Classic literature general discussion - Like a book club with less formality

JambledUpWords

Destiny is bae, don’t tell Becky
True & Honest Fan
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Hey everyone! I’ve recently been getting into reading more classic literature and I was wondering if anyone else is interested.

What are some classics you want to discuss? Here are some that interest me:
  • Utopia by Sir Thomas Moore
  • Tao Te Ching (foundational text of Taoism)
  • Bhagavad Gita (one of the foundational texts of Hinduism)
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  • Collection of fairytales by Brothers Grimm
  • Fairytales by Hans Christian Anderson
The works don’t have to be strictly fictional. Historical and religious works count as well. Most classics are public domain so you can find many of these online or download onto your phone or your computer.
 

Clop

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I am terrible at reading books because I rarely have a moment where I don't have something else I'd rather do on my hands and just suck at reading, but I can whole-heartedly recommend The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha if you like comedy. I really should give that a re-read at some point, because I distinctively remember laughing my ass off reading it.
 

CivilianOfTheFandomWars

David Cronenboi
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What time frame counts as “classical”? Because I really like Lord Byron, but I don’t know if he’s classical because he’s from around the 1800s. Either ways, he’s pretty cool. Darkness is one of my favorites by him, it’s just so brutal. And the little part about the last loyal dog, I’m a sucker for those things.
The meagre by the meagre were devour'd,
Even dogs assail'd their masters, all save one,
And he was faithful to a corse, and kept
The birds and beasts and famish'd men at bay,
Till hunger clung them, or the dropping dead
Lur'd their lank jaws; himself sought out no food,
But with a piteous and perpetual moan,
And a quick desolate cry, licking the hand
Which answer'd not with a caress—he died.
On the topic of Lord Byron and dogs, the one he wrote about his dead Botswain hits me hard, because dogs always get to me. The basic story is the dog got rabies, and Byron stayed next to him until the dog died.
Near this Spot
are deposited the Remains of one
who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferocity,
and all the virtues of Man without his Vices.

This praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery
if inscribed over human Ashes,
is but a just tribute to the Memory of
Boatswain, a Dog
who was born in Newfoundland May 1803
and died at Newstead Nov. 18th, 1808
Another one is Paradise Lost, even if it is a bit wordy at times. It’s pretty badass if you ask me. There’s so many references to earlier poetic epics that’s its insane, even down to the meter itself. Highly recommend.
Beowulf is also pretty badass. The first part is more or less explaining a history, but the actual story is awesome.
Don Quixote is hilarious. I love the part where there’s a bunch of sad shepherds wandering around a mountain.
 

Thomas Paine

Jameson® Irish Whiskey enthusiast
True & Honest Fan
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Fiction
Robin Crusoe by Daniel Defoe​
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas​
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (no movie/comic, etc has ever done this justice)​

Nonfiction
Rights of Man by Thomas Paine​
The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau​
The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels (read this to understand why all commies are exceptional)​
 

wylfım

To live a lie, or die in a dream?
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Anything Dostoevsky
A Canticle for Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller Jr. (anyone who calls this scifi deserves to be hanged)
The Secret History, by Donna Tartt (not old enough to be a classic but holy shit I'm speechless after reading it)
 

Stasi

kiwifarms.net
People are already suggesting some excellent books and I do like me some book talk.

Currently reading through Plutarch's Lives. A collection of biographical accounts of famous Greeks and Roman's from antiquity juxtaposed against each other. Can get a little dry in places but overall an excellent read if you have an interest in history. One of those where life is stranger/more interesting than fiction, some of the accounts of political backstabbery and military exploits make the Game of Thrones books seem like they were written by a simpleton with no imagination.
 

JambledUpWords

Destiny is bae, don’t tell Becky
True & Honest Fan
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If you guys want to read a classic tale on incest, Oedipus Rex is good. It’s pretty short too.
 
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wylfım

To live a lie, or die in a dream?
kiwifarms.net
If you guys want to read a classic tale on incest, Oedipus Rex is good. It’s pretty short too.
In a similar vein, The Bacchae is a fascinating play on feminism, written over 2,000 years ago (spoiler, feminism bad).
It's actually kinda reminds me a lot of Brave New World, and modern society in general. Terrifying stuff. All the mainstream analyses of it are post-modern garbage though, so don't bother with those.

Damn, ninja'd.
Notes from Underground and Crime and Punishment are my absolute favorites. I'm going to admit that I got lost in all the details of Demons and TBK (pseud-status: achieved), but I still liked them.
 

Marco Fucko

Welcome to the fruit fields.
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I don't really know what qualifies as 'classic' literature.

I, Claudius and Claudius the God were written in the 30s, and it follows the life of Emperor Claudius of Rome. The writer Robert Graves took inspiration from Roman historians like Plutarch and Suetonius, and interprets Claudius' political career as feigning inferiority as a survival strategy.
 

JambledUpWords

Destiny is bae, don’t tell Becky
True & Honest Fan
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I don't really know what qualifies as 'classic' literature.

I, Claudius and Claudius the God were written in the 30s, and it follows the life of Emperor Claudius of Rome. The writer Robert Graves took inspiration from Roman historians like Plutarch and Suetonius, and interprets Claudius' political career as feigning inferiority as a survival strategy.
What is considered a ‘classic’ is kind of ambiguous in itself. The Great Gatsby and To Kill a Mockingbird are both considered classics and were written in the 20th century. The age itself doesn’t really matter as much as the historical, political and cultural value of the work. That’s my understanding, but you’re free to define it the way you see fit. This is informal anyway.
 

Begemot

I was such a looker in the old days
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What is considered a ‘classic’ is kind of ambiguous in itself. The Great Gatsby and To Kill a Mockingbird are both considered classics and were written in the 20th century. The age itself doesn’t really matter as much as the historical, political and cultural value of the work. That’s my understanding, but you’re free to define it the way you see fit. This is informal anyway.
I think we recognise literature when we see it. A lot of Poe's works were genre fiction but became literature through sheer verve. Would Raymond Chandler be considered literature, I would say so.
 

Kunt

kiwifarms.net
I just started reading Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce, I've heard that it's better if I read Dubliners first but I found it boring, hope I'm not missing much, the story is interesting so far and I enjoy Joyce's style.

btw I looked the novel up on YouTube and the first result was the audiobook, do people actually listen to this kind of books ? I'm reading and I still get distracted and find myself gave to reread entire pages, are people listening to audiobooks mere posers only wanting to add the book to their Goodreads list ?
 
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JambledUpWords

Destiny is bae, don’t tell Becky
True & Honest Fan
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I'd rather have a reading club where we read shitty shifter romance novels and make fun of them.

Farmers like genre fiction, so
This thread is still staying. Kiwis can have diverse tastes. If you want that, make your own thread about it and don’t derail this one.
 

IceGray

"Dude, where's the bus?"
kiwifarms.net
Has anyone read A. Safroni-Middleton's fiction, like Sestrina or Gabrielle? It seems nobody has reviewed his novels. They're in the south seas adventure category imo.

Sestrina gets rather supernatural in its third act where the title character is lost at sea. The ending's also unclear on whether she truly ever managed to send her message to her first love.
 
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JambledUpWords

Destiny is bae, don’t tell Becky
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
I just finished reading Utopia today. It starts out very slow and then in the second part it talks about Utopian society and history. Interestingly, Utopia had slaves. What made you a slave was if you did a crime such as adultery. Overall, this book reads like exposition you’d get in a fantasy novel minus a main character and plot. This work is mainly philosophical though, so be prepared for confusion, especially in the beginning chapters.
 

Strine

It had become a glimmering gorl,
kiwifarms.net
I've read a lot of "classic" books. Here are a handful and my thoughts on them...

Gone With the Wind: first hundred pages or so are great, then the pacing falls apart and nothing happens forever. The film is better.

Frankenstein: terrific. Read it.

Dracula: ditto. The chapter where he's traveling up to the castle is possibly the greatest passage of Gothic literature ever written, including Poe.

The Witches of Eastwick: decent opening but degenerates into weird lesbian erotica. Not for me.

Moby Dick: ugh.

Lolita: deserves its literati reputation as the greatest novel of its century. The style of the writing and the Modernist narrative are both heartbreaking and superlatively beautiful. Flawless pacing, superb characterisation. It's an original, powerful tragedy carved out of cedar and diamond.

Pale Fire: Nabokov's other masterpiece, but be prepared to re-read it and I recommend reading essays about it. It's a very clever puzzle as well as a great story. It's another jewel of Nabokov's style, too, and quite moving.

Dubliners: a strange book that should be read slowly and thought about. There are some amazing moments in it, especially the end. It's about Ireland and Irishness though, so if you have no connection to those things, it may resonate less.

Ulysses: a very difficult puzzle, but like Dubliners has junctures of great pathos. I like it but I only ever go back to read my favourite parts. It's a taxing read.

Rebecca: another great Gothic novel. Jamaica Inn is also by Du Maurier and is a hoot.

Sexual Personae: too controversial today to be a "classic book", but it will be.

Nineteen Eighty-Four: great book, scared me so badly I struggle to read passages from it. Animal Farm is less confronting and an easier read.

The Last Unicorn: a bit of a fringe entry but a lovely book, better than many "classics" and will join their ranks in time. Basically an elegy for Romanticism.

That's all I can rattle off right now. I haven't read a lot of the English "classics"; it's probably clear in my list but I have a general preference for late Romantic/early Modern lit and I prefer American novelists.
 
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