The news cycle continues to be disturbing. Somewhere between the revelations about January 6th's insurrection, someone contrasted and compared Trump, the Proud Boys, and the D.C. Insurrection to Mao Zedong, the Red Guards, and the Cultural Revolution -- which resonated with me in a horrible way.
At least Trump has been impeached twice now. I can only hope that the Senate will convict him so that he is unable to hold office ever again.
I keep thinking that once the inauguration is concluded, things will settle down... but I fear the damage to our social structures will take a long time to fix -- if only "The Scouring of the Shire" were so easy.
I am finding that I need to step away from electronic devices after nine PM, or my sleep suffers.
On the more fun side:
I finished "Beowulf." I know that I should appreciate it more, but I don't. I should contrast and compare it to "The Epic of Gilgamesh," because they both have that weepy royal bromance feel to them that isn't speaking to me. I imagined asking my Old-English and Medieval Scholar friends, "Am I a bad person for not liking something in the cannon?" (and "Am I an elitist for not being in raptures about this latest translation?") but I couldn't imagine what their responses might be other than "This is a literary example of how one should lead a virtuous/good life" (and is the earliest existing example of literature with a fire-breathing, gold hoarding dragon in it). Beowulf worked better for me when I read it in small snatches that would allow me to admire some of the more clever phrasing and word choice. (Coincidentally, I had re-read the part of The Hobbit where Bilbo brings out a cup from Smaug's horde, and I noticed the parallels.) I wanted to like the modern idioms, but ultimately the use of "bro," "fuck," "shit," "my main man," and "daddy" were too jarring and distracting to me.
I've paused in "The Ancient Egyptian Netherworld Books." It's kind of fun--the spells and addresses spark all sorts of writing ideas--and kind of exhausting (we're blasting Apep, the Snake of Chaos again?). I keep wanting to read the source materials, and it looks like I have to do some kind of Inter-library Loan to do so.
I've been reading "This Is How You Lose The Time War," by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone, and I've been enjoying it so much that it took me a while to realize that it's got a strong epistolary element, which doesn't usually work for me. Part of the reason is that the formats of the letters--feathers, tree-rings, lava, seals--are intriguing; part of it is that the authors are having lots of fun with language. I'm about half-way through.
I just got a hard-bound edition of "Reynard the Fox," by Anne Louise Avery, and, while I've only read the introduction and first chapter, the binding (with a purple ribbon sewn into it!), the dingbats, the footnotes, and the feel of the paper hits all the aesthetic points of owning a physical book. I've been following Ms. Avery's Old Fox micro-fiction on Twitter, and I'm hoping the printed Reynard will equally please.