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What have you been reading this week?
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a.s.
Valinor


Mar 21 2007, 10:55am

Post #1 of 56 (389 views)
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What have you been reading this week? Can't Post

Listening to audiobooks frequently as I do, I've become aware of the difference between a book read and a book heard. For instance, I'm able to listen to--and enjoy--books that I can't finish as printed pages. Perhaps I'm irritated by the writing style ("Everything's Illuminated"), the way the words are put together in deliberately eccentric ways on the page by the author interfering with my enjoyment of the tale. Or books out of my usual genre, ones I wouldn't be listening to at all if I could have found something else at the library that day and wasn't accustomed to (read "addicted to", if you must) listening to a book now at all times my car is turned on so that I grabbed anything just to fill in the radio silence.

Evil

I just finished listening to "The Amalgamation Polka", which is a book I picked up once at the library, thumbed through, thought about (it got such good reviews) and then put back on the shelf. It just seemed too "precious", too overblown, too (dare I say it!!) post-modern for me. You can read the first chapter at the linked NYT review, and see what I mean.

But listening to it was a pleasure. Read aloud, the parody of nineteenth century prose and speaking voice comes through loud and clear. Yes, the story is way over the top. Think Alice Through the Looking Glass, as the NYT review mentions. It's a pretty good book, read aloud!

Other than that, another slow reading week. I found a great little book at a used book store a few weeks ago. I love used book stores, especially the one run by our local library system, which sells not only donated books but also the books being "culled" from the library shelves. Much as I hate to see any book removed from the library, to buy a good used book for a few dollars that I could never find serendipitiously any other way is a TREAT!!

Anyway, I found a 1970 paperback revised edition of a 1948 edition of Selected Chaucer's Canterbury Tales: An Interlinear Translation, by Vincent Hopper (Professor of English, New York University). You can read an excerpt at the link (hopefully) to see what an "interlinear" translation looks like. It's quite enjoyable, and after awhile you hardly notice you are reading the translation almost simultaneously with the Middle English words. I'm having fun with that.

What about you all? What have you been reading this week?

a.s.

"an seileachan"

Everybody's wondering what and where they all came from.
Everybody's worried 'bout where they're gonna go when the whole thing's done.
No one knows for certain, and so it's all the same to me:
I think I'll just let the mystery be.
~~~~Iris DeMent


NottaSackville
Tol Eressea

Mar 21 2007, 12:41pm

Post #2 of 56 (181 views)
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The Color of Magic [In reply to] Can't Post

Or Colour of Magic for you Brits....

The first of Pratchett's Discworld books, and I'm finding it a good laugh. I just ordered the next three Rincewind books.

Notta


JRandomRohirrim
Rohan


Mar 21 2007, 2:01pm

Post #3 of 56 (158 views)
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The Bookseller of Kabul [In reply to] Can't Post

It's about some of the changes an extended family goes through once the Taliban are formally out of power in Afghanistan.

It's more about the women in the family than about the men, and while it's fascinating reading, it's also deeply depressing.

Boycott New Line!
http://www.boycottnewline.com


Elberbeth
Tol Eressea


Mar 21 2007, 2:57pm

Post #4 of 56 (168 views)
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Finally started LOTR again (which will probably confuse the heck out of me for the movie quizzes)/ [In reply to] Can't Post

 

"There are some things that it is better to begin than to refuse, even though the end may be dark."


CAhobbit
Rohan


Mar 21 2007, 3:07pm

Post #5 of 56 (152 views)
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The Ruins by Scott Smith [In reply to] Can't Post

The Ruins - Scott Smith

Holy moly it's been a pretty scary read. 6 twenty somethings in Mexico end up trudging through a jungle on a mission to help one of their party members find a relative. What they discover in the jungle is something horrible. I've never had a book scare me before but this one is defintely giving me some spooky feelings at night. Some of the plot is a wee tad predictable but I'm still hoping for a good enough ending (ie: nothing too cheesy). I'm about 20 pages away so we'll see.

Next book up is:

Ink, The book of All Hours by Hal Duncan.

Do not meddle in the affairs of hobbits for we can bite your kneecaps off!



CAhobbit's flickr page

CAhobbit's myspace


Annael
Half-elven


Mar 21 2007, 3:22pm

Post #6 of 56 (158 views)
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bunch of books about heroines in myths [In reply to] Can't Post

as research. For fun, I'm re-reading Jacqueline Carey's "Kushiel" trilogy which I adore. Kind of an adults-only LOTR; the main character has to keep going on impossible quests to save her country (book one), save her queen (book two), or save a child and a friend from dire fates (book three). She pulls this off because of her god-given ability (or curse) to withstand and enjoy pain and her compassion for and acceptance of the flaws of others. Now there's a heroine who dances with the shadow side. It's beautifully written; her characters are fully realized, and she doesn't stint on description. There's plenty of sex and plenty of violence, but Carey has a light touch with both. As icing on the cake, there's also a terrific love story.

And in the first book there's a long winter journey every bit as harsh and beautiful as the story of the crew of the Endurance. I love stories with long winter journeys.

Only a real man would dare do his morning power walk in a puffy shirt.


NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967


Aunt Dora Baggins
Half-elven


Mar 21 2007, 4:48pm

Post #7 of 56 (204 views)
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Le Morte d'Arthur, LotR [In reply to] Can't Post

I was at the used book store and found a yummy copy of Mallory's book about Arthur. I've always meant to read it, but haven't been able to plow through it. I may not be able to this time either, but I've begun. I'm hoping the gorgeous illustrations by Anna-Marie Ferguson will help inspire me. The introduction to this edition was very interesting; it seems no one is certain which Tomas Mallory was the author. The one usually thought of was a brigand and thug. There are a couple of other candidates.

The spelling has been modernized, but the language is Elizabethan. The story seems to be a lot of fighting, rather like the Illiad, which I read a couple of years ago and didn't enjoy much. I did get a chuckle out of the nobles putting Arthur's crowning off from Christmas to Candlemas to Easter to Pentecost, while he keeps on pulling the sword out of the stone and putting it back. This is page 11 out of about 600 pages.

I'm also still strolling my leisurely way through LotR, savoring my time at Rivendell.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"For DORA BAGGINS in memory of a LONG correspondence, with love from Bilbo; on a large wastebasket. Dora was Drogo's sister, and the eldest surviving female relative of Bilbo and Frodo; she was ninety-nine, and had written reams of good advice for more than half a century."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Chance Meeting at Rivendell: a Tolkien Fanfic
and some other stuff I wrote...
leleni at hotmail dot com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


RosieLass
Valinor


Mar 21 2007, 5:16pm

Post #8 of 56 (167 views)
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Overture to Death, by Ngaio Marsh. [In reply to] Can't Post

It's an Inspector Roderick Alleyn mystery.

I have to say that I'm grinding my teeth a little in resentment over her portrayal of the characters.

Of course, it's the frostbitten old spinsters who have no sympathetic qualities whatsoever. But we have to like the adulterous old doctor who's cheating on his invalid wife, and the man-eating floozy he's having it off with has her good qualities, too.

Grr! Unimpressed

Childrenís Interpretations of the Bible

  • Lotís wife was a pillar of salt during the day, but a ball of fire during the night.

  • The greatest miracle in the Bible is when Joshua told his son to stand still and he obeyed him.

  • Christians have only one spouse. This is called monotony.


  • http://mallika.vox.com/


    Aerlinn
    Lorien


    Mar 21 2007, 6:54pm

    Post #9 of 56 (194 views)
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    Making the Mummies Dance [In reply to] Can't Post

    I'm taking a hiatus from fantasy and rereading Thomas Hoving's chronicle of his stint as Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, one of my favorite places in the world. Which, apparently, was built through graft, piracy, smuggling, and outright theft. There's a blurb on the cover that says something about no bean going unspilled in this book - boy howdy. There's what's purported to be a verbatim transcription of a phone call from Jackie Kennedy (pre-Onassis) that was an eye-opener; there are descriptions of various and sundry curators and other people in the orbit of the museum (or around whom the museum orbited) which I can't believe didn't end up in lawsuits. Or at least nasty telephone calls.

    It's funny - I think most people have a vision of what the world behind the scenes of a museum is like: wine and cheese and black ties and all very haughty and elegant, all in the name of Art. In reality, apparently, it's back-stabbing, in-fighting, various forms of madness, and - did I mention the piracy? (Though still all in the name of Art, I have to say.) Jack Sparrow would run from a meeting of the board of trustees of the Met circa 1965 - too dangerous: the book opens with the death of Hoving's predecessor, which Hoving blames directly on just such a meeting (and obliquely on one of the trustees).

    Obviously, it's sharp, surprising, often funny, and great fun. Even more fun is reading it with my museum guide close to hand, so I can drool over the works as he brings them up. HIghly recommended.

    'I cannot read the furry letters,' said Frodo in a quavering voice.
    'No,' said Gandalf, 'but I can.'



    'One Ring to drool on them all, One Ring to heed them
    One Ring to bring them all and remind them all to feed them
    In the land of Kitchen where the litter lies.
    '

    My TORn archives - to be updated sooner or later
    630.63


    Arwen's daughter
    Half-elven


    Mar 21 2007, 7:23pm

    Post #10 of 56 (135 views)
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    A Clash of Kings [In reply to] Can't Post

    Just got my hands on it Monday (stupid Borders always sells out of the one book in a series that I need). I'm about 160 pages into it and can't wait to dive back in. I seem to have a method with these books where I read about 70 pages the first night and put it down and then I can't put it down again and read it as quickly as possible. I think I'm getting a feel for Martin's plot twists and foreshadowing style, but I fully expect to throw that idea out the window soon. Also, I'm much more accustomed to the amount of time that's passing in between chapters and I'm really enjoying the pace he sets. I think that's part of the reason I have such a hard time putting the books down. There aren't many boring chapters, unlike other fantasy works that I'll leave nameless this week.



    My LiveJournal

    My Costuming Site


    Curious
    Half-elven

    Mar 21 2007, 8:44pm

    Post #11 of 56 (196 views)
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    Brideshead Revisited, Swann's Way. [In reply to] Can't Post

    Troubles of the pre WWI rich and famous, English and French, respectively. Still plowing my way through Proust's psychological profile of a disastrous love affair, fueled mainly by jealousy (Swann's Way, "Swann in Love").

    I'm also about half way through Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited at the local Potbelly's Sandwich Works, which decorates the room with used books. I don't think anyone else reads them. I would be interested in the BBC version of the novel, now that I'm reading the book. It has lots to do with British Catholicism, and also Oxford, and so could be considered related to Tolkien, I suppose, but I'm not sure how. I can't imagine Tolkien having much to do with the rich, drunk ne'er-do-wells populating this book, even if he was at the same university.

    Both of the above books are told from the perspective of the artist. LotR is told from the perspective of someone who did not consider himself primarily an artist, but rather a scholar. Thus LotR, although it is not a scholarly work, has a definite scholarly tone to it, not just in the appendices but also throughout the book. The hobbits meet an endless series of mentors or teachers, and eventually become mentors or teachers themselves. Even warriors like Aragorn and Faramir are also scholars. Boromir is a pure warrior, and is weaker for it. It is a scholar's fantasy.

    Proust and Waugh are full of contempt for both scholars and businessmen. Art is their refuge. Of course their protagonists also benefit from being independently wealthy -- or perhaps they don't benefit from it, since they have so much time and so little to do except get in trouble. But the narrators take refuge in artistic detachment, while the readers enjoy the voyeuristic pleasure of seeing that wealth, class, and privilege does not necessarily bring happiness.


    wolfranger
    Bree


    Mar 21 2007, 9:41pm

    Post #12 of 56 (154 views)
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    Middle english translation. [In reply to] Can't Post

    I haven't been reading much anything this week that's not for class. We're doing Charles Ives' Essays Before a Sonata, which while interesting, isn't that *fun*.

    But, I was quite interested to see the example of Chaucer you linked, a.s. I read Chaucer in high school in the original and had a quite difficult time with it. I think that type of translation would really help! I find that with facing page, although it's nice, I tend to skip over the original completely. Of course, now that I don't have to read it at any rate of speed I enjoy reading the middle english out loud and taking my time with it. I think this might be a little hard to do with the "interlinear" translation, as the English would get in the way!

    Cheers,
    wolfranger

    "People at first though it obscurely religious, but when Rodia was rediscovered in Northern California after having disappeard for some years he turned out to be violently anti-religious, though he did not offer any other explanation of the towers' inscriptions and symbols." Howard Becker, Art Worlds. (Referring to the Watts Towers in Los Angeles.)


    Draupne
    Forum Admin / Moderator

    Mar 21 2007, 9:42pm

    Post #13 of 56 (141 views)
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    Viscous fluid flow and the Dresden files [In reply to] Can't Post

    #6,7 and 8. For some stupid reason they didn't have #5. Must get it before easter.


    wolfranger
    Bree


    Mar 21 2007, 9:45pm

    Post #14 of 56 (204 views)
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    Le Morte d'Arthur. [In reply to] Can't Post

    I plowed straight through this in high school. I found it easier once I got going. Also, there are many parts that were quite amusing, which is always nice. I didn't read it "seriously" though, but instead read it like I'd read any old thing. I think that helped me get through, but I'm not sure how much it helped me learn something... Angelic

    Cheers,
    wolfranger

    "People at first though it obscurely religious, but when Rodia was rediscovered in Northern California after having disappeard for some years he turned out to be violently anti-religious, though he did not offer any other explanation of the towers' inscriptions and symbols." Howard Becker, Art Worlds. (Referring to the Watts Towers in Los Angeles.)


    a.s.
    Valinor


    Mar 21 2007, 9:48pm

    Post #15 of 56 (148 views)
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    OK...MUST get this book, can't resist this review [In reply to] Can't Post


    Quote
    the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, one of my favorite places in the world. Which, apparently, was built through graft, piracy, smuggling, and outright theft.



    wasn't every great American institution built this way?

    Cool

    (except Public Health, of course)

    Wink

    a.s.


    "an seileachan"

    Some say once you're gone, you're gone forever, and some say you're gonna come back.
    Some say you rest in the arms of the Savior if sinful ways you lack.
    Some say that they're coming back in a garden, bunch of carrots and little sweet peas.
    I think I'll just let the mystery be.
    ~~~~Iris DeMent


    Ataahua
    Superuser / Moderator


    Mar 21 2007, 10:09pm

    Post #16 of 56 (117 views)
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    Does one help with the reading of the other? / [In reply to] Can't Post

     

    Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
    Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
    Men: "Pretty rings..."
    Sauron: "Mine's better."

    "Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauronís master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded b*****d with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


    Ataahua's stories


    a.s.
    Valinor


    Mar 21 2007, 10:23pm

    Post #17 of 56 (137 views)
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    Just for fun, the NYT 1945 review [In reply to] Can't Post

    Can be found here.

    a.s.

    "an seileachan"

    Some say once you're gone, you're gone forever, and some say you're gonna come back.
    Some say you rest in the arms of the Savior if sinful ways you lack.
    Some say that they're coming back in a garden, bunch of carrots and little sweet peas.
    I think I'll just let the mystery be.
    ~~~~Iris DeMent


    a.s.
    Valinor


    Mar 21 2007, 10:25pm

    Post #18 of 56 (127 views)
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    it sort of blends together [In reply to] Can't Post

    I was skeptical, too, but somehow it starts to blend together. I'm amazed how often I get the Middle English just fine without obvious recourse to the translated line, but then think maybe my eye happened to look at the modern English and I just didn't notice it.

    It's hard to explain, but it seems to work! At least for me.

    a.s.

    "an seileachan"

    Some say once you're gone, you're gone forever, and some say you're gonna come back.
    Some say you rest in the arms of the Savior if sinful ways you lack.
    Some say that they're coming back in a garden, bunch of carrots and little sweet peas.
    I think I'll just let the mystery be.
    ~~~~Iris DeMent


    a.s.
    Valinor


    Mar 21 2007, 10:41pm

    Post #19 of 56 (137 views)
    Shortcut
    fiction or non-fiction? {nt} [In reply to] Can't Post

     

    "an seileachan"

    Some say once you're gone, you're gone forever, and some say you're gonna come back.
    Some say you rest in the arms of the Savior if sinful ways you lack.
    Some say that they're coming back in a garden, bunch of carrots and little sweet peas.
    I think I'll just let the mystery be.
    ~~~~Iris DeMent


    a.s.
    Valinor


    Mar 21 2007, 10:43pm

    Post #20 of 56 (141 views)
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    I thought the ending was pretty good [In reply to] Can't Post

    Like you, I thought this was one really creepy book-and very well written. Smith was GREAT at describing claustrophobia and menace, for one thing. I still think about this book from time to time. Let me know what you think about the end!

    a.s.

    "an seileachan"

    Some say once you're gone, you're gone forever, and some say you're gonna come back.
    Some say you rest in the arms of the Savior if sinful ways you lack.
    Some say that they're coming back in a garden, bunch of carrots and little sweet peas.
    I think I'll just let the mystery be.
    ~~~~Iris DeMent


    ringhead91
    Rivendell


    Mar 21 2007, 10:50pm

    Post #21 of 56 (115 views)
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    The Hobbit {NT} [In reply to] Can't Post

     

    The Road goes ever on and on
    Down from the door where it began.
    Now far ahead the Road has gone,
    And I must follow, if I can,
    Pursuing it with eager feet,
    Until it joins some larger way
    Where many paths and errands meet.
    And whither then? I cannot say.



    Draupne
    Forum Admin / Moderator

    Mar 21 2007, 11:10pm

    Post #22 of 56 (113 views)
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    Not even chocolate [In reply to] Can't Post

    makes it easier getting through the stupid viscous fluid flow. It doesn't seem very viscous or fluidy, it's more like hard rock.

    Having #5 would probably mean that the flow would get postponed til later so it's maybe just as well they didn't have it.


    Penthe
    Gondor


    Mar 21 2007, 11:31pm

    Post #23 of 56 (130 views)
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    structure of the stories [In reply to] Can't Post

    I found once I'd stopped expecting the book to act like a novel I could enjoy it much more. Half the time there's no real pay off, or even proper endings to the stories. Stuff happens and then it doesn't.


    Penthe
    Gondor


    Mar 21 2007, 11:38pm

    Post #24 of 56 (132 views)
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    Love in a Cold Climate and Oxford [In reply to] Can't Post

    Another good read is Love in a Cold Climate, for a uppercrust don's wife's perspective on Oxford and it's shenanigans at a similar time to Brideshead Revisited and when real life Tolkien & Lewis would've been teaching there. It's an eye opener and no mistake.

    I love Brideshead. I think the sentimentality, the focus on food and luxury, and the generally indulgent behaviour of all the characters is what makes it so enjoyable, although Waugh (and many others) derided it for exactly these things. The scenes where Charles comes home from university absolutely broke, and the punishment dished out by his father, are some of my favourite moments in any book anywhere. The BBC series captures the feel of the book precisely in my opinion, although I kind of lose interest a bit when the focus moves away from the relationship between Sebastian and Charles. At least one generation of women grew up with forlorn hopes of meeting Charles Rider some day *sigh*.


    Penthe
    Gondor


    Mar 21 2007, 11:39pm

    Post #25 of 56 (104 views)
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    melted chocolate perhaps? // [In reply to] Can't Post

     

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