August 10, 2005

More summer beach reading and avoiding eyestrain

Made a fun discovery the other day -- David M. Bader's latest, Haiku U.: From Aristotle to Zola, Great Books in 17 Syllables. Bader is very silly, very funny, and a smart aleck, to boot.

As he writes in his website, "Why spend weeks slogging through The Iliad when you can just read the haiku? From Homer to Milton to Lao Tzu, the great books are finally within reach of even the shortest attention spans. Avoid eyestrain and show off your literary prowess at cocktail parties with minimal prep time!"

I can't help thinking it would make a perfect stocking stuffer for any high school student working through The Great Books, especially if he or she is finding it a tough slog. Or tuck it into the suitcase of your favorite high school grad, off to college soon.

Here are a few tasty tidbits:

Marcel Proust, Remembrance of Things Past
Tea-soaked madeleine –
a childhood recalled. I had
brownies like that once.

St. Augustine, The Confessions
This is just to say
I screwed around. Forgive me.
I enjoyed it so.

Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre
O woe! His mad wife –
in the attic! Had they but
lived together first.

Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
Lecherous linguist –
he lays low and is laid low
after laying Lo.

Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince
What I learned at court:
Being more feared than loved – good.
Getting poisoned – bad.

And my favorite (thanks to AustenBlog, because it's not included on the Haiku U. list of excerpts),

Jane Austen, Pride & Prejudice
Single white lass seeks
landed gent for marriage, whist.
No parsons, thank you.

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