My Reading List this month is short and sweet, mostly because I’ve spent far too long slogging my way through some weighty tomes and needed some shorter, sweeter works to stop me from going bonkers.
On that note, I’ve dragged out one of my favourite poets, Gerard Manley Hopkins. I’ve written about him before, and if you’re not familiar with his work it’s well worth checking out. Be warned: his ‘sprung verse’ is a shock to the system if you’re used to reading in your head. Hopkins needs to be read aloud, the words tumbling joyously off the page and through the air before they reach your brain.
Travelling waaaay back in time, I’ve acquired a second-hand copy of Homer’s The Odyssey, as translated by T. E. Lawrence. It’s divided into twenty-four chapters, called ‘books’, and if Lawrence’s translation is anything to go by I can already see the influence it must have had on the language-style of the likes of James Joyce and D. E. Lawrence.
Getting really short and sweet, I’ve already knocked off a cheerful little work by Anita Ganeri, based on Benjamin Britten’s The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, and bearing the same title. It’s accompanied by a CD of that most famous and helpful work, which was originally composed to accompany an educational film in 1945 I hadn’t previously heard. The beauty of children’s books is that you don’t have to pick out the key points: they’re nothing but key points, and it was useful to have an at-a-glance check of some of the information I’ve managed to glean (and retain) through my reading of adult works on the subject of classical music.
I’ve only a hundred pages to go in the Canterbury Tales, and am determined to finish them this year. Wives, good and bad, seem to be the main subject of the bit I’m in at the moment, with the Wife of Bath, the Clerk, and the Merchant all weighing in.
Biblically, I’m staying on track and have just finished 1 Samuel. In the New Testament, the scales have just fallen from Paul’s eyes in the 9th chapter of Acts, and I’m planning on checking off both of St. Peter’s epistles in the next week or so.
What are you reading at the moment? Any recommendations?