PHYLLY'S FAVES. I'm glad to let you know more about her, her life and her interests. If you read through her interview and leave your comment and e-mail address, you'll have the chance to win the book she's giving away: a brand new copy of Mrs Gaskell's "Cousin Phillis" , a collection of short stories. The giveaway is open worldwide, the winner will be announced on Monday 14th.
I am a Library-Technician who lives in a very small gold mining district, at the western edge of the second-largest province of Canada – Ontario. It is quite a long journey to the nearest city and there are no bookstores here -- very little shopping at all, but the natural beauty of the area compensates for this lack. You can drive for hours and see nothing but trees, lakes, rocks and more of the same. Watch out for wildlife as you drive – we have plenty of moose, deer, wolves, black bears, and unfortunately, skunks! You will also pass by many fishing camps along the way, as tourism is one of the other main industries here.
I was born here and have lived here all my life, except for a few years when I lived in a city in southern Ontario to complete my education. My husband and I were high school sweethearts so when I was finished school I moved back home, got married, and started a family. Both my daughter and son are now in University, one in southern Ontario, and the other in England. In between having a family I have worked in at a mine, a Public Library, an elementary school with two libraries in adjoining towns, a newspaper, a High School library and finally, in an elementary school library (in a different town)
(Phyllis is fond of frogs, so she always does a Froggy Theme for a week every spring)
As a library technician books are your job. But are they also something you love? What kind of reader are you?
I have always loved books and can usually be found reading something – if there’s nothing to read around me I am not above reading cereal boxes (in French – just for the challenge!) I sunburn easily so my summers as a child consisted of me getting massively sunburned at the beginning of the season and then spending the rest of the summer inside reading until the sun lost its intensity in the latter part of the afternoon, when I would emerge again to commune with nature.
I don’t read books as much as I used to, I did tend to watch a bit too much television, but now I am more to be found on the computer reading blogs or watching online shows that aren’t available in Canada.
Right now I am reading "Cousin Phillis", a collection of short stories by my new favourite author, Elizabeth Gaskell. I am enjoying it very much although it is somewhat melodramatic, and although I try not to, each story has brought me to tears. It starts with her earliest short stories and ends with her last one, so it is nice to see the progression of her talent.
I recently purchased Gaskell’s “Wives and Daughters” but as it is a much weightier tome, I am saving it for my summer holidays. I am very fond of her “North and South” and I do return to it quite often to re-read sections.
I recently listened to the audio book “Venetia” by Georgette Heyer, read by Richard Armitage. Audio books are a new experience for me but as I was listening to such a wonderful performer, I will definitely want to hear more of the same!
I had read quite a few of Georgette Heyer’s books in my youth, so it was a real treat to revisit that author.
Hmmm! I like so many…and many different kinds, but I don’t really follow any faithfully except MI-5 (or Spooks) which I was a fan of before Richard Armitage became a part of it. The show in North America has not caught up with Season 7 (where he made his appearance) yet. So I had to watch the last 2 seasons online! (I also bought the DVD!)
I enjoy humourous programs – witty shows like “Frasier”, crazy shows like “The Office”, and political satire -- of which Canada’s “Rick Mercer Report” is my absolute favourite!
I love to watch movies, new or old. I used to wish I could watch all the Oscar winning movies since the beginning of Hollywood. Now I know that the ones that win the Oscar are not always the best ones! My favourite genre is historical fiction so I really enjoy a good period drama. I also love romances, but my favourite would be a romantic comedy. Critics like to put them down, but a good rom-com is just the best medicine for me!
I like documentaries, news shows, really anything topical that strikes my fancy – I was told by my Reference teacher that a good Reference Librarian should have a “garbage mind” – meaning she should know a bit about everything so that when someone asks about something it will be easier to understand what they are talking about. I have always been interested in almost anything, but right now my interests seem to be pretty focused on a certain actor!
As for blogging, what do you think are the pros of this online activity? What do you most like about it?
I certainly like reading all the blogs that I frequent. It is a wonderful way to meet people around the world who are interested in the same things. I have met some wonderful people, like yourself Maria Grazia, who inspire me to read more, think more and do more of the creative things I enjoy! I guess I started my own Blog because I have always wanted to write something, and I suppose I felt I needed to explain my fascination with (that certain actor) to myself as well as to anyone else who might be interested.
My Blog is called Phylly’s Faves so it is pretty open-ended to be about anything that I like. But I am using it as a framework to explain why I am so enamoured with Richard Armitage – all my interests seem to have pointed toward my fascination with him.
Well, it’s a familiar story all right! As I said, I love period dramas and I first saw North and South televised on a public television channel in Canada probably in the Fall of 2006. I enjoyed it immensely and wished I could watch it again, but it wasn’t available on DVD for awhile. I remember scanning catalogues to see if the DVD was out yet and when it finally was available, (about a year later) I hinted broadly to my husband that it would make a great Christmas present. For some reason, I did not think I should just buy it myself! I didn’t do much online ordering then and I didn’t own very many DVDs, so it didn’t really occur to me to buy it for myself. When my “hinting” didn’t work for 2 Christmases I was a bit miffed, so I left the catalogue out with the DVD circled in red marker and pronounced that the only thing I wanted for my birthday was this DVD! (Sounds bossy, I know – but I was desperate!)
I admire the way he completely inhabits his characters. He creates a complete back story for himself so that he can become the persona he has invented. I know that the writer actually creates the character initially, but the way Richard plays a character, you can see what he is thinking and feeling without a line of dialogue being said! He reminds me of the old silent film stars in that way, but he doesn’t over play the role or become melodramatic, it is all very subtle and natural.
I also loved him in the Vicar of Dibley as Harry Kennedy. I really wish someone would offer him a comedy role. I think he’d be great in a romantic comedy and I don’t think it would be a waste of his talent, as some would say. Richard has a way of elevating any role he does into something better than it was originally conceived. The perfect example of this was his portrayal of Guy of Gisborne in the BBC’s Robin Hood series.
Originally this character would have been just a two-dimensional bad guy, but as Richard played him Gisborne developed into a flawed and tormented soul who was willing to change for the love of a good woman (Maid Marian). As soon as the writers realized what a talent they had unleashed they began to write better storylines for him, until he eventually outshone Robin Hood’s character completely!
You said your daughter is studying in England. Have you been there yourself? Would you like to go? Which places would you like to visit?
I have always wanted to visit England! My ancestors are from the British Isles; my mother’s father was the most recent immigrant. He came to Canada from London in the early part of the last century. My parents visited twice, but I have never been there. However, my husband and I are planning to go in July for three weeks! We are very excited about it.
What are the things you most like doing?
I am a music lover and have very eclectic tastes there too. I enjoy all types of music, especially ones with good harmony, but the lyrics of a song are very important to me as well, so there are a few songs that I cannot like because of the lyrics alone. I have always wanted to learn to play the piano and recently my husband and I signed up for adult piano lessons! It has been quite challenging but very enjoyable as well. I love to sing and have participated in our church choir for many years. I have also discovered the joy of karaoke singing, and even have my own machine with quite a large collection of music!
(Speaking of music, I should mention how much I love the soundtrack to North and South -- just another reason why this miniseries is so marvellous.)
I love my job, especially when I can share my love of special books with students. Reading picture books, novels, or poetry aloud to a class is always fun and it is especially wonderful on those rare occasions when my performance elicits spontaneous applause! It is also a joy when I recommend a book to someone and they return to tell me how much they enjoyed it. I imagine you get that pleasure often yourself Maria Grazia, even from your Blog!
(Phyllis wishes she had a Guy of Gisborne action figure to add to this scene!)
I have many interests but mostly I love to laugh, listen to music and sing -- and sometimes I do all three at once!
Since I am enjoying “Cousin Phillis” right now, and my name is the same (but spelled slightly differently), I thought this title might be a suitable choice. I think you might have quite a few followers who enjoy Gaskell’s novels, but they may not be familiar with her short stories. The introduction to the book also has a very good discussion about the history of short story writing. Apparently short stories used to be frowned upon by the upper classes until people like Gaskell and Dickens began writing especially for the middle and upper classes. (That was news to me!)
THANK YOU PHYLLIS!!! IT'S BEEN A GREAT PLEASURE TO TALK TO YOU. TILL NEXT MEETING ON YOURS OR MY BLOGS!
So, now, dear readers and friends, it's your turn. Leave a comment for Phyllis, don't forget to add your e-mail address and ... come back on Monday 14th to check who the winner of this giveaway is.