For book two of our Jane Austen Book Club, my friends and I decided to conquer Emma(Amazon link). It has always been my least favorite of the six and reading Deresiewicz’s A Jane Austen Education both confirmed that and helped me get around this problem. His talking about Emma and it’s belief in the importance of every day trivialities, as well as Margaret Drabble’s excellent introduction led me to think about the book differently.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s still boring as anything in most points, but Austen wrote it this way. According tot Drabble, Austen wrote this novel in such excruciating detail in direct response to the detractors of her previously published novel Mansfield Park, which I love. Drabble says, “This is domestic realism almost with a vengeance.” (xix) AND it is! The hyper focus on every detail, the incredibly limited scope of setting, characters and even conversation topics is overwhelmingly mundane. It is an assault on the senses, and as a fellow JABC member said “i’m diagnosing myself with ’emma-induced narcolepsy.'” (Thanks Dalton!)
My friend Nick gave this to me to read ages ago and I’ve finally gotten around to it. I wasn’t sure what to expect at first, but the further I read the more I enjoyed the story (Amazon link). Coming in at under 200 pages, I was pleasantly surprised at how much Huxley fit into the novel without overwhelming the sense of lackadaisical whimsy of the people.
I am incredibly glad I read the foreword though, because I don’t think I would’ve understood this was a satirical novel of the British upper-class. I probably would’ve happily read it and thought, “wow these people are petty and ridiculous,” and then thought nothing more of it. It reminded me a lot of the various upper-class dioramas I’ve read from Jane Austen to Cécil David-Weill’s The Suitors, which is what Huxley was going for in his social criticism.
The highly anticipated (perhaps the only anticipated episode ever) of Come Read With Me has arrived!
In case you hadn’t heard, I read the infamous Twilight Saga last year. It took her more than five years, but my oldest friend finally wore me down and I read it for the podcast. It wasn’t as bad as I expected and it even made it on to my best books of the year list last year, mostly for the story and not the writing. UGH. We honestly could’ve talked even longer about the rest of the series, but as you’ll see I hadn’t quite finished the second novel when we recorded.
Download it here: CRWM #04 (Right click and “save as.”)
As a special bonus there are two bloopers on this episode, one at the beginning and one at the end! I hope you enjoy it! I’m making plans to record episode five, but still need to find additional locals for the next few episodes.
I can’t believe it’s been four months since I last did a Culture Corner (September 2014), but the blog wasn’t lacking for culture! With the end of my 30×30 list we got to visit the Somerville Museum, finish touring the MFA with my friend Caroline and I finally attend the Boston Symphony Orchestra again. But since then, I’ve done a lot of travelling and visited quite a few museums.
One of the big things I’ve never talked about as a cultural experience is travelling. I generally focus on what I do when I get there, but driving from Boston to North Carolina and then flying from North Carolina to Omaha, Nebraska and then back to Boston really made me think about the culture of travelling. I won’t go into it in this post, but I think I’ll probably write about it when I attempt to revive Now Entering Adulthood in the coming weeks. What I AM going to write briefly about and show lots of pictures of are my whirlwind trips in December to DC and North Carolina and my January trip to Omaha! And then throw in a few pictures of my most recent MFA visits.
What a busy and exhausting month December was! It’s been almost a full week into the new year and I’m struggling to get a recap together so it’s going to be pretty basic. I did a lot of traveling from a birthday trip to DC (right) to my annual winter trek down to NC, with a side trip to Virginia where I completed my 30×30 list with a literary inspired tattoo, and topped off the month and kicked off the new year with friends in Charlotte, NC and a wedding in Omaha, Nebraska! I’ll do a separate December/January Culture Corner to do a recap on my traveling to DC and Omaha as I went to so many museums and traveling in itself is a type of culture!
I’m going to do a quick monthly recap in the next paragraph and then after that will be my yearly recap and a couple of small changes you’ll notice in the new year.