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Sunday Thoughts

November 5, 2007

I have several things I wanted to mention today!

+First, the new Estella’s Revenge is up! It’s been up for a few days, but I kept forgetting to mention it. :( Lots of fun articles (and I’m quoted in one on the read-a-thon) and a new challenge to tempt us in 2008. I was most excited to see an interview with Audrey Neffeneger and the discussion of Georgette Heyer’s oevre, since I’ve been meaning to read something of hers lately! I’m undecided about the challenge right now; I love the name and the buttons, but I’ve already read four of the books. I know I can substitute my own picks, and I may. I’m just hesitant to over-committ myself in 2008.

+I’ve started two new books today: The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi for the Seafaring Challenge and Daniel Deronda by George Eliot, which I’m reading for the Book to Movie challenge as well as with a group of others. I’m about a third of the way into Charlotte Doyle, and I’m really loving it. Several aspects of Charlotte’s personality bother me, but they seem quite historically accurate, so I applaud Avi for being true to the times. Also, there’re some really neat labelled diagrams of the ship she’s on in the back. Handy reference tool! All in all, a fun way to start my adventures at sea. As far as Daniel, I’m only two chapters in, but so far I adore it. I tend to like somewhat snooty, self-involved characters (my favourite sister in Little Women was Amy), as long as they also have redeeming factors, so right now Gwendolyn really appeals to me. I love that she dresses in grey a lot, since it happens to be one of my favourite colours (the light grey, not dark). And, of course, Eliot’s writing just has me wrapped up in the world already.

+I’ve decided I want to make Short Story Sunday a permanent feature of this blog. :)  This week, I want to talk about Isak Dinesen!  I’m halfway through the fifth story of her Seven Gothic Tales, but so far the first one is still my favourite.  Entitled “The Deluge at Norderney,” the set-up is that due to a flood, these four people (and a dog) become stuck in a barn for the night.  They don’t know if they’ll survive until morning, when the rescuers can come and get them, and they spend the night telling stories to each other from their lives (sort of a smaller version of The Decameron or 1,001 Nights).  Several of the mini-stories feel like fairy tales, and there’s a great twist at the end.  The characters are each somewhat odd, their quirks more exaggerated than what you’d see in real life, but that’s what makes for excellent story-telling.  At eighty pages, it’s more like a novella than a short story, but I still highly recommend it.  So far, I’ve enjoyed all of the stories, so this has been a really neat book to read.  The book’s atmosphere is definitely gothic; “The Roads Round Pisa” will satisfy anyone who loves the genre.  It has it all: disguises, duels, Italy, duchesses, lechourous old princes, headstrong young beauties, and of course revenge.  I’ve already mentioned “The Monkey” a little; I’m still not sure what to make of it, but it was a very good read (probably my second favourite) that’s definitely the most supernatural and eery so far.  “The Old Chevalier” embodied nostalgia, which is a difficult emotion to convey without seeming overdone.  All in all, I’m impressed with Dinesen’s mastery of a very different genre (compared with Out of Africa).

 +Finally, I’ve noticed that some people are taking the From the Stacks Challenge one step further, and swearing off book buying until the end of the challenge (January 31st).  I think this is a great idea, so I’m joining in!  It’s going to be difficult, but I have so many TBR books, that I think it’ll be good for my bookshelves and my bank account. :)  Of course, I can still buy books for other people, lol.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. November 5, 2007 9:29 am

    I definitely need to get Seven Gothic Tales! The first story sounds wonderful. I love stories that have that Arabian Nights/Decameron theme. Neil Gaiman uses it brilliantly in “The World’s End”, which is quite possibly my favourite of the Sandman books.

    I could not with not buying any more books until the end of the year, but knowing myself, I won’t make it. The problem isn’t just my bookshelves and my bank account (I’ve been lucky and I’ve found some great bargains). It’s that I would like to know how on earth I’m going to bring everything back when I leave England in February!

  2. November 5, 2007 12:34 pm

    I really enjoyed Seven Gothic Tales — I read it for a college class. Dinesen is such an interesting writer!

  3. November 5, 2007 2:38 pm

    The new Estella was great, wasn’t it? I saw you pop up in there quite a few times!

    I haven’t read Daniel Deronda, but I remember Gwendolyn getting on my last nerve at times in the BBC production because of her snoodiness, lol. I really should read that book. There are just so many others on my TBR stack right now :/ I’m afraid it’s toppling over at the moment. Which brings me to my final point, which is that I should probably not buy any more books until January 31st as well…but we all know that’s a lost cause!

    OK, one more point. I think it’s great that you’re continuing short story Sunday! My girlfriend’s mom is reading a book of short stories put together by a wonderful group of authors that were gathered together by Charles Dickens. I think the book is called The Haunted House. Dickens gathered a group of writer’s in a supposedly haunted house on Christmas Eve and had each of them write a ghost story. Great set of authors. Dickens, Wilkie Collins, Elizabeth Gaskell…Check it out, I think you’d like it!

  4. J.S. Peyton permalink
    November 6, 2007 1:14 am

    Oh, you brave, brave soul – no book-buying until the end of the year? I’d go mad, I say, just mad. Two days ago, I got $5.00 of Borders members cash, and it’s burning a hole in my pocket. I’m counting the days until I get back home just so I can go to the bookstore when I get back.

  5. November 6, 2007 10:27 pm

    I’ve noticed some people saying that about the no book buying either. I think that’s great and would like to do it myself but I know as soon as I say I won’t buy new books I’ll somehow “need” some books and will fail. Actually, I still need to settle on my list for the From the Stacks challenge! :)

  6. November 6, 2007 10:38 pm

    Nymeth, I’ll have to check out that Sandman book. I didn’t enjoy the one I read, Nocturnes and Preludes, until the very last ‘chapter.’ But, from the intro and Neil Gaiman’s note, that’s the one where the series started to become unique. So I’m willing to give it one more chance. :)

    Dorothy, I agree-she’s a really interesting writer! What a neat college class that myst’ve been. :D

    Chris, I told them they could quote whatever they wanted from my blog, so I guess that’s why I showed up pretty often. Thanks for the short story recommendation-it sounds really neat! On my wishlist now. :)

    J.S. Peyton, well, if I have a gift card or something, then I’ll get a book. I just don’t want to spend my own money, lol. It’ll be hard, but I think it’ll be worth it!

    Iliana, lol-I was at B&N yesterday, and it was so hard. Especially in the YA section, where books are cheap!

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