I quickly finished the first of Shakespeare’s plays and it was very positive. I didn’t do any prep for reading Shakespeare other than to look up a chronology in which they were written. I’m very happy with the approach so far.
Initial impressions were that texts notes to explain archaic idioms and word meanings were helpful. I also found that about half of them were unnecessary for me, which was nice to know about my reading skills with older works. I was also surprised that Joan of Arc was a character in this play. And not just a character but as the story focuses on the English side of war, she was the primary antagonist, even more so than the French nobility.
The story of this play had a climax around a father and son conflict which was one of the only parts with rhyming verse. Essentially the father is a general and about to die because their army is surrounded. He tries to send his son away to escape and live, but basically the son refuses on grounds of the family name. It was really powerful and my favorite part of the play. Also, I initially wondered if Joan of Arc would play a part in the second or third plays, but she ends up being captured and executed in this one.
I’ve started Henry VI Part Two already and it looks like most of these plays will be very quick reads. I also like the division into acts and scenes which helps me pick up and read them as I have short bouts of time to do so. My next two plays after this one will be Richard III, and The Comedy of Errors.
I have finally reached the chronological ending of Isaac Asimov’s three main series which began last summer with I, Robot. To be honest these final three books were quite entertaining. I was really apprehensive about finishing the series as there are no further books after this. I got a lot of closure, however, as the final book brings everything back to the Robot series and ties up many loose threads.
There still remains two prequel books to read. I’m still processing the story and am going to delay a bit before finishing the last two books maybe. Thinking back, the main character from these last two novels is my favorite of all of Asimov’s books that I’ve read so far. He’s decisive but unsure of why that is the case. And this drives him on a quest to figure out why he is the way he is. It just felt good, which isn’t always normal in sci-fi, and made the narrative feel more real. In fact, the technology gets pushed to the extremes of believability but the story carried it through.
So, I’ll finish the prequels soon enough and take a break from Asimov. I am currently reading Shakespeare’s first play, Henry VI, and it is fascinating and a nice change of pace. More soon!
A few days ago I finished the original Foundation trilogy by Isaac Asimov. The first two books were pretty good and Sinai was caught off guard by the excellent finish in the third book. It was easily my favorite of the three, mainly for how well it tied back to the prior works and also for the new additions brought up in it.
I find myself wrestling with where to fit Asimov into my ranking of favorite authors. I don’t think he is in the top ten, but he is not someone whose writing I dislike. This makes sense, I suppose, or I would not have read him for this long. This also reminds me, that after I finish the Foundation books, I also have one or two books of collections of Asimov I could look into.
Compared with the two preceding collections of books I agree with what I read before starting them all; that the Foundation books are his best works. I also enjoyed the Robot books but not nearly as much. In fact, I didn’t write this post until now because I was caught up immediately into the fourth book, Foundations Edge, and will be finishing it soon. A testament to the quality of this series.
I’ve finished my second book by Dr. Jean Twenge about generations. The title Generation Me is another name for Millenials, also known as Gen Y. The short version is that Gen Me is at its core very focused on the self. Believe in yourself. You can do anything and essentially narcissistic, even compared to other American generations.
I found it to also be a quick and compelling read. This generation is now roughly the age of 22-37 and makes up the majority of young adults in America now, including a significant part of the workforce. I’m still mentally transitioning to the fact that students these days are no longer Millennials but are the younger iGen, AKA Gen Z.
I think a key difference between the two generations (Y & Z) are that the older ones (Y) believe in themselves and are self-focused, while the younger generation (Z) are distracted and living primarily through digital-based social media. They both are missing out on real community and personal relationships compared to older generations, but for different reasons. My personal opinion is that this is one of the few key factors contributing to their disenchantments.
This wraps up my generational book reading for this year and I’ll be focused on finishing Isaac Asimov’s Foundation heptalogy. After that it will be 2019 and I can focus on my main reading goal for next year: establish a foundation of modern English literature by reading the works of Shakespeare, the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and the 1611 KJV bible.
This past summer I started reading many of the works by Isaac Asimov for the first time. He has three major series and I read the first two this summer. They were quite good, and his final series was originally a trilogy. It is actually expanded to seven books and I finished the first one last week.
Foundation is the third book chronologically, in the series, but was the first one written. I decided to read the books in the order written rather than in the internal narrative chronology. I’m happy with this decision and Foundation was not what I expected.
The unique thing about Foundation is that the story takes place over a very long period of time. Chapters or books in the series may continue directly after the previous chapter or they may skip ahead in time by decades or centuries.
This was disorienting at first, but I see now that this is the whole point of the story. To relate the story of the rise and fall of an entire civilization that spans a galaxy, much time must be covered in the narrative.
An interesting side effect of this is that main characters in one chapter may become heroes of old, generations removed, in the next chapter and with new characters!
I’ve already started book two and am half way through it. I plan to zip through these remaining books quickly so that I can focus on my reading goals come 2019. My starting place is the works of Shakespeare alongside the King James Bible (1611) and the Book of Common Prayer (1662) to give me a foundation in modern English works.