Monday, June 26, 2006

What I'm Reading

The Song of Roland, author unknown, translated by Frederick Goldin. This ancient, French, medieval story remains a part of the Literature tradition in some of America's better universities, but I have never read it. From the book cover (W. W. Norton and Company):
"French literature, it has been said, began with The Song of Roland. This great narrative poem of the late eleventh century shares with its epic predecessors by Homer and Vergil a heroic vision of war and warriors. The historic battle of Rencesvals in A.D. 778 was a thwarted enterprise ending in a painful loss, the death of Charlemagne's greatest knight, Roland. In the poem, however, this story of betrayal, defeat, and futile death is transfigured into an idealization of chivalry and valor."

I decided to read it now, because one of my future stories takes place in a time that looks very much like this medieval world of the past. It will also be filled with acts of valor and the occasional tragedy. In short, I need to bone up on how to kill people gracefully.

The Enemy: A Jack Reacher Novel, by Lee Child. I don't normally read murder mysteries, but this one came up during a discussion with a friend about writing. It's one of his favorites. I can see why. It's addictive, kind of like eating nacho-cheese-flavored Doritos. I'll post a short review of it when I'm finished (or at least a thumbs up or down).

Cicero: On Obligations. I'm still reading this one and probably will be for another six months. It's not long, but it's one of those essays that I only read in four-page snippets.