1. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Help solve why a book is awesome

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by architectus, Sep 14, 2008.

    If anyone is up for it, here is my idea. :p

    What I am hoping is that I can learn from this exercise. Perhaps you will learn from it also.

    We analyze a book trying to figure out what made it awesome. How did it handle characters? What did it share with us about the characters? What plot devices were used? How many themes did it have, and did the theme have anything to do with the book's charm?

    We can discuss the analyses each other make.

    I really hope there are people interested in doing this. Pick a novel you really loved and try to figure out what about it made you like it. What did it do well? If other’s have read it, they can also interject their ideas about what they think made the novel great.

    I will start off. I recently read Dune for the first time. The characters are still alive in my mind. I have been studying the novel trying to figure out, what about it had such a big impact on me. What devices were used that tickled my psyche?

    I typically do not like slow paced novels, but Dune, although it seemed slower paced, moved quickly for me. I think this was because at each turn there was something I wanted to know. I doubt it was the paragraph structure, because it has a lot of meaty ones.

    Breaking up narration with a lot of interesting dialogue that enlightened me about a world I knew nothing about, and wanted to know more, also helped the pacing.

    The way it handles the mystical elements drew me in.

    A device he uses through out the novel that I am sure has something to do with why I liked it so much, is that he tells us the future. He hints at what is going to happen. He gives you just enough to be curious, but holds back enough to make you wonder. Also Paul himself is unsure about the event. The event is cloudy, which means he could die. There are too many variables. This added suspense, I believe.

    The little details Herbert speckles about the world and the Fremen culture, no doubt drew me in. Like the fabled crysknife of Arrakis, or soo-soo sook, or the invoking of silence during a knife fight, or the challenging the leader by knife fight to become the new leader, or the way they have to wear stillsuits or they will perish on this harsh world. The whole legend of the worm and spice production, and how you have to learn to ride the worm, was great. All these types of details, and how they are told through action, and character interaction, also helped. These details themselves are never an info dump; rather, they are part of the story itself.

    Sharing multiple character’s thoughts, I believe also is what made the characters real and deep. Even the Baron, who is disgusting, was an interesting character. I think if I didn’t know any of his thoughts, he would have been as interesting. It is the way Herbert shared their thoughts, and how their words often contradicted their thoughts. This let you know of their deception, and sometimes you could figure out why they were not telling the truth.

    Please do share the novel you wish to analyze. Even if you do not wish to analyze it, but hope that someone else will. If you have anything more to add about what might have made Dune so great, please do share. Getting into the fine details and the psychology of it would be nice as well.

    I honestly believe this can be a good learning experience.

    I will have more to say about what made Dune great if this kicks off.
     
  2. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    :( I was really hoping that some people would like to do this. I am sure I would learn a lot from reading other peoples analysis of books.

    Another reason why I think Dune had such a big impact on me is because the sociology of the cultures are believable. I wonder if Herbert took a social psychology course.
     
  3. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I actually like the point of this thread. It lets people get a sense of the strengths and weaknesses of authors.

    I haven't read a novel in a while, so this is from memory. I read Les Miserables recently, all 1400 pages of it. The novel had a strong plot, and that was the main reason I liked it. The one and only thing I didn't like was the long tangents Hugo made. He talks about sewer systems and the Battle of Waterloo, but I think it could have been shortened and better incorporated while moving the plot along. That's all I can remember. I'll have to go back and see if I can remember any more.
     
  4. Scarecrow28
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    Scarecrow28 Contributing Member

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    I think one of the things that makes a book good is how it draws you in and entertains you. Some of the most simplistic books with a so-so plot, cardboard characters, and jagged dialogue (like Matthew Reilly) have been some of my favorites simply because of the action and the cinematic quality.

    Another thing is how books make you feel like your actually in that world with detail. This adds to the feeling of being involved within the story.
     
  5. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Using the moving analogy, imagine if all the budget was used on nice cameras, so the movie has great cinematic quality. They didn't have much money left over for anything else, so they were stuck with B actors. They couldn't higher a good screen writer or director, and so the plot is not that good. The only thing the movie really has going for it, is top notch special effects and cinematography.

    Even with the great cinematography, I think the movie is not worth watching. In other words why would I spend my time watching that movie, when there are so many movies out there that have great cinematography, and good actors, director, screen play, etc?

    Because there are so many great novels out there, I am not sure I would spend the time reading a so-so plot, with jagged characters, just because the author painted well with words.

    I do agree that it is very important that a novelist paints a vivid world in my mind with words. If a novel does not stimulate my third eye, and I am not visualizing much, I will stop reading.
     

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