Friday, January 29, 2010


This morning over a cup of dark-brew Sumatra I finished logging notes from Frazer's The Golden Bough. Jotting down bits of interesting text, ideas, or references from these books is taking longer than I thought, but the end is in sight.

Or is it? The more I read the more I'm interested in, and the more I want to remember and think about next time I'm writing something, whether it's the dim glint of a noonday need-fire in ninth-century Shetland moors, or examples of wolves from Aesop's fables, or Saint-Exupery's thoughts on sacrifice.

What I've been going through recently:

Janina David, A Square of Sky (a child's experience of the Holocaust). At war's end she was asked by a clueless German woman if she was, what, sixty? Sixty-five? She was sixteen years old.

Early Irish Myths and Sagas

Earliest English Poems

Poems of the Sea

John Keay, The Gilgit Game. History of the British, Russian, and Chinese maneuverings in the western mountains of Central Asia. Startlingly poetic.

Katzanzakis, The Last Temptation of Christ.

Adam Nicolson, Seamanship. Bumbling and well-meaning author sails the British coast. From the same author who wrote Seize the Fire, a history of the battle of Trafalgar. Also startlingly poetic.

Barry Lopez, Of Wolves and Men.

Dave Eggers, What is the What.

Robert de Gast, Western Wind, Eastern Shore

Seven Summits

Michael Alexander, A History of Old English Literature

Fagles, trans. The Iliad

Larrington, trans. The Poetic Edda. Just listen to this: "It is time for me to ride along the blood-red roads, to set the pale horse to tread the path in the sky."

Suddenly They Heard Footsteps

Tahir Shah, In Arabian Nights

Laura Miller, The Magician's Book

Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

Saint-Exupery, Flight to Arras

Liva Bitton-Jackson, I Have Lived a Thousand Years. Child's memoir of the Holocaust.

David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas. One of the most interesting and unexpected books I have ever read. Terrible and ultimately uplifting.

Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz

John Milton, Paradise Lost

Frazer, The Golden Bough

...and a few more still on deck. Whew!

1 comment:

Barbara said...

I'm exhausted. How do you keep them sorted out? I wanted to re-read Tale of Two Cities. What are your thoughts on that?--not re-reading it, but rather, the book itslef.