Thursday, August 9, 2012

multiple readings at the moment...

I read online recently (amazing that I have the time) where someone in the Commentariat mentioned their Mount To-Be-Read (well, they said Mount Toberead, but I think that is confusing). I'm not sure I'll adopt that phrase for my own use, but it is worth consideration, especially considering the mountain-seeming pile I have been accumulating. And accumulate is about all that has happened for a few months. I took a very time consuming construction job, about as inappropriate a job for a scholarly type that I can think of. But I am surviving, and even holding my own. I worked 71 hours last week, getting paid 31 hours of overtime. No life; large paychecks. For a temporary thing, it is marvelous in many respects and I'm very blessed and grateful to have it. But anyway... I have had Jack London's The Sea Wolf on my calander for about two years. I am still in the middle of Gods of Opar, and actually I am reading books 2 and 3 of the trilogy (Flight to Opar and Song of Kwasin) simultaneously, alternating between their natural turning points (if I am lucky enough to notice them). I am in the middle of a breif scholarly history of Africa, called an Atlas of African History, and it is just the kind of overview I was interested in. I hope to finish that soon. It's about 1300 and Zimbabwe just emerged as a power, enriched by their gold trade with seagoing Arabs. The Islamic empire(s) are in decline from their apex of a few centuries ago, and independant Ghana has thrown out the Mohamadeans in favor of their indigenous animism and native king. My favorite chapter in history, the Renaissance explorers, is just over the horizon. Literally. Next up Prince Henry the Navigator, Magellan, Cadamosto, I hope. I picked up a few books from the library on "mysteries" recently. One on cryptozoolgy, one on lost civiliations, and another on mysteries of the past, generally. My Opar interests compelled the African and mysterious books. I ordered the Other Log of Phileus Fogg on eBay. The new Titan books edition, gently used. That purchase is not quite a result of Opar, but rather part of the same trend (the author, Jose Farmer) After ordering Phileus Fogg, I learned from a review online that I was earnestly recommended to first read the original Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne. So I have added that to my list also, retroactively. Strangely enough, my girlfriend seems to have had a presentiment on that account and had gotten me a copy months before. I am in the middle of The Annotated Hobbit, an 80s pre-Peter-Jackson celebration of the ledgendary books, including the novel itself. Four months ago I think the dwarves, hobbit, and wizard just escaped the Goblin caverns (along with Golum). I also began a Sherlock Holmes story, but only a few pages in, and I forget which one. I just remember my shock at his cocaine use. I also got two hardbacks from the Dollar Tree recently (I cannot recommend books from Dollar Tree enough, when worth reading): one on modern travel tales from China, the other on corruption in US politics. Those are near the bottom of my pile, however. I have Exiles of Kho on preorder, and am hoping for it later this month. It is a novella set in the world of the Opar books, and is exiting. It is going to be high on my list of To-Be-Reads, in part because I paid real money for the privilege ;-) And privilege is promises to be. Months ago I started an Ernest Hemingway novel, The Green Hills of Africa, but only got a few chapters into it by the time I got sidetracked. I plan to get back to it. It seemed worth the read. Besides, I own it, because I bought it very cheap at a library used book sale. Not long ago (in bibliographical terms) I read an excerpt from Edgar Allen Poe's Eureka and was dumbstruck. I mean, this was the 1800s, and the guy has anticipated the Big Bang Theory. No, I'm not kidding. If you are interested in astronomical science, you should read it. Can you tell I have a bad habit of starting stories I don't finish, even if they are good? To combat this bad habit, I have sometimes forced myself to read stories that did not hold my attention. Forgive my blasphemy, but some of the Edgar Allen Poe stories were that way. Am I forgetting something? Well, I suspect I am, but if I remembered what I was forgetting, we wouldn't be having this problem, would we?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Classic country? Big Wind and Johnny Cash I didn't even realize there was such a thing as classic country, and I also didn't realize Johnny Cash and John Denver are generally considered country. I heard the above song "Big Wind" on the radio a few weeks ago and was first made aware of the concept. It turns out I like that style of music, regardlass of the fact I detest country music in the modern sense. Now, I don't mean any disrespect. I am quite certain some of my interests offend others' sensabilities. Your comments?