THE PHANTOM OF MENACE: My Star Trek reading has hit a stall but I seem to be moving into a Star Wars phase. I read the first three books (that is, parts 4-6) of the William Shakespeare’s Star Wars series, but none beyond that although I’d always planned to someday. That “someday” is now here. I’ll tell you, the author takes one liberty with the character of Jar-Jar Binks of which I wholeheartedly approve. First of all, his dialogue. It is written in “almost” iambic pentameter, but instead of ten syllables per line there are only nine, so it sounds a little “off.” Second (and more importantly), Jar-Jar of The Phantom of Menance only plays the fool; actually he is extremely competent, delivering many wise asides, and was exiled for his progressive ideas of uniting the Gungans and the Naboo, not for being “clumsy” (also, as in the movie, that is the excuse he gives).
THE CLONE ARMY ATTACKETH: The fifth book in the William Shakepeare’s Star Wars series (or the second, depending on your point of view). In this one, Anakin and Padme speak in rhyming quatrains (ABAB) when they are alone, as did Romeo and Juliet (or, for that matter, Han and Leia). Jango Fett speaks in prose rather than iambic pentameter. Furthermore, because he is “father” of the clones, every line he speaks begins and ends with the same letter. These are quick reads. I could probably finish one off in a single sitting if I put my mind to it, but I prefer the pace of one act per day.
WALT WHITMAN: I took a break in my “William Shakespeare’s Star Wars” reading to observe Walt Whitman’s 200th birthday by re-reading Leaves of Grass (not the whole thing, but I did read “Song of Myself” and select others). It’s funny… when I was majoring in English in college and should have been into Whitman, I wasn’t really, but I’m connecting with him more now than ever before.
I'm currently reading Way Point by Clifford D Simak, I'm not too far into it yet, but it is about a Civil War veteran who comes back home, and he is visited by an alien who wants to make his house a way station (duh) for alien travelers. He is nearly immortal now. Some are curious why, others don't care. They just think he is a good neighbor.
I also recently finished Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World by Mark Miodownik. A lot of times it is hard to make a non-fiction book interesting, especially a science book. Which is essentially what this is. The author does a great job of mixing history and science into each chapter. It explorers such materials like glass, concrete, and chocolate. It was very interesting, and I really learned a lot. It helps that Mark Miodownik is a Professor of Materials. Highly recommended.