Wednesday, November 02, 2005

On line reading

Stefanie's Bookman is gearing up to read all of the Bard's plays, and he's set up a blog, My Year of Shakespeare, to chart his progress.

JoanneMarie provides us with the staff of Harvard Bookstore's Top 100 books. (The ones I've read are in bold.)

A People’s History of the United States Howard Zinn
The Wind Up Bird Chronicles Haruki Murakami
The New York Trilogy Paul Auster
The Crying of Lot 49 Thomas Pynchon
Lord of the Rings J.R.R. Tolkien
Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte
Lolita Vladimir Nabokov
Nineteen Eighty-Four George Orwell
One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger
Crime and Punishment. Dostoevsky
On the Road. Kerouac
Alice in Wonderland. Carrol
Brothers Karamozov. Dostoevsky
The Age of Innocence. Wharton
Don Quixote. Cervantes
Perfume. Suskind
Ulysses. Joyce
Anna Karenina. Tolstoy
Complete Stories of Flannery O’Connor
Cry the Beloved Country. Paton
Dracula. Stoker
The Eagles Die. Marek
Emotionally Weird. Atkinson
The Handmaid’s Tale. Atwood
Infinite Jest. Wallace
Kitchen. Yoshimoto
London Fields. Amis
Moise and the World of Reason. Williams
Movie Wars .Rosenbaum
Paradise Lost. Milton
Persuasion. Austen
Tortilla Curtain. Boyle
Visions of Excess. Bataille
Where the Wild Things Are. Sendak
Wild Sheep Chase. Murakami
Beloved. Morrison
Counterfeiters. Gide
The Bell Jar. Plath
Blind Owl. Hedayat
Complete Works of Edgar Allen Poe
The Count of Monte Cristo. Dumas
Dealing With Dragons. Wrede
The Earthsea Trilogy. Le Guin
The Ecology of Fear. Davis
Franny and Zooey. Salinger
History of the Peloponnesian War. Thucydides
How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents. Alvarez
Kabuki: Circle of Blood. Mack & Jiang
Of Human Bondage. Maugham
The Satanic Verses. Rushdie
The Sheltering Sky. Bowles
Tristam Shandy. Sterne
Well of Loneliness. Hall
Wicked Pavilion. Powell
Collected Stories of V.S. Pritchett
War and Peace. Tolstoy
Babel 17. Delany
Dora. Freud
Empire Falls. Russo
For Whom the Bell Tolls. Hemingway
Girl in Landscape. Letham
Goodbye to All That. Graves
Ham on Rye. Bukowski
Life Like.
Mao II. Delillo
Random Family. Leblanc
Revolutionary Road. Yates
The Stranger. Camus
Humboldt’s Gift. Bellow
White Noise. Delillo
Atlas Shrugged. Rand
Bastard Out of Carolina. Allison
Days Run Away Like Wild Horses Over the Hills. Bukowski
Delta of Venus. Nin
Fast Food Nation. Schlosser
Ficciones. Borges
Go Ask Alice. Anonymous
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Adams
Iliad. Homer
On Photography. Sontag
Republic. Plato
Shockproof Sydney Skate. Meaker
Society of the Spectacle. Debord
Strangers in Paradise. Moore
The Sun Also Rises. Hemingway
A Wrinkle In Time. L’Engle
Dubliners. Joyce
The Breakfast of Champions. Vonnegut
No Logo. Klein
Aeneid. Virgil
Ariel .Plath
Charlotte’s Web. White
Curious George Learns the Alphabet. Rey
Enormous Changes at the Last Minute. Paley
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. McCullers
Henry VIII. Shakespeare (did he really write one on Henry VIII?)
I, Claudius. Graves
The Lost Continent. Bryson
Master and Margarita. Bulgakov

... my father was a poet - not a journalist, not a scientist, not a legalist, and not a moralist. He subordinated clinical facts to spiritual truths, and so did every other poet who ever lived.

That’s because poems are lies.

We don’t read poetry in order to be fed lifeless data about the happenings of everyday existence; we read it because its illusions resonate with something at the very core of what we know ourselves to be, or perhaps it illuminates what, at our best or worst moments, we dimly sense ourselves to be. Either way, it reveals to us what we did not know we knew. Poetry, then, is the very inverse of journalism. Journalists present a sequence of facts about a given situation and allow their reader to interpret their own meaning. Poets begin with meaning, and facts are only incidental to their poetic purpose. The poem is the vessel by which poets create (and recreate) the world as they want it, as they think it ought to be, and as they believe it essentially is. Dad liked to say that the poet shows God a few things He may not have thought of.


--Bronwen Dickey, James Dickey's daughter, "The Truth As A "Lie," in the South Carolina Review

Getting started on a verse translation is in some respects not all that different from original composition. In order to get the project under way, there has to be a note to which the lines, and especially the first lines, can be tuned. Until this register is established, your words may well constitute a fair rendition of the paraphrasable meaning, but they cannot induce the necessary sensation of being on the right track, musically and rhythmically.

--Seamus Heaney, on translating Sophocle's Antigone

So, how does Libby stack up against the competition? This question was put to Nancy Sladek, the editor of Britain’s Literary Review, which, each year, holds a contest for bad sex writing in fiction. (In 1998, someone nominated the Starr Report.) Sladek agreed to review a few passages from Libby. “That’s a bit depraved, isn’t it, this kind of thing about bears and young girls? That’s particularly nasty, and the other ones are just boring,” she said. “God, they’re an odd bunch, these Republicans.” Unlike their American counterparts, she said, Tories haven’t taken much to sex writing. “They usually just get caught,” she said.

--Lauren Collins considers conservative erotica, especially that of recently indicted Scooter Libby

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