Don Quixote Archives
During last month's discussion of The Ghost Writer, we couldn't help but focus on the stories within the story because they play such a large role in the progression of the overall plot. "Seraphina" and "The Revenant" are written by Viola Hatherley, an author who didn't exist until John Harwood invented her. Other past BookBlog selections also contain stories within the story. If on a Winter's Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino [May 2004] refers to novels that never were. And Cervantes' Don Quixote [November/December 2002] would have stayed home if it were not for tales of knights errant and their noble adventures.
Keeping track of virtual books requires a virtual library:
The Invisible Library - The Invisible Library is a collection of books that only appear in other books. Within the library's catalog you will find imaginary books, pseudobiblia, artifictions, fabled tomes, libris phantastica, and all manner of books unwritten, unread, unpublished, and unfound.
You won't get to read any of the books cataloged in The Invisible Library, but it's a fun web site nonetheless. For book geeks everywhere.
I was surfing around last night and came across a site called Book-A-Minute, which offers ultra-condensed versions of books (AKA book geek humor). For those of us who weren’t able to slog through all 1,000 pages of Don Quixote, this pretty much sums it up:
Book-A-Minute Don Quixote
A few of us are discussing Don Quixote in the entry below, but the vast majority of, well, everybody isn't joining in. Just out of curiosity, is it because the book was too long? Did you give up because it wasn't accessible? Do you think I suck as a moderator? Or are you just too busy with holiday stuff?
Yeah, so this was a long book. Sorry. I did choose it for a reason, however -- it was declared "the world's greatest novel" this past year. So that's how I'll start out this conversation: Can you see how Don Q might qualify as the world's greatest novel? If so, why? If not, what takes it out of the running?
As I haven't read every novel ever written, I can't pronounce Don Q the best ever written. However, here are the things that I'm guessing played into calling it the best:
The hero wasn't a godlike figure -- far from it.
Cervantes gets all meta for a while, using the book to talk about books.
You can't go wrong with scatalogical humor.
What do you think?
Don’t have time to finish Don Quixote in time for the discussion? Try one of these:
Man of La Mancha (movie musical starring Peter O’Toole)
Don Quixote (made for TV movie starring John Lithgow)
Nureyev's Don Quixote (performed by the Australian Ballet)
Cliffs Notes on Cervantes’ Don Quixote
This may be more complicated than I originally thought. Don Q has been published and re-published in many different editions and with many different translators, and there are differences between said editions/translators. To make things easier (?) here's what I'm going from:
Penguin Classics edition, translated by J.M. Cohen, translation first published 1950. It weighs in at 940 pages. I believe this is the edition that Mary linked to at left.
No, I have not started. However, I read fast and am un/underemployed, so I'm not too worried about you.
Yes, I'm starting today -- tomorrow at the latest. OK, maybe Tuesday, after my current project is done.
Another issue raised: Andy says that there is some dispute over whether book 2 really counts as Don Quioxte. I'm planning on reading it anyway, but if you don't get through it, you can use the legitimacy questions as your excuse.
There will be NO extra points given for quoting from "Man of La Mancha." You may, however, get extra points for referring to "Lost in La Mancha," the recent documentary about Terry Gilliam's quixotic quest to make a movie version of Don Quixote.
You also get extra points for telling me how "quixotic" should be pronounced. I've never really had to say it, but in my head. I've always pronouced it as if it were an English word -- i.e., "quicks-otic." I'm pretty sure that's wrong. But then again, does anyone ever say it out loud?
Mary has assigned me to moderate August, and I want to run something by you all. I'm tempted to choose Don Quixote, as I've never read it and it was recently proclaimed the best novel in history, but it's long. Really long. 940 pages long.
As I'm a book junkie and have no life, this is not an issue for me. What about the rest of you? Do you want to tackle something that long so soon? Or should I choose something else?
And Mary, we really can do only fiction? Damn.