CriticalDance Forum

Light Summer Reading
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Author:  Matthew [ Mon Jun 09, 2003 5:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Light Summer Reading

I would have to say that i have watched all of the Buffys! :)
I once took a woman studies course at the University of Colorado - I suppose i am still scarred from that traumatic event :( . Will keep my eye on the above lists and hopefully find something!

Author:  Andre Yew [ Mon Jun 09, 2003 10:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Light Summer Reading

I'm reading Paul Taylor's Private Domain, and it's been a while since a book made me laugh out loud. Highly recommended especially for light summer reading, though some of the subjects are quite heavy.

I finished Charles Joseph's book Stravinsky and Balanchine: A Journey Of Invention a while ago, and can recommend it as well. It's not quite light reading, but is more like an amalgam of biography, dance history, and gossip column of the two men's artistic and personal relationships with their collaborations serving as guideposts. The musical analysis is fairly deep for laypeople, but the dance analysis is rather superficial, which shouldn't be too surprising as Joseph is a musicologist. There's lots of interesting tidbits in the book, including excerpts drawn from personal journals, letters, and napkins(!). The anecdotal passages which are about 1/3 to half the book flow very well, and Joseph's easy writing style make this fit for light summer reading. This book can also be a starting point for exploring many diverse subjects, as Joseph has quite thoroughly researched all possible connections to his subjects and supplied a comprehensive bibliography. He even manages to find a way to cite Julian Jaynes's bicameral mind theories.

Finally, my sister recently gave me Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain, and is Bourdain's entertaining memoirs of his life as a chef. You will not look at a restaurant or ******* staff the same way again after reading this book. Perhaps the most apt description is this quotation from a review of the book: "more horrifically gripping than a Stephen King novel".


<small>[ 10 June 2003, 12:38 AM: Message edited by: Andre Yew ]</small>

Author:  Jeff [ Mon Jun 09, 2003 10:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Light Summer Reading

In every generation there is a Chosen One. She and she alone will fight the demons, the vampires, and the forces of darkness. She is the Slayer.
The BtVS Watcher’s Guide, Vol 2. BTW basically an all purpose guide to the TV show by Nancy Holder with Jeff Mariotte and Maryelizabeth Hart. In its over 400 pages, the authors cover all the basics of the “Buffyverse” – there are sections on the framing plot, all the characters, plot summaries of seasons 3 and 4, incidental details, and the production itself. This is to say, more information that I would ever need about the “Buffyverse.” For example:

2—Number of Slayers Spike has killed.
3—Number of sacrifices required to end the world in “Doomed.”
Room 217—On the dorm hallway set, this is the door to another student dorm room. But if you actually walk through it, you will enter Giles’s apartment; 217 is the number of the most extremely haunted room in Stephen King’s novel “The Shining.”
--From “Numerology and the Buffyverse”

“It’s a sham, but it’s a sham with yams. A yam sham.” --Buffy, on Thanksgiving in “Pangs”

ANGEL: “I saw you called. It was a bright afternoon, out in front of your school, you walked down the steps and I loved you.”
BUFFY: “Why?”
ANGEL: “Because I could see your heart. You held it before you for everyone to see and I worried that it would be bruised or torn. More than anything in my life I wanted to keep it safe, to warm it up with my own.”
BUFFY: “That’s beautiful. [a moment, as he holds her] Or, taken literally, incredibly gross.”
ANGEL: “I was just thinking that too.”

If Amazon only had these sort of guides to “Paradise Lost” …

Actually, what I’m reading right now (for class) are some Roman comedies—Plautus’ “Meneachmi” and Terence’s “Brothers.” They say these guys are the fathers of the modern sit-com … Are we that predictable that 2000 year old formula comedies still work? ... believe it!

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Mon Jun 09, 2003 11:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Light Summer Reading

From Susan Leigh Foster to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and then on to Roman comedies. No one can say that we don't have breadth here. Perhaps the post-modern world isn't too bad.

Author:  djb [ Mon Jun 09, 2003 11:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Light Summer Reading

If Amazon only had these sort of guides to “Paradise Lost”...
Jeff, would Cliffs Notes for Paradise Lost do? You can buy it at And you can even be the first person to review it!

Author:  DavidH [ Tue Jun 10, 2003 11:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Light Summer Reading

Light Reading?

Tongue in cheek I guess!


Author:  Jeff [ Tue Jun 10, 2003 4:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Light Summer Reading

Stuart, in your list you forgot djb's favorite, the torture book Foucault's "Discipline and Punish."

<small>[ 10 June 2003, 06:23 PM: Message edited by: Jeff ]</small>

Author:  djb [ Tue Jun 10, 2003 4:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Light Summer Reading

I've got my fingers in my ears and I'm humming. (It doesn't work so well when you're reading the offending material.)

<small>[ 10 June 2003, 06:36 PM: Message edited by: djb ]</small>

Author:  Rosella [ Thu Jun 12, 2003 1:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Light Summer Reading

I was watching a collective metamorphosis. Those in it were no floating signifiers, but rather fleeting reminders of a humanity that has half-gone, and yet still endures: just hanging in there. Aren't we all?
This is what Feminist philosopher Rosi Braidotti says about De La Guarda's performance in London in december 1999. They exemplify her nomadic transformative theoretical work. This quote is taken from her latest book "Metamorphoses", quite interesting, especially for her fluid writing style. Here is a link to an old interview.

Author:  Rennie [ Sat Jun 21, 2003 4:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Light Summer Reading

Oh well, I get the point: Buffy in Italian is not quite the same! Please jeff, more quotes for a poor deprived Italian!

Andrea Camilleri’s books are certainly not the same in translation -- he writes in a mixture of Italian and Sicilian which conveys a specific atmosphere and mentality, regardless of the plot, which must be impossible to render correctly (I know I wouldn’t even try) –- but I recommend them anyway.

djb, did you like Spirits of the Ordinary? I’m really curious about it, why should a Jewish family still need to be secret in Mexico at the end of the 19th century? Or is it a case of marranos who don’t know what they’re doing anymore (like that Cuban exile who only upon reaching New York a couple of years ago finally understood the weird things his family had been doing for centuries without knowing why, thus realizing he was actually Jewish and not Catholic)?
Anyway, if you think it’s good I’ll ask my next American visitor to get it for me.

And I’ll never tire of recommending Rosemary Hawley Jarman’s “We Speak No Treason” to anyone who will listen. A truly well written historical novel, one of the best, regardless of whether you’re Lancastrian or Yorkist in general and for or against Richard III in particular (or of whether you’re interested in the subject itself. You don’t need to be particularly interested in China to like Amy Tan’s books) .

A book I’m planning to look for next time I go into Rome I don’t even know the title of, only the author’s last name, is a study of documents and various evidence purportedly proving that Columbus actually reached America in 1486, that he was a genius, that he knew perfectly well that it was a “new” continent, not the Indies. Also that he was secretly financed for the most part by Pope Innocent Whatever, who’d actually specifically sent him there with the aim of finding gold for his Crusade, and that in reality the Spanish Crown didn’t pull out a centavo for that expedition but were only meant to put their names on it so that the Vatican wouldn’t appear involved if it didn’t work out. Ferdinand and Isabella later supposedly started a systematic discrediting campaign against Columbus, changing the date to 1492 (when the Pope died), altering his diaries, making him appear as a bad sailor and sort of dumb (what? He never figured out where he was?), throwing him into a dungeon and all that, in order to put forward an ownership claim on the new lands and elbow out the Vatican (whose new Pope by then was Borgia -- a Spaniard).

I saw the author interviewed on TV, and he’s not the usual I’m-making-things-up-in-order-to-become-famous kind of guy, he was passionate and really piqued my curiosity. Whether he’ll convince me is another story, but since there’s no end to my bad opinion of Ferdinand and Isabella, it won’t take much (the fact that, immediately upon Columbus’ death, the Vatican started a beatification process “for the great service he did to the Church,” which didn’t go through at the time nor in later centuries solely because he’d had a son out of wedlock, certainly sets one thinking. I didn’t know anything about it at all, it’s a well kept secret).

Enough! I haven’t even bought it yet!

(Just to keep on the subject of dance, I found an interesting out-of-print book on dance in Renaissance Venice which promises well and which I’ve ordered myself to read by the end of the year).

A book I definitely unrecommend: Under the Tuscan Sun, by Frances Meyes (and by extension her uread-by-me Bella Tuscany). It starts out OK, but after a while her Italian-word-dropping just gets terribly out of hand, her Italian phrases are full of mistakes, and she even mentions hummingbirds flying around her villa. There are no hummingbirds on this continent! (What she saw was a hawkmoth).

May I add that, though dance is not quite at the top of my interests (sorry), I JUST LOVE THIS SITE?!! I’d never have thought to find all this abundance and variety of subjects, all this brilliance and wit. (Now, if anybody would just tell me if there exists an opera site as great as this one, I’d be very happy).

For a compulsive book buyer like me, this thread is pure delight!

Author:  djb [ Sat Jun 21, 2003 6:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Light Summer Reading

Rennie, I got my information about Spirits of the Ordinary from the book jacket. In fact, it's a family of conversos whose roots go back to 16th-century Mexico during the Inquisition.

I didn't like the book - I haven't taken to magical realism, and in this book it gets pretty extreme.

Author:  Jeff [ Sat Jun 21, 2003 11:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Light Summer Reading

From my new BtVS guide:

“To commemorate a past event you kill and eat an animal. It’s a ritual sacrifice. With pie.” --Anya, on Thanksgiving in “Pangs”

“The count of three is not a plan. It’s 'Sesame Street'.” --to Faith, in “Bad Girls”

“Yeah, he’s some kind of demon looking for an all-powerful thingimibob and I’ve got to stop him before unholy havoc’s unleashed and it’s another Tuesday night in Sunnydale.” --Buffy, talking about Lagos in “Revelations”

“He didn’t meet anybody over the summer, did he? No, who’s he going to meet in Sunnydale besides monsters and stuff; then again, he’s always kind of attracted to monsters… How’s my hair?” Cordelia, for the big reunion with Xander in “Anne”

Always happy to oblige w/ a Buffy quote. The challenge is to figure out how to work BtVS into my next dance posting … or a cauliflower …

Rennie, I looked over your posting twice and you didn’t name the author of the Columbus book. Also, tell us more about the book about dance in Renaissance Venice?

O yes and thank you for more “unrecommendations.”

Speaking of Rome, in class we’ve moved on to poetry by Catullus and Virgil’s Aeneid. Boy, those Catullian Romans … anybody who suggests that the study of the classics encourages family values surely hasn’t actually read any.

For myself, I’ve been sleep deprived all week with William Gibson’s novels of the near future, “Idoru” and “All Tomorrow’s Parties” and I have “Pattern Recognition” (his latest) as well. Gibson may well be one of the last great novelists to foreground Marxist structuralism but what do I know?

Author:  corrival [ Sun Jun 22, 2003 6:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Light Summer Reading

Speaking of the Romans, anything in the Steven Saylor Sub Rosa series is wonderful at evoking the feeling of ancient Rome. When I read his books I swear I can smell the olive trees and feel the dust. Colleen McCullough also has an excellent Roman series of books too.

Author:  Jeff [ Sun Jun 22, 2003 5:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Light Summer Reading

Cyrus Spitama speaks in a voice uncannily like that of Myra Breckenridge. And Aaron Burr. And Gore Vidal.
from Steven Saylor’s review of Gore Vidal’s “Creation” (1981) already anticipating his creation of the Roma Sub Rosa novels.

That’s from the Steven Saylor website:

Steven Saylor website
The Roma Sub Rosa series

I see ... the Roma Sub Rosa novels are set exactly in the period we’re studying in class! For instance, the poet Catullus, his version of the Dark Lady (Lesbia/Clodia), Caelius (the only man who could resist Clodia), even the incestuous Clodius Pulcher, etc are in “The Venus Throw.”

Just as a point of trivia: Catullus addressed his poems of ecstasy, despair, and rage to Clodia though he avoided the faux pas of naming her directly, using the name "Lesbia." But "Lesbia" 'scans' (has the same scansion or spoken word properties) the same as "Clodia." So you can substitute Clodia for Lesbia without disturbing the poem.

Here's a Catullian moment:

Poem #58

Caelius, our Lesbia--you know, Lesbia
Lesbia, the one woman Catullus
loved more than himself or his kinsmen--
now at crossroads and down back alleys,
she's ******* *** Mighty Remus's grandsons.

(sorry, had to bleep out "***" the raw stuff to keep everything family oriented)

Author:  corrival [ Mon Jun 23, 2003 8:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Light Summer Reading

I wonder why there aren't a lot more ballets set to Roman themes. There are so many amazingly interesting characters and stories.

I really enjoyed reading Rubicon by Steven Saylor and then the book by Colleen McCullough about the same incident where Julius Ceasar crossed the Rubicon with his army and Pompeii left Rome(I think it was just called Ceasar). Interesting because the two books had different 'takes' on the whole affair.

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