Tuesday, January 02, 2007

BOOKS | Calvino Meme

Via Kate's Book Blog

Books You’ve Been Planning To Read For Ages:
The Iliad, The Odyssey, War and Peace, Anna Karenina, The Idiot, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, The Count of Monte Cristo – You know what? I'm going to stop now.

Books You’ve Been Hunting For Years Without Success:
The complete essays of G.K. Chesterton.

Books Dealing With Something You’re Working On At The Moment:
Vegetable Love by Barbara Kafka, Life Is Meals by James & Kay Salter, and The Art of Eating by M. F. K. Fisher.

Because May 2007 will be my third year since I decided on a vegetarian diet. I want to read more about food and our relationship to food because people are more emotionally invested in food than I realise.

The Essential YogaSutra by Geshe Michael Roach & Christie Mcnally because - I am working on my yoga practice, and I need to read this.

Yoga Mala, by Shri K.Pattabhi Jois. The founder of the Ashtanga style of yoga is still alive at 90+ years old. This is one of his few treatise on the practice published.

Ashtanga Yoga by David Swenson. One of THE core text for Ashtanga yoga.

Books You Want To Own So They’ll Be Handy Just In Case:
The Anatomy of Hatha Yoga. You never know when you'll need to look up what's going on in a backbend.

The Bible. You never know. You might need to look things up.

Books You Could Put Aside Maybe To Read This Summer:
Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett. They are always good for an easy, enjoyable read.

Books You Need To Go With Other Books On Your Shelves:
The Robert Fagles translation of The Aeneid, to go with the Fagles translations of The Iliad and The Odyssey. (Actually, it also matches the little replica of a set of Greek Armour on my bookshelf.)

The Everyman Library editions of R.K. Narayan to match the Everyman Library edition of Dostoevsky, the Everyman Library edition of Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, the Everyman Library edition of Vasari's Lives of Painters, Sculptors and Architects.

Books That Fill You With Sudden, Inexplicable Curiosity, Not Easily Justified:
Wild Heart: Natalie Clifford Barney and the Decadence of Literary Paris by Suzanne Rodriguez. Natalie Barney herself knew she was limited in literary talent. So she made it her life mission to encourage and facilitate others more gifted than her.

This biography on the Parisian salonist motivated me to read Andre Gide, Colette, Marcel Proust, Janet Flanner, Djuna Barnes, Hemingway and his fellow Lost Generation writers.

The Aubrey/Maturin novels by Patrick O'Brian. The novels are actually quite predictable. But you have to give it to O'Brian for how he can really write naval drama. I find myself reading (with interest!) the essay "Jack Aubrey's Ships" at the back of The Mauritus Command; Patrick O'Brian uses real ships for the basis of his stories and the essay gives you some background on these naval vessels.

Patrick O'Brian makes me want to read an essay on old big boats. Oh my.

Bonus Entries:

Books That Everybody’s Read So It’s As If You Had Read Them, Too
Anything by Dan Brown – Everyone was talking about The Da Vinci Code and stuff, so.

Anna Karenina – Woman has affair. Dies. Everyone seems to know the plot.

Moby Dick – Crazy one-legged guy obsessed with hunting Big White Whale that almost "declines to make an appearance." Ishmael survives.

Books You Needn’t Read
The Da Vinci Code and anything else by Dan Brown. All those precious paper wasted producing his books. The man should be shot for the damage to the environment.

Books Made For Purposes Other Than Reading
Ulyssess by James Joyce. I'll probably never get around to reading it. But it looks nice on the bookshelf. Strictly for display purpose only.

The Unseen University Cut-Out Book – I'm cutting out the pages and building a model of the Discworld Unseen University. Never had so much fun vandalizing a book. Not that I've EVER vandalised a book.

"Books You’ve Always Pretended To Have Read And Now It’s Time To Sit Down And Really Read Them"?
Dracula – everybody assumes I've read Bram Stoker's Dracula because I am a fan of vampire fiction and films, and it's just so easy to go along with the flow of the conversation. Hee.

The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus. I actually never finished it. Will do it. Soon.

Sexual Personae by Camille Paglia – I've only read some chapters of it, but people have the false impression that I have read EVERYTHING by her. Nope.


Imani said...

I'm with you on Dan Brown getting shot. I always become momentarily dismayed when I spy another blogger exclaiming on how the Da Vinci Code changed their life. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

Oh I'm with you on Dracula! Too funny. And, I agree on Anna Karenina, I feel like I don't even need to read it. I've been spoiled on the ending already :)

Rebecca H. said...

I've got a DVD of David Swenson doing the Ashtanga primary series, and he's amazing. I know yoga's not about being able to look amazing and do amazing things, but I can't help but react that way.

Anonymous said...

Imani: Oh my god. The Da Vinci Code changing people's lives? I'm going to be bitchy and ask - "What kind of sad lives do these people have???!!"

One time I overheard this guy declaring to his friend about Da Vinci Code: "This is, without a doubt - the BEST BOOK EVER WRITTEN!" I almost choked. I wanted to go up to him and recommend that maybe, he should read more before making declarations like this.

iliana: Stuff like Dracula (hey, I watched the movie! Keanu and Winona! Hee!) and Anna Karenina, they just sorta seeps into the pop-culture.

And we no longer need to read the Bible. We already know the ending: Jesus dies. NOT!

Dorothy: Yeah, Swenson is so awe-inspiring. And intimidating. (Is this guy really human?) Last year he dropped by the yoga studio I go to, and he emphasize that to get stronger, you have to practice the same series everyday. That's the only way.

The determination involved. Trying to motivate myself with his advice.

The Traveller said...

I wonder how many people own a copy of Ulysses that is for display purposes only? I know I do! I did actually buy it with the intention of reading it, but I couldn't get past the first page or so. How pathetic?

Anonymous said...

Same here. One fine day I had the delusion that I was going to read Ulysses - great epic Modernist novel.

HAH! ;p

jenclair said...

The problem with Dan Brown is that the media made so much of TDC. It was an entertaining book with some interesting suggestions. Period.

I love Stoker's Dracula. This is a book where reading the literary criticism is almost as entertaining as the book...and very informative.

I've never read either Finnegan's Wake or Ulysses, but strangely, last night I was talking to a friend who loved Finnegan's Wake.

The Myth of Sisyphus is so short and works so well with The Stranger and anything on existentialism.

Somewhere recently, I read an article on politics by Paglia. Excellent and thought-provoking. I think it was on Salon. Had a copy of Sexual Personae for years, and read only a few chapters. Used it as a reference. Her new one, Break, Blow, Burn sounds interesting.

Thanks for an interesting post. More books to consider and thoughts to ponder.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jenclair,

"Break, Blow, Burn" was a nice read, if for nothing else, I admire Paglia's effort to reclaim poetry from the postmodernist theorists. I HATED the postmodernist theorists when I had to study them waaay back in the university.

She explained in her intro to "Break, Blow, Burn" that she was going to read poetry the way she was trained, New Criticism style - reading the poetry as complete and meaningful in itself.

I think she's cool in this endeavour. It's like she's reclaiming the joy of reading for people like myself, who just want to read the book. With engagement, with perception of course, but without the interference of theorists.

Besides, it's so much fun to see Paglia pop up in unexpected moments, like when we were watching "Inside Deep Throat" and there she was, being interviewed about a porn movie.

As an academic she rocks.

Lotus Reads said...

You make me want to get back to my Yoga routine - I did "Hatha Yoga" with a teacher for many years and when she left town I didn't have the heart to find another one or to do it on my own, but I do need to get back to it. "The Anatomy of Hatha Yoga" might be a good book for me to read.

Enjoyed your responses to the meme!

jenclair said...

:) I've ordered Break, Blow, Burn and look forward to it. I'm anti-postmodernists as well. My friend Thomas, who loved Finnegan's Wake, loves postmodernist theory.

I prefer New Criticism as well. Don't care for aggressive Feminist Theory, but enjoy those who can work feminist perspective into the criticism.

I love A Handbook of Critical Approaches to Literature because it is so readable. It discusses (with examples) Traditional Approaches (love this approach as well), Formal (includes New Criticism), and well, all of them. But my other favorite is Mythological and Archetypal.

My copy was purchased around 1992 (Third Edition) - don't know which edition it is in now.

Anonymous said...

Lotus Ah, yet another yogi! There was some comment earlier that many of the litbloggers also seem to do yoga.

But be warned: as reading goes, Anatomy of Hatha Yoga reads like a textbook. Not sure about you, I was the kind of student that hated studying. Hee.

Jenclair Ah, "Break, Burn. Blow" - I remember that was my Christmas reading for 2005.

I used to enjoy reading the criticisms for the gothic literature, like Dracula, Frankenstein. Lit crit isn't necessarily evil, but a lot of the postmodern theorists just suck the juice out of reading.

Back in our university days, after too many postmod texts, we were all crying for a "Real Novel" - oddly, Charlotte Bronte is always our choice for "Real Novel." ;)

Lit theories should comment on, but never overwhelm the text itself.