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Raven

Penguin Readers 100 Must-Read Classic Books

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Not a bad list. I have read fifty of them. Better than the BBC Culture top 100 British novels if you ask me.

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10 hours ago, KEV67 said:

 

Not a bad list. I have read fifty of them. 

 

 

I've managed a mere 5 from that list! (although I probably have another 10 or more on the shelf to read, or on my Kindle).

 

Personally, I would rate The War of the Worlds over The Time Machine.  The class commentary in the latter isn't very subtle and wears a bit thin after a while, and I just don't think it is as well written.    

 

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I've read 14 of them and half of two more (Moby Dick and The Master and Margarita... got bored.).

 

Because their classics I read them all years ago when classics is all I read so have only vague memories. I remember enjoying Call of the Wild but then being disappointed to discover that London was a bit of notorious plagiarist. 

 

Still don't get the fuss about Great Gatsby. 🤔 Especially given Murakami clearly adored it in Norwegian Wood.

Edited by Hux

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I've read 42 but have to admit that I can barely remember anything about several of them including Silas Marner and The Time Machine.

 

I do wonder who wrote some of the blurbs, definitely not stylistically equal to the books being promoted - eg " This deeply personal and unforgettable account of a day in the life at a Soviet labour camp in the 1950s is highly considered to be one of the greats of contemporary literature." (I did read it when I was about 18  and I'm afraid the only thing I can remember about it is that the prisoners were made to sleep with their arms outside the covers. )

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1 hour ago, France said:

 

I've read 42 but have to admit that I can barely remember anything about several of them including Silas Marner and The Time Machine.

 

 

To be honest, I mainly remember the plot of The Time Machine from the George Pal film*, rather than the book (though there are differences).

 

*Which I still love, by the way.

 

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I think I've read 25 (I can't remember if I read all of Heart of Darkness or not!). There's a couple I read a bit of but didn't finish.

 

Funny (or, maybe more weird than funny) story: I was meant to read Truman Capote's In Cold Blood for university but, even though reading violent scenes doesn't usually effect me, I was nearly physically sick after reading the beginning. I had to put it down and go get some fresh air. I think it was a mixture of knowing that those things actually happened and the very brutal/blunt and descriptive way that Capote tells it. Knowing that Capote was sympathetic to the criminals also made me feel uncomfortable about the book and I just couldn't bring myself to read it all.

 

There are a few books on there that I really do want to read though!

 

6 hours ago, Hux said:

Still don't get the fuss about Great Gatsby.

Me either to be honest (I also agree with you about Moby Dick!).

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37 minutes ago, Hayley said:

 

 

(I also agree with you about Moby Dick!).

 

 

I still intend to read and finish that.  Tried twice, but failed both times (but I did enjoy what I read, in an odd way).

 

If I had an excuse for staying indoors for an extended period, I might get around to it.

 

Oh...

 

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2 minutes ago, Raven said:

 

I still intend to read and finish that.  Tried twice, but failed both times (but I did enjoy what I read, in an odd way).

 

If I had an excuse for staying indoors for an extended period, I might get around to it.

 

Oh...

 

:lol: I enjoyed the chapters that weren't about the technical aspects of whaling. If those parts could be edited out I think I'd have really liked it!

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1 hour ago, Hayley said:

 

:lol: I enjoyed the chapters that weren't about the technical aspects of whaling. If those parts could be edited out I think I'd have really liked it!

 

 

Never got that far!  I think the furthest I got was just after they signed on the Pequod.

 

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11 hours ago, Raven said:

 

I've managed a mere 5 from that list! (although I probably have another 10 or more on the shelf to read, or on my Kindle).

 

Personally, I would rate The War of the Worlds over The Time Machine.  The class commentary in the latter isn't very subtle and wears a bit thin after a while, and I just don't think it is as well written.    

 

I disagree with you there. I found War of the Worlds strangely dull. I preferred the concept album. Still, there must be about a 100 alien invasion films that are basically the War of the Worlds.

 

The Time Machine was written ten years before Albert Einstein published his theory on special relativity. So the idea of time being a dimension in space must have been gaining traction. People were still absorbing Charles Darwin's theory of evolution and how that applied to humans, eugenics and such like. I read a book by Jack London called The People of the Abyss written about 1902, which was a bit of reportage on the East End of London. He said people looked misshapen and threatening, owing to the poverty, malnourishment, pollution and disease no doubt. I think middle class Londoners were trying not to think about them. So if you think science fiction is interesting when it is really about commenting on what is worrying contemporary society, then it is a very interesting book. And it's short.

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Fifty-one definitely.

Trouble is that a number of the remaining titles are so familiar that I can't be sure whether I have read them, read about them, heard/seen on film, TV or radio or heard them talked about by friends.

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I've read 10 of those. There are a few that I've started but never finished too. 

 

I'm another one that never finished Moby Dick. I like to keep my fiction and my reference books separate!

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