Sunday, April 20, 2008

shawls, bonnets, armbands, hoods and underpinnings

I finished This Republic of Suffering this weekend. What an original idea to look at death and the concept of death in a certain place in a particular historical period. I really enjoyed it and was occassionally moved to tears. At the same time it could be annoyingly academic at times. The author seemed obligated to be redundant in order to prove her thesis, and pushed some points beyond their usefulness. Anyway, definitely a good read, and a must-read if you're interesting in death as a topic.

In other book-ish news, I watched Atonement today. My mother gave me a copy of the Ian McEwan book months ago, but a neighbor borrowed it around the same time and is still reading it. I did want to read it before seeing the movie, but a colleague who belongs to a DVD-by-mail club handed it to me last week, saying I have to mail it back by tomorrow, so that was that. I felt awkward asking my neighbor to return it briefly just so I could let the book industry kick the movie industry's ass. Anyway, the movie was terrific. In terms of sound effects/score, I especially loved the sound of the typewriter. But considering the time warps, the sexy scenes, and the surprise ending, I am sure the book is superior. Now I'll probably never read it.


Allan Peterson said...

I visited your blog after your kind comment about my poems on Qarrtsiluni. Thank you.
After reading your review, I thought you might be interested in the most fascinating books I've ever read on the subject, The Hour of Our Death by Philippe Ariés.

This is an outline from Literature, Arts and Medicine website:
This is a comprehensive social history of European (or "Western") attitudes toward death and dying over the last thousand years. Ariès organizes his history into five sequential cultural constructs, each of which conveys the meaning of death to the individual and community, as well as the social institutions around death and dying, during a different period of Western history, beginning in the Middle Ages.
Regards, Allan

Valerie Loveland said...

If I see a movie first, I hardly ever read the book afterwards--the movie images interfere too much when I'm reading.

SarahJane said...

thanks for the book tip, allan. i always need them.

valerie - my neighbor in fact now tells me she finished the book and she loved it. so i don't know. maybe i will read it. i loved the actor who played the lead - may not be a bad thing.

Apex Ape said...

I loved Atonement. I watched it alone and then again the next night when I made my husband watch it with me. Movies don't usually catch 1/5 of the literary symbolism, but this one was filthy with it. The book must be amazing. I'm waiting to watch Love in the Time of Cholera until I've finished the book, but I think I may be disappointed.

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