a general ramble

I am currently reading Virginia Woolf’s Between the Acts, and have also stacked up a few short story anthologies, including a collection by Chekhov, and White Walls by Tatyana Tolstaya. I am also re-reading The Other Boleyn Girl (Philippa Greggory) and Antonia Fraser’s biography of Marie Antoinette. Sometimes it’s such a comfort just to settle back into something cosy and familiar, instead of treading into new waters. Especially when I only manage to squeeze in a few minutes of reading per day (in the early hours when my mind is extremely tired) and I don’t feel like thinking at all.

Oh, and just a warning to all economical, tight-budget, or stingy book buyers: beware of Wordsworth classics. I know they are oh-so-affordable, but CHECK THE PRINT BEFORE BUYING THE BOOK. I recently bought three Wordsworth books for $5 AUD, an amazing bargain buy. The books were Homer’s The Odyssey, and Hugo’s Les Miserables split into two separate books.   All three are unreadable. The print is so microscopic that it’s just a strain on the eyes.

There is a price to be paid for attempting to squeeze a monster of a book into two slender volumes. And Wordsworth has decided that the price will be the reader’s vision. Right, I think I’ll pass. As for The Odyssey, the small print is not as unbearable because it is in verse, after all, so there aren’t as many words on a page. HOWEVER, the catch is that it is Chapman’s 17th century transaltion, instead of say, for example, the more recent Fagle translation that Penguin offers. At least Shakespeare has footnotes? Even with a printed copy of the Wikipedia summary next to me (pathetic, I know, but I couldn’t understand the damned thing) I couldn’t get past the first few pages. Maybe this isn’t an issue for people who can understand 17th century poetry, or are more learned than I, but I’m assuming that for most people Chapman = a pain to read.

That said, most of the Wordsworth books are fine. I bought an entire set of Austen books (minus Pride and Prejudice and Northanger Abbey because they were out of stock) for only $12. Great, great bargain.


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