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Ceux qui ne peuvent pas, enseignent

The Professor

Charlotte Bronte

ISBN:978 1 85326 208 1

Whoa, but there is a lot of French in this book.  Thank goodness for me this edition has translations in the back, because otherwise I’d run the risk of going my whole life thinking that the main character in this book was stirring his morning coffee with a small gun, rather than a bread roll. Pistolet was the word that tripped me up… I mean, I knew it was unlikely, given the setting, but he had just discovered that his lady-love was dating his boss.  It really could have changed the whole flow of the story. Oh, and in case you didn’t realise from that little rant, I don’t speak French past the completely stupid phrase “Ou est la piscine?”, which is going to serve me exactly no good at all if I ever go to France, since I don’t swim.  God only knows why I remember it at all.

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Little tales, told at night

Books of Blood, volumes 1 – 3

Barker, Clive

ISBN:0 75151022 X

Did you ever look through a kaleidoscope as a kid?  Do you remember twisting the end to make the little bright jewels and beads inside fall into different patterns?  Remember how some of the patterns where better than others, even though they were all beautiful – some of the patterns inside were just a little on the dull side, and although they were all pretty, some just didn’t have that certain something.

Books of Blood is a little bit like that.  Some of the stories enclosed in the three-volume set (the Books were originally published as individuals, and then combined at a later stage, which is apparently how Clive Barker had intended to publish them all along) are amazing – descriptive, interesting subject matter, good character development.  I wouldn’t say that they were strictly scary – some of them are certainly creepy, but I can read them before bed without any ill effects.  However, some of them are rote, or done better by other writers (The Yattering and Jack being a case in point – that whole concept was much better done by C.S Lewis in The Screwtape Letters).

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Jane Says

Jane Eyre

Brontë, Charlotte

Pre-movie

I’m just going to pop this out in the open right now.  Ever since I first read it at the tender age of about thirteen, Jane Eyre has been my favourite books.  But this post is going to be mostly about the movie, which I saw today.

It’s always dangerous, isn’t it?  Going to see the movie of a book that you can recite large passages out of,  or that you relate strongly to one (or some) of the characters.  To be honest, if I wasn’t so impressed with the cast of this particular version of the story, then there is no way I would have gone to see it.  No way.  But… Judi Dench!  Michael Fassbender!  I haven’t seen much of Mia Wasikowska’s oeuvre – sadly, she is the weakest link for me, I didn’t really like her in Alice in Wonderland, or in Defiance, but I’m trying to put that aside and see how I go.  But having said that, visually she’s a good choice for Jane, I think.  Not horrible looking, just pale and weird-looking (in a nice way).  Jamie Bell as St. John Rivers I’m having a slightly difficult time imagining too, but again, I’ll see how I go.

I’m really interested in how they handle some of the more brutal elements in the story – the scene in the church, the crossing the moors in the darkness, St. John’s proposal, the fire.  As usual, all the nasty stuff.  The treatment of Adele will be quite interesting too (Jane bonds with her so strongly in the book that the chemistry between the two actresses will be very important).

There’s a strong class struggle in Jane Eyre as well – Jane constantly wonders at Rochester, because she thinks she can bring nothing to their union (well, not money or title, anyway).  So that will be interesting.  I’m going with my Lad, against his will, I might add (though I’ve been to see Transformers 3 with him, so he kind of owes me), so I’ll be interested to see if he enjoys it or not.  Be warned, that if you’re thinking of seeing Jane Eyre there are some spoilers after this jump.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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Versus Battle! 2: Noon v. Mieville

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the second of the Versus Battles!  Tonight, we have a vanguard of the British nouveau-SF writers, Mr. Jeff Noon against the world-class genre-masher, Mr. China Miéville.  In this battle we have Noon’s first book Vurt, against Miéville’s first novel King Rat. It’s basically going to follow the same sort of format as the first Versus Battle, but a few little changes (and maybe, just maybe, some improvements. Let’s not get too carried away though).  Oh, and a warning that there are some plot spoilers in here, but nothing you can’t handle, I’m sure.

The Weigh In
Vurt was first published in 1993, by Ringpull Press – sadly that’s not the edition that I have, I’ve got the Pan Books 2001 edition. I first read Vurt when I was a mere slip of a girl in the late nineties, and SF still felt kind of verboten, like it was something I shouldn’t like because I was a girl. Phew, but let’s not get into the psychology of that statement… Vurt runs to 325 pages in the Pan edition that I have. The ISBN of said edition is 9780330338813. King Rat was first published by Macmillan in 1998, but the version I got from the library is the 1999 Pan Books edition. 421 pages all up, and an ISBN of 0330370987. This is my first reading of King Rat, but I’m not a first timer for China Miéville’s work – previously, I’ve read and enjoyed (and had my word power extended by) Perdido Street Station, Un Lun Dun and Kraken. I feel like these two books are pretty evenly matched in terms of size and subject, so we should have a good fight on our hands.

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