So, after a four year career break during which I read and wrote to my heart’s content I finally re-entered the world of working last Monday.
The hours of the job will vary but for the most part I am looking at a nine-to five existence for the next few weeks and months (it is a temp post of indeterminate length).
Previous experience of the workplace has taught me that I get very tired, very quickly in the evening. Not only as a result of working all day but from the walk to and from the office. I am doing the latter again, and my journey time is two hours in total.
Yes, I could take the bus, but exercise is important. Plus, it is good thinking/creative time.
However, to try and minimise the impact of this on my reading schedule, I have been getting up very early (five o’clock) to allow plenty of time to read at least two of my three daily books for their allotted twenty minutes.
I have to admit, I didn’t manage to do this every day, but I read enough during the course of the week to make me very happy this morning about what I have achieved.
This week, I reached the end of David Hogarth’s Accidents of an Antiquary’s Life and E M Forster’s Maurice. As usual I will review these in a separate post.
I’m afraid to say I have abandoned Three Men in a Boat (Jerome K Jerome). I started this book for my monthly book club and – mea culpa – never got round to putting it on the list I use to remind myself what to read every day. As a result, it got shoved to the back of my mind and more or less forgotten about. The book club is next week and with no realistic chance of finishing Three Men, I am putting it to one side.
My read-through of David Hogarth’s corpus continues with Devia Cypria. This is Hogarth’s account of his archaeological work in Cyprus, which he undertook in 1888.
I am currently reading the book on-line (see the link above), however, I have just found that the Cambridge University Press re-issued the book in 2012. You can find it here. I should have known better as someone left a comment on my Alexander blog a while ago to say that the CUP had republished Hogarth’s works.
As for the book itself, well, if you are interested in David Hogarth, Cyprus and her history, or archaeology, this book is definitely for you – otherwise, you might find it a little dull!
On Going Books
The Lord of the Rings
J. R. R. Tolkien
Strider and the hobbits have finally arrived in Rivendell! It’s funny that in terms of Things Happening, very little does between Weathertop and the Ford of Bruinen, where the Ringwraiths are swept away by the flood.
When I say that little happens, I mean in terms of (violent) action – the hobbits do not confront the enemy; indeed, the enemy barely appears in person; there are no explosions (or the Middle-earth equivalent), set-piece chases and so on. Basically, all the things that we get every ten or twenty minutes in the cinema (and thus, if you are like me, become conditioned to).
What Tolkien gives us is Threat – the threat of the Ringwraiths – and Attention to Detail, in JRRT’s case, the physical detail of Middle Earth. On the whole, he is probably better at the latter than former but I have still enjoyed reading about the hobbits’ flight, and was very glad when the water came rushing over the maddened horses.
I’m looking forward to reading about the Council of Elrond – particularly because I’ve been trying to remember Tom Bombadil’s Elven name for weeks now, and can’t.
In the last few pages, I have been learning about a mysterious woman named Isabella Jones who appears to have been an influence on Keats. Were they also lovers? The poet has also just met a chap in Hampstead by the name of Charles Armitage Brown
They struck up a conversation that led to a close friendship of immense importance to Keats – and us.
I think I know what he means but look forward to reading more…
One thing that has disappointed me about the book in the last week or so is Roe’s unqualified identification of a coffin in the British Museum as belonging to Alexander the Great (p.150).
Alexander’s coffin has never been found. We don’t even know the precise location of his tomb. I think the coffin that Nicholas Roe is thinking of is the one that we now believe belonged to Nectanebo II, the last native pharaoh of Egypt.
After reading the relevant passage, I popped into the British Museum to find that coffin. I think it is this one.
Here is a close-up of the information card.
As for Nectanebo’s coffin; it may once have been thought to have been Alexander’s but not in 2012 when Roe published his book. He should have known better than to present as fact what is plainly not so.