How I Became Less of a Grinch About Christmas

IMG_20151224_002447-1Now, I realise that this is not strictly a book-related post – hence my vague Dr Seuss reference. Consider this me branching out a little, one small step at a time.

I wanted to discuss something that I’ve discovered since I’ve been in the UK. Something I wasn’t quite expecting. It has to do with sleigh bells and turkey and Michael Bublé.

Yes, like the famous Dr Seuss character, I have found my heart growing two sizes (metaphorically, of course, or else I’d be having some far from jolly health complications) and embracing the spirit of Christmas. And I think it perhaps has quite a lot to do with setting, with the weather and general atmosphere of Edinburgh in early December.
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A Lit Major At The Movies: I Capture The Castle (2003)

I Capture the Castle film posterI Capture The Castle was never going to be an easy film to make. The book is written as the journal of a young girl in 1930s England. The plot is bog-standard, almost on the side of boring (handsome young men come into neighbourhood, pretty young women pursue handsome young men, pairing-up ensues). Considering that the true magic of the book lies in the youthful simplicity and honesty of Cassandra Mortmain’s voice, making a film version seems like a bit of a tricky endeavour.

All this considered, then, the 2003 movie actually does a decent job capturing the tone and style of the book. As you might expect, there are lots of shots of green English landscapes, with the Mortmain’s castle as a centrepiece. Visually, there are some very pretty moments as we explore the English countryside and the recesses of Cassandra’s imagination. Continue reading

I Didn’t Write This Sitting in the Kitchen Sink: I Capture The Castle (1949), by Dodie Smith

I Capture the CastleN.B. This review contains spoilers, so please capture a copy of Dodie Smith’s book before you begin. In return I promise to try and stop making weak jokes with the word ‘capture’ in them. 

I’d love to say that I wrote this review sitting in the kitchen sink. It might begin to express the complicated feelings I have for Dodie Smith’s beloved I Capture The Castle. It might even be a suitable homage to this lovely, quirky book. Sadly, as I’ve discovered, kitchen sinks are not comfortable places to sit, especially when you’re trying to balance a laptop on one knee and a cup of tea on the other.

Which is a shame, because the opening line of I Capture The Castle – “I write this sitting in the kitchen sink” – is a real winner. Continue reading