Saturday, April 23, 2016

Saturday Reads

The suicide rate, especially of middle-aged women, is skyrocketing.

It should not surprise anybody thanks to the worsening economic situation for millions of people.

It will be awhile before it is known how Prince died.

Most of the speculation centers on drugs as the cause of death, but it would not surprise me one bit if he died of a heart attack or an aneurysm. Heart attacks especially are common in men once they are past 50. I don't care if somebody eats a fad diet like veganism; nothing is guaranteed.

However, the drug allegations stem from the fact Prince suffered much pain after years of wearing high heels onstage as part of his act.

More sexism is being leveled against the likely president of the United States.

Obituary: Crime writer Michelle McNamara, only 46, has died in her sleep. No cause of death was given.

She was married to comedian Patton Oswalt.

Interesting to note that literary figures Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare died one day apart exactly 400 years ago.

Of course I have read a lot of Shakespeare and watched numerous plays, but although I have downloaded Don Quoxite, I have not gotten around to reading it. The novel I believe is the very first modern novel:

Trembling with malaria and seasickness, the Spanish author survived one of the greatest naval battles in history — 150,000 soldiers fighting fiercely on oar-driven ships in the Mediterranean—after he got shot in the chest and left hand. Then on his way back to Spain, the war veteran was captured by pirates and taken to Algiers as a prisoner for five years until his family raised enough money to pay for his ransom.

Cervantes lived most of his life in poverty, wandering from place to place with the hope of escaping from debt. He published his first novel "La Galatea," a road story about two friends who love the same girl, without much success in 1585, three years before Spain's "invincible armada" was defeated by the British. And as Cervantes watched his country collapse, the patriot hero suddenly became a villain—he was jailed twice, most likely because of his debt.

I guess I should try and read it before I die, but the book is massive and dense. There weren't much in the way of editors back then, and not really until the 20th century.

I am simply not big on novels. Sorry, folks. This despite the fact I am currently writing one.

As for Shakespeare, yes, he did write those plays, not the Earl of Oxford or others who have been given credit.

Anniversaries have a way of stripping the joy out of any artist's work. The government's focus on Shakespeare as a brand has been controversial: as my fellow critic Lyn Gardner wrote recently for The Guardian, "in commandeering Shakespeare as part of our heritage industry, too often we have failed to dust off the cobwebs of 425 years of performance."

Certainly, here in the United Kingdom the 400th anniversary has become a cash bonanza for any public institution with even the most tenuous link to Shakespeare: There seem to be as many museums displaying a thread of Anne Hathaway's undergarments (she was Shakespeare's wife) as monasteries that once advertised fragments of Christ's cross. But it's also provided a valuable opportunity to remind ourselves why this particular young man, born to a middle-class, middle-England family in 1564, still captivates us.

At least a couple of sane people are calling out the animal "rights" bullshit for what it is.

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