"Media" might be stretching it a bit this week, as (aside from Doctor Who) I've only watched Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. And it has just ended again. Woe. I don't think there's anything about that adaptation that I didn't like. Even the extra bits that weren't in the book worked perfectly (I'm thinking of the short hand needed to get characters into certain places, without the long narrative sequences of the book. Strange being arrested and escaping from prison, for example). And the whole thing is so gorgeously shot. The fellow behind the adaptation, Peter Harness, is adapting War Of The Worlds for the BBC at the moment. A period production, which is vanishingly rare for that book, and apparently scheduled for broadcast next year. Rather looking forward to seeing what he does with that. It's a great story.

Elsewhere, I've been doing some quite interesting reading. I've taken to librarying, and choosing books completely at random, without reading their synopses even. It's a fun experiment, as it means that I've been reading things that I never would have done otherwise. Mixed results, obviously, but I think I was trying to recapture the lack of preconception that I had as a kid, when I really would try anything. Sometimes it works well, and sometimes...!

One experiment was Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Piccoult, which is about the build up to, and aftermath of, a shooting spree at an American high school, when an endlessly bullied boy snaps. Good attempts to get into the head of a boy pushed to his limit, whilst also offering no simple explanations or solutions. Also a good sketching of the mindset of popular kids, and how some people will always be popular, and some just never will be.

Another experiment was Rabbit, Run by John Updike, which apparently is a sixties classic. Less successful from my point of view than the Piccoult book though! A rather pathetic young man, feeling that the world owes him something, drifts aimlessly from wife to mistress, hurting everybody and unable to commit. He's not supposed to be likeable, but that doesn't make it any more enjoyable (for me anyway). I can see why it's a classic though. Must have been a heck of a shock to the system for American literature at the time.

Then I read a book called Packing For Mars: The Curious History Of Life In The Void by Mary Roach, which is about the history of space exploration, and absolutely fascinating. Mary Roach isn't a scientist, so there isn't as much depth in her book as I would usually want, but she makes up for that with sheer entertainment. Wonderful, often very funny tales of life as an astronaut, and about how various techniques were developed to deal with the unique issues of space travel. Fun stuff.

Oh, and another book! An elderly couple of my acquiantance have a book called The Complete Illustrated Cookery Book by Mollie Stanley Wrench. It fascinated me when I took a quick look through it, so I went a-hunting on eBay and bought a copy. It was published in 1935, and it's wonderful! No oven temperatures or gas marks. It tells you to put things on the fire, or on the edge of the fire. No short cuts, but everything to be made from scratch. And the recipes! Brains and feet and tongues. Lots of vegetarian stuff too though, as meat wasn't as easily available in those days, and a lot of people were very badly off. Also a lot of people didn't have any means of keeping food cool, so couldn't store the stuff of course. Lots of curry and chilli still. Some things never change! Frightening amounts of dripping and lard, and cream and butter; and a remarkable desire to smother everything in mayonnaise (home-made of course!).

It's lovely. I recommend it!
lost_spook: (Northanger reading)

From: [personal profile] lost_spook


Elsewhere, I've been doing some quite interesting reading. I've taken to librarying, and choosing books completely at random, without reading their synopses even. It's a fun experiment, as it means that I've been reading things that I never would have done otherwise. Mixed results, obviously, but I think I was trying to recapture the lack of preconception that I had as a kid, when I really would try anything. Sometimes it works well, and sometimes...!


Aw, that does sound like a cool idea! I'm glad it's paid off so far (I mean, with one being reasonably enjoyable and the other being at least interesting to have read, if less so while reading).
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