They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? by Horace McCoy

Read the story eons ago, now I catch the famous film……

Description: The marathon dance craze flourished during the 1930s, but the underside was a competition and violence unknown to most ballrooms–a dark side that Horace McCoy’s classic American novel powerfully captures. “Were it not in its physical details so carefully documented, it would be lurid beyond itself.”

I’d forgotten the depth of the misery here, maybe King’s Lindy Hopping had given me rosy glasses in the interim!

Key Largo by Maxwell Anderson

bookshelves: winter-20142015, play-dramatisation, fradio, gangsters, noir, north-americas, florida

Read from December 27 to 28, 2014

 photo old_radio.jpgListen to the Lux Radio Theatre production here.

Description: Ex-Major Frank McCloud (Humphrey Bogart) arrives at the Hotel Largo in Key Largo, Florida, to visit the family of George Temple, a friend from the Army who had served under him and was killed in the Italian campaign. He meets with George’s widow Nora Temple (Lauren Bacall) and his father James (Lionel Barrymore), who owns the hotel. Because the winter vacation season has ended and a major hurricane is approaching, the hotel has only six guests: the dapper Toots (Harry Lewis), the boorish Curly (Thomas Gomez), stone-faced Ralph (William Haade), servant Angel (Dan Seymour), an attractive woman, Gaye Dawn (Claire Trevor), and a sixth man who remains secluded in his room. They claim to have come to the Florida Keys for a fishing trip and have a charter boat waiting.

4* Anne of the Thousand Days
3* Key Largo
3* Mary of Scotland

Chain of Evidence by: Garry Disher

Narrated by Peter Hosking.10 Hours 25 Mins

Description: Inspector Hal Challis has been summoned to Mawson’s Bluff, his childhood home in the Australian Outback, where his father is dying. Sergeant Ellen Destry is left to head an investigation into a ring of pedophiles that has descended on the peaceful Mornington Peninsula, a resort community near Melbourne. A little girl has been abducted from the fairgrounds at the annual Waterloo Show; it takes her mother twenty-four hours to report her missing. By then, hope is slim that the police will find the child before it is too late. Challis’ sister’s difficult husband disappeared from the Bluff four years ago; since then Meg has received nuisance mail that she assumes comes from him. While Challis is in town, an extra buried body is discovered when a new grave is dug in the local graveyard. A black plastic bag containing the corpse of Meg’s husband is found on top of a coffin that was interred four years earlier. With two very different crimes to solve, Challis and Destry have their work cut out for them….

3* The Dragon Man (Inspector Challis, #1)
3* Kittyhawk Down (Inspector Challis, #2)
3* Snapshot (Inspector Challis, #3)
4* Chain of Evidence
TR Blood Moon

The Egg by Andy Weir

bookshelves: winter-20142015, published-2014, shortstory-shortstories-novellas, philosophy

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Shelby *wants some flying monkeys*
Read on December 28, 2014
 photo short-stories1_zps8b6f4480.jpg Read Here

Opening: You were on your way home when you died.

It was a car accident. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless. You left behind a wife and two children. It was a painless death. The EMTs tried their best to save you, but to no avail. Your body was so utterly shattered you were better off, trust me.

And that’s when you met me.

“All religions are right in their own way,” I said. “Walk with me.”

The Penny Dreadfuls Macbeth Rebothered by David Reed, Humphrey Ker

bookshelves: winter-20142015, amusing, comedy, fradio, willsphernalia, skit, radio-4x, published-2014

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Laura
Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read on December 28, 2014

Description: A brand new comedy play by The Penny Dreadfuls that tells an alternative tale of this noble King. Greg McHugh stars as Macbeth with Susan Calman as the narrator. Other roles played by Margaret Cabourn-Smith, Humphrey Ker, David Reed and Thom Tuck.

Written by David Reed with additional material by Humphrey Ker
Produced by Julia McKenzie.

Anne of the Thousand Days by Maxwell Anderson

bookshelves: winter-20142015, tudor, published-1950, play-dramatisation, film-only, historical-fiction, execution

Read from December 27 to 28, 2014
Description: This beautiful presentation of the story of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn is played against the well-known historical background of the Court of Henry, and the arrangement of the present acting version follows that used for the Broadway production. As a matter of fact, there is almost no scenery, and the various scenes are played within a single setting in which lights and a half-dozen articles of furniture are all that are used.”

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson…

Description: Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery is a memorable and terrifying masterpiece, fueled by a tension that creeps up on you slowly without any clear indication of why. This is just a townful of people, after all, choosing their numbers for the annual lottery. What’s there to be scared of?

Read the short story a few years ago; wonder how they could make a thirty page chiller into a full film

A riff on the pagan summer solstice

Diary of a Mad Housewife

bookshelves: published-1966, winter-20142015, women, film-only, under-1000-ratings

Recommended for: Wanda, Dagny, Cheryl, Laura etc
Read from December 26 to 27, 2014…

DescripTion: Made into a major motion picture that garnered an Oscar nomination for actress Carrie Snodgrass, Diary of a Mad Housewife is a classic of women’s fiction that gave a wry voice to the nascent feminist stirrings of the 1960s and helped incite a revolution in the consciousness of a generation.

When Bettina Balser begins to suspect that she is going mad, she starts a secret diary as a form of therapy and as an escape from the boredom and dissatisfaction she experiences as a 1960s housewife. Her fears pour onto the page: “Elevators, subways, bridges, tunnels, high places, low places, tightly enclosed spaces, boats, cars, planes, trains, crowds. . . .” Through her observations of herself and those around her, Bettina seeks to find meaning in her exceedingly dreary life. Her frank examinations lead to many changes, including an extramarital fling, and her voice touches a timeless nerve, resonating on many levels—from the ever-evolving feminist consciousness to the gnawing existential search that is universal.

Diary of a Mad Housewife’s humor and insight is as alive and pertinent today as yesterday, and will charm and disarm men and women of any generation.

Wasn’t he gorgeous back then

The Diary of a Provincial Lady

bookshelves: winter-20142015, amusing, published-1930, lit-richer, epistolatory-diary-blog, books-about-books-and-book-shops, arch, britain-england, devon, classic, chick-lit

Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from December 15 to 27, 2014

Description: E M Delafield was great friends with Margaret Mackworth, 2nd Viscountess Rhondda, and became a director of Time and Tide magazine. When the editor “wanted some light ‘middles’, preferably in serial form, she promised to think of something”. And so it was, in 1930, that her most popular and enduring work The Diary of a Provincial Lady was written. It has never been out of print.

The Diary of a Provincial Lady charts the day-to-day life of a Devonshire-dwelling lady and her attempts to keep her somewhat ramshackle household from falling into chaos.

Husband Robert, when he’s not snoozing behind The Times, does everything with grumbling reluctance. Her children are gleefully troublesome. A succession of tricky servants invariably seem to gain the upper hand. And if her domestic trials are not enough, she must keep up appearances – particularly with the maddeningly patronising Lady Boxe, with whom our Provincial Lady eternally (and unsuccessfully) endeavours to compete.

This largely autobiographical novel substituted the names of “Robin” and “Vicky” for her own children, Lionel and Rosamund.

1/5: Our diarist faces a visit from Lady B and begins an ongoing battle with the indoor bulbs.

2/5 Our diarist faces a rather sensitive financial situation which can be put off no longer.

3/5 The Provincial Lady’s household is looking forward to a festive Christmas.

4/5 Disaster strikes as Ethel gives notice, and our Lady heads to London to find a replacement

5/5 Barbara Blenkinsop calls, wishing to discuss an urgent matter.

Abridged by Libby Spurrier
Read by Claire Skinner
Produced by Joanna Green
A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

bookshelves: winter-20142015, published-2010, biography, north-americas, nonfiction, wwii, war, prisoner, fraudio, giftee

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Mimal
Read from August 04, 2012 to December 25, 2014
Graf Zeppelin

Narrated by Edward Herrmann

Description: On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.

The lieutenant’s name was Louis Zamperini. In boyhood, he’d been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails. As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile. But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.

Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.

Initially, ‘Unbroken’ was on the ‘looked into, decided against’ shelf, yet along came a beautifully wrapped present so in I dove.

Maybe the conclusion for The Narrow Road to the Deep North will stand well here too: As long as the Japanese are revising their history books, bring on the real facts please, and make it often, lest we forget.