Monday, January 26, 2009

Very Naughty Children

1) The Week In Geek challenged us to read a chapter from a classic book and write a short review. Ok, so what do I choose? It wouldn't be any fun to choose something that I had read before or an author of whom I am at least somewhat aware of their work. Oh no, that would be too easy. So what possessed me to read the first chapter of E. Nesbit's "The Phoenix and The Carpet"? One thing I should have realized by the title is that this was a story meant for children. Perhaps it is the time in which it was written or it's very British style that made it not translate well for me. For one thing the children were all so very, very naughty as is usually the case with stories like this. Look at the four children in "The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe". They too were very, very naughty. Perhaps this is meant to give them a certain charm that could make an adult like myself smirk at my own impishness as a youth if it weren't for the fact they are so darn proper about everything. All the exclamations of "Oh so sorry" and such just don't sit well for me. I am not reminded of a British Dennis the Menace, but instead come off as being very stuffy and not very charming. I couldn't wait for this chapter to be done and cannot say I will read any more. Who is this lady anyway?

2) I wouldn't say I am intimidated by classic literature. Difficulty in literature doesn't scare me since I probably would give up on the book with a sigh of "oh well!" and call it a day. I mostly want to understand what would make someone consider one book a classic over another? I attempted to read books like The Scarlet Letter, Ulysses, and Moby Dick usually getting frustrated for one reason or another. Out of all honesty I finished Ulysses, but couldn't tell you a damn thing what I read. It still sits by my bed stand begging for me to try again. Then there is Germinal by Zola which, for whatever reason, I have to force myself to even get halfway through though I find the work to be quite readable. I am not sure what books I would recommend. Just because I like them doesn't mean others will. Jules Verne "Journey To The Center Of The Earth" is a good if not plodding read. Conan Doyle's "Hound Of The Baskervilles" was entertaining, but I would have enjoyed it a lot more if I hadn't seen the movie first.

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posted by Out Of Jersey | 11:06 AM


Blogger Chris Voss said...

What a small world we live in. The book review site I write for just participated in the Weekly Geeks Challenge, and I only got my entry in today. When I went to include my post to the list, I found that your name was immediately above mine!

Small small world...and to think just a few hours ago I stopped by to see if you had updated the site recently!

- Chris Voss (who used to have his name signed Geek Monkey but isn't anymore for different reasons, none of which have to do with Geek Monkey, which he still loves)

(almost as mush as he loves writing about himself in the 3rd person, apparently)

12:33 PM  
Anonymous heather said...

Virginia Wolf said something to the effect that we shouldn't pretend to like fiction we don't. Maybe fiction is like food: try anything twice.
I tried twice to pick up Ulysses and got through the first third. I learned some from it, but man, I missed so much more. It annoys me that James Joyce wrote it obscure on purpose. It's one thing to understand that not everything in art will be picked up by everyone (i.e. we don't have to keep the cookies on the lower shelf) but to require every reader to have notes as thick as the Ulysses itself just to understand it--that's ridiculous.

3:23 PM  
Blogger The Cubicle Reverend said...

I actually found the sight from your un:bound book block. I thought it'd be fun for some giggles to give it a shot.

I actually joined a reading group to read it. We all bought the book and the companion that goes with it which is twice as long as the book. We read the first section and I don't think anyone showed up for it after that. The irony is that Joyce was still working on it when it was published.

4:53 AM  
Blogger Art said...

I started Ulysses a couple of different times. Never finished...

11:01 AM  

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