I thought this book was great. Might not suit a 'younger'' reader - I suspect my being 41 and married with kids helped me identify with Tony the 60 so...moreI thought this book was great. Might not suit a 'younger'' reader - I suspect my being 41 and married with kids helped me identify with Tony the 60 something protagonist. The plot had some lovely twists and turns, right to the end. However, what I really liked was Tony's reflections on life. Themes included...
- Memory and its fallibility - The naivety of youth - Leading an 'average' life - Regret and remorse - (Unfairly) judging your life against others - Intelligence versus common sense
It made me think about my life, my family, my past, good and bad events, what makes me happy... all sorts of stuff. And I reckon that's good. To reflect sometimes.
I really liked this book to start with, then around halfway through I lost my way with it. I quite liked the murder mystery elements and some of the c...moreI really liked this book to start with, then around halfway through I lost my way with it. I quite liked the murder mystery elements and some of the characterisation, particularly of Pinkie and Ida. However, although some parts are impressive, Greene's passages describing the mental turmoil of Pinkie and Rose started to leave me cold after a while. They got repetitive too. I think another reviewer described it as 'soap like'. I'd concur. It didn't always feel quite real. E.g. why did Ada feel compelled to find the murderer of a man she hardly knew? Why did Rose comply so readily with Pinkie?(less)
I read this as part of a book group. The first book group I've been a member of, the first book group book. What appealed was that I was vaguely aware...moreI read this as part of a book group. The first book group I've been a member of, the first book group book. What appealed was that I was vaguely aware of Jarman. I'd heard of his films like 'Jubilee' and his house and garden in Dungness ('Prospect Cottage'). I knew he was 'different', but not a lot more.
His being different is reflected in this book. It's different to most books, in that it doesn't have a clear narrative. There's a thread running through it which his failing health from AIDS, particularly his loss of sight. (The book was written in '93, he died in '94.) But mostly, it's a series of chapters, each focusing on a different colour (or a person/area strongly associated to colour) and featuring snippets of historical text, anecodtes, thoughts, memories. A real pot pourri.
I enjoyed the chapters on colour. It brought home how powerful colour is in triggering memories and making associations with people, places, emotions.
Most of all, I liked Jarman. I liked his intellect and his insight. Also, through the passages about his illness, I admired his courage, bravery, indepence and spirit. I found it inspiring.
I suspect this books isn't for all. But if you appreciate art and/or nature, want to immerse yourself in the nature and meaning of colour, plus want to get to know more about Jarman, then I'd recommend this book.
What follows are my notes/jottings on the book. Maybe best not to read if you want a 'fresh' read! Although there isn't really an ending to give away!
"Only dull and impotent artists screen their work with sincerity. In art there is a need for truth not sincerity" (Kasimir Malevich, Essays on Art)
Jarman calls Pliny on colour eloquent because of his "insatiable curiosity", but also that "he put himself and his prejudices so strongly into his writing". Jarman does the same.
"I'm told I'm living on the fringes of society, but what if the world were awry?"
"Leonardo's curiosity to examine the natural world is his gift. He wrote of nothing he had not observed." Jarman's writing is very much rooted in observation. Of course, through his own particular filter!
"My mind bright as a button, but my body falling apart - a naked light bulb in a dark and ruined room."
The book lives up to the blurb on the cover 'As If exposes the hollowness of condemnation divorced from understanding'.
I have had lively debates with...moreThe book lives up to the blurb on the cover 'As If exposes the hollowness of condemnation divorced from understanding'.
I have had lively debates with friends and family about the Bulger murder and the treatment of the accused. I am in agreement with Morrison who describes the trial as a 'sledgehammer to crack a nut'. I also don't believe the killers are inherently evil and this book highlights some of the reasons WHY they might have committed the murder. However, what was illuminating was the fact that the trial was not seeking to understand the WHY. Instead, if it could be proved that the boys understood what they were doing then the trials remit was to prove that they committed the murder, not understand why they did. The 'proof' that they fully understood their actions is deemed somewhat unreliable by Morrison. Which, in essence, undermines the trial itself.
The book is very much a personal account. Alongside his experience of attending the trial, Morrison weaves in his own family history and his experiences as a father. I quite liked this. It underlined that most adults, particularly parents, have a responsibility for how children are raised.
I didn't like Chapter 1, The Children's Crusade chapter. Felt like it was shoehorned in as a clever story from history that resonates with the Bulger trial. For me, it added nothing. Skip it!
I really enjoyed this play and I'll certainly seek it out at the theatre (never seen it on stage). The characters are well drawn and absorbing, but th...moreI really enjoyed this play and I'll certainly seek it out at the theatre (never seen it on stage). The characters are well drawn and absorbing, but the play also exposes bigger themes such as the youthfulness of many of the men fighting (just boys out of school), class division (Generals vs 'cannon fodder') and the sheer futility of much of what happened in and around the trenches (could be described as 'suicidal').(less)
Oh dear. I started liking this book, thought it was going to be an interesting love story, exploring the motivations and reasons for De Grieux's desce...moreOh dear. I started liking this book, thought it was going to be an interesting love story, exploring the motivations and reasons for De Grieux's descent into crime. Instead, the book descended into farce. Too many twists and turns in the plot - one minute De Grieux is up on his luck, then he's down. Now he's up, now he's down. He's up again, oh he's down. I now realise why this book is not more widely known.
I read Jane Eyre just after this and there is no comparison. That IS a quality love story.(less)
I liked the range of sources and the way this book made me think about colour. However, I didn't find it a really easy read. Structure felt a little e...moreI liked the range of sources and the way this book made me think about colour. However, I didn't find it a really easy read. Structure felt a little erratic and some parts superfluous or repetitive. I also think there's an argument that it's not fear of colour, but the veneration of white that is at work in excluding colour. I think this could have been explored some more.
I'd recommend Derek Jarman's Chroma as a book celebrating colour, plus it's touchingly personal about his life with AIDS. Also 'White' from the BBC series The History of Art in Three Colours explains the role of people like JJ Winckelmann, Wedgewood, WHistler, Corbusier and even Mussolini in the adulation (and misuse) of white in art. Not such a pure colour as one might think.(less)
This is a first person account of the genesis and development of the High Line park in NYC. As a reader from England, some of the detail around politi...moreThis is a first person account of the genesis and development of the High Line park in NYC. As a reader from England, some of the detail around political/government agencies was tricky to absorb, but this didn't detract from the main thrust of the story of the High Line... making a dream a reality. It needed two people - the authors - to have an interest in this 'ancient' structure and the get-up-and-go to mobilise an army of volunteers and sponsors to work to build the park. Architects, graphic designers, planners, party organisers, etc. Quite a feat and very inspirational. The book has many wonderful photos and the finished park looks amazing. I will visit one day.(less)
**spoiler alert** I really liked this book, particularly the first half, which paints a picture of life in Room for Jack and his Mum. It's a tender po...more**spoiler alert** I really liked this book, particularly the first half, which paints a picture of life in Room for Jack and his Mum. It's a tender portrait, but has real edge, given they are being held captive. (Resonant of John Fowles's 'The Collector'.) Indeed, it felt like a thriller at times, wondering whether they would escape unharmed. I was surprised that the escape happened halfway through. I wondered how the rest of the book would read. It was good, but couldn't quite compare to the first half. It probably could have been shorter. However, it still had me welling up as Jack and Mum came to terms with the 'real' world. (Having kids myself makes it more emotional I would say.) All in all a great feat of the imagination and well written. A good read.(less)