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Registered: 05/10/02
Posts: 39
Literature vs Stories
    #630267 - 05/14/02 09:27 AM (21 years, 6 months ago)

PGF's suggestions have merit, but they are kinda heavy for a first outing, IMO.

I have always preferred authors who actually tell a STORY - those whose main concern is plot rather than character studies or linguistic techniques. Dickens, or Hugo, or Poe. Or the more contemporary master storytellers such as King, Clavell, or Archer.

Don't get me wrong, well developed characters (Stephen King is especially good at this) and an adroit turn of phrase enhance the experience, but plot MUST take precedence.

I tried as hard as I could to get through Gravity's Rainbow, because it is considered by critics to be such a literary masterpiece, but I just couldn't finish it. Bored me to tears. Vineland may be better, but I am hesitant to pick up another Pynchon. Same with Ulysees by Joyce. It may be a masterpiece linguistically, but to me it was just pointless. Contrast Joyce's blatant manipulation of the language for the sheer sake of manipulation in Ulysees with Burgess's A Clockwork Orange. Sure, A Clockwork Orange took some effort to decipher, especially in the beginning, but the reward for that effort was an entertaining story.

Just my two cents.


Anne : D

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Registered: 07/20/00
Posts: 8,642
Loc: Malaysia
Re: Literature vs Stories [Re: Anne_Atomic]
    #630595 - 05/14/02 02:16 PM (21 years, 6 months ago)

Gravity's Rainbow is a bit much for most people here. V. would be way too much. Vineland is good material for this group, I think. It is not too lofty and not too complicated.

My first suggestion, the Dylan Thomas work, seems like it would be enjoyable for these people. I have not read it, but I would be eager to check it out. Thomas's poetry is a bit much for most, but the reviews I've found on his stories have been high in praise.

I understand your hesitancy to get into high literature, especially the post-modernists. I was rather found of the difficulty involved in getting through a post-modern work, but I agree that most of those works would not be right for the shroomery book club.

However, most modernists, from Burgess to Tom Wolfe have a lot to offer us and I would not be opposed to sticking to those types of writers. Personally, I will not cross over the boundary into Stephen King and Anne Rice type fiction.

BTW, Gravity's Rainbow along with all of Pynchon's other harder works may be liguistically intricate but they certainly do not lack in their story telling. It's a different type of writing and it requires a different type of reading.......if that makes sense.

***The Real Shroomery nigger

Edited by PGF (05/14/02 02:17 PM)

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Registered: 05/10/02
Posts: 39
Re: Literature vs Stories [Re: PGF]
    #630791 - 05/14/02 05:17 PM (21 years, 6 months ago)

Oh, I didn't mean to suggest we discuss any of King's books. I enjoy them immensely, and I think he is hugely underrated critically. He is a master STORYTELLER, although some of his earlier books are kinda crappy. Still, King at his best is VERY good. The thing is, once you've read a book by King, you know the story. Not much left to discuss.

Here's a suggestion - Perfume by Patrick Susskind. An original theme, VERY original protagonist, lyrical writing, first rate translation (I believe the translator won an award for it), interesting ethical points to discuss, and not something everyone has read already. It's not particularly lengthy, either. I wouldn't mind reading it again

As I said, I was so put off by Gravity's Rainbow that I never tried another of Pynchon's works, but I'll take your word for it that Vineland is more mainstream. My trouble is trying to find time for everything I want to read. So many books, so little time. These days I average two or three books a week at most, and I still have a list as long as my arm of "must reads".

Tom Wolfe is wonderful! The Right Stuff and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test are great books. I loved The Bonfire of the Vanities, but his second novel, A Man in Full, was a huge disappointment.

As for Anne Rice... I WANTED to like her vampire books, I really did, because they have such a huge following, but I just can't see the attraction. I started Interview with the Vampire and never finished it, and that is a rare thing for me. Normally I will stick with a book to the end, but her style of writing irritates me. Too leisurely, too mannered, too pretentious. In my opinion she has to learn how to advance the story more adroitly.

I've never read any Dylan Thomas. I had always thought of him as a poet, not a novelist. I'll have to check him out.


Anne : D

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