Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Colonial History Thing

In the next couple of days, you'll see a review on this site of Russell Shorto's excellent book, The Island at the Center of the World, about the Dutch colony at Manhattan. Learn where the wall of Wall Street fame came from, and why Americans work for "bosses", and find out why Adrien Van Der Donck was so great, anyway. Obviously, I've enjoyed this book a lot, and since there are a few other colonial history books on my TBR list, I'm going to try to knock some of those off, too. They are:

Empire of Blue Water by Stephan Talty. Cleverly timed to coincide with the release of the latest Pirates of the Carribean film, this book tells the REAL tale of the pirate of the Carribean during colonial times. It is also due back at the library in two days, so I'm not sure if I'll make it.

A Little Commonwealth: Family Life in Plymouth Colony by John Demos. Has been haunting my conscience since late 2003, when it was assigned for a material culture class, but it was an extremely busy week, and I just didn't get to it. I liked the class discussion a lot, though, and kept it to read. I started to read it this spring. Now I'm going to finish it.

The Age of Homespun by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. For the same class, we had to pick a chapter to read and discuss. Mine was about Hannah Barnard's Cupboard, and it was very engaging. That was a good discussion that day, but as my notes on the Demos book suggest, I had quite enough to be getting on with without trying to read something for fun. I've always meant to go back to it, and now I will.

Good Wives is also by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. It came from the personal collection of a legend at my graduate school. I got the book shortly before I graduated, and have been meaning to read it for two years now. This is the time!

Since nothing but history will make me go all wonky, I do have some fun books planned for the next two weeks. I picked up both of Tawni O'Dell's books, and I've started Imitation of Life. I also have to get reading for my new job. And pack, and find aplace to live...damn, it'll be a busy couple of weeks!

His Dark Materials...coming soon

Previews are already in theaters for the long-awaited screen adaptation of The Golden Compass, the first book of Phillip Pullman's excellent His Dark Materials trilogy. The film will see wide release on December 7th, and I will be there!

These excellent books deserve an excellent adaptation, and from the previews, it seems like it will get one. Sam Elliot and Nicole Kidman are excellent choices for the roles of Lee Scoresby and Mrs. Coulter, respectively. Tom Stoppard (yes, that one!) collaborated on the screenplay, as did Pullman himself. The director seems to have a relatively undistinguished body of work so far. He's previously directed Down to Earth starring Chris Rock and About a Boy with Hugh Grant, based on the book by Nick Hornby. His best-known work to date, however, is a trilogy that's quite different: the American Pie trilogy. However, he has a degree in film from Cambridge, and was hoping to enter the diplomatic corps, so perhaps he will step up. Trailers can make anything look good, but there are a lot of encouraging signs with this movie, so I'm optimistic!