02/05/2014

WORKING HARD, READING, WATCHING, LIVING - MISCELLANEOUS POST

Hello and happy beginning of May, everyone. What have you been up to? Great things, I hope. I've been working hard, reading, watching, living.  If you have some spare time to read, I'm here to share with you. 

Working hard

Just have a look at the picture on the right, focus on the image in the middle, consider it is May and draw your own conclusions. How would I answer the question "How are you?" these days?
I usually describe myself in these moments as "drowning in a sea of paper".
What kind of paper, you ask? Hundreds of sheets, all scribbled on with blue or black ink. They are supposed to be in English but I have some difficulty to decipher them at times. My students are quite creative, you know, and their speciality is Anglian (English with the addition of some Italian) or Italish (Italian with the addition of some English).
They will improve, they will improve, they will improve ... I must believe all my efforts and theirs (?) will end up with some good results. For now, I simply have to hold on and contribute a great deal of red ink to their uncertain attempts. It is almost over, let's hold on!  Summer is coming, the last day of school is near.


Reading 

I'm reading two books  at the moment,  one in Italian and one in English. The first one is Lorenzo Amurri's Apnea. It is one of the novels I'm reading as a judge for a book festival which will be held in my town at the end of June. This means I can't tell you much, I'm supposed not to share my opinion on these books (three) until that moment. So I'm only sharing with you what Apnea is about, not my musings for now. 
Lorenzo Amurri was a talented young guitarist with a successful career in pop/rock music and a life full of satisfactions, journeys, friends, love. But one day, while he was skiing in a beautiful mountain resort with his girlfriend, Johanna, and a couple of friends, an accident radically changed everything. This book is the journal of  his journey through rehabilitation and therapy,  of his daily battles against depression,  in order to live a dignified life, in order to accept to go on living  even if almost completely paralized on a wheelchair. 

Richard Armitage as Chop
Urban and the Shed Crew by Bernard Hare is the book I'm reading on my ipad at present. It is again a non-fiction narration by the real protagonist of the story, set in Leeds, England,  and dealing with the squalid lives of a gang of feral children sniffing glue by the sewers. I bought my e-copy a couple of weeks ago for reasons some of you may guess. Interested in the social context and the themes, you say? Urban Grimshaw is a "compelling piece of ethnography,  it is also a deeply personal memoir tracing Hare's own development" (The Guardian), so definitely yes. But the real reason has got an R and an A in it. Got it?




Richard Armitage is shooting a movie based on this book. He plays Chop, who,  despite his own penchant for drink, drugs and hard living is deeply shocked by the state of eleven-year-old Urban’s life. After much soul searching, he resolves to clean up his own act and do his utmost to save the kid.  But as their friendship deepens, Urban introduces him to the Shed Crew – the anarchic gang of kids between the ages of ten and fourteen; joy-riding, thieving runaways, no strangers to drugs or sex.


I can't wait to see Richard in this role especially because I don't think I'll be able to see him on stage next summer, No The Crucible for me, unfortunately, So I must direct all my hopes to his next movies,  which I will see at any cost,  even if it means I  have to face an apocalypse   (Into the Storm, August 2014) and a gang of hell-bound children (Urban and the Shed Crew)


Watching

I've seen a few interesting movies and have been catching up with TV series I was curious about.

Among the movies I particularly loved Hunger Games Catching Fire, out now on DVD, The Butler, which I had missed last year when it came out, and a touching indie about love and writing, starring Lily Collins and Logan Lerman, Stuck in Love

I loved them all for different reasons and in different ways. The first one is gripping, a great dystopian thriller;  the second one touched my heart with themes and historical key moments I've always been interested in;  the third one is tender, moving and romantic,  not in a soapy way, and got me moved to tears more than once.


The TV series I've been watching in the latest weeks are About a Boy and Reign. Again, quite different but both enjoyable. 

I wanted to see About a Boy since it is based on a book and a movie I loved immensely when they came out. (Nick Hornby and Hugh Grant were two of my best faves at that time). I like this series, I am not disappointed that is:  it is lovely, funny and tender at the same time. 

David Walton, Benjamin Stockham, Al Madrigal and Minnie Driver are in the cast of this sitcom that retells the story of successful songwriter and bachelor Will Freeman who lives a carefree life as the "ultimate man-child" until his perfect world is turned upside down by single mom Fiona and her 11-year-old son Marcus. 

Torrance Coombs, Adelaide Kane and Toby Regbo in  Reign
I've been also catching up with the many episodes of Reign, the fairy-tale-like account of the marriage between Mary Stuart, Queen of the Scots,  and Prince Francis,  Dauphin of France. As much as I can see all its flaws at the eyes of historical fiction purists, I'm totally hooked by this show,  which aired its episode 20 tonight. 
Beautiful cast, awesome locations, and amazing costumes can compensate the winking-to-teenagers atmosphere prevailing here and there and its being quite bluntly historically inaccurate. Now, even without the help of Nostradamus's foresight (Rossif Sutherland in the show), I am afraid I know what the end of this romantic tale was  in real history and will be on TV in a couple of weeks. Of course,  if they didn't decide to utterly change facts! Anyway, I'm ready to face the end,  the season finale, with a huge supply of tissues at hand

Living 


What do I mean by living? Nothing related to the first paragraph in this post. I love my job, that's true,  but my life is really full and satisfying thanks to my interests and passions. Travelling to the UK is one of them. And when my journey is bound to London, life becomes party. 

I was in London again last week, with 3 friends-colleagues of mine and guess what? It was great fun! After the recent disappointing trip to Dublin with my students,  those four days spent in England, with people I share so much with,  were incredibly rewarding.  

We walked, saw, chatted, enjoyed, laughed a lot. We went on my favourite walking tours, visited some of my favourite sites, enjoyed busy, beautiful London with a carefree attitude and only one wish:  to relax and have fun. 

That's all. Thanks for reading this long post up to the end. Enjoy your May, to another exciting and rewarding month.

Maria Grazia

4 comments:

JaneGS said...

Love the 3 cartoons. On the last day of school at the elementary school where my kids went the teachers used to line up outside the school as the school buses filled up and did the can-can as the buses left the parking lot. :)

I've been meaning to read and watch Catching Fire. I was pleasantly amazed by how much I liked The Hunger Games. I also really liked About a Boy and mean to read the book...someday.

Glad to hear you enjoyed your recent trip to London.

Hang in there until school's out!

Maria Grazia said...

I won't dance at the end of the school year (June 7th) because soon after I'll have to work as an examiner in a school different from mine, and soon after that I will have to give extra lessons to students who failed in English (summer remedial courses). Anyway, I'll post a pic of me dancing the can-can around mid - July :-)

I haven't read The Hunger Games trilogy, only saw the two movies so far. Just like you I was more than surprised, almost shocked, at how much I liked The Mortal Instruments series. I tried again with Divergent, I liked the series, but I think Cassandra Clare has got a more entertaining and rich writing style than Veronica Roth. I still wonder, what is it with these YA popular saga that managed to get me hooked?!? I read About a Boy when it came out in Italy and also saw and loved the movie. The series was fun, well done!
Always glad to hear from you, Jane. Hugs :-)

Phyllys Faves said...

I hope you don't mind me borrowing your minions picture. I love this post!

Maria Grazia said...

They are not mine, Phylly! So, help yourself :-) As for this post, glad you liked it, only re-reading it I realised some things have changed! I was lucky enough not to be involved in the final exams and I'm enjoying an early summer this year. I'm super happy because this means I am able to join my friends in their trip to London and we'll go to the Old Vic to see The Crucible. That's a great change! I was so sad while writing that I couldn't go ... now instead I'm so excited. Next week I'll be there! Thanks for dropping by and reading! Enjoy your Sunday :-)