peck72: (Books rule)
Once again, quite a break in post's but then I would need to do something a little more interesting than just go to work to have something to post about. but still this week has been quite a good week (aside from work, that is).

Last Sunday was a book fair at Erddig, which is a National Trust property about 25 mins drive from Chester. We didn't get to really look around the house itself (much of it was closed off for the day) but then I was hunting books and that is a much more serious task. In the end I came away with a pretty good haul;

  • the first three Hitch Hikers books by Douglas Adams (I know it's a disgrace, but I've never actually read these)
  • The Deep Range by Arthur C Clarke, bought speculatively just because it's Arthur C Clarke
  • In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, another speculation but it has had the rumblings of a classic so should be at least interesting
  • Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene. I'm about three quarters of the way though this one so far and it is very good. Greene is very understated in the way he writes and it sneaks up on you just how deeply your being drawn into the story and how much you care for the characters.
  • and finally and old hardback of Hans Christian Andersons Fairy Tales.
Not bad, especially for £1.50 (about 2.2 euros).

    While I'm on the subject of books, I can finally announce I've finished Jung Chang's biography of Mao. I say finally because I started this book sometime in June and only finished it about two weeks ago. Now it is a big book, and I have read a few other books inbetween starting and finishing Mao but even so, three months plus is way to long to take to read a book like this. I'm going to have to read more serious books like this and get my reading muscles into something like proper shape.
    That being said, in the week after finishing Mao, I did then pollish off both Terry Pratchet's 'Wintersmith' and Susanna Clarkes 'Ladies of Grace Adieu'. These are two very good books but I do think that I enjoyed the Ladies a bit more than Wintersmith.
    'Ladies of Grace Adieu' is a collection of short stories set in the world of her first novel, 'Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell' and tells more tales of Faerie and English magic. My favourite tale is probably the title story (although 'Tom Brightwind, or How the fairy bridge was built at Thorsby' comes a very close second) which details the encounter between Jonathan Strange and the three Ladies of Grace Adieu, who have quite a different opinion of modern magic to him.

Tuesday night also had a literary tone to it as Anna, I and a group of friends went to see Oscar Wilde's 'An Ideal Husband' at Theatre Clwyd in Wrexham. I've only ever read Wilde's 'Portrait of Dorian Gray' and so wasn't quite sure what to expect of this. The play began with a scene of an evening party in which most of the cast delivered typical Oscar Wilde witticisms in very arch ways. I was getting a little worried that this would be the way the rest of the play would pan out but then once the actual plot got going this became less and the play found it's rhythm.
    A quick summary of the plot is that an MP (the 'Ideal Husband') is blackmailed over an financial indiscretion from the beginning of his career to the result that both his career and his marriage are threatened. He and his wife (a paragon of virtue, but somewhat unforgiving of flaws in others) are helped though this by their close friend (who can be nothing but Oscar Wilde writing himself into the play) who is a confirmed bachelor, layabout and dandy (but still the cleverest and wisest person in the play) but has something of an attraction to the MP's younger sister (played here in the style of Jennifer Saunders).
    All in all, a very good production and a very good evening out. But now I must away to bed as tomorrow I must tile the bathroom. Oh the joys of being a grown up ;)


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July 2012

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