Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Classics Club 10-year anniversary

 The Classics Club, which I joined 11 months ago, turned 10 years old this month. They've asked members to answer the following questions, so here's my input:

  1. When did you join the Classics Club? I joined back in October, 2021, when I composed my list of 50 classics to read in the next 5 years.
  2. What is the best classic book you’ve read for the club so far? Why? I've only read 8 since joining, so out of those: Empire of the Sun. I'm a big fan of "war" books and this one, about the Pacific, which I don't read about much, was a great read.
  3. What is the first classic you ever read? Oh wow. The first that I remember was Idylls of the King by Tennyson, in 9th grade (1981). Will probably re-read it here in the next year or so.
  4. Which classic book inspired you the most? Wow. That's quite the question. I'd have to say The Iliad, but the version that I love the most, have read twice, and will probably read again this year: War Music. The most incredible translation ever. Simply put. And the Audible version is just so wonderful, I could listen to it annually.
  5. What is the most challenging one you’ve ever read, or tried to read? Oh dear God. I know Middlemarch is supposed to be good. But holy crap, I hated it. Granted this was back in 2005? 2006? Still, you'd have to pay me to try it again. 
  6. Favourite (sic...ha!) movie adaptation of a classic? Least favorite? Thirteenth Warrior (Beowulf, and don't tell me it isn't) for my favorite. If my dear reader(s) claim that doesn't count, then I'd have to say the Daniel Craig-led version of The Sword of Honour is smashingly good. Undeniably it is the "updated" version of The Great Gatsby. Horrible.
  7. Which classic character most reminds you of yourself? What? OMG. I'll take a pass.
  8. Has there been a classic title you expected to dislike and ended up loving? Respecting? Appreciating? Bright Lights, Big City. My wife chose it for our family book club and I thought, Ugh, I'll muscle through it. Holy crap it was so creative and great.
  9. Classic/s you are DEFINITELY GOING TO MAKE HAPPEN next year? The War of the End of the World, by Llosa Vargas. Not in Kindle, or Audible, sadly. Library?
  10. Favorite memory with a classic and/or your favourite memory with The Classics Club? The Name of the Rose was a pivotal moment in my life, where I realized "real" literature could be worth the time, and could be incredible. I still re-read it every 10 years or so. Love this book. 
Classics Club is a great group and I'd highly suggest interested readers out there join. 

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Civil Wars, by Caesar

 Picked my Loeb copy of Caesar's Civil Wars off the shelf last weekend and breezed through books I and II. Then was busy during the week. Finished book III, and thus the book, today, after moving our youngest into her college dorm. Sadness.

What do you need to know, dear reader, about this book? An Army travels on its stomach. As do its horses. That was a big theme in the book, finding corn and provender. Enough discussion about moving armies here or there, high-ground, slaughter, all that. But really, if you didn't have food for men and animals (not to mention water), you were pretty much screwed.

This one ends in Alexandria, with that war about to start. Classical civilization was war. Now I'm in search for (a cheap version of) Loeb's number 402, covering his wars in Alexandria, as well as Africa and Spain. 



Wednesday, August 17, 2022

From Here to Eternity, by James Jones

 "Quite a gay book," I told my friend who suggested I read it. Why did I say such a thing? Well, it surprised me the author's description of (SPOILERS) soldiers going out at night and "picking up queers." There wasn't any kind of explicit sex like you'd read in a Stephen Fry novel, but plenty of suggestion. Yet still, how far did the soldiers go? Just use "the queers" for drinks? Or more? Unsure.

But this was but a small part of this book. It mostly dealt with a unit assigned to Hawaii during the months prior to December 7th. The reader could feel that day approaching while reading this book. 

Two main characters here: Milton Warden and Robert E. Lee Prewitt. Sad stories, both. Long and drawn out. I can't imagine what part of the book is featured in the famous beach-and-waves-coming-in scene from the movie. 

I read this book on Audible...all 36 hours of it. Holy crap it was long. But well worth the read. Soldier-life during WWII. Were there really that many whorehouses everywhere? Reminded me of stories about the French Foreign Legion. Was there so much adultery in those units?

Interestingly, the author notes at the end of the book that everything in the novel is fiction except for the scene about the murder-beating in the military prison. Scary. That particular part of the novel was difficult to read; glad I didn't know about the truth behind it before reading it. SPOILERS done. 

Took a while, but worth it. 



Thursday, August 11, 2022

How to Succeed as a Freelance Translator, by Corinne McKay

 I've been translating the book Mi Stelojn Jungis al Revado for my monthly writing club, and it has been such a blast. My Esperanto is pretty good, but translating is another thing altogether. Trying to remain "invisible" as the translator isn't easy. And trying to render in English the creative ways Mikaelo Bronstejn uses Esperanto? Quite the challenge!

So I thought I should read some books. I've read other books on translation and have tried to take lessons from them, but this particular one is about one possible future. Could I make it, even part-time, as a freelance translator?

This book is primarily not about literary translations. Doubtful I'd ever be contracted to translate birth certificates, deeds, or the like from Esperanto to English. But the information was still beneficial. Lots on setting up your day, your office, billing. Also networking, which I'm sure measures heavily in how these freelancers earn money. 

The author, Corinne McKay, hosts a wonderful website, Training for Translators, with many nice-looking courses at affordable prices. It was from this website that I got this book. 



The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, by V.E. Schwab

 Great book. I'm on a roll.  Spoilers : Adeline "Addie" LaRue has a problem. She's being forced to marry. This is 1600s Fr...