Re-reading George Eliot, and the world’s oddest book title?

No, these things aren’t connected.  They could be, depending on your opinion of reading Middlemarch in college, but not here.

I actually wanted to re-post this story because of my strange, probably unhealthy fascination with George Eliot and various other writers of super-long Victorian novels.  Middlemarch, Vanity Fair…you name it, I was probably addicted to it at one point or another.  The strange part is that these books are supposed to be despised, even by the most die-hard English majors.  I mean, they’re bricks for God’s sake.  They take forever to read, and way too much concentration to understand.  Plus, if you’re unlucky enough to have to write a paper on one of them, it’s going to take you at least 30 minutes to locate your quotes (even if you dutifully underlined and bracketed throughout).

But, for whatever reason, I love them.  It’s why, after reading Middlemarch, Silas Marner AND Daniel Deronda, I picked Mill on the Floss to read *for fun* last summer.  Of course I loved it, but it was nice to read Rereading George Eliot’s Mill on the Floss by Kathryn Hughes from The Guardian on the book’s 150th anniversary.  I didn’t realize the story of Maggie and Tom Tulliver was so autobiographical, but it makes sense and adds to my knowledge of this amazing writer.  Check it out if you love George Eliot (like me), or even if you bear a grudge against her for writing such long novels.  This essay will hopefully provide you with sufficient insight into why you had to read her in the first place, and perhaps give you reasons to forgive.

And finally, Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes by Daina Taimina has been awarded the Diagram prize, which is given to the year’s book with the oddest title.  According to the Guardian, the book is a serious mathamatical work, but the idea that this award exists made me giggle.  Last year’s winner was The 2009-2014 World Outlook for 60-milligram Containers of Fromage Frais, and this year, Taimina’s book made it to the top spot by beating out Collectible Spoons of the 3rd Reich by James A. Yannes.

Just as a note, none of these books are supposed to be particularly silly.  The Bookseller magazine, who awards the prize every year, just makes them so.  And just as well; the only prize the winner receives is enough attention to hopefully boost sales.


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