Yulia forver! I'm on team dumped Ice Dance.
I'm glad there was a good adaptation of Nero Wolfe somewhere in the world, Alba!
I thought of an obscure book that I have enjoyed often since I first read it, Agnes De Mille's Dance to the Piper.. De Mille was a major choreographer. Her works include Aaron Copland's Rodeo and the "Out of My Dreams" dance in the musical Oklahoma. She knew everyone in the dance world of the time, including Antony Tudor and Martha Graham. Her writing is vivid and informative--a great documentary of the world of ballet/modern dance of the middle of the twentieth century. She was also Cecil B. De Mille's niece, so she has some interesting insights into early Hollywood. I'm sorry this book isn't still in print, but maybe there are some copies in big libraries.
Landing 3As in my dreams!
After having recommended so many Victorians, wanted to mention something written a bit more recently. Today's offering: The Voice at the Back Door by Elizabeth Spencer.
I had never heard of Spencer prior to running across the review linked below in Slate, an e-zine. What caught my eye was the reviewer's comment that he preferred Back Door to To Kill a Mockingbird. Since Mockingbird is on my all-time personal hit parade, I was intrigued (albeit somewhat incredulous, too ).
Anyway, Spencer was a contemporary of Harper Lee's and came from a similar Southern background. In 1957, she received a Pulitzer Prize nomination for Back Door but didn't win. Lee, of course, did win the Pulitzer for Mockingbird in 1961. Both books deal with the same subject matter -- racial relations in the deep South prior to the Civil Rights movement. (I'm having trouble pinpointing the time period for Back Door , but it feels like it takes place a bit later than Mockingbird.)
As the Slate reviewer says, Back Door is "edgier and more ambivalent" than Mockingbird. Its characters are vivid, well-drawn and compelling, but they aren't as easily likable as Harper Lee's. Spencer's book lacks the charm and affectionate nostalgia of Mockingbird. She's telling an extraordinary story, but won't make you feel all warm and fuzzy. Instead, think bracing, astringent, and no-nonsense.
This isn't a criticism, though -- just a comparison. Although I'm not too far along in it yet, my gut tells me that it's going to be very rewarding. Definitely worth a read! And if you decide to pick it up, I'd love to "hear" your thoughts about it.
THE GOLDFINCH by Donna Tartt. Amazon kept pushing this novel at me every time I opened my Kindle. Finally, that picture of the little bird chained to its perch got to me and I bought the book. I'm so glad I did. It's one of my favorite novels of all time. This book is alternately heart wrenching, clever, funny and nerve wracking. I also learned something about the appreciation of fine art and beautiful things. The final vision is a dark one, but this is still one of the books I'd want with me if I were marooned on an island.
Also, I would be very happy if I could convince just one person to read Charlotte Bronte's novel VILLETTE. Bronte is so identified with JANE EYRE that most people don't seem to realize she wrote anything else. Anyway, VILLETE is a very wonderful, very looooong book and an interesting exploration of what it meant to be a creative, artistic woman in the Victorian era.
I've read Bronte's Shirley, but not Villette.
I've read "Vilette", but I prefer "Shirley", that's my second favourite Charlotte Brontê - but I can definitely second humbaba's endorsement of "Vilette"; it's very well done, but darker than "Jane Eyre". The fact that I like "Shirley" more is due to personal preference - not quality. Also, I've read "The Proferssor" as well, which was actually her first novel - it's a slight work, and not up to par with her other books, but if one goes into it with temperate expectations, it's still worth reading.
So anyone here read Anne Brontë? "Agnes Grey" and "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall"? Both completely different, yet I like them both.
Landing 3As in my dreams!
I've read Villette (ages ago) but not Shirley. Remember very little about it except that I liked it in spite of its being rather dark, as LRK mentioned. Still prefer Jane Eyre, though.
Haven't read Agnes Grey but can definitely recommend The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.
Muriel Barberry's "The Elegance of the Hedgehog". It's a beautiful English translation, or you can read it in the original French, too!
Humbaba, did your screen name come from the Epic of Gilgamesh? How cool.
Originally Posted by humbaba