Sunday, April 3, 2011

Reads #1 : January 2011

I figured that since I spend so much time reading it should appear on this diary-blog other than the vignette on the side bar. I've actually toyed with the idea since this blog's beginnings to write reviews about books I read. The thing is I find them daunting. As much as I'd like to have opinions on everything, it's not always the case. More than often, I only have feelings and colours and images when I close a book. I do happen to shape an opinion from time to time but it's a slow process. So I came up with the idea of doing a review of whatever book I read during the month. I find it less scary that way because I can write several little casual reviews in one post instead of focussing on one book which makes me feel like it's some kind of essay. And it will leave me the time to form an opinion if there's ever one coming. This is what I read during the month of January (I'm bloody late as usual but hopefully I will catch up) :

Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1984)

In a few words, it's basically the story of three people who are tugged between their idea of love and their actual experience of it. This one has been on my reading list for more than 10 years. I think it was the book-phenomenon when I was 16 among my friends. I meant to read it to see what was the fuss about but I was too busy with England-related book (was a bit obsessed at the time). I think I regret not having read it at the time because it would have had more resonnance back then when I was a teenager. I think Kundera has some real good ideas but tend to drown them in repetitions as if he was scared we weren't getting his point. To be honest, I didn't keep anything from this book with me apart from the scene where the dog dies. I found it really touching.

Time Burton, The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy (1997)

Tim Burton is certainly good at drawing you into his world and humour. Like his films, those stories are at the same time creepy and romantic. It made me smile a few times.
My favourite cartoon is this one.

James Spada, Grace The Secret Lives of a Princess (1987)

I picked up this book because I have always wondered what happened in the fatal car crash that ended the Princess's life. I have heard so many theories and unfortunately this book does not really give any more clues. I am not a biography specialist but it felt this one lacked of something, maybe some parti-pris from the writer. It was like he just patchworked chronologically interviews about Grace Kelly. Some of them were contradictary and I think it would have been more 'reader-friendly', to link them with a bit of hindsight. The purpose for Spada I believe was to reveal that Grace Kelly was not as virginal as she looked with her white gloves on. That seemed a useless premise to me, I mean, she was a normal girl with normal needs. Who actually believed in the existence of a chaste actress among Hollywood's enthusiastic actors? I wish I could have read more about her experiences in the films she played (especially the Hitchcock's ones).
One passage drew my attention tho and I sort of got obsessessed with it for a bit. When her wedding banns were posted, she left New York with all her family and friends (and several journalists) on a boat to go to Monaco for the wedding. It sort of fascinated me that she spent 8 days with about every one she knew in a huis-clos on her way to a whole new life. I think it's a sweet way to say good-bye to your bachelor life and get into married one. I wonder what she talked about with her relatives. I couldn't help looking (several times) at the pictures made on that special journey.

Grace Kelly would walk her dogs quite often, going around the boat on her own

Playing Charade

pictures found on habitually chic

And here's a video of her arrival in the port of Monaco. It was proper Hollywood material and quite touching at the same time. All the population of Monaco was there to welcome their new Princess, eager to see her face (which was hid by a large white hat).

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