Books you haven't read but feel you should

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jtranter
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Tue May 03, 2011 3:55 am Post

If you find Hamlet a problem, I suggest you try to find a video copy of the Russian version of the play, made into a movie in 1964: I saw it when it came out, and again in Cambridge UK a decade ago. It was still as good as I had remembered it. Hamlet (Russian: Гамлет, tr. Gamlet) is a 1964 film adaptation in Russian of Shakespeare's play of the same title, based on a translation by Boris Pasternak. It was directed by Grigori Kozintsev and Iosif Saphiro (1907-1989), and stars Innokenty Smoktunovsky as Prince Hamlet.

Awards

1964 Special Jury Prize of Venice Film Festival (Won) - Grigori Kozintsev.
1964 Golden Lion of Venice Film Festival (Nominated) - Grigori Kozintsev.
1964 Best film on the Wiesbaden Shakespeare Film Festival.
1964 On the All-Union Film Festival
Special Jury Prize for The outstanding realization of the Shakespeare's tragedy and best music - Dmitry Shostakovich.
Prizes of the Soviet Union of Painters - E. Yeney, S. Virsaladze.
Prize of the Soviet Union of Cinematographers - Innokenty Smoktunovsky.
1965 USSR State Prize (Won) - Grigori Kozintsev, Innokenty Smoktunovsky.
1966 BAFTA Award for Best Film (Nominated) - Grigori Kozintsev.
1966 BAFTA Film Award for Best Foreign Actor (Nominated) - Innokenty Smoktunovsky.
1966 Special Jury Prize of San Sebastian Film Festival (Won) and Prize of the Nation Federation of film societies of Spain.
1967 Golden Globe for Best Foreign-Language Foreign Film (Nominated).

Wikipedia (not Wikileaks!) has a detailed account of it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamlet_%281964_film%29

best
John Tranter
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Hugh
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Tue May 03, 2011 8:58 am Post

Yes, this is probably the best version I've seen (I used to know the play pretty much by heart, having been involved in a production that toured overseas). Interestingly, it's also one of the most straightforward, although in a foreign tongue.
'Listen, some quiet night, when you've shirked your work that day. Do you hear
that distant, almost inaudible clicking sound? That's one of your
competitors, working away in the night in
Paris or London or Erie, PA.'

ks
kseniya
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Sun May 15, 2011 3:27 am Post

Hmm... I've found reading this discussion very interesting. It leaves me not with the burning need to cook up a laundry list of respectable books... but with a few very particular questions.

Everyone seems in agreement that being a great reader is a prerequisite for being any sort of writer. On most days, I'm right there with you. I wonder, though, what that says about human capacity for truly original thought. Must everything be borrowed or influenced or inspired by something else?

Here's another question: Why be ashamed of great books we have not read? Instead, why not add "yet'' to the end of that thought? I love knowing that all good things are not behind me. There's some twisted sense of delight in knowing that literature is not exhausted. Sometimes I think, ''I'm not procrastinating. I'm saving it up!"

One last question... Some writers are doubtlessly skilled and have been acclaimed over years and centuries. That does not mean that their stories speak to me. No, I take that back. Great writers do make you identify with their protagonists, even if the protagonists are abysmal human beings. But. Maybe I don't want to spent a week or two living inside the head of someone distasteful? I've rarely given up on a book because it was boring. I have, however, walked away from a classic author's tone -- a few come to mind that seemed to enjoy the sound of their own voice too much even for a writer. I've also put down books that bemoaned the struggles of selfish people who Just Want something that they know to be wrong. Eventually, they decide that they've felt guilty and suffered long enough and proceed to do what they want, as if now it's somehow less wrong. My question is whether it makes me shallow to forgo a book touted by all of intelligent society simply because there is a brand of humanity I don't care to confront?
- Kseniya

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kewms
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Sun May 15, 2011 4:16 am Post

kseniya wrote:Everyone seems in agreement that being a great reader is a prerequisite for being any sort of writer. On most days, I'm right there with you. I wonder, though, what that says about human capacity for truly original thought. Must everything be borrowed or influenced or inspired by something else?


Everything you write will be influenced or inspired by the milieu in which you find yourself, whether you like it or not. There's nothing you can do about that. What you *can* control is the nature of your influences.

The way I look at it is that if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Reading widely gives you a more complete toolbox, a more thorough understanding if what is possible, a better ear for what works and what doesn't. You're always going to be influenced by your environment, so the more different colors and textures and sounds your environment contains, the more space for creativity and originality you have.

There are plenty of extremely famous authors whom I can't stand. If that makes me shallow, who cares: life is too short to waste on books I don't enjoy.

Katherine
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pigfender
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Sun May 15, 2011 10:39 am Post

If you read widely, you are far more likely to understand the current bounds of literary technique and style and therefore be better equipped to continue it's evolution and write something original.

The narrowly read person who knows no better may be original in his own mind, but is likely to be perceived by others as having reinvented a cliche.



This is why I make a point of always reading one book a year, whether I'm in the mood for it or not.
"Some dice only have sixes." nom, 19 Oct 2013
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vic-k
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Sun May 15, 2011 10:47 am Post

pigfender wrote: point of always reading one book a year, whether I'm in the mood for it or not.
jeezz!! y' wanna gerrout more man, an gerra life! :shock:
Vic
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ks
kseniya
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Sun May 15, 2011 2:25 pm Post

kewms wrote:The way I look at it is that if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Well said! Of course, I couldn't agree more. These musings are coming from a person who swallows a book for week, on weeks when my job doesn't swallow me. I'm just wondering if a good, mature novel could ever come out of a hermit in the woods abandoned by society. Sadly, I've never met one such... If I did, he'd probably turn out to be some sort of criminal on the run from the law, with plenty of past experiences to inform his literary endeavors.

kewms wrote:There are plenty of extremely famous authors whom I can't stand. If that makes me shallow, who cares: life is too short to waste on books I don't enjoy.

Cheers and applause! Thanks for saying that so I didn't have to!
- Kseniya

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Wreybies
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Sun Nov 06, 2011 10:34 pm Post

I've read very little of Azimov's work. :|

It becomes a bit of a hinderance when you come across another lover of spec fix to have so little knowledge of one of the greats from the 'golden age', but I simply find myself un-called to his work. I read the initial Foundation novels but after that, the robot fetish the man espoused left me cold.

.... and pretty much everything ever written that falls outside the realm of science fiction and its kin genres. I find it to be a bit like red wine. If I have to learn to like it, do I really like it? Or have I just learned not to spit it out on reflex?

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thomasdown92
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Mon Apr 29, 2019 10:59 am Post

Academic textbooks!! I am so engrossed reading fiction that I have no time or enthusiasm to read academic books...but sigh I have to skim through them I guess if I don't want to fail exams.