Of Music And Books

I’ve just read Under The Dome. I’ve had this book on my TBR pile for absolutely ages, but knowing the tv series was starting finally made me get round to reading it. I don’t know now whether I did the right thing, because they’ve made quite a lot of changes in the series and the book is still so recent in my mind that I find these changes really distracting. It’s almost like a totally unrelated story, which is strange, because there’s nothing wrong with the story at all.

The book is very good. I think Stephen King writes really good characters, and there is no shortage of them here, good and evil. It’s a really long book, and yet it never felt like it dragged on too long.
The final section really bought to life the claustrophobic effect of the Dome, and the end for one particular character drew on this same feeling which I thought gave a horribly fitting demise. I won’t spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read it yet.

Next up, I’m reading The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton, which has just been short listed for the Man Booker Prize. If it wins, it will probably be the first prize winner I’ve read, so here’s hoping! Another very long book, it’s really engrossing. The plot is tightly woven and intricate. Some books you can skim read and get the message, this one, definitely not. I find myself absorbing every single word. There are several character viewpoints, all seem to be involved with each other in ways which are only unravelled as the book progresses, so you’re always wondering what’s going to happen next.
I’m more than half way through, and I think the second half is a slightly quicker read than the first, which deals with past events leading up to a certain point, then the narrative continues in the present time.
It’s really good.

Never one to just have one book on the go , I’m also reading The Shining (yes, more Stephen King, I think I might be a bit of a fan!). I’ve wanted to read this for a while, and the upcoming release of the sequel, Doctor Sleep, seemed the perfect excuse to get going on it. I love the atmosphere of the creepy hotel; it’s creepy even before the snow comes to cut off the Torrance family from the outside world. Can’t wait to see what happens.

In other news, I seem to becoming a David Bowie fan. It all started after I watched Labyrinth. I loved the soundtrack so much that I wanted to hear other things he’d sung. I can’t believe I hadn’t been more aware of him before, but somehow I hadn’t. Anyway, that’s all changing now, and I’m getting a bit of a collection of his albums.
So far I have Reality, The Next Day, Heathen and The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust. Yes, I still have a long way to go, but that’s the great thing about finding something new to enjoy, especially from someone with so much of a back catalogue. Another rare thing, I can listen to whole albums and find myself listening to every track, rather than skipping through, which I tend to do with most people.
I’m listening to The Next Day as I’m writing now. It’s really good.

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I Have Too Much To Talk About!

I think the days for sitting out in the garden are going to be few and far between now as Autumn is due, so I’m taking advantage of this lovely afternoon to sit out and write this. It’s becoming my outdoor blog but I’ll keep updating even when the good weather is gone.

Not much to report on the garden front at the moment. Well, quite a lot is in bloom, and the corner garden looks nice and colourful, so that’s good.

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To balance the good, my Black Eyed Susan appears to be dying off. I don’t know if I’ve done something wrong or if its an annual plant which has reached the end if the season. The label didn’t say. It’s a shame as its been a really nice plant.
Also, the tomatoes are not ripening at all. There are plenty of them, but they’re all green. A friend has suggested putting something red into the greenhouse with them, but I have a feeling this will turn out to be an old wives tale. We shall see…

I watched Cloud Atlas the other night. At almost 3 hours I thought it had better be good, to hold my attention.
Within minutes of starting it I thought to myself “this will be going off soon, I don’t think I can stick it much longer”. It was really confusing, jumping from one story to another as each plot was established, and for a time I didn’t have a clue what was going on.
I stuck with it a little longer, and at some point I became hooked. I was totally engrossed in it. What a brilliant film! And the soundtrack is lovely too.
I loved it so much I’ve now dug out my copy of the book, which for some reason I never got around to reading before now, and I’m going to start it. Once I’ve read the book I think I’ll watch the film again, because its so complicated that it would probably benefit from a second viewing. Also, when the credits went up and it showed which roles each actor had played, I couldn’t believe some of them I’d missed.

I wrote the above a while ago and just rewatched the film. By the end I was in tears! I can’t recall it being so sad the first time around! I definitely got more from seeing it again; even though I knew what was going to happen it obviously still had a massive impression.

I also watched Labyrinth last week, starring David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly. I’m sure I must have seen the film years ago, during my childhood, because I could remember some of it. I don’t think I ever had such a love for it as I did for The Neverending Story, The Goonies or The Addams Family – those were the childhood films I watched repeatedly.
This time round though – loved it. I love the story, and how charismatic was David Bowie as Jareth?!? I loved the ballroom scene – he had on 10 times more makeup than I would wear myself and yet looked so handsome. The music is brilliant too, from the instrumentals to the songs Bowie wrote and sang. I can’t think of many songs quite as romantic as As The World Falls Down, and Magic Dance is a real feel-good song.
Jareth and Sarah remind me Christine and the Phantom, from Phantom Of The Opera, which is another of my great loves (the stage version, not so much the film), so I suppose it was always going to appeal to me. I’ve even been reading fan fiction based in the film, which usually means I feel like writing something myself. Maybe…

I have so much more to write about, but this is starting to get a bit too long, so I think I’ll save it for another time, hopefully another warm afternoon spent in the garden!