Sunday, November 28, 2010

Myles' Picks - Sorry it took so long

Innovators Prescription - Clayton M Christensen
I heard him speak in New Orleans, and he's one of my dad's favorite authors.

Decision Points - George W. Bush
My Brother-in-law is mentioned in the acknowledgments, since he helped with fact checking.

In Fifty Years We'll All Be Chicks - Adam Carolla
I think this one fits the club :)

Stupid History - Leland Gregory
It looks like you either love it or hate it.

Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God - Francis Chan
Something completely different from the rest.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Twain Location

While reading about Sam Clemens' days out West, I thought discussing the book at Porter's Place next Tuesday night might help us get into the period: http://porterrockwellutah.com/

A big burger and side is between $6 and $8. The "Cure-All" drinks would be on me as host. We could rendezvous at my place at 7:30, pile into the van and begin the proceedings in transit.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Scott's Nominations

I feel the need to get back to my roots in Victorian English literature, so here are a few to choose from.

Jude the Obscure (Oxford World's Classics)
My favourite Hardy novel. I'm nominating it again.


Middlemarch (Oxford World's Classics)
One I have not yet read, but have always meant to read by George Eliot.

The Pickwick Papers (Oxford World's Classics)
No Victorian list would be complete without a little Dickens (and one I have not read), and this is one of his comedic works.

The Warden (Oxford World's Classics)
The first of the Barchester novels by Anthony Trollope, one of the lesser known Victorian writers. Think Dickens lite.


Thackery's masterpiece. A bit of a wild romp with a female lead (Becky Sharp) who is quite un-Victorian.
Aside from a couple of his plays and a short story or two, I have never actually read anything by Oscar Wilde, but I have always meant to.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Round 4 - Joe's picks

Hopefully those who find history boring can find something interesting in this list.

Battle Cry of Freedom
Considered the best single-volume history of the Civil War. If you consider 924 pages just a single volume.

The Company Town
New book about America's "company towns." The author says they only come in two forms: utopian and satanic.

An Entirely Synthetic Fish
Did surprisingly well as a Round 3 nomination (losing out to Mark Twain bio).

Eden's Outcasts
The story of Louisa May Alcott and her father. Won a pulitzer in '08. I nominated because I'm about to have a daughter.

Truman
David McCullough won a pulitzer for this biography of Harry Truman.


Under a Wild Sky

A "highly readable" biography of John James Audobon.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

In case you missed the Yakiniku last month, here's what the cow tongue looked like before we ate it.  Thanks to myles for the culinary adventure.

Round 4 - Brandon's Picks

Since the Mark Twain book is the last of round 3, it's time to get nominating our next batch of study.    Let's have all nominations posted and voted on by the next meeting at the end of november.  Then in December we decided to do our own independent reading and share our findings with each other.

I'm a huge Shakespeare fan, but looking at his list of plays, I've only read or seen about 1/3 of them.  I figure this is a good way to read some of his deep tracks and b-sides.  If it's okay with you all, I'm proposing we read two plays, since they'll each only take 2-3 hours to read.  (unless you are determined to understand what everything means, then it will take a little longer). And if you don't have time for two, then just read one of them.

So here's a list of 6 comedies and 6 tragedies.  Let's treat each one as it's own category, so your top comedy pick will get 6 points, same with your top tragedy pick.  And perhaps our meeting can include not a few performances...

For anyone new to the voting process, click the "manifesto" link at the top.


Comedies

All's Well That Ends Well is a play by William Shakespeare. It is believed to have been written between 1604 and 1605,[1] and was originally published in the First Folio in 1623.
Though originally the play was classified as a comedy, the play is now considered by some critics to be one of his problem plays, so named because they cannot be neatly classified as tragedy or comedy.
There is no evidence that All's Well was popular in Shakespeare's own lifetime, and it has remained one of his lesser-known plays ever since, in part due to its odd mixture of fairy tale logic and cynical realism. 


As You Like It is a pastoral comedy by William Shakespeare believed to have been written in 1599 or early 1600 and first published in the folio of 1623.  As You Like It follows its heroine Rosalind as she flees persecution in her uncle's court, accompanied by her cousin Celia and Touchstone the court jester, to find safety and eventually love in the Forest of Arden


Measure for Measure is a play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1603 or 1604. It was (and continues to be) classified as comedy, but its mood defies those expectations. As a result and for a variety of reasons, some critics have labeled it as one of Shakespeare's problem plays. Originally published in the First Folio of 1623 (where it was first labeled as a comedy), the play's first recorded performance was in 1604. The play deals with the issues of mercy, justice, and truth and their relationship to pride and humility: "Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall".


Twelfth Night, or What You Will is a comedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written around 1601-02 as a Twelfth Night's entertainment for the close of the Christmas season. The play expanded on the musical interludes and riotous disorder expected of such an occasion,[1] with plot elements drawn from the short story "Of Apollonius and Silla" by Barnabe Rich, based on a story by Matteo Bandello
The title Twelfth Night, or What You Will, prepares the audience for its jovial feel of festivities consisting of drink, dance, and giving in to general self-indulgence. The subtitle What You Will implies that the audience is also involved in the merry spirit found in the play.


The Two Gentlemen of Verona is a comedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1590 or 1591. It is considered by some to be Shakespeare's first play,[1] and is often seen as his first tentative steps in laying out some of the themes and tropes with which he would later deal in more detail; for example, it is the first of his plays in which a heroine dresses as a boy. 


The Winter's Tale is a play by William Shakespeare, originally published in the First Folio of 1623. Although it was grouped among the comedies,[1] some modern editors have relabeled the play as one of Shakespeare's late romances.  Some critics consider it to be one of Shakespeare's "problem plays", because the first three acts are filled with intense psychological drama, while the last two acts are comedic and supply a happy ending.



Tragedies

Cymbeline (pronounced /ˈsɪmbɨliːn/) is a play by William Shakespeare, based on legends concerning the early Celtic British King Cunobelinus. Although listed as a tragedy in the First Folio, modern critics often classify Cymbeline as aromance. Like Othello, Measure for Measure, and The Winter's Tale, it deals with the themes of innocence and jealousy. While the precise date of composition remains unknown, the play was certainly produced as early as 1611.[1]


Antony and Cleopatra is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written sometime between 1603 and 1607. It was first printed in the First Folio of 1623.
Many consider the role of Cleopatra in this play one of the most complex female roles in Shakespeare's work.[1] She is frequently vain and histrionic, provoking an audience almost to scorn; at the same time, Shakespeare's efforts invest both her and Antony with tragic grandeur. These contradictory features have led to famously divided critical responses.[2]


Coriolanus is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1605 and 1608. The last of Shakespeare's great political tragedies, chronicling the life of the mighty warrior Caius Marcius Coriolanus. It covers many issues including pride of coming before a fall. The ambitious mother of of the hero plays a large part in his initial successes. Coriolanus supports the old patrician ways and is totally out of tune with the needs of the ordinary people. 


Julius Caesar is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1599.[1] It portrays the 44 BCE conspiracy against the Roman dictator Julius Caesar, his assassination and the defeat of the conspirators at the Battle of Philippi. It is one of several Roman plays that Shakespeare wrote, based on true events from Roman history, which also include Coriolanus and Antony and Cleopatra.


Titus Andronicus may be Shakespeare's earliest tragedy; it is believed to have been written in the early 1590s. It depicts a Roman general who is engaged in a cycle of revenge with his enemy Tamora, the Queen of the Goths. The play is by far Shakespeare's bloodiest work. It lost popularity during the Victorian era because of its gore, and it has only recently seen its fortunes revive.


Troilus and Cressida is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1602. The play (also described as one of Shakespeare's problem plays) is not a conventional tragedy, since its protagonist (Troilus) does not die. Throughout the play, the tone lurches wildly between bawdy comedy and tragic gloom, and readers and theatre-goers have frequently found it difficult to understand how one is meant to respond to the characters. However, several characteristic elements of the play (the most notable being its constant questioning of intrinsic values such as hierarchy, honor and love) have often been viewed as distinctly "modern."

Not shabby, as far as first dates go

Sam Clemens and Livvy Langdon's first date took place at the Langdon home, where they listened to Charles Dickens give a reading to a small gathering. Like the guy or not, Sam lived an extraordinary life.