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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Sir Percy Blakeney Day

A year ago today Anne-girl announced on her blog that April 27th was the official Sir Percy Blakeney Day.  And being caught up with Jane Austen heroes and Jean Valjean at the time, I brushed it off because 1) I hadn't read any of the books so I didn't really know what all the hype about him was about and 2) I didn't really care.  I actually ranted a bit to my mom that day about how all my blogging friends were obsessing about this guy and how I would never, ever do the same thing.  Because I thought it was silly (this from the girl who gushed about Mr Knightley whenever she got the chance).  Then, a few months ago, I decided to read The Scarlet Pimpernel (after all, I had gotten it free on my Kindle).  And that was the proverbial point of no return for me.  I actually stayed up all night reading TSP and then El Dorado.  And I'm very happy to be able to say that I've stayed up till three o'clock in the morning, reading.

Why do I love the story of the Scarlet Pimpernel so much (and, of course the man behind the enigma)?  I don't think I can properly put it into words.  Even when I was little, I loved the story of Robin Hood - a brave man who foils his enemies time and time again and always makes a daring escape.  Which is much the same story as TSP (yes, there are huge differences in plot, characters, etc. but the basic ideas are similar).  I love Percy and Margurite's true, steadfast, beautiful and extremely romantic marriage (they are the only literary couple I know that are actually married throughout the whole book/series).  And while all the books are amazing, El Dorado really has to stand out as the most amazing one for the simple reason that Percy is at his very best.  Seriously...pledging to protect Jeanne, staying in Paris to rescue Armand, a lot of Amazing Wounded Distress, a heartrendingly beautiful scene between him and Margurite and, of course, his daring escape plan...

Need I say more?



Friday, April 19, 2013

Silas Marner: The Book

Silas Marner
Wrongly accused of theft and exiled from a religious community many years before, the embittered weaver Silas Marner lives alone in Raveloe, living only for work and his precious hoard of money. But when his money is stolen and an orphaned child finds her way into his house, Silas is given the chance to transform his life. His fate, and that of the little girl he adopts, is entwined with Godfrey Cass, son of the village Squire, who, like Silas, is trapped by his past. Silas Marner, George Eliot's favourite of her novels, combines humour, rich symbolism and pointed social criticism to create an unsentimental but affectionate portrait of rural life. 

I've been studying Silas Marner for my English Literature course this year and my mom wanted me to write a review of it on my blog along with some mini characters sketches of all the main characters (which will be forthcoming).  And since a full film adaption of the book is on Youtube, I'll probably be watching it and writing a review.  At least that's what I expect I'll have to do ;)

Silas Marner is the first George Elliot (or Mary Ann Evans) book that I've read (although I have Middlemarch on my shelf...I really should read that soon).  I knew the basic premise of the story (I watched this when I was younger and it gave me a few clues) before reading it, but there were a few surprises.  Now I usually don't like books that I have to study and really dissect all the plot points, etc. (that being said, I really can't wait to start A Tale Of Two Cities in school next year).  But.  I did enjoy this book.  It's definitely not on my top ten favorite classics list (maybe even not on the top twenty) but I did like it.  There were parts I did like and parts that I didn't.  And since I really don't like writing detailed reviews (even about books I love), I'm going to give the likes/dislikes in point form.

Likes
  • Silas' character change (which I'll be detailing in the characters post).  I love it when characters undergo a change (if it's a change for the better)...Mr Darcy, Flynn Ryder, Jean Valjean.  Basically, Silas undergoes three major character changes - and I'll leave the explaining of those changes for the characters post :)
  • The plot was interesting, especially the subplot (?) with Godfrey and Dunstan.
  • Aaron [for the life of me, I can't remember his last name - I'm not even sure the book mentions it]...I think he was my favorite character.  I mean, he's only in the book for a couple of chapters, but I love how he's so awkward and shy around Eppie.  It was sweet.  And 'Aaron' is my favorite boy's name.  Which is petty when it comes to liking (or disliking) a character but that's probably one of the reasons I like him so much.
  • I think Silas and Eppie's relationship is a lot like Valjean and Cosette (it really 'twas impossible to not bring Les Mis into this post).  Eppie's mother dies and Silas takes care of her even though he's a rather unlikely character to be a father.  She quickly becomes his all in all.  When she grows up and young man expresses an interest in her, Silas is worried.  I found the comparisons interesting... 
Dislikes
  • The ending.  I thought the ending of the book was very rushed.  About three-fourths of the book is about Silas and his weaving, Silas and his gold, Silas and little Eppie.  Then we have a huge time jump and suddenly Eppie is all grown up, Godfrey reveals his relationship to Eppie and then Eppie and Aaron get married.  I would have liked to see more of grown up Eppie (and, of course, Aaron).
  • I never really understood why Godfrey revealed his secret to Nancy.  But at least he did and their marriage still held together.  My mom and I have often talked about how if Lady Dedlock (Bleak House) had revealed her secret to her husband, things would have worked out for them.  So the situation in Silas Marner is sort of a reverse of the one in Bleak House (in case you haven't noticed, I'm rambling).
  • I can't really explain exactly why this book isn't one of my favorites.  I think if I read it all in one sitting without pausing to take notes or write down answers, I'll enjoy it more.  Hopefully.
Would I read it again?  Yes.  But I don't think George Elliot books are going to become a new obsession (like Jane Austen or The Scarlet Pimpernel).

What are your thoughts on Silas Marner?




Sunday, April 14, 2013

Little Things {1-25}

{idea for this post borrowed from this lovely blogger}
~ a gorgeous hardcover edition of The Scarlet Pimpernel - a gift from my dad
~ staying up late with my brother and laughing over his imitation of 'the rooftop whistler'
~ reading three books at once
~ listening to my baby brother talk
~ being overwhelmed by the breathtaking beauty of the book of Psalms
~ inside jokes that my siblings and share...things that nobody else would understand even if we explained it
~ loving my mom and dad's beautiful relationship
~ planning a movie night with my sister
~ Jehan Prouvaire
~ random, spontaneous emails to and from special friends
~ talking about favorite books with favorite people
~ daydreams
~ playing Mad Libs with my sisters
~ rereading Persuasion and falling in love with the tender, moving love story all over again
~ writing when I do feel like it
~ writing when I don't feel like it
~ watching rain trickle down the glass and feeling cozy because I'm inside
~ 58 blog followers {love you guys!}
~ the quiet times spent reading and singing in my room
~ the smell of old books
~ old movies that never really get old
~ random photo shoots with my brothers
~ my grandparents coming over for a visit {and dinner}
~ planning a blog event that is either an organizer's best dream...or worst nightmare
~ watching bits of Lawrence Of Arabia with my dad and brothers



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