Fav. Books?

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Post by Mike on Wed May 20, 2009 8:20 pm

Lol wow you all really have read it. I haven't, so I feel kind of outcast, lol jk. Anyone read A Thousand Splendid Suns? best book ever. Water for Elephants is also really good as well as The Glass Castle. Currently I am reading Great Expectations, which is surprisingly good. I have this problem where i tend to hate characters, and thats how i judge good writing. I like books with a ton of characters who all have a lot of depth, which is definitly apparent in GE.
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Post by Lauren on Wed May 20, 2009 8:25 pm

Oliviah-- I wouldn't know anything about his tragic demise Wink And yes, he is naive, although I find that trait endearing among the other more cynical characters (like Nick Carraway).

Mike-- I think The Great Gatsby is part of the 11th grade curriculum at most schools, at least it is at mine. I haven't read any of those books (no time nowadays! so depressing) but I know where you're coming from. I like books with interesting, multi-faceted characters that I can relate to in some way.
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Post by oliviah on Wed May 20, 2009 8:41 pm

Shocked I TOTALLY FORGOT!
AH!
SORRY!
...I feel so bad now...
Sorry again!
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Post by Lauren on Wed May 20, 2009 8:49 pm

It's fine! In case you didn't see my other post, my friend already told me what happened this afternoon. Smile No need to apologize.
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Post by iheartnyc2010 on Wed May 20, 2009 10:45 pm

I agree with you *in an earlier post* Lauren. i did like Jay Gatsby and not really any others. He just seemed sinciere even though that's not how you spell it. My favorite characters always
Spoiler:
DIE
dowl. btw i discovered the cool spoiler alert what not. ten points for me!!
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Post by androgynousmermen@verizon on Thu May 21, 2009 7:46 pm

First of all I HAVE to say(quite off topic) I LOVE YOUR PROFILE PICS!!! Kiru-that lolipop is kinda hypnotic, Francis that suit is kinda smexy, and Lauren I wish I were back in france.

OK. Yes yes Great Gatsby, wonderful book. Natalie, it's interesting what you said is pretty much exactly what my dad said. The characters are so dispicable he found it hard to read. However it IS a satire. that's the point. No one in that book is kindhearted, or genuine, even NIck who comes closest...

What do you guys think about the title "The Great Gatsby"? do you think that "Great" emphasizes him as a tragic figure, or is meant to be ironic because he completely lives in a fantasy and dies for it... or it's Nick's biased towards Gatsby glorifying his name after death...

The whole Idea of Love versus possessing someone is interesting too... wonderful multilayerd novel
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Post by Natalie Zhen on Thu May 21, 2009 8:05 pm

Really? Satire? I took it to be a brutally honest characterization of the 1920s. Shallow, chaotic, and materialistic. Running in the same vein, I always assumed "Great" to be a cynical irony. Gatsby wasn't great. He really wasn't even Gatsby. He was just Gatz. In the end, he was just a man in love with a memory trying to recreate a glorified past with a pathetic facade.
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Post by oliviah on Fri May 22, 2009 3:23 pm

Dang, Natalie. That was a great summary right there.
Am I the only one who somewhat pities Gatsby? I think he was most definitely mistaken in his belief that his love with Daisy wouldn't weather throughout the years, but the fact that he so genuinely believed that (among other naive things) and was, in the end, taken advantage of by those around him is quite sad.
It does paint a shalow and materialistic picture of the 1920s, and humanity, in a way.
That's really depressing, but true.
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Post by Lauren on Fri May 22, 2009 5:58 pm

I FINISHED IT TODAY! And I adored it very happy ruined ending and all.

I agree in that it was brutally honest, in that every character was completely acting in their own interests, and disregarded their actions' consequences on everyone else around them--including people they supposedly loved. I don't think anyone in that novel truly loved anyone else. Mr. Wilson and Tom were possessive of their wives, and the ladies were all shallow and seemed to be too childish to understand what love is. Gatsby wasn't in love with the real Daisy, he worshipped and idolized a fabricated vision. Nick never expressed much sentimental emotion.

As for the title, I believe that it is representative of the era. Gatsby, with his pink suits, huge mansion, lavish parties, and fancy cars was the pinnacle of what many Americans aspired to be. In the eyes of many (prior to his death) he was "great." However, he was living a dream, not only in the sense of its material "greatness," but also in the way that it was a lie. He was attached to a past that, as time progressed, he molded into what he wanted it to be. In this way, the "The Great Gatsby" is ironic. It may seem fantastic, but in the end it is just fantasy.
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Post by Lauren on Fri May 22, 2009 6:00 pm

Oh--on a side note. As I read through the last forty pages or so I increasingly disliked the characters because of how ridiculously horrible they were to each other. But at the same time, I pitied them. It was hard to blame them for their faults because they seemed ignorant of basic ethics and humanity. It's like when Nick shook Tom's hand at the end, because he saw him as a child--that's how I felt. Did anyone else feel this way towards the characters? And if so, do you think they deserve to be forgiven or pitied for their actions?
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Post by mishlelles on Fri May 22, 2009 6:57 pm

Hey Mike, it seems like I'll be joining you as one of the few people who haven't read The Great Gatsby. Smile
From what I heard, it's pretty good. Maybe I'll make it a part of my summer reading... boo IB for not including it in its 11th grade curriculum.
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Post by Mike on Sat May 23, 2009 10:24 pm

It could definitely be a summer read, then again i've got a lot of other stuff to do this summer very happy. I think its kind of funny that we're the only two who haven't read it though.
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Post by Natalie Zhen on Sat May 23, 2009 11:21 pm

What other books are on the 11th grade curriculum? I am/should be reading The Scarlet Letter right now....wow, this thread is turning into a critical analysis forum. Well, knowledge is power.
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Post by FoodFanatic on Sat May 23, 2009 11:28 pm

Princess Anne High School IB Eng 11 curriculum:

The Scarlet Letter (Summer Reading)
Brave New World
The Merchant of Venice
The Bluest Eye
Crime and Punishment
Chronicle of a Death Foretold
The House of the Spirits

I think that's it? Michelle, let me know if I'm forgetting anything.
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Post by mishlelles on Sat May 23, 2009 11:40 pm

There's also Antigone, Francis. Ew, that was a terrible read...
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Post by androgynousmermen@verizon on Sun May 24, 2009 11:41 am

Mike DO NOT FEEL LIKE AN OUTCAST! you just listed three of my favorite books. Kalhed Husseini is an AMAZING writer... depressing but good, and when I read water for Elephants I couldn't help thinking of my polish grandomther who lives in a nursing home... That book has a really interesting time line... AND I'm kind of a sucker for interesting people who wright autobiographies... anyone read Running with Scissors?

-----
SPOILER: GATSBY

The characters in the Great Gatsby were very childish and selfish, but that didn't make me pity them... It just made me sad. Esspeccially because the most dispicible characters, Tom and Daisy, continue their lives unharmed after the deaths of Myrtle, Wilson and Gatsby. My biggest quandry about the book is about Gatsby's love towards Daisy. I can't decide whether he really loved her, or he just wanted to own her. If he really loved her he would have accepted that she loved Tom once and could love him again in a different way than they had in the past... howver he didn't do either of these things... He just lived in the past and became obsessed with the idealized memory of her... and that's what he was really in love with. so in a way Gatsby, while seeminly more selfless than the others, was just as selfish as everyone else because he changed himself so that he could get what he wanted: Daisy. And that brings up another whole issue... about what is reality? I mean to Gatsby Daisy WAS the memory in his head and the real thing can never be as good as your wildest dreams... So. If Gatsby represents the american Dream (which I totally love Lauren) Then his inability to more forward and always yearn for an unattainable goal tells us alot about Fitzgereld's opionon about American Idealism.
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Post by kellyshiei♥ on Sun May 24, 2009 11:46 am

hmm i don't read much outside of required readings in english...and i don't find many of those interesting
but i love all of Dan Brown's books
i also liked the Westing Game a while back, but i haven't re-read it recently.
pretty much any mystery book is fine by me

i've wanted to read the Scarlet Letter but never got around to it. i've gotten mixed opinions on it from friends so anymore insight would be nice :]
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Post by FoodFanatic on Sun May 24, 2009 11:52 am

Khaled Hosseini IS an amazing writer, and I've only read the Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown but I loved it! I want to read Angels and Demons before I see the movie.

I didn't really like the Scarlet Letter, but that's just me. Hawthorne tends to point out literary clues (this is a metaphor! This is a simile! Okay, maybe to extreme, but you get the idea) that I personally like to discover and analyze on my own. But that's just me Smile
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Post by Natalie Zhen on Sun May 24, 2009 2:54 pm

androgynousmermen@verizon wrote:My biggest quandry about the book is about Gatsby's love towards Daisy. I can't decide whether he really loved her, or he just wanted to own her. If he really loved her he would have accepted that she loved Tom once and could love him again in a different way than they had in the past... howver he didn't do either of these things... He just lived in the past and became obsessed with the idealized memory of her... and that's what he was really in love with. so in a way Gatsby, while seeminly more selfless than the others, was just as selfish as everyone else because he changed himself so that he could get what he wanted: Daisy. And that brings up another whole issue... about what is reality? I mean to Gatsby Daisy WAS the memory in his head and the real thing can never be as good as your wildest dreams... So. If Gatsby represents the american Dream (which I totally love Lauren) Then his inability to more forward and always yearn for an unattainable goal tells us alot about Fitzgereld's opionon about American Idealism.

Yes--Gatsby was selfish and naive and hopeless. And I believe that he was in love with the Daisy in his memories; I cannot see evidence that he would be capable of a malicious motive like pure ownership.

However, Gatsby, in my opinion, is not a representation of the American Dream. He is the representation of a man who--aiming for the American ideal--accidentally slips into the American Nightmare. This can be seen in other works like Death of a Salesman. The avid search for an ideal, however good and righteous, ultimately traps an individual in an unending cycle of despair. Gatsby falls victim to this cycle of materialistic frivolity and ignorance when he tries to recreate the past dream. Fitzgereld's use of Nick returning to the west after the tragedy of the city indicates that the city houses the American Nightmare. Nick, as the level head and realistic voice rejecting recreation of the past, becomes the American dream only when he returns to the frontier.

Apparently, Fitzgreald and Miller would not approve of our worship of NYC Wink
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Post by Lauren on Sun May 24, 2009 6:09 pm

FoodFanatic- I feel the same way about The Scarlet Letter. As I was reading it, I would notice things, and start to analyze what it meant symbolically or metaphorically. But then Hawthorne would outright SAY that such and such represents such and such, defeating the entire purpose of in depth analysis Sad Also, the writing is a bit TOO detailed for my personal taste. Throughout the novel, not much happens--Hawthorne simply manages to create the novel by examining every minute detail in great length.

On a side note: I went to the library yesterday and picked up Wuthering Heights and Great Expectations. I'm about 150 pages into Wuthering Heights now (it's a little over 400 pages) and I'm quite fond of it so far. Smile
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Post by larkawash on Sun May 24, 2009 7:06 pm

Great Expectations was OK.
The ending was excellent, but I personally think it takes too long to get to the finale.
Great Expectations is one of those classics that I think is overrated.
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Post by Mike on Sun May 24, 2009 7:40 pm

Lol, yay I'm not an outcast! Lol, i'm glad to see there are other people who liked Khaled Hosseini, as well as Water for Elephants. Great Expectations is incredibly verbose, so I definitely know what you mean, most people I know that have read it don't like it, but I find myself enjoying it. I think the characters are so interesting and multifaceted that it draws me in. there are also a lot of characters which I prefer. idk i haven't actually finished it yet so I'll see how I feel at the end.
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Post by LAMeadows on Sun May 24, 2009 7:41 pm

I wish I was as an avid a reader as a lot of you guys seem to be. The last book I even attempted to read was "Tender is the Night" by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and although I loved what I read, I simply could not find, or did not make, the time required to read it in its entirety. Actually that's a lie, that's the last novel I attempted to read. I have been reading political books recently, but it's hard to do that as well due to time constraints.
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Post by carolineb on Sun May 24, 2009 11:20 pm

there might be some scarlet letter spoiler in here-

i just finished scarlet letter for english and i have to agree with what lauren and foodfanatic say... hawthorne just loves to smack you in the face with irony and symbolism... also its kind of annoying that (without giving too much away i HOPE) the character that has the most right to be a jerk, is portrayed as the bad guy... and lauren i agree, not much happens, especially since you find out pretty early on who pearls father is. i was expecting that to be the big mystery when i started reading it.

as for books i DID enjoy, i really liked 1984 last year. the idea of newspeak is so interesting! eliminating words to eliminate the concept conveyed by the word is, while horrifyingly scary, so ingenious.
and i'm a complete sucker for the artemis fowl books... =)
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Post by LAMeadows on Sun May 24, 2009 11:32 pm

Haha, it's ok Caroline, there's not much to spoil in the Scarlet Letter, the book spoils itself.
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