It will not be a surprise to those of you who have followed this blog for sometime that I was able to maneuver a second read of Jane Austen into my calendar this year. It just happened to be the same I read back in January. If you really want a laugh, go read my fan-boy love letter to Austen for that response here. I’ve tried to rein it in a bit for this response, but let’s face it that’s not really going to happen.
As I said back in January, very little can be added to the conversation that hasn’t been said. But EVERY single re-read brings something different to light. For instance this time the one scene that particularly stood out to me was when Lydia and her friends made a young male character dress in drag. I mean really? Weren’t they all prim and proper back then? It just made me laugh at the whimsical way in which Austen described it and everyone partook of the action.
Am I the only person in the world who didn’t realize that this was a true account?
For some reason when I saw the movie back in high school I assumed the book was a fictionalized account and I would never have discovered this if it weren’t for my books into movies book group. I will say that the movie stayed pretty close to the book until the last 30 minutes or so when the director changed things to make Kaysen a first hand witness to a few things, ultimately increasing the dramatic tension, but other than that the novel and movie were great.
As part of Kaysen’s story she shares many of her own medical records (with redactions of course) that explain why and her admissions as well as updates on her progress while institutionalized. But what I found most interesting were here insights into the families of people who institutionalize they’re loved ones, such as this line: Click here to continue reading.
One of my friends put it best, ‘So apparently Cujo is just a bad lifetime movie with a rabid dog’ and although he was referring to the movie, it pretty much sums up the book as well. I just was not impressed and couldn’t get into the novel. The major plus side was that it felt like a short novel.
If you haven’t figured it out yet I didn’t enjoy this book. I am glad I can now say I’ve read a Stephen King novel but overall it was lack-luster and disappointing. I didn’t choose to read this novel on my own, it was the selection for our April Books into Movies library book group. So my disparaging review is totally legit. I did have major issues with the formatting of this book. I read this book through Overdrive from my local library and somewhere during the conversion process a lot of mistakes were processed. It was really distracting and felt more like a galley than an actual published book.
I had a lot of problems with the book especially after it started out with such a good sense of terror and what was to come. I definitely freaked out within the first ten pages, but that feeling slowly disappeared and never returned, a lot of this had to do with King’s writing. It felt like he was writing down to his readers, almost dumbing things down for them and this bothered me. (I will provide a caveat that I read this in the middle of reading Middlemarch which is incredibly well written.)
Apparently this was the perfect time to read this novel. If I would’ve read it any sooner I probably would’ve been upset or bothered by it, but I wasn’t and it was quite enjoyable.
I would never have picked this book up on my own, but it is our February book for Books into Movies book group at the local library. I enjoyed the book more than the movie, shocker, but mostly because I didn’t see the need to move it from London to the US or the rather odd way they had the protagonist, Rob, interact with the camera/audience.
Primarily, this novel is about break-ups, but it’s also about reflecting on one’s life (and love life) in your mid-30s. Now I’m not quite there yet (two more years to rock out my 20s), but I can definitely sympathize with the Rob and questioning everything about every previous relationship and whether it all has to do with him. However, I REALLY hope I don’t go through this sort of soul-searching because I can only imagine how awkward it could be.
WARNING and APOLOGY: this post starts with a rather long tangent about literature, art and people. (Sorry! Probably should be two posts, but I’m lazy.) If you don’t really want to read it (but you should there are a few great quotes) skip to after the third block quote. And to get it out-of-the-way, The Picture of Dorian Gray is the January read for my books into movies book group at the local library and conveniently appears on my Mount TBR (extended) list and my Classics Club list!
Now for my tangent, I’ve noticed as I read a wider variety of literature that the authors I’m drawn to have a lot to say about books, reading and writing. I have a lot of respect for authors who are able to reflect on writing, books, and literature within their own books and stories. In his forward to The Portrait of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde writes the below quote.
“There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.” (4)
And I can’t help but appreciate how incredibly insightful and powerful this is. Imagine if all the people threatened by books, who’ve burned books, who attempt to ban books, and those who just refuse to read certain books actually understood this. I love this quote so much it’s my new email signature and I’ve added it to the great book quotes on my sidebar (only the third)!