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Pride and Prejudice
Jane Austen, Anna Quindlen

Lord Jim

Lord Jim - Joseph Conrad Ponderous and difficult to follow, but still a beautiful piece of work.

I say "difficult to follow" in the sense that Conrad did not always balance his action and exposition in Lord Jim. There were large sections of backstory or the minutia of character. Certainly character is the cornerstone of this work in which a man buries himself deeper and deeper into a manageable backwoods fiefdom of sorts in order to escape his own failings on the larger stage of civilization, so it's hard to fault Conrad on this point. The "show, don't tell" writers' credo is perhaps driven home more today than it was in his time, so my complaint is biased since I'm viewing the book through a modern day reader's mentality. And although I love philosophy so much I considered majoring in it in collage, I personally prefer to read work that moves. Yes, do give me inner struggles, philosophizing, moralizing and the like, but I'd rather they were slipped into the action, like a pill hidden in the dog's food in order to get the animal to eat it. This animal will down anything if it's delicious enough.