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I've heard that Birmingham's got a good collection of Pre Raphaelite paintings. My interest was sparked off I think (if I can remember back) by one I saw whilst at Uni in Leeds called 'The light of the World' by Holman Hunt. Then later when I lived in London I went often to the Tate where the Pre Raphaelite paintings and the ones that were later influenced by them, the asthetics, are all together; it became one of my favourite places for a while.

I think I picked up on the book because during all my reading of that group it always sounded like it would be worth writing a book about their lives rather than an academic one about their art. I just was a tiny bit jealous, because I thought 'hey that was my idea!' - well I'd like to have written a screenplay or drama about them, but seeing as I can't write fiction for toffee I'm glad someone's done something.

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Just finished Evelyn Waugh's "The Loved One", his LA-set novel of British ex-pats and morticians. One of his more savage satires. I think I've now read pretty much all of the great man's fictional output with the exception of the "Sword of Honour" trilogy.

 

Also about halfway through the so-far excellent debut novel by Susanna Clarke "Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell". Very long (nearly 800 pages) and very heavy in hardback with appeal to both readers of fantasy (there's a puff from Neil Gaiman on the jacket to give you a clue) and also historical fiction as its set in the early 19th century. Its the tale of two magicians, initially teacher and pupil, later rivals. Has been lazily compared in the press to "Harry Potter" because magic is involved but I think kids would find this pretty hard going.

 

"Dark Tower" and "Baroque Cycle" have been on a backburner for a while. I've been reading both off and on for six months now and need a break.

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I am still reading The Shipping News - been at it for weeks now, but haven't been on the train much, so have lost more than a hour of reading time each day. I'm back in London tomorrow, so should get close to finishing. I have to say, it's been one of the best books I've read for a long time - thanks to Tess for bookcrossing it to me. It will be on its way to Opal shortly.

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Lizzie Siddal: the Tragedy of a Pre-Raphaelite Supermodel by Lucinda Hawksley. Just started it, so only a few chapters in. I know a fair bit about the Pre-Raphaelites and their group so I'm hoping I'll learn a bit more. It seems easy to read, the author does have an academic background but I think she didn't want it to be a critical text on the art and philosophies; more about their lives.

Lizzie Siddal is an interesting person to read about, if she lived today I'm sure her life and the Pre-Raphs would be the subject of major tabloid exposure. An artists model and eventual wife, talented in her own right she struggled to be accepted in that mans world, she sadly became a laudanum addict and her husband cheated on her with another man's wife. Eventually she commits sucide, pregnant again. Her artist husband Rossetti buries his poems with her in a fit of grief only to regret it later and get his mates to dig them up!

 

Whetted your appetite? They were an interesting bunch.

 

 

Yes this definitely whetted my appetite! I loved the Pre-Raphaelites during my university days - Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Holman Hunt, Millais' painting of 'Ophelia', Waterhouse 'The Lady of the Lake' - also poetry by Christina Rossetti. Thanks for the recommendation! Have also found a poem by A.H. Clough, which I really liked at the time - not sure if he was on of the group or not??

 

Have just read Megustaleer's post. I went to Aston University in Birmingahm and my love of the Pre-Raphaelites began on my many visits to Birmingham gallery too. I must go back some time.

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Lizzie Siddal: the Tragedy of a Pre-Raphaelite Supermodel by Lucinda Hawksley

 

Finished it last week and if you do like this band of artists I would definately recommend it as an interesting read. It's well written, easy to read and is full of detail about Lizzie and how she fitted into the Pre Raphaelite's world. The author has researched her well and it shows I think. There was a little padding out at first to do with her early life, as I don't think much is known beyond what the census and record centers can tell, but even the footnotes are interesting snippets packed full of info. I got an excellent sense of Lizzie's life in context with Rosetti's and it definately filled in some the blanks I didn't even realise I had, of where she was in relation to what was happening in his life. The Victorians lack of knowledge about health is shocking and it comes across a little in this. All the searching for the reason for Lizzie's illness when of course with hindsight we know she was a drug addict to laudanum as were many at that time. I read this at first because a friend of mine knows the author - who's great great great great (I think that's the right amount) grandfather was Charles Dickens... I think something dickensian is her next book. Glad I got it.

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Jassie and Jacinta

 

Here is a link to the BBC Radio4 Today Programme poll for the Greatest Painting in Britain.

Madox Ford's 'The Last of England', (from the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery) is one of the 10 shortlisted finalists.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/today/vote/greatestpainting/index_vote_secure.shtml

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Jassie and Jacinta

 

Here is a link to the BBC Radio4 Today Programme poll for the Greatest Painting in Britain.

Madox Ford's 'The Last of England', (from the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery) is one of the 10 shortlisted finalists.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/today/vote/greatestpainting/index_vote_secure.shtml

 

I read about this in the Guardian the other day, one of the columists was observing how the poll wasn't a fair reflection of what the public thought.

Aparently within a few days of announcing it, the aim of the poll changed from the quest to find Britain's best-loved painting to Britain's 'greatest' painting and the public votes were whittled down to a top 10 by a panel of 'experts' rather than the one that got the most votes.. I don't think they trusted the public to vote for a good painting...hmm.

Jack Vettriano was excluded straight away and then even though a Rembrant had got the most votes the specialist panel exluded that because 'they thought it wasn't his best work'. Imagine if that had happened with the Big Read! You can tell its the silly season..shame Radio 4 Probably the wrong place to mention this it detail.

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Asking for the 'best-loved' or 'favourite' is really asking for the most well-known. Just see what happened with the poems chosen by those criteria.

 

Apart from worrying that Jack Vettriano or David Shepherd might win, I suppose the 'artistic world' thought that the hoi polloi wouldn't know the difference betwen a print and an original painting, let alone know in what galleries (or even what country) a painting is hung

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I really wish I could comment on the painting discussion, but I've never been very good at appreciating art properly. Sorry....

 

However, I want to rave about what I am currently reading. A while back I commented on "Body Double" by Tess Gerritsen on the Bestseller forum. Thanks to K8e's comment there, I got hold of "The surgeon" and "The apprentice" and have read both of them in the last 24 hours. Now trying to get my hands on "The Sinner". I don't normally read crime or horror (and these are mild horror crime books) but I just can't put them down. If you aren't home alone and have a spare few hours to just sit and read then I would recomend her most strongly!

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  • 1 month later...

I'm getting round to doing a catch up in the Anything But Books forum, and was looking at the "More threads and posts please" thread (http://www.bookgrouponline.com/forum/showthread.html?t=1444) I have been inspired by Meg's second comment about the Currently Reading list.

 

I know we have had discussions about what we are currently reading, but they often include a comment about what the book is about, and whether the reader is enjoying it, which takes time to post. So...

 

How's about we post here a message with just the title of what we are reading and the author. That way, we may inspire others who have read the books to start a thread on them? Anyone can find out the plot etc, by logging onto Amazon or other sites, this could be purely a list to allow us to demonstrate the range of titles that we read in our day-to-day lives. It will be relatively low effort to keep it going and may provoke more discussion in the appropriate places.

 

I am currently reading:

Barkbelly by Cat Weatherill

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Just finished:

Havoc in its Third Year - Ronan Bennett

Didn't much like it, too wordy and ponderous for me. I think there was religious allegory that flew about a mile overhead.

 

Just started:

Sleep with Me - Joanna Briscoe

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How's about we post here a message with just the title of what we are reading and the author. That way, we may inspire others who have read the books to start a thread on them? Anyone can find out the plot etc, by logging onto Amazon or other sites, this could be purely a list to allow us to demonstrate the range of titles that we read in our day-to-day lives. It will be relatively low effort to keep it going and may provoke more discussion in the appropriate places.

 

That doesn't seem like a bad idea. It seems to be working already!

 

Not all BGO members would have the time or inclination to start a thread with a book review, but your suggestion would act as an invitation to other members to 'put their hand up' as it were, and say "I've read that, too, let's talk about it!"

 

Just a reminder 'though, that any actual discussion on a book should take place on the appropriate forum, not in Central Library.

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Currently rereading "Possession" by A.S. Byatt. Loved it the first time which was a good few years ago but I'm not finding it quite as good second time areound.

Here's a link to a discussion of Possession

 

And one to Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell

 

'The Eyre Affair' has had several mentions on a variety of threads, but I haven't found a thread specifically devoted to a discussion of the book. If there is one, can someone post a link please?

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I have three (!) on the go right now, for depending which mood I'm in -

 

Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

Adrian Mole and the Weapons of Mass Destruction by Sue Townsend

 

I've just finished Portrait of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde, which I loved.

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'The Eyre Affair' has had several mentions on a variety of threads, but I haven't found a thread specifically devoted to a discussion of the book. If there is one, can someone post a link please?

 

There wasn't but there is now! Thought I ought to create it, as I am known to go on a bit about Mr Ff.

 

The Eyre Affair

 

Oh, and by the way, Meg - what are you currently reading? You haven't said!

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