84, Charing Cross Road

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff84, Charing Cross Road (1970) is the documented real life twenty year correspondence between New York write Helene Hanff and London bookseller Frank Doel. It’s been some time since I’ve read the book, but I watched the film today so it brings me memories about the lovely epistolary memoirs. I think anyone who truly loves books should read it because Ms Hanff expresses so many views of why we love prose, poetry (like her, I’m a Donne and Blake girl), and beautifully bound books. The letters are a testament to the relationships that are born and thrive under mutual, ardent bibliophilia. It’s quite a short book, and quite satisfying in my opinion since I love letters almost as much as I love books.

The movie was made  in 1986 and stars Anne Bancroft as Helene, Anthony Hopkins as Frank, and features Judi Dench as Nora Doel. Bancroft did well here, and it was refreshing seeing Hopkins and Dench so young. I think it’s a fine adaptation that not long expresses the relationships from the book and more, but it features all the good things that come out of a period piece drama. There are so many nice moments of detail about the time including the rationing in post-war Britain and the student protests of the 1960s. A nice companion to the book with lovely historical visual detail.

Second Chances Challenge

Oh, hello there. My name is Athena, and I’m addicted to reading challenges.

Yes, here is yet another reading challenge. The Second Chances Challenge takes place October, November and December of 2007. The goal: “Read 3 books by authors that you have only read one other.”

Mah choices, let me show you them:

1. Specimen Days by Michael Cunningham

Read The Hours which I love.

2. Pale Fire by Vladmir Nabokov – Completed

Read Lolita which I really like.

3. This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Read The Great Gatsy which was fine enough for me to read more Fitzgerald. Also reading this for the “Something About Me Challenge”.

Booking Through Thursday: Best-Moustache Twirling

Who’s the worst fictional villain you can think of? As in, the one you hate the most, find the most evil, are happiest to see defeated? Not the cardboard, two-dimensional variety, but the most deliciously-written, most entertaining, best villain? Not necessarily the most “evil,” so much as the best-conceived on the part of the author…oh, you know what I mean! – BTT

Hard to say because I generally enjoy well written villains, and I don’t always read books where there is a clear cut villains. In recent memory, I think Watership Down‘s General Wormwort. I liked everyone in that book, and I found the villain equally as interesting. I really looked forward to how he would get is comeuppance.

Most children’s literature has great villains. Roald Dahl has always written nasty adults well. I remember reading the Narnia books and so pleased when the White Witch was defeated. Yes, even Harry Potter, because I think Dolores Umbridge is deliciously bad. She is a nasty piece of work. Another good book with a well constructed villain is Louis Sachar’s award winning Holes.

Weekend Gone By

Knitting: I got my Ravelry invite finally this past weekend which means I’ve been spending my merry time over there. If you’re on it, add me as I am “athenablue”. For knitting, I am still dismayed by the Swallowtail Shawl, but I cast on Shedir this week using Rowan Felted Tweed. I love the yarn. The yarn is quite dark, so I hope the cables show up well. I’m debating about cabling without a cable needle. I’ve lot both of my cable needles at the moment.

Books: Well, I’ve read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows this past weekend. I doubt I will make a blog post for long time. I started Beowulf last week, but have yet to delve more deeply. I also acquired the HP&DH audiobook as you see on the bottom. Chapter 33 is the only one I’ve reread so far.

Movies: Last thursday, I rewatched Roman Holiday with a couple of others who had not seen it. I don’t tend to rewatch movies often, but it was nice to do so. I laughed and found it wonderfully dated. I also watched Kitty Foyle during the weekend, the first new old movie I haven’t seen in a long time. Ginger Rogers was very good in it. She can dance and act it seems.

Fitness: So behind. Did yoga on saturday, intend to run again next month. Will start do pilates again.

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Now playing: Stephen Fry – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Disc 18 – Chapter 33
via FoxyTunes

Booking Through Thursday – Just Wild About Harry

  1. Okay, love him or loathe him, you’d have to live under a rock not to know that J.K. Rowling’s final Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, comes out on Saturday… Are you going to read it?
  2. If so, right away? Or just, you know, eventually, when you get around to it? Are you attending any of the midnight parties?
  3. If you’re not going to read it, why not?
  4. And, for the record… what do you think? Will Harry survive the series? What are you most looking forward to? – BTT

Yes, I am going to read it. I’m buying it at 9AM the morning of and getting offline as soon as the book is released midnight GMT. I do not want to spoiled for this.

I’ve been around for the last three release days, and I have never gone for a midnight release. I just go in the mornings. Living in a city with a big book chain store sort of guarantees the books. I considered preordering it because it was actually cheaper that way, but I’ll just go with my regular old way since I’m going to be busy that evening so I can’t be bothered to wait for the postman.

Oh goodness, I have a whole list of things I can not think of. I was actually going to do this for a separate post, but I may s well do so here.

Continue reading “Booking Through Thursday – Just Wild About Harry”

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Before I begin, Dewey has set up a Bookworms Blog Carnival. The first theme is Novels. I didn’t participate this month, but I may in subsequent ones.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

This is the longest review yet. There’ll be another HP post before Saturday and after this one which will sum up all the things.

Continue reading “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”

Julie of the Wolves

This novel by Jean Craighead George reminded me a lot of another Newbery Medal winner: Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell. Both young adult books feature young female protagonists forced to survive in the wild. Both books explore survival and the relationship between man and nature. I read this for the Book Awards Challenge; I chose it because I’ve seen the book cover for many years. The cover has left an impression, and I’ve always found wolves to be beautiful animals. I’d like to think that my daemon would be a steely, graceful wolf. Well, that’s what I would say to myself. One learns a lot about the life up in the Arctic circle, and the spritiual and practical lives that the Eskimo/Inuit have or had at least with the harsh climate.

There are often discussions about the traditional life and the new one. The book was published in 1972, ten years after Island of the Blue Dolphins and the same year as Watership Down by Richard Adams. I’m seeing the trend in all these books in regard to the relationship between man and nature, all discuss them to some degree and the essential human and animal values of survival in no matter any climate. They were published in a time when the environmental movement began to take the mainstream consciousness.  All of three of these books are also regarded as children’s books, but they hold universal messages about our links to the environment.

Julie of the Wolves is the first of a trilogy which I will finish. I did like this book, and the ending left me wanting. I usually finish the series that I start in any case.

Something About Me Reading Challenge – Reading List

This is my tentative reading list for the Something About Me Reading Challenge. I’m unsure if I can read all these, but a lot of the books I’ve wanted to read for awhile. I’ve also read a lot of the books mentioned so far, so I’ll definitely be interested in discussions about them.

Ellen’s List
The Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Chris’s List
The Seven Daughters of Eve by Bryan Sykes
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

raidergirl3’s list
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

Tiny Little Library’s List
Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

The bookworm’s List
The Poinsonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb

Also, I recently finished Diary of Anne Frank which this read along encouraged as it was on the original list above.

Booking Through Thursday – Celluloid

1. In your opinion, what is the best translation of a book to a movie?
2. The worst?
3. Had you read the book before seeing the movie, and did that make a difference? (Personally, all other things being equal, I usually prefer whichever I was introduced to first.) – BTT

Well, a couple of my favourite movies are the 2003 Peter Pan and The Princess Bride. Both with books I adore and films that one can see over and over again. I think a lot of book to movie translations are decent. The Hours is another well done film adaptation.

I probably do know some bad adaptations because I watch a lot of movies and read a lot of books. I purposefully seek it out some times. Most of the time, the adaptations just turn out as simply as boring movies because the translation has been hard to capture.

In general, I tend to read the book before the movie. I try to any way. I read Trainspotting before seeing the movie, and it made the difference  I think because it made more sens. I remember how other people watching it didn’t seem to understand it (it’s trippy), but having read the book, it was less disorientating. I usually prefer the book to the movie because there are some things films don’t capture me the same way. There are some adaptations that I love just as much as the book.

Speaking of which, I should post that list of adaptations I have seen so far.