My Summer Reading List (Help!)

A slow, analog alternative to the internet

Moderators: SecondTalon, Moderators General, Prelates

User avatar
alitheiapsis
Posts: 56
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 3:29 am UTC
Location: Just behind my eyes, between my ears.
Contact:

My Summer Reading List (Help!)

Postby alitheiapsis » Tue May 12, 2009 2:47 am UTC

I have two weeks to assemble and order my summer reading list, so I had better get started. I am looking to get about ten books, depending on the cost. I'm going to be a junior in high school and am on the academic team, so I want to read stuff that we get lots of questions about. I'm really not sure what I should get, though.

Read it, loved it, buying it, for sure.
*The Hitchhiker's Guide
*Cat's Cradle
*Animal Farm
*Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman (Thinking about getting other stuff by him)

Possibilities
*Persuasion or Northanger Abbey: I read P&P, Emma, and S&S so I'm looking to read something else by Austen. Persuasion is supposed to be good, and Northanger Abbey has all these gothic influences or something and it sounded pretty cool.

*Something by Dickens?: I really liked David Copperfield and A Tale of Two Cities, but Dickens wrote a bunch of shit, and I'm not sure what's actually good and what's stuff he pumped out for the cash.

*Tess of the D'Urbervilles: I saw part of the PBS version and looked it up on Wikipedia.

*The Three Musketeers: I totally loved the Count of Monte Cristo, so I'm hoping Dumas pulls through for me again.

*My Antonia: I just read O Pioneers! and I really like it, so I want to read some more Cather.

*Catch-22: My friend read it and liked it, and we get a bunch of questions on it for academic bowl.

*Point Counterpoint: I liked Brave New World and Time Magazine (I think) had it on their 100 best novels of the century or something.

*Something by Hemingway: We were supposed to read one of his works this year in AP English, but we ran out of time. I enjoyed Old Man and the Sea, but I'm not sure where to go from there.

*Something by Arthur Clarke?: I read all the Odyssey books and a lot of his short stories, and I know some of his later work is kind of crap. So I'm not sure what to do.

*The rest of the Leatherstocking Tales: I read the Last of the Mohicans, and it was pretty good, but a bit long. I know it's the most famous, and I'm wondering if the rest of the books are as accessible.

My English teacher recommended Steven Pinker's work, but I think I'll check it out from the library before I decide to buy something of his.

What I really want is opinions of people who have read these books or know any other books that they recommend. I'm open to pretty much anything. :)

Thanks!

User avatar
rheakith
Posts: 250
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 6:08 am UTC
Location: Ohio

Re: My Summer Reading List (Help!)

Postby rheakith » Tue May 12, 2009 4:08 am UTC

If you loved Animal Farm that much, then 1984 isn't going to be a huge stretch away, and personally, I liked 1984 way more. Something about the use of animals just made it a lot less personal for me, dunno how you'll take it though.

For Hemingway, I've heard great things about For Whom the Bell Tolls and somewhat enjoyed A Farewell to Arms when I read it in high school.

Other things that I've enjoyed that aren't on your list at all: House of Leaves, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, other top sci fi novels (Asimov's Foundation series, most HG Wells, and Ray Bradbury in particular)

User avatar
alitheiapsis
Posts: 56
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 3:29 am UTC
Location: Just behind my eyes, between my ears.
Contact:

Re: My Summer Reading List (Help!)

Postby alitheiapsis » Tue May 12, 2009 4:51 am UTC

rheakith wrote:If you loved Animal Farm that much, then 1984 isn't going to be a huge stretch away, and personally, I liked 1984 way more. Something about the use of animals just made it a lot less personal for me, dunno how you'll take it though.

For Hemingway, I've heard great things about For Whom the Bell Tolls and somewhat enjoyed A Farewell to Arms when I read it in high school.

Other things that I've enjoyed that aren't on your list at all: House of Leaves, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, other top sci fi novels (Asimov's Foundation series, most HG Wells, and Ray Bradbury in particular)


The only reason I didn't put 1984 on the list is because I already own it. :) A friend of mine recommended One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, but I never got around to getting it. I've never heard of House of Leaves but I'll surely look it up.

As for sci fi, I've been meaning to read Asimov, but never knew where to start. I'll look into the Foundation series. I've read The Time Machine, The Invisible Man (ugh.), and a lot of Wells' short stories. I was thinking about Bradbury, but I've never heard about anything of his except Fahrenheit 451 (which I read once and probably should buy--thanks!). I think I tried The Martian Chronicles, but I don't think it was very good.

Thanks for your input! This is definitely adding a lot to my list...ten seems a bit naïve now.

User avatar
Wolf
Posts: 581
Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2007 10:07 pm UTC
Location: Orange County (sadly), California, US

Re: My Summer Reading List (Help!)

Postby Wolf » Tue May 12, 2009 5:53 am UTC

Since you want to read another book by Hemingway, I'd recommend The Sun Also Rises. It's not everyone's thing, but I really enjoyed it and you've already gotten past the potential dislike of Hemingway's writing style, thus removing a major obstacle to enjoyment. (Sadly, I don't know how this compares to Old Man and the Sea, as I haven't had the pleasure of reading that yet.)

I also recommend Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I rather enjoyed it, and this was with having to pull an almost-all-nighter to finish the book before an in-class essay. Plus, it's considered a classic piece of literature, which it looks like you might see as a bonus.

Lastly, The Three Musketeers was super-awesome, although I read it when I was younger. I still think this opinion would hold, though, if I were to read it a second time.
There's a method to my madness. Somewhere. Don't worry, I'll find it!

I'm learning game design! Watch my progress here: http://www.humming-rain.com

My friend wrote:You played fast and loose with punctuation and suffered the consequences.

User avatar
alitheiapsis
Posts: 56
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 3:29 am UTC
Location: Just behind my eyes, between my ears.
Contact:

Re: My Summer Reading List (Help!)

Postby alitheiapsis » Tue May 12, 2009 6:12 am UTC

Wolf wrote:Since you want to read another book by Hemingway, I'd recommend The Sun Also Rises. It's not everyone's thing, but I really enjoyed it and you've already gotten past the potential dislike of Hemingway's writing style, thus removing a major obstacle to enjoyment. (Sadly, I don't know how this compares to Old Man and the Sea, as I haven't had the pleasure of reading that yet.)

I also recommend Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I rather enjoyed it, and this was with having to pull an almost-all-nighter to finish the book before an in-class essay. Plus, it's considered a classic piece of literature, which it looks like you might see as a bonus.

Lastly, The Three Musketeers was super-awesome, although I read it when I was younger. I still think this opinion would hold, though, if I were to read it a second time.


Thanks for the Hemingway recommendation--I'll ask my English teacher if she's read it or thinks I will like it.

Jane Eyre! Oh, I love Jane Eyre. I read the abridged version when I was in elementary school or so, and a couple summers ago I made it through the whole thing. My friends think I'm kind of a Jane Eyre geek now because I brought up in history class that Guy Fawkes Day was still a holiday as late as the 1800s...it was mentioned and footnoted in Jane Eyre. The Bronte sisters are just great in general; Wuthering Heights was good too.

I'm so happy someone's recommended the Three Musketeers. I always wanted to read it, but I was afraid because of the Disney-fied version and all that. If it's anything like the Count of Monte Cristo... :)

User avatar
PatrickRsGhost
Posts: 2278
Joined: Fri May 04, 2007 5:43 pm UTC
Location: ZZ9PluralZAlpha
Contact:

Re: My Summer Reading List (Help!)

Postby PatrickRsGhost » Tue May 12, 2009 12:51 pm UTC

alitheiapsis wrote:I'm so happy someone's recommended the Three Musketeers. I always wanted to read it, but I was afraid because of the Disney-fied version and all that. If it's anything like the Count of Monte Cristo... :)


I think with almost any classic piece of literature that's been Disneyfied, you have to push the Disney version out of your head. That can be very difficult to do, especially if you've seen it enough times that you could quote it line by line.

Some things I remember reading in high school (all years, not just Freshman year):

The Crucible - play by Arthur Miller, who also wrote "Death of a Salesman". A dramatization of the Salem Witch Trials.

Romeo and Juliet

MacBeth (yes, I said it)

Julius Caesar

A Man Called Horse

Cub Pilot On The Mississippi - by Mark Twain. Has an excerpt from Huckleberry Finn.

The Canterbury Tales (and so it was that later as the Miller told his tale that her face at first just ghostly turned a whiter shade of pale)

Beowulf

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Le Morte D'Arthur

That's all I can think of at the moment.
PRG

An important message for you:

010000100110010100100000011100110
111010101110010011001010010000001
110100011011110010000001100101011
000010111010000100000011110010110
111101110101011100100010000001100
010011000010110001101101111011011
1000101110

User avatar
Zohar
COMMANDER PORN
Posts: 8573
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2007 8:45 pm UTC
Location: Denver

Re: My Summer Reading List (Help!)

Postby Zohar » Tue May 12, 2009 1:17 pm UTC

If you like sci-fi and haven't read Asimov, do so now. I loved the Foundation trilogy (the original three books are Foundation, Foundation and Empire and Second Foundation), as well as the rest of the books. His robot novels are, in my opinion, excellent as well. If you want some fantasy, I can suggest His Dark Materials (Philip Pullman), I loved that series. If you want something a bit exotic but more "real world", Shogun (James Clavelle) provides a fascinating look at 17th century Japan. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden) is a more contemporary look at Japan, it's a great book as well.

Ah, and back to sci-fi, Dune (Frank Herbert).
Mighty Jalapeno: "See, Zohar agrees, and he's nice to people."
SecondTalon: "Still better looking than Jesus."

Not how I say my name

User avatar
vector
Posts: 113
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2009 3:58 pm UTC

Re: My Summer Reading List (Help!)

Postby vector » Tue May 12, 2009 8:20 pm UTC

What, no Steinbeck love? East of Eden, Grapes of Wrath, and Of Mice and Men were all required reading at my high school.

If you really like reading, try out Moby Dick. Don't expect to read it for any intricate and intriguing plot, and the symbolism will hit you over the head like a sledgehammer. The good thing is the pure flavor and sculpture of the words.

I personally thought classic horror was a good way to get into some of the late 18th/early 19th century literature... so check out Dracula, Frankenstein, The Hunchback of Notre Dame (be extremely careful to get a non-censored version--there's way too many cut copies flying around) and The Phantom of the Opera (Leroux version. Keep far away from Susan Kay, The Phantom of Manhattan, and any other derivative works). They also might well be in your academic bowl, particularly the first two.

As far as widening your breadth of consumed literature goes, you can't go wrong with Shakespeare any day.
Come visit the Bay12 Mafia subforum: http://www.bay12forums.com/smf/index.php?board=20.0

User avatar
Psycho Goose
Posts: 173
Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 5:41 am UTC

Re: My Summer Reading List (Help!)

Postby Psycho Goose » Tue May 12, 2009 11:26 pm UTC

alitheiapsis wrote:*Something by Arthur Clarke?: I read all the Odyssey books and a lot of his short stories, and I know some of his later work is kind of crap. So I'm not sure what to do.

Childhood's End. Just... read it. Now. If you haven't already, you must go and do so.
I read the Odyssey books, and liked them, but Childhood's End was amazing for the same reasons those books were good. And the conclusion to that book... If you ever fear that you've lost your sense of wonder, read the end of that book and... Wow.
Mother Superior wrote:Go to Checkov's guns on fifth. But be careful, any gun he shows you is liable to go off at some point while you're in the store.

User avatar
alitheiapsis
Posts: 56
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 3:29 am UTC
Location: Just behind my eyes, between my ears.
Contact:

Re: My Summer Reading List (Help!)

Postby alitheiapsis » Wed May 13, 2009 5:57 am UTC

PatrickRsGhost wrote:Some things I remember reading in high school (all years, not just Freshman year):

The Crucible - play by Arthur Miller, who also wrote "Death of a Salesman". A dramatization of the Salem Witch Trials.

Romeo and Juliet

MacBeth (yes, I said it)

Julius Caesar

A Man Called Horse

Cub Pilot On The Mississippi - by Mark Twain. Has an excerpt from Huckleberry Finn.

The Canterbury Tales (and so it was that later as the Miller told his tale that her face at first just ghostly turned a whiter shade of pale)

Beowulf

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Le Morte D'Arthur

That's all I can think of at the moment.


We get so many questions on American plays...Miller and Tennessee Williams are the big ones. I think I'll probably get my hands on at least one or two plays this summer.

We read Julius Caesar in English last year and the Prologue of the Canterbury Tales this year (and also I think the Pardoner's Tale). I'll read up on the other ones you mentioned.

Zohar wrote:If you like sci-fi and haven't read Asimov, do so now. I loved the Foundation trilogy (the original three books are Foundation, Foundation and Empire and Second Foundation), as well as the rest of the books. His robot novels are, in my opinion, excellent as well. If you want some fantasy, I can suggest His Dark Materials (Philip Pullman), I loved that series. If you want something a bit exotic but more "real world", Shogun (James Clavelle) provides a fascinating look at 17th century Japan. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden) is a more contemporary look at Japan, it's a great book as well.

Ah, and back to sci-fi, Dune (Frank Herbert).


I read His Dark Materials but didn't really get into it...I've been kind of thinking about rereading them, but I would kind of rather read something new. Shogun sounds interesting; feudal Japan is really fascinating. Dune sounds interesting, but I'm not sure if it's to my taste. It's not something I'd normally pick up, but I could say that about a lot of books I've enjoyed.

vector wrote:What, no Steinbeck love? East of Eden, Grapes of Wrath, and Of Mice and Men were all required reading at my high school.

If you really like reading, try out Moby Dick. Don't expect to read it for any intricate and intriguing plot, and the symbolism will hit you over the head like a sledgehammer. The good thing is the pure flavor and sculpture of the words.

I personally thought classic horror was a good way to get into some of the late 18th/early 19th century literature... so check out Dracula, Frankenstein, The Hunchback of Notre Dame (be extremely careful to get a non-censored version--there's way too many cut copies flying around) and The Phantom of the Opera (Leroux version. Keep far away from Susan Kay, The Phantom of Manhattan, and any other derivative works). They also might well be in your academic bowl, particularly the first two.

As far as widening your breadth of consumed literature goes, you can't go wrong with Shakespeare any day.


I was considering Steinbeck (we get a fair number of questions on his work), so I'll try to pick one of those three. Probably Grapes or Wrath. I've actually heard really terrible stuff about Moby Dick, and I'm kind of afraid to try it. I read Bartleby the Scrivener, and I'm not sure if Melville's style is something I'd particularly enjoy. Still, it seems worth it just for the cultural value it has obtained.

I've read Frankenstein, but I'm not really inclined to try Dracula. I was thinking about the Hunchback of Notre Dame, and the adaptations of The Phantom of the Opera seem so popular so I guess it's worth a try.

I'm kind of scared to try Shakespeare without a good teacher--I only enjoyed Julius Caesar in spite of my teacher. I don't want to get left out of the Shakespeare party though. *parties*

Psycho Goose wrote:
alitheiapsis wrote:*Something by Arthur Clarke?: I read all the Odyssey books and a lot of his short stories, and I know some of his later work is kind of crap. So I'm not sure what to do.

Childhood's End. Just... read it. Now. If you haven't already, you must go and do so.
I read the Odyssey books, and liked them, but Childhood's End was amazing for the same reasons those books were good. And the conclusion to that book... If you ever fear that you've lost your sense of wonder, read the end of that book and... Wow.


OH MY GOD Childhood's End. I forgot I had read that one but I've read it like twice. It is so good that it necessitates ALL CAPS. That should probably go on my "read it, loved it, buying it, for sure" list. :D

User avatar
vector
Posts: 113
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2009 3:58 pm UTC

Re: My Summer Reading List (Help!)

Postby vector » Wed May 13, 2009 6:31 am UTC

Ah, see, Bartleby was decent, but it wasn't great. Melville's style doesn't really show there. I think it all depends on what you enjoy in a book: I happen to like structure and strong prose, and Melville delivers. If you're looking for a "rollicking tale of high adventure" or somesuch, you're mostly going to be lost.

I'd go with Dracula mostly because it's interesting. Very readable, well-written (except perhaps for the very end), and a cultural staple. I personally preferred it to Frankenstein a lot, but that may just be me. Then, The Hunchback of Notre Dame is really great, though you may be inclined to skip the sections about architecture, which is fine. A warning about The Phantom of the Opera: It's really nothing like its derivatives. If you're expecting the same story about a tragic hero in a half-mask, you'll probably end up rather surprised.

I think that all that's really needed for a Shakespeare party without a teacher is a willingness to read carefully, to talk to other people about the works, and to keep a rather large dictionary on hand. Be prepared to read slowly, as well. My annotations for AP English took obscene amounts of time--but they were worth it :)
Come visit the Bay12 Mafia subforum: http://www.bay12forums.com/smf/index.php?board=20.0

User avatar
alitheiapsis
Posts: 56
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 3:29 am UTC
Location: Just behind my eyes, between my ears.
Contact:

Re: My Summer Reading List (Help!)

Postby alitheiapsis » Thu May 14, 2009 4:03 am UTC

vector wrote:Ah, see, Bartleby was decent, but it wasn't great. Melville's style doesn't really show there. I think it all depends on what you enjoy in a book: I happen to like structure and strong prose, and Melville delivers. If you're looking for a "rollicking tale of high adventure" or somesuch, you're mostly going to be lost.

I'd go with Dracula mostly because it's interesting. Very readable, well-written (except perhaps for the very end), and a cultural staple. I personally preferred it to Frankenstein a lot, but that may just be me. Then, The Hunchback of Notre Dame is really great, though you may be inclined to skip the sections about architecture, which is fine. A warning about The Phantom of the Opera: It's really nothing like its derivatives. If you're expecting the same story about a tragic hero in a half-mask, you'll probably end up rather surprised.

I think that all that's really needed for a Shakespeare party without a teacher is a willingness to read carefully, to talk to other people about the works, and to keep a rather large dictionary on hand. Be prepared to read slowly, as well. My annotations for AP English took obscene amounts of time--but they were worth it :)


And on the list goes Moby Dick. :)

I suppose I'll think about Dracula; it'd be nice to read something well-written about vampires for once. *cough* TWILIGHT *cough* As for the Phantom, I've actually never seen any of the plays/movies/etc, but I want to read the book--they're usually better than the derivative works anyway.

I think I'll have a Shakespeare party after all. I realize my English teacher will probably be available by e-mail if I have any questions, and well there's always the Interwebz. Now to go ask my drama kid friends which Shakespeare play I should choose...

User avatar
PatrickRsGhost
Posts: 2278
Joined: Fri May 04, 2007 5:43 pm UTC
Location: ZZ9PluralZAlpha
Contact:

Re: My Summer Reading List (Help!)

Postby PatrickRsGhost » Thu May 14, 2009 12:18 pm UTC

alitheiapsis wrote:I think I'll have a Shakespeare party after all. I realize my English teacher will probably be available by e-mail if I have any questions, and well there's always the Interwebz. Now to go ask my drama kid friends which Shakespeare play I should choose...


MACBETH! MACBETH! MACBETH!!!!! Of all the plays I've had to read in school, this was my favorite. Witches, murder, hallucinations, madness, betrayal, dreams, royalty, tragedy, what more could you ask for?
PRG

An important message for you:

010000100110010100100000011100110
111010101110010011001010010000001
110100011011110010000001100101011
000010111010000100000011110010110
111101110101011100100010000001100
010011000010110001101101111011011
1000101110

User avatar
Psycho Goose
Posts: 173
Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 5:41 am UTC

Re: My Summer Reading List (Help!)

Postby Psycho Goose » Thu May 14, 2009 6:48 pm UTC

I haven't read enough Shakespeare to really offer advice. I totally second Macbeth, though. That play is proof that great, deep literature doesn't have to be intensely boring.
I'm very tempted to suggest Titus Andronicus, though... Bwahahahaha...
Mother Superior wrote:Go to Checkov's guns on fifth. But be careful, any gun he shows you is liable to go off at some point while you're in the store.

User avatar
waltwhitmanheadedbat
Posts: 98
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2007 10:45 am UTC
Location: Yes.

Re: My Summer Reading List (Help!)

Postby waltwhitmanheadedbat » Sat May 16, 2009 2:04 am UTC

alitheiapsis wrote:*Catch-22: My friend read it and liked it, and we get a bunch of questions on it for academic bowl.

*Point Counterpoint: I liked Brave New World and Time Magazine (I think) had it on their 100 best novels of the century or something.

Catch-22 is on my all-time favorite list. It's on my 'happy books' list too. It's also one of those books, which, as discussed in a previous thread, makes you give the characters their own voices as you read it. Not sure why, but I love that.

I've read bits of Point Counterpoint and it's really good. Really makes you consider the other side of an issue.

*Something by Hemingway: We were supposed to read one of his works this year in AP English, but we ran out of time. I enjoyed Old Man and the Sea, but I'm not sure where to go from there.

I enjoyed A Farewell to Arms, but it's a little depressing. Have Douglas Adams on hand for chronic sadness correction.

User avatar
OmenPigeon
Peddler of Gossamer Lies
Posts: 673
Joined: Mon Sep 25, 2006 6:08 am UTC
Contact:

Re: My Summer Reading List (Help!)

Postby OmenPigeon » Sat May 16, 2009 8:37 pm UTC

Reading the classics is always commendable, but I've found that keeping a few slightly fluffier books around is good when you're preparing wade hip deep into the novels of famous dead white guys. That doesn't mean you should read something really stupid but some things that aren't supposed to contain the collected wisdom of Western Literature are good for cleansing the palette.

I'm an enormous fan of Douglas Coupland. I'd recommend Transmetropolitan over any science fiction novel mentioned so far in this thread. If the greatest book review ever written doesn't convince you to run out and buy Overqualified right this minute then there's probably no hope for you already.

And seriously, people, can't a kid read something over the summer that isn't by a dead white guy? What about dead Asian guys? Or alive Asian guys? Alive black women?
As long as I am alive and well I will continue to feel strongly about prose style, to love the surface of the earth, and to take pleasure in scraps of useless information.
~ George Orwell

User avatar
vector
Posts: 113
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2009 3:58 pm UTC

Re: My Summer Reading List (Help!)

Postby vector » Sun May 17, 2009 1:43 am UTC

OmenPigeon wrote:And seriously, people, can't a kid read something over the summer that isn't by a dead white guy?


I don't know about anyone else, but he mentioned something about preparing for his academic bowl. Stuff I would anticipate showing up in academic bowls: classics by dead white guys. In my case, I also just don't read much that's younger than 50 years old, so I'm suggesting the things I found most interesting, enjoyable, and accessible. Looks like I could use some of your suggestions myself :wink:


That said, if you want palate-cleansing, I enjoyed Neuromancer and The Diamond Age a lot.
Come visit the Bay12 Mafia subforum: http://www.bay12forums.com/smf/index.php?board=20.0

User avatar
alitheiapsis
Posts: 56
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 3:29 am UTC
Location: Just behind my eyes, between my ears.
Contact:

Re: My Summer Reading List (Help!)

Postby alitheiapsis » Sun May 17, 2009 4:21 am UTC

waltwhitmanheadedbat wrote:
alitheiapsis wrote:*Catch-22: My friend read it and liked it, and we get a bunch of questions on it for academic bowl.

*Point Counterpoint: I liked Brave New World and Time Magazine (I think) had it on their 100 best novels of the century or something.

Catch-22 is on my all-time favorite list. It's on my 'happy books' list too. It's also one of those books, which, as discussed in a previous thread, makes you give the characters their own voices as you read it. Not sure why, but I love that.

I've read bits of Point Counterpoint and it's really good. Really makes you consider the other side of an issue.

*Something by Hemingway: We were supposed to read one of his works this year in AP English, but we ran out of time. I enjoyed Old Man and the Sea, but I'm not sure where to go from there.

I enjoyed A Farewell to Arms, but it's a little depressing. Have Douglas Adams on hand for chronic sadness correction.


I'm so happy someone liked Point Counterpoint. I was getting worried...
For Hemingway, I asked my English teacher; hopefully she can steer me straight.

OmenPigeon wrote:Reading the classics is always commendable, but I've found that keeping a few slightly fluffier books around is good when you're preparing wade hip deep into the novels of famous dead white guys. That doesn't mean you should read something really stupid but some things that aren't supposed to contain the collected wisdom of Western Literature are good for cleansing the palette.

I'm an enormous fan of Douglas Coupland. I'd recommend Transmetropolitan over any science fiction novel mentioned so far in this thread. If the greatest book review ever written doesn't convince you to run out and buy Overqualified right this minute then there's probably no hope for you already.

And seriously, people, can't a kid read something over the summer that isn't by a dead white guy? What about dead Asian guys? Or alive Asian guys? Alive black women?


Technically, Willa Cather is a woman. But it is a little weird that the rest of my reading list in white guys.... However, I wouldn't have noticed unless you pointed it out; their writing styles are so different. It's not about imposed diversity, but about intellectual and creative diversity. However, point taken.

I laughed at Left Behind. And also Overqualified. Because I love that review and so want to read that book.

vector wrote:
OmenPigeon wrote:And seriously, people, can't a kid read something over the summer that isn't by a dead white guy?


I don't know about anyone else, but he mentioned something about preparing for his academic bowl. Stuff I would anticipate showing up in academic bowls: classics by dead white guys. In my case, I also just don't read much that's younger than 50 years old, so I'm suggesting the things I found most interesting, enjoyable, and accessible. Looks like I could use some of your suggestions myself :wink:


That said, if you want palate-cleansing, I enjoyed Neuromancer and The Diamond Age a lot.


*ahem* She. But it's understandable...the guy/girl ratio is ridiculously high in academic bowl, for one. And I suppose an avatar would help matters.

I, too, read little modern lit. Vonnegut would be an exception. Interestingly, the academic bowl people try to incorporate more and more international and modern stuff. However, there are relatively few of those types of questions, so it's easy to memorize the main stuff about a few of those books.

eekmeep
Posts: 169
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 7:56 am UTC

Re: My Summer Reading List (Help!)

Postby eekmeep » Sun May 17, 2009 8:14 am UTC

I loved Catch-22.

Hated Old Man and the Sea, but really enjoyed Farewell to Arms.

Don't think I like anything by Dickens. For Shakespeare, I really enjoyed Macbeth and A Midsummers Night Dream.

I strongly recommend Camus, too.

A Separate Piece was good too.

Azukius
Posts: 28
Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2009 5:09 am UTC

Re: My Summer Reading List (Help!)

Postby Azukius » Sun May 17, 2009 8:27 am UTC

With regards to Orwell (possibly my favourite author) I have to say, his two most famous works were not, in my opinion, his best. Books like Burmese days, Down and Out in Paris and London and The Road to Wigan Peer are all excellent. However, if you only want one by Orwell I would strongly suggest either Keep the Aspidistra Flying or Homage To Catalonia. Both these books were amazingly well written and shaped a lot of my beliefs. Animal Farm and 1984 will of course be much more likely to come up in your early academic career though.
Don't like evil dinasours in hats who delete accounts. :(. not cool.
Live in NZ? Don't like the Government? Change it!

User avatar
vector
Posts: 113
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2009 3:58 pm UTC

Re: My Summer Reading List (Help!)

Postby vector » Sun May 17, 2009 4:00 pm UTC

alitheiapsis wrote:*ahem* She. But it's understandable...the guy/girl ratio is ridiculously high in academic bowl, for one. And I suppose an avatar would help matters.


Gah, sorry about that. I need to watch myself with the pronouns.


If you end up going with Camus at all, I strongly suggest The Plague and The Stranger (though the former is generally better, in my opinion). Heck, if you're getting into French literature, go for Madame Bovary and some Balzac, too. Flaubert, Balzac, and Camus are really fabulous authors, with the same control over their style and diction as Herman Melville, but fewer issues with bloating an underdeveloped storyline.

Dickens... I'm not especially fond of him. If you haven't read A Christmas Carol, I enjoyed that as a lighter reading sort of thing. Otherwise, I'm not that familiar with his works.

OmenPigeon also suggested Haruki Murakami, who is good as long as you're okay with heavy doses of surrealism (I think I read Wind-up Bird Chronicles when I was your age. It confused the bejeezus out of me).

Cyrano de Bergerac. Made of 113% win.
Come visit the Bay12 Mafia subforum: http://www.bay12forums.com/smf/index.php?board=20.0

Rizzo
Posts: 31
Joined: Mon Nov 03, 2008 2:20 am UTC

Re: My Summer Reading List (Help!)

Postby Rizzo » Sun May 17, 2009 11:34 pm UTC

Ah, Feynman. Great stuff. Though I hope you know that it wasn't written by him, but rather collected by and interviewer and made into a book.

If you've read SYJ, then read "What Do You Care What Other People Think?" It's really good.

User avatar
smw543
Posts: 1248
Joined: Thu Oct 23, 2008 4:45 am UTC
Location: Orlando, Florida

Re: My Summer Reading List (Help!)

Postby smw543 » Mon May 18, 2009 8:54 am UTC

I'm a bit too lazy right now to read the entire thread, but I will say that every suggestion I did read was good (seriously, Cuckoo's Nest was indescribably fantastic.)

In regards to Academic Team competitions, I wouldn't worry about it. When I did it (granted, that was about three years ago,) there were almost no literature questions; tons about science, history, computers, etc. but for literature it was mostly questions about authors, e.g.: "What was Mark Twain's real name?" The only questions they did have about specific books were ones that a knowledgeable person would likely know even if he hadn't read the book (I vaguely recall a question where the answer was Pequod, but I don't remember if it was simply "What was the name of the ship in Moby Dick?") There will probably only be one or two questions where you will actually need to have read the book, and they'll probably be part of the between-rounds, no-risk questions (assuming they still do those.)

tl;dr: The only must-read book is Hamilton's Mythology (or equivalent.) Make sure you know both the Greek and Roman names for various gods and goddesses.
Spoiler:
LE4dGOLEM wrote:Now you know the difference between funny and sad.
Ubik wrote:But I'm too fond of the penis to let it go.
gmalivuk wrote:If you didn't want people to 'mis'understand you, then you probably should have tried saying something less stupid.

User avatar
justaman
Posts: 498
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2008 1:53 am UTC
Location: in ur walls eatin' ur internets

Re: My Summer Reading List (Help!)

Postby justaman » Tue May 19, 2009 5:15 am UTC

If you want to really expand your mind: Try James Joyce (Ulysses, forget Finnegan's Wake it is pretty much impenetrable unless you know several languages) and/or Antony Burgess (especially Clockwork Orange and The Malayan trilogy).

You could also try J.P. Satre, Guy De Maupassant, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy (boring imo), Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft (two of the best horror writers ever - check out "The Telltale Heart" from Poe and "The Rats in the Walls" from Lovecraft). More modern authors: Gunter Grass and Heinrich Boll (German), Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn (Russian), Jorge Luis Borges (Argentinian and best short story writer ever).

I second Camus, awesome writer! Murakami also kicks ass.
Felstaff wrote:"deglove"? I think you may have just conjured the sickest image within my mind since I heard the term "testicle pop".

User avatar
StupendousYappi
Posts: 32
Joined: Wed Aug 06, 2008 4:20 am UTC
Location: Charleston, SC
Contact:

Re: My Summer Reading List (Help!)

Postby StupendousYappi » Wed May 20, 2009 12:42 am UTC

I will recommend basically anything by Dostoevsky (my favorite is him most popular, "Crime and Punishment"). I finished Franz Kafka's "The Trial" not too long ago. His writings are unlike any other authors I've read. His book "The Metamorphosis " has the...weirdest (for lack of a better word) plot I've ever encountered. Anyway, I highly recommend both of them!

User avatar
smw543
Posts: 1248
Joined: Thu Oct 23, 2008 4:45 am UTC
Location: Orlando, Florida

Re: My Summer Reading List (Help!)

Postby smw543 » Wed May 20, 2009 7:18 am UTC

You've never gotten up in the morning and found that you were a bug? Why, just last week I awoke looking like this:
Spoiler:
Image
I missed my train, and needless to say, I had some trouble getting to work that day.
Spoiler:
LE4dGOLEM wrote:Now you know the difference between funny and sad.
Ubik wrote:But I'm too fond of the penis to let it go.
gmalivuk wrote:If you didn't want people to 'mis'understand you, then you probably should have tried saying something less stupid.

User avatar
Zohar
COMMANDER PORN
Posts: 8573
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2007 8:45 pm UTC
Location: Denver

Re: My Summer Reading List (Help!)

Postby Zohar » Wed May 20, 2009 7:52 am UTC

So cute!
Mighty Jalapeno: "See, Zohar agrees, and he's nice to people."
SecondTalon: "Still better looking than Jesus."

Not how I say my name

User avatar
smw543
Posts: 1248
Joined: Thu Oct 23, 2008 4:45 am UTC
Location: Orlando, Florida

Re: My Summer Reading List (Help!)

Postby smw543 » Wed May 20, 2009 8:23 am UTC

Yeah, the ladies were all over me. I overheard one girl saying she totally wanted to have, like, 10,000 of my larvae.

"Hey, sexy, what're ya packin' under that carapace?"

"Oh baby, I want your claspers inside me." Hawt! (I didn't have the heart to tell her it didn't work that way, or that caterpillars don't have developed sex organs, or that she only existed for the purpose of a lame, drawn out joke that should have ended before it began.)

I can go on with these...
Spoiler:
LE4dGOLEM wrote:Now you know the difference between funny and sad.
Ubik wrote:But I'm too fond of the penis to let it go.
gmalivuk wrote:If you didn't want people to 'mis'understand you, then you probably should have tried saying something less stupid.

User avatar
Adacore
Posts: 2755
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2009 12:35 pm UTC
Location: 한국 창원

Re: My Summer Reading List (Help!)

Postby Adacore » Thu May 21, 2009 10:13 pm UTC

For Shakespeare, I'd say all the plays are good so long as you steer clear of the histories, which tend to be on the dull side. However, I really would suggest just going to see a good production of the plays rather than reading them. I really don't see the massive value in reading plays - they're not designed to be taken in that way and you really don't get the full value out of it imho. The same is true with The Crucible (and probably most plays) - I wasn't really impressed when I read it, but when I saw it live it was amazing.

I've been trying to get into classics myself lately. I read Emma and P&P and I've got Jane Eyre ready to go. But first I've got to struggle my way through the rest of Middlemarch - it's a great book, don't get me wrong, but it's so hard to read. It's from the era where it's standard practice to drop in erudite references to the classics and recent events; since I don't know very much about the classics or 18-19th century current affairs, it's pretty tough going. It has extensive notes in my edition, but they're all at the back so I have to flick back and forth constantly.

I really would recommend the Steinbeck btw. I loved Of Mice & Men.

User avatar
PatrickRsGhost
Posts: 2278
Joined: Fri May 04, 2007 5:43 pm UTC
Location: ZZ9PluralZAlpha
Contact:

Re: My Summer Reading List (Help!)

Postby PatrickRsGhost » Fri May 22, 2009 12:54 am UTC

Adacore wrote:For Shakespeare, I'd say all the plays are good so long as you steer clear of the histories, which tend to be on the dull side. However, I really would suggest just going to see a good production of the plays rather than reading them. I really don't see the massive value in reading plays - they're not designed to be taken in that way and you really don't get the full value out of it imho. The same is true with The Crucible (and probably most plays) - I wasn't really impressed when I read it, but when I saw it live it was amazing.


Agreed. You can't really feel the effect of a play when you read the script, unless you have a deep understanding of the characters, or if you see it yourself. I remember through most of elementary, middle and high school when we read aloud plays, we read them in the same context as we were reading any other content found in a textbook, be it a short story, a poem, a summary about the Civil War, or how Newton's Laws of Motion work in everyday life. It wasn't until my Senior year in high school that a teacher actually did something more useful: She'd play a record of the play we were to read, with professional voice actors reading the parts. It made a lot more sense, and made the play much more enjoyable.

If you can't see the play in production anywhere near you, try to find an audio recording so you can try to follow along, or else see if you can find it in movie form. The play "The Crucible" was made into a fairly good movie back in 1998/1999, starring Christina Ricci. You want to find a version that sticks as close to the play's original script and overall tone as possible. For most of Shakespeare's plays, you'll want to look for any movie made prior to 1975.

Once you've understood the play as it was originally intended, then rent any "modernized" version, and you will see how it completely raped it. It didn't just screw it up, it fucking raped it over a splintery wooden barrel with rusty nails sticking out, poking it in its back.
PRG

An important message for you:

010000100110010100100000011100110
111010101110010011001010010000001
110100011011110010000001100101011
000010111010000100000011110010110
111101110101011100100010000001100
010011000010110001101101111011011
1000101110

User avatar
alitheiapsis
Posts: 56
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 3:29 am UTC
Location: Just behind my eyes, between my ears.
Contact:

Re: My Summer Reading List (Help!)

Postby alitheiapsis » Fri May 22, 2009 6:13 am UTC

Azukius wrote:With regards to Orwell (possibly my favourite author) I have to say, his two most famous works were not, in my opinion, his best. Books like Burmese days, Down and Out in Paris and London and The Road to Wigan Peer are all excellent. However, if you only want one by Orwell I would strongly suggest either Keep the Aspidistra Flying or Homage To Catalonia. Both these books were amazingly well written and shaped a lot of my beliefs. Animal Farm and 1984 will of course be much more likely to come up in your early academic career though.

I did read a couple of his short stories and essays and I really would like to read more by him. I'm sure a lot of his other work is worth it, but of course he's only ever know for Animal Farm and 1984...
vector wrote:
alitheiapsis wrote:*ahem* She. But it's understandable...the guy/girl ratio is ridiculously high in academic bowl, for one. And I suppose an avatar would help matters.


Gah, sorry about that. I need to watch myself with the pronouns.


If you end up going with Camus at all, I strongly suggest The Plague and The Stranger (though the former is generally better, in my opinion). Heck, if you're getting into French literature, go for Madame Bovary and some Balzac, too. Flaubert, Balzac, and Camus are really fabulous authors, with the same control over their style and diction as Herman Melville, but fewer issues with bloating an underdeveloped storyline.

Dickens... I'm not especially fond of him. If you haven't read A Christmas Carol, I enjoyed that as a lighter reading sort of thing. Otherwise, I'm not that familiar with his works.

OmenPigeon also suggested Haruki Murakami, who is good as long as you're okay with heavy doses of surrealism (I think I read Wind-up Bird Chronicles when I was your age. It confused the bejeezus out of me).

Cyrano de Bergerac. Made of 113% win.


Oooh. All these French names sound so familiar. We're reading Madame Bovary in AP English next year, but I've heard good things about Balzac's The Human Comedy and Camus too. What by Bergerac is good, specifically?

Rizzo wrote:Ah, Feynman. Great stuff. Though I hope you know that it wasn't written by him, but rather collected by and interviewer and made into a book.

If you've read SYJ, then read "What Do You Care What Other People Think?" It's really good.


I figured SYJ would have been ghostwritten or whatever. I actually read it by um...less than legal means, and I couldn't find his other book... but I'll try to get my hands on a legit copy.

smw543 wrote:I'm a bit too lazy right now to read the entire thread, but I will say that every suggestion I did read was good (seriously, Cuckoo's Nest was indescribably fantastic.)

In regards to Academic Team competitions, I wouldn't worry about it. When I did it (granted, that was about three years ago,) there were almost no literature questions; tons about science, history, computers, etc. but for literature it was mostly questions about authors, e.g.: "What was Mark Twain's real name?" The only questions they did have about specific books were ones that a knowledgeable person would likely know even if he hadn't read the book (I vaguely recall a question where the answer was Pequod, but I don't remember if it was simply "What was the name of the ship in Moby Dick?") There will probably only be one or two questions where you will actually need to have read the book, and they'll probably be part of the between-rounds, no-risk questions (assuming they still do those.)

tl;dr: The only must-read book is Hamilton's Mythology (or equivalent.) Make sure you know both the Greek and Roman names for various gods and goddesses.


The tournaments we do (mostly NAQT) have a lot, a lot, of literature questions. You can get an extra five points (power) if you buzz in early enough in the question, which is why we like to know the most obscure clues. Also, I find that a lot of the books asked about at NAQT, etc. are not only well-known and -respected books, but genuinely well-written ones as well. I use it as a sieve, if you will.

We had to read Hamilton's Mythology last year in Freshman English. This pissed me off because we were supposed to be reading literature, not some woman's summaries of it. Mythology helps a lot for academic team, but I really didn't like the dry style of the book; Greek and Roman mythology is beautiful, and she could have conveyed that.

justaman wrote:If you want to really expand your mind: Try James Joyce (Ulysses, forget Finnegan's Wake it is pretty much impenetrable unless you know several languages) and/or Antony Burgess (especially Clockwork Orange and The Malayan trilogy).

You could also try J.P. Satre, Guy De Maupassant, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy (boring imo), Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft (two of the best horror writers ever - check out "The Telltale Heart" from Poe and "The Rats in the Walls" from Lovecraft). More modern authors: Gunter Grass and Heinrich Boll (German), Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn (Russian), Jorge Luis Borges (Argentinian and best short story writer ever).

I second Camus, awesome writer! Murakami also kicks ass.


I have really wanted to try Joyce. We read a short story of his in class this year, but I'm kind of worried about the stream-of-consciousness thing. It's supposed to be terrible if done wrong, but I think I can assume Joyce pulled it off. I've read A Clockwork Orange, and I really loved it, but the whole random-Russian-thrown-in concept kind of got on my nerves (my Polish friend said it was a breeze because Polish and Russian are so close. :P). I know it was intentionally difficult to decipher, but it was kind of a turn-off. Is his other stuff that way?

I've read Maupassant's The Necklace--now that was a really good short story. I've been meaning to read more Russian authors, but I really don't know where to start. I've read the first half of Anna Karenina (I accidentally only checked out volume I--who splits up a book and doesn't make it clear on the cover?!) and attempted War and Peace (oh god), and enjoyed Tolstoy's short stories, but that's as far as I've gotten.

I read a lot of Poe perhaps three years ago, and I've forgotten so much I should reread it. I've heard so much good about Borges, but again I'm not sure where to begin.

StupendousYappi wrote:I will recommend basically anything by Dostoevsky (my favorite is him most popular, "Crime and Punishment"). I finished Franz Kafka's "The Trial" not too long ago. His writings are unlike any other authors I've read. His book "The Metamorphosis " has the...weirdest (for lack of a better word) plot I've ever encountered. Anyway, I highly recommend both of them!


His Metamorphosis was in my Literature book, but it was only excerpts, so I didn't read it. I want to try The Trial.

smw543 wrote:I can go on with these...


Oh, please do.
Adacore wrote:I've been trying to get into classics myself lately. I read Emma and P&P and I've got Jane Eyre ready to go. But first I've got to struggle my way through the rest of Middlemarch - it's a great book, don't get me wrong, but it's so hard to read. It's from the era where it's standard practice to drop in erudite references to the classics and recent events; since I don't know very much about the classics or 18-19th century current affairs, it's pretty tough going. It has extensive notes in my edition, but they're all at the back so I have to flick back and forth constantly.

I really would recommend the Steinbeck btw. I loved Of Mice & Men.


I think I might tackle Persuasion. Jane Eyre is really good; it's one of those stories I grew up with (yay abridged books!), but I've read analyses that boil down to "This book is anti-feminist because Jane isn't whole until she finds a man..." or whatever.

I am so happy to hear good things about Of Mice and Men. So many people had to read it for school and hated it, but I thought it sounded really interesting. :)

PatrickRsGhost wrote:
Adacore wrote:For Shakespeare, I'd say all the plays are good so long as you steer clear of the histories, which tend to be on the dull side. However, I really would suggest just going to see a good production of the plays rather than reading them. I really don't see the massive value in reading plays - they're not designed to be taken in that way and you really don't get the full value out of it imho. The same is true with The Crucible (and probably most plays) - I wasn't really impressed when I read it, but when I saw it live it was amazing.


Agreed. You can't really feel the effect of a play when you read the script, unless you have a deep understanding of the characters, or if you see it yourself. I remember through most of elementary, middle and high school when we read aloud plays, we read them in the same context as we were reading any other content found in a textbook, be it a short story, a poem, a summary about the Civil War, or how Newton's Laws of Motion work in everyday life. It wasn't until my Senior year in high school that a teacher actually did something more useful: She'd play a record of the play we were to read, with professional voice actors reading the parts. It made a lot more sense, and made the play much more enjoyable.

If you can't see the play in production anywhere near you, try to find an audio recording so you can try to follow along, or else see if you can find it in movie form. The play "The Crucible" was made into a fairly good movie back in 1998/1999, starring Christina Ricci. You want to find a version that sticks as close to the play's original script and overall tone as possible. For most of Shakespeare's plays, you'll want to look for any movie made prior to 1975.

Once you've understood the play as it was originally intended, then rent any "modernized" version, and you will see how it completely raped it. It didn't just screw it up, it fucking raped it over a splintery wooden barrel with rusty nails sticking out, poking it in its back.


I'm not really sure how many plays are performed in this area, but I'll ask around. As for the "modernized" versions, I agree totally. We're watching the French ~7-hour long version of The Count of Monte Cristo from 1997 or something. I read it just last Christmas, and it kills me how many things they changed; things that could have been better the way they were. I'm sure it's only worse for a play--more closely matching the medium than novels, of course.

User avatar
Psycho Goose
Posts: 173
Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 5:41 am UTC

Re: My Summer Reading List (Help!)

Postby Psycho Goose » Fri May 22, 2009 8:19 am UTC

alitheiapsis wrote:I have really wanted to try Joyce. We read a short story of his in class this year, but I'm kind of worried about the stream-of-consciousness thing. It's supposed to be terrible if done wrong, but I think I can assume Joyce pulled it off.

I kinda want to read Joyce too, but I'm intimidated. I know that we'll be reading Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man next year in AP Lit, so I think I'll read it this summer (I have discovered that I always like books better when I read them away from class, so curriculum books will constitute a good portion of my summer reading). I've heard that his stuff's best read, but I'm not really big on short stories and the first stuff he wrote falls into that category.

As for stream-of-consciousness technique, we read As I Lay Dying this year, and it was amazing. I want to read more Faulkner. I might go with The Sound and the Fury, since that seems to be his famous one. But tell me if I'm doing it all wrong (I probably am. I tend to do that.)
Mother Superior wrote:Go to Checkov's guns on fifth. But be careful, any gun he shows you is liable to go off at some point while you're in the store.

Jakkar00
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Dec 06, 2008 6:40 pm UTC

Re: My Summer Reading List (Help!)

Postby Jakkar00 » Fri May 22, 2009 8:35 am UTC

Possibilities
*Persuasion or Northanger Abbey: I read P&P, Emma, and S&S so I'm looking to read something else by Austen. Persuasion is supposed to be good, and Northanger Abbey has all these gothic influences or something and it sounded pretty cool.

(Only for fun - these are really not all that "special.")

*Something by Dickens?: I really liked David Copperfield and A Tale of Two Cities, but Dickens wrote a bunch of shit, and I'm not sure what's actually good and what's stuff he pumped out for the cash.

(Unless you're intent on reading more Dickens, I wouldn't recommend entering that morass. You've already hit his semi-autobiography and one of his many social commentary works so I think you're good.)

*Tess of the D'Urbervilles: I saw part of the PBS version and looked it up on Wikipedia.

(This is probably the best place to start with Hardy. Beware! This is intense stuff. The big payoff for reading Hardy is Jude the Obscure IMHO, but don't start with that one.)

*The Three Musketeers: I totally loved the Count of Monte Cristo, so I'm hoping Dumas pulls through for me again.

(Quite fun. Go for it!)

*My Antonia: I just read O Pioneers! and I really like it, so I want to read some more Cather.

(You want to read more Cather therefore you will enjoy My Antonia.)

*Catch-22: My friend read it and liked it, and we get a bunch of questions on it for academic bowl.

(Everyone has to read Catch-22 at least once in his or her lifetime.)

*Point Counterpoint: I liked Brave New World and Time Magazine (I think) had it on their 100 best novels of the century or something.

(Hmmm... read a brief description of the book before plunging in...)

*Something by Hemingway: We were supposed to read one of his works this year in AP English, but we ran out of time. I enjoyed Old Man and the Sea, but I'm not sure where to go from there.

(I could never really get through Hemingway. Even if you're okay with the style I recommend mixing this up with a flowing easy-to-read story like one of those Austen shorts above.)



Okay, so you've quite a list here already. I dunno how you normally do it, but I tend to mix things up by reading different styles or different reading levels after each other. For instance, I wouldn't recommend reading Tess of the d'Urbervilles after My Antonia.

You seem to be okay with any difficulty of book, so I'll recommend a couple authors to your list - The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James - probably his most accessible novel, Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoi - an engaging story told by the master of character driven plot (someone earlier in this thread said he's boring - he's the opposite of boring, and War and Peace is even better than A. K.), Cancer Ward by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn - because nobody does character driven... uh... character like Solzhenitsyn, and to top it off Anathem by Neal Stephenson if you haven't already read it.

User avatar
Adacore
Posts: 2755
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2009 12:35 pm UTC
Location: 한국 창원

Re: My Summer Reading List (Help!)

Postby Adacore » Fri May 22, 2009 11:31 am UTC

PatrickRsGhost wrote:Once you've understood the play as it was originally intended, then rent any "modernized" version, and you will see how it completely raped it. It didn't just screw it up, it fucking raped it over a splintery wooden barrel with rusty nails sticking out, poking it in its back.


There have been a lot of very poor modernisations of Shakespeare, but I've also seen some which were extremely well done. I saw a production of Hamlet a few years ago set in a jazz club which was probably the best Shakespeare production I've ever seen (and I've seen a good few RSC productions in London). Also, I know I'll probably be summarily shot for saying this, but I thought Baz Luhrmans Romeo + Juliet was pretty good.

Back on topic, I really don't get along with Dickens and while Hardy is extremely good it is also the most depressing stuff I've ever read. The guy was seriously disturbed and was very good at conveying that in literature. I know people who've read and enjoyed War and Peace - I also know some who say the 'peace' sections are good, but skip the 'war' bits while others I've talked to have said the exact opposite :roll:

cathrl
Posts: 427
Joined: Tue Jan 30, 2007 9:58 am UTC

Re: My Summer Reading List (Help!)

Postby cathrl » Fri May 22, 2009 9:28 pm UTC

I'd rather eat ground glass than read anything by Camus ever again. I couldn't care less if his characters all dropped dead. Which was unfortunate, as La Peste was our A level French set text. Have you read anything by St-Exupery? I know Le Petit Prince is technically a kids book, but it's still a classic, and Vol de Nuit is great too.

One Day in the life of Ivan Denisovitch is that very rare thing - a short Russian novel :) It's also both another classic and a great read.

Keeping on the European classics theme...All Quiet on the Western Front?

Edit: Have you read any Conan Doyle?

User avatar
justaman
Posts: 498
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2008 1:53 am UTC
Location: in ur walls eatin' ur internets

Re: My Summer Reading List (Help!)

Postby justaman » Sun May 24, 2009 11:44 pm UTC

vector wrote:If you end up going with Camus at all, I strongly suggest The Plague and The Stranger (though the former is generally better, in my opinion). Heck, if you're getting into French literature, go for Madame Bovary and some Balzac, too. Flaubert, Balzac, and Camus are really fabulous authors, with the same control over their style and diction as Herman Melville, but fewer issues with bloating an underdeveloped storyline.

The Plague is his best imo, though First Man (posthumous and partially uncompleted) is excellent and mostly autobiographical.

vector wrote:OmenPigeon also suggested Haruki Murakami, who is good as long as you're okay with heavy doses of surrealism (I think I read Wind-up Bird Chronicles when I was your age. It confused the bejeezus out of me).

The Norwegian Wood, much much easier, as are Kafka on the Shore and South of the Border West of the Sun.

justaman wrote:If you want to really expand your mind: Try James Joyce (Ulysses, forget Finnegan's Wake it is pretty much impenetrable unless you know several languages) and/or Antony Burgess (especially Clockwork Orange and The Malayan trilogy).

You could also try J.P. Satre, Guy De Maupassant, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy (boring imo), Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft (two of the best horror writers ever - check out "The Telltale Heart" from Poe and "The Rats in the Walls" from Lovecraft). More modern authors: Gunter Grass and Heinrich Boll (German), Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn (Russian), Jorge Luis Borges (Argentinian and best short story writer ever).

I second Camus, awesome writer! Murakami also kicks ass.
alitheiapsis wrote:I have really wanted to try Joyce. We read a short story of his in class this year, but I'm kind of worried about the stream-of-consciousness thing. It's supposed to be terrible if done wrong, but I think I can assume Joyce pulled it off. I've read A Clockwork Orange, and I really loved it, but the whole random-Russian-thrown-in concept kind of got on my nerves (my Polish friend said it was a breeze because Polish and Russian are so close. :P). I know it was intentionally difficult to decipher, but it was kind of a turn-off. Is his other stuff that way?

I've read Maupassant's The Necklace--now that was a really good short story. I've been meaning to read more Russian authors, but I really don't know where to start. I've read the first half of Anna Karenina (I accidentally only checked out volume I--who splits up a book and doesn't make it clear on the cover?!) and attempted War and Peace (oh god), and enjoyed Tolstoy's short stories, but that's as far as I've gotten.

I read a lot of Poe perhaps three years ago, and I've forgotten so much I should reread it. I've heard so much good about Borges, but again I'm not sure where to begin.
Joyce's Potrait of an Artist as a Young Man is probably his most approachable. Ulysses is very good, though rather hard going and extremely long. There are lots political commentaries and similar things in there as well. You could try Ginger Man by J. P. Donleavy for a much shorter but sort of similar book. Burgess' other work is excellent too, much of it set in south east Asia where he was based for a long time. Less confusing than Clockwork Orange and more realistic, but still full of hidden humour and incredible words and description - you just have to watch out for the occasional sentence in one of the many tongues Burgess knew.
For Russian authors, I would recommend starting with Solzhenitsyn, easily the most accessible of the authors, probably as he is quite recent. Chekhov is also good for short stories. Note that Maupassant was French and a protege of Flaubert.

For Borges, pick up The Aleph and Other Stories, or any collection, they are all good and I must reiterate he is (was, actually) a god amongst story tellers. Probably my favourite author ever.

Psycho Goose wrote:As for stream-of-consciousness technique, we read As I Lay Dying this year, and it was amazing. I want to read more Faulkner. I might go with The Sound and the Fury, since that seems to be his famous one. But tell me if I'm doing it all wrong (I probably am. I tend to do that.)

You are not wrong, both are great!
Jakkar00 wrote:...Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoi - an engaging story told by the master of character driven plot (someone earlier in this thread said he's boring - he's the opposite of boring, and War and Peace is even better than A. K.), Cancer Ward by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn - because nobody does character driven... uh... character like Solzhenitsyn, and to top it off Anathem by Neal Stephenson if you haven't already read it.
That was me, I was trying to read it at about 12-14, so I guess I should give it another go now that I am a lot older and more ready to put the effort in.

Also: to save you a fair bit of money a lot of classic works are available at Project Gutenberg for FREE, especially if they are older than 100 years.
Felstaff wrote:"deglove"? I think you may have just conjured the sickest image within my mind since I heard the term "testicle pop".

sje46
Posts: 4730
Joined: Wed May 14, 2008 4:41 am UTC
Location: New Hampshire

Re: My Summer Reading List (Help!)

Postby sje46 » Mon May 25, 2009 12:10 am UTC

Ulysses is not accessible. It is very long, and you need a lot of help to get through it. It isn't Finnegan's Wake (probably the hardest book in English to read that is well-known), but it is highly difficult. It is a very cool book to flip through, however.
But yeah, Portrait and Dubliners are very good books. I recommend reading a story or two of Dubliners to see if it will do for your reading list.
I don't know how you feel about novellas, but Metamorphosis (Kafka), and Notes From Underground (Dostoevsky) are some of my favorites. Flatland is a very fun satire, but I'm not sure about the literary value of it.
For more modern novels, two of my favorites are It and The Stand by Stephen King, but those a VERY long books, so I may recommend a shorter book by him. You should try The Gunslinger, especially the first one (but the series in general is highly recommended, but you should read the first first!). It is his foray into fantasy.
Also, John Irving is very good. He's nice and literary, but very funny, and has excellent characters. I recommend A Prayer for Owen Meany mostly, or The Apple Cider Rules, or The World According to Garp.
BTW, before you rush out and buy books, keep in mind that most of the older books people have named are free online. You can check Wikisource.
EDIT:
do not be concerned about the stream-of-consciousness in Portrait. The beginning, if my memory serves, is a little messy, but the book isn't that much more inaccessible as other books from that era.
DOUBLEEDIT: Re-reading the thread, I will also say that Coupland is pretty good, but all I read was Microserfs, which could be interesting if you are into computers and if you are a bit of a geek. ;)
Also, One Flew Over the cuckoo's Nest is a very good bok, but that brings to mind the Electric Kool Aid Acid Test, a non-fiction novel type thing by Tom Wolfe. It is about the author of One Flew, Ken Kesey, and his adventures with The Merry Pranksters, a group of hippies. It is an amazing book, fascinating non-fiction.
The crazed driver of the bus they travel in is Neal Cassady, the person whom Dean Moriarty bfrom On The Road was based off, and this is also something else I highly recommend.
Also, all this hippiness is reminding me of Tom Robbins, who wrote very stylish and wacky philosophical novels.
General_Norris: Taking pride in your nation is taking pride in the division of humanity.
Pirate.Bondage: Let's get married. Right now.

User avatar
Psycho Goose
Posts: 173
Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 5:41 am UTC

Re: My Summer Reading List (Help!)

Postby Psycho Goose » Mon May 25, 2009 6:59 pm UTC

sje46 wrote:The crazed driver of the bus they travel in is Neal Cassady, the person whom Dean Moriarty bfrom On The Road was based off, and this is also something else I highly recommend.

I second the recommendation of On the Road -- it has easily some of the best writing I've ever seen, and it's such a huge part of the culture of everything that's happened since... (On a bit of a tangent, does anybody else know which other Kerouac books are worth a look?)
Mother Superior wrote:Go to Checkov's guns on fifth. But be careful, any gun he shows you is liable to go off at some point while you're in the store.

Odious Joe
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon May 25, 2009 9:26 pm UTC

Re: My Summer Reading List (Help!)

Postby Odious Joe » Mon May 25, 2009 9:47 pm UTC

You mentioned Asimov and possibly other sci-fi. Though my interest in sci-fi is only in passing, usually, I found The Caves Of Steel by Isaac Asimov to be a magnificent read. It was his first published book, which is apparent in the simple prose, but the ideas and the tension make it a very short but enjoyable read.

In accordance with your interest in classic literature, if only as preparation for next year, I would recommend some of Joseph Conrad's work. I found Heart of Darkness to provide excellent detail into the heart and mind of an individual and a society. Another Conrad work, Lord Jim, is on my shelf for this summer (alongside Nietzsche, Rand, Marx, and Wells).

Anyhow, I hope that helps.

EDIT: Also, for light brit lit I would suggest anything by the Allahakbarries, that is to say, the cricket team composed of H.G. Wells, Sir. Arthur Conan Doyle (Professor Challenger series and Sherlock Holmes), and J.M. Barrie (The Little White Bird or Adventures in Kensington Gardens, which established the foundation for Barrie's later work, Peter Pan). This tends to make a wonderful balance of style and themes and also helps develop the historical significance of the literature.

User avatar
Allium Cepa
Posts: 249
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2007 12:46 am UTC
Location: RVA

Re: My Summer Reading List (Help!)

Postby Allium Cepa » Mon May 25, 2009 10:48 pm UTC

Isn't Junior year focused on American literature? Because a lot of those books are by other writers, or I guess that's more for your academic team? But I agree on One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and 1984. Also for Hemmingway I liked the Old Man and the Sea but I agree that A Farewell to Arms was a lot better. For plays I both enjoy more and find Miller's plays easier to under and read than Shakespeare and Williams.
Take me back to the day that I went blind, I would like to see your face for one last time.


Return to “Books”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests