May. 21st, 2017

sarahmichigan: (reading)
Book No. 25 was "The Golden Ass" by Apuleis, the earliest known complete novel in Latin, from around 150 or 160 AD. The story follows the adventures of Lucius, a naive young man who travels to another city with a letter of introduction to a family friend. While staying with the family friend, he hears tales about witchcraft, and trying to spy on witchy secrets, gets himself turned into a donkey. He gets sold and stolen and moves around from one terrible owner to another and hears many tales, some sad and some comic, as he travels around the countryside. He finds himself in peril many times and finally gets his human form back after a desperate prayer to Isis. This book is so fun and much bawdier than I expected! It contains adultery, homosexuality, bestiality, murder, banditry, witchcraft, and tales of gods and goddesses. I love the "many stories within one story" structure of the novel. I read the Sarah Ruden translation because I read her translation of "The Satyricon" a couple years ago and liked it. She does a great job of rendering Apuleis' switch from formal speech to slang and back again. My only criticism is that I actually would have liked some footnotes/endnotes to help with a few place and people names or incidents that are referenced. Even with a fairly sturdy amateur knowledge of Roman mythology, I know a few references went over my head.

Book No. 26 was "Ghetto Klown," a graphic memoir by John Leguizamo, illustrated by Christa Cassano and Shamus Beyale. This is an accompaniment to his one-man stage show of the same name and covers Leguizamo's childhood and his rise to fame on stage and as a movie actor. I knew some of the material already from having seen his plays "Mambo Mouth" and "Freak." (I also saw him give a lecture at Eastern Michigan University back in maybe 2001-2002). The book is funny and touching, and the illustrations are wonderful. I don't want to give any spoilers, but an awkward incident on the set of "To Wong Foo" is drawn in a truly epic style. I really loved it and recommend it. You can see a few panels from it here.
The other books I've read so far this year: )

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