I finished reading Vol. 2 of The Complete Folktales of A. N. Afanas’ev in the first part of today. Despite the fact I have a sizable list of “to-read” books for Tales of the Land of the Firebird Part I, I decided I would take a vacation until next Monday. Then I will read The Complete Folktales of A.N. Afanas’ev, Part 3. In the meantime, I read up to page 43 of Sy Montgomery’s The Hawk’s Way: Encounters with Fierce Beauty which I hope to finish sometime before 5 PM tomorrow… then I will read The Soul of the Octopus. Finally, I will read some poetry from off my shelf. My “last day for recreational reading” will be Sunday–and perhaps then I will read one Shakespearian play. (I have The Complete William Shakespeare in the living room, and the last I read was King Richard III.) If I have time I may read Longus’ Daphnis and Chloe. (It is a Latin love story that I have always wanted to read since I discovered Debussy’s “Daphnis and Chloe” and wondered what it was about.
Honestly, ever since discovering that a Medieval translation of Ovid’s “Pyramus and Thisbe” influenced Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and (probably) Romeo and Juliet, I have wanted to read both that translation and the more modern one of Ovid. I am not reading it yet, but it was learning of Ovid which influenced me to want to find out about Latin literature. I learned quite a bit about Greek literature–Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex and Antigone (which I read in class) and Euripides’ Medea and Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound and the Oresteia (I did not read Euripides or Aeschylus for class but found them in textbooks). I even read some Aristophanes. We read parts of the Odyssey, too, and I believe I read the Iliad (which I am in the process of rereading) and the Odyssey (which will be next). However, we never touched the Virgil’s Aeneid or Catullus’ “I hate you and I love you.” Someday after rereading the Iliad and Odyssey, I will move on to reading the Latins. (I have read the surviving Sappho.)
I do hope to have all the books read at some point that I have mentioned. This is even though the frightening fact is that outside of the Greek Sappho, the Romans did not honor a single female poet or author of any sort. People imagine that sexism rules the roost today, and perhaps they are right, but back in the bad old days, a woman really couldn’t step into the sun of public notice. However, there is something exciting and sensual about Latin writing, and I hope to read it all someday.
As for the scientific work… I have always felt I neglected science when I was in high school and college. Yet I felt this was partly because I lacked mathematical and scientific skills… so now I read books about animals in an effort to find in the Natural World something innocent and honest that humans don’t always have.
My friend Cynthia always suggests I ought to do more of it. So instead of researching for Tales of the Land of the Firebird Part I, I shall use this time period–from tomorrow (Thursday) to Sunday, I pleasure reading.