Archive for the ‘Good reading’ Category

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was going to start re-reading Mansfield Park, my least favourite of Austen’s novels, in the Austen jag that was prompted by “The Jane Austen Book Club”. Or that I might let myself off and not read it!

Well, dear reader, I did. And, as I should by now have become used to, I enjoyed it more than I had expected to.

MP is my least favourite of Austen’s novels purely from the, admittedly shallow, point of view of a lack of a satisfying love story.

I’m not one of those who subscribes to the idea that the couples should have ended up as Fanny/Mr Crawford, Edmund/Miss Crawford – Miss C is an attractive character on the surface, but essentially an unprincipled witch… and similarly I can’t fathom why Mr Crawford was even interested in Fanny nor how she would ever have put up with him.

However, Fanny and Edmund are a hideously lacklustre partnership, and I do always think Jane could have done a bit better than Edmund just happening to realise that he quite liked Fanny after all. Fanny is a bit of a cold fish and terribly self-righteous – she has none of the sparkle of Emma, the wit of Elizabeth, and her good points are not, as in the case of say Anne or of Elinor, lightened by humour or grace. The only times she appears to have a bit of human warmth is regarding William and Edmund, the rest of the time she seems horribly judgmental.

That said, the book as a whole is always more satisfying than I expect. The rivalries between the Bertram sisters, Edmund’s uncertainties about Miss Crawford: William Price, probably one of my favourite characters in the book. The growth and evolution of the story and the characters is fascinating. Little intrigues like the necklace Mary Crawford gives to Fanny… all these little details and meanderings I still find compelling, and I find, once again, I can forgive Jane the lack of a wonderful love story a la Anne Elliot and Capt. Wentworth, because the rest of the story is so rich in so many ways. I also like that it’s a thick brick of a book; when I first read it as a teenager, I found it a bit of hard graft to get through. Now, I enjoy the fact that I can get thoroughly engrossed in it and not find that it’s over just when I started to enjoy it (in terms of satisfying length and meatiness, I think Pride and Pred is the only other Austen that approaches it).

It’s kind of nice, after all, to find that after all these years and countless rereadings, these books can still capture my attention and entertain me almost as much as (or sometimes even more than) they did the first time I read them.

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I was pretty cross with myself already for not figuring out a way to see DT when he was playing two Shakespeares not far from my home. (Though admittedly LLL is not exactly my favourite: If it had been Much Ado, I would have got there if I’d had to walk all the way!)

My shallow side is now even more gutted having seen how unbelievably gorgeous he looked in Love’s Labours Lost… I mean, OK, I have always thought him attractive, but in that strange, geek-chic, I can’t figure out why but I fancy him anyway kind of way. I’ve seen him look gorgeous, and beautiful, and interesting, and all sorts of other adjectives…

It seems, in LLL, that he has somehow found a just downright incredibly purely handsome look for the role of Berowne…

Yeah, pretty darn cute…

That mischievous smile…

Oh my…

“Dear Santa, for Christmas I would like…”

Me likes. Very much.

While I am on the subject of the lovely David, the nice people at david-tennant.com are putting together something for his birthday, if anyone feels so inclined.

And if you have any inclination whatsoever to EVER see David’s Hamlet, or even if you don’t but feel like contributing to the mental welfare of the many people who wanted to see it and didn’t get to, please be a sweetheart and sign the petition!

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So I managed to reset my password, though how to do so entirely confused me. And I am stuck at working out how to change it to something memorable. Argh!

I am doing wriye, the Writing Year, this year: just as soon as I can work out how, I shall post the progress meter on this site.

I’ll try and do better posting here 🙂

I need to post links to my other blogs. I have been meaning to do this for months *blush*.

And I need to work out the formatting stuff on here so I can make posts look pretty. Blocks of text – not easy to read! I’ll get there. I hate changing blogs…!

My aim for this year is at least 200,000 words, though I am hoping to exceed that – it sounds like a lot, but even 1,000 words a day would be 365,000, so… here’s to raising that aim. I decided I would rather be able to raise it than find myself getting behind and getting discouraged. Maybe I should aim higher, but when you are ill a lot, it can be tough keeping those goals going in the first place. Exceeding it will do me much more good than continually failing to reach it.

At last count I had just over 19,000 words, but I need to update that now we are actually in February.

WIP currently are

’07 NaNo, currently standing at 62K. A Strictly Come Dancing fanfic I’m finishing for my own pleasure. I have learned so much from writing this, my first truly long bit of fiction.

’08 NaNo, “Almost Like Drowning”. Stalled horribly at just over 50K! Plan is to work on this during NaNoEdMo

Untitled Jane Austen tribute/Christian fiction, which is less than 10K at the moment. I need to be brave and work on this – at the stage of loving the idea and being afraid I will wreck it by working on it!

Those are the Big Three this year. I am going to try and get back into writing short stories too, and also look out the writing course I started as a teenager. Wish me luck!

On the purely for pleasure front, I have an idea of a Pride and Prejudice fic which might be quite fun!

What am I reading at the moment?

I’d like to recommend The Muse, a modern day, ballet-based tribute to Pride and Prejudice that I read on firthness.com, by an author named Jessi. Some discrepancies with realism for the ballet IMO, but I really enjoyed this. A very clever use of the themes and basic storyline of P&P for something that is nonetheless very different.

I’m currently re-reading Emma, having made my way through P&P, Persuasion and Sense and Sensibility recently. These books are looking so old and tired, poor things! Much loved. Have been given book tokens as a late Christmas present – deeply tempted to buy myself a really nice set of Austen. Also want to get my hands on Sanditon.

I’ll definitely read Northanger Abbey next – will I make myself read Mansfield Park? Since the first time I read it, when I was frankly a bit disappointed, I have always enjoyed it more than expected, probably because I remember that first disappointment! So yes, probably.

I have promised my flute student that I will read Twilight. I did read a rather cruddy online version; I can see why it has devotees and similarly can see why it has detractors. Bella Swan is intensely irritating, and some of the storyline is not good. There is also a distinct lack of real, coherant plot right up until the final few chapters, when suddenly all hell breaks loose! On the other hand, I find Edward a very intriguing and interesting character, and while Meyers’ treatment of Vampires is hardly Canon, it is at least remotely original. I’ll be interested to read it in the considerably more comfortable form of a paperback and see if that improves my opinion at all.

I am about halfway through Khaled Hosseini’s “A Thousand Splendid Suns”. It is inspiring me to re-read Bookseller of Kabul and the half dozen other books I have about Afganistan. Not an easy read, but a compelling one. Is it living up to the hype? Sort of. Ask me again when I have finished it. Then it will be on to The Kite Runner.

Also reading and re-reading “33 worst mistakes writers make…” books from Holly Lisle’s online shop. I have the “Blind People” and the “Ballet” one. Due to the author’s lively style and a serious personal interest, the Ballet one is for me not only a useful resource but a highly enjoyable read. I’d love to see Gypsy Thornton publish some more – if this is anything to go by, fiction and non fiction from her would be a rewarding read. I need to look out her website and post a link.

If I list any more of the pies I have my finger in at the moment, no one will believe that I could possibly be reading this many books and truly enjoying/absorbing them all at the same time…

I’m watching/have watched:

The Jane Austen Book Club – I read the book as well. I think if one could combine the best of the book and the best of the film, this could be a great story. As it is, neither grabbed me, though on the positive side they sent me back to Austen herself, and that is always good.

The ’95 Pride and Prejudice. Both better and worse than I remembered – I should know by now not to watch an adaptation too soon after reading the book. It was lovely to see it again though, I need to watch it in a few weeks when the book is less fresh in my mind.

Takin’ Over The Asylum. To watch this is to wonder how it took so long for David Tennant to become a household name, but even then, his performance is simply one great performance among many. I have watched three of 6 episodes. I have a feeling later ones may make me cry, I’ve a nasty feeling there is liable to be at least one minor tragedy in the works. So far, I have been made to laugh and to think, and have been very moved. A really great series – I’m so glad I decided to buy and not just rent.

Persuasion – the ’81 (I think?) version. Ciaran Hinds and Amanda Root, anyway. This managed to be both quite faithful to the book and very disappointing at the same time. Will write a little more about why at a later date.

Think that will do for now. I will, I will get back into blogging this year. Whether anyone will read me remains to be seen…

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