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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Looking for books

- John the Baptist (Michael York)

I'm paying attention to Advent, but at the same time looking for something to read, and there's not a lot of fiction about Advent that I'm aware of (have already read Two From Galilee: The Story Of Mary And Joseph) so instead I'm perusing lists ... Best Books Of 2012: The Complete List (NPR) and Best books (The Guardian).

I also came across this 2011 list in The Telegraph, Not the 50 books you must read before you die, which tells you instead what books to skip. Unfortunately, I'd already read a few of them...

2 - Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell - The finest dystopic novel of the 20th century, coining such terms as “doublethink” and “thought crime”, but indirectly responsible for the rise of reality television and the career of Davina McCall.

6 - The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer - Not nearly as bawdy or easy to understand as your English teacher promised (“Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth…”). Plus no cover puff from Stephen Fry, so probably not worth reading.

10 - Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell - Better than the musical, which lasted two months in the West End. But not as good as the film, which honed the line “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

14 - The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka - See above, replacing “Leibnizian optimism” with “Kafkaesque” and “the Louvre” with “the Brandenburg Gate”.

And I'd tried a few more before giving up on them ;) ....

45 - The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown - Useful only as a shorthand to know whom to avoid on the Tube.

46 - Twilight by Stephenie Meyer - See above, especially if they’re grown-ups, who really should not be fixating on vampires.

47 - Harry Potter… by JK Rowling - See above, especially if they’re grown-ups reading a version with an adult cover.

Hope I can find something good to read.


Anonymous Richard said...

Have you read King Jesus by Robert Graves? An historical novel about the life of Christ, offers interesting speculations about the role of Mary and the advent period. He also wrote I Claudius, which was the basis for the pbs series.

11:29 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

No, I didn't know about that book - thanks :) I have read other books by him - I, Claudius and Claudius the God, and Count Belisarius, but all a long time ago. I'll look for King Jesus.

11:37 PM  
Blogger Dina said...

The Telegraph's tongue-in-cheek book descriptions are funny.

There is a book about Advent that I always wanted to read but never got. You might like it:

The author, Catherine Doherty, wrote _Poustinia_ which is already a modern spiritual classic. It and some other of her books impressed me greatly when I was trying to understand Christian religion.

12:20 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Thanks, Dina. I'll look for it. The Poustinia book looks interesting - Russian Christian spirituality? Wikipedia has a page on her - saved it to read tomorrow.

12:46 AM  
Blogger William D. Lindsey said...

Crystal, have you read Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall? If you've mentioned it and I haven't noticed, I apologize for missing your reference to it. I think you might like it--and also Jonathan Stroud's Bartimaeus trilogy, which you may also have read.

8:38 AM  
Blogger PrickliestPear said...

Have you ever read Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal, by Christopher Moore? It's funny, and well-researched, too. I'm kind of a snob when it comes to literature, but I gave it a shot and rather enjoyed it.

10:33 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi William,

No, I've never read Wolf Hall. I remember seeing in the list of new books that the woman who wrote that has new book out too. Haven't read Jonathan Stroud's Bartimaeus trilogy, either. Maybe it's time I checked them all out. Thanks :)

2:07 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi PP,

No, I've not heard of 'Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal' before. Sounds like it could be fun, thanks :) Maybe I confused it with a book by Pullman about Jesus' brother?

2:10 PM  
Blogger PrickliestPear said...

I think you mean The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ by Philip Pullman?

I haven't read it, but I've read some reviews of it. It sounds like a very different kind of book from the one I mentioned before. Interesting, maybe, but I only have enough time to read maybe ten novels a year (I much prefer non-fiction), and I'm not in any hurry to add that one to my list.

2:25 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Yes, that's the one. It sounded kind of unpleasant to me too. I must read more non-fiction.

2:51 PM  

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