This is topic Hatrack Summer Reading in forum Books, Films, Food and Culture at Hatrack River Forum.

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Posted by hansenj (Member # 4034) on :
I know this isn't an original idea, but I think it would be kind of fun. [Smile]

Summer is the season of reading whatever you want, with no schoolwork bogging you down. It's the season where you walk into the library and see advertisements for the Kid's Summer Reading Program. Maybe I'm just weird, but I never outgrew getting excited for summer reading. [Smile]

So here's what I propose. We do our own Hatrack Summer Reading program where we pick a few titles to read and discuss throughout the summer. We could start as soon as people want to, as soon as we organize our list.

I know people will have reading of their own they want to do, so the pace would be up for debate. I was thinking that if we were really ambitious we could do a book every two weeks. Or otherwise a book a month would even be cool. We could still get four books in, so long as we started with May.

Anyone interested? [Smile] I thought in this thread people could express interest and suggest book titles. I have plenty of ideas, but I think I'm going to look over my list first and pick a few to suggest. One that I thought might be fun would be The Handmaid's Tale or one of the other titles mentioned in that recent thread.

What do you all think? [Cool]
Posted by Polio (Member # 6479) on :
I'm totally going to miss my English teacher picking apart every sentence of every book we've ever read... *sigh*... I'm in.
Posted by mr_porteiro_head (Member # 4644) on :
From my experience in high school and college, it seems that the purpose of English teachers was to teach me that reading is boring, and I might as well just watch TV/movies.

Luckily, I didn't learn it very well. [Big Grin]
Posted by Annie (Member # 295) on :
I think it sounds fantastic [Smile]

I'm in!
Posted by karen.elizabeth (Member # 6345) on :
I would definitely be interested. :-). I was thinking of suggesting this for a group of friends and myself, but everybody here has greater staying power with projects like this!
Posted by blacwolve (Member # 2972) on :
I'm in, anything to force me to read books I'll later be glad I read.
Posted by hansenj (Member # 4034) on :
Yay! [Big Grin] Any suggestions on what we should read?

I'm thinking the one a month thing would be the best idea, so that means we'd need to decide on four titles. Maybe we could do a different genre each month?

Some books from my list that might be fun:
The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky
Slaughterhouse Five by Vonnegut
The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer
Persuasion by Jane Austen
The Cat Who Walks Through Walls by Heinlein
The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
The Count of Monte Cristo by Dumas
A Man for All Seasons by Bolt

Any of those look good? Any others? [Smile]
Posted by Bokonon (Member # 480) on :
Cat's Cradle, NOT Slaughterhouse-Five.

But yeah, read _something_ from Vonnegut.

Posted by Space Opera (Member # 6504) on :
Count me in! I love to read, but it seems like I never have anyone to talk about books with since college. I'm up for anything; just tell me when to start and what to read first.

space opera
Posted by ElJay (Member # 6358) on :
I vote for The Brothers Karamazov, Persuasion, or A Man for All Seasons from that list. I've read the rest. And I don't have a list of my own right now to make suggestions from, 'cause as soon as something enters my house, I read it. [Smile]

Oh, did I mention, I'm in? I wanna play!

Edit to add: And if you can find a copy of The Screwtape Letters book on tape that was released in England, do it! Read by John Cleese, it's fantastic. Beyond fantastic. I heard a copy while I was in school, need to search one out for myself.

[ May 09, 2004, 10:36 AM: Message edited by: ElJay ]
Posted by Synesthesia (Member # 4774) on :
I recommend we read The Last Samurai by Helen DeWitt because it's such a great book.
Posted by blacwolve (Member # 2972) on :
I'd like to read Absalom, Absalom! by Faulkner,but anything else would be fine too.

Persuasion is one of my favorite books.
Posted by Ryuko (Member # 5125) on :
Monte Cristo!! I have to read that again!! I want to talk about it to somebody.
Posted by ak (Member # 90) on :
I love the Brothers Karamazov. If you guys decide to read it, I think I will reread it and join your discussion. Did I ever mention that I think Dostoyevsky may have killed his father? I'll tell why later on, if y'all decide to read this. Don't want to do any spoilering. [Smile]

Persuasion is also very good. I haven't read it but once. So it's another one I would reread with you guys.

The best Kurt Vonnegut book is definitely Cat's Cradle. If you choose him, choose that. I loved this book but 30 years later Vonnegut isn't one who lasted for me.

Another that springs to mind is J.D. Salinger. Nine Stories is among my favorites of his. That or Frannie and Zooey.

For deep philosophy integrally rooted in a riveting novel I suggest Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig. The whimsical title is misleading. It's not sixtiesish at all. It's a timeless book.

Another thought is Ursula K. Leguin's The Left Hand of Darkness. She's a fantastic writer. Very understated but a real genius, I think. She has a way of being able to simply and directly convey true things of the heart.

If you want to read Faulkner, my favorite of his is The Reivers. It's hilarious as well as being really really good. The way he tells stories takes a bit of getting used to, but it's worth it. Once you get it, it's clear that he tells them in the exact right way those stories need to be told.

Oh, speaking of funny, Tom Jones by Henry Fielding is one of the most hilarious books I've ever read. Plus it's just a really great book, too.

My last suggestion is Nevil Shute's Round the Bend. He's a master storyteller in a quiet and wonderful way, and that book is my favorite of his. Particularly now with what is happening in the Middle East, it is more timely than ever.

[ May 09, 2004, 05:04 PM: Message edited by: ak ]
Posted by hansenj (Member # 4034) on :
Wow, your suggestions make me want to read them all. [Smile]

It sounds like The Brothers Karamazov is a pretty popular option. What do you all say to starting with that one for May? We can still discuss which ones we want to do for the rest of the summer.

Edit: I just read what I wrote and it sounds like I was completely decided, but if people want to do a different one first that would be ok, too. [Smile] I'm open for anything!

[ May 09, 2004, 06:13 PM: Message edited by: hansenj ]
Posted by Space Opera (Member # 6504) on :
Sounds good to me. What time do we need to have it read by? I'm excited!

space opera
Posted by fallow (Member # 6268) on :

I beg to differ on your opinion that Vonnegut's best was Cat's Cradle. Galapagos is at least an equal if not better.

[edit: now that I think about it, Galapagos is a a very "summery" novel]


[ May 09, 2004, 09:15 PM: Message edited by: fallow ]
Posted by blacwolve (Member # 2972) on :
Hmmm, I'm not sure about reading The Brothers Karamazov in a month, though I would like to read it.
Posted by ak (Member # 90) on :
fallow, you may be right! I think I was over my Vonnegut phase by the time that one came out. I bow to your superior knowledge of the field. [Smile]
Posted by ak (Member # 90) on :
The Brothers Karamazov sounds great to me. It's very high on my list of all time favorite books. I will find mine and start on it.

First question I want to know, even before people finish, is which brother do you like the best and why?
Posted by fallow (Member # 6268) on :

I can't recall Cat's Cradle at all, and Galapagos is a decade old, at least, in my feeble mem. On that note, don't you think a Vonnegut novel would be just the right choice for a summer reading list?

Posted by Raia (Member # 4700) on :
I'd like to be in this thing, if I can... but I'm gonna be really busy, so we'll see if I can keep up and stay in!

Do they all have to be big-name classics? Or could we read something like David Grossman's The Zigzag Kid, which is an absolutely FANTASTIC book? (One of my favorite books of all time)
Posted by Bokonon (Member # 480) on :
Galapagos is mostly a tired retread of a few of his themes, in a rather thin story. I mean, he resorted to bringing back a character from his other stories!

Galapagos is late-70s, early-80s, I think. Cat's Cradle is mid-60s.

Galapagos IS a summery book (of course, so is Cat's Cradle, I think), and I definitely enjoyed it, but if your going to pick a novel of his from that period, I recommend Bluebeard (it's also non-scifi, very artsy). KV is good when he's biting, dark, whimisical, yet leaves a little room to love his characters. I didn't feel that in Galapagos.

My series of Vonnegut must-reads are:

Cat's Cradle
God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater
Player Piano
Welcome to the Monkeyhouse (early short stories)

Everything else is enjoyable, but these are his themes, style, and wit, all distilled to high quality, in my opinion.


PS- ak, any particular reason you outgrew Vonnegut?
Posted by fallow (Member # 6268) on :

Galapagos is mostly a tired retread of a few of his themes, in a rather thin story.
That's pretty harsh! Can we assume you outgrew him as well?

I mean, he resorted to bringing back a character from his other stories!
Yes he did, and that makes for a fun continuity for the fans of his books, albeit a difficult choice among faves for those fans. I couldn't decide between galapagos or bluebeard, but one had the definitive best ending.


[edit: pause to pass gas]

[ May 09, 2004, 10:47 PM: Message edited by: fallow ]
Posted by hansenj (Member # 4034) on :
I didn't realize The Brothers Karamazov was so long. I could probably do it by the end of the month, but a lot of people are still in school aren't they? Maybe we should set that one to be for June. That way people who are busier could start reading earlier and have enough time to really enjoy it. Sound good?

I didn't necessarily mean that they all had to be big-name classics, that's just what I have on my list right now. I'm literally up for anything, and I've never heard of The Zigzag Kid. [Smile]

Anyway, if we pick a shorter book for May since we're already partly into the month, what do you all think it should be? What about Persuasion?
Posted by fallow (Member # 6268) on :

Can I make a suggestion for a short novel by an excellent novelist?


[edit: never enough N's]

[ May 10, 2004, 12:50 AM: Message edited by: fallow ]
Posted by hansenj (Member # 4034) on :
Yes of course! [Smile]
Posted by fallow (Member # 6268) on :

It's the simple story of a life told thru a dog's eyes. very silly. but short!

Posted by Bokonon (Member # 480) on :
fallow, RE: growing out of him.... Well, my username IS Bokonon. [Smile]

The thing I've found is that while he does some nifty, surprising things with narratives, he occassionally goes too far. Galapagos is like this, Hocus Pocus a bit, Time Quake, Slapstick, Breakfast of Champions (sorry Celia), even Slaughterhouse-Five (though I will admit that the personal-ness of the book helps this one out a lot), which while amusing the first time through, they where a little thin for me, over time. Your mileage may vary, of course.

When he follows the more traditional novel form, I think it forces him to be a bit more sympathetic, while still allowing him to exercise his amazing wit and (gallows) humor. Player Piano, Cat's Cradle, "GBY, MR", Bluebeard, Mother Night; these are all classics of 20th century fiction (maybe not so much Player Piano, which is heavily inspired by earlier dystopian novels), and Player Piano, Mother Night, and Bluebeard are neutral enough to be taught in classrooms.

I love most of Vonneguts stuff, and enjoy all of it when I first read it, but I'm not so starstruck to recognize problems I see with them, real or imagined.


EDIT: And while you can mispell my name fallow, just don't put an asterisk by it!

[ May 10, 2004, 09:40 AM: Message edited by: Bokonon ]
Posted by Annie (Member # 295) on :
For deep philosophy integrally rooted in a riveting novel I suggest Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig. The whimsical title is misleading. It's not sixtiesish at all. It's a timeless book.

*bounces up and down with anticipation* - I very loudly second this reccomendation. It's fabulous - it's deep - it takes place at my university [Big Grin]

And I think Persuasion would be fabulous for May. I just bought used copies of all the Jane Austen I hadn't read, and that one looks like it especially wants to be read.
Posted by ak (Member # 90) on :
Oh, darn! I already started on the Brothers Karamazov. So I will answer my own question. I love Aloysha best. I went through three distinct phases. My first favorite brother was Vanya. He's so intelligent and rational. He's got some sense, you know?

Then I went through a heavy Dmitri phase. I just lost my heart to him, to his strong feelings, his deep passion. Mitya is so alive and real. How could anyone not love Mitya?

But I think Aloysha is my favorite now, and maybe from now on, because he's so pure and spiritual and loving. He's sensitive and intelligent, of course, and also has deep feelings, but he's very controlled. He's in control of himself, in a way that Mitya isn't. I love the light that he seems to carry most of all. He sheds that light all around him, to everyone he's near. I think I definitely love Aloysha best.

I wonder if I will someday go through a phase in which I like the fourth brother best, reeking Lizaveta's son? That thought rather scares me.
Posted by ElJay (Member # 6358) on :
Okay, are we doing Persuasion for May and Brothers for June? If that much is decided, I'm stopping at the used book store after work...

Man, I need to get a hammock up if I'm gonna be reading Brothers Karamazov in June... [Big Grin]
Posted by hansenj (Member # 4034) on :
Yes, I think that's the plan if no one else objects to it. [Smile]

I'm sorry you already started reading Brothers already, ak. [Frown] I'm very much looking forward to it for next month though! I was just worried that some people wouldn't be able to participate if we did it this month.

Annie, I was already interested in The Zen of Motorcycle Maintenance after what ak had to say about it, but your hearty seconding made me even more so! I wouldn't mind having that be our book for July...what do you all think?
Posted by Annie (Member # 295) on :
[Big Grin]
Posted by hansenj (Member # 4034) on :
I have a question about Brothers Karamazov. Is there a specific translation that would be best to get?
Posted by Zalmoxis (Member # 2327) on :

The translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky.

In fact, I'd recommend all their translations of Tolstoy, Dostoevesky, Gogol and Bulgakov.
Posted by hansenj (Member # 4034) on :
Thanks, Zalmoxis. [Smile]

*bump for anyone who didn't see the final decision yesterday*

May- Persuasion
June- The Brothers Karamazov
July- (tentatively) Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
August- up for grabs! [Smile]
Posted by Bokonon (Member # 480) on :
If you do Cat's Cradle for August, I'll join in [Smile]

Posted by celia60 (Member # 2039) on :
No problem, Bok. There's a reason I gave T_Smith Cat's Cradle and not Breakfast of Champions. Cat's Cradle is just, hands down, the best. While the character I take my name from is in that book, I'm actually a reference to her in Dead-Eye Dick, where she is younger, older, crazier and deader.

So, you'll have to insult that book now. [Smile]

I'm pretty much in agreement with your must read list, though I don't think I judge as harshly on Galapogas or BoC. And I think you've been to kind to Timequake.
Posted by Telperion the Silver (Member # 6074) on :
For me, a great book to read is Songmaster by OSC. I first read it in New Orleans, in high summer no less, and for some reason that book stuck with me as the perfect summer reading. When it starts to get warm, I feel like reading it again. [Smile]
Posted by Bokonon (Member # 480) on :
Yeah, TimeQuake took all the gimmicks he did in those other books I thought poorly of, and used them all.

I think that the other books aren't horrid, but I don't think they provide much literary value. I still think Galapagos is the _shell_ of a really good Vonnegut book.

I'll admit that I haven't read Dead-Eye Dick. Eeep!

Songmaster is definitely a good book too..

Posted by ak (Member # 90) on :
I'm not sure why I outgrew Vonnegut. Now I think he's okay, he's entertaining, but he doesn't matter much, or something. Before he seemed really important. I can't put my finger on what exactly changed. Maybe it's just me.
Posted by ak (Member # 90) on :
I think I'm going to keep on in Brothers. I will read Persuasion next and catch up to the rest of you in there. I have some time to read now.
Posted by Raia (Member # 4700) on :
I didn't necessarily mean that they all had to be big-name classics, that's just what I have on my list right now. I'm literally up for anything, and I've never heard of The Zigzag Kid.

It's amazing.
Posted by ElJay (Member # 6358) on :
I got both Persusion and Brothers at the used book store yesterday, and I'm going to start on Persuasion. Dunno if I got the recommended translation on Brothers, but it was the only one they had. Anyway, I'll probably start reading this weekend.
Posted by ElJay (Member # 6358) on :
Okay, I just finished Persuasion. Anyone else out there reading? Wanna talk about it?

It always takes me awhile to get into Austen, the style at first seems stilted and difficult. after a few chapters, however, it feels charming, and merely a bit archaic. I haven't read any of her contemporaries, really, so I don't know if that's the period or if it's her particular style.

I'd give the entire book a strong "charming," in fact. It feels to me like storytelling for it's own sake... you're not wondering what's going to happen next or how the story is going to end, you pretty much know, but it's lovely watching it unfold. Kind of like a plesant walk around a lake on a summer afternoon. You're not going anywhere, but you enjoy the walk.

Anyway, no relevations for me, but an enjoyable read. And since it's raining this afternoon, I might get a jump start on the Brothers Karamazov. [Smile]
Posted by Elizabeth (Member # 5218) on :
AK wrote: "Oh, speaking of funny, Tom Jones by Henry Fielding is one of the most hilarious books I've ever read."

Ha ha! I haven't read it for eons, and I am laughing just thinking about it! Have you read The Pickwick Papers?(Dickens)

I would love to join the group, whatever you decide. I haven't read a "classic" in a long time.
Posted by Dagonee (Member # 5818) on :
Gee, who'd a guessed Bok wanted Cat's Cradle. I think I'm most fond of Jailbird, though.

Posted by hansenj (Member # 4034) on :
You're quick, ElJay. [Smile] I actually haven't gotten a copy yet. [Blushing] Also, I was thinking we could start separate threads for the discussion of each book to keep things clearer. Is that overkill?
Posted by ElJay (Member # 6358) on :
Actually, I had been thinking the same thing about seperate threads, but I didn't know if anyone else had gotten the book yet, much less read it, so I didn't want to start a new one and leave it hanging in the wind. [Smile] I know I'm a fast reader, so I'm used to being done first in things like this. I'll hang out until a few other people have finished, and then we can start talking. But go get the book!

I bet I won't be ahead in July... I had to read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance in freshman english, (college) and didn't have a good experience with it. I think it was because we were instructed to only read a certainly amount at a time, so everyone would be in the same place, and I have a hard time getting into books that way. Never really feel the flow.
Posted by ak (Member # 90) on :
Why not pile them all in the same thread, so we can keep up without having to search back pages? These threads are not "begging the question", most of the time. They don't tend to stay on top. It will be much easier to find if we post it all in here, so that's my suggestion.

I will dig up Persuasion as soon as I'm finished with Brothers, but I do remember it some from my first reading. How do you rate this Jane Austen Boyfriend on a scale of 1 to 6? (Most to least favorite.) My favorite of all is Henry Tilney from Northanger Abbey, I think. He was so funny and had a great attitude toward life. I'm really proud of how he stood up to his horrible father, for instance.

The most famous JAbf is probably Mr. Darcy from P&P, wouldn't you say? He's probably only my 3rd or 4th favorite. I think he was a bit of a stuffed shirt, to tell the truth. I bet he quits laughing at Elizabeth's jokes before the first decade is out, and starts being snippy to her. Do you think? I hope not, but I worry about him a bit. [Smile]

I don't remember the JAbf from Mansfield Park but I thought Fanny was such a nebbish. I didn't like her at all. She was just not anybody, to me. She had no thoughts of her own, and made no decisions, that I could see. So whoever her JAbf was, I probably rate him near the bottom.

The very bottom of the heap would be Colonel Brandon from S&S. He was the equivalent of suicide to a Marianne type person, I think. I loathed that ending. I actually liked Willoughby much more, though he turned out a rotter. There are Willoughbys who are true blue, too. Not all Willoughbys are bad hats.

Mr. Knightley was fairly cool. Emma's dude. I think he'd be 2nd or 3rd on my list.

But I can't remember much about the JAbf in Persuasion. Someone remind me what he is like.

[ May 16, 2004, 09:53 PM: Message edited by: ak ]
Posted by ElJay (Member # 6358) on :
I can't really rank this JAbf against the others, as I've only read a couple of her other books a Very Long Time Ago. But I can refresh your memory a little. [Smile]

Captain Wentworth and Anne Elliot were deeply in love and engaged 8 years before the book begins, and she bowed to the persuasion of her father and Lady Russell and broke the engagement, because he was an inappropriate match. Now he's back in town, after having become a rich man, and everyone considers him a fabulous catch.

At first he appears indifferent towards Anne, and then it's clear he's still mad at her. But he's always kind, considerate, and thoughtful... a perfect gentleman. In character, he is meant to stand head and shoulders above the other men in the book, and he does. And even when they're both pretending they meant nothing to each other, he steps in to help her out when necessary.

He comes across to me as very realistic... a good man, a bit stubborn. I was certainly rooting for them to work it all out in the end. My chief complaint with the book is that it all ties up too fast with a big red bow... They've been avoiding each other for 263 pages and then everything, including a few hastily introduced subplots, is all wrapped up in about 15? And once they admit they still love each other, he solves all her friend's problems, too. I would have preferred a little more depth to the ending.
Posted by flyby (Member # 3630) on :
Well, I've finished Persuasion, and started on Brothers, and this is so fun. I like having Summer reading that is really for pleasure, and that I don't feel obligated to do. I don't know, never liked doing it for school, but I like to read.

Anyway, I agree with you about how it could have had a longer resolution, but in that way, I sometimes think less is more. I mean, if you can pull it off to make the book last longer, that's good, but sometimes, the main problem has been solved, and then books will continue on until they lose all their steam, when they'd be much better off ending earlier.

I was really surprised that I liked the book as much as I did. I think I had misconceptions about whether I'd enjoy Austen's writing style, but I really enjoyed the book, and thought it was an enjoyable read.
Posted by hansenj (Member # 4034) on :
Confession #1: I'm only one chapter into the book. [Embarrassed] I know, I know, I need to get a move on! That said, I am going to be speedy and read it in the next couple days because company is coming and I want to be finished before they get here.

Confession #2: This is my first Jane Austen novel, and I've always been skeptical about whether or not I could get into them. I love the movie versions though, and I want to marry Mr. Knightley. [Big Grin] So, I'm thinking I'll be like ElJay and it will take a little bit for me to get into it, and once I do I'll enjoy it. [Smile]

*whew! feels good to confess! [Wink]

*goes off to read the night away
Posted by ElJay (Member # 6358) on :
Wow, and you didn't even put it in the hatrack confessional booth!

No worries on just starting... the month's not done yet. [Wink]
Posted by ak (Member # 90) on :
Okay, am reading Brothers Karamazov now in earnest and am struck first of all again with how much I love my dear Fedya (the author, NOT the character, though they have some undeniable commonalities).

The last time I read this book I must not have been religious at all. I remember feeling a bit bored with the digression into Elder Zosima's life, in fact. This time, though I am really still in the very early parts, I feel very much more deeply about the religious aspects I've encountered so far.

The thing that astonishes me at this point (and I'm in the middle of the meeting of all parties in the monk's cell), is the complete realism. Here in this novel Dostoyevsky is at the very peak of his powers, and I happen to feel he is the best novelist ever. With just a few words these people are so alive and so real. Aloysha has my heart already, and I feel his mortification. Fyodor Karamazov (I'm struck with how odd it is that Dostoyevsky gave this character his name) is someone I've never met anyone like at all, yet he's incredibly alive and vivid. I believe in him entirely.

I wonder how much of this undeniably somewhat autobiographical work is actually taken from Fedya's life. Whether his (the author's) brother Mikail is perhaps like Dmitri at all, or whether, as I've heard before, all three brothers (even all four) are different aspects of Dostoyevsky's own character. Certainly the elder Dostoyevsky was reportedly very much like the elder Karamazov is described, and of course he was murdered "by his own serfs".

This is the last novel Fyodor Mikailovich wrote before he died. It is in some ways a summation of his entire life's work. I am very glad you guys prompted me to read it once again. I'm seeing much this time around that I have never seen before.
Posted by Space Opera (Member # 6504) on :
Grrr. I haven't started reading it yet, but I did buy it last weekend. 6 bucks for a hardcover...ya gotta love half-price books!

space opera
Posted by ElJay (Member # 6358) on :
I'm about at the same place you are, ak, and I have to admit I'm finding it slow going. But partly that's because I don't have a lot of time to read right now, and I do better reading in large chunks. I'll keep trying. [Smile]
Posted by ak (Member # 90) on :
Well, I'm only reading for a short time each day. Once I get further into it, I don't think I'll be able to maintain that. I tend to not be able to put books down, and stay up all night reading and so on.

Anyway, I really adore Aloysha. The way he's reacting to the teasing by the young girl is just wonderful. And the elder Zosima is so great, the way he is reacting to the play of personalities around him. I love how he loves everyone so, the liars and the murderers and the ridiculous ones and those who suffer so cruelly and all of them. He sees right through them all and loves them. Dostoyevsky was very religious by the time he wrote this novel, so I think I am experiencing that part along with him for the first time. How odd that it never touched me deeply, the religious feelings he feels and shows, before now. I love this book so much. And my Fedya. What an amazing human being he was!
Posted by Mintieman (Member # 4620) on :
I finished Brothers Karamazov finally a week ago, after reading it in a period of 3 months where time was so scarce! Its probably now my favourite book of all time, and although its a bit heavy to start rereading it now, I do look forward to doing it [Big Grin]

I think the characters in this novel are more vivid in this novel then in any other, I could almost hear them in my head as I read, bad russian accents and all [Smile]

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance looks interesting, hopefully I can get trainspotting finished in time and read it with you all in july, that is if I can find it in a used book store, being a poor student and all ^^
Posted by ak (Member # 90) on :
Mintieman, tell us more about what you think about The Brothers Karamazov! Which is your favorite brother?

Another question which I find interesting just arose in the spot in which I am now reading (chapter 6, I guess). Aloysha's fellow novice at the monastery says that he's a Karamazov too, and they are all sensualists. He says that Aloysha is also a sensualist. This struck me. Is Aloysha's life in pursuit of beauty and purity and love and spiritual light and all that (or whatever he seems to be pursuing) just another (possibly higher) form of hedonism?

One more question: I've gotten sensitive to the characters that authors don't seem to like. I decided that all characters deserve to be loved by their author, the same as all people should be loved by God. Does Dostoyvesky love the elder Karamazov or not? He's depicted as such a scoundrel. I've noticed that he doesn't give him the benefit of the doubt. He will use words (at least words which are translated) like sneer and lying and farce when describing his speeches. Is he trying to excuse himself for hating his father? (Since I have no doubt that is who we are actually discussing.) Is he fair to the old man or not? Would it be possible to retell the disgraceful scene in the monk's chamber, for instance, in a way that is much more sympathetic to the dad?

[ June 14, 2004, 12:24 PM: Message edited by: ak ]
Posted by Mintieman (Member # 4620) on :
The characters in Brothers Karamazov are what I liked best. In comparison, characters in other books seem rather lifeless. The rather lengthy moral discussions, especially the ones by the elder, and the court case I found amazingly gripping.

Dostoyevsky doesnt seem to like the father much, hes always depicted as being worthless, but I like the elder too much to think that you could re write it in a more sympathetic way. I do think that he uses a narrative voice on purpose so he CAN put his opinion on things ever so slightly, especially in the case of the father karamazov

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