The next book after 'Pale Fire' and 'The Forsyte Saga'

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The next book after 'Pale Fire' and 'The Forsyte Saga'

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Abr 26, 2009, 7:30 am

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Abr 26, 2009, 7:39 am

I thought we could make some preliminary suggestions on book(s) we would like to read next.
I assume we can decide a time limit later.

I suggest that we read one of these next:
Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann
The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Growth of the Soil by Knut Hamsun
The Man without Qualities by Robert Musil
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Editado: Abr 26, 2009, 2:43 pm

The Octopus by Frank Norris
Demons (aka The Devils, The Possessed) by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain
The Master and Margherita by Mikhail Bulgakov
Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens

Abr 26, 2009, 2:49 pm

The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing
The Golden Bowl by Henry James
Shirley by Charlotte Brontë
Crime and Punishment by Fydor Dostoevsky
Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
Tristam Shandy by Laurence Sterne

Abr 26, 2009, 4:02 pm

Martin chuzzlewit by charles Dickens
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
King Lear by William Shakespeare
Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

Abr 26, 2009, 8:52 pm

Tristram Shandy
Tom Jones
Anything by Jane Austen -would be a reread for me but would be fun.

Abr 27, 2009, 9:43 am

May I suggest if you are going to recommend a non-English book that you recommend a translation, too.


Abr 27, 2009, 11:14 am

I don't have a book to recommend as yet, but I'm glad to see a number of suggestions that I already own. I might be able to participate! :-)

It often seems that my timing is just off, that I have life commitments and things that come up, and other reading commitments, and once in a while I just don't feel up to a particular book. (That last was the case with Pale Fire, which I *do* own, but just didn't feel drawn to read it at the time.) I read The Leopard, but didn't have a chance to start it till most of the discussion was winding down. And I didn't read Bleak House with the group last year, but am NOW listening to the audiobook. I'm enjoying it very much, and might end up "resuscitating" some of those Talk threads.

Anyway, some very good suggestions so far, and I'm eager to see what else is submitted. :-)

Abr 28, 2009, 3:00 am

I'm currently reading The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky and can highly recommend it. There is so much in this book I would re-read it if selected!

Other reads I wish to do:
Germinal by Emile Zola
The Red and the Black by Stendhal
Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino
Kim by Rudyard Kipling

And I'll second:
The Master and Margherita by Mikhail Bulgakov
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak

Editado: Abr 30, 2009, 8:14 am

Oh, I had some good ideas, but they've all fallen out of my head, we've been so ridiculously busy at work lately.

So I'll just second (and hope I find the time to read!):

The Master and Margarita
Doctor Zhivago
The Sound and the Fury
Don Quixote

(Is that too many?)

(edited to fix touchstone)

Maio 1, 2009, 1:26 am

I will second Doctor Zhivago and The Woman in White.

Maio 1, 2009, 1:32 am

My suggestions:

Doctor Zhivago
Madame Bovary
The Brothers Karamazov

Since they've all been mentioned, I didn't bother with touchstones.

Maio 1, 2009, 2:28 am

So many good book choices already mentioned... but The Master and Margarita and Tristram Shandy have been languishing on my tbr pile for far too long.

Maio 1, 2009, 3:31 pm

I'll add The Grapes of Wrath (unless it's already been done?)

I'll second (or third?) :

Don Quixote
The Woman in White
The Idiot
Doctor Zhivago

I also loved Madame Bovary when I read it last year!

Maio 1, 2009, 8:03 pm

I've ordered The Master and Margarita and a book of commentary on it.


Maio 2, 2009, 3:33 am

#16 rdurick

What's the title and who's the author of the commentary book you mention?

Maio 2, 2009, 4:11 pm

17> The Master and Margarita: A Critical Companion by Laura D. Weeks. The book I really want is The Gnostic Novel of Mikhail Bulgakov : Sources and Exegesis by George Krugovoy, but I'll wait to see whether my interest justifies the expense.


Maio 5, 2009, 9:21 am

I would second The Master and the Margarita, Invisible Cities or The Woman in White ... not that I am making much progress with TFS yet.

Maio 7, 2009, 3:44 pm

I read The Master and Margarita many years ago. A marvellous and curious novel.
I'll love to reread it as a group read if it is chosen.
Any thoughts about for how long we shall suggest and second books?

Maio 7, 2009, 6:32 pm

kjellica, just curious, would you read The Master and Margarita in English or Norwegian translation? Or, do you know Russian?

Maio 8, 2009, 3:20 am

Probably I would read it in Norwegian translation since I've got a Norwegian edition on my book shelf.
I don't know Russian. I know the alphabet and some (very few) Russian words.
Maybe The Master and Margarita is on the web. In English and/or in Russian.
I'll search for it later, I think.

Maio 9, 2009, 12:00 am

I'm hoping that The Master and Margarita is our next read too!
Translations to English:
The Ginsburg (1967) translation was from a censored Soviet text and is therefore incomplete.
The Glenny (1967) translation I heard is not good from many readers.
Burgin & O'Connor's (1995) - which is the translation I have is said to be the best of these three - "they seemed to have gained access to multiply version of the orginal manuscript (there were 3 or 4. Bulgakov never actually finished the novel) and so there are parts they've included that don't occur in the other translations."
I have heard the Pevear and Volokhonsky (1997) version is also quite good and I have enjoyed many of their other Russian translations like War and Peace and Anna Karenina and currently reading Brothers Karamazov.

When are we voting or nominating?

Editado: Maio 9, 2009, 1:43 pm

Members might post messages here telling when they'll be ready to read a "new" book for 'Group Reads - Literature', then we should be able to decide when to nominate/vote.

I think 34 books are suggested so far.

Books suggested by more than one member:

Doctor Zhivago (6)

The Master and Margarita (5)

The Woman in White (4)
Madame Bovary (4)

Buddenbrooks (3)
The Idiot (3)
Tristram Shandy (3)
Don Quixote (3)
Possession (3)

The Brothers Karamazov (2)
Martin Chuzzlewit (2)
Tom Jones (2)
The Sound and the Fury (2)
Invisible Cities (2)

Maio 20, 2009, 9:05 am

I'm ready.

Maio 20, 2009, 11:42 am

Me too.

Maio 20, 2009, 11:45 am

I'm ready to nominate/vote and to read a another "major work of literature".
How will it be done?
Who can create a poll? Sorry, I don't know how to make one.

PS. Hoping more members will participate in suggesting/nominating/voting! ;))

Maio 21, 2009, 11:39 am

I am ready.

Maio 21, 2009, 12:17 pm

>28 kjellika: It seems the nominating has been done. Shall we give it till Monday and then do a poll? Oh and thanks for compiling all the nominations!

Maio 21, 2009, 2:26 pm

>30 teelgee:
Ok, I agree in Monday. Other suggestions?

Maio 21, 2009, 4:45 pm

I'm ready and really wish I was clever enough to set the poll up but sadly my computer skills don't run to such advanced skills.

Maio 21, 2009, 4:50 pm

I think Monday sounds perfect. I'll set up the poll if nobody else wants to. Take the top 4 for the poll or what?

Maio 21, 2009, 4:56 pm

I would suggest not to include The Master and Margarita as Le salon litteraire de Henri Freeqy IV already plans to read it in September. Otherwise there definitely are books in post #25 I would like to read...
I can set up a poll, but I might not be back until Tuesday, if that isn't a problem...

Maio 21, 2009, 6:14 pm

I think you should take the top 4 (or the top 3 if The Master and Margarita (cf. #34) is omitted) for the poll. If you include the books suggested by three members there will be 8 or 9 books, and that's too many imo.

Maio 21, 2009, 8:18 pm

I'd say we should include The Master and Margarita - I'm sure we can cope with some duplication across other groups. (And, okay, because I wanted to read it with this group!)

Maio 21, 2009, 8:50 pm

Agree with 36; I don't know Le salon....

Thanks, christiguc for doing the poll again. You do such fine work!!

Maio 22, 2009, 12:51 am

>36 wookiebender:, wookiebender,

I agree: include The Master and Margarita!

Maio 22, 2009, 12:56 am

cf. #23
I cannot find 'TMaM' on the web.
Maybe it is too "new", published in 1966.

Maio 22, 2009, 2:35 am

>39 kjellika: do you mean you can't find a web version, downloadable? The book ought to be widely available.

Maio 22, 2009, 6:02 am

>40 teelgee:,
Yes, that's what I mean. But I've got a Norwegian paper edition, so .....

There are lots of websites ABOUT the novel and the author, but I can't find the whole text (on Project Gutenberg Bulgakov isn't mentioned at all!).

Maio 22, 2009, 11:16 am

41> It won't be on Project Gutenberg yet as only works in the public domain in the states are available on it. Although I'm not entirely sure how copyright works when the author was dead when the book was published, 1940 would be too late at the moment anyway...

Maio 22, 2009, 7:53 pm

We could take the five highest rated books from our list of suggested books? Something new?

1)The Brothers Karamazov (4.44)
2)The Master and Margarita (4.33)
3)Buddenbrooks (4.23)
4)Invisible Cities (4.21)
5)The Woman in White (4.18)

Don Quixote (4.17)
The Idiot (4.13)
Possession (4.08)
The Sound and the Fury (4.08)
Tristram Shandy (4.04)
Doctor Zhivago (3.99)
Martin Chuzzlewit (3.99)
Tom Jones (3.91)
Madame Bovary (3.8)

other suggestions... we need to come up with a digital dart board!

Editado: Maio 23, 2009, 12:41 pm

Given the fact that I would leap at the chance to read any of the top five in 43, I say rosemeria has nailed down a good methodology for final selection for the poll.

Maio 23, 2009, 12:58 pm

Being the control freak that I am, I don't know that I want all of Library Thing to choose a book for our group to read. People rate books in such different ways; my 4 is probably very different from, say, kjellika's 4. My two cents. (It would certainly eliminate all the fuss of a poll.)

Maio 23, 2009, 1:18 pm

I didn't intend to replace the poll with the rankings. I'm saying if we have many books with the same number of recommendations (nominations and seconds) we can select entries for the poll based on how LT'ers rate the various books.

If you have ten books with five recommendations each, what other method would you choose to select five for a poll?

Editado: Maio 23, 2009, 1:47 pm

46: I think teelgee's point is that Karamazov only garnered 2 recommendations from the group, but gets into the poll.

I'd rather have somebody tell me why I should read one of these books. I'm leafing through Ginsburg's translation of Margarita and, not surprisingly, the language and style is very plain and uninteresting. So, what would I get out of reading The Master and Margarita? Or Zhivago?

Maio 23, 2009, 2:24 pm

If we select a book that does not appeal to you, don't read it. No one's twisting your arm. This isn't rocket science and not everyone will be happy with the selection.

The top books on the list should be the ones with the most recommendations in the group. we should vote on the five with the most recommendations from the group. If we have a tie (books with the same number of recommendations) that yields too many (more than five, say, or whatever arbitrary number creates a good poll) then the LT rank makes a good tie-breaker.

I did not mean to imply LT rank should be the means of selecting over the number of recommendations. I meant it makes a good tie breaker. It never occurred to me someone would want to use LT ranking as the sole criteria for picking a book.

Maio 23, 2009, 2:26 pm

If we select a book that does not appeal to you, don't read it. No one's twisting your arm. This isn't rocket science and not everyone will be happy with the selection.

The top books on the list should be the ones with the most recommendations in the group. If we have a tie (books with the same number of recommendations) that yields too many (more than five, say, or whatever arbitrary number creates a good poll) then the LT rank makes a good tie-breaker.

I did not mean to imply LT rank should be the means of selecting over the number of recommendations. I meant it makes a good tie breaker. It never occurred to me someone would want to use LT ranking as the sole criteria for picking a book.

Maio 23, 2009, 4:41 pm

If we select a book that does not appeal to you, don't read it. No one's twisting your arm. This isn't rocket science and not everyone will be happy with the selection.

I'm just asking for the groupmembers that recommended a book to try to persuade me to vote for their book.

Maio 23, 2009, 4:51 pm

> 47 semckibbin - I can see you are not sold on Russian Lit. that's OK, but just to let you know that Ginsburg's translation of The Master and Margarita was from a censored Soviet text and I would suggest not reading that version. This reading group has always had informative discussed about "the books" translations before staring our group read.

The fourteen books that were suggested by our group all looked good to me, so I was just curious how they rated with LT user in general. My suggestion was to use LT info to help in narrow down our great list of possible reads.
My TBR list is in the hundreds because of this marvelous group - many thanks. Teelgee why don't you pick four books out of this list this time around - and surprise us on Monday. I am looking forward to voting on any of these books selected for next weeks polling.

Editado: Maio 23, 2009, 6:43 pm

#47 I have rushed to my book shelves and checked my copy of The Master and Margarita and the translators are Pevear and Volokhonsky both of whom I believe do excellent translations as many of us in this group will attest to.

M&M was a book I'd never heard of until about 18 months ago but I noticed it kept cropping up on threads with very positive if not glowing comments so I bought a copy. Here is a quote from 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die about M&M "By turns a searing satire of Soviet life, a religious allegory to rival Geothe's Faust, and un untamed burlesque fantasy, this is a novel of laughter and terror, of freedome and bondage..."

I will read whatever the group decides but I think M&M would provide some interesting discussions.

Maio 23, 2009, 9:01 pm

I must admit, I first read the post about the LT rankings, thinking that it was suggesting that we should use those instead of our usual informal count of which books were mentioned. I wasn't at all keen on that (because Dr Zhivago was far down on that list, but was popular with us; etc), but am happy if we want to use it as some sort of tiebreaker in the case of too many with the same rankings.

While I wouldn't mind having more than 4 in the final list to choose from, it is a great choice of books in that four, and I'm sure I'll like whichever we chose. (Well, maybe not *like*, but I'm sure I'll get something out of each.)

I wonder which translation of M&M I have, if it's not the Pevear & Volokhonksy, I might just have to make a trip to the bookshop (oh, gosh, darn)...

Maio 23, 2009, 9:09 pm

Maybe we could take the top three of those with the most votes and the top three with the highest rating on Library Thing and see how that works out?

Maio 25, 2009, 9:29 pm

54> Great idea unlucky.
That would be five books because The Master and Margarita shows up on both lists.

Editado: Maio 25, 2009, 9:58 pm

Well, since there was no decision, I went with the last suggestion. Top 4 from the voting (since 3 and 4 were tied with number of votes), and top 3 from ratings (which really meant two additional ones were added since there was overlap).

I have it open until midnight next monday. Hope that works?

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

Vote here


keep an eye on results

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

Maio 25, 2009, 10:02 pm

Thanks christiguc! I've voted, and looks like I'm the first, so my choice is well in the lead now. May not last, of course. ;)

Maio 25, 2009, 10:13 pm

Thank you christiguc. That seems like a good solution.

Maio 26, 2009, 8:34 am

Thanks Christina. My votes in but happy to read any of those listed.

Maio 26, 2009, 3:02 pm

And Doctor Zhivago gets edged out yet again! I think I'm going to just go ahead and read that on my own. If Master and Margherita wins I'll look into it but I must say I don't get along with the Russians too much. With Zhivago I already know and love the story so I figured it'd work.

Maio 26, 2009, 4:07 pm

I think I'll participate whatever book is chosen.
I've voted for The Master and Margarita, but Doctor Zhivago or Buddenbrooks would be a great read as well, I imagine.

Maio 27, 2009, 4:21 am

Now that it's time to vote I cannot decide The Master and Margarita, Buddenbrooks or Women in White! Which one should I pick?

Maio 27, 2009, 4:49 am

I think you should pick TM&M or Buddenbrooks.
I read The Master and Margarita some years ago and I loved it. A great novel.
And if you want to learn about Germany, German people and German history, you should vote for Buddenbrooks. I haven't read it yet, but I know a little about it.
Woman in White I haven't heard of until now, but I'll read it if it is chosen.

Maio 27, 2009, 5:22 am

I just remembered: we discussed last time we voted to make the two top rated books the next two books to read, to try and minimise the amount of time we spend voting (and maximise the amount of time we spend reading!).

I know it's a bit late now, but are we going to try that again this time? (It is early days, but there are two fairly clear frontrunners so far. And I've got borrowed copies of both that I must read and pass on, so I'm very happy with reading both of them!)

Editado: Maio 27, 2009, 6:12 am

I've already read Master and Margarita and the Woman in White, but I loved both so if one of those was picked I'd still re-read and join in on the discussion.

Maio 27, 2009, 9:02 am

wookie: I'm fine with doing that. But let's clarify if we're reading consecutively or concurrently. There was confusion last time when both books were started at the same time. My preference would be to read the first choice then the second choice. That way it feels more like a group read for both.

Other thoughts?

Maio 27, 2009, 9:48 am

Placed my vote...thanks for organizing Christiguc!

As for reading, I too would prefer that we read them consecutively. If we read them concurrently, I'd probably opt out of one (which I may do anyway...).

Maio 27, 2009, 3:36 pm

>64 wookiebender:, wookiebender. I understand what you mean (spending time voting etc.), but all the same:
I suggest that we read only the first choice this time. Then we'll avoid some confusion, don't you think?
If two or more books get exactly the same number of votes, we'll have to make a new poll, I assume.
And I wonder who'll read the chosen book(s). Will you participate only if one of "your" books is chosen?

Maio 27, 2009, 8:28 pm

kjellika, valid comments. But the reason we've gone with two books in the past is because we want to minimise the number of votes we have to make, rather than vote yet again for a tiebreaker (which could conceivably result in a tie again).

And I don't participate in every read - I wasn't interested in Pale Fire, and while I meant to participate in The Forsythe Saga, Real Life got in the way and I still haven't picked up my copy. I don't feel (and never have felt) like I *must* participate in each read, regardless of book chosen. If I vote for something, then I definitely *plan* to participate if that book is chosen, and hope to participate if another is chosen. (If Buddenbrooks is chosen this round, I wasn't interested, and may have quite contentedly skipped that discussion. If one of Woman in White or Master and Margarita is chosen, then I'll definitely participate as I'd be reading both of those soon anyhow. If Dr Zhivago is chosen, then I'll do my best to source a copy and make some reading time. Etc.) It's just a matter of shuffling my reading commitments elsewhere (several books borrowed that must be returned, my partner hassling me to catch up with him on some fantasy series, other reading groups, just pure whim, etc) and sometimes the Group Reads: Literature book misses out. Sometimes other book commitments miss out! I love the range of books chosen here, but I can't read everything (much as I'd like to).

If we *were* to go with two books this round (only to save us some more voting, and I'm happy with just one book, since we definitely didn't discuss this in the lead up to the voting), then I'd suggest definitely consecutive, with the one with the most votes coming first.

Maio 28, 2009, 4:06 am

yes I agree in your opinions on participating/not participating in the group read of the current book(s). Of course it's all up to you, and there are some chosen books I haven't read as a group read here.

I hope lots of members will be reading the next book. Then the discussions and comments will become more interesting and informative, I'm sure.

How many of you read BOTH Pale Fire and The Forsyte Saga? I didn't read 'PF', and I imagine very few of us read 'TFS'.....(??)

Maio 28, 2009, 10:27 am

I confess to reading neither. mea culpa.

Editado: Maio 28, 2009, 11:07 am

I don't understand, I guess I'm missing something here. I was not aware that we are required to read any of the books selected by the group. I thought this whole business was strictly voluntary. If the group selects a book you have no interest in, or can't acquire, or you can't get to for one reason or another, hey, life happens. I used to think I was a champion overthinker, but sometimes discussions like this make me realize what a piker I am in that regard.

If the group picks books you wish to read, read them, by all means, otherwise wait for the next one, or better yet, read the one you wished had been selected.

I joined this group to be introduced to authors and works I may not otherwise read.

Maio 28, 2009, 11:14 am

geneg - no requirements whatsoever. My own 'mea culpa' was tongue in cheek.

Maio 28, 2009, 11:26 am

Teelgee, my comment in >72 geneg: wasn't aimed at anyone in particular, but the conversation in general. This isn't that hard and I'm afraid that as people overthink what's going on here others may be confused and decide not to participate at all.

Maio 28, 2009, 11:36 am

I prefer to minimize voting time. They are all great choices anyway. I vote for consecutive reads.

Maio 28, 2009, 2:14 pm

>72 geneg:, geneg

Of course, this whole business is strictly voluntary.
All the same:
I really HOPE (cf. #70) lots of members will read (and comment and discuss) the next book!! :)

Maio 28, 2009, 3:09 pm

Thanks to all for compiling suggestions and organizing the poll. I will get copies of any and all selected books, but can't promise to actually read them! I joined the group in Jan, but have only done 50% of the reads. Didn't get my copy of PG until everyone had pretty much finished reading. TFS is just too big a tome ... I have to be sitting at a table to read it, cutting significantly into my reading opportunities. Excuses, excuses ...

My preference would be to select two or even three books and read them consecutively. Lacking all but the most rudimentary time management skills, I would probably do better if there were at least some recommended reading time frames -- preferably posted on the main group page so I could subconsciously absorb them as I check the threads.

Editado: Maio 29, 2009, 12:34 am

Two of the books I have read and the other three are in the lead after 40 votes - I'm extremely happy!

By the way kjellika, I took your advise and voted for Master and Margarita.
go M&M go!

I had never heard of Wilkie Collins before; Collins's book The Moonstone looks interesting too. Has anyone read The Moonstone?

Maio 29, 2009, 9:27 am

I've read the Moonstone and it's really good, I do prefer the Woman in White though, I think because of the characters.

Editado: Maio 29, 2009, 10:05 am

FYI, Wilkie Collins was Charles Dickens' writing partner.

Maio 29, 2009, 12:23 pm

The Moonstone is flawed but awesome.

Maio 29, 2009, 12:26 pm

Also, if you're interested, Dan Simmons's latest book, Drood, has Wilkie Collins as the main character. It's concerned with the mysteries surrounding Charles Dickens's last book, the incomplete Mystery of Edwin Drood, but obviously treated in a fictional manner.

I haven't read it, so I don't know if it's any good.

Maio 29, 2009, 12:29 pm

dmsteyn- that's on my wishlist

Sarah Waters wrote a really good book called fingersmith that is like a twisted version of The Woman in White(e.g the art teacher is a conman)

Maio 29, 2009, 12:44 pm

Fingersmith is an amazing book! It keeps you on your toes, for sure.

Editado: Jun 2, 2009, 2:21 pm

Has a decision been reached? Are we going to read Woman in White? Or are we going to read both Woman in White and The Master and Margarita?

Who's got the lowdown on what's up?

Jun 2, 2009, 3:38 pm

It looks like Woman in White is the clear winner, TMaM a clear second. I suggest we read Woman in White now and then in six weeks or so, TMaM.

Other opinions?

Jun 2, 2009, 4:15 pm

I agree with teelgee, only maybe start M&M in a little less than 6 weeks because Woman in White isn't that big.

Jun 2, 2009, 4:20 pm

yey let's get started - I miss the discussions on this group! Woman in White it is!

Jun 2, 2009, 4:22 pm

>86 teelgee:,
OK with me, but I assume I'll need more than six weeks to finish WiW, since I'm going to read it in English (Penguin Classics) and my edition has got xxxviii + 671 pages (including appendixes and notes), so .....

Jun 2, 2009, 4:33 pm

I'll start tomorrow with "A CHRONOLOGY OF WILKIE COLLINS'S LIFE" and then read the "INTRODUCTION".

Jun 2, 2009, 4:44 pm

I don't have a copy yet == can someone set up the threads please?

Jun 2, 2009, 5:10 pm

How many chapters per thread?

Jun 2, 2009, 5:26 pm

If there aren't clear divisions, e.g. Part 1, Part 2, etc. we've been going with about 100 page chunks. So however many chapters comprise ~100 pages, I'd say go with that.

Jun 3, 2009, 1:37 am

My copy is divided into three EPOCHs