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Must-read classic novels

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Dick Whitman, Mar 21, 2012.

  1. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    I am accumulating a stack of classic novels that I have not yet read, even though I was a pretty enthusiastic English major. Here goes:

    "Moby Dick"
    "Crime and Punishment"

    To such a list, if you haven't read them, I would recommend, to begin with:

    "The Great Gatsby"
    Anything by Hemingway
    "American Pastoral," "I Married a Communist," or "The Human Stain"

    I'm always so torn between classics, contemporary novels, and non-fiction. Usually accumulate a stack of half-read books on my nightstand before I cull it down to one or two to focus on.
  2. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    So you haven't read Catch-22? You should. You can skip Ulysses though.

    I think everyone should read Huck Finn.

    Native Son is really powerful, too.
  3. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    I read the first 30-40 pages of Catch-22 a few months ago, and need to pick it back up. I was flabbergasted by how many jokes he chocked into each sentence, both dry humor and broad humor. It was like an episode of "30 Rock."
  4. Zeke12

    Zeke12 Guest

    This is gonna make me a bad intellectual, a bad English major and a bad Irishman, so forgive me, but I'm with Ace -- skip Ulysses and read Dubliners instead.

    You'll get much more out of a few selected critical articles than you would the novel. And Dubliners is both brilliant and enjoyable to read.

    I wasted so much time with Ulysses, and still only really mostly finished. I never did get through it in one stretch.

    For the Hemingway -- The Sun Also Rises.
  5. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    I read "Portrait ..." in college, so at least I'm not completely Joyce-ignorant. Might give myself an escape hatch from "Ulysses" for the time being.
  6. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I think everyone should read some Vonnegut, too.
  7. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    Moby Dick
    The Odyssey
    Brave New World
    Of Mice and Men

    YGBFKM Guest

    Can I find any of these books online?
  9. I Should Coco

    I Should Coco Well-Known Member

    Yes, bigpern ... I'm a big Steinbeck guy. "Of Mice and Men" is one of the great American novels

    And for me, "Grapes of Wrath" is one of my favorite books ever written. Great storytelling with just a li'l politics mixed in.
  10. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    For whatever reason, I never got into Grapes, but Of Mice and Men is one of my all-time favorite books. And it was a surprisingly strong movie, too, with Malkovich and Gary Sinise. I thought I would hate the movie because I enjoyed the book so much, but I thought it translated well to the screen. It might be time to pick up a new copy of the book. I haven't read it in years.
  11. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member


    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2014
  12. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    I've ready pretty much everything Steinbeck wrote. Tortilla Flat and Cannery Row are among the little ones that are most enjoyable. Same with Fitzgerald. Go beyond Gatsby.

    Couple of favorites: Babbit (Sinclair Lewis) and Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos) for the list.

    Try to mix in some Norman Mailer, too.
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