Wide Sargasso Sea #ccspin

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, Norton 2016 (org 1966), 174 Pages

Introduction by Edwidge Danticat (read last, though, of course. I adhere to a strict policy of never reading Intros until I read the text. Ahem)

Challenge: For this month’s Classic Club Spin.

Genre: Fan-Fiction? Carribean Historical Fiction, an Anti-Romance, perhaps.

Type/Source: Tradeback / I finally had the opportunity and forethought to plan for a shopping trip to an Indie Bookstore who to my excitement and delight had a copy for me to purchase!

Will ship to anyone interested – just let me know your opinion of Jane Eyre.

_ ____ ________________

For those book-readers-and-pie-lovers who don’t already know, this work of fiction is the back story to one of the characters in Jane Eyre. Jane is the plucky poor governess who woos Rochester to marriage but then finds out that he is already married. And this first wife is living in his house, chained up in the attic! Sorry if I spoilt that for you, but I am truly shocked when I encounter people who don’t know what Jane Eyre is about. Book readers, even. How, I ask, do some college educated people I am friends with actually not know about Jane Eyre! A diverse world we live in; I keep finding out.

Anyway, Jean Rhys had read Jane Eyre and wanted to know more about this first Mrs. Rochester and so she put her ideas into this short novella.

I probably should reread it. It is atmospheric and confusing. It is stream of consciousness and vivid. It provides narrative on the lady’s childhood (tragic) and then switches to a time right after she is married to an Englishman and is this part is from this unnamed guy’s perspective. We know this is Rochester.

And he comes off as an asshole. The first part is rather straightforward and we sympathize greatly with Miss Antoinette and her sad mother and her scary circumstances – poor and friendless in hostile territory, a failed plantation on a Caribbean island. It is sketchy exactly how her fortunes turn but mother somehow remarries money… more tragedy happens and then Part 2.

Rochester marries Antoinette for her money, but doesn’t really remember everything cuz he gets the fever for a few weeks while all this is happening. Antoinette seems happy and crazy in love but Rochester is bewildered and befuddled and then finds out Antoinette’s true father was a drunk and much worse, her mother is ‘mad’, crazy, a whore. Rochester is filled with rage. He’s been tricked!

Antoinette also becomes enraged to find out this guy is a total jerk. Partly because he starts calling her Bertha – or was that before he got pissed off, I forget; but it was odd to me why he did that (and it is just so hard to think of the name Bertha as a “pretty” pet name – so confusing.) And THEN! He sleeps with a servant, UGH! and basically treats everyone like the asshole he is.

Part 3 is in England, to scenes familiar to those of us who know the setting and storyline of Jane Eyre.

 

Yikes… so rather than reread just yet, I post this and invite any of you to share/correct me on these thoughts.

 

I would love to take a class on Jane combined with discussion of this story, the history it depicts, the themes throughout both, and the motivations of both authors. Fun stuff!

The Introduction is excellent, too!

Four slices of pie. Alas, no pie nor pastry mentioned in Wide Sargasso Sea.

Cross another classic off my 50. Thank you Spin for the prompt to get this read.

I am on to my next: Vanity Fair – a classic I know little about (and what I might think I know seems to be wrong.) I know that Becky Sharpe is a famous conniving female character of literature and so far, Thackeray is entertaining in a Dickens kind of way…

[insert copyright note here and book cover image at top when I get back to a PC – I can’t figure out how to do that with this device…]

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Classics Club Spin! August 2018

So.   I saw on Twitter this morning that the latest SPIN! number was about to be announced and then…

I missed the interim window to make my list because I saw that the SPIN! number was published!  Ooops. whoops. I hadn’t made my list yet.

So I entered 20 books into a random list order generator and so I could still be surprised by whichever book landed on the SPIN.

Here’s the list BEFORE I entered them into the randomizer:

The Three Musketeers – Alex Dumas
Jude the Obscure – Hardy
the Woodlanders – Hardy
Rabbit, Run – Updike
Naked Lunch – Wm Burroughs
Love in a Cold Climate – Nancy Mitford
Wide Sargasso Sea – Jean Rhys
The House of the Seven Gables – Hawthorne
Vanity Fair – Thackeray
Dead Souls – Nikolay Gogol
Candide – Voltaire
The Golden Notebook – Doris Lessing
Gravity’s Rainbow – Thomas Pynchon
Confederacy of Dunces – JKToole
Twelve Years a Slave – Solomon Northup
The Way We Live Now – Trollope
the Counterfeiters – A. Gide
A Handful of Dust – Waugh
The Ox-bow Incident – Walter Van Tilberg Clark
Eileen Chang’s Love in a Fallen City

and here’s the results UP to the SPIN NUMBER of 9:

  1. the Woodlanders – Hardy
  2. The Way We Live Now – Trollope
  3. Eileen Chang’s Love in a Fallen City
  4. The Golden Notebook – Doris Lessing
  5. Twelve Years a Slave – Solomon Northup
  6. Rabbit, Run – Updike
  7. Love in a Cold Climate – Nancy Mitford
  8. Jude the Obscure – Hardy
  9. Wide Sargasso Sea – Jean Rhys

 

Alrighty then! Off to the library website to order the book. Or go to Audible and check if the narration is highly rated? Maybe. I have a credit to use…

 

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Copyright © 2007-2018. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Jane Eyre

Thoughts  by Charlotte Bronte, 2016 (orig 1847), 19 hours 10 minutes

Narrated by Thandie Newton.

Challenge: Personal
Genre: Classics, Feminism, Gothic Romance?
Type/Source: Audiobook / Audible
 Why I read this now: #shrug

MOTIVATION for READING: Oh Jane. Jane, I feel like I know you. I have ‘known’ your story for what feels like forever. But, my memory fails me! I’m not really positive that I have met you face-to-face and heard your story from you directly. Perhaps I have only heard talk from other acquaintances, about your Mr. Rochester and his mad wife in the attic. I can’t remember if I was lying when I say I have read your book. Did I? or does it just seem that way because I know of the tale? (I have the same issue/question re: Wuthering Heights.)

I had to be sure. I decided that experiencing Jane Eyre via audiobook was the way to go (a first-read or reread – who cares? I suspected I would enjoy it – I love long classics on audio.) Lucky for me, I was able to select THIS edition.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  Hmmmm, dare I spoil it? Have I already?!  EVERYONE KNOWS WHAT JANE EYRE IS ABOUT, right?

Actually, no. One of my best friends asked me yesterday, what is about? Crazy, huh? She’s such a good egg but is she plugged into the world of literature-mania like me? She is NOT.

And I had hard time telling her. How much to tell? I shrugged and told her she wouldn’t like it and would probably DNF it. I know her well enough.

WHAT’s GOOD: Thandie Newton is a dream. She is PERFECTION. She made every line beautiful and dreamy; she delivered the exact amount of emotion to every sentence. Fraught or loving, scary or forcefully independent.

Listen to Thandie’s voice and her thoughts on doing the narration:

What’s NOT so good:  Bronte can go on and on with descriptions but I enjoyed it. (I suspect my friend would roll her eyes in weariness. I also suspect she wouldn’t like the old language.)

FINAL THOUGHTS: If you want to audiobook a classic, choose this one.

RATING: Five slices of gooseberry pie.

“I have kept myself; and, I trust, shall keep myself again. What are you going to do with these gooseberries?” I inquired, as she brought out a basket of the fruit.

“Mak’ ’em into pies.”

“Give them to me and I’ll pick them.”

“Nay; I dunnut want ye to do nought.”

“But I must do something. Let me have them.”

She consented; and she even brought me a clean towel to spread over my dress, “lest,” as she said, “I should mucky it.”

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2018. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Classics Club Update and Spin-Done-Read Link

Today is the day we share what we read for the latest Spin.

I read Cold Comfort Farm and got a kick out of it. Glad I finally got to it and that I got it well enough.  I know the humor seems to hit & miss for some people but I always seem to enjoy a good satire even when I don’t quite know what I’m chuckling about/with. Whatever, it works for me and it’s all about me. Ha!

And I was able to talk the hub into watching the film!! 

I’m having a good year getting back to classics. I finished Stoner in January and have a plan to capture quite a few titles as options in my quest to fulfill this year’s What’s in a Name Challenge.

Good fun!

Next up is my post on Jane Eyre – hoping to finish before the close of the month.

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2018. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Cold Comfort Farm

Thoughts  by Stella Gibbons, Penguin 2006 (orig 1932), 233 pages

Challenge: Classics Club Spin for April
Genre: Satire? “Comic novel”
Type/Source: Tradeback/Library
 Why I read this now: Spin and library had a copy – woo hoo!

MOTIVATION for READING: I originally had this on my Club 50 because it was a book I saw on many people’s done-read list and I wanted to get in on that.

“He was a tree-trunk; a toad on a stone; a pie-thatched owl on a bough.”

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Supposedly, it makes fun of the classic style of British farm novels? I have not read any British farm novels so I can’t comment to that.

Poor orphaned Flora finds out that her inheritance will not be quite adequate to live on so she decides to crash on relatives who will have her. They all acquiesce to the idea but she can’t go to them all, right? so she picks the one that will most benefit from her influence:  Cold Comfort Farm. She arranges marriages, lets the bull get some sunshine, finds servants to wash her curtains, gets one cousin to ‘realize his ambition’ which allows another cousin to realize a dream. One cousin is discovered as Star Material for Hollywood talkies and another discovers the health benefits of travel. It’s quite crazy and madcap and all arranged by Flora’s capable hands.

All that and she somehow herself is proposed to; she gets to fly off to live happily ever after.

“Henceforth her life would be one of exquisite sunny natural content.”

WHAT’s GOOD: I did find it funny. Not laugh out loud joke funny but amusing. I loved that every mode of transportation and all mediums for communication are utilized.

What’s NOT so good: Well, it’s an old book set in another time, so it has a few crass mentions of ‘other’ that are stereotypical and insensitive but only a couple. It really isn’t kind to women, either, tbh. And by that, I mean poor women.

I did scratch my head a few times in mild bewilderment and some questions never get answered. Do we really want to know what Aunt Ada Doom saw in the woodshed? No, no we do not. And what exactly did they do to Flora’s father that they had to accept penance of taking in Flora? And who was Adam?  I never did figure out who Adam was but shrug. No matter.

[Updated to add:   I remembered to read the Introduction by Lynne Truss who explains and admires this work in terrific prose. So, anything I didn’t get was because I can be obtuse – ha! The Intro is fab. Be sure to read it; get THIS edition with the cow on the cover so you don’t miss it. And, if you’re like me – you’ll read it after so nothing is spoiled. I would never read an Intro before a book. Why oh why do they want me to read it first?!]

FINAL THOUGHTS: I kind of wish I had a Flora Poste to interfere in my life… She surely would have some sensible advice to provide.

RATING: Five slices of apple pie.

“What they was having themselves proved to be apple tart and vegetables, so Flora did quite well.”

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2018. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Classic Spin March 2018

Mar 9: number 3 selected; thus, I get to read Cold Comfort Farm. [My review]

It’s another SPIN!  My favorite… This button has the information post:

Drawing and number announcement will be March 9; book at that number from this list must be read by the end of April. Let’s do this!

Here are my 20:

  1. The Three Muskateers
  2. Jude the Obscure
  3. Cold Comfort Farm
  4. Wide Sargasso Sea
  5. The King Must Die
  6. The Dud Avocado
  7. Charlotte Sometimes
  8. One Fine Day
  9. The Ox-Bow Incident
  10. The House of the Seven Gables
  11. Candide
  12. A Handful of Dust
  13. Rabbit Run
  14. Love in a Cold Climate –> Love in a Fallen City
  15. Naked Lunch
  16. The Counterfeiters
  17. Love in a Fallen City moved to spot 14; switching with Love in a Cold Climate, Nancy Mitford
  18. The Woodlanders
  19. Confederacy of Dunces
  20. The Way We Live Now

I was planning on getting to The House of the Seven Gables sooner than later so let’s all hope the spin number is TEN!

My original list and progress page is linked here for my own convenience.

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2018. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Stoner

Thoughts  by John Williams, New York Review Book 2003 (orig 1965), 305 pages

Sometimes, immersed in his books, there would come to him the awareness of all that he did not know, of all that he had not read; and the serenity for which he labored was shattered as he realized the little time he had in life to read so much, to learn what he had to know.

H

Challenge: Classics Club 50!
Type/Source: eBook/Kindle

MOTIVATION for READING: I had heard very good things about this book; I had expectations that it would be just the kind of book I love. And it was!

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Stoner is a Professor of Literature at the University of Missouri. This book explores his entire life, start to finish.

WHAT’s GOOD: The writing.

What’s NOT so good: I love contemplative character studies. If you don’t, just skip it. It’s OK.              I LOVED this.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I’m so glad to finally conquer this one! Yay me.

RATING: Five slices of pie. No pie mentioned. Although, ‘magpie’ is.

“Outside, in the old elm that crowded the back-yard fence, a large black-and-white bird—a magpie—had started to chatter. He listened to the sound of its calling and watched with remote fascination the open beak as it strained out its lonely cry.”

 

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Copyright © 2007-2018. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Time to Get Serious

Seriously, I must focus on my CLASSICS CLUB LIST!

Basically, if you do not know about the Classics Club 50, it is a challenge to read 50 books over 5 years. You can even decide your own definition of ‘classic’ (if I remember correctly; you can verify it at the official website here.) I decided any book over 25 years old was a classic.

You are also allowed to swap books off/on your original list – as long as you read 50 books in 5 years within your category of classic, you win! And by winning, I mean that you get the pride of accomplishment. A friend or two might give you an applause tweet — that would be lovely. It’s fun!

Reading is fun!! (My brother reading to me…)

I wanted to join because they have a fun activity a few times each year called THE SPIN. The Club Committee will post to announce THE SPIN, tell you to get a short sublist of only 20 books you still have to read, and later announce a number between 1-20. You have to read that numbered book from your list! I think you get 6 weeks or so to read it, so the challenge is really to be on the ball not to miss the announcement AND the spin number AND the deadline. Please let me know if you see the next one – I do NOT want to miss it this year…

My original list is —> here <—.  I have 29 books from my original list to read yet.

Don’t fret! Good news!! I have read 37 books over 25 years old in the last 3 years so that means I only have 13 books remaining. I hope to choose these from my original list, but who knows what will happen. And since this is my 4th year, I have 24 months to do so. Woo hoo

Here are the books I read last year that counted towards my 50 overall:

The Summer of My German Soldier (1973) by Bette Greene – Apr17
The Sweet Hereafter (1991) by Russell Banks – Jul17
The Grand Sophy (1950) by Geogette Heyer – Aug17
Waiting for Godot (1952) by Samuel Beckett – Sep17
Angle of Repose  (1971) by Wallace Stegner – Oct17

The books I read that were on my list were:

Orlando (1928) by Virginia Woolf – May
The Hunter (1960) by Richard Stark – April

And so far in 2018, I’m enjoying Stoner (1965) by John Williams and have a few from the list I’m committing to for the What’s in a Name Challenge: The Oxbow Incident, The Dud Avocado, and The House of the Seven Gables.

Ok, that’s my update. Til next time, keep reading and look for pie on every menu and in every book. Don’t forget to let me know if you find a great pie scene in your literature adventure.

Have you read any of these books I listed? What classic book are YOU reading now?

 

 

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2018. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

What’s in a Name 2018 Kick Off Post

My favorite challenge! This button     will take you to the host blog, The Worm Hole.

Here are the categories (with hyperlinks back to host blog) and my possible choices:

The word ‘the’ used twice – From my Classics Club 50: The House of the Seven Gables by Nat Hawthorne.

A fruit or vegetable – I’m committing to Elaine Dundy‘s The Dud Avocado, also on my Classics Club 50.

A shape – SO EXCITED to announce another Classics Club 50 will fit this one:  The Ox-Bow Incident by Walter Van Tilberg Clark. An ox-bow is defined as 

  1. a U-shaped bend in the course of a river.
  2. a U-shaped collar of an ox yoke.

A title that begins with Z – Darn that I read Z last year (book about Zelda Fitzgerald) so I’m going to try The Zero by Jess Walter – I absolutely loved his Beautiful Ruins.

A nationality – Not sure here. Had American War for this spot when it was on the TOB long list but since it didn’t make the short. I have a lot of great nonfiction options about women that history forgot and I might go that route. Or perhaps American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang which would be a graphic novel and I want more of these. Any other suggestions?

A seasonCruel Winter by Sheila Connelly. I purchased this book for a friend’s birthday because it sounded like something she would enjoy and she promised to let me read it after (and then I’ll give it back so she can loan to her mom.)

I have created a goodreads list of done-reads and possibles for my 2018 tracking here…

Happy Reading Challenges!  What is the challenge you are MOST looking forward to this year?

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Copyright © 2007-2018. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.