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Are You a Reader?

23 Feb

Instructions:

1) Look at the list and highlight those you have read.
2) Put a % after those you’ve read a portion of.
3) Add a ‘+’ to the ones you LOVE. (Maybe a – by the ones you really hated.)
4) Star (*) those you plan on reading.

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen +
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien +
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte *
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee *
6 The Bible +
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte *
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell *
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens *
11 Little Women – LouisaMay Alcott *
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare % *
15 Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier *
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien +
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger *
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife – *
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot *
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald *
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens *
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams*
26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky *
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck *
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens*
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis +
34 Emma – Jane Austen
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen +
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis +
37 Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini *
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown –
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez *
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
45 The Woman in White – by Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery *
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy *
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel +
52 Dune – Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen +
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens *
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley S
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez +
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck *
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold %
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas *
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac X
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy *
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens *
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses – James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath *
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession – AS Byatt *
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert *
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery +
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks *
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Toole
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare %
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

Gobbets – Jane Austen

11 May

My idea of good company is the company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company.Persuasion, 1818

My London

3 May

She adored London. The city is passionate and beautiful like she was. – Spaced, Series 2, Episode 1

I have been a Londoner for a good 7 years now and I love it here. I thought I would only stay for 2 years and then move on to New York, but then again, New York can wait.

One of the things I love about this city is its vibrance. There’s just a lot of things to try and do. You already know about my new passion towards theatre and performing arts which has actually occupied most of my spare time, so today after enjoying a matinee performance of the National’s Major Barbara (dont worry it’s only my third) I decided to walk around the Southbank before heading home.

eddie and I were here last week after seeing Happy Now? at the National and I was surprised when we saw the book market. Apparently, the Southbank Book Market is one of London’s best kept secrets.

From London is Free: Often described as London’s best kept secret the Southbank Book Market really does have something for everyone selling English lit classics, photographs, arts books, maps, antique books and lots, lots more besides. The market is open daily, during summer from 10.30am to 6.30pm, and during the winter months from 12pm to 5.30pm outside the National Theatre under the arches of Waterloo Bridge. The South Bank Book Market is one of Southern England’s only outdoor book markets and has been thriving since 1982, it really is must for London based book lovers.

I got 2 books on Ibsen’s plays and Voltaire’s Candide for £8 altogether. If you happen see me there one of these days, please don’t be a stranger and say hello.

Gobbets – Henrik Ibsen

22 Apr

“The majority is never right. Never, I tell you! That’s one of these lies in society that no free and intelligent man can help rebelling against. Who are the people that make up the biggest proportion of the population — the intelligent ones or the fools? I think we can agree it’s the fools, no matter where you go in this world, it’s the fools that form the overwhelming majority.” – An Enemy of the People, 1882

Theatre Review: Speed the Plow

11 Feb

Plot: Charlie Fox (Kevin Spacey), a struggling producer, comes to his old mate Bobby Gould (Jeff Goldblum), a newly elevated studio boss, with a surefire commercial package: a prison movie combining “action, blood, a social theme”. But, as the two men get high on dreams of profit, Bobby asks his temporary secretary, Karen (Laura Michelle Kelly), to give a courtesy read to a novel by an “eastern cissy writer” about radiation and the prospect of human survival. Bobby’s aim is to bed Karen. But he finds himself converted by Karen’s faith in the book and tempted to greenlight it ahead of the prison project.

This is my second time to watch a preview performance and wasn’t sure really what to expect. I know I shouldnt really worry that much as I am quite certain that Spacey will deliver another knockout performance having seen him in Eugene O’ Neill’s A Moon for the Misbegotten two years ago. The addition of Jeff Goldblum in the cast is of course another reason why I am keen to see this production not to mention that it will be my first Mamet play.

What an evening! Kevin Spacey and Jeff Goldblum were absolutely amazing! The verbal wordplay between them which is of course a Mamet legacy was definitely the highlight of the show. The level of energy was octane high in the first and final act but slightly dipped in the second. Spacey and Goldblum complimented each other’s great performances but not the same can be said to Miss Kelly, her voice and demeanour came across as not powerful enough, more whiny even, but she might improve in future performances. Speed the Plow if worth the ticket if you have to catch a play whilst in London town.

Speed the Plow: 4/5

Playing at The Old Vic until April 26

TV Review: Sense & Sensibility

13 Jan

I love Jane Austen’s works, and Sense & Sensibility is one of my favorites. The plot revolves around Elinor and and Marianne, two of three daughters of Mr. Dashwood by his second wife. They have a younger sister, Margaret, and an older half-brother named John. When their father dies, the family estate passes to John and the Dashwood women are left impoverished. Fortunately, a distant relative offers to rent the women a cottage on his property.

The novel follows the Dashwood sisters to their new home, where they experience both romance and heartbreak. The contrast between the sisters’ characters is eventually resolved as they each find love and lasting happiness. This leads some to believe that the book’s title describes how Elinor and Marianne find a balance between sense and sensibility in life and love.

Emma Thompson adapted this in 1995 winning her the Academy for Best Adapted Screenplay and garnering 6 other nominations including Best Picture. It is a well loved film by all Jane Austen purists so you can imagine my surprise when the BBC announced a tv-movie adaptation. I suppose the only good thing about that news was that it was to be adapted by Andrew Davies, who also gave us the brilliant tv version of Pride & Prejudice also for the the BBC.

It’s in 3 parts and first graced our tv screens New Year’s Day. I couldn’t believe that the first reel showed a lot of skin and innuendo, I thought, ‘what is this, Sex in the Country’? I was very close to losing my interest, but I decided to give it a chance for it might grow in me, and grow it did. IMHO, I still believe that Thompson’s adaptation was a far superior adaptation, but for a 3-part series where a lot more time is allowed to tell a story, Davies’ attempt was a good enough effort, for one thing they got the age of the characters right, no offense to Miss Thompson who did a great Elinor even it was a stretch to act like an 18 year old.

I have to salute Hattie Morahan as she was very effective playing the more practical and sensible Elinor, and every emotion she felt and kept can be seen through those eyes. Her belated reaction to Edward’s declaration of love at the end was just as heartfelt and palpable minus the famous bleugh that Thompson did in the movie, although everytime I watch the film it never fails to elicit those bottled up emotions inside me. Morahan, I later found out, has done work for the RSC and had played Nina in Chekhov’s The Seagull, and I would love to see a live performance from her on stage in the future.

Charity Wakefield did just as well but nowhere near Winslet’s perfect portrayal as the passionate and free-spirited Marianne. In the 3rd episode, as they were on their way back to Barton Cottage after recovering from her illness and finally noticing Colonel Brandon, she said after full realisation and conviction that, ‘it’s not what we say or feel that makes us what we are, but it’s what we do, or fail to do’. I couldn’t have said it any better.

The gentlemen in the cast, Dominic Cooper as Willoughby, although less dashing and handsome as Greg Wise in the film, gave Willoughby some soul after confessing to Elinor of the wrongness of his ways and why he suffers. Colonel Brandon was played by a sympathetic David Morrissey, who may not be as great as THE Alan Rickman, did quite a good job but was very well lacking in oommpphh. I thought that Dan Stevens playing Edward Ferrars was portrayed so much better than the way Hugh Grant did it in the film. And when he finally declares his love to Elinor, I swear I felt my knees shake.

One of the flaws I suppose was the lack of a very animated Mrs Jennings and Sir John Middleton. I also felt that Margaret, the youngest of the Dashwood sisters wasnt given much to play with. These characters were given so much teeth in the movie, it was a shame they were overlooked in this adaptation.

All in all it was a good effort altogether, and an adaptation that can truly stand on its own.

If you missed it, Episodes 2 & 3 is available for free on the internet by the BBC iPlayer service via this link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/(The internet version is available in the UK only).

Sense & Sensibility: 3.5/5

TV Review: Ballet Shoes

26 Dec

Plot: Set in 1930s London, Ballet Shoes tells the inspiring tale of Pauline (Emma Watson), Petrova (Yasmin Paige) and Posy Fossil (Lucy Boynton), who are adopted by an eccentric explorer, “Gum” (Richard Griffiths), and raised as sisters by his selfless niece (Emilia Fox) and her nurse (Victoria Wood). Each of the girls has a dream to fulfill; Pauline longs to be an actress, Petrova yearns to be an aviator, and Posy seems born to be a ballerina. But when “Gum” disappears, the money runs out. The feisty, ambitious and devoted Fossils find they must fight to survive…

I first heard of the Shoes books by Noel Streatfeild from the film You’ve Got Mail. Apparently it’s 11 juvenile novels, none of them I have read just yet but I am sure I will love and after watching Ballet Shoes adapted into a tv-movie produced by the BBC and I was hooked and will definitely devour all these books with much gusto.

For more info on the other Shoes books, please follow this link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A908985

Ballet Shoes: 4/5