September 29, 2018

Of all the books I’ve read this month, there has been one that has stood out more than any other. After struggling through all of Howard Jacobson’s Shylock Is My Name where the story Shylock was almost peripheral, I was wary of trying another re-imagining of Shakespeare. However Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood is a completely different beast. There are layers of different variations of The Tempest within this story. Without giving too much away, the plot centres on Felix, the long-time artistic director of a theatre festival who is forced from his position by two greedy underlings and moves to a shack in the wilderness to plot his revenge. This book is funny, engrossing, has a marvellous cast of characters and is a wonderful re-telling of Shakespeare’s play that works very well.

This is my blog, so I will allow permit myself to break my own rules and list two new albums I have really enjoyed this month and can’t choose between. I have been listening to Richard Thompson for years and his new album 13 Rivers demonstrates he’s lost none of his powers; in fact, I think this is one of his best albums in years. I have also really enjoyed listing to Ten Fables of Young Ambition and Passionate Love by St Lenox, an artist who first mesmerised me with his earlier autobiographical album Ten Hymns from My American Gothic. His singing style is distinctly unique, and he brings an outsider’s view — both as the child of immigrants and as someone who grew up in the more rural USA — to life in New York.

I remember our family sitting in the car at the end of a long day of driving, listening — spellbound — to the last few minutes of the audio book of Neil Gaiman’s Stardust. This month we made time for a family movie night and rewatched the film version of this book. It’s a little different from the book, especially in the ending, but still great fun and a film that everyone in the family enjoyed. A rare treat!


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