Reading Update: Myth, Sci Fi & Fantasy. And Hegel.

Bumbling around on several things at once – let’s just say ‘multitasking’ in a tone of voice neither judgmental nor ironic – and so have more books going at once than usual:

1. Fun reading: 15% or so into Firestar, first novel in a trilogy by Michael Flynn. So far, it is about spaceships and meaningful school reform – it’s Sci Fi and Fantasy!  Nyuck. We’re still at the getting to know the characters part, who, in Flynn tradition, number in the thousands. More or less.

For whatever reason, even though I’v ended up enjoying them a lot, it seems to take a while for Flynn’s books to hook me – this one only took about 100 pages, which is pretty quick. I’m hooked now, so I’ll get through this in a few days.

2. Research reading: As mentioned earlier, trying to learn a little about various mythologies, since myth plays a key role in the novel I’m pretending to write. So, in addition to Googling stuff and dumping paragraphs from here and there in a Google doc, I’m reading:

a. Polynesian Mythology, Vol I. A fairly slight book, but adequate to my needs. About 30% through.

b. An old paperback I picked up somewhere in the misty past (that is sitting by my bed where I am not now – will update later with exact info), put out many years ago by Oxford, that has too much detail on sources and variations on the actual stories, but is nonetheless useful – it lays out guess and theories about how the Greeks came to synthesize the gods and stories of the peoples they conquered or otherwise encountered, so that, in the end, they ended up with the archetypal Pantheon. I’ll need to think about that sort of process.

c. Our copy of Bullfinch is lying around someplace in the house – I was reading from it to the kids a couple years back. Must find it and reread.

d. Will probably, with a bit of trepidation, reread Man and His Symbols. I don’t like to be reminded of that time in my youth when I took Jung way too seriously. But I recall his classification of mythological types to be good or at least interesting. In particular, I’ll need my Tricksters to be convincing.

Surfing around, touched on Hindu mythology – I’m going to need a bunch of names, figured I’d go with Sanskrit roots for one of my cultures. Wow – that’s a LOT of mythology, there. But, outside some creation myth stuff, not sure what I’d want to know – I fear ‘everything’ is the answer, which leads to the question: how many more decades, really, am I expecting to live?

The final (for now) piece – I need some Mongol mythology. One of my cultures is a steppe-dwelling horse culture, so I’d want to look into that. I have only the vaguest notions, gleaned from the often risible Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern Worldwhich is that weird kind of revisionist history wherein the author thinks he’s revising your views, when every story he tells just confirms them. Put it this way: you really really didn’t want to be conquered by the Mongols – it did not go well for the victims. The (brief) glory that was the Mongol Empire consisted in their ability to accumulate a huge collection of other people’s stuff – their own contributions are objectively pretty negligible.

How my physical books look at me from the shelf or night stand. Kindle books don’t pull that kind of crap.

3. Spiritual reading: the reading group down at a local parish is reading Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales. Good book. We’re about 1/3 into it.

4. By design, giving Hegel a rest for now – will pick up with Phenomenology of Spirit after Easter. I’m into the Introduction after surviving the Preface. I trust it gets less grueling.

And I never finished and reviewed that Orestes Brownson book the American Republic, which I should because it is good. It’s easier to forget about books on your Kindle than books physically confronting you with big, sad eyes.

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Author: Joseph Moore

Enough with the smarty-pants Dante quote. Just some opinionated blogger dude.

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