‘Blogs? Sorry, but all those blogs and vblogs or whatever’s out there – they just make being unique harder. The more truths you spill out, the more generic you become.’
. . .
How cruel that mankind was forced to conform to the global electronic experience.
— Bev, Generation A pg. 222
It is my pleasure to announce that I have finally finished with my dissertation! Having toiled 8 long months over this piece, it is a truly lovely feeling to hand it in.
‘Imagine a bitter, middle aged woman on her second bottle of red wine, spewing hatred towards the people she thinks are responsible for her failures, and thus the resulting ball of twisted regret inside her that laces every word she says with spite.’
|—||Vienna Karakas, Pink News Article retaliating against Julie Burchill|
Vienna Karakas has my utmost respect for drawing attention to the inflammatory language adopted by Julia Burchill in her recent article published and withdrawn by The Observer newspaper. While addressing the need for trans rights and protection in the media, Karakas pens this novel-worthy line.
Every time I go about making a reading list, I end up losing it or prioritize other than what is written down to begin with. However, with the approach of a new year comes increased resolve in the form of a month-by-month novel agenda. How could it fail? The first 5 months (to begin once university ends):
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (Tom Stoppard): Having read Hamlet multiple times for secondary school and university in addition to falling in love with Stoppard’s Arcadia, I swell with anticipation of seeing a contemporary form flushed with the content of Shakespeare. Would also be interesting to follow the inversion of their roles as minor characters to that of major.
The Omen (David Seltzer): I was recommended this novel a few months ago during a discussion of Paradise Lost and was told it was an extremely scary book to read with the Bible side by side- how the quotations are compared and shown to be fulfilled.
The Enchanted Places (Christopher Milne): To put it simply, autobiographies add so much more depth to a work- its intentions, the author and in this case, subject’s attitudes, the reason for particular characterizations, etc that I find Christopher’s tale hard to dismiss. Really looking forward to this one.
Queen of the Damned (Anne Rice): My guilty indulgence. Perfect break from studying and essay-writing.
The Pickwick Papers (Charles Dickens): Dickens is someone I’ve only found myself reading when I’ve been forced to by assignment; admittedly both Great Expectations and Oliver Twist were engaging. Just need the provocation and will to read more.
The Infidel tells the story of middle-aged Mahmud Nasir, a man whose life is suddenly fractured with the knowledge that instead of the Muslim he believes he has been from birth, he is in fact adopted . . . from Jewish parents. With the Israeli/Palestinian conflict still raging, this British comedy hits dangerously close to home in its candid portrayal of Jewish and Muslim stereotypes. While at times I couldn’t help but shield my eyes with the feeling that there were some lines that The Infidel couldn’t help but cross, Omid Djalili rises to the occasion – artfully (and hilariously) maintaining the balance with antics as bizarre and cringe-worthy as those seen in his stand-up comedy.
Overall this is an amazing piece of cinema: an emotionally raw journey of self-discovery with enough laughs to keep you from falling in too deep.
REVIEW: North and South
While originally written in the serialized publication of Dickens ‘Household Words’, Gaskell’s North and South(1854-55) shows an utter lack of understanding and skill in conforming to the restraints imposed upon this format. She is defective in her ability to condense plot, creating a passive lull when action is craved. Although Gaskell does conjure up an array of endearing characters (from the stern Mrs. Thorton to the meek Bessy Higgins), these characters are often refused adequate ‘page time’ to develop in the novel as the heroine’s selfishly stolen introspection is prioritized. Gaskell is also at fault in her choice to delay the romantic resolution that should have naturally come to a climax a hundred pages prior. There is, once superfluous words are hacked away, no meat in the ‘tumultuous tale’ of North and South to provide a substantial meal for readers or indeed to satisfy the slightest pangs of hunger.
‘I always keep my conscience as tight shut up as a jack-in-the-box, for when it jumps into existence it surprises me by its size. So I coax it down again… “Wonderful,” say I, “to think that you have been concealed for so long, and in so small a compass, that I really did not know of your existence. Pray, sir, instead of growing larger and larger every instant, and bewildering me with your misty outlines, would you once more compress yourself into your former dimensions?” And when I’ve got him down, don’t I clap the seal on the vase…’
— Mr. Adam Bell, North and South pg. 399