I think people know the drill but just in case you don’t… in Friday Reads you basically discuss the books you plan to read this weekend, expectations, hopes etc. Some people extend this to mean the books they’ll be reading all week and I always intend to cover just what I’ll be reading at the weekend but as I inevitably procrastinate my own reading usually spans the rest of the week anyway. So here we are. Enough introductions, I’ll begin…
Richard III by William Shakespeare (x)
I’m currently taking a course on Early Modern politics and place that considers the way place and space is produced within texts of the period and also how Early Modern literature (mainly drama it seems) talks about the idea of place and space and the politics that are associated with this spatiality. We started off with Thomas More’s Utopia (which, side note, I completely unexpectedly loved, review here) and we move on now to drama of the period, including Shakespeare’s Richard III and Marlowe’s Tamburlaine. I’ll be reading the former for next week’s seminar and I’m really looking forward to it. All I know is everything I know about Richard III, even without having read this play, is coloured by the interpretation of history this play takes. Horrible Histories did a song about it, incidentally, and called it Tudor propaganda so I highly recommend it – I’m not joking.
Northern Lights by Philip Pullman (x)
As part of my 2015 Bookish Resolutions I linked to a 50 book challenge with goals such as ‘read a book set in your hometown’ and ‘read a book you started but never finished’. To celebrate finally finishing my essays (huzzah I hear you say) I picked out a goal that was ‘read a book that’s been turned into a movie’. A quick glance at my meagre shelves here at university revealed one that would be pretty good – Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights. I read the first two books in the His Dark Materials trilogy and then gave up mid-way through The Amber Spyglass because I just found it so long and boring. But this was, what, maybe 6 years again? High time I gave it another chance because I know so many people love this series and I have a feeling I will too. I’m about 100 pages in and I do admit I love it. I cannot not picture Nicole Kidman as Mrs Coulter though, it’s a problem – and I haven’t even seen the film. I blame this edition’s god-awful movie tie-in cover. Ugh.
Rethinking the Novel/Film Debate by Kamilla Elliott (x)
I’ve just came out of my first seminar for Kamilla Elliott’s course on Victorian Literature and Other Media and it was so much fun. It essentially deals with how cinema evolved out of the Victorian novel and how the first ‘films’ were influenced by its techniques along with how cinema evolved into the tendency towards craving either realist depictions – how real can I make this scene appear – or to supernatural/magical depictions – what creative techniques can I use to make a ghost appear in this scene. So yes, tutors have a habit of setting their own books for course reading but she was completely lovely about it and did it for the reason I like – because what she has to say in it actually has a lot of further quotes and reading that will be helpful for your understanding and for any essays you might research/write on the topic. I like it when tutors are upfront about it. And her book does seem really interesting. This course covers 10 weeks so I won’t finish this study by Sunday night by any means but it’s nice to start on it.
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens (x)
We discussed A Christmas Carol this week as a way into Victorian literature and other media and also particularly Dickens’ involvement with early adaptations of his novels through plays and readings etc. We’re going to be focusing on a few key Victorian texts in terms of, in the first instance, illustrations which accompanied them and how they enhance the story. So Oliver Twist is the first one up and I’m almost done with it, I have about 80 or so pages left I believe, so it’s just one last push and I’ll have finished it. I have to say I’m really loving it. It is so bleak and cruel and awful and yet hilarious and scathing at the same time.
And I think four is more than a healthy number, quite enough to be getting on with so I shall leave it there. What are you reading this weekend? Tell me, tell me, I’m nosy, I love to know these things.