Monday, November 29, 2010

Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice

After seeing the BBC 6 hour miniseries of Pride and Prejudice earlier this year, I've finally read the book. I now see why many females the world over love this book and story. That said, and given the popularity of the story, I don't think I need to give an overview of the book, but I would like to touch on some of my favorite parts.

I love Mr. Bennet's response in chapter 20 when Mrs. Bennet goes to Mr. Bennet to importune him to force Elizabeth to marry Mr. Collins.

Lizzy enters the room when called by her father..
"Come here, child, " cried her father as she appeared. "I have sent for you on an affair of importance. I understand that Mr. Collins has made you an offer of marriage. Is it true?" Elizabeth replied that it was. "Very well-and this offer of marriage you have refused?"

"I have sir."

"Very well. We now come to the point. Your mother insists upon your accepting it. Is not it so, Mrs. Bennet?"

"Yes, or I will never see her again."

"An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do."

You can't help but love Mr. Bennet for that alone. And then there is the exchange between Mr. Darcy and Miss Elizabeth Bennet at the pianoforte during a visit to Roslings. Elizabeth was playing for Colonel fitzwilliam when Mr. Darcy approaches..
"You mean to frighten me, Mr. Darcy, by coming in all this state to hear me? I will not be alarmed through your sister does play so well. There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me."

"I shall not say you are mistaken," he replied, "because you could not really believe me to entertain any design of alarming you; and I have had the pleasure of your acquaintance long enough to know that you find great enjoyment in occasionally professing opinions which in fact are not your own."

Elizabeth laughed heartily at this picture of herself, and said to colonel Fitzwilliam, "your cousin will give you a very pretty notion of me, and teach you not to believe a word I say. I am particularly unlucky in meeting with a person so able to expose my real character, in a part of the world where I had hoped to pass myself off with some degree of credit. Indeed, Mr. Darcy, it is very ungenerous in you to mention all that you knew to my disadvantage in Hertfordsire and, give me leave to say, very impolitic too, for it is provoking me to retaliate, and such things may come out as will shock your relations to hear."

"I am not afraid of you," said he, smilingly

"Pray let me hear what you have to accuse him of," cried Colonel Fitzwilliam. "I should like to know how he behaves among strangers."

"You shall hear then, but prepare yourself for something very dreadful. The first time of my ever seeing him in Hertfordshire, you must know, was at a ball, and at this ball, what do you think he did? He danced only four dances, though gentlemen were scarce; and, to my certain knowledge, more than one young lady was sitting down in want of a partner. Mr. Darcy you cannot deny the fact.

"I had not at that time the honour of knowing any lady in the assembly beyond my own party."

"True; and nobody can ever be introduced in a ballroom. Well, Colonel Fitzwilliam, what do I play next? My fingers wait your orders."

"Perhaps," said Darcy, "I should have judged better, had I sought an introduction; but I am ill qualified to recommend myself to strangers."

"Shall we ask your cousin the reason of this?: said Elizabeth, still addressing Colonel Fitzwilliam. "Shall we ask him why a man of sense and education, and who has lived in the world, is ill qualified to recommend himself to strangers?:

"I can answer your question," said Fitzwilliam, "without applying to him. It is because he will not give himself the trouble."

"I certainly have not the talent which some people possess, : said Darcy, "of conversing easily with those I have never seen before. I cannot catch their tone of conversation, or appear interested in their concerns, as I often see done."

"My fingers," said Elizabeth, "do not move over this instrument in the masterly manner which I see so many women's do. They have not the same force or rapidity, and do not produce the same expression. But then I have always supposed it to be my own fault, because I will not take the trouble of practicing. It is not that I do not believe my fingers as capable as any other woman's of superior execution."

Darcy smiled and said, "You are perfectly right. you have employed your time much better. No one admitted to the privilege of hearing you can think anything wanting. We neither of us perform to strangers."
That scene, to me shows a lot about Mr. Darcy and Miss. Bennet. I love her teasing honesty, and his willingness to stand up to it. Of course, many things go on to happen after that part, and the relationship changes, but through it all, there is that humor and honesty between them that makes Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet two of the most loved characters in a love story today. They are certainly two of mine.

Pride and Prejudice

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Elizabeth Crook's The Night Journal

I originally came across The Night Journal at a library book sale not far from here. I'm not sure what exactly made it catch my eye, but something did, and after sitting in a nearby chair and reading the first few pages I thought it might be, not a only something to break up the status quo of what I normally read, but also a book I'd enjoy. I was right. Reading The Night Journal was like escaping to a different world for awhile and getting caught up in history as it was happening. It's a story to curl up in front of a fire on a cold day while drinking coffee with.

Meg has spent her life rebelling against her grandmother Bassie's obsession with the past, and she wants nothing to do with the world famous journals written by her great grandmother in the 1890s. The journals tell the story of Hannah Bass' as she writes about her life..her job at the Harvey hotel as a young lady just turning into a woman, how she met her future husband Eliot Bass who often left her alone while he laid tracks for the rail roads, and how she met and got to know her best friend Vincente Morales. Eventually however, we all have to come to terms with life and face why we are who are, and that journey, for Meg, begins when she is asked to escort Bassie back to her childhood home and the ruins nearby.
"Wow" she whispered.

"They believed it was a link to the underworld, " Jim said.

Her gaze wandered around the walls and came to rest on Jim.

"A time portal," he said.

Indeed, the past seemed preserved here, in this dim, underground environment, as if the people were still down here and time had lost its linear dimension.

"It connected the realm of the underworld to the world above ground, "he said. "Spaniards filled up most of the kivas with dirt and trash so the Indians couldn't come down and worship their gods. So then the Indians built more kivas. And the Spaniards backfilled those, too. That indentation in the floor near the wall is called a sipapu. It was reminiscent of a human navel, and symbolized passage from an even deeper underworld at the beginning of life."

the wind wuthered over the opening, but the room itself, as Meg looked around the walls, seemed untouched by motion. The downward slant of light illuminated particles of dust that hung suspended in the frigid air. Jim stood at the base of the ladder, stark lights and shadows from the shaft of sunlight clinging to his face like paint as he spoke.

He talked about one of the kivas at Pecos that he had excavated.

"What was that like?" Meg asked. "To uncover a place like this?"

Imagine a room filled with dirt," he said. "And every shovelful just might contain a piece of gold. Metaphorically speaking."

"And did it?" she asked. "Metaphorically speaking?"

"We found some potsherds," he said, and she laughed. "We found a soup plate. Two hammerstones. Fragments of oxidized iron. Charred food bones, including those of a domestic rooster. Shall I go on?" but then his expression became serious. "It's like being the first person to walk into a room hundreds of years after the last person there walked out of it." (pg.156-157)

As Meg reads the journals, and feels as though she is, for the first time, beginning to understand her ancestors and who they were, she also discovers a history so secretive and shameful, that Hannah hid it from the very people she was writing the journals for. And, as Meg comes to terms with this, she also comes to discover what she wants and who she wants to be.

The Night Journal is a very picturesque and enjoyable story. At times, I wondered what it would have actually been like to go back and visit it for myself.

On another note, I'd also like to thank the author, Elizabeth Crook, for sending me another copy of the book so could fill in the missing 32 pages as mentioned here.

The Night Journal

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Laurie R. King's Keeping Watch

INCREDIBLE!! After reading Folly, I didn't believe Laurie King could possibly top herself, but it seems I was proven wrong with Keeping Watch. From the atrocities of the Vietnam War to the peacefulness of a Montana farm, Ms. King takes you on a psychological and poignant journey that will have you engrossed.

Allen Carmichael wanted more. He wanted adventure and experience, and he found it in the jungles of Vietnam where he went from a quotidian teenager to a man dealing with the atrocities of war.
That was not the whole of it, either. Allen looked up from Streak's slack features to another face startling in it's contrast, a face so contorted in pain and fear that he failed for a moment to recognize it. Farmboy Pete, helmet tipped back from that blond and tousled head, legs in the water, freckles stark against skin gone monstrously pale. he was trying to get his hands onto his belly where the medic was working; Two men were struggling to hold his wrists while Pete writhed and gulped for air, his eyes locking on to Allen as if to a life ring. Allen splashed over to his side, and one of the bloody hands shot away from its keeper to grab Allen's arm.

"don't leave me, Carmichael, don't leave me here."

Nobody's going to leave you, Farmboy, you're safe now. the medic's going to patch you up and it's off to the hospital with you, nice, clean sheets and plenty to eat, all those pretty nurses, don't worry." Nonsense phrases poured out, nonsense because it did not seem possible for a man to lose that much blood and survive to the medevac's arrival. "can't you give him some morphine?" he asked the medic.

"Any more might kill him."

Years later, after many years of living in disconsolation, Allen is ready to pick up the pieces as he realizes his very specialized soldier's skills could be put to good use as a professional kidnapper helping abused children escape the suffering that encompasses their daily lives. When Allen meets Jamie, a 12 year boy who claims his father is going to kill him, he knows the boy will be his last job. Soon however, Jamie's father's plane crashes and evidence is revealed that makes Allen wonder, if possibly, it's really the other way around. It seems this one last rescue is not going to be as simple as Allen originally thought.

Keeping Watch

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The bookshelf



I'm not sure how long it took me to fill it up, my husband says less than a year, but regardless, it's filled up, and when I think about what books to send back to half price, I just can't bring myself to do it. It's sad really. Good thing we bought enough wood for 2 bookshelves :)

Oh, if you want to know what all is on there, here's a link.. bookshelf Scroll around the linked picture to see what all has been tagged, (I think I got it all).

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I'm perplexed - Elizabeth Crook's The Night Journal

I was finding The Night Journal an interesting story and a nice break in the status quo of books for me. It isn't the fast paced, dark crime novel I normally read, in fact, it's more of a slower paced fiction story. It was a nice change. Anyway, for the past week, I've been reading this novel, (now that I'm working part time I find my reading time has diminished quite a bit), and all of the sudden, the next page doesn't fit what's going on. I look down, and the page number jumps from page 152 to 184....32 pages missing out of nowhere!! The book doesn't look like pages are missing, nothing is cut out or torn, the binding doesn't look bigger than it should be, it all looks normal, but 32 pages aren't there. It's not a typo either because I have no idea what's going on on that next page. It really is an odd thing. Now I have to decide if I'm going to finish the book not knowing what happened in those 30 pages.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Rick Rioden book signing

Last weekend Rick Riorden, my sons favorite author, had a book signing about 5 hours away, and since we have friends that lived in the area, we made a weekend of it. I'm also very thankful to these friends because they were able to get us line tickets much earlier than we would have been able to get them ourselves, which meant a lot less time standing around waiting. Instead, we got to try out new local restaurants, shop in a gihugeic outdoor mall, including Godiva, and all in all, enjoy the company of friends we never get to see. It was a lot of fun, and I'm glad my son got to experience the excitement of getting to meet his favorite author. I'm hoping one day to get to do the same...assuming I can actually decide on a favorite that is.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, the picture at the top left is a small taste of the crowd that was there, the picture at the bottom is the author himself signing a book for someone else since I dropped my phone and it turned itself off as a result when it was our turn...sigh...