stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
Picked up on a whim from the library's 'recently returned' shelf. I have read about three of Heyer's Regency novels, and the last two were some years ago. This was rather fun; nobody I wanted to slap too hard, anyway, except for Perry, but I think that's deliberate. There are a couple of Heyers in the Relate shop; might pick them up.
stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
I went into the library for something else entirely, and came away with this. Doesn't it always happen that way?

Something of a curiosity, this - a collection of stories by the great and the good of British literature today, plus a cartoon by Posy Simmonds, all commissioned to celebrate Glyndebourne's 75th anniversary. Each story takes an opera (or, sometimes, more than one) as a starting point and sees where it takes it. Here is Winterson:

"Opera has always needed a story. Some inspirations are direct - like Britten's Turn of the Screw, or Wagner's Tristan and Isolde, and others, like Mozart's Marriage of Figaro, or Verdi's Rigoletto, take a story and shift it. Why not take an opera and shift it?"

And this results in some very striking stories. From the fantastical ("First Lady of Song", riffing on The Makropoulos Affair) to the serious ("Freedom", drawing on ideas of race and identity and the life of John McCormack), the slyly self-referential ("To Die For"), the elegiac ("La Fille de Mélisande") - it's a lovely collection. What they all conveyed, though, was the sheer attraction of narrative, of story, whether translated into music or not.

I like this way of writing; I even thought about writing one myself. Largely, one didn't need to know the opera to 'get' the story, though there a few that I want to seek out now.
stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
Annie On My Mind for the nineties. Same author, and covering the same sort of themes - coming out at high school, experience of homophobia, vocation to the arts. The school is co-educational now, and the setting has moved from the city to the back of beyond, but there are definite echoes of Garden's earlier (and more famous?) work.

Which is not to say that this was not an enjoyable book in its own right. It contained many of my favourite tropes: coming out (to oneself, particularly), platonic female/male friendship, school... I particularly loved the theatrical theme (even if the parallels with The Crucible made me roll my eyes a bit). In places I found it too painful to read much at a time, but it's ultimately a moving, hopeful novel.
stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
Another one from the Ibbotson sausage romance factory. They are all exactly the same, of course, but that doesn't stop me enjoying them. I particularly love the theatrical ones - in this, the heroine, a don's daughter, runs away to Brazil with a ballet company. Awesome. There she meets the standard charismatic cadet of some minor aristocratic family, and it's all a bit yada yada from there, but the ballet bits are good.

Light-hearted, though not dismissing the competitiveness and pain of the stage. Also surprisingly relaxed about sex, which was a nice surprise. I would have much preferred this had it ended with Harriet being a great dancer and a kept woman, but you can't have everything. I hold high hopes for Natasha.

You know, what I would really like (having moved straight from the last book to this one) would be the story of Eugénie Danglars and Louise d'Armilly, told from Louise's point of view by Eva Ibbotson. I think I might have to write it myself.
stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
I'm not sure why I keep up with Jill Mansell's output. Considering I'd got her plot (she only has one) sussed to the extent that I nicked it for my 2006 NaNoWriMo (and stuck it in space, thankyouverymuch) I was always several chapters ahead. But I do. This one is still on the posters in WHSmith. Good for a laugh, I guess.
stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
Another Falco - nothing special, but good fun, and suggesting that winter celebrations and associated provocations change little from age to age. If I'm honest, I don't read these for the mystery, but for the laugh.

Davis is easily the best proponent of dramatis personae that I've come across - hers are humorous and helpful.
stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
Now, here's an author I like. And here's a genre I like: classical historical fiction, woman-focussed. Like Adèle Géras' Troy, Ithaka and Dido, but better. Le Guin fills out a character barely mentioned in The Aeneid, evokes pre-Roman Italy convincingly (the religious aspects, too - very sensitive and believable), adds the female side of things back in, and does the lot without bashing Virgil. Fantastic.
stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
The art of making good photos look twee, and bad photos look worse. Not actually what I was after (which was more interesting stuff to stick in my journal). Oh well.
stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
I still find Howatch's tales of the love lives of millionaires rather less compelling than her tales of the love lives of bishops. This may say more about me than it does about them. Anyway, this was still pretty compulsive. Sequel to "The Rich are Different" which I read last year (and failed, until I looked it up on Wikipedia, to connect to the lives of Caesar, Cleopatra and Antony, because I am a doofus and fail at allusion).

Usual generous Howatch helping of creepy men, though one at least sees the error of his ways in the end. But why does she not write any more about Lewis Hall?

Profile

stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
stapsreads

June 2013

S M T W T F S
      1
2345 6 78
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30      

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jul. 28th, 2017 02:29 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios