96 Followers
65 Following
arbieroo

Arbie's Unoriginally Titled Book Blog

It's a blog! Mainly of book reviews.

Currently reading

The Story of Kullervo
J.R.R. Tolkien, Verlyn Flieger
Progress: 5/192 pages
Top 10 Berin 2018
J├╝rgen Scheunemann
Progress: 138/192 pages
The Hundred Days (Aubrey/Maturin, #19)
Patrick O'Brian
Progress: 132/281 pages
Ack-Ack Macaque
Gareth L. Powell
Progress: 249/792 pages
Introduction to Topology
Bert Mendelson
Progress: 10/224 pages
Four Revenge Tragedies: (The Spanish Tragedy, The Revenger's Tragedy, The Revenge of Bussy D'Ambois, and The Atheist's Tragedy) (Oxford World's Classics)
Katharine Eisaman Maus
Progress: 93/464 pages
Basics of Plasma Astrophysics
Claudio Chiuderi, Marco Velli
Progress: 58/250 pages
A Student's Guide to Lagrangians and Hamiltonians
Patrick Hamill
Progress: 7/180 pages
Complete Poems, 1904-1962
E.E. Cummings
Progress: 392/1102 pages
The Complete Plays and Poems
E.D. Pendry, J.C. Maxwell, Christopher Marlowe

Reading progress update: I've read 16 out of 277 pages.

The Jungle Book - Rudyard Kipling

Shere Khan's in town, no  jungle - and so is a man cub.

Norse Mythology, Neil Gaiman

Norse Mythology - Neil Gaiman

I have no comparison to make with any other re-telling or the source material, so, taking this at face-value:

 

This is an entertaining set of tales about the creation of the world and its eventual destruction and some things that happen in between. The best of the tales are the comedic ones where Loki is both the author of and the solution for some troublesome eventuality. It was good to finally read some of these Norse myths and it makes me keener to read the source material, the prose and poetic Eddas.

Reading progress update: I've read 242 out of 1327 pages.

The Riverside Chaucer - Geoffrey Chaucer

Rather than a single narrative, the Monk's Tale is a collection of short biographies of famous people whose lives all end tragically. So far we've had Lucifer, Adam and Sampson.

Reading progress update: I've read 388 out of 1102 pages.

Complete Poems, 1904-1962 - E.E. Cummings

Crikey! Cummings made me like a Moon Poem!

Reading progress update: I've read 380 out of 1102 pages.

Complete Poems, 1904-1962 - E.E. Cummings

So this is amusing:
Title Page: No Thanks
Next Page: To [list of 14 publishers who rejected the manuscript]

 

Celtic culture was very aware of the dangers of getting on the wrong side of a bard...

Reading progress update: I've read 74 out of 160 pages.

The Earliest English Poems - Various Authors, Michael     Alexander

The Wanderer: reminiscent of Shelley's much more pithy (and modern) Ozymandias. On the other hand, Ozymandias isn't evocative of a long-past warrior society on the cusp between paganism and Christianity.

Reading progress update: I've read 193 out of 256 pages.

Norse Mythology - Neil Gaiman

Thor lifting a giant house cat is a delightful image.

Reading progress update: I've read 108 out of 256 pages.

Norse Mythology - Neil Gaiman

I wonder if the original sources are so openly comedic?

Reading progress update: I've read 94 out of 256 pages.

Norse Mythology - Neil Gaiman

Everybody wants to marry Freya.

Reading progress update: I've read 89 out of 256 pages.

Norse Mythology - Neil Gaiman

Well, the dwarfs (aka dark elves) are really highly skilled and the mountain giants can build really high and strong and fast. And Loki has really alarming children...

Reading progress update: I've read 36 out of 256 pages.

Norse Mythology - Neil Gaiman

Loki's already pulled a mean trick on Sif, Thor's wife.

Reading progress update: I've read 26 out of 256 pages.

Norse Mythology - Neil Gaiman

Flagon says, roar! A Dragon called Nidhogg lives at the bottom of Yggdrasil, the world-tree!

Reading progress update: I've read 93 out of 464 pages.

Four Revenge Tragedies: (The Spanish Tragedy, The Revenger's Tragedy, The Revenge of Bussy D'Ambois, and The Atheist's Tragedy) (Oxford World's Classics) - Katharine Eisaman Maus

The Spanish Tragedy, Thomas Kyd

 

This play gets mentioned in the Introductions to numerous later plays because it is considered the first Revenge Tragedy of the era's drama - and, let's face it, the Elisabethan-Jacobean era was the Golden Age of English Drama. So when people talk about Titus Andronicus or Hamlet or Webster's Duchess of Malfi or The White Devil, this play tends to get discussed, too. That being so, I desired to read it specifically even more than I just generally want to explore the work of Shakespeare's (near) contemporaries.

 

All those scholars are not wrong; this play springs numerous of the themes and tropes of Revenge Tragedy on its audiences, fully formed. It clearly influenced Hamlet and MacBeth directly in terms of plot and character points as well as being the archetype of a new genre. The surprising thing was just how good it is. Particularly early on, the descriptive aspects of the writing are really good (though Shakespeare did it better, later). The depth of character isn't on a par with Shakespeare, either, but still, this play deserves to be read and performed on its own merits. Well done, Oxford Drama, for making it readily available.

Reading progress update: I've read 9 out of 256 pages.

Norse Mythology - Neil Gaiman

Mysteriously, I've never read a straight-forward re-telling of the Norse myths.

Frogkisser! Garth Nix

Frogkisser! - Garth Nix

A fairy story for the modern era, with a princess who is "not the type that needs rescuing" off on a Quest to restore a Prince that's been turned in to a frog and save herself and her older sister (who does need rescuing) from their evil stepstepfather, Duke Rikard. It's fun, funny and plays with the tropes of fairy stories and fantasy whilst providing an adventure where the protagonist is smart but inexperienced and isn't automatically excellent at everythng or even anything practical, really, because she's been living a privileged, sheltered life in a castle full of servants. Which leads me to the other subtext (besides the obvious feminist one): this book wears it's moral/social/political views on its sleeve.; poverty generated for the betterment of a ruling minority is bad and everybody should be equal under the law - which should provide for a fair trial.

 

A contrasting tone when compared to other Nix books (more openly humourous) and probably the best book he's written since Lirael/Abhorsen. Hints of possible further adventures to come for the Frogkisser were pleasantly received.

Reading progress update: I've read 205 out of 395 pages.

Second Variety (Collected Stories: Vol 2) - Philip K. Dick

Trouble with Bubbles: What is the link between humanity's creative and destructive urges? Also a precursor to "we're just living in a computer simulation" ideas.