Monday, June 17, 2013

reading: short stories + what is the good life? + 52 walks + epics

This blog post is inspired by the general joy of global reading, a new online lit course and a reading challenge. More, at the bottom of this post.

Some different reads this week...

...starting with a short story on migration: "Baggage". i usually post a short story link directly on twitter for storysunday, but thought it would make sense to list my fav stories as part of my reading notes. so here are some recent fav stories:

Baggage by Cully Perlman
a story that leads from NY to Spain, from the new Avatar Review: "They were New Yorkers in Spain, the children. Twin bags dropped on a doorstep in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, to be sent for..."

Animals by Liz N. Clift
a thought-provoking night out in the city from qarrtsiluni's "Animals" issue: "When the first goat came into Jasper’s — it walked on its hind legs — we thought it was a joke, something we could talk about at our day jobs..."

Schwellenangst by Jeremy Tiang 
a coast walk of the different kind, from Litro's Germany issue: "She can just make out the words in the fading sunlight: ‘The only good system is a sound system.’ The concrete fa├žade is marred in patches, but several stretches are still pristine grey, damaged only by the salt air and bird droppings..."


What is the good life?
The weekly newspaper "Zeit" ("Time") included a larger view on life this week: they ventured into modern philosophy and put a special magazine together, titled: "Was ist das gute Leben?" - "What is the good life"? - and moved from justice to neurology to thinking to globalization. Great read. And i loved the cover layout: a shore at an angle.


In combination with the philosophical interviews and essays, i read a book from the library: "52 Walks" by Franz Hohler, a swiss author. Turning 60, he decided that for a year, he would train for his retirement and have a year without any reading events in his timer. Instead, he went for one walk each week - small walks, larger walks, city walks, mountain walks. The whole thing turned into a reflective, sometimes almost philosophical book of its own kind.


Into the past: Jane Eyre + Gilgamesh + Cuneiform

Also, I read for and listened to the next coursera lectures: Jane Eyre (for "The Fiction of Relationship"), in which I learned that Jane Eyre is actually the first "Bildungsroman" with a female main charcter who - and this is almost more notable - isn't beautiful. "Plain Jane" she is, and thus, a very unusual "heroine". It's those things that makes those lectures so valuable, as they give all this context that defined and informed the book, but isn't included in the book. (more on Jane Eyre in the previous reading post)

And the archeology lectures brought a lecture on The Epic of Gilgamesh, or rather: on "Cuneiform", which is one of the first written languages, with signs pressed into clay plates. That's how contracts were stored, and that's how one of the first remaining literary work of the world was written: The Gilgamesh epos.

It's so fascinating to be able to go back into time, to words written by someone ages ago almost 4000 years ago. More on that, in an own blog new old post: The 7 oldest countries of the world (+ and the oldest books)


Book Links, Previous Reads & Finding Books

Previous reading blog entries are collected here: bookshelf: currently  reading... there also is a visual bookshelf, just click it to get there.

Reading around the world - i really enjoy this literal discovery-tour of the world, and it now made me go and pull some useful links together in a blog post: Finding books by country: helpful links + resources

More monday reads from other bloggers: link list at book journey

And my own book... is Worl(d)s Apart. True.

1 comment:

Ekaterina Egorova said...

Hi! Nice to see a fellow student of the course :) I've subscribed to see how you are doing! I haven't watched this week's lectures yet, as I decided to re-read Jane Eyre, and I'm still in the middle of it, but I hope the material will be as great as on Manon Lescaut.