Have you ever read a book, put it down, think you’ve moved on, only to find you can’t shake it? That’s me with The Secret History by Donna Tartt. If you’ve read it, chances are you loved it or you loathed it—there doesn’t seem to be much in between. If, like me, you are the former, you’ve probably tried to find something similar for a follow up read, with varying levels of success. I’ve been there. In fact, I’m still there. Every book touted as being “for fans of Donna Tartt” has found its way into my hands at some point. I’m on an epic, Don Quixote-like search for the perfect Secret History read-alike*. Some would call this a fool’s errand, but I’m determined that one day I will find it (and I know I’m not alone!). But until that happens, there are some perfectly respectable efforts on offer, all reminiscent in some way of Tartt’s 1992 classic. So, how to determine which ones are worth the read? A good Secret History read-alike will be composed of some very specific ingredients.
I just saw the very first ballet of my entire life* this weekend, and I am so incredibly excited about the rest of the performances in the National Ballet of Canada’s 2016/2017 season! Cinderella kicked off the season, and while I was sitting quite high up in the fifth ring and couldn’t see in as much detail as I would have liked – especially the costumes! – it was quite an exciting night nonetheless. I had no idea what to expect, apart from popular (read: stereotypical) notions of what ballet performances might consist of (stiff tutus? classic ethereal elegance?) and was very pleasantly surprised: various elements of the story were reinterpreted and the stepsisters fared very well as comic relief, there were zero stiff tutus in sight, in addition to which the transformation scene was quite well done, the forest coming to life in the process of conjuring & presenting to Cinderella the transformative garbs. Part of me does wish they went through the entire change onstage – as it was, a scarf/wrap took the place of the dress, changing up her plain dress for that scene only, and she arrived at the ball in a completely different dress – but I suspect it would have been rather difficult to orchestrate. Continue reading