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text 2017-07-30 13:53
Reading progress update: I've read 351 out of 604 pages.
Wolf Hall (Thomas Cromwell, #1) - Hilary Mantel

"But it is no use to justify yourself. It is no good to explain. It is weak to be anekdotal. It is wise to conceal the past even if there is nothing to conceal. A man´s power is in the half-light, in the half-seen movements of his hands and the unguessed-at expressions of his face. It is the abscence of facts that frightens people: the gap you open, into which they pour their fears, fantasies, desires."

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text 2016-01-02 22:25
2015: The Year in Review
Wolf Hall (Thomas Cromwell, #1) - Hilary Mantel
Bring Up the Bodies - Hilary Mantel
The Goldfinch - Donna Tartt
The Martian - Andy Weir

According to my 2015 "Reading Challenge" log, I read 79 books in 2015 (excluding re-reads) - quite an exceptional year for me. I aim for a book a week and usually end up around 60 or so.

 

Why not an even 80? Because my travel plans got changed at the last minute, so instead of reading on an airplane on New Year's Eve, I got to spend another day with my "second family," and my reading time was shortened considerably for the very best of reasons.

 

It was a varied year - plays, poetry, lit crit, non-fiction, biographies, novels, and more. Could I pick one stand-out book? I could not. I have raved about many of these titles at various times to particular people. 

 

Here, I'll say that perhaps I loved best the "big novels," Hilary Mantel's Cromwell Books, Donna Tartt's "The Goldfinch," and Andy Weir's "The Martian." LOVED LOVED LOVED all four. 

 

What's coming up in 2015? I haven't posted much lately, but I have some ideas in the queue, so look for several "Notes on Adaptation" posts soon. A summer reading list will come in May. Until then, some serendipity will come into play. Stay tuned, and read along. 

 

-cg

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text 2015-05-30 03:41
Notes on Adaptation: Wolf Hall
Wolf Hall (Thomas Cromwell, #1) - Hilary Mantel
Bring Up the Bodies - Hilary Mantel

What more can I possibly say to add to the loads of critics who have heaped praise on the adaptation of Hilary Mantel's "Wolf Hall" and "Bring Up the Bodies" that aired recently on PBS? 

 

In adaptation, I look for four things: Faithfulness to plot, characterization, dialogue, and theme. This production exceeded my expectations in all these things. Mostly, though, I was entranced by the inscrutable face of Mark Rylance. Pure magic.

 

But what makes a production transcend, for someone who has the spirit of a reader, are the details that prove the adapters also are readers and are giving you their love for the book. This production was so faithful in detail, and often, those details manifested without having attention drawn to them -- they were just there, correct, filling in the lines perfectly.

 

Three examples from this show: Cromwell's "yellow turkey comforter," the rose and grey gown with pearls that Queen Anne wears in a particular scene, and the funny little Italian ditty Cromwell sings when he's going through a complicated set of machinations. Thank you, thank you, filmmakers, for proving your love for the text with the subtlety of a butterfly's wing and a painter's brush. 

 

-cg

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review 2015-05-02 00:00
Wolf Hall (Thomas Cromwell, #1)
Wolf Hall (Thomas Cromwell, #1) - Hilary Mantel Loved it! I'm starting the sequel today.
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review 2015-04-13 23:07
Wolf Hall (Thomas Cromwell, #1) - Hilary Mantel

I've had this book a really long time. A couple of years at least. A co worker recommended it. Thanks Michael even though you'll most likely never see this review. What spurred me into finally tackling this monster of a book was of course the PBS mini series. I ended up finishing it in 6 days. I really liked the book. It wasn't what I expected. I had thought maybe it would be a tad boring. It did go into extreme detail about Thomas Cromwell's life, but the writing was good enough that that wasn't a deterrent. 

 I don't know much about this era of history. Mostly some fuzzy high schools memories and Phillippa Gregory's Boleyn novels. So pretty much nothing. I had to stop myself from abusing Wikipedia because besides Anne and a couple of the other wives fates I had no idea who lives and dies and how. The problem with that is I didn't really know who anyone was. It doesn't help that everyone has the same or similar sounding names. Seriously though there must have been ten Thomas's and Mary's. Like I said I still really enjoyed it. If I was huge fan of Tudor era England this would have been a five for me, but myself I preferred a bit of magic and dragons in my midevel reading.

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