10-24-2006 10:00 PM
If you're like me, you kind of know that already and are drawn to a book club like this to explore the great themes and ideas of classic American literature. Some of you may have longstanding literary loves, and some might be just browsing, hoping for a hit. But I hope you'll all enjoy spending time with each other and discovering the social pleasures of reading great books!
10-25-2006 04:35 PM
10-26-2006 02:11 PM
I'm Willowy, I've done lots of Barnes and Noble book clubs before, but I've mainly focused on literature. I'm excited that they are offering this American Classics book club now, and that they are starting with Whitman. I've never read much of his work (poetry is not my forte!) but I look forward to learning and discussing it with you all!
10-26-2006 04:41 PM
BNU veteran and generally open to reading just about anything. I haven't really read a lot of American authors since high school but I've been meaning to read Whitman for a while.
I read and knit and dance. Compulsively feel yarn. Consume books. Darn tights. Drink too much caffiene. All that good stuff.
10-26-2006 05:36 PM
I'm Denise and I live in Colorado. I subscribe to the Library of America so I read a lot of American classics. I have not read Whitman since high school but I'm pretty sure I have this volume on my shelves. If not, I'll have to order it for our discussion!
Hi Denise, this is Tom from Nashville. You said that you subscribe to Library of America. I'm not familiar with that. What is it? Thanks.
10-26-2006 09:36 PM
10-26-2006 09:38 PM
Talk to you soon,
10-26-2006 09:40 PM
10-27-2006 12:18 PM
10-28-2006 06:03 PM
The purpose of the loa is to keep in print virtually all quality writing of American literature. It's an ambitious goal, but they're doing quite nicely at it. But it means that they print works of lesser as well as greater interest, which is great for the academic community and for avid readers of American writing, but is sometimes too much for the ordinary reader.
If you want to start collecting the volumes, the best way is to sign up for a subscription rather than order them through a bookseller. They come boxed rather than in jackets, which is a bit nicer, but the main benefit is that they are cheaper. They come roughly one every one to two months, I forget the exact timing (I subscribed for a few years, but dropped my subscription when I had collected all the volumes I really wanted), but they send you forms regularly on which you can indicate which volumes you want sent, so you never have to get a book you don't want. (And if you do get a volume you don't want, they are happy to have you return it.) And you can order additional volumes from time to time at the subscription price without paying for shipping.
So with clever use of the subscription service, you can get a nice set of great writing in quality hardback editions at a reasonable cost.
The downside to the books, for me, is that they contain virtually no editorial material. They have a chronology of the author which though brief is often quite interesting and useful. But there are no introductory materials or discussions of the author or context of the work, and the few footnotes are not indicated at all in the text so you have to go to the back of the book to see whether there is a footnote, which for me makes the notes virtually useless. Basically, you are left on your own with the text. Which in some cases is fine, but in other cases I find that quality editorial material can make an enormous difference in my ability to place an older, particularly a not well known or discussed, work in context.
In addition, the volumes usually pack several books into one volume. This gives you more reading for the buck, but leaves you buying a number of works you might not really care about owning. For example, the Stowe volume contains not only Uncle Tom's Cabin, but also The Minister's Wooing and Oldtown Folks. This is great for scholars, but for ordinary readers it may be of less interest. (I don't know if any non-scholar today consders The Minister's Wooing readable, but I quit it fairly early on). And it makes for lengthy volumes; the Stowe book is nearly 1,500 pages.
But as long as one understands the purpose and limitations of the volumes, they are a great way to build a library of American literature.
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
10-31-2006 11:20 PM
Maybe it's because it's Halloween but Washington Irving is coming to mind. Jo
Let me look at some editions of Irving's works before diving into that one. It is the perfect season for the Headless Horseman.
11-01-2006 12:15 AM
11-01-2006 04:03 PM
11-01-2006 09:55 PM
I just want to toss Hawthorne up for discussion. I started reading his The Marble Faun recently and am totally captivated. He writes beautifully - rather low-key, not showy, but his sentences and paragraphs are masterfully shaped and polished. The Scarlet Letter is a high-school warhorse, of course, which may leave some people (including me) with a memory of ponderousness. But I'm astonished today by the emotional depth and subtlety of his writing.
Feel free to start a message thread with that focus. Like many American writers, Hawthorne was deeply interested in European culture and took to tourism and exile naturally. I'm very intrigued by your interest and hope you can draw some people in.
11-01-2006 09:57 PM
11-03-2006 10:57 AM
Will this club be perpetual and ongoing or is there an ending date?
11-04-2006 04:08 PM
11-04-2006 04:34 PM
Hawthorne is a wonderfully rich writer. I've had a desire nagging at me for several months to reread "The House of Seven Gables."
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. ~ Francis Bacon
11-05-2006 08:46 PM