The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

bookshelves: autumn-2010, published-2006, room-101, historical-masturbation, abandoned

Read on October 31, 2010

 

 I should say at the start that I haven’t seen the film.

Home audio

Later (but not too much later).. I find this detestable. There are enough real examples of the holocaust without needing to bring into being a cartoon version.

You want to learn about the holocaust then read history books instead.

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The Wind That Shakes The Barley , by Paul Laverty

bookshelves: film-only, autumn-2014, britain-ireland, skoolzy-stuff, published-2006

Read on September 01, 2014

 

Watch Here

Description: The Wind That Shakes the Barley is a 2006 Irish war drama film directed by Ken Loach, set during the Irish War of Independence (1919–1922) and the Irish Civil War (1922–1923). Written by long-time Loach collaborator Paul Laverty, this drama tells the fictional story of two County Cork brothers, Damien O’Donovan (Cillian Murphy) and Teddy O’Donovan (Pádraic Delaney), who join the Irish Republican Army to fight for Irish independence from the United Kingdom. It takes its title from the Robert Dwyer Joyce song “The Wind That Shakes the Barley” a song set during the 1798 rebellion in Ireland and featured early in the film.

Widely praised, the film won the Palme d’Or at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. Loach’s biggest box office success to date, the film did well around the world and set a record in Ireland as the highest-grossing Irish-made independent film ever.

The plot (wiki sourced): County Cork, Ireland, 1920. Dr. Damien O’Donovan is about to leave his native village to practise medicine in a London hospital. Meanwhile, his brother Teddy commands the local flying column of the Irish Republican Army. After a hurling match, Damien witnesses the summary execution of his friend, Micheál Ó Súilleabháin, by British Black and Tans. Although shaken, Damien rebuffs his friends’ entreaties to stay in Ireland and join the IRA, saying that the war is unwinnable. As he is leaving town, Damien witnesses the British Army vainly trying to intimidate a railway guard and the train driver for refusing to permit the troops to board. In response, Damien decides to stay and is sworn into Teddy’s IRA brigade.

Powerful, gruelling and very sad in parts. Of course it is, it’s war.

Listen to the Rebel Ballad that gave rise to the title:

I sat within a valley green,
I sat me with my true love,
My sad heart strove the two between,
The old love and the new love, –
The old for her, the new that made
Me think on Ireland dearly,
While soft the wind blew down the glade
And shook the golden barley.
Twas hard the woeful words to frame
To break the ties that bound us
Twas harder still to bear the shame
Of foreign chains around us
And so I said, “The mountain glen
I’ll seek next morning early
And join the brave United Men!”
While soft winds shook the barley.
While sad I kissed away her tears,
My fond arms ’round her flinging,
The foeman’s shot burst on our ears,
From out the wildwood ringing, –
A bullet pierced my true love’s side,
In life’s young spring so early,
And on my breast in blood she died
While soft winds shook the barley!
I bore her to the wildwood screen,
And many a summer blossom
I placed with branches thick and green
Above her gore-stain’d bosom:-
I wept and kissed her pale, pale cheek,
Then rushed o’er vale and far lea,
My vengeance on the foe to wreak,
While soft winds shook the barley!
But blood for blood without remorse,
I’ve ta’en at Oulart Hollow
And placed my true love’s clay-cold corpse
Where I full soon will follow;
And round her grave I wander drear,
Noon, night and morning early,
With breaking heart whene’er I hear
The wind that shakes the barley.

Piece Of My Heart by Peter Robinson

bookshelves: published-2006, mystery-thriller, britain-england, e-book, summer-2014, film-only, series, music, yorkshire

Read from August 17 to 18, 2014

 

Description: The body of journalist Matt Barber, found in a chalet deep within the hills of a remote village, connect Banks to the death of John Gaunt, a guitarist for a band known as ‘The Crystal Kiss’, who died during the 1980s. His band-mate, and best friend, Martin Hareford, was sent to prison on the grounds of manslaughter, serving five years for Gaunt’s death. Banks finds himself not only investigating Matt Barber’s death, but re-opening the Gaunt case in order to identify the potential cover-up which is threatening to hide the truth behind Barber’s death. As he finds himself raking over bad memories for those involved, DI Morton finds herself suspicious of Barber’s father Jack, who was the investigating officer in the Gaunt case, who extracted a confession from Martin Hareford. However, when the files reveal the confession has disappeared, DI Morton suspects that Jack has more to do with his son’s death than he is letting on.

3* Gallows View (Inspector Banks, #1)
3* A Dedicated Man (Inspector Banks, #2)
3* A Necessary End (Inspector Banks, #3)
TR The Hanging Valley (Inspector Banks, #4)
TR Past Reason Hated (Inspector Banks, #5)
3* Wednesday’s Child (Inspector Banks, #6)
3* Dry Bones That Dream (Inspector Banks, #7)
3* Innocent Graves (Inspector Banks, #8)
TR Blood At The Root (Inspector Banks, #9)
TR In A Dry Season (Inspector Banks, #10)
3* Cold Is The Grave (Inspector Banks, #11)
4* Aftermath (Inspector Banks, #12)
TR Close To Home (Inspector Banks, #13)
3* Playing With Fire (Inspector Banks, #14)
3* Strange Affair (Inspector Banks, #15)
3* Piece Of My Heart (Inspector Banks, #16)
3* Friend Of The Devil (Inspector Banks, #17)
TR All The Colours Of Darkness (Inspector Banks, #18)
TR Bad Boy (Inspector Banks, #19)

Diaries: The Python Years, 1969-1979

bookshelves: radio-4x, summer-2014, published-2006, amusing, epistolatory-diary-blog, autobiography-memoir, britain-scotland, nonfiction

Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from July 12 to 18, 2014

He has such a lovely face.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00n46wt

Description: “Michael Palin is not just one of Britain’s foremost comedy character actors, he also talks a lot. Yap, yap, yap he goes, all day long and through the night . . . then, some nights, when everyone else has gone to bed, he goes home and writes up a diary.” –John Cleese
“For Palin it has been one hell of a ride, but he seems to have maintained equilibrium all along the way. . . . In sum, it’s tempting to call him a Renaissance Man. But that, as any Pythonite would be quick to tell you, would be silly.” –Jonathan Yardley, “The Washington Post Book World”
Michael Palin has kept a diary since he was newly married in the late 1960s, when he was beginning to make a name for himself as a TV scriptwriter, and Monty Python was just around the corner.
This volume of his diaries reveals how Python emerged and triumphed, how he, John Cleese, Graham Chapman, the two Terrys–Jones and Gilliam–and Eric Idle came together and changed the face of British comedy. But this is but only part of Palin’s story. Here too is his growing family, his home in a north London Victorian terrace, his solo effort as an actor,” ” and his writing endeavours (often in partnership with Terry Jones) that produce “Ripping Yarns” and even a pantomime.
Meanwhile, Monty Python refuses to go away: his account of the making of both “The Holy Grail” and the “Life of Brian” movies are page-turners, and the sometimes extraordinary goings-on of the many powerful personalities who coalesced to form the Python team makes for funny and riveting reading.

Episode 1: The Monty Python star recalls the influential comedy troupe’s huge success in the 70s and the making of their first film.

2/5 Recalling the Python team’s success in America and the start of their own solo projects.

3/5 The comic actor and travel writer reflects on his relationship with his ailing dad.

4/5 The comic actor shares his surreal experience of guest hosting a big American TV show.

5/5 The actor and writer recalls how the influential comedy group reconvened in 1977.

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

Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman by Friedrich Christian Delius, Jamie Bulloch (Translator)

bookshelves: paper-read, shortstory-shortstories-novellas, translation, women, war, wwii, under-500-ratings, spring-2014, next, bettie-s-law-of-excitement-lost, published-2006, yawn

Read from April 29 to May 18, 2014


grrrrramazon description (which seems to be a personal review):

So the good news first: It’s got the usual suspects – Rome, the war, the Germans. Now to the slightly trickier aspect: there is just one, 105-page-long sentence with a single full stop after the final word. I have been advised “Don’t mention the sentence”. But this is no twisted, unreadable Germanic syntax a la Thomas Mann. Far from it: Instead it’s a mesmerizing psychological portrait of the human need to safeguard innocence and integrity at any cost – even at the risk of excluding reality.

Usually the plot line of a single sentence is quickly told. And this is no exception. It describes a walk through Rome one January afternoon in 1943. A pregnant young German woman is on her way to listen to a Bach concert at the Lutheran church. Innocent and naïve, the war is for her little more than a day-dream, until she realizes that her husband might never return.

Will she change her attitude? Her refusal to understand the obvious turns this slim book into a page-turning thriller. No really. The author’s stroke of genius is to present the young woman as credibly normal. She commits no crime, she just walks along having thoughts and some doubts too. We understand her. We engage. And we follow her because we all want to know if she finally admits reality of her situation. Or at least Peirene did.

However, it’s not for the page turning that I chose this book. After all there are many spell-binders out there. But it is plain and simply for “the sentence”. Its rhythm mirrors so beautifully the steps of a walk – you can almost feel the paving stones beneath your feet. At the same time the text is astonishingly clearly structured. It drives towards an end just as the young woman heads for her concert. Neither lose their direction. The book enchants like a Bach cantata and so enthralls us with the rhythm of the words and the beauty of Rome that we too are tempted to forget the reality of war.

Translated from the German by Jamie Bulloch.

Dedication: For U.B.

Opening: Walk, young lady, walk if you want to walk, the child will like it if you walk, Doctor Roberto had said in his funny German with a strong Italian accent

Came to this story for no other reason that it is part of the delicious Peirene Press series ‘books to red in two hours or less’. However this entry did not strike me as at all palatable.

3.5* Next World Novella
4* The Brothers
WL Sea of Ink
1* Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman
4* The Murder of Halland

The Sensitive: Underground Man by Alastair Jessiman

bookshelves: spring-2014, published-2006, radio-4, play-dramatisation, glasgow, ghosties-ghoulies, britain-ireland

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Laura
Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read on May 12, 2014

 

Afternoon drama in two parts

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b042l782

Description: In this two part thriller, partly set in Glasgow’s disused underground tunnels, psychic detective Thomas Soutar searches for an ex soldier who may have killed two men. Then Kat, Thomas’s girlfriend, disappears….

Episode 1: Glasgow’s disused underground tunnels are the hunting ground for an injured ex-soldier who threatens to kill three men he holds responsible for cheating him out of an inheritance. When one of the men under threat goes missing, Glasgow psychic, Thomas Soutar, helps police in their search – but Thomas and his girlfriend, Kat, soon find there’s danger much closer to home.

Episode 2: Two men are dead and the police are searching Glasgow’s disused underground tunnels for their prime suspect, an injured ex-soldier. Psychic Thomas Soutar senses that danger is imminent – but the realisation comes too late to prevent his girlfriend, Kat, from disappearing. By Alastair Jessiman.
Thomas……………………….. Robin Laing
Kat……………………………….Julie Duncanson
Brodie…………………………. Simon Donaldson
George…………………………Finlay Welsh
DI Crawford…………………..Stevie Hannan
Paul……………………………. Finlay McLean
WPC…………………………….Sharon Young