What I Read and Watched April

Yeah, I don’t think the quarterly options are going to work, I had to cut down what I wanted to say far too much for the first quarter. And this is going to be long for one month even though I read less than my average last three months. My sister got married at the end of the month, so yeah, my focusing ability ended about that week. I only watched one new to me movie that I can remember, the 1961 The Parent Trap, and we watched that twice and want to own, definitely recommend as its hilarious. And then I found the Studio C/Brooklyn and Bailey Parent Trap spoof.

Northanger Abbey
Pride and Prejudice

Yep, Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice are still my favorites. Pride and Prejudice is lighter and funnier and Persuasion is shorter and deeper than all the rest. I still don’t understand the worship of Darcy; his character isn’t that developed really. You get a clearer understanding of Captain Wentworth in the shorter book than you do of Darcy. I like Persuasion as a romance but Pride and Prejudice as an interesting read, the romance isn’t much (nor is it meant to be). Again, I still don’t think I understand the level of satire and sarcasm in these novels (and the wider JA culture seems to either not see it or refuse to see it; I mean, people, she literally mocked the type of fangirling and sentimentalism that goes on in her novels). And yet I’m disgusting with the excess of passion in some Brontë novels. Surely there is a balance between total mockery and total excess?! I’ve never had one favorite author anyway, but I think JA dropped out of the top years ago. When I first read them, it was really both my first foray into classics and into reading again. I was a very literal person then, and I enjoyed a period of history I didn’t know exist (well, clearly I knew it existed historically, but I mean culturally). Everything about the experience was novel. Plus, so many people had read or knew of and liked and discussed JA. I think we need more Dickens and Brontë and Gaskell and Alcott and Montgomery discussions.

Fridays with the Wizards by Jessica Day George
I read this out of order. This series is the poorest written and most juvenile of her books. Cute bu meh, is the best description.

Dear Enemy by Jean Webster. Some of this I liked, but the small fun parts mingled with obnoxiousness, inanity, repetitiveness and um, a SERIOUS strains of eugenics. Clears throat EUGENICS! Perhaps carelessly recommending it to my sisters wasn’t a good idea; I mean I don’t think I took this issue seriously enough.

Confident Pluralism: Surviving and Thriving through Deep Difference by John D. Inazu. Yeah, um not as good as his first (plus it lowers my appreciation of his first). I think his reasoning is both lazy and disingenuous. I think that he tried to please too many people or to protect his back plus he had some preaching to the choir. A few things make it two stars rather than one, his definition of pluralism and his call for civic duty. But again, the people that would listen aren’t the ones that are the major problem. I did have three stars but after talking about it with my dad and then looking over all my notes, my distaste deepened. Read The Intolerance of Tolerance. That book is intellectually sound.

Israel: A History by Martin Gilbert. I bumped this book down (from four stars to three) also after further thought. I also thought he was being intellectually dishonest in skimming over explanations and presuming knowledge (although Dad said British people would understand, I still think the terms he used were lazy and polarizing, particularly in a global world with such a subject) plus I thought his choice of style, narration with some overly specific details without explanation or background, was not the best. I’m not sure I consider this overly scholarly scholarly though the author is a historian. But what is deserving of applause is that he did not make the issue zero-sum.

Note: I’m trying to move my site and update things, but I’m having issues, so its taking longer than I thought. I’m not even sure what my domain name will be, but I will try to keep everything updated as I progress.


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