Monday, January 31, 2011

Library Book: Adventures in Cartooning

I saw this while I was at work the other day. I started reading it, and had to finish it just because. It wasn't very good, but it was reall, really funny.
This book teaches you how to cartoon, thanks to the Magic Cartooning Elf. He helps a knight on the way to rescue a princess by teaching the knight all about how cartoons work.
I really don't have a lot to say about this. It's funny and worth reading because of that. I think it's a great book for kids to learn a bit about cartoons.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

School Book: A Chaste Maid in Cheapside

A Chaste Maid in Cheapside is one of the other plays included in Women Beware Women. I didn't have to read A Chaste Maid in Cheapside yet, but it was rather short so I decided to read ahead a bit so I can concentrate on my second class this week.
I have to say that I really enjoyed A Chaste Maid. There's a lot going on in this play, and once you understand just how bad most of the characters are, it's really funny. Moll, the daughter of a goldsmith, is being courted by two men. One of them, Sir Walter Whorehound, is an adulterer, and happens to be the man her parents approve of. The other one, Touchwood Jr., is the man she loves, but her parents want nothing to do with him. Moll and Touchwood Jr. try multiple times to get married in secret, but every time they are thwarted by her parents. Sir Walter has many kept women, including the wife of Master Allwit, by whom he has three children. Master Allwit knows he is being cuckolded, but could care less - he gets to coast through life without having to pay for anything. So the subplots tend to revolve around adulterous affairs with the other women in the play.
I have to say, I love the irony with Moll's name. As I learned from The Roaring Girl, "Moll" was a common name for a whore. And the Moll of this play happens to be the only chaste maid in Cheapside (which is another irony - the joke is that there are no chaste maids in Cheapside).
I admit, right near the end I wasn't quite sure if this was going to be a tragedy or a comedy. The very end was unexpectedly surprising. All in all, I really enjoyed reading this. It was short and good fun.

Friday, January 21, 2011

School Book: Epicoene or the Silent Woman

This is the first play I've ever read by Ben Jonson. I wasn't really sure what to expect. Luckily Epicoene or the Silent Woman was a lot better than The Roaring Girl. It wasn't the best thing I've ever read, but it was highly entertaining and all came together in the end quite nicely.

Epicoene is the story of the gentleman Morose. Morose has decided that his nephew and heir, Dauphine, is good for nothing, so he wants to marry so his nephew will be disinherited. The only problem is that Morose absolutely hates noise, so he needs to find a woman who is relatively silent. He finds what he thinks is the perfect woman and marries her immediately, only to find that things aren't what they first seemed. Epicoene is a hilarious comedy full of all kinds of unpredictable twists. The only problem was that the dramatis personae gave away the biggest twist of all, which really took away from the play as a whole. Other than that it is a great read.

Monday, January 10, 2011

School Book: Women Beware Women

This book has four of Thomas Middleton's Plays: A Chaste Maid in Cheapside, Women Beware Women, The Changeling, and A Game at Chess. I won't be reading all four of these plays for this class, so I decided to write about each play as I finish it. So far from this book I have only read Women Beware Women.
Women Beware Women is a strange tragedy. It takes you on a crazy adventure through lies, lust and more lust. It starts out with a man who has just married a gentlewoman; he tries to hide her in his mother's house while he is away for a few days. But by chance the Duke sees her sitting in a window and desires her. At the same time, an uncle desires his neice, so his sister spins a false tale to make her brother's dreams come true.
Women Beware Women is largely a tale of deceit. But the treachery goes so many ways, it will keep you reading out of curiosity to see the story through to the end!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The List 2011 Update

Last year was my worst reading year since starting this blog in 2008. Back then I made 59 posts so read almost that many books in half a year. In 2010 the number was only 51 for the entire year, which made me incredibly sad (and most of them were school books. Although I didn't seem to have much luck with the non school books I read over the summer). Couple that with the List exploding to 160 books (and I don't know how many nonfiction books I have right now) and I am really sad. But on the positive side, as I mentioned in the post on The Roaring Girl, I have only one term left of my MA, so that means I am almost finished reading school books for a long time (I don't want to say forever because I don't know if this really is the end of school for me forever)! I am a bit worried that this number will get way bigger now that I have the Kindle, but I'll deal with that when it comes. I am considering going through the List though and getting rid of things I probably won't enjoy (like some of the romance novels I've picked up from the library book sales). I don't like doing that though because sometimes books surprise you when you read them. So that's how things stand right now. I might try to utilize the anthologies I have stocked up for when I really need a break from school reading (which is what all the anthologies were for - I stocked up on them when I thought I was going into Psychology, not English). Well, hopefully I'll be able to start knocking the List back down soon!

Monday, January 3, 2011

School Book: The Roaring Girl

I'm really sad that I had to start the year off on this blog with a school book. I was in a reading mood this holiday season and really wanted to read one of my Mercedes Lackey books that are backed up. But on the plus side this is my final term before I am free to read whatever I want, so here's to plowing through these last few books.

The Roaring Girl sounded to me like it would be a lot of fun to read. I mean, the title character is a woman from the 1600's who dresses like a man and generally stirs up trouble. The basic idea of the story is that Sebastian Wengrave wants to marry someone whom his father thinks isn't rich enough. So Sebastian tries to shock his father into letting him marry her by pretending to be madly in love with the Roaring Girl. From the back of the book, the play sounded hilarious and I couldn't wait to read it.

Unfortunately, the summary was a lot better than the actual play. The Roaring Girl doesn't make an appearance until quite a ways into Act 2. And Act 2 is full of random people who aren't really interesting in the whole scheme of things. (It's a bunch of women and men who run some shops. Gentlemen show up and try to cuckold the shopmen). Quite generally, everything that happened seemed rather boring. I honestly had a hard time reading this and I'm glad it's over. I'm also really glad that I did finish it rather than letting it linger on. I'm sure we'll have some interesting things to say in the class about it, but if you're just interested in the play on its own, you're better off giving it a pass for something by Shakespeare or Marlowe.