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Everything posted by KEV67

  1. Chesterton

    I have read two of his novels: The Man Who Was Thursday and The Napoleon of Notting Hill. Both were mad. I read his Father Brown detective stories. They were like Sherlock Holmes, but not quite so good. He would be in big demand today for his plots. He would be great at writing scripts for Doctor Who for instance. He was a good poet. I especially like his Rolling English Road. He seems to have had a bit of a problem writing women. I get the impression he felt he did not understand them, despite being a married man. His Christianity is very apparent. Chesterton is still popular in the more religious parts of the USA because of his faith.
  2. Kingsley Amis

    I have read Lucky Jim, which I enjoyed. It's a campus novel. Quite funny. I also read The Old Devils, which beat The Handmaid's Tale for the Booker Prize. It was an unusual plot. It was about these Welsh pensioners who spend too much time down the pub. An old acquaintance of theirs, who made it big being a professional Welshman on the telly, retires to the area. Things happen, but it's not like Last of the Summer Wine.
  3. Victober

    Does anyone do Victober? It's a BookTube (YouTube) thing. Katie from Books and Things and three other readers with YouTube channels mount a series of Victorian literature challenges. It's either a lot of fun, or a lot of reading. Last year the challenges were to read something by an author you'd liked before, to read a Victorian collection of letters or diary, to read something you'd been putting off for a long time, to read something in your favourite genre, and to read Shirley by Charlotte Brontë. Then you discuss them on GoodReads. I don't always feel the challenges are very scientifically selected. OTOH, it's a rare opportunity to discuss Victorian literature with other people. It takes place in October. I am guessing the group read will be Gothic Tales by Elizabeth Gaskell: she's well ahead in the poll. I don't know what the other challenges are yet. I hope one of them will allow me to read Framley Parsonage, because that's on my TBR shelf.
  4. Victober

    I'd rather it was to read a sensation novel than it be to read Lady Audley's Secret. I was going to read East Lynne for the other Victober anyway, and I read Lady Audley's Secret last year.
  5. I have been trying to learn Latin. It is difficult. My main incentive was that, from time to time, I come across Latin phrases in books. It annoyed me that having spent three years attending Latin classes at school, I could never translate anything. Anyway, I am reading The Red and the Black by Stendhal. The lead character, Julien Sorel, is studying to become a priest. The seminary is a nest of vipers. Quid tibi dixerunt? [What did they say to you?] Erit tibi, fili mi, successor meus tanquam leo quarens quem devorit. [Because for you, my son, my successor will be as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour] Cornelii Taciti opera omnia [The complete works of Tacitus]
  6. Victober

    The exemplars are The Woman in White, Lady Audley's Secret, and East Lynne. They generally include stuff like secret identities, bigamy, murder, blackmail, amateur sleuths, and young women being locked up in lunatic asylums. Their heyday was the 1860s.
  7. examples of plagiarism

    Comics publishers may well sue you if you copy a character too closely. This video is instructive. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2yZwh_gCIU Captain Marvel was closely based on Superman, so Fawcett was sued by Action Comics, the forerunner of DC Comics. L Miller and Son, who used to repackage Captain Marvel for the UK, simply renamed him Marvelman, changed a few names, special words and distinguishing characteristics, and carried on publishing. Eventually L Miller and Son had to close down, because the US were allowed to export their superior, coloured-in comics to the UK. Twenty years later Marvelman was resurrected by Dez Skinn for Warrior. Marvelman was renamed Miracleman, because Marvel the comic publishers would have sued otherwise. The new writer for Miracleman was a young writer, Alan Moore, who did absolutely brain-scrambling stuff, and revolutionised the super-hero genre forever. Now, I hear Marvel has bought the copyright to Miracleman, although it is still unclear what they are going to do with it.
  8. Victober

    Challenge Suggestion 3: Read several chapters from a Penny Blood / Penny Dreadful. I might read my namesake, Varney the Vampire; or I might read Spring Heeled Jack, a sort of early Batman.
  9. examples of plagiarism

    Shakespeare was a pretty bad plagiariser. He rarely worked out any of his own plots. Some people have pointed out that 1984 by George Orwell has similarities to a book called We by a Russian writer whose name began with Z. There were some similarities, but they were also quite different. J K Rowling was not the first writer to think about a wizard school. Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea series was set in a wizard school. I expect the Harry Potter stories are still quite different, although I have not read any.
  10. Something similar to Sharpe?

    There are the Flashman books by George MacDonald Fraser. I used to like them. Flashman is a bit different to Sharpe. Then there are those Horatio Hornblower books. Bernard Cornwell is a big fan of those.
  11. This can be a bit embarrassing when in a coffee shop or on the train. SPOILERS I did cry the last chapter of Tess of the d'Urbervilles. Moreover, I have always teared up every time I read the last chapter of Watership Down. It's not much of a spoiler: rabbits don't live a very long time.
  12. Books that make you blub

    La Maison de ma Mère by Marcel Pagnol. I read it in the original French, because that's the sort of guy I am. I did consult a dictionary. The bit that made me blub was the epilogue. The author's mother died several years after the events of the book. His friend died in World War I, and his brother grew up to be a recluse and died young.
  13. Victober

    I can see you can have up to ten options on a poll. In the Victober rules, you are allowed to read a work of literature that completes more than one challenge. I quite like that idea, because in the past the four organisers presented a challenge each, then there was a group challenge, and a read-along. That can amount to a lot of reading. Personally, all I am prepared to read is one long story, a shorter story, and some shorter works. such as essays or poems. However, some readers take on a lot. So how do you want to do this? Perhaps each participant (or first 10) issues a challenge. Then we present the challenges in a poll and the top three or four are picked?
  14. Victober

    The Victober challenges have been set: Read a book about the countryside or about the city Read a book with a female main character Read a sensation novel Read a popular Victorian book you have not read yet Read Gothic Tales by Elizabeth Gaskell I am not sure I like the challenges. In particular, I do not like the read a book about the countryside or the city challenge. Isn't that most Victorian novels. I don't like the read a popular Victorian book challenge neither because they have said that can be a book that was popular when it came out or a book that is popular now. Those are two quite different things. Nevertheless, I will read East Lynne, which is a sensation novel and a bestseller and has a female main character. It sounds quite interesting. I thought about reading Trilby by George du Maurier about a young artist's model called Trilby, which was extremely popular when it came out. I might read that another time. I will make a start on Framley Parsonage after East Lynne. I will not read all the Gothic Tales, but I might read Lois the Witch. I am not sure I like the sound of it, though. I considered reading Agnes Grey, which is also quite short.
  15. Westerns

    Why are there so few westerns in bookshops these days? The only ones I generally see are True Grit by Charles Portis, the Lonesome Dove series by Larry McMurtry, and Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy. It is odd, because it used to be such a popular genre. I think maybe Hollywood killed it. My theory is that when anyone wrote a good western it was immediately turned into a film, so everyone remembers the film but not the book.
  16. I sometimes hear that a book loses something in translation. For instance, that War and Peace, great book that it is, is better in Russian. Mind you, War and Peace contains a lot of French, and I can read most the French. I did suspect The Brothers Karamazov lost something in translation. When a book is written in verse, I cannot see how it can be translated accurately. I think a bigger problem is when you have characters who speak colloquially or with accents, or have mannerisms of speech. In Huckleberry Finn, Jim speaks with southern, black accent. Huck speaks with a back woods accent. Most the characters speak with, what I read was, a Pine County accent. A Brazilian on another book forum said these accents were translated into standard Portuguese.
  17. Westerns

    Interesting, it was written as a screenplay in the 70s but rejected. So the author turned it into a book and tried to pitch it as a screenplay again. Lots of actors have been pitched for the starring role, including Arnold Schwarzegger and Pierce Brosnan. Makes you wonder what sort of film it would be.
  18. Translated books

    Richard Pevear, who was one of the translators of my copy of War and Peace wrote about he translation in the introduction. He used the example of "Kapli kapali," which he translates as "Drops dripped." Other translations have been "The branches dripped," "The trees were dripping," and "Raindrops dripped." Pevear also said Tolstoy deliberately repeated words, where as English translators have been taught it is bad style so use different words. There was another example in which some children were playing at travelling by coach to Moscow. The translators usually spell out that they are playing, while the original assumes the reader understands that without saying. I read The Count of Monte Cristo a couple of years ago. I could not find the name of the translator in my copy of the book, but it was a superb translation. The best thing about the book is the sparkling dialogue, which I doubt could have been any better in the original French.
  19. Now that I have read (almost) War and Peace, and having read (but not understood) Ulysses last year, I feel I have read most the great books. Now it's just Dante, Shakespeare, Beowulf and the Greeks, but maybe I don't have to worry about them. However, I still have a bit of a TBR to conclude my getting well read project: Clarissa by Samuel Richardson Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky Les Miserables by Victor Hugo A La Recherche du Temps Perdu by Marcel Proust (do I have to?) Paradise Lost by John Milton Something by John Faulkner (do I really have to?) Portrait of a Lady by Henry James (not looking forward to this) Something by D.H. Lawrence Dracula by Bram Stoker
  20. I have started reading The Red and the Black by Stendhal. I read in the introduction that Marie-Henri Beyle (Stendhal's real name) was one of the French officers that retreated from Russia in 1812, which I have just been reading about in War and Peace. What are the chances of that?
  21. Which poem would you like read out at your funeral? It's the done thing these days. Obviously you don't ask a question like this without having an answer of your own. Mine is The Rolling English Road by G.K. Chesterton, which combines my love of country with my love of boozing: Before the Roman came to Rye or out to Severn strode, The rolling English drunkard made the rolling English road. A reeling road, a rolling road, that rambles round the shire, And after him the parson ran, the sexton and the squire; A merry road, a mazy road, and such as we did tread The night we went to Birmingham by way of Beachy Head. I knew no harm of Bonaparte and plenty of the Squire, And for to fight the Frenchman I did not much desire; But I did bash their baggonets because they came arrayed To straighten out the crooked road an English drunkard made, Where you and I went down the lane with ale-mugs in our hands, The night we went to Glastonbury by way of Goodwin Sands. His sins they were forgiven him; or why do flowers run Behind him; and the hedges all strengthening in the sun? The wild thing went from left to right and knew not which was which, But the wild rose was above him when they found him in the ditch. God pardon us, nor harden us; we did not see so clear The night we went to Bannockburn by way of Brighton Pier. My friends, we will not go again or ape an ancient rage, Or stretch the folly of our youth to be the shame of age, But walk with clearer eyes and ears this path that wandereth, And see undrugged in evening light the decent inn of death; For there is good news yet to hear and fine things to be seen, Before we go to Paradise by way of Kensal Green.
  22. I quite liked Norwegian Wood although it was very sad. It made me want to visit those Japanese mountains. I am sure I started reading an Earthsea book when I was a boy, but I think it was a bit past my reading age. I found it rather strange and unsettling. Come to think of it, I found Ursula Le Guin's Left Hand of Darkness rather strange and I was about 45 when I read it.
  23. You're right. I'll scratch Faulkner.
  24. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

    Got to say I am not enjoying the epilogues much. The second is mostly a boring essay on social science. The first was mostly a boring essay on the limitations of history writing. The first epilogue is slightly interesting in that it contains traces of the book Tolstoy originally intended to write. Just got seven more pages of the second epilogue, and Tolstoy's appendix, then that's another big beast whose head I can mount on the wall
  25. Westerns

    I was just reading the blurb of Whiskey When We're Dry (which I am currently reading). Guess what? It is currently in development for a feature film. I don't know if that means for sure it will be a feature film. I have a theory the reason why there are not many classic Western books is that they all get turned into films almost immediately. Regarding the scope of Westerns, would the forum consider The Last of the Mohicans a Western? I started reading, but I can't remember if I finished it. I remember it being pretty good. I watched the film with Daniel Day Lewis. I was impressed with his ability to run long distances very fast.