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The Back Room => The Diner => Topic started by: Dry Brett Kavanaugh on June 06, 2022, 08:12:32 AM

Title: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Dry Brett Kavanaugh on June 06, 2022, 08:12:32 AM
Mine:

Stendhal, Red and Black
Hermann Hesse, Narcissus and Goldmund
Thomas Mann, Tonio Kroger
Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment
Dostoevsky, Idiot

Below top 5: Sons and Lovers (Lawrence), My Life (Casanova), Confessions of a Mask (Mishima), Seagull (Chekhov), Rich Boy and other short stories (Fitzgerald) etc.
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: vandermolen on June 06, 2022, 08:35:12 AM
Mine:

Stendhal, Red and Black
Hermann Hesse, Narcissus and Goldmund
Thomas Mann, Tonio Kroger
Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment
Dostoevsky, Idiot

Below top 5: Sons and Lovers (Lawrence), My Life (Casanova), Confessions of a Mask (Mishima), Seagull (Chekhov), Rich Boy and other short stories (Fitzgerald) etc.
I would choose Crime and Punishment and Herman Hesse +
Dickens: David Copperfield
Dickens: A Tale of Two Cities
Saint-Exupery: Le Petit Prince
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Mandryka on June 06, 2022, 08:49:21 AM
The Iliad
Gargantua and Pantagruel
Hamlet
Ulysses
A Dance to the Music of Time
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: San Antone on June 06, 2022, 09:16:36 AM
The Hamlet, Faulkner
Light in August, Faulkner
Blood Meridian, McCarthy
Suttree, McCarthy
The Civil War, Foote (3-vol. narrative history)
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Jo498 on June 06, 2022, 09:30:13 AM
I don't reread books so often, which includes Great books. And even for some I've read two or three times (like all I am going to name), it's sometimes been a long time ago, so my appreciation might have changed considerably in the 20 years since I last read them.

Dante Alighieri: The divine comedy (I hope I'll eventually read Italian well enough to have another go with a bilingual edition)
Th. Mann: The magic mountain/Der Zauberberg (but see above, I read it once with 19 and once in my late 20s and totally loved it the second time, but it's been more than 20 years since then)
Tolstoi: The death of Ivan Ilich (partly because I read his "big books" only once and too long ago and I wanted to include a shorter prose piece)
Dostoevsky: Crime and Punishment (I loved most of them in my 20s and read several at least twice, but it's a long time ago and C&P seems the least sprawling
Hugo: Les miserables (mainly because this was the first really "Great book" I read at 12, I've read it once again but this is was also long ago...)

next bunch:
Dostoevsky: Idiot, Brothers Karamazov, Demons
Hugo: Notre Dame de Paris
Bulgakov: Master and Margarita
Dickens: Great Expectations
Homer: Odyssee
Potocki: The manuscript found in Saragossa
Bronte: Wuthering Heights
Döblin: Berllin Alexanderplatz
Stevenson: Treasure Island (the first almost Great book I read with 8 or 9)
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: DavidW on June 06, 2022, 09:35:06 AM
Jane Eyre
A Tale of Two Cities
War and Peace
Jude the Obscure
Lonesome Dove
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: San Antone on June 06, 2022, 09:57:36 AM
Lonesome Dove

Could've easily made my list.  Great read.
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: ultralinear on June 06, 2022, 10:07:14 AM
In terms of frequency of re-reading, probably these:

Dostoevsky: Crime and Punishment
Boswell: Life of Johnson
Pynchon: Gravity's Rainbow
Murakami: The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Von Rezzori: An Ermine in Czernopol

The Von Rezzori is a real litmus work - people seem either to love it or hate it.  A massively ambitious first novel, which fails in almost every direction, and is, objectively, a real mess - one reviewer complained that "there's an entire chapter describing wildlife, for God's sake" - and yes, yes there is. ::)  It either fascinates you or drives you mad ... often both at the same time. :)  What redeems it is the humour, which is very dark. :o
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 06, 2022, 10:13:40 AM
With the understanding that I am skipping titles I should normally have listed, which have already been mentioned:

Melville, Moby-Dick
Jn Barth, The Sot-weed Factor
Jan Potocki, The MS. Found at Saragossa
Henry Fielding, Tom Jones
Chas Dickens, Our Mutual Friend
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: LKB on June 06, 2022, 10:22:27 AM
Leaves of Grass
Lonesome Dove
The Iliad
Moby Dick
Cannery Row
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Florestan on June 06, 2022, 10:32:19 AM
Cervantes - Don Quijote
Alessandro Manzoni - The Betrothed
Victor Hugo - The Toilers of the Sea
Joseph Conrad - Lord Jim
Selma Lagerlöf - The Story of Gösta Berling
Henrik Pontoppidan - Lucky Per
Mikhail Bulgakov - The White Guard
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Roasted Swan on June 06, 2022, 10:41:46 AM
the trouble with this thread is it makes me realise how poorly read I am........ sigh.............
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on June 06, 2022, 10:45:34 AM
I don't feel like I can play this game, but I can comment.

Suttree, McCarthy

This is on my list to read this summer. It looks quite formidable. The only McCarthy I've read is The Road, which didn't impress me that much.

Potocki: The manuscript found in Saragossa

Interesting that both you and Karl listed this. I started reading it years ago, but somehow lost the thread of it and never finished it. (Coincidentally, this was about the time I first read Ulysses. Maybe too much complexity in a short time?)

Von Rezzori: An Ermine in Czernopol

I didn't know he wrote novels. I've only read his autobiography, The Snows of Yesteryear.

Henry Fielding, Tom Jones

I reread it last year (first time in decades). It's undoubtedly a great book, but there are so many characters and the plot is so convoluted that it's easy to get lost while reading.
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: San Antone on June 06, 2022, 11:00:55 AM
I don't feel like I can play this game, but I can comment.

This [Suttree] is on my list to read this summer. It looks quite formidable. The only McCarthy I've read is The Road, which didn't impress me that much.

The Road is the only McCarthy book I have not read, since the premise does not interest me - and a sense is that it does not exhibit aspects of his style that appeal to me the most (descriptions of rural Southern people and life, dialog of same).  But Suttree, Blood Meridian, and The Border Trilogy, are among my favorite novels of all.  No Country for Old Men and Child of God are good, but not ones I like as much as the others.
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Brian on June 06, 2022, 11:22:37 AM
Love love love this thread idea. But...I am going to cheat!!

FICTION
Alpha by title:

The Book of Ebenezer Le Page, G.B. Edwards
The Door, Magda Szabó
Emma, Jane Austen
Middlemarch, Mary Ann Evans
Summer Lightning, P.G. Wodehouse

Sixth place: The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro
I had a very hard time assessing the Russians. The first 600 pages of War & Peace could make the top five easily, but I need to reread it and acclimate myself to the second half of the book to give it a full assessment. I also thought quite a bit about Bulgakov, Platonov, "Eugene Onegin," and especially "Dead Souls." But Dead Souls, like War & Peace, is better in the first half, I think.

And because I have a particular interest in detective fiction, here's a top five all about crime and mystery:

In a Lonely Place, Dorothy B. Hughes
The Long Goodbye, Raymond Chandler
The Man Who Died Twice, Richard Osman
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Agatha Christie
Original Sin, P.D. James
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 06, 2022, 11:25:50 AM
Leaves of Grass
Lonesome Dove
The Iliad
Moby Dick
Cannery Row


Oh, I'm kicking myself for neglecting the Whitman!
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Brian on June 06, 2022, 11:26:23 AM
Stendhal, Red and Black
I read this for the first time last year, and Charterhouse of Parma for the first time last month. Lots of good fun and good writing.

Suttree, McCarthy
This is high on my to-read list.

I didn't know he wrote novels. I've only read his autobiography, The Snows of Yesteryear.
Oh! Is this the reference/inside joke behind the Catch-22 line, "Where are the Snowdens of yesteryear?"?
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Jo498 on June 06, 2022, 11:35:28 AM
[Potocki Saragossa]
Interesting that both you and Karl listed this. I started reading it years ago, but somehow lost the thread of it and never finished it. (Coincidentally, this was about the time I first read Ulysses. Maybe too much complexity in a short time?)
Getting lost in the nested stories and between dream/fantasy and reality seems part of the point. I think it's just brilliant fun. (Although it might be more, Potocki REALLY killed himself with a silver bullet because he thought he was turning into a werewolf!)
I got through Ulysses once in translation (and with a helpful "guide book"), never tried the Original and overall didn't like it enough to try again, although I certainly should eventually.

Quote
[Tom Jones]
I reread it last year (first time in decades). It's undoubtedly a great book, but there are so many characters and the plot is so convoluted that it's easy to get lost while reading.
This is one I started but didn't get very far. I recall that he has a description of a catfight between to girls in mock-homeric style but this is about as far as I got...
Of renaissance and early modern prose I only read the Decamerone and Simplicius Simplicissimus (the most famous German baroque novel from the 30 years war, it's grotesque and funny but also sprawling), I never tried Rabelais or Chaucer or Cervantes (although I want to read at least Don Quixote). Failing with Tom Jones I also didn't even try Sterne's Tristram Shandy or Defoe or Swift.
My largest gap in the 19th century is probably the French, except for Hugo and a few shorter pieces (Maupassant's Carmen and Bel ami and maybe another one); I never read any of the Balzac novels neither Stendhal nor Zola, I never finished Madame Bovary...
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Jo498 on June 06, 2022, 11:37:36 AM
Oh! Is this the reference/inside joke behind the Catch-22 line, "Where are the Snowdens of yesteryear?"?
The "snows of last year" is at least as old as a 15th century poem by Francois Villon (used in the Three penny opera), maybe the phrase is even older in some Latin medieval (or earlier) poetry.
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: ritter on June 06, 2022, 11:39:06 AM
Let’s see…

Cervantes, Don Quijote
Marcel Proust, À la recherche du temps perdu
T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land
Louis Aragon, Aurélien
Paul Claudel, Le Soulier de satin
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: ultralinear on June 06, 2022, 11:41:29 AM
I didn't know he wrote novels. I've only read his autobiography, The Snows of Yesteryear.

Oh that's an excellent book too.  An Ermine in Czernopol mines a lot of the same material, being basically a lightly-fictionalised memoir of childhood grafted onto a Proustian attempt to re-imagine into existence the now vanished pre-WWI city of Czernowitz, the whole thing built around a "plot" featuring an ex-Austrian army officer (the "ermine" of the title) whom the author chooses to send into a lunatic asylum about halfway through, never to re-appear.  Like I said, structurally it's a real mess.  But if you can get past that - and especially if you have a dark sense of humour - then there's a lot to enjoy.
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Jo498 on June 06, 2022, 11:43:08 AM
Summer Lightning, P.G. Wodehouse
There is an old Drone's Club rule that you cannot pick a non-Jeeves-book if you pick only one Wodehouse book!
(Don't remember this one well enough to say if it might a be an admissible choice of non-Jeeves books, but I never liked Galahad, I think my favorite Blandings was the very first one "Something fresh" although some key characters are still missing from the cast)
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Todd on June 06, 2022, 11:51:15 AM
I read little fiction, and never re-read any, and haven't read a full novel in several years, so the below list includes books where certain aspects of the story, individual scenes, or use of language linger postively in my memory.

Gulliver's Travels, Jonathan Swift
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain
Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy
Vernon God Little, DBC Pierre
Half of a Yellow Sun, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Dry Brett Kavanaugh on June 06, 2022, 01:18:20 PM
the trouble with this thread is it makes me realise how poorly read I am........ sigh.............

How about your wife’s or daughter’s top five?
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: DavidW on June 06, 2022, 01:35:14 PM
the trouble with this thread is it makes me realise how poorly read I am........ sigh.............

That sounds great!  I remember the time when Beethoven's symphonies were fresh and exciting.  I can never have that again.  But with these great works we both can totally dive in and experience them fresh which most readers on this thread can't.  I read Anna Karenina for the first time just a few years ago, and it was a great novel and I don't think I would have appreciated it in the same way if I read it when I was young.
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: San Antone on June 06, 2022, 02:24:45 PM
I've seen a couple of people say they don't re-read books.  I am just the opposite.  I will re-read favorite books again and again. 

Most of my favorites I've read at least three, often more, times. 

There was a period of my life when each year I would read most of Faulkner's novels, as well as Cormac McCarthy's.  And there was a period when I would read a group of Shakespeare plays (the histories, tragedies, comedies) alternating every year.
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 06, 2022, 03:33:24 PM
I've seen a couple of people say they don't re-read books.  I am just the opposite.  I will re-read favorite books again and again. 

Most of my favorites I've read at least three, often more, times.

I'm the same, or was (prior to my stroke) but I'm getting back into the reading swing.
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Brian on June 06, 2022, 06:22:58 PM
For a long time I thought rereading was a shame given how many more great books there are out in the world, yet to be read, but in summer 2020 I dedicated a month to a reread of old favorites (as diverse as Middlemarch, Stoner, Bullsh*t Jobs by David Graeber, and Vagn Holmboe's book on music), and it was such a joy to return to works that I love and remember why they are so beloved. It was like meeting old friends again. I'll do it again this summer.

There are so many more books to read...but rereading your favorites really helps you gain new perspective on what reading and literature are all about. And they help you understand how you've changed in between sittings.
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 06, 2022, 06:26:18 PM
For a long time I thought rereading was a shame given how many more great books there are out in the world, yet to be read, but in summer 2020 I dedicated a month to a reread of old favorites (as diverse as Middlemarch, Stoner, Bullsh*t Jobs by David Graeber, and Vagn Holmboe's book on music), and it was such a joy to return to works that I love and remember why they are so beloved. It was like meeting old friends again. I'll do it again this summer.

There are so many more books to read...but rereading your favorites really helps you gain new perspective on what reading and literature are all about. And they help you understand how you've changed in between sittings.

Absolutely!
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Dry Brett Kavanaugh on June 06, 2022, 06:56:04 PM
Same here. I re-read my fav works every 2 or 3 years. They grew and I grew over time, and I found new things every time I re-read them. I am delighted by the new aspects I find while I am touched by the familiar places I always like. Inevitably, a few of my ex-favorite works and I departed away and I don’t re-read them any more. They are Tolstoy, Marquez, etc., but I found other works which became my favorites (ie. Mark Twain, Casanova).


It’s interesting to see that almost nobody mentioned Shakespeare.  ;D
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Holden on June 06, 2022, 11:04:39 PM
Eschewing the classics these are five of my favourites:

The Book Thief - Marcus Zusak

Das Boot - Gunter Buchheim. More than just a war story

The Mystery of the Dog in the Night Time - Mark Haddon

Catch 22 - Joseph Heller. Very relevant nowadays despite being published 60 years ago

A Clockwork Orange - In read the book before seeing the movie.

and my all time favourite series which is five books in itself by Douglas Adams:

The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy
Restaurant at the End of the Universe
Life the Universe and Everything
So Long and Thanks For All the Fish
Mostly Harmless 










Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Florestan on June 07, 2022, 01:10:49 AM
(Maupassant's Carmen

You mean Prosper Mérimée.  ;)
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Lisztianwagner on June 07, 2022, 01:41:43 AM
Mine could be:

Dostoevsky, Demons
Dickens, Hard Times
Zola, L'Assommoir
Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
Poetic Edda
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Christo on June 07, 2022, 02:11:54 AM
Dante Alighieri, Commedia
Defoe, Robinson Crusoe (read and reread it dozens of times as an 11 years old)
Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment
Paustovsky, Story of a Life
Auden, Collected Poems

Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Florestan on June 07, 2022, 02:25:15 AM
I didn't know he wrote novels. I've only read his autobiography, The Snows of Yesteryear.

There's even a second autobiographical book by Rezzori, The Memoirs of an Antisemite, and it's every bit as good as The Snows of Yesteryear.

Here's another list, all-Latin American

Gabriel García Márquez - Love in the Time of Cholera
Mario Vargas Llosa - Conversation in the Cathedral
Alejo Carpentier - The Rite of Spring
Augusto Roa Bastos - I, the Supreme
Álvaro Mutis - The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll

And a non-fiction one:

Theodor Mommsen - The Roman History
Cornelius Ryan - A Bridge too Far
Rüdiger Safranski - Schopenhauer and the Wild Years of Philosophy
Paul de Kruif - Microbe Hunters
Berlioz - Memoirs
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: DavidW on June 07, 2022, 06:00:16 AM
I've seen a couple of people say they don't re-read books.  I am just the opposite.  I will re-read favorite books again and again. 

Most of my favorites I've read at least three, often more, times. 

There was a period of my life when each year I would read most of Faulkner's novels, as well as Cormac McCarthy's.  And there was a period when I would read a group of Shakespeare plays (the histories, tragedies, comedies) alternating every year.

You can't absorb everything in one read through.  And also going back to them at different times of your life will yield fresh perspective.
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Brewski on June 07, 2022, 06:58:55 AM
Too many to name! But I think about these often:

Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale
Donald Barthelme, Sixty Stories
Jorge Luis Borges, Ficciones
Toni Morrison, Beloved
Flannery O’Connor, Wise Blood

--Bruce
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on June 07, 2022, 07:05:35 AM
There are so many more books to read...but rereading your favorites really helps you gain new perspective on what reading and literature are all about. And they help you understand how you've changed in between sittings.

The whole point of reading high-quality literature is to re-read it. How well would you appreciate a symphony if you were only able to hear it once? Reading tons of books is impressive, but if you only read them once, they will pass in a blur.

Same thing with speed-reading literature. Some people boast about doing so. I don't see the point; it's like speed-eating a gourmet meal.

Writers recognize this. Flaubert said something about how wise you would be if you knew only five or six books (i.e. really knew them). Karl Kraus said "you must read all writers twice, the good as well as the bad. You will recognize the former and unmask the latter."
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Florestan on June 07, 2022, 07:15:17 AM
You can't absorb everything in one read through.  And also going back to them at different times of your life will yield fresh perspective.

Absolutely. There are some books which can be fully understood and appreciated only after acquiring a certain experience of life and people which a teenager or a young adult objectively lack. I've recently seen on a Romanian TV contest a couple of teenagers (about 14) commended for reading Dostoevsky and Schopenhauer. Well, I have no doubt they can read their works but I am heavily skeptical about their understanding of those works.  ;D
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Florestan on June 07, 2022, 07:21:36 AM
Flaubert said something about how wise you would be if you knew only five or six books (i.e. really knew them).

Well, for centuries that was literally (pun) the case. The Bible, The Illiad, The Odissey, The Eneid, Ariosto's Orlando furioso and Tasso's Gerusalemme liberata - anyone who really knew those books was an accomplished reader, indeed a thinker. Think about it in terms of music: for centuries the vast majority of librettos for operas and oratorios were inspired by them.
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: André on June 07, 2022, 07:36:13 AM
Thomas Mann, Joseph and his Brothers
Roger Martin du Gard, Les Thibault
Naguib Mahfouz, Children of Gebelawi
V. Hugo, Les Misérables
J. Steinbeck, East of Eden

Other favourite authors: Hesse, Faulkner, Andric, Maupassant. I’d like to read a novel by a Japanese or Indian author, but I don’t know where to start…
 ::)
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Jo498 on June 07, 2022, 07:45:03 AM
Schopenhauer seems not the greatest choice because one needs to know some Kant (who is much harder to read, so they could go to secondary literature) and preferably some later German Idealism (such as Hegel, even worse to read) as a background and foil. So I wouldn't recommend this.
But there are "Great Books" one can start as a young teenager, even if one might miss a lot, they will have enough gripping story to work on a level. Les Miserables and some of Dickens would be such candidates.

When I was a kid in the early 1980s I encountered plenty of (usually) abridged and simplified versions of a lot of older literature that could in some way be conceived as adventure stories (along with simpler adventure stories like Treasure Island, Robin Hood, J.F. Cooper, Three musketeers and some of Jules Verne's), often also as movies, comics and cartoons: Don Quixote, Gulliver's travels, Robinson Crusoe, Moby Dick, Oliver Twist, even the better known Norse/Germanic and Graecoroman myths got such treatment. Sure, often this is quite a distortion that has little to do with the original text but I still think it is good to have shared if superficial knowledge of such a heritage of stories. Even it trash and middlebrow stuff is happily mixed with Great books ;)
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Florestan on June 07, 2022, 07:49:20 AM
J. Steinbeck, East of Eden

A great book indeed.


Quote
I’d like to read a novel by a Japanese or Indian author, but I don’t know where to start…  ::)

Look no further than Shusaku Endo's Silence. A few years ago it was the rage here on GMG.
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Brian on June 07, 2022, 07:50:12 AM
But there are "Great Books" one can start as a young teenager, even if one might miss a lot, they will have enough gripping story to work on a level. Les Miserables and some of Dickens would be such candidates.

When I was a kid in the early 1980s I encountered plenty of (usually) abridged and simplified versions of a lot of older literature that could in some way be conceived as adventure stories (along with simpler adventure stories like Treasure Island, Robin Hood, J.F. Cooper, Three musketeers and some of Jules Verne's), often also as movies, comics and cartoons: Don Quixote, Gulliver's travels, Robinson Crusoe, Moby Dick, Oliver Twist, even the better known Norse/Germanic and Graecoroman myths got such treatment. Sure, often this is quite a distortion that has little to do with the original text but I still think it is good to have shared if superficial knowledge of such a heritage of stories. Even it trash and middlebrow stuff is happily mixed with Great books ;)
The children's version of Count of Monte Cristo, in particular, removed a lot of plot twists from near the end of the book (drugs, murder, lesbians).  ;D

There are also some "Great Books" which are best read as a teenager, because they portray the world in a rather black and white way or have entry-level profundity rather than subtler or more complex introspection. Much as some books are much better when you are older, there are unfortunately some books which are better when you're young.
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Jo498 on June 07, 2022, 07:51:21 AM
Other favourite authors: Hesse, Faulkner, Andric, Maupassant. I’d like to read a novel by a Japanese or Indian author, but I don’t know where to start…
Kipling ;) has the advantage of several collections of shorter prose, so has Rabindranath Tagore, but I am far from knowledgeable about this. The main longish book by an Indian author I read was Vikram Seth' "An equal music" but this has nothing to do with India.

I also had in mind to read one of the classic chinese novels (Journey to the West, Water Margin etc.) but they are mighty long and many translations either abridged or not well looked upon by experts. The only "chinese" stuff I read was Van Gulik's Judge Dee (which I love and have all read twice) and as a teenager Pearl Buck because my Mom read such things.
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Florestan on June 07, 2022, 08:31:31 AM
There are also some "Great Books" which are best read as a teenager, because they portray the world in a rather black and white way or have entry-level profundity rather than subtler or more complex introspection. Much as some books are much better when you are older, there are unfortunately some books which are better when you're young.

Agreed. Jo has provided some very good examples.

My point (by which I stand) is that I'd rather commend a teenager for reading Alexandre Dumas, Jules Verne, Dickens, Cooper, Scott, Stevenson and "abridged and adapted" versions of Don Quijote, Gulliver, Robinson Crusoe than for reading Dostoevsky, Tolstoy or Stendhal, let alone Schopenhauer. The former is natural, the latter is affected.

Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: LKB on June 07, 2022, 09:51:14 AM
Revising my list, now that I've taken a little time to actually put some thought into it.

Steinbeck, The Log from the Sea of Cortez
Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
Whitman, Leaves of Grass
McMurtry, Lonesome Dove
Steinbeck, Travels with Charley
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Dry Brett Kavanaugh on June 07, 2022, 12:27:49 PM
Thomas Mann, Joseph and his Brothers
Roger Martin du Gard, Les Thibault
Naguib Mahfouz, Children of Gebelawi
V. Hugo, Les Misérables
J. Steinbeck, East of Eden

Other favourite authors: Hesse, Faulkner, Andric, Maupassant. I’d like to read a novel by a Japanese or Indian author, but I don’t know where to start…
 ::)


Jfyi,

Yasunari Kawabata: Thousand Cranes
Osamu Dazai: No Longer Human
Kobo Abe: The Woman in the Dunes
Ryunosuke Akutagawa: Rashomon
Yukio Mishima: Confessions of a Mask
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: ritter on June 07, 2022, 12:35:25 PM
…..
Álvaro Mutis - The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll

A good one! Read it many years ago (thirty at least) and enjoyed it immensely. Nice to see Maqroll and Mutis mentioned here, Andrei!
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Dry Brett Kavanaugh on June 07, 2022, 12:35:33 PM
Agreed. Jo has provided some very good examples.

My point (by which I stand) is that I'd rather commend a teenager for reading Alexandre Dumas, Jules Verne, Dickens, Cooper, Scott, Stevenson and "abridged and adapted" versions of Don Quijote, Gulliver, Robinson Crusoe than for reading Dostoevsky, Tolstoy or Stendhal, let alone Schopenhauer. The former is natural, the latter is affected.

I tend to have a different view. I read Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Stendhal first time when I was 12 y/o. I completely understood the plot, and 70-80 percent of the social/philosophical indications. As for the literary/artistic beauty, probably I got 60-70 percent. I knew that I found great works. I was shocked by them. First time I listened to the Beatles when I was 10 y/o, I was similarly shocked. Overall I am glad that I had these extraordinary, artistic experiences when I was a kid.
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Florestan on June 07, 2022, 01:02:19 PM
A good one! Read it many years ago (thirty at least) and enjoyed it immensely. Nice to see Maqroll and Mutis mentioned here, Andrei!

Just as nice to see Quijote and Cervantes mentioned here, Rafael!
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Florestan on June 07, 2022, 01:20:23 PM
I read Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Stendhal first time when I was 12 y/o. I completely understood the plot, and 70-80 percent of the social/philosophical indications. As for the literary/artistic beauty, probably I got 60-70 percent.

Come on, Manabu! Are you going to tell me that at 12 you were even cursorily familiar with the historical context of War and Peac or The Red and the Black? That at 12 you had any notion, and could express it in familiar words, of even a single one of the topics of those works? No, really, what could you have known at 12 about Russian and French history, let alone love (including sexual overtones), power, fate, politics, religion and so on and so forth?

As for literary/artistic beauty, I would bet that at 12 you didn't even have the proper vocabulary to describe it.

All of the above is of course moot if you were a genius.

(Sorry, my friend, I just couldn't resist.)

Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: ritter on June 07, 2022, 01:23:36 PM
Come on, Manabu! Are you going to tell me that at 12 you were even cursorily familiar with the historical context of War and Peac or The Red and the Black? That at 12 you had any notion, and could express it in familiar words, of even a single one of the topics of those works? No, really, what could you have known at 12 about Russian and French history, let alone love, power, fate, politics, religion and so on and so forth?

As for literary/artistic beauty, I would bet that at 12 you didn't even have the proper vocabulary to describe it.

All of the above is of course moot if you were a genius.

(Sorry, my friend, I just couldn't resist.)
And those of us who were reading Heidegger in kindergarten? Come on, Andrei!
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Florestan on June 07, 2022, 01:26:29 PM
And those of us who were reading Heidegger in kindergarten?

Well, in later life you became Wagnerites...  ;D
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Brian on June 07, 2022, 01:43:14 PM
Come on, Manabu! Are you going to tell me that at 12 you were even cursorily familiar with the historical context of War and Peac or The Red and the Black? That at 12 you had any notion, and could express it in familiar words, of even a single one of the topics of those works? No, really, what could you have known at 12 about Russian and French history, let alone love (including sexual overtones), power, fate, politics, religion and so on and so forth?

As for literary/artistic beauty, I would bet that at 12 you didn't even have the proper vocabulary to describe it.

All of the above is of course moot if you were a genius.

(Sorry, my friend, I just couldn't resist.)
I can imagine that the love sections of Charterhouse of Parma, rather than the politics ones, would be irresistible to a teenager. Not sure about age 12.
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Florestan on June 07, 2022, 01:54:41 PM
I can imagine that the love sections of Charterhouse of Parma, rather than the politics ones, would be irresistible to a teenager. Not sure about age 12.

 ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: DavidW on June 07, 2022, 01:57:01 PM
J. Steinbeck, East of Eden

I read it a million years ago.  I recently picked up a like new trade paperback copy at a library book sale.  It's now on my to be read pile for a reread!
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Dry Brett Kavanaugh on June 07, 2022, 02:12:21 PM
Come on, ; Manabu! Are you going to tell me that at 12 you were even cursorily familiar with the historical context of War and Peac or The Red and the Black? That at 12 you had any notion, and could express it in familiar words, of even a single one of the topics of those works? No, really, what could you have known at 12 about Russian and French history, let alone love (including sexual overtones), power, fate, politics, religion and so on and so forth?

As for literary/artistic beauty, I would bet that at 12 you didn't even have the proper vocabulary to describe it.

All of the above is of course moot if you were a genius.

(Sorry, my friend, I just couldn't resist.)

Well-said, Andrei!  ;D ;D
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: André on June 07, 2022, 03:25:23 PM
Thanks for the japanese books suggestions, gents !
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: vandermolen on June 07, 2022, 10:06:08 PM
Jane Eyre
A Tale of Two Cities
War and Peace
Jude the Obscure
Lonesome Dove
Actually your top four could be mine as well.

My List No.2  ::)

Orwell: Animal Farm
Orwell: 1984
Tolstoy: War and Peace
Tolkein: LOTR
Willans and Searle: The Compleet [sic] Molesworth
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Jo498 on June 07, 2022, 10:17:29 PM
Come on, Manabu! Are you going to tell me that at 12 you were even cursorily familiar with the historical context of War and Peace or The Red and the Black? That at 12 you had any notion, and could express it in familiar words, of even a single one of the topics of those works? No, really, what could you have known at 12 about Russian and French history, let alone love (including sexual overtones), power, fate, politics, religion and so on and so forth?
I agree with some of this but not all. One does not need to know the history before reading such novels (and many older adults don't). I think I know most of my 18th century scottish history from reading Stevenson's "Kidnapped" and "Catriona" not before, although I read this not as a teenager but in my twenties. And I probably looked up some things during that reading although it was before the internet, I think, so it would have been a standard lexicon entry for the Jacobites etc. I think one of the most famous German critics in the late 20th century mentioned several times that all he knew about a certain topic or historical period he had from some novel, not from school or scholarly literature.

And it also applies to some only moderately great literature, like Eco's Name of the Rose where despite all the scholasticism info-dumps included most readers will lack sufficient knowledge to appreciate even a fraction of the philosophical, theological and literary allusions. I recall that in the 1980s there were books called something "The name of the rose revealed" or so that tracked some of this stuff.

Even the love/sex aspect is a bit "cultural". In older literature and film sometimes these things are so discreetly hinted at, that I missed them as an adult! There is a novel by Fontane where I am still not sure, if adultery took place or  if the person feels so guilty about their adulterous intention that it lead to the marriage falling apart or so (now reading a summary, I think adultery did take place but off stage, so the scene I had in mind was not supposed to already indicate it).

Quote
As for literary/artistic beauty, I would bet that at 12 you didn't even have the proper vocabulary to describe it.
This doesn't matter. Not many people have the vocabulary for that and it is not necessary to appreciate literary quality although it is usually true that kids go more for plot/action and might downright ignore other aspects.

Quote
All of the above is of course moot if you were a genius.
It certainly is a factor if a child read whole real books with 6 or only with 9 that will partly determine what one can take with 12 or 14. However, at some age one also has to read the lighter stuff (like all these adventure stories, SciFi and classic murder mysteries etc.) so I'd rather do this at ~12-16
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Holden on June 07, 2022, 10:39:59 PM
Someone mentioned Guy de Maupassant. One of my favourite shorts stories is "Boule de Suif". Once again, very relevant today
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Florestan on June 07, 2022, 11:23:25 PM
I agree with some of this but not all. One does not need to know the history before reading such novels (and many older adults don't). I think I know most of my 18th century scottish history from reading Stevenson's "Kidnapped" and "Catriona" not before, although I read this not as a teenager but in my twenties. And I probably looked up some things during that reading although it was before the internet, I think, so it would have been a standard lexicon entry for the Jacobites etc. I think one of the most famous German critics in the late 20th century mentioned several times that all he knew about a certain topic or historical period he had from some novel, not from school or scholarly literature.

And it also applies to some only moderately great literature, like Eco's Name of the Rose where despite all the scholasticism info-dumps included most readers will lack sufficient knowledge to appreciate even a fraction of the philosophical, theological and literary allusions. I recall that in the 1980s there were books called something "The name of the rose revealed" or so that tracked some of this stuff.

Even the love/sex aspect is a bit "cultural". In older literature and film sometimes these things are so discreetly hinted at, that I missed them as an adult! There is a novel by Fontane where I am still not sure, if adultery took place or  if the person feels so guilty about their adulterous intention that it lead to the marriage falling apart or so (now reading a summary, I think adultery did take place but off stage, so the scene I had in mind was not supposed to already indicate it).
This doesn't matter. Not many people have the vocabulary for that and it is not necessary to appreciate literary quality although it is usually true that kids go more for plot/action and might downright ignore other aspects.
It certainly is a factor if a child read whole real books with 6 or only with 9 that will partly determine what one can take with 12 or 14. However, at some age one also has to read the lighter stuff (like all these adventure stories, SciFi and classic murder mysteries etc.) so I'd rather do this at ~12-16

Fair enough.

Otoh, one of the teenagers I refered to previously, although he boasted about reading Dostoevsky and Schopenhauer, was unfamiliar with such words as fanfare (military band) and wardrobe and guessed candies only after much thought (they were taking part in a contest where you are given the definition of a word and you must name it).  ;D
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Mandryka on June 07, 2022, 11:26:33 PM
In the UK they get kids in primary school to read bits of the bible and Shakespeare. If that’s OK, why not bits of  Crime and Punishment?
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: ritter on June 07, 2022, 11:29:30 PM
IIRC. Luchino Visconti claimed to have had read all of Shakespeare's plays by the time he had turned 12 or so...
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Jo498 on June 07, 2022, 11:32:01 PM
o.k. maybe these kids were just bragging on that show... I used to watch quiz shows when they suddenly became very common on our TV around 2000 (I have long since stopped) and I was often puzzled what reasonably intelligent (from their general behavior, formal education etc.) adults didn't know. Classical music and mythology was usually worst, but almost any more traditional culture and history was also pretty bad. And some otherwise smart guy was totally lost on a basic question concerning watt, volt, ohm, although this is on every hairdryer (or nowadays charging device)...
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Florestan on June 07, 2022, 11:44:44 PM
At 12 I was fully immersed in the fascinating worlds of Jules Verne, Alexandre Dumas and Paul Feval. Such happy times.
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: ultralinear on June 08, 2022, 12:06:22 AM
In the UK they get kids in primary school to read bits of the bible and Shakespeare. If that’s OK, why not bits of  Crime and Punishment?

Yes.  For English O-level (which I sat at age 15) we studied things like 1984 and Brave New World (as well as Shakespeare and Dickens), and could choose a book on which to write a detailed report.  In my case this was Crime and Punishment, for which I was already an enthusiast, mainly for its theme of adolescent alienation which seemed especially relevant at the time.  Obviously I cannot verify this, but I would imagine that it would be a very different book for someone who first read it when all that teenage angst stuff was well in the past.
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Jo498 on June 08, 2022, 12:23:17 AM
But there is a considerable difference between "primary school" (6-10 here), and 15. And of course there are some very gifted and/or privately well educated children. John Stuart Mills supposedly read Greek at 3 or 4 and many gifted children in former times read Latin or another second language at 7 or 8. That's why they had the Classics edited ad usum delphini to take out all the naughty stuff ;)
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Ganondorf on June 08, 2022, 02:34:23 AM
Thomas Mann: Buddenbrooks
Charles Dickens: Our Mutual Friend
Victor Hugo: Notre-Dame de Paris
Herman Melville: Moby-Dick
J.R.R. Tolkien: The Silmarillion

Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Florestan on June 08, 2022, 05:17:28 AM
It’s interesting to see that almost nobody mentioned Shakespeare.  ;D

Maybe dramas / plays in general warrant a separate list?

Ibsen - Peer Gynt, The Pillars of Society
Edmond Rostand - Cyrano de Bergerac
Tchekhov - Uncle Vanya
Goldoni - The Boors

Still no Shakespeare, though.  :D

Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: San Antone on June 08, 2022, 05:33:11 AM
I just bought the Kindle versions of the Aeneid, Iliad, and Odyssey translated by Stanley Lombardo.   Over the past 50 years or so I have bought a number of different translations of these works, and the Lombardo is a newish one, and has received high praise.  So another go round with these classics.
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Dry Brett Kavanaugh on June 08, 2022, 05:46:40 AM
Maybe dramas / plays in general warrant a separate list?

Ibsen - Peer Gynt, The Pillars of Society
Edmond Rostand - Cyrano de Bergerac
Tchekhov - Uncle Vanya
Goldoni - The Boors

Still no Shakespeare, though.  :D


I think only Mandryka mentioned Shakespeare (Hamlet). Weird, this is an Anglo-majority forum.
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: André on June 08, 2022, 07:00:16 AM
Just my opinion, but I don’t think plays are strictly literary works. They demand an intermediary (actors and scenery, even music) between the text and the listener/viewer. A literary work is in the abstract, the writer communicating directly with the listener. Any thoughts ?
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Florestan on June 08, 2022, 07:12:09 AM
Just my opinion, but I don’t think plays are strictly literary works. They demand an intermediary (actors and scenery, even music) between the text and the listener/viewer.

Not necessarily. You can read the play just as you would read a novel. Actually, save Hamlet and The Taming of the Shrew, I've never seen any Shakespeare on stage, yet I read a lot of his plays. Also, I know Peer Gynt and Cyrano de Bergerac exclusively from reading them.

I've never seen any definition of literature that excluded plays.

Any thoughts ?

As you can see above, I disagree.  :)

Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 08, 2022, 07:17:58 AM

I think only Mandryka mentioned Shakespeare (Hamlet). Weird, this is an Anglo-majority forum.

One of a number of omissions I might chide myself for.  But, of course, five makes such a short list.
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: San Antone on June 08, 2022, 08:26:38 AM
Just my opinion, but I don’t think plays are strictly literary works. They demand an intermediary (actors and scenery, even music) between the text and the listener/viewer. A literary work is in the abstract, the writer communicating directly with the listener. Any thoughts ?

While it is true that plays are works for the stage, they can certainly be read and enjoyed as literature.  I have several production copies of Shakespeare plays, with scenic design and blocking added to the stage directions, complete with set drawings of each scene.  But I always read them and imagine the action.  I also have two complete audio versions of the plays.

Not any different from listening to an opera instead of watching a DVD or seeing one live.
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Brian on June 08, 2022, 08:59:42 AM
Although I do have Shakespeare printed and like to read it on occasion, he didn't make my personal favorite list because it is so much better to experience live or on film, acted. I'll go see a great production any time, but don't sit down to read Twelfth Night (or whatever) with anything like the frequency with which I sit down to savor Jane Austen for example.
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 08, 2022, 09:05:27 AM
Although I do have Shakespeare printed and like to read it on occasion, he didn't make my personal favorite list because it is so much better to experience live or on film, acted. I'll go see a great production any time, but don't sit down to read Twelfth Night (or whatever) with anything like the frequency with which I sit down to savor Jane Austen for example.

A fair point. I've watched Shakespeare more recerntly than I've read him.
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Mandryka on June 08, 2022, 09:38:11 AM
Here’s a favourite bit of reading Shakespeare

Th' expense of spirit in a waste of shame
Is lust in action; and till action, lust
Is perjured, murd'rous, bloody, full of blame,
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust,
Enjoyed no sooner but despisèd straight,
Past reason hunted; and, no sooner had
Past reason hated as a swallowed bait
On purpose laid to make the taker mad;
Mad in pursuit and in possession so,
Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme;
A bliss in proof and proved, a very woe;
Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream.
    All this the world well knows; yet none knows well
    To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Artem on June 08, 2022, 11:26:13 AM
I'll try

Tender is the Night
The Winners
The Castle
The Trial
The Magic Mountain
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Ganondorf on June 09, 2022, 08:49:21 AM
I’d like to read a novel by a Japanese
 ::)

Not a novel but Kentaro Miura's Berserk manga is one of the greatest achievements in the history of mankind. However one has to be acquainted with how to read manga and also, a big warning: Berserk is very very VERY dark and adult-themed full of disturbing elements. Yet it is also is very very VERY well done, capable of presenting vilest things imaginable without the characters doing those things themselves been in any way exaggerated or caricaturish and with great subtlety. There is also great dark humor in it. And the art style is simply STUNNING.
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: San Antone on June 09, 2022, 09:02:28 AM
Quote
Not a novel but Kentaro Miura's Berserk manga is one of the greatest achievements in the history of mankind.

Nothing like hyperbole to enhance a recommendation.
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Mirror Image on June 09, 2022, 09:19:50 AM
Nothing like hyperbole to enhance a recommendation.

If the member is enthusiastic about the work, then I find no fault in them giving an opinion no matter how extravagant it is. If I recall, you made some rather extravagant assertions yourself about Bernstein's Mass on another forum:

Quote from: San Antone via Talk Classical
I wouldn't describe Bernstein's Mass as a "mess." Over the years the critical opinion of the work has risen considerably, so that today that it is considered not only one of his best works but an important work of the 20th century.

So why are you allowed a free pass to say what you want, but if someone else gives an opinion that you don't agree with its "hyperbole"?
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Florestan on June 09, 2022, 09:44:11 AM
If the member is enthusiastic about the work, then I find no fault in them giving an opinion no matter how extravagant it is. If I recall, you made some rather extravagant assertions yourself about Bernstein's Mass on another forum:

So why are you allowed a free pass to say what you want, but if someone else gives an opinion that you don't agree with its "hyperbole"?

I never heard Bernstein's Mass nor read the Berserk Manga but I'd say that "an important work of the 20th century" might or might not apply to the former yet "one of the greatest achievements in the history of mankind" is surely hyperbole in relation to the latter. I mean, come on, it just can't be in the same league as Dante, Goethe or Tolstoy, can it?
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Mirror Image on June 09, 2022, 10:09:23 AM
I never heard Bernstein's Mass nor read the Berserk Manga but I'd say that "an important work of the 20th century" might or might not apply to the former yet "one of the greatest achievements in the history of mankind" is surely hyperbole in relation to the latter. I mean, come on, it just can't be in the same league as Dante, Goethe or Tolstoy, can it?

Let people have their opinions. I think the Watchmen is one of greatest works of literature of all-time, but the fact that it's a comic brings a certain group of people out of the wood work to tell me otherwise or to grow up. San Antone could have respectfully said "I disagree", but instead chose to post a smart ass assertion instead, but what this actually told me was more about San Antone than the member who gave an extravagant opinion. My various dealings with San Antone is that he likes for people to believe he's some kind of arbiter of truth and what he says is what the reality is, but the way he comes across to me is someone who believes that every one has poor taste and his is superior in every way. In other words, a superiority complex of the highest order. Oh and don't say something negative about Bernstein's Mass or challenge the very notion of what jazz music is, because you're in for a verbal onslaught.
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Ganondorf on June 09, 2022, 10:28:46 AM
Thanks for defending me, John.  :) However, maybe I am just naïve but I chose to take San antone's comment as tongue-in-cheek-style. I'm probably wrong but I didn't feel that insulted by it, though I still think Berserk manga is God-hand (pun) tier.
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: San Antone on June 09, 2022, 10:31:07 AM
Thanks for defending me, John.  :) However, maybe I am just naïve but I chose to take San antone's comment as tongue-in-cheek-style. I'm probably wrong but I didn't feel that insulted by it, though I still think Berserk manga is God-hand (pun) tier.

I am happy you were wise enough to do that.   ;)
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Mandryka on June 09, 2022, 10:57:50 AM
I never heard Bernstein's Mass

It's a mess, especially at the end.
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 09, 2022, 10:58:19 AM
If the member is enthusiastic about the work, then I find no fault in them giving an opinion no matter how extravagant it is. If I recall, you made some rather extravagant assertions yourself about Bernstein's Mass on another forum:

So why are you allowed a free pass to say what you want, but if someone else gives an opinion that you don't agree with its "hyperbole"?

You're way off, John. Explain, please, how "I wouldn't describe Bernstein's Mass as a 'mess.' Over the years the critical opinion of the work has risen considerably, so that today that it is considered not only one of his best works but an important work of the 20th century." is hyperbole. No, is an extravagant assertion.
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 09, 2022, 11:00:04 AM
I never heard Bernstein's Mass nor read the Berserk Manga but I'd say that "an important work of the 20th century" might or might not apply to the former yet "one of the greatest achievements in the history of mankind" is surely hyperbole in relation to the latter. I mean, come on, it just can't be in the same league as Dante, Goethe or Tolstoy, can it?

"one of the greatest achievements in the history of mankind" is hyperbole. Full stop.
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: ritter on June 09, 2022, 11:10:25 AM
"one of the greatest achievements in the history of mankind" is hyperbole. Full stop.
Not when talking about Parsifal!  ;D (Sorry, couldn’t help it….and good evening to you, Karl).
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Brian on June 09, 2022, 11:15:21 AM
Just to inject some levity into the proceedings...there are probably only a very few things that would fall into the category of "greatest achievements in the history of mankind." The moon landings. The eradication of diseases like smallpox and polio. The criminalization of slavery and (ongoing, endangered) notion of equal rights for all humans. The invention of the chocolate chip cookie. My posts on GMG.

You know. Only a few things.  ;)
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Mirror Image on June 09, 2022, 11:18:08 AM
Not when talking about Parsifal!  ;D (Sorry, couldn’t help it….and good evening to you, Karl).

Now I'd get onboard with this assertion. :D I think Parsifal is an absolute masterpiece. Hope you're well, Rafael.
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Mirror Image on June 09, 2022, 11:19:55 AM
Just to inject some levity into the proceedings...there are probably only a very few things that would fall into the category of "greatest achievements in the history of mankind." The moon landings. The eradication of diseases like smallpox and polio. The criminalization of slavery and (ongoing, endangered) notion of equal rights for all humans. The invention of the chocolate chip cookie. My posts on GMG.

You know. Only a few things.  ;)

I'd also nominate blackened trout to this list. 8)
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Todd on June 09, 2022, 11:27:47 AM
You know. Only a few things.  ;)


You forgot nacho cheese.
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Mirror Image on June 09, 2022, 11:28:18 AM
You're way off, John. Explain, please, how "I wouldn't describe Bernstein's Mass as a 'mess.' Over the years the critical opinion of the work has risen considerably, so that today that it is considered not only one of his best works but an important work of the 20th century." is hyperbole. No, is an extravagant assertion.

I understand, Karl, but this member still had a right to say whatever the hell he wanted to express their opinion of a book they were enthusiastic about. San Antone was just being a snob. That's how I read his comment. I won't discuss this any further as I've already derailed Manabu's thread with these posts.
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Dry Brett Kavanaugh on June 09, 2022, 12:12:29 PM
Not a novel but Kentaro Miura's Berserk manga is one of the greatest achievements in the history of mankind. However one has to be acquainted with how to read manga and also, a big warning: Berserk is very very VERY dark and adult-themed full of disturbing elements. Yet it is also is very very VERY well done, capable of presenting vilest things imaginable without the characters doing those things themselves been in any way exaggerated or caricaturish and with great subtlety. There is also great dark humor in it. And the art style is simply STUNNING.


Nice post, Dorf! I will read the work next time I visit Japan. I am not familiar with manga in new generation, but I grew up with manga and I know that some works are very artistic and philosophical (ie. Phoenix, Osamu Tezuka). Today, some mangas even become literary works and vice versa.  Good manga works rather take advantage of the mangas’ limitation on dialogue, narration, and visual movement for enhancing artistic beauty. The less is more.

Manga has been evolved from Japanese traditional/mass art, Kamishibai( pictorial storytelling on the street), which possibly began in the 11-12th century.


(https://static.tokyo-np.co.jp/image/article/size1/d/a/5/6/da56c53563f2104d3db242c71aaa4a9c_2.jpg)

Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: vandermolen on June 09, 2022, 08:48:01 PM
One of my favourites:
(http://)
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Biffo on June 10, 2022, 01:57:06 AM
One of my favourites:
(http://)

An interesting choice and it reminds me I ought to resume reading the Tintin adventures. I have them all in French and was working my way through them but for no real reason came to a halt. I have the animated series derived from the Casterman Edition; it is excellent but I miss Milou's 'thought bubbles', the best of these is in Vol 714 Pour Sydney but I won't spoil it for anyone who hasn't already read it.
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: vandermolen on June 10, 2022, 07:35:43 AM
An interesting choice and it reminds me I ought to resume reading the Tintin adventures. I have them all in French and was working my way through them but for no real reason came to a halt. I have the animated series derived from the Casterman Edition; it is excellent but I miss Milou's 'thought bubbles', the best of these is in Vol 714 Pour Sydney but I won't spoil it for anyone who hasn't already read it.
I think that there was a 'Golden Period' of Tintin in the 1950s and early 60s which included 'The Calculus Affair' (hilarious helicopter sequence over Lake Geneva), 'Tintin in Tibet' and 'The Castafiore Emerald'. I also like 'The Seven Crystal Balls' and its sequel 'Prisoners of the Sun'. I think that I started a Tintin thread some years ago. I was furious when my mother threw my whole collection out (other than 'The Red Sea Sharks') when I was at university - I had to buy them all again as an adult  >:D
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Dry Brett Kavanaugh on June 10, 2022, 07:59:38 PM
A slightly related issue (for me) is that books for children tend to have a lot of illustrations whereas books for adult readers have few or no illustrations. Personally I don’t think this is a good idea/custom. Sophisticated, artistic illustrations in books for adults would enhance the impact of stories as well as the artistic quality of whole books. The price would increase for such books with illustrations, but I would gladly pay for higher price.
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Florestan on June 11, 2022, 04:20:40 AM
A slightly related issue (for me) is that books for children tend to have a lot of illustrations whereas books for adult readers have few or no illustrations. Personally I don’t think this is a good idea/custom. Sophisticated, artistic illustrations in books for adults would enhance the impact of stories as well as the artistic quality of whole books.

Agreed.

I think, though, that in the 19th century things were different, at least in France, where Gustave Doré illustrated Dante, Cervantes, Balzac, Poe, Coleridge and Jules Verne's novels were published with illustrations.
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Jo498 on June 11, 2022, 04:49:58 AM
I don't mind illustrations (years ago I got The hobbit and Lord of the Rings with illustrations). But I don't miss them at all. Probably cannot shake that as a kid "real" books were without illustrations ;)
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Todd on June 11, 2022, 05:10:56 AM
I am not sure I would want to see illustrations for some Cormac McCarthy novels.
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Florestan on June 11, 2022, 05:13:14 AM
I am not sure I would want to see illustrations for some Cormac McCarthy novels.

 :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: DavidW on June 11, 2022, 05:38:48 AM
I am not sure I would want to see illustrations for some Cormac McCarthy novels.

Blood Meridian, the Children's Edition with illustrations and an included coloring book. :D
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Dry Brett Kavanaugh on June 11, 2022, 05:53:18 AM
Agreed.

I think, though, that in the 19th century things were different, at least in France, where Gustave Doré illustrated Dante, Cervantes, Balzac, Poe, Coleridge and Jules Verne's novels were published with illustrations.

These works with illustrations must have been marvelous!

Crime and Punishment, Red and Black etc with bunch of illustrations will be gorgeous!
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Mandryka on June 11, 2022, 08:16:07 AM
Agreed.

I think, though, that in the 19th century things were different, at least in France, where Gustave Doré illustrated Dante, Cervantes, Balzac, Poe, Coleridge and Jules Verne's novels were published with illustrations.

I think there were some particularly good illustrations for The Arabian Nights. And I would like to see more for Les Miserables -- look at the Thernardiers

(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c9/Les_Mis%C3%A9rables_-_les_Th%C3%A9nardier.jpg/800px-Les_Mis%C3%A9rables_-_les_Th%C3%A9nardier.jpg)

Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Florestan on June 11, 2022, 08:20:19 AM
(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c9/Les_Mis%C3%A9rables_-_les_Th%C3%A9nardier.jpg/800px-Les_Mis%C3%A9rables_-_les_Th%C3%A9nardier.jpg)

This strikes me as rather ambiguous. I mean, Mme Thenardier does look no less like a man than her husband.  ;D
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Brian on June 11, 2022, 09:24:52 AM
Blood Meridian, the Children's Edition with illustrations and an included coloring book. :D
Wasn't the judge an albino too  ;D ;D
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Jo498 on June 11, 2022, 10:28:24 AM
This strikes me as rather ambiguous. I mean, Mme Thenardier does look no less like a man than her husband.  ;D
Maybe on purpose. She is an absolute bastard, IIRC, egging on her husband in his evil deeds. Of course they are also to be pitied in their desolate poverty but they are mostly a miserable, petty criminal couple, if I am not totally mistaken. They took lots of money from Fantine (who had to prostitute herself to come up with the money) and still treated her daughter like hell. They are more repulsive than Javert who is obsessed with catching Valjean but this is his job, a bit overzealous maybe.
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Dry Brett Kavanaugh on June 11, 2022, 12:39:55 PM
I think there were some particularly good illustrations for The Arabian Nights. And I would like to see more for Les Miserables -- look at the Thernardiers


I especially like the illustrations of the Arabian Nights, as well as Rubaiyat, by Edmund Dulac.




 (https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-cP6dSPiK4ac/XkhRI9C2aWI/AAAAAAAAcqc/0fct2UfhSZMPyFnDa88OTIMYO5tdMBYMwCLcBGAsYHQ/s1600/1911_Edmund%2BDulac_From%2BL%2527Illustration%252C%2BNo.%2Bde%2BNoel_English%252C%2B1911_Cleveland%252C%2BThe%2BCleveland%2BMuseum%2Bof%2BArt.png)


(https://3.bp.blogspot.com/--9LcS5IxXS4/WAuWi2SMWOI/AAAAAAAA4Zg/-DegLm0L1dQEnpsrCnHT5so80PGOX4sUQCLcB/s640/Dulac%2BArabian%2BNights%2BDeryabar.png)


(https://assets.catawiki.nl/assets/2017/11/27/9/4/e/94e1f5a9-7f31-4433-8dab-f07fa8c7bc8f.jpg)


(https://www.jonkers.co.uk/imagecache/00048003-500x778.jpeg?v=1)


Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Biffo on June 12, 2022, 01:54:33 AM
I think that there was a 'Golden Period' of Tintin in the 1950s and early 60s which included 'The Calculus Affair' (hilarious helicopter sequence over Lake Geneva), 'Tintin in Tibet' and 'The Castafiore Emerald'. I also like 'The Seven Crystal Balls' and its sequel 'Prisoners of the Sun'. I think that I started a Tintin thread some years ago. I was furious when my mother threw my whole collection out (other than 'The Red Sea Sharks') when I was at university - I had to buy them all again as an adult  >:D

I said 'an interesting choice' because I thought The Castafiore Emerald was one of the weaker stories. Of course, all the adventures have their great moments of humour and brilliant artwork. Tintin in Tibet is a fine story but I am not sure of my favourite.
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Mandryka on June 12, 2022, 02:54:50 AM
This strikes me as rather ambiguous. I mean, Mme Thenardier does look no less like a man than her husband.  ;D

When I was a child in Manchester there were women who looked like that, tough women who'd worked in the dark satanic mills from the age of 14. Northern women have a reputation for being ball breakers. I don't know if you get Coronation Street in Romania, it was a cult TV series of the 1960s and onwards, set in working class Salford. There was a character called Ena Sharples who looks a bit like that Thenardier image

(https://i.pinimg.com/564x/d3/73/db/d373db9a33bec5b7fb52d115d1782690.jpg)

Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Florestan on June 12, 2022, 02:57:32 AM
When I was a child in Manchester there were women who looked like that, tough women who'd worked in the dark satanic mills from the age of 14. Northern women have a reputation for being ball breakers. I don't know if you get Coronation Street in Romania, it was a cult TV series of the 1960s and onwards, set in working class Salford. There was a character called Ena Sharples who looks a bit like that Thenardier image

(https://i.pinimg.com/564x/d3/73/db/d373db9a33bec5b7fb52d115d1782690.jpg)

Yes, this Ena Sharples is quite masculine too.  :)
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: San Antone on June 12, 2022, 03:30:42 AM
My favorite illustrated books are Der Ring by P. Craig Russel

(https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/51APrKI1xKL.jpg)

and

Maus by Art Spiegelman

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51bX7G6BgXL._SX362_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg)
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Dry Brett Kavanaugh on June 12, 2022, 05:08:01 AM
My favorite illustrated books are Der Ring by P. Craig Russel


Nice illustrations!
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Mandryka on June 12, 2022, 05:22:11 AM
I especially like the illustrations of the Arabian Nights, as well as Rubaiyat, by Edmund Dulac.




 (https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-cP6dSPiK4ac/XkhRI9C2aWI/AAAAAAAAcqc/0fct2UfhSZMPyFnDa88OTIMYO5tdMBYMwCLcBGAsYHQ/s1600/1911_Edmund%2BDulac_From%2BL%2527Illustration%252C%2BNo.%2Bde%2BNoel_English%252C%2B1911_Cleveland%252C%2BThe%2BCleveland%2BMuseum%2Bof%2BArt.png)


(https://3.bp.blogspot.com/--9LcS5IxXS4/WAuWi2SMWOI/AAAAAAAA4Zg/-DegLm0L1dQEnpsrCnHT5so80PGOX4sUQCLcB/s640/Dulac%2BArabian%2BNights%2BDeryabar.png)


(https://assets.catawiki.nl/assets/2017/11/27/9/4/e/94e1f5a9-7f31-4433-8dab-f07fa8c7bc8f.jpg)


(https://www.jonkers.co.uk/imagecache/00048003-500x778.jpeg?v=1)

Yes it would be nice to get an edition with these illustrations. In Proust, there’s a lot of talk about a dinner service illustrated with Arabian Nights scenes. I’d like a dinner service like that!
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Jo498 on June 12, 2022, 07:30:42 AM
I said 'an interesting choice' because I thought The Castafiore Emerald was one of the weaker stories. Of course, all the adventures have their great moments of humour and brilliant artwork. Tintin in Tibet is a fine story but I am not sure of my favourite.
I didn't like the The Castafiore Emerald at all as a kid, I still find it too "meta-level".
My favorite is probably "The Calculus Affair" and the "Double" with the Treasure of Rackham. Tim in Tibet was supposed to be Hergé's own favorite but I think that was also connected to his personal situation (divorce and depression or so)
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: vandermolen on June 12, 2022, 07:42:32 AM
A slightly related issue (for me) is that books for children tend to have a lot of illustrations whereas books for adult readers have few or no illustrations. Personally I don’t think this is a good idea/custom. Sophisticated, artistic illustrations in books for adults would enhance the impact of stories as well as the artistic quality of whole books. The price would increase for such books with illustrations, but I would gladly pay for higher price.
An interesting point Manabu. I like the original illustrations in the Sherlock Holmes stories and in children's classics like the Wind in the Willows and Winnie the Pooh.
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: vandermolen on June 12, 2022, 07:46:47 AM
I didn't like the The Castafiore Emerald at all as a kid, I still find it too "meta-level".
My favorite is probably "The Calculus Affair" and the "Double" with the Treasure of Rackham. Tim in Tibet was supposed to be Hergé's own favorite but I think that was also connected to his personal situation (divorce and depression or so)
I liked the Castafiore Emerald for it's humour (Mr Bolt the builder for example) and because it has no villain (except the magpie). Professor Calculus's experimental colour television was also fun for my much younger self.
Title: Re: Your All-time 5 Favorite Literary Works
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 06, 2022, 07:46:21 AM
John Berryman The Dream Songs
T. S. Eliot Four Quartets
Vladimir Nabokov Ada or Ardor
J. P. Donleavy The Beastly Beatitudes of Balthazar B
Thomas Pynchon Gravity's Rainbow


Sarge