This feed contains pages in the "literature" category.

I finally got out to Barnes and Noble today to spend the last of my Christmas/birthday gift certificates. Bought the last two books in Robin Hobb's Farseer Trilogy as I have the first book but haven't read it yet, as well as the third book in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. Incidentally, I was told by a friend that it's only worth reading the first three books of the Wheel of Time, as it goes on forever and ever with little development. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

I was tempted to buy The Atlas of Middle-earth but was swayed by my OCD at having unfinishes series (what on earth is the plural of that word? serieses? I want to say it doesn't change, but that sounds funny) in my bookshelf.

I'm still not sure when I'm actually going to read all these books, but, uh, I'll figure that out eventually.

Posted Mon 30 Jan 2006 08:52:47 PM UTC Tags: tags/literature

My parents are buying me a professional French horn! (The one I use currently is owned by the school.) Like this.

Also, I think I have six months worth of new books to read, combining Christmas with my birthday last month. <boggle>

  • Dan Brown - _ Digital Fortress_
  • Robert Jordan - The Great Hunt
  • Charles Dickens - A Tale of Two Cities (I can save this one for last; I've read it before)
  • Tom Clancy - Executive Orders (oy, I read the previous Jack Ryan books a long time ago)
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe - Uncle Tom's Cabin
  • Shakespeare - Othello, The Tempest, Hamlet, Macbeth, Much Ado About Nothing (two of these I've already read, though)
  • George R. R. Martin and Lisa Tuttle - Windhaven Plus, I have one gift certificate to Borders and one to Barnes and Noble (from birthday). And the special edition DVD of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Thank you, I felt the need to share that with the world.

Posted Mon 26 Dec 2005 12:51:46 PM UTC Tags: tags/literature

Bah! I could have sworn that A Feast for Crows, the fourth book in George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series was supposed to come out this summer (July?), at least from what I gathered from when I almost pre-ordered it from Amazon a couple days ago. Now multiple official sources say that it comes out November 8th - two days after my seventeenth birthday.

At least that means I probably don't have to hold onto soccer reffing (my 'job') money until then, because I should have money from my birthday. Humbug. Guess I'll put off re-reading the first three books until close to the fall as well, and tackle the stack on my desk, remaining from who-knows-when.

Posted Thu 23 Jun 2005 09:47:55 PM UTC Tags: tags/literature

I never read my BBC feed, mostly because it dumps something like 80 stories a day into Thunderbird.

Of course, when something catches my eye while I'm marking the folder read, it of course is about a book that I have barely started yet. I'm about 6 chapters in, having been stalled for time lately, and I really didn't want to know anything about what happens in the book. Even two-line summaries.

Damn my curiousity.

[The story's on The Da Vinci Code, so watch out if you're planning on reading it.]

No comment on the story itself, as I haven't finished the book yet. Having read Angels and Demons, though, I can guess something about the causes.

Posted Tue 15 Mar 2005 06:55:50 PM UTC Tags: tags/literature

Title: Angels & Demons Author: Dan Brown Genre: Modern Thriller

(Warning: possible spoilers; I've woven some analysis in here as well)

Before I start, I want to say that this book is amazing. If you have any interest whatsoever in fast-paced modern thrillers, technology, physics, art, symbology, science, religion, the Illuminati, history, or the Catholic Church, you should read this book. In fact, even if you don't have any interest whatsoever in any of those topics, you should read this book.

When I was reading the children's book Loamhedge by Brian Jacques last week, through every page my mind kept blaring out the black and white, Good v. Evil allegories present throughout the entire novel. It's been quite a few months since I'd read a Jacques novel, and this year has been an amazing one of literary growth for me (in a personal sense). A good friend pointed out to me the signature Jacques black and white several months ago, and this second-to-latest Redwall novel was my chance to check it out.

In Angels & Demons, however, there is not one space to call out in objection, or to criticise on some petty point. In fact, if there's even a moment to breathe in the plot that progresses at warpspeed with mind-bending turn after another, it is only to pause and give thought to the horrific reality and plausibility that Brown weaves into his heavily factual tale, or to give a cursory glance over the weighty issues that the novel brings to light. Never have I seen a thriller that talks about such forbidden subjects without obviously offending one group or another; in fact, even among the company of non-thrillers, it does an incredible job of not being heavily biased to one side or the other. Each side is credible.

From the first page, this book had caught my attention. Suprisingly enough, Brown can be quite funny at times; this certainly caught my attention from the start and drew a few odd looks from the seriously-titled book to my nearly falling from my chair in laughter (okay, so that happens a little more often than with some people).

The book is jam-packed with historical details and facts, making it obvious that Brown spent quite a bit of time and resources into researching the material needed to write it. In fact, I think that learned more from reading the book once (it took three days, with school/a trip to my grandparents) than I've learned in a single class in an entire year, and in a much more amusing light.

The language is intelligent but not difficult to read, which opens the novel to a wide audience. Brown also incorporates a fair amount of actual language in the foreign languages seen; I had quite a good time mentally pointing out the similarities between Italian, German, English, Spanish, and French. It certainly lends a much more realistic atmosphere when the character shouts out "Grazie!" than "Thank you!" (in Italian). Brown does, however, sell to his obviously English audience by repeating afterwords in English, though in a way that blends seemlessly with the flow of the story.

Brown's clear understanding of both sides of the battle of science versus religion shows itself well in the novel, and gives arguments for both. I had the reasons for my (closet) atheism spelled out in front of me, plausible reasons given for the belief in God at the same time as science, and also combinations of the two. There was no clear right or wrong given. Brown brings up the issues, presents the arguments, tells the story, and moves on. In fact, until the very end of the story, I was convinced that the story was going to be sympathetic to religion, but it turned out that it wasn't. There is so much room for personal reflection and choice, which I myself need to regroup and finish doing.

Altogether, the information that I have gleaned from the book has given me a new respect for history, academics, and scientists, and an understanding of the arguments of those on the side of the Church (for the enlightenment of my flamboyant liberal self).

Having an open mind is a great thing. This is a worthy read for any who wish to say that they possess such.

Posted Tue 01 Mar 2005 12:04:17 AM UTC Tags: tags/literature

I've always thought that a profession is just that: a profession. You choose one thing, and that's what you do. A person is a policeman, or an engineer, or a lawyer. Recently, though, while reading a few pieces of literature from the turn of the 19th century, I've come to think somewhat differently about writers.

Writers are a special kind of profession. Almost everybody writes, but not everybody is a writer. Writers, in fact, don't just write. It's impossible to just write. Writers are thinkers, too. Writers represent the views and values of a time period, and have an enormous span of influence. Take, for instance, Arthur Miller's The Crucible. It's amazing how much power writers have; this is illustrated well by how Miller used The Crucible to expose his views of the historical repeat that was going on with Senator McCarthy and Red Scare that was occurring at the time. If a writer is good at what he or she does, his or her writings affect thousands or millions of other people, and live on.

There are also numerous other examples of this that occurred around the same time, the Progressive Era, which include Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, about the Chicago meat packing industry (which later led president Teddy Roosevelt to push the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act though Congress), and Frank Norris' The Octopus, which exposed the wrongdoings of railroad companies against farmers.

In earlier time periods, people such as the Transcendentalists Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson expressed views of the time in works such as Walden and Self Reliance; their polar opposites, the Anti-Transcendentalists, which included Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville, did the same through The Scarlet Letter and other works. All of these writers were masterful at their art, but also philosophers of a sort.

Would the Progressive Era have been the same without muckraking novels of abuse? Would the early Greek time period have been the same without Plato and Aristotle leaving behind their legacies? People such as Socrates, who left no writings and yet live on, are few and far between, and there are some who believe that at least Socrates never really did live in the first place.

All sorts of people have been known for their writing; writers themselves can't just be good at the art of writing itself. It's the content that makes or breaks it. Writers have ideas. Ideas makes writers.

Posted Sun 06 Feb 2005 10:03:20 PM UTC Tags: tags/literature