1. Aaron Smith
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    Aaron Smith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Journey into Literature

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by Aaron Smith, Jun 14, 2015.

    I have decided to take up literature as a serious hobby. What is a list of books that everyone should read? History, fiction, poetry, anything really. I want to expand my knowledge in the subject and I need help as to where I should start.
     
  2. Hwaigon
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    Hwaigon Contributing Member Reviewer

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    Phew...man, what an Odyssey you've decided to embark on. You could well start with...Odyssey :p
    No, really, I think it doesn't matter from what end you start. But classic literature or modern classics
    is a nice start. I really liked The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald. It's a book everyone should read. Oh, now taht
    we're talking about it:

    http://www.artofmanliness.com/2008/05/14/100-must-read-books-the-essential-mans-library/

    You can find many more lists, some of the books repeat, some are different picks.
     
  3. Aaron Smith
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    Aaron Smith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, I did have the Great Gatsby in mind, as well as Of Mice and Men since they're readily available in a library near me. I was wondering if there is a history equivalent of Gray's Anatomy, A book that goes into great detail about major historical events, but also some of the lesser known.
     
  4. Hwaigon
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    Hwaigon Contributing Member Reviewer

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    Though it's an honorable idea, I wouldn't go into much detail about much of the history because it will beat the hack out of you.
    Start easy. Guess what I did - I purchased Hannah Arendt's Origins of Totalitarianism, a book that covers "just" the second world
    war and the pre-war antisemitic smovement. I haven't finished it yet. Although it's interesting at times, it's mostly boring. These
    history books are great if you want to read something factual for a change but you can't hold on them for too long. So if you're considering a grey's anatomi-ish history book, drop it. Read some prose on history. The pool of literature is as immense as the sea.
    Come to think of it, you may even wikipedia some of the major historical events. Even that will blow your head off. For instance, of late I've found interest in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I even found a book with maps describing the modern-day conflicts, their roots and
    consequences. Very interesting book, I'm planning to go through it one I have the chance to get holed up in the uni library.
     
  5. Aaron Smith
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    Aaron Smith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Noted.
     
  6. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    This is a pretty solid list of 1001 books.
     
  7. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    It probably depends on your goals for writing. If so, you should share what kind of work you'd like to do. But if you want to know the landmarks through literature's history, there's lists published by Time and the American Library Association about all time favourites, or you could look up the syllabus for an undergrad course like Major British Writers.
     
  8. Aaron Smith
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    Aaron Smith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well I'm currently reading Lord of the Flies and The Old Man and the Sea. What a strange book.
     
  9. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    The meme on 4chan /lit/ is 'Start with the Greeks', and frankly, it's solid advice.
     
  10. Aaron Smith
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    Aaron Smith Contributing Member Contributor

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    So Plato, Homer?
     
  11. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    They aren't that hard once you get started. I'd say a good start would be one translation of:

    The Theogony
    Homer's Iliad and Odyssey
    Theocritus
    Sappho
    Aeschylus
    Sophocles
    Aristophanes
    Plato
    Aristotle

    And the Romans:

    Virgil
    Catullus
    Horace
    Lucretius
    Ovid

    Then make sure you get though Dante and Petrarch, and you should have for yourself a solid base in some of the best writing humanity can offer you.
     
  12. Aaron Smith
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    Aaron Smith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Noted. I'm currently digging through Lord of the Flies, but I'll look into some of this later.
     
  13. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Good! That's a very good book. Well worth the Nobel it won the author. I put that in with Catch 22 as books that are both populist and fantastic as works of literary art.
     
  14. Aaron Smith
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    Aaron Smith Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm a fan of the book so far, although I haven't felt like reading the last two days so it's on hiatus. I also have a few books on my bookshelf that need another read-through.
     
  15. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Don't forget poetry too. I mean, the English language boasts any fine poets too. You have the likes of Percy Shelley, John Keats, Robert Burns, William Blake, Robert Frost, Walt Whitman, A.L. Tennyson, E.A Housman, T.S. Eliot, HD, Elizabeth Bishop, W.H. Auden, Philip Larken, Seamus Heaney, Emily Dickenson - god, far too many to name. Most of those can be read simply, in a non-poetic mindset and still be great enjoyed.
     
  16. Aaron Smith
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    Aaron Smith Contributing Member Contributor

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    I know it's a cliche, but I read the Raven the other day. I liked it. Walt Whitman I know off (because I watched Breaking Bad :p). The rest don't ring a bell.
     
  17. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I must admit, as I get older I like Poe less and less. But still, he's a good place to start. :)
     
  18. Aaron Smith
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    Aaron Smith Contributing Member Contributor

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    I had a very rhythmic feel to it. Repeating the last word on each line was a good idea.
     
  19. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Yeah, but the fact the bird is a psychopomp, sitting on a burst of Pallas Athene, I get it, I know what it's saying, but why is the narrator being tormented as he reads his ancient lore as his only stock and store against the misery of remembering Lenore?
     
  20. The Mad Regent
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    The Mad Regent Contributing Member

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    Read anything prior to 1980. Everything past that point is toilet paper.

    :supercheeky:
     
  21. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Even half of Thomas Pynchon's novels?
     
  22. The Mad Regent
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    The Mad Regent Contributing Member

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    Never read them, but I was being sarcastic, anyway. ;)

    Lemex, go and read my workshop post and rip it to pieces. You're an English teacher -- it's your duty! :superagree:
     
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  23. Aaron Smith
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    Aaron Smith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Shots fired.
     
  24. Aaron Smith
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    Aaron Smith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Perhaps he was strung out on drugs.
     
  25. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Nah - the narrator of The Raven seems like a bit of a straight and narrow sort.
     

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