Showing posts from January, 2016

So the Challenge begins...The Woman in White. #2016ClassicsChallenge (January)

I've read a few articles recently whereby people are supposed to feel guilty because they haven't read a book which is considered a classic. As far as I'm concerned, so long as you're reading something and using your mind and imagination, I don't think it matters whether the book is a classic or not. Whilst on that note, what makes a classic a classic? Who defines what a classic is, and are they correct when they put a book on "the list?" There are far too many books out there for us to read them all. So my advice is not to worry about whether you have read all the books on the "books you should have read list", read the ones that a friend has read and recommended to you if you think it sounds good, or one that appeals to you for whatever reason, even if it's only because you like the could surprise yourself! Many of the books that appeal to me are often considered classics, so with this in mind I'm taking part in this years

The Danish Girl (The Battle of Lili Elbe)

I knew nothing about the story of The Danish Girl, but when I was asked if I fancied seeing it I said yes without any thought. It was a chance to get out of the house and speak to a human being on the way to and from the cinema! I used to hate going into the office on a daily basis because I knew I would have to paint a smile on my face and interact with a number of individuals who I found vacuous and irritating! Now I am on a sabbatical from the corporate world, I notice that I don't miss the irritation of being polite to what amounted to two-faced non-entities often declaring "woe is me," but I do sometimes get a little bored talking to the wall each day! I guess this is where Twitter and social media gives you a lifeline to the world, however, many of the irritants that I found in the office I find on social media too, it is an outlet for people to declare publicly that they are feeling sorry for themselves! So the opportunity to speak to a person about fun things an

Pistols at Dawn - War and Peace continues

Things might seem quiet around here but I have spent the week surrounded by papier mache and watercolours. The papier mache can be ignored for's a long term project (each layer takes a while to dry) so I won't be showing what I've been up to for a while! The watercolours however I can show you! I haven't dabbled in paint for a number of years and for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to paint the three troublemakers in last night's episode of War and Peace. I think for a beginner they are OK, but hopefully with some practice I might get better! So seeing as I've started on the War and Peace theme, I may as well give my opinion on the third episode! Well I did as I suggested last time, I (figuratively) threw the book away! Within minutes I'd picked it back up again, because this time I was squealing with delight and needed to double check a couple of things which were said! The dueling scene came very close to what was in t

War and Peace (BBC Drama)

I'm conflicted. I'm in a quandary as to whether I love or hate the BBC's latest foray into War and Peace. I think my problem stems from the fact that the book took me by complete surprise. We've grown up hearing the phrase "it's not War and Peace you know!" It's a phrase that strikes horror into the mind of the potential reader; looking at that lumbering great tome brings thoughts of an onerous task ahead and it means that many people are unacquainted with the text. Yes it's a long book, but once you start reading it you get submerged into this world of love, betrayal, politics, war, even strategic military planning. It is a beautifully written book and one that took Tolstoy six years to write. He invested his time researching the history and politics that went into the book and left us with a wonderful legacy, a book that is both historically enlightening, merged with a love story showing the folly of the human heart. Sadly the BBC has chosen to i

What secrets lie in Venice? (The Venetian Contract by Marina Fiorato)

I saw The Venetian Contract in a second hand bookshop and only bought it because it was about Venice, my second favourite city in the world! My first trip to Venice was in 2007, it was a couple of days after my dad had died, and my brothers refused to allow me to sit and wallow in self-pity. I went in February, the time of the Carnevale and I was swept up in a world of mystery, costume and masked beauty. Obviously my mind kept wandering elsewhere, so a year later I went back, once again to take in the sights of the Carnevale, a must see wonder for anyone who loves costume and history. I have subsequently returned to Venice, not at Carnevale time, and the place still holds a special magic and place in my heart. This book is set in 1576 and tells the story of a Turkish stowaway who arrives in Venice. With her arrival, the Turkish ship also sets down an unpleasant gift to the city, the bubonic plague. In order to treat the city, the Doge of Venice commissions the architect Andrea Pall

Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami.

I love Murakami, his novels have this sense of impending danger, it's as though you are pulled into the pages of a nightmare which actually feels it could be plausible at the start. Obviously the stories are not real, but he takes everyday scenario's and turns them into an evil nightmarish situation . In this one we start off in a lift. Is it going up, is it going down, is it moving, will the doors ever open? Over the festive period I have been thinking of finishing off a couple of pieces of artwork. One is a series of photographs of coloured paperclips to turn into fabric to make scarves with, the second is a Venetian mask. (I bought three blank masks in 2007 and finally started decorating them this summer. I have done a cat inspired by Gustav Klimt and a dark burgundy feathery number, this final one is to be all white, with feathers and a unicorn skull.)  So in a mind-boggling moment I picked a book at random from my bookcase and started reading. Then I became slightl