Archive for April, 2012

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Lost In Translation

April 19, 2012

Hello dear reading twin!

We’ve both been lax in our reading/posting and I’m sure we’re both feeling guilty about it…so why not mire ourselves in that classic of guilt and regret Crime and Punishment.  I don’t know a lot about this book (other than the fact that it’s a “classic”) but I do slightly remember the Made For TV Movie starring Patrick Dempsey and Julie Delpy and if I recall correctly anguished delinquency was running amok (okay I really only remember Patrick Dempsey’s sad eyes–they looked very regretful).

I noticed as I started reading yesterday that my copy of the book is translated into English by Constance Garnett and it reminded me a quotation regarding this very translator that I came across years ago (like 5 years ago) and I’ve always found it amusing.  It comes from Joseph Brodsky:

“The reason English-speaking readers can barely tell the difference between Tolstoy and Dostoevsky is that they aren’t reading the prose of either one. They’re reading Constance Garnett.”

And just as proof that I didn’t make this up–here’s a real-life quotation of it in the New Yorker.

So how much actual Dostoevsky I might be getting is up for debate, but I’ll take what I can get.  Are you reading the same translation?  It might be fun to compare how the translations match up (and when I say it will be fun I mean “fun for reading dorks like twins who blog about what their reading” as opposed to “fun” fun.)

But it could also be fun to read the same translation (see caveat above).

Anyway we read it it will be fun, fun fun!  FUN!!!

…and that’s probably the last bright post we’ll see while reading this book.  The first chapter opens up mighty gloomy and if Patrick Dempsey’s sad eyes were a harbinger of things to come, this is going to be an examination of misery to last us hundreds and hundreds of pages .

I’m looking forward to it!
Jon
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Barbecue Forever!

April 8, 2012

Am I the only one who kept forgetting that Long John Silver’s nickname earlier in the book was Barbecue. I had completely forgotten until late in the book when Merry made his power play to the usurp the title of Pirate Captain from Long John.

I don’t know about you, but about the only less awe-inspiring name for a pirate than Barbecue I could think of would probably be Merry. (Ahoy, matey’s it be Merry, the happiest, joy-lovin’ pirate on these seven seas. Give us yer money or we be making you smile until ye frown*!)

[*Is it just me or have I gotten really good at writing in pirate?]

So, I guess two things are not surprising:

1.) The pirate gang stuck with Barbecue.
2.) Barbecue goes by Long John Silver.

But I think my favorite part of the book came at the very convenient elision that occurred at the end of the book. I was finding a bit hard to believe that they were going to wrap everything up in 5 pages when they had hardly left the island and they still had a long voyage home ahead.

But then tricky, Robert Louis Stevenson played the ol’ “Well, to make a long story short…” Now, I am sure some people would feel a bit cheated of the further high seas adventures of Jim, Barbecue (sorry, you lose your pirate booty you go back to being Barbecue), the Squire, Captain Smollet and Doctor Livesey, but I on the other hand could only ask myself why this device wasn’t used more frequently. Such as:

  • I got into the coracle and, well, to make a long story short, I ended up in the pirate camp.

or

  • The Squire, Dr. Livesey, Captain Smollet, this quirky one-legged cook name “Long” Jon “Barbecue” Silver all boarded the boat, Hispaniola, and, well, to make a long story short got briefly stranded on a deserted island where we found some treasure and a few power struggles, and–whew!–made it back home. (Oh yeah, and Barbecue was a pirate!)

But those are just two suggestions. In any case, to make a long story short, I am finished with the book. Bring on your next choice. I feel like I’ve set the bar pretty low here, so no pressure on the pick.

Justin