Archive for the ‘Diary’ Category

Just realised that my posts for July and August have been sitting as drafts for ages without being published.  So, this is what I have been up to apart from going to visit my friends and family in the UK and Spain over the summer:


Small Island & The Long Song (Andrea Levy) : the best kid of historical fiction as I learnt about Jamaica through great characters and storytelling

Let The Great World Spin (Colum McCann) : my favourite book so far this year which really captures New York

The Tiger’s Wife (Tea Obreht) : magical mix of superstition, tigers and civilian suffering during wars

Conversations with Myself (Nelson Mandela) : the great man in his own words

The Heart of Haiku (Jane Hirshfield) : everything I wanted to know about haiku and more


Black Swan (Darren Aronofsky) : who knew ballet could be so scary

The Fighter (David O’Russell) : ever since watching this film I have become much better at keeping my hands up and defending myself when boxing

Saw the two films above on my plane flights and the ballerinas turned out to be just as tough as the boxers

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (David Yates) : my favourite book in the series and the film lived up to my expectations

Another Earth (Mike Cahill) : interesting and original concept which stays in your mind – a duplicate Earth appears in the sky and scientists discover it is exactly the same as ours, even with the same people. Does this give you a second chance at life ?

Senna (Asif Kapadia) : best sports documentary I have seen. I idolised Ayrton Senna so the film made my cry all over again despite the fact I knew exactly what was going to happen

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My June 2011

Very late because of my holiday:


The Transfinite (Park Avenue Armory) : Ryoji Ikeda’s installation was an amazing immersion in sight and sound

Set in Style: The Jewellery of Van Cleef & Arpels (Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum) : set in style is a very apt name because each piece was a miniature work of art.  I have always thought of myself as not being motivated by money but the stunning exhibition came close to changing my mind


The Blind Assassin (Margaret Atwood) :  the title is also the title of  a novel within this novel but the multi-layered structure fits perfectly with the multi-layered story which encompasses the multitude of layers in love and life


The Trip (Michael Winterbottom) : wanted a dose of British humour and found myself laughing at completely different times from the American audience

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My May 2011

Around New York

High Line – disused railway line turned into an urban park above the streets of the city

32 mile walk around the shoreline of Manhattan – totally worth the effort


Picasso and Marie-Marie-Thérèse , L’Amour Fou (The Gagosian Gallery, Chelsea) – a visual love letter

Rembrandt and His School: Masterworks from the Frick and Lugt Collections (The Frick Collection) : in a digital era 400-year old drawings on paper still have the power to move


Moby Dick (Herman Melville) : hard to believe it was published in 1851 because the structure is so modern

A Visit from the Goon Squad (Jennifer Egan) : my favourite book this year, and is very modern with one chapter in Powerpoint

The Solitude of Prime Numbers (Paolo Giordano) : unique combination of teenage angst, mathematics and love

Never Let Me Go (Kazuo Ishiguro) : scary and heartbreaking combination of teenage angst and love amongst children who grow up with a dark secret


Cave of Forgotten Dreams (Werner Herzog) – forget Avatar, this is what 3-D was made for

Thor – in contrast I went to see this because it looked totally ridiculous but fun and it totally delivered on this premise


Kylie Minogue : a modern goddess


The House of Blue Leaves : manages the difficult trick of being funny and tragic at the same time though pitch-perfect performances from Ben Stiller, Jennifer Jason Leigh and especially Edie Falco

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My April 2011


The Hunger Games trilogy (Suzanne Collins) : intelligent young adult books which topically highlight the impact of war and violence on children

Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule The World (William Cohan): for those interested in finance, an absorbing 600+ pages on the investment bank

One of Our Thursdays is Missing (Jasper Fforde) : one of my friends bought me the latest Thursday Next book which is my favourite brand of literary quirkiness

The Eyre Affair (Jasper Fforde) : so then I had to go back and read the first one


Source Code (Duncan Jones): as original as Inception but with characters that you believe in and care about

The Princess of Montpensier (Bernard Tavernier) : typical French film in which every man falls in love with a beautiful, enigmatic woman in very low-cut dresses but this time set against the backdrop of the wars between Catholics and Protestants in 1562

Jane Eyre (Cary Fukunaga) : wasn’t going to see this but it was on at my local cinema while I was reading The Eyre Affair.  Visually atmospheric but not as emotionally stirring as my favourite version the BBC series with Toby Stephens and Ruth Wilson.


German Expressionism: The Graphic Impulse (MOMA) : have now seen this fab exhibition for  the third time and it was fascinating to learn that artists took their etching equipment with them while they served on the front during World War I


Jerusalem (Jez Butterworth) : thrilling theatre which displays a decidedly modern view of England.

I saw this play in the same week as the Royal Wedding and it reminded me that one of the things I love about England is that it can be both very modern and very traditional at the same time.

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My March 2011


German Expressionism: The Graphic Impulse (MOMA) : has become one of my all-time favourite exhibitions

Infinite Variety : Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts (American Folk Art Museum) : quilts as modern art


Super Sad True Love Story (Gary Shteyngart) : super sad and frightening view of a future digital world

Suits: A Woman on Wall Street (Nina Godiwalla) : you should read this if you are a woman thinking about working on Wall St


Victor LaValle and Gary Shteyngart (92Y) : both as funny as their books

Jonathan Franzen and Jhumpa Lahiri (The New School) : Franzen read some non-fiction while Lahiri read an extract from the new novel she is writing which sounds just as good as her previous books.


Of Gods and Men (Xavier Beauvois) : a haunting meditation on religious intolerance which stays in your mind long after the film is over

Win Win (Thomas McCarthy) : a win if you enjoy off-beat comedies with believable characters and intelligent, witty dialogue rather than mindless movies based on comic books with nothing but special effects


Gary Wills – Rome and Rhetoric: Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar (The Morgan Library & Museum) : turned out be more about Macbeth but was still a fascinating talk on how Verdi was inspired by Shakespeare

The Big Story : Uprisings (The New Yorker) : proof that a small portion of the American media gets the rest of the world


Seeing Double: Concertos by Bach and Vivaldi (Miller Theater) : part of my ongoing classical music education


Good People (David Lindsay-Abaire) – a really good play

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My February 2011


The Clock (Christian Marclay) – so good it was worth a three-hour wait on a freezing February morning in New York


Skippy Dies (Paul Murray) : funny and poignant and makes  me very glad I don’t have to relive my teenage years

True Grit (Charles Portis) : the dialogue in the movie made me want to read the book and the novel lived up to my expectations

The Imperfectionists (Tom Rachman) : the only imperfection is in the title, absolutely loved this book


Flamenco Hoy by Carlos Saura (New York City Center) : transported me back to my holiday in Cordoba and made me want to take flamenco lessons


Biutiful (Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu) : beautiful performance by Javier Bardem although the lesson of this bleak film seems to be that we live short painful lives without any beauty.  I am more of a Vicky Cristina Barcelona-type of girl

The King’s Speech :  the second time round you really notice how fantastic Colin Firth‘s performance was, a worthy Oscar winner

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My January 2011


Abstract Expressionist New York (MOMA) : a beautiful expression of the energy of the city


A History of the World in 100 Objects (Neil MacGregor) :  see the world in a new way

Lords of Finance (Liaquat Ahamed) : understand the world of today

How to Read the Air (Dinaw Mengestu) : how can you build a life in America after your father has smuggled himself from Africa inside a shipping crate

Zilch, The Power of Zero in Business (Nancy Lublin):  zero can be just as powerful as lots of money

The Phoenix, The Men Who Made Modern London (Leo Hollis) : fascinating combination of the building of St Paul’s Cathedral with the building of a new way of thought

Architects and Architecture of London (Ken Allison) : insider’s educated guide to why modern London looks like it does today


Peter Weir in person (The Film Society of Lincoln Center) – a truly skilled director as I hadn’t realised he made so many of my favourite films

I Remember Tenn  , Part One of The Kindness of Strangeness: Reframing Tennessee Williams @ 100 (Museum of Arts and Design) – think I was the only one there who hadn’t met Williams, been in one of his plays or written about him

Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie, A Tale of Love & Fallout (New York Public Library) – love is as powerful as radiation


Another Year (Mike Leigh) : another bittersweet film from Leigh, as one of the lead characters says “Life isn’t kind to some people”

True Grit (Coen Brothers) : truly wonderful, especially the cinematography

Blue Valentine (Derek Cianfrance) : blue that Ryan Gosling didn’t get an Oscar nomination

Flamenco Flamenco (Carlos Saura) :  amazing amazing passion passion


Blood from a Stone (The New Group) : getting blood from a stone is probably easier than this family finding happiness

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