Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: The Classics Are Rubbish Too

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  • Che Tibby,

    Patricia Wrightson's Wirrin arc (which begins with The Nargun and the Stars, and makes prominent use of characters from Aboriginal mythology)?

    !!!!!

    you legend.

    i have been trying to find the name of that series for years.

    best tweenie books *ever*.

    that said, i'll not read them again. i found a copy of the half-men of o in a bookstore and reread it, only to be extremely disappointed at its simplicity.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2024 posts Report Reply

  • Kebabette,

    Howsabout a bit of Jasper Fforde to f*** with every genre and character in literature? Book 1 is The Eyre Affair: "In this parallel world, England and Imperial Russia have fought the Crimean War for more than a century. England itself is a police state run by the Goliath Corporation (a powerful weapon-producing company with questionable morals). Wales is a separate, socialist nation. The book's fictional version of Jane Eyre ends with Jane accompanying her cousin, St. John Rivers, to India in order to help him with his missionary work. Literary questions (especially the question of Shakespearean authorship) are debated so hotly that they inspire gang wars and murder.Single, thirty-something, Crimean War veteran and literary detective Thursday Next lives in London with her pet dodo, Pickwick. As the story begins, Thursday is called upon to investigate the theft of the original manuscript of Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens."

    Christchurch • Since Feb 2007 • 186 posts Report Reply

  • Susan Snowdon,

    Didn't much enjoy 'English' at school but read anything and everything, then went on to science/other stuff, so never got trapped with set texts/literary worthiness. Now, forty years later, this year's project is reading my way through Dickens. Can't believe how funny he is. I just ignore the bits that get in the way.

    And worst movies - Castaway, The Notebook, The Shrimp and the Whale (or something like that), Kill Bill, Beauty and the Beast (Disney version), and, and, lots of other shite I had to sit through with growing up daughters.

    But every year or so we get together to watch P and P TV version in one go. Takes a day or two, it's almost a family tradition.

    Since Mar 2008 • 96 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Howsabout a bit of Jasper Fforde to f*** with every genre and character in literature?

    I love Jasper Fforde. I want to be Jasper Fforde when I grow up.

    but I love Anne Elliot and think Persuasion is one of the best of Austen's novels

    I just... can't identify with her at all, I think is the problem. And that's not a problem I have with either of the Dashwood sisters. She just sits about doing nothing about her situation.

    I like Emma, though, which is an argument I've certainly had.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4340 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    Now, forty years later, this year's project is reading my way through Dickens. Can't believe how funny he is. I just ignore the bits that get in the way.

    I developed a severe allergy to Dickens at the tender age of nine after there was a pre-Christmas sale of Dickens books at Whitcoulls and *every one* of my relatives decided that since Lucy liked to read all those big books, Martin Chuzzlewit would be the perfect gift!

    And then I had to write thank-you notes.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I developed a severe allergy to Dickens at the tender age of nine after there was a pre-Christmas sale of Dickens books at Whitcoulls and *every one* of my relatives decided that since Lucy liked to read all those big books, Martin Chuzzlewit would be the perfect gift!

    I think we're getting into a pattern here of people disliking books for the wrong reasons.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7351 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    that said, i'll not read them again. i found a copy of the half-men of o in a bookstore and reread it, only to be extremely disappointed at its simplicity.

    There are some things far too precious to let out of memory and back into your waking life -- the object of your mad (unrequited because unspoken) teenage crushes are one. And I'll always revere Star Wars for being the first film I ever saw in a cinema, and kindling a love of SF and the movies that's with me still. But thirty years later, you can help but see Harrison Ford's point when he barked "you can type this shit, George, but you sure can't say it."

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11867 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    O is simple because it's a kids' series. It still seared my imagination when I was ten, and I still have vivid mental images of the black sun over O as Susan recovers from Jimmy Jaspers' yellow smoke, the bloodcat, the Mirror Cliffs and all that. Its messages about the corruption of the Ferris cult, the importance of a balance between good and evil, and the mutually assured destruction of the machine-things aren't quite His Dark Materials, but they're still a cut above Narnia. If I were an influential NZ director/producer specialising in fantasy epics, I'd be in quiet negotiations with Maurice Gee over the rights for that one.

    I've never been able to get into Dickens. Too many weird minor characters with names like Chuzzlewit. The TV adaptation of Bleak House was great, though.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 791 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I've never been able to get into Dickens. Too many weird minor characters with names like Chuzzlewit.

    Ah, the Victorian novelists propensity for silly names. Trollope was even worse.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11867 posts Report Reply

  • Jake Pollock,

    Sounds like a criticism that could be made of Austen, Shakespeare just as much.

    I'm not saying that all authors should deal with these topics, by any means. God forbid. My point is that the answer to the 'Tolkien rendered a complete and multi-layered world' argument that many people trot out is 'no he bloody didn't.' Clearly, my point of view is not particularly defensible without putting much more time into the discussion than I can afford (although I'll maintain that a few farms does not an economy make), but this is a 'bitch about classics' session, and so I feel it is within my right to advance half-baked opinions about things.

    Raumati South • Since Nov 2006 • 489 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan,

    If I were an influential NZ director/producer specialising in fantasy epics, I'd be in quiet negotiations with Maurice Gee over the rights for that one.

    Well, they're doing Under the Mountain, so O can't be far behind.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1273 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    There are some things far too precious to let out of memory and back into your waking life

    This is why I haven't re-read Diana Wynne Jones's The Homeward Bounders, which I loved when I was about ten. I don't want to be disappointed by it now.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4340 posts Report Reply

  • Amy Gale,

    This is why I haven't re-read Diana Wynne Jones's The Homeward Bounders, which I loved when I was about ten. I don't want to be disappointed by it now.

    I reread that last week :) Wasn't disappointed.

    Archer's Goon is still my favourite DWJ, though.

    tha Ith • Since May 2007 • 452 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Oooo! Runs upstairs (okay, craawwwls) to grab Wirrin set - and the Gaelyn Gordon trilogy which begins with a short story called "Mist" and takes two especial human characters - glue-sniffing Maori streetkid & South Island farmer's son through adolesence & some of the best re-inventions of Maori 'Others' (taniwha, patupaiarehe et al) I've so far encountered-

    as highly reccommended as "The Nargun & The Stars"-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Diana Wynne Jones

    As a child, I loved one of her books so much that I made my mother go to the public library, say I'd lost the book, and pay for the replacement cost, just so I could keep it.

    I am a terrible person. (And a librarian, ironically enough.)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3628 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Wtf about Frodo paying for the Prancing Pony? I'm hearing the blatherings of people who can't remember what they read. And why would you care? If you didn't like it but didn't stop reading then you're a fool. Same comment goes for all the disliked works on this whole thread.

    I mean I read the first 3 pages of Pride and Prejudice and thought "Yeah I can see why chicks like this book. I don't" so I put it down. Doesn't mean it's shit, just not to my taste.

    Tess of the D'Urbervilles was set as a text in English - I read about 1 chapter and felt nauseated that so much of my life would slip past reading it that I cheated and just watched the film. The teacher never noticed, and gave me great marks for the book review. I'm sure it's a great work but so are lots of other things that I actually like.

    Probably the only work I've ever forced my way through was Stephen Donaldson's 'Lord Foul's Bane'. I guess despite feeling sickened early on by the rape, I wanted to find out what his point for it was. If it was 'rape is committed by sick bastards, and they can never make amends' then the point was well taken, but very labored.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8316 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    There are some things far too precious to let out of memory and back into your waking life..... Star Wars

    It's a pity no-one told George Lucas that before he pumped out a turgid stream of shitquels, and pissed on my cherished childhood memories from a great height.

    But dragging myself back on topic, and seeing as how this is so much fun:

    Kurt Vonnegut - Slaughterhouse 5. Another book I finally got round to reading after hearing it referred to in hushed, worshipful tones by all and sundry.

    Yawn, big f**king deal. Firebombing picturesque mediaeval German cities is wrong. Yes, yes, I get it already, Kurt.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2356 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    It's a pity no-one told George Lucas that before he pumped out a turgid stream of shitquels, and pissed on my cherished childhood memories from a great height.

    When it comes to hating on Lucas, I think the prize still goes to my friend jsr, who won the Ruptured Spleen Award with his effort:

    Someone is going to say "Oh, come now, you had years to get wound up about these sequels! They could never match years worth of expectations!" .. fuck you, if I had years to get excited about more Star Wars movies, Lucas had an equal amount of years to put the fucking things together in his head. And do it well. I've seen each of these movies exactly once, and that's all I plan to see. And I've seen Howard the Duck twice. Lucas really tried to pull out some stops in Episode III, but even Yoda channeling Bruce Lee couldn't save it. Even two jedi crash-landing a burning spaceship from orbit couldn't save it. You couldn't have saved it if Batman showed up in it.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4340 posts Report Reply

  • Amy Gale,

    As a child, I loved one of her books so much that I made my mother go to the public library, say I'd lost the book, and pay for the replacement cost, just so I could keep it.

    My [relationship redacted] did something similar with Nicholas Fisk's A Rag, A Bone and a Hank of Hair. Tsk tsk.

    tha Ith • Since May 2007 • 452 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Oops i realized I broke the rules of the thread by defending stuff. Soz. Shitlist:
    1. Everything that is fictional but not fantastic. Why?
    2. Everything written exclusively for adults. Weak.
    3. Everything that has no action in it. Ghey.
    4. Everything liked by people who have read too much. Too dark.
    5. Everything that requires training to appreciate. Here's a thought, entertain me.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8316 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    i have been trying to find the name of that series for years.

    A couple of years ago I finally (after about 5 years of occasional trying) re-found the Borrible books, one of which I had read as a child and had fond memories of, and which I thought my son might enjoy.

    Going through vague memories of the story, the weapons that the two sides used, and no names of characters, books, or authors, I was eventually able to find them again after about 100 different google searches.

    I got one out from the library and read it, and decided that my son probably wouldn't enjoy it much at all, and it certainly wasn't as good as I remembered it.

    but this is a 'bitch about classics' session, and so I feel it is within my right to advance half-baked opinions about things.

    Fair nuff. It's the internet after all.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6162 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    It's a pity no-one told George Lucas that before he pumped out a turgid stream of shitquels, and pissed on my cherished childhood memories from a great height.

    It gets worse if you have kids. My son loves the prequels, but doesn't really like the originals. We therefore have effing Jar-Jar at our house most weekends.

    The Yoda/Bruce Lee fighting thing in the 2nd one was so stupid I think I spat water all over the chair in front when I saw it at the movies.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6162 posts Report Reply

  • Alan Perrott,

    damn, got to this way too late - bloody US election blogs - anyway, seeing as Craig was big upping Peter F Hamilton can I come back at you with the literary sensorium that is China Mieville's Perdido Street Station. Ripping yarn and no mistake.

    And on the vampire front, I'm rather enjoying Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian.

    On the don't go there front, I can't handle James Ellroy, it's like being machine gunned over 400 pages.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 306 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    Archer's Goon is still my favourite DWJ, though.

    I reread Archer's Goon a couple of years back. while it wasn't quite the transcendental experience it was when I first read it it was still a jolly good read and there were a few clever bits that I'd totally missed as a child (don't ask for details mind).

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 705 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    China Mieville's Perdido Street Station. Ripping yarn and no mistake.

    Oh yes. Not nearly so sold on Iron Council, though.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1550 posts Report Reply

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