Saturday, July 14, 2007

This Week in Reading July 15 - 21

Among the anniverseries this week is the Riot Act. Authorities in England in the early 1700s were required to "read the Riot Act" to people disturbing the peace and many of us have heard the phrase without understanding what it was. We have our own, by the way, the Library Riot Act:

"Our sovereign, the reading king, chargeth and commandeth all persons, being noisily assembled, immediately to disperse themselves, and peaceably to depart to their literary habitations, or to their lawful school business, upon the pains contained in the act made in the first year of blog reading, for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies. Quiet reading saves the library."

On the other hand, if you take out books and read at home you can gasp, sigh, cry, laugh, and speak back to the book to your heart's content. Authors and events this week will cause strong emotions one way or the other.
It's particularly important to see that this week marks the founding of the women's rights movement in America and also includes the nomination of a woman to the vice-presidency, and includes notable women from Phyllis Diller to Diana Rigg, Mary Baker Eddy to Iris Murdoch, and from Ida B. Wells to Arianna Huffington. Throw in Hemingway, McLuhan, and Derrida and that's not even half of this big week in reading which also includes poets, political leaders, satirists, novelists, mystery writers, athletes, artists, movie stars, and more.

This week's Question: To which author born this week is the term "Gonzo" applied?

Answer to last week's question: Marcel Proust's great multivolume work is often translated into English as Remembrance of Things Past: Swann's Way, Within a Budding Grove, The Guermantes Way, Cities of the Plain, The Captive, The Sweet Cheat Gone, and The Past Recaptured. It begins with the taste of a pastry that reminds the narrator of his childhood and the rest of the books follow these memories in great detail. E.M. Forster called it "an epic of curiosity and despair" but Andre Maurois said Proust had plumbed the extremes of human misery but, like Shakespeare, had found serenity." (From Contempory Authors Online, through Biography Resource Center.) The library has them all, but in various editions.

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