Favouirte novels

Discussion of other topics not necessarily Keats or poetry-related, i.e. other authors, literature, film, music, the arts etc.

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Postby Despondence » Thu Feb 02, 2006 6:06 am

Credo Buffa wrote:Make it the first three books and you've got a deal.

Three, huh? I dunno....that would up the stakes, imo.
I suggested two because I thought that I probably won't like the first anyhow, from what I remember of reading the beginning of it before. I guess it's not exactly ecouraging to hear that the second instalment is the poorest..

Credo Buffa wrote:and the third is the one that sold me to the Church of Potter forever. It's also where the story starts to get dark and angsty and take on the character that defines it for the next few books).

Hmm. Have you read Martin (G.R.R) ?
Maybe I'll make you read that if you lose..

Credo Buffa wrote:And I'm totally willing to read anything you might shell out at me. . . be it a reasonable length and not cost me any more than $10 to purchase, because I'm poorer than dirt :P

Better start saving up then.

Credo Buffa wrote:Just out of curiosity, which of the movies did you see?

Only the first two actually. I got the impression the third might be more to my liking (dark? angst? everybody dies?), but I didn't see that one. Do you recommend it? One thing the movies have going for them though is Alan Rickman :) One of my favourite British actors.
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Postby Credo Buffa » Thu Feb 02, 2006 8:08 am

Despondence wrote:Three, huh? I dunno....that would up the stakes, imo.
I suggested two because I thought that I probably won't like the first anyhow, from what I remember of reading the beginning of it before. I guess it's not exactly ecouraging to hear that the second instalment is the poorest..

"Poorest" and "weakest" are two different words with different meanings :wink: When all the books are good, saying that one is "weaker" than the others is like saying that "When I Have Fears" is a weaker poem than any of the Odes. . . "When I Have Fears" is obviously still great. It's just that when you have to make comparisons, something has to falter a bit somewhere.

I'm just flipping through Sorcerer's Stone right now, and it looks like that after the first 100 pages the real conflict of the story hasn't even reared its ugly head yet. What you read is still in the fun Disney-esque bit where you still have the distinct notion that Harry is riding off into the sunset to live a fabulous, fun life in a magical world. He has yet to really face any of the big problems that he'll have to struggle with in the future. And he has yet to meet the most colorful characters of the series, or the sinister fabulousness and mystery of all mysteries that is Snape :wink:

Despondence wrote:Hmm. Have you read Martin (G.R.R) ?
Maybe I'll make you read that if you lose..

No, I have not.

Despondence wrote:Better start saving up then.

The student loan bills always come first :roll:

Despondence wrote:Only the first two actually. I got the impression the third might be more to my liking (dark? angst? everybody dies?), but I didn't see that one. Do you recommend it? One thing the movies have going for them though is Alan Rickman :) One of my favourite British actors.

Ah, no wonder. Even a lot of die-hard fans have a hard time defending those two movies. They gloss over a lot of the really deep character in favor of being cute and uber family-friendly. The third and fourth movies definitely do a much better job of capturing the true spirit of the books (the third is my favorite, though it still has definite flaws). None of the movies does a good job of wrapping up the plot at the end, mainly because it would take ages for them to do so in so clean and clear a way as the books do, and the third is still softer on the angst than the book, even though it still has an unmistakably dark tone. Alfonso Cuaron definitely takes the material seriously, which is a very refreshing change from the first two. He's also just a really great filmmaker. And, this being my favorite book in the series, he could easily have completely ruined it for me by making a wrong move, and I'm happy to say that on the whole, he exceeded my expectations.

It's the fourth movie, though, that takes that PG-13 leap and actually confronts the scary, violent, gritty side head-on (from the fourth on, there's one significant character death in each book, the importance and harshness of each increasing almost exponentially).

And Alan Rickman as Snape has to be one of the best casting decisions ever made. I read one review of the third movie that said "He can make the words 'Turn to page 394' sound like a death threat." :lol: He's got some really great material in that one. I can't wait to see him come the sixth installment. . . *insert long, low whistle here*

If you feel like it might help, I'd recommend either of those two movies if you can't bring yourself to read the book (the fourth one comes out on DVD in a little over a month). However, I'll just say that there's a huge plot twist at the end of the third one that is so much more shocking when you read it than when you see it in the movie, and if it were my choice, I'd definitely say read it first.

OK, all this movie talk has given me an idea. So you're only willing to read two for this little deal of ours, but I really want you to read the third one. I actually think that, having seen the first two movies, you could probably get into the third book without too much confusion. So, let's say that you read the first book, and if at the end of that you're really not feeling up to reading the second, you consider the movie an acceptable enough substitute and move on to the third. Does that sound any better? It's certainly not ideal, because no movie can really give you the same experience as a book, but I really don't want to torture you if you're that convinced that it's going to be an unpleasant experience.
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Postby Saturn » Thu Feb 02, 2006 10:23 am

Ow my eyes hurt reading all this - what have I done? :lol:

No seriously I love the passion, the arguments in this thread - it's great that people still actually care a lot about books - I feel kind of left out that there is no novel I would actually have the wit and intellligence to be able to defend with that much passion.

I've just become pretty disillusioned with literature because of other things going on in my life I suppose - I have less time to read and think about these things as some of you guys do [though I am similarly out-of-work and broke :?]
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
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Postby Credo Buffa » Thu Feb 02, 2006 6:02 pm

Oh, I should definitely be spending a bit more time on other pursuits and concerning myself with more essential ins and outs of daily life, but in all honesty, those things don't get me excited about waking up in the morning. . . but books do, and music does, and I'd personally rather "waste" my life on something I love and care about than "waste away" on something I don't.

Of course, passion doesn't pay the bills, though :( I have to find a real job eventually. . . certainly not for lack of trying, I can say that much.
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Postby Despondence » Thu Feb 02, 2006 6:40 pm

Saturn wrote:Ow my eyes hurt reading all this - what have I done? :lol:

Yes Stephen - it's all your fault. Look what you have gotten me into now..

Saturn wrote:[though I am similarly out-of-work and broke ]

I'll send you some Potter paperbacks then, when I'm done with them ;)
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Postby Despondence » Thu Feb 02, 2006 6:55 pm

Credo Buffa wrote:Oh, I should definitely be spending a bit more time on other pursuits and concerning myself with more essential ins and outs of daily life, but in all honesty, those things don't get me excited about waking up in the morning. . . but books do, and music does, and I'd personally rather "waste" my life on something I love and care about than "waste away" on something I don't.

You said it. I'm impressed you've already arrived at this, even though your career hasn't even started. For most people who receive this same revelation, it happens too late in life, and it's hard to break out of the "wasting away" mode....and most people don't make it. I'm somewhere in a grey area in between, not quite sure what to do about it.

Well. I'll start by reading Harry Potter. (but bear with me for some time, I'm a slow reader, and I have a lot of work at the moment)
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Postby Credo Buffa » Thu Feb 02, 2006 7:25 pm

Despondence wrote:You said it. I'm impressed you've already arrived at this, even though your career hasn't even started. For most people who receive this same revelation, it happens too late in life, and it's hard to break out of the "wasting away" mode....and most people don't make it. I'm somewhere in a grey area in between, not quite sure what to do about it.

I wish my parents were at least in that grey area. . . they basically think I'm totally naive and missing the point by searching for a job that I actually want and not one that I take simply because I need money and benefits. Call me crazy, but I refuse to believe that your job has to be a chore. My dad saying that he likes work three out of five days of the week isn't good enough for me :wink:
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Postby Malia » Thu Feb 02, 2006 9:24 pm

Credo Buffa wrote:
Despondence wrote: Call me crazy, but I refuse to believe that your job has to be a chore.


Good for you, Credo! I've been working "just a job" for almost 10 years now and I'm *finally* realizing that it's time to go out and do what I want to do (you *can* make money doing what you want, btw--at least that's what I've been told ;) ). Thus, I'm going back to school. I will say that from my experience, the longer I abstain from risk-taking and dream-following, the harder it gets! It's amazing how mired in fear a person can become after he or she has been earning a paycheck for a few years. . .you begin to think that you can't follow your dreams anymore because you have too many bills or responsibilities. . .but if I'm learning that if a person really wants to, she can find a way to make those dreams come true.
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Postby Credo Buffa » Thu Feb 02, 2006 10:08 pm

Seeing as we're getting into deep life discussion on a favorite novels thread, I thought I'd mention another novel that I completely forgot about which had a big influence on my philosophy of following your dreams over simply meeting expectations.

The book is My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok. The story is a retrospective look back on the life of a famous contemporary artist and the process and subsequent controversy which got him there. Asher Lev is a hasidic Jew living in Brooklyn who aspires to produce great art, but in the process must gradually break away from the beliefs with which he has been raised in order to pursue that dream. He essentially feels forced to betray his family and his religion by painting outside of it because he is unable to find any example in his own tradition that describes the intense personal suffering and sacrifice that he feels around him. It is a story of ultimate surrender to one's art and need for expression, whatever the cost.

I admittedly had a difficult time getting through the first half of the novel, and if I weren't having to read it for a class I might not have continued on to see how poignant and heartbreaking a story it grows to be before the end. For me personally, I read it at a very significant period in my life, when I myself was faced with the struggle between family expectations and my own desire to pursue something else entirely (i.e. music). What the book showed me was that it isn't easy, but if you have something in your soul that you need to express, you sometimes have to abandon the "safe" or "accepted" route in favor of making it a reality, whatever the cost. You just basically have to live with the hope that your sacrifices will be understood in the end.
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