Saturday, October 30, 2010

Bob and Jane

My reading has been dominated by two books over the last two weeks or so, both of which I have now finished. One was for pleasure, the other for school. One was fiction, the other non. One was a classic, the other written about a classic songwriter. Have you used all the clues to figure them out yet? That's right - Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and Bob Dylan in America by Sean Wilentz.

Bob Dylan in America places him as an American artist and spends a lot of time dealing with his influences and even people who may have influenced him. Early chapters deal not so much with Dylan as with Aaron Copeland and the Beat writers. It also deals with more recent projects and I had no idea people were calling him a plagiarist during that time period. Naturally, the book does talk about the music as well, including a section on Blonde on Blonde. It's a very interesting read, though I suspect someone who doesn't care for Dylan would find much of interest.

I've read a Bronte before but not Charlotte; I read Wuthering Heights multiple times in my teens and really liked the novel (maybe I should reread it now that I'm older and see what has changed). I've also read The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde, though that didn't really prepare me for Jane Eyre itself (I did flip through the Fforde after finishing the Bronte and it made me laugh now that I know the novel). I did enjoy the book and enjoyed our class discussion just as much. Jane is very headstrong and steely and though her romantic foils weren't the greatest, they still illuminated her resolve.

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