Saturday, March 21, 2009

What I Read On My Holidays

The original and the best !
Beautifully written, with no gratuitous detail, despite the subject matter. An amazing, clever, terrifying book, well ahead of its time. The only film ever to have done it justice was the BBC production starring Louis Jourdan, Frank Finlay and Susan Penhaligon. I have vivid memories of watching it and being blood-curdled whilst I was still a teenager :-)

My girls have loads of Ahlberg books, and the elder two particularly loved the story of "Burglar Bill", who meets a lady burglar, reforms and settles when I saw Allan Ahlberg's autobiography " The Boyhood of Burglar Bill", I simply had to buy it ! Having read it, I would pitch it at 11+, and it has a heavy emphasis on football. An entertaining read.

There are simply not enough words in the English language to do this enormous tome adequate justice.
I loved it so much, I read it **twice** whilst we were away, which considering it is almost 600 pages long and we were only away till 10am Friday morning, was quite a feat ! I have always loved mediaeval church architecture, and Pugin masterminded the revival of late mediaeval Gothic architecture. He was a tormented soul, an idealistic, passionate, single-minded workaholic, who had been shipwrecked, bankrupted and widowed before he was 21.

The rest of his meagre forty years of life were equally jam-packed with sadness and achievement in equal measure, culminating in his tragic death just when he had really found happiness with his third wife Jane.

If you think you are unfamiliar with Pugin, just think of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, the bulk of which was Pugin's work, albeit to save another architect's face........I am simply going to have to buy this book. I will read it over and over again :-)
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