October 26, 2005

An English Major's Guilty Pleasure

Question: What type of person will enjoy David Nicholl's "A Question of Attraction"?

a) Trivia junkies
b) Kate Bush fans
c) Former English Lit majors
d) All of the above

Answer: d.

This book made me heartily guffaw at times with a writing style reminiscent of Nick Hornby. I especially appreciated the '80s references to Brideshead Revisited and phrases like, "she crept up on me like Birnam Wood." It's a quick, cute, intelligent read that might remind you of Bridget Jones, as a guy, circa 1985. It's both heartbreaking and hilarious. --Amy

October 25, 2005

Casting Couch

Vanessa at Entre Nous has a fun post about the upcoming Devil Wears Prada adaptation, which stars Meryl Streep and the Princess Diaries' Anne Hathaway. Anne will also star in Becoming Jane, next year's biopic about the one and only Jane Austen. --Kim

October 24, 2005

Before "C.S.I."...

...there was Sherlock Holmes. Funny how so many of television's modern crime dramas draw upon devices from the mysteries of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Last night I watched Rupert Everett take on the title role in "Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stocking." I thought his performance was great and can only hope he'll agree to do future installments as the cynical sleuth. (No, he didn't wear that trademark tweed cap; yes he did repeatedly say, "Elementary my dear Watson.") Though the movie was a bit heavy-handed with the fog machine, I thought the costumes, set design and performances were wonderful. As for the story, it was downright scandalous, complete with foot fetishes and depictions of Holmes as an illicit drug user.

Next Sunday, get ready for Part One of a two-part adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's "Kidnapped," which promises to be a swashbuckling adventure. -- Amy

All I Want for Christmas

Get your lace-trimmed hankies ready.The NY Daily News reports that several fantastic DVD collections will be released just in time for the holidays. The long list includes some excellent literary adaptations:
Horatio Hornblower Collector's Edition
The Woman in White
The Charles Dickens Collection, which includes Oliver Twist, Great Expectations and David Copperfield
The Masterpiece Collection with Anna Karenina, Wuthering Heights, and Reckless.
The Romance Classics Collection: Volume 2 is a 14-disk set with one Hornblower film as well as Vanity Fair, Nicholas Nickleby, The Mayor of Casterbridge, Catherine the Great (starring Catherine Zeta-Jones), and Tess of the d'Urbervilles.
If you've never seen all 68 episodes of Upstairs, Downstairs, you'll have your chance with The Collector's Edition Megaset. --Kim

October 23, 2005

Sing Along

Woke up early today and was trying to think (with not much success) of songs with literary allusions. Decided to quit racking my brain and resort to Google. Here's a pretty thorough list I found. -- Amy

October 19, 2005

Those Were The Days...

For anyone who recently caught re-runs of PBS's Manor House, there's an interesting book you might want to check out to supplement your viewing. Judith Flanders's Inside The Victorian Home is a page-turning nonfiction account of what the daily life of a typical middle-class British citizen might have been like in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Flanders starts with childbirth, ends with funeral rituals and covers almost any imaginable topic in between, from likely contents of a kitchen cupboard to the endless (sometimes pointless) chores of a maid-of-all-work. On just about every page of this book are strange and fascinating tidbits that will likely make you feel quite relieved that you live in the 21st century. (Despite the awesome dresses, it wasn't as glamorous as movie versions of that era depict.) -- Amy

Test your knowledge of life in the Manor House here.

October 13, 2005

Brokeback Mountain

Lauren at Lux Lotus links to a great post at Greg.org about the Annie Proulx short story on which the film adaptation of Brokeback Mountain is based. The positive buzz on this film is deafening. I simply cannot wait to see it. Read more here. Watch the trailer here.--Kim

October 12, 2005

Of Love and Other Demons

Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire director Mike Newell will be directing the adaptation of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's haunting novel Love In the Time of Cholera. The screenplay is by Ronald Harwood (The Pianist).

The Guardian briefly comments on the news that, as reported here yesterday, a Paradise Lost adaptation is in the works. We can't wait to hear who'll take on the role of Satan.... --Kim

October 11, 2005

New on DVD

A 2004 adaptation of Thornton Wilder's The Bridge of San Luis Rey was released today on DVD. I loved the book, but don't even remember hearing a word about this film, which stars Robert DeNiro, Kathy Bates, Gabriel Byrne, Harvey Keitel and F. Murray Abraham. It doesn't appear to have gotten stellar reviews, but perhaps is worth a rental. -- Amy

October 10, 2005

Devilish New Adaptation

Variety reports that Hyde Park Entertainment (Antitrust, Walking Tall) and Vincent Newman Entertainment (A Man Apart) will produce a feature film based on Milton's Paradise Lost. If their previous films are any indication, it looks like Satan's fall from grace might be quite the action flick. Casting picks, anyone? Keanu Reeves...The Rock? --Kim

October 5, 2005

Bleak House Gets Soaped

In an attempt to lure pre-teens, the latest BBC adaption of Dickens' Bleak House has been serialized and given a soap opera treatment by scriptwriter Andrew Davies, whose work includes the Colin Firth version of P&P(!), Middlemarch, and Vanity Fair (The Independent).

The adaptation will span over 16 half-hour episodes and stars Gillian Anderson, Charles Dance, Denis Lawson, Johnny Vegas, and Alistair McGowan. If it's good, I'd like to see Little Dorrit done next! Davies' next project is Alan Hollinghurst's The Line of Beauty, which has been on my must-read list for quite some time. --Kim

Related: Can you "Survive Dickens' London?"
Dodge through Victorian London, avoiding the gangs and villains and trials and tribulations of Dickensian London in order to seek out Charles Dickens in his chalet hideaway in Rochester.

Orlando and Oprah: A Force For Good

A teen transplanted from Hurricane Katrina recently got a surprise visitor on her doorstep: Orlando Bloom! Here's an account from the Louisville Courier-Journal:

When Jessica Samson arrived in Louisville after fleeing New Orleans with little more than the clothes on her back, she had no idea it would be Orlando Bloom who'd replenish her wardrobe.

Samson, 14, and her family moved in with an uncle and learned that Hurricane Katrina had destroyed nearly everything they had owned. Suffice it to say, Samson was stunned when "The Oprah Winfrey Show" arranged for Bloom to pay the Assumption High School student a visit Saturday during his trip into town for the screening of "Elizabethtown."

In addition to giving Samson and her sister, Anne, 23, a $5,000 Guess gift certificate each and the chance to walk down the red carpet with him at the screening, Bloom offered her solace.

"It was nice to get out and do something fun and not have to worry about anything," a still-beaming Samson said yesterday.

(FYI, Orlando is a guest on today's Oprah -- from the previews I've seen, Oprah has a hard time NOT salivating in his presence. But can you blame her?) -- Amy

October 4, 2005

King of the Studs

Don't hate the player, especially when it's Heath Ledger who's playing the notoriously randy Venetian, Casanova, in the film of the same name. It hits theaters on Nov. 30, but you can check out the movie trailer here. The cast also includes Sienna Miller, Jeremy Irons, Oliver Platt and Lena Olin. It's directed by Lasse Hallstrom, who also brought us Chocolat. -- Amy

The Real Pemberley?

The Chatsworth estate, pictured above, is featured in the latest issue of Town & Country Magazine (which I don't read, but may pick up this one time) and the new P&P movie. Luxist reports that Austen’s description of Pemberley in the novel is said to have been based on this Derbyshire mansion. Just for fun, here are some quotes about Pemberley from Pride and Prejudice:
"Every disposition of the ground was good; and she looked on the whole scene, the river, the trees scattered on its banks, and the winding of the valley, as far as she could trace it."
"They gradually ascended for half a mile, and then found themselves at the top of a considerable eminence, where the wood ceased, and the eye was instantly caught by Pemberley House, situated on the opposite side of a valley, into which the road with some abruptness wound. It was a large, handsome, stone building, standing well on rising ground, and backed by a ridge of high woody hills;—and in front, a stream of some natural importance was swelled into greater, but without any artificial appearance. Its banks were neither formal, nor falsely adorned. Elizabeth was delighted. She had never seen a place where nature had done more, or where natural beauty had been so little counteracted by an awkward taste. They were all of them warm in her admiration; and at that moment she felt that to be mistress of Pemberley might be something!"
and of course when Lizzy says...
"It has been coming on so gradually, that I hardly know when it began. But I believe I must date it from my first seeing his beautiful grounds at Pemberley."

October 3, 2005

All the Tea That's Fit to Drink

Just found a great comprehensive site listing tea rooms for any given zipcode. There are several in my area I never even knew about. Can't wait to check them out.... Mmmmmm, scones.

If you're looking for a do-it-at-home treat, check out this recipe for tea leaf shortbread cookies. It sounds sort of strange, but they are heaven! -- Amy

Duel Report

Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman will play dueling magicians in an adaptation of Christopher Priest's novel The Prestige, reports Digital Spy. Christopher Nolan (Memento, Batman Begins) will direct. Nolan's brother Jonathan adapted the screenplay for The Prestige, which we're thrilled to discover is set in Victorian England. The book's description on Amazon is quite enticing, so we may have to read this one before the movie version comes out. If you've read it, less us know what you think. --Kim