Tuesday, 12 December 2017

currently reading…Sabriel

I’m about halfway through Sabriel (Abhorsen #1) by Garth Nix and I am absolutely loving it. I’ve been wanting to read this series for a while so I hunted it down in the library when I was free from uni and really craving a good Fantasy adventure/quest novel. Fantasy is my favourite genre but it’s not one I really get to read very often for study.
I am enthralled by this novel, it is as good as I was hoping (and it’s always nice when that happens): fantastic characters, a world and magic system that is both really cool and unique, and a mysterious and well-pace plot.
It’s also really inspiring and making me think as I try to wrangle my novel idea into an actual plot. I feel like I picked this up at the perfect time.

I also recently started reading I Call Myself A Feminist, an edited series of essays, and am looking forward to getting stuck into it. It’s the second of three feminism books I bought a while ago that I’m trying to finish by the end of summer, partly so I can justify collecting more…

Friday, 24 November 2017

Fleurieu Peninsula | Day Trip

To celebrate my younger sister’s birthday, the whole family came down to Adelaide for the weekend and then we headed off to explore the Fleurieu Peninsula for the day. I didn’t realise South Australia had such a beautiful coastline!
We visited Myponga Reservoir, Ingalalla Falls, Second Valley and finished the day in Normanville with a walk (and run) along the beach, getting more wet than planned before some obligatory fish and chips.
It was so much fun to have a mini-family holiday and was a much needed rest during the super hectic end-of-semester study period. 

Saturday, 18 November 2017

The English Review Vol. 5 | Adaptation

Adaptations was a great course, especially for the writer in me. Looking at how different people approached remaking and altering stories puts the focus on how stories are constructed in a way that other English course aren’t always able to do (because they’re focusing on other equally interesting topics such as the text’s society, themes, etc.).

The course also changed how I look at book to film adaptations. Analysing what the adaptor did with the source material in order to fit it within a filmic narrative and time limit, what they brought from the novel and what they altered or added, allows you to see that in every story there are thousands of ways it could have been told. I’ll now view adaptations, not as either as good or not as good as the book, but with interest to see what the adaptor’s reading of the story was, whether they are making a comment on the source text, etc. (side note: often an adaption is adapting a number of texts, not just the core novel).

English in general has taught me to be more open-minded about texts that aren’t within my interests and likes and still be curious to analyse and learn from it regardless of whether I like it or not. I think that’s one of the best things I’ve gotten out of university studies so far.
Reading list: Momento Mori by Jonathan Nolan, No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy, The Shining by Stephen King, The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith, The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brain Selznick

Film list: Momento (2000) dir. Christoper Nolan, No Country for Old Men (2007) dir Coen brothers, The Shining (1980) dir. Stanley Kubrick, The Talented Mr Ripley (1999) dir. Anthony Minghella, Plein soleil (1960) dir. René Clément, Hugo (2012) dir. Martin Scorsese

Even though I enjoyed this topic immensely, I didn’t fall in love with any of the texts we studied. There were quite a few I enjoyed and one I disliked intensely.
On the good side, Momento (2000) was incredibly engaging and suspenseful, Hugo (2012) was a visually beautiful and narratively charming film, and I really admired Highsmith’s tightly written The Talented Mr Ripley.

On the not so good side, The Shining. The film and novel, though different in numerous ways, both shared the characteristic of not being very scary for a horror and taking three quarters of the text for anything to happen. The treatment of Wendy and the few other women in King’s novel was particularly irking for me and why I’d say I feel more animosity towards the novel than the film. The novel and film were put on the course partially because of the hate King gave Kubrick’s version and that was an interesting thing to discuss, especially since some of the things King criticised in Kubrick’s version were actually already in his novel. There’s always something to gain from reading out of your comfort zone and exploring different ways of telling stories, although with The Shining it’s a bit harder to see.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Quote | All description is an opinion about the world

March feels way too far in the past to have only been seven months ago, but at the same time, with both my major essays finally completed and only my Latin exam to go, it feels too soon for the uni year to end! It’s been a great semester, I’ve enjoyed all my courses and done well with keeping the stress down and grades up (more or less) and I feel a bit sadder than usual to be bidding these courses farewell.

Having said that, I’m looking forward to getting stuck into writing projects and a regular sleep cycle.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

The English Review Vol. 4 | Literature and Society in Victorian Britain

As the name suggests, this was an English course with a serious History bent. It was super fascinating finding out more about the Victorian era (and super handy for this semester which is once again looking at the Victorian era) and how its novels were both influenced by and influenced society.

Since one of the main things you do in English studies, and one of my favourite parts, is looking at the connection between literature and the society and culture that produced, it proved to be both useful and insightful to have a topic so grounded with actual information about the era. Having said that, a bit more focus on the actually novels would have been good…  

Reading list: selection of poetry, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens, Middlemarch by George Elliot, Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.

Middlemarch was much more enjoyable than I expected and Heart of Darkness much more confusing. Our Mutual Friend restored my faith in Dickens as a writer and the likelihood of Little Dorrit being as good as the 2008 BBC adaptation.

And then there was Jane Eyre.  

Jane Eyre was a novel I’d been wanting to read for a while, so I was excited to see it on the course list. But I was also apprehensive, worried it wouldn’t be what I wanted and expected. Jane was as fierce and independent and headstrong as I hoped and she more than made up for the fact that Rochester is actually a super dodgy guy. I liked being in Jane’s head as she came to terms with the world and found her place in it. I enjoyed that more than the romance, which was enjoyable but, like I said, Rochester is dodgy as.

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