wellreadscholar is not currently reading any books.
I’ve been a DailyLit member since May 16, 2009.
Masters of Verse finished
Well-chosen poems I recently woke up with a new appetite for poetry, and Masters of Verse helped fan the embers of my newfound passion into bright flames (my pathetic attempt at poetically describing how the poems in this collection moved me). These are brilliant poems, although I do wish they'd include a more diverse array of poets in these collections. Maybe DailyLit could include a collection of translated poetry so we can enjoy the works of writers of different countries and cultures. I posted this on 08 August 2009
Northanger Abbey finished
Three and a half stars I love how Jane Austen portrays her characters, especially the naïve and silly-minded Catherine (believe me, I could relate very well). The novel's sudden switch of setting in the middle of the book was jarring for me though. The first half about Catherine in Bath was the typical Austen setting and plot, but the second half was more like "Jane Eyre" than Jane Austen-- in terms of mood, not plot, I mean. (It's hard to explain.) However, the story overall is a good read and chock-full of Austen's characteristic witty observations, so 3.5 stars it is. I posted this on 23 June 2009
3 Short Reads by Edgar Allan Poe finished
3 Short Reads not enough! Edgar Allan Poe has a beautiful, albeit haunting, writing style. I enjoyed reading "The Masque of the Red Death" for its imagery and themes (death is just and does not discriminate between the rich and the poor), "The Tell-Tale Heart" for what I interpreted as its message of the power of guilt, and "The Raven" for its rhythm and subject. I am now in the midst of Poe mania and moving on to some of Poe's lesser-known works, such as "Alone" and "The Coliseum". I posted this on 17 May 2009
- Poems of Christina Rossetti suspended
- Bulfinch's Mythology suspended
- Walden suspended
- Classic Shorts: Eight Stories for Summer suspended
My wish for 2010 is that opportunities for all social classes, races, and economic levels and for both genders will continue to move towards a high equilibrium (and at a faster pace).
What summer break? Must've missed it.
I recently woke up with a new appetite for poetry, and Masters of Verse helped fan the embers of my newfound passion into bright flames (my pathetic attempt at poetically describing how the poems in this collection moved me). These are brilliant poems, although I do wish they'd include a more diverse array of poets in these collections. Maybe DailyLit could include a collection of translated poetry so we can enjoy the works of writers of different countries and cultures.
The Black Tulip by Alexandre Dumas (1850)
My favorite classics authors are Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë. I also love the fantasy books of Diana Wynne Jones.
I love the fact that I can access just about any classic from home and later, discuss books with people I've never met from around the world. Thank you, DailyLit...keep it up!
John: That's great advice! On a slightly unrelated note, annotation also works when you are trying to understand poetry. When I'm trying to get the sense of what a poem is telling me, I mark up the entire margin with scribbled notes and musings. Luckily I subscribe to DailyLit, so librarians won't need to panic at the sight of graffitied poetry books.
I love how Jane Austen portrays her characters, especially the naïve and silly-minded Catherine (believe me, I could relate very well). The novel's sudden switch of setting in the middle of the book was jarring for me though. The first half about Catherine in Bath was the typical Austen setting and plot, but the second half was more like "Jane Eyre" than Jane Austen-- in terms of mood, not plot, I mean. (It's hard to explain.) However, the story overall is a good read and chock-full of Austen's characteristic witty observations, so 3.5 stars it is.
Does anyone know the definition of "cerealian"?
I found the word in part 21 of Walden and looked it up in both the Merriam-Webster and the Random House physical dictionaries, but I couldn't find it. Nor did Googling the word and searching online dictionaries help.
Here's the context in Walden: "Leaven, which some deem the soul of bread, the spiritus which fills its cellular tissue, which is religiously preserved like the vestal fire -- some precious bottleful, I suppose, first brought over in the Mayflower, did the business for America, and its influence is still rising, swelling, spreading, in cerealian billows over the land ..."
VOCABULARY PART 20-21
abstemiousness: marked by restraint (especially in regards to the consumption of food or alcohol)
discomfiture: anxious embarrassment
VOCABULARY PART 22-23
andirons: the iron braces which hold the logs in a fireplace
deacon: a subordinate officer in a Christian church
trumpery: worthless nonsense
abstain: to refrain deliberately and often with effort
amnesty: the act of an authority (as a government) by which pardon is granted to a large group of individuals
sacrament: a formal religious ceremony conferring a specific grace on those who receive it; a sacred act or ceremony in Christianity
VOCABULARY PART 17
cant: hypocrisy; pretense
circumspection: discretion; prudence; caution
ignoble: of low quality, character, or purpose
defraud: to deprive of a right, interest, or property by deceitful means (fraud)
mote: a small particle or speck
metallurgy: the science that deals with procedures used in extracting metals from their ores, purifying and alloying metals, and creating useful objects from metals.
VOCABULARY PART 18-19
unmerchantable: not fit for market, “unsalable”
transient: passing with time (transitory) or remaining in place only a brief time (temporary)
Bhagvat-Geeta: “Song of God” in Sanskrit; part of a larger classical Indian epic called the Mahabharata
Arcadia: a region of ancient Greece; any real or imaginary place offering peace and simplicity
mainspring: the principal spring in a mechanism; the chief motive power
Sorry for not posting for a while-- I've been really busy for the past 2-3 weeks!
VOCABULARY PART 16
dilettantism: the practices or characteristics of a dabbler in an art or a field of knowledge
indweller: an inhabitant
belles-lettres: literature regarded as a fine art, especially as having a purely aesthetic function
beaux-arts: resembling the architecture, architectural precepts, or teaching methods of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris: often used in a pejorative sense to designate excessive formalism disregarding considerations of structural truth, advanced aesthetic theory, rational planning, or economy
forsooth: in truth; indeed
Manichaean: Yes, that's true. It seems you get a lot out of books, then!
VOCABULARY PART 14-15
degenerate: to deteriorate, as in function or nature, from its original state; or to decline in mental or moral qualities
aguish: resulting from ague, or a condition in which there are alternating periods of chills, fever, and sweating.
dearth: a scarce supply, lack
sumach: (now spelled sumac) a type of shrub or small tree with compound leaves and usually red, hairy fruit.
Thanks, dreamdust! I can't believe I didn't notice the connection between swine flu and "The Masque of the Red Death", even though I read it during the midst of all the furor from the media. The fact that the Red Death entered Prince Prospero's palace despite his precautions is a parallel with the spread of many historical epidemic diseases throughout the world (I recently learned that the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic even reached a remote Alaskan village in the days before air travel, all because a mailman went there by dog sled and delivered a dose of flu along with the mail.)
The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself. The prose was incredibly lucid for a work written in the 1840s. It also shows you how ambition can carry you far, despite unjust or impoverished circumstances or backgrounds.
I've just recently finished The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, and here are some good quotes I garnered from it:
"The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, and the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one" (Ch. 24, reportedly said by psychoanalyst Wilhelm Stekel)
"Something [that] an academic education will do for you. If you go along with it any considerable distance, it'll begin to give you an idea what size mind you have. What it'll fit and, maybe, what it won't... You'll begin to know your true measurements and dress your mind accordingly" (Ch. 24, Mr. Antolini)
VOCABULARY PART 13
dissipated: (adj) intemperate in the pursuit of pleasure, dissolute; wasted or squandered; irreversibly lost and used of energy
Sardanapalus: a legendary Assyrian king known for his decadence (we derive the word “Sardanapalian”, or excessively luxurious or sensual, from his name)
emasculate: to deprive of strength or vigor; weaken.
gewgaw: a gaudy and useless object; trinket; bauble
factitious: produced artificially; lacking authenticity or genuineness
wainscot: a facing or paneling, usually of wood, applied to the walls of a room; the lower part of an interior wall when finished in a material different from that of the upper part
Manichaean: You are really observant! Good insight. Were you ever a sociology or linguistics major, by any chance?
VOCABULARY PART 12
rarefy: to make thin, less compact, or less dense; to purify or refine
indigence: poverty, neediness
precept: a rule or principle prescribing a particular course of action or conduct.
apotheosize: to glorify, exalt
retinue: a group of retainers (servants) or attendants
In Chapter 14 of Austen's Northanger Abbey, the author says, "Where people wish to attach, they should always be ignorant. To come with a well-informed mind is to come with an inability of administering to the vanity of others, which a sensible person would always wish to avoid. A woman especially, if she have the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can."
What do you think of Austen's statement? (I personally agree with the part about the well-informed being stubborn, but my opinion differs on the part where she says a woman should conceal what she knows.)
HSEManager342: Thanks! And don't worry about the spelling mistakes.
VOCABULARY PART 10
mode: a manner, way, or method of action; a particular form
gazette: a newspaper or official journal
torrid: parched with the sun’s heat; intensely hot; scorching
bower: a shaded, leafy recess (arbor); a country retreat
behoove: to be necessary or proper for
callous: emotionally hardened; unfeeling; tough
VOCABULARY PART 11
levity: frivolity; capriciousness; the state or quality of being light (buoyant)
bulrush: any of several wetland plants like the papyrus or the cattail
pecuniary: of or relating to money
encumbrance: a burden or impediment
repudiation: the act of rejecting
éclat: great brilliance of performance/achievement; conspicuous success
suent: uniformly or evenly distributed or spread; smooth
Here is a list of nonfiction I've been meaning to read:
A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf
Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
Aspects of the Novel by E.M. Forster
The Second World War by Winston Churchill
The Waning of the Middle Ages by Johann Huizinga
I'd love it if some of these showed up on DailyLit. (I'm not sure which ones are too modern, sorry...)
WALDEN VOCABULARY PART 9
exogenous: produced by growth from superficial tissue; caused by factors or introduced from outside the organism
integument: something that covers or encloses
liber: the part of a plant that comprises its food-conducting tissue
girdling: to encompass, enclose, or encircle; to cut away the bark and cambium in a ring around (a tree, branch, etc.).
nominal: being such in name only; being trifling in comparison with the actual value; minimal
oracular: giving forth utterances or decisions as if by special inspiration or authority (think “oracle”)
consanguinity: relationship by descent from a common ancestor, kinship (“con” means together, “sanguine” is related to blood)
consecrate: to make or declare sacred
colic: (noun) an attack of acute abdominal pain localized in a hollow organ and often caused by spasm, obstruction, or twisting; (adj) pertaining to or affecting the colon or the bowels.
HSEManager342: Oops, my bad. I apologize deeply for my error! I'm really impressed at the pride you have for your country. (I take it you mean "British", not "Btitish", right?) You're more apt to see apathy nowadays, everywhere you look. This is shown especially in some members of the younger generation, who are too hooked up in their cell phones and iPods to care about anything beyond the confines of their virtual worlds. Keep it up!
butler64: I completely agree with you. Go Mulan!
I just wanted to note here that Henry David Thoreau (the author of Walden) was an American. I suppose that back in his time, which was around the 19th century, British English and American English were more similar than they are now.
WALDEN VOCABULARY PART EIGHT
(Coincidentally, this contains a long ramble on the function of clothing to determine rank in society.)
Neva: a river in West Russia flowing from Lake Ladoga to Gulf of Finland at St. Petersburg
improvidence: the quality or state of not foreseeing and providing for the future
shiftless: lacking in resourcefulness (inefficient); lacking in ambition (lazy)
divest: to deprive or dispossess of property, authority, or title; to take something away from someone
soire: (now spelled soiree) a party or reception held in the evening
cuticle: an outer covering layer
cashier (verb): to dismiss from service, usually dishonorably
Oh, I'm sorry. I just looked up the publication dates of each title I mentioned and they're all too modern except for the work by Cheng En Wu.
Here are some other titles old enough to be considered for the site:
Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong
Water Margin by "Shi Naian" (believed to be a pen name for Luo Guanzhong)
The Plum in the Golden Vase (Jin Ping Mei) by "Lanling Xiaoxiao Sheng" (a pseudonym)
Dream of the Red Chamber by Cao Xieqin
The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu (some consider this one of the first novels for its depth of psychological insight. It's definitely on my must-read!)
The Tale of the Heike, a Japanese epic poem (translated to English by A.L. Sadler in 1918–1921, Helen Craig McCullough in 1988, and an abridged translation by Burton Watson was published in 2006)
Kokoro by Natsume Soseki
The Setting Sun by Osamu Dazai
Hyangga (Korean poems)
My friends recommended these novels to me:
Obasan by Joy Kogawa
Native Speaker by Chang-Rae Lee
Woman Warrior: The Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts by Maxine Hong Kingston
Monkey: A Journey to the West by Cheng En Wu
I've also read several novels by Amy Tan (The Joy Luck Club, The Kitchen God's Wife, The Bonesetter's Daughter), which make great reads. However, they are probably too modern for this site.
whizard28: I was wondering about the same thing, so I did a quick Google search. Here's a link that might interest you as to why "pants" are plural while a shirt is not: http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-pai1.htm
HSEManager342: Thank you for your kind insight. I can see why you say that; Americanized English doesn't sound half as nice as English pronounced with a British accent. By the way, in your last sentence, "there" should be "their" and "henceforth" is one word. I assume you are American...?
Manichaean: Good observation! I definitely agree with you, and so do many writers whose biographies I've read.
Whenever I try to click on one of the arrows to move a certain book up or down on the priority order, nothing happens and the bottom bar just says "Error on page". I would like to use the new auto-start feature, but as I have preferred books down at the bottom of the list I am unable to do so.
WALDEN VOCABULARY PART SEVEN
sinecure: an office or position requiring little to no work that usually provides an income
audit: a methodical examination and review. More specifically, a formal examination of an organization's or individual's accounts/financial situation
curacy: the office, duties, or position of a curate (a clergyman in charge of a parish)
exorbitant: highly excessive
logarithmic: relating to logarithms (which are kind of like the opposite of exponents: the value of the power that a base must be raised to reach a given number. Think back to your last advanced algebra class in high school.)
WALDEN VOCABULARY PART SIX
prescribe: to lay down a rule; dictate
dross: impurity; something that is base, trivial, or inferior
fetters: a chain or shackle for the feet; something that confines
manna: a usually sudden and unexpected source of gratification, pleasure, or gain
(The sentence from Walden reads, "At other times watching from the observatory of some cliff or tree, to telegraph any new arrival; or waiting at evening on the hill-tops for the sky to fall, that I might catch something, though I never caught much, and that, manna-wise, would dissolve again in the sun.")
Manichaean: No problem-- this forum was meant to help others learn more words, after all; it doesn’t matter where the terms came from. I've heard of many similar situations like the one you described. (The words “schedule”, “buoy”, and “garage” come to mind.) It's very embarrassing at first but later makes for great conversations at dinner parties with British friends.
jrainis: I pronounce “route” like “root” too. I think “root” is more common outside of the United States, though.
Thanks, Manichaean! What part are those words from?
WALDEN VOCABULARY PART 4
enterprise: an undertaking of some difficulty that requires considerable effort and boldness
gross: immediately obvious OR undiscriminating, unrefined
(I'm not sure which definition from Walden fits better; the sentence from part four reads, "It would be some advantage to live a primitive and frontier life, though in the midst of an outward civilization, if only to learn what are the gross necessaries of life and what methods have been taken to obtain them")
impunity: exemption or freedom from punishment, harm, or loss
combustion: an act or instance of burning
draught: British term for "draft" (yes, I'm American. Why do you ask?)
Sorry guys, I had to really look for the more evasive terms in this part of Walden...
WALDEN VOCABULARY PART 3
catechism: a book that gives a summary of the basic principles of Christianity in question-and-answer form; or a manual giving basic instruction on a particular subject.
ordinance: an authoritative command (think "order")
praetor: an elected magistrate that oversaw the administration of civil justice in the ancient Roman republic
ennui: listlessness and dissatisfaction resulting from lack of interest; boredom
illumine: to give light to (think "illuminate")
apex: the highest point
Life is all about the journey.
(It's a cliché, I know, but it ironically gave me a sense of purpose and direction in my life)
Five classics that I would probably bring to a desert island:
1) Pride and Prejudice: This could practically be a modern book with its clarity of language and intriguing plot.
2) The Once and Future King: I love the King Arthur tales. This is actually more modern, but I think it counts as a classic.
3) A Tale of Two Cities: Nope, I haven't read this yet, but if I were stranded on a desert island I would finally have enough time to read and finish it.
4) The Odyssey: The mythology and culture of the ancient Greeks has fascinated me for many years. I've just started reading Richmond Lattimore's translation of it and so far it has exceeded all my expectations.
5) The Origin of Species: I haven't read this either, but it has come across my radar thanks to a recent National Geographic issue with an article about Darwin pointing out that everyone quotes his books but has never read them.
Edgar Allan Poe has a beautiful, albeit haunting, writing style. I enjoyed reading "The Masque of the Red Death" for its imagery and themes (death is just and does not discriminate between the rich and the poor), "The Tell-Tale Heart" for what I interpreted as its message of the power of guilt, and "The Raven" for its rhythm and subject. I am now in the midst of Poe mania and moving on to some of Poe's lesser-known works, such as "Alone" and "The Coliseum".
WALDEN VOCABULARY PART 2
sonorous: producing a sound that is loud, deep, or resonant; having a style of speech that is rich and impressive
factitious: artificial or unnatural; lacking genuineness
integrity: steadfast adherence to a strict code of moral and ethical principles
depreciate: to lessen the price or value of; to belittle
whet: to make keener or more acute
insolvent: bankrupt; unable to meet debts
frivolous: characterized by lack of seriousness or sense; carefree, self-indulgent, unconcerned; unworthy of serious attention or trivial
Very true. Children and young adults can read The Count of Monte Cristo and get a satisfying experience out of it, but the more seasoned readers who read it can find a plethora of "themes" throughout the book that makes The Count of Monte Cristo meaningful for them as well. I've read The Count of Monte Cristo twice, and strangely I only cried the second time after reading the part where Dantes forgives Danglars.
Good idea, Charlie!
WALDEN VOCABULARY PART 1
sojourner: one who stays temporarily in a place
obtrude: to impose or force
penance: a voluntary act of punishment to show repentance for a sin
encumbrance: a burden or impediment