What Am I Reading This Month? (May 2017)

New Feature in My Blog

I love books!

I’d like to start a new feature in my blog – I’ll tell you a bit about the books I borrowed from my local library each month, plus one or two books from my own collection.

I am allowed to borrow a total of 10 books from Pustaka Miri; usually I bring home 5 or 6 books, but I’d definitely max out my limit whenever I try to complete my assignments.

Please note that the books I’m displaying in this post have nothing to do with the Psychology course I am taking from OUM. Wait a minute, what am I saying?

Allow me to correct myself. Indirectly, most subjects do have some kind of connection to my field of studies – because in its primary form, Psychology studies people (what & who they are). It looks into why they act and think the way they do and how people can improve themselves. Therefore, everything a person does IS connected to Psychology. That’s why I love Psychology! I find it utterly fascinating!

My May 2017 Reading List:

books I borrowed for the month of May 2017

There were two books inside the image (above) that don’t belong to Pustaka Miri, they’re mine – The Visual Language of Drawing by James Lancel McElhinney and the instructors of the Art Students League of New York, and Moriarty by John Gardner. I acquired them from Popular bookstore.

A Brief Description of the Books

(1) The Visual Language of Drawing: Lessons on the Art of Seeing is a hardcover version published by Sterling Publishing Co. Inc. and the Art Students League of New York in 2012. It is written by James Lancel McElhinney and the instructors of the Art Students League of New York. Ira Goldberg contributed to the foreword.

The book is divided into two parts: Part 1, and Part 2. Part 1 consist of lessons on drawing and contemporary works from instructors and students of the Art Students League of New York. Part 2 contains of drawing concepts and lesson plans. The book has 196 pages and is a fully illustrated guide. Why I think it’s worth buying? The Art Students League of New York (founded by and for artists in 1875) has been providing studio art education for anyone seeking access to artistic training. They have many famous alumni who went on to shape the vocabulary of art worldwide. If I open any page of this book, I would find encouragement, inspiration, and knowledge.

Over a century ago, most educated people knew how to draw nearly as well as they could read and write.” – an excerpt from the dust jacket.

(2) Performance Studies: An Introduction (Third Edition) is by Richard Schechner while the media editor is Sara Brady. The 3rd edition is published by Routledge in 2013. It has 359 pages and contains 8 sub-topics. The book serves as a textbook for both instructors and students / undergraduates. Among the topics discussed are performing arts and popular entertainments, rituals, plays and games, and the performances of everyday life. The examples and ideas presented are derived from social sciences, performing arts, post-structuralism, ritual theory, ethology, philosophy, and aesthetics.

Why this book? I briefly dabbled in performing arts when I was younger. I wish to return to what I believe to be ‘my true calling’. In my previous post, I shared my involvement in a movie recently filmed in Miri and also mentioned my stints as performer (back in my younger days). Yes, I am a wannabe-thespian.

(3) Grotowski & Company by Ludwig Flaszen. This book is published by Icarus Publishing Enterprise and Routledge in 2010; the paperback version has 329 pages. Grotowski & Company is a work translated from Polish by Andrzej Wojtasik and edited by Paul Allain. Eugenio Barba wrote the introduction and tribute to Ludwig Flaszen, while Monika Blige provided editorial assistance to Andrzej Wojtasik and Paul Allain.

The book contains lectures, reflective papers (on issues such as actor training), polemical pieces, interviews, explanatory texts on all Laboratorium’s performances, critical reviews, etc. There are 4 parts in the book – Before Teatr Laboratorium, In the Poor Theatre, Voice – Vehicle, and After the End. The book attempts to explain the social and political constraints affecting Grotowski’s working life, and the difficult and controlled circumstances in which Polish theatre artists operated – even when their theatre was seen to represent the pinnacle of theatrical achievement in the world.

Excerpt (from page 161, 5th paragraph, line 23) – “What made phantasms become taboo? My impression is that our own lives are becoming more and more phantasmatic, that we are endangered by becoming spectres, that collective fears – either hideen  or dramatically overt – transform us into phantoms. Thus the more we feel aversion to the phantasmatic character of existence, the more I suppose that it somehow influences our creative processes and in a way changes them.

(4) Acting in Musical Theatre: A Comprehensive Course (Second Edition) by Joe Deer and Rocco Dal Vera is a 396-page textbook that covers fundamental skills for novice actors, practical insights for professionals, and tips to help veteran musical performers refine their craft. It includes group and solo exercises, which makes it a great textbook for both students and practitioners alike. There are 19 chapters altogether in this book (2nd edition) published by Routledge, New York in 2016.

Excerpt from page 366 (line 33 to line 37) – “In a field with so much uncertainty and change you need to have something that is unchangeable – a set of core values and self-knowledge that can’t be shaken by circumstance or the opinions of critics, directors or casting agents. The meaning and purpose in your life needs to come from something deep and personal, not from the external approval of others or the applause of the crowd.

(5) The Theatre Experience (Eleventh Edition) by Edwin Wilson is published by McGraw-Hill (New York) in 2009 and has 449 pages. The author is a teacher, author, and a critic – having taken the role of theatre critic in The Wall Street Journal for 22 years. There are a total of 19 chapters in this book, divided into five (5) parts – (i) The Audience; (ii) The Performers and the Director; (iii) Creating the Play; (iv) The Playwright; (v) The Designers; and (vi) The Theatre Landscape Today. It approaches the study of theatre they way any student do – as members of the audience. If you like theatre as much as I do, this book is a great reference to keep in your home library. There are plenty of colorful photographs in this book and the narrative writing style is very easy to understand.

Some may say that the world of theatre is not for everyone, but if you look at it from a broader perspective, theatre is everywhere around us! For example – a Mardi Gras parade, a wedding, a funeral, a White House press conference, spectacular concert presentations, fireworks display, Victoria’s Secret Fashion Shows, dramatic family feuds … these are all theater. Do you think you can escape all that?

(6) Dancer Wellness is a 202-page book edited by M. Virginia Wilmerding, and Donna H. Krasnow. It is published by Human Kinetics (USA) in 2017. There are eleven (11) chapters altogether, divided into four (4) parts – (i) Foundations of Dancer Wellness; (ii) Mental Components of Dancer Wellness; (iii) Physical Components of Dancer Wellness; and (iv) Assessments for Dancer Wellness. This book offers a wealth of information to help readers develop their personal wellness as student dancers, as future dance professionals, and for their lives. There are exercises and activities to keep readers active in the learning process.

It might be too late for me to start learning ballet. Growing up in a humble family from a simple town, I did not have the luxury or opportunity to study ballet. There weren’t any ballet instructor around during my childhood. However, I learned other types of dance as I grew up, and my love for dancing throughout the year never dissipate. Like I mentioned in one of my previous posts – I learn how to dance Ngajat Niti Chapak,  I’ve always enjoyed dancing and the process of learning new dance / choreography.

Excerpt from page 52 – “Technique training today is often a mix of approaches from traditional dance forms to cultural dances, martial arts, contact improvisation, and inclusion of somatic approaches. Dancers are asked to be increasingly versatile. The physical demands that are placed on dancers are vast, and at times they can lead to musculoskeletal imbalances.”

(7) Moriarty is a 298-page fiction authored by John Gardner – the copy I bought is hardcover version published by Quercus (London) in 2008. The book describes Moriarty as “the oldest and greatest super-villain of them all“. Moriarty is well-known as Sherlock Holmes’ nemesis.

Have you watched Sherlock (the series)? Surely you have heard of the psychopathic Jim Moriarty? I think it is a great show and I wish someday I could act alongside Benedict Cumberbatch. A girl can dream!

I remember a friend of mine told me that he badly wishes to act as an antagonist in a movie or drama. The sicker the character the better, he said, although he never specify an example. I thought about the character that James McAvoy portrayed in Split, it probably fit my friend’s dream role. Then again, I think Moriarty is a perfect fit for him too.

Elena’s Haunt

Like I mentioned in one of my previous posts, I love to hang out at Pustaka Miri. I wish it is my home! :D

A flowering tree outside Pustaka Miri:

a flowering tree outside Pustaka Miri

A structure at Pustaka Miri’s entrance:

structure at the entrance of Pustaka Miri

Just recently in conjunction of Miri May Fest 2017, some interesting activities were held at Pustaka Miri.

Pustaka Miri during MayFest 2017

Events in Miri

Please check out Miri, Your Resort City, for upcoming events in Miri. Calendar of events can be found on the Miri City Council website.

Alternatively, you can find a wealth of information inside Miri Resort City.

I wish you a nice day.

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