What is everyone reading?

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annis
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What is everyone reading?

Post by annis » Mon Jun 13, 2005 3:33 am

We've not had a book thread in a while.

In Greek, as always, I'm reading Homer. Also Pindar. I recently got D. Page <i>Sappho and Alcaeus: An Introduction to the Study of Ancient Lesbian Poetry</i>, and this means I'm reading a good deal of those two poets. Little bits of Lucian as the mood strikes, but my major bus-to-work reading is still Eurpides' <i>Alcestis</i>. I'm using a self-contained student edition (text, notes, full vocab), but check with Dale's Oxford commentary regularly.

About a month ago I finally read <i>Scribes and Scholars: A Guide to the Transmission of Greek and Latin Literature</i> which is just fascinating reading. Many of the authors we talk about all the time here come to us by the narrowest of paths, and could easily have been lost. We all know that, but this book gives the hows and the whys.

For fiction, I just picked up <i>Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell</i> by Susanna Clarke. It is massive, but also delightful. It is written under the influence of 19th century English novels, and has already infected my own prose style. I haven't finished it, so I can only say that I like the beginning quite a lot.

Current bedside reading: <i>The Oxford Book of English Verse</i>, edited by Christopher B. Ricks, who should not, if his introduction is typical of his writing style, be allowed to write prose. This book assumes you know what your about, and makes few concessions to the untrained reader. If you don't know 16th century English, you'll find the notes only the slightest help.
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τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;

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Post by Aurelia » Mon Jun 13, 2005 4:31 am

uh.... Winnie Ille Pu and soon, Harrius Potter... :oops: :lol:
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what I am currently reading

Post by bellum paxque » Mon Jun 13, 2005 4:38 am

I have a copy of The Oxford Book of English Verse, which I pull off the shelf occasionally to read a poem or two. The introduction, if I did actually read it, did not leave an imprint in my memory of excessive verbosity or bombast, if such are the qualities that you found repugnant, but I should probably take another look at it. Bad prose, I have found, can be as instructive for the aspiring writer as good prose.

The poets that I am reading -- in English, unfortunately, since my knowledge of Latin is as yet nascent (from nascor, I suppose?) -- are Emily Dickinson and Adrienne Rich. The vast abyss separating the styles and sensibilities of the two poets figured into my decision to read their works. For Dickinson, I have a much thumbed through hardcover of the complete poems. Since they are arranged chronologically, not only do I have access to the poems that are less commonly anthologized, but I also can attempt to trace her development as a poet. When I am not in the mood for rhyme and meter, I read a much smaller collection of Rich's poetry called The Dream of a Common Language, which contains a number of the poems she wrote during the mid seventies. If you're not familiar with her work, it is comparable with the other confessional poets like Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath.

My Latin work proceeds through both Moreland and Fleischer's textbook and the Vulgate, beginning at the beginning, of course (Le Génese). To aid my understanding of the latter, I am referring to an English translation and a French Bible, in addition, of course, to dictionaries.

I could ramble on about the novel I'm working through, but I shall resist that urge. In short: Aldous Huxley wrote a number of works besides his classic Brave New World, though many of them have received scant attention in the past decades. One such book is Point Counter Point, which resembles what Ayn Rand might have written if she had been 1) cynical and 2) eloquent. And that sums it up, I think.

Best,

David

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Re: What is everyone reading?

Post by Democritus » Mon Jun 13, 2005 8:29 am

annis wrote:We've not had a book thread in a while.
I'm reading Kagan's book on the Peloponnesian war. PJ O'Rourke mentioned this book a while back during an interview, and I finally started it.

The war is fascinating. What a tragedy.

http://noleftturns.ashbrook.org/default ... iveID=3074

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Post by Maximus » Mon Jun 13, 2005 2:12 pm

Alas, in latin, my vocabulary and my knowledge of grammar is still too insufficient to read any original work. I hope to be able to soon! So I'm reading in my grammar book mostly.

Otherwise, I'm currently reading various novellas by Guy de Maupassant and <i>The Gay Science</i> by Nietzsche.

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Post by Rhuiden » Mon Jun 13, 2005 3:00 pm

I am currently reading "The Meaning of the Millennium" by Robert Clouse. It is an interesting discussion of the four views of interpreting the timing and character of the millennial kingdom of Jesus.

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Post by 1%homeless » Mon Jun 13, 2005 7:08 pm

I'm finally reading Campbell's "The Hero with a thousand faces". You know a book is good when you wish that you have read it a long time ago. However, his writing style is dense at times.

I have a bad habit of reading two or more books at a time, so the other book that I'm reading is Bare-Faced Messiah by Russell Miller. It's a Ron Hubbard bio. I quite enjoyed reading about the megalomaniac fits. I'm not really reading it to uncover truths per se, but there's lots of sociological trinkets in a book like this.

I'm trying to read Le Guin's Left Hand of Darkness, but I'm procrastinating. This book seems like a good place to start reading Le Guin material. I'm trying to find out what is all the fuss about her books. I suppose that's not a good way to approach a fiction book because you tend to be more hyper-critical and enjoy reading less.

Oh yes, I forgot, I still haven't finished "The signs of our time" by Jack Solomon. This is the best semiotics book I've read so far. However, the subject itself is a different story. I'm yet to discover the significance of this subject because it is seems like an amalgam of cultural anthropology, sociology, and semantics.
Last edited by 1%homeless on Mon Jun 13, 2005 7:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by messalina » Mon Jun 13, 2005 7:19 pm

School just ended (I graduated on Saturday! YAY! :D), so I'm now able to do something besides study for finals (i.e. post on textkit :wink:)..

My Greek class this past quarter was on Homer - I absolutely loved it, and I think I'll continue to work through the text on my own this summer. (The Greek program at my university starts off with Attic, and gets to Homeric at the end of the second year.)

I picked up Plutarch's Life of Antony yesterday, so that's also on the summer reading list for Greek.

Other than that, not much yet (which I'm sure will change). I'm still in shock about being out in the real world.. :shock: I intend to brush up my Latin this summer (I haven't done much with it in 5 years :oops: and so it's back to Wheelock and 38 Stories for me..), and I'm going to attempt to learn some Italian.

..i am also looking forward to the next Harry Potter book.. :D

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Post by Paul » Mon Jun 13, 2005 9:37 pm

Discontinuous Syntax - Hyberbaton in Greek by Devine and Stephens
The Songs of Homer by G.S. Kirk
Hymn to Delian Apollo

The first one doesn't mix at all well with alcohol.

Cordially,

Paul

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Post by Bert » Mon Jun 13, 2005 10:54 pm

The second book of the Iliad, and First Greek Book by White.
When I feel the need, I read from a collection of the Best American Homurous Short Stories. Some of them are actually funny but there are quite a few that don't belong in a book of that title.

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Post by Yhevhe » Tue Jun 14, 2005 1:55 am

The Espasa-Calpe enciclopedy :D

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Post by Jeff Tirey » Tue Jun 14, 2005 2:24 am

It's story time with my two year-old every night. We read...

Be Nice To Spiders
The Big Red Barn
Best Word Book Ever
Curious George
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Post by Bardo de Saldo » Tue Jun 14, 2005 6:07 am

I'm on Book 23 of The Odyssey. (I confess to being a Loeb's righty.)

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Post by mingshey » Tue Jun 14, 2005 9:05 am

English translations of Plato's dialogues.
They give some more sense of progress than crawling on Greek words.
And it's a preparation for reading them in the original language in the future.
Those Greeks had very funny ideas really.

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Post by Bert » Tue Jun 14, 2005 9:56 am

jeff wrote:It's story time with my two year-old every night. We read...

Be Nice To Spiders
The Big Red Barn
Best Word Book Ever
Curious George
At least you have a bit of a variety going. I've read 'Stop that Ball' so often that I hardly had to open the book to read it.

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Post by classicalclarinet » Tue Jun 14, 2005 10:36 am

Crime and Punishment

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Jeff Tirey
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Post by Jeff Tirey » Tue Jun 14, 2005 3:46 pm

Bert wrote:
jeff wrote:It's story time with my two year-old every night. We read...

Be Nice To Spiders
The Big Red Barn
Best Word Book Ever
Curious George
At least you have a bit of a variety going. I've read 'Stop that Ball' so often that I hardly had to open the book to read it.
It's charming really how a child enjoys the same book over and over. Some children's books are done so nicely. They appear simple, but I'm very sure it's a real art to write a good children's story. I have a whole new appreciation for how clever and fun Dr. Suess books are. Nathan has The Cat in the Hat almost memorized.

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Post by mariek » Tue Jun 14, 2005 4:28 pm

Reading a childrens book called "The Six Wrinkled Woos of Hawaii" to my almost 3 month old daughter. The book is a bit too advanced for her right now, but I am hoping she will grow to love it someday. I even got the book signed to her by both the author & artist. :)

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Post by Andrus » Tue Jun 14, 2005 4:45 pm

I’m reading (again) all books of the “First Man of Rome” of Colleen McCullough, I’m at the 3th at the moment (“Fortune’s Favorites”). But to tell the true for the last days, and for the next days, what I have been reading is the mistakes of my students in theirs laboratorial reports *sigh*

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Post by edonnelly » Wed Jun 15, 2005 12:19 am

jeff wrote:I have a whole new appreciation for how clever and fun Dr. Suess books are.
The Dr. Suess books are incredible. It's amazing how often someone will try to write their own "sing-songy" type of poem and try to pass it off as either similar to Dr. Suess or a parody of him. In all cases I am amazed at just how much better he is than those who try to imitate him.
jeff wrote:Nathan has The Cat in the Hat almost memorized.
I have read that book to my kids so many times that I can recite the first 2/3 of the book off the top of my head and in about 30 seconds. It drives them crazy when I do it.

I am currently reading the much-discussed Lingua Latina: Familia Romana and am anxiously awaiting for it to get interesting. I like it, though, because I can read it while running on the treadmill (unlike real latin authors, for whom I need a dictionary and, at times, grammar reference, on hand).

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Post by Kopio » Wed Jun 15, 2005 1:58 am

hmmmmm....what am I reading???

Well, I am in the midst of a few books right now...that's usually the case.

I am still reading Nigel Turner's Style, which is the 4th volume in Moulton's Koine Greek Grammar Series. It's quite good....it talks about each individual NT author's style, Semitic influence, Aramaic influence, Hebraic influnce, etc.

Just finished Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game , which is a great book for a sci-fi buff.

I'm gonna start The Divinci Code next, a friend from work lent me his copy...I want to see if it's really as horrible as some people say it is.

And I am still occaisionally blundeirng through E. Tov's Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible, which has been an insightful read. I don't know hardly anything about TC of the MT, I am fairly well versed in NT TC, but I'm still figuing out the apparatus in my BHS.

I plan on picking back up the Odyssey soon, along with Apollodorus' Library (both in the Loeb)...oh yes, and of course...I am reading (most always) the bible. Right now I am in Isaiah...a really cool book (unless you were an ancient Judean, in which case it would have been rather disturbing :))

Aasimov's Foundation Trilogy is high on my must read list too.....I read it years ago, but I'm finding it quite enjoyable to go back and reread some of the books that I read in my early twenties, now that the b0ng resin and THC has had a chance to clear out (I'm amazed at how much I missed!) :lol:

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Post by Yhevhe » Wed Jun 15, 2005 2:21 am

Just a small offtopic.

Jeff, lately, just as you, I've been amazed as how small childrens don't get tired of the same thing over and over, be it a story, a childrens TV show, etc. If just we could be like that: be amazed by every sunrise, every new day, by the same work and faces from yesterday. I think we could have kept that way of being if just the society didn't take it from us.

It's pretty interesting those things we can rediscover when watching small childrens.

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Post by mariek » Wed Jun 15, 2005 4:29 am

Kopio wrote:Just finished Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game , which is a great book for a sci-fi buff.
I read that years ago... it was a fun read and easy read. Never got around to any of the sequels though...

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Post by edonnelly » Wed Jun 15, 2005 11:38 am

Kopio wrote: I'm gonna start The Divinci Code next, a friend from work lent me his copy...I want to see if it's really as horrible as some people say it is.
I might suggest you consider Holy Blood, Holy Grail, a nonfiction story that was heavily borrowed from by the writer of The Divinci Code. There may have even been a lawsuit over it. I read it about six months ago and probably set a person record on pages read per day because I could not put it down.
Kopio wrote: Aasimov's Foundation Trilogy is high on my must read list too...
I finished that for my second time a couple years ago and I'm looking forward to third time. This series may be one of the last of my favorites from childhood that someone hasn't tried to turn into a movie (Lord of the Rings, Hitchhikers, and now I hear Chronicles of Narnia is starting to come out)

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Post by mingshey » Thu Jun 16, 2005 12:36 am

Also reading a mathematical treatment on the divergence theorem or Gauss theorem. http://www.owlnet.rice.edu/~fjones/

by the way, my little daughter is too young and thou' she likes books, she prefers just flipping through a book, or picking out books from the bookshelf, and throwing them away just carelessly, in a sequence.

She now likes to say "ναι" in Modern Greek( or, is it Korean? :roll: )

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Post by Noah » Thu Jun 16, 2005 5:50 am

the following are either in process are on the list for the summer:

Haunted--Chuck Palahniuk (the guy who wrote Fight Club, impressive author imho)

Nausea--JP Sartre

Cien Anos de Soledad (in Spanish, Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

probably the commentaries on the gallic wars in latin w/ the loeb this summer...i haven't really *done* any latin in 3 years because school has kept me plenty busy, and that was catullus which wasn't much of a challenge...hopefully mr. caesar can get me back into it.


cheers,
noah


PS i don't post often, so i gather not too many people know me. anyone who wants to chat or something my AIM is captainnoah07

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Post by Episcopus » Thu Jun 16, 2005 10:47 am

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/insti ... um_lt.html

QVI SVPERIOR INTER OMNES DISCESSERIT EPISCOPVS NECABIT AVRVNQVE ILLIVS PRAEPRIPIET.
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Post by Adelheid » Thu Jun 16, 2005 8:38 pm

"Who killed Homer" by Hanson and Heath.

And "Godenschemering" (Downfall of the Gods) by Marcellus Emants. Lovely poem.


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Post by psilord » Fri Jun 17, 2005 4:26 am

Lesse, I'm actively trading off between these books:

The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath by H.P. Lovecraft.

Self Organizing Maps by Kohonen

Signals and Systems by Haykin, Van Veen

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Edwards

Treatise on Harmony by Rameau

Lisp In Small Pieces by Queinnec

Homeric Greek by Pharr

Hmmm.... I guess I get bored with one subject alone....

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Post by yadfothgildloc » Fri Jun 17, 2005 1:32 pm

"The Call of Cthulhu and other Wierd Tales" HP Lovecraft
"The 1,001 Arabian Nights" trans. Richard Burton
"An Essential Grammar for Modern Hebrew" Lewis Glinert
"The Illiad" Homer (greek)
Random selections from Latin poetry, various (latin)
"Hari Poter v'cheder sodot" ("G'. Q. Roling") (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Hebrew)
"The Collected Stories of Isaac Bashevis Singer" (english. I don't know Yiddish yet)
"A Critique of Religion and Philosophy" Walter Kaufmann
"I and Thou" Martin Buber, trans Walter Kaufman
The Collected Poetry of W.B. Yeats
The Collected Poetry of Alfred, Lord Tennyson

I bought an Akkadian primer, and am thinking about picking up Genesius' Hebrew Grammar and/or a really nice edition of the Prophets and Writings- has the Hebrew and Aramaic targum in two collums, then four different commentators around them on the page, then after each book, it has some essays.

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reading habits

Post by dlp » Fri Jun 17, 2005 10:23 pm

Just finished a third reading of Dante's Purgatorio (Temple Edition) in Italian.

Picking various poems from Chiarini's edition of Catullus and Bandini's edition of Arnaut Daniel.

Also just finished another read of Helen Waddell's Wandering Scholars.

Finding much to bother me in Rene Leibowitz's Schoenberg And His School (I like AS & school, don't care much for RL's methodology).

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Post by Bert » Fri Jun 17, 2005 11:38 pm

How do you guys do it, reading 5 or 6 books at the time.
I can get confused reading just one.

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Post by sisyphus » Sat Jun 18, 2005 12:36 am

This is all a bit intellectual. Until i read Jeff's contribution i was about to ask if nobody reads Noddy any more.

Not really into any cover to cover item at the moment. i've started McGregor and Boorman's "Long Way Round" but it's already rekindled my wunderlust so i think i'm going to have to put it down. Last novel i read was Iain M. Banks' "The Algebraist". Thoroughly enjoyed it, though i still rank Excession about the highest.

Good to see Lovecraft hasn't been forgotten and is still hitting people's reading lists. Nausea is probably the one book in the existentialist ouvre i'd be really keen to read again (though i know i'd enjoy re-reading L'Etranger/Outsider, or almost any novel by Sartre). Not sure if Steppenwolf was ever "officially" existentialist but i seem to recall, a couple of decades on, that certain odour strongly enough to want to revisit it. And now i think of it, i really want to re-read Stanislaw Lem's "The Cyberiad" - can't recall the translator but it's an excellent effort, retaining (or perhaps reinventing) much of the humour and wordplay.

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Post by IVSTINIANVS » Sat Jun 18, 2005 5:06 pm

My *most* recent book acquisitions from amongst the mountain currently sitting on my bedside table:
  • Maps of Time, An Introduction to Big History, by David Christian
    A History of the World in 6 Glasses, by Tom Standage
    Mesopotamia: Writing, Reasoning, and the Gods, by Jean Bottéro
    After the Ice: A Global Human History 20,000-5000 BC, Steve Mithen
Thanks to William S. Annis, I made a trip to Schoenhofs Foreign Books on Monday to find a copy of Indo-European Language and Culture by Fortson, and, as usual, I couldn't stop there. My additional purchases:
  • The Cambridge Companion to Homer, Edityed by Robert Fowler
    Inventing Homer: The Early Reception of Epic, by Barbara Graziosi
    Le Roman d'Alexandre, Traduction, présentation et notes de Laurence Harf-Lancner (avec le texte édité par E. C. Armstrong et al.)
Amongst the less recent acquisitions still on my table are:
  • Who Wrote the Bible? by Richard Elliott Friedman (I've read most of this)
    The Politics of Myth, a Study of C. G. Jung, Mircea Eliade, and Joseph Campbell, by Robert Ellwood
    When They Severed Earth From Sky: How the Human Mind Shapes Myth, by Elizabeth Wayland Barber & Paul T. Barber
    God's Secretaries, by Adam Nicolson
    Defending Middle Earth, by Patrick Curry
    The Tolkien Fan's Medieval Reader, by Turgon
    Christ, a Crisis in the Life of God, by Jack Miles (I loved God: A Biography to bits, but haven't gotten into this one as quickly)
    In Search of Zarathustra, by Paul Kriwaczek
    The Arabian Nights, a Companion, by Robert Irwin
    The Other God, by Yuri Stoyanov
    The Discovery of God, by David Klinghoffer
    The God of Old, by James Kugel - I just finished this, and really enjoyed it
    The Oxford Illustrated History of the Bible, Edited by John Rogerson
    The Oxford History of the Biblical World, Edited by Michael D. Coogan
    Collapse, by Jared Diamond (I loved Guns, Germs and Steel but haven't started this one yet)
    The Bible Unearthed, by Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman (I've read this more than once and think it's fantastic)
    The Second Bill of Rights, by Cass R. Sunstein
    Le Morte Darthur, Edited by Stephen H. A. Shepherd, a beautiful Norton Edition
And of course I always have Greek by me
  • Greek Lyric I from the Loeb Classical Library, David A. Campbell
    Euripides Medea, Edited by Alan Elliott
    Euripides Medea, Edited by Page
    Greek Lyric Poetry, Edited by D.A. Campbell
    Horace, Epodes and Odes, Garrison
    Student's Catullus, Garrison
    Sappho and Alcaeus, Page
    Both standard grammars (Smyth and Goodwin)
    Middle Liddell
I'm "currently" reading Medea but it's been on the back burner for a while now.

I'm much more picky with Fiction. I did just recently finish the most recent Rumpole about the Penge Bungalow Murders, and a couple of Josephine Tey books. I wish there was more good Historical Fiction out there: unfortunately I hit the pinnacle early on in the mid 90s with Mary Renault and let's face it it's mostly downhill from there. Historical Fiction is a decidedly mixed bag. There is an awful lot of very bad historical fiction, and just about nothing anywhere near as good as Renault. Robert Graves' books are good fun, of course, and Vidal's two books from the ancient world (Julian and Creation) are very good, and every once in a while one finds some good short stories in collections here and there, but the pickins are decidedly slim.

I do read everything Stephen Saylor puts out. He's a joy. I read Colleen McCullough's entire Masters of Rome series, although as novels per se they leave a lot to be desired: but her particular take on late Republican history is just such fantastic fun and the Republic is about a billion times more interesting and fun than anything from the imperial period, pace Graves. I find Lindsay Davis's novels pretty unreadable: unlike Saylor's books,who really does his research, Davis' are, I find, just common garden-variety 20th-century mysteries that "happen" to be placed in Imperial Rome. Change a few names and locations and you wouldn't know the difference. I just don't get why she's so popular: especially why she's so much more popular than John Maddox Roberts, though he's still not in the same league as Saylor.

Pressfield's books have gotten a lot of good reviews, but I just haven't been able to get into them. I have them all, though. I read about the first quarter of Gates of Fire and the first few pages each of Last of the Amazons and Virtues of War and Tides of War, but never stick with it. Some day I'll break down and force myself to get into one of them and maybe once over that hump I'll find him more enjoyable. My most recent Historical Fiction novel acquisition is Pride of Carthage by David Anthony Durham; again I haven't been able to really get into that one, either. If only Renault had written more...
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Post by annis » Sun Jun 19, 2005 2:03 am

IVSTINIANVS wrote:Thanks to William S. Annis, I made a trip to Schoenhofs Foreign Books on Monday to find a copy of Indo-European Language and Culture by Fortson, and, as usual, I couldn't stop there.
OMG! :shock: You're close enough to Schoenhofs to visit it! I would be destitute. I can never move anywhere near Cambridge, MA.

I spent some time today lolling about the UW Madison Memorial Library, hunting down the outsize Opera Omnia of Politian. I love the giant editions for the collected works of the Italian Renaissance humanists. I wish I had more books 18 inches tall.

Politianus, aka Angelo Ambrogini Poliziano, produced lots of Latin verse in the classical style. He wrote a few epigrams in Greek (57 it seems) and I was curious to see what those were like. Blame Scribes and Scholars for this erratic act of curiosity.
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;

IVSTINIANVS
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Post by IVSTINIANVS » Sun Jun 19, 2005 2:56 am

annis wrote:OMG! :shock: You're close enough to Schoenhofs to visit it! I would be destitute. I can never move anywhere near Cambridge, MA.
:lol: 2.5 miles, according to mapquest. Or two stops on the T.

Thank god they have very inconvenient hours, though: or I'd shop there every time I went in to Harvard Square. *sigh* As it is, I've certainly helped do my part to keep them in the black, and to prove it, I still don't have a new kitchen.

Or enough bookshelves.
phpbb

Paul
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Post by Paul » Sun Jun 19, 2005 3:32 am

Schoenhof's is wonderful. I've been there 4 or 5 times. I usually leave it nearly $200 lighter.

Cordially,

Paul

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Post by Johannes_Vigorniae » Sun Jun 19, 2005 6:10 pm

Ivstinivs, whan you've finished Irwin's companion to the Arabian nights, try his Night, Horses and the Desert, which is the best, most readable anthology of Classical Arabic literature I know. He doesn't translate himself, but uses a wide variety of earlier translations into English.

So what am I reading?

Classics: L. Whibley's Companion to Greek Studies (4th and last edition, 1931) which is a great storehouse of information on Greek culture and literature. Some info may now be disregarded, but the vast majority is solid. If you ever wanted to know how to fold your himation, this is your book! I'm also reading Dr. John Potter's Historiae Graecae, an English overview of classical Greek culture and history, in a 1720-ish edition as a sort of base-line study of the classics, partly to get some perspective on how our views have changed. And lots of stuff onthe Greek theatre for my OU course.

Greek: I'm trying to slowly make my way through Michael Psellus' Chronography in the rather nice Mondadori parallel Greek/Italian edition. And lots of Greek playwrights for my OU course, but in translation as my Greek's not q. up to verse yet.

Italian: Oxford Book of Italian Verse, but just dipping in. It's the first time I've read Leopardi, so the good times are rolling!

German: Re-reading Rilke, always a great pleasure. I don't know of a greater poet.

What else? A friend lent me a copy of Seierstad's Bokhandlaren i Kabul, which is rather interesting.

Michael Schmidt's Lives of the Poets is a lively over-view of English poetry, and has made me order John Gower's Confessio Amantis, which I'm to pick up tomorrow. In earlier English literature, I'm also reading Manderville's Travels, which, I am astonished to find, are highly accurate (bar the addition of the odd dragon or two). And I keep ploughing on with Langland's Piers Plowman, and will have to leave Gower till I finish.

I found a lovely verse translation of Nizami's Laili va Majnun and finished it on the train to my parents' this morning. It's called The Loves of Laili and Majnun: a Poem from the original Persian of Nizami by James Atkinson (Esq, of the Honorable East India Company's medical service). The David Nutt edition (1894) is a nice size to slip into the pocket - and cheaper than the more readily available first edition.

On an odder note, I've just started The European in India, or Anglo-Indian's Vade-Mecum by E.C.P. Hull (1878, just reprinted by Asian Educational Services, New Delhi), which is, according to the subtitle, 'a handbook of useful and practical information for those proceeding to or residing in the East Indies, relating to Outfits, Routes, Time of Departure, Indian Climate, Housekeeping, Servants, etc., etc.; also an account of Anglo-Indian social customs and Native character'. Very interesting, though I've hardly read a dozen pages yet.

On a more contemporary note, I'm reading The Speckled People, a book of memoirs by Hugo Hamilton, an author with a German mother and Irish father, on his childhood in Ireland after the War. Really worth reading.

Fiction? Pamuk's Benim adim kirmizi (English: My Name is Red). Excellent historical novel of a philosophical sort. Recommended.
Last edited by Johannes_Vigorniae on Sun Jun 19, 2005 9:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Johannes_Vigorniae » Sun Jun 19, 2005 6:38 pm

sisyphus wrote: Nausea is probably the one book in the existentialist ouvre i'd be really keen to read again (though i know i'd enjoy re-reading L'Etranger/Outsider, or almost any novel by Sartre). Not sure if Steppenwolf was ever "officially" existentialist but i seem to recall, a couple of decades on, that certain odour strongly enough to want to revisit it.
Yes, I may re-read Nausea too, when I get my older books out of store (just moved house ex Vigornia ad Aquas Sulis) but I can't think what else I'd want to re-read by Sartre. Camus, certainly, but I'd really like to read more of would be Malreaux.

Oh, and Kopio, try C.D. Ginsburg's Introduction to the Massoretico-Critical Edition of the Hebrew Bible, an excellent guide to the Massorah by one of the most gifted ninteenth century scholars of the Massorah. You'll find a copy at http://www.bibles.org.uk/pdf/misc/intro.pdf.
Last edited by Johannes_Vigorniae on Sun Jun 19, 2005 9:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by swiftnicholas » Mon Jun 20, 2005 12:05 am

annis wrote:About a month ago I finally read Scribes and Scholars: A Guide to the Transmission of Greek and Latin Literature which is just fascinating reading. Many of the authors we talk about all the time here come to us by the narrowest of paths, and could easily have been lost. We all know that, but this book gives the hows and the whys.
I've always been exhilarated by that idea. I'm glad to learn that such a book exists. Do you remember the author's name and the publication date?


I recently read Prometheus Bound in English translation, and read a passage of about a hundred lines in Greek. I once tried to read a short passage from Agamemnon, but I was discouraged by the difficulty of the language. Prometheus Bound was much more managable; I would recommend it to somebody who wants to try Aeschylus (or maybe it's not him??). Is there a play of Sophocles that makes a particularly good introduction?

I'm also reading Paradise Lost. I read through it on my own, at college, and appreciated his clever use of Judeo-Christian mythology, but wasn't taken with his poetry. I am enjoying it much more this time. I think--maybe--I recognize the influence of the Homeric unity of line, and enjambment.

I just finished a selection of Nabokov's letters as bedtime reading material. They are wonderful. At times he is cutting and arrogant, but the language is always precise and elegant, and very often it is hilarious.

My new bedtime material (and this might interest you, Bert) is a book called "The Catalogue of the Ships in Homer's Iliad" by Simpson and Lazenby (Oxford, 1970). It offers a short passages on each of the kingdoms and communities mentioned in Homer's catalogue. I haven't gotten very far, but it surveys what we know (and what we don't know) about the location and archeology of each site. It has occured to me that many advances have probably been made since its publication.

I also seem to be spending a lot of time in 501 French Verbs....

Nicholas

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