Thursday, June 11, 2009

I'm Smitten

Please read this with a beautiful British will help with the romanticism I am feeling in the air due to my most recent read.

For our bookclub this month we are reading "Jane Eyre." The first few chapters had me sinking into deep despair thinking "No more depressing books. This has got to get better." Angie, my kind friend and cousin to my husband, assured my that it would, in time, improve, so a few more chapters into it, I wasn't let down and I couldn't stop turning the pages (of course, in between changing diapers, fixing meals, kissing boo-boos and separating fighting children I had to put it down. That sentence should have been in boring Utahnish. From now on, anything in italics is in Utahnish...I can't say English, because sometime English sounds British and Utahnish is DEFINITELY it's own dialect...but wouldn't it make more sense for the italics to be the romantic language and the normal boring font be the normal boring language that comes spewing from my mouth...or fingers?).

It is rather embarrassing to admit that in my nearly twenty and nine years of life, I have read so few "classics." I don't recall having been required upon to read this particular novel or many others while pursuing my early education. Let's face it, school is pretty much something I suppressed (I wasn't much of a scholar)...or I could have easily forgotten those years while focusing on other pursuits i.e. marriage at 18, moving to Hawaii, going back to college, birthing children.

Back to Jane Eyre; I have absolutely adored it. With that love comes a need to educate myself and delve deeper into the history behind the story. Why did I not have this kind of thirst for knowledge when I was actually IN school?

I have spent countless hours on Wikipedia reading up about Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre, Period Pieces, and even gone to YouTube and watched the BBC version of the book.

It's now officially an obsession. I have a list of about thirty and four other books written in about the same period by similar authors and I can't wait to delve into them...alas (see....the words have now become a part of my vocabulary) I have no motor coach to get me to the library, so I have chosen a more modern route.

The World Wide Web.

Here is how it is all going down:
Going down my lengthy list...first I read about it on Wikipedia and see if there is a form of the book on-line in PDF. Reading for such great lengths has proven to give me a headache (or was it the kids bickering?) and I had to resort to this:

I go to YouTube and see if there is a video to go along with the book. I always lean towards the lengthier BBC versions as there is just something special about the accents, actors/actresses and knowing that with greater length, the storyline will (hopefully) be preserved.

What have I seen thus far, you ask? "Pride & Prejudice," (of course, I own the A&E version and watch it whenever I have a project, such as sewing or card making at will soon see some of the projects I have been able to complete during these times) "Wives & Daughters," "Emma," & "Mansfield Park."

I can't bring myself to read on-line anymore. There is nothing like cuddling up on the couch in this rainy weather and reading a real book. But I don't own any classics. Anything on financial freedom or becoming a wise business person...we got. Maybe I DO need to read those books. Woe is me.

Ha-zah! My adoring sister came to my rescue but not yesterday(I say that because our internet connection here is very fickle and I don't always get to watch a whole show in a day....also due to other interruptions of a childlike nature). She brought over a book she had recently finished called "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society." This book first came to my attention at Book Club, my mother-in-law had given that as one of our suggestions and I think I will echo her opinion and suggest if to be read next month.

Never have I laughed out loud so much while reading a book. There is such quick wit and fantastic humor written, despite it being about WWII. I have loved so many lines from the book, but one that struck me the most was this:

"Men are more interesting in books than they are in real life."

This line, of course, is a favorite of mine and one I think I shall cherish forever. Especially considering the quarrel that Todd and I had last night. A true lady would never devulge the following or even admit to a lovers spat, but I am not a true lady...yet. Maybe if I read enough books I will become one. I spent more money than we had budgeted on groceries all because I was dumb and couldn't figure out how to read the labels properly in order to use my coupons and then out of embarrassment due to the number of people behind my in the check-out line and not wanting to have to dig through all of my bags to return items, I kept them at their full price.

You see, surrounding myself with such fictionally perfect male characters has marred my image of my one true and eternal companion. That is so unfair to him, I know. He has so many admirable qualities that endear me to him. Accepting that he is "real life" and other women (although too fictional) feel the same way as I, made me feel justified and sorry for Todd. I wonder if Facebook has a quiz to inform you as to your male companions match for a period novel? Sometimes I wonder if he would be a Mr. Knightly from Emma. Not afraid to put me in my place and remind me when I am stupid....but loves me through it all. Of course, Todd is much more handsome than either of the men that have played Mr. Knightly in either versions of Emma I have seen.

Anyway, I realize also by reading all of these books, that I could in turn change some of my habits by becoming more patient, learning to speak more softly, taking the time to examine the true character of a person before judging (or expecting too much of) them.

That's that then. It is time for me to become a woman of integrity, virtue, modesty and every other quality that women from that era possessed. Most of them also had housemaids, no computer to distract them (or aid them), no television to watch, spent their days sewing, going for walks, reading, playing the piano, painting, singing and sitting in quiet moments of reflection.

I have so much to improve upon.


Emilee said...

I just read "Austenland" by Shannon Hale. It's a MUST (quick) read, especially if you are obsessed by the era. It's a modern book, set in the time period of Jane Austen. Quick get on the waiting list at the library & then ask Todd to bring it home for you... it's MUCH better than flowers that will die. It's our book club read for this month. The discussion will be in 2 weeks at my house- I can't wait!

Nik said...

I'll bring a few over on Tuesday!!!

Heather B said...

I LOVED Austenland SOOOO much, couldn't put it down. I always start using the "language" after reading Jane Austen books. I love it so. :) I want to read that book you suggested, thanks!

The Reading Armadillo said...

I'm so glad you liked Jane Eyre! It's one of my favorites. I'm going to be reading the Guernsy Literary next and I can't wait. I was reading a few of your comments. While I really did like Austenland, I think that the other books by Shannon Hale are much more involved and interesting. Have you read Goose Girl or The Princess Academy? They're wonderful. Too bad I packed up all my books, I could have loaned you loads because I have the bad habit of buying a book instead of patiently waiting for it from the library. Wait till we move to a permanent place and they are all yours! Happy reading!

Jon said...

Haha! I naturally read the italics in the British accent and everything else in Utahnish.

Janel Ogden said...

I agree with the others, I enjoyed Austenland too, didn't I loan you that book? Anyway, I am glad you have found enjoyment in reading some of the "classics". I also love the line you quoted about men--so true!

Emily S. said...

I am also in the middle of a similar obsession. Although you are better than me because you are reading the "classics" first before watching them. Don't get me wrong - I love to read - and I have read Jane Eyre (loved it!) and Pride and Prejudice among others. But some of the other more obscure "classics" are obscure for a reason. They are just plain hard to get through! So I just watch the Masterpice/BBC versions instead! Can't get enough of them! My absolute favorites (besides P&P) are: North and South, Northanger Abbey, Little Dorrit (Dickens is so stinkin' hard to read - but I loooooved this movie!) and Our Mutual Friend. In fact I just used my birthday money to buy a few of these. Wish we lived closer because you are welcome to borrow them anytime! Have fun discovering this wonderful world!

Margie Vance said...

I went out and bought the Potato peel pie book after reading your post. I loved it! It really was hilarious and very, very entertaining.