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Book 28

  1. Matheson, Richard — I Am Legend (161 pages)
  2. McCarthy, Cormac — No Country for Old Men (307 pages)
  3. Dexter, Gary — Why Not Catch 21?: The Stories Behind the Titles (213 pages)
  4. Ryman, Geoff — 253 (366 pages)
  5. Wyndham, John — The Day of the Triffids (267 pages)
  6. Kurkov, Andrey — Death and the Penguin (228 pages)
  7. Chesterton, G.K. — Orthodoxy (183 pages)
  8. Gibbs, Christopher H., ed. — The Cambridge Companion to Schubert (334 pages)
  9. Sendak, Maurice — Where the Wild Things Are (48 pages — though only 1 page will count towards my tally)
  10. Hurston, Zora Neale — Their Eyes Were Watching God (215 pages)
  11. Clarke, Arthur C. — Rendezvous With Rama (245 pages)
  12. Clarke, Arthur C. — The City and the Stars (246 pages)
  13. Chesterton, G.K. — The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare (205 pages)
  14. Tepper, Sheri S. — Beauty (468 pages)
  15. Slawson, Douglas J. — Ambition and Arrogance: Cardinal William O'Connell of Boston and the American Catholic Church (186 pages)
  16. Belloc, Hilaire — The Great Heresies (166 pages)
  17. Waugh, Evelyn — Brideshead Revisited (326 pages)
  18. Rawicz, Slavomir — The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom (278 pages)
  19. Junger, Sebastian — The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea (309 pages)
  20. Seth, Vikram — An Equal Music (486 pages)
  21. Dubus III, Andre — House of Sand and Fog (351 pages)
  22. Kurkov, Andrey — Penguin Lost (251 pages)
  23. Bradbury, Ray — Dandelion Wine (247 pages)
  24. Bradbury, Ray — Farewell Summer (209 pages)
  25. Doran, Jamie and Piers Bizony — Starman: The Truth behind the Legend of Yuri Gagarin (241 pages)
  26. Makine, Andreï — A Life's Music (106 pages)
  27. Barnes, Julian — A History of the World in 10½ Chapters (307 pages)
  28. Chaucer, Geoffrey — The Canterbury Tales (623 pages)

Page count: 7330.

When I had time off work some months ago
I made a choice to go to Canterbrough,
And whilst there in the shade of famed Cathedral
I chose to read this famous poem medieval.
Now though the town did bore me till I fled,
I cannot say thus for these Tales I've read
Of Greeks, fay queens, and cocks named Chanticleer,
Unfaithful wives, red metal burning rear,
Death-seeking friends set 'gainst themselves by coin,
And even wicked clergy who purloin.
These Tales did take me quite a while to read,
As friends of mine did say to me, indeed:
Too much of rhyming couplets can be tedious,
So I took breaks to read else simultaneous.

"Chaucer's prose Tale of Melibee (the tone of which is entirely serious throughout) here follows in the original." I was shocked when I encountered this section interrupting Chaucer's Tales. I was under the impression that Nevill Coghill's translation for Penguin Classics is a complete collection of the Tales. Instead, the "Tale of Melibee" and later "The Parson's Tale" are replaced by brief summaries explaining not only the tales' salient points but also their place, structurally, in the collection. I surmise the reason for their exclusion to be that they are written in prose rather than rhyme and that they are rather moralistic. "The Parson's Tale" in particular is a somnolent homily on Reconciliation and the Seven Deadly Sins; however, the "Tale of Melibee," heavy-handed though it may be, is somewhat enjoyable.

In a "complete" collection, the translator/editor should not be excising sections of the book for any reason; it's up to the reader to skip material he doesn't want to read. I wanted to read Chaucer's Tales because I felt I should be familiar with them, all of them, and I was furious when I realized Coghill attempted to rob me of that opportunity. Subsequently, I found the missing tales online and read each before proceeding with the following tale. This added 33 and 77 pages, respectively, to the length of the book.

Now having read these Tales I feel enrichment—
Many its themes are found in modern fiction—
I now desire to read its antecedent
Such as Boccaccio's famed Decameron
Or lofty Greek and Latin peroration.
One shouldn't think these ancient bards our foes.
With that I'll bring my musings to a close.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
am0
Oct. 21st, 2008 05:54 pm (UTC)
Chaucer
Well penned!

I've never much cared for Canterbury Tales, much preferring Troilus and Creside, although some of the Tales are pleasant enough reads. I would dearly love to have an audio book rendition of any Chaucer in the original language, which sounds much more pleasing than our modern English. At a minimum, I would like to hear what it sounds like. I was thrilled when I discovered that the Lord of the Rings movies included a short scene, the burial scene, sung in Old English, which I'm aware is highly complex in structure, much more so than people think.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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