Gerard Manley Hopkins, "The Windhover" (23rd Friend)

Did you forget this series? It’s only been, well, a long while since we met our last friend, but I’m going to reintroduce it now. You needn’t worry about it quickly falling off again, either, because the next few posts have already been written. How’s that for planning ahead? Anyway, today we’ll meet Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins. He was born in 1844, converted to Catholicism from Anglicanism as a young man, joined the Jesuit order, and worked as a Classics teacher and parish priest around England, Wales, and Ireland.

Treasury of Children's Poetry

Richard Carroll
Library booksales are wildly hit-and-miss affairs, usually more of a miss. Once in a while, though, you can catch a break - like us at a sale earlier this year, where we walked out with several dozen books for $20. Of course, mere quantity means little if every book is rotten, but we were able to find a lot of good stuff. What helped, I think, is that staff gradually restocked the tables over the course of the morning, so the early birds weren’t able to pick out absolutely everything worth having (often to sell on eBay later, not even to enjoy for themselves!

Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio

Richard Carroll
I wasn’t able to do any seasonal reading for October last year, but now that I have a little spare time I decided to check out Pu Songling’s collection, Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio. I’ve read a few of these stories before in adapted form via the app Du Chinese, and eventually I’d like to read the original book. For now, though, I have to be content with the translation by John Minford.

The Penguin Book of Haiku

Richard Carroll
As a person who likes Japan, likes literature, and likes what he’s read of the combination of those two, I want to like haiku. However, it’s never really appealed to me. In my experience, five-line tanka are about as short as a poem can be and still feel like it has some substance to it, and even that takes a patient sort of reading to appreciate. I also hadn’t read all that many of them though and didn’t know much about the context in which they were written, so I hoped that reading The Penguin Book of Haiku, with its large sample size accompanied by an extensive introduction and some commentary, would help me to at least appreciate if not enjoy the form.

Snap Back to Reality

Richard Carroll
A couple years ago I did something rather dangerous and reviewed a novel written by an e-friend, Neovictorian’s Sanity. Fortunately, the novel was in fact enjoyable and genuinely interesting. Shortly after publishing Sanity, Neovictorian announced that he was working on a sequel, Reality, and I was, for the first time since high school, looking forward to a new novel by a living author. Amazing! Being swamped by schoolwork and wedding planning kept me from starting and finishing the book until recently, well after its January 2020 release date, but so it goes.

2019 in Bibliophilia

It’s the end of the year, and now that the reminiscing and navel-gazing is over it’s time for the most important year-end festivity, looking at how many books I read. In 2018 I read thirty-six, compared to 2017’s forty-two. This year, I have twenty-nine books recorded in LibraryThing, but this excludes eight volumes of Toriyama Akira’s DragonballZ because they’re part of a box set and so, from LibraryThing’s perspective, are only one book.

Marceline Desbordes-Valmore's "Rendez-Vous"

Richard Carroll
For the sake of both practising my French and reading something I’m interested in, I’ve started reading through a book straightforwardly titled French Poetry of the Nineteenth Century, edited by Elliott M. Grant and first published in 1932 (my copy is a 1950 reprint). I haven’t worked through much of it yet, but I have a learned a few things about French poetry generally and now know a couple fine poets I hadn’t previously even been aware of.

Dante: The Story of his Life

Richard Carroll
I like to style myself a literary omnivore, but one genre I’ll admit I seldom touch is biography. I’ve read one on Robert E. Lee, and back in high school and college I read some biographies of various rock bands, but I preferred those that focused primarily on their music and secondarily on the musicians' personal lives. A recent review, of The Printed Homer, included some biographical speculation, but ultimately one can’t really write a biography of a man about whom we know so little for certain that we’re not even sure if he was one dude or multiple dudes.

The Printed Homer: A 3000 Year Publishing and Translation History of the Iliad and the Odyssey

Richard Carroll
Philip H. Young’s The Printed Homer: A 3000 Year Publishing and Translation History of the Iliad and the Odyssey is an odd book to recommend to laymen because about half of it will be useful only to a very focused class of specialists. The other half, though, is of interest to any Classicist, professional or amateur, and is enough to justify buying the whole package. The specialist half can be dealt with very briefly.

The Bowl of Tears and Solace

Richard Carroll
Not that long ago the common complaint around the Right (broadly defined) was that we needed more dissident artists and authors. Over the past year or two, though, that situation has been reversing itself and it feels like everyone who’s anyone now has a novel coming out. I’ve reviewed Neovictorian’s book Sanity previously, and Neovictorian himself has reviewed Sanction and The Brave and the Bold, while in short fiction there’s enough material for Logos Club to offer a weekly overview of it all.