The 'Currently reading' thread...

Discussion of other topics not necessarily Keats or poetry-related, i.e. other authors, literature, film, music, the arts etc.

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Re: The 'Currently reading' thread...

Postby Fragment » Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:17 pm

Hamlet.
(for what, the 5th time?)
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Re: The 'Currently reading' thread...

Postby Dolores » Wed Apr 06, 2011 8:33 am

Now reading Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. Bit of a struggle with the huge amount of research I'm doing for my uni work though! :lol:
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Re: The 'Currently reading' thread...

Postby Fragment » Fri Apr 08, 2011 12:41 am

"Faith And Fire" by James Swallow

(its sci-fi.)

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Re: The 'Currently reading' thread...

Postby Saturn » Thu Aug 04, 2011 8:59 pm

Currently engrossed by

Image

Richard Holmes is without doubt the greatest living biographer and critic of the romantic poetry era, I wish he would tackle Keats some day.
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Re: The 'Currently reading' thread...

Postby Cybele » Mon Aug 08, 2011 4:47 am

Saturn, I really enjoyed this book. I loved his Coleridge biography but it was "Age of Wonder" really got me hooked on Holmes. (I've bought three more copies of the book to give as gifts.) I think it was you who recommended his biography of Shelley, but I haven't been able to find it locally (bookstores are closing right & left).

The author's style often displays a kind of wry humor that keeps me engaged and looking forward to whatever reading joys I might find on the next page.
Last edited by Cybele on Mon Aug 08, 2011 8:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The 'Currently reading' thread...

Postby Saturn » Mon Aug 08, 2011 6:32 am

This book, SIdetracks, is a collection of various mini-biographical studies and assorted radio-plays articles, and begins with a study of Chatterton which, in lieu of a full biography is very informative and perceptive about this most precious of literary prodigies.

Age of Wonder really is well...a wonder, and a surprise for me, having only read his literary biographies [though many of the men of science of that era had something of the poet about them] and finding myself as enthralled by the lives of Herschel etc. Men and women as adventurous in the realm of science as Shelley, Coleridge etc were in the realm of rhyme.

The Shelley biography is well worth tracking down if you can find it; despite being his first full biography it's still an exemplar of the art.

Oh don't get me started about bookshops closing, it's too depressing, even my local University's bookshop is closing down :(

How soon until amazon et al are the only places to get anything, books included?
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Re: The 'Currently reading' thread...

Postby Cybele » Mon Aug 08, 2011 8:28 pm

Saturn, I've only been able to find the Shelley bio on Amazon, boo hiss. :(

But I'm at the point where, unless it's a book that I'm sure to become sentimentally attached to, I want it in digital form. The Shelley biography is not available for my Kindle. I love physical books, but our house is in serious danger of sinking beneath the weight of the books we own. You have no idea! (Hmm. On the other hand, if you're a serious reader maybe you do have an idea . . .)

OK, I won't get you started on the closing of brick & mortar bookstores, but even a major US bookstore chain went under a couple of weeks ago. Locally, the independent used & rare bookstore closed ages ago and a family owned and run bookstore bit the dust fairly recently, too. (I loved that place! I could walk in, say I was in search of a good read, and one of the owners would have a recommendation that was sure to please. The family lives near us, so I run into them fairly frequently. I tell them I miss their store and they respond by saying that they enjoy having a life again.) Less than a month ago, the owner of one of the two bookstores catering to the students at the local university suddenly closed, leaving their employees in the lurch, without health insurance, etc. And this is in a town chock-full of voracious readers. I'm afraid walk-in, genuine bookstores may be gone for good. Those of us who loved them and shopped at them regularly have no choice but to deal with behemoth retailers like Amazon.
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Re: The 'Currently reading' thread...

Postby Ennis » Mon Aug 08, 2011 11:34 pm

Saturn wrote:Currently engrossed by

Image

Richard Holmes is without doubt the greatest living biographer and critic of the romantic poetry era, I wish he would tackle Keats some day.


Saturn,
I just stumbled upon Richard Holmes' Age of Wonder in my local book-store. I was attracted to the book by the refernce to the Romantic period that was on the cover. I checked the index for information concerning Keats and read those pages in the store's coffee shop, but I did not purchase the book. Have you read it, and if so, do you recommend I buy it for my library? I noted that Holmes was credited with other works concerning Romantic poets/authors, as well as the period, in general.
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Re: The 'Currently reading' thread...

Postby Saturn » Tue Aug 09, 2011 12:03 am

I quote myself:

Saturn wrote:Age of Wonder really is well...a wonder, and a surprise for me, having only read his literary biographies [though many of the men of science of that era had something of the poet about them] and finding myself as enthralled by the lives of Herschel etc. Men and women as adventurous in the realm of science as Shelley, Coleridge etc were in the realm of rhyme.
?


Beg, borrow [but not steal] it, I promise you, you won't regret it.
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Re: The 'Currently reading' thread...

Postby BrokenLyre » Wed Aug 10, 2011 6:27 am

Cool. Thanks for the thoughts Saturn.
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Re: The 'Currently reading' thread...

Postby Cybele » Thu Aug 11, 2011 3:06 am

Ennis, Broken Lyre (and anyone else), if you're considering the purchase or borrowing of "Age of Wonder," let me evangelize about this book for a few minutes!

This book gives you a taste of what it must have been like to live in the late 18th & early 19th centuries. I've always thought that that would have been a great time to be alive with all the progress in social reforms, scientific discovery and technological advances. (And political intrigue, revolutions and some other untidy goings-on.) Very exciting and oh so very interesting! Great minds in so many fields were flourishing, with a good deal of cross-pollination happening. (Poets hung out with scientists who hung out with political progressives who hung out with poets, etc.)

Holmes's style is simultaenously erudite, witty, and easy-to-read. I'm tellin' you, this book is so very engaging that you'll find yourself rationing pages to make it last longer! This guy is an absolute gift to us! He also wrote a biography of Shelley (that I have yet to get my hands on), and a superlative, wonderfully detailed (and full of the kind of trivia I love about a poet I love!)*two volume* Coleridge biography.

One of my favorite sections of "Age of Wonder" (besides the obvious delicious bits mentioning Keats) was the description of the Golden Age of Ballooning. I so enjoyed this part of the book that when I recently saw a fragment of one of the Montgolfier brothers' balloons, I felt a special connection with it -- like touching base with an old friend, or something.

But, I digress. Sorry about that. Just get your hands on this book. It's one of my all-time favorites. It's a book that I, a confirmed Kindle and e-book fan, am glad that I own in hard-back and paper form. After reading a few times, I can look at it sitting snugly on its shelf, and I can say to myself, “Yeah. That's a good book!”
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Re: The 'Currently reading' thread...

Postby Saturn » Thu Aug 11, 2011 4:41 am

That's a wonderful endorsement, and I couldn't agree more, it is, like all Holmes' works, simply mesmerising and unmissable.
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Re: The 'Currently reading' thread...

Postby Cybele » Thu Aug 11, 2011 8:37 pm

Saturn wrote:That's a wonderful endorsement, and I couldn't agree more, it is, like all Holmes' works, simply mesmerising and unmissable.


Yeah. I guess I did gush just a teeny, tiny bit. :lol:
But I meant every word I said.
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Re: The 'Currently reading' thread...

Postby Ennis » Fri Aug 12, 2011 2:57 am

Saturn wrote:I quote myself:

Saturn wrote:Age of Wonder really is well...a wonder, and a surprise for me, having only read his literary biographies [though many of the men of science of that era had something of the poet about them] and finding myself as enthralled by the lives of Herschel etc. Men and women as adventurous in the realm of science as Shelley, Coleridge etc were in the realm of rhyme.
?


Beg, borrow [but not steal] it, I promise you, you won't regret it.



I apologize for my short-term memory loss!! It's what happens with age . . . .

After reading your post and the subsequent ones, I've decided it will be my next book purchase!! I've always believed that England's Romantic period was a time unique.
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Re: The 'Currently reading' thread...

Postby Cybele » Fri Aug 12, 2011 9:56 pm

Yes, Ennis, I think this is a book you'll love and re-read many times.

I followed this with two other goodies: "The Immortal Dinner" & "The Invention of Air." I think you may have mentioned the former book, yourself. I had a good time reading it, and followed up by journeying to Cincinnati to see Haydon's "Christ's Entry. . ." again. (I took a picture of it and turned the best foot or so of the huge painting into my avatar. :)) However, even tho' I enjoyed the book, I felt that I really didn't learn anything new from it.

"The Invention of Air" is about the life of Joseph Priestley. The same author, Steven Johnson, wrote "The Ghost Map" that several people on this forum recommended. (And this is what I'm currently reading. Thanks for the recommendation, Raphael!) Joseph Priestly was a very interesting guy in his own right, of course, but his Dissenting Academy in England probably provided some inspiration/model for John Clarke and John Ryland's school in Enfield where the Keats boys were students. -- Priestley's Academy was way, way more liberal -- but progressive ideas put forth by Priestly really did influence the intellectual development of our favorite poet! (Ages ago, I read a biography of Ryland that was quite interesting. Both he and Priestly had some very radical ideas about education for their time, like not beating their students!) This take on Priestly was a pretty darn good read, so maybe you'd want to check this one out, too.
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