Just a short update this week. I was out late for a wonderfully nerdy reason: marching band! My nephew plays mellophone in his high school’s marching band, and the state finals were last night. I made it there with fifteen minutes to spare before his school performed (no thanks to suburban parking) and shivered through the last four bands of the night. When the final results were announced, his school finished their season with one of their highest rankings ever! They finished second in the state by a whole .1 of a point. Hooray!
Upon arriving home, however, I discovered that Mina had knocked a handmade ornament off a shelf. A book club friend made one ornament for each of us before she moved away. It was a painted glass ball filled with tiny green and blue glass beads. Mina did not hurt herself and I found all the shards before I took my shoes off. I’m glad for that, but alas for the poor ornament!
What I Finished Reading Last Week:
I know what you’re thinking. “You finished TWO five star books in one week? What madness is this?!” But yes, I rated both The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Hollow Hills five stars on Goodreads, which doesn’t happen often. There is a reason I reread these, though, and it’s because they’re so good. The Picture of Dorian Gray deals with topics such as art, culture, morality/immorality, the hypocrisy of Victorian English nobility, and the fallacy of a beautiful face indicating a good and virtuous character. The Hollow Hills is the second in Mary Stewart’s Arthurian Saga, and deals with Arthur’s birth, childhood, and eventual ascent to the throne– all from Merlin’s perspective. It’s a toss-up as to whether I like the first book, The Crystal Cave, or The Hollow Hills more. Both have their highlights and drawbacks, so I suppose it is an argument I will always have with myself.
What I’m Currently Reading:
It’s been a long time since I’d read Dracula, and I’m seeing more of the subtext than I did before. It’s also more suspenseful than I’d remembered, even though I have read it a few times before and I already know what’s going to happen.
I’m not very far into Gideon the Ninth, but I’m already over the writing style, which reads as though Tamsyn Muir very much wants the reader to be aware that she published this book in 2019. It’s heavy on the snark and the dialogue reads like something out of a summer blockbuster. It hasn’t completely annoyed me, though, so I will soldier on and see if I start to either like the writing more or if I just mind it less.
What I Plan to Start Reading This Week:
- Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
I’m not going to try to start Villette this week. I didn’t have as much time to read as I thought I would, and I don’t want to pressure myself to start too many books before the end of the month. Frankenstein is relatively short so I shouldn’t have a problem completing it before the month is out.
What I Watched Last Week:
National Theatre Live: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Director Nicholas Hytner turned a major plot point of this Shakespearean comedy on its head by swapping Titania and Oberon’s lines. Instead of Oberon ordering Puck to drug Titania with the nectar of a magic flower to teach her a lesson, now Titania orders Puck to drug Oberon with the magic flower. What follows is a study in the profound and ridiculous nature of human love. Gwendoline Christie is a delight as Titania, and Oliver Chris is a wonderful Oberon who learns to stop being so uptight and take joy in the world by the play’s end. David Moorst’s Puck is as charming and as treacherous as you would expect a faerie to be and is a wonderful counter to Oberon’s troop of faeries, who are played by trapeze artists. I’ve seen gender-bent versions of Shakespeare done well (Julie Taymor’s version of The Tempest starring Helen Mirren as Prospera), and I’ve seen it done terribly (a local theater’s production, also of The Tempest, where it felt less like a deliberate play on gender and more like too few people showed up to audition and they cast whoever happened to walk by). Hytner’s reversal of the roles worked perfectly and made the play even funnier than it would have been otherwise.
I only watched one part of the first episode of The Living and the Dead, starring Colin Morgan and Charlotte Spencer. I had forgotten how unsettling certain parts of that episode really are. I don’t know how far I will get through the rest of the episodes, as I have a lot to do this week, and watching television is not on the agenda.