Week 4 in ReviewLast week: 101 pages
So far: 422 pages
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Part One, Ch. 20 - 23The young Haze appears not at all in these chapters, detailing as they do the entirety of the period between the marriage and death of Haze senior, presumably leading to Humbert being left in loco parentis of Lolita. There was a little period in there that I vainly hoped for a little redemption for Humbert in the semblance of a normal adult relationship, but I guess we all knew where this was heading. Anyway, with that little distraction out of the way, and with Humbert innocent (or at least not discovered of being guilty) of any wrongdoing, everything has worked out rather well for him, hasn't it? Shudder.
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Volume i, Book Two , Ch. 9 - 13.Yep, sure is some chapters where things happen. Or at least purport to happen. All the really dramatic stuff like running from and being captured by the police happens sort of in passing, but all the action inside Valjean's head happens, anyways. Forgiven for his sins and given a parting gift of an extraordinary amount of wealth in a scene that I will never be able to separate from the one in the musical, Valjean leaves the bishop. Then, for no apparent reason except the troubled state of his mind, Valjean steals a small coin from a travelling vagrant, and though he instantly regrets it, he's committed the crime that will haunt him for the rest of the book. Always seemed like a bit of a weak plot point, in my opinion, but I guess that's what Hugo was going for.
Hard Times by Charles Dickens
Book the Second, Ch. 1 - 4A mysterious gentleman! I do love me a good mysterious gentleman, and while Mrs. Sparsit reminds me more and more of Ms. Havisham with each passing page, the plot continues to thicken and thicken. Meanwhile, poor old Stephen Blackpool just can't catch a break, can he?
The Lantern-bearers by Robert Louis StevensonAll I could think while reading this was something along the lines of: "Don't you know Robin Williams has just died? Too soon, man, too soon!". I guess this just goes to show that timeless literature sure is timeless, or something, or maybe just that boys will be boys. Anyway, I think I got the point after the beautiful part I, and the other three parts just kind of brought it down for me, as the elaboration on the metaphor and attempt to make a beautiful and true piece of poetic observation just made it less beautiful for me. I guess I'll never be a good critic or a good philosopher.
Meno by PlatoWhile we're on the topic of goodness, is there such a thing? If there is, then Plato doesn't seem very clear on what it is. Meno is not the Enchiridion (the first book on my new recommendations page), that's for sure. For starters, the proof for all knowledge being remembered, not learned, is a bit crap, and seems to have been added in the middle as a bit of a mathematical half-time show, all be it interesting. Actually, the content in general pales in comparison to the form, Socrates, his way of teaching, his mannerisms, and the way he gets the backs up Athenian rulers are the real stars of this piece. I might be tempted to force him to drink Hemlock too, I think. As to the content, if this is the best philosophy Plato and Socrates have to offer, I'm content to say "Meno understand" and move on.
Week 5 ReadingsDoctor J's selections seem particularly delectable this coming week, so we're going to keep a goodly percentage of them. On top of our first Shakespeare reading from the GBBW, we're also keeping a lot of the GGB reading: some Tacitus, for a Roman approach to history after our fun with Xenophon a fortnight ago; a little Cicero, after the Greeks provided the philosophy last week; and an excerpt on Marie Curie, just for something completely different. That won't leave us all that much room for our ongoing novel readings, so we're going to give Hugo a miss this week and go pretty light on the other two.
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
#not_gbww #copyrighted #fiction #english
Part One, Ch. 24 - 27 (22 pages)I dread to think what's happening next. I continue to delight in the form (some time I should go through and document all the metaphors Humbert uses for "ejaculate"), the content really grates on me. The wife says it's bad for me and she might be right, but I've set myself on this path, and so we trudge bravely on...We're only 1/3 of the way through, too...
Hard Times by Charles Dickens
#not_gbww #fiction #english
Book the Second, Ch. 5 - 6 (21 pages)I've pretty much given up hope for Mrs. Sparsit's love life, but things look good for Louisa's, don't they? And by good, I suppose, I actually mean dangerous, which may well be what she's after, but given the tone of the book so far I doubt it's going to end up happily for her any time soon. Oh, and things are going to get even worse for Blackpool, the poor bugger.
Discovery of Radium by Eve Curie
#new #oneshot #ggb #biography #english
A science text! Or is it biography? Who knows? And who could resist yet another opportunity to link the always wonderful, always appropriate Kate Beaton? I guess it's the week for biographies written by close relations, because we all know that's the best way to produce accurate, unbaised historical documents.
Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare
#new #ggww #oneshot #play #english
(17 pages)To be perfectly honest, though I read this is high school, all I can really remember is that Heath Ledger was pretty cute in the modern film adaptation 10 Things I Hate About You, and that Shakespearean England was more misogynistic than Hollywood. I'm mostly looking forward to reading this just because that will invariably force Michael, this blogs resident "dude who reads Shakespeare and does other daffy things", to read it too.
Life of G by Cornelius Tacitus
#new #ggb #oneshot #biography #latin
As I understand it, Agricola, quite aside from having a board game named after him, was the guy that brought Britain under Roman control in a rather more stable way than those that went before him, but that could be way off base. Might as well warm-up on Roman histories too, as this won't be the last time that we meet Tacitus on our little jaunt.
On Friendship by Marcus Tullius Cicero
#new #ggb #oneshot #philosophy #latin
All I know about Cicero I learnt from devouring the Masters of Rome series by prolific Australian author Colleen McCullough, through which I learned that while he sure could make an argument, since he wasn't at good as sexytimes as Julius Caesar he was was just not cool enough to be the main character. Maybe using modern fiction as my primary historical source isn't such a good idea? Don't get me wrong, though, those books are the bomb, you can borrow them from me sometime if you like.