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Advice needed on contemporary literature Options
lazarius
Posted: Friday, March 29, 2019 7:55:55 AM

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Usually I read classic literature of yore that is out of copyright. But recently I signed in a library - The American Center in Moscow - and can borrow modern books. The problem is that I have no idea as to what to choose. I would appreciate it if you perused the catalogue and pointed me into a couple of books. I'm only asking about fiction. As of non-fiction I already have a list to read. No abstruse or arcane texts. I want just good language.

https://amc.overdrive.com/browse

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thar
Posted: Friday, March 29, 2019 8:18:40 AM

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Lord, it really depends on what you are into. What sort of thing do you like to read? What classic English texts have you enjoyed or just found a chore?
lazarius
Posted: Friday, March 29, 2019 8:35:51 AM

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thar wrote:
What classic English texts have you enjoyed?

The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, 1719, Daniel Defoe
Moby Dick, 1851, Herman Melville
Trilby, 1894, George Du Maurier
The Man of Property, 1906, John Galsworthy

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Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Friday, March 29, 2019 9:38:25 AM

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Have a try with Tolkien, Pratchett, Lessing...
lazarius
Posted: Friday, March 29, 2019 9:50:24 AM

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Jyrkkä Jätkä wrote:
Have a try with Tolkien

Tried "The Hobbit" and didn't like it. At all events there's not a single book by Tolkien in this library.

Jyrkkä Jätkä wrote:
Pratchett, Lessing...

There are no books in this library by anyone called Pratchett or Lessing.

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Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Friday, March 29, 2019 10:00:28 AM

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I have no idea what Trilby and A Man of Property are about - but Crusoe and Moby Dick are slightly fantastic adventure. So of the books they have displayed, try:

The Left Hand of Darkness - Ursula K. le Guin
The Martian Chronicles - Ray Bradbury
Dune - Frank Herbert
The Lathe of Heaven - Ursula K. le Guin

I'm not sure what this one is - it looks like it might be the first in the "Dark Tower" series, but I'm not certain:
Ветер сквозь замочну - by Steven King
lazarius
Posted: Friday, March 29, 2019 10:15:20 AM

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Drag0nspeaker wrote:
Dune - Frank Herbert

This was available and I borrowed it.

Drag0nspeaker wrote:
Ветер сквозь замочну - by Steven King

If I needed a book in Russian I wouldn't have asked here. :)

Thank you very much.

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Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Friday, March 29, 2019 10:40:04 AM

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lazarius wrote:
If I needed a book in Russian I wouldn't have asked here. :)
Thank you very much.

That's true! d'oh!

hedy mmm
Posted: Friday, March 29, 2019 11:28:01 AM

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Wow...do I have a few!...

I read 2-3 novels a week..I LOVE TO READ and I've read all I'm recommending...I like fiction, mysteries, either medical, historical and/or legalese. Of course, TFD to exercise my brain...
and my very favorite is the only one where the author is always present when it's read.
Whistle

Author & Books:
Herman Wouk:"The Winds of War", "War & Remembrance" (the followup), these books have over 700 pgs each, and "The Caine Mutiny".
Robert Ludlum: "The Bourne Identity", "The Bourne Supremacy", "The Ultimatum", for starters.
Tom Clancy: (Medical) "Outbreak", and his other books as well—too many—you'll see!
Nancy Taylor Rosenberg: (all of them)
...to name a few! Dancing

and a MUST for your library...Antoine Saint Exupery: "The Little Prince"...you can purchase the collector's version on line. I bought it for me, my son and 30 years later, for my grandson on the day of his birth in 2004...my son bought his son the same book, also the pricy collector's item with the gold seal...AWESOME!

Enjoy reading...lazarius... Dancing

lazarius
Posted: Friday, March 29, 2019 11:42:19 AM

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hedy mmm wrote:
Enjoy reading...lazarius... Dancing

Thank you very much!

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Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Friday, March 29, 2019 11:52:07 AM

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I gave Little Prince to my seven years old grand daughter last Christmas. The next step is to give her the original French one.
towan52
Posted: Friday, March 29, 2019 12:20:09 PM
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Harry Potter should keep you going for a while! Laxative reading Whistle
lazarius
Posted: Friday, March 29, 2019 12:33:55 PM

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towan52 wrote:
Harry Potter should keep you going for a while! Laxative reading Whistle

No! Not this. :)
I've read the first book and do not want any more of it.

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Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Friday, March 29, 2019 1:01:23 PM

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I just looked at the "Literature" category
American Gods - Neil Gaiman - It's good to have a bit of knowledge of European mythology for this one.

One Flew Over the Cockoo's Nest - Ken Kesey
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Friday, March 29, 2019 1:22:02 PM

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Being after good language, try Steinbeck and Hemingway.
towan52
Posted: Friday, March 29, 2019 1:34:28 PM
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lazarius wrote:
towan52 wrote:
Harry Potter should keep you going for a while! Laxative reading Whistle

No! Not this. :)
I've read the first book and do not want any more of it.

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Took me three goes to get through the first book (written for young folks). But it's worth persevering; after the 2nd book she writes for a more adult audience culminating in the final book. Hang in there, Laz!
lazarius
Posted: Friday, March 29, 2019 2:19:43 PM

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Drag0nspeaker wrote:
One Flew Over the Cockoo's Nest - Ken Kesey

I remember I liked the film.

Jyrkkä Jätkä wrote:
Being after good language, try Steinbeck and Hemingway.

They have five books by Steinbeck including The Grapes of Wrath. I will try it.

towan52 wrote:
Hang in there, Laz!

Never!

Thanks to everybody! Now I have something to read.

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thar
Posted: Friday, March 29, 2019 2:24:12 PM

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I don't know if Joseph Conrad counts as contemporary? I guess not, but if you are looking for good use of the English language he is considered one of the best.

It will also either motivate or shame you when you realise English was at least his third language (more likely at least his fourth, but I don't know the circumstances of Poles in Ukraine in the Russian Empire!) and he didn't become fluent till his twenties.

The bugger. d'oh!


And British, not American so I don't know if it is in your availability, but my sister swears by Hideous Kinky by Esther Freud. Whistle
lazarius
Posted: Friday, March 29, 2019 3:18:52 PM

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thar wrote:
It will also either motivate or shame you when you realise English was at least his third language

If I had an English wife and John Galsworthy as a friend I would probably become an English author myself. But as it is I only could write a fairy tale that Drag0nspeaker did not like. :)

thar wrote:
And British, not American so I don't know if it is in your availability, but my sister swears by Hideous Kinky by Esther Freud. Whistle

They do not have anything by Esther Freud but they give a list of 4 books that I can recommend (Hideous Kinky is not on the list):

https://amc.overdrive.com/search?query=Esther+Freud

Which do I choose?

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FROSTY X RIME
Posted: Friday, March 29, 2019 3:30:24 PM

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STEPHEN KING: IT,MISERY
SUSAN TOWNSEND: SECRET DIARIES OF ADRIAN MOLE-SERIES
MARKUS ZUSAK: THE BOOK THIEF
PATRICK SUSKIND: PERFUME
AUDREY NIFFENEGGER: TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE

thar
Posted: Friday, March 29, 2019 3:41:57 PM

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Hmmmm - I don't know.

But from what is on the list - I would ignore the fantasy and go for something that reeks of the local culture, even if a bit predictable -
Tennessee Williams, John Irving, Steinbeck, (ha, they don't have Garrison Keillor?) - and despite what anyone may tell you about 'the great American novel' avoid JD Salinger like a week-old ham sandwich.
lazarius
Posted: Friday, March 29, 2019 3:54:21 PM

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FROSTY X RIME wrote:
MARKUS ZUSAK: THE BOOK THIEF

I'll look into this. Thank you!

thar wrote:
But from what is on the list - I would ignore the fantasy and go for something that reeks of the local culture

I've never read fantasy so I thought one book would not hurt and already started with Dune.

thar wrote:
and despite what anyone may tell you about 'the great American novel' avoid JD Salinger like a week-old ham sandwich.

Thank you!

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FROSTY X RIME
Posted: Friday, March 29, 2019 3:59:19 PM

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There is one more:
Stieg Larsson: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Friday, March 29, 2019 4:59:45 PM

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That's Swedish, Frosty.
thar
Posted: Saturday, March 30, 2019 2:29:10 AM

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FROSTY X RIME wrote:
There is one more:
Stieg Larsson: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo



Note that would be in translation. The original is in Swedish
Män som hatar kvinnor - (Men who hate women) >> "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"


Then
Flickan som lekte med elden " The Girl who Played with Fire"
And
Luftslottet som sprängdes (The Air castle which was blown up) " >> The Girl who Kicked the Hornets' Nest".

Edit
Written same time as JJ.

lazarius
Posted: Saturday, March 30, 2019 3:45:42 AM

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Drag0nspeaker wrote:
Dune - Frank Herbert

https://books.google.com/books?id=8spmDwAAQBAJ&pg=PT22&dq=%22veriform+suspensor+chairs%22

Quote:
An ellipsoid desk with a top of jade-pink petrified elacca wood stood at the center of the room. Veriform suspensor chairs ringed it, two of them occupied.

What could this veriform mean? I couldn't find it in any dictionary. Should it be variform or vermiform or is it a relative of verification?

It is depressing when you do not know in what dictionary to look for a word, if it is just invented like elacca wood. I wonder if I need this fictional language and fictional technologies. I was after the English language and contemporary vocabulary, something along mobile phones and microwave ovens. Do I need to proceed with this book?

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FROSTY X RIME
Posted: Saturday, March 30, 2019 1:06:45 PM

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Obviously, I meant the translated work.
If I hadn't, I would have written the title in Swedish, not in English.
Some translated works use superior English language; absolutely astonishing.

I am glad thar added the other two of the trilogy to my mention of the book.
hedy mmm
Posted: Saturday, March 30, 2019 2:35:23 PM

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Jyrrktä Jätkä wrote:
I gave Little Prince to my seven years old grand daughter last Christmas. The next step is to give her the original French one.


Hi my friend,

Awesome!Applause Your granddaughter will treasure it...always. It was required reading in my high school French class...that's when I fell in love with the Little Prince! I, too, am going to order it in French for my library.

"Where the the Wild Things Are" is also a great book—it was given both to my son, 44 yrs ago and grandson 30 yrs later—a gold seal collector's edition.

"Pierre, I Don't Care" was my kid's favorite book when he was 5...it's a little book 4"x5" book... but so big in teaching! (I still have it)

My niece who now lives in Round Rock, TX, was 8, was poor in reading...I turned her on to "Nancy Drew Mysteries" and bought her the entire series!
It gave her a love for reading...now married, her daughter is relishing those books...needless to say, my son, his son and I are avid readers...

Jyrrktä Jätkä Thank you for your post!...and BTW lazarius welcome to TFD's forum! Dancing
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Sunday, March 31, 2019 4:29:49 AM

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Hmmmm Think Think

If you want contemporary culture vocabulary and usage, the Dune is probably not a good choice.
The English is good - he was a good writer - but the culture is mixed future and modern Bedouin . . .

************
The reason I didn't enjoy your fairy-tale was that you wrote it for specific friends, and there were private 'jokes' and Russian puns translated to English (or should I say, words which when translated to Russian would be puns).
So I just didn't 'get' the humour and "secondary meanings".

*************
I just looked through the 'classics' - most of them are fifty years or a few centuries out-of-date - either written back then, or written as 'historical novels'. (Hemingway, Nabokov, Harper Lee, Wells, Mark Twain)
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest is maybe forty years old now, but looks about the nearest to modern culture of all the "classics"

In the "Fiction" category . . .
The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins. This is a modern (2015) book about present time. It's a "psychological mystery" (not my style of book) but was the fastest-selling novel of its type and most reviewers liked it.

The Martian - Andy Weir. This is "not very far into the future". I read the book and saw the film - there is no "invented" science in it. Very little dialogue, really (it's ONE guy alone on Mars for a year) but as a technical person, the physics, chemistry and biology in it would be understandable. There's a lot of his feelings - despair, hope, elation and so on.
I think this one would be good for modern vocabulary.

Possibly a good one is Freedom - A collection of short stories mostly written in 2009.
I've not read it, so can't comment.
lazarius
Posted: Sunday, March 31, 2019 6:01:57 AM

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Drag0nspeaker wrote:
If you want contemporary culture vocabulary and usage, the Dune is probably not a good choice.
The English is good - he was a good writer - but the culture is mixed future and modern Bedouin . . .

Is it that good? What do you say of ellipsoid desk (see the quote in my previous post) that is egg shaped? Clearly he meant elliptic.

Drag0nspeaker wrote:
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest is maybe forty years old now, but looks about the nearest to modern culture of all the "classics"

Strange library. they display items that they actually do not have:



[image not available]


I read the beginning on Amazon and it's written in the present tense. And I've been looking for such a book. Probably I'll purchase it after all.

Drag0nspeaker wrote:
The Martian - Andy Weir.

This they have and I've placed a hold. Will have to wait for about 4 weeks.

Drag0nspeaker wrote:
I think this one would be good for modern vocabulary.

My problem is that I know quaint words like inspissate, intenerate, cicatrise and quincunx and testyourvocab.com says that my vocabulary size is in the 10th percentile of native speakers but the fact that this is called a sleeper in English and a tie (crosstie) in American was unbeknownst to me as recently as yesterday morning:



Thank you!

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Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Sunday, March 31, 2019 8:06:17 AM

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Ah, now . . .
There is a difference between an elliptical desk and an ellipsoid desk.

An elliptical table just has a top which is an ellipse:


[image not available]


An ellipsoid one is sort-of 'egg-shaped':


"Veriform" seats are ones which conform to the shape of one's body (veri- "true", and -form "shape").
Peugeot advertise them in some of their cars.


[image not available]

(I think these may have been named after the seats in "Dune" . . .

Of course, we don't have 'suspensor seats' yet - not till someone invents anti-gravity.

**********
My old school Latin allowed me to GUESS at those words - I'd heard cicatrix before, but not cicatrise.

Shalibandis
Posted: Thursday, April 4, 2019 8:10:35 AM

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I looked at this online library and I really don’t know what to advise you, but I personally chose from Hidden Figures - Margot Lee Shetterly and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - Betty Smith. One of my favorite foreign authors is Vladimir Nabokov now I read Lolita and I'm working on writing an essay on the material I have read. I am a novice writer and I need help. When I finish, I’ll definitely share with you.
lazarius
Posted: Thursday, April 4, 2019 10:37:03 AM

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Shalibandis wrote:
Hidden Figures - Margot Lee Shetterly

Wikipedia says this is non-fiction but it looks like it is an interesting book. Thank you.

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kevlevrone
Posted: Monday, April 22, 2019 7:16:07 AM
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Hi there. I really don't know what to say about contemporary literature. Usually, I prefer to read classical literature.
lazarius
Posted: Wednesday, May 1, 2019 3:11:46 AM

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Drag0nspeaker wrote:
An ellipsoid one is sort-of 'egg-shaped'

That's too far-fetched. :) Here's what makes a good writer:



[image not available]
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