I’ve been a negligent blogger this month, so my very late wrap-up of November reads and shows is coming a whole third of the way into December. Oops.
My free time for blogging suffered as I first attended 7 performances of the National Ballet of Canada in November, wrote a combined 3,000+ words on my two favourite ballets (Nijinsky and The Winter’s Tale) for My Entertainment World, battled a touch of sickness that left me drained, and then launched right into preparing for Christmas. About the only thing that didn’t suffer was my reading. That forty minute commute to work by train does wonders for my page count!
In November I FINALLY finished the dreaded War & Peace, and it was like pulling teeth to get to the end, which reads more like the conclusion to a dissertation than any ending to a fictional story. Fortunately, my other reads were much more enjoyable. 4 of the 6 books I read this month received a rating of 4 stars or above from me as I sought to reward myself for finishing War & Peace with some newer releases that had been on my TBR for awhile.
Elegy (re-read) by Vale Aida +Review
War & Peace by Leo Tolstoy + Review
That Inevitable Victorian Thing by E.K. Johnston + Review
Provenance by Ann Leckie + Review
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng + Review
Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo + Review
Book of the Month: A tie between Vale Aida’s Elegy and Ann Leckie’s Provenance. Elegy was a re-read for me, which I usually don’t count in my rankings for what I loved each month (or in my best of year-end lists) but since it’s a lesser known title, I’m including it here. I loved the obviously Dunnett-inspired political machinations, prose, and complicated enigmatic protagonist, Savonn Silvertongue. Leckie’s standalone novel Provanance was an absolute delight. I loved the characters, especially resourceful but naive Ingray, the world-building, and the genre-defying plot.
Least Favourite: I am so relieved that I FINALLY finished War & Peace because it was a slog. I spent the last several hundred pages just wanting it to be over. Never have I been more relieved to finish a book!
Seen on Stage: In case you’re wondering why I’ve been so scarce on here, the answer is because I’ve been at the ballet!
When the National Ballet of Canada made its season announcement back in February, I very nearly screamed at my computer. I did double-check it multiple times to make sure I wasn’t dreaming and then walked around all day with a dopey grin on my face because my favourite ballet of all time, Nijinsky, was returning and in the same month as my second favourite ballet, The Winter’s Tale. Nijinsky has an especially personal connection to me, which I may write about later in a companion piece, but suffice it to say that I hadn’t in a million years thought that I would see it again so soon. Naturally, I bought multiple sets of tickets and yes, it’s return was everything I hoped it would be.
I’ve written two (very detailed) multi-cast reviews for My Entertainment World, which I’ve linked to below. Editor, Kelly Bedard, is the only person I’ve met who has the same passion for the National Ballet of Canada and strongly held opinions about the company, so it’s been a great joy to discuss my thoughts with her and have pieces published on her site. I’ve also been extremely flattered to receive some attention for my reviews! A principal dancer with the company, Jurgita Dronina, re-tweeted my review of The Winter’s Tale, calling it truly detailed and tagging the show’s choreographer! My review of Nijinsky was re-tweeted by principal dancer Guillaume Cote, and Skylar Campbell, a favourite of mine in the company and to dance the role, replied to my review, saying it was “thoughtfully written and very in depth!” Needless to say, I am still a little overwhelmed and incredibly flattered by the response!
I also hit a few theatre shows. A smaller independent Irish play, Dublin Carol, I also reviewed for My Entertainment World, and I plan on writing reviews for Musical Stage Company’s Uncovered Concert, and Bat Out of Hell (the Meatloaf musical) later this month, so stay tuned for those.
Bat Out of Hell (musical) Mirvish + RTC
Uncovered: Bob Dylan and Springsteen concert + RTC
The Winter’s Tale (ballet) by The National Ballet of Canada (x3) – Reviewed for My Entertainment World
Dublin Carol (play) by Fly on the Wall – Reviewed for My Entertainment World
Nijinsky (ballet) by The National Ballet of Canada (x4) – Reviewed for My Entertainment World
Coming up in December: I actually have December pretty mapped out! I’ve finished Anita Amirrezvani’s historical fiction novel The Blood of Flowers, and am currently reading Julie Dao’s Forest of a Thousand Lanterns. On my list for this month is John Boyne’s The Absolutist since Rachel and Steph have both RAVED about it, and Boyne’s newest novel The Heart’s Invisible Furies is one of the best books I’ve read this year. After two months and multiple customer service emails, the copy of Swansong, the second part in Vale Aida’s Magpie Ballads Duology finally showed up, so I’m really looking forward to finishing that series! Before I lead a buddy read of Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond Chronicles, beginning in January with Rachel, Steph, and Hadeer, I’m hoping to get to Dunnett’s standalone King Hereafter, about the historical Macbeth, as well.
Happy holiday season reading everyone!