Classic literature and/or books to improve comprehension

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Aituaje
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Classic literature and/or books to improve comprehension

Post by Aituaje » 22 Mar 2018, 07:10

I would consider myself a good reader, but I'm looking to expand my literary horizons. I enjoy fantasy and fiction and I'm looking to expand my repertoire to include more classical literature and to increase my ability to understand complex texts relatively quickly. My hope is that by reading more advanced material, I will be able to digest complex texts quickly and easily without losing comprehension. Are there any book recommendations?

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lsutton4
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Post by lsutton4 » 22 Mar 2018, 07:33

My suggestion would be to read Shakespeare. Start slow at first, it can be difficult, but there’s nothing like picking up one of his plays and completely understanding it with no issue.
A good one to start with is either Romeo and Juliet or As You Like It.

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Post by EllieA » 22 Mar 2018, 10:22

It's hard to make a recommendation without knowing a little about what you are currently reading that you find challenging/ not challenge/ interesting, etc. I'm listing some books below, but if you update with more information I could probably offer more accurate recommendations. Since you are looking to improve comprehension, I will try to stick to stories with both a strong plot and complex grammar/ syntax. Fiction is a really broad category, so I stuck to Fantasy for this list.

Fantasy Epics:

The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan
Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher
The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley


Fantasy, early and mid 20th centrury:

Steppenwolf, Siddartha, or The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse
pretty much anything by Kurt Vonnegut (his material is not my favorite but he writes well)


Sci Fi:

The Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold
Dune by Frank Herbert
Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons


Classics:

Dante's Inferno
The Odyssey by Homer
The Once and Future King by T. H. White

Aituaje
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Post by Aituaje » 26 Mar 2018, 07:11

EllieA wrote: ‚ÜĎ
22 Mar 2018, 10:22
It's hard to make a recommendation without knowing a little about what you are currently reading that you find challenging/ not challenge/ interesting, etc. I'm listing some books below, but if you update with more information I could probably offer more accurate recommendations.
Thank you for your detailed response; as requested, I have updated with a bit more information:

I am currently reading A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens and I do not find it challenging to understand, though I do have to look up quite a few words. I would place this book (in terms of difficulty) on the same level as Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. I find it to be a very good book.

As far as interests, I enjoy authors who write in long flowing sentences (much like Dickens) because this is the way I tend to write; on the other hand, I also enjoy authors who write in short, sharp sentences (such as Hemingway) because this is the way I would like to write sometimes (I tend to struggle with keeping my sentences concise).
I am very much interested in science fiction and fantasy. As for fantasy, I tend to enjoy high fantasy more than low. I also enjoy tales of adventure (such as Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne) and quirky tales such as The Diamond Lens by Fitz James O'Brien. I very much enjoy reading H.P. Lovecraft).

Challenging books would be Shakespeare (I have to think more to understand what's going on). I don't particularly care for Shakespeare, but I don't dislike it. Another book I remember finding challenging was the Tale of Genji (though I attempted to read that when I was in 7th grade and haven't revisited it since). My biggest problem is finding appropriately challenging books that are of interest to me.

I believe I have covered most everything; is there anything else you'd like to know?

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Post by EllieA » 27 Mar 2018, 14:10

Great additional info-- this definitely helps.

I would stand by my original recommendations, especially Herman Hesse, Kurt Vonnegut (Slaughterhouse Five is probably his most famous work, but Player Piano or Cat's Cradle are also great starting places), Dune, and the Codex Alera by Jim Butcher (not the Dresdan Files) and the Classics listed.

If you are resistant about most Shakespeare, start with his histories-- Richard III is the most famous and oft-quoted -- or a tragedy like King Lear. You could also investigate works by a contemporary of his such as Christopher Marlow.

Alternatively, you could look at some of the German plays and operas, such as Goethe's Faust or Wagner's Ring Cycle. There are a number of good translations available-- search reviews to see which translations would suit you best.

I would add:

Classics:

Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy -- features long, descriptive passages that you may enjoy
The Leatherstocking Tales by James Fenimore Cooper -- This includes The Last of the Mohicans and The Deerslayer. Fenimore writes with the long, descriptive sentences that might appeal to you.
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (and originally edited by Dickens) for a period drama with a more serious focus than Austen or the Bronte sisters

Fantasy and Science Fiction-

His Dark Materials by Phillip Pulman- it's about kids but holds up as adult reading as well.
Jurrasic Park, Sphere, The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton -- he is just an excellent, knowledgeable Sci-Fi writer.

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Post by Lgs1089 » 10 Apr 2018, 13:06

I like that you didn't request a specific genre. I recommend the following classics:
1. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
2. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gillman
3. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
4. The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald
5. Henderson the Rain King by Saul Bellow
6. The Monk by Mattew Gregory Lewis
7. The Italian by Ann Radcliffe
8. Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney
9. Love in the Ruins by Walker Percy
10. A Doll House by Henrik Ibson
11. Suddenly Last Summer by Tennesee Williams
12. Man and Superman by George Benard Shaw
13. Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis
14. Slaughter-House Five by Kurt Vonnegut
15. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

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Post by Maja Saveva » 07 May 2018, 08:10

Shakespeare or Tolstoy, you won't regret it.

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Post by gen_g » 12 May 2018, 02:48

Lgs1089 wrote: ‚ÜĎ
10 Apr 2018, 13:06
I like that you didn't request a specific genre. I recommend the following classics:
1. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
2. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gillman
3. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
4. The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald
5. Henderson the Rain King by Saul Bellow
6. The Monk by Mattew Gregory Lewis
7. The Italian by Ann Radcliffe
8. Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney
9. Love in the Ruins by Walker Percy
10. A Doll House by Henrik Ibson
11. Suddenly Last Summer by Tennesee Williams
12. Man and Superman by George Benard Shaw
13. Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis
14. Slaughter-House Five by Kurt Vonnegut
15. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
These are lovely recommendations! I would also recommend Octavia Butler's Fledgling, Joseph Heller's Catch-22 and Margaret Atwood's The Handmaiden. Hope you enjoy!

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