January 9, 2012

My Top "Great Reads" In 2011--The ProSe Awards

I spent the weekend going through all of my bookshelves, culling out books for donation to the public library, and doing some major shelf organization/reorganization.  As I lovingly handled and flipped through many of my books I reflected upon just how many good books that I'd been privileged to read during 2011.  I thought it might be fun share a list of my top, or favorite, reads of 2011.  Also, as I do read about as much poetry as prose these days, I thought that I'd issue my ProSe "Great Reads" awards in two categories:  Poetry and Fiction.  So, without any further ado, here are my lists of my top "Great Reads" in Poetry and Fiction for 2011.

 Top-Ten Great Reads in Poetry
  1. The Iliad, Homer, translated by Robert Fitzgerald (1974)
  2. The Iliad, Homer, translated by Stephen Mitchell (2011)
  3. The Iliad, Homer, translated by Stanley Lombardo (1997)
  4. The Oresteia, Aeschylus, translated by Ted Hughes (2004)
  5. Sophocles' Antigone: A New Translation, translated by Diane J. Rayor (2011)
  6. The Complete Plays of Sophocles, translated by Robert Bagg & James Scully (2011)
  7. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, and Sir Orfeo, by Anonymous, translated by J.R.R. Tolkien (1975)
  8. War Music, Christopher Logue (2003)
  9. All Day Permanent Red, Christopher Logue (2004)
  10. Memorial, Alice Oswald (2011)

Top-Ten Great Reads in Fiction
  1. Middlemarch, George Eliot (1871)
  2. The Crippled God, Steven Erikson (2011)
  3. The Children of Hurin, J.R.R. Tolkien (2007)
  4. Towers of Midnight, Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson (2010)
  5. The Woodlanders, Thomas Hardy (1887)
  6. The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien (1977)
  7. The Songs of the Kings, Barry Unsworth (2002)
  8. The Heroes, Joe Abercrombie (2011)
  9. Return of the Crimson Guard, Ian C. Esslemont (2010)
  10. The Passage, Justin Cronin (2011)
Well, there they are, my top-ten "Great Reads" in Poetry and Fiction for 2011.  I honestly very much enjoyed reading each and everyone of these books, plays, or poetry collections.  Have a look and I truly hope that you may find something of interest to you in one or both of these two lists.


January 2, 2012

Happy New Year with New Books!

I hope all of you had a wonderful, safe, and happy holiday season!  Here it is January 2, 2012, and I am ever so glad to finally be back in our home in sunny southern California.  Susan and I left here on the 21st of December and over the next ten days spent time in El Paso, Texas; Green Valley, Arizona; and Phoenix, Arizona whilst visiting family and friends.  Susan flew to El Paso while I drove hauling all of the packages and luggage.  I actually had to sit in Lordsburg, New Mexico for several hours on Christmas Eve and wait for the New Mexico Department of Transportation to clear Interstate 10 of snow and ice.  It actually snowed on me from Wilcox, Arizona all the way to El Paso, Texas, and made for a very nice Christmas mood for all of us that evening when I finally did arrive in El Paso!  Anyway, 'tis great to be home, car and luggage unpacked, laundry done, and closets cleaned out and reorganized.  But what to do with all of the wonderful new books that I received?  Hmmm, what a great problem to have, eh?  ;-)

Okay, I'm going to take a stab at compiling a list of the books that I received, and I am going to list them by categories--

Fantasy Fiction
The Book of Lost Tales, Part II, J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by Christopher Tolkien
The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien (single volume 50th Anniversary edition)
The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss
The Wise Man's Fear, Patrick Rothfuss
The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch
Red Seas Under Red Skies, Scott Lynch
The Dragonbone Chair, Tad Williams
Stone of Farewell, Tad Williams
To Green Angel Tower, Tad Williams
Lord of Snow and Shadows, Sarah Ash
The Prisoner of the Iron Tower, Srah Ash
Children of the Serpent Gate, Sarah Ash

Achilles, Elizabeth Cook
Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier
Morality Play, Barry Unsworth

King Lear, Shakespeare
The Tempest, Shakespeare
Much Ado About Nothing, Shakespeare
Phedre, Jean Racine, translated by Ted Hughes

The Riverside Chaucer, Geoffrey Chaucer
Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth, Wolkstein and Kramer
Flower Fairies of the Spring, Cicely Mary Barker
Flower Fairies of the Summer, Cicely Mary Barker
Flower Fairies of the Autumn, Cicely Mary Barker
Flower Fairies of the Wayside, Cicely Mary Barker
The Alliterative Morte Arthure, The Owl and the Nightingale, translated by John Gardner
Beowulf, translated by Frederick Rebsamen
The Beowulf Poet, edited by Donald K. Fry
Beowulf: A Dual Language Edition, translated by Howell D. Chickering, Jr.
Beowulf, translated by Burton Raffel
Idylls of the King, Alfred Lord Tennyson
Helen in Egypt, H.D.
The Inferno, Dante Alighieri, translated by Stanley Lombardo
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, translated by William Vantuono 
A Poetry Handbook, Mary Oliver

As you can see, I scored big-time!  I am really looking forward to diving into this huge stack of new reading.  My biggest issue right now is to find the shelf space for all of my new treasures!  I love having a problem like that!

Time to go watch some college football!  Happy New Year!