Welcome to The Once Lost Wanderer. The name is derived from two poems: Amazing Grace by reformed slave trader John Newton, and All That is Gold Does Not Glitter by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Top Ten Character Names - Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Wow! Can’t believe I haven’t done a TTT since November 2017. Time to rejoin the fun

May 21, 2018:Top Ten Character Names

I knew immediately what #1 would be.

#1  Sal Paradise from On the Road  (I didn’t care for the book, but this is a great name)

--The rest in no particular order

#2  Squire Allworthy from Tom Jones  (an aptronym if ever there were one)

#3  Port Moresby from The Sheltering Sky  (not a great person, but a marvelous name)

#4  Bishop Jean Marie Latour from Death Comes for the Archbishop  (another aptronym, meaning of Latour – The Tower)

#5  Father Joseph Vaillant  (Latour’s right hand man. meaning of Vaillant – Valiant)

#6  Homer Simpson from The Day of the Locust  (D’oh! Long before THE Homer)

#7  Major Major from Catch-22 (as in Major[rank] Major[last name] who was promoted by accident, due of course to his last name)

#8  First Mate Starbuck from Moby Dick  (explaining the mermaid on your coffee cup)

#9  Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird

#10  Huckleberry Finn (do I really need to say what novel this is from?)


Saturday, May 12, 2018

My Blog's Name in Books

I first saw this at She Reads Novels, but it was created by Fictionphile.

Simple Rules:
1. Spell out your blog’s name.
2. Find a book from your TBR that begins with each letter.
3. Have fun!

So here goes (all classic novels):

Tender is the Night     by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Hard Times     by Charles Dickens
Eye of the Needle     by Ken Follett

O Pioneers!     by Willa Cather
Nero Wolfe     by Rex Stout
Candide     by Voltaire
East of Eden     by John Steinbeck

Little House on the Prairie     by Laura Ingalls Wilder
One Lonely Night     by Mickey Spillane
Scoop      by Evelyn Waugh
Tobacco Road     by Erskine Caldwell

We Have Always Lived in the Castle     by Shirley Jackson
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland     by Lewis Carrol
Nausea     by Jean-Paul Sartre
Decameron     by Giovanni Boccaccio
Ethan Frome     by Edith Wharton
Rabbit (series)     by John Updike
Eugene Onegin     by Alexander Pushkin
Rebecca     by Daphne du Maurier

I also attempted this with books I’ve read. I couldn’t quite pull it off sticking only with classic novels. I don't think Roverandom or Ender’s Game can really be considered  classics, while Evidence that Demands a Verdict is non-fiction. 

The Great Gatsby     by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Heart of Darkness     by Joseph Conrad
Emma     by Jane Austen

On the Road     by Jack Kerouac
Nineteen-Eighty-Four     by George Orwell
Catch-22     by Joseph Heller
Ender’s Game     by Orson Scott Card

Lord of the Flies     by William Golding
One-Hundred Years of Solitude     by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Slaughterhouse Five     by Kurt Vonnegut
To the Lighthouse     by Virginia Woolf

Wuthering Heights     by Emily Brontë
Animal Farm     by George Orwell
Nostromo     by Joseph Conrad
Don Quixote     by Miguel de Cervantes
Every Living Thing     by James Herriot
Remembrance of Things Past     by Marcel Proust
Evidence that Demands a Verdict     by Josh McDowell
Roverandom     by J.R.R. Tolkien


Thursday, May 10, 2018

My Favorite Classic - The Classics Club Monthly Meme (May 2018)

I’m very happy The Classics Club is reviving the monthly meme and I have to admit that the topic makes sense – it’s an obvious starting place to reboot the meme – But seriously?

What is your favorite classic book? Why?

You might as well ask which of my children is my favorite. Yes, I know that is not a very original phrase. I’m just reusing it because it makes the point so perfectly.

I just can’t.

But I want to support the return of the Monthly Meme, so I’m going to make an honest effort. For starters, I’ve given nine novels 5 Stars: The Grapes of Wrath, Lord of the Flies, The Lord of the Rings, To Kill a Mockingbird, Gone With the Wind, David Copperfield, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Little Prince

I don’t give out 5 Stars easily, so I thought all these deserve mentioning. However, in my opinion, THE BEST of these Best are:

The Grapes of Wrath
Lord of the Flies
To Kill a Mockingbird
Gone With the Wind

Now it gets very hard. If asked, I might name any one of these at any given moment, but I think the one that would most often come to mind – To Kill a Mockingbird.

Why? It made me cry; it made me laugh. It filled me with rage; it filled me with hope. It moved my emotions to every extreme and it made me think. More than that – you may read my review. It isn't necessary to point out that in the review, I name The Lord of the Rings as my favorite; I’ve already confessed to being somewhat fickle on this subject.

So I did it. Now what is your favorite classic?


Saturday, May 5, 2018

You should be able to guess by now - NOVA this week

Observations from my weekly wanderings, usually in Northern Virginia (NOVA).

If you’ve been reading this blog for very long, you should be able to guess the topic of NOVA this week.

First Saturday in May?, most exciting two minutes in sports? – no? My Old Kentucky Home? – nothing?

The Run for the Roses? 

It is Kentucky Derby Day!

Statue of the Great Barbaro

As usual, in token deference to the literary theme of this blog, I’ll start by commenting on the names of the runners, which are so often creative and intriguing. This year is a bit disappointing in those terms, no names I’m absolutely in love with, but there are a few with a bit of panache. 

Mendelssohn – after the German composer
Magnum Moon – cuz, ya know…MOON
My Boy Jack – I’m not really a fan of this name, but he is the son a horse with a magnificent name – Creative Cause, who won me some pocket change back when
Vino Rosso – (Red Wine)

But my favorite this year, with a subtle literary reference, is Good Magic, whose Dam (momma), was Glinda the Good

But now for what you’re really waiting for – who’s gonna win? Some people pay for this type of info – just sayin.

The favorites will be Justify and Mendelssohn, but I hate betting on favorites cuz they don’t pay. Of course, it doesn’t pay to bet on a horse that doesn’t win either (not quite true as you can bet on a horse to place (2nd) or show (3rd)), but my point, it doesn’t pay to bet on a loser either, no matter how long the odds. But, there are a couple longer odds horses that I believe have a good chance. This is handicapping now, nothing to do with their names; I like Vino Rosso, followed closely by Good Magic.

Vino Rosso because – this is a bit involved – Todd Pletcher (best trainer in the sport today), has four runners in the Derby. His #1 jockey, John Valazquez, could have his pick of any of these four. Valazquez chose to ride Vino Rosso. This says he believes HIS best chance to win is aboard Vino Rosso, and jocks know a thing or two about horses.

Good Magic, oh I don’t know just something unknown. I think he’s sitting on a big race. And he’s already beaten five of the other horses in the Kentucky Derby, but not getting much respect.

By the way, they’re not horses; they’re colts. Sometimes there’s a gelding or a filly in the field, but this year all 20 are colts.

Exacta Box 5-6-7-16-18 can’t miss.

And click HERE for a bit of prose I wrote about the Spectacle of the Kentucky Derby and the Greatest Race horse ever.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Speaketh Like Shakespeare Day - NOVA this week

Anon, I writeth NOVA on Saturday, but for reasons that wilt apace becometh obvious, I has't deferred until present day, being The Bard's birthday which hath been haply proclaimed, by esteemed authority, speaketh Like Shakespeare Day. Someone, peradventure the same esteemed authority, hath eke decreed April is ever more poetry month. 

‘tis possible that April wast chosen as poetry month, due to’t coinciding with Shakespeare's birthday, but I can't sayeth with credence nor surety.  Without intention, tis Shakespeare's birthday, tis Talk Like Shakespeare Day, tis Poetry month, and tis NOVA this week. 

That is all I has't to sayeth. On second bethought, since tis poetry month, I shalt, without umbrage deign to self-promoteth, and posteth a link to mine own Poetry.


Saturday, April 14, 2018

The Poetry of William Shakespeare (April is Poetry Month)

The play’s the thing– unless of course you are reading Shakespeare’s poetry vs one of his plays

And since April is Poetry Month, I thought it a good time to finish off the rest of Shakespeare’s poetry. The rest – meaning everything besides The Sonnets, which I previously commented on HERE.

That leaves two lengthy poems, a mid-length poem, and a number of shorter works.

Venus and Adonis– (199 x six line stanzas, or 1194 lines)
Is the tale of the goddess Venus and her tragic love for the beautiful young Adonis. For all her legendary beauty and charm, Venus cannot win the love of Adonis who just wants to go hunting.

O what a war of looks was then between them!
Her eyes, petitioners to his eyes suing;
His eyes saw her eyes as they had not seen them
Her eyes woo’d still, his eyes disdain’d the wooing

When Adonis is killed on the hunt, Venus despairs and curses love forever to be marked by sorrow and pain.

The Rape of Lucrece– (265 x seven line stanzas, or 1855 lines)

You can probably infer the subject. Lucrece is the beautiful and virtuous wife of Roman soldier Collatine, who makes the mistake of bragging of her beauty to Tarquin, a fellow soldier. Tarquin must see for himself, and when he does, tragically – the die is cast. Once the deed is done, Tarquin flees.

He thence departs a heavy convertite;
She there remains a hopeless castaway;
He in his speed looks for the morning light;
She prays she never may behold the day; …

Tarquin flees, Lucrece sends for Collatine, and vows…

‘Yet die I will not till my Collatine
Have heard the cause of my untimely death;
That he may vow, in that sad hour of mine,
Revenge on him that made me stop my breath.
My stained blood to Tarquin I’ll bequeath
Which by him tainted shall for him be spent,
And as his due writ in my testament.

A Lover’s Complaint(47 x seven line stanzas, or 329 lines)

The tragic tale of a young maid, who yields to a charming seducer, who abandons her shortly after having his way. A kindly older gentleman sees her despair and inquires; she tells of how artfully she was seduced.

‘But woe is me! Too early I attended
A youthful suit (it was to gain my grace)
Of one by nature’s outwards so commended
That maiden’s eyes struck over all his face;
Love lack’d a dwelling, and made him her place;

And yet, she also admits, she would yield again.

‘O, that infected moisture of his eye,
O, that false fire which in his cheek so glow’d
O, that forc’d thunder from his heart did fly,
O, that sad breath his spongy lungs bestow’d
O, all that borrow’d motion, seeming ow’d
Would yet again betray the fore-betray’d
And new pervert a reconciled maid!’

The Passionate Pilgrim(collection of 20 short poems, most of which are now considered not genuinely Shakespeare, but still published under this collective title.

Sonnets to Sundry Notes of Music(six miscellaneous sonnets, distinct from The Sonnets)

He that is thy friend indeed,
He will help thee in thy need
If thou sorrow he will weep;
If thou wake, he cannot sleep;
Thus of every grief in heart
He with thee doth bear a part
These are certain signs to know
Faithful friend from flattering foe

The Phoenix and the Turtle

The name is a bit of a misnomer; it about the Phoenix and the Turtledove – representing perfection and love, or in combination perfect love. 

Yay! finally a cheerful poem, yes?

No. The poem is about their funeral, attended by other birds of various symbolism. 

Not surprising, Shakespeare’s poetry is rather morose. Hence, I cannot say I enjoyed any of it, but I certainly admired the works. The longer poems in particular – to keep the meter, pattern, rhyme, and rhythm, and also tell a cohesive tale – is truly remarkable.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

The Poems of Edgar Allan Poe (April is Poetry Month)

With me poetry has not been a purpose, but a passion; and the passions should be held in reverence; they must not – they cannot at will be excited, with an eye to the paltry compensations, or the more paltry commendations, of mankind. ~ Edgar Allan Poe, preface to the Poems

Since this is my first entry in the poetry section, let me first confess, I am not student of poetry, and to be honest, not a great fan – even though I write a little poetry myself.

But I am a believer in reading outside your comfort zone. I expect to gain a better appreciation of poetry. Just don't expect my commentary to be very scholarly.

As I expected, I found Poe’s poetry to be rather dour, if not outright despairing…sometimes quite powerful, even beautiful, but seldom very cheerful.

He also uses unconventional rhythm and meter, which for me was not very appealing. He often changes rhythm or meter mid-stream, which is even more distracting. But there is no denying, the cleverness of his wordplay and his vast knowledge of literature and the abundant subtle allusions in his poetry.

Here are just a few excerpts that I either enjoyed or admired:

From Lenore
To friends above, from fiends below, the indignant ghost is riven –
From Hell unto a high estate far up within the Heaven –
From grief and groan, to a golden throne, beside the King of Heaven

From Elizabeth
Read nothing, written less – in short’s a fool
Being ignorant of one important rule,
Employed in even the theses of the school – 
Called – I forget the heathenish Greek name
(Called anything, its meaning is the same)
‘Always write first things uppermost in the heart.’

From To Helen
How dark a woe, yet how sublime a hope!
How silently serene a sea of pride!
How daring an ambition; yet how deep – 
How fathomless a capacity for love!

Final lines from The Conqueror Worm
And the angels, all pallid and wan,
Uprising, unveiling, affirm
That the play is the tragedy ‘Man’,
And its hero the conqueror worm.

Final lines from Eldorado
Over the Mountains
Of the Moon,
Down the Valley of the Shadow,
Ride, boldly ride,
The shade replied –
If you seek for Eldorado

Final stanza from The Village Street
Sad and pale the Autumn moonlight
Through the sighing foliage streams,
And each morning, midnight shadow,
Shadow of my sorrow seems,
Strive, O heart, forget thine idol!
And, O soul forget thy dreams!

Opening lines from Alone
(I found this poem extremely poignant, and revealing about the poet)
From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were; I have not seen
As other saw; I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.

You can’t discuss Poe’s poetry without mentioning his most famous poem, and perhaps even his most famous work – The Raven

I’ve always admired it. I think it is brilliantly clever – and terribly sad. So, in a bit of shameless self-promotion, here is a link to my own composition that mimics Poe in rhythm, meter, and structure but is in theme the exact antithesis. The Lovebird