books I've read

Anne Hawn's books

Who Moved My Cheese?
If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans
Scientific Secrets for Self-Control
Just One Damned Thing After Another
The Vanishing
Exercises in Knitting
The Good Dream
The Very Best of Edgar Allan Poe
The Chosen
BT-Kids' Knits
Talking God
The Professor
The Christmas Files
The Finisher
Home Decor for 18-Inch Dolls: Create 10 Room Settings with Furniture and 15 Outfits with Accessories
Dracula and Other Stories
A New Song
All Quiet on the Western Front
File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents

Anne Hawn Smith's favorite books »

I'm reading 150 Books

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Lively Discussion

We have been having a discussion on Goodreads The Catcher in the Rye  group.  This is the original question:

Which books do you think are overrated?

Here's a quick sampling from various internet sites that recommend skipping these:
The Catcher in the Rye
Moby Dick
The Great Gatsby
Waiting for Godot
The Stranger
Atlas Shrugged
The Da Vinci Code

The question is complex because there are classics on the list which have stood the test of time and genre fiction that is presently popular.  Some people respond that classics are just bunk imposed on helpless high school students by Nazi teachers, some are ambivalent about them, and some love the books.  The discussion can get lively, and sometimes people feel that the group is trying to suppress all people who don't like classics.  This is a response I wrote.
I don't see the opinions of most members of this group as trying to ram something down someone's throat. This is especially true of responses to people who hate TCIR, but I don't think it is demeaning to be asked to substantiate an opinion.

One of the reasons I enjoy this group so much is because we can share ideas and interpretations. So many times I have finished a classic and wanted to have the kind of feedback I enjoyed in college, or even high school. There are so many ideas generated. I can remember reading Clarissa in college and absolutely hating it. The main character was more hysterical than dramatic; I couldn't stand her. When test time came, I had this question, "Who is the more successful dramatic heroine, Clarissa from Clarissa or Sophia from Tom Jones ?" I knew what the teacher wanted, but I had to say that Clarissa was so dramatic that no one could relate to her and therefor Sophia was more successful. Fortunately, I had a very good teacher and I got full marks because I could substantiate my opinion. My answer generated a great discussion. 

Sometimes various members post more complex discussions on their own blog and then develop them more fully.  I agree about using Blogger as a means of expressing a more complex idea. I have a blog called "Twaddle" in which I can develop ideas that were generated from this thread and others. It gives me the freedom to write the way I want and not have to worry about the people who have just come to this discussion and are interested in discussing the original question.

When someone comes on this list and says that all or most of the classics on the original list are garbage, I think many of us want to respond with some of the reasons we love these books and to help others see why. I didn't end up liking Clarissa , but the discussion helped me see the value of the book.    

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