penguin little black classics 01 – 03

I opted to just review three Penguin Little Black Classics books in one post, as my reviews for this series is usually short. So here is my review for Books No. 1 to No. 3.

PENGUIN LITTLE BLACK CLASSICS NO. 1

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“You’re not doing anything to me,” said the Priest, “but you don’t let me do what I’d like to you, which is love my neighbour as god commanded.”

Title: Mrs. Rosie and the Priest

Author: Giovanni Boccaccio

Summary: Bawdy tales of pimps, cuckolds, lovers and clever women from the fourteenth-century Florentine masterpiece The Decameron.

My Thoughts: Who knew 14th century literature could be so lewd! These short stories came from the Florentine book The Decameron. Humor as one of the main points decided that I should get the complete work. It is lighthearted and good for the weary heart.

Rating: 4/5 stars

PENGUIN LITTLE BLACK CLASSICS NO. 2

Title: As kingfishers catch fire

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“As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s”

 

Author: Gerard Manley Hopkins

Summary: Considered unpublishable in his lifetime, the Victorian priest’s groundbreaking, experimental verse on nature’s glory and despair.

My Thoughts: This one is just bad haiku. You tend to set a mind frame when you read something like ‘consered unpublishable in his lifetime” but I’m sorry Gerard but I think your poems are far too religious for my taste. Included in this little book are diary entries that still didn’t catch my eyes. These poems are difficult to understand and I did not enjoy them to be honest.

Rating: 2/5 stars

PENGUIN LITTLE BLACK CLASSICS NO. 3

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“This is the saga of Hrafn and of Gunnlaug Serpent-tongue, as told by the priest Ari Thorgilsson the Learned, who was the most knowledgeable of stories of the settlement and other ancient lore of anyone who has lived in Iceland.”

Title: The Saga of Gunnlaug Serpent-tongue

Author: Anon

Summary: Ranging across Scandinavia, England and Ireland, a Viking-age epic of two poets in doomed pursuit of Helga the Fair.

My Thoughts: Who doesn’t like tales of princesses and warriors? This a story of Gunnlaug, a viking poet-warrior and Hrafn. He meets the most beautiful woman, Helga the Fair and asks for her hand in marriage. But of course, Helga’s father disagreed and tells Gunnlaug to come back when he’s mature. Hrafn finds out about this arrangement and steals Helga. The plot thickens at this point and ends in a fatal disaster. This is my first time reading about Scandinavian literature. I found it hard to get around too because of the torrent of names being thrown at you. It’s a good read if you’re a fan of adventures.

Rating: 2/5 stars

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goodbye tsugumi / banana yoshimoto – a visual

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“…those scenes on the beach had an aura of sadness about them that struck chords somewhere deep within me, filling my chest with pain.”

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“It’s a marvelous thing, the ocean. For some reason when two people sit together looking out at it, they stop caring whether they talk or stay silent. You never get tired of watching it. And no matter how rough the waves get, you’ve never bothered by the noise the water makes or by the commotion of the surface–it never seem too loud, or too wild.”

“And it seemed to me that even if you weren’t actively letting your emotions ride its surface, the ocean will tell you on giving you something, teaching you some sort of lesson.”

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“I guess when you’re out of the ocean and you see the piers way off in the distance, shrouded in mist, you understand this very clearly: No matter where you are, you’re always a bit on your own, always an outsider.”

“I get the feeling that in towns near the sea the rain falls in a more hushed, lonely way than in other places. Perhaps the ocean absorbs the sound?”

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all quotes from the Goodbye Tsugumi / Banana Yoshimoto.