I've decided to make a last ditch effort to complete Carl's challenge. Can I do it? I admit I can be a lazy reader sometimes--easily distracted and ready to move on to the next shiny new book or reading challenge. I had all but given up on this when Carl left a comment on a recent post urging me on just the tiniest little bit. That coupled with my desire to actually finish something I start out to do (remembering all those many lists I've made all year...) has made me want to see this one through. Or try to anyway.
I had planned all along to read Angela Carter's Saints and Strangers (for my folk tale choice). It is a slim little book of only 125 pages/8 short stories. Actually I am not sure they can be called short stories really. The blurb says "drawing on American history, literary legend, and folk tale, Angela Carter transports us to that shadowy country between fact and myth." I started reading last night and hope to finish later today (I am almost halfway through already). All I can say so far, Angela Carter's writing is quirky--or at least the stories she tells are. As much as I wanted to read this (and do want to read this), I think what put me off was the overwhelming sense that these were going to be dark sorts of stories. Not tragic, but dense and heavy--just look at the cover art. I'm not sure how to characterize her writing style yet. But I'll let you know how it goes. Carter seems to have a fairly substantial body of work (she died very young in 1992), and I think she is an important contemporary author, so I do hope to read more later.
The challenge ends tomorrow, which is the summer solstice. I plan on watching A Midsummer Night's Dream tomorrow night. If I read along does that count? Since Midsummer is not for a few more days yet, I hope to actually properly read the play after I have seen a film version. It worked for me well to watch/read/watch, so I want to try that again. I have been doing a tiny bit of preparatory reading, as I am completely unfamiliar with this story. What I've learned so far? Shakespeare wrote this during a very creative period when he was approaching a more mature style. It is likely that he wrote this to be preformed at a wedding that Queen Elizabeth would have attended. There are four separate plots within this play: 1.) the story of Theseus, the Duke of Athens, and Hippolyta, the Queen of the Amazons, 2.) Hermia and her three friends, Helena, Demetrius, and Lysander--young lovers, 3.) the magical world of the fairies ruled by Titania and Oberon, and 4.) the adventures of Quince, Bottom, and the other amateur actors. I get the feeling the play is about love and lust. And, well, that is as far as I have gotten. There is no sense in rushing a Shakespeare play! I still have my Garber essay to read and all of the other extra material in my book as well. Really this is the impetus I needed anyway to get going on Shakespeare once again! It seems fitting to be reading it right now, doesn't it?