Monday, 30 April 2012

Happy Anniversary!

On this date in 1859 "A Tale of Two Cities" by Charles Dickens was first published in serial form in a literary magazine.
Good job Stacey for picking this book!

Saturday, 28 April 2012

The next book! (Finally!)

Sorry for the delay. It's been a crazy week at work and I had to try and make time to get to the library and deal with a very unhelpful librarian who was upset that I actually required her to do something.
Sadly, the book that I really wanted us all to read, I cannot get (sometimes living in Idaho is very trying).

But all is not lost!
Since it's a certain famous novelist's 200th birthday this year, I want to read one of his novels.
Can you guess? 
So.... drum roll please!
Here is this month's novel: A Tale of Two Cities.

I realise this is set during the same time as Scarlet Pimpernel, but ... it's Dickens! He's cool.
I started reading it and I really like it. He is really such a word smith.

This should be fun!
If you do have problems with understanding him, there is a website:

It will be the best of times!

Monday, 23 April 2012

A Little More Conversation

I must apologize, this month has been a bit hectic.  I really can't believe that the end of April is just around the corner!  You would think with me having recently had my spring break that I would have had some down time, but that just doesn't seem to be in the cards right now.  Pile on that this weekend I have been very sick, it has not been the best of months.  So, I didn't finish the book.  I got 62% of it read (thank you kindle for your accuracy).  However I have seen the musical and know the basic storyline.

The first chapter took my breath away.  It was so descriptive and poetic.  It made the guillotine seem like a character unto itself.  I became excited and enthralled immediately.  However, at its conclusion when I found that the style did not continue into the rest of the book I had a hard time picking it up again.  Once the Blakeneys made their entrance it became much more engaging.  The scene in the garden where Margarete finally tells Percy that her brother is in trouble is beautiful and I sat on pins and needles with the "whole will they won't they" dilema.

I am not really sure how to start things off.  I really could go on for a while on themes and analysis, but I don't want to bore you and make this post way too long.  While reading a couple of themes really stood out to me in the book;  duality and trust.  Our hero and female ingénue both suffer from duality, but in reverse aspects (which I find fascinating).  Percy is seen as an imbecile (I loved all the different conjugations of the adjective in the book :) ) in public.  His mask is one of innocence and obliviousness.  It makes me wonder when this mask was put in place in his life, when did he realize that it would be useful.  It does seem to give himself some freedom.  No one suspects him, who is the likeliest culprit due to his finances and bred "intelligence" of the upper-class (Oo, another theme, class).  How could they suspect him?  He is a foppish idiot who serves as the court jester.  Then there is Marguerite.  I debated as to whether or not I should call her an ingénue and then decided that is her true self.  She is seen by the "world" as a strong opinionated woman. It is often remarked that she is too witty to have married such an moron of a husband.  This is the exact opposite of an ingénue, but when the author gives us her private thoughts or her conversations with her brother, I think the title fits.  She is smart and witty, but easily makes mistakes and is beguiled by others and her own narrow perceptions.  She of all people should have realized Percy's true self.  I wanted to scream at her when she would remark on how much he had changed from courtship to marriage.  She said remarked that Percy was a strong, loving, intelligent man and then became and annoying, distant, idiot after their wedding.  Such a shift, at least to me the reader, seemed like a tell tale sign that something was amiss.  However, just like Percy's mask, hers gives her more freedom.  In a world where women are seen as ornaments, her forthrightness actually give her more freedom and influence.

This leads me to me second theme, trust.  Marguerite trusted Chauvelin, at first, merely because they were countrymen (a sign of her naiveté).  He bamboozled (oh how I love that word) her with it to get her attention and then thrust the dagger of betrayal into her bosom and twisted it with the desire to entrap her brother and husband (what a dramatic sentence! haha).  Then there is the lack of trust between Percy and Marguerite.  How different the book would have been if the two of them had sat down and had an open conversation instead of letting their pride get in the way.  Although I find that to be the case in many stories, if people used the lines of communication we never would have a story or it would be vastly different due to less conflict.  What does that teach us?  :)

The other thing I wanted to mention was the scarlet pimpernel itself.  I did a little "research" and found that it is a weed that has a tiny flower.  I like the idea that one man (the tiny flower) could "spread" across France to "choke" out the wicked.  The allusion that Orczy uses is, to my mind, rather effective.

I hope I didn't bore anyone or that this didn't get too long.  I had so much fun analyzing what I read of the book.  It reminded me of college and my English major days.  I kind of miss those.  :)  What are your thoughts?