Saturday, September 10, 2005

what'm I reading?

So. What's in my current stack? Can I remember without going to grab it and read off the titles?

Let's see ... I just started Dora, Doralina, a novel assigned more than ten years ago in my Brazilian Literature class at Cal. I'm reading an English translation. I like the voice -- grumpy but philosophical. The narrator is recalling herself as a young woman living on her mother's fazenda (ranch). She met the man who became her husband when he came to survey the property line. She often fights with her mother, whom she calls "Senhora" rather than "Mama".

I'm reading a book on the Ba-Benzelle pygmies written by an American who has been living with them for the last ten or fifteen years. He fell in love with their music and traveled to central Africa to record it and stayed. The book accompanies a CD of music.

Have two or three poetry anthologies going, a huge one of poetry from around the world that was published a few years ago by the Book of the Month Club. It's not bad. But I'm indifferent to most of the poems. I started another anthology to get some contemporaries in my head, The Heights of the Marvelous, a gathering of poets in New York City published in 2000. It's more fun than the world stuff.

I just finished the second volume of Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentleman. Did he write it after the Hollywood movie adaptation of the first volume? The movie seems to have been based more on Moore's concept than any story he wrote. Anyway, I wonder if anger at Hollywood led Moore to kill off two of the Gentleman ... the pages seem cluttered with 19th century fiction's fantastic elements and the result rather a mess. There's a long prose travelogue at the back of the book which I guess I'll read. Also reading Grickle, a collection of short comics starring very expressive stick figures.

Anything else? ... A book by a man who wanted to see what the contemporary Maya are up to. A thousand years ago they were the height of American civilization -- one of two (or was it three?) cultures in the world that invented the zero, had a calendar more accurate than any in the world, built grand pyramids and domesticated chocolate. So far the accounts of his travels have been superficial. Am I on the fourth chapter? He's only spoken at length with one contemporary Mayan person, and that man was quite Americanized having grown up in (I think) Chicago.

Volume two of Kafka's diaries. So unhappy! So dissatisfied!


hbjock said...

I don't think I've ever met someone who's read more books before in my life ;)

David Lee Ingersoll said...

LoEG2 was written and being published before the movie came out. The movie was probably in production while the comic was being put together but I doubt that Moore had any expectation that the movie would resemble LoEG1 (or be any good).

The LoEG series is a half enjoyed pleasure. I like the idea and most of the writing but I don't really care for Kevin O'Neil's art. I couldn't tell you exactly why. It's ugly but there are plenty of other artists who do ugly whose work I like.

Glenn Ingersoll said...

hi Jonah,

There are certainly people who plow through more books more quickly than I -- one of the librarians at the library where I work reviews books for journals and I know she cranks through stacks. As I read several at a time (a page or two of this one, then a page or two of that one) it actually takes me a surprisingly long time to finish any single book.


Hi D,

I was disappointed by vol 2 of League. With the first vol I felt I was missing something by having read so few of Moore's sources. This time I had recently read Wells' War of the Worlds and Island of Dr Moreau and thought their interesting elements got lost in the muddle.