I have written about every book I’ve read in the last seven of those eight years because that first year was a bit iffy. When was the last time any of us did anything for eight years? I guess school would qualify, but I got summers off with that. With the exception of a couple of unplanned hiatuses this has been going strong for EIGHT YEARS. [Don’t you love that nod to sports – I’m hip right?]
I’m old, time flies and it’s getting faster. We’re 2/3 of the way done with 2017 and I’m still like but what about 2016. I’m not ready for 2018, but it’s coming at me like a freight train so I may as well get ready for it right?
I finally (five months later) got most of my office at work decorated and of course it was bookish themed, see photo above. I have one last blank wall I’m going to put travel detail photos on but I need to get them printed.
After being disappointed by the much hyped (by me internally at least) Jane Austen, the Secret Radical by Helena Kelly I looked elsewhere to nurse my mental wounds and found this lovely brief biography by Fiona Stafford. I reached out to the publisher for a copy as the book was recently re-released as part of Austen’s 200th death anniversary.*
I’ve surprisingly steered clear of nonfiction works concerning Austen (not really though because I like that she’s a bit of a mystery even with what we know about her. That being said I do have a few on my shelf that I plan to make my way through eventually. I’m not sure many, if any, will top this delightful read.
I promise I’m trying to find things that aren’t just Jane Austen related, but I guess when I read so much Jane Austen and love so much of what is produced around her it’s inevitable. I have a decent balance this week between Jane Austen and non-Jane Austen. I think it’s 50/50 this week.
I’ve been trying to make an effort recently (which I’ve made before) to read more long-form pieces (including book reviews). A lot of these pieces end up coming from The New Yorker and I noticed they spell any word that has a double vowel like coöperate or reëlect with a diaeresis, NOT an umlaut. This is a great brief article from The New Yorker about why the continue to do it – in essence to signal to non-English speakers that the word is co-operate and not coop-erate. Continue reading “Bookish Things August 2017”
Perhaps I’m too smart for my own good, but overall this book was a bit disappointing. With a title like Jane Austen, the Secret Radical, you’d expect there to be revelations of sorts and yet there weren’t. I mean that’s why I requested a copy from the publisher.* I was hoping as the 200th anniversary of Austen’s death rapidly approaches there’d be something completely new and innovative to talk about, but there wasn’t.
Sure Kelly highlighted a few things that I missed when reading Austen, but really she just expounded upon the things that those of us who don’t read Austen ONLY as a romance novelist, but as a social commentator hopefully picked up on. She provided more detail of course, especially when it came to names and places, but overall there just weren’t a lot of revelations.
This series has finally slowed down. This isn’t a detraction, just a statement. Picking up more than 14 years after the end of Something Rotten, First Among Sequels just didn’t feel quite the same. Don’t get me wrong, there was absurdity, Fforde’s genius pushes the boundaries and Thursday Next is still a great character, but it just wasn’t the same.
As I mentioned in my post about Something Rotten I found out after I’d started this novel that the last three of the published novels in the Thursday Next series are actually a second series and not the same. It’s a little misleading as websites like Goodreads and Amazon group them together. There’s even a compendium of the first five: A Thursday Next Digital Collection: Novels 1-5 (Amazon Link). If I would’ve known about the time gap and the “separate series” portion I would’ve paused after book four instead of five, but oh well.
“The fate of all life on this beautiful planet decided on the swing of a croquet mallet.” (351)
I mean COME ON! Anyone who can turn croquet into a full-contact sport and make me want to watch it has to be a genius right?
I also can’t believe it took me until almost 12 hours later to finally connect the title to most of the story, as in hey this story has a lot about Hamlet in it and the quote “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark” even appears! Thanks Fforde for reminding me I’m just another cog in the human machine. Epic fail on my part.