Friday, September 24, 2010

The Knight's Bones are Dust and his Good Sword Rust

Enjoying Ivanhoe
I’ve had a bit of an unsettled week this week resulting in late nights and no reading or blogging – it’s been very frustrating.
The power adaptor for my Kindle arrived Wednesday and my Kindle is also on it’s way.  I’m a bit concerned as I wasn’t home when the adaptor was delivered and it was just left on the boot of my other half’s car in the driveway!! I rang the courier stating I want my next package put in a safe spot or delivered to my work address and whilst the girl was very pleasant she wasn’t very helpful so who knows where it’s going to get delivered.
To top it all, last night someone tried to break into my house. I called the police, mainly because I thought they should know that there may be someone in the area looking for easy pickings, I knew they couldn’t really do anything.  They came out pretty promptly and were really nice and helpful but I was still a bit nervous leaving the house today.  On the upside I got to know my neighbour across the road as I thought I’d ask if she'd seen anything, which she hadn’t, but we had a really nice chat (we’ve both lived here for 10 years and it’s the first time we’ve spoken!!).
Anyway, I’m up to Disc Three of Ivanhoe now and wonder why I believed Scott’s novels were hard to read.  I love his writing, yes the language is a little archaic (it was written in 1819), and it would be even more so if he’d have tried to write it in the Norman and Saxon languages of the time Ivanhoe is set, but it’s just wonderful.
I’m pleased that I had the foresight to do a bit of research on the book as Scott is well known for his historical accuracy; however it transpires that in Ivanhoe he has taken a bit of licence here and there.  For example Ivanhoe’s Robin Hood is very different from the real one, and his version is the one that Hollywood has made legend.  But he was also prescient in the case of Richard the Lionheart.  His view that he did not much care for his subjects and was more of a selfish adventurer (shades of Che?) is now considered to be the truth by modern historians.
So with this knowledge in mind, I shall just sit back and enjoy the characterisations in this loosely ‘historical’ romantic adventure.
One of the chapter headings, contains the last three lines of the poem The Knight's Tomb by  Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) .  It's been driving me mad but I have read those three lines before recently in another novel but can't for the life of me remember which one, but when I heard them this morning I remembered I really liked them.  The whole poem itself is lovely so here it is:
The Knight’s Tomb

Where is the grave of Sir Arthur O’Kellyn?
Where may the grave of that good man be?--
By the side of a spring, on the breast of Helvellyn,
Under the twigs of a young birch tree!
The oak that in summer was sweet to hear,
And rustled its leaves in the fall of the year,
And whistled and roared in the winter alone,
Is gone,--and the birch in its stead is grown.--
The Knight's bones are dust,
And his good sword rust;--
His soul is with the saints, I trust.

I finished Nightmare at 20, 000 Feet by Matheson.  There were some great stories, some good stories and some predictable stories.  For the most part the ideas were really good, but the delivery isn’t great and most of the dialogue is very stilted (I found this to be the case with Somewhere in Time too).  It just doesn’t flow from him like say Stephen King – he just has dialogue, not conversations….. it’s weird and a bit off putting.  Some of the stories were pretty good, but then I’d get to the last last line and I’d think ‘why did he write that? The story was fine without it’……….. it would kind of ‘blunt’ the story somehow.  I’ll have a rest from him now, as I picked up  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo from the library last night – I wonder if I hadn’t have stopped in there I may have caught the louse trying to break in.  Though maybe that may not have been a good thing.

Caffeine and Chapters Social Book Club will be celebrating its 2nd birthday in style.  We’re having a Valentino dress theme, and enjoying the hospitality of one of our members on Sunday.  We’re also hoping to watch the Valentino movie, and maybe talk books too!
Here’s hoping for a dry weekend for a change……

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