Favorite Books

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Re: Favorite Books

Post by irreduciblekoan » Sun Nov 24, 2013 11:49 pm

So as not to bug the guy, I actually just sent him an e-mail today with a link to this thread, so another e-mail from you may not be necessary.

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Re: Favorite Books

Post by Mattceinicram » Mon Nov 25, 2013 12:16 am

irreduciblekoan wrote:On the Road is actually #18. What may have confused you is that it's under "fiction" on that site.
ahh I see that now, thank you!
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Re: Favorite Books

Post by wtf242 » Mon Nov 25, 2013 5:50 am

Hello. I'm actually the guy who created thegreatestbooks.org. I have been spending a lot of my free time in the last month updating and improving it. I've read through this thread and think there are some great feedback. I do include user rated lists but they are rated MUCH lower than critic based lists. I am going to be fine tuning my algorithm and weightings for each list, as well as adding new lists and updating the site soon. If you don't like the site please let me know how i can improve it! The person who sent me the link to this forum mentioned "best authors" which i think would be cool. The authors that appear on the list the most.

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Re: Favorite Books

Post by JimmyJazz » Mon Nov 25, 2013 7:58 am

Hello, and welcome to the site! A best authors idea sounds great to me, and will suggest a couple more lists for you:

- The Norwegian Book Club's 100 Best Books, voted by numerous major writers from all around the world.
- "The World Library", a similar list to the one above but from Sweden.
- The individual author ballots from the "Top Ten Books" list, which I see you have included the master Top ten of.

I would still suggest that you give even more weight to literary specific sources over book lists from general sources, but that is just my idea.

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Re: Favorite Books

Post by irreduciblekoan » Mon Nov 25, 2013 1:18 pm

His site actually does include the Norwegian Book Club list already, which I thought was nice.

And to the creator: if you don't feel like adding in every single list on TopTenBooks, perhaps you can include at least more if not all of their master list (http://www.toptenbooks.net/list-books).

As for my own thoughts about TopTenBooks, since JimmyJazz mentioned that it his his favorite literary list: I think it's wonderful, but I feel like so much great work is missing on account of including just authors' 10 favorites and no more. For example, there is no Cat's Cradle, Bridge of San Luis Rey or The Crying of Lot 49, which all deserve to be on any kind of meta-list of best novels. Perhaps those exclusions are because, while many writers love those books and have been influenced by them, none of them were an author's top 10 favorite (though maybe top 30 or 50 for many writers). On the other end of the spectrum you DO have something like Tom Clancy's Sum of All Fears on that site, simply because one author really really loved it. So I think it's a great resource but not nearly the be-all end-all of literary lists.

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Re: Favorite Books

Post by JimmyJazz » Mon Nov 25, 2013 3:04 pm

But they are writers ballots, which TSPDT includes with critics and filmmakers and gives much more weight to than magazine or poll lists. You ARE aware of this, right?

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Re: Favorite Books

Post by JimmyJazz » Mon Nov 25, 2013 3:33 pm

Contemplating my above response, how exactly do you feel about the TSPDT 1000? Because, even more so than AM, I feel it is the perfect example of what a definitive meta-list should be. It is compiled from countless individual ballots, which mean much more than magazine or poll lists which almost inevitably revolve around the same "greatest" titles and by their very nature have commercial interests alongside aesthetic interests. The personal top tens of a writer or critic helped go shape their own tastes or art, and by that reasoning the works they chose are "great" in a way. Regarding AM, it is obviously not Henrik's fault that no individual ballots for music seem to be around, but if I was doing a list like this, I would include any available individual top tens and weight them more heavily, following the path set by TSPDT. That list obviously includes a lot of "favorites" that can't, by some people's logic, be considered "great' though this does open up the question of what is "great" anyhow. To give a perfect example, the choices you have of what a definitive meta list "should" have are entirely up to opinion. Some may argue that they are weak examples of those writers' works (not I, necessarily). As for a Tom Clancy novel appearing on there, if works by Stephen King, J K Rowling, C S Lewis, Agatha Christie, and J R R Tolkien, all "pop" writers of the truest sense of the word, can sit next to the likes of Flaubert, Dostoevsky, and Bellow, then by that logic it is perfectly logical to have a Tom Clancy novel on there as well. The point of any top ____ list is to:

1. Provide an generally accurate summary of the most recommended works (this burden specifically falls on the very top of the list)
And (more importantly)
2. Illuminate the reader by letting them know about works they may not have even heard about (the lower half of the meta list should do this job). You will not believe the amount of great, underappreciated gems that I've discovered from TSPDT's 1000, and some of these titles admittedly got on the list at various points on the basis of just a few critics or filmmaker top tens.

What is your own favorite literary list, may I ask? If you want some other lists I'm fond of, the 100 Greatest Novels by this one American scholar which is included on that site, I see, and that Norwegian Book Club list.

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Re: Favorite Books

Post by irreduciblekoan » Tue Nov 26, 2013 12:37 am

I actually really like both The Observer's and Modern Library's Top 100, because they include some unorthodox but deserving choices. And I agree with you that TopTenBooks, if I take the entire meta-list into account, is awesome, perhaps second to greatestbooks as far as literary meta-lists. And don't worry, I get everything you've been saying in this thread and I agree with a lot of it (for instance, your post about how writers and critics have the far more important say on what is quality art). But I feel like you also generalize too far the other way. I always had the feeling that you looked unfairly lowly upon "popular" literature and considered it too broadly, but now I know it for sure. Speaking as a fan of ALL of those popular writers you mentioned, I will say right now that Tom Clancy isn't near the level (technical writing skill-wise) as Tolkien, Lewis, King or Rowling. In fact, I believe Tolkien and King are great writers by most standards. I say this without exaggeration: Stephen King may be popular, but he is easily one of America's greatest living authors. The only reason his books don't feature on literature lists as I believe they deserve to is because of that stigma he still has, which you also seem to believe in. But that man knows his way around a sentence. Unlike a Crichton, Clancy or Dan Brown. Fortunately, he has recently begun to increase his literary pedigree. The Shining and The Stand are rightly considered modern classics of American literature, and he won the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters in 2003.

Sorry for that rant, haha. Even though I focused most of it on King, it underlines my thoughts on popular literature in general: the best examples should be considered quality literature, and there are wonderful writers who write for the popular crowd. Alice in Wonderland is one of the best novels of all time, right?

Honestly speaking, when I saw The Sum of All Fears on TopTenBooks, I was pleasantly surprised. I am not so much against having novels by Clancy and Dan Brown on such sites. My main issue was that TopTenBooks was missing a surprising number of what I and the literary community consider great works. And all of those works ARE on GreatestBooks. So I don't particularly agree that TopTenBooks is the superior meta-list to GreatestBooks. While you seemed to be arguing that it was the better list merely on account of who they chose as the "judges." I believe GreatestBooks still has the stronger, broader selection of works, even if the math and methodology involved to rank them is more than a little wanting.

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Re: Favorite Books

Post by JimmyJazz » Tue Nov 26, 2013 12:45 am

Then we will just have to agree to disagree :)

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Re: Favorite Books

Post by JimmyJazz » Tue Nov 26, 2013 1:32 am

For the record, I will concede that Tolkien and King are writers worthy of respect, as is Lewis and (to a lesser extent), Rowling. I do know quite a few writers and critics who have made a case for Clancy in the realm of suspense literature, it should be noted, and the same for Crichton in the area of Sci Fi. I think we can all agree about Mr. Brown, though :mrgreen: . I do enjoy King's work quite a lot, and he has extremely good and quite literary tastes as demonstrated by his Top Ten ballot.

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Re: Favorite Books

Post by irreduciblekoan » Tue Nov 26, 2013 5:33 am

I am a fan of Crichton, Grisham and to a lesser extent, Clancy and Brown, but I was just speaking from a purely technical point-of-view. Their prose is a lot more stilted than, say, King, Tolkien, le Carre and Arthur C. Clarke. I believe those in the latter group are very fine writers as well as entertainers. In fact, Clarke's Childhood's End (a "mere" sci-fi book) is in my personal top 10, right up there with the likes Gravity's Rainbow, Cat's Cradle, Huck Finn and Catcher in the Rye.

This has been a stimulating thread, by the way. Thanks for the conversation. I appreciate your honesty and your intelligence.

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Re: Favorite Books

Post by Mattceinicram » Tue Nov 26, 2013 6:11 am

I couldn't imagine a list of greatest authors without Tolkien, King, or Lewis.
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Re: Favorite Books

Post by JimmyJazz » Tue Nov 26, 2013 8:03 am

Once again, I apologize if my remarks came off as being snobbish or anti popular literature, which I'm not. I stand by my words somewhat, and I have to admit that I personally still don't see the aforementioned writers as being among the greats like Shakespeare, Joyce, or Tolstoy. To each their own, though.

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Re: Favorite Books

Post by irreduciblekoan » Tue Nov 26, 2013 1:28 pm

Well you're right, they aren't, but who is? That's like saying Paul Thomas Anderson or Wong Kar-Wai aren't up there with Kubrick and Welles. Of course not, but that says more about the second group than the first. And no need to apologize, I actually find it fascinating to meet and discuss with people of such strong tastes and standards. I feel like I'm among the most, well, cultured or snobby people amongst my friends, so I like meeting people who are even more so. I had a boss once at a music/movie store who was like you but for movies. He would refuse to even watch Hollywood films. He ONLY liked challenging and artistic indie and foreign cinema, constantly ranting about the state of mainstream tastes. But for me that just made him more interesting and fun to converse with about such things. And he was full of great suggestions.

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Re: Favorite Books

Post by Jirin » Wed Nov 27, 2013 6:07 pm

I would agree that critics' lists should be separated out from popular ratings. I think popular ratings can be useful, as I often check RYM for one source of recommendations. But critics' list offer a completely different set of information from popular lists so I like to be able to observe and consider them separately.

The difference between music and books in terms of the difference between popular love and critical love is that there's a smaller distance of accessibility. Music evokes a visceral reaction in people so both 'art' and 'popular' music are generally enjoyed by the same part of the brain. Whereas popular books tend to focus on the central narrative and critically praised books tend to focus on the larger implications of the central narrative, so they appeal to people on completely different levels.

There's nothing wrong with stories that are driven mostly by narrative, they aren't trying to have the same sort of appeal as 'Literature' books. They affect a different part of the brain.

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Re: Favorite Books

Post by Mattceinicram » Thu Jan 09, 2014 4:50 am

I just read To Kill a Mockingbird for the first time. I definitely found it to be a very incredible story, crawling with symbols of injustice and innocence. I'm kinda kicking myself for never reading it before. :angry-banghead:
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Re: Favorite Books

Post by Listyguy » Thu Jan 09, 2014 10:54 pm

Mattceinicram wrote:I just read To Kill a Mockingbird for the first time. I definitely found it to be a very incredible story, crawling with symbols of injustice and innocence. I'm kinda kicking myself for never reading it before. :angry-banghead:
You didn't have to read that in school ever? I had to freshman year.
I recently finished Catch-22. It's a great satire, had me laughing the whole time.

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Re: Favorite Books

Post by Mattceinicram » Fri Jan 10, 2014 2:55 am

Listyguy wrote:
Mattceinicram wrote:I just read To Kill a Mockingbird for the first time. I definitely found it to be a very incredible story, crawling with symbols of injustice and innocence. I'm kinda kicking myself for never reading it before. :angry-banghead:
You didn't have to read that in school ever? I had to freshman year.
I recently finished Catch-22. It's a great satire, had me laughing the whole time.
My brother had to read it freshman year, I did not. I believe freshman year I read Great Expectations, Romeo and Juliet, and parts of the Odyssey
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Re: Favorite Books

Post by Bruce » Fri Jan 10, 2014 6:14 am

My favorite book is Bill James Historical Abstract. Other favorites are all reference books, mainly about which records made various charts over the years, I have no interest at all in fiction.

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Re: Favorite Books

Post by Gillingham » Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:11 pm

Bruce wrote:My favorite book is Bill James Historical Abstract. Other favorites are all reference books, mainly about which records made various charts over the years, I have no interest at all in fiction.
Instead of forcing yourself to listen to music you are almost certain you won't like, I would suggest forcing yourself to read fiction for a change. Got a lot to win there it would seem. One is never too old to appreciate another artform.
Just an idea.

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Re: Favorite Books

Post by Bruce » Sat Jan 18, 2014 3:20 am

Gillingham wrote:
Bruce wrote:My favorite book is Bill James Historical Abstract. Other favorites are all reference books, mainly about which records made various charts over the years, I have no interest at all in fiction.
Instead of forcing yourself to listen to music you are almost certain you won't like, I would suggest forcing yourself to read fiction for a change. Got a lot to win there it would seem. One is never too old to appreciate another artform.
Just an idea.
They made me read enough fiction in my school years for me to know that its of no interest to me. I;d much rather read biographies of people that interest me. If I want fiction I'll watch a movie.

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Re: Favorite Books

Post by Henry » Sat Jan 18, 2014 7:16 am

Are there any Ayn Rand fans in the forum? I am not a fan, but her books (especially Atlas Shrugged) are viewed as highly influential especially for leaders in politics and industry.

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Re: Favorite Books

Post by JimmyJazz » Sat Jan 18, 2014 8:04 am

Henry wrote:Are there any Ayn Rand fans in the forum? I am not a fan, but her books (especially Atlas Shrugged) are viewed as highly influential especially for leaders in politics and industry.
Well, I am certainly not a fan...

Of course, your enjoyment of her works is almost entirely based upon your personal political (particularly of the fiscal kind) views. She is revered as a goddess by practically every fiscal conservative, and despised by pretty much everyone else. :mrgreen:

Will say that I am a big fan of King Vidor's film adaptation of The Fountainhead, though, starring Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal. Although, I tend to treat it like a great silent film, and mute the volume so I don't have to listen to her turgid dialogue.

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Re: Favorite Books

Post by Gillingham » Sun Feb 09, 2014 11:03 pm

Bruce wrote:
Gillingham wrote:
Bruce wrote:My favorite book is Bill James Historical Abstract. Other favorites are all reference books, mainly about which records made various charts over the years, I have no interest at all in fiction.
Instead of forcing yourself to listen to music you are almost certain you won't like, I would suggest forcing yourself to read fiction for a change. Got a lot to win there it would seem. One is never too old to appreciate another artform.
Just an idea.
They made me read enough fiction in my school years for me to know that its of no interest to me. I;d much rather read biographies of people that interest me. If I want fiction I'll watch a movie.
Maybe you've matured a bit since high school and are now better suited to appreciate literature?

You're last sentence doesn't make any sense. You might as well say that you don't need music, because if you want to have fun you'd rather play computergames. Or something...

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Re: Favorite Books

Post by Gillingham » Sun Feb 09, 2014 11:07 pm

JimmyJazz wrote:
Henry wrote:Are there any Ayn Rand fans in the forum? I am not a fan, but her books (especially Atlas Shrugged) are viewed as highly influential especially for leaders in politics and industry.
Well, I am certainly not a fan...

Of course, your enjoyment of her works is almost entirely based upon your personal political (particularly of the fiscal kind) views. She is revered as a goddess by practically every fiscal conservative, and despised by pretty much everyone else. :mrgreen:

Will say that I am a big fan of King Vidor's film adaptation of The Fountainhead, though, starring Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal. Although, I tend to treat it like a great silent film, and mute the volume so I don't have to listen to her turgid dialogue.
I've read some rave reviews for her work, but I've never thought about really reading her books, precisely because of the political view involved. It's not even so much that I oppose to it (which I do), but from what I've understood about it, it's not interesting at all. Furthermore, I've never read anything about her writing being really good, it's always just about her philosophies.
Last edited by Gillingham on Wed Feb 12, 2014 3:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Favorite Books

Post by Listyguy » Tue Feb 11, 2014 11:26 pm

Gillingham wrote: Maybe you've matured a bit since high school
Doubtful.

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Re: Favorite Books

Post by Bruce » Wed Feb 26, 2014 2:52 am

Gillingham wrote:Maybe you've matured a bit since high school and are now better suited to appreciate literature?
Being mature and appreciating literature have nothing to do with each other. In fact, an immature child would be more likely to be interested in stories than a mature man.

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Re: Favorite Books

Post by pauldrach » Wed Feb 26, 2014 9:22 am

Bruce wrote:In fact, an immature child would be more likely to be interested in stories than a mature man.
That's a weird sentiment and one I strongly disagree with.

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Re: Favorite Books

Post by pauldrach » Wed Feb 26, 2014 9:23 am

Plus "appreciating literature" and "being interested in stories" don't have very much to do with each other.

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Re: Favorite Books

Post by Nick » Wed Feb 26, 2014 11:39 am

Bruce wrote:
Gillingham wrote:Maybe you've matured a bit since high school and are now better suited to appreciate literature?
Being mature and appreciating literature have nothing to do with each other. In fact, an immature child would be more likely to be interested in stories than a mature man.
This is why all of the world's literature professors happen to be 5 year olds.

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Re: Favorite Books

Post by JimmyJazz » Wed Feb 26, 2014 3:54 pm

Yep, that's right, Nick. And all of the great English literature that I am currently studying, from the likes of Blake and Coleridge to Shelley and Keats (yes, I am studying the Romantic era right now, as you can tell) COMPLETELY sounds like it was written by 5-year olds... ;)

Wait until I reach the Modernist era with James Joyce and T. S. Eliot, boy those were 5-year olds with quite the vocabularies. :mrgreen:

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Re: Favorite Books

Post by Bruce » Wed Feb 26, 2014 11:26 pm

Nick wrote:
Bruce wrote:
Gillingham wrote:Maybe you've matured a bit since high school and are now better suited to appreciate literature?
Being mature and appreciating literature have nothing to do with each other. In fact, an immature child would be more likely to be interested in stories than a mature man.
This is why all of the world's literature professors happen to be 5 year olds.
All of the people who write and illustrate cartoons and comic books are also adults.

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Re: Favorite Books

Post by Bruce » Wed Feb 26, 2014 11:27 pm

pauldrach wrote:
Bruce wrote:In fact, an immature child would be more likely to be interested in stories than a mature man.
That's a weird sentiment and one I strongly disagree with.
Do you know any mature men who like to hear a story every night at bedtime?

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Re: Favorite Books

Post by Bruce » Wed Feb 26, 2014 11:28 pm

Essentially immature children are ONLY interested in fiction. Only mature people are interested in non fiction and reference books, like I am.

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Re: Favorite Books

Post by Bruce » Wed Feb 26, 2014 11:33 pm

Nick wrote:
Bruce wrote:
Gillingham wrote:Maybe you've matured a bit since high school and are now better suited to appreciate literature?
Being mature and appreciating literature have nothing to do with each other. In fact, an immature child would be more likely to be interested in stories than a mature man.
This is why all of the world's literature professors happen to be 5 year olds.
Literature professors are mainly people who could not cut in the real world, so instead they teach others about the imaginary worlds they have wasted all of their time studying.

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Re: Favorite Books

Post by Nick » Thu Feb 27, 2014 1:35 am

Well as Bob Dylan once said- "Don't criticize what you can't understand."

Does your aversion to fiction also extend to television and film? Because those are certainly stories as well.

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Re: Favorite Books

Post by Bruce » Thu Feb 27, 2014 2:30 am

Nick wrote:Well as Bob Dylan once said- "Don't criticize what you can't understand."

Does your aversion to fiction also extend to television and film? Because those are certainly stories as well.
No, I've already said if I want fiction I'll watch a movie.

As far as your Dylan quote, I understand literature perfectly, I just see no value in it. If I watch TV or a movie it is for the same reason that I listen to music......to be entertained. It's NOT because I have any interest in any message that the writer of the screenplay is trying to convey. Same reason that I have no interest in lyrics when it comes to music.

I do lots of reading, but it's all non fiction. I just read this one yesterday.

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Re: Favorite Books

Post by JimmyJazz » Thu Feb 27, 2014 3:30 am

So, your one of those "those who can't do, teach" douchebags, eh? People like you piss me off to no end. I have known great English teachers as I have grown up who truly love to teach and expose their students to great literature, stories, and writing styles, as well sometimes the life lessons the stories had within them. I am intending on going to college currently, and am hoping to have great learning experiences from great teachers, who have a great depth of knowledge in their preferred realm of scholarship (BTW, I am intending on studying film studies AND literature studies in college). Actually, I personally read literature and watch films and TV for entirely different reasons from one another. For film, I usually appreciate visual storytelling, which actually has little to do with the screenplay itself. Rather it's the visuals, lighting, costuming, colors, editing, movement of the camera, performance of the actors and how they react, move, and respond that intrigue me the most. That's appreciating cinema for what it TRUlY is, as both countless film scholars and filmmakers would tell you. Television is like a modern equivalent of plays and literature, combining wonderful writing and brilliant performances predominately, so I think they are best appreciated like a play in all honestly. As for literature, it is the tone, the mood, the philisophical and psychological thoughts they delve into, as well as the sheer brilliance of the way certain paragraphs and even sentences are written and the way the story itself is told, that truly effect a person who actually appreciates literature.

Please, dude, stick to the music you like, and leave this topic alone, as you clearly have no interest or real knowledge to contribute to it.

PS: You BETTER not say a single thing that is blatantly insulting about anything or the people I just wrote about, or I will inform Henrik about it. Remember that little ultimatum that he set for you at the beginning of the year. :angry-nono:

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Re: Favorite Books

Post by DocBrown » Thu Feb 27, 2014 4:09 am

Now, now, JJ, at least the troll is being consistently inconsistent; he has no appreciation for the written arts; literature, criticism, lyrics (and one would presume poetry). Yet he must write about these things to establish his overarching authority.

Even Bill James would be bored by his arguments, author of undoubtedly the most boring piece of crap I've ever seen, a book which takes the joy out of America's past time by parsing it into lists and equations. Kind of like the troll's approach to music in fact.

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Re: Favorite Books

Post by Bruce » Thu Feb 27, 2014 4:54 am

DocBrown wrote:Now, now, JJ, at least the troll is being consistently inconsistent; he has no appreciation for the written arts; literature, criticism, lyrics (and one would presume poetry). Yet he must write about these things to establish his overarching authority.

Even Bill James would be bored by his arguments, author of undoubtedly the most boring piece of crap I've ever seen, a book which takes the joy out of America's past time by parsing it into lists and equations. Kind of like the troll's approach to music in fact.
Most major league teams now employ Bill James or one of his disciples as his approach has proven very valuable to running a team. His books do not take any of the joy out of baseball. In fact, he's a strong proponent of appreciating the game from the side that you are talking about. James will be a hall of famer someday for his enormous contributions to the game.

And, yes, you are correct, I have absolutely no interest in poetry.

I'm just wondering..... if you are totally bored by lists and equations why would you be hanging around here? This site is all about lists that are derived from lots of complicated equations.

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Re: Favorite Books

Post by Nick » Thu Feb 27, 2014 11:44 am

So television and film are perfectly acceptable mediums to enjoy when it comes to storytelling, but anyone who enjoys literature is immature? Ooooooookay then.

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Re: Favorite Books

Post by Bruce » Thu Feb 27, 2014 8:30 pm

Nick wrote:So television and film are perfectly acceptable mediums to enjoy when it comes to storytelling, but anyone who enjoys literature is immature? Ooooooookay then.
It's just as valid as claiming that someone who doesn't like literature is immature.

Like I said from the beginning, there's no correlation between maturity and liking literature. A good argument can be made that perpetual academics who never get themselves into the real world (the job force) are immature. I certainly know lots of huge music fans who appreciate music greatly, but yet are 45 years old and still living with their parents. I'm sure there are lots of literature lovers like that also. To suggest that appreciating literature comes with maturity is inane.

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Re: Favorite Books

Post by JimmyJazz » Thu Feb 27, 2014 8:42 pm

Then, why are you hanging out on a thread devoted to such an "immature" subject, anyways? Why participate in a discussion with a bunch of immature 5-year olds, huh? Go back to your "mature" threads where you can discuss your favorite "mature music" (music which was made for freakin' teenagers in the 50s, and despised by the adult establishment of the time and deemed "immature", but whatever), and leave us the fuck alone. Anti-intellectual imbecile...

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Re: Favorite Books

Post by Nick » Thu Feb 27, 2014 9:31 pm

Bruce wrote:
Nick wrote:So television and film are perfectly acceptable mediums to enjoy when it comes to storytelling, but anyone who enjoys literature is immature? Ooooooookay then.
It's just as valid as claiming that someone who doesn't like literature is immature.

Like I said from the beginning, there's no correlation between maturity and liking literature. A good argument can be made that perpetual academics who never get themselves into the real world (the job force) are immature. I certainly know lots of huge music fans who appreciate music greatly, but yet are 45 years old and still living with their parents. I'm sure there are lots of literature lovers like that also. To suggest that appreciating literature comes with maturity is inane.
I never said that literature was more of a "mature" pursuit than film or television. In fact, my favorite films/shows are just as accomplished as any of my favorite works of literature. But when you say-

"In fact, an immature child would be more likely to be interested in stories than a mature man."

It suggests that you find literature to be an inherently immature pursuit. You then say that grown men shouldn't be interested in stories. But then you claim to be fond of both film and television, both of which are mediums for stories to be told. This all seems very contradictory.

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Re: Favorite Books

Post by Gillingham » Fri Feb 28, 2014 4:30 pm

Bruce wrote:
DocBrown wrote:Now, now, JJ, at least the troll is being consistently inconsistent; he has no appreciation for the written arts; literature, criticism, lyrics (and one would presume poetry). Yet he must write about these things to establish his overarching authority.

Even Bill James would be bored by his arguments, author of undoubtedly the most boring piece of crap I've ever seen, a book which takes the joy out of America's past time by parsing it into lists and equations. Kind of like the troll's approach to music in fact.
Most major league teams now employ Bill James or one of his disciples as his approach has proven very valuable to running a team. His books do not take any of the joy out of baseball. In fact, he's a strong proponent of appreciating the game from the side that you are talking about. James will be a hall of famer someday for his enormous contributions to the game.

And, yes, you are correct, I have absolutely no interest in poetry.

I'm just wondering..... if you are totally bored by lists and equations why would you be hanging around here? This site is all about lists that are derived from lots of complicated equations.
In my opinion, this site is first and foremost about appreciating music and discovering new music (AND art in general as well as you can see in the forum). The lists only come after that, fun as they are.
In your book, you can rip out and entire, significant chapter just like that. Well, leave the enjoying of that chapter to those who can appreciate it. It's fine that some people don't want to develop themselves in certain directions. But if you don't, please let those who did make an effort to develop (and thus mature) themselves to discuss their topic and assume that they are probably better informed about the subject, since they spent some time gaining knowledge about it.

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Re: Favorite Books

Post by Gillingham » Fri Feb 28, 2014 4:35 pm

Bruce wrote:
Bruce wrote:
Gillingham wrote:Maybe you've matured a bit since high school and are now better suited to appreciate literature?
Being mature and appreciating literature have nothing to do with each other. In fact, an immature child would be more likely to be interested in stories than a mature man.
All of the people who write and illustrate cartoons and comic books are also adults.
If you would take the time to read, study and try to appreciate those artforms, you would find that cartoons and comic books can be as 'adult' as any art form and as eyeopening, challenging or horryfying as any non-fiction work. But I'm afraid you won't permit yourselve to mature that way either.

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Re: Favorite Books

Post by Bruce » Fri Feb 28, 2014 6:07 pm

Gillingham wrote:as eyeopening, challenging or horryfying as any non-fiction work.
I don't read to be challenged or horrified. I read to gain more information about subjects I care about.

Why would anybody WANT to be horrified?

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Re: Favorite Books

Post by irreduciblekoan » Fri Feb 28, 2014 7:05 pm

Bruce, I notice you haven't replied to Nick's last post. I am also interested in your answer to his question. You say that you don't read fiction because liking stories is immature. But then you watch movies and television, so obviously you like stories. What's so different between fictional movies and fictional books? Why is one okay to you but not the other?

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Re: Favorite Books

Post by HRS » Fri Feb 28, 2014 9:32 pm

It was such a great thread. I had a smile on my face every time I read it. Great discussion over popular books and classics, Pynchon references. Suddenly the smile was wiped away. Don't waste your time on Bruce. Anyone who have picked some of the all-time classics knows that there are plenty of philosophical and even scientific musings in literature. Doktor Faustus by Thomas Mann for once might even be a better a book on music theory than plenty of those given in some courses – and it's also a marvelous snapshot of his contemporary Germany. Some literature works even help you to understand better the forces that operate inside a certain period – the Mann family is known for that; Buddenbrooks by Thomas, Mephisto by Klaus and De Untertan by Heinrich are all prime examples of different pictures, from different times and perspective, from a country that co-defined the world we live on it. How great to read Thomas Mann dismiss Wagner's music in a way that actually makes you respect a contrary opinion to yours, instead of the usual wanting to rip one eyes off that we get so much these days in online life. Speaking of Wagner, anyone who has read Proust's writing on Wagner during In Search of Lost Time or even arts and military tactics knows the man used his knowledge and his political science background to pass knowledge to its reader. Anyone who has stumbled upon William Gaddis' The Recognitions soon learns that the book is genius; a work of pure intellectualism in form and content. Literature is mostly subjective knowledge, with plenty of objective truths articulated to it. This knowledge shouldn't be dismissed because is not purely scientific or because of its abstract form. To plenty literature might be mere stories and entertainment, but it has the ability to catalyze change and revamp the eyes and mind of a being. Same goes for cinema, personal life, television and, yes, social network. Any medium can be used to promulgate knowledge and change. Otherwise is just ignorance in face of misuse.

On a secondary note, I love my country's literature. I feel kind of bad when the namedropping is solely Coelho – someone much closer to the american popular market rather than our national heroes in letters. Machado de Assis, Euclides da Cunha – basically our Zola in Brazilian naturalism –, Aluízio Azevedo, Graciliano Ramos, João Guimarães Rosa, etc. Brazilians were really good in capturing the essence of european vanguards and in fuse it with national roots. Brazilian classical literature is in that sense just as Tropicália, but even more original in its nuances. I'm trying to break a little from americans, british, germans, russians, brazilians and my dear frenchmen, so I can undergo a latin-american reading experience. So far, I'm really enjoying Jorge Luis Borges' approach to surrealism and the short story. He's very knowledgeable; his texts are almost lyrically academical.

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Re: Favorite Books

Post by Bruce » Fri Feb 28, 2014 10:37 pm

irreduciblekoan wrote:Bruce, I notice you haven't replied to Nick's last post. I am also interested in your answer to his question. You say that you don't read fiction because liking stories is immature. But then you watch movies and television, so obviously you like stories. What's so different between fictional movies and fictional books? Why is one okay to you but not the other?
Like I said earlier in the thread, I watch TV and movies to be entertained, not to have to work, and think about what the writer is saying. I want to SEE what things look like and HEAR the music that's playing during the scene. Reading someone's description of somewhere, or their description of music just doesn't do it for me.

And I'm not saying that liking stories is immature. I am just saying that maturity and liking stories have no correlation with each other. Liking stories is not mature, or immature. There is no correlation between maturity and liking (or not liking) stories.

Someone in the thread inferred that you need to be more mature to be interested in reading fiction. I say you don't, and that many immature people like fiction a lot more than many mature people.
Last edited by Bruce on Sat Mar 01, 2014 6:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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