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Archive for December, 2007

Fun for Friday

So since my last post was so whiny, I thought I needed to lighten the mood.

I don’t think I’ve ever talked about the lolcats on my site. But if you have never checked out I Can Has Cheezburger? you are missing out on several daily laughs. Maybe it’s because I like cats in general. And the fact that lolcats actually have their own grammar.

Now you can lolcat-ize your own Web site. It’s way cool; check out the LOLinator. (Link via Sarah in Tampa)

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Slogging

That’s the only word I can use to describe working my way through The First Man in Rome. It’s not bad, it’s just…well, a lot of work.

Frankly, I think the book could have used a bit more editing. It’s like the author took every fact she learned (and there’s no doubt she did extensive, exhaustive research on ancient Rome) and put it into the book. Then there are the character names. Most of the men have at least three; some have as many as five. And family names tend to make them all sound similar. So anytime one is referred to, his whole name is used. And the cast of characters is astoundingly large. Half the time, I don’t even know who I’m reading about.

I’ve actually found myself (horrors!) skipping pages. Last night, I skipped about ten. That’s a lot for me. In my entire life, there’s literally only been a handful of books I’ve never finished. And I never skip pages. It feels like cheating.

But I’m well over halfway done (which is an accomplishment in itself, as the book is over 900 pages). Do I stick it out? I’m afraid if I put it down and pick up something else, I’ll never go back. I was so excited when I started reading the book because it’s the first in a series of six. I was looking forward to being caught up in them for months. Now I’m kind of glad I didn’t buy any of the rest yet. I don’t think I’ll be adding them to my wish list.

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The Book is Always Better

ATTENTION: Beowulf spoilers ahead, so beware.

I wasn’t really paying all that much attention to the new movie Beowulf, but after a while, all the commercials got me thinking about what exactly was going on. And I remember that I had a stripped cover copy of Beowulf in my library. (Oh, stripped books, how I love you!). So I pulled it out and read it over a couple of nights.

Rather short as epic poems go, I think, only about 3,100 lines. But here’s what I can’t understand about the movie: Beowulf kills Grendel within the first 1,000 lines. And it’s not a huge battle or anything; the whole thing happens in a handful of lines. Then Grendel’s mother gets axed even before the halfway point. I sort of thought that was the conclusion of the poem, not the opening. There is another monster near the end, but that’s a bit of an anti-climax. So now I’m very curious about the movie, because I can’t quite figure out how they’re going to plot it.

In other news, I’m doing my first group read after the start of the new year. A couple of colleagues and I will be reading Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. I’m always up for a history lesson and I’ve never read Doris Kearns Goodwin, so I’m looking forward to it. And these are really smart colleagues, so I’ll know they’ll get me to think about things I might have missed.

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