Sunday, July 30, 2006

Summer Reading, 7/30/06

Recently finished Robert Graves's I, Claudius. I rarely finish novels anymore. I probably finish about 1 in 5 that I start. I usually conclude about 1/4 of the way through that the book isn't worth my time. But I enjoyed I, Claudius enough that I went to The Bookshop and bought Claudius The God, the little-known sequel. That turned out to be a mistake, and I'm putting that in the Book Statsis Pile to maybe finish it later. Maybe it's too much of the same thing, or maybe it's that Graves starts the second book with about a hundred pages on Herod, when it's Claudius you really want to know about.

Not that anybody cares what I'm reading, but it's my blog, so there.

Now I'm mostly reading part two of Faust. Jimminy Christmas, can anybody tell me WTF this book is about? I'm reading it in English, so it undoubtedly loses a lot in terms of poetical merit...and I know I'm supposed to be overawed and all...but I'm kind of a literary low-brow, and I don't think I'm getting it. I think that--with the help of copious footnotes--I did fine with part one... But I'm kinda lost with this second part.


Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

Yah, the 2nd book sucked. Not enough killing and poisoning and stuff.

Wait 'til you rent the BBC miniseries, which was absolutely one of the coolest things of all time. John Hurt as Caligula steals the show.

(As a matter of fact, of the 13 parts, only the last 2 or 3 deal with the second book. Which is good.)

5:35 PM  
Anonymous Jimmy Doyle said...

Just to second that. "I, Claudius" is, like, totally the most awesome thing the BBC has ever done. Derek Jacobi's Claudius, John Hurt's Caligula, Sian Phillips' Livia, Brian Blessed's Augustus... Also James Faulkner's Herod: "Trust No-one, my friend..." Never mind the wobbly sets. It's extremely awesome.

11:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, drop "Claudius the God", which is just about Grave's weakest book I think. If you haven't read it already, you must (must!) go find a copy of "Goodbye to All That", his memoir of serving in the first world war. Nobody does a better job of conveying the butchery and bullshit of that war.

12:03 AM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

Cheers, A.

WWI was probably the most destuctive and thoroughly useless enterprise in European, if not man's history.

I have learned to speak not so ill of Neville Chamberlain, who although blind to the Nazi menace, can hardly be blamed for trying to avoid a rerun of such senseless human carnage.

By comparison, the crusades and even 9-11 make sense.

10:25 PM  
Anonymous no fortunate son said...

If you do watch the BBC production, watch for Patrick Stewart--with a head of curly hair--playing Tiberius's hatchet man Sejanus.

1:20 AM  

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