Archive for the ‘books’ Tag
On Tuesday the 12th, children’s author Beverly Cleary turns 100. I remember reading her Henry Huggins and Ramona the Pest books when I was four or five; I still remember fair chunks of them — Henry trying to get his dog on the city bus, Ramona thinking ‘a quarter past eight’ was 8:25, since a quarter is 25¢ — and I hope they’re still in print. They were well written, funny, and maybe more to the point relevant: certainly I knew kids like those in her books.
No doubt they’d seem old-fashioned by now, but there’s nothing wrong with that. We really did used to go outside and play before there were iPads and PlayStations. I can highly recommend it.
I’m learning just now of the passing of Grand Master Frederik Pohl last week. Even realizing that this is the natural order of things, it’s sad to think that we aren’t too far from the day that all of First Fandom is gone.
I bought an ebook reader this morning; the price was right, and it’ll be kinda nice to be able to carry a library with me instead of just a book.
It was pre-loaded with a lot of stuff from Project Gutenberg, some of which I’ll be keeping, and some of which I’ve already deleted. The Holmes stuff stays, let there be no doubt about that. And it’ll be neat to have digital editions of our old ‘zine/APA in there as I convert them all slowly to digital format.
Anyway, I was sorting through the files, a lot of which is in the “classic literature” category that has never really appealed to me — Dickens, Austen, Melville, that sort of thing. The stuff they make you read in high school lit classes.
And in there is a translation of Dostoevsky’s “The Idiot”.
Now, I’ve never read Dostoevsky, in Russian or English — and my Russian is too far gone now for me to do anything more than clumsily sound out each incomprehensible word. So I opened the file, thinking it monstrously unfair to nuke it unread.
And read the whole thing (it’s not that long to begin with) in one sitting, even though I had a blazing headache.
That’s how classic literature becomes classic literature, isn’t it? It’s so damn readable!
Anyway, I’m still sorting through what to keep and what’s to go, and what my ‘permanent library’ should be. I’m keeping the Conan Doyle, Twain and Carroll and nuking the Dickens, Austen and Melville — everything else, I haven’t decided yet. I think I’m probably keeping The Art of War — I dipped into it and found it intriguing. And then I need to go to Gutenberg and get Jekyll and Hyde, and some ERB.
Diane Duane has blogged about the concluding volume to the Tale of the Five, ‘The Door Into Starlight’. Do let her know that you want to see this book (assuming you do!)
In re: Deathly Hallows — stretches of the old brilliance. A few unbearable bits. Really, neither more nor less than I expected. For the most part, a rollicking, breezy read. Solid B to B+ that could’ve been an A had she not had to deal with all the nonsense she set up for herself in HBP. Assloads better than HBP–but it could hardly not be.
So the 2007 Hugo nominees have been announced, and the only thing I can think is, Jeez, I haven’t heard of hardly any of these people! Among the best novelists, I’ve only heard of Vinge, and never read him. Novellas: bupkus. Novelette, I’ve heard of Resnick but again, never read him. Short story, there’s Neil Gaiman, the first writer on this list whose work I have actually read–and that was Don’t Panic.
Have I really grown that out of touch with what used to be my primary fandom? Or (as I prefer to think of it) am I just a classicist who’s more comfortable with the Golden Age than most of the modern works?