So I’ve largely exhausted everything that Vonnegut has ever written, with scant few exceptions. Sad times. I’ve switched to Mark Twain recently in an attempt to redirect my addiction. When I was in Princeton about a month ago, I walked by a bookstore that had shelves of books outside on sale. So I picked up “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court”, a book Twain wrote in 1889, which sounds kind of surreal to type out and actually say out loud. It’s about a late 1800s Connecticut man waking up prisoner in Medieval England in the year 513.
It’s also not easy to read at times. Twain wrote this 124 years ago, which also sounds weird to say. The English was different back then. He writes with unbelievable eloquence and incredible detail, sometimes made more difficult by olden vocabulary and sentence structure. For instance: “Presently a fair slip of a girl, about ten years old, with a cataract of golden hair streaming down over her shoulders, came along.”
This is one of my favorite passages early on:
“The boy nestled himself upon my shoulder and pretended to go to sleep. The old man began his tale; and presently the lad was asleep in reality; so also were the dogs, and the court, the lackeys, and the files of men-at-arms. The droning voice droned on; a soft snoring arose on all sides and supported it like a deep and subdued accompaniment of wind instruments. Some heads were bowed upon folded arms, some lay back with open mouths that issued unconscious music; the flies buzzed and bit, unmolested, the rats swarmed softly out from a hundred holes, and pattered about, and made themselves at home everywhere; and one of them sat up like a squirrel on the king’s head and held a bit of cheese in its hands and nibbled it, and dribbled the crumbs in the king’s face with naive and impudent irreverence. It was a tranquil scene, and restful to the weary eye and the jaded spirit.”