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Better or worse?

I am a hopeless romantic.  I love Romantic Comedies, provided they are not too silly.  And some of my favourite books have always been the Jane Austen and Bronte Novels.  Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre are two of my favourite books, and I own DVD movies and miniseries for most of them.

Except that most of my life I have been a thwarted romantic.  Until three years ago, when I met the love of my life, and convinced her to become my wife.

630717_1275255086748.95res_300_300About two years ago, my wife bought me an entire set of Jane Austen Novels, plus a few other classic romances.  And I realised the other day that I have not read any of them since I got married.  In fact… I have never even finished Persuasion, which is the book I was reading when we met. 

And it got me to thinking about how women often complain that Jane Austen gave them unrealistic expectations of men. The theory seeming to be that Jane Austen men are too good to be true, whereas I was reading not to find someone, but to find out who I needed to be to find someone.  In essence I guess I was trying to learn how to be the perfect man.

I was also losing myself in the fantasy world of being able to be somebody’s Mr Darcy, or Henry Tinley.  (Who is much cooler in my opinion.)

So now that I am married, and have found my romantic heroine, and have spent over three years learning about what true/real love is, and how it works in the real world, I wonder if I will find the novels better (because I can read from experience) or worse (because I have the real thing, and don’t need the fantasy.)

With that question in mind, I am going to re-read all the books the next two months.  Including finally getting through Persuasion

What do you think?  Does romantic fiction teach us about how good love can be?  Or give us unrealistic expectations?

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Posted by on February 17, 2014 in books, Ponderings

 

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30 Day Challenge #1 : My Favourite Book

How is a person supposed to have a favourite book?  That’s a little like asking me what is my favourite glass of water.  They have all nourished me in different ways, and at different times.

I have :JaneEyre
200px-TheLeftHandOfDarkness1stEda favourite genre (Speculative Fiction);
a favourite thriller (Dark Rivers of the Heart);
a favourite Sci-Fi Novel (Left Hand of Darkness); a favourite Fantasy Novel (Lord of the Rings);
a favourite romance novel (Jane Eyre) etc.

 

But one book?  One novel above them all?

Not a chance!

Strangely enough there is no correlation between favourite authors and favourite books.  I am a Stephen King fan, but his work does not appear on the list.  I am a huge Jane Austen fan, but Bronte trumps her for favourite novel.  I love Isaac Asimov, but an anthropologist (Le Guin) beats the scientist for best Sci-Fi novel. 

What is my favourite novel? 

If only it were that easy.

For more on the 30 Day Book Challenge, go here.

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Posted by on September 1, 2011 in 30 Day Book

 

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What are you reading?

I hate that question : “What are you reading at the moment?”

It is so difficult to answer accurately.

persuasion Do you mean what fictional novel am I reading for pure pleasure at the moment?  Then I guess the answer is Persuasion, by Jane Austen.  I am slowly working my way through the beautiful period prose, and being transported to another world.

The last Jane Austen novel I have never read, I hope to finish it in a week or so.

 

in constant prayer Except that at the same time, I am also reading some non-fiction in the form of In Constant Prayer, by Robert Benson.  A book out of the Ancient Practices series, it is a study of worship and prayer, and how they are utilised by Christians, particularly in the Daily Offices.

 

I started it last night, and it looks interesting

But sometimes when I sit down, I want something a little lighter, or something I can walk away from quickly without needing to absorb too much new information.  So laying next to my bed are two other books I am dipping into at the moment for short sections.

1100549 thecloisterwalk

 

I am re-reading selected poems from Seamus Heaney, as well as selected essays by Kathleen Norris from The Cloister Walk.

Both I have read before, but sometimes you just want a quick bite.

Plus, I suppose I am technically reading the Bible at the moment, as I am everyday.  And I still haven’t stopped reading War and Peace, it has just been a leetle while since I picked it up off the floor next to my bed.

So what about you?  What are you reading?

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Posted by on January 11, 2011 in books, Ponderings

 

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Austen for the holidays

As I mentioned recently, I have just started reading Persuasion, by Jane Austen.  I was torn between reading this, or Wuthering Heights next, but I was decided by two very important factors.

  1. I can’t find my copy of Wuthering Heights on my messy bookshelf.
  2. Over the holidays I watched two Jane Austen movies, so I was in an Austen frame of mind.

I have never been a great fan of watching movies made out of Jane Austen novels.  The complexities of her narratives are too detailed to be done justice to in a 100 minutes.  You need at least a 6 part mini-series just to get the hang of the names.

But there are some exceptions.

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Gwyneth Paltrow in one of her early roles is excellent as Emma, the clueless matchmaker.  Jeremy Northam is superb as the patient and charming Mr Knightly.  Their chemistry is beautiful, and the film really does justice to the spirit of the novel in which it is based.

Real life mother and daughter Sophie Thompson and Phyllidia Law (mother and sister of Emma Thompson) deliver a stunning, albeit minor, performance as Mrs Bates and her daughter Miss Bates.

Well worth the watch, and full of delightful and quirky moments.

 

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Slightly less amusing is Mansfield Park.  Frances O’Conner makes a slightly more spirited Fanny Price than I am used to, but it made her more likeable to me.

My main complaint with this movie was that, with so many themes having to be left out for time, I don’t know why the makers insisted on including, and giving priority to, themes that did not exist in the novel.  The slave trade is implied in the novel, but thrust to the forefront here, almost overshadowing the themes of the book itself. And I found Sir Thomas Bertram’s treatment of Fanny throughout the novel slightly out of character with the growing admiration he develops for her throughout the course of the novel.

Both enjoyable films, but give me Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle any day of the week.

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Posted by on January 3, 2011 in books

 

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