My January Reads: Wildean Works, Italian Trains and Deirdre Barlow!

blog

ITALIAN WAYS BY TIM PARKS

English writer and translator, Tim Parks, has lived in Italy since the early 1980s. During that time he has travelled extensively throughout his adoptive country on its varying and often baffling rail network. This book is a collection of extraordinary encounters with ordinary Italians, ticket systems, gypsies, prostitutes, immigrants and priests as he journeys from Verona and Milano in the north down to the southern parts of Sicily all by train. He brilliantly captures what makes Italian life distinctive through amusing scenes and detail and tries to make sense of their behaviour and their trains on our behalf, interpreting Italian Ways in both senses. I enjoyed the book as I felt like his travel companion throughout and as someone who plans on spending a lot of time in Italy, it proved both interesting and funny 6/10

DEIRDRE – A LIFE ON CORONATION STREET BY GLENDA YOUNG

The slaps, the glasses, the affairs, the chain belts, the hairdos (and don’ts) and the enduring love between Deirdre and Ken Barlow. This book has it all for huge Corrie fans like myself who miss the actress Anne Kirkbride and her cobbles character Deirdre who both sadly passed away last year. The photos, scripts and scenes are great reminders of her best bits; the break ups and make ups of her numerous flings and the hilarious exchanges with rogue daughter Tracey and with the wicked tongue of her mother Blanche. 200+ pages of pure Corrie joy! 10/10

OSCAR WILDE – THE COLLECTED WORKS

Coming in at 1000+ pages this volume was no mean feat for an uninspiring yet busy January but I enjoyed almost all of it. I’ve always been a Wilde fan – led to him of course by my idol Morrissey – and have challenged myself to really get to know his work better this year. The Picture Of Dorian Gray is naturally the highlight but I was also particularly fond of his other stories; The Canterville Ghost, Lord Arthur Saville’s Crime, The Sphinx Without A Secret etc. I’d read The Happy Prince and Other Tales (including The Selfish Giant) previously and found them to be just as delightful all over again. I admit to struggling with his essays and poetry but loved above all else the plays of Oscar Wilde. Witty and evocative, pushing boundaries for their time and even now in places. I know I will read Lady Windemere’s Fan, A Woman of No Importance, An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest again and again. A beautifully presented book with a contents of absolute, true and declared genius within 9.5/10

Advertisements

Penguin Little Black Classic No.59: Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime

LORD ARTHUR SAVILE’S CRIME

BY OSCAR WILDE

lord arthur

Penguin Classics have published 80 Little Black Classics to mark their 80th anniversary. They are beautiful and neat and at just 80p each, instantly collectible.

Naturally, I chose Oscar Wilde’s Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime to be the first in my collection. A perfectly wonderful and funny story, easily devoured in a lunchbreak.

Lord Arthur has his palm read at lady Windemere’s party. He is alarmed and sickened to be warned that he is on the path to murder. Hopelessly in love with his beautiful fiance, he vows to commit the crime before they marry, saving her family from the ensuing scandal and disgrace. But who will he choose to murder? Why? How?

Wilde’s story is full of neat twists and of course the Wildean wit is ever present. Great little book, here are my best bits:

The author on Lady Windemere: “She was now forty years of age, childless, and with that inordinate passion for pleasure which is the secret of remaining young.” Continue reading