Thursday, January 1, 2009

Book Buying, DVD Buying, Joan Jett, Miss Charity

Best Wishes for 2009 !

I've decided that my only resolution this year is to be happy. So there. I have lots of things to talk about which makes me think that it might not have been such a good idea not to write for a few days.
Let's go for what I'm watching : I gave up on Pushing Daisies. I was astonished and disappointed to see that it was not even close to be as good as Dead Like Me or Wonderfalls. What happened to Bryan ? It seems to me like it's all fluff. Sure, it's incredibly cute and swoon worthy but it felt so shallow. I gave it a try, I watched the first season and 10 episodes of the second season. Very disappointed, I so wanted to love this show, the casting's good, too, and it's quotable but it doesn't have much meat to it. Right now I'm focusing on discovering Deadwood. I know it's completely different and that was the point. I'll report back later on how I'm doing.
Now for what I'm listening to : what I love the most is discover some new (to me) artists, and I was so lucky to stumble upon Joan Jett by accident. I've listened to many of her albums these past few days and I loved them all. It doesn't sound like hard rock to me at all, it's not just noise and a few words, her music is wonderful and she's done some amazing things beside I Love Rock'n'Roll, I Hate Myself for Loving You and Bad Reputation. Can't believe I wasn't introduced to her sooner.

Now to the books. I don't believe I've ever read something as boring as The Bread and Butter Stories by Mary Norton. Never, ever judge a book by its cover. Here's my other resolution for 2009.
However, the read before that one was spectacular. Miss Charity by Marie-Aude Murail was one of my favourite books of 2008 (and it was released last year, too). It is loosely based on the life of Beatrix Potter (note to myself : read Beatrix Potter and about her). Charity Tiddler is a 9-year-old girl when the book starts, she lives in Victorian England and is obsessed with animals. The book is 600 pages long and beautifully illustrated by Philippe Dumas. It was a glorious read, a world I wish I could never leave, it was incredible : very dark sometimes (her governess almost dies when she is fired and ends up in an appalling boarding school) but so uplifting (Charity absolutely wants to work and keep her independence, she doesn't marry conventionally, she marries an actor out of love), and so funny too, endlessly quotable. Oscar Wilde and Bernard Shaw make appearances as characters in the book and I now want to read their work. I find it surprising that it should be labelled as a children's book when the author makes so many references only an adult can understand, for example, one of the characters - a lawyer - is called Mr Tulkinghorn, a reference to Bleak House. At some point, Charity reads Pride and Prejudice and I found many hints to Carroll's Alice as well. A very rewarding book, I can't even begin to tell you how well I felt reading it. Felt like home.

I am now reading Sabriel by Garth Nix which I wanted to save for the new year. It's very very good so far.
Every year I set myself a reading challenge. Last year went well, I read 17 of the 21 books I had chosen. Here's this year's :


Theme : Fantasy and Science-Fiction
15 books belonging to these two genres, no matter who the authors are.

3 plays by William Shakespeare
3 novels or novellas by Henry James
3 novels by Marcel Proust

A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
The Mysteries of Udolpho - Ann Radcliffe
Dracula - Bram Stoker

Which leads me to my other point : I bought books. I absolutely didn't want to but the pound is just so low compared to the euro, this is such an opportunity. I now have 25 books in my TBR pile and it has officially got out of hand. I bought lots of fantasy and a few Viragos I've been meaning to read for the longest time :

Inkheart - Cornelia Funke
Mort - Terry Pratchett
American Gods - Neil Gaiman
The Earthsea Quartet - Ursula Le Guin
Stardust - Neil Gaiman
The Well of Loneliness - Radclyffe Hall
White Boots - Noel Streatfeild
Affinity - Sarah Waters
These Old Shades - Georgette Heyer
Beauty - Robin McKinley
Invitation to the Waltz - Rosamond Lehmann
Sorcery and Cecelia - Patricia Wrede
Anansi Boys - Neil Gaiman

... will soon be part of my library ! Also, I bought a hardcover copy of The Mitfords : Letters Between Six Sisters because it was the same price as the paperback and I can't resist cheap hardbacks. Needless to say, I can't wait for these to reach me. I hope I won't enjoy Sabriel so much that I'll feel the need to order the next two books in the Old Kingdom series right away ! I'm saying series and not trilogy because as you may know, Garth Nix plans on publishing two more books in the series, one in 2010, the other in 2011.

I wish it were over. I wish I could say that's all for now, post a pretty picture and move on. Unfortunately, my parents gave me some money for no reason so I also bought DVDs. These were pretty much the only DVDs that for me were left to buy : Lilies, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, Wonderfalls, Miss Austen Regrets and the special edition of Les Chansons d'Amour which includes the OST. I needed something more to have free shipping for Les Chansons d'Amour, so with my own money I bought two books, La Gloire de mon Père by Marcel Pagnol, whom I love and I've decided I want to collect his books, the covers by Sempé (well-known illustrator) are beautiful and I also bought the next book in A la Recherche du Temps Perdu, which so happens to be the fifth one, La Prisonnière. I'm slowly getting closer to the end, it's horrible. I'll soon run out of Proust to read and can't bear it.

I must tell you about this wonderful picspam for the first season of The West Wing. It made my day.


Leo: If we're going to walk into walls, I want us running into them at full speed. We're going to lose some of these battles, and we may lose the White House, but we're not going to be threatened by issues. We're going to bring 'em front and center. We're going to raise the level of public debate in this country and let that be our legacy.

I chose my last episode of the year carefully : it was Gilmore Girls' The Road Trip to Harvard. For some reason, I associate this episode to change : Lorelai wants something different from Max, Rory beholds her big future and gets a feel of what it's going to be like. It felt right to close 2008. Lorelai and Rory together, Emily teasing Lorelai, some shipping towards the end but not too much. And the Cheshire Cat which trigger some of the funniest lines of the show. I leave you with a cryptic one.

I sat and forever am at work here.

Context is the key. See you !