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.
Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed
(Amazon | WorldCat | GoodReads | LibraryThing)
At first glance, it’s easy to dismiss THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON as a typical sword and sorcery novel with not one, but many reluctant heroes in the guise of being presented by multiple points of view. But from the very first chapter, you realise you’re in the presence of something much larger, grander, and more indepth than previous versions of this motif. You could read the story for what it is, a tale of an old man and his young charges righting the wrongs of the world, but you’d be missing out on much of what Saladin has to say.
And boy does he have a lot say – THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON is an allegorical tale using Saladin’s world as the mirror to our own and through his work, he is critiquing the problems that exist in our world. He underscores some of the larger and complex concepts with a very subtle humour that at first read through you miss until you realise what he’s getting at — very Dickensian. His voice is very passionate, very authentic, and very real.
And there was something else in this tale that I couldn’t put my finger on until I read it on another review: Saladin’s work has soul and a heart. A lot of fantasy I’ve read, and in the larger scope of my canon is actually much less than most, tends to have a hollowness to the world and characters – they seem to be missing their “humanness” about them we often need to make that connection within ourselves. There is certainly nothing wrong with that, not every novel needs to be a treatise on the human condition. But you don’t realise how much you miss having a full bodied story until you get your hands on one again.
- Downton Abbey
The fourth season, which is set to air on PBS in January 2014, has just finished in the UK and my overall response is – meh. There is your usual backstabbing, mischief has been managed, and illicit love affairs but the overall intensity of the show that I once loved has seemingly lost its oomph. It has been renewed for a fifth season and while I’m sure I’ll still be watching it, probably not with the zest I once did. The show has jumped the shark and while formulas can be good, Julian Fellowes just needs to let this one go.
I was introduced to this show by several friends who thought it would be a good fit for my interests, but what they failed to tell me (or better yet, what I should have known) that as a show on The CW, it would be less than historically accurate. The best summary I can give for this show is that it’s The Tudors in clothing from Forever 21. But you don’t watch CW shows for their historical accuracy and commentary on historical figures. There is definitely some eye rolling going on, lots of gratuitous sex, more anachronistic details you can shake a stick at but you know what? Who cares! It’s a train wreck of a show with a very pretty cast and even prettier set dressing.
Weekly watching: Dracula, Project Runway All-Stars, Breathless, Atlantis, Masters of Sex, Elementary, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Sleepy Hollow, Survivor, Boardwalk Empire, Doc Martin, QI, Peaky Blinders, Sons of Anarchy, The Vampire Diaries
- Interesting piece on the history of tattooing in Yarmouth Gaol, one of the oldest prisons in UK
- Looking for a great gift for Austenites? How about Jane Austen tattoos.
What have you read/watched/listened to this week?
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