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review 2017-07-12 14:14
Eligible (and Prejudice)
Eligible: A modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice - Curtis Sittenfeld,Cassandra Campbell

 

 

In this modern-day retelling of Pride and Prejudice,  the way people know that Chip Bingley, an ER doctor "in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife” is that two years before, he appeared on a Bacheloresque dating show called Eligible (without selecting either of the two female contestants who made it to the final episode).  The Bennet family in this version of P & P reside in a ramshackle Tudor home in Cincinatti, Ohio, and of course Mrs. Bennet is convinced that Dr. Bingley will be just right for one of her daughters.  Jane Bennet, who will be turning 40 in the fall, is a yoga instructor who has been attempting to become pregnant via donor sperm and artificial insemination.  Liz, age 38, is a writer for a magazine called Mascara.  Both Liz and Jane live in NYC, but they fly out to their ancestral home when their father has a health scare.  The youngest three daughters have never left the nest.  Mary, age 30, is a misanthrope working on her third online master's degree.  Lydia and Kitty, both in their 20s, work service jobs on and off, but put most of their energy into their Crossfit workouts.

 

Readers of Jane Austen's original will know the broad strokes of the plotlines, but Curtis Sittenfeld changes things up enough to keep the narrative fresh.  There is, of course, a Fitzwilliam Darcy, in this case a neurosurgeon, who must overcome his pride while Liz Bennet makes a journey to get past her own prejudice.  

 

This book was a "staff pick" chosen for week two of the Albany Public Library summer-reading program.  Onto week three (non-fiction)!

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review 2017-07-01 22:21
[REVIEW] Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

I finally finished this book! YAY! My goodness, it took me forever to do so. It's as romantic as I had expected but also very difficult to keep track of all the Miss Bennetts. Lindsey Duncan's narration was delightful and she infused it with a lot of emotion.

Before reading/listening

I have tried many times to read this but I have failed each and every one. Hopefully, an audiobook will make the experience easier on me.

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text 2017-05-23 00:56
A Personal Literary Canon, Part 1
Jane Eyre - Michael Mason,Charlotte Brontë
Pride and Prejudice (Penguin Classics) - Vivien Jones,Tony Tanner,Claire Lamont,Jane Austen
The Song of the Lark - Willa Cather
The House of Mirth - Edith Wharton

I've been spending a lot of time watching the implosion of my democracy, reading Washington Post and The New York Times, generally with a knot in my stomach, wondering what shoe will drop next. I have decided that in the service of my mental health, I have to limit myself to an reasonable amount of exposure to the terrifying Tumpshow per day. 

 

So, I logged onto my wordpress reader for the first time in ages & started reading the posts written by some of my favorite bloggers. One of them mentioned that he had been challenged by another blogger to identify his "literary canon." I found this intriguing - and it begged the question - what is a personal canon? If we assume that:

 

"The term “literary canon” refers to a body of books, narratives and other texts considered to be the most important and influential of a particular time period or place. Take a 19th century American literature course, for instance."

 

Then a personal canon would be: a body of books, narratives and other texts considered to be the most important and influential to me. I googled "personal canon" and found a number of posts written by bloggers - many of whom are pretty obviously far more intellectual than I am - that described their personal canons. I thought that was a pretty cool idea, so I started thinking about mine.

 

This is likely to be an ongoing project - I'm going to set up a page to collect my "Canon" posts, and write some argumentative posts where I identify a book/author for canon and go through an identification of why I am or am not going to include the book in MR's Personal Canon. At the outset, there will be some low-hanging fruit that I can easily identify (including the four authors listed above - I'll get to those amazing women in a moment). I'm also going to work on identifying some elements or questions to consult when I am working out whether or not something gets the imprimatur of canon from me. 

 

As a starting place, I've selected four works that are clearly part of my personal canon:

 

1. Jane Eyre - Michael Mason,Charlotte Brontë: One of the elements of canon that I intend to adopt is "personal importance." Identifying a book based upon a high level of personal importance means that it is a book that I strongly remember reading in the past, and that has been influential in some way. While Jane Eyre is widely considered to be a well-written book, a book that receives a high score on the personal importance element need not necessarily be well-written or well-regarded. Just important to me.

 

2. Pride and Prejudice (Penguin Classics) - Vivien Jones,Tony Tanner,Claire Lamont,Jane Austen: Another element of canon relates to "rereadability." In order to qualify as re-readable, a book needs to have some resonance that draws me back to the book. Pride and Prejudice is a book that I have reread more times than I can count. It is unlikely that a book will make it into my personal canon unless I have read the book more than once. Probably even more than twice. 

 

3. The Song of the Lark - Willa Cather: Related to re-readability is the quality of the book or the author being horizon-broadening in some sense. It needs to be something that enriches my life or perspective. Willa Cather scores very high on this element for me - I find her writing to be near perfect, and the ground-breaking nature of her writing as an American woman writing about the American west, has been a personal touchstone.

 

4. The House of Mirth - Edith Wharton: The last thing I can think of right now is thematic importance, especially as the themes relate to feminism, womanhood, and issues of equality. I would imagine that my canon will be heavy on women writers, because those are the writers to whom I gravitate. 

 

While the four books that I've mentioned so far are undeniably classics, not all books in my personal canon will be classics. I suspect that A Wrinkle in Time will make it in there, as will all of Harry Potter. On the other hand, Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald will be conspicuously absent, as those two authors leave me entirely cold, although they might prominently appear in someone else's canon.

 

Do you have a personal canon? What books do you think you would put on your list?

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text 2017-05-14 20:56
Classics That You Should Read

For those who love to read, there is nothing more difficult than someone asking you to put together a list of your favourite books. After all, no two lists will ever be the same and how can anyone possibly choose, it’s like asking which of your children you love the most…

Similarly, those who love to read fully understand how expensive books can be, particularly in this difficult economic climate. Therefore, I decided to put together a few of my favourite classics, some of which are out of copyright and can be online for free. For out of copyright books, I have added a link where the book can be found for free.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Written by English writer Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre is a classic novel which has been hailed as one of the greatest pieces of English fiction. Set against the backdrop of the magnificent Yorkshire Moors, this story follows the coming of age of a plucky young governess who faces a number of great adversaries to find happiness in the arms of her first love.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover by DH Lawrence

First published privately in Italy in 1928 and later the subject of an obscenity trial in the UK. Lady Chatterley's Lover gained notoriety due to its hugely erotic content. Based in Nottinghamshire where DH Lawrence grew up, the story focuses on a young married woman who becomes disenchanted with her upper class husband. When an injury from the war leaves him unable to connect physically and emotionally with Lady Chatterley, she seeks sexual fulfilment in the arms of Oliver Mellor’s, the gamekeeper.

To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee

Renowned for its warmth and humour, To Kill a Mocking Bird is loosely based on Harper Lee’s observations of friends and family, but carries an important message about the realities of racism in the 1930’s. A classic piece of American literature, To Kill a Mockingbird is widely taught in schools all over the world and addresses themes of rape, racial inequality, courage and compassion. If you haven’t read this book, it’s one to put on your list of ‘must reads’ immediately!

Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James

Not everyone’s favourite book, but a book that has earned its place in history. Fifty Shades of Grey tells the story of Anastasia Steel and the ‘emotionally damaged’ billionaire Christian Grey. After a chance meeting, a story of all consuming love begins to unfold. What makes this story stand out, are the BDSM themes and erotic scenes weaved throughout the tale. The book may not have been well received by critics. However, what followed was a sexual revolution that rocked the twenty first century. Sales of sex toys rocketed, BDSM practices which were previously criminalised were normalised and a new age of sexual freedom began.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

HYPERLINK "http://www.literatureproject.com/little-woLittle Women is a timeless tale of four American sisters – Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. Following their lives from childhood to adulthood, Little Women has been a difficult book to define. Some describe the book as a romance novel, others claim that it is a children’s book. However, for those who have read it, the ongoing themes in this book work together to create an incredible piece of fiction that simply begs to be read.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

With over 20 million copies sold, Pride and Prejudice has certainly earned its crown as one of the most popular novels in English Literature. Using good, solid British humour, Pride and Prejudice tells the tale of the Bennet family – the overbearing Mrs Bennet, the long suffering Mr Bennet and their five daughters. Due to the laws of the land at the time, if Mr Bennet passes away the inheritance cannot be passed onto his own children and falls into the hands of a distant relative. With the pressure on to find a suitable marriage, the arrival of a handsome stranger causes rather a few trials and tribulations for the Bennet family.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Believing that he was a failure and his The Great Gatsby forgotten, F. Scott Fitzgerald died in 1940 with sales of just 20,000 copies. However, due to the glitz, glamour and sheer escapism of this 1920’s tale, The Great Gatsby saw a revival during World War 2 and fast became one of the greatest classics in American history. The story follows characters from a fictional town called West Egg. Featuring millionaires, shady business connections, unrivalled glamour and scandal, The Great Gatsby worked hard to earn the title of one of America’s best loved novels.

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text 2017-04-20 14:38
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen shreya khubber mind tree 'JANE AUSTEN', the name itself justifies the greatness of the book. One of the early published book of Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice is a book that is a 'must read' for every person on this earth. The beauty of the language and the play of words is so tremendous that the reader is compelled to not to leave the book and just go on reading. A special attention should be given to the number and the kind of characters that carry the story all through. They seem to be so real and relative than not even for a moment does it seem that they are fictional.
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