Recommended Reading
Today, while reading Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde I stumbled across yet another allusion I knew nothing about. Fortunately I found the characters I was looking for in Ovid's Metamorphoses, and their stories made Troilus and Criseyde all the more interesting. So I guess I recommend Ovid's Metamorphoses (not to be confused with Kafka's Metamorphosis, which I also recommend) to anyone who is sick of being an outsider.
The other day I e-mailed Al Blank, founder of Essay Group, talking about my Dante class, which covers the Divine Comedy and La Vita Nuova (both recommended). And he e-mailed back saying to read T.S. Eliot's essay/lecture, "What Dante Means to Me" found in the collection To Criticize the Critic. It's good, and I like some other pieces in it, too. So I recommend any literary criticism by Eliot, who seems a very sensitive critic (meaning sensitive to nuance and idea).
Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie is not as good as but even more complex than 100 Years of Solitude, and always self-conscious so you're never, ever comfortable -- a great book. Stephen Fry's The Liar, recommended and lended to me by Meghan, very light in the grand scheme of things but fun to read; also a character in it exists today in Seattle, a certain Donald Trefusis who currently goes by the name of Patrick Burke and feigns being from Montana.
Two novels I read in the summer 2001, and one I read in the summer of 2002: 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and As a Few Days (known in English as The Loves of Judith) and A Russian Romance (known in English as The Blue Mountain) by Meir Shalev. If you like imaginative, dense novels, read these, even in translation (though the originals for the latter titles are marvellous, and I imagine the first is probably spectacular).
Click here to go to the tribute site for Douglas Adams, author of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy books among many others, who died young in April of 2001.
"The Mystery of the Submitted Limerick" (copyright Hilamonster 2001)
This is indeed a phenomenon. A friend of mine wrote a limerick on a plane ride in 1996, when she was but a lowly 7th grader. She only showed the limerick to her teacher, her parents, and her uncle. Years later, I found her name on the internet. Someone, perhaps a plane-riding stranger, perhaps her own teacher, submitted the poem to an internet limerick contest under her name, and she knew nothing of it. To read it go
here. If you have any information regarding the submitted limerick, please e-mail Hilamonster.
Author/illlustrator David Macaulay has added to his masterpiece, The Way Things Work. Check it out here. Also try to read/look at a children's book by him called Rome Antics. Not to mention Black and White.
"Cold Dark Deep and Absolutely Clear" is a very moving essay from the book Heaven's Coast: A Memoir by Mark Doty.
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