Everything is Oll Korrect!

An eclectic bibliophile's journal…

Category: literature

Snap Back to Reality

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.

Was it worth the wait? Mostly, yes. The short version of this review is that if you enjoyed Sanity (and yes, you need to read that first), then you’ll also enjoy Reality. If you didn’t, you won’t.

Like SanityReality starts off with a bang:

Sometimes it helps if you don’t have too much imagination.

I’m starting to put pressure on the seatbelt buckle, to snap it into its slot, looking down to find the right angle when in my peripheral vision the reflection off the car hood changes, the orb of the sun cut into by a shadow that shouldn’t be coming from that direction and I let go the buckle and begin to drop right, across the seat and there’s a burst of light and sound over my head and a shower of glass across my back and legs but I ignore it and get down, down, flatten the right side of my face into the leather bench seat.

It still has that new car smell.

I reach with my left hand and pull the passenger door handle toward me, give the door a shove and launch out behind it, pulling on the edge of the seat with my right hand and using knees and chest muscles and everything and anything to get some velocity out the door. There’s another big sound, different because the windshield is already shattered and a gentle rain of safety glass pebbles falls on the back of my head but I don’t care. I make it mostly out, elbows on the asphalt and the rebounding door hits my legs but I just keep pulling and twisting toward the front of the car to get a visual, my legs finally clear and hit the ground. Between the front tires I see a pair of black boots and dark pants 12 or 15 yards away and I squirm to get some clearance for my right hip, get a good grip on the butt of the .45 and another shot comes, the deep throaty boom of a 12-gauge. I smoothly draw, I’ve practiced from this position and every position get a two-hand grip a flash sight picture on the left boot and send one, the sound is enormous in the confined space under the car, a wave of dust and heat bounces off the pavement rushing away from me and when it dissipates a second later I see the legs of the shooter collapsing, a dark figure tumbling toward me and the shotgun clatters and bounces, sliding along the asphalt and the figure’s chest hits the ground right into my sight picture and I send the second one smoothly, pressing the trigger so gently I can feel the perfect location of it, just ahead of the first knuckle.…

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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. There’s also The Bowl of Tears and Solace, which isn’t in their catalogue at all last I checked. That brings us up to a more typical thirty-eight, two more than last year.

Since I’ve already mentioned DBZ, that, Ito Juni’s Frankenstein, and the second omnibus volume of Go Nagai’s Devilman make up all nine graphic novels I read this year.

I only read three books of poetry, all by Dante: RimeLa Vita Nuova (my second time reading this one), and a collection called Dante’s Lyric Poetry: Poems of Youth and of the ‘Vita Nuova’. Of those, La Vita Nuova is the best and I can recommend Mark Musa’s translation, but Dante’s Lyric Poetry is nice because it includes ample commentary. Speaking of Dante, I also read Marco Santagata’s fine biography Dante: The Story of his Life and Dante’s prose work on vernacular poetry, De Vulgari Eloquentia, which was more tedious and less interesting, and less focused on poetry, than I’d hoped. Another great poet, Homer, was represented in The Printed Homer: A 3,000 Year Publishing and Translation History of the Iliad and the Odyssey, by Philip Young. One last work of serious literature worth mentioning was Fables françaises du Moyen-Age.

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Marceline Desbordes-Valmore’s “Rendez-Vous”

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.

One of those is Marceline Desbordes-Valmore, an actress who had a pair of intense but short-lived romances early in her life, which inspired some of her poems, before settling down with Mr. Valmore, another actor. Her first poems were published in 1813, with the poem below, “Le Rendez-vous,” appearing in 1825.…

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Moby Dick: The Picture Book

‘Of course’, said Queequeg. ‘Man want to die, nothing can save him. Man want to live, only God can kill him – or whale or storm, maybe’.

Recently, while shelving books in my library’s children’s section, I noticed a picture book with an especially striking cover and was somewhat surprised to see the title, Moby Dick. Herman Melville’s Great American Novel is hardly something I expected to find on the kid’s fiction shelves, but I was curious about how it would be adapted so I checked it out.

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