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Re: Favorite Books

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  • butterfly_27684@hotmail.com
    I have to agree with Niall s evaluation of top ten, all very good selections. Lord of The Rings has recently become one of my personal conquests. A friend
    Message 1 of 27 , Aug 31, 2001
      I have to agree with Niall's evaluation of top ten, all very good
      selections. Lord of The Rings has recently become one of my personal
      conquests. A friend asked me to read it so we could discuss it
      together, I traded Milieu/Exiles/Intervention for reading it. I find
      now that I didn't need to trade, I love Lord of The Rings!
      I know you're all going to hate me for this but I must say that
      Harry Potter deserves a mention, juvenile they are but so well
      written, they are addictive. 500 pages in one night!
      Yours, Kym...
    • blum25@yahoo.com
      I forget who said it , but McCaffrey s Crystal Singer Books WERE excellent. Re Harry Potter - I haven t read them, but another couple sets of childrens books
      Message 2 of 27 , Sep 1, 2001
        I forget who said it , but McCaffrey's Crystal Singer Books WERE
        excellent.

        Re Harry Potter - I haven't read them, but another couple sets of
        childrens books that deserve honorable mention are:

        Lloyd Alexander - The Prydain Chronicles
        Susan Cooper - The Dark is Rising Sequence
        and The Weirdstone of Brisingamen

        And to me, what makes a book great is whether it entertains me with
        originality and makes some effort to have a point or message. Whether
        that is social commentary or just teaching others the lessons in life
        they have encountered.
      • clarissafarrington@bigpond.com
        Hiya Avalon Well what a surprise! I have both of the Sharon Penmans you listed on my shelf! A great read and very informative - The Sunne in Splendor made me
        Message 3 of 27 , Sep 2, 2001
          Hiya Avalon

          Well what a surprise! I have both of the Sharon Penmans you listed on
          my shelf! A great read and very informative - The Sunne in Splendor
          made me do a lot of research on Richard III. It really proves that
          History is written by the victor!

          Also have read the Poldark books - but along time ago!

          I have to admit though - I hated the Mists of Avalon!

          Cheers

          Clarissa

          --- In Julian-May-discuss@y..., Avalon Myst <avalonmyst_nz@y...>
          wrote:
          > Well, here is my Top 10 (Favorites).
          >
          > The last 2 change on the whim of the moment but
          > the first 8 have been consistent for some time.
          >
          > Mists of Avalon Marion Bradley
          > Sunne in Splendour/Here Be Dragons Sharon Penman
          > Pride & Prejudice Jane Austin
          > Pliocene / Mileau Series Julian May
          > Dune Frank Herbert
          > Mission Patrick Tilley
          > Deverry Series Katherine Kerr
          > The Power of One / Tandia Bryce
          > Courtenay
          > The Sunbird Wilbour Smith
          > Poldark series Winston Graham
          >
          > Cheers!
          > Avalon
          >
          >
          ______________________________________________________________________
          _______
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        • Avalon Myst
          Hi Clarissa I do have very wide ranging tastes, from SF/F to historical, mystical to classic ... pretty strange eh! I do love Sharon Penman s work though -
          Message 4 of 27 , Sep 4, 2001
            Hi Clarissa

            I do have very wide ranging tastes, from SF/F to
            historical, mystical to classic ... pretty
            strange eh! I do love Sharon Penman's work
            though - the mark of a good writer to me
            (particularly based - however loosely - on fact)
            is someone who sends me to the
            internet/encyclopeadia/library to look up more on
            the subject. I'm still a stoic defender of
            Richard III after reading Sunne and I'm sure
            Shakespeare (that Tudor puppet!) has a lot to
            answer for all the bad press!!

            I just loved the Poldark series - one I wish
            they'd repeat on TV (showing my age here!)

            Cheers
            Avalon


            --- clarissafarrington@... wrote: > Hiya
            Avalon
            >
            > Well what a surprise! I have both of the Sharon
            > Penmans you listed on
            > my shelf! A great read and very informative -
            > The Sunne in Splendor
            > made me do a lot of research on Richard III. It
            > really proves that
            > History is written by the victor!
            >
            > Also have read the Poldark books - but along
            > time ago!
            >
            > I have to admit though - I hated the Mists of
            > Avalon!
            >
            > Cheers
            >
            > Clarissa
            >
            > --- In Julian-May-discuss@y..., Avalon Myst
            > <avalonmyst_nz@y...>
            > wrote:
            > > Well, here is my Top 10 (Favorites).
            > >
            > > The last 2 change on the whim of the moment
            > but
            > > the first 8 have been consistent for some
            > time.
            > >
            > > Mists of Avalon Marion Bradley
            > > Sunne in Splendour/Here Be Dragons Sharon
            > Penman
            > > Pride & Prejudice Jane Austin
            > > Pliocene / Mileau Series Julian May
            > > Dune Frank Herbert
            > > Mission Patrick
            > Tilley
            > > Deverry Series Katherine
            > Kerr
            > > The Power of One / Tandia Bryce
            > > Courtenay
            > > The Sunbird Wilbour Smith
            > > Poldark series Winston
            > Graham
            > >
            > > Cheers!
            > > Avalon
            > >
            > >
            >
            ______________________________________________________________________
            > _______
            > > http://shopping.yahoo.com.au - Father's Day
            > Shopping
            > > - Find the perfect gift for your Dad for
            > Father's Day
            >
            >

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          • Michaela Bronstein
            ... But you can define immense accomplishment in terms of the other elements. W&P is a technical masterpiece, juggling huge numbers of characters without
            Message 5 of 27 , Sep 4, 2001
              For another layer of reply insets:

              >I wrote:
              > >2. ...a major achievement by the author. The huge effort and care
              > >that went into this work is obvious. Clearly the author was both
              > >knowledgable and intelligent as well as dedicated and full of
              > >integrity.
              >
              >I actually added this to address an item on your list, Michaela:
              >
              > >WAR AND PEACE, Leo Tolstoy. I didn't "love" the book a great deal,
              > >but it's such an immense accomplishment that I can't help but honor
              > >the achievement.

              But you can define "immense accomplishment" in terms of the other elements.
              W&P is a technical masterpiece, juggling huge numbers of characters without
              losing a beat and holding interest in all of them (in a way which I think,
              incidentally, that Exiles occasionally fails). The structure is (arguably;
              some people dislike the fusion of history and personal drama) clean and
              close to flawless, and Tolstoy's own technique is beautiful and innovative.
              There is a clear message with a carefully developed argument born out
              precisely by the events. It's entertaining and at times enthralling. Its
              achievements fulfill the other qualities on the list without necessitating
              the redundant 2.

              >Again from Michaela:
              > >It's Dostoevsky's firm
              > >belief that any kind of morality is impossible unless one is Eastern
              > >Orthodox (because no other religion is true, and outside
              > >religion--as we're discussed--all morality is relative).
              > >
              > >Right, back to your qualifications. Anyway, does the author's
              > >message have to make sense at all, or can merely the manner in which
              > >he thinks about the issue make it worthwhile?
              >
              >This is the one thing that suggest that I might not like _TBK_. I
              >may find his arguments interesting, but since I think it's quite
              >likely that all morality is in fact relative, I'll keep getting stuck
              >on the fact that he's basing his points on the false premise.

              Which premise? That no other religion is true? Of course that's irritating,
              but thankfully BK contains no extended rants against Western Christianity
              like Writer's Diary does. What is interesting is that he does grasp that
              outside religion all morality is relative; he merely may be incorrect on
              what people might do in such a situation.

              The arguments that I thought you might find interesting are not his own.
              They are the words which come out of the mouths of his famous antihero, Ivan
              Karamazov. They are the idea which he is attempting to refute indirectly
              with this book. And even if you don't agree with them--as I do not--I would
              be quite surprised if you don't find them fascinating. That's where I got
              the quote I used earlier with regard to my original moral issue. Because
              even if what Dostoevsky believed is now virtually defunct, he was not a
              foolish person nor a blind one, and the manner in which he discusses
              virtually all ideas and questions (before he comes out with his own opinion)
              is interesting, valid, and immortal.

              >From me:
              > >Not to say that books that are
              > >entertaining were not hard work to create, but I don't agree with
              > >saying a book is great because it was a major achievement unless it
              > >also does its job of entertaining.
              >
              >From Michaela:
              > >Is entertaining the job of a book?
              >
              >Absolutely! To entertain and to educate, with an emphasis on
              >entertaining for fiction and an emphasis on educating for
              >non-fiction. Just my opinion, of course.

              Is "entertaining" the word you want to use? Because (to me, at least), that
              word implies sitting back with a smile on your face and not really thinking
              about what you're reading. The idea I'm more interested in is for a book to
              be absorbing, and not merely an intellectual exercise. It should be
              something that you *enjoy* reading, for whatever reason: for the great
              tragedy (not so entertaining) or the humerous moments (entertaining).

              >From Michaela:
              > >What's the difference between "greatness to you" and "favorite"?
              > >
              > >How, in your opinion, does the best of Shakespeare not fulfill your
              > >six qualities?
              >
              >First point - no difference. That is my main issue with your making
              >two lists in the first place. I am trying to suggest that if we can
              >at least in principle agree on a set of things that make a book
              >great, then why are those not also the things that make a book your
              >favorite? If you are using different criteria for your two lists,
              >what is the difference?
              >
              >Second point - good question, and I don't want to duck it, but maybe
              >I'll go back and re-read _Hamlet_ first. However, I hope it wouldn't
              >be unfair to put the burden back on you: You are the one who
              >included _Hamlet_ on your top ten; so what is it that makes it
              >deserving of that honor, when others, such as May's books, or
              >_Ender's Game_, make it to your favorites list but not your
              >"greatest" list?

              I asked the "first point" question only because you used the phrase
              "greatness to you" at one point to explain something you were saying, and I
              definitely thought that there was no difference. The point of "greatness" is
              that it's universal, that there are certain criteria which are generally
              agreed on. Favorites are whimsical and born in the illogic of unknown
              feelings (I suspect that the young Marc would have tried very hard not to
              like any book which was not enshrined as a classic (though that may not have
              been rebellious enough for him)!)

              Shakespeare revolutionized the English language, putting words together in
              ways that had never been done before and have been often done since. All his
              plays are great stories and absorbing to watch or read, while coherent large
              ideas and messages are contained as well.

              Here is why Ender's Game and May's books aren't "great": They fail to add
              anything to the techniques of writing or of thinking or what is thought.
              They're entertaining, true, but the reason why they're favorites to me has
              more to do with particular ways aspects of the books happened to strike me
              than something in them as a whole. The Ender's Game saga is flawed because
              of the lengths to which Card went to pull out a happy ending, which causes
              me to be deeply mistrustful of all of the ideas contained within the books.
              I've already talked about May's works' structure; I'll add that at times the
              characters have failed to rise above their archetypes to gain the complexity
              that would make them more than just postmodern mythology.

              > >I don't consider them great literature. I simply can't, because even
              > >though there are ideas floating about, even though these may be her
              > >great achievement--I personally have seen little in the prose to be
              > >stunned by, and I have never been able to get out of the opinion
              > >that the Exiles is structurally an absurd, diffuse mess at some
              > >points (what's up with all the characters who would become important
              > >by the end--Aiken, Elizabeth--dropping out of the first book
              > >completely, and one who is at least as important--Marc--not showing
              > >up until the third? To me, there were too many minor storylines that
              > >were unnecessary.)
              >
              >...but forgive me if this seems a little like the "undefinable"
              >qualities you mention wanting to avoid. I would say that those minor
              >storylines are not unnecessary as far as fulfilling my all-important
              >element four - entertaining the reader. And although Marc is of
              >course important, he doesn't become important until he shows up, so
              >what would be the point of dropping hints in the first book about him
              >hanging around in Ocala?

              People have mentioned the numerous hints already, and I've just posted about
              that myself, but here we see one of the problems with placing "entertaining
              the reader" as the most important quality. What entertains people is much,
              much more subjective than any of the other qualities. A depressingly large
              number of people appear to be "entertained" by "American Pie 2" this summer.
              I was much more "entertained" by "Apocalypse Now Redux," and I find
              Shakespeares tragedies more "entertaining" than his comedies.

              I thought the numerous subplots--which I found difficult to keep track of, a
              possible sign that they were problematic, because the same thing didn't
              happen with W&P--were not entertaining at all. They distracted me from what
              was most absorbing and were at times confusing.

              Are you saying that criticizing the prose and the structure are
              "indefinable" areas? They are not. They fall under your categories, or at
              least I thought they did. They are the stuff as great fiction is made of,
              and hardly indefinite.

              Michaela

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            • Leticia Anderson
              ... See my previous email about why Ocala may not have been introduced earlier - at times the Pliocene series does fail to hold all the threads even. It
              Message 6 of 27 , Sep 5, 2001
                Michaela wrote:
                > W&P is a technical masterpiece, juggling huge numbers of characters without
                > losing a beat and holding interest in all of them (in a way which I think,
                > incidentally, that Exiles occasionally fails).

                See my previous email about why Ocala may not have been introduced earlier -
                at times the Pliocene series does fail to hold all the threads even. It
                doesn't do a bad job trying though (even though I still don't like the
                second half of TMCL)! The Milieu series is easier to follow I think, with
                Rogi's unifying narration and a lesser number of characters in general.
                Intervention is a whole other kettle of fish!

                Leda
              • nicolel@iconz.co.nz
                ... Hi Kym, I m a Harry Potter fan too, although it took a friend to convince me to read them. Now I m anticipating the movie and yep, buying the latest
                Message 7 of 27 , Sep 5, 2001
                  On Fri, 31 August 2001, butterfly_27684@... wrote:

                  >
                  > I have to agree with Niall's evaluation of top ten, all very good
                  > selections. Lord of The Rings has recently become one of my personal
                  > conquests. A friend asked me to read it so we could discuss it
                  > together, I traded Milieu/Exiles/Intervention for reading it. I find
                  > now that I didn't need to trade, I love Lord of The Rings!
                  > I know you're all going to hate me for this but I must say that
                  > Harry Potter deserves a mention, juvenile they are but so well
                  > written, they are addictive. 500 pages in one night!
                  > Yours, Kym...

                  Hi Kym,

                  I'm a Harry Potter fan too, although it took a friend to convince me to read them. Now I'm anticipating the movie and yep, buying the latest 'Vanity Fair' because it will be devoted to Harry (October issue).

                  High Thoughts
                  - Nicolette :-)
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