I’m going to reread the *Illiad * again for the tenth time. I usually try to read Homer, Virgil, Dante, Voltaire, and a good bit of Shakespeare every few years. What else should I consider reading?
Moby-Dick is good. But it helps to be in the right mood. And in New England.
These are the books I come back to again and again.
I’ll read Dickens for fun. I like a nice, fat. 19th-century novel – read Vanity Fair on the beach a couple of summers ago.
“Vanity Fair” is one I read every few years. Perfect beach reading and often laugh out loud funny. I am reading “Tom Jones” right now and am finding it quite enjoyable, however my absolute favourite author has to be Emile Zola. I have a shelf full of his works and am always pulling one down to re-read.
I read The Epic of Gilgamesh a few months ago. The translation was only little more than 100 pages — it wasn’t a difficult read, and it was interesting to recognize some antecedents to the story of the flood in the Book of Genesis. And to see in general to see that some things in human nature haven’t changed in thousands of years.
Everything Twain wrote.
I was just this minute thinking about composing a thread asking for reccomendations on what classics I should read.
For some reason I’ve avoided the classics.
Can anyone reccomend a Dickens?
Great Expectations is not as long as some of them, so it might be a good place to start. If long doesn’t bother you, try Nicholas Nickleby.
The thing with Dickens – with any 19th-century novel – is that it moves at a completely different pace. You have to actually slow down and read more slowly than you do in a contemporary bestselling “page-turner” [sic]. That drives some people batshit – I personally enjoy moving temporarily into a parallel reality with a different sense of time.
And not just the “famous” ones (Musketeers and Monte Cristo).
The longer the better.
Also a deal clincher. I am not sure how to explain, but somehow I know that a slow pace and a more ‘effort-requiring’ read will stimulate me more. As long as it doesn’t it doesnt descent to plain boring the longer a book takes to read, and the fewer the number of pages I can read in one sitting, the better (within reason). I’ve read books that tire me mentally after just a few pages and I’ve enjoyed them more than the ones where I keep reading and reading until I get to a page that says ‘this is a good one to end on’.
I second the recommendation for Great Expectations. The first Dickens I ever read was A Tale of Two Cities, after I saw a movie. While I loved it when I was 10, I don’t think it has really stood up as well as some of the others.
I used to hate literature. I would skim books in school, if I had to read 'em but made sure not to keep anything in long-term storage. Then, while I was in the Navy I found this company’s book catalogue, and began reading literature again. And was astonished at how much of a diffference it made to be reading for my own enjoyment and appreciation.
My favorite literary books include:
[li]Black Lamb, Grey Falcon, by Rebecca West. This a weep worthy book, though. [/li][li]Anything by Mark Twain[/li][li]Anything by E. A. Poe[/li][li]Nathanial Hawthorne’s shorts and novels. [/li][li]Jack London[/li][li]Moliere’s plays[/li][/ul]
I tend to prefer more modern works to older ones. And certainly I find Dickens to be far too maudlin for my tastes. I don’t blame Dickens for his writing style - not only was it the tone of the time, but it was also his own nature. I just don’t enjoy it.
Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy.
Classics, baby, classics.
I refuse to read Dickens anymore under any circumstances. I absolutely loathe his writing, and can’t see how it ever got the reputation for being even remotely “good.”
On the other hand, I reread Austin, Twain, Tacitus, Caesar, Shakespeare, etc. all the time.
You’d think I’d remember how to spell it, as often as I read it.
Austen, not Austin, dammit!
Reading Dickens is painful to me. I tried to like him but I just cannot. I mean, really tried. I have a B.A. in English and still cannot get behind him for plain literary merits, to the horror of my professors but I am not buying the party-line.
The one classic that I read and re-read is* Wuthering Heights*. I love love love that book and I can’t explain why.
I have a fondness for Old and Middle English readings. I find them romantical, but I did have a crush on the professor who taught them so that may be a factor. I like to read the works with both texts, original and translated, side-by-side. My Old English is weak at best but I think you need to at least see the original to get the feel of the work and not just the story, not to sound snobbish or elitist.
I think I tend toward books I read in my comparative lit classes (abbreviated in the course catalog “clit” until recently, hee hee). Don Quixote– in Spanish-- is an often read. I have a fondness for “magical realism” like ** Isabel Allende**, for example House of the Spirits. Would you count her as a classic? She is not in the list of “dead white men” and current, so I suppose she might be counted as a soon-to-be classic.
Yes – I’ll second Don Quixote. Great stories-within-stories. But don’t feel you have to read it in Spanish – I enjoyed what I found to be a fine English translation. Sorry I can’t put my hands on it to tell you which one, but I’m sure there are informative reviews in Amazon and elsewhere.
This is true. It is completely worth the read in English. I was just expressing a preference. It is a very accessible and beautiful work.