Posted by: Mish | July 14, 2010

Wilde, Shelley, et al

“Can you read amidst distractions (tv, others talking, sporting events, etc)?”

Hubbub and noise don’t really bother me when I’m reading. While friends were watching the final World Cup game on Sunday, I finished the Importance of Being Earnest and read “the Ballad of Reading Gaol” by Oscar Wilde. I occasionally glanced up when curses and exclamations were made, but otherwise tuned it all out. I was apparently really zonked because I then fell asleep on the couch and stayed in that state through the overtime and hooplah of the Netherlands’ loss to Spain. Mac’s hyper jingle jangling when he returned from his walk woke me, of all things.

While sitting in the Hub’s backyard and among the chatter of children, I continued Great Folk Tales & Fairy Tales of Ireland edited by Mary McGarry. I’ve been reading it once in awhile over the last year or so, but now that’s finished as well.

11-year old Lou, who has recently started reading in English, brought out Lady and the Tramp to read to a friend and I. It was easy for us because she already knew the story so we could focus on pronunciation: here not ‘ere, should not shooed. It reminded me of the Rine in Spine scene in My Fairy Lady, but instead of a Cockney accent it was Parisienne and unlike Eliza and Higgins we were having beaucoup fun.

With a read-along of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein looming ahead I thought I would try to find a copy among the Hub’s stacks. No such luck, but I ended up borrowing several other books:

Isaac Asimov’s Foundation and the Martian Way and Other Stories, the first of which was a possibility for last year’s Sci-Fi Challenge, but I’ll be reading it for this year’s instead. The collection of four stories caught my interest simply because I have yet to read anything by Asimov.

Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood are at different ends of the spectrum, one being happy golightly fiction and the other about a homocide in Smalltown, USA. I’ve been wanting to read Breakfast at Tiffany’s for quite a few years because the movie has been a long-time favourite. After watching In Cold Blood, which is a great film about Capote’s research for the book, the book made my reading list and caused me to recognize the name Capote.

George Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London was “highly recommended” by Anothercookiecrumbles after I raved about Nineteen Eighty-Four. I’m really intrigued by Orwell’s experiences and insights while living among the poor, plus I think he was brilliant and would like to read a lot more/everything by him.

Ayn Rand’s the Virtue of Selfishness came up during a good philosophical discussion some time ago. The book’s been in the back of my mind since then and I’ve been wanting to read some Rand anyway. I figure it might be a good introduction before taking on Atlas Shrugged or the Fountainhead.

What books have you brought home recently? Have you read any of the books or anything by the authors mentioned? If so, what did you think?



  1. For me, it depends on the type of noise. I am not certain if I could read through the hoopla of a game because my competitive self would pop out. I can, however, read while there is chattering going on…mindless chatter that does not mean much to me at the moment. Have been known to hear the occasional… “Mom! Mom!…. I’ve been trying to tell you.” to my reply of “Huh?” and depending on what they are trying to tell me…a listening ear is given or a “Sshh! Let me finish this paragraph.” ūüėÄ

    The books you listed sound interesting, and no, I have not read them, but will keep them in mind.

    Very cool about your Lady and the Tramp read aloud. This would be the opposite in my home…American accent trying to read in French for my almost 15 year old. ūüėÄ Actually, for Christmas, I bought her Madeleine, and Un Deux Trois – First French Rhymes (both are in French for her to read to her 4 year old sister). Also, Selected Fables – A Duel-Language Book.

    Last book that I bought was Emma by Kaoru Mori. I enjoyed this read…my first manga book.

  2. Part of being able to read through the game is that I really don’t care for soccer. Hopefully I’ll be able to truly watch some rugby via a friend’s cable before soccer season starts.

    Cute about her practicing while reading to her sister. From what I recall, Le Petit Prince is also pretty easy French reading. It’s on my re-read list. Watching movies in French with subtitles is also good and fun practice for listening comprehension.

    Glad you liked your first manga. I haven’t read any in well over a decade, which kind of makes me feel old. Heheh.

  3. I am not quite as accomplished at ignoring outside noise/distractions as I once was. In grade school, I could read through an entire class with ease…unless spotted and loudly, gradually brought back to the present.

    Of the books and authors you mention, I loved 1984 and Down and Out Orwell is awesome. Aasimov is quite interesting. I read I, Robot which in the version I have comes with several other stories (at least, I recall several different stories, maybe they were all intended to be linked…). Ayn Rand is a pass for me. I did read one of her big ones, The Fountainhead, I believe. Anyway, very forgettable writing. Painful, even. But somewhat interesting ideas. I see why it is compelling to some, though I do not see why her admirers become fanatic.

    Anyway, great post. Loved recalling some great reads.

  4. Heheh, I was recalled back to class countless times.

    You recall correctly, I, Robot is a series of stories tied together by central characters and themes. It’s been on my reading list for ages.

    Rand’s works seem to be those people either heavily love or loathe with no real in between. I’m curious how I’ll react. I’ve forgotten about the fanaticism, but will have to keep that in mind while reading.

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