dirac

What are you reading?

397 posts in this topic

Thank you for reporting on Zoe Anderson's book, katklaris. There are many good Royal Ballet-related books out there, and if your curiosity has been piqued you might want to search out some of the older ones. The Royal has always attracted good writers. :flowers:

EricMontreal 22, the 'arty intellectualism' was a lot of fun in Swimming-Pool Library -- Ronald Firbank meets the Eighties, so to speak.

Currently I'm reading less exalted fare - "Blood and Money," the late Thomas Thompson's nifty true-crime book about a Houston high society murder and possible murder circa late sixties-early seventies.

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Does that book cover all the various productions over the years? I'll have to check it out (I was trying to keep track of how many Beauties and Lakes they've done).

dirac--Persian Fire is one of Holland's historical, non fiction books. I read it a while back and would really recommend it for anyone with interest in the subject--he writes so well that it's a pleasure to read.

I'd really recommend any of Hollinghurst's other books--if you enjoyed Swimming Pool Library you kinda know what you're getting yourself into--a mix of arty intellecualism with homoerotic scenes (to put it mildly). His last novel, Line of Beauty won the Booker--and was adapted quite well for the BBC--and is maybe a bit heavier than his earlier writing but they're all great reading. (I know some feel his characters are unlikeable, which worriess me a bit since I relate to them so well... :P )

Yes, the Zoe Anderson book has details of all the RB productions.

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Some of you may be also interested in this gripping book. "The Forsaken. From the Great Depression to the Gulags: Hope and Betrayal in Stalin's Russia by Tim Tzouliadis (2008)

"In the first eight months of 1931 alone, Amtorg -- the Soviet trade agency based in New York -- received more than one hundred thousand American applications for emigration to the USSR.” From those applications ten thousand were hired that year as "part of the official organized emigration" to the Soviet Union. This book is the harrowing story of what happened to those Americans and the others who emigrated unofficially.

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Thank you for mentioning it, innopac. Sounds like a fascinating, if terrible, story.

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Just finished Reading Dance: A Gathering of Memoirs, Reportage, Criticism, Profiles, Interviews, and Some Uncategorizable Extras. A very very fascinating book. I found particularly interesting the sections on Ashton's ballets, Balanchine's ballets, Massine, and the movies. The Paul Taylor interview in the extras was quite amusing.

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As per 1:30 am, "NCLEX Review: 4500 questions and rationales" by Saunders. Final school test coming up in about 7 hours. Wish me luck...!!

:clapping::beg::beg::beg::beg:

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I've got my fingers crossed for you, Cristian!

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sorry for being a little off topic, but...

I passed, people, I passed....yoohoooo!!!

thanks Helene!!!

and back to topic now...

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Just finished Reading Dance: A Gathering of Memoirs, Reportage, Criticism, Profiles, Interviews, and Some Uncategorizable Extras. A very very fascinating book. I found particularly interesting the sections on Ashton's ballets, Balanchine's ballets, Massine, and the movies. The Paul Taylor interview in the extras was quite amusing.

Hello, Rosa, and thanks for posting. There's a pre-existing thread on "Reading Dance" in the Writings on Ballet forum, FYI, and people have commented on the book there.

Glad to hear it, Cristian.Congrats! What are you reading these days, BTers?

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I've been reading American history books this year. It started off as part of my job this past fall/winter when a student of mine was researching the early 1900's and had to read Upton Sinclair's The Jungle. But then of course, I got hooked.

So this winter I read George Mowry's Theodore Roosevelt and the Progressive Movement. Although everyone compares Obama's economic agenda to FDR's (and there are many, many similarities), I'm also struck by the similarity of the early 1900's to today: large corporations with power in the hands of a few - rich getting richer, poor getting poorer, immigration issues, union issues, etc. For example, in 1902, Teddy Roosevelt called together union representatives of the striking PA coal workers and the owners, and threatened them with government intervention if they didn't start negotiating. Strikingly, Obama did something similar recently when, upon calling to Washington both the GM leaders and the union leaders, he threatened government-controlled bankruptcy if they didn't start compromising.

Last month, I also read a book of essays (don't remember the title now) written by Progressives and Socialists of the early 1900's: Eugene Debs, a Socialist who founded the IWW and ran for President of the USA on the Socialist ticket in four consecutive races, Jack London (who was an ardent Socialist), Louis Brandeis, Upton Sinclair, and others. So much of the rhetoric of that time is echoed today.

Right now, I'm in the middle of Oscar Handlin's Pulitzer prize-winning book, The Uprooted. It's the story of the great migration to America beginning in the 1700's. Although the language is quite stilted, the book (which I haven't yet finished) does a great job explaining in detail what caused the exodus from Europe on a country by country basis. Our history textbooks never go into enough detail for me, so this is a treat. I haven't yet gotten to the part about their lives in America, but am reading about the treacherous voyages across the ocean.

Next up for me is Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals which was sent to me by a long-time friend I met on Ballet Talk :dunno: before our daughters both became professional dancers. I've read other (smaller) books about Lincoln, but none with a focus on his "team". I'm really looking forward to it. Anyone else read this book yet?

I think, from all my reading of both the Square Deal and the New Deal eras, I've come out with the most profound respect for Louis Brandeis, the famous lawyer turned Supreme Court judge. His writings come up again and again throughout that period of time. He advocated eloquently for the "common man" his entire life. Our world is crying for more people like him.

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Next up for me is Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals which was sent to me by a long-time friend I met on Ballet Talk before our daughters both became professional dancers. I've read other (smaller) books about Lincoln, but none with a focus on his "team". I'm really looking forward to it. Anyone else read this book yet?

Good to hear from you, vagansmom. I haven’t, but the book has certainly been talked about in recent months. I’d be interested to hear from any BTers reading it, as well.

I remember The Jungle from high school. Thank heaven for the FDA, that's all I can say. Upton Sinclair once ran for governor in my home state of California in 1934 and lost, his opponents having run one of the dirtiest campaigns on record.

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I recently read Charlotte, Julia Barrett’s continuation of Jane Austen's fragment Sanditon, and found it very disappointing. The plot (or lack there of) was all over the place once Barrett picked up the story. She did a great deal of explaining characters’ motives and mental states instead showing them really accomplish anything. The characterizations of both her characters and Austen's were not well drawn; and the romance between Charlotte and her gentleman was a series of short encounters, and even shorter conversations…not much opportunity for the two to get to know each other very well and fall in love.

While we’ll never know just where Jane would have gone with this fragment, I have a hard time believing she would have made bootlegging and gambling major plot points in the story.

Now I move on to Charles Dickens' Little Dorrit.

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While we’ll never know just where Jane would have gone with this fragment, I have a hard time believing she would have made bootlegging and gambling major plot points in the story.

I'm sure you're right. The only continuation of a famous book I was ever tempted to try was the Gone with the Wind sequel, out of curiosity, and I was unable to finish it. I love Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea, which is a kind of prequel to Jane Eyre, but it's far above other books of that ilk.

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While waiting in a library for a tutoring student who turned out to be a no-show, I picked up Tana French's In the Woods, a novel billed as a "psychological thriller." Because it takes place in Ireland and I'm addicted, by marriage, to anything Irish, I was really curious about it.

Like lots of psychological thrillers, this one was a page-turner. I loved the plot, I loved how it was and was not resolved. The major theme - who killed a 12 year old aspiring ballet dancer who was accepted into the Royal Ballet, was resolved, but not a secondary one. Some would argue IT was the major theme, and I have no problem agreeing with them.

French shows her solid knowledge of ballet student life and of ballet technique through the eyes of the narrator, a male detective. I looked French up online, and found that she's an actor, but couldn't find any info on her ballet background.

I have a few quibbles with the book, the main one being that the Irish dialogue doesn't ring true. It sounds American. Also, I found that the male protagonist, the narrator, felt more female than male. I know it sounds sexist, and some people might really disagree with me, but there it is. His style of empathy, not the empathy itself, didn't ring true to me. I was (mostly) happy to overlook it because I really enjoyed the plot and general writing style even if it wasn't really very Irish.

Anyone else read this book?

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Next up for me is Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals which was sent to me by a long-time friend I met on Ballet Talk before our daughters both became professional dancers. I've read other (smaller) books about Lincoln, but none with a focus on his "team". I'm really looking forward to it. Anyone else read this book yet?

Good to hear from you, vagansmom. I haven’t, but the book has certainly been talked about in recent months. I’d be interested to hear from any BTers reading it, as well.

I read the book quite a while ago--and in one word--Terrific! In fact, she brought Lincoln to life for me and after a year of reading most of it---my bookmark is still at the assassination---unread--he was so alive in this book I could not bear to go there again.

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I've started Brooklyn, Colm Toibin's new novel, and am just devouring it!

Also reading Middlemarch, finally!

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I just finished T.S. Eliot's The Cocktail Party, and now I'm rereading his Four Quartets alongside Dove Descending, a commentary by Thomas Howard.

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I just finished T.S. Eliot's The Cocktail Party,

Glad you mentioned that, I have got to put that down on my list immediately, since I've never given Eliot the time he deserves.

This is just as applicable for dirac's 'Reading Out of Duty' thread, and I'm very superstitious of writing what I AM reading so, like you, I prefer 'I just finished :clapping: , in case I don't...So, I finally read both Oedipus the King and Oedipus at Colonnus, and may re-read Antigone, the only one I had read. I had not known the order in which they were written, and that Sophocles wrote 'Oedipus at Colonnus' when he was in his 90s (wow! creative senior citizens of Ancient Greece! pretty fantastic, eh?) I owe this to watching the movie of 'Night Journey' over and over, and was fascinated that Graham has Jocasta being directly informed by Tiresius, whereas it is Oedipus who hears it before she does in the original, and when she finds out, tries for awhile to resist the reality, which resistance you do see in the dance. That's why it might not be quite 'reading out of duty', because without the Graham piece, I might never have completed the Theban Trilogy.

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Patrick, if you do reread Antigone and do so in Seamus Heaney's translation (re-titled The Burial at Thebes), I'll be interested in what you think of it. I wasn't crazy about it when I saw it staged in Dublin in 2004, but my opinion may have been influenced by the lackluster production. I love his translation of Beowulf , especially as he reads it on the CD.

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When J. Robert Oppenheimer became director of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton he invited Eliot to stay, hoping Eliot would write something memorable during his time there. Eliot, perhaps inspired by Oppenheimer’s powerful martinis, came up with The Cocktail Party, which Oppenheimer thought was awful. It’s interesting to see Eliot using the conventions of the well-made play of the time for his own purposes but otherwise I can’t say I got much out of it. Some may call it Alcestis, I say it’s spinach. :clapping: Four Quartets is a different kettle of fish, of course.

Also reading Middlemarch, finally!

You’ll love it, I hope. I think it’s a wonderful read, and for pleasure not duty.

Thanks for keeping this thread alive, everyone.

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Ray, I've heard terrific things about Toibin's Brooklyn. I'm looking forward to reading it myself.

I'm just finishing A Child Called Noah by Josh Greenfield. It was published in 1972. It's mostly selections from his diary about his son who is severely autistic. But back then, the diagnosis was really unclear, and the parents were told all kinds of things about their child. Many professionals thought schizophrenia and autism were one and the same. What's so terrific about this particular book is how observant the mom and dad were, right from the outset. All the signs about this child's autism were clearly present even before the age when it's usually identified.

I'm actually reading the book because I recently read an excerpt from Greenfield's healthy son's book about his now adult brother, Noah. I realized that I owned the dad's book, but had never read it. I'll then read Karl Greenfield's book, Boy Alone: A Brother's Memoir. I have a 52 year old sister who has never been able to care for herself, so I look forward to reading Karl's perspective on his brother and to what degree he is willing to involve himself in his daily care.

Next up on my nightstand is Nathaniel Philbrick's Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War, about the Plymouth Colony. Just one more week of school and then my time frees up to read with abandon. :)

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