I had this book on my "read" shelf, but I didn't enter a review, so I think I was just beefing up my Books list when I checked it off. Weirdly enough,...moreI had this book on my "read" shelf, but I didn't enter a review, so I think I was just beefing up my Books list when I checked it off. Weirdly enough, I ordered a copy and got a profoundly abridged one, despite its having NO notice of its abridgement. I think I'll interlibrary loan it and then decide if I want to own a "real" copy. However, this novel is a gem, especially for Anglophiles, since it makes fun of exactly the tropes that we all love: the country vs city life, the multitude of characters, the issues of class and accent. . . One reviewer commented that it was a mix of PG Wodehouse and Jane Austen. I'd say AMEN!
I hope to find the movie on Netflix, as I remember loving it once already! (less)
Audio book, read by my beloved Nadia May. Loooooooong and yet somehow exciting as well. . . for days I set off to school or home, announcing, "I might...moreAudio book, read by my beloved Nadia May. Loooooooong and yet somehow exciting as well. . . for days I set off to school or home, announcing, "I might finish my novel today!" and yet, Gaskell continued the story of Molly and her terrible stepmother and her family and friends. Finally, en route home, the editor broke in. . . "Unfortunately, Gaskell died before finishing this novel." !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No joke. 25 hours of listening and caring about these folks, and then: she didn't finish the last chapter.
It was so horrible that it was funny. I still love the book, I still think Gaskell is an impressive writer in the mould of Jane Austen, BUT the next one of hers that I read/listen to I will be sure is finished! (less)
Juliet Stevenson does an amazing job of presenting Emma: each character is distinct, and the infamous "Mrs. E." and the sweetly overwhelming Miss Bate...moreJuliet Stevenson does an amazing job of presenting Emma: each character is distinct, and the infamous "Mrs. E." and the sweetly overwhelming Miss Bates are topnotch. I've read, seen, and listened to this work probably 6 times, and Stevenson's version does a fantastic job of highlighting the wit, insight, and satire of Austen's novel.
Highly, highly, highly recommended on all fronts. (less)
Well, this tie in to the Jania that ruled the world a few years ago (it was pub'd in 2009) is an mildly amusing read. Because it's set at a place that...moreWell, this tie in to the Jania that ruled the world a few years ago (it was pub'd in 2009) is an mildly amusing read. Because it's set at a place that reenacts Austen's society, the plot doesn't have to walk that line between outright copying and pale imitation that has doomed so many other retellings. However, it's only okay for several reasons: 1. the editor was asleep at the switch for several pages: ". . . keeping one eye on the twins battling over blocks, the other eye ensconced in a throw pillow." (16). What? I reread that about 5 times, trying to figure out if the heroine had a fake eye or if the printer had skipped a few words. "He was a few years younger than her" (134). . . younger than her was? Please. And then, before she leaves, our Jane "used [a piece of metal] to carve Catherine Heathcliff to the underside of the windowsill." (171) I think American English is Hale's first language, and don't we say on or into in that case? And then, "On impulse, she took his hand, rubbed his index finger between her fingers. It was an intimate gesture, yet felt natural." (191). It IS an intimate gesture? Weird. There were a few other odd constructions--nothing that an alert editor wouldn't catch--but they began to grate. 2. The bigger reason Austenland is only okay is that the woman's character is just never presented in a coherent way. Her mood varies, and she gives herself so many pep talks that I kept losing track of why she needed a pep talk *this* time: was she too careless? Too needy? Playing too much in the role, or too little? The constant twittering gets a bit old.
So why did I read this? Well, O Magazine said there's a movie coming out, and it seems like just the right kind of eye candy for August, and I wanted to be prepared. Now I am! (less)
Well, this is a reread, but I"m surprised to see there's no comment here, even, because I remember reading Lucy Sullivan the first time and I remember...moreWell, this is a reread, but I"m surprised to see there's no comment here, even, because I remember reading Lucy Sullivan the first time and I remember the reasons I didn't like it: too predictable, too dragged out. Not sure what changed, but this time when I read it, I was much more impressed by Keyes's facility at describing patterns that the person in them can't see, like the one Lucy is trapped in. The book is not her strongest effort, but there's more here than I saw on first read (about a year ago). Most moving is the description of depression, which, if you follow Keyes at all, you know comes from a deep and painful personal experience with it.
I am looking forward to reading "Mystery of Mercy Close"--plan to get it as my September local bookstore purchase!--and I'd also like to reread the Holiday one: Rachel's ? Holiday, since I remember that as one of her best. So this is up to three stars from my original 2.
But don't you think that Goodreads needs a "reread" category? (less)
I was reading and enjoying this Sarah Dessen (I've missed a few so this is not a new one, I don't think) and started wondering why her novels are so e...moreI was reading and enjoying this Sarah Dessen (I've missed a few so this is not a new one, I don't think) and started wondering why her novels are so enjoyable but being around teenagers can be exhausting and frustrating. Upon further consideration, I realized that Sarah Dessen does likable teenage characters who have the fully-matured adult ability to express their feelings and analyze situations. So while her characters feel "like real teens," they certainly aren't. . . so these novels, like many movies, magazines, and reality shows, set a high and unrealistic bar for teenagers and those who love them. Teens aren't like that. They just can't be.
BUT: Sarah Dessen does write an enjoyable, usually pretty well-developed and insightful novel about teenagers.
And this one is no exception: good teen lite lit. Enjoy. (less)