Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes for May 17, 2014

Johann Georg Hainz's Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Johann Georg Hainz’s Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

During the Renaissance, cabinet of curiosities came into fashion as a collection of objects that would often defy classification. As a precursor to the modern museum, the cabinet referred to room(s), not actual furniture, of things that piqued the owners interest and would be collected and displayed in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes is my 21st century interpretation of that idea.

 

Dear Internet,

You can now follow me on Pinterest on what I’m readingwatching, and listening.

Listening

I’ve been really into BBC Radio these last few weeks and below is some of my current favorites. I’m not going to lie, Benedict Cumberbatch figures prominently in two of the series, so there’s that.

Reading

Finished
deadintheir
The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches (Flavia de Luce #6) by Alan Bradley
(Amazon | WorldCat | GoodReads)

At this point, there is not much more one can say about this series that has not said before, so I won’t regurgitate it all over again. I will say I’m not sure where this story is going is the right path. The twists of where Flavia is headed, the AHA moment Bradley springs upon us, and how Bradley neatly ties up some lingering questions seem kind of amateurish. But obviously I’m on the hook now for what happens, so bring on book #7!

sexandrage
Sex and Rage: Advice To Young Ladies Eager For A Good Time by Eve Babitz
(Amazon | WorldCat | GoodReads)

Earlier I said,

I was introduced to Babitz recently via a recent article about her in Vanity Fair. The idea of an intellectual good-time girl intrigued me as it should, and I was dismayed to find that her work is not only largely unknown but also out of print. I was able to get a first edition copy ofSex and Rage via interlibrary loan to read and boy, am I ever glad I did. Babitz is glorious as a writer, the work hums with the fastness of the era, of the good time unapologetic choices that Jacaranda makes, doing so with such easy going nature you are desperate for the drugs she’s on.

Two of the books main characters are cities (LA and NYC), who are plumped up in their finery to show you what they are really like during their heights. Make no mistake, this is very much a roman à cléf of Babitz’s life and I don’t think this book would have been successful any other way. The only way to capture the essence of the era and the city would have been to live it as wildly and as fully as Babitz. Once you get past this is a thinly retelling of Babtiz’s life and realise her wordplay is punchy and clean, the book sails forward in all of its gloriousness.

Currently reading

cakesandale
Cakes and Ale by W. Somerset Maugham
(Amazon | Worldcat | GoodReads)

This is supposed to be HILARIOUS. A laugh riot. Bawdy.  A modern retelling of Twelfth Night.  In reality? A trainwreck.

The premise of the story is a moderately successful writer is approached by the family of a  recently deceased big to do writer to write his biography. But there is a catch! The biographer has to erase all mentions of the dead writer’s first wife, who was so bawdy and outlandish, she turned him bohemian. Craz-zee.

Except, the linear story is a hot mess. We’re introduced to a nameless (at first ) 1st person unreliable narrator, a writer, at the beginning of the story who is fretting over accepting the call of a slightly more successful writer friend. Maugham then spends nearly 20 pages on what Mr. moderately successful is and isn’t.  Then as we start to get into the meat of the story, so-called Mr. moderately successful is then dropped from the story. I’ve spent the next 70 pages of the primary unreliable narrator basking in the glow of his youth, and where we find out he is the one who has met the dead writer when the dead writer was married to the bawdy first wife. While the crux of the story is to circle around the moderately successful writer writing the biography, I’m 1/3rd of the way through and Maugham is dragging this on.

Maugham is better known, and respected, for his short stories which are supposedly sublime. I keep thinking I have read Of Human Bondage, but I think my memory is faulty. So Cakes and Ale is meh.

Watching

  • Vikings
    The Vikings ended a few weeks back and I’m curious to see where this goes. Historically, Ragnar Lodbrok doesn’t last long past what we’re at now in history on the show, and they have been tap dancing around the settlement of England (and yo. Dane law.). Where will this go and how much will the producers manipulate versus the truth?
  • Penny Dreadful
    Gaslight retelling of various Romantic and Victorian nightmares (Frankenstein, Jack the Ripper, Dracula) starting a James Bond, a Bond Girl, and a Companion. One episode in and it shows a lot of promise. I’m curious to how they will continue intertwining the various mythologies into a single story.
  • Louie
    TheHusband is a big fan of Louie, so we’ve been watching this as it has been appearing. I find Louie’s comedy mostly great, but he always tends to have one or two jokes that fall flat with me.
  • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Another new news show encompassing the weekly worth of events in half hour, but with a British spin.
  • Fargo
    Starring Billy Bob Thorton and Martin Freeman, along with a host of other big actors, on a spin of the Cohen brother’s movie.
  • Eurovision
    I cannot possibly encompass the gloriousness of Eurovision in a mere paragraph.
  • At Home With The Georgians
    Originally aired in 2010, it was rebroadcast this past week to begin the celebration of the 300th anniversary of the first George of England. It stars one of my favorite academic/presenters Amanda Vickery. What is really interesting about this series is not just the historical view of the Georgian era, but how much we think is modern in terms of how we view homes and living actually is centuries old. DIY is not a novel or new concept.

Weekly watching:  Mad MenGame of ThronesSilicon ValleyVeepCosmos: A SpaceTime OdysseyDoctor Blake MysteriesThe AmericansSurvivor: CagayanElementary

What have you read/watched/listened to this week?

x0x0,
lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe in: 2003

Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes for April 5, 2014

Johann Georg Hainz's Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Johann Georg Hainz’s Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

During the Renaissance, cabinet of curiosities came into fashion as a collection of objects that would often defy classification. As a precursor to the modern museum, the cabinet referred to room(s), not actual furniture, of things that piqued the owners interest and would be collected and displayed in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes is my 21st century interpretation of that idea.

 

Dear Internet,

You can now follow me on Pinterest on what I’m reading, watching, and listening.

Reading

flavia5Speaking from Among the Bones (Flavia de Luce #5 ) by Alan Bradley
(Amazon | WorldCat | GoodReads)

Last year, I was skeptical about carrying on with the series, but I am delighted that book #5 has picked up from the mistakes of book #4 and has been vastly improved upon. The plot twist at the end was definitely not one I was expecting, but considering it has been building up over the course of the series, it was not a major surprise. Flavia is still a delight and her unabashed love for the inspector and his wife, the parental units she never really had, is pushed to the side of the story rather than taking a random, “Oh let us talk about it when I need filler” back seat. But considering what Bradley is setting up, it seems more reasonable we should be discussing this more than not. There are other matters that need to be addressed, which weren’t, but hopefully that and the twist will be the set up for book #6.

P.S. Just found out that there is a movie coming in 2015 of the first book! That is kind of exciting.

Watching

  • Stella
    Christmas special and fourth season confirmed, Jones’ is in talks for a fifth season of this brilliant show. At the surface, it’s a show about a young grandmother (Jones), trying to make it in the world her own way while handling her still young family, her career, and her love life while set in the adorable Welsh town of Pontyberry. But dig deeper, and it’s a show purely about relationships, personal, familial, and intimate, and how there is no one size fits all to any of them. It’s also about being true to you, even it means going against the grain. Stella is not a flash show — it’s not a procedural, it’s not wiz bang, it’s not even really much of anything but a slice of in medias res but the writing, the characters, the side stories endear the fuck out of this show to me. Friday nights are the best nights when this show is on.
  • Mr. Selfridge
    Now beginning its second season in the US, I won’t reveal much other there the show seems to be picking up in terms of story and appeal. Lots is going to happen this season, some of it seems predictable and others, not so much. This show is very much still finding its feet, but it’s going much further then its counterpart, The Paradise, ever hoped to go mainly due to the wealth of side stories happening, making it much more entertaining and enjoyable to watch. Season 3 has been commissioned, so we’ll very much be hearing more of the world of Selfridge’s.
  • W1A
    Never let it be said that the Auntie is not immune to poking fun at herself — picking up where Twenty Twelve left off, our hapless hero Ian Fletcher is now the head of Values at the Beeb and well, hijinks ensue. It’s a short series, only four episodes, but because it’s not centered around an event like Twenty Twelve was, there is a lot of potential to keep it going. Well, as long as Hugh Bonneville can fit it in between his tenure as Lord Grantham.
  • Honest
    A one off series of six episodes from ITV, Honest is available on Acorn until April 7. I banged this out over a few days and was surprised to learn it was not renewed for additional series. You’ll definitely recognize many, many of the actors from various current shows, the send up of it being a criminal family going straight was not badly handled (it had a few gaffes, but what show is absolutely perfect its first time out?), and it was what TV should be – entertaining. If you have Acorn and are looking for something to watch this weekend — this is it. It is also available for on Amazon Instant Prime.
  • The Walshes
    Only three episodes for the entire series, the tales of a close-knit Dublin family alllllmooost made it, but not quite. Written by Graham Linehan, he of Father Ted, Black Books, and other fine television shows, it should be funnier! Punchier! Quotable! But The Walshes, the family, came across as creepy losers rather than loveable rejects.
  • Blandings
    At some point, I am going to do a piece on my love of drawing room comedies, and especially on my old buddy Plum, but it is sufficient to say that another season of Blandings has ended and for that, I am sad. But the wealth of new quotes and such I’ve picked up will forever live on, guv’nor.
  • Top Gear
    Everything I know about cars, I’ve learned from Top Gear. This season felt shorter than usual, but it was still highly entertaining. Carry on, my bridge building friends.

Weekly watching: Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey, Doctor Blake Mysteries, The Americans, Survivor: Cagayan, Moone Boy, Edge of Heaven, VikingsThe Musketeers, University ChallengeHouse of LiesArcher, Under the Gunn, Justified, Reign, Elementary

Links

What have you read/watched/listened to this week?

x0x0,
lisa

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