Monday, April 23, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


Book Journey hosts this weekly meme.  As she says, "This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next 'must read' book will come from!"

My plate is, happily, pretty full right now.  I love being in the middle of several books;  I can pick up whichever one suits my mood at the moment.  And I'm currently in the middle of more than several, thanks in part to a couple of very challenging challenges (see PROJECTS in the sidebar).   

For the first time ever, I'm reading a graphic novel, Maus--A Survivor's Tale, by Art Spiegelman.  Honestly, I would never have picked up a graphic novel if the Mixing It Up challenge hadn't required me to.  I'm glad I did, though, because this one is very compelling.  Spiegelman manages to convey not only the heartbreaking suffering of Polish Jews under the Nazis, but the complexity and ambiguity of his relationship with his father, who tells the story.  I'm not sure how he does this in a comic book format, but he does.

The Revenger's Tragedy is a renaissance-era play attributed to various authors;  my edition credits Cyril Tourneur.  Very Shakespearean in tone (unsurprisingly as it's from the same period), very dark, very bloody.  Its title calls it a tragedy, and a little googling reveals that the renaissance tragedy was a form that followed a specific pattern and generally didn't end well.  This is for the Classics Club.

I'm reading Shakespeare's Twelfth Night  as part of Twelve By Shakespeare in 2012.  We're discussing online as we go--it's nice to be able to do that.

 Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy, also for the Classics Club, is quite a tome (1500-odd pages), but it's a compulsively readable one.  Set in India in the early 50s, just after the British pullout and partition, its scope is both grand and intimate, much like War and Peace.  The characters are so real, and their lives and situations so interesting, that whenever I sit down with them I lose track of time and devour several chapters.  

As part of my laborious effort to improve my German, I try do do a little reading in that language every day, even if only a couple of pages.  What I'm working through now is Die Verwandlung (The Metamorphosis) by Franz Kafka.

20 comments:

  1. I've heard of The Reveger's Tragedy, but never had the chance to read it. Does it stand up in comparison to the Bard??

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    1. Well, its language is very similar. (I'faith, I'll brain thee!) It's pretty dark, but maybe I'm finding it dark because I've been reading Shakespeare's comedies lately. The group I'm reading with is about to start histories, then tragedies, which I haven't read in a while, so we'll see. It does seem to lack Shakespeare's wit, especially those witty insults.

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  2. I really liked A Suitable Boy, too--will be interested to see what you think of the ending.

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    1. It's going to be QUITE a while before I get to the end, but I am really, really enjoying it.

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  3. I loved reading Shakespeare in high school and college. I think one day I would like to reread some of those plays. I don't think I read Twelfth Night, though.

    Have a good week!
    Kristin @ Always With a Book

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    1. Oh, do reread some! You know, reading them again, decades after college, I find them much shorter and easier than I remember. Don't be intimidated--try something with a familiar story first, like Romeo and Juliet.

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  4. Wow, I'm impressed by your reading Kafka in Deutsch! And I need to read Maus also. Enjoy everything you read this week :-)

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    1. Don't be too impressed--really! Like I said, it's a laborious effort, with a dictionary at hand, and I can only manage about two pages a day. I so want to be able to read fluently, though!

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  5. Kafka auf Deutsch? I'm impressed! Kafka is difficult enough in English. I read AMERIKA in German back when I was in college and I struggled.

    MAUS is an excellent novel, regardless of the fact that it is a graphic novel. My son has been dying to read it for the past few years, and I feel he is finally old enough to appreciate it. Enjoy!

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    1. Re Kafka auf Deutsch--see above comment. :)

      Re Maus--yes, it is really something special. I've finished Part I and have Part II on request at the library. It would make good reading for young people learning about the Holocaust, too.

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  6. Great selections. I've had A Suitable Boy on my shelf for a while. I'll dust it off for reading come next round.

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  7. Oh, I *loved* MAUS! I read it in, I think junior high, and it was just such a compelling story!

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    1. Yes, surprisingly so (well, surprisingly to me at least). I've obviously underestimated the possibilities of graphic novels.

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  8. I have wanted to read Maus for years but I never have. If you like it, you might also like Persepolis as well--a graphic novel about the Islamic revolution in Iran from the viewpoint of a child. (The movie is excellent). And I love to reread Shakespeare--I used to read a couple of plays every year but haven't for a long time now. (I need to do this because I forget them otherwise) Never read "Revenger's Tragedy" but I've read a lot of descriptions about it. Guess I should get with the program! :)

    elizabeth
    5 Minutes for Books

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    1. I'm not familiar with Persepolis, but I will check it out. I haven't heard of the movie, either. Thanks!

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    1. Well, as I said above, don't be too impressed! It's a long, slow effort. :)

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  10. Maus is a good one! I recently learned Spiegelman wrote a graphic novel about 9/11. That could be interesting...

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    1. Oh, I've got to check that out. Thanks!

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