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Monday, 10 August 2009

Book Sale, Tennyson, Pleasantville, Dylan Thomas and more


Was reminded recently that the good folk over at PaperBooks are having something of a Summer Sale at the moment. All titles in their online shop (click link above) are currently half-price. They also offer a free book to anyone who sends in a photo of a PaperBooks title being read on holiday. And, what's more, there's a special 'Word of Mouth' offer in the back of most titles...

Can't s
ay they're not doing everything possible to make buying PaperBooks' books easy.

As I write this, and by way of acknowledging the recent bicentenary of his birth (6th August, 1809), I'm listening to a program that celebrates the work of Lord Alfred Tennyson. Happy birthday, Alf! To Strive, to Seek, to Find and Not to Yield is the latest broadcast in BBC Radio 3's Words and Music series (available on podcast here until Monday 17th August, 2009).

The show presents an eclectic range of readings an
d music in a manner that adds new meaning to the Poet Laureate's work, ranging from Billy Bragg singing Blake's Jerusalem and Van Morrison singing Don't Worry About Tomorrow to Dvorak's Song to the Moon from Rusalka and a portion of Verdi's La Traviata. Interspersed with this music are words from, amongst others, Dylan Thomas (an all-time favourite of mine: Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night), Kathleen Raine, Marvell, Robert Frost and, of course, Tennyson himself.

The producer of the program, Elizabeth Funning, notes how she ended up exploring "ideas of decision, change, seizing the day, and fighting the inevitable." Serendipitous this, as I was watching, Pleasantville the other night, for the ten thousandth time, and still enjoy how it explores and responds to exactly those ideas - universal themes which come to the fore every now and then in music, literature, film, art, and which I'll chew over for a while longer, I think. Anyway, this has made listening to Words and Music all the more enjoyable.

Talking of Dylan Thomas, went on a mini-pilgrimage to Laugharne and Thomas' stamping ground when I was in Wales recently. He was one of the first writers I got hooked on when I was at school - loved the lyricism of his short stories and Under Milk Wood, of course, and it had a lasting influence on me, I think... I reckon... maybe.

3 comments:

Jane Turley said...

I've listened to several of Elzabeth Funning's Words and Music productions on Radio 3 and really rather enjoyed them. Not being heavily into classical music it was nice to listen to not only poetry/readings but also a diverse range of music. I hope Radio 3 keep going with these productions.

Paul said...

I agree: the diversity was tremendous. It was great having Billy Bragg in there and I loved that poem by Kathleen Raine - first time I've come across it.

gary davison said...

That looks like a nice spot to sit and think, Paul. what's the view like through that window? Another photo is needed i think!