My Top Ten Favourite Movies Based on Books

lord-of-the-rings

I contemplated using this week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme about movies to just talk about movies that weren’t book-related, but then I realised that a sizeable chunk of my favourite movies consists of book adaptations anyway. These aren’t necessarily the best book-to-film adaptations I’ve ever seen, but they’re the ones I love re-watching. Continue reading

Top Ten Books Recently Added To My TBR List

My TBR lists are sometimes the places where good books go to die. I add books to my lists full of hope and excitement, and inevitably find that three years later, they’re still sitting in the same place, gathering metaphorical dust, having magically lost their appeal. Maybe this week’s Top Ten Tuesday will shame me into finally attacking that looming TBR pile. But somehow I doubt it. Continue reading

School’s Out Forever: On The Feeling of Finishing Your Last-Ever University Class

I didn’t actually realise what a momentous day it was. It was a dreary Friday, there was rain on the way, and I’d gotten up at six am to do a few hours of reading for those increasingly worrying essays whose deadlines had begun to loom with disturbing menace.

Red-eyed, yawning, and shivering from the cold, I’d made my way to campus and dragged my sleep-deprived body up countless flights of stairs to reach a small, stuffy little classroom in a back building. I pulled out pen and notepad, as I always do (I’m endearingly old-fashioned in this respect, until essay-writing season comes round, and I begin spewing out incredibly unladylike volleys of swear words as I search desperately for a three-word summary of Mikhail Bakhtin’s theories that I scribbled in an almost-illegible hand ten weeks before). Continue reading

Hello, Fellow Hypocrites! Tartuffe (1664), by Molière

tartuffeThis book is #31 on my Classics Club list. There’s also some spoilers below.

Molière was a French actor and playwright who was popular with the French aristocracy. At the time he was considered a comedic genius, presumably because he had impeccable timing. You can tell because he died after collapsing onstage during a performance of a play entitled The Imaginary Invalid, in which he played a hypochondriac. You can’t make this kind of stuff up, people.

Tartuffe is one of Molière’s best-known plays. It’s basically about a brilliant and witty housemaid called Dorine who works for a family of absolute nitwits. Or at least it would be, if I had my way. In actual fact, Dorine, while being the only character in the play I didn’t actively fantasise about drowning, is not the main character in this particular story. Instead, that honour perhaps goes to Tartuffe, although the man doesn’t actually make all that many appearances onstage. Continue reading

“Put Up Thy Sword!”: Why I Love the 1996 Romeo + Juliet

romeo-juliet-beach

This week’s Classic Remarks prompt was a difficult one to write. The theme was adaptations of classic books, and of course I spent most of this week cycling through my favourite films, desperately trying to figure out which one I love the most. Of course one of the first things that leapt to mind was Jane Austen, but since I’ve spent a lot of time banging on about Austen adaptations already, I thought I’d branch out and discuss something different (I know, I’m also surprised I managed to supress my natural love of obsessing over Austen). Naturally, my mind leapt to a director who’s had a controversial relationship with the few classic novels he’s adapted. Continue reading

Top Ten Recommended Reads

Reading preferences are an extremely personal thing. And while a lot of us are pretty sure we know what we like, sometimes a book recommendation can take you utterly by surprise. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is all about books that you never would have read if someone (or even something) hadn’t recommended them to you. I’m going to count not just personal recommendations from family and friends here, but also recommendations from other authors, TV, and of course the good old internet (because I spend way too much of my time browsing through Goodreads these days).  Continue reading

Top Ten Memorable Villains

narnia-white-witch

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is brought to you courtesy of BiffCo, International Genetics Incorporated, and SPECTRE. We also tried to get Virtucon Industries to give us a mention in their next ransom demand, but their fee was a little pricey: ONE MILLION DOLLARS.

Top Ten Memorable Villains

Books

1. Rebecca and Mrs Danvers, from Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier – In Du Maurier’s creepy Gothic novel, Rebecca is the faceless deceased wife of the hero, Max de Winter. Although she never appears in the novel (or the film) she’s creepy because she feels so present, despite having died years before. Continue reading

Adapting Austen: A Roundup of My Favourite Austen Adaptations

sense-and-sensibility-rain

I’m a sucker for a good Jane Austen adaptation. In fact, I think I’ve seen just about every one in existence, apart from those awkward 1970s BBC ones that are about as exciting as cohabitation with Mr Collins. So, naturally, this week’s Classic Remarks topic is right down my alley. But since I’ve been watching Austen adaptations since I was about thirteen, it’s kind of tough to pick my favourite. So, instead, I’ve decided to group my selections to cover all the bases you might use for evaluating an Austen adaptation. Continue reading

The One With the Big Hooter: Cyrano de Bergerac (1897), by Edmond Rostand

cyrano-de-bergeracThis book is #18 on my Classics Club list.

‘Tis well known, a big nose is indicative
Of a soul affable, and kind, and courteous,
Liberal, brave, just like myself, and such
As you can never dare to dream yourself,
Rascal contemptible!*

(Scene I: Act 4)

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a French musketeer with an enormous nose.

And no, I’m not making this up. The hero of Edmond Rostand’s 1897 play, Cyrano de Bergerac, is a brilliant fighter, poet, and wit.

Oh – and he is also well-known for having an absolutely enormous nose. Continue reading