10 Jun 2011
Some how I ended up reading several books at once. Normally I am against this, limiting myself to one fiction book at a time and maybe one non-fiction. An anthology, text book, or poetry, something easily picked up and put down again works well for me as a secondary book. I don’t like to mingle fiction. I’d rather be completely immersed in one set of characters. But this month, I was too tempted. Books are jumping off the shelf and flinging themselves at me. I couldn’t resist.
So my reading list…
1- Still reading The Norton Anthology of English Lit. I haven’t picked this up in awhile though. As soon as I finish one of the other books I’m reading I am determined to get back to it. The information in the anthology about each piece included is really interesting. The problem is, I am really just not that into Medieval literature. This anthology is part of a collection starting with medieval and going all the way through to the 20th century. I’m half wishing I would have just skipped ahead to the 18th century and the Romantics. But, even my Dh says: No, no, no you should do it right and start at the beginning. And that is exactly my mindset, what I really want to accomplish as a way of seeing the bigger picture and evolution of literature. So I am trudging along.
2- The Arden edition of Hamlet. I was a little disappointed in the introduction of this one. I guess I was hoping for more info about Shakespeare himself and the interpretations of Hamlet and less about the technical history of the play, performance dates etc. I am well into the play itself now and the annotation is really good. However, it’s work to read and I only read it at times when I can concentrate and am not too tired. The reason it stresses the brain is because I read the play, read the annotation, and then read the play again. So while it’s not hard to understand, it is time consuming.
3- With all this reading work to do, I needed something fun. Dh and I just watched the BBC’s Sherlock, recommended to me by Dried Humor, and loved it. Seriously it’s a great show but we are now completely depressed that there were only 3 episodes. Well after watching the show I could not resist picking up The Complete Sherlock Holmes Vol 1 from my shelf. A collection of short, amusing stories to read in the sunshine in my back yard is just what I needed. Most of the stories follow a pretty narrow layout: here’s Sherlock Holmes hanging out in his dressing gown at home with Watson, here comes distressed somebody with a mystery, everyone baffled, Sherlock solves it-elementary, Sherlock explains how easy it was to Watson.
In the second half of the book, the stories really are short, just 20 pages or so. They read as what they were, stories included in a monthly magazine. It’s interesting how Dickens was also published monthly but in series so his books come across now as complete novels. Doyle decided he wanted each story to stand alone, so if a reader missed an issue they were not lost and could just pick up with Sherlock on his next adventure. Despite being too short for my usual taste and a little predictable in form, the Sherlock stories are so well written, you really can’t help but enjoy them.
4-The final book I am reading is not for my own amusement or education. I am reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone at night to my daughter. We are only a couple chapters in and so far she is enjoying it. She is only 7, so sometimes she gets a bit confused about what’s going on. I’m enjoying a break away from the monotony of fairy books lol but I do find Harry Potter difficult to read out loud. Rowling must be the Queen of the run on sentence. She certainly gives Dickens a run for his money. With HP it is comma, after comma, after comma, where periods should clearly be! It makes it difficult to develop a reading aloud rhythm. Hopefully as we read further I’ll catch on to when I can stop to breath.