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Archive for August, 2009

nightstandI really haven’t been reading much lately. Getting those last few touches on the house and just relaxing. I do hope that I get back into reading as we become more established here. I miss it!

I have been watching a lot of movie adaptations lately…Wuthering Heights, Tess of D’urbervilles, Emma, and Pride & Prejudice (1995).

This month I finished reading:

I’m still reading:

  • Emma, by Jane Austen (I’ve hardly picked it up and am going so slow. Honestly, this is my least favorite Austen story…book or movie.)
  • The Montessori Method, by Maria Montessori (I’m about halfway through and feeling good!)
  • Feminine Appeal, by Carolyn Mahaney
  • Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, by Don Whitney (for my class with the Seminary Wives Institute at my husband’s school)

Next month I plan to read:

I’m not planning on adding anything new…Oh! Except The Time Traveler’s Wife because I’ve heard amazing things about it and the trailer for the movie looks great! My husband and I are talking about a date night…

So…what have you been reading?

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The Everything Austen Challenge hosted by Stephanie (@ Stephanie’s Written Word) is in full swing and I thought I’d do a little update on where I’m at with my challenge list. Just looking at it there’s been some changes.

Here’s the original:

  1. Emma by Jane Austen (Still working on this one…)
  2. Becoming Jane by Jon Spence
  3. Old Friends and New Fancies by Sybil Brinton
  4. The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James
  5. Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler (I read Confessions in the fall.)
  6. The Jane Austen Book Club (movie)

Here’s what I’ve completed/currently reading:

  1. Jane Austen Festival in July
  2. Watched Clueless with my little sister. (It’d been so long since I’d seen that movie! And now I’m more aware of the parallels between it and Emma.)
  3. Watched Lost in Austen. I enjoyed it and, hopefully, I’ll get a review up soonish.
  4. Picked Emma back up and am making progress. I’m enjoying it more and more…although I’m finding that Emma is my least favorite Austen heroine. Maybe because she has the most obvious flaws. Mr. Knightley reminds me a bit of Henry Tilney from Northanger Abbey.

So…basically I have three more to finish the challenge. Two of the books on my original list are sitting on my bookshelf (Becoming Jane and The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen) and one is on it’s way from PaperBack Swap (Old Friends and New Fancies). We’ll see what get’s done. I’m sure more movie watching is inevitable!

Oh! I almost forgot. Stephaine has a guest post today from Laurie Viera Rigler (author of Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict and Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict) which was really good, if you haven’t already read it, and a giveaway including both of Rigler’s novels. Check it out!

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emma+and+knightleyI’ve gotten back to reading Emma over the last few days and have found a few choice pieces of wisdom from Mr. Knightley. These both occur as they’re talking about Frank Churchhill’s absent from his father’s wedding.

There is one thing, Emma, which a man can always do, if he chooses, and that is, his duty; not by manoeuvring and finessing, but by vigor and resolution (135).

Depend upon it, Emma, a sensible man would find no difficulty in it [leaving his aunt & uncle, who raised him, to visit his father]. He would feel himself in the right; and the declaration, made, of course, as a man of sense would make it, in a proper manner, would do him more good, raise him higher, fix his interest stronger with teh people he depended on, than all that a line of shifts and expedients can ever do. Respect would be added to affection. They would feel that they could trust him; that the nephew who had done rightly by his father would do rightly by them; for they know as well as he does, as well as all the world must know, that he ought to pay this visit to his father; and while meanly exerting their power to delay it are in their hearts not thinking the better of him for submitting to their whims. Respect for right conduct is felt by everybody: if he would act in this sort of manner on principle, consistently, regularly, their little minds would bend to his (136).

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n300878Last week amid the chaos of boxes I found some time to read a new book Mercury in Retrograde by Paula Froelich. It was a good break.

Here’s the synopsis: Three women brought together at 148 Sullivan (the author’s actual address) by a series of unfortunate events. Penelope Mercury  is a resident in the building who quits her job as a door-stepping reporter at a tabloid called the New York Telegraph. Lena “Lipstick” Lippencrass, a socialite, moves into the building after getting cut off by her father. And Dana Gluck, a corporate lawyer, takes the penthouse after her investment banker husband leaves her for a Russian model.

When fate conspires to have these three very different women move into the same SoHo apartment building, they soon discover that having their carefully planned lives fall to pieces might be the best thing that could have ever happened to them.

I love the premise the author lays out  in the introduction, “When Mercury spins directly between the Earth and Sun–a condition that astrologers call “Mercury in Retrograde”–it appears to the untrained eye looking through a telescope to be hurtling backward. But, in fact, it’s moving at the same pace it always does, approximately three times faster than Earth. It’s your perspective that shifts…”

Honestly, it was a relief to read about how others lives are spinning out of control when mine feels a little chaotic right now. It brought a needed comedic relief. It fits in the chic lit genre, but wasn’t as predictable as most chic lit novels are.  Of course, you know everything it going to end up all right in the end…because it always does.

Each of the characters makes her own journey in the story. All of them have been living up to the expectations of others and seeking approval in some way or another. For Penelope she’ll stand in a blizzard knocking on doors to get a story for the newspaper she works at all in an effort to get a promotion. Dana, although recently divorced, still feels the pressure her ex-husband put on her to skinny, to be pregnant from her family, and her own striving to be the youngest partner at the law firm she works at. As for Lipstick her world is ordered by what high society deems presentable, appropriate, and necessary…her goal to be #1 on SocialStatus.com.

Overall, I enjoyed the story. It was quite comical at times especially since Froelich masked some real-life characters. There’s the mayor who gets caught in a prostitute ring and a teen diva who makes a fool of herself at a gala ball (she sounds like a mix between Miley Cyrus and Lindsay Lohan). There were a few more obvious references but I can’t remember them right now, but you could definitely figure out who’s who.

A fun read. And I love the cover art on this one!

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I’m sure many of you have already heard about the 2nd Annual Book Blogger Appreciation Week going on September 14 – 18 started by Amy from My Friend Amy. It’s going to be a time to “celebrate the contribution and hard work of book bloggers” and all that we do. It is quite a hobby, isn’t it?

There’ll be lots going on from giveaways to daily blogging themes and special guests. Head on over to Book Blogger Appreciation Week to register and get involved.

Well, this week they put out a quick little meme and I thought I’d join in!

1)  What has been one of the highlights of blogging for you?

I’ve really enjoyed “meeting” other book bloggers and finding out about so many books I wouldn’t have otherwise. Now when I walk into a bookstore I go “Oh…I’ve heard of that one…That’s supposed to be really good. I’d like to read that one too.” It’s definitely increased my book awareness.
2)  What blogger has helped you out with your blog by answering questions, linking to you, or inspiring you?

I’d have to say the ladies at 5 Minutes for Books, since that was really the first book blog I came across.

3)  What one question do you have about BBAW that someone who participated last year could answer?

Hmm…don’t really know. I do wonder how some bloggers are able to read and review so many books!

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secret-gardenThe Secret Garden is one of the reasons I fell in love with English literature. As a kid I had an abridged copy of the story and loved the movie which I bought myself…I was so proud! And it even came with a little locket.

I love this story. It brings you back to that place of childlike wonder and abandonment to something magical. It’s the story of two lonely, spoiled children who life, love, and pleasure in the discovery of a secret garden. I loved to see how Mary and Colin grew throughout the story from being closed and very sad to hopeful, full of life and purpose.

I can’t quite think of how to describe the characters. I love them all. From Ben Weatherstaff to Miss Mary, Dickon, 51HTYRN363L._SS500_and Master Colin…oh, and Martha! Mary was “quite contrary” for a good bit, before discovering friendship and the garden. Colin is the boy you feel sorry for but want to put in his place at the same time, and Ben Weatherstaff is the cranky old man who really isn’t so cranky. Dickon is probably my favorite character–warm, lovable, forgiving from the beginning, and always with his personal menagerie.

I think Dickon is probably the catalyst for Mary’s change, after the discovery of the garden. He’s so gentle with her and gains her trust little by little and before she knows it Mary’s sharing every secret with him and is so eager to learn she loses her early inhibitions.

Le jardin secretI love the Yorkshire accent. It was a little hard to read smoothly at first, but it doesn’t take long to get used to. Oh, and I thought it was hilarious how Mary was so proud of gaining weight and how both her and Colin had to hide their hungry appetites.

There are definitely differences between the book and the movie. The book is, of course, better, but I think the movie does justice to the beauty of the garden as well as how well the actors captured the essence of their characters. Two things that were left out of the movie and didn’t understand why: Susan Sowerby (Dickon’s mother) and the doctor being Colin’s uncle. I think both of these would have added to the movie, especially Dickon’s mother. I think her presence is the loving adult-figure both Mary and Colin needed as well as her boldness to write Master Craven and tell him to come home.

Overall, I love this book and movie. I feel like I’m rambling a bit without really saying much, but it’s a good story that both children and adults will enjoy.

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