The delights of reading


I have an embarrassment of riches in terms of finding things to read right now. On today’s The Writer’s Alamanac, Keillor mentioned a biography of Emily Dickinson by Lyndall Gordon.

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.I recently read Gordon’s bio of T. S. Eliot and loved it. Eileen and I walked to library and I checked out a copy of Lives Like Loaded Guns: Emily Dickinson and Her Family’s Feuds. 

Eileen and I had lunch at the Library’s Lemonjellos Cafe and I perused the book. It looks great. I have returned to reading Richard Ellmann’s bio of James Joyce.

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I had left off around p. 475 (there are 744 pages of text plus notes). In the bio, Joyce is finishing up Ulysses. This means that he will soon begin Finnegans Wake. I have been obsessed with this work a lot of my life and am eager to find out some biographical detail from Ellmann regarding Joyce’s life as he wrote it.

But I don’t promise not to read the Dickinson bio simultaneously.

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Marlon James mentioned in a YouTube conversation that he had just finished a book entitled The Perfect Nanny. I think it’s the one written by Leila Slimani. I’m fifty pages into it and it is dark.

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I’m not neglecting James’ marvelous fantasy Black Leopard, Red Wolf. It continues to draw me in.

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I continue reading Burgess’s copy in the picture book about New York. I think I could read anything he wrote and enjoy it.

I am still rereading Burgess’s The Pianoplayers. I am gong through it slowly and savoring the footnotes and essays.

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I  decided it would be fun to reread The Watchmen by Alan Moore since Eileen and I are working are way through the new TV series loosely based on it.

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Then there’s Dante.

I am finishing up the Temple Classics version of The Divine Comedy. It has only whetted my appetite to learn more about this work. I have been looking at various translations and versions of it.

The library owns a very interesting version that has my attention.

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Since I am almost done with Pardiso I checked out that volume today. The illustrations are contemporary renditions and were originally presented as part of an art installation.

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The language of the text is rendered in a sort of slangy way.

“The whole point of this spiel of mine,” he said
“is mostly for you to see that sometimes you
have to just slow down and think about things
before you say ‘ye’ or ‘no’ to something. The
guy who rushes into make judgments about
things before he knows anything about them is
pretty low on the list of fools. Oftentimes, hasty
and rash opinions can lead down the wrong
road and pride can get in the way of clear choices.”

Text adapted by Sandow Birk (the artist) and Marcus Sanders

I chose that passage because I had made a note about the original lines:

And let this ever be lead to thy feet, to make thee move slow, like a weary man; both to the yea and nay thou seest not;

for he is right low down amongst the fools who maketh affirmation or negation without distinction between case and case;

Wherefore it chanceth many times a swift-formed opinion leaneth the wrong way, and then conceit bindeth the intellect.

Dante’s Paradiso Canto XIII 112-120

While checking on this online I discovered that there is a movie of The Inferno using some of the illustrations.

I think the film looks odd but I am interested in the books.

Well there’s more to say about books I am reading but I don’t want to use up all my reading time.


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