I liked this book enough to investigate other books by the same author. Out of them all, I think I still liked this one best. It gives a good sense ofI liked this book enough to investigate other books by the same author. Out of them all, I think I still liked this one best. It gives a good sense of time and place; it creates an interesting world to explore. It's a little overly dramatic, kind of soap-opera-y at times. But I still thought it was a fun one....more
When you want a taste of Tudor England, do you turn to Shakespeare, or do you watch The Tudors? You answer might determine whether or not you would enWhen you want a taste of Tudor England, do you turn to Shakespeare, or do you watch The Tudors? You answer might determine whether or not you would enjoy Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife, a book that tries to hide the fact that it is a romance novel by pretending that it might have been imagined by Jane Austen.
I can’t decide if this is a bad book or not. To me, there is a time and a place for the trashiness of The Tudors, or The Other Bolyn Girl, or the part of the BBC Pride and Prejudice when Colin Firth climbs out of the pond in his clingy shirt. That time, for me anyway, is when I need a break from whatever highbrow pursuits I might usually undertake. When, in other words, I just want to be entertained by pretty people walking through pretty landscapes, wearing pretty period clothes. And, you know … doing it.
Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife begins with a note from the author about what a prude Jane Austen was. It offers this “sequel” as an antidote – and that’s the warning sign right there, on page iv. Actually, perhaps the warning sign comes earlier than you realize that you’ve never heard of this author OR the publisher before. You know what that means: other, nobler artists and editors turned this idea down.
At first, the story doesn’t seem all that bad. The writing is almost kind of quaint: lots of words like “hence,” “solicitous,” and “chastement.” If you’re drunk, maybe you can even convince yourself that it sounds a little like a real Jane Austen book. And it opens with our beloved heroine, Lizzy Bennett Darcy, thinking back on her romantic, lustful wedding night. That’s not so bad, is it? Haven’t you always kind of wondered if they made as good a married couple as they did enemies?
But then, by about page 18, the references to Mr. Darcy’s “easily agitated male instrument” begin. They don’t stop. And some of the descriptions are almost nightmarish: “manhood” (although, fine, I expected that one), “ampleness of his credentials,” “commodious organ,” “explicit bulge in the fork of his unhintables,” and so on. Yes, on that trashy level maybe it’s fun to read about how well-endowed Mr. Darcy is, (and I'm not talking about his money). And yet, I’m not sure I fully appreciate it. Will I be able to read Pride and Prejudice again without thinking of his “unhintables?” I really hope so.
My annoyance at the language culminates with the author’s use of the word “compleat.” It’s on just about every page: compleat, compleatly, compleatness, etc. Come on. You are not Jane Austen, you don’t live in olden times – none of us are so confused to believe any of that, so I’m pretty sure you can use the modern spelling.
Right now, my scales are tipping towards the idea that this book sucks. I just can’t decide whether it sucks so bad that it’s actually awesome.
P.S. I just read this line, which is tipping the scales towards 'sucks': In discussing Kitty Bennett's propensity for swooning in front of potential suitors, the author says Kitty puts her "hand on the back of her forehead." Ok. So, I think we all know what she MEANT was "back of the hand to the forehead" since the back of the forehead is, what? The brain? But "back of the forehead" made it into the final draft, the draft that made its way onto a bookshelf. I didn't want to say so before, but now it appears that this book was edited by some livestock. It's called proofreading and everyone from first grade forward is encouraged to do it. ...more
Just read the first twenty pages or so of this book, which describes a pair of college students climbing a giant redwood in California. It restored myJust read the first twenty pages or so of this book, which describes a pair of college students climbing a giant redwood in California. It restored my sense of wonder with the world -- they find a huckleberry bush on the top, growing out of the tree. I didn't know redwoods supported entire other bushes.
Much of this book is like that. I didn't know that treetops were all that different from tree trunks or tree roots or any of the parts of trees we see every day. But this book has changed my mind.
I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 because it seems intentionally dumbed down. If you have read other "literary journalism" books, like Into Thin Air for example, you can handle a lot more esoteric information than this author hands out. But I still highly recommend it....more
As with other Richard Scarry books, I have a sort of love-hate thing going on with this book. It is hard to sit down and read it to a small child, becAs with other Richard Scarry books, I have a sort of love-hate thing going on with this book. It is hard to sit down and read it to a small child, because it is full of pictures and doesn’t have a narrative. However, my kid is getting to the age when he can sit still and look through books on his own, and this provides a lot of really detailed and interesting pictures (and a whole section on trains).
Great book for squirmy kids, young toddlers. It's a board book, so they will have an easy time turning the pages and because they are die-cut into difGreat book for squirmy kids, young toddlers. It's a board book, so they will have an easy time turning the pages and because they are die-cut into different shapes, they are more interesting than "regular" book pages. When my son was too antsy to sit through longer books, he liked us to read this faster and faster as we went along, me trying to keep up reading as fast as he could turn the pages....more
A few years ago, it would have bothered me that this was part "parenting" book and part "memoir." Today, though, I found it just fine. The memoir partA few years ago, it would have bothered me that this was part "parenting" book and part "memoir." Today, though, I found it just fine. The memoir parts lightened the "you're probably doing it wrong" feeling from the more parenting parts.
I am stealing many of these ideas. I really like the sections on getting toddlers to eat new/strange foods. I highly recommend this book to anyone reading a bunch of baby books. It is a nice diversion from the others I have read....more
It captures the "fish out of water" element better than a lot of other books, even though that is such a commoOne of my all time favorite books. Ever.
It captures the "fish out of water" element better than a lot of other books, even though that is such a common trope in sci/fi-fantasy. There is something so real and palpable about Harry's loneliness, her introverted nature, and her need for self-confidence. Heart heart heart....more