dirac

What are you reading?

397 posts in this topic

Guiltily I confess to an absolute wallow in Terry Pratchet land. In particular Wintersmith. I love the way he weaves folk wisdom and witty connections into his stories. Making witches into village social workers was pretty good. I seem to be off serious stuff at present . Its all kept for my ballet DVDs.So sad though to hear that he has alzheimers.

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Thanks, whetherwax. I like a guilty wallow now and then, myself. I'm not familiar with Pratchet's work, unfortunately.

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I started two new books. First, the fascinating Villella's autobiography "Edward Villella: dancing for Balanchine in a world of pain and magic" and then the school related "Combined neuroleptic malignant syndrome and the central anticholinergic syndrome" by J Neurol.

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I started two new books. First, the fascinating Villella's autobiography "Edward Villella: dancing for Balanchine in a world of pain and magic" and then the school related "Combined neuroleptic malignant syndrome and the central anticholinergic syndrome" by J Neurol.

And i'm done with those. Now i got hooked on the Balanchine/NYCB topic!-(its really fascinating)...so after reading first Joan Brady's "Unmaking of a Dancer" and then softer Villella's "Prodigal Son", it seemed logical to me next just to get my hands on Kirkland's "Dancing on my grave". I must say that after reading the book's own thread here, curiosity kills me on her memories. Will report back.

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I gave up Suzanne's "Holding..." for a while-(honestly, due to some boredom)-and just got my hands in Alexandra Danilova's autobiography, which I'm enjoying tremendously...

Then, i'm still working on my DSM-IV copy...

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Eeks, the DSM-IV has been a bedside "friend" of mine for years. Certain parts are quite outdated though. I've been anxiously (uh-oh, bad word choice given the book's content :dunno:) awaiting #5, but its publication keeps getting pushed back. In the meantime, along that vein, I'm reading The Clinical Neuropsychiatry of Multiple Sclerosis and, thanks to Treefrog :D, The 36 Hour Day (about dementia). Another book on my "to read" shelf is Daniel J. Siegel's The Mindful Brain: Reflection and Attunement in the Cultivation of Well-Being, but I haven't yet started it. I'd already read his The Developing Mind: How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are. Most of his writings are about the interplay between genetics and environment. Although his language can get bogged down (at least for me) in technical jargon, I love the spirit of his writings, their hopefulness and belief that so much about who we are can be improved. Time and again, in my work with children, I find that he's right. When I bought the book from Amazon, I discovered that he took time off from med school to "pursue drawing and dancing." :)

Cristian, I loved Farrell's book. I think it's because it was my initiation into the world of ballet dancers. With a daughter headed in that direction, all I wanted at that time was to understand a little bit more about the life of someone in ballet, and it provided what I needed. I didn't find it boring or dry at all; in fact, I really loved the aura of distance that's cultivated in her book. I found it fitting, given her circumstances. I also loved that it was positive; I think if I'd read some of the other autobiographies first, I might have pulled my kiddo out of ballet school :lol:, but I can see how others, with ballet in their blood, might feel differently about the book. By contrast, I didn't like Kirkland's first book at all; I've given my reasons elsewhere on this and the sister board, so I won't repeat it here. I think I've read most of the ballet autobiographies and some biographies - haven't read Danilova's book though. I'm looking forward to that.

My favorites among the ballet autobiographies are Igor Schwezoff's Borzoi and Villella's Prodigal Son. Borzoi is fascinating. As a student of Russian history, I thought it was a gem. I really enjoy older prose (another reason why I liked Holding on to the Air - I think it reads like it was written in an earlier era). I read Prodigal Son immediately following Farrell's book; I thought that they should have been marketed together as brother/sister volumes. Even though Villella had plenty of negative things to say about Balanchine, I always felt that there was, within his words, still an enormous respect for the man. Villella managed to say the bad stuff without the book degenerating into diatribe. I appreciated that.

In a thrift store the other day, I picked up Diane Solway's A Dance Against Time, about Eddie Stierle's (Joffrey Ballet) life and death. Am only about 30 pages into it, so I don't really have an opinion.

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Thanks, vagansmom. Good to hear from you. The Farrell book and the Villella book have both been under discussion recently in the Writings on Ballet forum, if you're interested. :mad:

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"No Way Home" by Carlos Acosta. Nice little book. Has anybody read "In Balanchine's Company" by Barbara Fisher?

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I just read 'Wuthering Heights', never had. Peculiar to read something associated with a much younger age than one is now and not knowing what to expect. Somehow I'd never known what the story was, just keywords like Heathcliff, Cathy, moors, that's it. Now I'm going to watch Olivier and Oberon. Great book, though.

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I just read 'Wuthering Heights', never had. Peculiar to read something associated with a much younger age than one is now and not knowing what to expect. Somehow I'd never known what the story was, just keywords like Heathcliff, Cathy, moors, that's it. Now I'm going to watch Olivier and Oberon. Great book, though.

I was 11/12 when i read it. It was my first serious book, and i remember vividly being caught reading it under the table while in class, and asked to stepped in front of everyone to turn it to the teacher. I hated her.

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I'm reading "The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn" by Charles Ives. Magnificent.

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"No Way Home" by Carlos Acosta. Nice little book. Has anybody read "In Balanchine's Company" by Barbara Fisher?

Adam, hello and welcome. In the "Writings on Ballet" forum there is a thread devoted to her book. I think it should be pretty easy to find. Sorry I don't have the time to post the link myself.

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I'm reading "The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn" by Charles Ives. Magnificent.

Tell us more about it. What's his take? The last biography I read was the one by Eric Ives, and it was excellent.

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"No Way Home" by Carlos Acosta. Nice little book. Has anybody read "In Balanchine's Company" by Barbara Fisher?
We have two threads devoted to Fisher's memoir:

http://ballettalk.invisionzone.com/index.p...c=23602&hl=

and, less specifically

http://ballettalk.invisionzone.com/index.p...c=26005&hl=

and for Acosta's, only a few brief comments, here: http://ballettalk.invisionzone.com/index.p...c=25600&hl=

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Sorry, I mean Eric Ives. :P

It's an excellent book and a serious research effort.

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Yes I think it'll be the definite book on Anne for years to come. If I'm not mistaken it's actually a rewrite of an older biography. Its the rare biographer who goes back and checks his research again.

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Oh. I thought that this was the same version with a more dramatic title. I have the older book. I guess I'll have to buy the new version at some point. Is it very different?

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Is it very different?
dirac, I was curious about this, too, because I have the original version dating from the 1980s. The answer to your question is apparently: "Not all that much," at least based on the review of the new edition in the Guardian:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2004/oct/2...guardianreview3

Or at least not different enough to make me run to the book store -- or even to click Amazon above (Ballet Talk gets a percentage each time we order there).

It's definitely worth reading. I have the impression that Ives was one of the first historians to take the "Wives of Henry VIII" theme seriously, focusing not only on the personal melodrama of Boleyn's story, but her educational attainments, and artistic and theological interests. Boleyn herself may have been one of the first "difficult women" in English history for which detailed historical evidence exists. Good for her.

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Good for her.

??? bart, she died an early and lonely death. I suspect she would have traded the (mostly hostile) historical mention for an obscurer but happier life. True, her daughter turned out quite well, but Anne would have had no way of knowing that.

There were serious biographies of Katharine of Aragon and others well before the eighties, I believe.

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I've also been rereading Don Quixote with the EXCELLENT translation by Edith Grossman.

Also, The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Antonia Fraser. I read the David Starkey book but I like Fraser's better. It rings more true to me, and goes into less excruciating details.

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Good for her.

??? bart, she died an early and lonely death. I suspect she would have traded the (mostly hostile) historical mention for an obscurer but happier life. True, her daughter turned out quite well, but Anne would have had no way of knowing that.

I should have explained myself more clearly. My closing phrase may have been unnecessarily flip, for which I apologize. :P

I did not mean to suggest that I approve of what happened to her -- or to deny the seriousness and even injustice of what happened. It's no secret that Anne became the focus of political and other sorts of hatred that led to divorce, humiliation, and death. As to whether she would have preferred an obscurer but happier life, there is no historical evidence to support this. Her own behavior suggests the contrary.

I enjoy Anne as a historical figure even though I suspect I would not have liked having to be in her company for very long. It's always interesting to read about strong women who dare. Even when they fall. Her education and patronage of writers and theologians commanded a level of intellectual respect (from supporters of the New Learning at least) that was unique among British queens up to that point.

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I've also been rereading Don Quixote with the EXCELLENT translation by Edith Grossman.

Great! I used to have a very old copy in Cuba, property of my great grandfather-(actually 3 thick volumes)-written in the original Cervantes Spanish, which was very hard for me to understand...I probably should try a more modern revission...(or maybe try it in English..?)...oh wait, now I know I'm really talking nonsense. A Latin guy thinking on reading a basement of the Spanish literature using an english translation . Blasphemy!

Anyways, in another matters...Suzy got back to Balanchine, and has more cats...(I know, I'm going sooo painfully slowly on this...)

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I've also been rereading Don Quixote with the EXCELLENT translation by Edith Grossman.
Canbelto, you made me turn to some of the reviews, all of which are really, as you say, "excellent." I've ordered it. Thanks.

My J.M. Cohen translation (Penguin, only $1.85 when I bought it in the early 60s) has been unopened since the first reading. Time for a change. And ... it's fun to compare translations.

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