Wednesday, January 24, 2007

on books and tv series

I've always loved historical/period tv series, especially the ones from BBC, and like many women out there, my favorite one has been the P&P adaptation with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth. I thought nothing would top that, but after watching the adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell's North & South last Sunday I have to say it comes pretty, pretty close (and R. Armitage has certainly gained another member for his fan club). I've read the novel a long time ago, and couldn't remember many of the details, but had to re-read the final part immediately after I finished watching the series. And although the adaptation is quite different from the original, those last scenes at the station were so romantic that I can't say which version I like the most.

Anyway, after I chatted with my friend X. for a while about it (and to whom I have to thank for this great recommendation) we started to talk about what other BBC series of the kind were worth watching, so now I'm compiling a future shopping list and would appreciate any input anyone might want to give. I've watched most of Austen's adaptations, and have Sarah Water's Fingersmith to watch this weekend (I've watched Tipping the velvet already, btw).

So far, I have (in no particular order):

- Wives and daughters (1999) - an adaptation of another Gaskell novel (this one I haven't read, though)

- Jane Eyre (2006)

- Our mutual friend (1998)

- Bleak house (2005)

- Middlemarch (1994)

- Sparkhouse - a modern version of Wuthering Heights ? or so it seems

- The mayor of Casterbridge (2003) - just because I'm a fan of Ciarán Hinds

- The impressionists

- Charles II (2003)

These all seem to have great reviews. Also I only found out today that there's an adaptation of "The other Boleyn girl", my favorite P. Gregory book, but I don't seem to be able to find the DVD available anywhere.
Anyway, any more good recommendations out there that I should know of ?

On books read, it seems that 2007 started better than 2006 so far. I borrowed K. Hosseini's "The kite runner" from F. during vacation, and have to admit that I cried my eyes off. So, so sad, but a wonderful read nonetheless. Amy Tan's latest was a bit disappointing, it didn't quite strike the same chord with me as all the previous ones, but McKillip's fantasy in "The forgotten beasts of Eld" was very enjoyable (thanks for that, T.)

Elizabeth Berg was an author on my TBR for a while now, so I finally read one of her books, and it made me want to read some more. And a note on Murakami's "Kafka on the shore": I love his books, the writing is always so brilliant, but the storyline can sometimes be too confusing and far fetched. I can't say I understood half of what was meant here, but then again, it's Murakami so maybe that's the whole point. A final note on one of the books I'm reading now, J. Safran Foer's "Everything is illuminated" - maybe I just need some encouragement, but has anyone enjoyed this book ? I can't seem to get past the first chapters, but I don't want to give up, especially since I liked "Extremely loud and incredibly close" so much.

That said, the books on my "currently reading" list seem to have been there forever, and I'm having trouble finishing those, but I hope I'll be able to tackle them soon. To keep me going, I've started another Madeleine Wickham (actually, it's a double issue containing both "The tennis party" and "Swimming pool sunday", the ones I hadn't read yet), which is a sort of chic lit, but not the rosy kind, and as always, a very easy going read. What about you ? What are you reading today ?

(By the way, thanks to everyone who has e-mailed me or commented here with book recommendations before, I really appreciate it)



Anonymous said...

I am reading, The Witness. I also just finished reading The Christmas Candle. That is a good one day read.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed Wives and Daughters. Tess of the D'Urbervilles is lovely too, Justine Waddell is wonderful. Our Mutual Friend was a little strange to me. Oh and please do watch the Forsyte Saga and do do do watch the Horatio Hornblower films with Ioan Gruffudd (maybe almost as dishy as Richard Armitage). I can't remember if any of these are BBC or not, but I think they are. British costume dramas anyway.

:) Enjoy!

terpsicore said...

I loved Wives and Daughters, that was the first time I heard about Gaskell.
And Middlemarch too, ah, Rufus Ewell is drop dead gorgeous...
I have the book if you want, which was a very pleasant surprise

Anonymous said...

I actually like My Mutual Friend (although not Dickens in general) and am longing to see Wifes & Daughters and the Forsyte saga.

Another you might want to take a look at (I have the first season and liked it a lot) is The House of Elliot, another BBC creation.

Two others that came highly recommended and I haven't had a chance to see: Berkley Square and The Buccaneers.

Anonymous said...

I have never read Foer so no idea. Agree with you about Murakami, sometimes his shorter work is lots easier ( translation can not help either). BTW got a bargain copy of an Elizabeth Berg book round here, want me to find it? Read it first and then let me know if it is worth it

And series recs

The Buccaneers - and it´s got an ending unlike the Edith Wharton book it is based in

The Aristocrats I loved this, based on the lives of 4 18th century sisters, daughters of a duke and they certainly led interesting lives. I also really enjoyed the non fiction biography it was based on, written by Stella Tillyard, wait a sec link

Anonymous said...

Bleak House and Middlemarch are fantastic. And I also loved the House of Eliot and Forsyte Saga. The Other Bolyn Girl is a brand new movie; I don't think it will be released until late this year.

My first read of the year was P. Gregory's latest, The Bolyn Inheritance. It was great.

Anonymous said...

Very cool! I didn't know the BBC had done a version of Jane Eyre. I've got to get my hands on a copy of that :)

Flor said...

ânia, acho que te consigo arranjar vários filmes destes aqui na biblioteca. Estás interessada? Melhor do que Net.

Flor said...

Acho que só nao há o Sparkhouse e The mayor of Casterbridge.