almaviva90: (Wellington)
Hmm...isn't it strange that despite the fact that my intention last night was to buy the sheet music for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 online that I ended up saying, 'Heck, it's bloody expensive for a book from which I only like one piece of music, ie. 'Snape to Malfoy Manor' and then randomly went off to Abebooks.com to buy two books on Wellington instead? *facepalm* My obsession with Wellington never subsides really even with my love for history, TA, opera and Poirot. 

But in my defence, these are actually books I've never read and aren't available in HK. The first is Lawrence James' The Iron Duke: A Military Biography of Wellington which I've seen cited numerous times in other books on Wellington while the other is a rather interesting book named Wellington's War: His Peninsular Dispatches where the author has actually pieced together a lot of Wellington's actual dispatches, letters, correspondence, etc with his own descriptions to make a sort of narrative account of the war through Wellington's eyes. Although I sort of have ALL of Wellington's dispatches in PDF format, I could never actually read them all without having some sense of direction first as to what I'm looking for so the second book is going to be of great help, I hope.
almaviva90: (Default)
My book on Wellington finally arrived this afternoon...just a week after the other book arrived last Wednesday. It's not a hardcover as I thought it would be (the booksellers seem to be all wretchedly unclear as to whether the copies they have are paperback or hardback since both of them weirdly seem to have the ISBN number) but alas, what can one do? At least it's readable, that's the most important thing. Perhaps I'll try to get a hardback version next time.

Watched a couple of Poirot episodes last night...and goodness me, it was extremely entertaining to have refreshed my mind about these episodes. I nearly forgot how hilariously funny they were; with Hugh Fraser's Hastings as always stealing the show with his adorableness although really Hastings wouldn't be half as funny if David Suchet's Poirot wasn't there to complement him. There was one extremely amusing moment in the last episode of the first series (The Dream) where Poirot laments that his little grey cells might be deserting him:

Poirot: ...a sign that they are weakened by old age and the fast living.

Hastings: I wouldn't call your life exactly fast.

Poirot: Oh, not perhaps now, Hastings but in my youth?

Hastings stares at him in amazement.

Hastings [astounded]: Really? [Pause] Really?

Poirot shrugs.

Poirot: You see one pays to settle one's account.

Hastings [utterly disconcerted]: I say.

What else can I say? I love these two. =P
almaviva90: (TA 1980s)
Hurrah...finally got the 2nd edition of TA's book, Foreign Parts: A Singer's Journal yesterday afternoon when it arrived by post. It's a rather worn secondhand paperback copy and the cover's a bit damaged but at least the inside is fine and since it's secondhand, I'm not expecting much. But I was surprised when I realised that the previous owner of the book actually had it signed by TA himself. It also has the guy's name on it written in TA's handwriting! My God, I would never ever sell a book when my name has been personally written by the author, esp. when the author in question is Thomas Allen! But alas, different minds think, of course, differently. There has been indeed more content added since the first version of the book which I got nearly two years ago and it's great to see what he says about his first Beckmesser and Don Alfonso at Covent Garden. I also found out that Guglielmo isn't one of this favourite Mozart baritone roles...which is something interesting to know. (I personally love Guglielmo because he's so immature [esp. when he boasts to Ferrando of successfully getting the affections of Dorabella and then his irritation at getting the same treatment with regard to Fiordiligi] and sometimes erratic XD).

Just waiting for my other book (which is a biography of Wellington) I ordered to arrive by post...it should arrive this afternoon or tomorrow since I ordered it at the same time as this one.
almaviva90: (wellington2)
The awaited second volume of Stephen Fry's memoirs has finally hit the shelves (well, at least the shelves of ONE bookshop in HK as far as I know) and yeah, though I haven't read it all yet (I'm currently on page 70 or other), SF is still in top form with regard to writing with characteristic Stephen Fry-ish (is that even a word? I guess it is now) aplomb, sincerity and hilarity. Just reached the part where he's just arrived at Cambridge. His hilarious representation of how the ordinary person views Oxbridge was hysterically funny...basically he says that most people think the majority of the people studying there are just toffee-nosed, pompous gits [which is not quite what he said but that is the general gist] and that most people would dearly love to 'mow those f***ers down' [that last phrase had me giggling insanely]. All of which is true in a way but as he says these Oxbridge people ARE people with the same feelings and fears as the ordinary person.

And I'll be able to continue reading the book (probably finish it too) since now it's Reading Week and therefore no lectures for an entire week...hurrah! But yeah, I should continually remind myself that I do have a lot of other stuff to do...like important things like assignments and research for my dissertation...
almaviva90: (wellington2)
I was wandering around a newly opened Kelly and Walsh bookshop in Central today waiting for my mum to come back from the washroom and despite the fact that the store in question was tiny and had only what seemed like ten shelves in it, I came across Stephen Fry's The Ode Less Travelled which I never expected to ever find in HK without actually having to order it. Naturally I bought it (who wouldn't?) but it was really quite unexpected finding not only that book but most of his other books on the shelves when all the other bigger stores in town (i.e. bigger branches of K and W, Dymocks and Page One) rarely have any of Fry's books on their shelves.

Interesting.
almaviva90: (Captain Hastings)
Yay...my Poirot book arrived this afternoon (though alas my mum had to pick it up for me since I was away in Tai Wai for work today). The description on the bookseller's site said it was a paperback...and lo and behold, it actually was a hardback first edition! Quite unexpected.

Too tired to actually read it all in detail now though. That also goes with my Welsh National Opera book which I have to get on to reading as well other things...
almaviva90: (Default)
The Welsh National Opera book arrived this afternoon =D

Probably the other book will arrive tomorrow or perhaps early next week, who knows. But thank goodness it was quick this time (another repeat of what happened with my Wellington book and I would have killed somebody @_@)
almaviva90: (Wellington)
MY BOOK HAS FINALLY ARRIVED!!!

Exactly two months after I effing ordered it but HURRAH!!!

And it looks pretty new too...=) [Yes, I think this seriously needs a picture post because I've been ranting about this book so often...]
Wellington's Doctors )
almaviva90: (Captain Hastings)
Bought two books online today despite my awful experience of having to wait for my last book to come by bloody effing ship (which I think is ridiculous). Thankfully they weren't so expensive this time and I made quite sure that the books would be delivered to me within 14 working days. I must say though that most British booksellers are amazingly fast in shipping them off soon after the order is sent to them...I believe they sent them off only 4-5 hours after I requested them O.O

As to what these two books are about; well, one's about Welsh National Opera (the first opera company that TA sang with) and I believe it's really the ONLY book written about the company and the other is about the TV series (and my new obsession) Agatha Christie's Poirot.

I read somewhere recently that there's a new film coming out later this year about King George VI (who is the current Queen's father) and guess who's playing him...Colin Firth. Hurrah...it's nice to see Firth doing roles we don't usually associate him with; first the gay English professor in A Single Man and now the stammering and nervous George VI. I think I'll also give this film a go when it comes out in the cinemas later...and talking about cinemas, I simply can't wait until HP7 Part 1 comes out!

almaviva90: (the merry widow)
Lol, I found something in Page One this evening which amused me greatly: a book series called the Oscar Wilde Murder Mysteries. The name is pretty self-explanatory but it just tickled me just imagining Oscar Wilde being like Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot on a case.

And I wonder who would be his Watson or Hastings? Bosie perhaps? Oh, the imagery...XDDDD
almaviva90: (TA 1980s)
Hurrah! They're making another film adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro's books; this time it's Never Let Me go and probably it'll be released sometime this year.

On the down side, it's got Keira Knightley in it and in probably the main role. *groan*

I've got nothing against Knightley in particular (she was pretty good in Atonement, I must admit) but I unfortunately don't like her that much.

First a musical version of The Remains of the Day and now another film of another novel...I wonder what else will crop up in relation to Ishiguro's works? *ponders*

Now I'll have to get back to writing my essay which is due tomorrow afternoon. *sigh*
almaviva90: (TA Guglielmo 1981)
WHERE IS MY BLOODY BOOK?!?!?!

I hope to le bon Dieu that it's not lost or anything...but seriously, it's been nearly three weeks since it was apparently shipped...

almaviva90: (don alfonso)
Grrr...why on earth did my book order from yesterday get cancelled? WTF.

Ah well, I reordered the book again just now (an older, hardcover version but oh well) and hopefully this time it'll go smoothly and without a hitch.

*crosses fingers*

They say they usually ship in two days. I bloody well hope so. Plus I seriously hope that the book won't arrive in the insane 14-60 days category...especially the latter one. Two weeks is fine but two MONTHS to receive the book? Mon Dieu!

EDIT: Whoa...I wasn't expecting my book to be shipped until a day or two later but to have confirmation that it's been shipped just over 13-14 hours after the book order is mind-boggling because that's what just happened now. Goodness, they're quick (and a good thing too!) XDD
almaviva90: (Default)
First of all, it's 2nd April so happy birthday to the great Sir Alec Guinness who would have been 96 this year if he were still alive. It's hard to believe that he passed away nearly ten years ago now. Scary how time flies.

Anyways...finally was able to watch a film at the cinema today after weeks of desperately wanting to but being unable to find the time. I personally wanted to watch The Young Victoria since I have wanted to see it since I first realised there was a film about Victoria and Albert but then my mother was so adamant in seeing Colin Firth in A Single Man so guess who won? My mum, of course. Colin Firth galore for the one and a half hour duration of the film...XDD I can see why he was nominated for the Oscar this time and it was damn well earned, I say. A totally non-Darcy role this time but even though Pride and Prejudice was made 15 years ago, Firth has definitely maintained his good looks even now.

Oh, and what a surprise I got when I found the 1988 ENO Billy Budd with TA in the shops today. (I, of course, bought it straightaway since it was a reasonable $138). Totally wasn't expecting that since I thought it was now out-of-print. Other two great surprises today was that I found two books I've been looking for quite a while (a volume of Agatha Christie novels which have four of the novels that Captain Hastings was in while the second was Christopher Plummer's memoirs). Alas, both of them were nearly or were actually $300 so obviously, I couldn't afford them this time. I might try my luck in getting Plummer's book later on while I'll just wait and go to the UK to buy the Christie novels XDDD Yes, the books in the UK are DEFINITELY cheaper than in Hong Kong, darn it. *imagines that she will go on a mass book/CD/DVD spending spree when she finally gets to the UK*

Ah and yeah, finally decided to order the book about Wellington's doctors online today. Hopefully it'll arrive in a week or so. *crosses fingers*

almaviva90: (danilo)
Most people on my f-list will probably know that Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day is one of my favourite books, if not the favourite.

One probably also knows I do like musicals from time to time but seriously...The Remains of the Day + music = musical?

Will it be doable? Kazuo Ishiguro himself believes so: www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mandrake/5401693/Its-Remains-of-the-Day-the-musical-for-Kazuo-Ishiguro.html

As for myself, I'll definitely be interested in the outcome.
almaviva90: (posa)
It's funny but when I was writing the date down during yesterday's lecture, I noticed it was already the 1st of February. ALREADY. Goodness me, how time flies. It seems only yesterday that it was the start of 2010. Reminds one rather scarily of how life is continually slipping us by, second by second, minute by minute. I better stop here; I'm creeping myself out.

I have no idea why but I got out Roald Dahl's Matilda from my bookshelf the other day and reread the book after what seems like over 7 years. Surprisingly I really enjoyed it despite knowing it was really intended for older children. I knew beforehand that he had a rather wicked sense of humour in his Tales of the Unexpected but I hadn't realised it was also so prominent in his children's books. I doubt a child of ten for example would understand the evil wit in this: 'Your daughter Fiona has the glacial beauty of an iceberg. However, unlike the iceberg she has absolutely nothing beneath the surface.' So you can imagine the laughter which ensued within that very enjoyable three quarters of an hour in rereading the book. Dahl was a fantastic writer; no doubt about it.

I've been buying a lot of books lately. I think I've realised that I really have to get back to reading again after basically a year of messing about since the start of my time at HKU. I've noticed too that Page One is getting more British history books (finally!) and therefore I'm very happy about this turn of events. The other day I bought a book about the famous 95th Rifles of Wellington's army (it's the same regiment that one of my favourite fictional characters is in, Richard Sharpe) and am so far enjoying it as well. I think I also need to reread some Austen since I need to remember how she wrote in trying to get more chapters of my Sense and Sensibility fic up. Oh, fanfictions...how you are the joy and bane of my life at times. *sigh* Sometimes I hate the fact that one has to really be in the mood to write something worth reading by other people. The bane of all writers, I think.

I still can't believe it but I've actually set up another blog (a Wordpress one) specifically revolving about opera...I am awed at times at how my interest in opera has spiraled during the past year and a half or so. Two years ago, I would have scorned the notion of liking the artform. Now I can't get enough of it. The joke's on me as usual XD

Better toddle off to bed...quite tired after a rather long day. =)
almaviva90: (the merry widow)
Whoa...it's looks like it's really been a while since I last posted here...been busy with a myriad of things this past week. I know that I have to change that poem of the month thing in the sidebar but I really am stumped as to what poem suits this month. I thought about putting up a Christmas poem but decided that was waaaay too sentimental (and vomit-inducing XD) to do so. Anyone have any ideas?

Anyways...moving on. I've been listening to a lot of the band Queen recently for some reason. I once heard their very famous song, Bohemian Rhapsody and didn't like it at the time. Now I've listened to it again (after seeing the hilarious Muppet version recently) and really am fond of it. The weird Scaramouche bit in the middle is just made more funny (and makes more sense) now since I kind of know the basics of opera (which is what Freddie Mercury was trying to imitate/mock). Oh and yeah, Brian May is simply a god on the guitar. It's amazing that he also has a PhD in astrophysics though. Simply awe-inspiring. Is it just me or do the 80s seem like golden age for music, not only for rock and pop but also for classical and opera? Queen, ABBA, Air Supply, Elton John, etc, etc...the list goes on plus it was a great time to see opera greats at their prime onstage with the likes of Domingo, Te Kanawa and last but not least, of course, Thomas Allen. What an experience to have lived in the 80s, I think.

Hmm....what else? Oh yes...finally got to reading books again (it seems ages since I read a book properly and to the end) and bought a copy of a book I've been keeping an eye on: Irish Peacock and Scarlet Marquess - The Real Trial of Oscar Wilde. A fascinating read and a wonderful insight into how Wilde acted and talked in real life. It also gave me an idea on how damning the evidence against Wilde was in his libel suit against Bosie's father. Had I been in his shoes, I really would have escaped abroad and avoided suing the Marquess...but Wilde was defiant...and sadly very foolish in stating his innocence since the amount of witnesses testifying against him was quite shocking. They might of course have been a whole pack of liars but seriously when you get more than 10 guys testifying against you, you're in a bit of hot water, I think. There was an amusing exchange between Wilde and the overbearing barrister, Edward Carson QC, showing Wilde's wit and eccentricity. They were talking about a letter which Wilde had sent to Bosie in which the language was a little overly intimate, shall we say, not to mention suggestive. Wilde kept on talking about how his letters and words were meant as poetry above all else and was marvelling at how beautiful they were while the barrister must have been rolling his eyes sarcastically. Carson was reading them to both him and the court and the following exchange followed (I'm reciting this from memory but the main gist of it should be more or less right):

CARSON: [having read a line from the letter] And was that a beautiful line, Mr Wilde?
WILDE: Not when you read it, Mr Carson. When I wrote it, it was a beautiful line. You read it very badly.

If you didn't know who was talking or what the situation was, I think you could have sworn that this exchange cropped up in The Importance of Being Earnest or something, lol. I must admit that Wilde had guts to say that in court.

Also got a hold of a nice copy of E.M. Forster's Howards End (a favourite book and film of mine)...I think I'll be well prepared for the holidays to brush up on my reading.

Oh, and yeah...it's definitely been decided that I won't be continuing my internship after this month. That gives me time to focus on my history courses next term, hurrah!
almaviva90: (Default)
Finally got a hold of a copy of Kazuo Ishiguro's new collection of five short stories entitled Nocturnes...and the second one quite surprisingly had me laughing out loud since some of the dialogue was utterly amusing. The style is perhaps more modern than in comparison to say, Stevens' POV in The Remains of the Day but definitely signature Ishiguro even with the slightly uncharacteristic use of swearing in the dialogue.

It's been a while since Ishiguro has published a novel so hopefully this is only a little taster of what might come in the future...he's still young yet being only in his mid-fifties, after all.

almaviva90: (TA 1980s)
Call me a romantic softie sometimes who usually scoffs at cliched/overdone/melodramatic stuff but I'm rather glad I'm able to read French otherwise I would have never understood the meaning of this wonderful and tragic line from the romantic/historical/tragic novel Arc de Triomphe:

'Sans toi...je serais morte depuis longtemps.'

(Meaning in my mangled English translation which probably doesn't do any justice to the line...'without you, I would have died a long time ago') Of course the line itself sounds cliche by itself but seeing it in context with the story, it's a tragic line even when the character who's saying this should actually be blaming the man (who is the 'hero' of the book) for her soon to be impending demise.

Funny thing is that the original book was written in German (by Erich Maria Remarque who also wrote the famous All Quiet on the Western Front [which was a great novel]) then translated into French and now I'm trying to make sense of it all by reading it in French since the only way to get it in English is to buy it off Amazon or something since the libraries here don't have it (but HKU has about FOUR copies of it in Chinese?!...you'd think they would think about getting an ENGLISH version, right?).

almaviva90: (Default)
Couldn't resist after seeing this on [profile] x_reggg 's journal...plus I was interested in how many I actually read! XD

Instructions:
Copy this into your NOTES. Look at the list and put an 'x' in front of those you have read. Tag other Book Nerds and Publish.

An obvious example of what one does when you have too much time on your hands XD )

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almaviva90: (Default)
almaviva90

January 2012

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