Day 281 of the "What are you reading, and why?" project, and today's entry may flail about at things half heard and half seen.
Half seen at Facebook: someone reading and recommending The Birth of Love by Joanna Kavenna. It has Ignaz Semmelweis in it, the hand-washing doctor, not the Pontius Pilate kind of hand washing but actual washing of the hands so not to spread germs to women in childbirth, since they used to die so frequently of "childbed fever." Well, in this novel, maybe it does have a bit of the Pontius Pilate kind, with Semmelweis feeling guilty for not being able to convince his fellow doctors to wash their hands!
The novel weaves history together with the present and the future--the year 2153--which sounds like a formula for popular/commercial success, but perhaps not? Has anyone read this? I see she also wrote Inglorious (contemporary fiction) and The Ice Museum (which people call a travelogue but which seems also to be some kind of weaving of history, myth, and sci fi?). She sounds like a writer with wit, smarts, style, and something wonderfully quirky.
Half heard in the bookstore today: Michy? Meechie? Anyway, the boss and I heard it as Nietszche, which made the customer laugh and leads me now to The Birth of Tragedy out of the Spirit of Music, and Friedrich's own witty, smart, quirky, verge-of-insane style.
Half seen a couple days ago: Deirdre, a character in Irish myth, as she appears in a portion of The Hound of Ulster, retold by Rosemary Sutcliff. This book came in at Babbitt's, and I was flipping through it to check for interior soil or flaws and there she was, Deirdre--aka Deirdre of the Sorrows, her story retold by others as well, such as W. B. Yeats and J. M. Synge, including Eileen Favorite in The Heroines, where Deirdre stops for a while in a bed and breakfast (more time weaving), and we don't see her awful ending, but in The Hound of Ulster, we do.
And we hear of the twisting branches of two tall yew trees, grown from their separate graves, where jealous Conchobhar had them buried, to join in love and in defiance of what had kept them apart.
And, of course, I need to send you to Wikipedia for The Birth of Venus, by Sandro Botticelli, and Venus on the Half Shell, by Kilgore Trout. Or is it Philip Jose Farmer?!