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text 2017-07-17 17:58
Reading progress update: I've read 192 out of 414 pages.
The Poems of the Pearl Manuscript: Pearl, Cleanness, Patience, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: - Ronald Waldron,Unknown

Jonah can't hide; God stirs up a storm!
Once again the Pearl Poet demonstrates great powers of description.

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text 2017-07-15 09:17
Reading progress update: I've read 1139 out of 1344 pages.
The Complete Works (Oxford Shakespeare) - William Shakespeare,John Jowett,Gary Taylor

Time comes along and eats up 16 years in less than a minute!

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text 2017-07-13 21:30
Reading progress update: I've read 139 out of 1020 pages.
Edgar Allan Poe: Complete tales and poems - Edgar Allan Poe

Poems

My rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

 

Frankly, I gave a better rating than the entirety of Poe’s poems deserves when really thinking back to everything I read the last few days.  Honestly the highlight of the collection is “The Raven” and that’s probably were most of the rating comes from, but really besides a few other poems there isn’t really much here I enjoyed.

 

Politian

My rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars

 

This unfinished play is all over the place and one can barely make out the barebones of a plot.  The highlight is some nice dialogue in a few spots beyond that, it’s an unfinished play with parts that don’t go together.

 

Metzengerstein

My rating: 2 out of 5 stars

 

Two noble rival families, a prophecy about both, and throw in supernatural horse.  An intriguing short story that isn’t very coherent with an ending that weird.  Probably over rated the story, but it felt painfully close to being good if only…

 

The Duc De L’Omelette

My rating: 0.5 out of 5 stars

 

The titular French nobleman sees a bird fly over him and dies then beats the devil in a card game, I think.  A lot of French in the text and since I don’t know the language I’m guessing on everything, glad it was a short story.

 

A Tale of Jerusalem

My rating: 2 out of 5 stars

 

Three priests go to the walls of a besieged Jerusalem to pay the besieging Roman army for animals to conduct their sacrifices, after dropping the money they haul up the animal which turns out to be a pig.  The twist ending ALMOST makes up for the stereotypical Jewish characters that borders, if not crosses into anti-Semitism.

 

Loss of Breath

My rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

 

A wife-beater literally loses his breath while hitting her, but doesn’t die though throughout the story people believe he is when not seeing him move.  A satirical look at “life” from a living corpse that would have been better if the reader didn’t get confused several times about what was going on, oh and of course if the jerk wasn’t a wife-beater.

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text 2017-07-02 09:31
Reading progress update: I've read 1138 out of 1344 pages.
The Complete Works (Oxford Shakespeare) - William Shakespeare,John Jowett,Gary Taylor

And at last I have context for that most famous of stage directions, "Exit, pursued by a bear."

 

Now for my monthly update on my mission to finish the Complete Works by the end of the year:

 

I am two Acts behind schedule, which pace, if maintained, would put me 4 Acts behind by the end of the year. I also have 64 sonnets and a few pages of miscellaneous poems to go.

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text 2017-07-01 18:25
You Need this Weekend Read
Mr. Either/Or - Aaron Poochigian

Independence Day weekend is here in the U.S., and Canada Day weekend celebrations are happening 100 miles north of my location. There are still a lot of summer weekends to fill with reading at the lake, on the beach, or just on your deck or balcony. And have I got a title for you . . . 

 

My friend, Aaron Poochigian recently published "Mr. Either/Or," a novel in verse (Etruscan Press). Get it online from Powell's http://www.powells.com/book/mr-either-or-9780997745528/62-0 or have your favorite locally-owned, independent bookstore order it through Consortium. 

 

Now, I know what you're thinking: "A novel in verse? How can that possibly be a summer weekend read, Carissa?" Okay, imagine this: A classic film noir (Act I), combined with a super-episode of "The X Files" (Act II), with characters that will make you miss "Alias," and a climax worth of a Marvel movie. 

 

Mr. Either/Or is either an ivy-league college student soaking slacking his way through higher education, or he's a government spook, running business as a secret operative for some shady characters. Well, he's both. And this novel is a pretty rollicking adventure that makes full use of the classic landscapes of Manhattan. 

 

You've never read a novel in verse? Don't worry, I had only read one before this myself (more about that in a future post). You don't read much poetry at all? Well, I won't chastise you for that here. Just let me say: Don't let it stop you. 

 

If you're just getting started with poetry, read the novel sentence by sentence. Don't worry about things your Intro to Poetry teacher insisted you pay attention to - line endings, rhyme, rhythmic feet, caesuras (what the heck were those again?). Poochigian's sentences are not opaque, and you'll feel them fine. 

 

What the verse does here is provide a be-bop jazzy soundtrack to the story. It highlights fun word play and pop-culture references. And most importantly, it keeps the pages turning. 

 

Try "Mr. Either/Or" - you'll like it, and you'll be passing it around your campfire to other readers in your crowd before Labor Day.

 

-cg

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