Sunday, 23 March 2014

Sunday Summary {Note to self: save at two-minute intervals...}

This week, I have mostly been:

Finishing | Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs*

* Is this his real name?? Now, that's peculiar.

OK, OK, I admit, I did actually enjoy the book on the most surface of levels. It was an easy read, the story unfolded at a good pace, and there were enough peculiar children to keep me interested. Plus, the photos of the peculiar children and their guardians provided an interesting interposition.


However, there could have been more exploration of the peculiarity among the children. More crucially, the author (and his editor) could actually have spent a little more time appreciating how English children trapped in the 1940s might have spoken rather than transposing Americanisms into their dialogue. Case in point: one of the children says "gotten". No English child says "gotten" even today -- oh, except maybe in the context of "ill-gotten gains" but that's a very spurious example...

And, in the case of a final letter sent from (the English child) Emma to the protagonist Jacob's grandfather Abe, "honorable" is not the way we English spell "honourable". A little more care in editing might have been taken. Harrumph.

Still. It was a good yarn, and I recommend it.

I'm still ploughing merrily on with Caitlin Moran and learning How to Be a Woman. Her sister Caz sounds like a riot. And CM's diatribe on wearing heels? Yes. I'm with you. Flats and tap shoes all the way, baby.

Scouring | the book archives

On Thursday my work colleague (and former MoonWalk buddy) Charlotte and I took the train up to sunny Wellingborough to scour the company book archives for some forgotten gems to revitalise.

As you may have gleaned from my eyegasm-fest on Pinterest especially last week, I've become a little obsessed with vintage children's books and vintage Blyton editions.

The archives we visited are stacked with a century at least of the company's publishing history (by way of several amalgamations, dissipations and takeovers...!), and the hours Charlotte and I spent there were not nearly enough!

Forgive my ropey photography:

{That trippy cover! Love it.} 

Watching | The Book Thief

So, this was my Saturday night at the movies...

{We were early into the cinema. Honest... And it's a small local cinema.}

I read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak last year in the throes of working my way through a cannon of excellent WWII-centred literature (Sarah's Key, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Rose Under Fire) and was enamoured of it instantly.

The central protagonist, Liesel, felt like a real little girl (albeit one cheating Death at every crossroads), and her relationship with her adoptive father Hans was beautiful to behold.

So, needless to say, I had great expectations of the film especially as Zusak himself had posted excitedly on FB on its progress for the last few months, and generally approving of the film adaptation at many stages, especially the casting. Highest praise, I think.

And, I loved the film.

Maybe it was a little slow and quiet in places, but then so was the book. But when the residents of 'Heaven Street' were hiding in the air raid shelter, and the very cinema we were in shook with the SFX, the fear -- dissipated only by Hans Hubermann's accordion-playing and later, Liesel's brave storytelling -- was palpable.

The performances were, as Zusak would also testify, just excellent. Sophie Nelisse is a profound actor and perfect as Liesel (she reminded me a little of My Girl-era Anna Chlumsky), and she matured believably as the film unfolded. She was light and shade, and the depiction of her relationship with Hans, and also the family's hidden visitor, Max, was just... well, I was frantically tearing into my tissue stash and snivelling audibly by the end of the film, let's put it that way. (Apologies to my friend Julie who was sitting gamely next to me!).

Geoffrey Rush is a huge and endearing presence as Hans, from the moment he coaxes young Liesel out of the car when she first arrives, then teaches her to read slowly but surely; and Emily Watson surprised me as Rosa -- I'll avoid too many spoilers but the scene where she visits Liesel at school had me weeping into my popcorn second bag of Mini Eggs as well.

The only tiny niggle I have comes with a very late scene between Liesel and her closest friend, Rudy -- again, no spoilers here but their last scene together bordered on slightly hurried kitsch. But it's a tiny niggle, truly.

And one scene topped them all -- Liesel entering the impressive library at the home of Burgermeister Hermann and her eyes widening at the sight of all those books. Oh. Yes. Books will have that effect on folk.

Writing again | like, with a pen, on paper

Because I needed to get me some writing done -- I've been neglecting my novel and my 30-minutes-a-day sprints. WAIL! Plus, I like my handwriting.

...Is that a bit vain?

{Witness: #wrelfie = writing selfie. There ya go.}

And now... drum roll please... this week's Interweb haul! You are welcome.*

* Actually, I have my workmates to thank for the first and last of these. (Thanks, Clare and Evie!) I've been too busy ogling vintage Blytons slack on this front this week so I'm afraid it's a small haul.

# Classic paintings meet Google Street View

# 8 People You Follow on Twitter but Shouldn't (I'm sharing this largely because this Spike/Buffy gif (under number 7) made me snort out loud)

# #swimmerproblems

{"If you're a female swimmer, not being able to shave for months on end." TRUE DAT.}
Also, this (Richard Herring can sympathise):

{Crowded lanes. THE HORROR.}

And finally, for those Book Thieves Hoarders among you, kindly covet this:

# Bibliochaise: A chair that can store 300 books

Right, I'm off to try to replicate this piece of salad artistry:

{via Salad Pride}

Laterz, 'taterz.

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