A few days ago I was about to go to the summer cottage without electronic devices, and because I didn't feel like reading anything from the pile I alr...moreA few days ago I was about to go to the summer cottage without electronic devices, and because I didn't feel like reading anything from the pile I already had, I went to the library to see if there were more Elizabeth Peters's Amelia Peabody adventures. Apparently, the library hasn't acquired them in order (the horror!), so I have to buy the next one if I'm planning on reading it. Then I saw something interesting next to the other Peters's novels: crime novels where a monk is doing the investigating. A monk! This has to be good, I thought, and something totally different than the tediousness that is The Name of the Rose (1980).
I was laying on the pier and eating strawberries, when the skeleton was found from the field. From there on I was instantly hooked. I couldn't have been more wrong in my guesses for the culprit, although the ending made complete sense, and was even a bit medieval in a way. Although I prefer only the final revelation instead of the characters constantly repeating the evidence gathered so far and who could be guilty, I still enjoyed following Cadfael in his efforts to find who did it.
Things were also made more interesting by Cadfael being stuck in the monastery, since he had to ask permission for errands not related to his vocation, and because of that he had Hugh the sheriff to help him in the outside world. Not that Cadfael is a master detective. He and Hugh seemed pretty equal in their brain activity, although Cadfael is naturally the one who solves the case.
Not only that the mystery is rewarding, but Peters is also a wonderful writer in general. She depicts the environment and the monastic life vividly and beautifully, and weaves thoughts about life and religion into the narrative (of which the contrast between secular and monastic life was the most interesting). Her monks are imperfect and people's behavior in general is plausible and suitable for the time period.
My brain has a minor glitch what comes to the history of the Middle Ages, so the parts where Peters explains a little about the historical background went completely over my head. I have no idea who the king was, I can't remember who were fighting and why etc. That's just a small thing, however, because they're not important in understanding the plot. Although it should be noted that Peters never went to college but was self-taught, which is incredibly impressive.
The series is suitable for reading out of order, which is always a plus for me. I will store Peters in my mind for those days when I don't feel like reading anything particularly challenging, but still something a bit more serious.(less)
Edit 15/8/2014 Watched the film. Freddy! Young Julian Sands! Pond scene! So much fun.
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A light Edwardian comedy with an ordinary romantic situation...moreEdit 15/8/2014 Watched the film. Freddy! Young Julian Sands! Pond scene! So much fun.
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A light Edwardian comedy with an ordinary romantic situation, but Forster makes even romance tolerable with his fun over the top characters and satirical jabs at the conventions of the stuffy society. His writing is also polished and clear as always. I don't completely approve Forster's idea of the Dark Army, though (makes me question if he was serious about that).
The first part that takes place in Italy was (according to Forster's afterword) abandoned for a while, which might explain why the second part isn't nearly as entertaining. Although I loved the scene where George and Freddy go swimming with the vicar, it was hilarious! From the first part my favorite is probably the one where Lucy rebels by buying pictures of nude art. Raunchy.
Sadly, my favorite quote has to be put into spoiler tags.
(view spoiler)["When we were only acquaintances, you let me be myself, but now you're always protecting me...I won't be protected. I will choose for myself what is ladylike and right. To shield me is an insult. Can't I be trusted to face the truth but I must get it second-hand through you? ...you wrap yourself up in art and books and music, and would try to wrap up me. I won't be stifled, not by the most glorious music, for people are more glorious, and you hide them from me. That's why I break off my engagement." (hide spoiler)]
Ugh, now I want to see the Merchant Ivory film. Possibly with something sparkly in my hand...?["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Thank you, gods of Buffyverse! All the appeal that the series had is here again, but with small enough twists that the changes don't feel too overwhel...moreThank you, gods of Buffyverse! All the appeal that the series had is here again, but with small enough twists that the changes don't feel too overwhelming or out of place. The inclusion of Dracula is hilarious. I just love the way he's been made into this tongue-in-cheek character, who is well aware of his campiness and Fabio hair. Old acquaintances are back in new forms and my favourite characters are hanging around, so season 10 seems to have gotten into a promising start.(less)
I currently have 225 horror films under my belt. The Exorcist (1973) is not the best I've seen. It's not the worst either, but it's still only mildly...moreI currently have 225 horror films under my belt. The Exorcist (1973) is not the best I've seen. It's not the worst either, but it's still only mildly entertaining, if even that. The vomiting scene makes me want to eat pea soup. Pea soup, mustard, and crisp bread with cheese on top are the best combination ever - but I digress. If the film was meant to be funny, fine, but since the tone is serious throughout I highly doubt it was made as anything else than a good ol' creep show. Ravenous (1999) and Evil Dead II (1987) are hilarious gore fests (although I don't usually like overly violent horror) but The Exorcist is unintentionally so.
However, this wasn't always so. I can't remember my age, but I was certainly under ten when me and my two friends decided to secretly watch it. Obviously it was a bad idea, since it scared the shit out of me. I've never liked hospitals or anything remotely related to them, so when Regan was subjected to all kinds of tests that alone was horrifying. I don't remember the famous scenes, though, so I was probably mostly burying my face under a pillow and only listening to all the suspicious screams. Fast-forward to a couple of years later when I rewatched the whole thing: Jesus Christ, what is this now?
I think the problem is that I don't like exorcism horror. Even The Conjuring (2013), which is otherwise excellent, was in danger of falling flat during the latter half. I find nothing even remotely scary about a contorted body, a face that looks like Chucky, blasphemy, profanities etc. It's then painfully obvious what my attempt to inject a little creepy horror into the hot summer days turned out to be: a dud.
I don't require a lot from a horror novel, just that there's a some sort of looming threat or creepiness that has an effect on me. Blatty spends too much time educating the reader about possessions and psychology, and the underlying message about how God is good and evil will always lose is a bit heavy handed for my liking. There's also this awkardness in his writing, like he wanted to appear more intellectual and literary, but actually failing miserably (a sad table? really?). I did like Karras, his struggles with faith and the games he had with the demon, but the story overall works better in a visual form. The novel does however reflect (either intentionally or unintentionally) the social upheavals of the time, so that's something that would be worth exploring.
I'm trying to catch up on 1970s horror novels, since I've already seen some films from that era, but Blatty left me disappointed and underwhelmed, and the issues far outweighed the interesting aspects. I'm confident there will be better material later on (and there already has: The Other (1971) is the ultimate forgotten horror classic that is atmospheric, creepy, and heaps of fun).(less)
Tenhusen dekkaria voi verrata huoletta Agatha Christien teoksiin, sillä molemmissa on samanlaista viehättävyyttä, lämpöä ja nokkeluutta. Luin Mustat k...moreTenhusen dekkaria voi verrata huoletta Agatha Christien teoksiin, sillä molemmissa on samanlaista viehättävyyttä, lämpöä ja nokkeluutta. Luin Mustat kalat sitkeästi loppuun parvekkeella, vaikka ilta alkoi jo uhkaavasti pimetä eikä valonlähteenä ollut lamppua. En vain yksinkertaisesti halunnut liikkua yhtään mihinkään ennen viimeistä sivua, koska olin äärettömän koukussa.
En ole kertaakaan Christien kirjoissa arvannut murhaajaa (paitsi tietysti silloin, jos olen nähnyt aiemmin tv-sovituksen), joten siinä mielessä Tenhusen kirja ei ihan pärjää rikoskuningattarelle. Päättelin syyllisen hieman yli puolenvälin jälkeen, mutta jännitys pysyi silti hermoja raastavana kun odotti miten ratkaisuun päädytään ja mitä sen jälkeen tapahtuu.
Ympäristön uskottavuus tulee Tenhusen omista opiskelukesien opaskokemuksista. Stereotyyppisille turisteille ivaillaan lempeästi: amerikkalaisilla on hirveä kiire ja italialaiset yrittävät vokotella kauniita opastyttöjä. Huumoria löytyy myös opiskelukuvauksista ja henkilöt ovat sekä uskottavia että mielenkiintoisia (vaikka Liisa muistuttaakin välillä pyörtyilevää linnanneitoa, se on lähinnä huvittavaa eikä ärsyttävää). Missään vaiheessa ei tunnu omituiselta, että mukavienkin henkilöiden kaapeissa on luurankoja.
Yleensä vuodenajat eivät vaikuta kirjavalintoihini, mutta aina välillä tulee vastaan sellaisia opuksia, jotka sopivat erityisen hyvin kesään. Tämä on yksi niistä. Jatkan ehdottomasti Tenhusen parissa jossain vaiheessa, ja toivottavasti sekä miljöö että henkilöt pysyvät yhtä viehättävinä.
PS. Jos et halua tietää Liisan myöhemmistä vaiheista, älä lue Tenhusen Wikipedia-sivua. Onnistuin spoilaantumaan eräästä asiasta, ja vaikka ihan myönteinen juttu se oli, niin olisin halunnut mieluummin hihkua onnesta vasta seuraavaa kirjaa lukiessani.(less)