Sunday, December 16, 2012

Spring '12 reading list

After Aggie became dead, I plunged into socializing and novel-reading to fill my time between wailing sessions.

Thinking it would be lighter fare, I read the novel Topper by Thorne Smith, from which derives another favorite film of mine from 1937 featuring Cary Grant. I loved the novel, though it was a much darker depiction of the banker’s mid-life crisis. Still a fun ghost story. Here, I’ve drawn George and Marion Kirby with the banker, Cosmo Topper. Technical note: I can't get my Wacom tablet to work with my laptop properly, so the half-toning which I embarked on is a little rough—I had to carry it out using the laptop "mouse-pad" (I don't know what you call that spot where you use your finger to mouse around the screen). It was challenging to do even what I did above! Sorry!

At long last, I read Piotr’s favorite book and most repeated recommendation, Master and Margarita. I had bought my vintage hardcover copy because (1) I prefer vintage hardcover copies over new or used paperbacks and (2) I liked the jacket design. However, on arrival I saw the jacket was the later-designed awful jacket. But, for $1 on I won’t complain too loudly. I enjoyed it, it was creepy and fun. I’m sure some of the symbolism is lost on me. It was a bit clunky, and Piotr says it’s because the version I read was an inferior translation from Russian.

I turned back to dangerous territory, novels which favorite films are based, to read The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. In many ways, I prefer the film; the novel reveals too much ridiculousness of Jean Brodie, whereas the film portrays her as far more shrewd. 

Tess of the d’Urbervilles was one of two literary references in the Downton Abbey Christmas Special, so I decided to give it a go since it was already in my bookshelf. I could not put it down! The language was very accessible for a novel that old. I hated the ending, so I re-wrote it in my head. Still ends sadly, but not so outrageously.

Last up in the marathon was Turn of the Screw. I was eager to read another period ghost story. I read that this story was the original modern ghost story. A short but gripping read.

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