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Old 07-20-2016, 02:01 AM   #226
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Originally Posted by Shuckle View Post
We are starting with To Kill a Mockingbird, but next week (or month, I'm not quite sure how often is good enough) we will choose a different book by voting!
I can't believe Scout was Chewbacca's son all along. Biggest plot twist in all of literature

edit because i was too dumb to add the actual point of this post to the original post: This is legitimately the first I've heard about UPN having a book club, and I am kind of all about it. Such an awesome idea, I hope it gets the wonderful people here into some amazing literature that they've never had the chance to experience before!

(but dont read gatsby, it is a hoaky piece of junk that doesnt deserve the banner of 'classic' and and and *rambles off into nonsense about author intention and transparent theme and blahblahblah*)

Last edited by tau; 07-20-2016 at 02:07 AM.
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Old 07-20-2016, 08:31 AM   #227
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I enjoyed The Great Gatsby more when I pretended:

Spoiler: show
that Daisy fully intended to kill Mrs. Brown with her car, knowing of both her husband's affair and the nature of her involvement in it.

To me it changes the themes of the Gilded Age from "Everything looks nice, but only on the surface" to "Everything looks nice, but it's cheap and filthy underneath it all." Which is a stronger message. Also it makes the rich less of dolts and more sinister figures, testing the limits of what they can get away with and hiding their shameful and dirty secrets beneath a layer of gold leaf. ;) Which to be fair is basically Gatsby himself, but adding the other rich characters to it helps a lot!

Also, the reason Gatsby is considered a classic is because Nick is an unreliable narrator :P This, the strong and obvious themes, and its readability make it a good choice for teaching classic literature to those who aren't strong readers (aka most of the population).
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Old 07-23-2016, 01:03 AM   #228
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Originally Posted by Shuckle View Post
Also, the reason Gatsby is considered a classic is because Nick is an unreliable narrator :P This, the strong and obvious themes, and its readability make it a good choice for teaching classic literature to those who aren't strong readers (aka most of the population).
I suppose that's all fair. It's just grating to me.

(That being said, I've had multiple people borrow my copy of "Notes from Underground" and tell me they couldn't read it, because the English translation is just littered with comma's, so.)
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Old 09-04-2016, 01:27 AM   #229
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こゝろ by Natsume Souseki

Widely held to be one of the greatest Japanese novels of all time, considered by many to be the best novel to come out of Japan from the Meiji Restoration (mid-19th century) onward, Kokoro has been on my to-read list for a long time.

Describing what sort of a book Kokoro is, outside of general discussion of its themes, is pretty hard to do without giving away so much. I think that's one reason why I only ever had a vague understanding of what the book entailed all these years. I'm not much of a thematic analyst (and Kokoro's big on themes), and I have to say that neither the plot nor the characters do very much for me for the first two-thirds or so of the novel. And then Natsume drops a bomb, at the end of Part II of the novel, which makes Part III quite the tense page-turner. It's not exciting like Jurassic Park or Guardians of the Galaxy, and yet it's incredibly climactic. I would liken it to a Hitchcock film, in that sense. While Natsume might not be on Hitchcock's level of being able to build suspense, he does a more than adequate job here.

The book reads old-fashioned. Some of you might like that. I did not. I can't say I much enjoy reading books that don't read the way people actually talk and behave. Poetry is worthwhile in its own right, but Kokoro is filled with boring, mundane passages that do little to advance the plot, flesh out the characters, or do anything else useful. Most commonly they are superfluous descriptions of the setting, e.g. telling us the name of the street he went down and the incline of the slope even though the street is utterly unimportant to the story and will be forgotten two minutes later. I could forgive them if they were more poetically written but, at least in the English translation I am reading, they are terribly dry and to the point.

But where the book finds real worth -- at least for me, the plot lover -- is in Part III, its final chapter.

Spoiler: show
If you already plan to read the book and haven't yet read it, don't click. The following is intended for those who have already read the book and is welcome material, I suppose, for those who have already decided they're not interested:

Spoiler: show
Obviously the reader wants to know the answers to the following questions introduced in Part I:
  • Who is Sensei's friend who is buried in Zoshigaya?
  • How did he die?
  • What was the nature of his relationship with Sensei?
Then, just as obviously the reader wants to know the answers to these questions from Part III:
  • Is Ojou-san Sensei's future wife?
  • What is Sensei going to do about the love triangle?
And its the desire to reach the answers to these questions which propels you forward.

But never in a million years did I go into Kokoro expecting I would find a Japaense version of Amadeus that outdates it by 70 years. Okay, that comparison's not quite right. But I mean ... I see a lot of Salieri in Sensei, and I see a lot of Mozart in K. That scene of K's bedroom the night of his death is one of the few times in the entire book, I felt, where Natsume just nails it with the visuals. I felt like I had a perfect image of that bedroom, through a combination of earlier passages' descriptions of the room (which in retrospect feel like they were put there on this earth all for the purpose of building towards this one moment!) and the descriptions we have in the moment of Sensei's discovery of the body.

Part III is where the book truly shines. There's excitement to be had ... Natsume's writing prowess is on full display as you connect various dots backwards and forwards, trying to delineate the plot ... The chronology of the book works so well, too; were it told in straight order, it just wouldn't work ...

The writing somewhat reminds me of Joseph Conrad's, particularly in the climactic third act, so fans of The Secret Sharer or Heart of Darkness will likely find something to enjoy here.

If I had to give one big takeaway message from the book, I suppose it would be ... Do not underestimate man's capacity to commit evil. Neither should you confuse men for belonging to either the one camp (good) or the other camp (evil), but rather you should recognize that the vast, vast majority of men are good with occasional moments of evil in their histories.

OVERALL: 8/10 because of Part III, but only a 5/10 before then

Last edited by Talon87; 09-04-2016 at 02:23 AM.
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Old 02-03-2017, 10:55 PM   #230
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Not much reading done but last book wa Moons Rising by Tui T. Sutherland.
Currently reading Winters Turning in the same series

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And A link to my FB profile Here
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Old 06-17-2018, 03:12 AM   #231
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I just read The Three Body Problem, a Chinese sci-fi book that was written about 10 years ago but was only recently translated into English, winning the Hugo Award for Best Novel in the process. I would compare it to the anime Planetes in terms of quality and its commitment to scientific accuracy (the premise is way different). I was just in awe at how much research the author must have done to make everything that happens in the story sound scientifically plausible. I'd hate to say what it's about because I went into it blind, and it was so interesting to see how the story unfolds. That isn't to say that it depends on plot twists, because it really doesn't; all of the "twists" are telegraphed well in advance, but it's still impactful when you figure out what's going on. I'd describe the book as an epic sci-fi mystery thriller. Some of the visuals evoked from the writing are truly extraordinary, like a nine dimensional proton being unfolded into a giant three dimensional object in the sky.

One of the coolest books I've ever read, and I would highly recommend it if you're bored of the endless amount of mediocre Star Wars movies being released, failed Star Trek TV series, and you're looking for something a little different and a little more hardcore.

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