Author Topic: Reading/Book Pet Peeves  (Read 201655 times)

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Twik

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1740 on: March 03, 2014, 09:48:17 AM »
Nothing new, all just Hamlet with dogs strapped onto it.  If I could be convinced it was meant as a satire I might be convinced that it really wasn't that bad, but it was dead serious.  Dead.  Serious.  :|

I wish I could draw!  This makes me picture some avante-garde version of Hamlet in which Hamlet's costume consists of a large number of puppies, all squirming around while the actor is trying to speak  :P

I'm visualizing pictures of Dogs Playing Hamlet done by the same artist who gave us Dogs Playing Poker.
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Slartibartfast

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1741 on: March 03, 2014, 10:02:44 AM »
Nothing new, all just Hamlet with dogs strapped onto it.  If I could be convinced it was meant as a satire I might be convinced that it really wasn't that bad, but it was dead serious.  Dead.  Serious.  :|

I wish I could draw!  This makes me picture some avante-garde version of Hamlet in which Hamlet's costume consists of a large number of puppies, all squirming around while the actor is trying to speak  :P

I'm visualizing pictures of Dogs Playing Hamlet done by the same artist who gave us Dogs Playing Poker.


Isn't that pretty much the premise of Wishbone?   :P

Twik

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1742 on: March 03, 2014, 10:06:07 AM »
Yes, I forgot Wishbone.

The best Wishbone was when he played Mr. Darcy in his eighteenth century clothing.
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

Jocelyn

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1743 on: March 03, 2014, 11:22:31 AM »
OTOH, neither Shakespeare, Malory nor Tennyson were telling original stories, but retelling other people's stories and putting their own twists on them. Perhaps they did it more skillfully than the original authors, but there's a huge literary tradition of re-telling. Isn't there a saying about there only being so many original plots, after all?  (8 of them, I think?) 

Twik

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1744 on: March 03, 2014, 11:26:54 AM »
OTOH, neither Shakespeare, Malory nor Tennyson were telling original stories, but retelling other people's stories and putting their own twists on them. Perhaps they did it more skillfully than the original authors, but there's a huge literary tradition of re-telling. Isn't there a saying about there only being so many original plots, after all?  (8 of them, I think?)

There may be a limited number of general plots, but there are also unique things that will identify specific works. A son thinking his step-father has killed his father to marry his mother is reasonably generic - one could take that story in a number of ways. But when the son stages a play within a play to harp on the presumed murder (with dogs - snerk! - or without them), it makes it a rip-off of Hamlet.
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

Two Ravens

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1745 on: March 03, 2014, 01:07:03 PM »

If I want to read Hamlet, I'll read Hamlet.  Trying to tart up your story by adopting the plot of a well-known work of literature is like trying to create art with paint-by-numbers kits.  The picture's not yours, and all you're doing is showing your own lack of originality by filling in a famous outline with your own colors. 


I don't think we want to tar all retellings with the same brush here. After all, Jane Smiley won the Pulitzer Prize for A Thousand Acres, and that was just a retellings of King Lear, albeit with a twist.

cabbagegirl28

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1746 on: March 03, 2014, 01:21:04 PM »

If I want to read Hamlet, I'll read Hamlet.  Trying to tart up your story by adopting the plot of a well-known work of literature is like trying to create art with paint-by-numbers kits.  The picture's not yours, and all you're doing is showing your own lack of originality by filling in a famous outline with your own colors. 


I don't think we want to tar all retellings with the same brush here. After all, Jane Smiley won the Pulitzer Prize for A Thousand Acres, and that was just a retellings of King Lear, albeit with a twist.

Agreed, and even on the kids' level, The Lion King is an okay retelling of Hamlet.


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Piratelvr1121

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1747 on: March 03, 2014, 02:33:34 PM »

If I want to read Hamlet, I'll read Hamlet.  Trying to tart up your story by adopting the plot of a well-known work of literature is like trying to create art with paint-by-numbers kits.  The picture's not yours, and all you're doing is showing your own lack of originality by filling in a famous outline with your own colors. 


I don't think we want to tar all retellings with the same brush here. After all, Jane Smiley won the Pulitzer Prize for A Thousand Acres, and that was just a retellings of King Lear, albeit with a twist.

Agreed, and even on the kids' level, The Lion King is an okay retelling of Hamlet.

I was thinking of that one as well.
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cabbageweevil

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1748 on: March 03, 2014, 02:37:34 PM »
Perhaps I was being too unkind / whiny.  When it comes down to it, I suppose I'm just pee'd-off at a one-time favourite author having -- as regards my tastes -- gone to the bad, and no longer being enjoyable.

Tea Drinker

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1749 on: March 03, 2014, 02:57:03 PM »
The thing is, Hamlet is well enough known, and good enough, that to make a retelling work, the writer has to be really good and/or be doing something genuinely different. It's not enough to just pick up the "revenge tragedy" plot and keep the same cast of characters without all the well-known lines.

Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is built on a Hamlet scaffold, but there's quite a bit there that isn't in the Shakespeare, with the playing with identity, the meaning/existence of chance, and so on.
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Diane AKA Traska

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1750 on: March 03, 2014, 03:06:22 PM »
Ahem.

To pee, or not to pee on the carpet, that is the question!

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rose red

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1751 on: March 03, 2014, 04:50:40 PM »
I love re-tellings, but I know what the OP is talking about.  There are re-tellings that make a story fresh, and there are those which are just straight out copying/summarizing, only with different names and locations (and I guess species).

VorFemme

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1752 on: March 03, 2014, 05:07:03 PM »
The first time I read David Eddings Belgariad (five books in a series) - I was wondering about all the memes, tropes, and other clichés.

Then I found out that he apparently wrote it on a dare - write a GOOD book with every fantasy cliché you could think of and make it readable - even if you knew how it was going to end, how did he GET THERE?

I've reread it several times, as well as the second series in the same universe and the two stand alone books - as well as the two series set in a similar universe where the gods walk among men and there are more clichés, tropes, and memes there.

With his wife editing - the two of them were a great team and did very good jobs of making old style fantasy fun to read.

Anything he did after her death...is missing her touch, and while GOOD, it isn't as "fresh" a re-imagining and re-imaging of the tropes, clichés, and memes....still okay, but not nearly as much fun to read. 

I was hoping that Paolini (Eregon) could do the same thing - and he almost managed it in the first book...but when his publishers kept the editors from whittling his drafts down to two more books in the trilogy and left it at four books...well, some extraneous stuff got left in and the plot & writing didn't show much, if any growth as a writer since he was 15 and started the first book.  Not that it was bad for a teenaged writer...but he didn't get that much BETTER after all that writing.

I could not bring myself to finish the fourth book - maybe later.  And I will check back on him, if he's still writing, in another ten years or so....such promise...just needs a bit more practice and a good editor.

Come to think of it, Laurell K. Hamilton could use a good editor again - wonder if she'd consider her ex-husband (who did the first few books)?  Because he kept things more consistent and less...let's say "distracted" - he didn't let her bedroom interludes interfere with plot and character development.  Her current editors are being too kind and leaving in stuff that does NOT advance the story line. 

I do get the impression that at least some people are reading the various books for those distracting bedroom scenes...but they aren't the entire reason for the series to keep selling...or at least I hope that they aren't. 

I'm still upset that Mama Noir ended up being hustled out of the series as a major BIG BAD in such a disappointing way.  Seriously...it's like Voldemort suddenly realizing that what he really wanted a wife & family all along...
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Katana_Geldar

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1753 on: March 03, 2014, 05:19:05 PM »
Rowling could have used an editor for the latter HP books, IMHO. I still remember the wheel page she had about Harry lying in bed and getting himself a drink of water.

But some authors think you can get away without plot, like Stephanie Meyer. I remember reading them, just to see what the fuss was about, and thinking that it was like stories I had written when I was about twelve when I thought I could make a story longer by having people doing ordinary things.

Twik

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1754 on: March 03, 2014, 05:20:01 PM »
Ahem.

To pee, or not to pee on the carpet, that is the question!

Carry on.

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My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."