Tuesday, January 10, 2006

First, if you haven't stopped by Box of Books in the last several days, please do so now. The sleep deprivation brought on by teething babies always made me even stupider than usual, but Ella's brillance has not been dimmed in the slightest by her late nights. I love the Absent Classic project and I. want. that. volume of zombie literature:

The all-too-brief Golden Age of Zombie Literature lasted from the publication of Andrew von Lorimer’s “Neither Dead Nor Alive” in 1861 through Agnes Renfrew’s “Open Grave” in 1865. It is generally agreed by scholars that the early work of Mr. von Lorimer is responsible for bringing the roman de zombi to the attention of the reading public, and imitators abounded. Although most were cheap horror novels aimed at the eyes of the lower class and featuring endless white-gowned maidens swooning before The Living Dead, a few more literate classics of the genre survive today, and are well worth the attention of the modern reader.

Otherwise, the year is not off to a stellar start in the reading department. The highlight so far has been the transformation of the foreign language shelf in the study into an actual to-be-read shelf. My philosophy has always been to shelf newcomers wherever they'll fit, but I'm hoping that having all the books I want to read this year together will make me a bit more focused that usual. I reread Book I of The Metamorphoses of Ovid, but otherwise, I simply admired how the books looked together, sans the Rebecca West, which went with R. to Chapel Hill on Sunday. Well, it was technically her birthday present last year anyway. I can always check out the library copy if I need it before she brings it back in the summer.

I finished The Winter's Tale last week. I read what Asimov, the Lambs and Bloom had to say about it, but couldn't rid myself of just feeling "eh" about it. I'd hoped watching the BBC version of the play would arouse a bit of enthusiasm for the work, but it was impossible to wedge it in between Arrested Development episodes. Maybe later this week.

I'm over half-way in Second Lives: A Novel of the Gilded Age. It's been hard to engage with this one as well. Wheeler has characters ride an electric elevator to the top of a hotel in Denver to dine in the restaurant. In 1885. My book on Victorian America glosses over the date electric elevators came into use, and I find conflicting info on the internet: one site mentions electric elevators installed throughout the U.S. by 1875, but another debunks this and claims the first elevator west of the Mississippi wasn't sold until 1890. I don't know why I even care.

R. and I saw Brokeback Mountain on Friday and I was impressed with how closely it stuck to Proulx's story. I want to read it again and definitely intend to buy the movie once it's out on dvd. Whoever decided to stick a fake mustache on Jake Gyllenhal and make him the spitting image of Kix Brooks, though, ought to be horsewhipped. Repeatedly.

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