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What are you reading in 2012?
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Joined: 24 Oct 2008
Posts: 3569

Location: Kenilworth, Warwickshire, UK

PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2012 10:07 am    Post subject:  Reply with quote

I still re-read them - they are quite wonderful.  More than enough to satisfy adults - thought-provoking, there is a melancholy edge to all of them, a hint of darkness, but they are utterly delightful.  Good to know the programme is being repeated!

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Joined: 19 Nov 2008
Posts: 3864

Location: Staines, Middlesex

PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 1:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The last of my 2012 readings was an incomplete one. I thought I'd read something different over Christmas, and so embarked on Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur. I read three of its 21 parts - some 120 of its 1000 odd pages - before realising that I couldn't read this from cover to cover at one go. I might dip into it from time to time to rad another part, but, for me at any rate, it's not one for cover-to-cover reading.

The problem, for me, is that I find myself resistant to fantasy. It's fine for short stories (as in Grimms' fairy tales, for instance) but I've never really been convinced by fantasy over long stretches.  I do realise that the boundary between reality and fantasy in fiction is vague, and that the fiction of even such favourite writers Bulgakov, Kafka, Gogol, Dickens, etc. all straddle this vague borderline. But beyond a point, I start to find fantasy dull: the sense of wonder other readers obviously find in it eludes me. I was quite enjoying Malory to begin with, but I found myself starting to weary of it as I was approaching the 100 page mark. All these invisible knights and wizards' spells and what have you ... they do nothing for me, i fear. And at times, it was hard blocking out of mind Monty Python and the Holy Grail. For instance, the bit where Gawain, about to strike the final blow in a particularly bloody combat, chops off a lady's head instead by mistake, aroused more laughter than anything else.

As a child, I used to love the retelling of these stories by Roger Lancelyn Green (whose retellings of the various myths and legends from around the world were grat avourites of mine). In his introduction to his King Arthur book, Lancelyn Green refers to the final chapters of Malory's work as among the greatest tragic masterpieces of world literature. Here, from what I gather, we are actually taken into the characters' minds, as they find their loyalties divided, and they face tragic dilemmas. This all sounds very attractive. But first, I'll have to get through sone 900 odd pages of pure plot, and, as I say, I can only take such things in small doses. So I've decided to read maybe a part or two between other books. I'd certainly like to read the thing - if only because it's such an important book in the history of English literature: but dipping into it from time to time is possibly the best approach for me.

See my blog:

(Go on! - You'd like it!  - Honest!)
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