Thursday, 24 December 2009
Sunday, 13 December 2009
Sunday, 6 December 2009
Read - One and a bit books
Completed - The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Currently Reading - Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
TBR Pile - currently on 72 (according to Good Reads), with 2 more added...
An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears
The Light of Day by Graham Swift
Wishlist Additions -
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
Bloom's Literary Guide to London
Halcyon Books in Greenwich, London
Seeing the wonderful Con O'Neill in Prick Up Your Ears at The Comedy Theatre in London's West End.
Christmas is coming and I've got a big old tome to get through for my course in January. Best get to it...
Sunday, 29 November 2009
Sunday, 22 November 2009
I read an excellent article this week through the Times Online Arts and Entertainment bulletin that I get e-mailed to me (along with the Times Literary Supplement Newsletter).
The article examines why theatre attendance in Britain has increased considerably in the last year or so. Statistics show that even from 2 years ago more of us are choosing to see live performances all year round, not just in the holiday season when Pantomime is popular for families of all ages. Many of us are booking tickets for other shows too. Unusual, especially as we are in the middle of a recession and everyone is watching their pennies.
The article explores many reasons for why this may be so.
- Are the theatres managed differently, opting for subsidised funding (once frowned upon) to ensure not only a wide variety of popular shows but productions by new writers and plays appealing to more specialist tastes?
- During these more thrifty times, are some of us abandoning expensive holidays and going for entertainment nearer to home?
- Are trends changing, as they always do, so that amongst so much home entertainment, do we crave community based activities?
- Publicity and advertising for live theatre has changed, with TV personalities such as Lenny Henry in Othello and David Tennant in Hamlet taking on the greats, ensuring stampedes for tickets out of curiosity/sensationalism and the rush of excitement at getting a ticket to the hottest show in town, as well as making Shakespeare more attractive to non-regular attenders.
- Do community based activities offer comfort when times are uncertain?
It could be some, or all, of the above are correct. You may have your own theories. It is great to see so many theatres doing well and so much on offer. My favourite theatres are listed on my sidebar.
My favourite productions this year have been...
A Midsummer Nights Dream by Propeller at the Liverpool Playhouse
Macbeth at the Manchester Royal Exchange
The Caretaker with Jonathan Pryce at the Liverpool Everyman
Prick Up Your Ears with Con O'Neill at the London Comedy Theatre
The poet Roger McGough at the Liverpool Playhouse
All of these have been brilliant and I have been fortunate enough to see many others too. What have you seen this year, or your most memorable plays and performances?
What are your theories on the theatre-going boom? Is America enjoying similar rises in numbers of theatre attenders?
To read the article Why British Theatre is Booming click the link and let me know your thoughts.
Sunday, 15 November 2009
Sunday, 8 November 2009
Sunday, 1 November 2009
Sunday, 25 October 2009
Sunday, 18 October 2009
Sunday, 11 October 2009
Sunday, 4 October 2009
Sunday, 27 September 2009
Sunday, 20 September 2009
Sunday, 13 September 2009
Sunday, 6 September 2009
Monday, 31 August 2009
Sunday, 30 August 2009
Sunday, 16 August 2009
Friday, 31 July 2009
July is the month where the tradition of well-dressing takes place, an old rite where water wells were decorated with local symbols and pictures depicting stories. This tradition is practised in the Peak District in England to give thanks for the purity of water. The well pictured here is undecorated but I liked it and had character.
Here is my July reading progress...
Read - 2 and a half books
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Amsterdam by Ian McEwan
Currently Reading - Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
TBR Pile - 1 added so currently at 59
Challenges - completed #4 of the 2009 mini challenges, to read 2 essays from the same collection and blog about them. I have also borrowed a library book for #6 and will review it here soon.
Wishlist Additions -
Everyone is Beautiful by Katherine Center
Serena by Ron Rash
Gifts of War: A Novel byMackenzie Ford
The Favourites by Mary Yukari Waters
The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen
Discoveries - The Bluecoat Centre in Liverpool is having another Chapter and Verse Literary Festival in October
Events - Releasing my second BookCrossing book, at Sudley House, in the garden, on the bench that surrounds the Cherry Blossom tree near the entrance. Its gone, I checked.
I am now away for 2 weeks, going camping in Devon and working for a week on an Organic farm. I'll be back around the 16th August.
Sunday, 26 July 2009
Sunday, 19 July 2009
Sunday, 12 July 2009
Sunday, 5 July 2009
Sunday, 28 June 2009
Monday, 22 June 2009
Cixous then brings in her thoughts about Freud, and his representations of women as 'an imperfect man'. In terms of sexuality, Freud anatomically places man in a position of power, with women in a position of 'defectiveness'. Libido can only be male. Cixous calls this obsession with male and female exterior anatomy as a 'voyeur's theory'. There ends up being no place for female desire in all of this because the system cites that she is the opposite of man.
Thursday, 18 June 2009
Tuesday, 16 June 2009
Friday, 5 June 2009
Written in 1898 it is about a governess taking up a position at a large country house, taking care of 2 children who are under the charge of their uncle who lives in London. Their parents are dead. One of the clauses of the contract is that the governess does not contact the uncle and is to take sole charge. She is clearly attracted to her employer and excited at the rise in her position so she agrees even if a little overwhelmed with the responsibility. She is to share the house with Mrs Grose the housekeeper, the children, Flora who is the youngest, and Miles, who is to come home from school later in the week, and a few other servants.
Very soon after arrival the governess learns that Miles has been expelled from school, and no reason is given immediately, but on meeting him she finds he is a model pupil and perfectly behaved, like his sister and she quickly becomes attached to them. However, very soon after taking the position she finds strange things happening in the house and in the grounds, and she believes that the children are in grave danger from a supernatural influence.
The beginning has more than a flavour of Jane Eyre arriving at Thornfield Hall half a century before and references it clearly. It also mentions Anne Radcliffes Mysteries of Udolpho, setting the scene for another gothic mystery, and the house and grounds are a very atmospheric base for such a story. I have read Portrait of a Lady by Henry James and so have encountered his writing style before, and it can seem very long winded and evasive as to what the characters are thinking or even communicating to each other. This story I found particularly so. There are long sections of dialogue where nothing is actually said but only vaguely insinuated. This suits the main character very well, as it is her that is telling the story in the first person, and she jumps about 10 paces ahead of everything that happens to her, fixing her own meaning to everything, sometimes wildly, as she becomes more obsessed with the children, citing that they are hers alone.
Although not strictly a sensationalist novel, there are definitely elements of such that James has used here it seems to me. It is also deliberately ambiguous and so anyone who likes their stories straightforward will find this one frustrating. The introduction by Dr Claire Seymour from the University of Tokyo concludes that "The dilemma for the reader is how to preserve James' ambiguity while also locating its 'meaning' ". I agreed with this statement.
Ghost stories scare the pants off me, very easily, and I tend to avoid them. This story did not scare me at all, and disappointed on that level. Maybe that was James’ intention, to make a joke of those who like to be spooked. Especially as the whole tale is related as a Christmas Eve ghost story by someone called Douglas at the beginning. Is James playing with our expectations and love of a good mystery? I don’t know, but it wasn’t my cup of tea. Maybe my own expectations were too high. I found the discussion about its meaning more interesting than the actual reading of it, and so it is probably a good choice for readers groups.
There is also an interesting article called Ghost story, or study in libidinal repression by Sumia S. Abdul Hafidh