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[Discussion] Classical and Timeless Books, Your Thoughts and Opinions

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Post time: 28-4-2020 19:29:29
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This thread has been created to share our love of classical and 'timeless' books; many of whom have since become award winning blockbusters and hugely successful box office successes. Others have blossomed into a variation of different TV versions and miniseries.

The purpose of this thread is to share opinions, discuss thoughts and experiences and make comments over the message/s, culture, society, standards, values and themes of the time both in relation to the era in they were written and published and how they have evolved, been adapted and changed since.

We can also think about how the world has shifted further away from some of more traditional ideas contained in stories written hundreds of years ago.

Likewise, the same can be said to how we are becoming more and more like some of the values, norms and beliefs and culture of futuristic stories. You can disagree with both, its entirely your choice.

As books, we often forget that the author can sometimes be just as important (if not more in some cases) than the stories themselves.

Feel free to include the author's background, beliefs, social conditions, responsbilities and anything else that help us to make the stories more juicy and eventful than just the pages in the books themselves.   

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 Author| Post time: 28-4-2020 19:43:04
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Edited by Rushcourt71 at 30-4-2020 02:22 AM

I thought I would start with some of the books that are already in the Reading Room and M&T Sections. This is not an exhaustative list. Feel free to add your own.

Users can comment on any of the following-

1. Enid Blyton and her books, The 'Famous Five' Series

2. Jane Austen and her books, 'Pride and Prejudice', and 'Sense and Sensibility' and others.

3. J. R. R Tolkien and his books, 'The Hobbit', 'Lord of The Rings', 'The Return of The King' and 'Unfinished Tales'

4. Roald Dahl and his books, 'Matilda', 'Fantastic Mr Fox,' , 'The BFG', Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' and others.

5. Herge and the 'TinTin' Series.

6. Agatha Christie- 66 Mystery Novels and 153 Short Stories.

7. Edgar Rice Burroughs and the 24 Tarzan Adventure Novels.

8. Ian Fleming and the 'James Bond' Series.

9. Arthur Conan Doyle and his books, 'Sherlock Holmes'.

10. Rudyard Kipling and his books, The Jungle Book Series.

11. 'Star Wars' Series (Different Authors)

12. Jules Verne and his books.

13. Dr Dolittle Series


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 Author| Post time: 28-4-2020 20:01:15
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Edited by Rushcourt71 at 29-4-2020 06:08 PM

Users can also look at and comment on classical books of literature that we have all been taught in school. Like them or loathe them, they are key texts still studied when we are children.

I have listed just over 30 books to give you a reminder of what we learn from through the author's perspective despite the time period in which they were written. Feel free however to add your own.

They can include-

1. Macbeth

2. Lord of the Flies

3. Great Expectations

4. Animal Farm

5. Romeo and Juliet

6. Merchant of Venice

7. Othello

8. King Lear

9. Oliver Twist

10. To Kill A Mockingbird

11. Of Mice and Men

12. The Great Gatsby

13. Huckleberry Finn

14. Hamlet

15. 1984

16. A Tale of Two Cities

17. Frankenstein

18. Dracula

19. Jane Eyre

20. Wuthering Heights

21. The Old Man and The Sea

22. The Iliad

23. The Three Musketeers

24. Watership Down

25. Julius Caesar

26. The Taming of the Shrew

27. Oedipus Complex

28. A Midsummer Nights Dream

29. One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

30. The Diary of Anne Frank [Also known as 'Diary of a Young Girl]

31. Crime and Punishment

32. Beowulf

33. The Scarlet Letter

34. The Catcher in the Rye

35. The Grapes of Wrath

36. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde


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Post time: 29-4-2020 16:40:12
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I would like to add A Tale of Two Cities in the list of classic timeless books. The kind of social commentary that Charles Dickens managed to include in that book is relevant till this date.

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 Author| Post time: 29-4-2020 18:04:20
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Both lists are classical and timeless books. I just separated them to show which ones are also taught in schools.

'A Tale of Two Cities' is on List 2 at number 16.

Since you have mentioned the book, can you add a few details for the sake of other users. What you liked about it, what is it about, who are the characters, when it was set and what makes it different to other books both of the time and now. Add anything else that you think is important as well.     

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 Author| Post time: 2-5-2020 03:59:09
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Edited by Rushcourt71 at 2-5-2020 04:00 AM
Image Rushcourt71 Image 28-4-2020 07:43 PM
I thought I would start with some of the books that are already in the Reading Room and M&T Sections ...

I will leave the story line of the books to other threads. Instead I will speak about some of the books and some themes or aspects of which I found interesting and relevant.

This post is about TinTin's emphasis on Multi national companies at the time.

Herge used the TinTin Series to attack big businesses and organised crime either directly or indirectly in some of the books. Extracts from Wikipedia add-

'These attacks started as early as Tintin in America where Hergé includes a scene where oil is discovered on land occupied by Blackfoot Natives. Tintin is surrounded by businessmen offering him up to tens of thousands of dollars for the rights to the oil. After Tintin explains that it is the Blackfoot Indians who own the rights to the oil, their chief is given a mere $25 and half-an-hour to vacate the land. An hour later the Blackfoot Natives are forced away by soldiers armed with rifles and bayonets; by the next day a whole city has been built on the site. A factory that Tintin later visits produces tinned "rabbit" meat out of stray cats, dogs, and rats.
Oil also comes into play in The Broken Ear. Western companies General American Oil and British-South American Petrol get the states of San Theodoros and Nuevo Rico to go to war over territory which is later found not to hold any oil at all. This part of the story was inspired by the real-life Chaco War of 1932–35. One of the businessmen, R.W. Trickler, uses bribery, corruption and false evidence in order to get his way. Arms dealer Basil Bazarov, who sells weapons to both sides, is based on the real-life Basil Zaharoff. A similar situation occurs in Land of Black Gold, in which two rival oil companies, Arabex and Skoil Petroleum, separately support Emir Mohammed Ben Kalish Ezab and Sheikh Bab El Ehr respectively.
Big business is also shown as a cover for illegal activities. Rastapopoulos, for example, is a respected businessman who mixes with people in high places, but is also the leader of major smuggling operations: opium in The Blue Lotus and slaves in The Red Sea Sharks. The villain in The Blue Lotus is Mitsuhirato, a Japanese man who owns a fashion shop and an opium den (in a time and place where such dens were legal and considered legitimate), which cover his activities as a drug smuggler and secret agent of Japan. He also organises the sabotage of a Chinese railway (based on the real-life Mukden Incident). Rastapopoulos and Mitsuhirato have an Arabic counterpart in Omar ben Salaad of The Crab with the Golden Claws.
The sponsor of the rival expedition in The Shooting Star, Mr. Bohlwinkel, is the head of a major banking organisation who uses unethical methods to delay the progress of Tintin and Haddock's ship. These include sabotage with dynamite and fake distress messages. Controversially, in his original version, Hergé gave the man a Jewish-sounding name and had him based in New York. These were changed in later editions.;

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 Author| Post time: 2-5-2020 04:13:29
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The Not So Tidy Side of Sherlock Holmes

While being meticulous in his research, ability to collect data, analyse information, question motives, interrogate suspects and locate key evidence, Holmes is by far an easy man to understand, socialise or converse with and even less to be friends with. His closest colleague, Watson gives a small insight into his persona and troubled life.

'Watson's narrations describe Holmes as a very complex and moody character who, although of strict habit, is considerably untidy. His London abode at 221B, Baker Street, is tended by his housekeeper, Mrs. Hudson. Holmes appears to undergo bouts of mania and depression, the latter of which are accompanied by pipe smoking, violin playing, and cocaine use. ' (Source: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Sherlock-Holmes)


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 Author| Post time: 2-5-2020 04:30:53
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Edited by Rushcourt71 at 2-5-2020 04:32 AM

The Famous Five.

It has been suggested that without George [or Georgina as she hates to be called] there would be no Famous Five. Goodreads had the following to say about her-

'George is a girl, with a boyish lean. She is a tomboy and insists that people call her George. With her short hair and boy's clothes she is often mistaken for a boy, which pleases her enormously.
Like her father, Quentin, George has a fiery temper. She is fierce and headstrong, but very loyal to those she loves. She is sometimes extremely stubborn and causes trouble for her mother as well as her cousins. Timmy is her dog and she is very possessive of him. George is cousin to siblings Julian, Dick and Anne and is aged eleven (same as Dick) at the start of the series. '

(Source: https://www.goodreads.com/charac ... -kirrin-famous-five)

It continues-

'George owns the Kirrin Island on the Kirrin bay and owns a boat. She is an excellent boatsman and often rows by herself and Tim to spend some time on her island.

In one interview Enid Blyton confessed that the character of George was based on herself.'


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 Author| Post time: 2-5-2020 14:00:38
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The Famous Five (Character Analysis)

Ragamuffin Jo

Jo is an unkempt, scruffy looking, freckled-faced girl with short hair who goes bare feet and wears rags and hand me downs. She is used to fighting, can hit as hard as any boy and will bite if necessary.

She is a tomboy like George and has her arrogance, anger, courage, determination and sense of adventure.

The same traits make her as hateful to George as they should to being endearing. George is intensely jealous of her and always wants to get rid of her.   

Jo’s mother was in the circus and she trained dogs for the ring. The family had dozens of dogs. Her mother died years ago. Her father was an acrobat until he hurt his foot. They later left the circus and now live in a caravan.

Jo never went to school, could not read or write and had no manners. She had never been taught how to behave, how to eat properly, how to dress or how to clean and look after her hygiene. She was a wild child.

Jo is however multi skilled and multi talented in other ways.

She can find her way through forests in minutes

She can catch and trap rabbits

Knows how to fish for dinner

Able to follow the trails of others without maps across hard terrain

She knows all the best shortcuts and passageways to take even in the longest and most tough looking natural landscapes

She knows how to row well, climb (up and down) tall trees, hills, mountains, buildings and cliffs with great ease, squeeze into small holes (and windows for burglary) and would often steal for food (and anything else her father Simmy and his friend Jake would force her to do)

She was also good at freeing herself from traps and strange places, walking long distances without getting tired and was capable of showing great kindness. She could drift from tree to tree, slither and move about like a monkey and sprint faster than many people without fatigue. She was also used to bruises from falls and could take more pain than most.   

She was so good at finding narrow paths, crossing fields, allotments and stiles. As the daughter of an acrobat she also knew how to walk (and even dance) on a tightrope and climb huge walls that could not be conquered by normal people.

She also was quicker in thought and instinct than most, possessed a sharp mind and could also be witty and humorous at times.

As a wild child, darkness and the night did not distress her. She could feel her way through places in pitch black without getting lost   

Time meant nothing to her. She knew only morning and evening and had no idea about how long something could take to do and complete. She was also used to starving and eating little.

She responds well to kindness and is able to reciprocate to those who treat her well.   
She only likes Dick out of the children, although she is also fond of Timmy. She is one of the few people he is very comfortable with.

Like George, Jo is sensitive to touch. She doesn’t like anyone putting their arms round her, squeezing her hand, embracing her and holding her warmly. She would respond well however to all of these things if Dick was the one to do it.

The other person she can tolerate is Joan the cook, who forces her to bathe every so often and gives her Anne’s and George’s clothes to wear. When she does wear George’s garments, everyone comments they could be like sisters or brothers since both are tomboys.

At first George hates Jo. After Jo rescues her, George is quick to lavish praise on her by saying to Julian and Dick; ‘She’s wonderful. She’s the bravest girl I ever knew. And she did it all even though she doesn’t like me’.   

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 Author| Post time: 2-5-2020 20:32:22
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Little Women (Character Analysis)

Jo March

"The main character of Little Women, Jo is an outspoken tomboy with a passion for writing. Her character is based in large part on Louisa May Alcott herself.

Jo refuses Laurie’s offer of marriage, despite the fact that everyone assumes they will end up together. In the end, Jo gives up her writing and marries Professor Bhaer, which can be seen either as a domestic triumph or as a professional loss, since Jo loses her headstrong independence.

Because she displays good and bad traits in equal measure, Jo is a very unusual character for nineteenth-century didactic fiction.

Jo’s bad traits—her rebelliousness, anger, and outspoken ways—do not make her unappealing; rather, they suggest her humanity.

Jo is a likely precursor to a whole slew of lovably flawed heroes and heroines of children’s books, among them Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer."

(Source: Spark Notes, https://www.sparknotes.com/lit/littlewomen/character/jo-march/)

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