The act of reading ... begins on a flat surface, counter or page, and then gets stirred and chopped and blended until what we make, in the end, is a dish, or story, all our own.
— Adam Gopnik
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November 28, 2014

Bookish things

I don't mean to sound dramatic, but when I turned on NPR in the car yesterday morning and heard a BBC reporter talking about P.D. James, my pleasure in that was brief because my second thought was that it couldn't be for a happy reason.  I have gotten so much joy-- reading joy and Masterpiece Mystery viewing joy-- from her novels, I have a long list of books and writers to explore after reading Talking About Detective Fiction, and from what I heard yesterday and remember reading in her memoir, she had a long, challenging, interesting life. I heard her speak many years ago, through a reading series organized by my wonderful then-neighborhood bookstore, and she was also charming and funny.  {I remember her story about asking a Harvard professor who she met to take her to a football game, and cheering enthusiastically for both teams.}

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I also remember someone asking her at the reading what she thought of the TV adaptations, and her saying very graciously that Roy Marsden was very good as Adam Dalgliesh but that he was not her idea of Dalgleish. My other bookish thing this week was bringing home the Canadian TV adaptation of Louise Penny's first mystery, Still Life, from the library.  In the special features on the DVD, the author talked (also gracioualy) bout how wonderful and moving it was to be on set and to see her characters come to life, but non, non, non, non, Nathaniel Parker is not my Armand Gamache.  {I even cringed a little during one added moment (that can't have been in the book} when he is explaining to Clara Morrow {and is there a 'spark' between them in the books? I didn't think so) why he has a plummy English accent.} The actor who played the disastrous Agent Nichol did well -- she was a wonderful character in the book. I realize it would be hard to capture everything that Louise Penny has created in one 90-minute film, but I'd stick with the books. I was so curious about this when I heard it, so happy to find it in the library, and so content to send it back. :)


Anonymous said...

A family friend died earlier this week, just before her 100th birthday, and it felt like the end of an era. I had the same feeling about PD James, for different reasons.

Remember that she was a governor of the BBC too - and the Dalgliesh adaptations, I seem to recall, were on the other side ....

Lisa said...

I knew she was in her 90s, but it was still a shock. I haven't looked for any of the Dalgliesh adaptations, in part because the actor is so far from the way the character is described in the books. I was sorry to read in P.D. James' autobiography that she had to stop writing the Cordelia Grey stories after their TV adaptation, because she felt she had lost the character, and I was so sorry, because I really liked those books.

With the Louise Penny adaptations, I had the same problem with the casting - non et non! I was just wondering what had happened to the production. Was it ever shown in the US, do you know? A friend, less picky than I am (and a big fan of Nathaniel Parker), is very anxious to see it.

Vintage Reading said...

I've not read her books but I've seen her interviewed and yes, she was articulate and amusing. A sad loss.

Sunday Taylor said...

I was first introduced to her writing by the television adaptations of her books and then read her. She was a genius in the mystery genre and she will be greatly missed! So happy to have discovered your blog!

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