Now Reading

zola

I’m now reading and very wrapped up in Emile Zola’s A Ladies’ Paradise, which the Masterpiece The Paradise is based on. Wow!

The story’s quite different as it’s set in Paris and Denise’s parents died leaving her with two brothers to look after and very little money. Thus she heads to her uncle in Paris, who’s a draper as in the television series. This uncle has more i.e. some customers and yet is more furious at Mouret (Moray on TV). Zola’s Mouret starts out as such a philanderer, with lots of contempt for women. I can see why the TV show lessened that aspect of his character. It’s just amazing to read about how huge the store is and how it’s run.

sin second cityI’m also reading another Horatio Alger book. Again, I’ve just started the story, Joe’s Luck. Joe’s an orphan and a servant in small town New Jersey. He’s had it with the ill treatment of a miserly employer and heads to New York hoping to get on a ship to California while the Gold Rush is in full swing. Just now poor Joe was swindled out of the money for the ship’s ticket.

I’m also in the midst of a book on the Everleigh sisters who ran a high class, super high class brothel in turn of the 20th century Chicago. The Everleigh Club’s opulence is unmatched and the tales! Whoo. The girls. The men. The antics! Often beyond imagination.

Opening Ceremony 2012 Olympics

Pastoral, merry, cheeky, awesome, puzzling – all describe the Opening Games of London’s 2012 Olympics.

I love the setting of the English countryside, the children’s choirs singing traditional songs, the interspersing of film, literature  and music.

I kept thinking of the 2008 Beijing Olympics that raised the bar awfully high. The pageantry and pyrotechnics awed me. I couldn’t get over how precise and in step every drummer and performer was.

Yet watching the London games present the negative aspects of their history, e.g. the poverty and pain caused by the Industrial Revolution’s injustice, the devastation of World War. That was bold. That could not and would not be done in China and thank God the British have the liberty to do so.

The queen was great. Bravo for her participating in a cheeky vignette with James Bond. Not every leader, political or figurehead, would.

There were spots in the London ceremony that I didn’t like. I felt the teen romance portion with the rock music, music that I love, was kind of all over the place. But I’ll live with that as no one bats one out of the park every time and enough of the show did work. Again, I support an artist attempting something bold and Danny Boyle could.

I loved how the young athletes lit the torch, that more than one person did it and that there was a dramatic portrayal of how the old and young interact and share. I’m glad Paul McCartney capped off the night and that everyone sang along. I had expected more British stars and vaguely recall more Canadian celebrities participating in the Vancouver ceremony. I wish that in addition to Hey Jude, McCartney had written a new song for the games. I guess I’m a dreamer, but I bet a song with the theme of international cooperation and competition would sell like hot cakes.

Ah, so now as Benedict Cumberbatch says in this promo: Let the games commence.