Thursday, June 22, 2006

Been awhile since I've posted anything here I see. I have been reading quite a bit in the meantime, but a lot of it has been the 'comfort food' of re-reads.

I've burned my way through five Outsider trades. Not bad, not great, not inspired enough to pick up the series regularly, that's for sure.

Re-read all of Byron's Don Juan; a whack of Shakespeare's Sonnets and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Of course I read that Potter book when it came out a few years back, and I remember it immediately becoming my least favourite of the bunch. But upon re-read, I found it wasn't that bad. If you go into it knowing that Harry is a pratt throughout, I found I was more able to see WHY Harry was a pratt throughout. Everything was just finally getting to him, and he IS only a 16 year-old-boy. The shit that kid's gone through, I think I can excuse his pratiness. And man, Delores Umbridge was a pretty good villian.

I did finally pick up a new book yesterday, which I started this morning; A Year in the Life of Shakespeare: 1599, by James Shapiro. Its fictionalized history, which I've always had a fondness for, and its about Shakespeare, so how can I go wrong? Shapiro has decided to focus on this year in Shakespeare's life because this is the year he writes Henry V (which is one of my very favourite plays), Julius Ceasar, As You Like It, and his masterpiece, Hamlet. It is a year of incredible creative growth for Shakespeare, and Shapiro wants to examine the history of the year in which Shakespeare was living and see if he can find a clue as to why this became an almost seminal year in Shakespeare's writing. I thought this was an admirable thesis, and so I'm very interested in reading it.

Speaking of a thesis, I started my hypothetical one as well. That's right, my 'prove Lancelot was indeed the best knight ever by doing a sports-like statistical analysis of all tournaments and battles the knights were in.' I'm about half way through the first volume, and right now, my poor, tattered Penguin editions of Le Morte D'Arthur are now furiously scribbled in all over as well. But I'm having a great time, and at some point, I'm going to talk to one of the mathematitians I work with about how to go about the actual statistical side of things. I also told Nat about this entire endevour of mine, and she thought it was a great idea. Nice to hear that from a fellow academic :)

Monday, June 05, 2006

Ok, since last post I have indeed finished Bury the Chains. VERY good book. Has made me want to swear off eating sugar for good, but I know that's damned near impossible these days. Funny thing is, while reading the book, the CBC rebroadcast their 'Big Sugar' documentary, which looked at modern day sugar-cane plantations, and all the ways sugar is a very big problem in our world. Those who harvest sugar-cane on modern day plantations are living a life of slavery in all but name. Its like nothing really changed over the past two hundred years, and Bury the Chains have said that many of the Caribbean nations (like Haiti) have never really recovered from the slave rebellions that destroyed much of the island's wealth. The show Big Sugar also heavily referenced Bury the Chains, as they showed the abolitionist movement was very directly tied to sugar. They also mentioned how WHO had been trying to get a bill tabled at the United Nations about sanctioning big sugar, in order to protect children from the growing obesity problem, but the US refused to sign it and threatened to withdraw funding from WHO should anyone mention it again. Guess who is a large contributer to the Republicans? Yeah, sugar companies...

After finishing Bury the Chains, I started Knight Life by Peter David. Not bad at all and a fun little read as a re-awakened Arthur runs for mayor of New York City. I did have a slight panic attack worrying that perhaps this book might be too close to what I've come up with for the plot of my romance novel, but fortunately PAD's Lancelot is a non-factor in the book, and although Gwen might have some characteristics in common with my heroine, I think they're still different enough. The Arthur in this book was pretty good, and came off as very charismatic. Morgan was an ehn villainess, but I loved that Mordred was a top PR man. He was great. So yeah, overall, a nice book, I'll probably end up picking up the sequal, One Knight Only.

I've also been re-reading Byron's Don Juan (don't ask; personal reasons). I read this originally in second-year university, I had to do my Romantics seminar on it. I had an episode of Cheers taped where Diane was doing her psychology thesis on why Sam was a text-book case of Don Juan syndrome. Sam was a compulsive womanizer, and so yes, was a perfect example of the psychological Don Juan. However, as I read through Byron's poem, I realized that his Don Juan was not the compulsive womanizer that Sam was, rather Byron's Don Juan was more of a romantic, and it was usually always the women who pursued him. Byron's Don Juan was almost a niaf, and I found that rather fascinating, given the almost negative connotations being called a 'Don Juan' has in modern society. Byron's Don Juan isn't really what we think of as a stereotypical Don Juan. It is a lovely poem, full of romantic imagery, but also quite humourous as well. I'm having fun re-reading it. Oh, and way back when, I got an A on that Romantics seminar. Thanks Cheers :)