Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes for March 8, 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,

Reading

msyteryofmercyclose

The Mystery of Mercy Close: A Walsh Sister Novel by Marian Keyes
(Amazon | WorldCat | GoodReads)
Status: Finished

Marian Keyes has long been one of my favorite authors, one who can encapsulate a horrible event (abuse, addiction, recovery) in a story that at first glance, seems like some kind of fluff until you dig deeper and get to the heart of the story.

Keyes, however, has failed with this book. Terribly.

At first glance through the reviews, I am apparently the only one who caught the not so very subtle racism against Arabs/Muslims peppered throughout the book. Snide comments about “towel heads,” “arabic-y looking wording,” and the often slights against one of the secondary characters who is Muslim and an Arab. Then once you pick up on the racism, you realise either Marian, or Marian using Helen’s voice, is a bigot against fat people, the mentally ill, and anyone who doesn’t fit into her little world.

Now you’re probably thinking, “But Marian has chronicled her severe depression — how can she be bigoted against the mentally ill?” And you know, I totally get you on that, because I was floored at first. But with Helen’s voice, and point of view, you notice how Helen starts being dismissive against any and all attempts of trying to work on her depression. She rejects drugs (at first), she’s dismissive against any alternative methods, and the constant comments about how she was special with her depression because it wasn’t like anyone elses in terms of symptoms and effects. Okay, we get it, you’re a special snowflake.

This book was a hot mess. Between the bigotry, the lead up to through the mystery, explanation of her past relationship, the foundation of her current one, and really? How she and her BFF ever broke up and why was incredibly weak. Coupled with her depression and the utter lack development for most of the characters, why was this book even published?

Watching

Weekly watching: VikingsThe Musketeers, Mr. Selfridge, Black SailsTop GearStellaUniversity ChallengeHouse of LiesEpisodesArcher,  True Detective, Under the Gunn, Justified, Banshee, Reign, Elementary

Links

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

x0x0,
lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe in:

Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes December 21, 2013

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,

Reading

cocainebluesCocaine Blues: Phryne Fisher Mysteries #1 by Kerry Greenwood
(Amazon | WorldCat | GoodReads | LibraryThing)
Status: Finished

The first book in a long series that inspired the show Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, is currently available for free on the Kindle via Amazon. Since I had become obsessed with the show, it seemed natural to check in on the book series to see how it lived up.

TV and book series are pretty on par with the other. Action is high, Phryne is pretty similar in both medias, and but the character development. with the exception of Phryne, in the book series is lacking whereas the TV series feels more well thought out. Phryne is a very visual character, her frocks and accessories are very detailed in the books, as is more of her backstory is explained, but the rest of the book characters seem kind of stale in comparison to their TV counterparts. I know there had been some complaints about Detective Inspector Jack Robinson (secondary character in the books, primary in the series) and the changing of some events in the book series to the TV version actually made the storyline slightly better and still satisfying.

While I found development of the characters a bit weak, the storyline seemed abrupt at times, I am rating this a 4/5 for technique, research, and content. I also loved how Greenwood walks you through elements of the mystery without spoon feeding them to you, which is echoed in the TV version as well.

Very enjoyable and fast read. Highly recommended.

dodgerDodger by Terry Pratchett
(Amazon | WorldCat | GoodReads | LibraryThing)
Status: Finished

A departure from Discworld, Sir TPerry takes us on a romp through the early days of Victorian London, where Charles Dickens is a journalist prowling the underbelly of streets, Prince Albert is still alive, and we’re introduced to a wealth of characters that seem almost unreal and yet, they very much are.

As most of you know, I’m a huge fan of Sir TPerry, but this book was hit or miss for me. The backstories of early Victorian London, the dialogue, the slang, the characters were all true to life. While I appreciated the nod to Dickensian themes and word styling, but there still felt like something was detached and it’s driving me crazy that I cannot put my finger on it. I read this in spurts of 50-75 pages, putting it down, and then picking it up months later for another 50-75 page spurt. The last spurt happened in a 1.5 hour long bath because I was desperate to finally finish it.

This book would be  a great companion to anyone interested in a fantasy set in reality (as Sir PTerry puts it) of early Victorian Age or who wants to get into Dickens without reading Dickens. Sir PTerry is a great storyteller and that is still evident here and while I feel he was incredibly passionate about Dodger and his companions, the magic was slightly off and a bit hard to swallow.

thisyearyouwriteThis Year You Write Your Novel by Walter Mosley
(Amazon | WorldCat | GoodReads | LibraryThing)
Status: Finished

I’m going to disagree with much of the middling and negative reviews about this title.

If you’re serious about writing, why would you dismiss something that would and could be of great help to you? Especially from someone who is as esteemed as Walter Mosley? Doesn’t that seem ridiculous?

Like most writers, I collect, read, thumb, and tag writing reference titles to keep on hand and to get guidance. Mosley’s title was recommend to me from an artist friend who thought its straight to the point advice given in bite sized allotments would be attractive to me and he was right.

Sure, yes, you can listen to CBC Writers and Company (one of the best writing podcasts out there), subscribe to a zillion magazines and newsletters, and read blogs and websites to get advice. But while some of that information is helpful and at times useful, distilling through the noise to get to the actual meat of matter is exhausting. This is why Mosley’s works is important – it gets rid of all the high falutin pretentious twaddle that seems to crop up in most writing manuals and advice how-tos and gives you the real deal.

snobberywithviolence

Snobbery with Violence by Marion Chesney
(Amazon | WorldCat | GoodReads | LibraryThing)
Status: Finished

Marion Chesney/M.C. Beaton has a formula that regardless of which series or persona she is writing in, is always in play: Barely existing plot, overly pulled sexual tension between the leads, content the depth of a 1″ puddle, and story devices that are thrown against the wall and then forgotten. Having read much of the Agatha Raisin series, while knowing it was to be frivolous fun, I grew bored because Aggie (don’t call her that if you value your life) never seemed to grow as a character. It was always the same shenanigans, book after book.

With this being said, I picked up the Edwardian Mystery series by Chensey/Beaton as I grow increasingly interested in this time period I’m on the lookout for contemporary titles written about this period and this is one of the few contemporarily written series currently available.

Chesney/Beaton doesn’t disappoint. You have your “oh she’s supposedly so well educated but portrays herself as a half-wit” heroine who comes from exceedingly good stock; the mysterious and fallen main male lead who “oh really publicly hates the heroine but secretly loves her” and yes, it’s all very predicable and cliche-y.

There is no stretch in the research or imagination here, and if I had not been well attuned to Ms. Chesney/Beaton’s writing style from before, I would probably like the book even less but you know, at the end of the day, it’s a frippery of a read that while it may not have educated me, it did keep me entertained.

2013 List | In progress

Watching

  • Masters of Sex
    The season finale and much is left to the open for interpretation on what is going to happen and where the show is going. I really adored this show – and it was one of the few shows in our weekly repertoire I would demand to watch live. There is certain detachedness to the show, and some of the characters are written flat, but I do love this show. Michael Sheen as the uptight Dr. Masters is a delight.
  • A Place to Call Home
    TheHusband and I have mainlined this show in its entirety. Complex, thought out, well drawn drama about early 1950s Australia. Complicated relationships, characters, and the setting is gorgeous.
  • Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries
    Season 2 kittens, season 2!
  • Survivor
    It’s finally over. Thank fuck.

Weekly watching: BBC Tudor Monastery Farm, Reign, DraculaProject Runway All-Stars, Breathless, Atlantis,  ElementaryMarvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.Sleepy Hollow,   Boardwalk Empire, Doc Martin, QIPeaky Blinders,  Sons of Anarchy,  The Vampire Diaries

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

x0x0,
lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe in:

Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes: September 28, 2013

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,

Writing

The Lisa Chronicles

Watching

  • Hit & Miss
    Hit & Miss showed up randomly on Netflix and we decided to give it a whirl. Chloë Sevigny plays Mia, a pre-op transsexual contract killer who finds out she has a son when the mother dies from cancer, naming Mia guardian. The setup is that Mia, yearning for a better life than the one she grew up with, decides to take on the role of caring not only for her son, but also the rest of her ex-girlfriends’ kids while juggling her day job and romantic interests, as well as all the complications of being true to herself.While the set-up sounds schlocky and alarm bells in terms of handling should be going off, Sevingy surprisingly pulls this off with grace and dignity. The character development was deft and felt honest, and I felt like I could care about these characters, deeply.The show was shot in/around Manchester, UK and theoretically takes place in Manchester and also possibly Leeds, but it could be anywhere UK. Mia’s accent has been likend to that of someone who comes from Irish traveller background (which she hints at as she grew up on the fairgrounds), but her accent keeps dropping in/out; it’s never consistent.The last episode is left wide open for a second season to begin, but SKY tv, one of Britain’s main networks, have announced there will be no second season of Hit & Miss. This is upsetting because there is no closure from the end of season one, which left the viewers with a Mexican standoff between Mia, her son Ryan, and Mia’s boss Eddie. And what happens to Liam?
  • Downton Abbey
    Fall means the return of pumpkin spiced ALL THE THINGS, changing of leaves, and of course the return of my beloved Downton Abbey.For American viewers, Downton Abbey season starts in January on PBS, but I am me and there are reasons why the Internet was invented. This is one of them. I promised ages ago that I would not reveal spoilers anywhere publicly for those without access until January, but I will say season four is shaping up to be as drama filled and nail biting as the previous three.
  • Survivor
    There are only two reality shows I watch, this one and Project Runway. Survivor is more of the influence by TheHusband who loves the strategy and unexpectedness of the show rather character development, so by osmosis, I watch this show too.
  • Sleepy Hollow
    New offering this fall, based on the idea that Ichabod Crane (played by a dreamy Brit, Tom Mison) is not left alone to sleep under a tree for 250 years, but rather he is called awake to help save the world from evil in 2013. The reason? Horsemen from the apocalypse are back, looking to finalize the beginning of the end, witches are also involved, and lawd knows who else.Two episodes in, while not brilliant material, it’s not bad. It doesn’t cater to the obvious and there is some surprisingly good dialogue written. This is definitely on the rotation for weekly viewing.

Weekly watching: Boardwalk Empire, Doc Martin, QIPeaky Blinders, The Bridge (US), Project RunwayThe Newsroom, Sons of Anarchy, DaVinci’s Demons,  The Vampire Diaries

Links

x0x0,
lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe in: 2010, 2003, 1998