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text 2019-10-20 17:01
Reading progress update: DNF on page 18 out of 224 pages.
The Magic Toyshop - Angela Carter

The book starts of with 15-year-old Melanie, who is looking at herself in the mirror, naked, striking poses, all the while she is dreaming of loosing her virginity. Closely followed by her going into her parents bedroom, imagining how her parents are having sex in said room.

 

I´m sorry, Angela Carter clearly isn´t an author for me. As with The Bloody Chamber, I cannot stand that everything is revolving around sex in some form or shape and since I´m not a big fan of coming of age stories to begin with, I´m even more annoyed by the sexual awaking of a 15-year-old girl.   

 

 

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text 2019-08-13 09:37
Pre-party Part 1
Everlost - Neal Shusterman
The Graveyard Book - Dave Mckean (Illustrator),Neil Gaiman
Nights at the Circus - Angela Carter
His Majesty's Dragon - Naomi Novik
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil - John Berendt
Murder on the Orient Express - Agatha Christie
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd - Agatha Christie
The Crucible - Arthur Miller,Christopher Bigsby
The Haunting of Hill House - Shirley Jackson,Laura Miller
Joyland - Stephen King

Joining the Halloween Bing pre-party a bit on the late side, but having a blast with all the traffic on my feed. Now, let's see:

 

Mystery or Horror?: Horror all the way

Vampires, Werewolves, Zombies or Other?: I'm partial to Witches, though the hodgepodges where everything simmers on the same pot are mighty fun.

Favourite Ghostly Tales:

The Everlost Series by Neal Shusterman and The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. They are all written for that nebulous gap between children books and adult, and they are the that perfect balance of cruel and kind that often becomes emotional.

 

Favourites from Halloween Bingos Past:

 

Lol! This might get long.

 

It took me 1 page to realize I had a new favourite author with Nights at the Circus, by Angela Carter. Naomi Novik's His Majesty's Dragon (Temeraire #1) amply jumped my expectation's bar. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt surprised me by how engrossed I got into a book where there is not exactly something like a plot.

 

The year before last, I was happy to find that Murder on the Orient Express and The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie are as good as promised. And horrified by how excellent and still current The Crucible by Arthur Miller is. I was also surprised by The Haunting of Hill House, after what I felt was a lackluster experience with Shirley Jackson's We've Always Lived in the Castle, and so very glad that I took the game's reviews to heart. Joyland by Stephen King ended up being a campy and perfectly nostalgic read. I also read The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin, that while polarizing, is still my favourite of hers (well, maybe fighting for top with Four Ways to Forgiveness)

 

Favourite Series with Supernatural Elements:

 

Kate Daniels by Ilona Andrews. Takes a couple of books to find some polish, but they are immensely entertaining. On a darker bent, I quite liked the Darkfever Series by Karen Marie Moning, but they are more of a problematic-elements guilty pleasure.

 

Favourite Seasonal Covers:

 

Favourite Halloween Bingo Authors:

 

Since I always end up picking at least one more book, Stephen King. If I search for number of entries during the game, John Wyndham and Agatha Christie too. And Illona Andrews, because I'm always up for a re-read.

 

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review 2019-07-14 16:29
Book Club Read for July
Wise Children - Angela Carter
There is something wonderful about an Angela Carter novel. A certain charm. A feeling of a warm blanket that you pull over yourself and then the cat jumps on it and sticks her claws into your leg.

That sort of feeling.

Wise Children is Carter’s last novel and is a love song and dance to the theater and Shakespeare.

Many of the plot devices that Carter uses are adapted from Shakespeare, for instance the constant use of twins. There are so many twins (or are there?) in this novel.

For you must remember Puck from Dream. In part, the novel does have a dream like quality. As Dora and Nora move throughout their lives, chronicling the change in taste in stage and the rise of Hollywood and the game show, they also chronicle the changes in British society as the family develops, shifts, and changes.

What really compels the book is Dora’s voice. Carter’s narrative use of the voice propels both the book and the reader forward. She is totally unedited and unrepentant. She is a bawd. She is a Moll Flanders. She is a woman Shakespeare could have created.

On my older review of this book (below), I wondered why it hadn’t been made into a movie. Well, it still hasn’t been made into a movie, but there is a stage version.

Actually, I really want to see Glenda Jackson do this book. She would be wonderful.

There are so many layers to this novel. Immigrant, class, war, peace, and above all the conceits of acting, Shakespeare, and the theatre.





OLDER REVIEW
The first book I ever read by Angela Carter was The Bloody Chamber, which I read because Ellen Datlow &Terri Windling listed it as one of the most read fairy tale based books. (As an aside, I discovered a great many writers and books much sooner than I would've thanks to D&W. Thanks ladies, from the bottom of my heart).

While I love Chamber in particular the title story, I now think that my favorite Carter work is this book.

What really makes this book is the narrator Dora Chance. A crusty, at times foul mouthed, old dame, she is one of those characters who could quite easily step off the page. (And why this book hasn't been made into a movie, I don't know. Dame Judi Dench could be the twins in their later in life years). It truly does feel that Dora is right next to you, in one of those smoky English pubs that no longer really exists because of the smoking ban, have a gin with you, telling you the whole sordid, messy, humorous story.

Dora and her twin sister, Nora, are the illegitimate daughter of an acting scion. They are never, truly acknowledged by their father, but by their uncle Perry and, strangely, their father's wife, 'Wheelchair' aka Lady A. What Dora unfolds for the reader is the family story, worthy of any soapy soap opera. She does so in a unapolgetic, unrepenent tone. This was the way it was, if you don't like it; hoof it style of speaking.


It has wonderful lines like, "Saskia . . . unique amongst mammals, a cold-blooded cow" or "Comedy is tragedy that happens to other people". And I now do wonder about Mrs. Lear.

There is much of Ellen Terry and her crowd in the characters, much of the bardioloatry that took hold of the world. Carter mocks all of this, gently.

A wonderful funny book.
 
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review 2019-04-19 00:00
Nights At The Circus
Nights At The Circus - Angela Carter I loved the mythological allusions and symbolism in this. The text is rife with them, and implements them in ways that are both beautiful and at times hilariously witty. I really liked the theme of female strength and resilience, basically a showcase for all the different kinds of "girl power." Very cool. The plot was well-paced and the narrative really flowed. I loved the different perspectives we get to see. This was a wild ride from start to finish!
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review 2019-01-25 22:53
Final Thoughts: The Bloody Chamber
The Bloody Chamber: And Other Stories - Angela Carter,Kelly Link

"You never saw such a wild thing as my mother, her hat seized by the winds and blown out to sea so that her hair was her white mane, her black lisle legs exposed to the thigh, her skirts tucked round her waist, one hand on the reins of the rearing horse while the other clasped my father's service revolver and, behind her, the breakers of the savage, indifferent sea, like the witnesses of a furious justice."

 

I hadn't read this collection since my college days, and it was an absolute treat to come back to it now, without the baggage of having to write a paper or exam on it. And yet, I still found myself studying it carefully at times, because it's a work that demands to be dissected. The individual stories reference one another in surprising ways compel the reader to go back to previous tales in order to fully unearth the connection. The intricately worded sentences force us to slow down in order to fully unlock their meaning. And, of course, there are the source materials crowding around the edges of Carter's own re-imaginings.

 

For me, the standouts in the collection are the title piece (from which the above quote is taken), The Erl-King, and The Lady of the House of Love.

 

I picked this copy up recently, a beautifully printed 75th anniversary edition whose pages have a lovely thick texture and almost rough edges that give it the feel of a manuscript.

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