17 May 2017

larryhammer: a woman wearing a chain mail hoodie, label: "chain mail is sexy" (chain mail is sexy)
Another Wednesday come, another reading report. I am a very boring poster, with little more to say than this. I plead parenthood.

Finished:

Sohrab and Rustum by Matthew Arnold. Very pretty, Mr. Arnold, and a lucid embodiment of what you claim is Homer's style. However, comma, despite your treatment of Rustum as a tragic figure, his catastrophe is not a consequence of his character but rather circumstance, making him instead a pathetic figure. Try again. (Oh, wait, you did -- and failed damn every time.)

The Murderbot Diaries: All Systems Red by [personal profile] marthawells, the first of a projected series of novellas about a security droid who has hacked its own governor system and so became fully autonomous. Murderbot is the name it gives itself, which nicely encapsulates its own worldview -- not that it does much murdering, being far more interested in watching the entertainment feed than actually interacting with humans. Though if you start trying to harm its humans, it might feel a little compelled to prevent that -- if only to avoid exposure, which would get in the way of watching serial dramas. Wonderfully wry voice, like Marvin with more understatement. Will read the next, yes indeedy.

Acquainted with the Night: Insomnia Poems edited by Lisa Russ Spaar, a reread in snatches while winding down in bed. Still a very good anthology, selectionwise, but the layout of long lines was mangled very badly and not fixed by the proofreader. (And this from a university press!) If that sort of thing bugs you, you may want to skip this -- unless you are really drawn to the subject matter. Which I am.

The Ballad of Reading Gaol by Oscar Wilde. Ouch. I do not understand how Wilde simultaneously wrote successful propaganda and Poe-ean gothic horror, but he did. (Also, nobody expects the unexpected offhand Tannhäuser reference.)

Malcolm's Katie by Isabella Valency Crawford, a colonial romance valorizing the heroic individual with stylistic influences that are, despite this subject, not Byronic but Tennysonian (ETA: specifically, it's a domestic idyll). This works anyway, in no small part because even stronger than the frontier mythology is the Native American mythology. Plus the soliloquies are Shakespearean. Worth the tracking down -- or, yanno, following the link above. (Short shameful confession: the author first caught my attention because she shares an unusual name with the also-Canadian protagonist of The Blue Castle.)

DNF:

Old Spookses' Pass by Isabella Crawford -- because thick dialect writing. Pity, as it looks like it might have a good story underneath the bad spackling.

Eros & Psyche by Robert Bridges -- because the versification was just too grating, and not just the archaisms: too many lines clunk on the ear. Plus, he was showing no sign of ever departing from, undercutting, or otherwise revisioning Apuleius, and so far all the little elaborations were weaker than the unoriginal material. Meh.

Ongoing:

Am still reading Villanelles ed. by Finch & Mali -- about ⅔ through. Plus other pomes, some stories & some not.

---L.

Subject quote from "The Ethics of Elfland," G.K. Chesterton.

August 2017

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