August 2, 2011

August Reading Plan

The first book on this month's list is a holdover from the previous list. I'll just add two more this time.

36 ARGUMENTS FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD by Rebecca Newberger Goldstein - This didn't end up being my vacation reading, so I'm looking forward to diving into the story now. I've been told it's a fun and funny book about philosophy.

BLUE MARS by Kim Stanley Robinson - This month I move on to the final installment of this trilogy. I'm eager to see what's next for life on Mars.

JANE EYRE by Charlotte Brontë - I have an ongoing feeling of inadequacy about my lack of familiarity with the classics. I also have an ongoing habit of buying the paper versions of books despite wanting to have something to read on my phone. Many classics are in the public domain, meaning that digital editions are available for free, so I can deal with both my issues at once. I've heard good things about JANE EYRE. It's about an orphan or something.

Good Stuff Out There:

→ Theresa Stevens at Edittorrent offers strategies for cheating melodrama: "If the response is larger than the stimulus, we say that it's melodramatic rather than dramatic. Melodrama is all about exaggeration, spectacle, and sensationalism."

8 comments:

desireearmfeldt said...

I've been reading various public-domain classics in e-book form, including some of Dickens that I didn't get to when I was on my original Dickens kick ages and ages ago. Of course, it turns out that I picked some of the not-so-great Dickens... :)

Lisa Eckstein said...

Dickens was one of the authors I was considering selecting, but I hadn't gotten around to asking anyone which Dickens I should start with. What do you think is the best Dickens novel? (Especially if it's not also the longest!)

laurenhat said...

I want to read Jane Eyre, I think. I'll be very curious to hear whether you enjoy it! As for Dickens, I enjoyed most of Great Expectations. Other classics I've enjoyed: Clockwork Orange and 1984 (both when I was in high school), Pride & Prejudice (in college), and... um, that might be about it, aside from Shakespeare. :) I have read a bunch more classics, but didn't like most of them. Catcher in the Rye and The Great Gatsby were at least quick reads, but I don't remember getting a lot out of them.

As far as more modern things go, I was excited to hear that you liked Green Mars about as much as Red Mars, since I want to reread those soon; I vaguely thought I didn't like Green Mars so much, but maybe that was just Blue Mars (or maybe, just maybe, we have different opinions). Anyway, looking forward to rereading and discussing.

laurenhat said...

(Oh dear... could I say "enjoyed" any more in a three sentence span? ;) )

Lisa Eckstein said...

Lauren, thanks for the Dickens recommendation. I've read (and mostly enjoyed) all the other classics you mention except for Pride & Prejudice, which I'll put on my list.

Looking forward to discussing the Mars trilogy with you some more!

desireearmfeldt said...

My favorite Dickens (not having read the whole cannon) are A Tale of Two Cities and Our Mutual Friend. Oh, Oliver Twist is good too. And of course, A Christmas Carol (which is short) -- you probably don't need to read that for the plot, but I'm fond of what he does with language in it (indeed, one of the things I like about Dickens, though it turns off some). One of my criteria here is that these all read like actual novels with sustained plots, in contrast with the far more episodic-feeling ones like Nicholas Nickleby. What I discovered from my recent reading (Barnaby Rudge, Old Curiosity Shop, Little Dorrit, and Bleak House, none of which I particularly recommend) is that my original Dickens reading had apparently managed to mostly hit the ones in which he's not only better with plot, but less ham-fisted about both language and making his philosophical points, and also (somewhat) less extreme with the sentimental/passive Victorian heroines. But you still have to be willing to put on your Victorian glasses to read even the better Dickens, especially with respect to portrayals of women.

Lisa Eckstein said...

desireearmfeldt, thanks for those recommendations. Definitely a more novelish Dickens novel sounds appealing to me. I watched the movie of Nicholas Nickleby recently and was turned off by the "Here's another distinct little adventure" structure.

Henri said...

I've been reading classics on my phone, albeit at a slow pace. I loved Ulysses, or more accurately I loved parts of it, but it took 14 months. I'm currently loving Don Quixote, another big project. Not on my phone, I liked Pride and Prejudice.

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