I guess you could say my New Year's resolution was to finish all the books I've started and put down over the years. Somehow I'm able to pick up a book after not reading it for an extended period of time and instantly recall everything that's gone on. Anyway, my current task is finishing "The Iliad," which I put down back in '05. It's a hefty read, though, and has been tough to get through as my time to read is limited (my wife and I are expecting our first little bundle of joy and future Deadhead).
As for whether or not I'd recommend "The Iliad," that's a definite YES. While it's extremely dated as a topical story, it's a mesmerizing read and is thoroughly captivating to the imagination. My only regret is not having the time to sit down and finish it all in one sitting.
Manzanar, very important book.
Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston & James D. Houston
Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston was seven years old when her family was rounded up and shipped off to the Manzanar internment camp in California for the duration of WWII. This fall semester, I'll be teaching this text in a developmental writing class, along with March to Freedom by Edith Singer, who was sixteen years old when her family was rounded up and shipped off to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany during WWII.
another wonderful ad-free, reader supported magazine. Sy Safransky, the founder, editor and publisher, states it best: "this is a magazine that celebrates beauty without ignoring the destructive forces around us; a monthly, 48 page journal of memoirs, essays,short stories, interviews, poems and photographs with some of the most radically intimate and socially concious writing being published today. Month after month, we come together to celebrate the glory and heartache of being human".
My favorite section is one called "readers write". published letters from readers who have written in about a single,specific monthly topic ( upcoming topics include: trying too hard, going home, eyes, winging it, skin) and usually covers 8-10 pages. these letters are written from every angle imaginable. reading these letters is a lot like reading the wonderful posts on this site, it helps to remind me that many, many people out there are going through the same daily "thing" that i am (we all are!) and it can be a real mood booster, eye opener and produce those ever so precious - i -never- thought- of- it -that- way - moments. just like so many of the wonderful lyrics and music from that one band..........what was their name?
A magazine that comes out several times a year which is also a website containing blogs and campaigns and articles, There is no advertizing in this periodical Their intent is pretty well summed up here:
"We are a global network of culture jammers and creatives working to change the way information flows, the way corporations wield power, and the way meaning is produced in our society."
I love it! I'm currently writing an article I hope to have published there. I think the Grateful Dead culture, through the medium of music, served a function parallel to theirs -- though it almost never was by conscious design.
"Both general readers and specialist critics often complain about my own use of English – not only in my books, but also in my newspaper articles and even in radio talks such as these. “I have to look them up in a dictionary”, they complain – as if this were some kind of torture."
- Will Self.
interesting piece "A Point Of View: In Defense Of Words" - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17777556
"the risk that people seem most reluctant taking is not a physical but a mental one: just as the concrete in children's playgrounds has been covered with rubber, so the hard truth about the effort needed for intellectual attainment is being softened by a sort of semantic padding."
Arthurian Romances, Tales and Lyric Poetry, the Complete Works of Hartmann von Aue. Which, if you're not a German medievalist, will not matter to you at all, but I am just in heaven. Not least because I do not have to slog through this in Middle High German any more. Yes, it's nice that I sorta can, but still. Since I left grad school, a time when no translations existed, a number of academics seem to have gotten on the case, and now everything Hartmann wrote is in English. Yippee!
I am really fond of Hartmann and have been these many decades. He was an unusually bright guy apparently educated way beyond his station in life, given to both deep thinking and great storytelling. He lived at one of those Everything Is Changing/Everything You Know Is Wrong moments and the stories are wildly creative efforts (especially for the 12th century) efforts to harmonize opposites. with great sweetness. It struck me at the time I was studying him how like the '60s his era was, and apparently to judge by German literature it all went to bleep even faster back then... But for this one brief moment it was right and proper that anything was possible.
Anyway, I'm really tickled to have found the book (Penn State Press).
Sorry, but I'm not assigning The Elements of Style; it would just be one more text that my students wouldn't read. But I do teach it's principles, and especially "Omit Needless Words", which I heard a story about years ago that goes like this. E. B. White was a student of William Strunk's, and Strunk was a notorious word-miser. How miserly, you might well ask. According to White, Strunk thought "Omit Needless Words" was so important that he would wrote those three words on the blackboard three times in rapid succession to make his point, or so the story goes.
from my first interview with Hunter: lose the passive voice! and watch out for excess adjectives!
Oh yeah, been #1 on my recommended list for a long time, whether or not the recommendee is considering being a "writer," per se. Followed closely by the OED and Roget, just because everyone ought to have a linguistic Swiss Army Knife.