Monday, April 23, 2012
What We're Reading: From Sonnets to Manga
To say that Edward Brown’s reading interests are eclectic would be an understatement. Ed Brown, who works in Digital Library Services as a programmer and systems and web administrator, reads everything from sonnets and classical literature to books on psychology and the internet to manga. He describes his reading style as haphazard, most everything he reads is just stuff he happens to come across.
Ed is currently in school working on his Bachelor’s in Psychology and most of his reading these days revolves around research papers, class assignments, and his thesis research. As with most of us, he says it is often difficult to find the time to read. Even so, Ed generally likes to have at least one fiction and one non-fiction book going at the same time. When we talked he gave me some examples of his reading list from the past year.
Ed likes to read classics because they are classics. He recently finished reading Don Quixote which he described as fantastic. Don Quixote is one of the top books on The Guardian Book List. Being a very long book, Ed wanted to take his time with it so it took him a long time to read all the way through. But it was totally worth it. The book wonderfully captures the folly of human existence. On the nonfiction side of things, Ed also recently read a book called The Shallows by … which is about the way the internet may or may not be changing the way we think. Ed said that he found this book compelling and definitely worth reading.
Another duo of books Ed read more recently were Huckleberry Finn and Some we love, Some we hate, Some we eat. Huckleberry Finn is another classic and similar in many ways to Don Quixote in its view of life and satire. Some we love … is about our relationship with animals and has a lot of interesting facts and good food for thought. Currently Ed has picked up some manga books to read. He ran across them on the shelves in Young Library and decided that they looked like something he could easily read during school and work. The particular series he is reading is called Buddha and is quite humorous. He was reading the third book of the series when we spoke.
During our interview I discovered that Ed is also a writer. Ed wrote five act tragic play in 2004 and started working on a sonnet project in 2005. He explained that often the best way to learn how to do something is by imitating others and he had been reading a lot of William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe. In the realm of sonnets, Ed wrote one sonnet a day for a whole year. He has begun publishing these sonnets and currently has one volume out under the title 365 Days of Verse. Two additional volumes are planned. He has other writing projects planned, including another play (smaller in scope than the first) and he’s begun working on a longer poem (a kind of tragedy again).
Ed shared that his favorite book is Mason and Dixon by Thomas Pynchon. It was easy to get into and very enjoyable. On the other side of the coin, a book he’s never been able to get through is also one by Pynchon called Gravity’s Rainbow. This one is so difficult that other books have been written on how to read it. To wrap things up, Ed listed his favorite authors, poets, and genre: Cervantes, Pynchon, and John Irving in the author category; W.H. Auden and Whitman in the poet category; and satire as a favorite genre.
It was a pleasure talking books with Ed and the Off the Shelf staff wish him luck as he finishes his degree and his thesis this semester. You can also check out Ed’s first volume of sonnets at Amazon here and look for the second volume to come out later this month.