November 2010


I won’t beat around the bush; this week has been full of chaos.  UK Customs, failed attempts to top up my Orange phone, a mix up with a tutor meeting, my manic Monday of 6 hours of class, and thing after thing driving me insane.  Having said that, I think I have this week planned out well, even though it will be very, very busy, and one thing I can count on to keep me sane is the wonder in books.  There is order and magic and reliability in books, and a full bookshelf calms my soul.  So, here is the contents of the top shelf in my Argos bookcase (which is about 2 1/2 feet long):

  • The Riverside Chaucer
  • The Poems of the Pearl Manuscript, ed. Andrew and Waldron
  • The Riverside Chaucer (library copy)
  • Apollonius of Tyre: Medieval and Renaissance Themes and Variations, Archibald
  • Ovid, Metamorphoses, Norton pub.
  • Ovid, Heroides, Penguin pub.
  • The Lais of Marie de France, Baker Academic pub.
  • Sagas of Warrior Poets, Penguin pub.
  • The Song of Roland, Penguin pub.
  • Chrétien de Troyes, Arthurian Romances, Penguin pub.
  • Christine de Pizan, The Treasure of the City of the Ladies, Penguin pub.
  • Rabelais: Gargantua and Pantagruel, Norton pub.
  • Middle English Romances, Norton Critical Edition
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, trans. Simon Armitage
  • Thomas Malory, Le Morte Darthur, Oxford pub.
  • The Poems of the Cid, Penguin pub.
  • The Nibelunglied, Penguin pub.
  • Dante, Paradisio, trans. John D. Sinclair
  • Las Mocedades de Roderigo, trans. Bailey
  • Chivalry, Maurice Keen
  • The Romance of Tristan, Oxford pub.
  • The Romance of Arthur: An Anthology of Medieval Texts in Translation, ed. Wilhelm
  • Medieval Folklore, Lindahl, McNamara, Lindow
  • Arthur, Daniel Mersey
  • Arthur’s Britain, Leslie Alcock
  • Geoffrey of Monmouth, The History of the Kings of Britain, Penguin pub.
  • Beowulf, trans. Seamus Heaney
  • Robin Hood, J.C. Holt
  • Imagining Robin Hood, A.J. Pollard
  • Rymes of Robin Hood, R.B. Dobson and J. Taylor
  • Robin Hood: A Mythic Biography, Stephen Knight
  • William Langland, Piers Plowman, Penguin pub.
  • Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, Norton Critical Edition
  • Chaucer’s Major Poetry, ed. Albert C. Baugh

Works Cited: jancology.com

The first chunk until Maurice Keen’s book is for class, while the rest is related to research (I swear!) but is interesting reading on its own.  I am sentimentally attached to my Dobson and Taylor Rymes and to the beautiful copy of Chaucer’s Major Poetry.  The first is the best edition of the original ballads, and is hard to come by.  The Chaucer was given to me by my first Chaucer professor at the University of Washington, who had me for one class one quarter and believed in my ability to do good work in literature.  Times like this, when I’ve become overwhelmed with schoolwork and personal commitments, that books give me solace and quiet my mind.

Now all I’m missing is a comfy armchair.  Let’s face it, the regulation Hild Bede chairs just can’t compare…

It’s been a long time since my last post.  I suppose that speaks to the nature of the grad school beast, but it bugs me.  So, in order to get inspired on a quick post, I looked at some friends’ blogs.  You may have read about Alicia in my style post here.  She’s another grad student (in ancient history) and a fellow bookworm.  Her latest post was on the contents of one of her bookshelves, and I think I’ll respond to her post with my own.

One shelf in my two bookshelves has this contents.  I suppose I should mention that I have two bookshelves; one mounted on my wall which came in my room and one hastily put together from IKEA’s lesser brother, Argos, which has three shelves.  (The putting together of this second bookcase is what introduced me to many of my housemates, so while I doubt it’ll last more than a year, it does have great sentimental value already.)  I’ve chosen to begin with my mounted bookcase, which has one shelf of magazines and decorative elements and one shelf packed to the gills of books and various hot drink mixes (coffee, tea, hot chocolate).  I should note that these are my non-academic books.  Without further ado, here they are:

  • The Road, Cormac McCarthy
  • The Piano Teacher, Janice Y.K. Lee
  • Cleopatra’s Daughter, Michelle Moran
  • Her Fearful Symmetry, Audrey Niggenegger
  • Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
  • Doctor Zhivago, Boris Pasternak
  • The House of the Spirits, Isabel Allende
  • Three Cups of Tea, Mortenson & Relin
  • The Historian, Elizabeth Kostova
  • Leonardo’s Swan, Karen Essex
  • Sprezzatura: 50 Ways Italian Geniuses Shaped the World, Peter D’Epiro
  • Walking to Canterbury: A Modern Journey Through Chaucer’s Medieval England, Jerry Ellis
  • Rules Britannia: An Insider’s Guide to Life in the United Kingdom, Toni Summers Hargis
  • How to Read Literature Like a Professor, Thomas C. Foster
  • Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World: Nicholas Ostler
  • Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour, Kate Fox
  • Knickers in a Twist: A Dictionary of British Slang, Jonathan Bernstein
  • The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro (I just finished this yesterday!)

Okay, so maybe they’re not entirely non-academic (Empires of the Word is literally the history of the world’s languages and equates in my mind to Hermione Granger’s “light reading” of various histories of the magical world.  It’s deep stuff, I tell you.)  I’m starting The White Queen by Phillipa Gregory this evening, so it’s technically not on my bookcase, but it did occupy the space now taken by The Remains of the Day less than 12 hours ago.

What books occupy your shelves?  What is on your imaginary shelf?  (I would have to go with a first printing of Harry Potter, the destroyed copy of Shakespeare’s collected works that my aunt and uncle tossed away–meticulously annotated by my grandfather who got a full scholarship to Harvard but fought in WWII, instead–and leather-bound, and an illuminated manuscript.)

Works Cited: robaroundbooks.com

And, yes.  That picture of me in my new glasses is coming!  I just have to find someone to take my picture when it’s not dreary and awful outside.  Hmmm.  Maybe over Christmas in Oklahoma where it’s still sunny?