If you had to choose 1 classic and 1 contemporary book and why....

(80 Posts)
Armadale Wed 10-Jul-13 10:40:18

Mine would be:

*Classic- The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins*- A man walking home comes across a young woman dressed in white who is frightened and needs to find a cab to get into town to the safety of her family. You help her. Then along comes another group who tell you the woman has just escaped from a mental institution and is very dangerous...does he tell them where she has gone, who is lying and who is dangerous....

A great, grabbing opening that turns into a thumping great read

*Contemporary What is the What by Dave Eggers*- A novel based on the true life story of a Sudanese boy who is orphaned in the civil war, escapes the attack and makes it on foot to the border and becomes one of the lost boys without a country living in a border camp, coping and trying to learn about life. Eventually sent to America where there is an even steeper learning curve...heartbreaking story of human spirit and also wonderfully written

mumslife Wed 10-Jul-13 10:43:47

My daughter has to do this in preparation forher alevel english lit she picked the room and madame bovary

Armadale Wed 10-Jul-13 10:47:13

Gosh that sounds much more fun than my experience of A level English...I would have loved to hear about everyone's choices rather than spend 4 solid terms on Anthony and flippin Cleopatra.

I don't know the room.....off to Google

mixedmamameansbusiness Wed 10-Jul-13 11:02:43

This is so difficult, especially the Classics.

Classic - Wuthering Heights
I just live angst and Tradegy and not nice people. I enjoy the darkness and prose.

Contemporary - señor vivo and the coco lord by Louis de Bernieres. I usually pick his Birds without Wings but whenever I find myself recommending his books I seem to recommend Señor Vivo.

Armadale Wed 10-Jul-13 11:15:54

Ooh I have senor vivo on my kindle but not yet read...smile

mixedmamameansbusiness Wed 10-Jul-13 11:25:49

LDB is a bit marmite. I sbs

mixedmamameansbusiness Wed 10-Jul-13 11:27:33

Sorry - I love his writing. It genuinely makes me laugh, cry and snort.

Señor Vivo in particular is very violent so bear that in mind. It is part of a trilogy all of which are great but Señor Vivo has stayed with me.

Classic: you want me to choose ONE? The Woman In White is a great choice, but I like 'No Name' even more. I want an Austen but I can't decide which, so for now I'll say Sense & Sensibility.

Modern - I want Lolita but it's not modern enough, so another Dave Eggars here - A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius OR Isabel Allende's Paula. Can't choose.

Armadale Wed 10-Jul-13 17:09:34

Remus, you have slightly blown a gasket in my head as I ummed and ahhed between The Woman in White and No Name and Armadale and wonder if I should have gone no name after all grin

We sound like the same kind of books so I'm going to read Isabel Allende's Paula based on you choosing it! I discovered her a few years after this one & have never read.

sooperdooper Wed 10-Jul-13 17:19:59

Classic, Wuthering Heights for me too, all the characters are just so bloody horrible to each other, it's not a boring lovely dovey love story

Comtemporary, Beloved by Toni Morrison, utterly beautifully written but a heartbreaking story that's losely based on the true story of a slave women, I need to read it again soon, it's been too long

'Paula' is based on the death of her daughter, so is part non-fiction and part magical realism and all just utterly exquisite writing. I don't always like her (and her recent stuff has been pretty lousy) but at her best, I think she's sublime.

What else do you rate? I'm specially looking for post 1930s recs and books that are efficiently but well written, with no showing off. smile

Armadale Wed 10-Jul-13 18:35:20

what is recs?

It is the lazy person's way of asking for book recommendations. smile

Armadale Wed 10-Jul-13 18:40:14

Ah sorry, being thick!

Will have a think as my diabolically behaved hound drags me round outside for a bit.

evelynj Wed 10-Jul-13 19:09:58

Hmm, some stuff to look up here so thanks

Classic-Great Gatsby

Contemporary-loved cloud atlas

(loved both dave beggars & room recs). Am sure everyone has read-curious incident of the dog in the nighttime, the lovely bones, his dark materials trilogy. Liked Kate atkinson's Jackson Brodie series also, will update later if I think of any more.....

NotYoMomma Wed 10-Jul-13 19:51:25

noooo this is so hard!

I have to say The Great Gatsby for my classic. I have loved it so much for many years! I can read it again and again.

For my contemporary Book I just want to say The Princess Bride, because it makes me laugh so much!

The Princess Bride is lovely. smile

I was horribly disappointed with Room.

mixedmamameansbusiness Wed 10-Jul-13 20:21:58

Well if we are allowed an Austen then I am having Persuasion. Willoughby was my favourite character in S&S.

I want to read some Allende. I have Eva Luna and Daughter of Fortune on the shelf. Which should I start with?

I quite like magical realism, LDB is inspired by Garcia Marquez but I have only read Love in the time of Cholera which I love but lacks magical realism.

I could actually list off classics, so hard to chose but The Woman in White comes up on MN constantly so am definitely going to give that a go.

Both are okay. Daughter of Fortune better than Eva L iirc.

mixedmamameansbusiness Wed 10-Jul-13 20:25:28

Remus - I also recently discovered Lloyd Jones via book club. We read Mister Pip which I loved and I picked up Biografi in a cheap book sale. He writes recent historical fiction, Mister Pip is set in the civil war in Papua New Guinea and Biografi is about the Albanian dictatorship. He elicits the same reaction in me as LDB.

mixedmamameansbusiness Wed 10-Jul-13 20:26:22

Hmmm, sounds like they aren't the ones to start with. House of Spirits is her famous one isn't it?

Have read Mr Pip - I liked it. Couldn't get into the other one.

Ilovegeorgeclooney Wed 10-Jul-13 20:27:31

Mill on the Floss an amazing novel with an extraordinary female protagonist that has one of the most moving accounts of the effects of sibling rivalry I have ever read. A book that is both philosophical and emotional. The GG would have been my second choice.

The Road is an amazing novel; bleak, powerful and ultimately uplifting.

Yes, I think so - and it is magical realism through and through. smile

Ilovegeorgeclooney Wed 10-Jul-13 20:30:19

Mr Pip is great, teach it for GCSE, at times the whole class go noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

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