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arbieroo

Arbie's Unoriginally Titled Book Blog

It's a blog! Mainly of book reviews.

Currently reading

Thomas Middleton and Early Modern Textual Culture: A Companion to the Collected Works
Thomas Middleton, Gary Taylor
Progress: 80/1183 pages
The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry
Robert Chandler
The Uncertain Land and Other Poems
Patrick O'Brian
Progress: 8/160 pages
The Poems and Plays of John Masefield
John Masefield
Progress: 78/534 pages
Poems Selected
Emily Dickinson, Ted Hughes
Progress: 4/50 pages
Selected Poems
U A Fanthorpe
Progress: 18/160 pages
The Penguin Book of Scottish Verse
Mick Imlah, Robert Crawford
Hainish Novels & Stories, Vol. 2
Ursula K. Le Guin
Progress: 133/789 pages
The Art Book
Editors of Phaidon Press
Progress: 416/515 pages
The Essential Shakespeare
Ted Hughes
Progress: 82/259 pages

Reading progress update: I've read 80 out of 1183 pages.

Thomas Middleton and Early Modern Textual Culture: A Companion to the Collected Works - Thomas Middleton, Gary Taylor

So the first essay, The Order of Persons, was a mixed bag of the worst kind of pointless academic pontification about trivialities and interesting material about how the book industry actually worked in Middleton's day.

Reading progress update: I've read 68 out of 704 pages.

Seven Pillars of Wisdom (Wordsworth Classics of World Literature) - T.E. Lawrence, Angus Calder

As soon as we get away from amateur history and back-room politicking, this gets a lot more interesting.

Reading progress update: I've read 410 out of 515 pages.

The Art Book - Editors of Phaidon Press

Shout out to Rachel Ruysch, who liked painting flowers and insects. Here's "Still Life of Flowers":

 

Reading progress update: I've read 406 out of 515 pages.

The Art Book - Editors of Phaidon Press Picasso was a fan of Henri Rousseau.

Reading progress update: I've read 43 out of 704 pages.

Seven Pillars of Wisdom (Wordsworth Classics of World Literature) - T.E. Lawrence, Angus Calder

The Introduction also reveals that the reason you have no idea what the Seven Pillars actually are is because Lawrence made the title up for an unfinished novel he later destroyed!

Reading progress update: I've read 26 out of 704 pages.

Seven Pillars of Wisdom (Wordsworth Classics of World Literature) - T.E. Lawrence, Angus Calder

I'm not sure how to classify what I'm reading; the Introduction says that along with numurous exaggerations there are some outright fabrications, so it's hardly history and memoir seems a bit of a stretch, too - indeed Lawrence himself claims that much was left out. So, what with omissions, additions and conflicts with official records (which may or may not be reliable sources themselves), maybe it's an autobiographical/historical novel?

Reading progress update: I've read 454 out of 1327 pages.

The Riverside Chaucer - Geoffrey Chaucer

Oh my gourd! Still 15p to go!

Reading progress update: I've read 390 out of 515 pages.

The Art Book - Editors of Phaidon Press

Shout out to Op Art genius, Bridget Riley! Here's Cataract 3:

 

Asterix and the Chieftain's Daughter, Ferri & Conrad

Asterix and the Chieftain's Daughter: Album 38 - Jean-Yves Ferri, Didier Conrad, Albert Uderzo, René Goscinny

I was worried about the future of the Village of Indomitable Gauls we know so well, after finding the first Ferri & Conrad outing good but the subsequent two volumes to be following a deteriorating trend. My persistence paid off, however, with this return to form. It's the story most like one Goscinny would have written we have been given since the great writer's death. It focuses on some of the most beloved tropes of the series; bickering amongst the villagers, puns, daft character names, standing up to the Romans, long-suffering legionaries... and we get insight into the teens in the village, too - an amusing innovation. Delightful!

The Man who went into the West, Byron Rogers

The Man Who Went Into The West - Byron Rogers

I can't remember reading such an out-right entertaining biography before (not that I've read a large number) and certainly never one so funny which is a bit surprising considering the subject, a man many found forbidding, even a little scary. Yet Rogers finds the genuine comedy in the man's life as well as the humour Thomas displayed to the people who could get past the facade to the human underneath.

 

It seems like Thomas found it very difficult to express his emotions in any way other than through his poetry. This caused many problems, leaving his only child extremely bitter, for instance, and alienating many who he could not engage with on an intellectual front. Yet many of his parishioners found him endlessly patient and considerate in times of trouble, illness or bereavement. And so it goes on, developing a picture of a compicated man, full of contradictions, in search of something he never really found, that he probably couldn't name. Perhaps closest to it when bird watching, alone in a wild space.

 

Rogers, who knew Thomas, also offers helpful insight into the poetry and the social context of Wales in Thomas's lifetime, necessary to anything but a superficial understanding of the man. I strongly recommend that anyone interested in R.S. Thomas, the man or the poet, read this - it won't be a chore.

Reading progress update: I've read 386 out of 515 pages.

The Art Book - Editors of Phaidon Press

Shout out to Paula Rego and her somewhat unsettling, "The Family."

 

Reading progress update: I've read 252 out of 2016 pages.

Thomas Middleton: The Collected Works -  MacDonald P. Jackson (Editor),  John Jowett (Editor),  John Lavagnino,  V. Wayne, Gary Taylor, Thomas Middleton

The Magnificent Entertainment: Pageant 4 was sponsored by the Netherlands' ex-pat London community. The Netherlands was at war with Spain and keen to  ensure that Britain did not ally themselves with the Spaniards under the new King James I.

Reading progress update: I've read 374 out of 663 pages.

Collected Stories - Vladimir Nabokov

In Memory of L.I. Shigaev: Takes incomprehensible, pointless, pretentious crap to new levels of...incomprehensible, pointless, pretentious, crapness.

Reading progress update: I've read 249 out of 2016 pages.

Thomas Middleton: The Collected Works -  MacDonald P. Jackson (Editor),  John Jowett (Editor),  John Lavagnino,  V. Wayne, Gary Taylor, Thomas Middleton The Magnificent Entertainment: Pageant three was funded by the ex-pat Italian community of London.

Reading progress update: I've read 367 out of 663 pages.

Collected Stories - Vladimir Nabokov

Leonardo: In which for no intelligible reason two brothers persecute a mysterious elderly night-owl who moves in next door.

Reading progress update: I've read 366 out of 515 pages.

The Art Book - Editors of Phaidon Press

Pissarro!

 

 

His paintings kind of give an impression of the scene rather than a photo-realistic documentation of it. What should we call this approach? I like it, no matter what we label it...