Author Topic: Reading/Book Pet Peeves  (Read 242546 times)

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MommyPenguin

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #2340 on: Yesterday at 01:16:23 PM »
In a way, I think it's important to read books like this just to understand how much things have changed in little over a hundred years, and that people who considered themselves progressive might have opinions that would make the PC faint today. It's both disheartening and encouraging.

That's a good point!  My grandmother lived through prejudice in her time (Irish Catholic) and extreme poverty, and has always been very accepting of different cultures and beliefs.  However, she'll sometimes use language/terms that are jarring.  Nothing so bad as the n-word or its kin, but other words like "colored," etc.  And yet she absolutely does not mean to use language in a mean way or think ill of people.  It's just what the language was back in her day, and she's in her mid-90s now.  So it's interesting to see how much language has changed in just that amount of time, that things that were considered the polite terms 50 years ago are considered prejudiced and nasty nowadays, etc.  It makes it hard to keep up, especially when you get old!

kglory

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #2341 on: Yesterday at 05:32:58 PM »
I don't know how to multi quote so I'll just do it this way

Cherry91 - thanks!  It's been a while since I've seen that movie so I may have forgotten the details.  I did think the movie implied that he has been romantically involved with his sister, but maybe not.  Still, as you describe it, #1 does not happen at all in the book, and #2, while closer to the truth, is not far enough -- there is actual murder, and she does die.  Also the abortion plot of the movie was not at all in the book -- it seems out of place for the time period, and is pointless to add because it has no connection to the real plot!  If anything, I felt that it cheapened and overshadowed the actual plot, which is twisted and powerful enough!

Re:  Agatha Christie's racism.  Sadly, I have to agree.  I enjoy the plots of her books but could do without the random casual racist references.  I'm Jewish, so I probably notice this most with Jewish characters -- they are always caricatured in a negative light, not full fleshed characters.   They always have a hook nose, sallow color, are stingy with their money, and are "foreign" and "don't belong".  She throws in anti-Jewish references even when they have no real relation to the plot, just as background color.  Not to mention her liberal use of the N-word, even by supposedly intelligent and enlightened characters.  I could definitely do without all that!




AnnaJ

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #2342 on: Yesterday at 06:17:46 PM »
AnnaJ.  Have finished all her St Mary's Books, so what's next?

There are two short stories, but I suspect you found those too.  I did read The Nothing Girl by her - no time travel, but an invisible horse  :)

Connie Willis does some time travel books that are similar, but some are very serious (The Doomsday Book) and others have more humor (To Say Nothing of the Dog), so sort of hit and miss there.

I'm keeping track of her Facebook page to catch any upcoming stuff: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJodiTaylor

Copper Horsewoman

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #2343 on: Yesterday at 10:22:35 PM »
I read several articles recently that said modern teens have no patience with 'Catcher in the Rye'. 

When I was a teen, this was THE novel of our generation.   I recently started reading it again. 

The modern teens are right.  Holden Caulfield is the sort of person you want to hit upside the head with a large salmon.   
Teens of MY generation, umpty-many years ago, thought the same thing. 

1970's High School, and I had no sympathy for Holden Caulfield either.

Oh,yeah.  What a whiner.  On another note, the only assigned reading I never COULD read (resorted to Cliff Notes for the only time in my life) was James Fenimore Cooper's Return of the Native.  Horrible writing.  Some years later, I read a review of the novel that castigated it severely, and I was very happy to discover the reviewer was one of my favorite writers, Mark Twain.

Also, Asimov wrote paper-thin women, unfortunately.  Best woman characters written by a man off the top of my head is Liz, the protagonist of Titan, by John Varley.  The remaining novels in the series were meh, but that one sticks in my head.

Cherry91

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #2344 on: Today at 03:18:24 AM »
In a way, I think it's important to read books like this just to understand how much things have changed in little over a hundred years, and that people who considered themselves progressive might have opinions that would make the PC faint today. It's both disheartening and encouraging.

That's a good point!  My grandmother lived through prejudice in her time (Irish Catholic) and extreme poverty, and has always been very accepting of different cultures and beliefs.  However, she'll sometimes use language/terms that are jarring.  Nothing so bad as the n-word or its kin, but other words like "colored," etc.  And yet she absolutely does not mean to use language in a mean way or think ill of people.  It's just what the language was back in her day, and she's in her mid-90s now.  So it's interesting to see how much language has changed in just that amount of time, that things that were considered the polite terms 50 years ago are considered prejudiced and nasty nowadays, etc.  It makes it hard to keep up, especially when you get old!

I don't know if anyone's seen, but Warner Brothers released a DVD of some of their oldest cartoons a few years back, and several of the episodes had a card pop up before they played saying "By the standards of today, these cartoons are extremely racist/prejudiced. WB do not endorse these views, but think it would be just as bad to pretend they never happened."

Gyburc

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #2345 on: Today at 04:51:20 AM »
In a way, I think it's important to read books like this just to understand how much things have changed in little over a hundred years, and that people who considered themselves progressive might have opinions that would make the PC faint today. It's both disheartening and encouraging.

That's a good point!  My grandmother lived through prejudice in her time (Irish Catholic) and extreme poverty, and has always been very accepting of different cultures and beliefs.  However, she'll sometimes use language/terms that are jarring.  Nothing so bad as the n-word or its kin, but other words like "colored," etc.  And yet she absolutely does not mean to use language in a mean way or think ill of people.  It's just what the language was back in her day, and she's in her mid-90s now.  So it's interesting to see how much language has changed in just that amount of time, that things that were considered the polite terms 50 years ago are considered prejudiced and nasty nowadays, etc.  It makes it hard to keep up, especially when you get old!

I agree absolutely, and I think cabbageweevil made a similar point in a different thread. Personally, I really enjoy reading books written a long time ago because of the differences in language, and the different ways of looking at the world. I was re-reading Dorothy L. Sayers's Gaudy Night a few weeks ago - it contains a very good example of the kind of thing I mean.

The book was written in 1935, and in one scene the heroine meets an American woman, Sadie Schuster-Slatt, who is touring the UK on behalf of an organization campaigning for the use of eugenics. (It's worded more tactfully - the organization's aim is to encourage matrimony and procreation among the intelligentsia, but it's obvious what is meant.) Sadie is definitely presented as rather eccentric, but certainly not as sinister. And yet with the benefit of hindsight, it's quite a chilling passage to read.
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Fliss

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #2346 on: Today at 06:38:03 AM »

Reading "Saint" stories (Leslie Charteris) can be an exercise in mental tact. He was half Chinese and knew better than anyone else about racism. With that in mind, his writing of Templar changes over the years, to reflect the changing views of the world, but he does use words to describe people that would be bad today.

But then, so does Kipling and a host of other writers. You just have to remember that it was a time and place, and that you can't place now attitudes on then times.
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lady_disdain

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #2347 on: Today at 07:31:58 AM »
There is an interesting quote that I can't quite remember that says something along the lines of "don't judge someone in the past by today's standards." I think that is very wise. They lived in different times, with different values and a different cultural environment. Besides, it reminds me that, in 50 years, our own values will be considered questionable and our own hypocrisies will be evident.

AfleetAlex

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #2348 on: Today at 09:29:04 AM »
One of my pet peeves as a young woman was while I was reading Jane Eyre I believe. It bugged me that our heroine still called him 'Mr' even though she was going to marry him, and he called her by her first name. Someone told me that's how they addressed each other back then, but I have to admit I still kind of feel a little eye-rolly when I see it.
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Twik

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #2349 on: Today at 09:36:46 AM »
In a way, I think it's important to read books like this just to understand how much things have changed in little over a hundred years, and that people who considered themselves progressive might have opinions that would make the PC faint today. It's both disheartening and encouraging.

That's a good point!  My grandmother lived through prejudice in her time (Irish Catholic) and extreme poverty, and has always been very accepting of different cultures and beliefs.  However, she'll sometimes use language/terms that are jarring.  Nothing so bad as the n-word or its kin, but other words like "colored," etc.  And yet she absolutely does not mean to use language in a mean way or think ill of people.  It's just what the language was back in her day, and she's in her mid-90s now.  So it's interesting to see how much language has changed in just that amount of time, that things that were considered the polite terms 50 years ago are considered prejudiced and nasty nowadays, etc.  It makes it hard to keep up, especially when you get old!

I agree absolutely, and I think cabbageweevil made a similar point in a different thread. Personally, I really enjoy reading books written a long time ago because of the differences in language, and the different ways of looking at the world. I was re-reading Dorothy L. Sayers's Gaudy Night a few weeks ago - it contains a very good example of the kind of thing I mean.

The book was written in 1935, and in one scene the heroine meets an American woman, Sadie Schuster-Slatt, who is touring the UK on behalf of an organization campaigning for the use of eugenics. (It's worded more tactfully - the organization's aim is to encourage matrimony and procreation among the intelligentsia, but it's obvious what is meant.) Sadie is definitely presented as rather eccentric, but certainly not as sinister. And yet with the benefit of hindsight, it's quite a chilling passage to read.

Dorothy Sayers creates a very vivid, if satirical, picture of the intelligentsia of the time. She has several good portraits of upper class dilettantes who are attracted to social movements shown by history to be evil. Eugenics was once considered a "progressive" view, and was quite popular in many places, not just Germany. Read "The Mismeasure of Man" for some really shocking stories of how powerful the idea became.

One of the most casually horrific lines from that period is Ninotchka's (1939) line about the Russian purges - "There will be fewer Russians, but better ones!" It makes it hard to really believe people's claims afterwards that they were unaware of the growing Stalinist atrocities at the time.
« Last Edit: Today at 10:15:18 AM by Twik »
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