I’ve got so many books in the works, it’s making my head spin. My own fault. No one to blame but myself. And it’s a good problem to have. Since I have so many bibliophiles in my little circle, thought I’d share some thoughts on what’s in progress for those who might be interested.
The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
If you’ve been following along, you know I’ve been on a weekly chapter quest across Middle-Earth. For those who didn’t know, those posts drop in the small hours of the morning on Sundays. This week’s post is already written and timed accordingly. After that, there’s only one chapter left. I’ll be going through the Appendices, of course, and that’ll take awhile. But… one more chapter. This is always so hard for me. The Lord of the Rings is my all-time favorite novel, and it’s been of supreme pleasure to go through this slowly and thoroughly, looking for all the minutiae and world building. Saying goodbye has never been easy, but as a friend pointed out, it’s merely “farewell until next time.” And there will be a next time. There’s always a next time. And it’s been awesome getting insights from my fellow buddy reader’s blogs on this quest. She’s been comparing the book to Peter Jackson’s films the entire time, so that’s been fun.
Code of the Samurai – Bushido: The Soul of Japan by Nitobe Inazō
This book isn’t what I thought it would be at all. I’m used to reading old, dusty books of chivalry and honor. This is less of a manifesto and more of an explanation of the philosophy of Bushido in context with the history. It’s a scholarly insight from a Japanese professor, designed with the Western reader in mind. I think this will be an excellent primer for when I read the other book I have on my shelf by the same title, Code of the Samurai.
The Story of Civilization, Vol. 2: The Life of Greece by Will Durant
I’ve been listening to this one in the car on the daily commute to and from work. As with the first volume, its storytelling quality makes it pretty much ideal for that sort of thing, and it seems considerably less daunting when broken down into smaller chunks like that. The insights here into the different cultures and politics of the various city-states are incredibly detailed. I can’t imagine the research it took to put this series together, but so far book 2 is living up to the promise of book 1.
The Courtier: Il Cortegiano (The Book of the Courtier) by Baldassare Castiglione
This one’s been called THE book of the Renaissance. I’ve been chipping away at it a bit at a time at night, but it’s become apparent that I’m going to have to dedicate some serious time to it to fully process it, maybe after I finish with the Code of the Samurai. Essentially this is the rule book for being a gentlemanly presence at a royal court, in this case that of the Duke of Urbino (the one after Cesare Borgia briefly occupied the role). What’s interesting is that it’s written in much the same way as Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, which is to say it’s in the form of fictional dialogues that closely follow those that actually took place. Pretty cool stuff, and it deserves more attention than I’m giving it right at the moment because I’m juggling a couple of books on Medieval and Renaissance music at night as well in my evening hours (which I won’t blog about here) in addition to drawing and watching Marvel’s Iron Fist. It’s a classic case of too many irons in the fire. I sometimes think I don’t know how else to operate.
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
After yesterday’s review of Wharton’s ghost stories, I’ve decided that it isn’t enough to wait to read the paper copy of this book that’s been waiting patiently on my bookshelf for years now. The truly sad part is, I will very likely end up pulling that paperback this evening just to reread certain passages. Due to some interruptions here at work, I’m only about 25% of the way into this today, but it’s everything I hoped it would be after those ghost stories. Wharton is truly a modern master of both prose style and characterization. More than that, the social commentary here is subtle and inspired. I marvel at just how effortlessly I’ve been sucked into this, especially since this isn’t typically “in my wheelhouse.” Then again, neither was Downton Abbey. This is almost the perfect counterpoint to that TV series. The last time I was this surprised and enamored by a book, I was reading Trilby by George du Maurier. I may end up blogging a bluestreak when it comes time to review this. Apologies in advance for that.
The Man with the Golden Gun by Ian Fleming
I’ve not started this one yet, but it will commence next week as part of a buddy read. I have read it a couple of times before, and I’m always forced to ask why I do it to myself. At least this time around I know why, because if nothing else, our banter is entertaining. As much as I enjoy 007, even for the wrong reasons, this one is just not on par with the rest of the series. I will be continuing on with Bond after I’m done with Fleming just because I’ve always wanted to read the official continuation novels. To date, I’ve only read three of those, one of which immediately follows Fleming’s final offering.
Henry V by William Shakespeare
I know, I know… I keep saying I’m going to post this blog soon. I have actually read Henry V. A couple of times, in fact. And I’ve listened to the audio. And I’ve watched three different versions of the film. I’m ready to actually post for my Shakespeare project. It’s almost like something is holding me back from actually putting my thoughts out on this one, and I can’t for the life of me figure out why. I really don’t know what else to say at this point. I just need to sit down and write it up.
So… what are you reading these days? What do you think about it so far?