Showing posts with label reading. Show all posts
Showing posts with label reading. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Translated epics

Dear Hearts,

I would like to take the time to share with you a few stories I have particularly enjoyed recently.

These stories are of the prose variety, with nary a picture in sight.  Would you ever have believed it?  All of the books are recognised as epics, from days gone by.  They feature heroes and heroines galore, the Brave and the Bold, the Fearsome and sometimes Fearful.

Read The Tain, translated by Ciaran Carson.  Revel in the deeds of Cú Chulainn, legendary hero of Ulster!  The wicked Queen Maeve is possessed by an unbecoming greed and determines to seize the Brown Bull of Cooley.  The Ulstermen have been laid low by a monstrous curse and so Cú Chulainn comes to their rescue!  He has the strength of ten men, can leap might rivers, twist his body into inhuman shapes and recover from nearly all bodily wounds!  No man is safe from him - he has even bested the Scald Crow, Morrigan!

In turns vulgar, in turns gentle, this is a lusty, war loving, comedic interpretation of one of Eire's greatest tales.

Ursula Le Guin tackles the Aenid to supply us with Lavinia.  Lavinia refused to be sold and set about taking control of her destiny.  Told with grace and patience, this Lavinia is headstrong, devout and pious.  She accepts responsibility for the outcomes of her actions and manoeuvres into a position where she can retain her independence.  She has strength and poise.  This was a more welcome read after the francticness of The Tain.

Tales of the Tricksters is a veritable treasure trove of liars and cheats from around the world. Read this and meet the cunning and wily Fox, Hare, Spider, Cockerel and Rat.  There's some beautiful illustrations included too.

Lastly, I read David Wright's prose adaption of Beowulf.  For an unenlightened Philistine like yours truly, the move away form poetry to prose was most welcome.  This Beowulf is a warrior: bloody, prideful, absolutely certain of his God, offensive and rude.  He doesn't waste words and he gets straight to the point of the matter,  Ever convinced of his righteousness you may find his attitude a little off putting.

And that, dear readers, brings you up to date with my non comic readings.

(Edited to add: I'm not quite sure what style I was going for when I wrote this.  See I write things in my note book then type them up.  It's long winded but it feels more satisfactory.  Sometimes it leads to confusion about my choice of words)

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Book news! Part 1

Town names streets after the Discworld. Wincanot in Somerset is not only twinned with the Discworld city of Ankh Morpork but has also named two streets after Ankh Morpok streets - Treacle Mine Road and Peach Pie Street.
That, is brilliant. I want to move there.

On a book related matter, The Guardian has done a list called 1000 books you must read before you die. They have a sci fi section, so i got interested. Here's the list and my thoughts on the books:

Douglas Adams: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1979). Some of the later books were better.

Brian W Aldiss: Non-Stop (1958) Don't know it. Mutated rats sound interesting though.
Isaac Asimov: Foundation (1951) After I tried to read the book with the crazy computer named Hal in I decided I hated Asimov.
Margaret Atwood: The Blind Assassin (2000) Really not keen on The Handmaid's tale, I do not like her writing style. Therefore have been put off reading anything else.
Paul Auster: In the Country of Last Things (1987) Haven't read but it sounds really good. And has a female protagonist. Rock on.

Iain Banks: The Wasp Factory (1984) Read when I was 16 (or thereabouts) and loved it. Skipped to the end early cos I was desperate to find out the plot twist and have never done that again. Would love to re-read.
Iain M Banks: Consider Phlebas (1987) Not interested in his SF stuff, but the boyfriend loves it.
Clive Barker: Weaveworld (1987) Isn't he a horror director?
Nicola Barker: Darkmans (2007) Set in Kent, near where I grew up. Could be worth a go.
Stephen Baxter: The Time Ships (1995) Ugh, sequel to the Time Machine. I hope he writes better than Wells.
Greg Bear: Darwin's Radio (1999) Again, boyfriend loves Bear, I haven't found any interest in him myself though.

Alfred Bester: The Stars My Destination (1956) This an SF masterworks book I think. is on my list of books to read.
Poppy Z Brite: Lost Souls (1992) Vampires and rock and roll. Sounds awful.
Algis Budrys: Rogue Moon (1960) Sounds blah.
Mikhail Bulgakov: The Master and Margarita (1966) I've read this one. The second half was much much more enjoyable than the first story. If you try it, keep at it, don't lose heart too quickly.
Edward Bulwer-Lytton: The Coming Race (1871) Apparently the city of Vril-ya inspired Bovril. Not interested, written too long ago.
Anthony Burgess: A Clockwork Orange (1960) Last time I tried to watch this I was meant to be high but just ended up depressed (not because of the film). I don't think I should bother.
Anthony Burgess: The End of the World News (1982) Not interested, see A Clockwork Orange.
Edgar Rice Burroughs: A Princess of Mars (1912) Burroughs has always tempted me.
William Burroughs: Naked Lunch (1959) Tried to read this. Failed.
Octavia Butler: Kindred (1979) This sounds awesome:
Butler's fourth novel throws African American Dana Franklin back in time to the early 1800s, where she is pitched into the reality of slavery and the individual struggle to survive its horrors. Butler single-handedly brought to the SF genre the concerns of gender politics, racial conflict and slavery.
Samuel Butler: Erewhon (1872) I should have read this at Uni, doing my Utopias and Dystopias module. Victorian, so i reckoned I wouldn't like the style and I picked up Ursula Le Guin instead.
Italo Calvino: The Baron in the Trees (1957) This sounds great. Fantasy about a boy living in a tree and the French Revolution. Great!
Ramsey Campbell: The Influence (1988) Horror. I don't need to read horror, or I shouldn't read it anyway....
Lewis Carroll: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) Read as a child of course. Wouldn't like it now.
Lewis Carroll: Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871) As above, except I don't think I ever read it.
Angela Carter: Nights at the Circus (1984) Now Carter is good. I should read this.
Michael Chabon: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (2000) About comics maybe? Is it worth reading?
Arthur C Clarke: Childhood's End (1953) Maybe I meant Clarke when I commented on Asimov earlier?
GK Chesterton: The Man Who Was Thursday (1908) Hmm. Could be OK, but probably written too long ago for me.
Susanna Clarke: Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (2004) Nowhere near as good as it was hyped to be. I found the experience rather frustrating.
Michael G Coney: Hello Summer, Goodbye (1975) Long summers, long winters, i'd like this. :)
Douglas Coupland: Girlfriend in a Coma (1998) This would be too close to the bone I reckon.
Mark Danielewski: House of Leaves (2000) Started reading, gave up. Not captured at all.
Marie Darrieussecq: Pig Tales (1996) Could be good. Could be explicitly feminist hamemring you over the head with it's ideologies. I've had enough of books like those (hello, 50% of the output of the women's press)
Samuel R Delaney: The Einstein Intersection (1967) Never heard of it.
Philip K Dick: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968) This sucks.
Philip K Dick: The Man in the High Castle (1962) I like alternate universe stuff. This could be good, but Dick is every hit and miss.
Umberto Eco: Foucault's Pendulum (1988) I studied Foucault at Uni. Bloody difficult theory and the poor translation didn't help. I doubt I will pick this up.
Michel Faber: Under the Skin (2000) "can also be read as an allegory of animal rights" That interests me.
John Fowles: The Magus (1966) Never heard of the book or the author.
Neil Gaiman: American Gods (2001) Ahh yes! Awesome, made of win, recommended, you have to buy, etc etc.a His best book.
Alan Garner: Red Shift (1973) I think I've read this. I've read a lot of his other stuff and it is excellent. Recommended.
William Gibson: Neuromancer (1984) Too hyped for me to accept.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Herland (1915) Love love love. Everyone should read. Its so..leafy.
William Golding: Lord of the Flies (1954) spit hack spit. Hate this. Hate it with a passion. Studied it at school. Fucking rubbish. I remember thinking that I had no interest in it because there was no way I was going to identify with the boys in the book. No way at all.

Parts 2 and 3 to come. I have flicked through them and ma very surprised to see there are no Discworld books in there. And no George R R Martin. I would also add in Sheri S Tepper - the margarets, or Beauty too.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

From whence came this name?

I call my blog Pai, because *ahem* that's what the boyfriend calls me as a nickname *blush*, ok I call him the same back, but still *blush*. Anyway I've known she was a manga character for a while but haven't quite managed to read any of the books. This shall now be rectified! I've found them on the bookshelf, they're called 3x3 eyes. I hope they turn out to be good or I'm gonna be very embarrassed. At least I'll have lunchtime reading at work. I'm completely failing to finish the English patient, because Catwoman is that much more interesting.

Speaking of manga, I've decided to actually buy some yaoi. I won these off of eBay:
The Moon and Sandals (Vol 1)- Fumi Yoshinaga (rated M)
Black Knight (Vol 1& 2)- Kai Tsurugi (rated M
I'll be your slave - Miki Araya ( rated M)

Does M mean rated medium or rated mature? I only chose these ones cos they were going cheap and from the amazon reviews seemed a reasonable place to start. Anyone read these? Will they be good or awful?