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ConnieAnnKirk
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B&N Classics Club Selections -- July & August

Barnes & Noble.com wanted me to announce here on the Classics club board what we will be reading this summer.
 
For the summer, we've decided to turn to some children's titles that are also of interest to adult readers. 
 
In July, we will be reading The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
 
In August, we will read Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.
 
I hope you'll join us for an enjoyable and spirited discussion of these beloved children's classics.  Tell your friends!  Young readers are also welcome. 
 
More information about summer selections for all of the Book Clubs will be coming soon on the Announcements page.
 
~ConnieK
 
 
 
 
~ConnieAnnKirk




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Re: B&N Classics Club Selections -- July & August

Thanks for posting those early!

Secret Garden is certainly a wonderful book, though it will be interesting to see how deep a discussion it will engender. But I see you do have a B&N Classics edition of it, so presumably there's at least some introductory material, and perhaps some notes, that might add substance to the story. Plus, I see that there is an Annotated Secret Garden. What on earth is there worth annotating about it?? Well, looking further, I see that there's a whole book study on TSG by Phyllis Bixler, which contends that "Its rich characterization and mythic imagery and themes have allowed it to transcend its own era; it has been described as ahead of its time for the accuracy with which it reflects our contemporary understanding of child psychology." So we'll have to see.

And I'm astonished to find that there are more than 25 separate editions of TSG offered by the BN website. Egad!

Little Women -- well, yes, I know it's a classic, and I read it when I was young, but have you actually tried reading it as an adult? It was suggested for another club a while back and I took it down to read a few pages and it was so turgid and sappy that I simply couldn't read more than a page. I know it's beloved of girls, and maybe of women, but egad, it acts on the brain like bacon on the arteries. I was interested to read this excerpt from the introduction: "After determining that her inclusion of too many controversial ideas about marriage had hurt sales of Moods, Alcott decided to make her girls' book idea-free: 'My next book shall have no ideas in it, only facts, and the people shall be as ordinary as possible.'" No ideas, eh??

And particularly if you're planning to read the whole book, part 2 as well as part 1, it's a LONG book. Do you know whether the B&N Classics edition is both parts? The website isn't clear. Part 1, at least according to the Library of America edition, has 23 chapters ending with "Aunt March settles the Question." Part 2 has 24 chapters starting with "Gossip" and ending with "Harvest Time."
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Re: B&N Classics Club Selections -- July & August

[ Edited ]
Hi, Everyman--
 
I think B&N is attempting to get the word out more quickly about future titles for the clubs, so I'm glad you're glad!  I was given the go-ahead to put the heads up here on the classics editions board for these 2 books. 
 
I agree that Little Women is on the longish side.  (I assume the B&N Classics edition has all of it, but I actually haven't seen a copy of that edition yet).  However, we've had some readers over the years in the clubs who are teachers and students, etc. and they might enjoy rereading it with a group when they have more time. 
 
I sense that you're not crazy about children's titles, in general?  :smileywink:  There is a whole world of scholarship out there about them, you know.  Anyway, if not, never fear.  The classics club will continue to cover a mix of titles.  Perhaps a fall choice might be more to your liking.  Our plug for Hardy's Tess was well-received, so we might see that one in the line-up before too long!
 
~ConnieK

Everyman wrote:
Thanks for posting those early!

Secret Garden is certainly a wonderful book, though it will be interesting to see how deep a discussion it will engender. But I see you do have a B&N Classics edition of it, so presumably there's at least some introductory material, and perhaps some notes, that might add substance to the story. Plus, I see that there is an Annotated Secret Garden. What on earth is there worth annotating about it?? Well, looking further, I see that there's a whole book study on TSG by Phyllis Bixler, which contends that "Its rich characterization and mythic imagery and themes have allowed it to transcend its own era; it has been described as ahead of its time for the accuracy with which it reflects our contemporary understanding of child psychology." So we'll have to see.

And I'm astonished to find that there are more than 25 separate editions of TSG offered by the BN website. Egad!

Little Women -- well, yes, I know it's a classic, and I read it when I was young, but have you actually tried reading it as an adult? It was suggested for another club a while back and I took it down to read a few pages and it was so turgid and sappy that I simply couldn't read more than a page. I know it's beloved of girls, and maybe of women, but egad, it acts on the brain like bacon on the arteries. I was interested to read this excerpt from the introduction: "After determining that her inclusion of too many controversial ideas about marriage had hurt sales of Moods, Alcott decided to make her girls' book idea-free: 'My next book shall have no ideas in it, only facts, and the people shall be as ordinary as possible.'" No ideas, eh??

And particularly if you're planning to read the whole book, part 2 as well as part 1, it's a LONG book. Do you know whether the B&N Classics edition is both parts? The website isn't clear. Part 1, at least according to the Library of America edition, has 23 chapters ending with "Aunt March settles the Question." Part 2 has 24 chapters starting with "Gossip" and ending with "Harvest Time."




Message Edited by ConnieK on 06-11-2008 10:46 AM
~ConnieAnnKirk




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Re: B&N Classics Club Selections -- July & August

ConnieK wrote: Hi, Everyman--... sense that you're not crazy about children's titles, in general?

Not at all! I love good children's books.

The operative word is good.

I absolutely love Arthur Ransome, for example. I have read his books probably dozens of times, and got my own children addicted to him (as I intend shortly to get my grandchildren addicted to him). He writes beautifully, and his stories are the kind of thing that fire the imagination with the sense that I could do those things, too!

I re-read (for the fourth or so time) Kim last summer. I left most of my children's books in the house they're now living in when I moved down to our new house (right next door, actually on the same property), but in the past few months when I have had the chance while up there babysitting I have been re-reading the classic (original) Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books. I still enjoy much of Enid Blyton, and am waiting impatiently for the time when the grandchildren will enjoy having me read her to them. Within the past year or two I have re-read Prester John, Kidnapped, the Railroad Children, Five Children and It, several of the original Dr. Dolittle books (yes, the ones which are now politically incorrect), Robinson Crusoe (though that's really not a children's book, is it?), many stories from the Colored Fairy Tale books and other fairy tale books, several of the Noel Streatfield Shoes books, and many others. I enjoy wallowing in nostalgia as breaks from my more serious reading, and often take a book I loved as a child up for my bedside reading. We have more children's books in our house than most people have total books in theirs. Not even counting the books we left at the other house, one full wall of the upper floor of my library here is covered in younger children's books, and another with what are today called juvenile books, and I have read most of them.

But I do have my prejudices when it comes to children's books just as I do with adult books. I detest writers who "write down" to children, or who write with most of their minds devoted to "political correctness." I am incensed by the re-writing of classics (Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Dr. Dolittle, as prime examples) to simplify them, take out all the richness of the language, and make them palatable to modern sensibilities, turning them into intellectual pablum. And I dislike the sort of sappy writing I see in, for one example, the opening of Little Women, which is the literary equivalent of sugar frosted cocoa puffs.

My comment here was mostly because while I love children's books, I don't see them as opportunities for rich discussions. Maybe that's a wrongheaded prejudice, and the discussion here will persuade me that there is much not only to enjoy but also to discuss in these books. time will tell!

But never accuse me of not being crazy about good children's books! :smileyvery-happy:
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Re: B&N Classics Club Selections -- July & August

Ok; gotcha, E.!  Glad to hear it.
 
~ConnieK
 


Everyman wrote:


But never accuse me of not being crazy about good children's books! :smileyvery-happy:


~ConnieAnnKirk




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Laurel
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Re: B&N Classics Club Selections -- July & August

[ Edited ]
I want to go on record saying that, though I have some nostalgia for Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys in the original versions, I think that Little Women and The Secret Garden are of much higher literary value and interest than the multi-authored books of the teen-aged sleuths. I think it will be refreshing to have a conversation across generations about Jo and Mistress Mary. My favorite children's books are probably the Pooh books, The Wind in the Willows, and the Narnia books. And I almost forgot, The Hobbit and the two Alice books.

Everyman wrote:
ConnieK wrote: Hi, Everyman--... sense that you're not crazy about children's titles, in general?

Not at all! I love good children's books.

The operative word is good.

I absolutely love Arthur Ransome, for example. I have read his books probably dozens of times, and got my own children addicted to him (as I intend shortly to get my grandchildren addicted to him). He writes beautifully, and his stories are the kind of thing that fire the imagination with the sense that I could do those things, too!

I re-read (for the fourth or so time) Kim last summer. I left most of my children's books in the house they're now living in when I moved down to our new house (right next door, actually on the same property), but in the past few months when I have had the chance while up there babysitting I have been re-reading the classic (original) Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books. I still enjoy much of Enid Blyton, and am waiting impatiently for the time when the grandchildren will enjoy having me read her to them. Within the past year or two I have re-read Prester John, Kidnapped, the Railroad Children, Five Children and It, several of the original Dr. Dolittle books (yes, the ones which are now politically incorrect), Robinson Crusoe (though that's really not a children's book, is it?), many stories from the Colored Fairy Tale books and other fairy tale books, several of the Noel Streatfield Shoes books, and many others. I enjoy wallowing in nostalgia as breaks from my more serious reading, and often take a book I loved as a child up for my bedside reading. We have more children's books in our house than most people have total books in theirs. Not even counting the books we left at the other house, one full wall of the upper floor of my library here is covered in younger children's books, and another with what are today called juvenile books, and I have read most of them.

But I do have my prejudices when it comes to children's books just as I do with adult books. I detest writers who "write down" to children, or who write with most of their minds devoted to "political correctness." I am incensed by the re-writing of classics (Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Dr. Dolittle, as prime examples) to simplify them, take out all the richness of the language, and make them palatable to modern sensibilities, turning them into intellectual pablum. And I dislike the sort of sappy writing I see in, for one example, the opening of Little Women, which is the literary equivalent of sugar frosted cocoa puffs.

My comment here was mostly because while I love children's books, I don't see them as opportunities for rich discussions. Maybe that's a wrongheaded prejudice, and the discussion here will persuade me that there is much not only to enjoy but also to discuss in these books. time will tell!

But never accuse me of not being crazy about good children's books! :smileyvery-happy:



Message Edited by Laurel on 06-11-2008 09:01 AM
"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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Re: B&N Classics Club Selections -- July & August

I certainly agree that Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys have minimal literary value for serious discussion. But I don't think they're pap. They are actually quite well written. In particular, the vocabulary is rich and sophisticated, unlike books today that are written with limited vocabulary lists so that children reading them won't have to come across words they don't know and would have to look up. And they have a slower pace and a richness of detail which is seldom seen in modern children's books which are written to accommodate readers whose attention span and need for constant stimulation have been influenced by constant TV watching and computer game playing.

But I certainly agree with you, Laurel, about literary value for discussion purposes. And I agree completely about Pooh and Toad and his friends, though less so Narnia -- I went back to them a while back and found them not as rich as I had remembered from my first reading, nor did I care that much about the children.

Speaking of children's stories, do you know The Amazing Vacation? Somewhat akin to Narnia in that it involves children (two in this case) going off to vacation with unknown relatives in a rambling old house from which they go off into another world with talking animals et. al., but much less heavy-handed. BTW, I was surprised when I checked to find that both this and the Narnia tales, though set in much earlier times, were actually written in the 1950s. I would have put them both long before that. Not written until after I was born! Gee!


Laurel wrote:
I want to go on record saying that, though I have some nostalgia for Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys in the original versions, I think that Little Women and The Secret Garden are of much higher literary value and interest than the multi-authored books of the teen-aged sleuths. I think it will be refreshing to have a conversation across generations about Jo and Mistress Mary. My favorite children's books are probably the Pooh books, The Wind in the Willows, and the Narnia books. And I almost forgot, The Hobbit and the two Alice books.

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Re: B&N Classics Club Selections -- July & August

"Speaking of children's stories, do you know The Amazing Vacation? Somewhat akin to Narnia in that it involves children (two in this case) going off to vacation with unknown relatives in a rambling old house from which they go off into another world with talking animals et. al., but much less heavy-handed. BTW, I was surprised when I checked to find that both this and the Narnia tales, though set in much earlier times, were actually written in the 1950s. I would have put them both long before that. Not written until after I was born! Gee!"

No, I've never heard of The Amazing Vacation. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe takes place during World War II. The children have been sent out to the country because of the air raids on London. C.S. Lewis died on November 22, 1963, the same day as John F. Kennedy and Aldous Huxley.
"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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Re: B&N Classics Club Selections -- July & August

I had forgotten that the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (never thought about it before, but the three nouns are in the exact inverse order of how they make their appearances in the story!) started in WWII, since the action seems so much earlier, doesn't it?
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Re: B&N Classics Club Selections -- July & August

Hey, Laurel--glad you're looking forward to Little Women and The Secret Garden.  Should be fun!  The Wind in the Willows and the Alice books are also B&N Classics, so we might see them come around in the future.
 
~ConnieK

Laurel wrote:
I want to go on record saying that, though I have some nostalgia for Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys in the original versions, I think that Little Women and The Secret Garden are of much higher literary value and interest than the multi-authored books of the teen-aged sleuths. I think it will be refreshing to have a conversation across generations about Jo and Mistress Mary. My favorite children's books are probably the Pooh books, The Wind in the Willows, and the Narnia books. And I almost forgot, The Hobbit and the two Alice books.
~ConnieAnnKirk




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Re: B&N Classics Club Selections -- July & August



ConnieK wrote:
Hey, Laurel--glad you're looking forward to Little Women and The Secret Garden.  Should be fun!  The Wind in the Willows and the Alice books are also B&N Classics, so we might see them come around in the future.
 
~ConnieK

Laurel wrote:
I want to go on record saying that, though I have some nostalgia for Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys in the original versions, I think that Little Women and The Secret Garden are of much higher literary value and interest than the multi-authored books of the teen-aged sleuths. I think it will be refreshing to have a conversation across generations about Jo and Mistress Mary. My favorite children's books are probably the Pooh books, The Wind in the Willows, and the Narnia books. And I almost forgot, The Hobbit and the two Alice books.


Hi Connie, I was so thrilled to hear you are doing "little women."  I have never felt that "little women" was a children's read and certainly its literature is just right for teens but there are good adult themes in this book also. Many hard times and how they were handled, many engagements and so on. To me, its abou t   life, I had a simple upbringing but not a simple life. This takes you back aways especially I think if you are an adult as I am a senior citzen. And this will be a wonderful time for me, rereading this marvelous book again and again.
 
We can relate to our life alot with books and this book certainly describes my life, I guess that is why I adore it. I lived the simple life, not like a princess , but like the "little women."
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Re: B&N Classics Club Selections -- July & August

Hello, kiakar!
 
I'm delighted to hear from you and will look forward to "seeing" you at the Little Women board in August.  That will be a separate board from this one, and it will be set up, most likely, in late July.  So, please do check back. 
 
I know what you mean about how we bring ourselves to the books we read and see different aspects of ourselves in them each time.  It's such a fascinating aspect of the reading experience.
 
I hope you will join us--I'd love to hear your impressions of the novel as you read it this time around!
 
~ConnieK
 


kiakar wrote:

Hi Connie, I was so thrilled to hear you are doing "little women."  I have never felt that "little women" was a children's read and certainly its literature is just right for teens but there are good adult themes in this book also. Many hard times and how they were handled, many engagements and so on. To me, its abou t   life, I had a simple upbringing but not a simple life. This takes you back aways especially I think if you are an adult as I am a senior citzen. And this will be a wonderful time for me, rereading this marvelous book again and again.
 
We can relate to our life alot with books and this book certainly describes my life, I guess that is why I adore it. I lived the simple life, not like a princess , but like the "little women."



~ConnieAnnKirk




[CAK's books , website.]
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