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A Diet of Literature #4, 5, 6 & 7

Having forgotten quite how busy the first working week of a year can be, I’ve gotten a little behind with my literary diet. This has been a week of meetings, catching up, and planning. As well as writing, both workshops and fiction (with a little random poetry), and reading. 

I’ve just finished reading Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman, which was almost impossible to put down. I wanted to see how Honeyman developed both the character and the story, and how, if, she resolved everything. I loved the character and the way Honeyman drip fed information about her backstory, which was crucial to understanding her. I went from thinking she was an irritating snob to finding her utterly hilarious to weeping for her and, finally, falling in love with her. I was very slightly disappointed with one aspect of the ending, but delighted with that ending too. I’ll be interested to see how Hollywood translates it for the screen, apparently Reese Witherspoon has bought the film rights. I hope they keep it in Glasgow, but suspect they won’t.

Now to return to The Guardian’s regime

Map of Medieval England
Image: Google Images



Day #4

Dona Croll reading This Sceptr’d Isle.

You’ll find this in The Monologue Library, and will have to scroll a bit to find it, but it’s worth it. She performs the scene with a perfect mix of power and wonder, if that makes sense. This is John of Gaunt uttering his last words and, I don’t know if you’ve ever done a meditation that involves a body scan, but it’s a bit like that only his body is England. Croll totally owns it. It’s well worth two minutes of anyone’s time.

‘And the villages dirty and charging high prices:’

Day #5

T.S. Elliot: The Journey of the Magi

This is one of my very favourite pieces of writing; I love Elliot’s rhythms and imagery. Indeed I bought his Collected when I stumbled across a few lines from The Cocktail Party (I can’t remember in what) and, though they made little sense, just loved the sounds he made with the words. When the book arrived (our local bookshop didn’t have it so…) I was surprised to find the lines I’d so loved were from a play not a poem, which was a little disappointing at the time, but on turning to the first page I found ‘Prufrock’ and swooned. I’ve been besotted ever since. 

Here the Guardian sends us to The T S Elliot Society who provide a link to a You Tube of Elliot reading the poem. Which is fine, but he’s not the best reader, being somewhat clipped. However, you don’t need to look far to find alternatives and this one is my favourite. I won’t tell you anything about it but will leave you to discover the wondrousness for yourselves. Enjoy!

Image: Dixie Spirits Blog

Day #6

I haven’t had time to watch this yet and Saul Williams is new to me, so I look forward to slowing down later, after today’s meetings and whatnot, to immerse myself. It certainly looks jolly!

Day #7

is The Water Babies, a two hour film made in 1978. The webpage the link leads to makes no sense to me, but I’ll see if I can find it on Netflix either tonight or tomorrow. The Water Babies was one of my favourite stories when I was small. 

It is, of course, now day 8, but I’m going to have to leave that till later. It strikes me that I’m creating a very full ‘later’ for myself but, ain’t that they way…?

Header image: Flickr.

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. dinahmow

    Oh! I hate it when Hollywood gets its fiddling paws on things!
    But I tend to prefer books to films anyway. When we read, we colour things as WE see them, so when we go to the cinema we see what someone else sees. And it’s hardly ever good!

    1. Eryl

      Ha! I quite like a film, and I do find it interesting to see how directors, actors, et al interpret books for the screen. But you’re right books allow us to do the visualisation for ourselves, which is invariably better, though not absolutely always. I have seen one or two screen adaptations that were better than the book. Can I think of one at this moment? No!

  2. Scarlet

    Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman is the best book ever! I found it very hard to get into another book after I finished it as I loved it so much. Maybe I should re-read it?
    They better not bugger up the film or I’ll be writing mean letters.

    1. Eryl

      Have you read Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo, I’m finding it just as compelling?
      You should probably start drafting those mean letters now! X

      1. Scarlet

        I shall add your book recommendation to my dusty list!!
        Is the film going to be set in the US? How will that work *howls*

        1. Eryl

          I have no idea, but I’m assuming the worst. X

  3. looby

    I’ve had Eleanor Oliphant on my next book list for ages and now in the space of ten minutes I’ve had it endorsed by Eryl and Scarlet. The whole Guardian new year list sounds good too.

    Talking aout UK books being taken up by Hollywood, I was a bit disappointed when Brigdet Jones’s Diary — which was one of my favourtie books of the year — had to be played by an American Bridget.

    1. Eryl

      Now you must read it immediately! It’s a really quite astonishing book; I need to reread it to try and work out how Honeyman does it.

      I remember thinking it was an odd decision to cast a Texan as Bridget Jones, but it worked, I thought. Though the film missed out my favourite scene in the book, so I found it disappointing.

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