How much time do you spend reading Literary classics versus Genre fiction?

antiloquax

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Not got those or read them. I have Periodic table (sp?) by Levi and certainly not read the Kazantsakis. Is that related to the film at all?
Not as big a fan of Kundera as you might be antiloquax.

Yes, the Kazantsakis is the book the film was based on. I haven't seen the film. The book is excellent. He also wrote Zorba the Greek, but I haven't read that.

I intend to read some more Levi at some point, including the book you mention.
I haven't read any Kundera for years, and I haven't read very much. But TBoLaF is really good - better than The Unbearable Lightness of Being, I'd say.

I'd be interested in your recommendations, Mr. G!

As regards the question that started this thread, Ive just checked and out of the last 21 books and stories I have read, only one was not SF or fantasy (and that was "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" which I read in day at work and didn't like much!).
a
 

GOLLUM

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Yes, the Kazantsakis is the book the film was based on. I haven't seen the film. The book is excellent. He also wrote Zorba the Greek, but I haven't read that.

I intend to read some more Levi at some point, including the book you mention.
I haven't read any Kundera for years, and I haven't read very much. But TBoLaF is really good - better than The Unbearable Lightness of Being, I'd say.

I'd be interested in your recommendations, Mr. G!
a
Mr. G is it now eh?...;):p He He.

AH OK. author of Zorba The Greek. Now that I do have AND it's good but I had NO idea he had also written Last Temptation. Thanks for making the connection!

Kundera...weeel....I was specifically referring to The Unbearable Lightness of Being which I didn't think deserved all of that hype it seems to have received over the years.

Levi on the other hand...is very much worth reading in every aspect IMO. Periodic Table is often argued to be if not his best work then certainly amongst his best..not that I've personally read him that extensively to date to make that call.
 

antiloquax

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Mr. G is it now eh?...;):p He He.

Just a sign of my respect for your book-knowledge ;)!

Anyway, I was also thinking that you might be able to suggest some good Australian / NZ writers (if it doesn't offend you to lump them together!).

I've read some Nevil Shute and Thomas Keneally. I have Patrick White's "The Vivisector" but haven't read it. My mother in law has read a lot of Peter Carey - but I have yet to follow suit.
I recently read "The Slap", which I enjoyed.
From NZ, I think I have only read "The Bone People".
a
 

Oskari

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Anti, you might like Kate Grenville's, Secret River. I did, very much.
 

GOLLUM

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Anyway, I was also thinking that you might be able to suggest some good Australian / NZ writers (if it doesn't offend you to lump them together!).

I've read some Nevil Shute and Thomas Keneally. I have Patrick White's "The Vivisector" but haven't read it. My mother in law has read a lot of Peter Carey - but I have yet to follow suit. I recently read "The Slap", which I enjoyed. From NZ, I think I have only read "The Bone People".
a
Yep. We started up a thread a while back on that very topic.

Cheers.

http://www.sffchronicles.co.uk/forum/526871-australian-fiction.html
 

Connavar

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Gollum PM whenever you and antiloquax thanks for recs. Some of those names i adore and some was new to me.

Right now im having a love, hate relationship with Marcel Proust's Swann's World.

Im impressed by the most effective use of streams of consciousness i have read so far. Swann character is very interesting, the narrator has wit, character that makes me smile.

But the pace is so slow, i have read 30 pages in more than two hours. Im used to high modernistic novels but this is hardest i have read in long while. If i had two weeks or a month i would enjoy the novel but i have until friday.

Im praying to all gods there is he gets the stories pace going much higher :)
 

j d worthington

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Conn... it's been a looooong time since I read Swann's Way but, if memory serves... um, no..... Wonderful book, but pushing it at this pace is, in my view, a disservice to both reader and read. (This is one of my major complaints about the structure of such classes... largely unavoidable, if the class is going to be at all informative, but a pain-in-the-neck nonetheless.)
 

Connavar

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Conn... it's been a looooong time since I read Swann's Way but, if memory serves... um, no..... Wonderful book, but pushing it at this pace is, in my view, a disservice to both reader and read. (This is one of my major complaints about the structure of such classes... largely unavoidable, if the class is going to be at all informative, but a pain-in-the-neck nonetheless.)

The thing if i had a week it would be okay but but the first week in Uni we have both teori, how to write C paper class and we have to read two huge,slow books in the same week in the other modern novel class at the same time.

I bet many people will just choose one of the two books. We dont have time for both.

I cant just focus on Swann's Way and its the first time im annoyed with how they plan the classes, the schedule. Last term we had classic lit,1200-1800s, Ancient Greece class but those books are shorter, easier to read than what Proust is doing.
 

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It's certainly disappointing in the way you have to rush through Swann's Way Conn. Perhaps you can return to it at some stage and spend the time required to fully embrace the reading experience. Of course Swan's Way is only volume 1 in Proust's magnum opus Remembrance Of Things Past and a genuine reading appreciation would require attention drawn to all 5 volumes.

What are some of the works you covered in the classic literature 1200-1800s?...I'm interested.
 

Connavar

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It's certainly disappointing in the way you have to rush through Swann's Way Conn. Perhaps you can return to it at some stage and spend the time required to fully embrace the reading experience. Of course Swan's Way is only volume 1 in Proust's magnum opus Remembrance Of Things Past and a genuine reading appreciation would require attention drawn to all 5 volumes.

What are some of the works you covered in the classic literature 1200-1800s?...I'm interested.

Rabelais,Cervantes,Milton,Dante,Goethe,Gogol,Dostejevski,Tolstoy,Flaubert,Ibsen,Strindberg,Leffler,Bronte,Austen,the classic poets from sweden and europe,America like Coleridge,Percy,Keats, Percy Shelley,Wordsworth,Poe,Dickenson,Baudiliere,William Blake.

I became most interested in to read more Goethe,Gogol,Rabelias,Ibsen,Milton and became a fantast of poetry finally thanks to Blake,epic poems,Baudiliere,Södergran,Lenngren.

I had popular classics and litarary realism class.
 

GOLLUM

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Rabelais,Cervantes,Milton,Dante,Goethe,Gogol,Dostejevski,Tolstoy,Flaubert,Ibsen,Strindberg,Leffler,Bronte,Austen,the classic poets from sweden and europe,America like Coleridge,Percy,Keats, Percy Shelley,Wordsworth,Poe,Dickenson,Baudiliere,William Blake.

I became most interested in to read more Goethe,Gogol,Rabelias,Ibsen,Milton and became a fantast of poetry finally thanks to Blake,epic poems,Baudiliere,Södergran,Lenngren.

I had popular classics and litarary realism class.
OK, the usual suspects...EXCEPT I've never heard of Leffler? I found this link on wiki if it is correct? I have not seen her on most lit. lists or other reading lists for that matter. Any good? Best known work in English trans. ?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_Charlotte_Leffler
 

Connavar

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OK, the usual suspects...EXCEPT I've never heard of Leffler? I found this link on wiki if it is correct? I have not seen her on most lit. lists or other reading lists for that matter. Any good? Best known work in English trans. ?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_Charlotte_Leffler

Leffler is a female play writer who worked at the same time as Strindberg and Ibsen, who is very important in the modernistic drama era in Nordic literature. She is more like Ibsen in style and much more balanced,effective than Strindberg when it comes to plays. She is a bit overlooked today because female writers wasnt as respected in drama back then, critics wrote stupid things like only male authors wrote serious social realism lit back then....

About the usual supects it worked nicely for me because it was writers i planned to read on my own but i could read them,find their books easily thanks to the goldmine that is huge University libraries. It was mostly like reading for pleasure for me and it was a nice bonus that you got to talk about quality classic books with other readers who like to read :)

It saved me time and now i can read the classics that the teacher didnt choose on my own.
 

GOLLUM

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Leffler is a female play writer who worked at the same time as Strindberg and Ibsen, who is very important in the modernistic drama era in Nordic literature. She is more like Ibsen in style and much more balanced,effective than Strindberg when it comes to plays. She is a bit overlooked today because female writers wasnt as respected in drama back then, critics wrote stupid things like only male authors wrote serious social realism lit back then....

About the usual supects it worked nicely for me because it was writers i planned to read on my own but i could read them,find their books easily thanks to the goldmine that is huge University libraries. It was mostly like reading for pleasure for me and it was a nice bonus that you got to talk about quality classic books with other readers who like to read :)

It saved me time and now i can read the classics that the teacher didnt choose on my own.
Leffler sounds of interest to me then.

Speaking of talking to other people similarly interested in reading, there's no way I would have either read or grained my current level knowledge in the fields of SFF and manistream literature if it weren't for the Internet and froums like this one.

I attended Uni for several years and was always happy to discover new and varying treasures some of those old libraries had tucked away in some out of the way corner.

I agree that having a solid foundation with literary sub-groups helps when you wish to expand your horizons further both during and in particular post-formal study.
 

Connavar

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I could have gotten the points i need in an easier way but i went looking for expanding my horizons literary wise. I use to avoid poetry,drama but i collect them for my own now. Im feeding the reader in me with historically important lit, historically criticism, essays. History through lit. Classic lit didnt care for genre ghettos which is nice. Teachers dont care if you are Tolkien, Hammett or Camus, Shakespeare.

Internet book forums was my only way to talk about lit for me since i dont know many readers offline. I have met many interesting people in classes, different readers who you can drink coffee with and discussing passionately authors, different literary eras. I have met SF readers, fantasy readers and many different type of readers offline. People like me who read any type of quality fiction.

Frankly its literary paradise for me, i can read books on school time that i like and i can read my modern, other books at home on my own.

Im gonna write a big Lit C paper on Hammett writing techniques, the way his times is used in his stories. Reading scholar work about Hammett, writing about your fav noir writer will be a dream for me :)
 

GOLLUM

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Good to see you are having such a good time in and out of the classroom Sir....:D

Hammett would definitely be an interesting case study but personally I would go with Chandler if I had the choice of author.. i.e..I enjoy Chandler's work more than what I have read of Hammett's which admittedly is less.

Good reading...:)
 

Connavar

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Many people prefer Chandler because he is the romantic first PI book series. Hammett had much more realism, bleak,corruption world view.

Hammett is for hardcore literary strong noir fans, even Chandler prefers Hammett over his own work ;)
 

Connavar

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In case JD, Gollum or someone else wonders what i thought about Marcel Proust's Swann's Way. Here is my review:

This book was a difficult read for me at first but after awhile it showed some books you struggle with the style, techniques of the writer there is a reward when you get used to it. It was never boring or felt overrated. It was a very original,weird,entertaining, funny novel to read. Proust messed up with my mind through the whole book. I liked how he played with time, memories, characters. He could freeze time and write many pages about seemingly small moments. As an authobiographical book it didnt make sense at all but as a fiction it was totally believable.

It was a special book that alone show easily why Proust is seen as an important writer. It was a challenging read that i felt i had to focus extremly on to get all the layers, subtle things he was doing.

Next i will try to read of him something more simple because of lack reading time. I look forward to reading more books in this famous series of his. I didnt give him, this book 5 stars because i know he improves with other works. The second part of the 3 parts in the novel was not as strong. Also i read this in a very good swedish translation.
 

GOLLUM

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Interesting comment you make regarding the noir element of Hammett's fiction. I can certainly say that the general consensus has always been that Chandler is seen overall as being more literary that Hammett. I haven't read much Hammett though, so it's hard to make a decent comparison in terms of who I would prefer over the journey. What Hammett other than The Maltese Falcon can you recommend? I understand Red Harvest is supposed to be a bit of a classic?

While we're chatting crime fiction; you really should try some of George Simenon's psychological novels, they're excellent e.g Dirty Snow.

On Proust other than his Magnum Opus he also wrote some short stories too. I have a collection of these. I have only Swann's Way with me at the moment but certainly I understand that you really need to read the entire work to properly judge it. Wait until I get on to Musil's masterwork...;)
 

Connavar

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Interesting comment you make regarding the noir element of Hammett's fiction. I can certainly say that the general consensus has always been that Chandler is seen overall as being more literary that Hammett. I haven't read much Hammett though, so it's hard to make a decent comparison in terms of who I would prefer over the journey. What Hammett other than The Maltese Falcon can you recommend? I understand Red Harvest is supposed to be a bit of a classic?

While we're chatting crime fiction; you really should try some of George Simenon's psychological novels, they're excellent e.g Dirty Snow.

On Proust other than his Magnum Opus he also wrote some short stories too. I have a collection of these. I have only Swann's Way with me at the moment but certainly I understand that you really need to read the entire work to properly judge it. Wait until I get on to Musil's masterwork...;)

Red Harvest
is the book Hammett mainstream literary classic rep is built on. It was if you care for that stuff listed rightly in Time Magazine's Best 100 novels of the last century list. Maltese Falcon is popular because its proto Chandler, Marlowe but The OP works is what he is legendary for.

Hammett lean prose, literary techniques is written often in narratology books along with Hemingway's prose style. Chandler and Hammett divide people. Some like the fancy prose of Chandler and some like the wit, the lean style of Hammett. Same with literary criticism when they try to place them in American 20th century classic list.

Chandler is more popular, Hammett is more literary strong but less popular by casual crime readers of the comments i have read. Hammett didnt get to taken seriously in his times but today in scholars, academica he is more respected. Its a shame many modern readers think Hammett is classic but since he didnt write book series he is not easy to read as Marlowe series. People that look only for fast reads wont like Hammett.

About Proust me and short story format like each other pretty well :)
 

soulsinging

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Many people prefer Chandler because he is the romantic first PI book series. Hammett had much more realism, bleak,corruption world view.

Hammett is for hardcore literary strong noir fans, even Chandler prefers Hammett over his own work ;)

Over in another thread someone posted an article about how overrated post-modern lit is. It actually got me thinking that a lot of the appeal of Chandler is that he essentially is asking the same question that every one of those tiresome post-modern (Delillo, McCarthy, Updike) authors asks... how does one remain moral in a world that seems indifferent to morality? Chandler just does it through far more interesting stories with Marlowe than they do with professors endlessly introspecting. I think that may be why Chandler is slightly more popular in general. Hammett's world is more immediate and real and grim, but Chandler is a bit more reflective and self-conscious, which appeals to a lot of readers.

Anyway, I second Red Harvest. It's probably his best novel. I'm also partial to Glass Key, one of his novels that seems to be overlooked much of the time. The Coen brothers movie Miller's Crossing is actually based on that novel and it's a pretty darkly funny look at corrupt politics.

I'd agree that Maltese Falcon is good but the rep of the movie creates expectations the book cannot meet. I feel much the same about the Thin Man, which is a decent novel but nothing like the famous series of movies it inspired. Hammett is really at his best in short stories dealing with the Continental Op I believe.
 

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