Off Topic Art & Literature

Discussion in 'Southampton' started by Beddy, Nov 26, 2019.

  1. davecg69

    davecg69 Well-Known Member

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    I bought virtually all Moorcock’s books from the 70s (and still have them tucked away in amongst my sci-fi and fantasy books) and was only looking at them the other day and wondering if I should read them again. Been close to 50 years since I did ...... might give a couple a go and see how I get on. If you like Moorcock’s eternal champion, you might like Fred Saberhagen The Broken Mountains and The Black Mountains, plus The Books of Swords.
     
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  2. Number 1 Jasper

    Number 1 Jasper Well-Known Member

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    Not heard of him Dave . Will give a look into him thanks
     
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  3. Ian Thumwood

    Ian Thumwood Well-Known Member

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    This is a good film and I was surprised just how influential Tony Benn was in assisting with overcoming the difficulties this couple faced. I bought the DVD as a present for my Mum as she has expressed an interest in this film because the story was so well known at that time as it was considered scandalous at the time although I believe that Seretse Khama transpired to be a hugely respected and influential figure in Africa afterwards. My understanding was the public sympathy in the UK was very much in their favour.

    Oddly enough, as a film, I think "United Kingdom" is not as good as the previous one the director Amma Assante made which was called "Belle." On the face of it, this is a period drama almost akin to an Jane Austen -type story but the principle character was the daughter of a member of aristocracy and a slave from the West Indies. It is one of those films which you think may be interesting yet turns out to be hugely compelling as it transpires to be based on an element of fact. Whilst much of the story is conjecture, it is interspersed with a true incident regarding probably the most shameful and disgusting case of insurance fraud in British history. I have to say that this film started with an interesting premise which eventually really grips your interest. "A United Kingdom" is watchable yet "Belle" is probably one of the most underrated films of the last ten years.
     
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  4. ChilcoSaint

    ChilcoSaint Lives in a Chilcohüttl
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    Thanks Ian, I’ll check Belle out.
     
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  5. Le Tissier's Laces

    Le Tissier's Laces Well-Known Member

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    Just finished reading Alan 'Tommy' Lascelles diaries - fans of The Crown will know him - he was the private secretary to the King(s) over the abdication period, and later for Queen Elizabeth. The diaries cover the war years, and really are a fascinating historical document.

    Highly recommended if you're into that kind of thing.
     
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  6. thereisonlyoneno7

    thereisonlyoneno7 Well-Known Member

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    ...my next audiobook purchased ;)

    Screenshot 2021-03-21 at 22.45.26.png
     
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  7. Le Tissier's Laces

    Le Tissier's Laces Well-Known Member

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    Oh my god - if I'd known there was a Pip Torrens narrated version, I'd have been all over that!!!!
     
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  8. thereisonlyoneno7

    thereisonlyoneno7 Well-Known Member

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    I have the 12 book annual audible sub, and last year hardly ordered any (as I read a lot), so had 19 credits :)

    I'll start it in about a week after I have finished my David Baldacci book :)
     
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  9. ChilcoSaint

    ChilcoSaint Lives in a Chilcohüttl
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    I’m busy hoovering up the Patrick O’Brian Aubrey/Maturin books at the moment. I can’t believe I have reached my advanced years without ever reading them, they are brilliantly researched, fantastically written, and I love all the characters already, and I’m only halfway through the second one.

    I seem to remember someone recommending them on here a while back. If you did, thanks!
     
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  10. Ian Thumwood

    Ian Thumwood Well-Known Member

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    I read "Master & Commander" about twenty years ago when the film came out and was surprised that it wasn't anything like the film. Instead, it was about the war between the US and Britain in 1812. I was really disappointed as it was something I had expected to be exceptional. My Dad also read one at the same time and he was underwhelmed too but I still keep thinking about returning to this series as I generally love books about sailing. O'Brien also wrote books about World War 2 under the name Alexander Kent. The Aubrey / Maturin books should be putting all the ticks in the right places as far as I am concerned

    At the moment I am reading John Preston's "The dig." I really want to see the film although I have been surprised by this book too as it almost seems like something written for children.
     
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  11. ChilcoSaint

    ChilcoSaint Lives in a Chilcohüttl
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    I think your memory must be playing tricks on you Ian, “Master & Commander”, the first of the series, is set in 1800, at the very end of the French Revolutionary Wars, and Jack Aubrey’s sloop Sophia never shows her bowsprit outside the Mediterranean Sea.

    Certainly the film bore no relation whatever to the book though, which is hardly the fault of O’Brian, who published it in 1970. Perhaps the confusion is in the subtitle of the film “The Far Side of the World” taken from the book of that name, the 10th of the series, which is indeed set in 1812, at the height of the Napoleonic Wars when the USA came in with the French as well. I can’t comment on that book as I haven’t got there yet!

    Maybe you should have another go, as I found that book, and the second one “Post Captain”, to have ticked all the boxes.
     
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  12. Beddy

    Beddy Plays the percentage

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    Never realised there was an audio version of this.....now purchased!!!!!!! Thanks for that!
     
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  13. Archers Road

    Archers Road Urban Spaceman

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    Anyone here read The Master and Margarita, by Mikhael Bulgakov? Absolutely extraordinary novel, parts of it had me utterly spellbound: About 50% went over my head though i suspect.

    If I had my time again, I might learn Russian (too late now). Seems to be the one European language which has a literature as rich as English - though the French might disagree.
     
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  14. Ian Thumwood

    Ian Thumwood Well-Known Member

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    I am wondering if anyone has seen the film "The Dig" as I would be curious to get their opinion. At the moment I am halfway through the book and am struggling to see how this could have inspired anyone to make a film. One of my other interests is history / archaeology and whilst I have to admit finding the Saxons to be a bit of a stepdown in comparison with the Romans and the Normans, it strikes me as odd that a writer can make one of the most amazing archaeological discoveries in the UK so uninteresting. The book may improve in the second half. So far, I have been really underwhelmed by it.
     
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  15. ChilcoSaint

    ChilcoSaint Lives in a Chilcohüttl
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    Saw the film, brilliant acting by Ralph Fiennes and Carey Mulligan, and Lily James was playing Lily James. I knew the story but hadn't read the book, and I found it to be a commentary on the English class system more than anything else. Very well done and beautifully filmed.
     
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  16. The Ides of March

    The Ides of March Well-Known Member

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    Time for me to make a contribution to this particular thread. What I read seems to be totally out of cync with everyone else. Most recently, I have been reading Exodus by Leon Uris. Although the main characters are fictional, the bulk of the story is set within the timeframe of the founding of the state of Israel. There are flashbacks at the beginning of the novel to show the ancestral background of Ben Ari Canaan, and of course thousands like him, to a Jewish ghetto in 19th century Russia and how at times they were persecuted. So straightaway the author has the reader sympathising with the Jewish cause.

    Set within the timescale, Leon Uris seems to be rather critical of British foreign policy for its over the top pro-Arabic stance, its aggression towards the Jews both within the Palestine protectorate and in keeping Jewish refugees confined to camps in Cyprus. He also cites what he calls the muftí (imams?) in whipping up Arabic aggression aided by outside forces in engaging in unnecessary hostility towards the Jewish settlers who it seems acquired their land quite legitimately with agreed land purchases.

    If you have read the book, you may well have formulated your own view which may have given you a certain perspective on the current situation regarding that particular hotspot of the world. If you haven’t it I leave it up to you to read. As a work of literature it is fine, if not quite a classic with riveting passages of language.
     
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  17. Beddy

    Beddy Plays the percentage

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    I must admit years go I think I read a book about the Jewish Ghetto in Russia. Sorry my memory is not what it was and for the life of me I cannot remember the author or the name of the book. Nor do I still have it by all accounts. I must admit it was probably in the early 60's that I read it........(my navy Days!)
     
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  18. StJabbo1

    StJabbo1 Well-Known Member

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    I read Exodus some time ago and regarded it as historical fiction biased toward the Israelis. No surprise as he's the son of Jewish American parents. It lead me to read The Palestinians by Jonathon Dimbleby https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2329561.The_Palestinians. Published in 1979 it's a piece of historical journalism that gives the background from the British mandate onwards. Well worth reading for anyone interested in what is unfortunately an ongoing conflict with hawks and doves on both sides. Review by Miriam Rose here https://www.jstor.org/stable/41857589?seq=1. The Balfour Declaration was a pivotal moment in the establishment of Israel bit about it here. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balfour_Declaration2.
     
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  19. Ian Thumwood

    Ian Thumwood Well-Known Member

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    "Exodus" was one of the books by Dad told me I should read when I was small and I am pretty sure that it got made in to a film with Paul Newman in the starring role. It is supposed to be a fantastic story. I must admit that I am really surprised that this book has cropped up in this discussion because it was really of it's time. I have always had the impression that it's Pro-Israeli tone would have counted against it remaining in print as opinion has changed so radically since this book was written. I would imagine that many people would now see the story of the creation of the nation of Israel to be a tragedy and the treatment of the Palestinians as genocide. (The Palestinians refer to this as Al-nekbar, .which broadly translates as "the catastrophe.") However, I think this would have been true regarding many writers regarding this topic who had published before the 1990s. Wilbur Smith is probably a good example. I am surprised that this book is still in print and feel many people would find it troubling to read these days.

    Oddly enough, I had logged on here to post about another novel I have really enjoyed which similarly captures the spirit of our times and made me wonder how it will be viewed by future generations. John Lanchester's "The wall" was been described as being this generation's equivalent of Orwell's "1984" as it concerns a similar dystopian future where the British Isles is surrounded by a huge concrete wall along the length of it;s coast line which is used to repel the "others" who are illegal refugees desperate to escape a global catastrophe which has flooded much of the world. I found this book impossible to put down. The prose is very lean and I think it works because the lack of detail means there is not a lot to question. The premise is excellent and I felt that it really hit home simply because it exaggerated topical issues such as global warming, immigration and piracy in a fashion which was matter-of-fact as opposed to sensationalist. I would really recommend this book. The comparison with Orwell's book is a fair one to make but I also felt some parts were redolent of "All quiet on the Western Front."

    After reading a good book, I often wonder how it's reputation might stand in posterity if it is particularly memorable. "The Wall" is thought provoking and I note that John Lanchester's other books also deal with other "topical" issues such as the financial crash of 2008. I am not sure whether people will be reading this book in future generations and, like Uris, whether events will change to make this book "of it's time." I would say that it is far superior that Huxley's "Brave new world" which has been subsequently undone by science and undermined by countless science fiction books and films where his ideas have become tropes. I felt that "The Wall" packed a punch and the story was really good too. I think a lot of people on this board will love this book.
     
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  20. West Kent Saint

    West Kent Saint Well-Known Member

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    I'd echo your sentiments on the film. I really enjoyed it, moving too. Carey Mulligan is always good.
     
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