Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pride and Prejudice

  It seems this is yet another book that sat on my bookshelf, unread, for far too long. 

  It’s strange how much a person’s tastes can change in just a few short years.  When this book was assigned to 16 year old me in my English class, I had actually been looking forward to reading the book.  But then, once I got the book and sat down to read it, I couldn’t get through more than a page before falling asleep.  After a few tries I decided to just watch the movie (the BBC/A&E miniseries) and read the SparkNotes for the book and leave it at that.  I was successful, probably because my teacher underestimated how easy it would be for someone determined to not read the book to still make it seem as if they had.  And so, after getting an A without doing the work, (which, I am simultaneously proud and ashamed to admit, was often the case) Pride and Prejudice was left on the bookshelf to rot for the next five years. 

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Fahrenheit 451

  Well, that was quick. 

  So quick, in fact, that I’m a bit disappointed in myself. 

  I got this book five years ago from my sister, for my 16th birthday.  That I let this book sit on the bookshelf for five years makes me feel as guilty as the very people the book talks about.  For five years, I couldn’t be bothered to pick up a book that took barely five hours to read? 

(more after the jump)

Friday, October 8, 2010

I Finally Finished The Iliad

  I finally finished The Iliad just a few moments ago.  I enjoyed reading it, but to be honest, it was like trying to run a marathon after sitting on my ass for a year.  As I said in my introductory 2YRC post, I used to read constantly but I haven’t read very much in the past few years.  Most of the time when I have a choice between reading a book or reading a blog post, the blog post usually wins.  So to take on a book that was not only ridiculously long, but also incredibly repetitive was insane. 

  The problem with ancient literature, (and I discovered this a while back, when I had to read The Epic Of Gilgamesh for my World Literature class), is that it was written before there were editors.  There was no one there to tell the writers to kill their darlings, and so the stories- which are great on their own- suffer.  Is it really necessary to list every single person the subject of the chapter killed before he himself was killed?  Could we please just focus on the more notable or interesting deaths, and not bother with the others? 

  I know, this is probably a blasphemy of sorts to lovers of classic literature everywhere.  I almost feel guilty writing it.  I mean The Iliad has survived longer than most of the books on the bestseller list ever will, and for good reason.  It’s a great story, and a window into the values and beliefs of a culture long dead.  The first few chapters, as well as the last few, were wonderful.  When I was reading those chapters I found the book hard to put down, but I could have done without the middle.  No offense to the poets of the ancient past, but no story about war should ever hit a lull like that. 

  Anyway, that’s it for book one of the 2YRC.  Next up, Fahrenheit 451

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Iliad: More blood and gore than an Eli Roth film


  Why don’t I just start today’s post with an excerpt from The Iliad.  I’m almost certain it will prove my point for me. 

“With that he hurled and Athena drove the shaft
and it split the archer’s nose between the eyes –
it cracked his glistening teeth, the tough bronze
cut off his tongue at the roots, smashed his jaw
and the point came ripping out beneath his chin.
He pitched from his car, armor clanged against him,
a glimmering blaze of metal dazzling round his back –
the purebreds reared aside, hoofs pawing in the air
and his life and power slipped away on the wind.”
-Homer, The Iliad, Translated by Robert Fagles
Book 5: 321-329

  The Iliad is proving to be bloodier than an Eli Roth film, and that’s saying something.  It brings up a point that I’ve never really considered before. 

Friday, October 1, 2010

2YRC: The First Post, of the First Day.

I am officially declaring this day, October 1st 2010, the first day of the 2 Year Reading Challenge. By October 1st 2012, I'm going to have to have read every book and short story on the list found here.

I've already started, and I'm almost done with book 3 of The Iliad. I have to admit, I did end up skimming the last part of book 2, because long lists of captains and the number of ships they command are not quite my thing.

Other than that, the story is pretty compelling so far. It took me some time to get into it, simply because the format and style is so different from what I'm used to. Now that I've figured out the rhythm of the story, though, it's hard to put down.