty in rating it comes from the fact that I don't often read books like this--I felt like the characters here were largely defined by their time and place; were, in fact, almost a vehicle used to show how thing were and how things have changed. In that regard, I thought Tarkington did a very good job--I got caught up in the story, especially after the fortunes of the Ambersons started to decline (must be some morbid curiosity there--or else I was as interested in seeing Georgie get his comeuppance as the rest of the town was.)


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... Have you read Tarkington before now Bryan?


Bryan--The Bee’s Knees (theindefatigablebertmcguinn) | 276 comments Kelly wrote: "Have you read Tarkington before now Bryan?"

No--this was my first. I expected Ambersons to be a period study, which was by and large the impression it made on me as I read it. I generally favor books that try to plumb the depths of their characters rather than their environment, though that doesn't have anything to do with whether I'll enjoy them or not. I liked MA quite well, but if it weren't for the Pulitzer challenge, or that Penrod is on the Guardian's list of 1000 books to read, I doubt I'd seek out any more of his books. But if I do get to those other two, I expect to enjoy them as much as I did MA


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... Bryan wrote: "Kelly wrote: "Have you read Tarkington before now Bryan?"

No--this was my first. I expected Ambersons to be a period study, which was by and large the impression it made on me as I read it. I gene..."


I feel the same. One of my personal challenges is reading the Boxall's 1001 Books to Read list. Is it something you are doing? If not how did you choose the Guardian list?


message 9: by Bryan--The Bee’s Knees (last edited Jul 07, 2018 09:35PM) (new)

Bryan--The Bee’s Knees (theindefatigablebertmcguinn) | 276 comments Kelly wrote: "I feel the same. One of my personal challenges is reading the Boxall's 1001 Books to Read list. Is it something you are doing? If not how did you choose the Guardian list? ..."

Hi Kelly--I'm sorry I didn't see this when you posted it for some reason (It's been a busy last few weeks for me)

I read quite a bit from both Boxall's list and The Guardian's list (I'm a sucker for lists). I actually started out trying to read the Modern Library's list of 100 novels first, but most of that is on the other two anyway. I like that they have exposed me to titles that I probably wouldn't have found/read otherwise, but I don't really plan on reading the entire list(s). At the rate I'm going, it would probably take me another 44 years or more to finish Boxall's combined list. If all I did was read the books I already have on my shelves that are on either of those lists, I'll be doing good


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... Bryan wrote: "Kelly wrote: "I feel the same. One of my personal challenges is reading the Boxall's 1001 Books to Read list. Is it something you are doing? If not how did you choose the Guardian list? ..."

Hi Ke..."


I am working on that list as well. I belong to a very active GR group that reads from the list and it has helped me to read way outside my comfort zone.


message 11: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 1170 comments I read this last year and enjoyed the beginning more than the ending. The son was such an annoying character and really got on my nerves.


message 12: by Marilyn (new)

Marilyn I read this a few years ago and remember liking the book despite not liking the characters.


message 13: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 1170 comments I do like the way he writes.


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