Thursday, 29 October 2015

Television review(ish): Outlander

Outlander is a 16-episode period drama made by Starz based on the first book in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. It's 1945 and WWII has just ended. Claire Randall, a former military nurse and her husband Frank are visiting Scotland on a sort of second honeymoon after having spend years mostly apart during the War. When visiting the ancient standing stones of Craigh na Dun, Claire faints after touching one of them and awakes in 1743. Claire is taken in by the Clan MacKenzie and uses her medical knowledge to carve a life for herself. One of her patients is the nephew of the laird Jamie Fraser and despite herself, Claire feels drawn to him. But 18th century Scotland is not a safe place and soon Claire and Jamie are caught up in the struggles between the Redcoats and the rebelling Highlanders.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Far from the Madding Crowd watch-along: part 3

Here we are, at the third and final part of Far from the Madding Crowd and this watch-along. I sure enjoyed rewatching and thinking about this adaptation.

Last week, we left Bathseba and Troy very married and very much in love and Boldwood in misery. Bathseba and Troy throw a belated wedding party for the farm employees and here Troy shows a bit of his not-so-charming side. He speaks crudely and basically gets Bathseba's employees drunk. Meanwhile, outside a storm is raging and Gabriel single-handedly tries to rescue the hay-ricks. Single-handedly, that is, until Bathseba comes out to help him. And spills her guts about why she married Troy: because he told her he saw a woman more beautiful than her ('between jealousy and distraction', I do love Hardy's way with words)

The first cracks are showing

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Book review: If you find this letter

Hannah Brencher's mother always send her handwritten letters and they became her lifeline in growing up. So when she moved to New York and saw around her a city full of people searching for their place in the world Hannah decided to write to them. Seeing a culture where people only connected to each other on screens, Hannah poured her heart out on paper and send the letters to people who might need them. Her idea quickly grew when she started the blog More Love Letters and she involved other people in her quest: to make the world better, one letter at a time.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Far from the Madding Crowd watch-along: part 2

Dear readers, I'm so sorry I'm only now posting this second part of the Far from the Madding Crowd watch-along. I was so very tired this week that my evenings consisted of hanging on the couch and going to bed early in stead of blog writing....

Without further ado, let's get back to the adventures of Bathseba and Gabriel ;-) For this second part, I watched until 2.11, until the scene where Boldwood confronts Troy in front of Bathseba's house.

In the beginning of this 'episode', we learn two things: Gabriel is not afraid to be honest, not even now that Bathseba is his employer and Bathseba doesn't like being criticised. In fact, after a discussion with Gabriel about her treatment of Boldwood, she even fires him! Not long afterwards, her sheep overeat themselves (and yes, sheep are very unfortunate, I've heard that often enough from family members who keep sheep!) and Bathseba simply needs Gabriel. Isn't his response interesting? In the previous episode Bathseba said that Gabriel would never be able to tame her, but isn't that just what he's doing here, in demanding to be asked for help properly?

'Sheep are so unfortunate, there's always something wrong with them'

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Far from the Madding Crowd watch-along: part 1

Welcome everyone to the Far from the Madding Crowd watch-along! Hope you were able to find a copy of this period drama and you enjoyed watching the first part. I sure did!

First a practical comment: because there are not really episodes in this adaptation, I sort of randomly cut the movie in three parts to watch and discuss. For part 1, I watched until 1:10 (until the scene where Batheseba leaves on horseback after her conversation with Farmer Boldwood)

On to the adaptation and we travel to Wessex in the mid-19th century where we meet Gabriel Oak (Nathaniel Parker), a shepherd who has just been able to buy his own small sheep-farm. He comes across the beautiful Bathseba (Paloma Baeza) who works on her aunt's farm and is immediately smitten. Though Bathseba flirts with him a little, she is absolutely not planning to be wooed by Gabriel and proudly refuses his proposal of marriage (And he even brought her a lamb to rear, how could you refuse that!)

Bathseba hates to be thought men's property