The Readers Review: Literature from 1714 to 1910 discussion

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A Focus on Our Authors > What is "A Focus on Our Authors" All About

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Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
This is a folder that we can use to create discussions about various authors, and provide background and biographical information. It can be a place to post interesting links to on-line information and sites that you've discovered and want to share. Feel free to jump in and ask questions, or answer them. Again, have fun! This is place to share and learn.


message 2: by MadgeUK (last edited Sep 01, 2010 10:44AM) (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments I think perhaps I am unusual in wanting to know something about an author and the locations and background to a novel before I start reading it. I always read Introductions, and Notes, and Glossaries, and maybe a Biography before I start reading and do not care a jot if there are Spoilers - although I would not reveal them to others! I find this particularly rewarding for books of bygone eras, such as we will be reading here. I can then thoroughly immerse myself in the novel and pretend I am 'on location', as it were:D. I have also spent 70 years travelling in the UK and so have seen many birthplaces, locations and museums of British authors. I therefore look forward to sharing some of this knowledge with overseas readers here although, of course, if you prefer your reading to be unsullied by extraneous information that's fine - just don't read my background stuff, I won't mind a bit:):).


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
MadgeUK wrote: "I think perhaps I am unusual in wanting to know something about an author and the locations and background to a novel before I start reading it. I always read Introductions, and Notes, and Glossar..."

Madge, I am very much like you. Typically, I immerse myself in an author, and love reading biographies and literary criticism. I do not care if I encounter 'spoilers' in these readings either. However, I also commit to not 'spoil' anyone's read here either. I think we can very easily have a folder, or separate thread, for biographical, bibliographic, historical, and other related background types of information with links, etc. to other on-line resources. In my opinion, it really does enhance the overall reading experience. I, for one, relish the opportunities for you, David, and others to share your 'local' knowledge with respect to novels, authors, and locations of the UK and Europe. I am sure that we'll all enjoy your insights and knowledge. Cheers! Chris


message 4: by MadgeUK (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments A separate folder/thread is a very good idea Chris, then no-one has to worry about the general read being 'sullied' or about spoilers.


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
Ami wrote: "Christopher wrote: "This is a folder that we can use to create discussions about various authors, and provide background and biographical information. It can be a place to post interesting links t..."

Ami, this is for any and all authors that 'generally' fall within our period (i.e., late-18th century to the early-20th century). Create a "new topic" for your author and have fun. I'd really like to think that we will all be pretty flexible with the so-called 'boundaries' of the span of the period. For example, while Edith Wharton began writing well within the period (e.g., "The Touchstone" in 1900), she wrote novels and short stories right up until her death in 1937; and I would like to be able to look at and discuss all of her oeuvre. I hope this answers your question.


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

MadgeUK wrote: "I think perhaps I am unusual in wanting to know something about an author and the locations and background to a novel before I start reading it. I always read Introductions, and Notes, and Glossar..."

Madge, I'm really looking forward to the information you are so willing to share. Thanks!


message 7: by Gail (last edited Sep 01, 2010 08:09PM) (new)

Gail | 91 comments Madge, I used to be rabid about not wanting to see/hear any "spoilers", but now in my, er, mature years, I find that the driving desire to learn the plot resolutions can cause at least this reader to miss many valuable aspects of the works being read. Now I like to know more before I read, unless there's a really shocking twist at the end. And of course now I've read or learned about so many of the books from this era that plot surprises are few and far between. I prefer a more leisurely approach, trying to savor each work as fully as as possible.


message 8: by MadgeUK (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments Thanks Sharon, I hope I won't disappoint:).

Gail: You are so right about plot surprises. Stories of all kinds are rather like notes on a piano - there are only 8 of them but the combinations are infinite. Many novels of the period we are looking at are just simple triangular love stories because that was what the readers of this new media wanted. However, the good authors wove the whole of life itself into those stories and we are enriched by discovering how and why they did so.


message 9: by Linda2 (new)

Linda2 | 3742 comments Gail wrote: "Madge, I used to be rabid about not wanting to see/hear any "spoilers", but now in my, er, mature years, I find that the driving desire to learn the plot resolutions can cause at least this reader ..."

I belong to another book site, and a young lady there gave away the jarring ending of "Atonement," while discussing the film. It has diluted my desire to read the book.


message 10: by MadgeUK (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments We must all be sure to put SPOILER ahead of anything which may give the plot, or part of it, away.


message 11: by Gail (new)

Gail | 91 comments Mmmm...yes...I read "Bleak House" and "Doctor Thorne" and "Middlemarch" all within the past year, and was struck by the similarities of the plot development and the story elements used. Of course, the three authors managed to create completely different stories, both in denouement, character development, and general ambience!


message 12: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Gail wrote: "Mmmm...yes...I read "Bleak House" and "Doctor Thorne" and "Middlemarch" all within the past year, and was struck by the similarities of the plot development and the story elements used. ..."

what is it they say, stripped of all the excesses, in the end there are only seven plots? Something like that.


message 13: by Gail (new)

Gail | 91 comments Well, yes, but in these particular cases the use of certain (hidden) family relationships was strikingly similar; so much so, that by the time I got around to "Dr. Thorne", I had to check to make sure I hadn't already read the book. It was just a coincidental juxtaposition, but it seemed very odd at the time.


message 14: by Linda2 (new)

Linda2 | 3742 comments So where's the background on Eliot?


message 15: by Jan (new)

Jan (auntyjan) | 483 comments Good question Rochelle, but I do remember Chris posting a link to a rather lengthy, but very entertaining essay of Eliot's on the subject of 'silly' novels and the silly women who read them...now where was that?


BTW, don't bother about reading Atonement, there are much better books out there.


message 16: by Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.), Founder (last edited Oct 22, 2010 08:12AM) (new)

Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
Jan wrote: "Good question Rochelle, but I do remember Chris posting a link to a rather lengthy, but very entertaining essay of Eliot's on the subject of 'silly' novels and the silly women who read them...now w..."

Boy, do I agree with Jan for her statement "BTW, don't bother about reading Atonement, there are much better books out there." While I think McEwen does have some skill as a writer, his plots indicate that he is more than 'a few sheep short of a full paddock.' I think the man has some very serious issues.


message 17: by Linda2 (last edited Oct 22, 2010 08:41AM) (new)

Linda2 | 3742 comments Yes, I remember the essay on Eliot now. Judging by the romances and vampire novels some women read, silly novels are still very much alive.

You mean McEwan is:

A few bricks short of a full load.
A few clowns short of a circus.
A few Fruit Loops shy of a full bowl.
A few shades beyond blonde.
A few watts short of a light bulb.
A few Bradys short of a bunch.
A few pecans short of a fruitcake.
A few gunmen short of a posse.
A few bits short of a byte.
A few marshmallows short of a bowl of Lucky Charms.
One accordion short of a polka band.
A few kernels short of a cob.
A beer short of a six pack.
A brick short of a load.
A couple of eggs shy of a dozen.
A couple of gallons short of a full tank.
A few ants short of a picnic.
A few beers short of a six-pack.
A few bricks short of a pile.
A few bricks short of a wall.
A few cards short of a deck.
A few clowns short of a circus.
A few feathers short of a whole duck.
A few of sheep short of an orgy.
A few peas short of a casserole.
A few tomatoes short of a good thick sauce.
A few trucks short of a convoy.
A fortune cookie short of a Chinese dinner.
A pepperoni short of a pizza.
A few sandwiches short of a picnic.
Doesn’t have both oars in the water.
Doesn't have all his cornflakes in one box.
Doesn't have all his dogs on one leash.
Doesn't have all the dots on his dice.
Elevator doesn't quite make the top floor.
Four quarters short of a dollar.
Goes surfing in Nebraska.
Golf bag doesn’t have a full set of irons.
Got a full 6-pack, but not the plastic thingy to hold it together.
Got into the gene pool when the lifeguard wasn’t watching.
He played too much without a helmet.
He's got his feet firmly planted 3 feet above the ground.
His belt doesn't go through all the loops.
His cheese has slipped off his cracker.
His porch light ain't on.
Isn’t firing on all 6 cylinders.
Isn’t firing on all thrusters.
Kangaroo loose in the top paddock.
Knitting with only one needle.
Needing a few screws tightened.
Not firing with all spark plugs.
Nutty as a fruitcake.
On/off switch is stuck in the off position.
One Fruit Loop shy of a full bowl.
One taco short of a combination plate.
One tit short of an udder.
One turbine short of an airplane


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
Rochelle wrote: "Yes, I remember the essay on Eliot now. Judging by the romances and vampire novels some women read, silly novels are still very much alive.

You mean McEwan is:

A few bricks short of a full load..."


Yes, this is precisely what I was referring to regarding Mr. McEwan. I couldn't have said it better myself! ;-)


message 19: by Linda2 (new)

Linda2 | 3742 comments Because there's nothing you can add!


message 20: by Linda2 (new)

Linda2 | 3742 comments You two have too much time on your hands. You flip through people's TBR lists to see what you can comment on? :-D


message 21: by Linda2 (new)

Linda2 | 3742 comments And you both saw signs of mental illness as you read the book? I see nothing about it in the NYT book review or any other.


message 22: by MadgeUK (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments Jan wrote: "Good question Rochelle, but I do remember Chris posting a link to a rather lengthy, but very entertaining essay of Eliot's on the subject of 'silly' novels and the silly women who read them...now w..."

This was the link which Chris posted in the AE Background Information section Jan:-

http://webscript.princeton.edu/~mnobl...


message 23: by Jan (last edited Oct 27, 2010 09:57AM) (new)

Jan (auntyjan) | 483 comments Rochelle, I never said anything about anyone's mental state. You said a spoiler had somewhat diluted your desire to read the book, and I simply suggested that there were better books out there, anyway.


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