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Loreina

[SG Faire: The Ogier] Old vs New Books

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Well, I've read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, have you? :biggrin: Ok, maybe that's not exactly what they had in mind when they suggested this topic, but really, what's up with these books? Aren't we taking recycling a bit too far? I admit, it was funny, but as an avid Jane Austen fan, I couldn't help but wonder what she'd have thought about it.

 

Is there a favorite classic of yours that's been 'revamped' lately? (pun intended) What do you think about these books?

 

Or, if you'd rather, you can tell us about a new book you've discovered that is similar to a classic oldie. :smile:

 

Yep, this is exactly the sort of thing we do at the Stedding. :biggrin:

Edited by Loreina

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i've read the Twilight books, and i've also read a few of the Vampire Chronicles series by Ann Rule.

 

i have to say, this re-vamped sparkley vampire stuff really urks me as well as how the author disreguards all vampire lore in her making for these books. from a literary stand point, there nothing more than a smutt novel with not only 2d characters but a lack of plot depth. but from another stand point, i don't mind the books popularity as it gets kids now a days to read an actual decent length book.

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i haven't read pride and prejudice and zombies, is it worth the effort?

 

i do think austen would be ashamed of some of the movie/TV adaptations that have been done, where they "modernize" the situations and have her characters doing things, like, say, kissing in public, that they would never have done. i value the works as written, in part because they give us windows into the past. i don't see the point of modernizing them so that they can capture a new audience. the audience would learn more from the originals.

 

don't even get me started on the idiotic dicaprio version of romeo and juliet. blech. blech. blech.

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i've read the Twilight books, and i've also read a few of the Vampire Chronicles series by Ann Rule.

i have to say, this re-vamped sparkley vampire stuff really urks me as well as how the author disreguards all vampire lore in her making for these books. from a literary stand point, there nothing more than a smutt novel with not only 2d characters but a lack of plot depth. but from another stand point, i don't mind the books popularity as it gets kids now a days to read an actual decent length book.

 

It is a good way to get kids to read more. Old books can be distressingly difficult to follow, syntactically, and hard to understand culturally. I never made it through Bram Stoker's Dracula, but I am planning to try again.

 

i haven't read pride and prejudice and zombies, is it worth the effort?

i do think austen would be ashamed of some of the movie/TV adaptations that have been done, where they "modernize" the situations and have her characters doing things, like, say, kissing in public, that they would never have done. i value the works as written, in part because they give us windows into the past. i don't see the point of modernizing them so that they can capture a new audience. the audience would learn more from the originals.

don't even get me started on the idiotic dicaprio version of romeo and juliet. blech. blech. blech.

 

Nah, just borrow it from someone if you're curious. Although it might be dirt cheap on a sale table by now. And I agree with you about the movies. When I use them in my classes, I am able to explain to the students the lack of social liberty between men and women in that time.

But our culture is so different now that if the movies didn't alter that interaction, would young people still pay to see them?

 

I see this as a problem for old books also. Publishers today are pushing juvenile books that have basically the same themes as old books, but they've been 'modernized' to contain sex, violence, and foul language. I think that's ridiculous.

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:smile: old people will still pay to see them. but we probably won't buy the merchandise.

 

i think with the advent of cable and dvds etc., young people have the great opportunity do something the generations before mine couldn't - see movies that came out before they were born. i couldn't appreciate anything that wasn't in color when i was a kid, but i can watch TCM non-stop now. and i am amazed at all the sex and violence you can find in the old classics. if only the kids knew...

 

one great thing about old books is the price - on the internet, public domain means free. well, so does the library, but you have to leave the house for that.

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Odd that you should mention that. I just saw a media news spot that talked about some modern movies that are better viewed as black and white format. So much more sinister and intriguing. :smile:

 

I love that old books are free. Since I got my Kindle last Christmas, I have 'bought' dozens of free classics. I am enjoying reading books that were popular when my 90 year-old mother was a girl. They were never classics, so they weren't in any lit books in school, but they are so full of information about how people looked at the world att. I find them very interesting. *nods*

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ya, plus if civilization collapses, old books can teach us how to live without modern technology (seriously, i'm sure wilder has taught me almost everything i'd need to know -- i keep paper copies, just in case).

 

i only wish we still had records so we could mad max some music if we had to.

 

interesting about the black and white thing - there has to be a reason people kept making them so long after color was available. and really old black and white, like dracula, is unbelievably gorgeous. the mind boggles at how many different shades of black and white, well, really almost silver, they could produce. (this is making me think of a discworld book, but i misremember the name right now, darn.)

 

o'k, i think i need a universal horror fest right now. and some pratchett for afters.

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Shindlers List was in black and white. It really set the tone for the movie. There were only two scenes that had any color ( or colour if your from England) at all. It was almost shocking in its contrast. If you have seen the movie, you know what parts I'm talking about. It really drove home the horrors of the events.

Edited by Jay 74

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i'm sorry for stearing the book topic to movies, but it's all become of such a piece for me, this cultural transmission of storytelling, that it's difficult to disentangle.

 

please don't let me de-rail you further. but i also love schindler's list the book and the movie. the actual events, there are some issues, but it's a gorgeously written and filmed story.

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:smile: Please, feel free to derail. But in this case, it isn't that much of a derail, really. If we want to talk about old classic books and compare them to their modern versions, we have to also consider the movies made from them or inspired by them.

 

I have been rereading some of my Asimov, and although some of his work is timeless, some of the stories would benefit from a good edit. If he were still alive, he would probably already be working on that. He liked to keep his work updated and would make changes, or editorial comments at least, whenever the publisher put out a new edition.

 

I don't think updating or reediting a book for a modern audience is necessarily a bad thing, as long as the original remains for academic study, and the edited version is clearly marked as such. :smile:

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i was listening to the audio version of little house recently, and they changed the line, "67 years ago," to, "a long time ago." i almost cried. they didn't think the kids could/would do the math. . . i did, darn it. and i hate math.

 

i'm silly that way, but i think the author's the only one who should be able to change his own work, unless, as you suggest, it's clearly marked, "revised edition, beware." like changing chaucer to modern english. it's easier to understand, but the beauty of the words is lost.

 

kind of makes me think of someone buying a van gogh, and maybe they don't like blue so much so they green it up a bit. matches the furniture better.

 

i know people do these things. the older i get the more i feel my color's fading like kodachrome, and everything i knew is being washed away. i remember that we were at war with east asia, and now they're saying it was eurasia all along. oh, the humanity, and the mixed metaphors. . . forgive me, i get over-emotional about these things.

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I was okay with twilight, even with the crazy vampire stuff, until the final book.

 

It speaks too much of pedophilia for my tastes.

 

Oh, but I love the Sookie Stackhouse novels. :wub:

Edited by Ahmoondah Sedai

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Interesting! I didn't get that impression at all from "Breaking Dawn". :smile:

 

I liked the Sookie books, but I couldn't stand the TV series they butchered adapted them into. :blush:

 

 

So, :smile: if the recycled zombie/vampire classics do not appeal, what about newer books that are rejuvenations of old stories? Like Crichton's Eaters of the Dead, which is his version of "Beowulf"? As the story goes, he had a friend who thought "Beowulf" would be boring no matter how it was written. So he made his friend a bet that he could write the story of Beowulf and make it interesting. I think he succeeded. Anyone else read it?

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I like the Sookie books and show about the same. I realize it is a television adaptation, and adjustments had to be made.

 

The whole "jacob/renesme thing" felt a little too... gross for me.

 

As far as newer books, I love the Percy Jackson Series {though the film bothered me. They should've used a blonde for Athena's child.}

Stephen R. Lawhead's take on the King Arthur myths is pretty interesting as well.

And I recently re-read Karen Miller's Godspeaker trilogy. Wow.

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as for book to movie, the Twilight series has done really well imo. same witht he series ASoF&I to the TV screen.

 

the ones i've been most urked with are HP series (mainly #4 & #6) & Percy Jackson.

 

 

Lor - like i said in my post, i'm okay with the books because they get kids to read. Heck even HP isn't the best since sliced bread but one of the reasons i love the series is because it got kids to read (thoguh the characters are 3D, theres foreshadowing aboned and alot of uses of literary depth for the plot)

 

 

but if were gogin to compare Twilights use of Vampires to the classic Vampire lore that we've seen in every book/movie predating the release of Twilight, you do have to admit Meyer not only fails miserably at giving her characters a true Vampire esque feel, but also demeans what it is for a character to be a Vamp and frankly ignores the vampire lore rules that have been built since the 16th century or even further back.

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since there really are no new stories, i don't have much of a problem with reimagining old stories. they're as likely to be good, or at least enjoyable, as not.

 

i didn't like twilight, but it did make me want to read the rest of the series. i think it's the kids i know influencing me. which is probably a good thing.

 

i can't imagine them reading anne rice until they're a lot older. not that the twilight characters are anything but bad role models, but not any worse than disney. the whole culture's a bad role model. just gotta hope the kids have enough of a decent home background to counteract that kind of thing.

 

in the long run, anything that makes them love books will lead to good things, i think.

Edited by cindy

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The Pendragon series is now on my to read list. I'd been avoiding it, because, well I just didn't know if I really wanted to read yet another rehash of King Arthur. But if it is that good...

 

Is the Godspeaker a retelling of an older story or related to one?

 

Cindy, I agree about the culture, which is one reason why some 'retellings' concern me. I don't really care about the 'zombie' novels, because they are not meant to be taken seriously and are themselves a sort of satirical commentary on our culture's weirdly increasing interest in such things. But some retellings seem to make things we should abhor (for lack of a better word) at least acceptable if not down right desirable.

 

:smile: Take for instance these two series everyone is talking about (probably because of the media hype surrounding the movies coming out soon), Harry Potter and Twilight. Magic is everywhere in the King Arthur stories, but it is always a problem, even for Merlin, and always exacts a high price for its use. This characteristic is softened considerably in the HP books. I am not talking about the bad things bad people use the magic for, I am talking about the personal price paid for the use of the magic itself. That is my only criticism of the HP books; even the good guys should have to deal with personal consequences of all the magic they use, not just the bad spells. I have never been a fan of the frivolous use of magic. That is one reason why I like the Dresden Files so much; the wizard's magic takes a toll on him. Still, I love the HP books, and encourage my children to read them for the very good lessons they teach about how not to abuse power.

 

In the Twilight series, Meyer tries to make the negative side of vampirism clear without resorting to a lot of R-rated explicit language and scenes, since it is aimed at a young audience. I appreciate that very much. But does it work? Sometimes I think the fans get so caught up in the attraction of the Cullen family that they pay little attention to the horror caused by the other 99.9% of the vampires. Bree's life should have been a part of the Trilogy, to balance some of the 'sparkle' of the Cullens. The price paid for all that perfection is steep, and should be so, yet Bella gets the best of both worlds, so to speak. Where is her price? She even gets to keep her relationship with her father. That is just... not right. Sookie on the other hand pays for her association with vampires over and over again. It is creepy, just as it should be. But, again, I encourage my kids to read Twilight for the lesson it teaches about choosing to do what is right over what is expedient. And we discuss the dark side of perfection. :smile:

 

I know that these series are aimed at different audiences. But I do think they could and should have represented the negative aspects better. Why would we allow someone to soft-pedal these concepts to the next generation?

Edited by Loreina

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What I liked about Harry Potter, is that after I read the first couple books as a kid, it made me branch out into the fantasy genre in general, where I discovered so many amazing books (like WoT!); so aside from the storyline being, IMHO, compelling, I hope these books did the same for other kids.

 

Twilight has also gotten more kids to read, but I couldn't even make it past the first book. Probably because at that point, I'd already delved deep into the fantasy/supernatural genre. If I'd still been 15 and had never read Anne Rice (or anything else, for that matter) I might have liked them. I also enjoy writing and so, for me, the thought that I could probably write a better novel in my sleep also turned me away.

 

It's interesting to see how Meyer re-imagined vampires, in most cases completely steering away from traditional vampire lore, but from what I've read and heard, she doasn't do a very good job of it. I mean, come on, Sparklepires? Really??

 

As far as things like the fad of revamping classics by adding zombies, sea monsters, what have you, I did like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. But then, I was one of the few girls in English class who didn't like the original book because I thought it was boring, so the whole zombie thing definitely spiced it up a bit! I think if it gets people who ordinarily wouldn't touch a classic novel to at least get a sense for them, it's a good thing, but ever since the book came out it's spiraled into ridiculousness. Just because it worked with this novel doesn't mean we need to take ALL the classics and add monsters.

 

I've always enjoyed reading books and watching films that depict what life was like in other times, I think it's an important role of literature that it shows us these things. We're so advanced now it's hard to imagine a time before cell phones and electricity.

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The Pendragon series is now on my to read list. I'd been avoiding it, because, well I just didn't know if I really wanted to read yet another rehash of King Arthur. But if it is that good...

 

Do you mean the series by Stephen R Lawhead? I've read those and enjoyed them for the most part, especially the first two dealing w/Taliesin & Merlin. Aside from some overwhelming Christian overtones they're quite good.

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Well said, Nightangel. And I am planning to add excerpts of the zombie version to my class for that very reason. :smile: I especially liked the part where Elizabeth imagines punching her silly, empty-headed younger sister Lydia. The Lydias of this world need punching. :dry:

 

"overwhelming Christian overtones"? Ok, now it is definitely moving up the reading list. I am intrigued. Celtic, Christian, Atlantian, Arthurian...that is some mix. :smile:

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I know that these series are aimed at different audiences. But I do think they could and should have represented the negative aspects better. Why would we allow someone to soft-pedal these concepts to the next generation?

 

 

i totally get what your saying about the non-consequence of using magic in the HP series. even with the "magic" used in the WoT, we see there is a limit as well as a sacfricice of strength to channel. in HP, the characters (both good and bad) had no consequence to doing magic in itself. they could do that "foolish wand waving" ll day and never tire from it. the only consequence characters had to deal with were Moral ones, from their actions; not the magic itself.

 

 

i had not thought of this at all, so thanks for pointing it out :happy: i certaintly agree that magic should take a pshyical, mental and emotional toll on the user; whether it's draining energy or the more you use it the less human you become; but it should take something from its caster.

 

 

 

as for using monsters/zombies to spice up classic novels .... i dunno about that. theres just some classics that i can't imagine mosnters fitting in, that they'd distract more from the story. take "Of Mice & men" or "The Outsiders" or even "Tom Sawyer", i cna't see monsters of creatures doing anything good for those books and really i think it would be ruining them ina way and detracting from the original message the author was sending

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This has nothing to do with the last few posts, but I was intrigued by the original question. I'm working on my Ph.D. in 20th century American and British lit (it's fun, really) and it's really interesting how many authors have "updated" older works. For example, I just read Joyce's Ulysses which is his reinterpretation of The Odyssey. It's not trying to be The Odyssey 2.0 but at the same time the novel really only works if you're already familiar with the poem. Postmodern novels also do a lot of putting sections of older books into new contexts. I guess for me, the difference between a good update and a bad update is what the work is trying to accomplish. It is just updating for the sake of updating or is it trying to do something new with an old subject? If it's the second one, I'm usually for it. The first, I'll pass.

 

I did, btw, buy my mother Pride and Prejudice and Zombies because she hated the original. Her take: "It was better. I don't know if it was good or not, but it was much more exciting."

 

Ar'tara

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Red, they better not even think of putting zombies and vampires in Of Mice and Men or The Outsiders! Tom on the other hand, well I think that would be hilarious. Pity the poor zombies... :laugh:

 

 

*lol* Ar'tara, I luv your Mom. And I agree that the important thing is what the work is trying to accomplish. The worst kind of 'update' is one that totally misses the point of the original tale. For example, the kinder, gentler versions of "The Three Little Pigs" and "Little Red Riding Hood". I mean, really! These stories are SUPPOSED to be scary; that's the whole point! You don't like it? Then don't read it! Argh. We have a whole bunch of people now who do not truly understand the wealth of meaning behind the words "having the Wolf at the door". No offense to our friends the Wolfkin, of course :wink:

 

 

I did not know that about Ulysses and The Odyssey! *bows* Since you're a scholar in this field, (and we Ogier revere scholars you know!), would you point out some other pairs for us? *recites an old Ogier saying* We live to learn.

:smile:

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The Pendragon series is now on my to read list. I'd been avoiding it, because, well I just didn't know if I really wanted to read yet another rehash of King Arthur. But if it is that good...

 

Is the Godspeaker a retelling of an older story or related to one?

 

I'm embarassed to admit I'm not sure if Godspeaker is exactly a retelling of an old story, but it does have a lot of the commom themes of fantasy stories.

 

The first book is about the rise of an Empress, how she moved from Slave girl to the most powerful woman in her empire and built her nation into a might Empire for her God. Part way through the book, you realize that she is not the heroine of the series. She is cruel, abusive, and a zealot.

The second and third books are stories about a Princess in a far-off nation who first must overcome sexism in her nation to gain the throne and then must convince her peaceful people that they must be ready to defend against the Empire.

Throughout the series, there are people with strong powers, either granted by demons or by divine. Magic powers are all seen as coming from the divine.

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