The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann

 

Description: In this dizzyingly rich novel of ideas, Mann uses a sanatorium in the Swiss Alps–a community devoted exclusively to sickness–as a microcosm for Europe, which in the years before 1914 was already exhibiting the first symptoms of its own terminal irrationality. The Magic Mountain is a monumental work of erudition and irony, sexual tension and intellectual ferment, a book that pulses with life in the midst of death.

Total Duration: 2:18:04

Olwen Wymark’s BBC R4 dramatisation, first broadcast 2001:

Paul Schofield (narrator)
Robert Whitelock (Hans Castorp)
Clive Merrison (Settembrini)
Sian Thomas (Clavdia)
Simon Ludders (Joachim)
John Hartley (Dr Behrens)
Norman Rodway (Peeperkorn)
Rhodri Hugh (Naphta)
Richard Elfyn (Dr Krokowski)
Christine Pritchard (Frau Stohr)
Directed by Alison Hindell, with music by Colin Sell

Schatzalp Davos

Not sure what I thought this story was going to be like, however I have come away satisfied. Mann makes the reader perform emotional somersaults, at times this is stanley-blade morose then quickly the mood changes to satire. I really did not like the blizzard scene.

In the bigger picture, this is another way to view the mentality in Europe circa 1914 – how weird! The music.

Overall, from this superb BBC production, I come away with three Hans Castor(p)s

Advertisements

The Dark Tower by Louis MacNiece

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04d0vt4

Description: Poetic drama starring Richard Burton as Roland, tasked with following in his brother’s fatal footsteps and seeking out a terror that looms in the Dark Tower.

Written and produced by Louis MacNiece (1907-1963), the poet who worked for the BBC from 1940, creating a series of remarkable radio features. The Dark Tower was his most famous work, first heard on the Home Service in 1946 and produced again in 1956. The music for this programme was specially composed by Benjamin Britten.

The work was an allegory concerning fate and free will – the title taken from the Robert Browning poem, Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came (which itself was taken from Shakespeare’s King Lear, where Edgar proclaims ‘Child Rowland to the dark tower came; / His word was still Fie, foh, and fum! / I smell the blood of a British man.’)

First broadcast on the BBC Home Service 14th May 1956.

From Wiki: Frederick Louis MacNeice CBE (12 September 1907 – 3 September 1963) was an Irish poet and playwright. He was part of the generation of “thirties poets” that included W. H. Auden, Stephen Spender and Cecil Day-Lewis, nicknamed “MacSpaunday” as a group — a name invented by Roy Campbell, in his Talking Bronco (1946). His body of work was widely appreciated by the public during his lifetime, due in part to his relaxed, but socially and emotionally aware style. Never as overtly (or simplistically) political as some of his contemporaries, his work shows a humane opposition to totalitarianism as well as an acute awareness of his Irish roots.

The Falcons of Fire and Ice

The Falcons of Fire and Ice - Karen Maitland

bookshelves: cover-love, published-2012, summer-2012, historical-fiction, iceland, hardback, paper-read, portugal, roman-catholic, jewish, medieval5c-16c, mythology, ouch, slaves, seven-seas

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Pat
Read from August 27 to September 03, 2012


No dedication
Three front quotes
Cast of Characters

Prologue – gripping, high drama twinned with a prophecy.

Opening of Chapter One:

Anno Domini 1539

The Queen of Spain once had a dream, that a white falcon flew out of the mountains towards her and in its talons it held the flaming ball of the sun and icy sphere of the moon. The queen opened her hand and the falcon dropped the sun and moon into her outstretched palm and she grasped them.

Cheese before bedtime will do that.

I wonder if anyone else felt the auto-da-fé section went on too long?

Some very exciting moments in this story however it is within the similarities of the Iberian Catholics and the Danish Lutherans of the period that gripped me most.

 

On the topmost branch sits an eagle, and perched between the eyes of the eagle is Vedfolnir the falcon, whose piercing gaze sees up into the heavens and down to the earth, and below the earth into the dark caverns of the underworld.” 11 comments

 

Little King Sebastian of Portugal 1564″

 

She was the most beautiful creature who ever lived”

 

Sintra, Portugal”

 


Torre de Belem portugal”

 

He is a Draugr, a Nightstalker.” 3 comments

 

Lucet is a method of cordmaking or braiding which is believed to date back to the Viking era. Lucet cord is square, strong, and slightly springy. It closely resembles knitted I-cord or the cord produced on a knitting spool. Lucet cord is formed by a series of loops, and will therefore unravel if cut.”

 

The doorway to possession = Dyra-dómr of Draugr (approx.)”

 

1 comment

 

Gilitrutt the troll wife”

 

Zaphod Beeblebrox is remembered, lampooned, a dress-up favourite; I have a feeling the characters here won’t pass the test of time in the same way”

 

Ptarmigan”

Solid 3*

5* Company of Liars
5* The Owl Killers
4* The Gallows Curse
3* The Falcons of Fire and Ice
TR Hill of Bones (in bedroom stack)

=====================================================
BOOK BLOG – the lead up:
9/3/2012 email to Karen Maitland:

Hello there Karen,
We* are wondering where we can get our handsies on The White Room, are you planning to re-publish now you are garnering such prestige?

* Goodread readers Bettie and Pat

Thanks in anticipation.

……………………………………..

10/3/2012 email back:

Dear Bettie & Pat,
Thank you for your email. I only wish I was garnering any prestige. But its lovely of you to say so.

No, I’m afraid there are no plans to republish The White Room. It was a a modern story about a British girl being drawn into the fringes of terrorism. At the time it was written no Middle Eastern Terrorist acts had been carried out in England, but events have now sadly overtaken fiction. It was based on events I experienced in Belfast and Nigeria, so was in a sense a piece of cathartic fiction I had to get out of my system before I could write anything else.

I’m in the process of getting a new website (going live next Thursday I hope) and I will drop the mention of the book on the new website, as it isn’t available, apart from the occasional 2nd hand copy popping up from time to time on Amazon etc.

Sorry, I can’t be more help, but thank you so such for getting in touch and happy reading!
warmest wishes,
Karen

……………………………….

Karen Maitland with a side order of Iceland is my only weakness (hah) – jeeeepers this is going to be good. Now I know of this it will seem like a l-o-n-g drag until the autumn.

More recent history: The Order of the Falcon or Hin íslenska fálkaorða is a national Order of Iceland, established on July 3, 1921 by King Christian X of Denmark and Iceland.

The Order has five classes:
Keðja með stórkrossstjörnu or Collar with Grand Cross, only for heads of state
Stórkrossriddari or Knight Grand Cross
Stórriddari með stjörnu or Grand Knight with Star
Stórriddari or Grand Knight
Riddari or Knight

DAY OF PUBLICATION 16/8/2012: You know how I swore that there would be no new books bought because of our boracic straits after crawling over northern europe like a cheap suit – I lied.

I lied to myself and to you.

Just pressed the ‘place order’ button. I can’t be trusted.

23/8/2012: Still not here!

 

A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore

bookshelves: summer-2014, tbr-busting-2014, published-2006, amusing, fraudio, fantasy, mythology, doo-lally

Read from July 08 to 09, 2014

 

Read by Fisher Stevens

Description: Charlie Asher is a pretty normal guy. A little hapless, somewhat neurotic, sort of a hypochondriac. He’s what’s known as a Beta Male: the kind of fellow who makes his way through life by being careful and constant — you know, the one who’s always there to pick up the pieces when the girl gets dumped by the bigger/taller/stronger Alpha Male.

But Charlie’s been lucky. He owns a building in the heart of San Francisco, and runs a secondhand store with the help of a couple of loyal, if marginally insane, employees. He’s married to a bright and pretty woman who actually loves him for his normalcy. And she, Rachel, is about to have their first child.

Yes, Charlie’s doing okay for a Beta. That is, until the day his daughter, Sophie, is born. Just as Charlie — exhausted from the birth — turns to go home, he sees a strange man in mint-green golf wear at Rachel’s hospital bedside, a man who claims that no one should be able to see him. But see him Charlie does, and from here on out, things get really weird. . . .

People start dropping dead around him, giant ravens perch on his building, and it seems that everywhere he goes, a dark presence whispers to him from under the streets. Strange names start appearing on his nightstand notepad, and before he knows it, those people end up dead, too. Yup, it seems that Charlie Asher has been recruited for a new job, an unpleasant but utterly necessary one: Death. It’s a dirty job. But hey, somebody’s gotta do it.

Christopher Moore, the man whose Lamb served up Jesus’ “missing years” (with the funny parts left in), and whose Fluke found the deep humor in whale researchers’ lives, now shines his comic light on the undiscovered country we all eventually explore — death and dying — and the results are hilarious, heartwarming, and a hell of a lot of fun.

Gotta love that bit where Charlie reads Slaughterhouse V to sophie. Great fun yet a touch too frenetic for me to rate higher than three yellow mustard stripes. Another TBR bites the dust; I am on a roll.

3* Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal
3* A Dirty Job
2* Practical Demonkeeping
4* The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove
2* Island of the Sequined Love Nun

My guidelines for TBR busting excercises:

stage one – off tbr into wtb shelf if it is really bad or complete lack of interest

stage two – abandoned shelf if I get a little further than stage one but can’t take it anymore

stage three – skim through shelf

stage four – get to the end but want to rip it to shreds = room 101 shelf

Saying that, some TBRs end up as good star ratings

Bears Of England by Mick Jackson

bookshelves: shortstory-shortstories-novellas, radio-4x, fantasy, summer-2014, britain-england, doo-lally, mythology, under-50-ratings, noir

Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from June 06 to 12, 2014


http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00lgfqr

Three eccentric stories from this collection by Mick Jackson, which mix fantasy with folk tale and myth with history. Read by Ian Holm

Episode 1: In the days before electric light and oil lamps most of England was troubled by spirit bears. But one village believed itself to be victim to an especially wicked gang and sought to find an answer.

Episode 2: The circus bears are deeply disgruntled at the extra risks being incorporated into their performance, and things come to a head at the annual circus convention in Bristol.

Episode 3: In the 19th century, under London’s streets, several bears are sorting the city’s effluent.

Every sewer bears the name of the street above!

In the Greenwood by Mari Ness

bookshelves: spring-2014, shortstory-shortstories-novellas, published-2013, e-book, forest, debut, medieval5c-16c, historical-fiction, mythology, newtome-author, lifestyles-deathstyles

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Nataliya
Read on May 18, 2014

 

Tor.com blogger, fantasy writer, and insatiable reader Mari Ness makes her Tor.com short fiction debut with a beautifully told tale of complicated and conflicted love, a translation and transformation of a very old story that is sure to be familiar to every fan of folklore and history.

This short story was acquired and edited for Tor.com by editor Liz Gorinsky.

Opening: Afterwards, neither could agree on where they’d first met, or when. She thought she’d been six; he said four. Both agreed he’d been older than she, although how much older was something they never discussed, nor tried to figure out, quite deliberately. He’d been infuriating, she remembered. She’d been aggravating, he said. He’d once thrown rocks at her.

I’m late to the show – Tor.com have made a tranche of shorties available for free. This Robin Hood rethink is available here, and seeing how I love short stories as palate-cleansers in between main reads, this is exceptionally lovely of them.

Hey Bezos! not everyone is money-grabbing.

A surprising end to this heart of the forest tale.

The Magus by John Fowles

published-1965, spring-2014, film-only, re-visit-2014, greece, mythology, nazi-related, one-penny-wonder, paper-read, play-dramatisation, wwii

Read from January 01, 1973 to May 07, 2014

 

Stars: Michael Caine, Anthony Quinn, Candice Bergen

Description: An English teacher arrives on a sleepy Greek island to take up a vacant teaching post. The last man to hold the post committed suicide under mysterious circumstances. Slowly but surely, he is drawn into a bizarre game engineered by a reclusive local magician. The deeper into the game he is drawn, the more he senses danger… yet cannot seem to untangle himself from the fascinating and compelling influence that the game is having on his mind.

Quite ironic – this is the film of the book about the film of the meta-play of a real event.

Quinn was fantastic in this, and I cannot but help remembering when he was a young lad who turned up at one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s workshops and was advised to have a small operation on his mouth…