Book Round-Up

It has been a crazy week.  Working at a college just provides you with the opportunity of becoming just as stressed as the students at the end of the semester.  Thankfully it is the end of another week and I overslept (but not enough to get to work late).

This week I read:

The Blue NileBlue Nile

A fascinating book that gives the history of Egypt and Ethopia.  Africa continues to be of interest in this age, just as it was during the time period that this book focuses on.  It continues to be a mystery to the Western world as their customs and manners of living are largely different.  It is a good social critique, but more than anything it is just a fascinating tale in part of the history of the Nile River.

I re-read:

The Name of the Rose

Name of the Rose from Amazon.com

I do believe I will keep re-reading this book ever few years.  Who doesn’t enjoy a good monk murder mystery?  Reminds me of Ellis Peter’s Cadfael Books, but this book is much better.

                                                                                                                                                                                       

And I started:

Exit Ghost

Image from Amazon

"I am Beowulf"

Why is it that whenever Neil Gaiman writes anything it can be boiled down to sex?  It is almost like expecting Assimov to write about robots.  If it is a handle by which we can know if it is a Neil Gaiman story, then it is laughable.  I was not expecting much from the Beowulf movie released this weekend, but I was hoping that somehow the writers would keep some of the same spirit from the epic poem.  My own fears were only confirmed.  The movie Beowulf is mostly about a demon woman who preys on the kings in this old country.  Nobody can withstand her “seductive nature”.  When reading Beowulf however, it is a story about courage — about doing what no one else will do at that time.  The writers do the complete opposite with their version, and Beowulf does just what anyone else would have done and then whines about why there are no heroes in today’s world.  It only grates on my nerves.

The monsters are amazing though.  I especially enjoyed the dragon and Grendel.  They were frightening and what I would imagine.  And being that it was first movie in 3-d I also enjoyed that experience.  Its just sad that Gaiman has to corrupt and destroy everything he touches. 

 A link to an article in the LA Times about the movie before it came out where the other writer, Avery is quoted about writing the Beowulf story for today’s culture.  Beowulf makes an epic comeback

And I’ll be leaving the Poem of the Day up for today just as reminder what the true story of Beowulf is about.

Word of the Year

Oxford University Press has chosen their word of the year: locavore.  Eh.  After working for two weeks straight in Whole Foods I have come to cringe everytime I hear anything about organic foods or locally grown foods — mostly because I can smell that Whole Foods smell everytime and it makes me sick.  As a word, it is well-chosen as the locavore culture is growing (which makes me suspicious as does anything that sweeps the interest of large groups of people).

 My favorite runner-up word is probably “cougar” having seen many in my former workplace.  They are frightening, perhaps more than the actual cat.  Goodness sakes!  You are old now!  Face it!  To be commited to a imaginery reality and seek younger men as a way to prove to themselves that their imagination is stronger than reality, well, God help them. 

Sunday Night Readings

Norman Mailer is dead.

New York Time’s Best Illustrated Children’s Books 2007

 Umberto Eco Gazes at the Grotesque.  I am still interested in reading his new work, even if it may appear (at least to Village Voice) that he worked less on it.  Currently I am in the midst of re-reading Name of the Rose

And because I still have fond memories of reading and re-reading the series, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Well-Insulated ‘Little House’

Farewell PCs

Japan is saying good-bye to personal computers as more and more of their gadgets do everything for them.  I would love it right now to see what their new gadgets look like, because if PCs are losing sales (Hitachi is beginning to not even make personal computers anymore) then these new gadgets must  be amazing.  Though I still am opposed to texting.  The keys are too small and I really don’t want a larger cellphone.

 Here’s the link to the article:  PCs Losing Their Relevance in Japan