Teaser Tuesdays: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

On Teaser Tuesdays readers are asked to:

  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between 7 and 12 lines.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given.

If this was something I planned to submit to directories of book reviews, I’d have to confess that my “current read” really isn’t a book, but a 23-page long short story. But it’s a famous short story, and one most of us never read any more, learning the legend only from movies. Nothing against Johnny Depp’s performance – I own Sleepy Holloy on BluRay, after all, the original is better, moodier, darker, and, well, authentic.

So, for this Teaser Tuesday, which comes during the Halloween week, I offer this excerpt from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow:

The dominant spirit, however, that haunts this enchanted region, and seems to be commander-in-chief of all the powers of the air, is the apparition of a figure on horseback without a head. It is said by some to be the ghost of a Hessian trooper, whose head had been carried away by a cannon-ball, in some nameless battle during the revolutionary war; and who is ever and anon seen by the country folk hurrying along in the gloom of night, as if on the wings of the wind. His haunts are not confined to the valley, but extend at times to the adjacent roads, and especially to the vicinity of a church at no great distance. Indeed, certain of the most authentic historians of those parts, who have been careful in collecting and collating the floating facts concerning this spectre, allege that the body of the trooper, having been buried in the church-yard, the ghost rides forth to the scene of battle in nightly quest of his head; and that the rushing speed with which he sometimes passes along the Hollow, like a midnight blast, is owing to his being belated, and in a hurry to get back to the church-yard before daybreak.

I should add: this is the piece I gave the young man I tutor in English for his assignment this week. He loved it. And you will too, I’m sure.

Lit-Ra-Chur (Booking Through Thursday)

When somebody mentions “literature,” what’s the first thing you think of? (Dickens? Tolstoy? Shakespeare?)

Do you read “literature” (however you define it) for pleasure? Or is it something that you read only when you must?

I’ve been pretty insular lately, so I thought I’d take a break from writing medicare advantage articles to actually participate in a meme. It’s not Thursday, but if you don’t tell, I won’t either.

Literature, at least in my personal lexicon, does include Shakespeare, Dickens and Tolstoy, as well as Melville, Fitzgerald, and Hawthorne, but it also includes the Bronte sisters, Austen, Woolf, Cather, Alcott, and George Sand. Not to mention Dickinson, Emerson, Whitman, Plath and Thoreau. I don’t believe something has to be part of a “great books” program in order to be literature, but there’s a reason the classics are, well, classic.

Staying power is one part of what distinguishes literature from, say, general fiction, but it’s also not the only factor. I believe literature is still being created. Consider the beauty of the language in Memoirs of a Geisha, for example, or the works of A. S. Byatt.

As to what I read for pleasure. I read a bit of everything. I like the classics. Curling up with Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre on a dismal weekend evening is just as restful as breezing through a couple of Star Trek novels, and the latter are often just as provocative as any of the works I studied in school.

As I write this, I’m in the middle of two books – one is the middle novel in a trilogy of Trekfiction, the other is the latest in the Kushiel’s Legacy series by Jacqueline, and I’m about to begin reading Pride and Prejudice.

As a writer, I learn from everything I read. Not just the stuff that we used to write essays about.