Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Castle of Crossed Destinies by Italo Calvino

The book I will read next, a Christmas present from my sister, is a special order and should be here within two or three days. It's a translation into English of an epic poem by an Indian writer during the colonial era. British educated, he was inspired by Virgil, Spenser and especially Milton to present a well-known myth of India in Miltonesque form. Should be fascinating.

EKL and I have chosen to read next a book by a late-20th century Italian author, Italo Calvino. Written in the late 60s, it's about a group of travelers who spend the night at an inn that was once a castle and sit down to dinner, only to find they have all inexplicably been struck dumb. Their only way of communicating is through tarot cards, and they take turns trying to tell the story of their lives and/or the journey they're on while the others try to decipher the meaning. I think it's the author's take on (or response to) the Canterbury Tales, eventhough no words are spoken.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Tasso, Ariosto, Calvino

I have recently finished Torquato Tasso's "Jerusalem Delivered" (Gerusalemme Liberata), and am preparing an in-depth review of it, but not for this blog. The book I am currently reading, "Orlando Furioso", is also by an Italian writer,Ariosto. The book EL and I will read next is also by an Italian writer, Italo Calvino. Not an addiction, just coincidence. I will probably put my current book aside, in fact, once my special order comes in at Barnes and Noble. Our Christmas present from my sister, et al, allows me to buy a rare book that will almost certainly never show up at Half Price Books. The book I'm currently reading is over 1500 pages long, so I don't mind setting it aside for awhile. It has almost no continuity, so picking it up again later will be easy.

EL and I read the 12th century Arthurian romance "Perceval" daily, and will probably finish before school starts next week. R.K.L and I are reading two chapters a day of "A Cricket in Times Square" and we are also on course to finish by 1/3.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Randai on KBCS-FM

I appeared as a guest on KBCS-FM, the radio station of Bellevue Community College, on a show called 'The Old Country.' The show was about randai, a martial arts-based dance drama form of the Minangkabau people of Western Sumatra, Indonesia, and featured hard-to-come-by recordings from Indonesian radio, CDs of Sumatran flute-and-vocal music from Germany, field recordings of Dr. Kirstin Pauka, and music from our 2000 performance at the University of Hawaii.