State of siege

Diego : Mentir est toujours une sottise.
Nada : Non, c’est une politique.
Albert Camus , L’État de siège.


The Witches’ Tree

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The Witches’ Tree: An Agatha Raisin Mystery, by M. C. Beaton

If you’ve read the previous 27 books in the Agatha Raisin series, then you’ll want to read this one, although it is not one of the better books in the series. It is a pleasant read, but it falls short of being a page-turner. A few people are killed, for no immediately apparent reason, and ultimately it is revealed who did the killing. Throughout the book there remains the question whether the friendship between Charles and Agatha will ever lead to a marriage. The story chugs along without much that amounts to a plot. I would not recommend the book to one who has not read the previous books in the series.


Of interest


Items of interest







The Shepherd’s Holiday

The Shepherd’s Holiday: A Pastoral Tragi-Comedy

Sylvia came to live among the shepherds of Arcadia. She and the shepherd Thyrsis are in love. But then she is abducted. Why? What is her true identity? And what is the parentage of Thyrsis, who was found as a child by a shepherd? What will become of Sylvia and Thyrsis when the shepherds are called to entertain the royal court of Arcadia? And what will come of the romantic entanglements of some of the other shepherds and shepherdesses?

Joseph Rutter was a member of Ben Jonson's circle of poets, known for his translation of Corneille's The Cid. The Shepherd’s Holiday: A Pastoral Tragi-Comedy enjoyed some popularity in its day. The play was performed about 1634 at the Palace of Whitehall before King Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria, and received public performances at the Cockpit Stage, Drury Lane, London. Professor Felix Emanuel Schelling considered the play “an estimable piece of work not wanting in dramatic power or poetic embellishment.”

Kindle edition

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The Shepherd’s Holiday: A Pastoral Tragi-Comedy, Kindle ebook, amazon.co.uk

The Shepherd’s Holiday: A Pastoral Tragi-Comedy, Kindle ebook, amazon.ca

The Shepherd’s Holiday: A Pastoral Tragi-Comedy (English Edition), Kindle eBook, amazon.de

Paperback

Publication Date: April 26, 2016
ISBN/EAN13: 1532920911 / 9781532920912
Page Count: 152
Binding Type: US Trade Paper
Trim Size: 6″ x 9″
Language: English
Color: Black and White
Related Category: Drama / English

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The Shepherd’s Holiday: A Pastoral Tragi-Comedy, paperback, amazon.co.uk

The Shepherd’s Holiday: A Pastoral Tragi-Comedy, paperback, amazon.ca

The Shepherd’s Holiday: A Pastoral Tragi-Comedy, Paperback, amazon.de

The Speechwriter

The Speechwriter: A Brief Education in Politics, Kindle edition, amazon.com

Barton Swaim was struggling to find an academic job—he’d recently received a PhD in English—when he sent his resume to Mark Sanford, the conservative and controversial governor of South Carolina. He thought he could improve the governor’s writing and speeches.

On the surface, this is the story of Sanford’s rise and fall. But it’s really an account of what happens when a band of believers attach themselves to an ambitious narcissist. Everyone knows this kind of politician—a charismatic maverick who goes up against the system and its ways, but thinks he doesn’t have to live by the rules. Swaim describes what makes people invest in their leaders, how those leaders do provide moments of inspiration, and then how they let them down.

The Speechwriter is a funny and candid introduction to the world of politics, where press statements are purposefully nonsensical, grammatical errors are intentional, and better copy means more words. Through his three years in the governor’s office, Swaim paints a portrait of a man so principled he’d rather sweat than use state money to pay for air conditioning, so oblivious he’d wear the same stained shirt for two weeks, so egotistical he’d belittle his staffers to make himself feel better, and so self-absorbed he never once apologized for making his administration the laughing stock of the country. In the end, it’s also an account of the very human staffers who risk a life in politics out of conviction and learn to survive a broken heart.

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New book March 25, 2015

The Broadway Song: A Singer’s Guide, paperback, amazon.com

Truly powerful vocal performance in musical theater is more than just the sum of good vocal tone and correct notes. As experienced teacher, director, and performer Mark Ross Clark lays out in The Broadway Song, powerful performance communicates the central function of a song within the context of the surrounding narrative, or the “truth” of a song. Because unstaged performances of a song, such as auditions, are key to the success of all aspiring singers, Clark provides here the essential practical manual that will help performers choose the right pieces for their vocal abilities and identify the key truths of them.

Clark begins by walking readers conceptually through how a song’s truth is based in contexts: what show is a song from? Which character sings it? When in the show does it occur? Answering these questions will lead readers to more convincing performances that are grounded in the text, music, character, context, and larger environment (setting, time frame, and circumstances). The Broadway Song provides a comprehensive guide to the formal characteristics of key Broadway songs on a song-by-song basis, including main voice type, secondary voice qualities (such as soprano-lyric or alto-comic), range and tessitura, as well as larger contextual materials about the source — from the musical’s background, information about the character singing, and synoptic narrative information for the song — that provide the performer a way into the character. Clark moreover brings his wide-ranging and extensive experience as a director, performer, and teacher to bear in his performance notes on the individual pieces. Additionally, he includes excerpts from short interviews with artists that provide insight into the song from the perspective of those who first created (or re-created) it. The interviews, conducted with composers, lyricists, performers, and — in one case — book collaborators, are snapshots into the creative process, and act as conduits to further study of the selected songs.

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