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  • Showing only topics with the tag "novels". Back to normal view
    1. Novel idea: The Apartment

      Just finished (re-)watching the Friends TV series ... End of the last episode, sitting in the empty apartment (Joey: "Has it always been purple?" Phoebe: "Do you realize that at one time or...

      Just finished (re-)watching the Friends TV series ... End of the last episode, sitting in the empty apartment (Joey: "Has it always been purple?" Phoebe: "Do you realize that at one time or another, we've all lived in this apartment?")

      Got me thinking, more as a plot contrivance than the actual plot, a story about an apartment, spanning a century or more, and the various people that lived in it, jumping back and forth across time, linking them together through history ... perhaps even, a la "Ship of Theseus", spanning multiple centuries and multiple homes/dwellings that occupied the same space.

      So specifically, I'm wondering if anyone can think of any novels that adopt this idea, or anything similar, as a primary vehicle for their storytelling?

      I have a vague recollection of a short story or novella in 2ndary school, about the life of a redwood, and the various people and animals that lived in and around it over the centuries ... and also I recall reading "A Winter Tale" by Mark Helperin -- a semi-fantastical novel about the city of New York ... oh look, apparently, they made it into a movie, too.

      But those two are the only examples I can think of that come close to this idea.

      PS: I love to write fiction, and someday I may even finish a novel ... but generally, I get about halfway through, figure out how it's going to end, and then lose interest ... so if anyone with more ambition likes the idea, you're welcome to it.


      ETA: I'm not looking for the 10,000 variations of "oooh, haunted by the ghost of a person that died here 20 years ago". Broader, covering a longer timeframe, multiple substories interwoven into the same living space, you get the idea.

      10 votes
    2. What are some good short novels?

      I've read a few novels, I think an excellent short novel is Elevation by Stephen King. It's not what you'd expect from a Stephen King novel (no horror elements), but it's a great read. I can't say...

      I've read a few novels, I think an excellent short novel is Elevation by Stephen King. It's not what you'd expect from a Stephen King novel (no horror elements), but it's a great read. I can't say too much without spoiling it, but here's the blurb:

      The latest from legendary master storyteller Stephen King, a riveting, extraordinarily eerie, and moving story about a man whose mysterious affliction brings a small town together—a timely, upbeat tale about finding common ground despite deep-rooted differences.

      It starts off a little slow, but give it a little bit of time. It's readable in an afternoon, I think I spent 5 or so hours reading it.

      7 votes
    3. Reading 'The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August'

      I'm in the last 100 pages and would like to recommend this book. Although it plods a little bit early on, to me it's something of an achievement to keep things going and create interest in the...

      I'm in the last 100 pages and would like to recommend this book. Although it plods a little bit early on, to me it's something of an achievement to keep things going and create interest in the last pages. The premise is that people live multiple lives, but there's more to it than that. The level of writing is above average and the breadth of the book, taking you through several countries and historical events is well done. I'll be up for discussing it in a week or so if anyone's interested.

      6 votes
    4. Reflections on Farenheit 451, published 65 years ago

      Finished this last night. It's been so long since I read any Bradbury for the first time. His style shows some age, but he's a really poetic and visionary writer. Published in 1953, this tale is a...

      Finished this last night. It's been so long since I read any Bradbury for the first time. His style shows some age, but he's a really poetic and visionary writer.

      Published in 1953, this tale is a battle between visual media and books, but taking the form of the fleeting versus the permanent, the here and now versus history, pop culture versus capital C Culture.

      In a way, its datedness is a strength, because of so much of Bradbury's prophetic vision and because of the way his 1950's idea of dystopia contrasts with the more numerous recent ideas.

      If there was ever an object lesson about filter bubbles, Farenheit 451 is it: recent enough to be relatable and distant enough to be outside our current filters. Readers should take note of this when relating and evaluating fiction and any work that lies outside their personal space. A valuable lesson in itself.

      So often we're totally unaware of the walls we create for ourselves, our comfort zone. It's precisely because they provide comfort that we tend to stay within them.

      And of course, Bradbury's whole novel is both about this issue and again a reference object for it.

      8 votes