Saturday, 21 August 2010

Wot I Been Reading

Lord Peter Views The Body - Dorothy L Sayers
Somewhat dated collection of short stories, seventy or eighty years after they were written, and a couple of the tales are a bit far-fetched, but I like the characters Lord Wimsey and his inimitable butler named Bunter.
The Postman Always RingsTwice - James L Cain
Spiffing hard-boiled crime thriller involving murder and adultery. You've probably seen one or other of the several film versions. Interestingly, the story does not feature a postman.
The Burial At Thebes - Seamus Heaney
This a play based on Antigone by Sophocles. I listened to it on a CD while reading along. Not a happy story - it involves incest, fratricide, paranoia, guilt, suicide, betrayal, exhumation, war, lost love and so forth. But it's very dramatic. You need to read/hear it a couple of times to get the full beauty and depth of the thing. It's a bit odd in places where Heaney uses modern idioms mixed in with the ancient Greek stuff. Although it claims to be a translation by Heaney, he doesn't actually know the Greek language. He wrote his play as a kind of synthesis using other people's translations. Typically Irish you might say.
The Maltese Falcon - Dashiell Hammett
I might have mentioned this before. It's a favourite - both the book and the Humphrey Bogart film. This book more or less invented the genre of detective thriller featuring a hard-case anti-hero who is not above law-breaking, violence, revenge and theft but who sees 'justice' is done in the end. Some snappy dialogue.

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