lexlingua: (Books)
If I were to sum up 2015, it would be less reading, more watching. I took several shortcuts this year, opting to watch the movie/ TV versions instead of reading the book. But some of those shortcuts proved to be quite wonderful. With that as a caveat, here’s a summary round-up -- in no particular order -- of all the most memorable events of 2015 for me:

1. Jessica Jones
Binge-watching Jessica Jones was no hard feat; it was the most automatic “play next” in the world (link to trailer). I had read so many reviews about this show: the “neo-Noir” tones, a Marvel Comics hero who is grappling with a painful past slash disability, great relationships (especially female friendships), 3D characterizations, awesome acting and kickass women. All true, boyo. (Note: If you like Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series, you will find Jessica Jones remarkably similar, as the self-deprecating, smart PI with supernatural powers.) Krysten Ritter acting as Jessica and David Tennant acting as the evil Kilgrave were jawdroppingly good. Kilgrave, Kilgrave, it is a mark to Melissa Rosenberg’s screenwriting that even for a villain like that, you hope for reformation.

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lexlingua: (Macabre)
Season 5 of Game of Thrones is coming up on April 12, 2015.

In celebration, here's my favourite scene from Season 4:

lexlingua: (WHAT!?)

This show. THIS SHOW. I can't even *gasp*.

I am not a fan girl given to squeeing, but the television drama, Liar Game, has reduced me to squeeing. A masterpiece of brilliant puzzle-solving, an insightful foray into human psychology, superb acting, and feet-on-toes edge-of-chair mystery -- I am simply amazed by this show.

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With shows like Desperate Romantics, Copper and Penny Dreadful on my watchlist, I knew the next step was to make a countdown of my 10 favourite television shows till date. Here they are in descending order:

10. Mildred Pierce
Kate Winslet does an outstanding job in this 2011 four-part HBO miniseries, based on the book by the same name. I was drawn to this show because I had seen the 1945 version with Joan Crawford on TCM. The show has been changed quite a bit, to adapt it more for modern audience, but the shockingly mean and vicious greed of Mildred’s daughter, Vida, still evokes the same repulsion as it did then.

9. North and South
Class struggles abound as the industrial revolution zooms through England, as do labourer strikes and lockouts. North and South is a truly exceptional adaption of a truly exceptional 1855 novel by Elizabeth Gaskell. But what is really unforgettable is Richard Armitrage, about whom the less said is more.

Also recommended on similar lines: South Riding, Anne of Green Gables series, Catherine Cookson shows, and Lark Rise to Candleford

8. The Buccaneers
This 1995 show is based on a book by Edith Wharton, which lays out the story of four American girls’ fortunes in England, particularly that of the tomboyish Nan’s unfortunate marriage to a duke. A well-made show, though the ending has been much criticized.

Also recommended on similar lines: Downton Abbey, The Paradise and The Forsyte Saga

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lexlingua: (Beauty)
It's been an age since I last updated my blog, and it's difficult to step back into it. It feels like one of those creaky machines that need oiling from time to time. Rounding up 2013 before January rolls up is an important ritual though; can't miss it for anything.

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Don’t ask me why I chose that atrocious alliteration for this post, except that it’s a Thursday, and its a holiday tomorrow here, so I have finally coaxed myself back to blogosphere. Thursday Toll is also a round-up of the most happening and most demented events of my life this past week. So, smile and read on...

First, I read The Scorpio Races by Maria Steifvater. This author has grown on me. I hated her werewolf Shiver series, and purposely avoided reading the sequels, because they reminded me too much of Twilight. A bias that I decided to overcome with The Scorpio Races, and boy, did I love it! There is a mysterious island, on which humans and seafolk co-exist under some ancient delicate pact. Seafolk includes the hippocamp, or the waterhorse, which is a sort of carnivorous sea-racing horse. Every year, the villagers keep their end of the pact by throwing an annual race of the waterhorses. Steifvater describes the perils of such races quite well, and the curious aching longing that seafarers feel for the sea is also brought out quite well. Life by the sea is both so close-knitted and insular, and is told through the eyes of Puck, a girl who enters the races in a desperate bid to keep her elder brother from abandoning their family. Puck would possibly be the Irish YA urban fantasy version of National Velvet, and is a charming heroine. I would rate it an 8 out of 10.

Second, I dabbled a bit at writing, and let me tell you, I positively suck at it. It goes well for a para or two, then I end up putting too much of myself into the pages and have to stop. Then my imagination runs out, and after that, my time. Yes, precisely in that order. By the way, I found this god-awesome book on writing called Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott. Lamott writes that storytelling should be taken step by step, bird by bird, and not with a view to write everything at one go. This means that there’s bound to be a lot of Shitty First Drafts. Ahem, certainly have a lot of those.

Third, my TBR pile is currently exploding. I’ve decided to stock them up in genres and read one of each. There’s Waking the Moon by Elizabeth Hand (hardcopy couriered from Amazon) which is fantasy. Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (historical fiction); Jagannath by Karin Tidbeck (science fiction); The Food of the Gods by Terence McKenna (non-fiction); False Economy by Alan Beattie (economics); V is for Vengeance by Sue Grafton (mystery) and Women who run with the Wolves by Clarissa Estes  (psychology). Fear my TBR Pile, folks, because I’m determined to demolish them all—and you’ll have to read the reviews. If you have any experience of my reviews, you will know that they are long, verbose, wordy and more like a thesis than anything else. I pity You Who Reads My Reviews.

And there's more babbling... )
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It’s a bit late in the year for putting up a best-of-the-year list, but it’s been so long since I last blogged… and I just had to recap some of the defining blogworthy moments for me of 2012. Here they go:

1. Chime by Franny Billingsley

Th Book Smugglers recommended this book, and I thought let’s give it a shot. I heard it out in audiobook moreover, which was a lucky chance for me, because Susan Duerden gives this haunting fantasy story a voice all of its own. I could not have chosen a better narrator for Briony, the lead character, who is broken, bitter and mysterious. Briony lives in a village covered with swamps, and for some reason she hates herself. That’s how the prologue begins, and I can’t give away more, except that Briony’s past hides a secret that is a recipe for disaster for the entire village.

Don’t go by the cover of the book— which shows a blonde girl in black and white, with a rose and lightning/ thunder/ cobwebs in the background. Er? The cover does hint at the story, but it’s not all that encouraging for the Reader. Go ahead and try out the audiobook.

2. Bleak House BBC TV Series

I have a thing for a BBC television series, whether it be Jane Eyre, Robin Hood, Tudors or Pride and Prejudice. Bleak House was adapted from Charles Dickens’ massive tome of the same name, a grim and ruthless satire on the legal system. I am sorry to say that the legal system since the 1850s has still not changed. I recently visited Court, and the tedious, painstakingly slow machinery of our procedural hurdles made me appreciate Bleak House even more. Only the wigs on the judges were missing, everything else remains the same. The show was adapted from the book by Andrew Davies, who has a done a fine job, if I may say so. Watch out for the spinechilling scenes where the mad Miss Flite (played by the redoubtable Pauline Collins) feeds her parrots, named Hope, Joy, Youth, Peace, Rest, Life, Dust, Ashes, Waste, Want, Cunning, Folly, Words, Wigs, Rags, Sheepskin, Plunder, Precedent, Jargon, Gammon, Spinach Ruin, Despair, Madness and Death.

There's more... )

So where’s your recap 2012?


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January 2017



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