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ncgraham's reading nook 2011

Club Read 2011

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1ncgraham
Edited: Feb 3, 2011, 3:30pm Top

Why, yes, I am a month late. Please don’t mention it again. RUUUUDE.



Ahem. Now that I’ve set the mood, a few words of introduction. Our dear ChocolateMuse has haggled, harried, and hunted me into starting this thread, even though I haven’t really wrapped up last year’s thread yet. Like her, you may know me from Club Read 2010, or from 50 Book Challenge, where I had my first reading thread way back in 2009. Lovely to see you all again! And welcome to all the new faces, too. I do hope there will be new faces. They make things even lovelier.

As for my reading habits and the way I will structure this thread … well, I’m afraid this thread will not have much structure. I do try to write a review for every book I read, although I often get behind and end up with a massive queue, and I will certainly post the links to those in here. Otherwise, this will be a general forum for my thoughts on the books I’m reading, literature in general, reading, writing, etc. Please jump in whenever you want to, with anything and everything you want to say (within reason, of course).

To quote one of my favorites … further up and further in!

2ncgraham
Edited: Dec 19, 2011, 10:05pm Top

This post will be used exclusively for for tracking my reading:

1. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
2. Westmark by Lloyd Alexander
3. The Kestrel by Lloyd Alexander
4. The Beggar Queen by Lloyd Alexander
5. The Quest for Character by Charles Swindoll
6. Mumu by Ivan Turgenev
7. Instructions by Neil Gaiman
8. The Tempest by William Shakespeare
9. The Bards of Bone Plain by Patricia A. McKillip
10. The Time Machine by H. G. Wells
11. The Iron Heel by Jack London
12. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
13. 1984 by George Orwell
14. The Toll-Gate by Georgette Heyer
15. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
16. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
17. The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope
18-24. Harry Potter series (touchstones not working)
25. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
26. Wings of Fire edited by Jonathan Strahan
27. Dubliners by James Joyce
28. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
29. The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams
30. The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
31. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
32. Ulysses by James Joyce
33. M is for Magic by Neil Gaiman
34. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
35. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

3ronincats
Feb 3, 2011, 5:43pm Top

That was a fun series by Alexander, although not as good for me as the Prydain books. I haven't read that Gaiman--is it a graphic or regular novel?

Welcome back, Nathan.

4ncgraham
Feb 3, 2011, 6:00pm Top

Thank you!

Instructions is a poem that has recently been published in picture book format. I posted a review of it the other day, as well as for the first Westmark book. Will post more about them shortly.

It's been far too long since I've read Prydain, but I actually think I like the trilogy better. But they're definitely among my favorite Alexander books, as is The Iron Ring.

5fannyprice
Feb 3, 2011, 7:30pm Top

Love the photo!

6janepriceestrada
Feb 5, 2011, 1:59pm Top

Welcome back! Really love the photo. I find that I don't imagine my dream home so much as I imagine my dream bookshelf enclosure. :)

7ChocolateMuse
Feb 7, 2011, 8:06pm Top

YAAAAAYYYYYY!!!!!!!

8ChocolateMuse
Edited: Feb 7, 2011, 8:09pm Top

But I am feeling limited about what I'm allowed to say in here. I'm not allowed to mention your *kofflatenesskoff*, and, further to that, I am limited to saying everything I want to say "Within Reason". What do you mean by that, pray?

Also, that photo is the best of its kind I have ever seen.

9RidgewayGirl
Feb 7, 2011, 9:11pm Top

I love, love, love your picture. I want to move into that room and make a start on all those books!

10ChocolateMuse
Feb 7, 2011, 9:24pm Top

btw, "further up and further in" - that's Lord of the Rings, right??

11ronincats
Feb 7, 2011, 11:25pm Top

>uh, no, it's The Last Battle. Narnia.

12ChocolateMuse
Feb 8, 2011, 12:01am Top

ah. thanks. *blush* I knew it was familiar, and fantasy :)

13ncgraham
Feb 9, 2011, 11:25am Top

In view of Message #8, I forthwith remove the bounds or Reason from this discussion.

God protect us all.

14ChocolateMuse
Feb 9, 2011, 7:35pm Top

MWAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA...

*ahem*

So shall we begin with the LATENESS?

Or otherwise, what books have you been reading, dear Nathan? Actually, I see you're reading The Tempest. Funnily enough, I've been reading Richard III. I rarely think to myself 'I feel like reading Shakespeare right now' - but this phenomenon happened on the weekend. I studied Richard III at uni, and wanted to revisit. He is the most gloriously villainous villain, it's lovely.

15tomcatMurr
Feb 10, 2011, 7:36am Top

Nathan, what did you think of I capture the castle?

16ncgraham
Feb 10, 2011, 9:48am Top

I thought it was lovely. I've been meaning to type a review up at some point, but I've had trouble putting my reaction into words. Maybe I'll write it this weekend ... after I get over this terrible cough and finish my Spanish homework, of course.

Muse, I actually read The Tempest last weekend, when I was first feeling ill. I had a whole pile of genre fluff (of varying fluffiness) to read as well—Heyer's The Toll-Gate in the romance sphere, The Inimitable Jeeves for comedy, The Maltese Falcon for a dash of noir, and Sorcery and Cecilia as a representative of fantasy. I somehow had this wild idea that I would get through all of them ... but after The Tempest, I made my way part-way through The Toll-Gate, and that was that. I don't think I'll be able to finish it even this weekend ... this online class is eating me alive, I tell ye....

17ncgraham
Feb 20, 2011, 5:17pm Top

I'm still turribly behind on reviews. Even now I have six from last year that I need to write up my thoughts up on, and an equal amount already from this year. Gah! I just want to get caught up so that (ideally) I can write new reviews of books as I finish them, and post about them here at my leisure.

In the meantime, I set down The Toll-Gate this week, because my hold on The Bards of Bone Plain finally came in at the library. Typically wonderful McKillip. How does she do it? Reading Bards made me want to read all of her other books, and at the same time write my own. It's a rare author who can inspire so much enthusiasm from me.

Also, read The Time Machine for a dystopian reading group at my church. Huh.

18ChocolateMuse
Feb 20, 2011, 9:16pm Top

Hmm. McKillop sounds worth following up.

Would it distress you too much to let the old reviews go and just start afresh?? I don't wanna see you burn out.

19Poquette
Feb 20, 2011, 10:00pm Top

Hi! The photo, it's . . . it's . . . it's better than a painting. I could get lost in there. I have a feeling I'm going to love this thread!

Haven't encountered you before, but that's because I haven't been paying attention -- until recently, that is. But my New Year's resolution . . . forget that! I'm better now.

20ncgraham
Feb 20, 2011, 11:35pm Top

Hi, Poquette! Nice of you to drop by. Don't worry about the New's Year Resolution bit. You've found me, and that's that. I'll have to drop by your thread sometime soon as well.

I've been thinking about that, Muse: letting last year's reviews go, at any rate. I may do that. Or write mini-reviews. Life is too short.

Regarding McKillip, not sure if you would like her or not, but my recommendation for you (and for most people, but particularly for you) would be The Bell at Sealey Head. Most people tend not to like their first McKillip—I didn't—but everyone I've thrown this one at seems to have enjoyed it. Plus, the coastal town that's at the centerpiece of that book is very evocative of 19th century England, and the interactions between the characters are a trifle Austenesque. In fact, McKillip has stated that the character of Gwyneth Blair is a homage to emerging female writers like Austen and the Brontes. Really, the whole book is so fun and cozy. Her others tend to be a trifle more dreamy and sometimes intellectual. But Sealey Head is the only one I've come back to so far.

21ChocolateMuse
Feb 21, 2011, 1:08am Top

Noted. Hmm... magical, lyrical, Austenesque, English coastal towns... I shall look for it forthwith. Thanks :)

22ncgraham
Feb 21, 2011, 11:41am Top

Oh dear, now I probably have probably talked it up too much for you! Did you read my review? Or Amy's?

23ChocolateMuse
Feb 22, 2011, 9:58pm Top

I have now (read both). I feel as if I've got a sense of it. More about atmosphere than anything else, you think? I might wait til winter for this one now. And never mind, if I hate it I'll still be your friend, provided you'll still be mine!

24ncgraham
Feb 24, 2011, 8:29pm Top

Yes, it's not strictly Regency or Victorian England. It just feels like it. And it feels Austenesque. The contrast is probably more clear to someone who's read McKillip's other books, most of which have a medieval setting. She seems to be playing with that these days, though; The Bards of Bone Plain had a vague steampunk quality about it.

For my dystopian reading group, I've started our second read, Jack London's The Iron Heel. I'd read London's The Call of the Wild recently, and enjoyed his prose, but found the whole "discovering one's inner primordial beast" plot point rather amusing. I suspect I will disagree with much of his thoughts in The Iron Heel, but I still like his style, especially coming, as I am, straight off the cold and distant H. G. Wells.

Out of the decay of self-seeking capitalism, it was held, would arise that flower of the ages, the Brotherhood of Man. Instead of which, appalling alike to us who look back and to those that lived at the time, capitalism, rotten-ripe, sent forth that monstrous offshoot, the Oligarchy.

I just love the phrase "rotten-ripe." Now for something a little more descriptive:

The soft summer wind stirs the redwoods, and Wild-Water ripples sweet cadences over its mossy stones. There are butterflies in the sunshine, and from everywhere arises the drowsy hum of bees. It is so quiet and peaceful, and I sit here, and ponder, and am restless. It seems unreal. All the world is quiet, but it is the quiet before the storm.

25ncgraham
Mar 4, 2011, 6:19pm Top

Still enjoying The Iron Heel, although if I want to participate in the group discussion, I've got to get bookin'! (We're meeting Monday.)

I did find a couple of quotations I found funny, though:

Not since the death of my mother had I known him {my father} to laugh so heartily.

(I'm guessing "Not since the death of my mother" translates to "Not since my mother was alive." Still, that's not how I first read it....)

I lay long awake, listening in memory to the sound of his voice. I grew frightened at my thoughts. He was so unlike the men of my own class, so alien and so strong. His masterfulness delighted and terrified me, for my fancies roved until I found myself considering him as a lover, as a husband. I had always heard that the strength of men was an irresistible attraction to women; but he was too strong. 'No, no!' I cried out. 'It is impossible, absurd!'

(I think it would be fair to say that feminists wouldn't take particularly well to London. "His masterfulness" indeed! I crack every time the narrator gets all mushy.)

26baswood
Mar 4, 2011, 8:16pm Top

Like the quote. Oh how times have changed. Do the authors of Mills and Boon novels still write about masterfulness I wonder.

27ncgraham
Mar 5, 2011, 12:30pm Top

I don't know. That's certainly what came to mind, though!

28ChocolateMuse
Mar 6, 2011, 11:27pm Top

That death of my mother quote is so familiar. Where have I read it before??? I certainly haven't read The Iron Heel.

Was it intentially funny, Nathan? Or a serious mistake on London's part?

29ncgraham
Mar 7, 2011, 12:19am Top

I don't think it's intentionally funny. But it's not a mistake, really, seeing how it can be read as totally serious. Editing would have helped clarify things, and caused many fewer snickers over the years. He needed Amy's red pen looking after things. :P

I don't know whether I'll get the book done in time for reading group tomorrow night or not. I have quite a way left to go. Also, I desperately want to see the new movie of Jane Eyre, which I think is coming out next weekend, but I've sworn to reread the novel first. Luckily (I do schedule these things so beautifully), I am taking a car trip to Arkansas next weekend, and I do think my library has a JE audiobook. Funny—last semester I made the same trip listening to Wuthering Heights. Something about the Bronte sisters and lonely car trips to Arkansas, I guess!

30ChocolateMuse
Mar 7, 2011, 7:22pm Top

I didn't know about the new Jane Eyre, how exciting!

31Mr.Durick
Mar 8, 2011, 4:00pm Top

I've seen the trailer. If I had read the book recently I would want to see the movie, but I haven't and likely won't.

Robert

32wisewoman
Mar 10, 2011, 8:48am Top

Oh yay, you are finally revisiting Jane Eyre! I hope you find it as compelling as I did the second time around. (Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it in my teens, but my reread in 2009 was just outstanding.) I'm looking forward to the new movie too. I hope they don't sex it up too much though — that's my only worry.

Jack London has never really appealed to me, but I daresay I'll pick up one of his books eventually. I have a volume of his short stories.

I hope you enjoy your first McKillip when the time comes, Chocolate! :)

33ncgraham
Mar 10, 2011, 6:45pm Top

Not finished with The Iron Heel yet, but so far I'd recommend it over The Call of the Wild. Ideologically, he doesn't really appeal to me either, and I'm not much of one for animal stories (which applies to Call but not Heel, obviously), but I have a great appreciation for him stylistically, and The Iron Heel is really quite fascinating.

Have you seen evidence of them "sexing" the new Jane Eyre up yet? I haven't. But yes, that is always a concern.

And I picked up the audiobook at the library today! *squee* It's on MP3 CDs, too, which means I won't have to be popping discs in and out on the road. Thankfully my car radio does play MP3 CDs. I tested and made sure of it. This will be more of a rediscovery than a reread for me, I predict, because I really didn't have a high opinion of the story when I read it as a callow youth of fifteen. Since then, I have fallen in love with the old Joan Fontaine/Orson Welles movie and had a major plot point explained to me in a way that reconciled me to it. I remember loving Bronte's prose and characterizations, so ... I'm hoping I fall head-over-heels in love with it this time!

34wisewoman
Edited: Mar 11, 2011, 9:08am Top

I've heard there is some nudity in it. What the extent is, I don't know.

Enjoy your audiobook, Nathan! :) I'm sure you will.

35ncgraham
Mar 11, 2011, 10:26am Top

The nudity is in a painting. Yeah.

36theaelizabet
Apr 8, 2011, 12:37pm Top

So here you are! Jane Eyre? I am waiting to hear what the "adult" you thinks. I hope to see the new movie soon.

*waving above to wisewoman*

37ncgraham
Apr 8, 2011, 2:17pm Top

I love it so far. Just have to carve out time to finish the audiobook. Maybe I need to randomly take another car trip ... ?

38theaelizabet
Apr 8, 2011, 2:30pm Top

My daughter and I listened to it on audio a couple of years ago. Juliet ??? don't remember the last name. Who's narrating yours?

39ncgraham
Apr 8, 2011, 2:34pm Top

Susan Ericksen. Lovely, lovely reading. Probably the best reader-narrator match-up I've found since I heard Stephen Thorne do Mary Stewart's The Crystal Cave. (Of course, Lynn Redgrave did an excellent job with Inkheart, but that book ended up annoying me.)

40theaelizabet
Apr 8, 2011, 2:41pm Top

Oh good, because whoever the Juliet was, she wasn't very good. Too stilted and uptight, straight-jacketed almost and veddy British in a not very realistic way.

BTW, Inkheart annoyed me, too.

41citygirl
Apr 8, 2011, 3:47pm Top

Yes, there was something quite annoying about Inkheart, but I think I kinda liked it.

42theaelizabet
Edited: Apr 8, 2011, 3:54pm Top

I loved the characters and the premise, I just thought the story ended several times. Pacing problems?

ETA: Hey CG, did you read the sequels?

43citygirl
Edited: Apr 8, 2011, 3:55pm Top

Yeah, and maybe even though it's a fantasy book, there were some things that strained the suspension of disbelief.

ETA: I have not, and when I finished the first, I thought: Maybe I'll read the next, maybe I won't, and I haven't felt called to in the past two years, but I'd not turn my nose up at them.

44theaelizabet
Apr 8, 2011, 3:56pm Top

Yeah, that's sort of where I sit.

45ronincats
Apr 8, 2011, 4:13pm Top

I thought I was the only one irritated by Inkheart! And I can tell you exactly why. Meggie kept making such STUPID decisions, and kept making them, and kept making them. I have the next two and still haven't read them. One of these days...

46ncgraham
Edited: Apr 8, 2011, 5:11pm Top

Woohoo! A bunch of posts all at once!

I really loved the opening of Inkheart, and Dustfinger and Elinor were the tops, but it ended up trying my patience. It was too long, the plot wasn't especially cohesive, and it seemed the characters kept running around in circles. I complained about that quite a bit in my review from last year.

47ncgraham
Apr 16, 2011, 9:56am Top

There probably won't be any more updates in here until May. These last few weeks of the semester are simply killers, and I haven't much time for reading, let alone talking about what I'm reading. I am keeping up with the dystopian reading group—though I had to skip We, I read Brave New World and am now on 1984. I planned to at least review those soon (I have almost a complete draft of my The Iron Heel review), but again, I think it's going to have to wait until school's out. See you all on the other side!

48ronincats
Apr 16, 2011, 12:20pm Top

Good luck, Nathan, with finishing up the semester!

49ncgraham
Apr 17, 2011, 12:25am Top

Thanks so much, Roni!

50wisewoman
Apr 21, 2011, 4:56pm Top

Are you thinking of the Juliet Stevenson reading of Jane Eyre, by chance, theaelizabet? I recently listened to her narration of Persuasion and it was absolutely brilliant, so I was excited to see that my library also had her narration of JE. I haven't listened to it yet but my next reread will be a listen, I think.

Ditto citygirl on Inkheart. It was weirdly addicting, somehow. I read the first two and I have the third, but somehow I just haven't been moved to read it.

51ncgraham
Apr 21, 2011, 6:19pm Top

Awww, but Ericksen's is so good! I'm probably going to be taking another road trip a week from tomorrow so I'm thinking I'll be able to finish the audiobook then.

52bonniebooks
Apr 28, 2011, 9:21am Top

45: Totally agree with you and had even more reasons for not liking the book--not for adults anyway.

53ncgraham
Edited: Apr 28, 2011, 12:19pm Top

52> What were those other reasons, if I may ask? Everyone I know seems to like the book so I'm interested in your perspective!

In other news, I finished Heyer's The Toll-Gate. I occasionally need short comfort read sessions amid all the schoolwork, and I needed quite a lot recently. This was a pretty good one: Captain Jack made for a great hero, and I almost wish there was a spin-off novel featuring Babbacombe (doesn't he have the greatest name?). I'll write a review once the semester is over.

And I'm making my way through Fahrenheit 451 for the dystopian reading group. Bradbury's use of the English language is fascinating, and the book seems to be less self-consciously pessimistic, than say, Brave New World or 1984.

Finally, I am doing another weekend trip starting tomorrow, so I may finally be able to finish my Jane Eyre audiobook! Yay!

54Poquette
Apr 28, 2011, 1:44pm Top

Have a great trip! And hurry back!

55ncgraham
May 3, 2011, 10:34am Top

Yay! I finally finished Jane Eyre! There were still a few parts of it that I thought dragged on a bit too long, but I think that was partially due to the fact that I was listening to it on audiobook. Overall, I loved it—so, so much more as an adult (I suppose I am an adult now—I turn 21 on Saturday, yikes!) than as a teen. My rating was bumped up from 3 stars to 4.5. So, yes, huge improvement. I don't know how I'll write a review for it when the time comes. There's so much to say about the book. One of the things that stuck out to me this time is how passion and morality are constantly at play in the story, sometimes opposing each other, sometimes complementing. You can see this duality in the character of Jane herself, in the personalities of her cousins Georgiana and Eliza, and in her two suitors, Rochester and St John. Previously I had treated the one flaw in Jane and Rochester's relationship as being his deceit and proposed bigamy, but on the reread I began to see other problems. She speaks of him becoming her idol, and says "He stood between me and every thought of religion, as an eclipse intervenes between man and the broad sun." In Bronte's world, this is most certainly a bad thing. Also, while there is an equality of mind in this relationship, there is a certain inequality as well—not only of situation, but also of treatment. Even after they are engaged he is still "master," and showers her with gifts she does not want. While Jane Eyre is one of the great romances, I think the Jane-Rochester relationship is far from ideal prior to the final chapters.

And St John Rivers ... he really terrifies me. Bronte is a bit more kindly to him than I ended up being. There came a point in the narrative when he was counseling Jane, telling her what God wanted her to do, and I thought, "You are speaking merely of what you want Jane to do. You have remade him in your own image." It's interesting that Jane ends up thinking of him as her "master," too, just like Rochester. Again she sees the relationship as unhealthy, and leaves—although I do think it's worth noting that she was almost about to give in when she heard Rochester's cries of "Jane! Jane! Jane!"

More thoughts on this to come.

56bonniebooks
May 3, 2011, 2:18pm Top

It's interesting to me that there are still women who have that kind of relationship with their husbands. It makes me shudder, but sometimes I wonder, as they seem to be pretty happy. Thank goodness for choices, huh? I found myself shuddering a lot more when I read Jane Eyre again last year, but then I wasn't nearly as fond of the relationship in Pride and Prejudice the last time I read that last year either. But books that bring out strong feelings are great for figuring out what you believe, think, and feel, don't they? Happy 21st Birthday!

57bonniebooks
May 3, 2011, 2:20pm Top

It's interesting to me that there are still women who have that kind of relationship with their husbands. It makes me shudder, but sometimes I wonder, as they seem to be pretty happy. Thank goodness for choices, huh? I found myself shuddering a lot more when I read Jane Eyre again last year, but then I wasn't nearly as fond of the relationship in Pride and Prejudice the last time I read that last year either. But books that bring out strong feelings are great for figuring out what you believe, think, and feel, aren't they?

P.S. Happy 21st Birthday! Hope you have a good one!

58Poquette
May 3, 2011, 3:04pm Top

It's been decades since I read Jane Eyre, and I was a teenager then myself, but I'm sure my perceptions were not as deep and penetrating as yours. Back then I was not a critical thinker at all, and I believe I just took it all in at face value and probably cried a lot and automatically discounted the parts that would have made me uncomfortable or that would undoubtedly raise questions today. Your comments suggest to me that it may be time for a reread.

Have a wonderful birthday. I recommend that you start celebrating now, and make it a truly memorable milestone, which Number 21 is and ought to be!

59wisewoman
May 3, 2011, 3:31pm Top

My theory holds! I believe that most teens are unable to appreciate Jane Eyre because a.) Rochester's so OLD! eww!, b.) Rochester's so MARRIED! eww!, and c.) in the end, Rochester's so DISABLED!

It was that way for me at least. The story swept me away despite myself, but I never appreciated its profundity and artistry until my twenties. I've since observed much the same reaction in younger readers when I praise the book.

One of the things that stuck out to me this time is how passion and morality are constantly at play in the story, sometimes opposing each other, sometimes complementing. You can see this duality in the character of Jane herself, in the personalities of her cousins Georgiana and Eliza, and in her two suitors, Rochester and St John.

Mm, good point! You could even extend that duality to Jane's name: "Jane," a plodding everyday sort of name, paired with the otherworldly, ephemeral "Eyre." She's a rare combination of sense and fancy.

And yep, there are definite issues in the relationship prior to the final chapters. Being in love doesn't erase one's faults and flaws. Rochester still had a lot to learn.

Nathan, you should just take your thoughts above and expand them for a review. They're excellent.

60ncgraham
May 3, 2011, 4:57pm Top

See, Rochester's oldness and disablement never bothered me a bit. It was just the being married I had an issue with. It is, of course, an issue, as Jane rapidly sees, but not one that should upset one's enjoyment of the book, or question their final union. In the end, Jane truly is his helpmate, not his servant, which is both a fine distinction and a large shift in their relationship. He is humbled and she is able to both serve and be served by him, something that was not practicable before. It's a bit like the distinction between obedience and submission, which most people seem not to get.

Thanks all for the birthday wishes! Poquette, I am going to declare that I started celebrating this past weekend, by getting to see an old friend. Unfortunately many of my other celebrations are going to have to consist of studying for finals and revising papers, oy. I do think ChocolateMuse and I are going to assign each other a short read for our birthdays (which fall on the same day) although I do not know what mine is supposed to be yet.

61ncgraham
May 3, 2011, 6:39pm Top

Oh, and Bonnie, I think that's actually one of the strengths of books like Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre: you shouldn't feel comfortable with the central romantic relationships at certain moments. If Elizabeth and Darcy, or Jane and Rochester, had married earlier in their respective stories, they would not have made good couples—at least, not in comparison with the people they later became.

I won't be doing any more pleasure reading until the semester ends, I don't think; I'm still finishing up Fahrenheit 451 for the dystopian reading group, which we will then follow with Lord of the Flies. I'm liking Bradbury very much. His characters have a humanity to them that one does not often find in the dystopian genre.

62janepriceestrada
May 3, 2011, 10:10pm Top

55 - I recently finished my reread as well (loved it since I was a teenager so I guess I'm in the minority). Hate St. John as well, the pompous ass. Still formulating my thoughts. I don't know that I'm willing to consider it a romance*. I think it's less about being romantic and more about seeing Jane grow. You are so much inside her head and feelings, it's hard sometimes to remember that she's 19. I was soooo freaking in love when I was 19 too, but eventually that settles into something more complex and less dramatic.

*However, the days of party at Thornfield where she just has to sit there and watch Rochester with this rich bimbo are excruciating because it is so relatable.

Happy Birthday!

63ncgraham
May 3, 2011, 10:19pm Top

I think it's a bildungsroman, a morality tale, a Gothic, and a great love story. How's that for noncommittal?

64avilas
Jun 7, 2011, 2:05am Top

*Ahem* There's a discussion of the new McKillip in the Books thread. It's a pretty lame one though since no one has read it. You should post your thoughts. :)

65ronincats
Jun 7, 2011, 1:54pm Top

Nathan, I lost your thread and missed all the Jane Eyre discussion--don't know how, but avilas' post moved it to the top of my starred threads this morning. Loved your thoughts.

66wisewoman
Jun 8, 2011, 2:35pm Top

And I'll just say, your recent HP reviews are top notch. Looking forward to the rest!

67ncgraham
Edited: Jan 24, 2012, 11:33am Top

Roni, you probably missed my thoughts because I neglected my thread for a whole month! But thank you. My Jane Eyre reread was certainly both enjoyable and stimulating.

Kate: I'm working on a post in there right now. ;)

Well, it's summertime, which means a season of heady, hedonistic reading for me. The plan this summer is to make my way through the Harry Potter series along with squeezing in as many classics as I can. First, I read Anthony Trollope's The Way We Live Now, which I found both entertaining and thought-provoking, and at the same time a good example of the problems presented by the serial novel format. That will be an interesting review to write when I get to it. In the HP series, I'm currently beginning Book 6. Obviously there are some ups and downs in terms of quality between the various installments, but all in all I'm really liking the series.

And, as Amy indicated, I have at last been making a little dent—a very little dent— in my review queue. Here are the books I've reviewed recently:

The Iron Heel
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

68ChocolateMuse
Jun 8, 2011, 9:12pm Top

I love the audio pairing recommendation for Iron Heel (and I love Muse!)

I happen to disagree about wanting to see more into Ginny's mind in CoS - I think it would have destroyed the whole plot.

Great reviews! :)

69ncgraham
Jun 8, 2011, 9:30pm Top

I wouldn't have wanted to ruin the twist in CoS either, but I think it would have been nice to see more of Ginny's personality prior to the big events of the story, so that we might have more sympathy for her, know what she's going through in her everyday life, the kinds of things she would like to confide in a diary.... I just think that for having such an important part in the plot, we don't see enough of her.

70Poquette
Jun 9, 2011, 7:54pm Top

Very nice review of Harry Potter #3. I thumbed, of course. You've captured it nicely.

I stopped after the first three volumes. They were a delight.

71ChocolateMuse
Jun 9, 2011, 10:31pm Top

So the inevitable question, Suz. Why did you stop?

72ncgraham
Jun 9, 2011, 11:28pm Top

Ooooh ... the Inquisition has begun.

Also, Muse (hehe), the listening recommendation was purely accidental ... I happened to have the Absolution disc on one evening when I sat down to read The Iron Heel, and a major brainwave followed ... I made the connection....

I seem to be in the mood for ellipses....

73Poquette
Jun 10, 2011, 2:56am Top

haha, Nathan ;-)

Rena – no particular reason. If number 4 had been available at the time I finished 3, I would have read it almost certainly. But because of the time lag, I guess I just moved on. I didn't quit for any qualitative reasons. But I've seen all the movies!

74ncgraham
Edited: Jun 13, 2011, 1:18am Top

A couple more reviews....

Beauty by Robin McKinley (I actually read this one last year, but it's one of my favorites)
The Toll-Gate by Georgette Heyer

75ronincats
Jun 13, 2011, 1:23am Top

I love both of those books!

76ncgraham
Jun 13, 2011, 1:28am Top

I love Beauty, and I liked The Toll-Gate very much. :)

77ronincats
Jun 13, 2011, 11:16am Top

Have you read The Unknown Ajax yet?

78ncgraham
Jun 13, 2011, 11:24am Top

Nope. I've only read 5 Heyers so far ... sort of trying to spread them out. And I'm giving preference to the ones I own first. But The Unknown Ajax is on my list.

79janepriceestrada
Jun 15, 2011, 11:55am Top

Nice reviews of HP. The 3rd is by far my favorite of the series (both the books and movies actually).

80ChocolateMuse
Edited: Jun 16, 2011, 12:02am Top

The Toll Gate comes under a 'type' of Heyer in which adventure plays a bigger part than romance. As ronincats hints above, The unknown Ajax is one of them, and my personal favourite is The Talisman Ring. Ahh, I love that book. Also The Reluctant Widow, The Quiet Gentleman, and probably a few others I can't call to mind. Smugglers, Bow Street Runners, secret passages, dark nights. That kind of thing. I'm sure you'll like them all, Nathan.

Great review as ever. And you've made me really want to read Beauty.

81ncgraham
Jun 16, 2011, 12:35am Top

JPS, Azkaban is by far my favorite of the movies so far too (I just finished #5 last night), and it's tied with Goblet of Fire for my favorite book, although as I'm not finished with Deathly Hallows yet, all that could change.

If it weren't for the fact that I know others who love Beauty as much as I do (including Amy), I'd worry that a lot of it is nostalgia. You see, I read it first during those impressionable pre-teen years, and it made me run out to read other novel-length retellings of fairytales ... as well as write one of my own. So it's one of those books that really marks an epoch in my life, as far as I'm concerned. And I swear, I've reread it more than probably any other book—except for maybe The Horse and His Boy.

82Poquette
Jun 16, 2011, 4:50am Top

Nathan, Have you seen the Jean Cocteau version of Beauty and the Beast? It's magical . . . transformative . . . wonderful.

83wisewoman
Jun 16, 2011, 8:09am Top

You see, I read it first during those impressionable pre-teen years, and it made me run out to read other novel-length retellings of fairytales ... as well as write one of my own.

There are so many books I read in that period and I think I will love them unreservedly forever, no matter what flaws others may find in them. It just shows the importance of quality children's literature; it is the foundation of everything to come.

84ncgraham
Jun 16, 2011, 9:29am Top

Suzanne, I love the cinematography and acting in that Cocteau film, but when I watched it several years back I couldn't make sense of all of it, and was quite upset that they seemed to give an extra reason for the Beast's return to human form besides Beauty saying she'd marry him. I'll have to try it again; I should have done so after read Madame de Villeneuve's version, which I feel he drew on more than most do.

85ncgraham
Edited: Sep 17, 2011, 10:23pm Top

I haven't posted here in an eternity, I know. The fact is that aside from finishing the Harry Potter series, I didn't finish all that many books this summer. (If you want to know what I've been reading, however, you can always check out my log up in post 2.) I also have not been reviewing much, as can be seen by even the most cursory of glances at my review queue. But eww, let's not dwell on that too long.

Which reminds me ... Amy and I were discussing review-writing the other day, and we both agreed that it is always easier to write a review if you write something down about the book as you are reading it. When you come down to it, that's what I really want this thread to be about. Aside from it being fun and getting to enjoy all the lovely company, of course! Notation and discussion (on another site) is what got me writing reviews in the first place. So I'm going to try to come on here a bit more often and say a little bit about what I'm reading and what I think about it, even if the post ends up being only a few sentences long.

But anything of that kind is going to have to wait for now, because that's not why I came on to post today.

I just came back from the world premiere of A Dangerous Woman—a play about George Eliot! As a piece of dramaturgy, maybe not the best thing I've ever seen in a theater, but as a look into the life of a favorite author, it was immensely satisfying. I especially liked the way in which the author worked quotes from the novel into the fabric of the play. During scene changes (and occasionally in the middle of a scene), members of the ensemble would come out and comment on the action with a scene or monologue from Middlemarch, Adam Bede, Scenes from Clerical Life, etc. There was also one hilarious scene in which Marian Evans and her friend, Barbara, discussed the ending of The Mill on the Floss.

HIDE YO CHILDREN, HIDE YO HUSBANDS, HIDE YO WIVES: HERE BE SPOILERS!

(paraphrased, of course)

B: Maggie is such a strong, fascinating woman—why can't she triumph? Why must it end that way?

M: But she does triumph! She and her brother, formerly at odds, are reunited!

B: IN DEATH, Marian. They are reunited IN DEATH. They DROWN. That doesn't count.

END SPOILERS

Seeing the play made me want to go out and read all of this woman's novels, including the ones I've read before, and it hurts me to think that I have other reading commitments. Ah well, at least those commitments include a reread of The Mill on the Floss for my Literary Interpretation and Analysis class.

86ncgraham
Sep 17, 2011, 10:15pm Top

Maybe this is why I don't post here terribly often. I end up writing essays.

87ncgraham
Sep 17, 2011, 10:17pm Top

Oh, and psst, while I'm here: reviews of a childhood favorite and a 'blah' short story collection.

88Poquette
Sep 18, 2011, 1:04am Top

Good to see that you are alive and well, Nathan! The George Eliot play sounds intriguing.

Your review of Treasure Island is delicious! I take issue with the notion that it is a boy's adventure story. I enjoyed it soooo much when I read it as a teenager. Maybe I should put it on my To Be Reread list. It is great fun to resurrect faves from childhood. A couple of years ago I reread Ivanhoe which I first read the same summer I read Treasure Island. If anything, I loved it even more the second time around. So I kind of know what you are getting at.

89ronincats
Sep 18, 2011, 1:14am Top

Good to see you emerge, Nathan!

90ncgraham
Sep 18, 2011, 10:57am Top

88 > Well, Treasure Island was certainly intended as a "boy's adventure story," but I think that, like all truly excellent books, it transcends the boundaries of its genre and intended audience, and remains a classic that all can enjoy. I meant to talk about this a little more in my review, but it just seemed out of place for some reason.

91ChocolateMuse
Sep 18, 2011, 11:32pm Top

Welcome back, Nathan! And that play sounds sooo good.

92ncgraham
Edited: Sep 19, 2011, 9:22pm Top

Well, it turns out that I went to see the play on the right weekend, because today we started discussing drama in Lit Interp. & Analysis, along with reading The Glass Menagerie by the scurvy dog Tennessee Williams.

What are everyone's thoughts on reading plays rather than going to see them, watching them on video, etc? I know some people that absolutely refuse to do it. Obviously the playwright's intent for his work was not that some studious soul would curl up in a quiet corner and spend a few hours with it, but depending on the piece and my mood, I have found that selfsame experience to be tremendously satisfying and enlightening at times. I think it may have to do with having been in a few plays myself; I like to imagine how I might say the lines if I were playing all the parts (ha!). Sometimes, but not always, I do recite them aloud.

So here's a run-down of all the books I'm reading right now:

Kidnapped by Stevenson (my main "pleasure read" at the moment)
Shattered Dreams by Larry Crabb (my nonfiction read ... almost done with this one!)
Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls (a read-aloud with my little sister)
Beauties, Beasts, and Enchantment by Jack Zipes (not really reading at the moment—I plan to finish this once I'm done with Kidnapped!)
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce (for, uh, my James Joyce class)
The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams (discussed above)

93ncgraham
Sep 19, 2011, 2:38pm Top

Touchstones aren't working now. Stupid university computer.

94Poquette
Sep 19, 2011, 4:22pm Top

I am one hundred percent with those who believe that plays are much better in person, so to speak (or even on video), than on the page. I always prefer to see a play first and then maybe read it afterwards. But of course, if you're going to be in it that's something else entirely. I'm also one of those people who loves to be read to, so I find a well-delivered audiobook just as satisfying as reading. And of course, attending a play or listening does not preclude reading the good bits again afterwards. In fact, that's icing on the cake.

Your current reading list is almost as long as mine!

95baswood
Sep 19, 2011, 5:23pm Top

Films of plays. I have just watched an execrable version of The Importance of Being Ernest (Oscar Wilde). It was the 2002 production with Colin Firth, Rupert Everett, Reese Witherspoon and Judy Dench. The film attempts to take a drawing room comedy out into the town and country with disastrous results. The text has been hacked about beyond much recognition and apart from Judy Dench everyone else just looked uncomfortable.

Video's of stage productions can work well enough, but film versions can be disastrous.

96Poquette
Sep 19, 2011, 7:50pm Top

Too true, Barry. I especially appreciate filmed productions that stay close to the original. I've seen that same Importance of Being Ernest production. It was amusing, but it wasn't Wilde's play.

97ncgraham
Sep 19, 2011, 9:37pm Top

Yes, the only thing I really liked about that IoBE was the always delightful Anna Massey. (I think wisewoman loved it, though!)

I don't mind some film versions of plays—Branagh's Henry V, for instance, is remarkable—but one has to understand that, being in a different medium, they are adaptations, just as film versions of novels are adaptations of the books. You cannot watch one and then say that you've "seen" the play.

Of course, nothing compares to live theater. Absolutely nothing. I wasn't trying to argue that. But I think reading the play and seeing it can be mutually beneficial.

98theaelizabet
Edited: Sep 19, 2011, 11:56pm Top

>95 baswood: Execrable. Exactly. Who knew you could take that much talent and create such a mess?

Hi, Nathan.

99ChocolateMuse
Sep 20, 2011, 12:31am Top

Nathan, you are in excellent company. Robertson Davies in A Voice from the Attic pretty much says there's not much he likes better than settling down to read a good play. He offers ideas on how to read plays, which is different from reading a novel. I can't remember all he says, but it was something along the lines of seeing it your mind as a play, seeing the props being used and the actors speaking, rather than in the usual way of novel-reading. He says one can have a highly satisfying evening of drama at no expense. :) (but the way I put it looks patronising, and he certainly wasn't)

I read plays simply because I can't afford to go to the theatre. Same with why I watch films of plays. I had my first exposure to Rosencrantz and Guilderstern Are Dead - the movie - only recently. It was ab-so-olute-ly fabulous, and I would never had found the dosh to get to see it in live theatre. But I still hesitate sometimes, becasue of the possible execrableness of which you speak. A bit hit and miss, I guess.

BTW the old film version of The Importance of being Ernest isn't execrable - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0044744/.

100ncgraham
Sep 20, 2011, 10:08am Top

I think there may be a subliminal message to your post, Muse: ...read Robertson Davies... or something of that sort. ;)

Actually, that doesn't sound very patronizing at all to me. As for expense, don't you get student discounts down there in Australia? Unless I'm trying to go to a production by a really highbrow troupe (Dallas Theater Center, for instance), I can get in pretty cheaply if I pay at the door. The George Eliot play was $10 with my student ID, which is not much more than a movie theater these days. The biggest problem for me is the distance. The community theater and university offerings here in town are rarely of interest to me. So I have to drive an hour to Dallas or Fort Worth if I want to have a "theatrical experience," whether it be musical theater, opera, or straight drama.

101ncgraham
Sep 21, 2011, 11:27pm Top

And, after letting them stew in a Word document for months, I've finally expanded my thoughts on Jane Eyre (posted earlier in this thread) into a proper review. Thank you all for helping to generate the conversation that led to this being written! Here's the end result:

http://www.librarything.com/work/2204/reviews/71034982

This is one of the longest reviews I've ever written for LibraryThing and I wonder if I oughtn't to cut it at all. On the other hand, I had also considered saying more about the various movie adaptations I'd seen but for the moment have confined myself to my two favorites.

Thoughts welcome.

102ChocolateMuse
Edited: Sep 21, 2011, 11:48pm Top

Fabulous review, Nathan. I love it. We were both at opposite ends, and have met in the middle. I used to LOVE the book and now see more of its problems, and you used to be anti and have come to see its great points. Yay!

I think it's that battle between morality and passion that's the real heart of the book. These days when morality is out of fashion for so many, the book becomes not only less relevant, but also harder to understand. I think having a faith helps in appreciating C Bronte's intentions.

I still want to watch the new movie version, and still haven't yet.

I seem to remember that we got to know each other in our online way over Jane Eyre. :)

103ncgraham
Sep 22, 2011, 12:00am Top

I thought it was more Austen, but you could be right.

Problems? Eh? What? ;) :P

104theaelizabet
Sep 22, 2011, 8:43am Top

Nathan, congratulations on your thoughtful review. I greatly enjoyed reading it.

105ChocolateMuse
Sep 24, 2011, 6:00am Top

I dunno what problems exactly. It's kind of the fact that it's all so emotional - that trademark Bronte passion, and that's what it's founded on. But that's not a problem, I don't really know what I meant by that, except that it seems to lack something for me nowadays - depth, or ideas, or something. But I still love it.

No, really, I have no idea. Ignore me.

106ncgraham
Edited: Sep 29, 2011, 3:19pm Top

Currently struggling through Ulysses for the dread Joyce class ... but about to start a reread of The Mill on the Floss for Literary Interpretation and Analysis! :D



Oh, and yeah, I finished A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and The Glass Menagerie. *updates post 2*

107Poquette
Sep 29, 2011, 2:42pm Top

And what about The Way We Live Now?

108ncgraham
Sep 29, 2011, 3:19pm Top

Suzanne, I read TWWLN during the summer. I just haven't reviewed it yet. ;)

109Poquette
Sep 29, 2011, 4:15pm Top

I'm not nagging, but you seemed to indicate your review was imminent. But I'll be patient. All in good time . . . ;-)

110ncgraham
Edited: Sep 29, 2011, 10:06pm Top

In such matters as these, imminence is a highly relative term (and one that often bows to the pressures of a university course load).

111Poquette
Sep 30, 2011, 1:37am Top

Ah, yes. Well, then, carry on.

112ChocolateMuse
Sep 30, 2011, 3:05am Top

Nathan, dear, if you are reading Ulysses, then nothing else should be considered at all.

113ncgraham
Edited: Oct 2, 2011, 4:35pm Top

Thank you, Rena. Thankfully it's only 3 chapters a week, so I have plenty of time to read Mill as well. But you're right in that I should probably set aside any desire for reviewing or extracurricular reading for the present.

114dchaikin
Sep 30, 2011, 11:46am Top

Hi Nathan - Just de-lurking momentarily to say I've really enjoyed reading your thread. Good luck with the course load.

115ncgraham
Oct 2, 2011, 4:28pm Top

Thanks dchaikin. :) I've had almost no work hours this weekend so I'm almost ahead in school now! Yippee!

I read Book I ("Boy and Girl") of The Mill on the Floss yesterday—this is school?—and I think it may be my Jane Eyre of this semester, by which I mean that it will be my great and radical rediscovery. The more I read of Victorian lit, the more I want to read of it. If I were to do graduate and doctoral work in literature (which is not the plan), I'm sure that would end up being my field of study.

Mentioning Jane Eyre prompts me to make some comparisons between Mill and that book. I realize that Eliot's 2nd novel is more often compared to Emily's Wuthering Heights, but as I was reading I kept applying the passion/morality duality that I analyzed in Jane Eyre to the story of the Tullivers. I don't think this is too much of a stretch because I think this duality—pictured so often as a conflict—is fairly central to Victorian literature as a whole.

Maggie and Jane are both passionate children who are accused of being naughty and willful. Perhaps Jane's bursts of passion are more understandable (at least Maggie has a family) and the accusations less deserved, but they are both less contrary than adults say they are, and both have playfellows (the Reeds, Tom) who are, in spite of appearances, a good deal more willful than they are.

Of course, after starting this analysis I began to wonder, what will I say about Maggie's efforts to live a moral life? And then I realized I wasn't really far enough along in my reread to address them. At the same time, I think that by imposing the passion/morality duality on the story, I may be simplifying her situation a little. The demands made by her brother reflect a certain kind of morality, yes, but then so does the life that Philip offers her. A. S. Byatt, in my new edition's introduction, suggests that the crux of Maggie's dilemma is whether she will allow family demands to overshadow her personal happiness.

This, then, is perhaps what the three men in Maggie's adult life offer her, demand from her, or represent ...

Tom Tulliver: family loyalty; a morality based on custom and appearances

Philip Wakem: morality, but one that is not based as much upon appearances or locality as Tom's; love, but, perhaps, not "romance" (I think you hinted at the latter in your review, didn't you, Rena?)

Stephen Guest: passion; romance

More thoughts on Maggie's developing maturity and her two suitors, and comparisons of all this to Jane Eyre, once I read a little more.

116ncgraham
Oct 2, 2011, 4:38pm Top

That didn't come out nearly as brilliant as I had planned. :P I need to think of another word besides "duality" to describe my passion/morality formulation. The resultant rhyme is a bit trite, and it would be nice to be able to change it up now and again.

I should probably write up similar reflections on Ulysses, but to be honest, I don't want to. There's so much surface-level work to do simply to get through, that book that I find it difficult to engage with it on a deep level.

Despite my concession in 112 that writing reviews probably wouldn't be a good idea right now, I think I may whip a couple out this afternoon for Dubliners and The Glass Menagerie, as preparation for papers I have to write on them.

Also, just placed a hold on an audiobook of Great Expectations at my local library. I drive 15 minutes to school and 15 minutes back 4 days a week, so I'm going to be able to get in some extracurricular reading after all!

117ncgraham
Oct 2, 2011, 4:46pm Top

Oh, and a quick, technical query: are any other Google Chrome users having issues viewing book pages (as opposed to profile or talk pages) here on LibraryThing? Also, if I were to inquire further about the issue, in which would I do so? Bug Collectors? Talk about LibraryThing? Frequently Asked Questions?

118ronincats
Oct 2, 2011, 6:08pm Top

Can't help you on the technical question, but I am in awe of your reading list for school so far!

119ChocolateMuse
Oct 4, 2011, 10:07pm Top

Oh, I think passion and morality play a huge part for Maggie, but I don't think they're in direct conflict as much as for Jane. It does come into it of course, but not so much? maybe.

120ncgraham
Edited: Oct 12, 2011, 8:51pm Top

Yes, I think now I may have been taking the wrong tack in starting out on this reread. It's not a Jane Eyre rehash and I don't want it to be, although at times it's an interesting comparison to make. How can Eliot be so brilliant? I'd forgotten, in my overwhelming love for Middlemarch and Silas Marner, just how great this one is. I am absolutely and unmistakably in love with the writing and characters. Of course, now that I think about it, I believe I was the first time too—up until the appearance of Stephen Guest. Of course, I'm hoping that now I'm older I won't have such a knee-jerk reaction this time around. Fingers crossed!

As I read I've been thinking about Rena's comment from my thread last year (based on my impressions of Scenes of Clerical Life): "Deliciously Eliotish. Character, always character - and so much like all the different people I am myself." So so accurate. And sometimes scarily so. Often while reading a book I can see a bit of myself in a certain character. In The Mill on the Floss I can see myself in several different characters. I can see myself in Maggie, in her overwhelming need to be loved and in her tendency to internalize everything (bad, bad, bad—don't do this). But I can also see myself in Tom's admittedly misguided sense of justice. And I relate quite a lot to Philip (I can never remember if it's one l or two), in that I was also a somewhat unusual teenage boy, and frequently got into half-envious tiffs with the more athletic fellows my age, rather as he does with Tom.

Started the Great Expectations audio book on Monday and am really enjoying it. It suffers somewhat from being read alongside an Eliot, though, I think. His characters just don't strike me as being as real as Eliot's for some reason. Take the married couples in each book as an example. Both the Gleggs (in Mill) and the Gargerys (in Expectations) are used sometimes for comic purposes; in both cases the woman is dictatorial and tyrannical, while the man is softer and more sympathetic. But Joe Gargery is an angel in human clothing, whereas Mr. Glegg is a lovable but flawed human being. And I can easily imagine coming across someone like Mrs. Glegg in real life, although that would be an absolutely horrible experience; Mrs. Joe strikes me as more of a caricature.

But I am gradually adjusting myself to Dickens's emotional barometer, and there's some really great stuff here. I loved the silent communication between Pip and Magwitch when the latter was recaptured.

If only I could adjust myself to Joyce as well as Dickens! Ulysses is quite the bore as far as I'm concerned. But at least Leopold Bloom is easier to like than Stephen Dedalus (the protagonist of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and the first three chapters of Ulysses), who's just an insufferable prig as far as I'm concerned.

Victorians and realists > modernists. At least for my reading palate.

121ChocolateMuse
Edited: Nov 1, 2011, 2:05am Top

>120 ncgraham: Did I really write that line? It's quite good. :-P

Mmm, I'm just, only just, starting to appreciate Dickens. To try to compare him in any way at ALL with Eliot, I've realised (this is for myself, not dictating to you, N, by any means) is a mistake. The point is to not try at all too see his people as real. They aren't real and were never meant to be. But I think Dickens is always saying something about real people through his unreal characters. I dunno. I'm no expert. I've just finished listening to Barnaby Rudge. And I liked it! This is a breakthrough for me, who previously could only enjoy Pickwick, and no other Dickens at all. (apart from a little gem collaborated between Dickens and Wilkie Collins called No Thoroughfare. Check it out on LV if interested: http://librivox.org/no-thoroughfare-by-charles-dickens/) I think I'm just starting to 'get' Dickens, and will try more soon.

I probably should have written that on my thread, shouldn't I...

122ncgraham
Oct 12, 2011, 11:47pm Top

Copy and paste. Lovely feature of modern technology.

I think some of Dickens' people are "real" on all levels, but they're contrasted with caricatures. And yes, we were discussing in Literary Interpretation and Analysis (the class in which I am reading Mill, and where my teacher and I indulge in Eliot lovefests on a regular basis, to the great confusion and consternation of the other students) how Dickens was really not a typical Victorian novelist at all, in terms of his subject matter, characterization, class consciousness, social themes, etc. It's difficult enough to compare him to Thackeray and Trollope and the Brontes, let alone Eliot.

Dickens and I have a classic love-hate relationship. I was introduced to his work through film. Grew up on the musical Oliver! and have seen to date four versions of David Copperfield. And I really do love A Christmas Carol. It's a fable at heart and that's a form that suited Dickens. But I disliked most of A Tale of Two Cities when I was assigned it in high school (with an exception, as always, for Sydney Carton and Miss Pross) and though I gave David Copperfield a generous rating when I finally got around to reading it a few years ago, I see it as having a lot of flaws now.

Hopefully with Great Expectations I'll hit gold again!

I need to learn to work my MP3 player in such a way as I can listen to it in the car, because that's the only way I'll ever get into LibriVox. Thanks for the rec, though: I've only read The Woman in White, but I already love Wilkie Collins. :)

123ncgraham
Oct 31, 2011, 2:22pm Top

Finished The Mill on the Floss today! More thoughts later.

124ChocolateMuse
Oct 31, 2011, 7:09pm Top

I wait with bated breath.

By the way, I'm listening to Poor Miss Finch at the moment, and though it's fun and full of hysteria, I am annoyed by the things he says about women and French people. I don't think I would have liked Mr Collins if I'd met him face to face.

125ncgraham
Oct 31, 2011, 10:51pm Top

I feel that way about quite a few of my favorite authors.

We really need Amy in here and over on your thread clearing up this Collins business. She's read about a bazillion of his books and I recall her discussing gender issues in his fiction in one of her reviews, and mounting a bit of a defense for the old chap.

126ChocolateMuse
Oct 31, 2011, 11:14pm Top

By all means - Amy, are you there? I'm here: http://www.librarything.com/topic/122525

127tomcatMurr
Edited: Nov 1, 2011, 1:40am Top

I'm not Amy, but, if I may intrude, I have left a bit of a defence for Wilkie on Choco's thread. glad to see you both beginning to appreciate Dickens. to my mind, he is the greatest writer in the language, after shakespeare. not kidding.

128ncgraham
Nov 1, 2011, 1:13pm Top

She's busy of late with all her copy editing duties. We shall definitely be happy to have her back when this all clears up!

Thanks, Murr. I'll head over there.

129ncgraham
Dec 19, 2011, 10:04pm Top

All right, Christmas break has begun, and I've already finished 3 books! Well, one was an audio book that I'd been listening to for a month—To Kill a Mockingbird, Great Expectations's successor on my commute to school (loved them both, Tof course—but the other two I've started and finished in a day each. M is for Magic by Neil Gaiman, and The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I read the latter because I'd planned to see it with my grandmother in the $2 theater this week, but I don't think we'll be going. I have a cold and I can't risk giving it to her.

Now that I've completed my first reading binge of the semester, I need to start tackling the review queue I have going—27 books at the moment, stretching all the way back to last year! I used only to post in my threads after I'd completed a bunch of reviews, but that was probably just a self-image issue. Plus, I thought maybe I could get a little moral support going.

130dchaikin
Dec 19, 2011, 10:38pm Top

Good luck Nathan. If you do write 27 reviews this break, I'm not sure you'll get much more reading done. ;)

131ncgraham
Dec 19, 2011, 11:07pm Top

Some of them are gonna be really really short. And I'm not worrying much about quality. Perhaps it would be better to not review them at all, but this is my plan at the moment.

132ronincats
Dec 20, 2011, 12:24am Top

I suggest you just list them here in the thread, maybe give some of the less interesting ones the 1 sentence review, and come back and fill in as you have time. Much more interesting to be reading new books, and we can ask you questions about any books we are interested in.

And congratulations on finishing the semester!!!

133ncgraham
Edited: Dec 20, 2011, 12:38am Top

Roni, all of this years reads are listed in post #2. :)

And thanks!

134ronincats
Dec 20, 2011, 12:43am Top

Oops. All I ever see is your opening picture before it moves to the bottom of your thread, and so I never see #2--or at least haven't for far, far longer than my memory span.

135ronincats
Dec 23, 2011, 8:14pm Top


Merry Christmas, Nathan!

136ncgraham
Jan 5, 2012, 1:12am Top

Thank you (belatedly) for that, Roni!

Well, I've just now started addressing that monstrous queue, but I went ahead and started a 2012 thread anyway. You can find it here:

http://www.librarything.com/topic/130364

Group: Club Read 2011

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