The Not-So Austen Bookclub discussion

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Games and Extras > Book Sleuths ~ Open For Business

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message 1: by Booknut, Head Moderator (last edited Sep 16, 2012 10:55PM) (new)

Booknut (booknut101) | 4592 comments Mod
That never-ending argument.

Uncultured individual: "Gosh, just give it a break! That story isn't real!"
You: "But-"
Uncultured individual: "No! It's FICTION, ok? You are such a spaz!"

Yep. I've heard that one before. But one day - one day - the conversation will go like this:

Uncultured individual: "Gosh, just give it a break! That story isn't real!"
You: "But-"
Uncultured individual: "No! It's FICTION, ok? You are such a spaz!"
You: "Actually, this book IS based on reality. The main character was actually based off a girl the author knew and the description of her dress fits the style worn in the late 1800s by women of her class. Also, the mansion which she resided in has antique furniture that is typical of the period..."
*Uncultured person slinks off*

THIS IS OUR MISSION.

So here is an outline of what Speculative BOOK Sleuths is:
- Each week we choose a story, or a book; we choose it either by recommendation (someone had told us to investigate it), or one of us suggests it.
- It must be a fiction book
- Our goal? Whether we've read it or not, we post up excerpts and research the fact behind the fiction.
- Each one of us will then post up our finds and we'll discover how 'deep' in reality these stories actually are.

Some of you are probably reading this either thinking i.) Waaaaaaaaaaaaaah?, ii) Is she serious?, iii.) Why? or iv.) YES!!!

Unless your reaction is iv.), here is an explanation.

See, it's important to realise the effort authors put into stories - HEAPS of research is done by the author, the editing and publishing team as well as those they show the stories to, like friends and family. This effort is put in to make the stories as realistic as possible, so they connect to the audience on many levels.

Yeah, maybe we won't find alot - sometimes we'll find books steeped in historic context and with vivd accuracy when it comes to fashion, etiquette and language. And sometimes we won't. I just think it'd be cool to do something together, enjoy literature and also develop an appreciate of literature and the effort that is put into books to make them great.


The Peregrine Shepherd | 1 comments My reaction?

iv!!!


message 3: by L (new)

L | 1252 comments What a fantastic idea Booknut!! It is going to be so exciting researching into fictional books to see what research and 'facts' they are based on. Authors use their own life experiences combined with research in all genres to make their story beleivable and realistic.

Reaction: iv.


message 4: by Rachel (new)

Rachel (velliya) | 424 comments Such an amazing idea!!!! So excited!
My reaction was the last one even before I had know that there was a list of reations XD


message 5: by Olivia (new)

Olivia (olivia1395) | 1948 comments Ahhh! I am so excited for this! I get told all the time that books aren't real:/ I'm ready to be able to tell them it is:))) Haha


message 6: by Booknut, Head Moderator (new)

Booknut (booknut101) | 4592 comments Mod
Our first book series/book to delve into is...

The SOULLESS series by Gail Carriger!! Soulless (Parasol Protectorate, #1) by Gail Carriger

Check out the reviews and what-not if you haven't read it (it is actually going to be one of our club books to read for this month :D).

Here are a few quotes and investigations to get you budding sleuths started! (Choose any of the following to investigate or try them all!)

#1:
"You mean like whack you upside the noggin with that deadly parasol of hers? I would be cautious in that area if I were you.”

Parasols. Now, this book is set in the Victorian era, and yes I can picture those little women with their parasols bobbing as they walk down the sidewalk. But were there different kinds of parasols? Did they get them made to specific requirements? Would it even be possible to have a parasol as a weapon? Investigate and let us know!

#2:
“I believe the defining moment was when certain persons, who shall remain nameless, objected to my fuchsia silk striped waistcoat. I loved that waistcoat. I put my foot down, right then and there; I do not mind telling you!" To punctuate his deeply offended feelings, he stamped one silver-and-pearl-decorated high heel firmly.

Men's fashion. Yep, Lord A - as I will call him - has a weird dress sense, but is it actually that weird? What did men wear? What colours were 'acceptable'? Did men order their own clothes? Did men wear high heels?! Let us know!

#3:
“My father,” she admitted, “was of Italian extraction. Unfortunately, not an affliction that can be cured.” She paused. “Though he did die.”

Throughout the novel, people judge Miss Tarabotti on her Italian heritage. But did those in Victorian England actually associate that much with Italians? What was their opinion on them - as acquaintances, spouses, or other? Find out and let us know!

#4:
“Ivy Hisselpenny was the unfortunate victim of circumstances that dictated she be only-just-pretty, only-just-wealthy, and possessed of a terrible propensity for wearing extremely silly hats.”

What was the Victorian stance on beauty? This is a more broad investigation topic, but throughout the novel, Miss Tarabotti is thought to be quite handsome, though we do find she has stunning features (though they are quite Italian). But people tend not to say anything because she is a 'spinster'. Let us know what you find!

#5:
“Even Alexia, spinster that she was, was given an allowance large enough to dress her to the height of fashion— although she did tend to stick to trends a little too precisely. The poor thing could not help it. Her choice of clothing simply lacked soul.”

Miss Tarabotti is a spinster. What was the Victorian approach to them? Did any get married? What were they then to do, if not marry?

#6:
“With a resigned shrug, she screamed and collapsed into a faint. She stayed resolutely fainted, despite the liberal application of smelling salts, which made her eyes water most tremendously, a cramp in the back of one knee, and the fact that her new ball gown was getting most awfully wrinkled.”

Smelling salts. Yes, out of that entire quote, my focus is smelling salts! What were they? What were they used for? Why does every character in every Victorian novel seem to have them miraculously on hand?! Were they common, where did they get them from...? This is a glorified research task on smelling salts!

#7:
“She would have colored gracefully with embarrassment had she not possessed the complexion of one of those “heathen Italians,” as her mother said, who never colored, gracefully or otherwise. (Convincing her mother that Christianity had, to all intents and purposes, originated with the Italians, thus making them the exact opposite of heathen, was a waste of time and breath.)”

Religion. What was the main religion and what classified one as a 'heathen'? Did Christianity actually originate from the Italians? Let us know!

#8:
“Goodness gracious me,” exclaimed Alexia, “what are you wearing? It looks like the unfortunate progeny of an illicit union between a pair of binoculars and some opera glasses. What on earth are they called, binocticals, spectaculars?”
The earl snorted his amusement and then tried to pretend he hadn't.
“How about glassicals?” he suggested, apparently unable to resist a contribution.”

Inventions in Victorian England - were any similar or like the one mentioned in the quote above?

#9:
“What did you do?” “Well, you see, there was this pot of tea, simply sitting there…” He trailed off.
“Useful thing, tea,” commented Lyall thoughtfully.”

The tea...and the English. Where did this association start? What makes the English more tea-loving then the rest of us?! What was tea used for, and was it as popular was we believe it to be?

#10:
“I love him so very much. As Romeo did Jugurtha, as Pyramid did Thirsty, as-"
"Oh, please, no need to elaborate further," interjected Alexia, wincing.

Romeo and Jugurtha? Pyramid and Thirsty? Sounds like a neat cartoon show name, but who are these couples and do they exist? Does knowing the meaning behind them alter your interpretation of the quote?

ENJOY YOUR RESEARCH!! :D


message 7: by L (new)

L | 1252 comments The book looks amazing! I have never read it, but always loved the striking cover...can't wait to begin. x


message 8: by Olivia (new)

Olivia (olivia1395) | 1948 comments Soo excited to read this! I need to find it first though!:P


message 9: by L (last edited Sep 19, 2012 02:54AM) (new)

L | 1252 comments Soulless : steampunk paranormal romance novel by Gail Carriger

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

A parasol is a canopy designed to protect against rain or sunlight. The word parasol usually refers to an item designed to protect from the sun; umbrella refers to a device more suited to protect from rain. Often the difference is the material; some parasols are not waterproof.

18th and 19th centuries

That the use of the umbrella or parasol—though not unknown—was not very common during the earlier half of the eighteenth century, is evident from the fact that General (then Lieut.-Colonel) James Wolfe, writing from Paris in 1752, speaks of the people there using umbrellas for the sun and rain, and wonders that a similar practice does not obtain in England. Just about the same time they seem to have come into general use, and that pretty rapidly, as people found their value, and got over the shyness natural to a first introduction. By 1788 however they seem to have been accepted: a London newspaper advertises the sale of 'improved and pocket Umbrellas, on steel frames, with every other kind of common Umbrella.’

Since this date, however, the umbrella has come into general use, and in consequence numerous improvements have been effected in it. In China people learned how to waterproof their umbrellas by waxing and lacquering their paper Parasols. The transition to the present portable form is due, partly to the substitution of silk and gingham for the heavy and troublesome oiled silk, which admitted of the ribs and frames being made much lighter, and also to many ingenious mechanical improvements in the framework. * Victorian era umbrellas had frames of wood or baleen, but these devices were expensive and hard to fold when wet. Samuel Fox invented the steel-ribbed umbrella in 1852; however, the Encyclopédie Méthodique mentions metal ribs at the end of the eighteenth century, and they were also on sale in London during the 1780s.* Modern designs usually employ a telescoping steel trunk; new materials such as cotton, plastic film and nylon often replace the original silk.

* This part of my research I found to be most facinating:

For protection against attackers

In January 1902, an article in The Daily Mirror instructed women on how they can defend themselves from ruffians with an umbrella or parasol.
In March 2011 media outlets revealed that French president Nicolas Sarkozy has started using a £10,000 armor-plated umbrella to protect him from attackers. Para Pactum (Latin for "Prepare for peace") is a Kevlar-coated device made by The Real Cherbourg. It will be carried by a member of Sarkozy's security team.

As a weapon of attack

In 1978 Bulgarian dissident writer Georgi Markov was killed in London by a dose of ricin injected via a modified umbrella. The KGB is widely believed to have developed a modified umbrella that could deliver a deadly pellet.


message 10: by Booknut, Head Moderator (last edited Sep 19, 2012 03:08AM) (new)

Booknut (booknut101) | 4592 comments Mod
Lucinda wrote: "Soulless : steampunk paranormal romance novel by Gail Carriger

A parasol is a canopy designed to protect against rain or sunlight. The word parasol usually refers to an item de..."



*stares* Holy-

Ok. This. Is. AWESOME!

I officially want one of these parasols that injects people with stuff when they attack. Imagine having a weapon like that at your disposal! I think it is so awesome, even with Nicolas Sarkozy - a man - using an armor plated one!!

Wonderful research, Lucinda!!


message 11: by L (new)

L | 1252 comments Thanks Booknut! It was certainly fun finding out about Parasols in Victorian times. They were not only for shading the eyes but for show, to go with an outfit and even, yes, for protection and defense.


message 12: by Olivia (new)

Olivia (olivia1395) | 1948 comments Lucinda wrote: "Soulless : steampunk paranormal romance novel by Gail Carriger



Wow! That was amazing! HA! I absolutely loved it.





A parasol is a canopy designed to protect against rain or sunlight. The word parasol usually refers to an item de..."



message 13: by Anna (last edited Sep 20, 2012 04:54PM) (new)

Anna Wood-gaines (annabanana13) | 1674 comments WOW!!! What an incredible idea Booknut! And I must find that book and read it! It looks so interesting! I loved the research on parasols Lucinda! So awesome!! :D


message 14: by Olivia (new)

Olivia (olivia1395) | 1948 comments Anna wrote: "WOW!!! What an incredible idea Booknut! And I must find that book and read it! It looks so interesting! I loved the research on parasols Lucinda! So awesome!! :D"

I agree with all of that!


message 15: by Anna (new)

Anna Wood-gaines (annabanana13) | 1674 comments Olivia wrote: "Anna wrote: "WOW!!! What an incredible idea Booknut! And I must find that book and read it! It looks so interesting! I loved the research on parasols Lucinda! So awesome!! :D"

I agree with all of ..."


:)


message 16: by Olivia (new)

Olivia (olivia1395) | 1948 comments Anna wrote: "Olivia wrote: "Anna wrote: "WOW!!! What an incredible idea Booknut! And I must find that book and read it! It looks so interesting! I loved the research on parasols Lucinda! So awesome!! :D"

I agr..."


:D


message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

Reaction iv. definitely! Great idea! *cackles madly*

PREPARE TO MEET YOUR DOOM, UNCULTURED PEOPLES!


message 18: by Olivia (new)

Olivia (olivia1395) | 1948 comments βιβλιοφάγος (a.k.a. Cat) wrote: "Reaction iv. definitely! Great idea! *cackles madly*

PREPARE TO MEET YOUR DOOM, UNCULTURED PEOPLES!"


Haha yes!


message 19: by [deleted user] (new)

Ooooh! I'd love to see this thread come back to life.


message 20: by talltyrion (new)

talltyrion | 708 comments That's it? That's what's going on? Are all authors (and Stephen Moffat) descended from witches??


message 21: by talltyrion (new)

talltyrion | 708 comments But think how much it would explain!!


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