Grapes of Wrath, but Day of the Locust is a great, nasty, bracing read.
― horseshoe, Friday, 5 February 2021 11:00 (one year ago) link
Ulysses > Finnegans Wake
I should vote for Grapes of Wrath for its own merits and its extra-literary significance and because it reminds me of stories told by my father and uncles about doing migrant farm labor during the Depression, but it's not really my favorite here.
Jerusalem, If I Forget Thee has some scenes and passages that I've remembered for decades. The parallel storylines shouldn't work but somehow combine to give it the widest emotional range of any Faulkner novel.
The Ambler and Chandler novels are really fun. Anyone who hasn't read The Big Sleep should treat themselves, it's better than the Bogart/Bacall movie.
Agatha Christie doesn't get enough love. She's a powerhouse like Stephen King; the overabundance of books and some obvious weaknesses tend to conceal the merits of her best work. And Then There Were None is one of the trickiest of her mysteries, but to me it's best read as horror -- the ur-text for slasher movies and every other story in which an isolated ensemble is killed off one by one.
― Brad C., Friday, 5 February 2021 16:57 (one year ago) link
That's a really great take on ATTWN Brad!
― Daniel_Rf, Friday, 5 February 2021 17:02 (one year ago) link
Yes! Never occurred to me, but of course it is!
Really, I think what makes Christie so consistently readable, despite the thin characters and the mechanical plots, is that all her books have one foot in horror - not in the sense of meeting the genre conventions the way ATTWN does, but in the sense of atmosphere. Even when she's got Hercule Poirot investigating a death at a country house, or something equally gimmicky and by-the-numbers, the books are still suffused with this intense underlying feeling of horror that murder exists and that human actually do this to each other.
― I am not a psychic community (Lily Dale), Friday, 5 February 2021 17:42 (one year ago) link
human beings, I meant to say
― I am not a psychic community (Lily Dale), Friday, 5 February 2021 17:43 (one year ago) link
Embarrassed to say I've only read "Day of the Locust", which is as great as everyone is saying it is.
― o. nate, Friday, 5 February 2021 18:37 (one year ago) link
1939 saw publication of quite a few great books. It was a rich year for movies, too. Probably pure coincidence.
― Compromise isn't a principle, it's a method (Aimless), Saturday, 6 February 2021 04:21 (one year ago) link
Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.
― System, Sunday, 7 February 2021 00:01 (one year ago) link
I read The Big Sleep to try to figure out why the movie is so confusing. The answer: The book covers two cases, one for each sister, Carmen and Vivian, and they don't intersect until late on. In the movie, Carmen's case got censored (it involved pornography) and cut down, leaving a lot of loose threads and a lack of structure. Also, Chandler fucked up regarding the death of the family's driver, heavily implying that it was murder in one chapter then never explaining who did it.
― wasdnuos (abanana), Sunday, 7 February 2021 00:31 (one year ago) link
Which I think he realised working on the script.
― Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Sunday, 7 February 2021 11:43 (one year ago) link
If you want a more faithful adaptation you can always look at Michael Winner's horrible 70's version with the action relocated to London. But I wouldn't recommend you do so.
― Daniel_Rf, Sunday, 7 February 2021 13:30 (one year ago) link
Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.
― System, Monday, 8 February 2021 00:01 (one year ago) link
Ha! Did not expect Joyce to be beaten. In fairness this was a hellish year to poll.
― A Scampo Darkly (Le Bateau Ivre), Monday, 8 February 2021 00:10 (one year ago) link
Aw, no votes for Ask the Dust. I do love that book, but to be honest it never stood a chance in this company.
― emil.y, Monday, 8 February 2021 00:27 (one year ago) link
Yeah but agreed, it's still pretty sad it didn't get a single vote! I voted Sarraute, having thrown Fante a vote two years earlier, knowing he'd be up against some giants this year. But no mistake, Ask the dust is phenomenal.
― A Scampo Darkly (Le Bateau Ivre), Monday, 8 February 2021 00:29 (one year ago) link
Did not expect Joyce to be beaten.
The poll is for Favorite Novel, not Most Critically Admired and Academically Blessed. We are but human.
Apocryphal Anecdote Warning:
James Joyce was attending a party some time after Finnegans Wake had been published and a woman who had approached him, in reference to its famous multi-linguistic puns and structural impishness, asked him, "But Mr. Joyce, you don't expect us poor readers to spend the rest of our lives disentangling all these knots, do you?" To which Joyce replied, "Yes. I most certainly do"
To which Joyce replied, "Yes. I most certainly do"
― Compromise isn't a principle, it's a method (Aimless), Monday, 8 February 2021 02:17 (one year ago) link
Wherein We Elect Our Favourite Novels of 1940
― Daniel_Rf, Monday, 8 February 2021 13:40 (one year ago) link
Thought the Joyce anecdote would be about a handshake request.
― The Ballad of Mel Cooley (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 8 February 2021 16:11 (one year ago) link
Remembering an all-time great from Kate Beaton:
― Daniel_Rf, Monday, 8 February 2021 16:17 (one year ago) link