Archive for December, 2010|Monthly archive page

Another kind of Christmas movie

Monday, December 27th, 2010

I read an historical novel about Eleonar of Aquitaine a few days ago, and then I started thinking how awesome it would be to see The Lion in Winter again, and then one of the movie stations obliged by airing it that very night. Excellent coincidence.

The screenplay is one of the most brilliant every written. Acid tongued, alternately vicious and witty. Definitely not your average Christmas movie (though it does take place at Christmas)–boys will be boys, and if you’re Henry II, boys will try to take your kingdom before you’re dead.

Oldest boy Henry died the previous summer, King Henry has been keeping Eleanor in prison for 10 years and he’s boinking Alys, the supposed betrothed of Richard (to be the Lionhearted) who is Eleanor’s favourite and the inheritor of her lands of Aquitaine, thought King Henry wants them to go to John, the snivelling baby of the brood. History is often more intriguing than fiction.

You also get to see Anthony Hopkins and Timothy Dalton before they were Hannibal or Bond. Never mind Hepburn and O’Toole, whose chemistry is amazing.

Here’s some selected interactions between Henry and Eleanor. Enjoy.

As I was watching it, I couldn’t help wonder if this wouldn’t be a perfect choice for Stratford. I should start a campaign for Martha Henry as Eleanor…

BBC Top 100 Book Meme

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

Instructions: Bold those books you’ve read in their entirety, italicize the ones you started but didn’t finish or read an excerpt. (Via Book Nerd)

1. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
Harry Potter series – JK Rowling (all)
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 – Louisa M 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 JSB
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
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 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Berniere
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 – 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
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
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 Kennedy Toole

96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

Not sure I agree with all of the choices, though. Freakin’ Dan Brown??


Sunday, December 12th, 2010

Nieces and nephews are always a great connector to people and simple things. Like talking about cool books, or sharing a funny Maru video or learning the hokey pokey for the first time (and really digging the “turn yourself about part” and making everyone who enters the kitchen take a turn as well).

The rising ring of laughter in a room full of family while the youngest runs in circles wearing nothing but his socks is a merry sound indeed.


Friday, December 3rd, 2010

I walked into the public bathroom and saw two women at the mirrors.

One was dressed in a full white hijab. She patted at her face, and adjusted her headscarf until it sat just so–a brilliant contrast to the darkness of her eyes. Then she turned and looked at herself critically in the mirror and began to pull and primp her skirt and the white stockings underneath until the material fell in agreeable folds around her ankles.

The other was dressed in skinny jeans tucked into stiletto black leather boots that hugged her calves, a ruby red satin shirt and a black tuxedo jacket. She patted her hair and fluffed the sides, then set to reapplying her lipstick just so. Then she stood back to admire the view.

Suddenly, a man’s voice called out for the woman in white to hurry up. Both of them took a final glance before striding out to meet whatever was coming next.