These are some of the latest things I haven’t read, with the excuses I made for abandoning them.
- Penguin classics edition of Epicurus. I had hoped for updated notes and bibliography, something that I could point students (should I ever get another course as adjunct) towards, but it was a reprint of a book published in the 1960s, the sole novelty of which appeared to be collating relevant passages of Lucretius with the different letters of Epicurus. The deliberately primitive computer scribble for the cover art was also deeply irritating.
- The Nature of Things, trans. A. E. Stallings. It seemed jittery to me, from introduction to poem – I couldn’t find a way to make my brain run in harness with it. This was not helped by accidentally spilling water on it, so the bottom edge was warped and buckled and annoyed me whenever I touched it.
- Caryl Phillips, Crossing the River. This was mentioned somewhere in a way that sounded interesting, but it is very much of a part with other early 1990s literary relics of British colonialism in how it deals with time and space (it reminded me of Pat Barker and Ian McEwan, though the influence might run the other direction). If I had nothing else to read (e.g., if I had found it abandoned at a café or hostel while on vacation in a town without English-language bookstores), I think I would read it and enjoy it – but I do have other things to read.
- Astrology: How and Why It Works, by Marc Edmund Jones. I have been taking a very roundabout way to Newton’s alchemy, but after reading the first chapter, with its ersatz skepticism and hedging, I was so thoroughly vexed that I abandoned this byway untrod.