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text 2018-03-14 20:21
Reading progress update: I've read 159 out of 448 pages.
She Stoops to Conquer and Other Comedies (Oxford World's Classics) - Henry Fielding,David Garrick,Oliver Goldsmith

The Clandestine Marriage, Garrick and Colman


Clandestine marriages were a hot political topic at the time of writing (mid 1700s), with numerous young lovers eloping to Gretna Green in order to get married against parental wishes and avoid arranged marriages that had little motivation beyond the financial and social climbing aims of parents. This play comes down heavily and unsubtly on the side of young love, with every character's portrait singly coloured using a paint roller in order to fit in with the necessary scheme. A bunch of stereotypes, really, the worst of which is the Swiss idiot who exists solely so he can be portrayed as a moron with a silly accent whilst serving as confidente to someone else who is pivotal to the plot. Stereotypes heightened for comedic effect, bumbling around chaotically getting into a huge tangle that gets resolved extremely quickly in the fifth Act with much ado and hullabaloo preceding.


It's saving grace is that it is funny, whilst making its swipe at marriage laws, the crude taste of the nouveau riche merchants and speculators, the snobbery of Old Money and the notion that income is more important than affection when it comes to marriage. It would be even more so in performance, so it's disappointing to learn that the play has received little attention in recent years, though it has been filmed once. This, however, does not apply to the Epilogue which, despite its attempt at meta-humour about Society and Theatre, is just utter garbage.

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review 2018-03-14 01:00
This is a DENSE book, ya'll
The Portable Nineteenth-Century African American Women Writers (Penguin Classics) - Hollis Robbins,Hollis Robbins,Henry Louis Gates Jr.,Henry Louis Gates Jr.,Various

If you're looking for a book that you can dip in and out of over the course of several days (or weeks if you're me) then I recommend you check out The Portable Nineteenth-Century African American Women Writers. Organized by theme, this book features many writers of different genres. There are poets, essayists, lecturers, novelists, ministers, and teachers to name just a few. The common theme (besides their gender and race) is that they are advocates for equality of the races and sexes. I found that this book was an excellent conversation starter especially if you want to talk about tough topics like economic and social equality coupled with the history of the Americas. It's also an excellent way to discover writers that you may have never heard of as many of them are quite niche. As you might surmise, the topics covered in this collection are quite deep and therefore as a whole it's an emotionally and mentally exhausting enterprise. It's well worth the effort though. It's astonishing to me just how many of these women I had never heard of but when they were originally writing their voices were strong, no-holds-barred, and topical (most are relevant even today). The truths spoken are hard to accept because the topics are still so ingrained and fresh in the memory of our country. It's another reminder that we should continually be expanding our minds and looking beyond what we already 'know'. Embrace learning about new things! 9/10 and only lost that point because by 1/2 way through I was having to hype myself up to pick it back up again.


What's Up Next: Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything by Lydia Kang


What I'm Currently Reading: Fly on the Wall: How One Girl Saw Everything by E. Lockhart

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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text 2018-03-12 19:11
Reading progress update: I've read 141 out of 448 pages.
She Stoops to Conquer and Other Comedies (Oxford World's Classics) - Henry Fielding,David Garrick,Oliver Goldsmith

Well things have got into a proper tangle (as they should in this kind of comedy)...how's it gonna resolve?

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text 2018-03-11 08:46
Reading progress update: I've read 130 out of 448 pages.
She Stoops to Conquer and Other Comedies (Oxford World's Classics) - Henry Fielding,David Garrick,Oliver Goldsmith

Every characterisation is calculated to make a point, except maybe the Swiss dude who is just a joke.

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review 2018-03-08 02:30
A historical fairy tale that has gone straight on to my favorites list, and I’m not usually big on fairy tales OR mermaids! Christina Henry has written something special here
The Mermaid - Christina Henry

'The Mermaid' has immediately gone onto my favorites list, so I can tell you right away that this book is an absolute treat.
When I grabbed my early copy of it at Emerald City Con at the weekend, I hadn't heard it was coming out, so I certainly didn't harbor any expectations for it, and to be honest, I'm not even a big fan of fairytale retellings. Plus I had to dispel any recent images of killer mermaids I still had in my head after reading 'Into the Drowning Deep’ by Mira Grant, and I thought this would be the perfect way to do that.

'The Mermaid' is a historical fairy tale about a mermaid who wasn't content enough with life in the ocean so she decided that life on land, with a man called Jack, who she feels is the love of her life, was where she needed to be. Amelia was able to come and go from the sea as she pleased, and it seemed as though her life was everything she needed it to be...until Jack grew old (and she didn't). She was then discovered by the great P.T. Barnum. The same P.T. Barnum of Barnum & Bailey Circus Company, who is famous for coining the phrase "There's a sucker born every minute."

That's where Amelia's life completely changed, and the story of the mermaid becomes loosely based off the 'Feejee Mermaid' hoax that Barnum orchestrated. Author Christina Henry obviously did a lot of research to include details about Joice Heth and Tom Thumb (reading the novel will make this all clear!); I found all of this, and all Barnum's various 'humbugs' to be absolutely fascinating (and shocking).

Through the eyes of Amelia, who is essentially a stranger, 'an alien' to this foreign modern world that is New York circa 1840, she questions all sorts of things: why wear all the silly trappings of clothes, why are women not afforded the same rights as men, why are animals treated so poorly, why are people who are not white or Christian 'savages', and so on. And she dares to question her new 'employer' Barnum*, who basically is raking in the dough with her mermaid exhibit.
*I have no idea what to make of P.T.Barnum as a person or character, but Henry does say this rendition is the one that suits her story.

There is so much to love about this book: the wonderful characters who fit within the actual mold that was cast, but who now have been brought to life, the writing of Henry's that seems to flow so beautifully and seems so befitting of the time, and all the questions and ideas that spring off the pages through the character of the mermaid Amelia.
And then there's the idea of the mermaid herself, something we think we have an idea about, and here it is done again; I felt like what I was reading was subtle and ethereal, and in the way that that Amelia was trying to show her reality within the book to others, I was being made to believe it too. There are also themes of sadness, loss, and longing, new love, and acceptance, in the book, and I felt those emotions from the characters clearly. It was wonderful to read all of that and move along with the feelings like waves.

Absolutely wonderful book. I already want to own whatever special edition is made. And the Funko Pop.

I received free books from Penguin Random House in exchange for this review. Thank you!

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