Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Let it be known throughout the Land that Chronolit, having endured literary travels both numerous and perilous, and having safely arrived home to the end of The Year of Our Lord 2019, doth humbly and most happily host this Grand Tourney of Literary Works from the 3rd to the 14th centuries.
Having narrowed the field down to just two competitors in each final joust, let us waste no more time. The horses are pawing at the ground, breath steaming from their nostrils and eyes rolling in a fever to be let loose. Their riders, armored in the dust of centuries and carrying sharp pointy things, take their mounts and surge forward. The dust flies and the resounding clash fills the air …
The mighty heroes bout has been reduced to Beowulf versus King Arthur, with other worthies such as Roland, Tristan and Cu Chulainn swept off their saddles and laid low in earlier encounters. But Beowulf in a single showing is much too strong for Arthur, who is most grievously wounded and must be carried off by his followers, expecting his death in coming days (I reckon he’ll last until about May)
The animal stories face off against each other, fighting with tooth and claw in bloody combat. The Owl and the Nightingale combine to best Reynard the Fox, a quite unexpected victory.
An all out Arabian duel with flashing scimitars on camel back has the Rubiyat defeat The Arabian Nights with brevity, humour and style.
A mass of religious works, tales and allegories showed up to compete amongst each other in a grand melee, with Dante’s Inferno easily outshining both his stablemates Purgatory and Paradise as well as all other challengers.
So twelve centuries of great works is reduced to a pile of bent armour and broken weapons in the space of twelve months. But the New Year beckons with Chaucer, Thomas More, Machiavelli, and perhaps even a young scribbler by the name of Will Shakespeare …
2019 : the year that was
Ok so I feel this year was a success for my classics reading, with 51 titles finished and blogged. Given my aim of reading 1 per week, where is number 52? Actually there were two more I read, but did not post a full review : The Lais of Marie of France and the Book of Dede Korkut. I read the former while travelling and lost my notes somewhere, while the latter just kind of fell through the cracks of real life. So technically I covered 53 classics, which is good since some of the ones I did start didn’t get finished (The Koran, Piers Plowman to name a couple)
In other news, my non-classics reading included 27 crime and mystery stories (with 12 Miss Marple books finishing that particular character’s exploits), 10 fantasy novels, 6 science fiction, including the marvellous Asimov Robot novels (one still left to go for 2020), the first 6 volumes of the most excellent Complete Peanuts comic strips (covering 1950 to 1962), 7 weekend invitations to Blandings Castle courtesy of P. G. Wodehouse, 4 nightmares shared by the master Stephen King, and 10 other books intended for grownups. But wait, I also toured around Roman -occupied Gaul 11 times with Asterix and Obelix, reading all the original works by the incomparable creators Goscinny and Uderzo, and 16 (mostly) picture books from the list of 1001 Childrens Books to read before You Grow Up.
So Goodreads tells me I have finished 142 books. It doesn’t quite tally with the above as some classics shared a binding or two but the spirit is there.
And what of 2020? Another 50-ish classics, as well as a generous helping of much more science fiction and fantasy, including past and more recent winners and runners up for the Hugo and Nebula awards. Not so much crime but a few more visits to Blandings are definitely in order, and perhaps a more serious effort to read more of the 1001 Childrens Books before I get any older (providing I’m allowed to sit up late on school nights). I may also go a bit retro and re-read some Alistair MacLean from the distant recesses of my first childhood.
However it pans out, one thing is certain – Kimmy and I wish you all rude health, superabundant happiness and lots of great books to read. Happy New Year everyone!!!!!!