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arbieroo

Arbie's Unoriginally Titled Book Blog

It's a blog! Mainly of book reviews.

Currently reading

The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition
Ursula K. Le Guin, Charles Vess
Progress: 637/997 pages
Thomas Middleton and Early Modern Textual Culture: A Companion to the Collected Works
Thomas Middleton, Gary Taylor
Progress: 119/1183 pages
The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry
Robert Chandler
The Uncertain Land and Other Poems
Patrick O'Brian
Progress: 8/160 pages
The Heptameron (Penguin Classics)
Marguerite de Navarre
Progress: 122/544 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

Reading progress update: I've read 394 out of 2016 pages.

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

A Trick to  Catch the Old One, Sc.3.1: Jane now has a serious marriage proposal - Witgood doesn't seem to mind because he thinks Jane is only interested in the money and will carry on their affair. 

Reading progress update: I've read 102 out of 544 pages.

The Heptameron (Penguin Classics) - Marguerite de Navarre

Story 5: Two more would-be rapists thwarted, this time by a ferry-woman. This is the first time any real respect has been offered to a person of low social status in the book.

Seven Pillars of Wisdom, T.E. Lawrence

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

I was aware before starting that this was a somewhat unreliable account of the exploits of Lawrence on the Eastern Front during WWI but the Introduction introduced such a level of scepticism that it tainted my reading; I was forever wondering what was true, what was exaggerated, what entirely fabricated. The veracity of the account was challenged in a publication of 1955 that I don't have. I'd have much prefered to read a critical edition that put the book in the context of the known history so that truth and fiction could be easily separated - I don't know if such a thing exists, though.

 

Lawrence is at his best when describing landscape and action, at his worst when being judgemental, whether it be about history, peoples or individuals. The first half fled fairly fast but the second was a struggle for most of its length. It turns out that camel rides and raids on railways and bridges can become repetative and dull. Interest was re-ignited when the Allies turn up in force and events become novel again.

 

I know very little about WWI; my main impressions of it come from two books; All Quiet on the Western Front and this. The contrast between the Western and Eastern conflicts could hardly be greater, on this basis. The mud, trenches, gas attacks, whole-sale slaughter and stalemate of France and Belgium feel like a different world from the rock, sand, guerilla warfare and endless gadding about by horse, camel, plane and (Rolls Royce) car that Lawrence describes in the Middle East. Lawrence's account is rarely in the slightest bit romanticised, though, and hunger, thirst, battle and death are treated in a most matter-of-fact manner that contrasts both with the myth of Lawrence of Arabia on the one hand and the deliberately political and horrifying verse of Sassoon and his fellow War Poets.

Reading progress update: I've read 218 out of 608 pages.

The Absolute Sandman, Vol. 4 - Neil Gaiman, Jon J. Muth, Dean Ormston, Glyn Dillon, Marc Hempel, Teddy Kristiansen, Kevin Nowlan, Richard Case, Daniel Vozzo, D'Israeli, Todd Klein, Michael Zulli, Dave McKean, Charles Vess

The threads are beginning to ravel.

Whoah! I got a comment notification email!!1

Reading progress update: I've read 392 out of 2016 pages.

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

A Trick to Catch the Old One, Sc.3.1: Witgood's creditors are really stupid!

Reading progress update: I've read 98 out of 544 pages.

The Heptameron (Penguin Classics) - Marguerite de Navarre

How to deal with attempted rape.

Reading progress update: I've read 391 out of 2016 pages.

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

A Trick to Catch the Old One, Sc. 2.2: Plots and counter-plots.

Reading progress update: I've read 90 out of 544 pages.

The Heptameron (Penguin Classics) - Marguerite de Navarre

What we have here is what used to be termed a "battle of the sexes", conducted by story, banter, innuendo and insinuation.

Reading progress update: I've read 222 out of 683 pages.

The Iliad - Homer, Bernard Knox, Robert Fagles

Telemonian (Giant) Ajax wins the lottery! No, he's not unexpectedly a millionaire; he gets to fight Hector in single combat as his prize!

Reading progress update: I've read 154 out of 608 pages.

The Absolute Sandman, Vol. 4 - Neil Gaiman, Jon J. Muth, Dean Ormston, Glyn Dillon, Marc Hempel, Teddy Kristiansen, Kevin Nowlan, Richard Case, Daniel Vozzo, D'Israeli, Todd Klein, Michael Zulli, Dave McKean, Charles Vess

The character Lyta seems vaguely familiar - could I have read this far into the series back in the day? Nothing else seems to trigger anything.

Reading progress update: I've read 390 out of 2016 pages.

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

A Trick to Catch the Old One, Scene 2.1: "Is it a comedy plot or a tragedy plot, mother?"

Reading progress update: I've read 603 out of 704 pages.

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

Plans go awry. Time to retreat as stealthily as they advanced.

Reading progress update: I've read 220 out of 683 pages.

The Iliad - Homer, Bernard Knox, Robert Fagles

Nobody wants to fight Hector until an old-timer upbraids the young warriors for their lack of courage - then there are nine volunteers.

Reading progress update: I've read 386 out of 2016 pages.

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

A Trick to Catch the Old One, Scene 2.1: The con-artists have already hooked their fish; now to reel him in.

Reading progress update: I've read 102 out of 208 pages.

The History Of Art: The Essential Guide To Painting Through The Ages - A.N. Hodge

The first Non-Europeans to show up are, you guessed it, Hokusai and Hiroshige, at the half-way point of the book.