January Reading

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Here’s what I read in January.

(Program note: I wrote this blog while simultaneously making a very involved casserole.)

1. Please Kill Me: the Uncensored Oral History of Punk by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain

I wrote about this book at length in a previous post.  You can read about it here.  
2. Paradise Lost, (Books I and II) by John Milton

I started graduate school this month, and my first course is on British poetry of the “long” 18th century.  Consequently, I read the first two books of Milton’s epic, which is more Milton than I had ever read before.  The entirety of this reading takes place in hell, as Satan and his demons wake on the burning lake of hell after having been defeated by God.

The one thing that people who have never read Paradise Lost know about it is that Satan seems to be the most heroic, sympathetic, and sexy character in the work.  That is certainly true of the first two books, which is as far as I got (and probably as far as I will be going for the near future.)

3. “Theatre of Pain” by Tom Junod (in the February issue of Esquire)

I will occasionally write about magazine articles on this blog if I find them particularly interesting or well-written, and “Theatre of Pain” qualifies.  It’s one of those articles that concerns the brutality and unsustainability of NFL football that I just cannot turn away from.  I feel the need to read all of the terrible details in these stories, no matter how horrifying.  
Any reader of this blog will know that I love football in general and the Steelers in particular, and I feel the need to read these so that I can’t pretend not to know what is going on when I watch a football game.  I’m not going to stop watching, so it only seems just that I read the awful reality in these articles that come out every few months.
This article recounts lots of players and the injuries they’ve sustained, but it centers around a hit in the 2009 AFC Championship game between the Ravens and the Steelers, a game that, naturally, I remember watching.  I even remember the hit in question.  It was a great game, and it sent us to the Super Bowl two weeks later, which we won.
4. Miscellaneous
I’ve read, studied, and taught a lot of various works this month, either as part of my graduate class at the University of Memphis, or as part of the classes that I teach.  Here is a partial bibliography:
  • “Helen on 86th Street” by Wendi Kaufman.  This was a delightful short story, first published in The New Yorker in 1997, that we read in my 9th and 10th honors English classes.  If you feel the need to read something that will bring a smile to your face and make you feel a little more developed as a human being, you should check it out.  You can just google it.
  • Windsor Forest,” by Alexander Pope
  • “A Full and True Account of a Horrid and Barbarous Revenge by Poison, on the Body of Edmund Curll,” by Alexander Pope
  • “The World Turned Upside Down”(Anonymous)”
  • MacFlecknoe,” by John Dryden
The casserole is in the oven now.  Talk to you later.

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