• Reading

    The Idiot Part One

    I’m reading The Idiot by Dostoevsky for my Classics Club spin. I’m using this character list, someone took the Sparknotes version and took out the spoilers (why do these character lists have spoilers in the first place?!!!!). I printed it out, so I could have it handy.

    I’m reading on the Serial Reader app. I did get the paid version, so I can read ahead and have more than one novel going. It’s not a subscriptions, so it’s more than fair for me the excellence of it, I mean I’d give more.

    Marian of Classics Considered is rereading it, so if anyone wants to join us, the more the merrier. I’m going to try to post as I go along so we can discuss, she has posted some already on her Instagram, she’s reading a book of notes about the novel so this is really in depth! I don’t think I can think that deep, but we shall see.

    I’m WAAAY behind, I’m about 22% of the way through, per the app, and on chapter 8. My impressions/emotions thus far have been:

    “oh, this is going to be painful, poor precious baby”

    to “I’m bored out of my mind with his pointless boring stories (why must authors stuff their pages so baldly?)”

    to “ooh, now it’s getting interesting”

    back to “oh, this is going to be painful, poor precious baby”

    to “I think some second-hand embarrassment is coming”

    Someone shared this list of general plots of British, German, and Russian novels on Instagram. Can’t speak to the German novels, but the other two sound about right.

  • Reading

    What I Read August 2020

    These High, Green Hills and Out to Canaan by Jan Karon (books 3 and 4 of Mitford). I had decided that I would read Mitford every once in a while and now seemed like a good time for a nice cozy read. Then I thought I’d read them straight through, but since I’ve stuck in book 5, and I’m starting to get my reading interest back, I think, this current month, I think I’ll save the rest for another time.

    Rilla of Ingleside. This book starts out so well, it is so deep and atmospheric and the build up to and after effects of the tragedy are excellent and then everything else seems incidental.

    As Old As Time by Liz Brazwell. I’ve been in the mood for fairytale retellings and this part of a series that takes Disney’s retellings and retells them. I greatly enjoyed it. The prose was decent to be easy to read and it was fast paced. It was very dark, much darker than the usual Beauty and the Beast, not kid or sensitive teen appropriate.

  • Reading

    Reading is NOT a Golden Ticket (Silver Bullet?) to Being a Better Person and More Reading Links

    I’m fundamentally contrarian. I’m also currently obsessed in noticing when people are promoting something as a golden ticket or silver bullet or whatever. Which I think often involves using a correlation-causation fallacy. One of these is reading makes a person better.

    A lot of people who read a lot like to label themselves and set themselves apart, or as Katherine Grimm Bowers puts it, “deifying reading” (go read her post, it expresses much of what I’m trying to say). Reading is privilege, it should be a right, not a hobby, everyone should be able to read a lot and help themselves and enjoy good literature. It is true that reading a lot CAN make you a better person as well as a more intelligent person, but it doesn’t necessarily do so (Stalin met this criterion after all!).

    It DOES matter what you read. If a person is reading poor quality writing regularly, how are does that benefit his/her mind?

    It does matter how you read. I barely skimmed the surface of Karen Swallow Prior’s On Reading Well (I’ve got to buy this and read and reread, she so eloquently expands on this subject of books and how we actually need to use them in order to use them well), and she mentions the importance of reading to understand NOT impose our own opinions onto another person’s words.

    We have to stop reading sometimes and apply the things we’ve read or even just live our lives. I’ve read/heard lots self-help people mention how many forget that reading can’t be substituted for doing. (Yes, I definitely have this problem). If one doesn’t apply anything one learns in living a life, what was the point? Reading is supposed to HELP us in life, not distract us from life.

    BOOKSTORES: How to Read More Books in the Golden Age of Content. Awesome video on bookstores around the world and reading.

    A Realization and A Revelation. What draws you to certain books and characters? What pushes you away?

    Dethroning Books. I love books but being contrary, I dislike when people act like books are a golden ticket to some state or attribute (actually, I dislike when people make anything, cough, college, cough, a golden ticket) such as erudition, intelligence, etc.

    A section towards the end of this podcast episode discusses the effects of reading so much you have no time for development and application.

    What To Do If You Hate Reading. These tips will probably work for those in a reading slump or burnout as well. I find that I can relate to a lot of these types of suggestions.

  • Reading

    What I’ve Read: May and June 2020

    I read 23 items in these two months, 6 of those were short fairy tale retellings and 2 plays. Only 7 were new-to-me reads.

    These were:

    Coriolanus. There is a reason why this one is less famous. More on that in a later post.

    Hamlet. I’ve already review this for the Classics Club here.

    Charity Girl by Georgette Heyer. This was fun (and NOT the rake and young dope version, young rake and his childhood bff). I’m exhausting the treasury of historical Heyer novels. One was so boring and unsatisfactory I opted not to finish.

    Restless Empire: A Historical Atlas of Russia by Ian Barnes. Highly recommend, extremely fascinating. This was supposed to go along with my reading of War and Peace, but said reading has been nonexistence.

    Listening Valley by D.E. Stevenson. Sweet and a nice happy read. I think that is what another blogger wrote which is why i got it.

    Framed! by James Ponti. A darling middle grade fiction mystery. I need to look up to see if there are more. This is a very fast read.

    Penhallow. So I thought I’d try a Heyer mystery. Yeah, so besides not actually being a mystery to the reader and an unsolved one for the characters, it features unarguably a patriarchal, narcissistic, god-awful horror of a man and his piggish progeny. It could have been set in a older time, the vague mention of cars clued me in to it being contemporary to Heyer. The manor house with the men who impregnate village women (over generations, so what an incestuous mess that probably was) and who are basically moneyed Neanderthals. All of these criticisms have lost their weight because over and misuse have diluted their meaning. But as I rarely use them please understand that I mean them fully.

    Yeah, most characters were awful, often inconsistent. The one character I leaned towards has a horrible end, kind of gave me nightmares because of the overall ick and the despair and the non-ending, ending. I rated it one star, the reason I have so few one stars is that I view books that derisive that rating as books that should not be read, so I don’t finish them and therefore don’t rate them. This is one I should not have finished I felt guilty reading it. It was muck with no literary merit. It was interesting in a grotesque way, but I was disgusted that I’d allowed myself to read this completely through.

    Rereads:
    The Fairy’s Return, For Biddle’s Sake, Cinderellis and the Glass Hill, Princess Sonora and the Long Sleep, The Princess Test, The Fairy’s Mistake. All the princess tales by Gale Carson Levine. Again, lovely quick escapist relaxing reads.
    I started the Grandma’s attic novels in April and read most of them in May. So that is 7 right there.

    The Silver Chair. I stuck fast on this one for a while. Bear in mind that Narnia was supposed to be my Christmas treat, but I dragged on many of them. I’m currently stuck fast in The Last Battle.

    Gaudy Night and Murder Must Advertise. Two of the best Wimsey nove.. I think next time I’ll skip a few and reread only the best. I’m saving the final novel to finish on my birthday.

  • Culture and Entertainment

    The Rake gets the Virgin and the Harpy gets the Angel Boy

    “You could live a thousand lifetimes and not deserve him.”

    I LOVE the film Catching Fire, and I always think Peeta is an angel. But thinking that and with all the Georgette Heyer books in my mind . . .

    Georgette Heyer novels represent an/the old type of common thinking, the men do what they want and get the best girl and act all self-righteous if she is even slightly less than perfect even though they are horrid. This led to why rake, libertine, playboy, etc. not having the same connotation as whore even though they are literally the male/female correspondents (like Fez calling Kelso a whore when calling him out on his double-standards, it felt more “right” because he was, rather than cheering him on as a player, you know?). I mean to get the same connotation you have to say man-whore, um, I don’t think this circular, I think it started with the men!

    This started when most stories were written by men and later some women (ahem, Heyer) who liked the save-the-bad boy trope. Also, don’t blame this all on the patriarchy, tons of women upheld (and uphold) this in fact and fiction, glorifying the bad boy. The stories might be dying out or at least certain aspects, but the reality doesn’t feel like it is (although, perhaps the mores were never quite as extreme as fiction seems to imply?).

    Naturally that perspective makes my blood boil. Guess what, “feminism” didn’t fix it; we know have other problems including the exact opposite (although not sexual mores this time, but more in overall character). We have an overarching storyline (watching Hunger Games, Hallmark, and listening to women at work) where the woman can be as shrewish, manipulative, and hateful as possible and blame all men for everything without at all examining themselves. And not merely not understanding equivalency (you are both awful) or even normalcy (he’s the average to your awful, so normal is better than you), but expecting an angel boy.

    Yes, it can happen, but that doesn’t mean it should, you shouldn’t get a good boy, the good girl should get the good boy. The bad man shouldn’t expect a angelic princess. The good people should expect the other good people. Why is this so hard to grasp? I know everyone is some extent blind to themselves, but to be so blind?!!!! To hear most people talk about relationships, you’d think he/she is the saintliest of people who always so incomprehensibly ends up with the devil. Did you ever perhaps wonder just once if you just might possibly have contributed one smidge to the problem?!

    Here are the actual possibilities for a relationship. For simplicity’s sake I’ll assume three states of being although in reality they represent the absolute ends and middle of the spectrum of humanity.

    1. Good
    2. Average
    3. Toxic

    Person A is good and  Person B is good
    Person A is good and Person B is average
    Person A is good and Person B is toxic
    Person A is average and Person B is good
    Person A is average and Person B is average
    Person A is average and Person B is toxic
    Person A is toxic and Person B is good
    Person A is toxic and Person B is average
    Person A is toxic and Person B is toxic

    Even in this highly simplified situation, there are very few saints and demon matches, and since most people are someone in the middle in the average realm, the likelihood that one is of average decency dating someone of average decency is quite high. If you aren’t an angel, why is your significant other supposed to be? If you want an angel, try being one.

    The long version of one reason why I’m single, I’ve not achieved angelic status. Or is it I’ve not even achieved average goodness ?!

     

  • Learning and Exploring

    Those Tom Boy, Strong Girl, Alpha Female Stereotypes

    I tend to relate to a lot of them tomboys in books like Jo and her counterpart Skye Penderwick in terms of temperament. But I’m not a tomboy, I relate to the Megs in terms of domesticity and to the Amys and Annes in terms of taste. It gets kind of irritating to read about all the sweet domestic and/or traditional girls. Sorry, I wasn’t born sweet and mild, the best you will get is somewhat toned down. I’ve been told to tone down, be quiet, stop expressing so much frequently by family members. I think I scare people outside my family.

    Another similar stereotype is that of the loud (often tomboy) women being brave and courageous. Brassy, sassy, rebellious, and loud doesn’t equal strong or brave. Some of us are just programmed to be brassy, sassy, rebellious, and loud. And I’m not programmed brave, like at. all. K, maybe if you are usually a meek, people-pleaser, it IS brave to stand up and firmly say, “please, respect me.” But um, I have have to tone down, calm down to say that. And loudness can come from fear as well as just innate personality.

    Often either explicit or implicitly, these characters and/or their authors state that domesticity equals a level of anti-intellectualism or lack of intelligence. Again, NO. I can love both and do, thank-you-very-much. How one earth does liking homemaking have anything to do with the intelligence and interests I was born with?

    I was raised in a homeschooling sphere that emphasized domesticity, crafts, etc. for girls. I never understood why so many rebelled against them, I took it personally, until I found more people with different backgrounds who like creating things. I learned of them term “maker.” These people like me just LOVE handicrafts, historical fashion, fiber, making things, its part of our DNA.

    Another fallacy involves being girly and sporty or interested in physical activity (climbing trees, fencing, hunting, you name it). You can love to get completely dolled up and also love to play sports and get sweaty. I think this one is older and maybe it has mostly been killed by now? Or maybe it is because I’m more in the volleyball world because of my sisters and volleyball girls don’t follow this stereotype.

    I think in books this is still in force with the heroine who disdains all “frivolous” dress and fuss and goes gallivanting off with her horse and sword. She can like both. Disliking or like frills doesn’t mean you are physically weak or strong.

    Here is to the loud, brassy, girly, domestic shrews. Oh, wait, what?!

     

  • Reading

    Hamlet

    As I mentioned before Hamlet was my Classics Club spin pick. I put off reading it until literally the last day of May, and I finished it in one day while accomplishing other things like a ridiculously long process of hanging a very high curtain rod that possibly triggered a large nosebleed, but that is another story.

    I know I’ve skimmed this story version of Hamlet and possibly the real version ages ago. To me it seemed pointless, confusing, fatalistic, with lots of meaningless tragedy and angst. Oh, and overrated. My “where’s the love story?” teen/early twenties monomania was not satisfied with the left-over love story wreck I found. And philosophy has always eluded and bored me. Hence, my not reading this VERY (if not most) famous play and instead reading some lesser favored ones instead.

    I read Sparknotes No Fear Shakespeare (I apparently got an older version, but there is an expanded version?!) which has Shakepeare’s original one side and modern English on the other side. I’m proud to say I did manage to mostly read from the original, but I found the modern and notes helpful. I’m in love with this version and want to get all the plays.

    So many of the famous Shakespeare quotes are from Hamlet, I knew the most over-used of course, but “frailty thy name is woman (Brandon)” was the best because I just love when literature quotes literature.

    I remembered Ophelia died, and Hamlet’s death although rather forgotten was not a surprise. I was a little confused about Claudius since the notes threw a question on what the “ghost” actually was. Oh, he was guilty, he admitted it, but I was thrown off for awhile. And I was worried he wouldn’t meet his just deserts.

    I was pleasantly surprise by how quick my interest was caught. I found it less dull and melancholy (not really melancholy at all) than I’d remembered. I learned (unsurprisingly) some dirty Shakespearean modern English (yes, the modern period started around then) slang.

    Hamlet (surprisingly) was awesomely sassy. Full of smart comments and tongue lashings. And him popping up to annoy Claudius, especially at the end when he returns from the ship was just hilarious in timing and tone. And because of all this, was he truly mad or feigning madness or both? He sure seemed to enjoy pushing Claudius’ buttons! I’m not sure what the standard interpretation of Hamlet’s behavior is.

    Ophelia was as seemingly incidental in role as I remember, we didn’t “see” Hamlet and Ophelia during their love affair, nor do they seem to have any affection, particularly not he, when we do see them together. I loved her flower bit; her innocent rapier thrust with the language of flowers. Now, she was truly crazy.

    The evil pair did get their just deserts, but I felt the play dragged towards the middle end and then everyone was finished off in a slap-dash manner, and then it ends in a ludicrously quick manner.

    So, while I do think it is overrated in terms of depth, I am inspired to watch versions of Hamlet, and I did enjoy it more than I was expecting. And I’m especially inspired to read and re-read more Shakespeare. On to reading Coriolanus, so that I can watch the play which premieres on Youtube the day this post comes out!

  • Reading

    Would You Rather Fictional Grab-bag Edition

    I saw this tag Ivy did that Cordy created and I thought it looked super fun.

    Would you rather, be a tenant of Mr. Darcy or Mr. Knightley?
    Mr. Knightly, he is less intimidating.
     
    Would you rather spend a day in the 100 Acre Wood or Neverland?
    100 Acre Wood. I’m about to metaphorically, because there are some bbc radio dramas of Winnie the Pooh, and I need something soothing to listen to.
     
    Would you rather attend a tea party with the Mad Hatter and company or meet the Wizard of Oz?
    The Mad Hatter, that would be funny. I’m not a big Wizard of Oz person.
     
    Would you rather spend a summer at Netherfield with Jane and Mr. Bingley, or at Hamley Hall with Squire Hamley?
    Netherfield and Jane and Bingley, Hamley Hall is only worthwhile if Roger were there and single, and well, he’s taken.
     
    Would you rather be “rescued” by Gilbert Blythe or Colonel Brandon?
    Gilbert, can’t stand Colonel Hum Drum. Unless he was played, as he should have been by Matthew McFayden. But still, Gilbert.

    Would you rather marry Laurie or John Brooke?
    Laurie, if he’d grown up as he should. People, growing up doesn’t mean becoming staid and boring. That isn’t how Laurie really would have grown up, he’d have kept his personality and added some sense of responsibility not turned into a boring, sanctimonious prick. John Brooke is underrated. But I tend to like the teasing guys.

    Would you rather have to participate in a skirmish as a member of Robin Hood’s Merry Men, or as a member of the Musketeers?
    Robin Hood’s Merry Men. I rather think they had better morals (yes, I realized this is ironic coming after my above comments).

    Would you rather have a jolly holiday in a chalk painting or enjoy a tea party on the ceiling with Uncle Albert?
    Not sure what this reference is from, but holiday.

    Would you rather have to chaperone, through their entire courting experience, Lydia Bennet or Anne De Bourgh?
    Anne De Bourgh, she’s quiet and not interfering, basically the opposite of Lydia. Can you imagine how annoying Lydia would be, not to mention the telling at the top of her voice of anything embarrassing?

    Would you rather marry Mr. Wickham or Mr. Elton?
    Mr. Elton. I think I could whip him into some shape. Wickham would just continually cheat.

    Would you rather spend the rest of your life in Middle Earth (starting from the time of the journey of the ring), or Narnia (starting from the time of the Pevensie’s first visit)?
    Narnia, Narnia all the way! And marry Tirian. And change the entire course of the last book starting with banning all primates from Narnia or uninventing them or something.
  • Culture and Entertainment

    Favorite Audiobooks and Radio Dramas, Edited

    Auditory only media wasn’t my thing usually. Except of course for Adventures in Odyssey, but then again, that was following my younger sisters’ lead. I still have a hard time thinking audiobooks are “reading” you simply cannot process them the same. But jobs have forced me to learn to appreciate audiobooks and the like.

    Because I’m very erratic/moody in my interests, I’ve bounced around between music, podcasts, Audible, sometimes in overall weekly or monthly themes of one of them, sometimes within one day.

    I’ve tons in my Audible library now since I’ve bought/earned extra credits and coupons plus done the years membership AND discovered you can return purchases if you don’t like the book. Edited: I’ve discovered returning books once done is considered gaming the system, so I’m not going to do that again, unless I truly disliked the book/quality or something like that.

    My first introduction to audiobooks and radio dramas was when I was on audiobooks.com a couple years ago (in order to endure an agonizingly boring temp assignment), I listened to the BBC Jane Austen radio drama, which I adore (and which included Benedict Cumberbatch and I believe Blake Ritson). I’d not heard or understood of radio dramas.

    Then I picked up the James Herriot books read by Christopher Timothy, and oh, my what jewels, especially the first two. I’m on, the fifth now I think. I still was wanted to “count as read” the books, so I tried to read the paperback of the second, um no, Christopher Timothy truly brings them alive, I was too spoiled to do anything but listen. Our library only had the first two on audio, so it was then I went to Audible for a trial, and I don’t know that I’ve cancelled although I paused for a while. The audiobooks in the publication order (in U.S. regular book order anyway) are:
    All Creatures Great and Small
    All Things Bright and Beautiful
    All Things Wise and Wonderful
    The Lord God Made Them All
    Every Living Thing

    Once firmly ensconced in the Audible world, I got back on the track of BBC radiodramas.  Thus far I’ve listened to Jeeves and Wooster, and I was giggling and gasping with laughter out loud at work multiple times. Highly recommend. Then I listened to The Importance of Being Ernest (I swear between, watching the movie innumerable times, reading it twice, and watching the webseries In Ernest, but mostly watching the movie, I should have this memorized) and An Ideal Husband.

    In my library but not listened to yet are multiple more radio dramas: Lord Peter Wimsey, The Barchester Chronicles, My Family and Other Animals, Two sets of Dickens, and the Brontes works. There are many more than this. I think perhaps, I do prefer radio dramas, or bringing to life reading combined with that style of writing that is the James Herriot experience. I do have some regular audiobooks on my list other than Herriot, but Narnia I was trying to read along with because I wanted the experience of the books, and so I got impatient and quit listening. And also, I do think I prefer doing work or something while listening, that is the only way to at least possibly focus.

    In addition to the BBC radio dramas and regular audiobooks, Audible also has tons of The Great Courses, which is an AMAZING resource (I would also love to try their streaming service which has audio and video), so I’ve listened to John McWhorter’s The Story of Human Language. This one does require more especial focus, and I’ve had to “rewind” and relisten to catch things I’ve missed, but OH, if you love language and the tantalizing bits of learning the Wired youtube channel has given, you will LOVE this course. I feel like maybe listen once, then listen again with notes? But then I do love making everything complicated. I’ve still not finished this yet because I’ve got even less focus even before all this happened, and I never was great in the first place.

    My most recent listen (and one I’m “checking out” as if from the library) is Rhett and Link’s Book of Mythicality. I’m not a super fan of much of their gross youtube eating tests or whatever. Ok, I rather HATE that sort of thing, but their personalities and backgrounds are so funny and unique plus being Southern, and I really paid more attention to them after they started visiting and talking about their childhoods in North Carolina, they were hysterically crazy boys, and their descriptions of the stuff they did are hilarious. I think funny in the way they are is hard to find. Like it’s just part of them, everything they do, it’s not trying too hard or anything, they are genuinely crazy people who are funny and weird and confident about it, without you know being the “I’m SoO difFerEnt and WeIrD.”

    I’ve been listening to some of their podcasts, “Earbiscuits” and have laughed out loud. Some of the book is rather strange to listen to, like it’s better to read, and some of it is boring, at least to me. But they narrate it themselves and still have such funny parts (for some reason, I think I found the section on their hair the funniest thus far, they did try crazy stuff, but it’s the way they describe everything that is just hysterical, like they can’t even do mundane stuff in a mundane way) and often include people that are part of their story, like telling their romances with their wives, who give their versions, in their own voices. Also, its so light, that I do have to have much brain power to listen to, but it’s obviously not a gem I will keep.

  • Daily Life

    Liebster Award

    Catherine at Based on the Book tagged me with the Liebster Award. I always love any sort of tag, it means someone else did part of the brainwork for a blog post, lol. And continuing with my laziness, I’m not going to think of questions or tag people, but if you want to answer her questions, she included anyone who wanted in her tag.

    1. Which book have you re-read the most and why?

    I wish I’d kept better track of my rereads. I know I’ve read Pride and Prejudice at least 3 times I think. And HP too. But I’ve also read North and South three times, at least. And that is definitely more of an accomplishment I think. I want to read that one again, it is just so rich and ripe for analysis (I’ve written pages of my impressions of it). Plus its alway interesting to compare books with period drama adaptations (the reward of watching North and South was the catalyst of my first reading and rewatching inspired at least one if not both rereads).

    2. Which Hogwarts house would you put yourself in?

    Ravenclaw all the way. I’d be wishing for Ravenclaw like Harry wished against Slytherin. But I’d also have to wish against Slytherin as well. I’m not sneaky, but I’m not . . . well nice, good, whatever. I consider it a great accomplishment if I ever attain a neutral, bare minimum level of civility that would probably only be considered so in another unfriendly country.

    3. What is your favourite fictional friendship?

    I’m sure I have more but Sarah Jane and Mabel from Grandma’s Attic popped into mind, since their friendship was the main focus of those stories. Childhood best friends who get into scrapes together from tiny children to adults is always a fun plot.

    4. If you could bring back one TV show/series what would it be?

    Well, I think most shows need to end well before they do. And I don’t mean just are long US shows, Sherlock crashed and burned after two seasons, imho. So I’d prefer to go back in time and redo That 70’s Show, putting Jackie and Hyde together sooner. Cutting out lazy shock plotlines. Keeping Eric and Donna as good characters and sucking all the creepyness out of Fez and working in the truly good bits from the older seasons (there were some good burns). And fitting everything in 4 or 5 seasons.

    5. Which historical figure would you like to read a book about?

    I’m FAR more interested in time periods than individual people. Probably someone who had a mysterious end, I’d want to know what actually happened?

    6. Who was the last fictional character you fell in love with?

    I was in a little in love with the leading men in my some of my favorite Mary Stewart and M.M. Kaye books, but I think Max from This Rough Magic was my favorite.

    7. What’s your go-to karaoke song?

    Can’t sing and have never done karaoke.

    8. Which Disney princess/character was your childhood favourite?

    I watched Lion King, Pocahontes, Jungle Book, and Cinderella, were I think major features in my childhood. I know we owned Beauty and the Beast, at least I think we did. But for some reason, I don’t remember that one being watched as much. Maybe it was. But I think the first three made a bigger impression, which is funny, since I was already afraid of my own shadow as a child, perhaps that was the fascination.

    9. Listening to any good podcasts lately?

    Yes, sort of, I’m picky and moody. I have a podcast post in the works.

    10. Have you read any Charles Dickens and do you have any recommendations? (I feel like it’s time I read one.)

    I’ve read most of them. They do feel like a lot of work because they were serials and you definitely feel it. They are also very glum in setting, tone, etc. And well, it’s hard to like/relate to a lot of the heroines (usually the love interests of the heroes), namby-pamby or goody-goody Victorian as portrayed by a Victorian man.

    I also feel like everyone is very opinionated about their individual favorites, I mean it’s highly individual. You could always start with the more famous. Tale of Two Cities is a fav for many (I haven’t read it in years) and it’s short. But I personally think Nicholas Nickleby is a more fun one plus it has at least two recent adaptations one of which features a baby Hiddleston as a minor character. I think that Little Dorrit is also a good one with a wonderful adaptation, and less stereotyped, more full whole person characters including the heroine.

    I feel like I’m due a reread. I’m more of a Trollope person myself since starting the Barchester chronicles. I wonder why he’s not as famous? He is definitely more, refined I guess? More dry sarcasm, more realism in the gentry and nobility in the country rather than lowerclasses in London Less caricature and more foible based.

    11. Any fun websites you like to waste time on?

    Besides Youtube (probably could make a favorite youtubes page and post) which is a weak substitute for good old-fashioned blogs and my few favorite blogs (I need to update my list), and Instagram which is an excellent substitute for facebook, Pinterest, and ah, the WHO and CDC for obvious reasons . . . I resorted to my history which gave me shopping sites (from crafts and historical fashion to shoes and Amazon), banking and cc sites, and following my random interests/trains of thoughts on Google, apparently nothing very interesting. Oh, wait, Spotify (for podcasts mostly at the moment) and Audible (I should do a post on that soon too), have saved my sanity at work for most of my time there although I can’t focus on much at the moment).

    I should (I get to, I was listening to a podcast that said to reframe in grateful terms, I get to work, I get to learn, etc., especially apropos now) use:

    Seterra (that excellent geography site I keep forgetting about even though I have it bookmarked)

    Bluprint (formerly Craftsy, I have tons of purchased classes)

    Creativebug (I have few purchased glasses)

    Duolingo (I’m currently making Duo very sad)

    CodeAcademy (no time like the present to learn to new tech skills).

    Any suggestions? I know lots of services/sites/apps are offering free trials during this social distancing/quarantine period (and oh, it WILL be much longer, my sister keeps saying, “when I graduate” and “when I go back to school” her senior year is ruined). I’d like to make a list of those too.

  • Reading

    Jane Austen’s Leading Men or Heroes Ranked (Tentatively)

    Thinking about this after Katie’s comment on this post. But I’m due for rereads, so I may have to revisit this post. I know my top two. Also, movie portrayals matter, I watched many of the movies before reading and have watched the films many times sense. I think with many of the characters, the book leaves some openness in interpreting the characters (not all of them), actually, to me the some of the most famous (Darcy, Knightley, and Brandon) are that way. Because they are older/more reserved maybe?

    1. Captain Wentworth. Decisive, military, passionate, I do have to wonder though, how well this would work in reality. I mean does a Marianne-type character work with admittedly something of the male-equivalent in intensity.

    2. Henry Tilney funny, kind, honorable. This I know would work for me in reality.

    Now for the others. I do think I’d pick Mr. Knightley next (or would I?), but I’d prefer John Knightley from the 2008 Emma. That smart-aleck and family loyal character is absolutely my style. I’m not sure what I think of Knightly, I’m not sure he’s as clearly defined, all the movie versions are sort of accurate in a way, but also not. He can seem a bit too, puppy-dog, like trailing after Emma which I don’t like. So maybe I would pick Bingley next although. Bingley and Edward Ferrars I kind of group together. I have difficulty respecting them, and I’m afraid I’d steam role right over them, but I’d pick them over the melancholy Brandon, or the boring (!) Darcy.

    Bingley, precious and sweet but too easily led. But he doesn’t do anything wrong, and he does come back without prompting, I think, although with some hints maybe, or encouragement after seeing Lizzie. My understanding was Darcy said something to him after he came back, but like I said I’m due for a reread.

    Edward Ferrars. Grow a spine dude. It’s not honorable to love another and stay engaged, sorry, that isn’t actual faithfulness. However, he is funny.

    Edmund Bertram. Ah, Edmund, I loved you so much until I despised you so much. And yet, I still think I’d want him before Colonel Brandon. I mean if Edmund hadn’t fallen for Mary, or at least for that long and so hard. Early Edmund would be closer to the top.

    Darcy. I belong to the Darcy is overrated club.

    Colonel Brandon. I’m afraid the unfairly ancient and/or slimy casting of Colonel Brandon has forever tainted him to me. If Matthew McFadyen had played him (ala Arthur Clennam) as I think would have been ideal. I think he needed to be brought to life in such a way as too make him appealing. He’s too melancholy a person for me ideally.

  • Culture and Entertainment,  Reading

    What I Read and Watched: October 2019

    I’m rather burned out and unmotivated. I barely read, watched a few Hallmarks (not really in the mood for many of these this year thankfully, but really read for old favorites for Christmas).

    Books

    The Dream Stealer by Sid Fleischman. Uninspiring kids’ book.

    The Queen’s Secret by Jessica Day George. A middle-grade book that as I was reading caused me to feel like I picked up a middle book . . . I had. I’m interested to a least skim the next whenever it comes out, but not really super inspired to read the first one though.

    From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg. Middle-grade, okay, reminded me of the much more interesting How to Steal a Million.

    Movies

    Clueless. So, way raunchier than I was expecting (I guess I didn’t realize it was 90’s or think much further about that). I could have done without that. All the 90’s Valley Girl talk was hilarious though, at least I assume that is what some of it was anyway. Everyone’s accent sounded Northeastern though. The driving part is funny. Cher is funny. Cher’s friend’s boyfriend who is trying to be all ganster but has braces, that was a hilarious. The “Mr. Martin” and “Harriet” are adorbs. I generally find the modern version cuter, apparently since I loved Martin and Harriet in Emma Approved, better even than Knightley and Emma.

    I wanted to like it, but between skipping because of the scratches on the dvd and my boredom, my trying to do a million things at the same time and finish the movie before family and guests got home from church (Sunday, what a great day to watch a movie like this . . .) and the changes in the plot and far too fast plot, I was disappointed. I will try it again, but yeah. Not near as much “Mr. Knightley” as there was in the book, plus making “Frank” gay completely changed the plot. In Emma, Mr. Knightley is jealous of Frank before anyone meet him, Emma is building him up as the perfect man, there is tons of flirtation, and he generally is the cause of Mr. Knightley realizing he loves Emma, going away to try to get over it, the ultimate avowal of love etc. Yeah, that falls terrible flat in the movie. The “Mr. Elton” guy has more of a point than the “Frank” while I think that Frank holds a slightly bigger role in the book. All that contributed to the flat, rushed ending.