The Turn of the Screw / Henry James

I <3 Deborah Kerr
    Good evening, dear reader.

   Just as the governess in question always instinctively knows what all the other characters are thinking, I instinctively knew that I would enjoy this book as soon as the over the top dramatic tone was set. If our ill-fated governess knows one thing: it is how to use capitalization for emphasis. (When referring to another character using a pronoun, always say "HIM" or "HER", not boring old "him" and "her". It keeps everyone on their toes.) Just like the perceptive governess, my innate knowledge was proved correct (or not just like her, read on!) when I enjoyed this small volume immensely and have added it to a list of beloved spooky reading. 

   But is everything indeed as it seems??!?!?? Is the secluded country house indeed haunted?!? Or is this a tale of infamy and insanity??? Or, as some of my internet perusing has suggested, was this story a way for Henry James to write about child abuse without really writing about child abuse? 

   There are a few possible readings of The Turn of the Screw, some of which are: 
  • It is a ghost story plain and simple. 
  • It is not a ghost story, but a mad-governess story. 
  • It is a strange way to couch a story of the effects of abuse. 
  • It was meant to be "uninterpretable". 
   Personally, dear reader, I'm inclined towards a combination of actual ghosts and actual mad governess. If I myself were a ghost and was doing some haunting, then it would be a short step from haunting to "I'm going to make this person and the people around them believe that he/she is mad." Two birds: one stone. I, for one, am an advocate of ghost efficiency.


two small reviews

 Foundation and Empire / Isaac Asimov

   Somehow, despite being a sci-fi advocate and having a desire to read a great deal of "classic" science fiction, I had never read anything by Isaac Asimov until a friend of mine said "I will not let you suggest any books to me until you read Foundation" so of course I read it and of course I loved it and of course it took me ages to acquire and read the second one, Foundation and Empire, which I also love. Run-on sentence, wow.

   The Foundation series centers around, surprise surprise, The Foundation. It was put in place by Hari Seldon, a master of psychohistory (which is not history gone crazy, but rather a study of history boiled down to, essentially, pure mathematics which allowed Hari Seldon to predict the future of society at large (already awesome, I know)) so that instead of being 30,000 years of barbarism after the fall of the Galactic Empire, there would be a mere 1,000, as long as The Foundation successfully navigated its way around each so-called Seldon Crisis. Foundation and Empire contains the fourth and fifth Seldon Crisis, and it is very good.

The Remains of the Day / Kazuo Ishiguro 

   I read someone's review and they said that The Remains of the Day is an "anti-haiku", and I don't know if there is a better way to put it. This book unfolds perfectly and slowly, and I am at a loss about how to convey how truly lovely and truly heart-wrenching it is. It is a book full of moments. It's poignant.

   I don't know how or why I hadn't read anything by Ishiguro until this year. He is quickly becoming a favorite.


26-30, the titles

   The films from this post are as follows:
  1. Cool Runnings (93)
  2. Hanna (11)
  3. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (09)
  4. Nordwand (North Face) (08)
  5. X-Men: Days of Future Past (14)
   I recommend them all.

   I had never seen Cool Runnings before, and I had no idea such a gem of a film was missing from my childhood. It was hilarious. Also: Calgary in the nineties was hilariously teeny tiny. But let's face it: it is still quite small and its size is primarily suburban sprawl. What is up with you, Calgs?

   Hanna, oh how I love Hanna. The music in this film is genius. I saw it in theatres when it first came out, and have watched it a couple of times since. Can we all just agree that her escape from the underground whatever is one of the best escape sequences ever? I would compare it to the bank heist scene from Heat. Does that make sense? Heat is to bank robbery as Hanna is to escaping from underground governmental outposts.

   I was drinking ginger beer while watching Harry Potter with a good friend so clearly that experience was an all-around positive one.

   Do you want to watch a movie that you know is going to end badly but you still watch the whole thing and then you do some wikipedia-ing and then you have sad feelings and then you kind of want to watch it again immediately and you also recommend it to all your friends, even the ones who don't like subtitles (it's in German)? Then allow me to put Nordwand forward as a viewing option for you. It is excellent. It made me feel cold. It made me want to climb some rocks. Also: all the German movies I've seen have hit the ball out of the park; good work, Germans. Also again: this film is based on a true story and it is heart breaking.

   There's not much to say about X-Men beyond "I love Jennifer Lawrence" and "woot woot, X-Men" and "what happened to your arms, Hugh Jackman, are arms even supposed to be that huge?"


Steppenwolf / Herman Hesse

   Here is my condensed review of Steppenwolf / Herman Hesse: "what in the world...?"

   Here is the slightly longer version of the review:

   So, I love Siddhartha / Herman Hesse, and as Steppenwolf is on every must-read list and it is a rather acclaimed tome, I went into it thinking "I am bound to enjoy this and/or find it valuable". While there were a few moments where I wanted to pump my fist in agreement with the book, by and large it was magnificently disappointing. Maybe I am not old enough to get it. Maybe I am not enamored with suffering enough. Eventually I stayed up late to finish it primarily because I didn't want to waste the effort I put into it by not finishing it, but I very much wanted to be done. Steppenwolf! Maybe read Siddhartha instead.