A personal question...

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Re: A personal question...

Post: #159854 Cloud
Mon Jul 06, 2009 7:25 pm

I don't read much at all. I would say I don't have the time. But thinking about it, what I really mean is I'm too lazy to put in the effort to find a good book to read. I'm fussy. But I don't think I would reject a book because of who wrote it, unless I already knew I didn't care for that author's writing style.

As a child I read a lot of SF - Anne McCaffrey, Azimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Larry Niven, Robert A. Heinlein - but my tastes changed. I've never felt school diswaded me from reading. Perhaps that's because I'm not good at English - I repeatedly failed my English exams and still make awful gaffes and blunders. At school I was streamed in to English Language, while those better than me did English Literature as well. I've now read Kes and Tess and The catcher in the rye, and enjoyed them. I even quite like some Shakespeare (at the theatre, not reading).

I have quite a few books I've bought and not yet read. I do have to be in the right mood. And it takes me some time to get in to the right mood, even having picked a book. I've often started reading and just cannot get in to it. Some books I've managed to get several chapters in then given up. War of the Worlds sat on my shelf for several years, with a bookmark at the place I'd given up. Then I found it one day and could hardly put it down until it was finish.

Although I read authors like Terry Pratchet, Jasper FForde, etc., which I read quickly and for fun, my favourite finds are slow reads where the words and descriptions can be savoured and story is more a framework for ideas that seep in to your mind. Don't have to be highly intellectual or accredited. For example The Five People you Meet in Heaven, by Mitch Albom or The Body Artist, by Don Delillo were recent discoveries.

My current unfinished book is The Moth Diaries by Rachel Klein. It's been unfinished for over a year.
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Re: A personal question...

Post: #159861 Graye
Mon Jul 06, 2009 7:52 pm

Hopefully the one who said "he's too much like literature" actually tried to read his work so there's a start. But to write off literature because it was written by men is rather strange I think. Men soemtimes write tripe, but then so do women. I wouldn't read ANYTHING just because it was written by a woman (or by a man for that matter).

I will read virtually anything - from the back of a sauce bottle to the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire - and have done so. I love pretty much anything, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Agatha Christie, Patrick O'Brien, Salman Rushdie, etc - or non-fiction on all sorts of subjects. OH loves to read in foreign languages but I must admit I don't normally go that far!

I think if someone recommended something to me I would at least listen to them, try it and make up my own mind. But to make quite such sweeping statements is a little presumptuous. In our little village here in France there is one Dutch lady who is fluent in English and has an enormous selection of English novels. We are forever swapping books and I've found all sorts of new authors and subjects that way. The other foreigners are Brits and they sometimes join in but nowhere near as much as us two - I think we each read about 4 or 5 books a week.

When we lived in Spain I ran a little used book shop from our garage. Most of my customers were not British - although most of our books were. The oddest thing was when I had to tactfully tell an English friend living in the village that her eight year old daughter could not read in English AT ALL. She had sent her down to pick up some books and I wondered why she was just looking at the picture books for much younger children. When we chatted about it she said that she couldn't read words in English. This was despite be as fluent as any other English eight year old. The friend had no idea about this and just assumed that she would be able to read her own language. She made sure she read WITH her from then on!
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Re: A personal question...

Post: #159866 ina
Mon Jul 06, 2009 8:02 pm

Thanks for all your comments.

The strange thing is, neither of them has ever read anything by that author; they just assumed that, because he was "that old" (in fact, he committed suicide at age 45, in 1935), it was "literature" and therefore boring. He never was on the German curriculum (at least not in our time), so school can't have put them off, either. In fact, I think if that guy lived today, he'd be a bit like Christopher Brookmyre - another favourite author of mine. Ach well, never mind. Just a bit disappointed, that's all.

I'm also one of those who read at least one book per day - and who'd read the yellow pages rather than nothing at all!
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Re: A personal question...

Post: #159868 Cornelian
Mon Jul 06, 2009 8:23 pm

Everyone has their own reading preferences and it is absolutely fine not to like late nineteenth century literature (can't stand it myself, got over it a long time ago). I don't expect my friends to like what I like, nor do I expect them to read what I do. I don't touch literature at all - I need something light.

And I have a PhD in literary stuff and I have published 18 novels. ;) I don't need any more of it!!!!! I much prefer the garden! LOL
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Re: A personal question...

Post: #159882 the.fee.fairy
Tue Jul 07, 2009 1:19 am

18 novels? Are you someone i've read?

I'm a really big reader. I read fairly fast too.

I love books and get a bit nervous if there's not one within 20ft...

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Re: A personal question...

Post: #159884 Millymollymandy
Tue Jul 07, 2009 5:17 am

Sorry Ina I'm rather like your friends. :lol: I'd dismiss him just because of his name - he sounds like those Russian authors that I can't even spell who I wouldn't bother with because they sound way too highbrow for me. I'm into serial killer, murder mystery type best seller stuff and not anything heavy. I'm not bothered about whether the author is male or female though!

I don't think there's anything wrong with that, for example my husband wouldn't touch the sort of light romantic type of books that my mother leaves here. She in turn wouldn't go near a serial killer book or anything science fiction - EVEN if someone said the book was really good. We all have our own tastes, same as in music or anything else.

And yes school was very offputting re 'proper' literature i.e. classics. I loathe Shakespeare with a vengeance - it's boring as hell because I don't understand it. That's because school didn't teach us to understand and it was like reading a book in a foreign language without having learnt that language. The only story I did understand was Romeo and Juliet but it helped seeing the film several times which made some sense out of it, and I had to do it for O-level so I HAD to understand! :lol:
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Re: A personal question...

Post: #159891 ina
Tue Jul 07, 2009 7:12 am

I don't expect everybody to like what I like - I just regret the way they were so negative about it when I said I'm really into Tucholsky at the moment... Because, what a person reads tells you a lot about that person. If they don't want to know what I read, that means they couldn't care less what state I'm in at the moment. I think that is the real problem here! Sometimes I go through a "crime" phase, sometimes a Terry Pratchett phase - and that tells you exactly how I feel at the moment, if you take the trouble to think about it.

And about the name - well, sorry, a lot of Germans have names like that. Has nothing to do with his style of writing.
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Re: A personal question...

Post: #159895 lsm1066
Tue Jul 07, 2009 7:24 am

red wrote:
ina wrote:As for rejecting it because it was written by a man? i dislike sexism, and it strikes me as a silly reason...


Actually, it strikes me as sexism. Which often happens when someone says that one gender was oppressed in some way and so they'll automatically rebel against the other. Sexism, just the other way round.

I have to say my favourite author in the whole world ever is Terry Pratchett. His books can be read by people of all ages and resonate well with the reader. His social commentaries are a joy, if you're an adult. But my kids have been reading him since they were about 6, because even when he writes books aimed at kids, he doesn't talk down to them. He assumes they're just smaller humans and writes the way he does for anyone. The humour's the same. The language isn't massively simplified because he assumes intelligence. The only thing him might change would be his similes and metaphors, gearing them more to what children would have experienced. And they're fun. But they are also full of insight into humanity, into social realism, into what, when you get right down to it, makes us all tick.

I can understand why people would feel that school ruined literature for them. All that reading things into the story, the character assassinations, delving into plots to find the hidden story beneath. I could never do that at school because I didn't have the life experience required to compare it all to. I can now. I've had more practice. But my favourite novel in the whole world is one that even school didn't manage to ruin. It's a one hit wonder and it's To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

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Re: A personal question...

Post: #159967 Flo
Tue Jul 07, 2009 3:26 pm

I have no doubt that come the darker days when there's less to do outside there will be more inclination to discover reading again. And that's typical of me - reading is for the winter as I'd rather be outside when there's light (and no rain).

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Re: A personal question...

Post: #159982 Thomzo
Tue Jul 07, 2009 6:23 pm

It almost sounds as if Ina's friends felt embarrassed. Either because they hadn't heard of the author or felt that they should know his work and didn't. To cover their embarrassment they hit back by belittling her choice of read. It's sad, but so many people can't admit when the don't know something. Had it been me I would happily admit that I didn't know the author but might give him a go.

Don't take it personally Ina. Just accept that, like the rest of us, your friends do have their flaws after all.

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Re: A personal question...

Post: #160069 prison break fan
Wed Jul 08, 2009 8:18 am

Thomzo, I think you have it absolutely right! A few years ago I would probably said much the same thing, but now I am happy to admit my ignorance about most things! I would love to have authors recommended to me. pbf.

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Re: A personal question...

Post: #160075 sleepyowl
Wed Jul 08, 2009 8:58 am

The only reason I would say no to a book is if it would be difficult to read with my dyslexia, although Rich has read me some Ian Banks & William Gibson, I would like to read Oscar Wilde & Tolkien but I have found many people who aren't dyslexic who have problems reading them
Last edited by sleepyowl on Mon Jul 13, 2009 8:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A personal question...

Post: #160077 Cloud
Wed Jul 08, 2009 9:01 am

They say pictures are better on the radio. I think that it applies to books too.

@ sleepyowl, I didn't know that about dyslexics and certain authors.
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Re: A personal question...

Post: #160275 mrsflibble
Thu Jul 09, 2009 2:18 pm

i try not to reject any author. even if i find it hard to read their books i will keep trying, and if i still can't make it work i attempt it on cd. I have just finished Sashenka by simon montefiore (parts 1 and 2) on cd, wanted to read the books but i just couldn't get the words to work in my head. they're excellent books and i recommend them to anyone; even if you have to get them on cd like i did lol!


and may I second the problems with tolkien and wilde? I am dyslexic, diagnosed at 21. It got much worse though after the coma, so I think there's some damage in my little peanutbrain. I cope well most of the time, and like i said; if in doubt there's always CDs.
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Re: A personal question...

Post: #160711 sleepyowl
Mon Jul 13, 2009 8:36 am

Sure thing, they are really not easy to read. I was diagnosed at college, the teachers at school thought I was being lazy, it took a friend who was doing remedial classes to show me what to do in my GCSE retakes to understand what the guidelines to the coursework actually meant.
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