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Pedro Cerrano

Your "Must-Read Classics" List

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I would say there are a few short story writers who fit the bill:

Cheever.

Chekhov.

Carver.

Flannery O'Connor.

Alice Munro.

Calvino?

Others?

I'd add Babel, Borges and Malamud to the short list.

Hmmm. The best of Fitzgerald is pretty damn good. But it's a checkered lot. He qualifies as one of those "great writers who happened to write some great stories" guys - perhaps because so much of what he did was hurried out for a paycheck?

Faulkner fits in this category as a short story writer as well. "Barn Burning" and "The Bear" are two of the great short stories in the English language, and he has a handful of others nearly as good, but the form in general didn't allow him to stretch out as his novels did (for good or ill).

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I'd add Babel, Borges and Malamud to the short list.

Faulkner fits in this category as a short story writer as well. "Barn Burning" and "The Bear" are two of the great short stories in the English language, and he has a handful of others nearly as good, but the form in general didn't allow him to stretch out as his novels did (for good or ill).

Borges and Babel were on a list of others I didn't post. Agree completely, though I haven't read much Babel. Or much Malamud.

Agree re: Faulkner.

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Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock canon stories are just terrific. Takes you back in time with his writing

Anything by Jules Verne IMO.

Count of Monte Cristo I consider a must read.

John Ransom's Diary is...a must read. The hell this man and others went though is truly hard to comprehend.

 

 

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On 12/28/2009 at 11:00 PM, Lucky Jim said:

I would say there are a few short story writers who fit the bill:

Cheever.

Chekhov.

Carver.

Flannery O'Connor.

Alice Munro.

Calvino?

Others?

Just discovered another brilliant one, actually discovered via Chuck Palahniuk's Stranger than Fiction (a great read in its own right): Amy Hempel. In the Carver minimalist tradition.

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On 10/29/2009 at 7:44 PM, Scrat1 said:

I love A Moveable Feast. That and especially In Our Time are my favorites from Hemingway. I'm not too big on his novels, although I did like The Sun Also Rises.

I can't stand the Grapes of Wrath, but I think I'm in the minority on this one. In fact, I don't like much Steinbeck at all, except his short story The Murder, which I love.

Grapes of Wrath is a great novel.  A moveable feast seems like it was written by a high school student.  Never understood the appeal of Hemmingway. 

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On 10/28/2009 at 4:30 PM, Lucky Jim said:

I was exaggerating. I haven't read it in over a decade (summer 1999); I liked the twelve-step stuff, I loved the tennis academy stuff (esp. Eschaton); there were aspects of the conspiratorial plotlines that I just zoned out on. I really should've flipped the ratio. Probably loved 2/3 of it and glossed over 1/3 of it.

No one likes Infinite Jest. It just insane ramblings of a mad man.  It is just such a painful book to read that people just claim they like it to make themselves seem smart.  The Girl with the Curious Hair has some good stories in it.

"The end of the tour" is a good movie and kind of gives you a good input to what Wallace was like. 

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East of Eden by John Steinbeck... There's no finer piece of fiction that I've ever encountered.  The scene regarding the meaning of free will in the Cain and Abel story in Genesis 4:14 is superlative.  The verse in question reads:  "1Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.

The character Lee, a Chinese manservant, explains: 

“Don’t you see? The American Standard translation orders men to triumph over sin, and you can call sin ignorance. The King James translation makes a promise in “Thou shalt,” meaning that men will surely triumph over sin. But the Hebrew word, the word timshel–‘Thou mayest’–that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open. That throws it right back on a man. For if ‘Thou mayest’–it is also true that ‘Thou mayest not.’ Don’t you see?”

The revelation has a profound impact on Samuel Hamilton who  comments on the possibility within the single Hebrew word:

“‘Thou mayest’! Why, that makes a man great, that gives him stature with the gods, for in his weakness and his filth and his murder of his brother he has still the great choice. He can choose his course and fight it through and win.”

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On 8/21/2019 at 1:43 PM, BRobinsonfan said:

East of Eden by John Steinbeck... There's no finer piece of fiction that I've ever encountered. 

Yes, fantastic book.    I loved everything Steinbeck wrote, but especially (in addition to East of EdenThe Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men.   He’s my all-time favorite author.    Of course, it’s been more than 30 years (40+ in some cases) since I read those books.   

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17 hours ago, Frobby said:

Yes, fantastic book.    I loved everything Steinbeck wrote, but especially (in addition to East of EdenThe Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men.   He’s my all-time favorite author.    Of course, it’s been more than 30 years (40+ in some cases) since I read those books.   

My favorite too... I'm especially a fan of Sweet Thursday and Cannery Row.... There's also Log from the Sea of Cortez in which he writes a prolog called "About Ed Ricketts."  Ricketts was has close friend and the man on whom he based the character "Doc" in Sweet Thursday and Cannery Row... its some of his best writing.   

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22 hours ago, Frobby said:

Yes, fantastic book.    I loved everything Steinbeck wrote, but especially (in addition to East of EdenThe Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men.   He’s my all-time favorite author.    Of course, it’s been more than 30 years (40+ in some cases) since I read those books.   

I love re-reading books, especially classics. Steinbeck is one of my favorites, too. Hemingway is more my speed, but it’s very close between them. 

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On 12/28/2009 at 4:54 PM, hoosiers said:

Agree with the Hemingway books - Farewell to Arms and For Whom the Bell Tolls.

Really enjoyed Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury.

Two of my favorites not mentoned above are Trinity and Mila 18 both by Leon Uris.

Watership Down by Richard Adams.

Just finished Sound and the Fury.  Then read some more about it.  Yeah...I’m not smart enough to understand Faulkner.  

I’m going to try All the King’s Men this fall.

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Of all the books I read in high school, Les Miserables was my favorite.    The structure of that book and the way the characters and stories eventually interweave with each other is fantastic.    

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