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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: 63/1183 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: 286/515 pages
The Essential Shakespeare
Ted Hughes
Progress: 82/259 pages

Reading progress update: I've read 220 out of 515 pages.

The Art Book - Editors of Phaidon Press

 

Hiroshige is a rare example of this book including an artist from outside the Western tradition.

Reading progress update: I've read 1950 out of 2016 pages.

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

Ermagerd, the only way to  read this and stay sane is to laugh....

Reading progress update: I've read 216 out of 515 pages.

The Art Book - Editors of Phaidon Press

 

Shout-out to Barbara Hepworth who became one of the people who put St. Ives on the map of British art. Very tactile sculpture.

Reading progress update: I've read 10 out of 404 pages.

Magnetic Reconnection in Plasmas (Cambridge Monographs on Plasma Physics) - Dieter Biskamp

I'm hoping this book is readily comprehensible!

The Absolute Sandman, Vol. III, Gaiman et. al.

The Absolute Sandman, Vol. 3 - Neil Gaiman, Michael Allred, Sherilyn van Valkenburgh, Lovern Kindzierski, Kent Williams, John Watkiss, Alec Stevens, Shea Anton Pensa, Vince Locke, Gary Amaro, Tony Harris, Dick Giordano, Daniel Vozzo, Bryan Talbot, Todd Klein, Mark Buckingham, Jill Thompson, Michael Zul

Well, this is of course, brilliant. But why? It occurs to me that the world Gaiman set up for himself was in fact the perfect tool for him: He could incorporate any mythology, religion, genre, location or time and still make it all self-consistent, hence allowing his imagination to go wherever it wanted or needed to. This particular volume is a great showcase for this variety and it is enhanced by the various changes in art style accompanying the changes in mood, atmosphere, character and location.

 

Bring on Vol. IV!

Reading progress update: I've read 474 out of 615 pages.

Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World - Nicholas Ostler

Elisabeth I not only legalised English translations of the Bible but Welsh ones, too!

The arrival of widespread printed books rapidly fixed the standard versions of European languages e.g. the London dialect of English, Luther's German (in another Biblical translation).

Reading progress update: I've read 1932 out of 2016 pages.

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

Wisdom of Solomon...Ch.5: Not so unremittingly dreadful as Ch.4.

Reading progress update: I've read 180 out of 410 pages.

Billy Budd, Sailor and Selected Tales - Herman Melville, Robert Milder

Some interesting vocabulary from 1855: "Trowsers" - still in use in British English (spelled, trousers) but "pants" is the American English term, now. When did that shift occur? Also, "ghetto" - earliest usage I can remember coming across - but it turns out it's been around since some time in the 1600s.

Reading progress update: I've read 1930 out of 2016 pages.

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

Wisdom of Solomon...Ch.4: Wowzas, this is bad! I'm not sure I can survive the remaining 15 chapters.

Reading progress update: I've read 468 out of 615 pages.

Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World - Nicholas Ostler

Two (different) passages of English are quoted on facing pages, one from 1258, the other from 1385. The first is unintelligible to me. (I can recognise a few words.) The second I readily understood with barely more effort than I need to read contemporary English. A remarkable transformation in 2 1/4 centuries!

Reading progress update: I've read 465 out of 615 pages.

Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World - Nicholas Ostler

The Norman invasion and subsequent use of Norman French for court affairs had the counter-intuitive effect of spreading the use of English into previously staunchly Celtic language speaking regions.

Reading progress update: I've read 16 out of 141 pages.

Darwin: A Life in Poems - Ruth Padel

A youthful Darwin heard John Audobon speak in public. I don't remember coming across this fact in any of the other biographical material I've read.

Arbieroo's Review of 2019's reading

OK, let's start with what did I say I wanted to acheive in 2019 and did I do it?:

52 Books: More than doubled! YAY! However, I was not expecting to be off sick for the entire year, thus giving much more time to read AND many of the books read were art books with little text and also with a low page count...

Finish Cummings' Complete Poems: YAY! I also read quite a bit of his other literary output and a biography.

Austen and the Brontes (Aim - minimum one novel/year): YAY! I read Emma, which sagged very heavily in the middle but made watching Clueless extra funny.

Ted Hughes: YAY! Good progress on obtaining and reading works unfamiliar to me. The remainder are pretty obscure.

Always be Reading Art Books (Aim - read 'em faster than I buy 'em): SUPERYAY! I read 45 vs only 6 bought...still ~30 unread on my shelf, though.

Reduce Mt. TBR: Yay? I reduced the total by a handful, but due to a lot of the art books read being not much bigger than pamphlets, the total page-count of unread books still went up...

2020 Goals:

Read 52 books, nominally: I set this target on Goodreads but I have to admit to being more interested in total page count, this year. (I'd prefer word count but that isn't readily available). This is in response to the flimsy art book experience of 2019.

Cummings/Hughes: Continue to acquire/read remaining books by or about Cummings and Hughes. At least read one book for each of them.

Austen and the Brontes (aim - minimum one novel/year): Northanger Abbey is up next for Austen, or will I be brave and pick up one of the two remaining Bronte novels?

Always be Reading Art Books (Aim - read 'em faster than I buy 'em): Given the aforementioned ~30 unread books, some of which could probably squish an entire litter of kittens (but you are evil and I hate you if you deliberately harm cats) I am carrying on with this.

Reduce Mt. TBR: I've decided, in the light of the whole variation in book length issue, to aim to read more pages than I buy - in fact to buy < 1/2 the number of pages that I read, thus explaining why I'm more interested in page counts than total books read.

Reading progress update: I've read 150 out of 616 pages.

The Absolute Sandman, Vol. 3 - Neil Gaiman, Michael Allred, Sherilyn van Valkenburgh, Lovern Kindzierski, Kent Williams, John Watkiss, Alec Stevens, Shea Anton Pensa, Vince Locke, Gary Amaro, Tony Harris, Dick Giordano, Daniel Vozzo, Bryan Talbot, Todd Klein, Mark Buckingham, Jill Thompson, Michael Zul

I was surprised to find much of this familiar; I had not realised I'd read anything this far into the series back in the day, nor that I'd read so much in total back then.

Reading progress update: I've read 164 out of 410 pages.

Billy Budd, Sailor and Selected Tales - Herman Melville, Robert Milder

The Encantatas: "The Enchanted Isles," these days usually referred to as The Galapagos Islands, in English. A collection of anecdotes and observations of the famous archipelago off the west coast of South America. A mixed bag of more and less interesting items to my taste.

Reading progress update: I've read 1922 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 Wisdom of Solomon...Ch.1: The editor gleefully quotes the worst couplets from this poem in his Introduction and points out that it has largely been neglected by previous scholars and critics. On the other hand, not many people get their teenage efforts published at all and it's certainly better than I could do, even in middle-age...so far so bland.