Hi all! I was absent here and on the Twitterverse for the last couple of days as I had a whirlwind in-laws weekend! My husband’s uncle from Illinois was in town, my mother-in-law had a birthday, and it was, of course, Easter, so I’ve been celebrating all over the place in San Diego! I didn’t get much reading done this weekend, but it’s been a few days since I checked in here with my current reads, what with all of my Hemingway posts, so today will be a great time to discuss what I’m up to, reading-wise.
I am currently reading multiple books: one wayyyy harder than I thought, one that isn’t as gripping as I like, and the rest are graphic novels, so whatever.
First, the Chaucer…
So, my Classics goal for April is to read The Canterbury Tales. Now, I thought that I had read The Canterbury Tales in college. I was wrong. I read “The General Prologue”, “The Miller’s Tale”, “The Wife of Bath’s Tale”, and “The Friar’s Tale”. And, I think that I read them translated.
Well, that’s not the major endeavor I am setting on right now at all! In fact, I must admit that I am intimidated!!! This book is hard! It’s a little easier than reading Catullus in Latin, but a lot harder than reading Shakespeare. It gets easier with every paragraph I read, as I’m starting to translate some of the words on my own (i.e. I recognize now that “eek” means “also” and “aventure” means “chance”), and if I read it aloud I can figure out what Chaucer is getting at. However, I am reading the footnotes and appendices ravenously to where it takes me about five minutes to read one page of poetry. Here are the opening lines of “The General Prologue”:
When that Aprill with his shoures soot
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veine in swich licour
Of which vertu engendred is the flour,
Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
Ispired hath in every holt and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halve cours yronne,
And smale foweles maken melodye,
That slepen al the night with open eye-
So priketh hem nature in hir corages-
That longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,
And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes,
To ferne halwes, kouth in sondry londes;
And specially from every shires ende
Of Engelond to Caunterbury they wende,
The holy blissful martyr for to seke
That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.
Here’s my translation:
When April with his sweet showers has pierced the drought of March to the root,
and has bathed every plant in such liquid,
by whose power engendered is the flower,
Also, when the West Wind has breathed his sweet breath on every wood and field,
the tender shoots of plants, and the young sun has completed his half course in Aries,
and small birds make melody,
Nature so pricks them in their hearts,
that they sleep all night with an open eye,
and folks long to go on pilgrimages,
and these pilgrims go to seek strange countries for far-off shrines,
renowned in various lands;
and especially from every shire’s end
from England to Canterbury they go,
They go to seek the holy blissful martyr (St. Thomas a Becket),
who had helped them when they were sick.
Using the footnotes closely, that’s my translation, although there are definitely parts I’m still not sure on (are the birds sleeping with one eye open or is it the pilgrims? I’m guessing it’s the pilgrims, since they’re so excited.). It’s actually easier to translate Latin verse, as you always know what each modifier is being applied to, thanks to the endings of words.
So, this book is tough. Why am I reading this toughie? Well, I’ll discuss that on another day. I’ve set up a reading schedule so that I can finish it by the end of April (How cool is it that I’m reading it in April [the same time as the pilgrims are leaving for Canterbury]? Complete accident!):
As you can see, I can only handle about 30-40 pages per day with this book, which usually equates to one pilgrim’s tale per day. So, this should take me right to the last day of April! Wish me luck! While it’s hard, I have read one excellent story (“The Miller’s Tale”). It seems that gross-out humor has been popular for a very long time–this one is rife with gross-out humor!
So, there’s my Old World reading—now, lets discuss my Mid World reading.
I’m now in book 4 of the Dark Tower series–Wizard and Glass. The cliff-hanger ending of The Waste Lands has now been resolved, and now I’m reading the flashback chapters that tell of Roland’s youth and first love. While I don’t hate these flashback chapters as much as my blogging buddy SJ, they are quite a let-down after all of the excitement of Blaine the Mono, and the curiousities the ka-tet finds in Topeka. But, I am interested in Roland’s past, and I do want to know how Roland’s world has moved on. While his flashback doesn’t really reveal this, it does show what civilized people were like in his world. Which is interesting.
I also want to get some revelation on how Roland started on his quest and how all of the other gunslingers died, so I am also reading the graphic novel series in concordance with the novel. For this reason, Wizard and Glass will probably take a lot longer to finish than the other books, as I think that I will read all of the graphic novels before picking up with Roland’s present day story. Thus, when his flashback chapters end, I’ll continue to read on with the graphic novels. Maybe I’ll get some questions answered that way. In addition, I’m going to read “The Little Sisters of Eluria“, a short story contained in King’s Everything’s Eventual, so that I can get a peek at Roland on his quest before the start of The Gunslinger. I’m doing a lot of backtracking!
But, that’s okay, as The Wind through the Keyhole doesn’t come out until the last week of April, so I have time! I think I pre-ordered it already, so it should be on my doorstep on its release date!
Ah, a reader’s work is never done!