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Chaucer has a worse Rorschach Effect than Rorschach. Except that I can write and speak like Rorschach (even if it's not a good idea), but I can't spontaneously produce rhyming couplets in Middle English.

Also, reading in a language that you don't know, but know anyway, is very strange. If I hadn't already believed in the implicit acquisition of linguistic rules, I would now.
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I'm posting from the Psychonomics hotel in Houston, because I can and because I don't have any 8 AM talks for once. The ability to sleep in is mitigated by the likely inability to eat lunch until 3:45 PM. I got in too late to catch the poster session tonight, but had dinner with the current students in my graduate lab. We went to a restaurant with an aquarium in the middle, and memory-geeked over seafood.

The next classics review would be Treasure Island. I don't have nearly as much to say about this as I did about Frankenstein. I enjoyed it--as a recent Evil Editor comment said, "you had me at 'pirate treasure.'" But...

Spoilers ahoy, mateys! )
Next up ought to be Gilgamesh, but since I try to avoid taking library books on planes I've got my own copy of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn instead. So far my reactions are a battle between delighted laughter and severe queasiness. More on that after I finish the book. And after that, I'm not reading Gilgamesh, because I'm really going to need something with girls in.
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These will probably vary in length and detail. They will all have spoilers, behind a cut. Why didn't you just read them when they were new, like everyone else?

Book: Frankenstein
Author: Mary Shelley
Originally Published: 1818
Amusing/disturbing things about the 1961 edition: Both new introduction and blurb are shocked, shocked, that a woman with so "delicate an imagination" could have written this. The intro goes so far as to say that she could only have done so because of the influence of her husband's genius.
Things left out of 1961 introduction: Drugs, threesomes with George Byron and Percy Bysshe.
No-Spoilers Review: This is absolutely brilliant. If you haven't read it, you should. Assuming, that is, that you can deal with the title character fainting every time he's scared.
Also Cool: Much of this book takes place in the Lake Region of northern Italy and southern Switzerland, where Nameseeker and I went on our honeymoon. The narrative spends a great deal of time waxing poetic about the area's beauty, and it deserves every bit of it.

188-Year-Old Spoilers Ahead )
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I've been meaning to do this for a while. Like a lot of people, I had to read a certain portion of the classics canon in high school. I had a decent teacher, so I liked several of the things that I read, and was capable of explaining at length why I disliked most of the things I didn't. And then I got out of high school. Since then, I have mostly settled into the SF/F genre, with very occasional forays based on recommendations, or favorite authors writing historicals. This has never stopped me from dissing on Dickens, when the subject arises. But occasionally I wonder whether Ashni-at-31 should actually be cavalierly passing on the opinions of Ashni-at-17. It's been a while, after all, and I've changed. I have social skills now. And I like people, most of the time. These are probably things that influence one's interpretation of A Tale of Two Cities.

So, I'm going to go back and read some classics. Because I'm no longer in high school, because I have a job, and because my ability to enjoy reading any given book is heavily mood-dependent, this will be less than systematic. I have a set of rules, which I'm going to break as I please.
Read More )
Not actually a book meme, just looks like one. )
Wish me luck.

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