dirac

Summer reading thread

69 posts in this topic

For a perfect summer read I recommend Frank Langella's Dropped Names. he knew such an amazing variety of people personally or professionally, and writes about them with great insight. Even with those he describes negitively, he isn't mean spirited or judgmental. He is a very observant actor studying humans in all their foibles. I found it very entertaining.

I've been meaning to pick up that one. It sounds like good summer reading. Admirably forthright title. :)

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I just finished Passion to Dance: the National Ballet of Canada by James Neufeld. (My only prior knowledge of the NBC before reading Neufeld's book consisted of the 1970s recording of Nureyev's Sleeping Beauty, Karen Kain and Frank Augustyn in the Footnotes TV series, and passing references in books of Erik Bruhn's Swan Lake which featured a female Rothbart.) A very fascinating and informative read about the company and its history.

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Just finished:

Richard Wright's "Black Boy-(American hunger)"

Rudolph Bing's "5000 nights at the Opera".

Just started:

Milan Kundera's "The Unbearable Lightness of Being"

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Kain and Augustyn have both written good autobiographies, Rosa.

How did you like Bing's book, cubanmiamiboy?

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Kain and Augustyn have both written good autobiographies, Rosa.

I was not aware of that. Thanks a lot, dirac!

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How did you like Bing's book, cubanmiamiboy?

I enjoyed it a lot, dirac! Bing's stories are written in a very straightforward, seemingly honest account. One senses that he was particularly inclined toward certain singers-(Milanov,Nilsson, Tebaldi),and others for which he wasn't -(most infamously, Sills). Still, at many times during the lecture one bumps into his thoughts at recognizing mistakes made and poor choices. One substantial part is dedicated to a very meticulous narration of the financial status of the MET during his tenure. It looks to me as if he was repeatedly attacked on this matters and wanted to clarify the issue at once. His chapter dedicated to Callas was interesting..no vitriol whatsoever...just a plain description of the issues he faced with the diva and the reasons behind her departure. He was particularly biased toward artists-(singers and conductors)-whose names had been somehow involved with the Nazis. At one point, in the beginning of his tenure, he even refused to invite Von Karajan to work.

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*Murder Most Austen by Tracy Kiely

*Dancing from the Heart: A Memoir by Frank Augustyn

*The Runaway Dragon by Kate Coombs

*In the Company of Stars: The Paris Opera Ballet by Gerard Uferas

*Violins of Autumn by Amy McAuley

*The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective by Kate Summerscale

*The Watch That Ends the Night: Voices from the Titanic by Allan Wolf

*Karen Kain: Movement Never Lies by Baren Kain

*Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

*Monster by Walter Dean Myers

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Thanks for the list, Rosa. Any particular likes or dislikes from your list?

I suppose it's probably time for a new "What are you reading?" thread, summer having long passed, alas....

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Thanks for the list, Rosa. Any particular likes or dislikes from your list?

Good question!

Murder Most Austen was a total disappointment. I was really looking forward to it because it incorperated Northanger Abbey, one of my favorite novels by Austen, but how its use was disappointing, as well as the mysetry itself.

Both Ausgutyn's and Kain's books were very insightful. Flipped was a surprise, the first YA book I've read in a very long time that I truly, simply enjoyed

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On the whole I out grew whodunits by my teenage years, but as I took my summer holiday in Ireland this year I wanted something to read that would be evocative of the sun and thought I’d try a book in the Greek detective series by Anne Zouroudi , I’ve since read another three in the series and recommend them to anyone with a liking for that genre.

I suppose it is a challenge to dream up any type of detective that hasn’t been thought of before but Zouroudi trumps the rest by making hers a Greek god, albeit one that has run to fat a bit. She doesn’t say so in as many words, but the clues are all there such as predictions that come true, sticky ends for the villains and the downtrodden finally getting a break in life after they cross the path of Hermes or the Fat Man as he’s termed in the books.

The stories are contemporary and some are quite gritty with crimes revolving around incest and gerontophilia in a couple of books and references to unscrupulous property developers cashing in on the tourist boom in another. Actually the books are crying out to be dramatized and televised as the Greek settings would make a wonderful back drop for a detective series. Ms Zouroudi’s books are extremely well written and have been very well reviewed and from my years of roaming round Greece and the islands, I can say there is the ring of truth in all the characters she writes about.

The Books I’ve read so far are:

The Messenger of Athens

The Taint of Midas

The Doctor of Thessaly

The Lady of Sorrows

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I stopped reading mysteries a while ago. I don't think I considered that I'd outgrown them, I just wasn't coming across many interesting examples of the genre. Zouroudi sounds good.

Murder Most Austen was a total disappointment. I was really looking forward to it because it incorporated Northanger Abbey, one of my favorite novels by Austen, but how its use was disappointing, as well as the mystery itself.

Austen exploitation books seem to have become a minor industry. I once browsed through something called "Mrs. Darcy" in the store and was mildly appalled. I suppose if she'd been as productive as Dickens we wouldn't be having this problem.

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Austen exploitation books seem to have become a minor industry. I once browsed through something called "Mrs. Darcy" in the store and was mildly appalled. I suppose if she'd been as productive as Dickens we wouldn't be having this problem.

I hesitate to call it exploitation, but Austen seems to have inspired an incredible amount of work, some of it attempting to complete or extend the original writing, the rest of it exploring the period of her novels. I've seen Jane Austen cookbooks (with some tasty stuff), home decor books, knitting magazines, etiquette books, etc. It is indeed possible that some of this work is a result of the relatively small number of her novels, but I think a large part of it is inspired by her characters and the gift she had of making small lives read very large.

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Bit off topic but did the TV series Lost in Austen make it beyond the shores of the UK? It's about an Austen fan who time travels back to the Bennett family home and wreaks havoc with the traditional story line of Pride & Prejudice.

Well acted, very clever and in places very funny. The DVD should be available on line if you search.

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Bit off topic but did the TV series Lost in Austen make it beyond the shores of the UK? It's about an Austen fan who time travels back to the Bennett family home and wreaks havoc with the traditional story line of Pride & Prejudice.

Well acted, very clever and in places very funny. The DVD should be available on line if you search.

I vaguely remember it on a PBS schedule here, but didn't actually see it.

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It is indeed possible that some of this work is a result of the relatively small number of her novels, but I think a large part of it is inspired by her characters and the gift she had of making small lives read very large.

No doubt, but there's always been a strong element of cultism among Austen fans of a certain stripe (the kind Marvin Mudrick used to denounce) who tend to emphasize the more sentimental aspects of her appeal and her times.

Pride and Prejudice has its 200th anniversary this month!

The Jane Austen Dancers, a Bath-based volunteer group who share their love of Regency rollicking through classes, demonstrations and balls, describe re-enactment as “an escape from the cares of today”. Founded in 1996 the group precedes the city’s annual balls. Outside of Austen’s homeland, Hampshire Regency Dancers have been hosting balls since 2005 in Chawton House - the grade II-listed country pile where the BBC will be shooting. The ball now has an international following and the limited tickets for the event are hot property.

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Austen exploitation books seem to have become a minor industry. I once browsed through something called "Mrs. Darcy" in the store and was mildly appalled. I suppose if she'd been as productive as Dickens we wouldn't be having this problem.

I hesitate to call it exploitation, but Austen seems to have inspired an incredible amount of work, some of it attempting to complete or extend the original writing, the rest of it exploring the period of her novels. I've seen Jane Austen cookbooks (with some tasty stuff), home decor books, knitting magazines, etiquette books, etc. It is indeed possible that some of this work is a result of the relatively small number of her novels, but I think a large part of it is inspired by her characters and the gift she had of making small lives read very large.

I can't find a reference anywhere, but I seem to recall Edward Gorey claiming that he loved Jane Austen because she understood just how awful daily life really was.

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Back to back, and all at the same time I read "A woman in Berlin"-(Martha Hillers)- "Those who save us"-(Jenna Blum)-and "Shopie's Choice"-(William Styron).

"Those who save us" has an amazing resemblance in its story of survival with "A woman in Berlin", the male "protective" figure switching from a Nazi officer in the former during the war vs. a Russian officer during the aftermath in the latter.

"Sophie's choice" is more interesting than its filmed nemesis.

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Thanks for telling us about your summer reading, cubanmiamiboy. I meant to revive this thread or start another and never got round to it. I read Jann Parry's biography of Kenneth MacMillan, which is not perfect but well worth a read. I'm currently dipping into Jimmy Connors' autobiography.

It's been years since I read Sophie's Choice and I remember it as a bit of a slog, although better than the movie version as you say. I do remember being annoyed that no one ever thinks to inform poor Sophie that she's living with a madman. I liked Styron's The Confessions of Nat Turner much better. Haven't read any of his others.

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