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What Are You Reading?Winter 2010


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#31 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 01:24 PM

Just finishing Danilova's autobiography "Choura".

#32 dirac

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 01:50 PM

That's a wonderful book, one of my favorite ballerina autobiographies.

All this is to say that I'm probably not the real target audience for this volume. Still, I can skim over parts and focus on a lot of very rich detail. I'm finding Wiley's analysis of "missing" documentation, (i.e. letters and other correspondence) which Modest and other "groomers" made disappear also interesting

.

I had the same difficulty and I find Wiley most readable for dipping purposes - when I have questions about the original "Swan Lake," for example, or any other specific area where curiosity requires satisfaction.

#33 papeetepatrick

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 03:24 PM

Right now, taking baby steps back into books (personal interference, etc.), haven't read one for 6-8 months by buying Lee Server's Ava Gardner bio for a buck--hokily written, oh lord yes it is corny, I mean the intro just awful, but I'll find out some good detail. Never read a bio of her, although is one of my favourite stars. Am also going read Server's book on Mitchum for same reason, probably my favourite Hollywood man besides Coop.

What I plan to get to next will be more serious, and I really want to read this: Eyal Weizman's 'The Hollow Land: Israel's Policy of Occupation', but no NYPL copy and the cheapest on eBay or amazon is going to be $25 + with the shipping. I'll look at the Strand. I've gotten spoiled about the books, and won't buy them unless they're going to be an art book or something you couldn't get any other way.

#34 vipa

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 06:49 PM

A really interesting book - Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea it is by Barbara Demick.

#35 bart

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 07:14 PM

Taking a break from other stuff to tour the crime centers of Italy with Michael Dibdin's Aurelio Zen series. The bizarre excesses and corruption of Italian politics, business, and pop culture in the days of Berlusconi and his immediate predecessors make each of these books an eye-opener. Zen is no white knight. He has his own problems and fights crime and corruption with less-than-legal tactics of his own.

Owing to the complexities of our county public library system, I'm reading the books out of order. So far, Dead Lagoon (4th in the series but the first I read) is the one that absorbed me the most. Only Cosi Fan Tutti (which draws its improbable subplot from Mozart's opera) is the only disappointing volume.

#36 sandik

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 10:31 PM

I've gotten spoiled about the books, and won't buy them unless they're going to be an art book or something you couldn't get any other way.


You could borrow my sister's philosophy -- buy it, read it, sell it.

#37 vagansmom

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 12:49 PM

I just started a school vacation, so am happily reading what I please for a change. Currently, it's Robt. Gottlieb's Reading Dance. I'm skipping through at the moment, picking and choosing. Also, thanks to Ed Waffle, I'm about to begin reading Val McDermid's crime novels about Tony Hill, the psychologist profiler. I had discovered on the crime novel thread that the BBC series I've been watching, "Wire in the Blood," is loosely based on the McDermid books. I finished watching the TV series today (LOVED it!) and will begin McDermid's first Tony Hill book tonight. I guess I'm discovering that I like crime novels. Nice to be back to my own choices for the next two weeks.

However, I've begun one Italian lit book that's on the reading list for one of my tutees: The Garden of the Finzi-Continis by Giorgio Bassani. It takes place beginning the 1930's in Italy, and is about a Jewish family. So I know right there that this is going to be a sad read.

#38 dirac

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 01:13 PM

I haven't read the book but Vittorio De Sica did make a movie of The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, which I understand is close to the original, and it is indeed a sad story. I would be interested to hear what you think of it.

#39 richard53dog

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 03:28 PM

I haven't read the book but Vittorio De Sica did make a movie of The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, which I understand is close to the original, and it is indeed a sad story. I would be interested to hear what you think of it.



The De Sica film is very sad but also very atmospheric. I've never read the book either but was moved by the film.

#40 vagansmom

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 07:06 AM

I suspect I'll have to watch the film, too. My student had to do so with The Leopard and with The Conformist. This is why I love my work!

#41 bart

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 10:21 AM

vagansmom, I look forward to hearing what you -- and your student -- think about Garden of the Finzi Continis (the book).

I read this a few years before the film was made. Bassano, as a novelist, has the advantage of being able to devote more time and attention to context. This, for me at least, always enriches characters, especially when their fates are so entwined with matters of social class, religious identity, the rise of Fascism, etc. There is something very singular about life in Ferrara -- with its subclass of wealthy, educated, assimilated Jews, living in denial about Fascism and then having to cope with it --- that the novel captures well.

It would be interesting to take a look at novel and film side by side. De Sica, as I remember it, opted for a simpler, more visually beautiful, more elegiac, more "glamourous" treatment. This works as a film -- I can still see a number of the scenes in my visual memory, decades later, especially Dominique Sanda's Micol -- but it is not the whole story.

P.S. There are those who criticize Visconti's The Leopard for getting bogged down with too MUCH context. For me, that is what makes the film so memorable. But this may just be a matter of personal taste.

#42 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 15 March 2010 - 08:30 PM

I just finished the memoirs of Her Serene Highness Princess Romanovsky-Krassinsky-(no other than Mathilde Kschessinska... :huh: ), which I loved. Curiously, in this detailed account of the long life-(99 years)-of K., all the great Mariinsky ballerinas of the last years of the Imperial Ballet get their spot-(Preobrajenska, Karsavina, Trefilova, Egorova, Pavlova, etc) and even Bolshoi's Geltzer, along with her younger followers-(Danilova, Doubrovska). Everybody BUT Spessivtseva. Not only once . I wonder why...

#43 papeetepatrick

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 05:15 PM

Louis Auchincloss's 'East Side Story', from 2003, brilliant in its portraits of Old New York, as usual. After his death and the article dirac linked to, I realized that there was a LOT of information I could find out from Auchincloss, and that fiction is the most enjoyable route to it, although he's got a lot of books on authors like James and many others I want to look at too.

#44 Richka

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Posted 22 March 2010 - 04:47 PM

Currently about halfway through the Ashton biography. And for a change of pace starting my third trip through Paul Scott's Raj Quartet.


Scanning through this thread, yours is seemingly the only DANCE book people are reading here. I read the Ashton bio quite some time ago and loved it. I assume you are referring to the Julie Kavanaugh one.
I have just been re-reading a paperback I picked up back during the 1980s called DANCE AS LIFE by Franklin Stevens. It's about a season he spent with American Ballet Theater, not as a dancer but as an observer. As I joined ABT a year or so after he was there and the book was published, I know he wrote a very accurate account of the daily life in American Ballet Theater. I wonder if you or anyone else has ever read that fascinating book, now out of print.
Another thing is that I actually knew Franklin Stevens when we were teenage dance students at the same time in NYC. Same teachers, same kind of strugging dance student life.
I don't think he has written much else, but Ive often wondered if Franklin is still around or whatever became of him. If anyone on Ballet Talk has heard of him or know anything about him, I would really like to know so I could get in touch.
I've also just finished "Somewhee" the life of Jerome Robbins. It's incredible to see the amount of research Amanda Vaill must have done to write this fascinating biography because Robbins was such a complicated man.

#45 Helene

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Posted 22 March 2010 - 05:23 PM

I just finished Julia Child's "My Life in France", which I found delightful. I was so sad when the book ended, she seemed to enjoy life so much.


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