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This is the month I have in years past designated as "National Novel Reading Month," for those of us who have a deep love of literature but aren't going to be writing anything anytime soon. (booklectic, I expect you to spend this month WRITING.) My NaNoReadMo book will be Vanity Fair, which I do really hope to have finished by the end of the month; I'll post regularly on where I am in the book this month (perhaps daily!) to keep me honest on my progress. However, as it's a 657 page whopper, it's not really a fair book to suggest to other people for NaNoReadMo - I'm already at page 382, and if I weren't there'd be no chance of me getting through it.

I also had a wonderful conversation about books and book clubs for a man (Michael?) I met at the "Spem Et Alium" mega-choral concert on Wednesday night, and he gave me the following recommendations, the cream of 10 years of reading one large and one small novel 11 months of the year (astounding!):
Carson McCullers, Heart of the Lonely Hunter and Ballad of the Sad Cafe
Jaroslav Hacek, The Good Soldier Svejk ("a cross between The Master & Margarita and Catch-22)
Zola, La Bete Humaine
Balzac, Pere Goriot
Gascon, North and South

Members of the Degenerate Book Club, what do you think? Other readers out there, have you read any of these books?


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 5th, 2010 10:30 am (UTC)
I had to do Pere Goriot for A-Level French and I can't say I really enjoyed it much; I found it pretty hard-going. However, I think you might like it. Especially since you managed to make it all the way through Proust's magnum opus.

Balzac is a bit more like a French Dickens (although without the humour, I'd say - others might think that a little harsh); lots of detailed characterization of people sitting round the dining table and plenty of examination and criticism of the society of the time.
Nov. 5th, 2010 01:25 pm (UTC)
Funny I was just saying that I didn't like Balzac for the same reason I didn't like Dickens!
Nov. 5th, 2010 03:15 pm (UTC)
Oh dear, a French Dickens, how horrifying! M said his group read a LOT of Dickens so perhaps in this one area I should not take his advice.
Nov. 5th, 2010 01:10 pm (UTC)
We picked up a copy of La bête humaine in Paris with the most amazingly pulpy cover picture.

I haven't read Good soldier Švejk but I probably should; there were passages from it as reading exercises in my Czech textbook.

I'm not much a fan of Balzac. Contes drolatiques is nice though the stories are a bit samey. We have an amazing edition with all the Doré engravings which was worth it for that alone.
Nov. 5th, 2010 03:26 pm (UTC)
So that's two votes for Good Soldier, what sayeth the robot_mel?
Nov. 5th, 2010 01:26 pm (UTC)
I think you mean Gaskell for North and South

But I must admit the idea that there is a "read a novel in a month" club made me seriously Lol!!!!
Nov. 5th, 2010 03:17 pm (UTC)
They read TWO every month, one long and one short! He says he pretty much never gets to read anything else. I caught him at page 30 of "House of the Spirits" and the bookclub meeting the next day. He said they do a newsletter and something like an annual calendar - just crazy!

Okay, forget Balzac, how does La Bete Humaine and North and South sound? Or have you read North and South already?
Nov. 5th, 2010 03:45 pm (UTC)
I read at least two books a week sometimes three. One of which is normally non fiction though that's been transferred to dissertation study lately.

As I said on facebook I've already read everything by gasket she's my favourite Victorian author. Would prefer the art Zola honestly
Nov. 5th, 2010 03:46 pm (UTC)
I've read excerpts of The Good Soldier Svejk and enjoyed it. Carson McCullers is wonderful but as I remember her characters are often struggling with tremendous loneliness.
Nov. 5th, 2010 11:29 pm (UTC)
Well .... good and bad, I'll probably want to read it. Maybe I can learn something about how to deal with my life.

Did you ever get around to reading The End of Mr Y?
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )


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