Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen

(from Amazon.com)

Having set up the central misunderstanding of the novel, Austen then brings in her cast of fascinating secondary characters: Mr. Collins, the sycophantic clergyman who aspires to Lizzy's hand but settles for her best friend, Charlotte, instead; Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Mr. Darcy's insufferably snobbish aunt; and the Gardiners, Jane and Elizabeth's low-born but noble-hearted aunt and uncle. Some of Austen's best comedy comes from mixing and matching these representatives of different classes and economic strata, demonstrating the hypocrisy at the heart of so many social interactions. And though the novel is rife with romantic misunderstandings, rejected proposals, disastrous elopements, and a requisite happy ending for those who deserve one, Austen never gets so carried away with the romance that she loses sight of the hard economic realities of 19th-century matrimonial maneuvering. Good marriages for penniless girls such as the Bennets are hard to come by, and even Lizzy, who comes to sincerely value Mr. Darcy, remarks when asked when she first began to love him: "It has been coming on so gradually, that I hardly know when it began. But I believe I must date it from my first seeing his beautiful grounds at Pemberley." She may be joking, but there's more than a little truth to her sentiment, as well. Jane Austen considered Elizabeth Bennet "as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print". Readers of Pride and Prejudice would be hard-pressed to disagree. --Alix Wilber --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Who doesn't love some Jane Austen? Okay, I must be honest, this is the first of her books that I have read. And of course I love it. I already loved all the movie adaptations, which is what made me pick up one of her books. I did have to concentrate a bit more reading this book than others, because I found the language would loose me if I wasn't paying attention. Not that I have a hard time understanding, but just that in the time that this book was written they spoke so differently than we do now that if I found my mind wandering, I also would find that I didn't really know what was going on in the book. I must say I was disappointed in the lack of dialogue - in parts where the books seemed to just summarized the events that took place, I wanted to hear the conversation itself. Either way, of course this is an excellent book!


Fall on Your Knees

* Since I mentioned it in my last post, here is my take on Fall on your Knees from my other blog on 3/12/08

Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald
Usually, I copy the synopsis from the back of the book, or inside flap here, but I already returned this book to the library, so what I have can be found at Oprah's book club site:
By turns dark and hilariously funny, this stunning fiction debut by an award-winning writer and actor takes readers on a mystically charged journey spanning five generations of one family's sin, guilt and redemption—a narrative feast of racial strife, miracles, terrible secrets and a passionate, enduring love.
Following the curves of history during the first half of the twentieth century, Fall on Your Knees takes us from haunted Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, through the battlefields of World War I, to the emerging jazz scene in New York City, and into the lives of four unforgettable sisters. The mythically charged family—James, a father of intelligence and immense ambition; Materia, his Lebanese child-bride; and their daughters. Kathleen is the eldest, a beautiful talent preparing for a career as an opera diva. Frances is an incorrigible liar and hell-bent bad girl. Mercedes, the obsessive Catholic is the protector of the flock. Lily, the adored invalid, takes us on a quest for truth and redemption.
Fall on Your Knees is a story of inescapable family bonds, of terrible secrets, of miracles, racial strife, attempted murder, birth and death, and forbidden love.
First off, I'm not so sure I would call this book "hilariously funny" as stated above. I found it, quite like one of the reviewers at Amazon.com, like a car accident...you want to look away, but you just can't. The author does a good job sucking you in and stringing you along, but really it's just one big long unhappy book. I kept hoping, reading for something good and wonderful, but everything you don't want to happen seems to happen in one way shape or form. I would never have thought to have written such a book. I can honestly say, I'm not going to excitedly go and pick up another of Ann-Marie's books - and not because she isn't a good author, it was very well written, but mainly because I don't look forward to seeing car accidents, so I'm not going to go look for them.

Vinegar Hill

Vinegar Hill
by A. Manette Ansay
(from back of book)
In a stark, troubling, yet ultimately triumphant celebration of self-determination, award-winning author A. Manette Ansay re-creates a stifling world of guilt and pain, and the tormented souls who inhabit it. It is 1972 when circumstance carries Ellen Grier and her family back to Holly's Field, Wisconsin. Dutifully accompanying her newly unemployed husband, Ellen has brought her two children into the home of her in-laws on Vinegar Hill - a loveless house suffused with the settling dust of bitterness and routine - where calculated cruelty is a way of life preserved and perpetuated in the service of a rigid, exacting and angry God. Behind a facad of false piety, there are sins and secrets in this place that could crush a vibrant young women's passionate spirit. And here Ellen must find the strength to endure, change, and grow in the all-pervading darkness that threatens to destroy everything she is and everyone she loves.

I always continue reading books like this hoping for a happy ending. My ideal ending for this book would have been that Ellen realized that her husband does actually care and love her and the healing would begin. It wouldn't have to have a big red bow on it, but really - the husband, Jimmie, seemed completely misunderstood. This book was filled with lack of communication between the individuals, misunderstanding and seriously disturbed people. Not my favorite read by far. It doesn't rate as low as Fall on your Knees did on my list, but it's down near the bottom for sure.

Next from the bookcase: Pride and Prejudice

STILL looking forward to these recommendations (when funds allow, or library carries):
The Jane Austen Book Club - recommended by a friend, Tina
The Hunger Games - recommended by Stephenie Meyer on her website


The Pilot's Wife

The Pilot's Wife by Anita Shreve

A pilot's wife is taught to be prepared for the late-night knock at the door. But when Kathryn Lyons receives word that a plane flown by her husband, Jack, has exploded near the coast of Ireland, she confronts the unfathomable - one startling revelation at a time. Soon drawn into a maelstrom of publicity fueled by rumors that Jack led a secret life. Kathryn sets out to learn who her husband really was, whatever that knowledge might cost. Her search propels this taut, impassioned novel as it movingly explores the questions, How well can we ever really know another person?

I've read 3 of Anita Shreve's books this year, and while I usually do find them captivating and fun - I'm always left just a little short. I always wish she'd finishing them out just a little bit more. Usually Anita does leave me with a since of satisfaction though, but in this book it's not the case. I've been dwelling on it for a couple of days now, and I just wish there was a little bit more closure. It was a gripping book. It captivated you, and as always, Anita always adds the twist at the end to make it just a little bit more exciting. I love her attention to details that create such a wonderful picture. I always feel like I'm right there in the story watching as it unfolds.

Next from the bookcase: Vinegar Hill (gotta love picking up .99 books at the thrift store!!)

Looking forward to these recommendations:
The Jane Austen Book Club - recommended by a friend, Tina
The Hunger Games - recommended by Stephenie Meyer on her website


Time Traveler's Wife

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Genera: Adult Romance, Adult Science-Fiction

(From the back of the book)

A most untraditional love story, this is a celebrated tale of Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who involuntarily travels through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course. Henry and Clare's passionate affair endures across a sea of time and captures them in an impossibly romantic trap that tests the strength of fate and basks in the bounds of love.

I LOVE this book! The book summary sums it up well, as it really is about Henry and Clare's adventure with Henry's genetic disorder. It is a love so passionate and true that it withstands some serious conflicts and adventures. Among my favorite scenes include their wedding day, and Clare and Henry's run-in with her horrible first date. This book had me laughing out loud and crying heartbroken tears. I, personally, would rate this book among some of the greatest loves stories ever told. Although, I have my doubts about it being done very well - the movie rendition of the book is coming out, and I am looking forward to it.


I *heart* Stephenie Meyer

I just got done watching Stephenie Meyer on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. When the show first came on and she said Stephenie was going to be on there, I totally wanted to squeal like a 13 year old girl…and then I thought better of it..I mean, I am a 28 year old mother of 3…get a grip! While I was really excited to be able to watch her on something other than YouTube, I had hoped Ellen would spend a little more time with her, and that I would have learned something that I didn’t already know. Oh well. It was still awesome to see her. Stephenie Meyer is my all time favorite author. I’ve read over 30 books this year (well, some of them I read more than once…) and Stephenie’s books are my favorite. I’ve never been able to say I have a favorite author as an adult. As a kid, I loved Judy Blume…but that was eons ago. Or it felt like it anyway.
Just last week I finished reading the entire series again. It was my 3rd time for Twilight, New Moon and Eclipse, and 2nd time through for Breaking Dawn. I liked Breaking Dawn the first time. I was not among the - “Oh my goodness, I can’t believe this book belongs to the same series..” crowd at all, but it did shock me more than once my first time through. The 2nd time through was SOO much better! Twilight is still the best, but this is definately my 2nd favorite book of the series. Knowing all the surprises - I was able to focus on other parts of the story. Heck, the I read it so fast the first time through - I KNOW I missed entire pages (ahem..the LAST page for instance. For amonth I thought the last words were “now you know no one has ever loved anyone as much as I love you.” ) - because this time I was like “…Whooooa, I don’t remember that being there.” When I first read it I really liked Jacob narrating the 2nd book, this time I LOVED it. I can’t believe how funny all the werewolves are. I especially enjoyed Seth and his overeager personality and love for the Cullins. He made me laugh out loud a lot! My husband thought I was going nuts for sure. I am done for now though. I think 3 times through the series is enough for one year. Next up on the agenda is the movie of course!
I am totally excited about Stephenie Meyer’s writing. I have read The Host as well and it was very good too! I look forward to more books from her, whether they are vampire based or not - it’s all good to me! I just hope the whole Midnight Sun thing won’t discourage her from writing. It happens to the best of authors all the time. (I would LOVE to see the completed Midnight Sun some day too..but I’m not holding my breath.)
So to sum it all up..I HEART Stephenie Meyer!