Thursday, January 17, 2013

Whodunnits and Poetics and Kindle Grazing



I don't read all that much anymore, in the form of full-length novels. (I listen to Radio Four Dramatizations, mostly.)

I do have some friends who read A LOT. Continuously. They say it is because they have insomnia. They go to the used book stores and buy shopping bags full of books. Of course, they are older women, because, these days,  that's the only demographic that reads a lot.

Some of my friends are more into dime store novels, thrillers and whodunnits and some others are into higher class literature. These women don't read ALL the books they buy, they merely graze. If a book stops interesting them, they drop it and pick up another.

I tend to be picky out what I read and then I plow through it, no matter how long it takes. I'm plowing through a book called the Art of Fielding, a fine piece of literature, but it's taking me ages. (Well, plowing isn't the word. I'm drawing it out to make the pleasure last :) between episodes of Homeland and Downton Abbey.

I've also been reading Aristotle lately, on my Kindle, downloaded from Gutenberg.

Why Aristotle? Because I have never read him, despite taking Classics in Jr. College and I thought it was about time I did.  (Did you know J.K. Rowling took Classics, too, against her parents' wishes, because they felt it wouldn't lead to a good job.)

But back then in my 20's I liked the poetry, the Odyssey, Aeneid, and especially Ovid and especially Ovid's Art of Love. What a hoot! What a goof that love-sick poet. Reminds me of me in my 20's.

I think when reading classics it helps to have a good translation.

Well, anyway, I'm reading both Aristotle's Poetics and Aristotle's Politics at the same time on my Kindle. Grazing. Kindles certainly lend themselves to grazing. (I am almost finished that award winning Art of Fielding.)

Anyway, Artistotle's Politics is very funny too. I mean the way he talks about the 'family unit' as a man, a woman, children and slaves.

And today I chuckled all the way through the bit where he explains why men are natural masters and women naturally subservient.  It all makes no sense.

And yet, 100 years ago today, in the age of my novel Threshold Girl (available on Kindle) young men destined to be leaders, say Lord Randolph's slacker son Winston, read Aristotle and were influenced a great deal by it.

But I must admit, after researching and writing Milk and Water, about City Hall Corruption in Montreal in 1927, I could also see some of Aristotle's points brought to life. No slaves, per say, just wage-slaves with the franchise.