Category: About me and Kimmy the Lit-Terrier

There must be a word for it ….

There must be a word for it ….

My work week is split fairly evenly between a bookshop and a public library. At the former, I see new books arrive all the time and which books people are buying or waiting for, and which authors have new titles about to be published. At the latter I see what people borrow or request, and what is on the shelves from the last ten to fifteen years as I shelve the  returns. At least half the titles are fiction. I am surrounded day and night by literally thousands of books! And of course, it’s not just the books on the open shelves – I can browse the library stacks of low use titles, I can access the childrens’ and teen collections without feeling like an intruder, I can even score an occasional damaged book from the bookshop or an uncorrected proof copy of a new release. And unlike the university library I used to work in, I can imagine wanting to read a goodly percentage of the books about me now.

When I was young, reading was my consuming hobby, being neither sporty or adventurous. At university studying sciences, my reading for pleasure waned. While never completely stopped, it is only in the past few years that my reading has returned to those high levels of childhood.

Surrounded by books all day, I now feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of books I haven’t read. I will never get to read them all. This dismay is part of the reason for this enormous quest and blog.

“So many books, so little time”. Is there a word for this?

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What happened to May?

Almost the end of the month and the classics reading has ground to a halt, run aground on the hidden reef of Aristotle’s Metaphysics which I cannot seem to pick up for any length of time before something more interesting like washing the dishes intrudes. I’m not ready to throw the tea towel in quite yet, but ….

I will also have to start reading new  popular releases as … <drum roll, please>  ………… I now have a second part-time job, but this one is in a BOOKSHOP!!!    The species may be on the endangered list but not quite extinct in the wild yet. Starting Monday.  I wonder how much staff discount I can get? 🙂

The Youtube Classics Book tag list

Saw a video on Youtube this morning which was based around a list of ten questions about people’s reading of classics. No Ancient Greek in evidence, but since we haven’t had a list on here for awhile, here are the questions with my answers:

1. Overhyped classic I really didn’t like : Wuthering Heights *ack* a book full of characters without a single redeeming quality between them

2. Fave time period to read about: not so much a single period but fave stories set in times, obviously Regency (Austen), Victorian (Dickens) but also American west pioneers

3. Fave fairy tale : mmm nothing leaps out – maybe Rumplestiltskin

4. The classic I am embarassed I haven’t read : Most of Shakespeare

5. Top 5 classics to pick up soon : Well, this blog kind of dictates where I go next.

6. Fave modern series based on a classic : *Guilty pleasure confession time* the extensions to The Little House on the Prairie books, looking at the lives of Laura’s mother, grandmother, great grandmother and daughter. Out of print but I bought copies years ago which I have only just got around to reading

7. Fave adaptation : the  BBC Ehle and Firth Pride and Prejudice production. Brilliant acting all round

8. Worst adaptation : I think it was the 1940 Hollywood version of Pride and Prejudice with left over costumes from Gone with the Wind. The buggy race home from church to spread the news of the new arrivals was like a Chaplin version of Ben Hur – I turned off there and then

9. Fave edition of classics to collect : I like the Penguin Black Classics (no surprises there) _ I have a few Folio Society but it really depends on the style of illustrations they choose for the volume

10. Underhyped classic : definitely Silas Marner by George Eliot – loved it , but also The Monk by Matthew Lewis

Do we have any takers to comment back with their list?

 

My  ratings scale

My ratings scale

I felt the urge when I started this blog to rate each title out of 10. This is obviously highly subjective and occasionally a bit random, and after thirty titles, has the danger of being just a smidge inconsistent. But I felt it would be valuable to me when I am hundreds of titles into the project, and give other readers something to disagree about.

With some degree of hindsight, here is my ranking scale:

1     Miserable beyond belief! I want those hours of my life back.
2     I did not like it.
3     mmm ok I suppose
4     It was ok
5     I liked it
6     Quite good
7      I liked it a lot
8     Very good
9     Exceptional . Will read again.
10    Absolutely brilliant! One of the best things written in the history of mankind!

At the time of this post, the highest I have given anything is an 8 (the Ramayana) and the lowest a 1 (Theognis) so I am harder to impress than disappoint! Given I would probably buy my own copy of anything rated 9 or 10, my budget should be safe for a while.

Of course, my dog Kimmy also occasionally rates a book she enjoys, but she remains silent on her particular scale.

PS it also allows me to do a bit of meaningless comparison across authors. For example, Homer’s two works merited a 7 and a 7.5, giving some support to the idea they were written by the same author, while the two works of Hesiod got a 7 and a 2, making me seem to agree with those who feel the two works were written by different authors. Far from conclusive, but a bit of fun. I can also compare authors based on the average of my rankings for their respective works, so I will soon see how the three Greek tragedians compare and if I agree with the Festival judges!

 

Oh no! What have I done?

While reading the mammoth near-700 page Ramayana, it suddenly struck me that to be true to this venture, I will have to re-read Moby Dick at some point in the distant future. And Wuthering Heights!! While there are no doubt devotees of both these classics of literature somewhere out there, all I could think was arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrghhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!

Back to the immediate future, I think I will postpone the other great Indian epic The Mahabharata just for a week or two to catch my literary breath and tackle some smaller works. The dates for many of these works are a matter of debate at best, so the  next title will be Aesop’s Fables. I actually read these a year ago, so this will probably be a quick referesher over my favourites.