Saturday, March 19, 2011

Reading Update

Book #10 of this year was Thoreau's Walking, a free download on my Kindle. While it had some interesting parts to it, and some nice aphoristic writing, I mostly found Thoreau a little irritating in the way he looked down on those who didn't have the opportunity he had of frittering his time away because they were obliged to earn a living. He spent four hours a day walking, and sniffs,
"When sometimes I am reminded that the mechanics and the shopkeepers stay in their shops not only all the forenoon, but all the afternoon too, sitting with crossed legs, so many of them - as if the legs were made to sit upon, and not to stand or walk upon - I think that they deserve some credit for not having all committed suicide long ago."
To be honest, I never really got over finding out that Thoreau, such an apologist for solitude, always took his laundry home to his mother.

Books #11 through #13 were a trilogy about Alexander the Great by Mary Renault, entitled Fire From Heaven, The Persian Boy and Funeral Games. This trilogy was a gift from my high school Latin teacher and I know I read it when I was 16, but I can't remember what I made of it then. Alexander emerges as a vivid, unforgettable character. The second book is told from the point of view of Bagoas, a eunuch Alexander inherited from Darius' court. The third book all happens after Alexander's death, as everyone fights for the right to be the successor to this charismatic leader who proves irreplaceable.

This post is linked to today's Saturday Review of Books.

1 comment:

Jessica said...

Ack! That is hilarious. I will never again think of Thoreau without remembering this defining tidbit!