Tag Archives: Reading

A Mad Hatter Tea Party

For my 30th birthday, I decided to go down the rabbit hole.

Oh, what a Wonderland I found!

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Dear Virginia Woolf,

Virigina Woolf

 

Dear Virginia Woolf,

Greetings and salutations from the warm summer months of the year 2013. I am writing to discuss with you a rather personal matter – that of my 2012 Reading Goals, in which I did you a terrible disservice, dear Virginia.

Having been deceased these past 72 years, you are most likely unaware of
my resolution to read five of your works throughout the year of 2012. An honourable, realistic challenge, one would surmise. I had other reading goals, of course which I won’t discuss here, but am pleased to have achieved them – more or less .

As I reflect on my reading year gone by, I am filled with a sadness. And, something else, perhaps it is regret. You see, Virginia, my real failure, my greatest reading mistake was to leave my Woolf goal too late. I spent most of the year assuring myself that Time, devious as she is, was on my side. I was wrong, of course, as one often is in a head-to-head against Time. October appeared out of nowhere, tearing her way through my front door and into my life, underdressed, uninvited and without apology before I had read any of your novels.

All I could do was begin. I chose to read Mrs. Dalloway – and what a wonderful choice it was.

I had previously thought that streams-of-consciousness writing was not really my style, finding it a tad uncomfortable to read. However, the day of Clarissa Dalloway’s party was, what is the word? Entrancing. At times I was lost, wondering who or what was being described and how I’d arrived there. At other moments, I found myself swimming in the text, drinking in the way each word, considered with care and lyricism, knitted into narrative. I enjoyed drifting in and out of the minds of several characters, all preparing for the party at Clarissa’s house, all submerged in their own private worlds, with private thoughts and longings. It was a sadly-beautiful experience, if you understand what I mean. I was most confronted by the storyline of a man mid-battle for the remaining shreds of his sanity. In fact, I wonder how it came to be that you should have such an understanding of mental health issues? What had your experience of it been?

Dear Virginia, I found your writing excquisite, delicate yet robust, honest and unapologetic. I loved it, I adored it. But, it was not something I could so easily submerge myself in again so quickly.

I realised that to rush through another four of your novels would:
a/ probably not be possible given the late hour at which I had started my task; and
b/ would be disrespectful. Your novels require something, don’t they? Not just the usual sacrifice of time, laid willingly at the altar of Art by any lover of books. No, your writing requires an investment of another kind. Emotional safety, perhaps. You burrow deep, and deep you must burrow. Into the depths of humanity, into the soul, into what it means to exist and co-exist with others, relating, feeling, experiencing life in the shades granted by context and time.

So, given the above reasoning, I chose not to burl through four more Virginia Woolf works. Thus, I did not complete my reading goal and more importantly, I underestimated you, I underestimated what your writing would cost me – and what it was worth.

For that, I am deeply sorry.

I am so very grateful to have been acquainted with you through your writing, Virginia Woolf. I will read more of your works in future. I will not declare a number, nor will I vow to a timeline, but I need not do so – it’s not within my power to resist the gentle call of your prose. I look forward to where it will take me, and who I will encounter along the way.

Until our next meeting.

Your Reader,

Shan

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From Book to Film: Stephen King’s ‘A Good Marriage’

Stephen King, author of A Good Marriage.
Source: hollywoodreporter.com

What would you do if you discovered your spouse was a monster?

Hi! Anyone read Stephen King’s novella A Good Marriage? Well, it’s set to be released on film late 2013.

A Good Marriage was published in Full Dark No Stars, a dark collection of stories themed around retribution.

A Good Marriage is a good read. I liked it the most out of all the Full Dark, No Stars stories.  It’s like a novella mash up of a Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta series with an episode of Criminal Minds, both of which I am a huge fan. It definitely has all the makings for a GREAT psychological thriller film.

Joan Allen
Source: hollywoodreporter.com

Tell me, what would you do if you discovered your spouse was a monster? Joan Allen from The Bourne series has been cast as protagonist, Darcy Anderson who is faced with this question. The short story revolves around her response to discovering her husband’s nasty secret. It will be interesting to see what that looks like on screen, particularly as Stephen King has written the screenplay.

Hopefully A Good Marriage will be released in 2013. I CAN’T WAIT!

Baby, Can You Dig Yo’ Adaptations?

Book to film adaptations can be tricky, particularly Stephen King books! Films made from his stories range from cult classic such as Stand By Me and The Shining, to the disastrous Creepshow and Sleepwalkers. It could just depend on the size of the wallet bankrolling the production, or the calibre of actors & director that determine whether it shifts well into film, though I doubt it. Hearts in Atlantis & Bag of Bones lost something significant in their book to film adaptations (in my opinion), and they are modern productions with a great casting and relatively healthy budgets. Perhaps its just that the wild and wonderful mind of Stephen King doesn’t translate well on screen when it dives too far down the rabbit hole. Whatever the case, some movies haven’t thrived in the transition across mediums.

Hey you with the cynicism, enough already!

OK, I know… despite my cynicism, I am optimistic about A Good Marriage translating well into film. Besides, there have been some fantastic adaptations of Stephen King books. Some of my favourites are:

  • The Shawshank Redemption and Stand By Me. Both films are based on short stories from Different Seasons and they are outstanding.
  • The Green Mile is another one that I thoroughly enjoyed, but with Tom Hanks as leading man, what’s not to love?
  • The Stand and IT were also good TV mini-series (for their time), though I’d like to see them rejigged and revived – as long as they kept Tim Curry as Pennywise, of course.
  • The Shining & Misery both had powerhouse performances from Jack Nicholson (“Heeeeere’s Johnny!”) and Kathy Bates as the scariest fan ever in  Misery.

Yep, I’m backing A Good Marriage to be a hit! What do you think? Come on, argue with me 🙂

What’s your favourite Stephen King film adaptation? Do you think A Good Marriage can be pulled off as a film? Tell us in comments below.

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Some Things are Good for the Soul

Some things are just good for the soul. Camping is one of them.
My family and I have just returned, unwashed and suitably feral, from a week of it. We took our camper trailer, a tonne of books and all the essentials away with us for a week of quality family time, great food, buckets of coffee, sunshine and reading.
Four images inluding: our camper trailer, me on Wanda, my bike, a coffee cup from Beechworth Bakery and a plate of vibrant coloured food.

Soul food

We spent many hours reading in the sunshine, beer nestled in cup holders, books in hand.
I also discovered a second hand book store…

Another kind of soul food

Some things are just damn good for the soul.
Camping is one of them.

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Off The Shelf: 3 books I want to read

Three books

1. I once fell in love with a B-grade coming-of-age movie about a young girl who retraces her sister’s steps through Europe in an effort to discover the truth of why she died. When I recently learnt that this film was based on Jennifer Egan’s debut novel of same title “The Invisible Circus” it seemed quite obvious that I was meant to have that book. So, I bought it 🙂 Hopefully I’ll get a chance to read it soon.

2. Haruki Murukami’s ‘IQ84’ has been floating around in the back of my mind ever since I heard it reviewed on Triple R last year. I finally caved and bought it a few days ago for a steal ($12.95 from Big W). I can’t wait to submerge myself in the 1300 pages of parallel worlds and intertwining story lines.

3. I was supposed to read Jack Kerouac’s ‘On the Road’ in June for bookclub but before I could finish it I was hit with a sudden case of ‘Must-Re-Read-The-Harry-Potter-Series-Immediately’. A worthwhile diversion, but I would like to finish the supposed American classic.

I think these books will keep me busy for a little while… I also have a horde of books that people have generously lent me waiting for some attention. I guess the question is, which one first?

What are you reading? Anyone got any book recommendations?

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