Since I'm going through a writer's block and I have no time whatsoever to draw, be it by my own design or the circumstances that surround me, I've decided to read a few books which might help broaden my horizons and perhaps even bolster my vocabulary.
A while ago I've read The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri (1308). There is no better way to describe this book than as ancient self-inserting fan fiction.
In the book Dante meets Virgil, the Roman poet who lived about 1000 years before he did and takes him through hell and purgatory. There he meets Cleopatra, Mark Antony, King Phlegias, King Minos... and so on. If they were famous, Dante met them in his book.
In all honesty, I found the description of hell fascinating and entertaining but the second he got to heaven, I lost interest.
The most vexing thing about this book is probably the title. The book is not funny in the slightest.
Candide by Voltaire. What can you say about this book other tan Voltaire was the man! Written in 1759, the book smacks of tongue in cheek sarcasm and sharp social satire. Highly entertaining, brutal and at times, downright funny.
The story concentrates around Candide and the events he witness and often gets involved with as fate seems throw him around the world with little or no mercy. Highly imaginative and at times plain bonkers without moving into the realm of fantasy, this book takes the reader across Europe, Africa and South America. It is amazing to see how much things have not changed in two and a half centuries.
Now I understand why all the pictures of Voltaire show him smirking. He was probably laughing at you. His sense of humour is only matched by his philosophical prowess and razor sharp criticisms of militarism, religion, intellectual snobbery, slavery and the monarchies.
A true enlightened man and way, way ahead of his time.
Now I'm currently going through Pride And Prejudice (1813). An entertaining enough book but I suspect that the overly flowery language was placed there on purpose. Although it does satire the middle class and it's obsession with improving their social standing, I do feel that that the whole thing reads like a laboriously long gossip column.
Don't get me wrong, I am enjoying it but the whole 'such person said this to this other person' can get a tad annoying. The relationship between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy is very engaging though, and the supporting characters are very well fleshed out.
Anyone got good classic books to recommend?