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review 2016-12-13 22:29
The Twelve Tasks of the Festive Season -- Task the First: The Winter Wonderland; and Task the Seventh: The Christmas
Dylan Thomas Reads a Child's Christmas in Wales and Five Poems/Cd - Dylan Thomas
The Nightingale Before Christmas (Meg Langslow Mysteries) - Donna Andrews

Task the First:
– Read a book that is set in a snowy place.


Dylan Thomas: A Child's Christmas in Wales


Thomas's lyrical memoirs of his childhood Christmas experience, read by himself ... truly magical.  One of the books (or CDs) that I revisit every single holiday season.




Task the Seventh:
– Read a book set during the Christmas holiday season. 


Donna Andrews: The Nightingale Before Christmas


The year before last's entry in Donna Andrews's Meg Lanslow series: An uninhabited  Caerphilly house has been turned into a show house for the local interior designers' pre-Christmas competition, which Meg has agreed to organize (her own mother being one of the contestants, and Meg's involvement as an organizer having been the price for their own house not to be used as the scene of competition) -- as a result of which Meg is having to constantly mediate between the contestants, who keep going at each others' throats hammer and tongs and are, as a whole, more unruly than a bag of wriggling kittens.  It doesn't particularly help, either, that there's a student hanging around the place doing research for an article on the competition that she's writing for the local university newspaper, that moreover, packages containing the contestants' orders of items needed in their decorative arrangements keep disappearing, and that at last someone even takes to vandalizing the house and some of the half-arranged rooms, with merely a few days to go to Christmas (and to the advent of the judges).  When the most unpopular of the contestants -- whom the others also hold responsible for the disappearance of their packages and for the vandalization of their rooms -- is found murdered, there doesn't seem a shortage of suspects ... except that every single one of the other designers seems to have a credible alibi.


A more than solid, tremendously enjoyable entry in the series ... having read Duck the Halls just before Christmas last year, I'm seriously tempted to hunt down all of Andrews's holiday books and read them, one at a time, before Christmas each year!  She truly has a knack for combining a hilarious storyline with fully-rounded characters (however unusual), a homely and comfortably-feeling small-town setting and a lot of warmth, humor, and common sense.  Highly recommended!




Task the Seventh:
– Grab your camera and set up a Christmas bookstagram-style scene with favorite holiday reads, objects or decorations. Possibly also a cat. Post it for everyone to enjoy!


Well, the cat preferred to watch the setup from atop the half-empty box of Christmas decorations instead of being part of the picture, but anyway ... here we go!  (And yes, that's a real candle again. :) )






Snow Globes: Reads
Bells: Activities

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review 2014-10-23 00:00
The Dylan Thomas Omnibus: Under Milk Wood, Poems, Stories and Broadcasts
The Dylan Thomas Omnibus: Under Milk Woo... The Dylan Thomas Omnibus: Under Milk Wood, Poems, Stories and Broadcasts - Dylan Thomas Brief Chronology


18 Poems
--I see the boys of summer
--When once the twilight locks
--A process in the weather of the heart
--Before I knocked
--The force that through the green fuse
--My hero bares his nerves
--Where once the waters of your face
--If I were tickled by the rub of love
--Our eunuch dreams
--Especially when the October wind
--When, like a running grave
--From love's first fever
--In the beginning
--Light breaks where no sun shines
--I fellowed sleep
--I dreamed my genesis
--My world is pyramid
--All all and all

Twenty-Five Poems
--I, in my intricate image
--This bread I break
--Incarnate devil
--Today, this insect
--The seed-at-zero
--Shall gods be said
--Here in this spring
--Do you not father me
--Out of the sighs
--Hold hard, these ancient minutes
--Was there a time
--Why east wind chills
--A grief ago
--How soon the servant sun
--Ears in the turrets hear
--Foster the light
--The hand that signed the paper
--Should lanterns shine
--I have longed to move away
--Find meat on bones
--Grief thief of time
--And death shall have no dominion
--Then was my neophyte
--Altarwise by owl-light

The Map of Love
--Because the pleasure-bird whistles
--I make this in a warring absence
--When all my five and country senses
--We lying by seasand
--It is the sinners' dust-tongued bell
--O make me a mask
--The spire cranes
--After the funeral
--Once it was the colour of saying
--Not from this anger
--How shall my animal
--The tombstone told
--On no work of words
--A saint about to fall
--If my head hurt a hair's foot
--Twenty-four years

Deaths and Entrances
--The conversation of prayers
--A Refusal to Mourn the Death, by Fire, of a Child in London
--Poem in October
--This side of the truth
--To Others than You
--Love in the Asylum
--Unluckily for a death
--The hunchback in the park
--Into her lying down head
--Paper and sticks
--Deaths and Entrances
--A Winter's Tale
--On a Wedding Anniversary
--There was a saviour
--On the Marriage of a Virgin
--In my craft or sullen art
--Ceremony After a Fire Raid
--Once below a time
--When I woke
--Among those Killed in the Dawn Raid was a Man Aged a Hundred
--Lie still, sleep becalmed
--Vision and Prayer
--Ballad of the Long-legged Bait
--Holy Spring
--Fern Hill

In Country Sleep
--In Country Sleep
--Over Sir John's hill
--Poem on his Birthday
--Do not go gentle into that good night
--In the White Giant's Thigh


--After the Fair
--The Tree
--The Dress
--The Visitor
--The Vest

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog
--The Peaches
--A Visit to Grandpa's
--Patricia, Edith, and Arnold
--The Fight
--Extraordinary Little Cough
--Just Like Little Dogs
--Where Tawe Flows
--Who Do You Wish Was With Us?
--Old Garbo
--One Warm Saturday

--The Followers
--A Story


--Memories of Christmas
--Holiday Memory
--The Festival Exhibition
--A Visit to America
--Return Journey

--Under Milk Wood

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text 2014-07-31 14:34
The Rosenbach Museum and Library

What is one to make of the book-as-artifact?


Since it is usually discussed regarding the superiority/eventual triumph of eBooks, I try to keep to practical considerations and try to avoid getting too sentimental about the book as an object, but the truth is I love books almost as much as I love reading. When I worked at a used book shop I enjoyed flipping through the volumes and finding boarding passes, pictures, postcards, and ephemera from any number of locations and events.

I write my names in the back of all my books and I enjoy the thought of the book telling a story. There is the copy of The Snow Leopard I was given by an ex-girlfriend who was not nearly as impressed as I was, a paperback Vampires in The Lemon Grove that I leant to a friend before I finished it and now resides somewhere in her apartment, or the copy of NW that had come damaged and that I appropriated even with the front cover torn off. Though I joke around about people disrespecting books, I love to find old dog ears and underlined passages—it is really best if you keep this to your own books and spare those of the school or library.


I was recently enjoying a day free of commitment and went for a stroll through Center City. I headed toward a place I had heard of during the Bloomsday celebrations. The Rosenbach Museum and Library, a modest place tucked among the row houses near Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square, is the home to Joyce’s manuscript for Ulysses as well as a first edition copy. That is what brought me. They had an exhibit held over from Bloomsday about the Shakespearean influences on Joyce. That is the kind of thing I go for. Now you know why I have a blog on books.


The Rosenbach isn’t very large, there are three exhibit rooms, but their collection definitely makes it a cool stop. They have Maurice Sendak’s papers as well as a mural he painted in a friend’s home in one exhibit and the delightfully morbid collection of early American children’s books in another. The tours are the most interesting thing though. The free tours take you through the brothers’ house, not particularly compelling but certainly nice, then you get to the Library. Here are Joyce’s manuscript pages on display, here are Joseph Conrad’s papers, a first English edition of Don Quixote, John Ruskin, letters of Lewis Carroll, Dylan Thomas’s manuscript for Under Milk Wood, and more. There are some 400,000 volumes in all.


Marianne Moore’s papers are there too, also her living room. The whole room. Recreated and arranged just as it was in her East Village Apartment.


I went on a second tour. The hands-on tour gets you access to some of these materials in a guided presentation by the librarian. I hopped on to the hands-on tour of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The librarian talks about interesting features about the story behind the story. Bram Stoker’s terrible handwriting for instance, little drawings, reading notes from his research—mercifully typed.


There is something particularly appealing to writers in this experience. It brings things closer to life. Even biographies and apocryphal stories have plots, they are selling you a story, but the notes, the manuscripts, they are just chaotic enough to be real. Stoker was as methodical as anyone in his research, but then there are notes with a shaky outline of a castle, a phrase or two, something about a character that never makes the story, something about three characters that kind of merge into one in the final draft.


I think there is still something to be taken by passing a day considering art and books. It has an effect on us that is more than just clicking through images, it is a communal experience. The small museums especially are great for talking with intelligent, interested people. It was a day outside of the apartment, outside of myself.


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review 2014-05-10 11:41
Dylan Thomas by John Goodby
Dylan Thomas - John Goodby

bookshelves: radio-3, britain-wales, lit-crit, poetry, essays, nonfiction, published-2001, under-10-ratings, fradio, spring-2014

Read from May 07 to 10, 2014

Dylan admires ....... the medieval Laugharne castle. The foreground shows the rear view of the wooden sculpture of Dylan Thomas set in the Millennium Garden

Recorded at the Laugharne Live Festival, in the grounds of Laugharne Castle, West Wales. Five leading writers and artists reflect on the ways in which they connect with one of Wales's most famous cultural exports, Dylan Thomas.


Dylan Thomas Centenary

Episode 1: Professor John Goodby is one of the world's most respected academic authorities on the poetry of Dylan Thomas. Using poems such as the radiant "In the White Giant's Thigh", "And death shall have no dominion" and "A Refusal to Mourn" he explores how the boundaries which Dylan Thomas crossed in both life and art have made it difficult for critics to pigeon-hole his legacy.

Episode 2: Andrew Davies reflects on the influence of Dylan Thomas on a child growing up in Wales in the 1950s, with aspirations to be a writer. A day trip to Rhossili beach and a Cornish pasty chimed with Davies's role model's account in "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog", but was this the gateway to a future as a poet?

Episode 3: The poet and writer Gwyneth Lewis, whose words are emblazoned over Wales Millennium Centre, takes a personal journey through the language of Dylan Thomas. She argues that to appreciate the work fully we must understand the poet's rigorous practice and detailed knowledge of poetic history and tradition.

Millenium Centre

Episode 4: Linking up from New York, writer, poet and activist Kevin Powell looks at Dylan Thomas's far-reaching influence on Black American writers, from his own introduction to Thomas's words in the new poetry and spoken-word scene happening in New York in the early 90s, to the new wave of Black American artists inspired through hip-hop, spoken word and America's oral tradition.

Episode 5: Poet and musician Twm Morys explores the links between Wales's poetic heritage and Dylan Thomas's writing. Drawing on memories of living in Thomas's hometown of Swansea, he considers whether Thomas's writing is universally acknowledged to represent the cultural landscape that nurtured its creation. [I loved this one]

Dylan Thomas reads After the Funeral (In Memory of Ann Jones)

Listen also to 120 mins from the Live Festival: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b042bk3d

I have spent many a day on Rhossili and it is as beautiful, and as long, as described:

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review 2014-05-07 11:54
Beach of Falesa by Dylan Thomas, Robert Louis Stevenson
The Beach of Falesa. Based on a story by... The Beach of Falesa. Based on a story by Robert Louis Stevenson. - Dylan ThOMAS

radio-3, play-dramatisation, spring-2014, published-1959, published-1892

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Laura
Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from April 26 to May 07, 2014



Description: World premiere of an unfilmed screenplay by Dylan Thomas, newly adapted for radio for the centenary of his birth.

Wiltshire arrives on an unnamed Pacific island hoping to trade in copra. But an encounter with rival trader Case leads to a macabre wedding. Shunned by the locals, Wiltshire sets out to uncover the secret behind Case's mysterious hold over the islanders, and the truth in the tales of the singing devils living deep in the bush.

Dylan Thomas adapted the short story of the same title by Robert Louis Stevenson to create this screenplay but it was never filmed, despite interest from Richard Burton. So this radio adaptation for the centenary of his birth is the world premiere of a work that blends some of the wordplay of Under Milk Wood with the brooding mystery of Heart of Darkness.

Alison Hindell has previously directed for Radio 4 both Under Milk Wood (which combined the archive recording of Burton as First Voice with a new cast) and The Art of Conversation, another Thomas premiere, being a previously unbroadcast radio script written during the war.

Alison came across The Beach of Falesá when her stepdaughter moved into a new house in Sydney and found the published edition of the text amongst the remnants left behind by the previous owner.

Narrator ..... Matthew Rhys
Wiltshire ..... Matthew Gravelle
Case ..... Nicky Henson
Uma ..... Fiona Marr
Jenkins / Captain ..... Simon Armstrong
Randall ..... Stephen Critchlow
Little Jack ..... Steve Toussaint

Original music composed by Roger Goula
Sound, Nigel Lewis
Adapted for radio and directed by Alison Hindell
A BBC Cymru Wales production.

A vile yet compelling look at the cruelty of colonialism written by Stevenson long before Conrad penned The Heart of Darkness and beautifully brought to lyrical life by Thomas.

Poor Father Galoshes
Who never washes

What a shame the film never made it into being; I heard the duo of Burton and Thomas so clear in this disconcerting Stevenson story. Highly recommended and not to be missed.
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