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review 2016-03-24 08:03
Nelson Mandela's Favorite African Folktales
Nelson Mandela's Favorite African Folktales - Desmond Tutu,Nelson Mandela,Alan Rickman,Whoopi Goldberg

I can't recommend this one highly enough - I enjoyed almost every single bit of it.  Everyone did a great job with narration, and the stories were all good, and some of them excellent.


My hands down favourite was King Lion's Gifts narrated by Ricardo Chavira.  Honourable mention goes to The Mother that Turned to Dust narrated by Helen Mirren; it is a timely, sad and excellent story, but it ran a bit long and thus lost a bit of its impact.  The Guardian of the Pool wasn't special story-wise, but Gillian Anderson's voice was mesmerising.


The music was a great complement and when stories required a native tongue, a native speaker lent their voice, and it was perfect.  My copy of the audiobook had rather abrupt transitions between stories, but that's not news with a lot of audio editions.


If you like folktales, this one is definitely worth a listen.

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review 2016-02-03 19:36
The Return of the Native
The Return of the Native - Thomas Hardy, Alan Rickman

"What depressed you?"



This sums up every Thomas Hardy novel I have ever read.


However, and this may shock and surprise you, ... I really liked this one. In contrast to Tess or Far from the Madding Crowd, I did not get exasperated with the characters, did not want to slap them or root for the sheep to turn into man-eating overlords - even though I still think that this would have made a better plot than what Far from the Madding Crowd had to offer. 


The Return of the Native was quite different - it also had a woman at the centre of the story but the people around her were much more interesting characters, more likable, and some with a great sense of humor, or was it Hardy showing us his own sense of fun?


Anyway, I loved Eustacia Vye.


"Eustacia Vye was the raw material of a divinity. On Olympus she would have done well with a little preparation. She had the passions and instincts which make a model goddess, that is, those which make not quite a model woman."

She had gumption and ambition, even though both made her ostracize herself from the community around her. And being different or an outcast from the community is never a good thing in a Hardy novel.


"An environment which would have made a contented woman a poet, a suffering woman a devotee, a pious woman a psalmist, even a giddy woman thoughtful, made a rebellious woman saturnine."

The themes that Hardy addresses in this book are similar to the ones in the Tess and Madding Crowd. I.e. the isolation of individuals who are or want to be different from the crowd (or "flock" in the case of Madding Crowd), the consequences of breaking with social norms, the superstitions that prevent social progress, etc. are all present in The Return of the Native but it is in this book that I found Hardy did not come across as delivering his criticism as a lecture. His use of humor and his patience in drawing up well-rounded, complex characters really helped make me want to invest time in the book.

Of course, having the book narrated by Alan Rickman helped, too, but given my previous experience with Hardy, I was surprised that I did not only enjoy the book but that I actually wanted to find out what happened to the characters.


Who knows, I might now even add Jude the Obscure to the TBR.

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text 2016-01-20 20:45
The Return of the Native - Thomas Hardy, Alan Rickman

"Strange notions, has he?" said the old man. "Ah, there's too much of that sending to school in these days! It only does harm. Every gatepost and barn's door you come to is sure to have some bad word or other chalked upon it by the young rascals: a woman can hardly pass for shame some times. If they'd never been taught how to write they wouldn't have been able to scribble such villainy. Their fathers couldn't do it, and the country was all the better for it."

Thomas Hardy - The Return of the Native

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text 2016-01-17 23:51
Remembering Alan Rickman
Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass - Lewis Carroll
The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood - Howard Pyle
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling,Mary GrandPré
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer - Patrick Süskind ,John E. Woods

One of the greatest actors of our time passed away this week. He was only 69, but cancer doesn't know age, fortune or fairness. And it surely doesn't care about genius. But since I can't change a damned thing about Alan Rickman's passing, except for being more grateful for my "survivors" who are still with me, I decided to pay this brilliant man my respects in the most lasting way I know of. With books. 


Because, sure, he starred in some pretty damn awesome movies. I will never forget Dr. Lazarus in Galaxy Quest - "By Grabthar's hammer, by the suns of Warvan, you shall be avenged!". He was sweet in Love Actually, broke my heart in Snow Cake, slayed me in Sweeney Todd - which was a wonderful Tim Burton adaption of the musical. And he was absolutely on fire as the genderless (maybe) voice of God, Metatron, in Dogma. I LOVED him to death!



Same goes for Phil Allen in Blow Dry. That was HIS movie  - nobody cared about Heidi Klum at any point in time. Plus, the foot tatoo inspired some people in my life in a way you wouldn't believe. Really, you wouldn't. 





But even more remarkable were his roles in filmizations of really great books. Starting with a classic. Granted, I'm not a fan of Jane Austen, but Alan Rickman was great as Colonel Christopher Brandon in Sense and Sensibiltity. 


And do you remeber the great voices he did in some movies? Marvin the Paranoid Android in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy? Awesome! And Absolem! I adored Absolem, and Alan Rickman was the perfect voice for him in the latest Alice in Wonderland! And I can't put in words how much I'm looking forward to Alice through the Looking Glass this year.


And let's not forget him as one of the best known villains of all time, yes? As George, Sheriff of Nottingham, in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. I love the tales and ballads of Robin Hood - always have, always will. And Alan Rickman made one formidable Sheriff. He also nailed his performance as Antoine Richis, father of one of Grenuilles obsessions in Perfume: The Story of a Murderer. His pain was my pain in the end - despite me not liking the movie.


I could go on and on like that. 


But of course there is one role that fit him like a second skin. The one role he filled like nobody else ever could. The one that changed my perception of a "villain/hero" in the story from this: 



to this: 




Alan Rickman managed something that only happened once or twice in my life as an avid reader so far. He REPLACED the character of Professor Snape I imagined in my mind while I'd been reading (and re-reading) the Harry Potter books for years - after only watching the first movie. Once.


Alan Rickman became the face of "my" Severus Snape in my own mind. That never happened to me before - not to that extent. I'm not sure if it was because he was perfect for the character, or the character was perfect for him, but either way, he was the most amazing actor in these movies. I grew up with this man as an idol, loved him to pieces as  an actor AND as Severus Snape and I not only had tears in my eyes when his character died, but again when he left the real world behind. So while I'm not mourning an man I knew personally, I still mourn one of the greatest talents that - directly or indirectly - has been an influence on my life for many years. 


And when somebody asks me in twenty years if Alan Rickman is still one of my most favorite actors, and if I still think of him when I think of Harry Potter - after all this time? 


I'll answer: 



Source: seveninchesofyourtime.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/rickman10.png
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photo 2016-01-17 23:27
“Here’s to the best damned antagonist a guy could ask for.”

No more words needed.

Source: www.newyorker.com/cartoons/daily-cartoon/bonus-daily-cartoon-remembering-alan-rickman
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