February 22, 2006

i haven’t seen the worst of it yet

Posted in books, poetry tagged , , at 12:12 pm by placeinthestars

H. was talking about comfort reading yesterday [or the day before? I’m a little fuzzy on time since Friday], and I’ve found my most constant form of comfort reading is, god help me, romance novels. You know it’s all going to work out in the end, happily, and if it’s really good, you may get yourself a cathartic cry out of it. Sunday night, I curled up with one that I don’t even really love, but it was readily to hand without rummaging at the parents’, and it was a nice two hours’ escape. I mean, okay, I really wanted Carla Kelly, but Barbara Metzger does in a pinch. The non-romance novel I turn to in times of needing comfort is, oddly enough, The Tombs of Atuan. It’s tiny, so it’s not a long-lasting comfort, but oh man, nothing like Ged and Tenar bonding in the darkness to make me happy.

The funniest part is that I’m still carrying around War Music, but a few days ago, I reached the part where Patroclus pushed the Trojans back from the ships and he’s just killed Sarpedon, and … I stopped reading. I don’t want to read about him dying right now. That’s so silly, isn’t it? It’s not like I didn’t know it was coming when I picked up the book, but much like I always yell at Bayliss during “Gone for Goode” (“Don’t pick up that phone, Timmy! Don’t do it!”), and I have to put OotP down after the twins leave Hogwarts, I find myself getting really anxious and hoping that maybe this time, Patroclus will remember Achilles’ instructions and turn back and, you know, not die.

I, like Joey with Little Women, kind of want to put the book in the freezer. I’ve never had this reaction to this particular story before (though yes, I have had it to various stories, see especially A Separate Peace and The Arm of the Starfish), and on the one hand, I feel really silly, but on the other, eek! Patroclus, just turn back now, you idiot!

On the third hand, I highly recommend War Music, if you’re a fan of poetry, the Iliad, or reinterpretations of old stories, because it’s pretty damn awesome. Even if you get wibbly about Patroclus, like I do.

I have seriously got to stop attaching to characters who die young. What is up with that?

Also, I really need to sleep. Gah.




February 14, 2006

we’ll be the wild ones

Posted in books tagged , , at 10:55 pm by placeinthestars

I finished Devil in the White City, and I feel I should have something to say about it, but I don’t. It was an enjoyable read – Larson’s style is engaging and it was an easy read, if somewhat gross on occasion, and I really knew nothing about the Chicago World’s Fair or H.H. Holmes, so I learned a lot, even if I take everything in it with a grain of salt, because I just can’t quite get behind how Larson recreates conversations etc. even if they are based on actual letters/documents/etc.

Now I’m reading War Music and I am in love. IN LOVE. With Achilles, mostly, but also with the language.

The thing about Achilles is… he is a sulky brat who causes the deaths of a lot of people (er, other than the people he kills in battle, whose deaths he also causes, but like, that’s his job, so it’s not so problematic as the number of people on his own side he gets killed), but he’s not wrong about the fact that what Agamemnon does to him is wrong. What I mean is, Agamemnon basically breaks faith with him, and in that act, he breaks faith with the whole of the army, and that’s just spectacularly bad leadership. They’re both assholes about it, but Agamemnon is in a position where he should know better (of course, he’s the guy who slit his own daughter’s throat to get his war on the road, so…), or at least, he should behave better. Of course, Achilles should just suck it up and be the better man, but he wouldn’t be himself if he did that, and I’ve always liked him in spite of his assholery. Or possibly because of it.