Finally, actually bringing my reading posts up to date, here are the reviews of my September reading. I got through 10 books last month, so this comes in two parts.
1. Seven Brief Lessons in Physics by Carlo Rovelli, who doesn’t say a lot and doesn’t take up much room saying it.
This reprint of seven physics articles originally published in an Italian newspaper are fairly uplifting in their rhetoric, but are somewhat lacking in content. Hampered by the newspaper word count he is barely able to say anything substantial, and as he chose not to expand them for the book, so the whole thing was pretty disappointing.
I would not recommend.
2. The Gap of Time: The Winter’s Tale Retold by Jeanette Winterson, who is wrong about the play.
This is part of the Hogarth Shakespeare series in which writers are asked to do a modern day reboot of various Shakespeare plays. Winterson chose (poorly) to do The Winter’s Tale which is half of a great play followed by an eisteddfod.
But she massively improves on the source material, somehow getting away left, right and centre with terrible modernisations (Autolycus sells cars, his business is called Autos Like Us; King Leontes becomes Leo Kaiser; Bohemia becomes Little Bohemia in New Orleans; etc…) and generally creating a sort of magical realism that works as a beautiful modern version of the Romance genre. It is great.
Would highly recommend.
3. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, who must be a laugh at parties.
A well written prequel to Jane Eyre, which is fabulously sordid and miserable. In a mostly good, but not super pleasant way. Which seems a good summary of Jean Rhys’ work in general.
Would recommend to those who don’t mind getting their brains a bit grimy.
4. The Imperfect Life of T. S. Eliot by Lyndall Gordon, who has a just terrible first name.
Really interesting and well written account of the great poets life. With close biographical readings of his work and a lot of disappointing information about his attitude to women and the Jews.
The books can be somewhat repetitive as it winds back and forward over his life looking at various themes in his works, but otherwise:
5. How to Read A Film: Movies, Media, and Beyond: Art Technology, Language, History, Theory by James Monaco, whose titles contain too much punctuation.
A great introductory text for anyone interested in film. It has sections on how films get made, the history of film technology and art, an overview of film theory, and a bunch of less interesting chapters on other media.
Would recommend to those interested in getting a quick-ish overview of film.
Part two to follow soon.