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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 2017-07-06 11:26
6th July 2017
Wolf Hall - Hilary Mantel

It is the absence of facts that frightens people: the gap you open, into which they pour their fears, fantasies, desires. 


Hilary Mantel


Happy 65th birthday, Hilary Mantel. The author of Wolf Hall and Bringing Up the Bodies, two books in a trilogy based on the life of Thomas Cromwell, announced upon winning the Man Booker that she would be using the prize money on "sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll."

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review 2016-08-11 00:00
Wolf Hall
Wolf Hall - Hilary Mantel I made it just over 100 pages in and I'm calling it. I didn't come to this book knowing anything about the players in it and it seems like there are just so many of them. Mantel drops us in without much explaining, which probably allows her to do some really cool things with her story, but it left me, who has never studied Henry VIII in any detail, feeling lost and disoriented. Her writing style doesn't help, either; it's not bad, but it's not engaging, eloquent, convincing, clever, mysterious/creepy, beautiful, or anything else I tend to like in writing styles; and in fact it seemed to me at times needlessly confusing. Add in the fact that I usually dislike Booker prizewinners, and I decided that this book wasn't doing much for me and would probably continue that way. I wanted to like it, and there were a few times where I felt interested, but she wasn't able to keep it up. As it is, I am still curious about the book because there is so much buzz and I do think it's a fascinating story to tell, but at the moment I think I'd be better served by reading the history, watching some movies/series, and maybe coming back to it after, if the curiosity lingers.
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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. 



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text 2015-11-07 14:00
#BookadayUK - Day 7
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Brontë,Margaret Smith
North and South - Elizabeth Gaskell
Bleak House - Charles Dickens,Norman Page,J. Hillis Miller
Pride and Prejudice - Ian Littlewood,Hugh Thomson,Jane Austen
Wolf Hall - Hilary Mantel



Oh good Lord, where to start? I mean I'm English, so I grew up with the BBC and their fantastic adaptations of well-loved children's books, and the heavyweights of English literature. 


The most recent production that had me captivated from start to finish was Wolf Hall. I thought it would be impossible to capture the brilliance of Hilary Mantel's words, but damn, this came close. 



And here are a few more of my favourites.


I'm pretty certain the BBC has filmed just about every one of Dickens' novels, but the standout one for me is the 2004 adaptation of Bleak House. Gillian Anderson and Anna Maxwell Martin were amazing. 


Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre is a long-time favourite and there have been a number of TV versions, but I'm picking the 1983 version with Zelah Clarke as Jane, and Timothy Dalton as Mr Rochester. 


I love Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South, which is made even better with Richard Armitage in the lead role. 


And then of course there is the BBC's Pride and Prejudice from 1995* starring Jennifer Ehle and a rather damp Colin Firth. Even I quite enjoyed this, and you all know I'm not Ms Austen's biggest fan. 



* Thank you SusannahG for noticing I'd got the wrong date here. And you're right. The 1983 version was pretty good too. 

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