The Readers Review: Literature from 1714 to 1910 discussion

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2010 Group Reads - Archives > The Readers Review's First Group Read?

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message 1: by Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.), Founder (last edited Sep 01, 2010 10:03AM) (new)

Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
As this is a fledgling group, I had the thought that it might be fun for me to propose that our first group read and discussion be George Eliot's first novel, Adam Bede, first published in 1859. 'First,' 'Adam'...well, you get the picture...

About Adam Bede, a 'Wikipedia' entry had this to say
"Immediately recognized as a significant literary work, Adam Bede has enjoyed a largely positive critical reputation since its publication. An anonymous review in The Athenaeum in 1859 praised it as a "novel of the highest class," and The Times called it "a first-rate novel." Contemporary reviewers, often influenced by nostalgia for the earlier period represented in Bede, enthusiastically praised Eliot's characterizations and realistic representations of rural life."
So, what do you all think? I love Eliot's writing so much, and this is a novel that I've not yet read.

I would propose that the actual discussion of Adam Bede would commence on October 1st. This will give folks time to (1) find this group; and (2) find and read the novel. I think, in the meantime, that we can amuse ourselves with some short stories and poetry, and work through some of the kinks and/or glitches with the group's structure and logistics.


message 2: by Joy (new)

Joy (joylnorth) I would love to read another Eliot novel! In the blurb on Goodreads it says that Alexandre Dumas called this novel 'the masterpiece of the century'; that's enough of a recommendation for me! I don't think I could tackle it before October 1st, so that as a start start for discussion sounds good.


message 3: by MadgeUK (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments I am a great fan of Eliot's novels and of the brave woman herself so I very much look forward to this read and to any other delights you put before us in the meantime!:)


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

I haven't read any George Eliot but would love to, so Adam Bede is fine with me. Looking forward to it!


message 5: by Grace Tjan (last edited Sep 01, 2010 11:00AM) (new)

Grace Tjan I've only read three Eliots: Middlemarch (imho, the best Victorian novel, at least among those few that I've read), The Mill on the Floss (a five-star read for me), and Daniel Deronda (not my favorite among Eliot's novels). I'd be interested to read Adam Bede.

Chris, may I suggest a Conrad novel? I have Victory downloaded into my e reader. Or maybe some of his short stories? I've only read two of his novels and would love to read some of his works with a group.


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
Sandybanks wrote: "I've only read three Eliots: Middlemarch (imho, the best Victorian novel, at least among those few that I've read), The Mill on the Floss (a five-star read for me), and Daniel Deronda (not my favor..."

Absolutely, Sandybanks! As soon as we have a few more folks on-board here, I would like to have a dialog with all of you about how we'll choose all of our future group reads.

Off the top of my head there are several options.

1. Like a lot of other groups, we could solicit nominations, and then vote;

2. We ask for a group member to choose a novel that they are particularly fond of and let them lead us in a read and discussion; or

3. We could narrow the choices by selecting a novel published in a particular year (or even decade) during our period of interest. For example, you can see all of the great books published year-by-year here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_... (this is a delightfully fun Wikipedia page to play around in!)

Anyway, you get the point. I am sure that there are all kinds of options for us to consider. I certainly favor the process that is most democratic and inclusive. So, put on your 'thinking caps,' and we'll have a more in-depth discussion about group read book selection soon. Cheers! Chris


message 7: by Jan (last edited Sep 02, 2010 07:09PM) (new)

Jan (auntyjan) | 483 comments I have four novels of George Eliot in one volume...I have read none, they're all on my tbr list, and the first in the collection is Adam Bede...and its in 1001 books to read before you die...another of my pet projects...so I'm very keen!


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
Okay, so it sounds like our inaugural group read and discussion will be George Eliot's Adam Bede. Discussions to commence on October 1st!

In a few days I shall create a folder for the book and a separate topic thread inside of that for background and related information. Then we can turn the group's Chief Researcher loose (that would be you, dear Madge)!


message 9: by MadgeUK (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments Oooh! Sadly, as for location, the area George Eliot wrote about is now highly industrialised so we no longer have the sort of countryside which can still be found in 'Bronte Country' or 'Hardy Country'. I have one or two things up my sleeve though:D.


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

Adam Bede is the only book I've read by Eliot, and it's been eons (the $0.75 price tag on the cover is a really good hint!!) so I'm looking forward to rereading it. Middlemarch has been sitting on the pile beside the bed for awhile now, but sadly keeps sifting down towards the bottom. Maybe I'll go excavate it! :)


message 11: by Kester (new)

Kester Andrews | 36 comments I am yet to read a George Eliot novel so this is as good a time as any. I am a Kindle user (I can hear the groans all the way from Trinidad) so I have access to it immediately. Otherwise I would have had to order and wait a couple weeks for it. Isn't technology grand! What date do we reconvene for discussions?


message 12: by MadgeUK (last edited Sep 05, 2010 10:40AM) (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments I am getting a Kindle for Xmas Kester so I will be able to join you:). I already have an Ectaco but Kindles are much better. I think one or two people have them here, they aren't all Luddites:). One of their great advantages is that you can enlarge the font and as I am having problems with cataracts at the moment that will be a welcome facility.


message 13: by Kester (new)

Kester Andrews | 36 comments That's good to hear Madge. I know that some bibliophiles consider the movement towards e-books as tantamount to sacrilege. It has allowed me access to books that I never would have even dreamed of buying before; for example Greek Tragedies, Comedies and Epic Poetry. Since June I have read all of Aeschylus' extant plays and most of Sophocles and Euripides not to mention Aristophanes. Book stores in Trinidad are not the best stocked and tend to only carry Popular Fiction. However, I am in the process of acquiring what classics I can and hope one day to have a "real" library worthy of being called just that!


message 14: by Grace Tjan (new)

Grace Tjan Kate wrote: "Adam Bede is the only book I've read by Eliot, and it's been eons (the $0.75 price tag on the cover is a really good hint!!) so I'm looking forward to rereading it. Middlemarch has been sitting on..."

I got an ereader (an iRiver Story) a couple of month ago and it had revolutionized my reading. Anything in Gutenberg is now just a click away. No more ordering from Amazon and having to wait weeks for it to arrive.

Technology is really grand!


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

Kester wrote: "I am yet to read a George Eliot novel so this is as good a time as any. I am a Kindle user (I can hear the groans all the way from Trinidad) so I have access to it immediately. Otherwise I would ha..."

I love my Kindle. I have added very few dead tree books to my library in the past couple of years.


message 16: by MadgeUK (last edited Sep 03, 2010 11:14AM) (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments Kester wrote: "That's good to hear Madge. I know that some bibliophiles consider the movement towards e-books as tantamount to sacrilege. It has allowed me access to books that I never would have even dreamed of ..."

Yes, they must really be a boon for people in countries where bookshops and libraries are not so accessible. Did you know that the bookclub here called Classics and the Western Canon is about to start reading Oresteia. I will be combining that with Adam Bede.


message 17: by Kester (new)

Kester Andrews | 36 comments That sounds wonderful Madge. I will seek out this club! Thanks for the heads up.


message 18: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Kate wrote: "I love my Kindle. I have added very few dead tree books to my library in the past couple of years. "

I love my Kindle, too, but I also love dead tree books and keep buying them. (I have three books due to arrive in the mail in the next week, and I also downloaded two books to my Kindle. Fairly typical week.)

One thing about the ancient classics is that one can never have enough translations of these works. There has been a flurry of new translations coming out in the past twenty years or so, some better than, some not so good as (in my opinion) the earlier translations, all different from each other, and all bringing slightly different ways of looking at the works.


message 19: by MadgeUK (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments I found it fascinating when we compared different translations whilst reading the Iliad and Eugene Onegin with Laurel. I have bought both the Ted Hughes and Fagles for the Oresteia and that too should make for an interesting comparison.


message 20: by MadgeUK (last edited Sep 05, 2010 10:50AM) (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments Kester wrote: "I one day hope to have a real library......."

Re your library Kester: Might I recommend the Wordsworth Classics, which are inexpensive paperbacks with excellent scholastic Introductions and Glossaries. Usually only £1.99 each, often less when 'used', they are a real bargain. (I don't have shares:).

http://www.wordsworthclassics.com/wor...

http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/book/...


message 21: by [deleted user] (new)

The natives seem to be getting restless and are hanging out at the politics thread. Should we move this initial group read up to September 15th and get started a bit earlier than planned?


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
Kate wrote: "The natives seem to be getting restless and are hanging out at the politics thread. Should we move this initial group read up to September 15th and get started a bit earlier than planned?"

YES! Yes, I completely agree! I knew it was a very good day when you joined up! You and I think alike so much it almost scares me! I think I shall 'pop' the news to the group in just a bit!


message 23: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Kate wrote: "The natives seem to be getting restless and are hanging out at the politics thread. Should we move this initial group read up to September 15th and get started a bit earlier than planned?"

That would suit me, but I do have a few questions about the read.

1. How long will be scheduled for the read? It's a fairly long book and worthy of discussion; I would hope at least six and maybe eight weeks, but others may want a shorter period.

2. How will the discussion be structured? There are three main ways I've seen that done on GR.

a. Open the whole book for discussion from day 1, with only one discussion thread. This isn't a good option for serious books, so I doubt it would be good here; I mention it just for completeness.

b. Divide the book into discussion sections, usually as many sections as there are weeks in the scheduled reading period. This seems to be most common for serious books. But then, there are two options:

1. Set up all the sections at the beginning, and let people start posting in the sections as they get to that section of the book. This has the benefit of letting fast readers discuss later sections while they're still fresh in their minds, but tends to straggle out the discussion as some people are on part 5 while others are still back on part 2, and sometimes the juicy issues in section 5 have all been hashed out and people have moved on before some readers get to that section.

2. Set up a weekly schedule and post each part's discussion thread at the start of its week. This tends to keep the group together, but can lose some people who finished the book quickly but can't start discussing the end of it for another month or more.

Personally, I prefer the second option since I think it makes for a more robust discussion and involves more participants, but others may have different views. The moderators will decide in the end, but they may be open to ideas exchanged among the group members, therefore this post.


message 24: by [deleted user] (last edited Sep 07, 2010 07:55PM) (new)

Everyman wrote: "Kate wrote: "The natives seem to be getting restless and are hanging out at the politics thread. Should we move this initial group read up to September 15th and get started a bit earlier than plan..."

I like option 2 also. It works extremely well over on your group and I liked the sustained and vigorous discussion that went on all the way through Paradise Lost. Adam Bede could be broken up by book which would give us 6 weeks of discussion.


message 25: by Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.), Founder (last edited Sep 07, 2010 08:04PM) (new)

Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
Kate wrote: "Everyman wrote: "Kate wrote: "The natives seem to be getting restless and are hanging out at the politics thread. Should we move this initial group read up to September 15th and get started a bit ..."

Personally, I agree. I did the same thing and looked at the novel. Six weeks, at one week per book. I also agree with Everyman that we post each section the day discussion is eligible to commence.

Regarding the concern for people coming 'late to the party' because of scheduling, etc., the threads will always remain open; and obviously if folks post later, someone is always likely to pitch in and discuss with them. In my Shelfari group, it is not at all uncommon to revive group read discussions that occurred two or three years ago.

I appreciate the input from both of you, and it tracks completely with my thoughts. Hopefully the rest of the gang will like this too. Thank you!


message 26: by MadgeUK (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments I would like to start earlier too - before the natives start a rebellion!

I'll go with whatever is decided but not only am I a fast reader, I have read Adam Bede, so the delay between putting Chapters up would irk me a little. However, I am willing to be irked:).


message 27: by MjerrieT (new)

MjerrieT | 5 comments I glad to hear that the discussion will start alittle early. I up of option 2 of Everyman's post, but I'am a slow reader and would'nt care if all the weekly discussions were posted all at once.


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