If A Dance To The Music Of Time was a dinner, it would be a plain hamburger with no cheese, no ketchup, no mustard–nothing–with a couple of cardboardish rice cakes meant to substitute for delicious, crispy, salty french fries.
All of this would sit on a plain, white plate with a white napkin and white plastic utensils. Next to the plate, a lukewarm glass of water would sit. No lemon. No ice. No straw.
When you finished that meal, you would say, “I just ate the most boring meal in the history of meals.” That’s what you would say. And you would be right. But what if that meal was a series of books?
Why would you eat a series of books? You wouldn’t. But you might read a series of books, and these books might bore you, not unlike that awful hamburger and rice cake combination.
All of that is a horrible lead-in to say I’m approaching the halfway point in the “Year of The Dance”–which is my year-long read through the 3,000+ page behemoth known as A Dance To The Music Of Time by Anthony Powell–one of the novels on the Time list.
Sorry about the title of this post. I just couldn’t help it.
Coming off having read Wide Sargasso Sea, I thought it might be fitting to talk about some of the more prominent prequels in literature.
I’ve got to admit: I’m a little leery of prequels. I think George Lucas might have ruined them for me with all of the Star Wars prequels. A lot of them, at least in the movie industry, feel a lot like money grabs to capitalize on the success of an earlier movie.
But after doing a little research, I realized there are some pretty good ones out there.
Things Fall Apart is an outstanding book. I’m only halfway through it, and I can already tell that I’m going to love this one.
I’m a 36-year-old white guy in Tennessee. I’ve never been to Nigeria, much less the Nigeria of the late 19th Century. So it’s really a testament to Chinua Achebe’s writing and creativity that I really feel like I’m there when reading this story. I feel like I connect with these characters, even though there customs and culture is a world apart from mine.
Speaking of that, one of the most difficult aspects of the novel has been keeping up with all the names. It seems that many names with the clan start with an O, and it’s not Oscar and Oliver and Obi-Wan and names that I would be familiar with. It’s names that I’m pretty sure I’m not pronouncing correctly in my head.
Things Fall Apart is one of those novels that I’ve always heard about and always thought to myself, I’ll read that one day, but I’ve never got around to doing it.
So I’m looking forward to seeing what I think about this book.
The novel is about a leader (and wrestling champion) in a small village in Nigeria in the late 19th century. The story focuses on the culture and customs of his clan, and how they are affected when a group of white, European missionaries arrive. It’s considered one of the premier African novels written in the English language.
A few facts about Things Fall Apart and its author, Chinua Achebe:
Whether you love Wide Sargasso Sea or you hate it, you’ve got to say one thing about Jean Rhys—the book’s author: She’s got nerve.
Imagine, today, a writer sitting down to tell the story of Jay Gatsby’s childhood or Atticus Finch’s experiences in law school. That, essentially, is what Jean Rhys did.
She decided that Charlotte Bronte left some openings, and she took the opportunity to fill them in. That takes a pair, my friend.
So, if anything, at least Jean Rhys has that to say for herself.
Take a break today from all this mindless book banter and have a little fun.
Staples developed a cool little app to test your reading speed. Click on the image below to read a short, timed passage, and answer three simple questions to find out how fast you read.
Thankfully, because my one-year-old taught me so much about reading, I was above the national average. So I guess that’s a good thing. I’m guessing some of you guys are much faster readers than me, seeing how you read like 4 or 5 books at a time.
This is one of my favorite parts of the 101 Books project–picking the next five books to read. You guys helped me out with it this time around.
The votes from over the weekend are in. As you know, I picked An American Tragedy and The Bridge Of San Luis Rey. The top vote getters from you guys was Atonement, Invisible Man, and The Grapes of Wrath.
Here’s a little about each book.
So I’m wrapping up Wide Sargasso Sea. And, after that, I’ll be reading Things Fall Apart, which will be book #43.
But that’s all I have planned at the moment. So I need some help selecting the next five novels I’ll be reading from the Time list. And that’s where you come in.
I’ve selected two of the next five novels–An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser and The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder–but I was hoping you guys could vote on the other three.
What do you say?
Hollywood has never been shy about embellishing and/or totally changing the meaning of a novel to make the story sell to a film audience.
Stanley Kubrick was a master at this. He changed the ending of A Clockwork Orange, and in Lolita he seemed to make Humbert the victim of Dolores’ seduction, instead of a sexual predator obsessed with a 13-year-old girl.
When I did a Google search for a cover of Wide Sargasso Sea to display on my blog, I found two things—as is the case with most novels that become movies. I found a variety of cover images of the novel—exactly what I was looking for—but I also found all sorts of movie posters and images from the film.
What struck me about these posters is how misrepresentative they are of the story—at least the book version. Wide Sargasso Sea is not a romance. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Maybe there’s one or two scenes of a sexual nature, but that’s it. And they aren’t much to speak of. I hardly remember them.
But by looking at the movie posters, you would think Wide Sargasso Sea was some kind of romance novel fit for a Fabio cover or an Antonio Banderas starring role. It’s just silly.
Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at a few of the novel’s covers versus a few of the movie posters.
We’ll start with the book.