I have read 18 books so far this year. Now that I am on Spring Break I hope to read a lot more. I haven’t reviewed much of anything, but I thought to update you on my favorite and least favorite books so far in 2017.
Favorite Prose Fiction
Le Colonel Chabert by Balzac
A colonel returns from war only to discover that the political regime has changed, his society thinks he’s dead, and his wife has married a count. He finds a lawyer to defend him, but some people would prefer he were dead.
Favorite Verse Fiction
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, trans. Keith Harrison
A mysterious knight challenges Sir Gawain. It was the perfect book to read on New Year’s Eve since the mysterious green knight challenges Sir Gawain on New Year’s Eve. Such an atmospheric poem. The translation was brilliant. I only wish I had read it out loud.
Favorite Philosophical Work
The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius
Boethius was a 5th century statesman under King Theodoric. Unfortunately, he was convicted of treason and placed under house arrest. He wrote The Consolation of Philosophy while awaiting execution. It is a dialogue with Lady Philosophy about good and evil and fate and free will.
The Art of the Biblical Narrative by Robert Alter
This is the kind of scholarship Erasmus would have loved to have access to. This work is a good introduction to the narrative language of the Hebrew Scriptures. Type-scenes are analyzed linguistically to reveal the tensions and ambiguities of the stories. Repetition, far from being a scribal error, is a deliberate device employed by Biblical authors to reveal and conceal important information about the characters in the story.