The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz

I am a big fan of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Series: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, featuring punk Hacker Lisbeth Salander and Investigative Journalist Mikael Blomqvist. Now there is a fourth novel in the bestselling Millennium series. Called The Girl in the Spider’s Web (Det som inte dödar oss in Swedish, or What Doesn’t Kill You), it has been written by Swedish author and journalist David Lagercrantz, (IAm Zlatan, Fall of Man in Wilmslow) and is being released 27 August 2015 and continues the exploits of Salander and Blomqvist.

The original creator of The Millenium Series, Stieg Larsson originally, “wrote down the shadowy outline of 10 books” in the Millennium series before he sadly died in 2004 at the age of fifty and Lagercrantz, who has been praised as a distinguished Novellist and an exceptional story-teller, has been given free rein to complete the story by Larsson’s estate. The novel is being published at the instigation of Larsson’s father Joakim and brother Erland, of the Larsson Estate, who have said that “by letting Lagercrantz write his own ‘Millennium’ novel we keep alive the characters and the universe Larsson created”. However not everyone is happy about the news, Eva Gabrielsson, The journalist’s partner of 32 years, has been outspoken about her opposition to the series’ continuation and slammed the idea of Lagercrantz’s follow-up novels.

The Girl in the Spiders Web continues the journey of Punk computer Hacker Lisbeth Salander and investigative journalist Mikael Blomqvist on From ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’, ‘The Girl Who Played with Fire’, and ‘The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest’. The novels have also been adapted for film, first starring Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth Salander and Michael Nyqvist as Mikael Blomqvist and later by David Fincher with Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig as Salander and Blomqvist.

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Charlotte Brontë

Charlotte_Bronte2English novelist and poet Charlotte Brontë Sadly passed away on 31 March 1855, at the young age of 38. Born 21st April 1816 She was the eldest of the three Brontë sisters who survived into adulthood, whose novels are English literature standards. She wrote Jane Eyre under the pen name Currer Bell. Charlotte was born in Thornton, Yorkshire in 1816, the third of six children. In August 1824, Charlotte was sent with three of her sisters, Emily, Maria, and Elizabeth, to the Clergy Daughters’ School at Cowan Bridge in Lancashire (Charlotte later used the school as the basis for the fictional Lowood School in Jane Eyre). She and the other surviving children — Branwell, Emily, and Anne – created their own literary fictional worlds, and began chronicling the lives and struggles of the inhabitants of these imaginary kingdoms. Charlotte and Branwell wrote Byronic stories about their imagined country (“Angria”) and Emily and Anne wrote articles and poems about theirs (“Gondal”). The sagas which they created were elaborate and convoluted (and still exist in partial manuscripts) and provided them with an obsessive interest during childhood and early adolescence, which prepared them for their literary vocations in adulthood.

Charlotte continued her education at Roe Head, Mirfield, from 1831 to 32, where she met her lifelong friends and correspondents, Ellen Nussey and Mary Taylor. During this period, she wrote her novella The Green Dwarf (1833) under the name of Wellesley. Charlotte returned to Roe Head as a teacher from 1835 to 1838. In 1839, she took up the first of many positions as governess to various families in Yorkshire, a career she pursued until 1841. In 1842 Charlotte and Emily travelled to Brussels to enroll in a boarding school run by Constantin Heger In return for board and tuition, Charlotte taught English and Emily taught music. Their time at the boarding school was cut short when Elizabeth Branwell, their aunt who joined the family after their mother died Charlotte returned alone to Brussels in January 1843 to take up a teaching post at the boarding school but returned to Haworth in January 1844 and later used her time at the boarding school as the inspiration for some experiences.

In May 1846, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne self-financed the publication of a joint collection of poetry under the assumed names of Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. Charlotte’s first manuscript, called The Professor, did not secure a publisher, although she was heartened by an encouraging response she received from Smith, Elder & Co of Cornhill, who expressed an interest in any longer works which “Currer Bell” might wish to send.Charlotte responded by finishing and sending a second manuscript in August 1847, and six weeks later this second manuscript (titled Jane Eyre: An Autobiography) was published. Jane Eyre was a success, and initially received favourable reviews. It was followed by the subsequent publication of the first novels by Charlotte’s sisters: Emily’s Wuthering Heights and Anne’s Agnes Grey.

In June 1854, Charlotte married Arthur Bell Nicholls, her father’s curate and, in the opinion of many scholars, the model for several of her literary characters such as Jane Eyre’s Edward Rochester and St. John Rivers. She became pregnant soon after the marriage. Her health declined rapidly during this time, and according to Gaskell, her earliest biographer, she was attacked by “sensations of perpetual nausea and ever-recurring faintness.” Charlotte Sadly passed away shortly afterwoods on 31 March 1855, at the young age of 38 Her death certificate gives the cause of death as phthisis (tuberculosis), but many biographers suggest she may have died from dehydration and malnourishment, caused by excessive vomiting from severe morning sickness or hyperemesis gravidarum. There is also evidence to suggest that Charlotte died from typhus she may have caught from Tabitha Ackroyd, the Bronte household’s oldest servant, who died shortly before her. Charlotte was interred in the family vault in The Church of St. Michael and All Angels, Haworth, West Yorkshire, England. Her endurng popularty & legacy stll lives on To this day and all Charlotte Bronte’s novels Particularly Jane Eyre, are still as popular as ever. There have also been many Television Radio and Film adaptations of her novels and her classic novel’s are stll widely taught in schools

Angus Young (AC/DC)

imageAngus Young, the Scottish-born Australian guitarist and founding member of Rock Band AC/DC was born 31st March 1955. AC/DC were Formed in 1973 by Angus and his brother Malcolm Young, who have remained the sole constant members. The band are commonly classified as hard rock, and are considered pioneers of heavy metal, though they themselves have always classified their music as simply “rock and roll”. To date they are one of the highest grossing bands of all time. AC/DC underwent several line-up changes before releasing their first album, High Voltage, on 17 February 1975.

Bass player Cliff Williams replaced Mark Evans in 1977 for the album Powerage. Within months of recording the album Highway to Hell, lead singer and co-songwriter Bon Scott died on 19 February 1980, after a night of heavy alcohol consumption. The group briefly considered disbanding, but Scott’s parents urged them to continue and hire a new vocalist. Ex-Geordie singer Brian Johnson was auditioned and selected to replace Scott. Later that year, the band released their highest selling album, and ultimately the third highest-selling album by any artist, Back in Black. The band’s next album, For Those About to Rock We Salute You, was their first album to reach number one in the United States. AC/DC declined in popularity soon after drummer Phil Rudd was fired in 1983 and was replaced by future Dio drummer Simon Wright, though the band resurged in the early 1990s with the release of The Razors Edge. Phil Rudd returned in 1994 (after Chris Slade, who was with the band from 1989–1994, was asked to leave in favour of him) and contributed to the band’s 1995 album Ballbreaker.

Since then, the band’s line-up has remained the same. Stiff Upper Lip was released in 2000 and was well received by critics, and the band’s latest studio album, Black Ice, was released on 20 October 2008. It was their biggest hit on the charts since For Those About to Rock, reaching No.1 on all the charts eventually. As of 2010, AC/DC had sold more than 200 million albums worldwide, including 71 million albums in the United States alone. Back in Black has sold an estimated 49 million units worldwide, making it the third highest-selling album by any artist, and the second highest-selling album by any band, behind Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of The Moon and Michael Jackson’s Thriller. The album has sold 22 million units in the U.S. alone, where it is the fifth-highest-selling album of all-time. AC/DC ranked fourth on VH1′s list of the “100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock” and were named the seventh “Greatest Heavy Metal Band of All Time” by MTV. In 2004, AC/DC were ranked number 72 in the Rolling Stone list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time”. In 2010, AC/DC were ranked number 23 in the VH1 list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time

AC/DC live at River Plate Buenos Aires 2009 http://youtu.be/ZwwRtXqM5IE

John Constable

800px-John_Constable_The_Hay_WainEnglish Romantic painter John Constable sadly passed away on 31st March 1837. Born 11th June in 1776 in East Bergholt, Suffolk, He is known principally for his landscape paintings of Dedham Vale, the area surrounding his home—now known as “Constable Country”—which he invested with an intensity of affection. “I should paint my own places best”, he wrote to his friend John Fisher in 1821, “painting is but another word for feeling”. In his youth, Constable embarked on amateur sketching trips in the surrounding Suffolk and Essex countryside that was to become the subject of a large proportion of his art. In 1799, Constable persuaded his father to let him pursue art, and Golding even granted him a small allowance. Entering the Royal Academy Schools as a probationer, he attended life classes and anatomical dissections as well as studying and copying Old Masters. Among works that particularly inspired him during this period were paintings by Thomas Gainsborough, Claude Lorrain, Peter Paul Rubens, Annibale Carracci and Jacob van Ruisdael. He also read widely among poetry and sermons, and later proved a notably articulate artist. By 1803, he was exhibiting paintings at the Royal Academy. In 1802 he refused the position of drawing master at Great Marlow Military College, a move which Benjamin West (then master of the RA) counselled would mean the end of his career. In that year, Constable wrote a letter to John Dunthorne in which he spelled out his determination to become a professional landscape painter. His early style has many of the qualities associated with his mature work, including a freshness of light, colour and touch, and reveals the compositional influence of the Old Masters he had studied, notably of Claude Lorrain.

Constable’s usual subjects, scenes of ordinary daily life, were unfashionable in an age that looked for more romantic visions of wild landscapes and ruins. Constable quietly rebelled against the artistic culture that taught artists to use their imagination to compose their pictures rather than nature itself. Although Constable produced paintings throughout his life for the “finished” picture market of patrons and R.A. exhibitions, constant refreshment in the form of on-the-spot studies was essential to his working method, and he never satisfied himself with following a formula. “The world is wide”, he wrote, “no two days are alike, nor even two hours; neither were there ever two leaves of a tree alike since the creation of all the world; and the genuine productions of art, like those of nature, are all distinct from each other.”

Constable painted many full-scale preliminary sketches of his landscapes in order to test the composition in advance of finished pictures. These large sketches, with their free and vigorous brushwork, were revolutionary at the time, and they continue to interest artists, scholars and the general public.The oil sketches of The Leaping Horse and The Hay Wain, for example, convey a vigour and expressiveness missing from Constable’s finished paintings of the same subjects. Possibly more than any other aspect of Constable’s work, the oil sketches reveal him in retrospect to have been an avant-garde painter, one who demonstrated that landscape painting could be taken in a totally new direction. Constable’s watercolours were also remarkably free for their time: the almost mystical Stonehenge, 1835, with its double rainbow, is often considered to be one of the greatest watercolours ever painted. When he exhibited it in 1836, Constable appended a text to the title: “The mysterious monument of Stonehenge, standing remote on a bare and boundless heath, as much unconnected with the events of past ages as it is with the uses of the present, carries you back beyond all historical records into the obscurity of a totally unknown period.”

Some of Constable’s most famous paintings include Dedham Vale of 1802 and The Hay Wain of 1821. Although his paintings are now among the most popular and valuable in British art, he was never financially successful and did not become a member of the establishment until he was elected to the Royal Academy at the age of 52. He sold more paintings in France than in his native England. He could never have imagined how influential his honest techniques would turn out to be. Constable’s art inspired not only contemporaries like Géricault and Delacroix, but the Barbizon School, and the French impressionists of the late nineteenth century

Anna Sewell (Black Beauty)

imageBest known as the author of the classic novel Black Beauty, English Novellist Anna Sewell was born 30 March 1820 in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. When Anna was twelve, the family moved to Stoke Newington where she attended school for the first time. Two years later, however, she slipped while walking home from school and severely injured both of her ankles. Her father took a job in Brighton in 1836, in the hope that the climate there would help to cure her. Despite this, and most likely because of mistreatment of her injury, for the rest of her life Anna was unable to stand without a crutch or to walk for any length of time. For greater mobility, she frequently used horse-drawn carriages, which contributed to her love of horses and concern for the humane treatment of animals.

At about this time, both Anna and her mother left the Society of Friends to join the Church of England, though both remained active in evangelical circles. Her mother expressed her religious faith most noticeably by authoring a series of evangelical children’s books, which Anna helped to edit, though all the Sewells, and Mary Sewell’s family, the Wrights, engaged in many other good works. While seeking to improve her health in Europe, Sewell encountered various writers, artists, and philosophers, to which her previous background had not exposed her.

Sewell’s only published work was Black Beauty, written during 1871 to 1877, after she had moved to Old Catton, a village outside the city of Norwich in Norfolk. During this time her health was declining. She was often so weak that she was confined to her bed and writing was a challenge. She dictated the text to her mother and from 1876 began to write on slips of paper which her mother then transcribed. Sewell sold the novel to local publisher Jarrolds on 24 November 1877, when she was 57 years of age. Although it is now considered a children’s classic, she originally wrote it for those who worked with horses. She said “a special aim was to induce kindness, sympathy, and an understanding treatment of horses”.

Sewell died on 25 April 1878 of hepatitis or tuberculosis, five months after her book was published, living long enough to see its initial success. She was buried on 30 April 1878 in the Quaker burial-ground at Lammas near Buxton, Norfolk, not far from Norwich, where a wall plaque now marks her resting place and Her birthplace in Church Plain, Great Yarmouth, has been the home to a museum and tea shop.

Interstellar

imageScience fiction blockbuster Interstellar is released on DVD on Monday 30 March.Directed by Christopher Nolan it stars Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, and Michael Caine. It was written by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan, who combined his idea with a script developed by his brother in 2007. Theoretical physicist Kip Thorne, whose works inspired the film, also acted as both an executive producer and a scientific consultant for the film.

It takes place In the near future, where Earth has been devastated by drought, famine and extreme changes in climate. With humanity facing extinction, a mysterious rip in the space-time continuum is discovered, giving mankind the opportunity to widen their lifespan. This wormhole can theoretically connect widely separated regions of space-time making it possible to transcend the normal limitations on human space travel and travel the vast distances involved on an interstellar voyage.

So a group of explorers and scientists unite to embark on a voyage aboard the spaceship Endurance, travelling beyond our solar system in search of a planet that can sustain life. Among the crew of the Endurance is a widowed engineer, Cooper (McConaughey), who has left his two children behind to join the voyage. In their quest to save humanity from an environmentally devastated Earth the crew of the Endurance must find a new habitable planet in another galaxy and are required to think bigger and go further than any human in history as they embark on an interstellar voyage, into the unknown…

Mark McClelland (Snow Patrol)

Mark McClelland, Irish musician with Snow Patrol, Little Doses, and The Reindeer Section was born 30th March 1976. Formed at the University of Dundee in 1994. Snow Patrol comprises Gary Lightbody (vocals, guitar), Jonny Quinn (drums), Dutch Connolly (guitar, backing vocals), Paul Wilson (bass guitar, backing vocals), and Tom Simpson (keyboards). Initially an indie rock band, their first three records, the EP Starfighter Pilot (1997), and the studio albums Songs for Polarbears (1998) and When It’s All Over We Still Have to Clear Up (2001), were commercially unsuccessful and were released by the independent labels Electric Honey and Jeepster respectively. The band then signed on to the major record label Polydor Records in 2002.

Snow Patrol rose to national fame with their major label debut, Final Straw, in 2003. The album was certified 5× platinum in the UK and eventually sold over 3 million copies worldwide thanks to songs like Run. Their next studio album, Eyes Open, (2006) and its hit single “Chasing Cars,” propelled the band to greater international fame. The album topped the UK Album Charts and was the best-selling British album of the year, selling over 6 million copies worldwide. However Paul Wilson replaced bass player Mark McClelland in March 2005. Then in 2008, the band released their fifth studio album A Hundred Million Suns, then in 2009 their first compilation album, Up to Now and in 2011 they released their sixth studio album Fallen Empires. During the course of their career, Snow Patrol have won five Meteor Ireland Music Awards and have been nominated for three BRIT Awards. Since the release of Final Straw, the band have sold over ten million