October 18, 2010

Distractions of the World: School Books

I thought that ya'll might like to know what I've been up to, since I clearly haven't been updating In Bed With Books much. First, here are books I'm currently reading for school:

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HAMLET by William Shakespeare
(I am actually reading an anthology copy, but if I were to buy a separate text I would choose the Arden edition linked above.)

I've read HAMLET before, but rereading it brings back all the things I've forgotten. It's easy to remember the tragic elements, but I forgot how funny and sexy the play is. It isn't my favorite Shakespeare play - it's not even my favorite tragedy - but it is one of the most fun to subject to literary analysis. The puns! They multiply.

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ENGLISH, AUGUST: An Indian Story by Upamanyu Chatterjee

I get to read all sorts of fun things for this class. This 1988 novel is about a Bengali stoner in the Indian Administrative Service who is extremely westernized. He speaks English better than any Indian language and listens to Chopin as often as Tagore. I'm not very far into the novel, but so far it's quite funny. I'm not sure it will defeat Vikram Seth's THE GOLDEN GATE as my favorite novel of the class, although it might be close.

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THE BOOK OF TEA by Okakura Kakuzo

Actually, I'm starting to read this one as soon as I finish this blog post. This 1906 book defends Japanese and Asian culture, published almost simultaneously with the beginning of the Japanese folk art and folk lore movements. These movements were part of the backlash against the Westernization of the Meiji period. THE BOOK OF TEA discusses the history, philosophy, and aesthetics of the Japanese tea ceremony and is available in the public domain.


  1. Oh Hamlet Px I was never really a Shakespeare girl. Although I should appreciate it more, it's not my cup of tea. I have a hard time getting into classic literature sadly. (I think the only one I truly ever enjoyed was The Hobbit).

  2. Despite all my years of studying Shakespeare, I've never read Hamlet! I really ought to I know, my favourites are Othello and the Merry Wives of Windsor.



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