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Vintage Future Classics


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I read in the Observer/Guardian at the weekend about the release of Vintage Future Classics. 50 bookgroups across the UK were asked to choose books that they thought would still be read and talked about in 100 years and came up with a list of 15. From memory these are included:

 

Captain Correlli's Mandolin

The Handmaids Tale

To Kill A Mockingbird

Birdsong

Catch 22

All Quiet on the Western Front

Atonement

 

Hmmm...thats all I can remember for now! The one book that struck me as an odd inclusion was Captain Correlli - i also thought of this as kind of 'twee' and never bothered reading it. Can anyone enlighten me as to its merits?

 

What does everyone think of the list? I'll get the rest...if I can find it again!

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Corelli is certainly worth a read. I wonder if you've seen any of the film (I haven't) which clearly focuses heavily on the romance - I think that's the only reason why it might be seen as 'twee'. It certainly isn't. A great deal of the novel deals with the way World War II impacts upon the lives of the islanders, and it is very harsh in many places. Indeed, that was part of what I found less satisfactory about the book: its balance seemed a little out. Everything starts as a Mediterranean idyll, which is charmingly portrayed (though again, I wouldn't go so far as twee), but all too quickly it descends into darkness, which can be pretty unremitting. I felt it needed a lighter touch just at points, since clearly romance is a key factor in the book and whilst I'm sure the bleakness of war has all the effects included by De Bernieres, the book he's writing is not quite of the genre he seems to fall into.

 

Nevertheless, it is a thoughtful and touching book with characters that are engaging and well developed. I felt let down by the ending, though. People seem a little divided on this - I've come across those who think it's appropriate, but I found it unconvincing. I gather they changed it in the film.

 

Whether it's a classic for the future is more debatable. If it proves to be, then I think that would only be as a cultural phenomenon - the book that was a publishing sensation and that Hugh Grant reads at the end of Notting Hill. Whether that means we should include The Da Vinci Code as well... :eek:

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I read in the Observer/Guardian at the weekend about the release of Vintage Future Classics. 50 bookgroups across the UK were asked to choose books that they thought would still be read and talked about in 100 years and came up with a list of 15. From memory these are included:

 

Captain Correlli's Mandolin

The Handmaids Tale

To Kill A Mockingbird

Birdsong

Catch 22

All Quiet on the Western Front

Atonement

 

What does everyone think of the list? I'll get the rest...if I can find it again!

 

Here are the ones I can remember from the list.

 

Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime

Time Travellers Wife

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

The Star of the Sea

Name of the Rose

Memoirs of a Geisha

Brave New World

 

I'm missing one I think but there is a website of all the 100 from which the 15 were selected at:

Vintage Future Classics

 

It seems to be an interesting mixture, those book groups must have had some great discussions all their lists must have varied quite a bit I bet. There are a few diary extracts on the website.

 

I've read quite a few of these only missing out Catch 22, Atonement, Time Travellers Wife and Star of the Sea. So I can't comment on whether I think they would be future classics. I'd have put some of the others from the 100 on my top 15; they missed out Mrs Dalloway and Possession for me.

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The other thing to be careful of is its a particular publisher's promotion. If it ain't published by Vintage, it ain't on the list, hence no "American Psycho", "The Secret History" or "White Teeth", to pick three novels that I think are worthy of inclusion at random. There's a few on this list I've never even heard of.

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I think that thought occurred to us at almost the same time Grammath! I felt really cynical for thinking it though!

 

I agree that some of the books on the list seem like very strange choice - clearly chosen from Vintage backlist. I'm going to have a look at this list in more detail too, as well as seeing if it says anywhere about how widely spread the reading groups were - the Big Read showed that different areas had some quite different votes, so it will be interesting to see if this is a good range of groups.

 

And looking at the 15 I think my TBR pile may be growing again.....

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The other thing to be careful of is its a particular publisher's promotion. If it ain't published by Vintage, it ain't on the list

 

Yep I definately had that thought too Grammath and I agree, it is a selective list, but I do think these lists are good at getting people reading books they might not have known about or thought of trying before. It's quite a good advertisement (in a cynical way) of the wide variety of books and literature that Vintage publish.

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I think it is just interesting to see what people are reading, what they are judging as valuable and what they see being a classic in years to come. You do wonder if any of these books will enter the canon, or be taught at schools in the future - or will the canon remain the same for many more decades to come. Will there be a point when Austen is considered too antiquated to teach anything, and will Atwood take over? Crikey..I hope not!

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  • 1 year later...

Rescued Replies

Momo 7th August 2006, 05:05 PM

 

Originally Posted by David

Corelli is certainly worth a read. I wonder if you've seen any of the film (I haven't) which clearly focuses heavily on the romance - I think that's the only reason why it might be seen as 'twee'. It certainly isn't.

I have seen the movie. As so often with these kind of endings, they changed it. That annoyed me most, more than anything else. You always have to make concessions when you watch a movie after reading the book. But this was just a little too much.

 

Paul 9th August 2006, 06:05 AM

I'll have to check out the full list -To Kill a Mocking Bird and Catch 22 are 2 of my favourite books ....

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I felt let down by the ending, though. People seem a little divided on this - I've come across those who think it's appropriate, but I found it unconvincing. I gather they changed it in the film.
Obviously, I already commented on my perception of the movie. I agree with David, I was a bit let down by the ending, it just didn't fit or feel adequate. It's not the neding as such, it's more the way it was portrayed.

Corelli came back to the island for years/decades and never met anybody or saw anyone so he would know about the child???

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I just found the site VINTAGE FUTURE CLASSICS.

According to that, the 15 winners are:

 

The Handmaid's Tale

Margaret Atwood, first published in 1985

 

Captain Corelli's Mandolin

Louis de Bernières, 1994

 

The Name of the Rose

Umberto Eco, 1980

 

Birdsong

Sebastian Faulks, 1993

 

The French Lieutenant's Woman

John Fowles, 1969

 

Memoirs of a Geisha

Arthur Golden, 1997

 

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

Mark Haddon, 2003

 

Catch-22

Joseph Heller, 1961

 

Brave New World

Aldous Huxley, 1932

 

To Kill a Mockingbird

Harper Lee, 1960

 

Atonement

Ian McEwan, 2001

 

The Time Traveler's Wife

Audrey Niffenegger, 2003

 

Star of the Sea

Joseph O'Connor, 2003

 

All Quiet on the Western Front

Erich Maria Remarque, 1929

 

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn,1962

 

Although I agree with some, I am completely stunned that some others made iit on the list. But I guess that will be the same with anybody, others certainly have another opinion.

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The Time Traveler's Wife

Audrey Niffenegger, 2003

 

...

 

Although I agree with some, I am completely stunned that some others made iit on the list. But I guess that will be the same with anybody, others certainly have another opinion.

That wouldn't be one you disagree with, would it?! ;)

 

What are the others?

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That wouldn't be one you disagree with, would it?! ;)

 

What are the others?

Oh, you know me so well. :D

 

Of course, I haven't read all of them, though quite a few of the ones I haven't read are either on my wishlist or my TBR pile. But another definite one would be Atonement. I really disliked this book.

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Star Of The Sea

I thought this was a very ordinary book, I'd be amazed if people were reading it now that it's off the R&J radar, let alone reading it in 50 years time.

 

I think of many on this list as classics already (Mockingbird, Brave N.W., Catch 22).

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I thought this was a very ordinary book, I'd be amazed if people were reading it now that it's off the R&J radar, let alone reading it in 50 years time.

 

I think of many on this list as classics already (Mockingbird, Brave N.W., Catch 22).

I agree with that. I haven't read Star of the Sea, hadn't even heard about it (the only one on the list).
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I haven't read Star of the Sea yet but it's on my list (along with 200 other books). I remember hearing good things about it. I think it's one of those quintessentially Irish books (like Ulysses) that you identify more with if you're Irish.

 

I would have thought Catch-22, To Kill a Mockingbird and Brave New World were classics already as well.

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I haven't read Star of the Sea yet but it's on my list (along with 200 other books). I remember hearing good things about it. I think it's one of those quintessentially Irish books (like Ulysses) that you identify more with if you're Irish.

 

FirelightSpirit, I don't really qualify being Mancunian and Jewish living in London but many Irish authors are my top faves! However, I did abandon this book because of the tedium which was not tempered by particularly good writing. If you have a big TBR list maybe don't put it at the top...

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FirelightSpirit, I don't really qualify being Mancunian and Jewish living in London but many Irish authors are my top faves! However, I did abandon this book because of the tedium which was not tempered by particularly good writing. If you have a big TBR list maybe don't put it at the top...

I will approach it with caution! With plenty of books clamouring to be read at home and in the library, it's not likely to get to the top of the pile any time soon!

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