Monday, 17 November 2008

Too much testosterone this time ...

I started thinking about the Victoria Holt historical novels I used to read as a teenager and quickly found some on Ebay. I started with The Demon Lover. Victoria Holt writes just as well as I remembered, with a sympathetic heroine who finds herself in some danger. Disturbingly for today's readers though, the heroine falls in love with the man who drugged and raped her. It's not just the historical setting of these Gothic romances which are outdated, it's the attitudes. I've got another couple to read, but hopefully these won't be setting feminism back 100 years like this one.

In other news: Strictly Come Dancing

I watched Austin's testosterone-fuelled tango* on Saturday night and ladies, I am a convert!

I'm not too disappointed by John Sergeant's continuing success. Yes, public votes for John mean that better dancers have to leave, but by this stage of the competition they would be competing against each other anyway. Heather has had to leave, and Cherie, but to be honest I don't think they would have been in the final anyway.

If John ends up in the final though, that WOULD be a travesty!

* Scroll down past the main screen and you can click on clips of the different dances from Saturday.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

I'd heard of this, but hadn't read it because I feared it might be too upsetting (it is the story of a murdered teenage girl, and of how she watches her family from Heaven). Well, in parts it was very upsetting, particularly those concerning the little brother. However, it was also an enthralling read which I couldn't put down. It was even funny in parts. Alice Sebold's humanity shines through in her treatment of all the characters.

In which I get all philosophical

In my reading pile was The Fall by Albert Camus (in translation, thank goodness). This is a monologue and as you might expect from the philosopher Camus, the emphasis is on the ideas rather than plot. This made it rather hard going. It is well written, but the concepts are such that you cannot appreciate them on one reading. Another point of difficulty is the narrator's character: is he being truthful? There is not much action either, except for one very striking scene at the heart of the novel ...