Author Topic: The Library  (Read 1129458 times)

PatH

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Re: The Library
« Reply #18760 on: January 31, 2018, 08:16:42 PM »


The Library
Our library cafe is open 24/7; the welcome mat is always out.
Do come in from daily chores and spend some time with us.

PatH

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Re: The Library
« Reply #18761 on: January 31, 2018, 08:17:38 PM »
I first read Moby-Dick in high school, for an optional book report.  I was a pretty clueless person then, but I took to the book, even though I didn't understand all of what I was reading.  I read it again sometime in my 30s, and again 4 years ago in preparation for seeing the recently composed opera by Jake Heggie.

Here's a letter I wrote to my children and their spouses afterward which sums up my reaction to book and opera.   (I left in the opera review, copied from what I wrote for Don's discussion on our sister site, since it was easy enough to copy.)

"Here's a book review I wrote for my own amusement, coupled with a review of the opera I saw 8 days ago, written for my internet buddies.


I’ve just reread Moby-Dick, in preparation for seeing the opera.  What an experience.

The book:  you either love it, surrender completely to this quirky, rambling circling around the point, or it drives you up the wall.  I love it, just as much as when I read it in high school, though I see different things in it now.  It’s 600 pages long, and I estimate that a third is the actual story.  After an opening in which we see the narrator’s despairing frame of mind, get a picture of Nantucket, hear a sermon by an ex-whaler minister which states the main moral problem of the book, and meet some important characters, we set sail.  Then we’re off, occasional events that advance the story are sandwiched among rambling discourses about whaling, whales in literature and art, natural history, more and more explanations of the details of hunting and killing whales and the perilous job of getting the parts you want out of them.

The story takes over more as we near the end.  The moral issues are laid out, the chances for avoiding tragedy are not taken, and we’re into high drama.  The language changes—we get bits that could be straight out of Shakespeare, a couple of literary tricks from Homer, scenes laid out like directions for a play, and even the traditional forging of the sword scene--here it’s Ahab’s harpoon, made from the steel of horseshoe nails, and quenched in blood.

It ends with the three day chase of the whale, with boats being lost each day, ending when Ahab is garroted in his own harpoon line, the whale destroys the ship, and only the narrator survives, floating on the empty coffin of Queequeg, his emotional soulmate.

The opera:  here's a clip from the San Francisco opera:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhnUmkcjWqU

Here's the overture, which shows the staging of the lifeboats.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTMkOYAMFPM

And here's a link from one of my internet buddies to a lot of clips.  just by scrolling down and looking at the thumbnails, you can get an idea of the staging.

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Moby+Dick+opera&sm=3

Here's my review:

This prepared me for how totally the opera captures the feel of the book.  I was right back in there, the mood intact.  A lot of the words were straight from Melville (40 percent, I learned later).  They kept all the main themes—blasphemy, madness, sense of identity.  The cuts and changes they made were reasonable.

The music: There aren’t any beautiful arias, songs that you want to keep on singing, but the music is tuneful and likeable, and some of it is still ringing in my head.  It’s all male voices except for the cabin boy Pip, a soprano trouser role.

The staging: it was incredible, as you already know if you’ve looked at some of the clips.  It’s a multimedia experience, starting with a starry sky that coalesces into an outline of the masts of the Pequod (the ship).

The main device is a kind of curved backwall, with projections that serve as hand-and-foot-holds, or can be sat on.  This is particularly effective when used as the whaleboats.  The outlines of boats and thwarts are projected on the backwall, with the singers correctly positioned.  Most of the time when we’re not on the backwall, there’s a striking ship deck, with masts, and rigging, and ladders leading aloft.  (It’s best not to worry about how those various ropes ending all over the deck could possibly be functional—it looks good.)  The final three day hunting down of Moby Dick is totally abstract.  You never see the whale, only the outlines of the boats shattered one by one on the backwall, and finally glittering Pequod going the same way.

The singers were all good.  Two were original—Greenhorn  (Ishmael), Stephen Costello, and the trouser role Pip, Talise Travigne.  My one complaint is that Ahab (Carl Tanner) didn’t quite project the charisma that Ahab must have had to pull his whole crew into his quest.  That may not be possible; it barely succeeds in the book.

The whole thing makes a lot of demands on the performers.  I learned more in a Q and A session afterwards with some of them.  Ahab spends the whole opera walking around with a leg tied up behind him, his knee socketed into a peg leg, and some of that is on a raked stage.  He spent a whole year training for it.  Queequeg starts with a long stretch of time squatting on the stage, by which time his feet are asleep, then suddenly has to climb up the rigging.  Pip wasn’t there, but I read elsewhere that she found the 5 minute stretch when she is overboard from her boat, and is having to sing hanging in a harness in front of a wavy blue backdrop pretty disconcerting.

Librettist Gene Scheer was there too, which is how I know that 40% of the words were Melville, though I could have guessed it was something like that, since the words were still rolling around in my head.

I feel really lucky to have been there."
 

PatH

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Re: The Library
« Reply #18762 on: January 31, 2018, 08:31:00 PM »
Rosemary, although the whale Moby-Dick escapes unharmed, there is a lot of description of the process of whaling, and how the carcasses are worked up afterwards.

BarbStAubrey

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Re: The Library
« Reply #18763 on: January 31, 2018, 09:05:20 PM »
Great Pat - interesting how taste changes and moral values change - I too remember reading this when I was in high school and loved it since I lived on a small island where fishing along with boat building was the natural progression for most boys - as teens we swam all summer and the highlight for most us was to dive off the top of a 60 foot mast clearing the deck of a schooner anchored near by.  And so, describing the work on a whale ship was like reading a work manual and we thought Ahab a bit much seeing him as the representation of many of the ship's captains we met from New England, who all seemed so stern. They sure did not include laughter in their daily diet.

Started to read it to my children when they were 10 and 11 but it did not hold their attention so I stopped and then read it again for myself seeing new connections between Ahab and his crew and Ahab and the whale and what made Ahab tick. By the time I read it to my grandboys there was a child's version that just included the story line with illustrations, one illustration across two pages showing the ship as a whaling factory - interesting the reaction to the story - one being overwhelmed by what your fear, letting it take over and the other feeling sorry for the whale.

I should read it again and see what I get from it - there is certainly action and adventure rather than as Proust, who can develop a philosophical thesis on drinking from a cup - as in "I drink a second mouthful, in which I find nothing more than in the first, a third, which gives me rather less than the second. It is time to stop; the potion is losing its magic. It is plain that the object of my quest, the truth, lies not in the cup but in myself."

rosemarykaye

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Re: The Library
« Reply #18764 on: February 01, 2018, 03:22:58 AM »
Thanks for the warning Pat!  I had to walk out of John Akomfrah's highly acclaimed exhibition at our Talbot Rice Gallery the other day, as the video that formed a large part of the show included a lot of shots of very bloody whaling. Daughter sat through the entire 25 minutes then told me 'It's a good thing you went out; after they'd finished with the whaling they started shooting polar bears.'  It was all library footage, and I'm sure he made some very good points about the sea and our relationship with it, but I'm past trying to steel myself to watch stuff like that. For the record. Madeleine (the art student..) thought it was brilliant.

Rosemary

Mkaren557

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Re: The Library
« Reply #18765 on: February 01, 2018, 11:08:32 AM »
Honestly, Pat, you make me want to totally immerse myself in a Moby-Dick experience.  I have been so fortunate to have been accepted to two summer workshops sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities.  The first was titled Chaucer and the Medieval World and was at Marymount College in Arlington, VA. I spent six weeks steeped in the philosophy, history, abd culture of Chaucer's world and of course reading the tales.  We touched An early manuscript at the Folger, spent hours at Dunbarton Oaks and at the Walter's gallery in Baltimore and even traveled to NYC to the Cloisters.  We heard experts on the Middle Ages, Plato, the Church and experienced medieval song and dance.  I believed  still believe that experience change my approach to my own learning and my teaching.  So, four years ago I decided to take the trip of a lifetime a 29 day cruise to Hawaii and down to French Polynesia.  I took a side trip to the place where Melville stayed "with the cannibals" after he deserted his ship.  I think after the book club is over I will start to read Moby-Dick.  Maybe I need to go back to the South Pacific.

bellamarie

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Re: The Library
« Reply #18766 on: February 01, 2018, 12:17:11 PM »
Moby Dick sounds like how The Catcher in the Rye was for me..... either you are able to submerge yourself into it, or you just can't no matter how many times you attempt to.  PatH., you have so much more patience and depth than me.  That Opera had to be a wonderful experience.  Rosemary, I am more like you, I am at a point in my life I refuse to forge through any book, movie or tv show that is going to gross me out.  We don't have to sit through something uncomfortable to prove anything.

Mkaren how impressive be accepted into those workshops!  I have never traveled abroad, and don't expect I ever will for fears I am unable to conquer, but I sure do love it when others share their stories and pictures from their travels.

Well, I am off to the dentist today trying to conquer this horrible phobia.  Wish me luck!!
“What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?...Was ever anything so civil?”
__Anthony Trollope, The Warden

BarbStAubrey

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Re: The Library
« Reply #18767 on: February 01, 2018, 12:54:01 PM »
Wow Karen you learning experience at Marymount in VA. sounds fabulous - How did you hear about it - I bet you stayed in the dorm rooms. And yes, I became curious again about Moby-Dick - finding a good annotated edition is not easy - the Oxford edition of most books I'm finding to be the best but Amazon is out of the Oxford edition and I really prefer a hardback book over the kindle for this kind of reading - Between getting back into Crime and Punishment and Moby-Dick they should have me on the trail of research for months.

Dana where are you - what section and chapter are you in Crime and Punishment - yes, as I guessed the book will not arrive til tomorrow, Friday but little by little some of the mindset and learning reading his book is coming back. Last night I found a good book, not available years ago on Nihilism - Nothing & Everything: How to stop fearing nihilism and embrace the void by Val N. Tine. Nihilism was the perfect philosophy for nineteenth century Russia.

Characters in Crime and Punishment are caught between the Christian morality and philosophy that was creeping in from the west versus the Dark Time in Russia of no philosophers with an emphasis on national identity. Crime and Punishment was written only 11 years after the re-opening of philosophy departments in the Russian Universities. During the years 1825–55, philosophy departments were closed, and thought went underground.  As I recall after working through with his characters living out the various thinking stages and emotional pulls of the time, Dostoevsky becomes part of the early existentialist thinkers. 

Here is a nice article on Russian philosophy - https://www.rep.routledge.com/articles/overview/russian-philosophy/v-1/sections/the-development-of-russian-philosophy

 :) I thought last night what fun to be getting back into Crime and Punishment and then see if there are any comparisons to the thinking of Dostoevsky and Amor Towles as we read A Gentleman from Moscow

BarbStAubrey

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Re: The Library
« Reply #18768 on: February 01, 2018, 01:35:55 PM »
Wow look here - the FIRST women Detective in the US - https://tinyurl.com/y9bv8qp9

Mkaren557

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Re: The Library
« Reply #18769 on: February 01, 2018, 01:47:24 PM »
I bought the Norton Edition 150th edition (2000) of Moby-Dick which I like.  But the best book I bought is a small book called Why Read Moby-Dick?by Nathaniel Philbrick. I know this will help me with my understanding of the text It already has inspired me.

BarbStAubrey

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Re: The Library
« Reply #18770 on: February 01, 2018, 03:02:01 PM »
Yes that does look like a good edition Karen but Amazon is out with no idea when they will have it available again.  Saw Philbrick's book and wondered - seems to me we read something of his on Senor Learn - something about the ship that was blown off course on its way to Jamestown and ended up in what is now the Bahamas

Mkaren557

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Re: The Library
« Reply #18771 on: February 01, 2018, 03:48:07 PM »
Philbrick wrote  Mayflower and The Heart of the Sea which is about the whaling ship Essex.  There are several Norton editions on ebay: I didn'y check but there may be an Oxford edition as well.

PatH

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Re: The Library
« Reply #18772 on: February 01, 2018, 04:08:58 PM »
Some of you are probably going to want to kick me in a few days.  After a good beginning, you have pages and pages of Melville's wandering digressions, on everything under the sun--the sinister quality of the color white, his incorrect zoological definition of whales, etc.  And to quote Bellamarie, either you can submerge yourself in it or you can't.  If you can't, it's torture, and if you skip too much of it, you haven't built up the right mood by the time you get to the action.

Dana

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Re: The Library
« Reply #18773 on: February 02, 2018, 11:28:49 AM »
So Barb., I'm at chap.2 bk.5 and have just met Mr Lebezyatnikov who is the only quasi nihilist in the book.  He is as usual a beautifully drawn very realistic character but not a real nihilist...only a poseur, fuuny though, and so like people we all know.  Dostoyevsky was tried for sedition and spent 4 years in Siberia in hard labour, so maybe not as comfortably as many (like , later, Lenin for example.)  He was careful what he wrote thereafter and actually rewrote a chunk of Crime and Punishment at the censors' request.  (the bit where Sonia quotes the bible to Raskolnikov.)  Unfortunately his original script does not exist.  Apparently Turgenev made nihilism the chief theme of Fathers and Sons.  Might read that next.

BarbStAubrey

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Re: The Library
« Reply #18774 on: February 02, 2018, 01:01:28 PM »
Great Dana - it will take me awhile to catch up - so far looking at photos of Russia in the 1850s and early 1860s - often photos are included of the late 1800s and early 1900s and the peasants look only marginally better - evidently during the nineteenth century Russia had an upside down inside out knocking about - they did not take to western ideas easily and had Tzars that were demanding, ruthless or lack-a-daisical at best -

As I understand the punishment part in Crimes and Punishment was more about the mental self-punishment someone does after being sentenced or even after committing a crime. Not the impression I had from the title and I do not remember following that line of thinking when I first read this.

I think like you, it is a bolt to the system reading about the circumstances of life. I remember trying to compare to life as I knew about here during the Civil War which is about the same time in history as this story. I remember thinking Andersonville and the Gulag were not too different except for the cold. OK this will be fun to check in with each other - I will let you know where I am every few days -

BarbStAubrey

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Re: The Library
« Reply #18775 on: February 03, 2018, 03:34:25 PM »
OH oh oh look what I found! For all those who love the Great British Bake off.
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w17-Qi4hyoc

bellamarie

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Re: The Library
« Reply #18776 on: February 03, 2018, 04:07:53 PM »
OH OH OH Barb what a treat!!!  I am so excited to watch this.  I absolutely love the homes or are they dynasties?  Thank you for the link!
“What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?...Was ever anything so civil?”
__Anthony Trollope, The Warden

Frybabe

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Re: The Library
« Reply #18777 on: February 03, 2018, 05:42:38 PM »
I am slowly getting into Audiobooks for when my eyes need a rest from playing on this darn computer or reading. My sister put me onto a book called We Are Legion (We Are Bob) by Dennis E. Taylor. It is (don't hit me) another SciFi, but it is funny. The main reason I bring it up is that the narrator for the book is Ray Porter. Porter has over 260 books in a number of genres that he has narrated. The guy is great at voice inflection (is that the word I want?) and accents and dialect. If you are into Audiobooks, sample some of his narrations.

Right now I have my eye on John Milton's Paradise Lost for my next Audiobook selection, although I may end up going for one of the other classics. This is the last month of my extended trial period, so my Audiobook collection will remain small, thank goodness, for now. What I don't need is to spend more money on books in any form. I still need new windows in the kitchen and new doors and/or storm doors.

mabel1015j

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Re: The Library
« Reply #18778 on: February 04, 2018, 02:01:55 PM »
That was a WONDERFUL video Barb. It gives an entirely different interior architecture/logistics plan than what we saw on Downton Abbey and there was something for everyone: DA fans, cooks, gardens, history, etc. Thank you, I’m looking forward to the other episodes.

Jean

Jonathan

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Re: The Library
« Reply #18779 on: February 04, 2018, 05:40:57 PM »
So now I know how cruel the Gulag could be. Like Andersonville. WOW!

How nice to be reminded of the Classics. I keep meaning to read Paradise Lost. It may well be that listening to it could be an awesome experience.  Thanks, Frybabe.

Thank you, Pat. You've got us all  digging up our copies of Moby-Dick. I've got that sermon somewhere on an old vinyl. Do you remember? We were about to read and discuss the book, when Lorrie, the intended DL, passed away.

Bellamarie, that's an awesome quote from Jeremiah. What that does for one's sense of identity and being!

Dana, I can't make up my mind. Should I read Crime and Punishment, or Fathers and Sons?

Barb, how charming. Looking for 'light reading' in the winter darkness. The Faerie Queen certainly  provides that. But first. Reading C and P, and Moby-Dick in tandem. Wow! Hope we see you in Moscow. I don't think we've ever discussed a book like it.

bellamarie

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Re: The Library
« Reply #18780 on: February 05, 2018, 12:34:14 PM »
Just two more days til the pre discussion of A Gentleman in Moscow.  I really am looking forward to this!

I'm hoping to finish up my Danielle Steele book A Gift of Hope Helping the Homeless, today, so I can travel on to Moscow with my full attention. 

Jonathan, yes, Jeremiah reminds us that we were known and planned for our journey long before we entered this world.  Makes me feel incredibly humble, and wonder if I have done what I was intended to do in my lifetime.  Still, I know there are a few books inside me to be written, yet I procrastinate profusely.  I suppose that is because I'm hoping I have plenty of time ahead of me to accomplish them.  tee hee.... one way to look at it! 

Frybabe, I was telling my  hubby this morning at breakfast about how you have been using audio books to give you a break from the strain of your computer and book reading, and it piqued my interest.  Is it calming to hear the voice of someone you don't know as they read the words to you?  Also, does one's voice inflict certain emotions or lack of that you feel you would normally find personal as you would when you read the words?  I guess what I am wondering is when I read I feel a personal experience between myself and the book/author, and because reading is so private and individual, does a stranger's voice interfere with that personal space?  Do you hear the voice's emotion as they read to you?  Does it hinder or help you in reacting the words by hearing the voice's reactions?  Does any of these questions make sense to what I am trying to understand?  Ughhhhh...... maybe I should just give it a try for myself.   :-X  :)
“What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?...Was ever anything so civil?”
__Anthony Trollope, The Warden

Frybabe

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Re: The Library
« Reply #18781 on: February 05, 2018, 01:30:07 PM »
Bellamarie, listening to an audio book takes a little getting used to. First, I think, is how well the narrator performs as to how much and what kind of emotional reaction you might have. Some readers are rather "flat", just reading without putting much, if any, emphasis or vocal emotion into the story, not to mention using the same tone for every character. Non-fiction is a bit easier because you don't have to figure out who is "talking" in any dialogue. I like many of the British narrators/readers. Maybe it is the accent.  :) The audio samples seem long enough to get a feel for the book and the reader's style. I like a little more "performance" from the narrator/reader than just "flat" reading.
 
Second, if you are doing other things while listening, those things can distract you from really hearing what is said at times. This is one of the reasons my sister likes to listen to audio books when traveling, rather than at home. For myself, I get a little too relaxed with my eyes closed while I listen. The other evening I fell asleep not five minutes into a chapter and had to backtrack three chapters to get back to what I missed.  ::)

Third, I don't think there is a way to bookmark passages in audio books, and it may be more difficult to find and re-listen to a passage you might want to go back to. Then, too, they lack the art, maps, and/or photos that may be in the print version. Wouldn't it be nice to have those available for download, separately, for reference with history and art especially.

I noticed that Audible has a number of books that are full productions of plays like Oedipus Rex, Antigone, Shakespeare plays, The Picture of Dorian Grey and The Importance of Being Earnest. There are quite a few of those, and multiple productions of some. Some are radio play productions (complete with sound effects), others, I suspect, are audios of regular movie/play productions. Also, they have some Great Courses lectures available.

I hope this helps a little.


nlhome

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Re: The Library
« Reply #18782 on: February 05, 2018, 01:38:07 PM »
Frybabe, I've had to listen to audiobooks for the last 3 months, and like you, I tend to drift off and have to back track. With one book I think I've spent as much time back tracking as I have listening. I rarely would drop off while reading a book, but even if I did, my finger marked the page. I am hoping to get back to reading soon, but even so, I think I will listen to some as well.

bellamarie

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Re: The Library
« Reply #18783 on: February 05, 2018, 02:56:31 PM »
Thank you for the response.  I fall off a lot when reading and startle myself, wake up and go back to where I left off.  Maybe it's an age thing.  lol
“What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?...Was ever anything so civil?”
__Anthony Trollope, The Warden

BarbStAubrey

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Re: The Library
« Reply #18784 on: February 05, 2018, 03:32:50 PM »
Yes, I agree with both you Nlhome and Frybabe about dozing off - at home I need to actually sit on the edge of my sofa to listen intently where as for years I loved listening to an audio book while traveling - I still remember listening to the Hunt for Red October - can conjur up the sunny day in my vehicle and could easily visualize the positioning of the submarines which was clearer to me hearing the story than it was seeing the movie or attempting to read the book later for some group discussion. My thinking on relaxed napping is because of some lost buried memory that kicks in when we are at home hearing a story similar tp when our mother read to us and so we go into that comfort zone and we fall asleep.

Jonathan yes, my 'light' reads :) ah so and such is life - I am easily urged by a challenge and if anyone is finding a challenge reading a book, too easily I want to put my shoulder to the boulder. Since I am familiar with both stories and read them at a different time in my life it will be actually fun seeing how and what my reactions are and how I decide what is important and what thoughts, lessons, thesis to tangle with that I come away with.

Glad to see you back - your trip to Europe sounds full and wonderful - from England to France - were there other locations you visited and were you an independent traveler or with a commercial group?

Jean and Bellamarie glad y'all liked the video with the British Country homes as the setting for Mary's baking - there are several others on Youtube. I will see if I can find them again and post the links. Some of these families seem more connected to British history and blood lines than even the current Windsor's - thinking about it, Diana Spencer had more pure British blood lines than Charles. 

Bellamarie I know what you mean about time passing and not getting done some of what you would like to do - some events I think OK that was either unavoidable or worth the time but, other things I think, how could I have wasted that time not having anything of substance to show for it. I have read so many articles and books about focus and motivation and it just does not seem to dent the ease that i will rivet onto something that is not on my todo list. Ah so... others do not care and maybe that is it - I do have a difficult time of putting my wants ahead of other's.

Talked with my daughter last night and here she is planning her visit to me in early May and should we do this or that on this day or that day - I'm in a daze - I never know months in advance what will be on my plate and realize i've never lived an organized life - there is no predictability working Real Estate which is like caring for an infant or young child - you do not know when they will cry, fall, see something new, or need something - never realized my entire adult life, ha as the oldest I guess most of my life, I have been seeing to the needs of unpredictable children and adults. hmmm


rosemarykaye

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Re: The Library
« Reply #18785 on: February 06, 2018, 11:35:52 AM »
I have started A Gentleman in Moscow and so far it is brilliant. I mentioned it on Twitter and someone I chat with on there thought the synopsis on Amazon sounded so interesting that he has gone to buy a copy of the book himself - so I'm relieved that I'm finding it as good as anticipated!

I used to play audiobooks in the car when i was taking my children up to the Highlands to visit friends. We found that our enjoyment depended entirely on the voice of the actor reading - Martin Jarvis is famously good, others not so much. I remember we listened to Frank Cottrell Boyce's Framed and all enjoyed it very much.

Whilst I haven't listened to an audiobook for many years now, what I have lately discovered is the huge number of plays, stories and documentaries on Radio 4 - of course I knew they produced these, but it's only since I've managed to download the BBC Radio i-player app (which is not the same as the BBC i-player app! That's just for TV) that I've realised what a vast back catalogue is avaliable. I've listened to some fantastic detective stories, thrillers, plays, etc - and as many were originally broadcast in short episodes, they are great for when you have 15-30 minutes to spare. I often listen when I'm having dinner (as I'm usually the only one here). My latest one was Stone, about the police investigation into a fire at a homeless people's hostel - the lead detective was played by Hugo Speer,  who played Captain Treville in the Musketeers. - it's often enjoyable to see if you can recognise the voices, and his is especially distinctive. You can also download them to listen to on the train (as our trains' wifi - even when it is provided, which isn't always - is not supposed to be used for live streaming).

Do you get the series Endeavour in the US? It's a sort of prequel to Inspector Morse - when it first appeared we all thought it would never work, but in fact it is outstandingly good and a new series had just started. Shajn Evans plays Endeavour (ie the young Morse) and the inimitable, wonderful Roger Allam plays his boss, Inspector Thursday. In the spirit of Colin Dexter (who wrote the Morse books but not these programmes) there are many literary allusions, puzzles, classical references, clues in music or art - but you don't need to get these to enjoy the stories, which are set in 1960s Oxford - in this week's episode the radio news playing in the background of one scene announced the assassination of Martin Luther King.

By the way, I am impressed by those of you who never fall asleep reading. I do it all the time. On Saturday I even took myself to our Fine Art Library (which is up a long and winding staircase, and therefore much quieter than the main library) to read my novel. It was cold outside but cosy and warm in the library...you can imagine how long I lasted (I did get the book finished though - eventually!)

I forgot to mention (I think...) that I went to an excellent exhibition about Muriel Spark at the National Library of Scotland. It is Spark's centenary this year, and as she grew up in Edinburgh there is a lot of interest, with many events scheduled. This exhibition is organised according to the various places that she lived during her life - from Edinburgh to Africa (Rhodesia as it then was), London, New York, Rome and finally Tuscany. She was a clever and complicated woman. The exhibition includes lots of her letters (and letters she received - she kept everything), her drafts for her novels and short stories, some of the dresses she bought when she sold a book, photographs and other bits and pieces - fascinating. We are so lucky to have so many free galleries, libraries and museums here in Scotland.

Rosemary

BarbStAubrey

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Re: The Library
« Reply #18786 on: February 06, 2018, 12:41:09 PM »
I have not cracked yet A Gentleman in Moscow and it sounds like I am in for a treat - thanks Rosemary for your heads up - looks like Karen suggested a winner.

And yes, we have been seeing the Endeavour series - I believe we are in for another group of programs this Spring from the series. Well acted but sadly to me, not the same as the wonderful Morse series with John Thaw - even the series created with 'Robbie Lewis' taking on the role of Inspector I thought was in keeping with the original Morse series. This Endeavor series seems to be for today's viewers rather than as if a younger Morse that would be from a different time in history than today and so, where they use Morse's first name, the show is almost a show of its own with little relationship to the original.

Did not realize how big Muriel Spark was to literary Scotland - like most of us I read The Prime of Mrs. Brodie and was always going to dig further into her cache of published books but as Burns said, The best laid plans... Which of her books would you recommend Rosemary?

Here it is noon and the fog is so dense I cannot see to the fence separating my backyard from my neighbors - obviously no day to be out driving and I have a return using UPS to make the return - well it is not worth having an accident over so I just need to calm down and tomorrow is another day.  I've several books started and it looks like the weather gods are saying, open A Gentleman from Moscow ;)

Mkaren557

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Re: The Library
« Reply #18787 on: February 06, 2018, 02:19:29 PM »
     Prediscussion of A Gentleman in Moscow begins tomorrow February 7 in the discussion site that Jane will unlock. I for one am feeling very excited and can't wait to begin.  I get so nervous when I recommend a book, a movie, a restaurant, or anything to someone that they won't like it.  After reading Rosemary's note today, I smiled inside and out; I hope you all are having luck finding the book and get a chance to read the the first book for when we start discussing the novel itself on next Monday, February 12.  So, let's meet up tomorrow in Moscow where, without worrying about our flights being canceled, delayed, or rerouted, we can sip tea from a silver samovar and share what we know about Russa 1922-1954 or what we don't know and would like to, or anything we would like.
Da zaftra (until tomorrow)!

PatH

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Re: The Library
« Reply #18788 on: February 06, 2018, 02:34:04 PM »
Yes, Karen, you picked a winner.  I just started it yesterday, and am almost through the first chunk, though I don't suppose I need to be yet.

Jonathan

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Re: The Library
« Reply #18789 on: February 06, 2018, 03:01:16 PM »
Isn't this exciting. Tomorrow we're off to Moscow. With a short layover in Casablanca. For drinks at Rick's. And then dinner at the gorgeous Piazza (that's it in the heading, isn't it?  at the 
5-star Metropol (see page 329 for description) in Moscow, across the street from the Kremlin, where we'll be staying. You needn't have any anxieties about this book, Karen. Thanks.

And thank you, Rosemary, for the wonderful Christmas Eve I spent in the Highlands of Scotland. I was sojourning at Blenheim Palace when I saw your post on the wonderful time you were having, walking in the Highlands. I travel with a lot of baggage, including a video with a wonderful soundtrack, ending with Auld Lang Syne, of course. What a marvellous place.

For this trip I'm packing a few books for background. They might be useful. Perhaps even superfluous. Ten Days That Shook The World. Darkness At Noon. Lenin's Mistress. And Who Killed Kirov.
 
This is no place for a Gentleman?

BarbStAubrey

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Re: The Library
« Reply #18790 on: February 06, 2018, 08:16:28 PM »
Two more of Mary Baking in a grand Country house - the first link is to a Country House in Scotland

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ltCszgNNlw

In Devon a house is visited that was built in 1391

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGRuFKODOLs

Frybabe

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Re: The Library
« Reply #18791 on: February 07, 2018, 06:29:55 AM »
My library is still very much backed up on all its versions (they went nuts and bought it in print, large print, CD, and ebook) so I will just lurk on A Gentleman in Moscow.

Mkaren557

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Re: The Library
« Reply #18792 on: February 07, 2018, 07:50:47 AM »
Lurking is good, Fryebabe.  Chime in if the spirit moves you.

bellamarie

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Re: The Library
« Reply #18793 on: February 07, 2018, 11:23:22 AM »
Today is the day!!  Off to Moscow....   

Jonathan, how exciting to have spent New Year's in Scotland!  Just watching this video and imagining being here is breath taking.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrFfR_z_1tk

Frybabe, Lurk and post, we welcome you in any way you are able to contribute to the discussion.

Karen, not another hint of you being worried on your choices.  We are all looking forward to this book.  I've got my coffee with hazelnut cream all set to sip on since I am allowed to drink coffee again.  I don't know much about Russia except for it's in the news constantly with the collusion allegations from our past election.  Ughhh.... one must wonder if this will ever be figured out.  But for today, I will turn off the tv and open my book and mind to learning from all your great minds.

Barb, THANK YOU for the new links, I truly enjoy them!  You have fog, and we here in Ohio, woke up to a new 2-3 inches of snow.  Which now means we are blanketed with about 4 total inches, and are expecting another 3-5 on Friday.  I have to tell you I absolutely LOVE snow and watching it come down.  Now that I am retired I just pull my blinds all the way back, settle on my couch with blanket, books, computer, ipad, water, coffee and my sweet dog Sammy and wile away the hours watching the snow come down through my big picture window.  Who knew retirement could be so wonderful! 

Okay meet you all in Moscow.....
“What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?...Was ever anything so civil?”
__Anthony Trollope, The Warden

rosemarykaye

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Re: The Library
« Reply #18794 on: February 07, 2018, 04:01:56 PM »
Bellamarie - who has banned you from coffee? It's not even Lent yet! Apart from that gross deprivation, your snow day sounds idyllic. I love lying on the sofa in the evenings - I have my TV, my ipad, my book, my tea, my chocolate, and usually two Siamese plonked right on top of me. When I get up to go to bed they are always mortally offended...

Rosemary

bellamarie

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Re: The Library
« Reply #18795 on: February 08, 2018, 12:41:01 PM »
January 2017 my ENT had me stop drinking coffee due to a nodule on my voice box.  He said the high acid can be a factor in the nodule and irritating it.  Luckily following all his care and advice the nodule did in fact disappear!  He gave me the okay to begin drinking coffee again last June 2017!  I have my one cup in the morning, with my hazelnut creamer.  I drank tea & honey until I could go back to my coffee.  Rosemary, you sound just like me, only I have a dog and no cats.  Sammy hates it when I move back the blanket to get up to go to bed.  He knows when he hears the click of the tv going off, it's time to head upstairs to go to bed.  Very reluctantly he follows.
“What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?...Was ever anything so civil?”
__Anthony Trollope, The Warden

nlhome

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Re: The Library
« Reply #18796 on: February 08, 2018, 10:29:31 PM »
I know little of Russia as well, except what I have read, mostly fiction, seen on PBS and learned in certain world history classes. Last February, I had the opportunity to spend half a day at The Museum of Russian Art in Minneapolis. That was  very interesting, with exhibits on Faberge pieces (not the eggs) and a guided tour of that exhibit, paintings,  and a big photo exhibit on the Siege of Leningrad. There was a lot of history packed into all the exhibits. I don't have my copy of the book yet, but I am on the list and I did listen to parts of it on our public radio station.


Frybabe

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Re: The Library
« Reply #18798 on: February 17, 2018, 10:34:51 AM »
I just now discovered that artist Edmond de Waal, whose book, The Hare with the Amber Eyes, we discussed back in 2013, has written another book called The White Road: Journey into Obsession which is a travel book of sorts as he traces the history of porcelain (his specialty) from China across the continents. Here is a NYT review which seems a little critical of this book compared to "Hare". https://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/13/books/review/the-white-road-by-edmund-de-waal.html Still it could make interesting reading. I may check into it.

Uh, Oh! Two ambulances and a cop car just went "singing" down the road. That can't be good.

bellamarie

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Re: The Library
« Reply #18799 on: February 17, 2018, 12:09:34 PM »
Frybabe, that article on sexual harassment is very enlightening.  I have read many books from long time past, and learned how the famous authors got away with inappropriate behaviors, some as much as being considered pedophiles.  What amazes me today now that awareness is raised, is how in the arts and entertainment world at so many levels have allowed these behaviors, and kept them a secret to protect their own careers, fame and fortune.  We as a society for centuries have given out awards for books, movies, songs, etc., with themes of misogyny, abuse, sexual content, etc., etc.  The book Fifty Shades of Grey is filled with nothing more than power, sexual, physical, emotional and mental abuse. Mr. Grey preys upon the innocence of Anastasia.  Hollywood went berserk over this movie and book.  Women were flocking to the stores for the next release of the sequel books.  My daughter in laws decided to see what all the rave was about so they bought the first book.  I decided we would all read and discuss what we thought about it.  All three of us came to the same conclusion, it is disgusting and we chose not to go any further than the first book.  Hollywood celebrities stand at their award podiums making their speeches, but are the worst offenders when it comes to the abuse they speak out against.  It is time we must stop purchasing and promoting their works. 
“What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?...Was ever anything so civil?”
__Anthony Trollope, The Warden