Friday, November 2, 2012
This Week at the Library (2 November)
Being as 5 November falls in a few days, it's finally time for me to do my reading set in tribute to England, and I've been looking forward to it since before July -- though when it came time to order my books, I forgot a couple of the titles I had on my short list. Alas. I'm currently in the middle of Bernard Cornwell's Excalibur, which has me bowled over. It's not as fantastically dramatic as Enemy of God, but he's already portrayed the epic battle of Mount Badon, and I'm all a-quiver with anticipation as to how he's going to end the trilogy.
Strictly speaking, Excalibur wasn't part of my planned English reading. That will include Bill Bryson's Notes from a Small Island, about his cultural observations of England, and Watching the English, an anthropological study of English folk which takes offense at Bryson's notes for dismissing English weather as uninteresting. I had planned to introduce myself to the works of P.G. Wodehouse by reading one of his Jeeves & Wooster collections, but there's always next year. Besides, I'm distracted by the fact that I have two library books out at the same time, and both Demand to be Read Immediately. One is The Mark of Athena, the latest in the Percy Jackson series, and some of my friends know I am partial to the grey-eyed goddess of wisdom. Given the series' newfound Roman emphasis, it should be interesting...but I must finish Arthur first. On all this, I found a copy of The High Cost of Free Parking, by Donald Shoup, which I've been wanting to read for quite some time now. It's rather expensive online, selling for $30 even used, but I found law library in Alabama that was willing to check the book out to me through my own, so now I've got it.
In short, I have entirely too much to read this weekend, but both the English books both seem breezily fun. On top of this I've dipped my toe into doing NaNoWriMo, mostly because I've had this fantasy novel in my head for years now and despite constantly playing scenes from it in my head and tweaking them, I've not actually written anything down. One problem is that I'm such a pedant that I can't so much as put a star in the sky without thinking "How would that affect this culture's mythology? Can I have months without a moon? And if I don't have a moon, how will this world have predictable seasons?"
I think next year I will do my English tribute on St. George's day in April, in part so it won't be so close to Armistice Day, and in part because then I can stop explaining to people that yes, I know Guy Fawkes night isn't England's national holiday, but it's as close as I can find. Besides, St. George's Day seems so charmingly old-fashioned. I don't know if anyone outside of England or an English literature class would recognize the name. (I must confess my curiosity was picqued by that "Once more into the breach" speech in Henry V...)
I've finished Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium, and was much impressed by it although it didn't delve into the history of Apocalypticism like I'd hoped. Expect a review for that this weekend.