• Reading

    Gross “Heroes”: Mr. Rochester

    I’m sure there has got to be other people who didn’t fall madly in love with Mr. Rochester, right? Right?!

    I didn’t understand the Jane Eyre obsession. I grew up super sheltered, I couldn’t understand why what I saw as an adultery story was so popular among the strict people I knew. I still find that part odd, I think they probably loved Jane’s courage in following her conscience first (that is the part where I have the most respect for her).

    When I finally did read Jane Eyre, it was right after I read Wuthering Heights, which I think was just way more my cup of tea at that point.* I was around 17 or 18. I’m a Marianne (who is close to Cathy Earnshaw) NOT a Elinor (who is close to a Jane Eyre), and I was at my most Marianne-est. Also my ideal type then was probably something along the Captain Wentworth lines, Aquila from Lantern Bearers, the bitter, strong, still waters run deep type which is how I saw the younger Heathcliff, I guess.

    I did enjoy reading Jane Eyre though, more than I expected. However, I didn’t like much less love Mr. Rochester. I feel like there was a lot of Mr. Rochester swooning where I read or hear of books. Just the way he was described put with his personality and age, he just wasn’t my type at all. I just didn’t get the hype. I was also no fan of Jane, I will never love the goody-goody types. I also found St. John (more like my type in the sort of quiet intensity way) more interesting than Rochester, probably in part because he irritated Jane who was, to me, disgustingly sappy over Rochester who didn’t deserve it. Oh, yeah, Rochester was grossly sappy, that was probably a major turn off to me, at least now, that may have been part of it then as well? All I know is that I never cast him as my hero in my mind.

    I can’t remember, but I think I may have watched the Ciarán Hinds version (and I was obsessed with that actor then) during this period.

    When I reread the book later, I appreciated the story more, and I think perhaps Mr. Rochester didn’t scare me as much? I think when I read it again, I was in the middle of trying to compare multiple movie versions (and I was QUITE attracted to Toby Stephens who didn’t look like the book Rochester, and I just loved his attitude). I found parts funny, but I definitely didn’t like the essence of the book Mr. Rochester or many of the movie versions (Ciarán Hinds now seemed goofy to me) as a hero of my type.

    I think even later I tried to reread it a third time, and by this point the age difference appeared QUITE creepy. He’s a 35 old (yet he always seem to be old to me no matter my age, just the way he is described, probably also compared to my naivete in terms of general experience) after an 18 year old (one of my sisters was near that age then). And yeah, combined with his domineering attitude, not great vibes. And they were just so goopily, sappily gross with each other.

    So the age difference, there are pretty big age difference in Jane Austen. Emma was at least 21, that in terms of maturity can be quite a big jump from 18, don’t love that difference, especially since Knightley was an adult when she was born, and they knew each other. The worst was Marianne. She was 16 or 17 when she and Colonel Brandon met, he was 35. However, in these type of old books the girls are presented as adult,** in that time period they would have been considered so, they seem fairly mature in the case of Emma and Jane, so that can lessen the creepiness ever so slightly. Also none of the movie portrayals ever really show the age difference as it really is.

    I think for some reason the Rochester age difference comes across as waaay creepier than even Marianne and Brandon. I think part of this because Brandon was so straight-laced and reserved and respectful while Rochester is creepy period even were there no age difference. Also, Jane is in his household, is alone in the world, and is seemingly under a fascination/obsession with him which doesn’t feel deserved. Plus, like I said, Rochester, no matter my age, feels older. He is very cosmopolitan, very worldly, written in a way to very much show the age difference (of course Brandon feels older as well . . . because he’s dry as dust)

    Rochester is creepy, obsessive, licentious, completely unrepentant over his many sins, very patronizing and controlling and yet makes himself out as the victim quite often. Ew, no thank you.

     

     

     

    *When I reread the books several years later I could see that Emily Brontë just didn’t have the same talent or at least didn’t develop it as well as Charlotte, the writing quality is markedly lower in Wuthering Heights than Jane Eyre.

    **I find it hard to believe that any possible historical maturity differences could be that great, brains don’t finish developing into the early twenties, and I believe puberty was quite a bit later in older times, at least for the lower classes with malnutrition. Could a “woman” of 18 (which wasn’t always the age of adulthood, for awhile it was 21, I think it switched back and forth for awhile) really have the same intellectual and emotional maturity as a 35 year old man, does it really seem like a good arrangement to have that kind of imbalance? What does that say about the type of man as regards his character and ego that he wants that? It is at best vaguely creepy at worst predatory. And then there are the older women whose only potential husbands are going after barely adults. And the young women, who haven’t been encouraged to look very far in the future by greedy parents or bad circumstances, they have to live with an old man or as a widow at a young age, especially since aging then was far faster than now!

  • Reading

    Favorite Love at First Sight Couples

    I’m linking up here to Cordy’s Lovely Blog Party.

    So, I’ve done, Friends to Lovers, Enemies/Frenemies to Lovers, and now for the oft-maligned, highly suspect love at first sight couples. I think this is best done when it is attraction at first sight (often the other tropes have this but its unequal or there is also enmity at first sight) sans any complicating factors that develops quite quickly into love.

    Also, there is a version of this type that features a huge amount of humor and/or suspense. So, lots of Georgette Heyer and Mary Stewart novels and some M.M. Kaye mysteries.

    Peter and Donna in A Tangled Web are both a fun, interesting love story, yet at the same time poking fun at this trope just a bit. Of course there is a real parody of this bit with the Jocelyn and Hugh situation. That book is a comedy gem.

    More serious and sweet pairings:

    • Lord Bradford and Azalea in Entwined.
    • The Ordinary Princess and her “Apprentice” in The Ordinary Princess.
    • Similarly Cinderella and Kit in the live action Cinderella.
    • Danielle and Henry in Ever After.
    • I think Linden and Rob in Rebel and Arrow. My 2nd favorite couple in this trilogy and the related duology who get the least amount of time.

    Any well-know, well-loved, respected (aka, NOT Romeo and Juliet, lol) couples that I missed?

  • Reading

    My Favorite Couples with Hilarious Love Moments

    I’m linking up to Cordy’s Lovely blog party here.

    Harry and Ginny in Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince

    Ginny pined for Harry for awhile and then took steps to move in with her life. Harry got over Cho and then it was his turn to pine (oh how the turn tables). When I ship a couple I often love the dramatic jealousy bits, and Harry is ridiculous, I think he needed to suffer a bit after Ginny need.

    Book 6 is emotionally tumultuous with all the love triangles and fighting, the especial amount trouble with Snape, Ron’s Quidditch drama, all of this culminates for Harry when he, the team captain misses the final Quidditch game due to detention.A

    Then he walks in to the common room and hears they’ve won, and he kisses Ginny right in front of everyone in the midst of the jubilation, and its just such a perfect moment.

    Harry’s crush on Cho and Ginny’s crush on him were always so public plus they are both pretty confident, popular people, I just loved that their moment was so public and triumphant. . . in contrast to the unbelievably milksop scene in the movie. The movies did Ginny an injustice in the way they portrayed her, she’s useless.

    Peter and Donna in  The Tangled Web

    They are both so dramatic, she’s doing the crushed forever faithful widow bit with her cousin, he’s doing the manly outdoor, woman hating type.

    He’s outdoors and she’s stuck indoors at that absurd gathering, both probably bored out of their minds. Then they lock eyes and fall in love in a moonstruck madness love at first glance melodramatic parody way.

    They aren’t super young which makes is so much funnier about how dramatic they are including with their later fight. They are my favorite part about that hilarious book. LM Montgomery has a way of taking people who at first glance are trying to be a stereotype and then showing them to be acting ridiculous and knowing they are acting ridiculous and not caring a bit and choosing to go their own way.

    Perry and Ilse in Emily’s Quest

    Perry had a school boy’s crush on Emily while Ilse always liked him and continually fought with and berated him. I think Perry got over the crush by high school and simply remained stubbornly determined to have Emily because he set his mind to it.

    Ilse on the other hand, pretended to get over Perry and never let it slip for decades even to Emily that she loved him. Emily let it slip to Perry when it was “too late.”

    I just love the set up, Ilse on her wedding day (why oh why couldn’t it have been to some random man, let’s not think to hard about this monstrosity) hears that Perry’s been killed and hightails it to the hospital in her wedding dress, where after finding out he was hurt not killed, she declares that she will marry him.

    It’s just perfectly fitting for both of them, neither of them exactly follow society’s expectations. Loud, dramatic, causes a huge scene and scandal at the non wedding, just generally an awesome wrap up.

    Teddy and Bramble in Entwined

    Brash Bramble and jovial Teddy. Another love bit where she “hates” him because she’s not romantic, and he’s just so, doofy and their is just so much trouble in her life.

    It culminates when he does something noble and then declares his love while being snubbed. When she realizes the truth, she jumps at him and a magic rug swallows them both. It’s quite the scene.

    “Rather!”

    Meg March and John Brooke in Little Women

    Less dramatic and more mischievous. I love how Meg starts off declaring she’s going to calmly refuse John then loses her nerve straight off once he actually shows up.

    And then he shows himself too smug and gets snubbed for it.

    Aunt March barges in and then Meg’s mood changes again contrarily and of course John hears it all, and Jo comes down to rejoice over John’s rout only to find Meg on his knee.

    Just the moments, the prose, the humor, one of my favorite bits of Little Women.

  • Reading

    Top Ten Tuesday: One of My Favorite Romantic Tropes: The Bantering or Clashing Couple

    Now, this is totally overdone I realize. I also feel sure I’ve done a similar post, maybe even for Top Ten Tuesday, I really don’t care though.

    I’m also linking up to Cordy’s Lovely Blog party, I think this fits.

    I’m not talking about the couples who amateur writes try to make bantering or fighting coupes, where they are just people who are petty fighting and have no chemistry and would probably bicker with a lot of people. I’m talking about a variety from guys who tease (I also just tend to like guys who tease) to equally witty banter to occasionally genuine clashing. But the key? The outrageous chemistry between the two. You can have fight couples without chemistry. In no particular order of favorites:

    1. Obviously, the originals Benedick and Beatrice.
    2. Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane in the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries.
    3. Mara and Sheftu in Mara, Daughter of the Nile.
    4. Ron and Hermione. I was thinking about how people have said Rowling later said it should have been Hermione and Harry or have themselves said why not Harry and Hermione. Ron and Hermione had a chemistry from the start, yeah the sparks were negative, but they were sparks, Harry just didn’t have the same reaction. He and Hermione had zero chemistry, absolutely sibling vibes, with Hermione as the elder sister. He was open and close with Hermione in a way that had no awkwardness or embarrassment because there was zero attraction, there was nothing there to hide, while Ron and Hermione kind of like circled around each other warily emotionally because there was an undercurrent of something they didn’t at first want to or know how to deal with. And also, I just love Harry and Ginny together (actually my favorite HP couples I think), and again, I think there was something there with them, yes Ginny’s crush, but when Harry finally woke up, they had amazing chemistry, their personalities were just so right for each other.
    5. Jo and Laurie, yes, I know they aren’t a couple, but their chemistry and closeness! And this is why I ship them!
    6. Perry and Ilse in the Emily books.
    7. For the same reason Jeffrey and Skye in the Penderwicks.
    8. Mr. Thornton and Margaret. Now, they don’t have the banter aspect, until a bit towards the end, but man, do they have the chemistry, and I’m talking about the book
    9. Now, lots of Georgette Heyer (most of them really) feature a bantering couple, but Charles and Sophy are a standout, they don’t fall into her hugely stereotype couples, and so I think The Grand Sophy is one of her better novels.
    10. Sophie and Howl in Howl’s Moving Castle.

    Now, you could put Darcy and Elizabeth down as being one of these couples, but um, they aren’t at all in my favorites, and really, its hard to use the word “chemistry” in connection with a lot of Austen couples, except of course Captain Wentworth.

  • Reading

    What I Read: January 2021

    I reread the first four Harry Potter books, reading my sister’s illustrated copies. I’m going to wait to purchase my own set once they’ve all come out. These editions are amazing. They definitely give you a strong sense of place and atmosphere.

    I read The Shadow of the Wind. This did NOT give me a strong sense of place in the way I wanted. It was very atmospheric though. I won’t be continuing with the series. The writing is excellent comparably, but I just can’t justify the content, in every sensitive area it felt gratuitous.

    I’ve decided that I needed to finish at least one book for every Harry Potter book I read. I think perhaps, I need to do that with any rereads, and maybe bump it up to 2 or 3 books for every reread. Maybe once I get my hands on more new relaxing reads (which may have to be once I get a Kindle), I can increase that.

  • Reading

    The Charismatic Manipulator: Cynthia Kirkpatrick

    The 1st draft of this post has been lingering in my drafts for a year or two. I’m under 20 drafts, and I’m determined to clear them out as much as I can.

    I’ve noticed a round of defense of the popularly disliked characters which seem to includes some straw arguments for why those of us who dislike characters, dislike them. Susan, Cynthia (here is the post on Cynthia which spurred my post), Amy (I’ve done a post on Amy) dislike them? I like being contrary (ya think?!), so I’m going to develop why I’m bothered by Cynthia; I greatly dislike Amy, I have moral issues with Cynthia.

    I think that sometimes people don’t realize that its the characters (or people) that are portrayed as main or sympathetic that get the most ire, because their faults and sins are glossed over. I think most everyone thinks characters like Mr. Preston are villains, he isn’t given a bit of sympathy, he’s very simply bad. Not much need for discussion. Similarly with the newest Mrs. Gibson. Also, both of them get their come-uppance, often in quite satisfyingly hilarious ways, and they aren’t super popular either in the book or with readers. I doesn’t seem to me to be very important or nearly as interesting to discuss characters I see as obviously bad.

    There are many characters I find obnoxious in Wives and Daughters, I want to strangle Squire Hamley most of the time. I want to throttle Dr. Gibson for falling for that sneak. I want to clobber Roger for falling for shallowness (I love when Osbourne calls him out on this!). To me, however, Cynthia is the worst because:

    1. The nature of her sins and faults
    2. Her sins faults get defended not merely by herself but many other characters and readers
    3. She never either gets a come-uppance or has real repentance
    The nature of her sins and faults

    She is extremely selfish, and gets away with it in ways that no one else does. Everything she does, even her “unselfish” acts towards Molly are done because its what she wants to do, nothing to do with conscience.

    When characters (or people) are pointed out as being selfish, people often rush in with the fallacious, “but everyone is.”

    1. I’m not talking about everyone, I’m pointing out one character, clearly I see this character as being more selfish
    2. Everyone is not equally selfish,  there is a wide spectrum of selfishness
    3. Other people’s sins don’t justify one’s own sins

    She’s dishonest and in an especially deceptive way. She’s selectively honest (aka, falsely honest), in the way the that shows up so people think she’s fundamentally honest, which is not in fact honesty at all. And its not a repentant honesty, it’s the (oh, my favorite), “This is just the way I am” sort. She uses “honesty” as deception and manipulation.

    She minimizes her faults into non-existence by turning the tables and focusing on other’s faults, blaming Molly and Mr. Gibson, when she was totally or majorly in the wrong. In the case of Mr. Preston whose age, lack of character, and position puts him in the major part of the wrong, she uses that to pretend she was totally without fault and also to excuse acting wrongly towards other people.

    She uses people. She charms people and plays on their emotions for her own ends. She claims to care for Molly yet what she really means is she likes Molly better than others. She still uses Molly like a tool.

    She’s manipulative. Everything turns to her own end, her selfishness, her charm, her playing on other’s emotions, her manipulating circumstances, her vanity of her “character,” her blame-shifting, her victim playing.

    These are not simply garden variety faults, but rather sins of a narcissistic and sociopathic tinge.

    Her sins faults get defended not merely by herself but many other characters and readers

    I’ve always fell firmly in the anti-Cynthia camp, I know people who tried to defend her, and quite frankly, that makes me like her less. To me I see this as turning a blind eye to a not good person, to enabling that person, to enabling this sort of thing in the real world. It’s like another layer of deception on an artistically laid intricate system of respectable sins.

    She never either gets a come-uppance or has real repentance

    She is fairly popular and leads a rather charmed life. When she is confronted (in private usually), she manages to turn it against the person and paint herself as a victim. She leads on one very silly boy and one good man (Mr. Preston cancels himself out, so I’m not including him). She nearly destroys Molly’s life by using her as a tool and then waltzes in and takes her man by wooing Roger (don’t think I’m letting Roger off the hook for being such a Dodo) simply because she wants to get married and be “independent.” She manages to get what she wants in life (an obedient husband who would never say anything negative to her and wealth) by the end without any qualms of conscience.

     

  • Reading

    My Favorite Narnia Books

    I’m trying to go through my drafts again, especially since I’m seemingly devoid of many opinions or post ideas that aren’t complaining at the moment. This should have been finished last fall closer to when I finished rereading the last Narnia book.

    I left a comment on a post somewhere that I thought would make a decent blog post draft, and I finally finished my rereading of Narnia. I wanted to measure what I used to think about the books vs. this reread.

    My Dad read these twice to us when I was a child and preteen. I “think” I read all of them on my own as an adult.. So my favorites have to do with nostalgia and how I felt as a child as well. Dad read them, I think, in the order they were published? Anyway, he started with The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. I loved it, and the Horse and His Boy. I hated Prince Caspian at first because everything was changed, but love The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. The Silver Chair, The Last Battle, and The Magician’s Nephew freaked me out.

    When I wrote the comment I mentioned my favorites are still The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, The Horse and His Boy, and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I said that I’d warmed up to Prince Caspian since the first shock, and that I loved aspects  of The Silver Chair, The Last Battle, and possibly The Magician’s Nephew, but I felt that they are “colder” and “darker” and that I thought this was partially the overall atmosphere/tone of the books and plot and partially the emphasis on fewer people.

    Since then, I’ve read all the books in story chronological order (I think I may have done that a years back, but I’m not certain) in 2019-2020, and I feel that what I’ve always said about my favorites and least favorites is generally true, but I feel like the differences between are more extreme. Also, I’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster recently, so this is based on my moods when reading.

    I do have an absolute favorite: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I just felt my spirits soar and my heart sing when I read this book in a way the other couldn’t do. I think that I didn’t enjoy The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe as much, I certainly dragged on that one, perhaps its too familiar; I felt like I enjoyed Prince Caspian more! I know that The Horse and His Boy fell from being equal with The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. 

    I think that perhaps The Magician’s Nephew is less dislike and more apathy while I feel like I actively disliked The Silver Chair while still liking the characters Jill and Eustace. The book is just so dull, dark, and dreary. The Last Battle is just . . . sad, it’s just a sad book (does Narnia really have to end?) . . . and boring at the same time. But again, I like some of the characters, King Tirian and Jill and Eustace and the old favorites who show up. I think I’d have to say The Last Battle is my least favorite because is just so sad.

    I’m thinking that next time I don’t want to reread my least favorites, maybe only reread my favorite 4 or maybe just the (in Narnia chronological order) the first 5, ending on a high note with my favorite rather than a low note with my two least favorites.

    So after my most recent rereads my favorites list is something like this:

    The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

    Prince Caspian and The Horse and His Boy

    The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe

    The Magician’s Nephew

    The Silver Chair

    The Last Battle 

  • Reading

    Sunshine Blogger Award

    McKayla tagged me for the Sunshine Blogger Award. And as usual, I’m quite timely.

    What genre was the last movie you watched? What are your three favorite movies in said genre?

    Hallmark, but I’m not going to count that. I think non-Hallmark is Princess Diaries which is I guess modern Rom-Com. At the moment, that is one of my three, Leap Year, and Clueless.

    If you were to attend Hogwarts, which subject do you think you’d be best at?

    I’m not sure. I’d like to be good at Charms, Potions, and Defense Against the Dark Arts. But I think I’m rather too impatient to have stable success in Potions (I’d probably do great one time and abysmal the next) and too chicken for Defense. I’d like to think I’d be great at Charms, but I’m a history person and major, so I’m guessing History of Magic. Fascinating skill, I know.

    Would you play Quidditch? If so, what position?

    Honestly, I think Quidditch, if we could get the hovercraft/flying thing down with science, would be a super cool game in actual fact. I think I could play any position. I’m thinking Beater although you don’t want me as one, I’d probably seriously hurt someone.

    Favorite fantasy subgenre?

    Low fantasy. By which I mean where there is a distinct real world and a distinct fantasy world. I consider magical realism as different, its a small level of magic in the real world.

    What is a book that you think should have a movie adaptation?

    I’m rather afraid of what Hollywood filmmakers do to stories. I used to trust BBC more, but lately they’ve been doing ludicrous things to film adaptations as well I feel. Also, I feel like a lot of my favorite authors have had a least one of their works turned into a movie. If a non-cheesy, non melodramatic (melodrama ruins dramatic effect) independent company could do a movie, I think Mara, Daughter of the Nile would make a good film.

    What is a book that you think shouldn’t have had a movie adaptation?

    The Eagle of the Ninth. In fact, I’m rather glad it’s forgettably bad. Stay away from Sutcliff all ye sacrilegious filmmaker story ruiners.

    What is your favorite type of donut [man, now these are just getting weird]?

    Chocolate glazed yeast doughnuts. Granulated sugar yeast doughnut twists are good to, as well as the boxed chocolate with sour cream cake doughnut holes.

    Does Aaron Samuels’ hair look sexy pushed back?

    I’ve not seen that movie, and that actor is gay, and he looks it, so he’s not attractive to me.

    If you had to spend 24 hours locked in an elevator with three fictional characters to keep you company, which three characters would they be?

    Jack Sparrow, Kusco, and Chandler. Can you imagine?!!!

    Or maybe Chandler, Ross, and Joey just to listen to them and their responses to the situation.

    If you could rule the world for enough time to make one law that everyone had to follow, what would that law be?

    Something along the lines of mind your own business or leave everyone else alone. I think that should knock out quite a few of the worst evils (murdering or raping someone is about as much getting in their business as you can get) as well as the worst annoyances all at one blow.

    What is your love language?
    Quality time I think. Specifically, quality discussions.

  • Reading

    Why Do I Dislike Amy March but Admire Anne Shirley?

    There are many characters who on the surface look the same, they are elegant, have high standards, popular, live a charmed life in many ways, but they get such different reactions from me. For example, Anne Shirley, who I like and would like to be more like, and Amy March who I resent.

    The Amy characters seem to have everything handed to them (and are very spoiled) without, in my opinion being very interesting while I think Anne type characters earn their way far more often of the time.

    Also, I feel like Amy was a “told” character rather than a “shown” character. And well, I don’t think she ever learned to laugh at herself. Anne did learn to laugh at herself. Anne had dignity and could be offended by presumption, but I always sided with Anne while I always thought Amy a spoiled snot.

    However, I should note, that I feel that Anne turns into more of an Amy type in the later books when the focus is on her children, she’s not Anne Shirley any more who is hard working and earns her way, I feel like the writing portrays her more as a haughty lady of leisure, who sits above it all and offers judgement. Also, I don’t like Rilla very much at first, Rilla is very much an Amy March type character.

  • Reading

    American Literature and Reevaluating My Reading Standards

    I know lots of people discuss reading broader globally, moving about of Western Lit if they have thoroughly read Western Lit which doesn’t seem the case for most people, good and well. I however, don’t even read that broad. I’ve barely read my own nation’s literature, and what I’ve read . . . I . . . do not love.

    I like some children’s/ya sort of literature (Alcott, To Kill a Mockingbird) and plenty of middle grade from the U.S. but most of my adult classic reading is British. I wouldn’t describe myself as an Anglophile in the way many people do, who seem to portray England exactly the same as during the heyday of the classics. I love the literature and the history, in part because well, like many Americans, it is my history and when it diverges, it is my cousin’s history so to speak. I’ve no desire to be British, nevertheless, I’m definitely rather an American’s American in many respects.

    But I do not love our literature. Don’t misunderstand me, I do have some respect for it for some aspects of some of it (I think, perhaps the wordsmithery and that is it), but I don’t understand the tone of it at all. Its so incredibly depressing and fatalistic and that doesn’t seem to fit the overall tone of our nation throughout history. For example, I can understand that sort of tone in Russian Literature. I can’t find any bright spots or hopefulness ever in Russian history. But we at least have always acted like everything was hunky dory whether it was or not. And fatalism seems the opposite to our can do attitude for much of history. It is also, in my opinion extremely boring and depressing to read. And all the literature I’ve come across from America is fatalistic.

    Tied to this fatalism and glumness is a total lack of humor/awareness/sense of the ludicrous. I think lots of people know that when you take everything as humor, nothing is serious, but I think that when everything is serious, nothing is. I don’t think that there needs to be objective humor per se, but there is a sort of connected attribute of self-awareness, a sense of the ludicrous, that without which, serious perspectives come across as bland and pompous and possibly ludicrous. Ethan  Frome layers on so many tragedies of such a self-imposed type and in a way that by the end, I’m disgusted, not empathetic. And if that was all truly supposed to be serious, its absolutely a ludicrous story.

    Earlier this year when I was bingeing the Speaking with Joy podcast, she had a quote by Chesterton. I believe it had to have been this one. I can’t verify that it was Chesterton, but all the same, whoever said it it sums this point up perfectly

    “Humor can get in under the door while seriousness is still fumbling at the handle.”

    American literature will never have my love, but I have felt that I needed to read more. You ought to read more than just what you love, and I am after all, American. So, I’ve put authors on my list. I’d read some short stories I found interesting by Faulkner and Hemingway. I picked up  The Sound and The Fury. Yeah, that was a no. I did a bit of research on his other work and dropped Faulkner. Maybe the two short stories are enough. I then eventually picked up Hemingway, and slogged my way through two works and got mired in a third. I had thought that because they were so short, I would read all the fairly famous ones anyway. Mulling it over, I decided, that that was enough. I don’t enjoy his stories, nor do I think I need to dwell on them. All of his characters are sociopaths, anyone with feelings is portrayed as weak in addition to the fatalism. I don’t really think that that is a great thing to absorb in addition to my not enjoying them. I’ve had a taste. That is enough.

    I then decided, that I’d try to try one of each fairly famous American author’s works. I don’t have to read all their works, I don’t even have to read the most famous of their works. Getting a taste of their work is good enough, perhaps in fact may be too much.

    Recently my sister mentioned reading a Flannery O’Conner novel and feeling like she shouldn’t be reading it, it was something about a pastor who wasn’t a Christian but was still preaching. I feel like that is another aspect to Am Lit. That of focusing on really disturbing things and people. Or at least some of them like O’Conner (I’ve not read hers, that is the impression I’ve received from what little I’ve heard), Faulkner, and Hemingway. I remember in high school Am Lit that the focus was on short stories and they were all horrible, so I assumed all short stories were that way. Why is this such a focus?! And should I be reading this stuff? Maybe a short story is the only taste I should have, if any of such authors.

    I guess, tread warily will be my goal.

  • Reading

    What I Read: October 2020

    I read a whopping 3 books and two of those were rereads.

    An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott. I just was not feeling the fiction I had from the library, and I really wanted a comfort read.

    Busman’s Honeymoon by Dorothy Sayers. I dragged out this one since August. Not sure I was in the right frame of mind.

    Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know by Malcolm Gladwell. Not sure how to process this. The first story, didn’t make sense with the title, but the next explanation of his process and the next story, I started to think, “Ok, this is about how we don’t read people nearly as well as we thought.”

    Eventually the stories started being about his analysis of the stories and what went wrong but wasn’t really tied to his point, and these stories were trigger warning crime scandals we’ve all heard of, so basically horrid events that I could see less and less a connection with his alleged thesis. And I don’t see how the suicide and coupling one had even the reading people aspect of it at.

    Then I wasn’t so convinced of his alleged point, what even he meant By the end, I was wondering “What is this about, where is the point?” and feeling nasty for those stories. By the end of the book I’d forgotten the alleged thesis, it was so off track. He had a small section trying to tie his disparate side thesis or rather other peoples theses he had been exploring to the reading people bit, but it all felt random and nothing was really explained. So allegedly we misread people and don’t realize it, have a nice life. There was absolutely no hope or help besides the not really having a point most of the time

    I had some perspectives/stats/theories (the drinking and suicide and coupling) that were interesting and good to learn, but know I don’t think I am convinced of all those (for this nondrinker the blackout stuff was enlightening), and again, those were side theories not the alleged main point of the book. I would not recommend. I think someone so high in esteem should write more responsibly about serious subjects. I was interested in reading more of his work, now I’m not going to.

     

  • Reading

    Disney Prince Tag

    Alison from Alison’s Well tagged me a few weeks ago. Here’s the link to her original post.

    It’s taken me awhile to figure out some good ones, I wanted to try to get as many lesser know characters as I could . . . not sure that really worked. I’ve not watched enough movies, and I need to read more and maybe less to type or more lesser known works.

    PRINCE FLORIAN – A Character Who Stumbles Into Things

    Timothy stumbles into the world of faeries in Rebel book 2 of Faerie Rebels.

    PRINCE CHARMING – A Character Who Looks Past The Exterior Of Those Around Him.

    Jip (in the book of the same name) and his friend who does it for him. People cast out together have to do that or they will be just like those who cast them out. Read this book without any prior knowledge, it is WAY more impactful that way.

    PRINCE PHILLIP – A Character Who Fights For Those He Cares About

    Aquila in Lantern Bearers. The problem is, sometimes he doesn’t know when to stop fighting or who to stop fighting or how to stop fighting, in his heart and soul.

    PRINCE ERIC – A Character Who Fulfills The “Dreamy Soft Boy” Trope.

    Peeta Mellark, I mean who else.

    THE BEAST – A Beastly Character Who Is Redeemed

    If beastly can stand for “bad” because as you will see, my mention has a different style of bad. Read these books.

    Martin from Rebel (books 2 of Faerie Rebels by R.J. Anderson), Arrow (books 3 of Faerie Rebels Trilogy) by R.J. Anderson), Swift and Nomad (books 1 and 2 from the now named and finally to get a third book in the connected Flight and Fire Trilogy). I think this prompt feets Martin better than Scoundrel with A Heart of Gold. I think. You decide.

    Presumably he will also in be Torch (which from what I got from the Nomad will be a LOT about him, no spoilers) which will hopefully still be coming out next February 6 years after Nomad, I cannot WAIT!* Read these people!

    Oh, also, I bought all mine from Amazon UK, so they match and because Arrow, Swift, and Nomad weren’t given U.S. editions. Also Knife, the first book of all of them and Rebel have different names in the U.S. and The Flight and Fire trilogy are being redone. Did I mention, READ THEM?!

    ALADDIN – A Character Who Assumes A False Identity.

    Phaedrus in Mark of the Horse Lord. YOU have to find out. 

    JOHN SMITH – A Character Who Loves To Explore.

    Spiller in The Borrowers series. I had such a crush on him growing up.

    LI SHANG – A  Character Who Is A Tough, Military Leader.

    Alexios Flavius Aquila in Frontier Wolf

    FLYNN RYDER –  A Character Who Is A Scoundrel With A Heart Of Gold.

    Jack Sparrow.

    PRINCE NAVEEN –  A Character Who Undergoes A Transformation.

    Costi in Wildwood Dancing.

    KRISTOFF –   A Character Who Is A Down-To-Earth Hero.

    Jamie in Keeper of the Bees by Gene Stratton-Porter.

    EMPEROR KUZCO – A Character Who’s Obnoxious But Still Lovable.

    Ah, Kuzco. How could I get even close to Alison’s pick? Or to matching the pizzazz of Kuzco himself. Algernon Moncrieff maybe? Jack Sparrow also fits this.

     

     

     

    *The publishing industry . . . has problems, I know the author always had this book planned/written, and I know another series that got dropped, the Martha series about Laura Ingalls Wilder’s grandmother, that stuff is so irritating.