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Anand Venigalla

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About Anand Venigalla

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Glen Head, New York
  • Interests
    Literature, Movies, Libertarianism, Food

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  • Favorite movies
    The Searchers, Lawrence of Arabia, Oldboy, The Lord of the Rings, Blade Runner, The Godfather, Snowpiercer, Taxi Driver, Raiders of the Lost Ark, ET, Trading Places
  • Favorite music
    Leonard Cohen, Bach, Handel, Alfred Deller, Romantic, Classical, Baroque, Renaissance music
  • Favorite creative writing
    Iliad, Blood Meridian, Hamlet, King Lear, Paradise Lost, Crime and Punishment, War and Peace, The Brothers Karamazov, Hadji Murad, Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra
  • Favorite visual art
    Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Sistine Chapel, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Peter Paul Rubens

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  1. 2018 Reading Journals

    January 2018 Antony and Cleopatra - This might be, as many critics (like Harold Bloom and Harold Goddard argue), Shakespeare's most kaleidoscopic and opulent play. And Cleopatra, as Shakespeare imagines her, might be Shakespeare's best woman character after Rosalind, Cordelia, Juliet, and a few other of Shakespeare's tragic heroines (including his most beautiful and fragile, Ophelia) Twelfth Night - my favorite Shakespeare comedy next to The Merchant of Venice. Macbeth - ever since I read this in senior year of high school I've always had a special fondness for its imaginative, troubled, and tormented hero-villain. Plus it has a great use of poetry by almost all the characters, but best of all Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Lots of memorable phrases and sayings come as a result of Shakespeare's linguistic creativity here. King Lear - this might be Shakespeare's greatest play. Of course Hamlet is the other candidate The Oresteia by Aeschylus - this is my favorite Greek work after The Iliad. Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus(?) - this is like the Ancient Greek version of King Lear, it's so cosmic and sweeping even though it's set in one place and focuses on a hero who's bound to a rock Pericles - part of it is awful, but the stuff that Shakespeare wrote (from acts 3-5) is great and looks forward to the other 'late romances' he writes. Cymbeline - overstuffed but still great; a lot of fantastic poetry, and the self-parody of King Lear, Measure for Measure, Othello, and more is so palpably entertaining and breathtaking that I couldn't help but be amazed. And Imogen is as good as the Romantics thought she was. The Winter's Tale - my favorite of the Shakespearean 'late romances,' and I actually like the tonal shifts from semi-tragedy in the first 3 acts to a kind of romance in the next two acts. Leontes is a madman, but I find his poetry, contorted and complex and turbulent, to be some of the best Shakespeare wrote, and his change to repentance feels believable and representative of how true repentance and sorrow works. I think I like this late romance the best because it allows for a providential happy ending while not neglecting the costs of jealousy and irrational sin. Plus, it has the Exit, pursued by a bear stage direction (memorable alongside Enter Lear with Cordelia in his arms) The Tempest - still the great final play that I remember it being. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin - interesting for the first half, the next part becomes quite tedious to me. February 2018 War and Peace (still reading this since last year) The Iliad by Homer (in Caroline Alexander's translation) Sanctuary by William Faulkner (the "potboiler" that Faulkner wrote for money and which Harold Bloom considers quite good) The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald (reading this for the first time) Electra by Sophocles (not as great as some of Sophocles' other dramas, but still great) Walden by Henry David Thoreau - has tedious sections but is overall a wise, reflective work of American literature
  2. Martyrs

    Fascinating. I should take a look into this film at one point in my life. Currently the most extreme film I've seen is Park Chan-wook's great and violent film Oldboy, which has some of the best fight and sex scenes I've ever seen (David Cronenberg's A History of Violence, which I think's one of the best of the 21st century, also has great fight and sex scenes).
  3. Best Opening Paragraphs

    From Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian: See the child. He is pale and thin, he wears a thin and ragged linen shirt. He stokes the scullery fire. Outside lie dark turned fields with rags of snow and darker wood beyond that harbor yet a few last wolves. His folks are known for hewers of wood and drawers of water water but in truth his father has been a schoolmaster. He lies in drink. He quotes from poets whose names are now lost. The boy crouches by the fire and watches him. Night of your birth. Thirty-three. The Leonids they were called. God how the stars did fall. I looked for blackness, holes in the heavens. The Dipper stove.The mother dead these fourteen years did incubate in her own bosom the creature who would carry her off. The father never speaks her name, the child does not know it. He has a sister in this world that he will not see again. He watches, pale and unwashed. He can neither read nor write and in him broods already a taste for mindless violence. All history present in that visage, the child the father of the man.
  4. 2016 Reading Journals

    As of now I'm currently reading: David Copperfield by Charles Dickens The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper Child of God by Cormac McCarthy To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (reread) Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (a long book) Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas Will read soon: Hamlet by William Shakespeare already read: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne - 5/5 Pen of Iron by Robert Alter - 5/5
  5. LOTR: The Return of The King - Extended Edition

    I also consider the extended cut of RoTK to be the grandest and greatest myself, Buckeye.
  6. Cormac Mccarthy

    Speaking of McCarthy, I've enjoyed Blood Meridian, The Road, The Orchard Keeper, Outer Dark. I've loved Outer Dark for its dark primordial depiction of the Southern wasteland, The Road for its beautifully spare and biblical prose, and Blood Meridian (perhaps my favorite novel next to The Brothers Karamazov) for its lyricism, its baroque richness, and its epic quality.
  7. A Nightmare on Elm Street

    I think Steven Greydanus has convinced me that this movie is worth checking out. I was put off a little due to the grotesque violence in it, but I may check it out in time
  8. The Great American Novel

    Ok NBooth. Get to it, man. Blood Meridian is one of the great canonical achievements in literature. It's so dense, complex, apocalyptic, and beautiful.
  9. The Great American Novel

    NBooth, what do you think of Blood Meridian? It's one of my favorite novels and indeed one of the great American novels. Harold Bloom, whom I view as one of the best literary critics, considers it to be in the league of great masterworks as Moby-Dick and As I Lay Daying.
  10. The Great American Novel

    Thanks Nbooth. However, I want to read The Scarlet Letter, and many seem to hate it, particularly among the Goodreads crowd, due to its archaical prose style (a prose style I appreciate and would like to see in major modern novels), the allegorical and symbolic tone Hawthorne takes in violation of "realist" decorum, and other things. I will read the novel soon, as I believe I may enjoy it. However, would you, Nbooth, consider it one of the greatest novels of all time? And, also, is "The Custom House" thing worth reading? Or should I skip it on my first read and return to it later on?
  11. The Great American Novel

    I am going to bump up this thread and see if The Scarlet Letter is a viable candidate for Great American Novel (actually, it shares the spot as "great American novel" with great works such as Moby-Dick, Blood Meridian, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mason & Dixon, and Underworld)
  12. Harper Lee - Go Set a Watchman

    ^ to be fair it's sort of a first draft of to kill a mockingbird before it became the classic we know and love
  13. Harper Lee - Go Set a Watchman

    Hey guys, did you know that Atticus was a racist? So saith sources around GO SET A WATCHMAN
  14. Interstellar (2014)

    Saw it a second time last week. Still love it. 10/10
  15. Narnia: Silver Chair? Magician's Nephew? reboot?

    Oh yay. Let's hope it actually turns out good.