January: A time for “Gentlemen & Players”
First off, I will admit that I was cutting things very close with the art portion of the Artful Readers Club challenge. I have all kinds of excuses, but let’s face it, you don’t care, and truth be told, neither do I. I am so excited to have spent time in my studio getting back into the mixed media work that I love.
The book I chose for January was the novel “Gentlemen & Players” by Joanne Harris. I rate my books on a scale of one to five, which is something that I started doing when a group of women from my neighborhood began a book club in 1998 (although with them there always seems to be a discussion about allowing halves). I gave this book five stars because I enjoy books that have a lot of character development and it was the last 100 pages, which included a twist at the end that I didn’t see coming, that pushed this into the five star rating.
I have debated on what to include in my review and description of my art piece because I don’t want to give away the ending of the book. I enjoyed it so much I would rather just encourage others to read it. So I’ve decided to give you the text from the book’s dust jacket, which is as follows:
” Audere, agere, auferre.
To dare, to strive, to conquer. ” For generations, privileged young men have attended St. Oswald’s Grammar School for Boys, groomed for success by the likes of Roy Straitley, the eccentric Classics teacher who has been a fixture there for more than thirty years. But this year the wind of unwelcome change is blowing. Suits, paperwork, and information technology are beginning to overshadow St. Oswald’s tradition, and Straitley is finally, and reluctantly, contemplating retirement. He is joined this term by five new faculty members, including one who — unbeknownst to Straitley and everyone else — holds intimate and dangerous knowledge of St. Oswald’s ways and secrets. Harboring dark ties to the school’s past, this young teacher has arrived with one terrible goal: “to destroy St. Oswald’s”.
As the new term gets under way, a number of incidents befall students and faculty alike. Beginning as small annoyances — a lost pen, a misplaced coffee mug — they are initially overlooked. But as the incidents escalate in both number and consequence, it soon becomes apparent that a darker undercurrent is stirring within the school. With St. Oswald’s unraveling, only Straitley stands in the way of its ruin. The veteran teacher faces a formidable opponent, however — a master player with a bitter grudge and a strategy that has been meticulously planned to the final move, a secret game with very real, very deadly consequences.
A harrowing tale of cat and mouse, this riveting, hypnotically atmospheric novel showcases “New YorkTimes” bestselling author Joanne Harris’s astonishing storytelling talent as never before.
When it comes to art, sometimes a piece creates itself in exquisite detail in the artist’s mind long before it becomes a physical piece of art. When this happens, as an artist, you have no choice but to give life to idea inside you. That is what happened in the case of my book-inspired art this month. My intention when I joined in the Artful Readers Club was to get myself in my studio playing with some of my art materials that had been neglected far too long. I envisioned doing an art journal page or something relatively small each month just to get myself into a creative habit. My inner artist was having none of this. No baby steps for me! The piece of art that was calling to me was this assemblage made from a cigar box. The two pictures show the sliding panels in the top both open and overlapped. I’ve decided not to include to detailed description of the piece here but will put it in the comments so,if you are inclined to read the book, I will not give away the major theme that dictates the twist at the end.