Remember The Weekly Reader? No? Perhaps you're too young for that. But I don't know, is it still around? It was, when the Earth was young, a newsletter/catalog for kids, distributed at school to encourage buying books and reading them. It pissed my parents off, as we'd bring it home and start lobbying for books like Ralphie did the air rifle in A Christmas Story. I still have the first book bought from the Weekly Reader when I was in first grade, Three Stories from Winnie the Pooh.
We all grew up with reading habits of varying degree. To this day Billy and I will watch tv, with book in hand, and read during commercials. It annoys spouses, I can tell you.
This week I've been reading The Portable Blake, William Blake's compiled poetry and prose; rereading A Feast for Crows (I didn't seem to absorb it well the first time) by GRR Martin; and The Book of General Ignorance, a sort of QI offshoot-companion.
The last time I read any Blake was in college and what a difference some decades make in one's understanding and reaction. Where his dramatic phrases touched my heart as a teenager, they seem morose and overblown now. I've grown old. He's still good, just a bit hysterically whiny to me. His writings about his artwork are revealing, however. The subtleties I never caught are explained. It's a good read.
The Book of General Ignorance is an unsung treasure. Its purpose is to correct common fallacies that have come to be believed, like the fact that you can't see the Great Wall of China from the moon, or even from space once beyond a few hundred miles, where even the continents aren't visible. It corrects things that were wrongly included as fact in Trivial Pursuit-type games. An interesting geek book, not for everyone.
And A Feast for Crows, on second reading, is just as dense but more accessible. The problem I have with this tome is the density. So many characters that are in the story and then gone, Houses that make an appearance, maybe something pivotal happens because of their action, and you aren't sure if they'll ever be back so you don't invest in them, and then here they are again -wait, who are they and what'd they do? On a second reading it's cohesive and it all sinks in.
The coming weekend being a holiday weekend, I'll get lots of lovely reading time in. Nothing is happening until Monday. There'll be fresh sheets on the bed, cool drinks in the fridge and a fan lazily oscillating while I escape to other lands. And I have a stack of never-reads awaiting me. Heaven.
Hamlet Under Almond Bough
2 days ago