It takes  more than 30 years to build the magnificent Kingsbridge Cathedral in this book; it took Ken Follet 3 years and 3 months to write this epic story, it took me 13 days  to get to the end of this extraordinary tale.
In a time of civil war, famine and religious strife, there rises a magnificent Cathedral in Kingsbridge. Against this backdrop, lives entwine: Tom, the master builder, Aliena, the noblewoman, Philip, the prior of Kingsbridge, Jack, the artist in stone and Ellen, the woman from the forest who casts a curse. At once, this is a sensuous and enduring love story and an epic that shines with the fierce spirit of a passionate age,  the middle of the twelfth century, primarily during the time sometimes called the Anarchy, between  the sinking of the White Ship and the murder of Thomas Becket.

"The Pillars of the Earth" opens with a prologue that vaguely introduces future characters and a mystery that will gradually tie the numerous characters together. It is exciting, gripping and sets the expectations high all the time.
If I must be honest, my reading speed rose once the narration leaves Tom Builder and Follett begins to bring us into the major part of the story involving Brother Philip of St.-John-In-The-Forest. Philip is an incredibly engaging character, my best favourite with Jack Jackson and Aliena. Philip’s strong Christian conviction is honest without being preachy or pedantic.  Jack Jackson is the sharply intelligent and rebellious son of charismatic (a witch?) Ellen, who brought him up in the forest; Archdeacon Waleran Bigod, the self-serving and double-dealing priest is just too slick for words; Aliena is the beautiful daughter of a fallen earl who reveals immediately as a fascinatingly admirable heroine and moreover as a strong brave young woman whose strength is underlined by the weakness and flaws of the brother she so much loves and always supports, Richard.Actually,n one of the protagonist is perfect - all have their flaws that make them undeniably human. Well, William Hamleigh is only wicked, incredibly wicked, unbearably stupid and wicked.

The story is long. It has to be - it's about the building of a Gothic cathedral, which takes twenty, thirty years to build . Everything that could go wrong does go wrong, as is to be expected with a project of such expanse and , especially, in such a troubled historical period.  A seemingly endless series of twists and turns and disgraces flows under the reader’s eyes and you go on thinking,  "Good Lord, what else could happen?" all the time.
However, it is an incredibly good  story. A real page turner that won my suspicion and prejudice against best – sellers. Brilliant.
Any complain? The language. I find Ken Follett’s language quite elementary sometimes. Wanted or not, I find that he could have made diction a bit more refined. It is such a good story! But I can even understand that one thousand pages, with hundreds of thousands of words are not easy to cope with. I’m not a writer, I’m only a scribbler, but as I reader I highly appreciate a good choice of  beautiful words.

Now I must, definitely must, see the series. Especially because Tom Builder is Rufus Sewell and Prior Philip is Matthew Mac Fadyen.  I’ll start hunting immediately...


RA FRIDAY - End of Summer's RAmblings

OMG! I almost didn't realize that my summer holidays are over. I "blogged, read, walked, watched" them away! I want them back!!! I haven't done all the things I'd promised myself. Sigh! But I have relaxed and enjoyed the slow-paced days I've had. Has this anything to do with Richard Armitage? Not a bit. So sorry, sorry, sorry! But I' can't avoid thinking that next Tuesday I have to be back to school. First meeting after a while. Sigh! Do you think I can go to school with my MP3 player on full of bits of RA's interviews and audioworks as Red-Self suggested? Not my style. By the way! Do you know Reddie has been furious all this week past and refused to talk to me.?What did I do? I didn't let her sing HAPPY BIRTHDAY RICHARD on my blog! I neither  let her write her Red-Self Corner on that occasion . This is my blog, isn't it? So, I decide when she can or cannot take part in my RA Fridays! But she is unbearable when she gets angry so I thought  I'd better to calm her down letting her be part of the game this time. Hence, directly back from our Narnja, she'll be with us for a while this week (God help us!)

Worried Lucas? Don't be, darling! Whatever happens, we'll be all there with you!
Where do I start from? Yeah! I was reading some  blogs I like and suddenly discovered that some days ago Nat at RA Fan Blog was honestly confessing her sins as a fan (read HERE) . Well, I must admit she's full of flaws , poor child ( LOL !). She has NOT listened to ANY of RA's audioworks. I wonder... How could she resist?!? She has renounced to hours of shivering, caressing  sensations! Even more sinful is the fact that she has NOT seen STRIKE BACK! Good God! Again, how could she resist?!?  I couldn't! I covered my eyes and was startled at any shot or bloody/violent scene but I had to see it. So , Nat , I'm sorry , I'm SO sorry for you, you've missed a lot of wonderful, exciting moments!

But, at the same time , I started worrying about ME! You know, I thought I was not that addicted because I managed to blog about Richard only on Fridays ... but I'm afraid I am... addicted I mean: I've seen everything he did, I mean everything important (I even looked for him in Star Wars!) And I also listened to all his RH and Heyer audiobooks. There's just Lords of the North missing.  HELP !... to heal or not to heal, that is the question! Definitely the answer I  want t give to myself is: "... avoid thinking you are ill. This is one of the most amusing, gratifying, stimulating experiences you've ever had in your life!"  Well, Nat , I was joking with you of course! That was an amusing lovely post! I totally agree with you when you say: "We're all cRAzy in our own, special way"

Another of the RA- dedicated blogs I follow and like very much is Mulubinba's An RA viewer's perspective from 33°0S of the equator. 
  I want to thank her because she discovered how to watch and even embed the videos from the BBC site. We, Mubinba and I,  are denied watching them  because we live outside the UK, she in Australia and I in Itlay. So,  at last , thanks to her, I could watch this interview (I simply love watching and listening to Richard as Richard in his interiews) from BBC SPOOKS official site!

Thanks Mulubinba! 

Oh noooo!!! Here she comes!  Red-Self claiming her space. She says we must take a silly quiz together. A quiz from facebook (have you had a look at my page there?) . Ok. Let's see what happens... Which Richard Armitage character are you?!? What kind of test is it?  But we are women! Can't work!  Ok. I'll stop complaining. You lead, I'll follow! 

Ah, ah, ah!!! I can't stop laughing. I'm crying! with laughter!! Guess what? She's Harry Jasper Kennedy. Black-Self resulted the  Harry type. Who doubted?  And she says she's happy, that she recognizes herself in that! Right, totally utterly true! The two of them (she and Harry) would be a  disgustingly boring  couple! Would they re-watch Sense and Sensibility together or read Far from the Madding Crowd? (rolls eyes) Listen to this:
Result: You are Harry Kennedy
You are quiet, yet confident. You are not afraid to be impulsive and follow your heart. You know what you want in life.
 Look above on the left: remarkable handsome stranger, indeed,only SHE resembles more someone in THIS other picture below...
The lady on the right does resemble Black-Self, much more than Harry!

LOL!!! I'll die laughing today! Now it's my turn for the quiz. Are you ready? Quiiiiiiiz!

1.You are at a Friend's Party and a gorgeous man starts chatting you up, what do you do?
    Politely bow and say no thank you as you have not been introduced
    Size them up mentally first before replying.
    Hell yes I am up for a quickie
    Mmm let's go on a walk
    Oh yeah baby want me to drop on the floor now
    I blush and run away

2.    You find a wallet full of money what do you do?
    Return it to the nearest police station
    Shly look inside to see who it belongs to and return it to them
    Finders keepers, Losers weepers. stupid peasants!
    Keep it, it will buy more presents for your girlfriends/boyfriends
    Do a trace on it and then take it back to HQ to find its rightful owner
    Take it to the police station and if it is not claimed donate it to the church funds

3.    Where would be your ideal holiday destination?
    Anywhere hot and sunny and with lots of naked bodies on the beach
    A quiet country retreat with the man/woman of your dreams
    Anywhere the Sheriff of Nottingham wasn't taking a bath at
    Anywhere you can be alone with nature and do a bit of lambing lol
    A place with lots of country walks and yellow roses

4.    What's your idea of a Romantic night in?
    Getting to hold your love's hand
    Hot sex and lots of it
    Spending the night alone, tearing up pictures of your ex partner
    All night long in the bedroom
    A gentle candle light poetry reading with the one you love
    A good book, a good bottle of wine and kissing by the fire

5.    What is your favourite flower?
    Sweet Pea
    Red Roses
    Yellow Roses
    Forget me nots
    Love Lies Bleeding

6.    What is your favourite meal?
    Candle lit dinner
    Fish and Chips
    Posh dinners
    Yorkshire pud with bangers and mash
    Anything quick
    Whatever is going in the kitchen

7.    The person you secretly love turns you down, what do you do?
    You sadly think about it and then you let them get on with their life
    Walk away and pretend to ignore them every time you meet
    Run them through with your broadsword, the b*tch
    You are bemused but are sure there is just a misunderstanding
    Accept it sadly and keep hoping
    Move on to the next one, the are plenty of fish in the sea
Let's see now ... 1. Hell yes I'm up for a quickie 2. Finders keepers, Loosers weepers, Stupid peasants 3. Anywhere the sheriff wasn't taking a bath at  4. Hot sex and lots of it 5. Love lies bleeding 6. whatever is going in the kitchen 7. Run them through with your broadsword, the b**ch 
 Result: No doubt you are GUY!!!
You are grouchy and domineering. But hey you have your compensations you are covered in tight black leather from the neck down. People better not get on your bad side or they might find themselves on the wrong side of a six foot broadsword.
Yepee! My devilish, gorgeous, sexy man!!!
 Do you want to take the quiz yourself? TRY HERE 
Now ladies, it's been a great pleasure to be with for a while. See you next week. Have an exciting, unforgettable, amazing weekend! Forgot something ... did you notice? She didn't come. Black-self didn't come to check and interfere. Strange? Not that much. She got what she deserved and... she got lost in her "Narnja" (yes I know with "i" but she says it's better change the original name a bit and writes it with "j")  . It' s her turn to be locked in that awfully dark and stinky place! Well, till her husband comes and rescues her. I'm better off!!!!!!!!!!



Jennifer Becton, author of CHARLOTTE COLLINS, a continuation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, is my guest on My Jane Austen Book Club
Jennifer was born in Washington, DC, and moved to the South as a child. She fell in love with books at an early age, and mysteries by Agatha Christie and other novels such as Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery, The Black Stallion by Walter Farley, and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen greatly influenced the course of her life.
Next September 1st Jennifer Becton will see her first novel released. She is very excited, of course, and I'm happy to talk with her about her CHARLOTTE COLLINS and to introduce them to you! As always in this space,  you'll have the chance to win an autographed copy of the  book leaving your comment and e-mail address. The giveaway is open worldwide and I'm going to announce the name of the winner next Wednesday 1 September. Read my interview and ...good luck! (CLICK HERE)



I've never liked fair-haired blue-eyed blokes very much so this is not the reason why I like Rupert Penry-Jones. He happened to be the hero in my favourite TV show, Spooks, for several seasons and being I not blind and him so handsome and a good actor, I couldn't avoit being interested if not attracted. More in his Adam Carter than in the man himself.Then I saw him in the uniform of my favourite Austen hero, Captain Wentworth, and he was so charming! "Too beautiful" many commented. Beauty is never too much!
I didn't know much about him, I had never seen interviews or read about him on line, but thanks to a friend living in England I heard he had taken part in this real life show, "Who do you think you are", so I started wishing to see it. Till last night, when I finally saw it. 
It was a very good programme, so interesting, and an emotional watching. In this show, celebrities go hunting in search for new about their ancestors. The previous week it had been the turn of Rupert's wife, Dervla Kirwan.

 At first Rupert visits his mother, actress Angela Thorne, (his father, Welsh actor Peter Penry-Jones died last year) and they talk about her parents, especially her father/his grandpa. There is a period in Mr Thorne's life, he didn't like to talk about and Rupert and his mother would like to discover more: as a doctor in the British Army, William Thorne served  as a doctor with the Indian Medical Corps at the Battle of Monte Cassino in Italy  when the Allies were forcing the Germans out of our country. So Rupert leaves  England for Italy (Cassino,  centre of Italy, Lazio, not far from my town) to search for news about his grandpa. There he meets an old British officer who was at Cassino at that time, who didn't know his grandfather personally but saw the atrocity of the war with his own eyes. "It was like watching a horror movie, only you were inside, you were part of the movie".

It was touching. I've told you somewhere in this blog   (HERE) that I was brought up and lullied at night NOT with fairy-tales by parents but with true, war stories by my own granpa. So, you can imagine how touching the situation sounded to me. Well, Rupert was astonished and moved when he discovered his grandfather had taken care of and saved 1500 wounded soldiers!
 Then in the second part of the programme Rupert goes to India, where his mother lived until the age of 5 (his mother was born in  Karachi, in what is now Pakistan from British parents). Rupert often heard from his mother that there was Indian blood in their veins but he couldn't believe that: "just look at me! Do I look anything Indian?"
So he starts a new quest  to discover more. He is really fascinated by the ancient documents he can touch and read. He succeeds in going back to 8 generations before himself to know more about his Indian roots. From time to time, he had some difficulty while reading the documents they showed him, not only for the peculiar handwriting. He candidly admits he is dyslexic!
Rupert resulted a very likeable  man and it was good to see him actually taking notes as the stories unfolded.
Many people prefer stars or  public figures remain behind the screen of their glamorous facade  and keep their private lives and personalities secret. I'm not one of them. I love to discover these people we think so special and heroic are just very human, just like us. I appreciate them even more. 
P.S. An additional value to the show: narrator - Mark Strong! 

Guess what? Now I've added a new wish to my already endless wishlist! I've started dreaming of a very special issue of  "Who do you think you are"... Please BBC, can you try to get Richard Armitage for your next series ? He certainly has interesting ancestors. One was even a cotton-mill owner like his character , John Thornton!



 Like every Sunday, yesterday I had my huge quantity of ironing and period drama watching! You can understand how huge my laundry pile was trying to sum the lengths of the films/series I watched! I'm sorry, no prize if you guess. LOL!


"Anger and jealousy can no more bear to lose sight of their objects than love..."

George Eliot's Middlemarch was  reasonably adapted in a six-hour mini-series (I saw it couple of years ago and it's time to re-watch it!) The Mill on the Floss, between 400 and 500 pages, gets crammed into less than two hours (about 116 minutes). This is the main complain I have to do against this beautiful adaptation of a Victorian classic. I bought this DVD long ago but never even unwrapped it from its transparent film. So it was still brand new when I decided to put it in the player and watch it yesterday. The story covers about  eight years, it's actually three  mini-novels: a satire of provincial small-mindedness focusing on mill owner Edward Tulliver and his children Tom and Maggie; a "Romeo&Juliet" story in which Maggie falls in love with Philip, the son of her father's greatest enemy and incurs the wrath of  her beloved brother ,Tom; and a romance in which Maggie is courted by sensitive hunchback Philip (her Romeo) as well as conceited but very attractive Stephen (her cousin Elizabeth and best friend's fiancé) while still trying to get her mind off . . . Tom. Yes, her brother ,  the most important man in her life. She can't stand the idea of breaking the secial bond she has with him. The book's central metaphor, the river Floss is also the prevailing symbolical imagery in the photography: a flood of passion carries Maggie and Stephen away in a rowboat before a concluding deluge of Biblical proportions turns the river into a real flood.
This concised adaptation by Hugh Stoddart leaves apart  Eliot's occasional  moralizing but loses the complexity of her characterizations. As always in BBC period drama,  the settings are  awesome, as perfect  as  the costumes ; the score is good and quite romantic and the  acting is contained and cultivated.
Emily Watson as the protagonist is worth watching as she captures Maggie's perplexing combination of self-sacrifice and self-indulgence. Ifan Meredith's Tom quite resembles the "lad with light-brown hair, cheeks of cream and roses, full lips, indeterminate nose and eyebrows," but the smoldering resentment in his face suggests a loveless childhood as well as a  complex love/hate relationship with Maggie. Is  the girl  the victim of Tom's domineering? Or is she incapable of  marrying Philip or Stephen because she loves her brother more ? Tom  in the whole story never  looks at another woman. Well ... just my hypothesis. George Eliot in the end  makes Maggie the victim of a hypocritical patriarchal society as she  herself was. 
Drama, romance and tragedy in a story of one woman's struggle for freedom and love.


After watching Tipping the Velvet (see my review here) not long ago, I was not sure I actually wanted to see this. What still stirred my curiosity was to see some good actors I appreciated in other period pieces in their roles here. For instance, Rupert Evans (Frederick in North & South or Frank Churchill in Emma 2009), Sally Hawkins ( Anne Elliot in Persuasion 2007, Zena Blake in Tipping the Velvet 2002), Imelda Staunton ( Viola's nurse in Shakespeare in Love, Charlotte Jennings Parker in Sense & Sensibility, Octavia Pole in Cranford) , Elaine Cassidy (Lucy Honeychurch in A Room with a View 2007) . Both Fingersmith and Tipping the Velvet are novels by Sarah Waters adapted by BBC, set in the Victorian Age. I have read  neither of the books so I can't tell you how faithful to the original they are. 
I wasn't disappointed though. I find this 2-part  mini-series (181 min.) Fingersmith   much more gripping and original than Tipping the Velvet. 
Since the first moment you are brought back to the mean streets of Dickensian London  (There are plenty of nods to Dickens) and find yourself  deeply involved in a thrilling drama, packed with thieving and treachery, romance and betrayal. 
Set in 19th-century London, Fingersmith - Victorian slang for pickpocket - tells the  story of a young woman who becomes embroiled in an elaborate deception and discovers that nothing is quite what it seems.
 The story begins when charming con-man Richard "Gentleman" Rivers (Rupert Evans) embarks upon the most ambitious scam of his life: to defraud wealthy young heiress Maud Lilly ( Elaine Cassidy)  by seducing her into eloping with him.
 To achieve his aim, Rivers enlists the help of Sue Trinder (Sally Hawkins).
 Brought up by Mrs Sucksby (Imelda Staunton) in a Fagin-like den of thieves, orphan Sue is a fingersmith with a heart of gold – and the promise of a share in Maud's fortune is enough to convince her to join Rivers in his extravagant plot.
A particular delight is the villainous "Gentleman".Why am I always so attracted by villains? I can't answer that but I know I'm in good company!
Well, Rupert Evan's "Gentleman" Rivers has devilish charm, wit and a  sexy Mr Churchill-gone-very-bad attitude I couldn't resist,  differently from  the female characters in the story. But there's a reason why...
 Can I be honest? Since I'm not a prude I didn't find anything offensive in this story but I wonder -since also this novel by Sarah Waters like her previous Tipping th Velvet deals with lesbian love and is set in the Victorian Era - what the author's aim was... did she want to convince Queen Victoria herself that lesbians existed? Too late it seems! (Joking of course on  the fact that Queen  Victoria, while accepting homosexuality in men, is said not to have been able to believe lesbians existed!)



August is a very special RA-month!
First of all, as everybody here certainly knows and never forgets, it's Richard’s birthday  on 22nd of August. In two days!!!
He was named Richard being born on the anniversary of Richard III’s demise at Bosworth (22nd August 1485). One of his father's favourite book is Sharon Kay Penman's "The Sunne in Splendour", A novel of Richard III!

Next Sunday he’ll turn 39 ! Congratulations Richard! 
You've improved so much, it seems that for you to grow up doesn't mean to  get older but to get better! So, you see, you shouldn't worry  for  the passing of time!

Though you'll  maybe  start worrying and saddening about your being nearly 40 and not 25 as you feel,  you still remain ...buzzzz...years younger than me.You’ll always be young to me!
How will you celebrate your birthday? I’d love to know it! I hope definitely not like me. I always try to forget what day it is and hope  the rest of the world forget as well. I hate celebrating MY birthday, not other people’s birthdays. Why is that? I can’t explain.  Or maybe I can. Well...just a hint: I loved celebrating and partying on my birthday when I was 16, for example! So, that’s it.

Happy birthday, Richard! You deserve a very special one. You’ve worked so hard this year and you have made us so happy for that! Our darling, workaholic, gorgeous man! Only, don’t take too long holidays, please! Enjoy a very special period of relax but not too long , please. We are all on a crisis, terrible crisis ... as any true addict knows. We know you’re tired and need a break . We perfectly know what it has been like for you ... We know that you trained till almost collapsing to the floor in order to become super-fit-killing-machine-with-a-conscience, John Porter; you were shooting (and maybe were even shot)  long months as Lucas-North-or-not-Lucas-North-this-is-the-question in series 9 of Spooks; you were sitting for hours, free just to wave your beautiful hands, to give us an extremely charming-voiced hero and lots of fun with your new Heyer audiobook; what else? Yep! How could I forget! You were Lovelace and, poor you , had even to rape that bygot, annoying Clarissa Harlowe! It’s been an exhausting year, if we add that you’ve been recording lots of adverts and a new series of Homes from Hell, granting lots of interviews, being taken in lots of photos (even for giant posters that haunted England for a while) and you finally promised us a comedy on stage, possibly halfway through 2011, and are ready to be John Porter again. Next date with you, for now, Spooks 9 BBC1 Autumn 2010. Thanks for all the past, present and future joys you generously  have and will grant/ed us! 

 What is Richard like according to the horoscope?

Leos born on August 22 are thoroughbreds. They have good looks, personal charm, and plenty of class. There is a certain instability in their personality that makes them intriguing. High-strung  and somewhat nervous , they thrive on attention
Friends and Lovers
Unlike most Leos, August 22 natives don't have a lot of "people" skills. They don't make friends easily but are intensely loyal to the ones they have. Love relationships can be immensely complicated for these individuals. They are critical by nature -- a trait that can work against them at times. Once they learn to be more trusting and tolerant, their love life is sure to improve.
Children and Family
There are strong ties between August 22 individuals and their parents, even if the relationship is overshadowed by conflict and controversy in later years. Because of the dynamic characterizing the relationship with their own parents, they don't have a great deal of confidence in their parenting abilities. This changes when they have an opportunity to grow. 
Career and Finances
August 22 natives need to come to grips with their own talents and abilities. They can benefit from the help and direction of a mentor who steers them during the early part of their career. Money management is not their strong suit. These people have a hard time keeping track of their spending habits.
Dreams and Goals
Before they can reach their goals, August 22 individuals need to learn to believe in themselves. This should not be a problem since they have so much going for them. Yet it often takes the personal validation of a close friend, family member, or colleague to make them see what is so obvious to everyone else -- that they have talent.

Is there anything of the real Richard in these words? Not that I believe in horoscopes but I bet there is some truth up here...

Everything started one day in August...

I've already told you so many times that ... I'll be really brief. One day in August I decided to watch a BBC four-part series on DVD. I had bought it some time before but never had time to watch it. It was 2008. It was North & South. And then I watched Sparkhouse and then Robin Hood 2 and soon after  RH1 (wrong order? not for me!) ...and then I started visited Annette's site very often ... then started blogging...and HERE I AM! Two years of Richard and my life has changed... pretty much!

Happy "North and South second anniversary" to me 

Last year I posted a video for RA's birthday. This year I actually couldn't find the time to create a new one. so I'll post one of my  RA dedicated clips from my Utube channel. It's not new but ... how romantic!

RA's birthday can be another very good occasion to follow his suggestion to avoid spending money for gifts to him and donate it instead for charity. RA has a "JustGiving" webpage where people have the option of donating to four nominated charities: Barnardos; Salvation Army; Shelter; Childline. Click on each icon on his page for further details.  HERE




Just a snippet to remind you today's posting at My Jane Austen Book Club, my Austen-dedicated blogger page. Lynn Shepherd answers my questions about Jane Austen , her work and we ... play and dream a bit , too. Read my interview. And don't worry,  you'll find all the details you need for the giveaway there!
It's open worldwide.



Shakespeare prints from Zazzle
Shake, shake, Shakespeare! Don't worry, I haven't started stammering like Horatia (the heroine of Georgette Heyer 's THE CONVENIENT MARRIAGE I've recenlty read, listened to and reviewed - HERE).  I'm just playing with another of my passions; Shakespeare. I've been actually shaken by Shakespeare these days.
I've even tried to create special graphics for this post. Do you like it? Nice,  isn't it? You can create your own, too, at Zazzle
I never have enough of genius Shakespeare and I was surprised by my very positive response to  these modern adaptations of his masterpieces because , usually, I'm not so very fond of modernizations. I've been watching 3  BBC productions of William Shakespeare's plays; Hamlet, The Taming of the Shrew and Macbeth
First I saw the brand new addition to my DVD collection, a co-production Royal Shakespeare Company/ BBC:   HAMLET (2010). Well - worth the money I spent! One of the best adaptations of Hamlet I've ever seen (and I've seen many,  both live and on DVD).
Gripping, tragic, funny at times and utterly absorbing. David Tennant's Hamlet is outstanding.  The rest of the cast are incredibly good, especially Mariah Gale as Ophelia - her madness is superb - and  Patrick Stewart  an unforgettable Claudius.
Gregory Doran's direction, the staging, lighting, RSC costumes & the breathtaking acting  make this an awesome piece of work. Effectively transferred from stage to screen keeping true to the minimalist but evocative sets, this is likely to become  the definitive Hamlet of the new generation and loved for years.

I especially appreciated the  leitmotiv of the camera surveillance: Hamlet's life is watched, he is not free and never really alone. Prisoner of a claustrophobic Elsinore, prisoner of his destiny. Then the symbolic presence of mirrors, prevailing in more than one scene, underlining the theme of reality / appearance. If you love Shakespeare's Hamlet, you can't miss this, though I agree with those who think that to see this fantastic production at the theatre would have been definitely magic.

In 2005 BBC produced 4 of Shakespeare's plays in a re-told modernized version. The series was called SHAKESPEARE RETOLD now available on DVD. This is the official site on BBC.
I laughed a lot, and for the first time, watching THE TAMING OF THE SHREW starring Sherley Henderson  and Rufus Sewell. I simply loved them: they are the most amusing and bizarre Katherine and Petruchio I've ever seen! In this adaptation Katherine Minola is a succesful politician, tipped for the leadership of her party. The only problem is, her awful temper has left her a 38 year old singleton, and everyone, from her party chairman to her sister, wants her to get married. An eccentric, fascinating , broken gentleman will propose to her and she will accept ...but just have a look at their wedding day

Unbelievable! I've always disliked this misogynistic, sexist, chauvinistic story but this time I could  but enjoy myself with no second thoughts.  Excellent re-telling by Sally Wainwright.

From this DVD, I also re-watched after long time, the re-telling of Macbeth, one of Shakespeare bloodier and gloomier tragedies. And bloody as well as gloomy this version is. Stellar cast and tense atmosphere for the tragedy of ambition and greed.   
Set in a three-star restaurant owned by celebrity chef Duncan Docherty (Vincent Regan), with Joe Macbeth (James McAvoy) as the sous chef and his wife, Ella (Keeley Hawes), as the Maître d'. Joe and his fellow chef Billy Banquo (Joseph Millson) are annoyed that Duncan takes credit for Joe's work, and that Duncan's son Malcolm (Toby Kebbell) has, in their opinion, no real flair for the business. Then they encounter three supernatural binmen who predict that Macbeth will get ownership of the restaurant, as will Billy's children.
Joe and Ella are inspired to hire Eastern European hitmen to kill Duncan, but the binmen subsequently warn that Macbeth should be wary of Peter Macduff (Richard Armitage), the head waiter. MacAvoy/Hawes are an incredible good match and Richard Armitage , in the smallish but important role of Macduff is as impeccable as usual.



My review of CONFESSIONS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT is on my Austen dedicated blog, My Jane Austen Book Club. READ IT HERE.
This is my second task for The Everything Austen Challenge II and my first one for Jane Austen is My Homegirl Reading Challenge.