After writing last week’s post, I decided to set aside some time to catch up with all eight books on my reading list. On Saturday and Sunday, therefore, I read each title for fifteen minutes each. Fifteen minutes isn’t much but I chose it as it was a target I could easily reach. And yet, why set aside a time at all? Why not just read a chapter or two? As it happens, this is what I did with Orlando Furioso; I didn’t want to do that with each book, however, as some of them have very long chapters (e.g. The Lord of the Rings) and I was very concerned to make sure I read each and every book. This I managed to do but I am still not where I want to be with my week day reading. Looking back, only The Nearer East and Cairo asserted themselves. Most of the others did not get touched. I already know that this week will be very busy so I am prepared for the same thing to happen again but if, apart from those two books I am able to pick up one other – even for just a few minutes – every day then I shall be happy.
On Going Books
The Iliad of Homer
tr. Richmond Lattimore
Those gods! I doubt this will be the last time I say that. Today, it is because I have just read of Paris’ duel with Menelaos. The former was losing – he was about to be killed – but Aphrodite loves him and so whisked him back to his quarters in Troy. In a rather unexpected turn of events, she then ordered Helen to join him. Being Aphrodite I don’t know why she didn’t to seduce Paris but the Greek gods are nothing if not capricious. I can’t wait to get back to The Iliad, though, as I finished on a cliffhanger: Menelaos pulling an arrow out of himself. Does he survive? I shall report back next week.
I’m enjoying this book very much. The latest chapters have been very satisfying. Orde Wingate, the brilliant general and man of no uncertain religious views, has turned up. I last saw him in The Hunt for Zerzura and Wheels Across The Desert striding across the desert by himself. Then there is the Salamander Society, a literary group, which translated ‘Housman and Chesterton… into impeccable French’. Across the horizon, however, Rommel still lurks, desperately trying to take Tobruk only to be repulsed by brave Australians and pulled back by his lack of supplies.
I never, ever look up medical symptoms on the internet as I know that if I do I will have all of them. It is 1818 and Keats has a persistent sore throat – it’s a symptom of TB – and I am trying not to swallow just in case my throat feels dry.
In all seriousness, though, these are awful times for Keats: his brother, Tom, is dying of tuberculosis, and is in great pain. He has a sore throat that will not go away and is being attacked in the press by his literary enemies.
No, NOT YET, Malcolm!