Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Some recent reads.

Great Expectations by Charlie Dickens - It's difficult to believe that I had never read any Dickens until recently. I have no explanation for that omission. I took Great Expectations on the airplane with me and dipped into it from time to time during the trip. Part of it was ruined by the fact that I had seen most of that dreadful film adaptation with Robert De Niro. Oh, man, did that suck. So, I was aware of the plot in general. At the conclusion, I decided that I need to read more Dickens, and so I am currently reading Oliver Twist.

Beside the Ocean of Time by George Mackay Brown - I am amazed that this writer is not more famous. True, he is dead, but one can be famous and dead, right? I mean, he didn't die that long ago, after all. Still, he is dead, and people sometimes forget about the dead, except for Elvis, JFK, and Kurt Cobain, and if my information is correct, Elvis is alive somewhere in the American midwest eating donuts and deep fried bacon and peanut butter sandwiches. That must be the life. Being a dead writer must not be so glamorous. Well, Shakespeare is fondly remembered. Anyway, George Mackay Brown wrote lots of books: poems, stories, novels, non-fiction, etc. He was a real writer. Now, he is dead. The good news is that you can catch up and read everything because it's not like he is going to write anything else. Dead people don't tend to write very much, although there always seems to be something else found in papers and notebooks, just like when singers die and the record companies decide to release songs that were never meant to see the light of day. Or, the company releases a bunch of live stuff or simply repackages songs in a never-ending stream of best of and greatest hits packages, as has happened with The Smiths. But, wait, they are all still alive. Just imagine what might happen when they pass on.

The Three Cornered Hat by Pedro Antonio de Alarcón: -This is a short lusty tale set in 18th Century Andalusia featuring a rather ugly magistrate who tries to seduce the Miller's gorgeous wife. It features clothes swapping, mistaken identities, misunderstandings, midnight escapades, etc. It's like something Chaucer might have written. It's a fast but enjoyable read.


Alex said...

I'm pretty surprised that you'd never read any Dickens until recently.

Shelly said...

I've read only one Dickens book, Our Mutual Friend, for a college lit class way back when. I really enjoyed it, and the Masterpiece adaptation from years ago, was quite good, altho they cut a lot of the book out. It's quite a long, involved, complicated tale.

I should read more Dickens, too.

Candy Minx said...

Enjoyed these eviews. I'ma Dickens freak. Love him. My very favourite is "David Copperfeild", and next is "Bleak House"...but all are so good.

Super Happy Jen said...

I read A Christmas Carol as a novel study in grade eight. Pretty much the same as the Mickey Mouse version that I was most familiar with at the time. Maybe I should read more Dickens too.