Everything is Oll Korrect!

An eclectic bibliophile's journal…

Category: meta stuff

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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2019: Mais où sont les neiges d’antan!

Oh yeah, I have a blog, don’t I? As I recall, I typically write annual year-in-review posts so maybe I should do that. There hasn’t been much action on Everything is Oll Korrect! in 2019, especially in the latter half, due to school, work, and other commitments (which we’ll get to shortly), and for the last couple weeks illness. As I write, my eyes itch and I can’t breathe through my right nostril, but such is my dedication to the millions and millions of the Ocelot’s fans that I’m going to write at least this one post. I’ll run through the articles I did publish this year, then spend the bulk of this article talking about one of my favourite subjects, me.

So, I wrote all of seventeen posts in 2019. For comparison, in 2018 I wrote fifty-seven. I started the year with William Cecil and his lovely New Year’s Day poem about addressed to his daughter. Several other posts would also cover poetry, including articles about Dante’s friend Guido Cavalcanti, Cavalier Sir John Denham, 19th Century French poet Marceline Desbordes-Valmore (which also features my attempt at translating her poem “Rendez-vous”), and medieval troublemaker François Villon, who I liked enough to write about in French and EnglishEverything also featured two articles about poets, one on Homer and one on Dante.

In the world of prose, we have a fine children’s adaptation of Moby Dick, as well as contemporary novel The Bowl of Tears and Solace. As for non-fiction, we have the helpful Confession Made Easy and John Carter’s classic book about books, ABC for Book Collectors. Graphic novels found representation in Ito Junji’s excellent adaptation of Frankenstein and Go Nagai’s original Devilman. Video games also made an appearance thanks to a review of Ogre Battle 64, and non-video games made their Everything debut with the happy game of mahjong. Content may have been sparse in 2019 but variety was not as even professional wrestling made an appearance. Finally, back in July I gave a status report for those wondering “What’s the news, where ya been?

With such a variety of articles to choose from it’s hard to pick a best of the year, but my coverage of “Rendez-vous” was the most fun to write since translation was a new challenge for me. “The Happy Game of Mahjong” accomplished its purposes the best, and my review of The Printed Homer was overall the best of 2019.

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The Happy Game of Mahjong

It’s hard to remember, but I’m pretty sure I first learned about mahjong (not mahjong solitaire) in the same way I’ve learned about most things in my life, Japanese cartoons. It looked interesting so when I saw a mahjong set for sale at a Half Price Books years ago I went ahead and bought it, got a book on mahjong, and never learned how to play. I didn’t know anyone who played and the mahjong software selection is bad enough now and was even worse then.

My interest was rekindled a few months ago after playing gin rummy for a while and one of my Twitter friends mentioned that he’d learned the basics of mahjong by thinking of it as essentially a rummy game. After all, the premise is that you’re forming tiles into sets, either sequences (e.g., 1-2-3 of the same suit) or three or four of a kind to form a winning hand. I re-read my book, managed to find a decent mahjong iOS app to practice with, and even found a group in my area to play with IRL.

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What’s the News, Where ya Been?

Yes, there is wind left in my soul, though I am growing old. If you’re wondering about the lack of updates, it comes down to what I talked about last May. I’m working full time, going to grad school part-time, and through May had an internship at a local library, as well, and am still volunteering there once per week. Of course, I also have hobbies outside of blogging that I enjoy keeping up with.

Frankly, I also haven’t had as much to write about recently. Most of the books and movies I’ve watched over the past few months have been James Bond material, which I don’t have a lot to say about though I may do a write-up on my take on the series so far. I’ve also been playing mahjong and watching wrestling and I don’t have the experience and expertise to turn this into a mahjong or wrestling blog, though I’ll likely write a little about them at some point.

So what to do? My idea is to do a short write-up for each of these things I have been doing, but my only reservation is that for years now this has been a review blog, and this move would basically turn it into The Pillow Blog of Cheshire_Ocelot, something of a personal journal. That would be a sharp turn in subject matter, but it’s either that or not having any updates at all for a long while. So, we’ll see how it goes.

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