Sorry for my absence! It’s been busy, as I’m getting a few loose ends sorted out before returning to university in September. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a lot of time to read recently, though I did finally manage to finish A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and am now slowly working my way through The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James, which will probably keep me occupied well into September (it’s a very lengthy read, at 627 pages).
I’ve skipped over on some of the weekly blog hops I’ve come across because I didn’t feel I could contribute anything interesting, but I like the question posed this week at Crazy-for-Books: What is the one genre you will NEVER read?
Here is another short, casual post to end off the week. This time, I’m participating in TGIF at GReads. Here is their lovely banner:
Christmas in July: If Santa were to come down your chimney in the middle of summer, which books would you want him to leave for you under the tree?
Occasionally, I like to dabble in graphic design and attempt to do fancy things with Photoshop. As a result, Übermorgen has a spiffy new banner and a colour scheme to match. I hope the text isn’t too difficult to read against the dark background (side note: dark backgrounds require less energy to be displayed on a monitor— perhaps something to consider for anyone wanting to make their blogs more eco-friendly), and I welcome any suggestions for improvement.
Also, in an effort to be more timely with my posts, I’ve decided to participate in WWW Wednesdays, hosted at Should be Reading. It usually takes me a long time to write blog posts, and consequently, I don’t write them very often. While I believe that quality is preferable to quantity, writing is something that needs to be practiced regularly, and I hope these shorter, more casual posts will allow me to do that.
A brief disclaimer: As I discuss my thoughts about Le Morte d’Arthur, I will be using the orthography that the book uses, which in some cases, may differ from more well-known spellings.
The legacy of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table is ubiquitous in Western culture, from popular culture to symbols of national identity. Most people have heard some form of the stories, and the names Gwynevere, Sir Launcelot, Merlin and King Arthur are cognizant by young school children and scholars alike.
Due to its omnipotence, it is difficult to pinpoint where the version of the Arthurian legends I was familiar with (prior to reading Le Morte d’Arthur) came from. The stories are so entrenched in our consciousness that I feel as if we know them, as we know words we understand, but don’t remember learning. We know the greatness of Sir Launcelot and his passion for Queen Gwynevere, and their betrayal of King Arthur, which led to King Arthur’s downfall, and the collapse of the kingdom. Perhaps less of us know the roles Sir Gawain, Sir Percivale or Sir Gareth played in the stories, but their names are familiar and we associate them with a time of quests and chivalry, long past.
Le Morte d’Arthur is only one version of numerous retellings of the legends, but it is possibly the most well-known. It contains the familiar tales of Tristram and Iseult, the quest for the Sangreale, Gwynevere and Launcelot, the death of King Arthur (as you may have known from the title) and other stories about various Knights of the Round Table and their adventures.
I admit that young adult literature isn’t usually my cup of tea; I can only name a handful of contemporary YA literature that I have read and liked. The first that comes to mind is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, which I read many years ago and re-read last winter. It is the first novel in my list of recommendations, and I would even list it among my favourite novels of all time. Others on the former list include: The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne and I Am the Messenger— againby Markus Zusak.
After some thought, the only reason I can think of to explain my wariness when it comes to reading YA is that I don’t really enjoy reading about teenagers and that general period of one’s life – especially from a first-person perspective, which often seems to be the case in this genre of literature.
It may come as a surprise then, that the first novel I read this year was YA.