Friday, March 2, 2012

Friday book reviews and Dicken's women

Still in the middle of birthday festivities, and there is a day of cleaning and shopping ahead of me, but I can't skip my book reflections from the week.

I finished Aurora Teagarden 3 - Charlaine Harris - I guessed the murderer yet again - but enjoyed this one more than the others. A bit more plot in this one...they are complete fluff but fun to read. Then I started Believing the lie, Elizabeth George's 600 page brick of a book, and The Bellwether revivals arrived too so I am set for the next month. After that, my friend V and I are tackling Nicholas Nickleby - after seeing Dicken's women the other night we are inspired to read more of him.

V had magicked up sensational seats for this show at the Playhouse in the Arts centre  - sixth row centre - and we loved it.

Miriam Margoyles tells the story of Charles Dickens' life through acting out many of his women characters- and a couple of men -  who were all based on real people from his life. She does a few readings too. It is a one woman show and she is absolutely wonderful. I saw her 20? years ago doing Gertrude Stein in a show ( Pamela Rabe was Alice B. Toklas), and everyone would know her as Professor Sprout in the Harry Potter films, she is also the aunt in the Phryne Fisher mysteries which started on the ABC last week, among other things.

 I really liked the way she didn't focus soley on the big characters from Dickens - the Estellas ( Great expectations) and the Little Dorrits or Agnes from David Copperfield or the dreaded Little Nell
 ( Curiosity shop) but on many characters from the lesser known works. It made me want to read them all.

He was horrible to his wife and had fairly unusual relationships with his sisters-in-law: all this is in the show and it is fascinating and sad.

 I read a novel about all this a few years ago - a fictionalised account   - so knew quite a lot already. Not a very likeable man.

This show is touring around Australia, to the US, Canada, New Zealand and the UK all year so I can recommend it to anyone and everyone.

The illustrations are from an op-shop book I bought a couple of weeks ago (  monthly op-shop report coming up today or tomorrow when time permits). Little women was a most adored book from my younger years: this is an abridged, re-written version for primary aged kids. I LOVE these illustrations. The edition is by Purnell Books, published 1968. We had Heidi and What Katy did in this  format when we were kids and I looooooved them. The illustrator is Gordon King, who I am sure did many of those lush old Mills and Boon romance book covers. Lately, the only books I buy from op-shops are old children's books... oh dear, a new collection has begun.


  1. I am glad that you enjoyed Dicken's women. Also glad that you didn't add any more must reads to my list.
    I hope the you and your family have a wonderful time in the continuing festivities.

  2. The Little Women illustrations are very transporting.

  3. Love the Little Women illustrations. Funny that you said he also did Mills and Boon covers. The illustrations reminded me of my father-in-law's style - he also did Mills and Boon covers (here in Canada they're called "Harlequin") - over 500 of them. I've been collecting them from our op shops (we call them "thrift stores"). I'll try and post some of his covers on my blog soon.
    PS well done on the op shop restraint!


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