It's a blog! Mainly of book reviews.
The depression/anxiety induced hiatus was so long that I had to go back to the beginning of the Tale of Melibee and start over...
So here's a great idea: Take an archive of old photos of Bath then try to replicate them as accurately as possible to illustrate the changes and similarities between then and now. But "now" has become "then" too since we are talking about a project undertaken in '86-87. This actually adds to the charm as it is now a historical record twice over; we need an update - even a big project that takes images from every decade to show the slow evolution of the city.
The research about each image and what has changed in the intervening time is excellent and interesting - this is a fab little book.
This is the first Asterix album not featuring the work of Goscinny or Underzo and I therefore approached it with trepidation; would it be any good? Would the new artist capture the style and likenesses well? Would the new writer be sympathetic to the history of 34 preceding volumes?
Short answer; yes to both.
Ferri conforms more closely to the Uderzo formula, with our heroes travelling abroad for an adventure that pokes gentle fun at national stereotypes and cultural touchstones, whilst thwarting a Roman plot and bringing back some of the traditional aspects of our characters, like their very short tempers, which fell by the way somewhat when Uderzo was writing. On the other hand, Uderzo's more outlandish, fantastical ideas are not entirely abandoned, either, with a (predictable) character showing up and turning out to be a tremendous addition to the story.
A really good first effort by the new team - I'm now looking forward happily to more from them.
She Stoops to Conquer
By far the most famous play in this collection, I'm sure, and with 3 of 4 read, I'm pretty confident it's the best, too. There's much fuss in the Introduction and notes about how Goldsmith rejected the "Sentimental" tone of his contemporary playwrights but it seems much ado about nothing to me: This play is all mischeif, intrigue, misunderstanding, romantic shennanigans and parents who interfere and overbear, winding itself up to total comedic chaos in Act 4 and resolving neatly in Act 5. Hence, just like every other famous play of its era - but up there as one of the best examples. It's obviously situationally funny off the page and no doubt hilarious in performance. Great fun.
Goldsmith's anti-Sentimental play so far seems very much typical of the era: Who's gonna marry whom? Meddling parents, feckless oldest son...
The cigar chomping No.1 ace Spitfire pilot of WWII and defender against incessant waves of Nazi ninja paratroopers is a monkey - code name Ack-Ack Macaque. If that doesn't on it's own make you want to read this book then I suspect it's not for you. But! There's more! Way more. Nuclear powered airships. Conspiracies. The Prince of Wales. Bad Facelift Man. A weird cult. Possible armageddon. A rocket to Mars. Well, I don't want to mention all the fun stuff - let's leave some surprises.
My only complaint is that such an amazing title character really should have more time in his own book. Still, there are two more novels and a couple of shorts in this omnibus.