I’ve written about Mansfield Park on the blog here. It was also the topic of my senior thesis for my undergrad English degree, in which I wrote about how Fanny was a model of femininity to be embraced, not ignored. One of these days I’ll upload it to the Internets and share it.
Outside my window:: Sunny but also cloudy, if that makes sense. I guess the weatherman would call this “partly sunny”? Or “partly cloudy”? (I never did understand the distinction.)
In the CD player:: 1776 soundtrack.
Wearing:: My PJs. I know. So unexciting. But all my pretty clothes are packed away for vacation!
Reading:: Reclaiming Catholic Social Teaching; The Whole World Over; Mansfield Park; Lisette’s List. I also have a bunch of books packed for vacation, including Middlemarch, The Forsythe Saga, The Girl On A Train; A Memory of Violets; Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore, and a few more.
Yes, I bring lots of books when I go on vacation. It’s often like this:
Crafting:: I”ve got some knitting packed for Edel, because there are going to be excellent knitters there, and I need someone to teach me to purl consistently! I’ve also got my scarf and washcloth still on the needles.
From the kitchen:: Not much, since we’re leaving soon! I’m looking forward to excellent Charleston food!
Keeping House:: Cleaning before I leave–making sure all the trash is out, and things are generally tidy, so when I come home it won’t be a disaster. And of course, packing.
Fitness: Today is a yoga day, and tomorrow is a gym day. I am packing gym clothes for vacation (the hotel has a gym), but I think the normal run of things might be enough! We’ll see, though. Better to be prepared, right?
Prayer:: Really trying to keep to my “horarium”, as I’m calling it. That means prayer in the morning (lauds) with some devotional reading; midday prayer (noon) if I don’t make it to Mass; Divine Mercy chaplet and Office of Readings at 3:00 (and rosary, if I have time); Vespers between 5 and 5:30 (with rosary after, if I didn’t get to it already), and compline between 7:45 and 8:45, depending on what’s going on. This is, actually, a copy of a few monastic schedules. It’s not every hour of the office, but it’s a majority of them (It’s four, and there’s seven hours of the office). As a Lay Dominican, lauds, vespers and rosary are required every day. But I really like the office of readings, and compline is special to Dominicans. And of course, Daily Mass when I can.
There will be an adoration chapel set up at Edel on Saturday, which makes me crazy happy.
This week:: Um, vacation? 🙂 Edel is Friday and Saturday. So excited for that. 10 Year Anniversary is on Saturday as well! Rejoice! 🙂
Some cuteness: Princess Charlotte and her family at her baptism yesterday. The baptism was held at St. Mary Magdalene church in Sandringham.
So I’m still working the same two projects, the scarf and the washcloth/dishcloth/dust rag (whatever you want to call it!). I’ve been knitting while I watch Outlander or Breaking Bad, and I can knit for about a half hour at a time during those. I did find another skein of yarn, called Chipmunk, that I think will be great for the next VA scarf project. It’s the same type of yarn as the one I’m currently working with, which you can read about here.
As for reading: I’m saving The Girl on the Train and A God In Ruins for the Charleston trip, which is fast approaching. I want to have new books to read in the car. 🙂 I just finished The Astronaut Wives Club, which was pretty good. There were a lot of wives to keep straight, eventually, but I think the writer did a good job giving us insight into their lives. The book I’m currently reading is Pride and Prejudice, for the Great Jane Re-Read.
(If you’re new here, read the beginning of this post to get the ground rules/ideas.)
I wrote this about Northanger Abbey last year.
My favorite movie version is this one, from the BBC (click the photo for details):
OK, so let’s talk about the book:
I really like Catherine–do you? I mean yes, she has some silly moments, but generally, she’s not a bad kid, especially for one who has never been away from home before and is thrown into social situations she’s never been in before. She’s much more sensible than, say, Lydia Bennet! (Whom we’ll talk about in the next installment.)
I just wanted to throttle the Thorpes. I always feel that way, but this time it was with special vengeance. Isabella is just so silly and stupid! Not to mention money grubbing: “Oh, I love James! Oh, no I don’t, his income is too small. Oh, wait, I love him again! Because no one else will have me, la!”
And John? How in the world does he think Catherine wants to marry him? He rivals Mr. Collins in his stupidity of women, but at least Mr. Collins was never as outright rude and coarse as John is.
General Tilney is a really interesting character, isn’t he? He terrifies his daughter and obviously Henry has his own problems with him. He’s not a model father, that’s for sure, although I don’t think any of the readers ascribe such villainous deeds to him as Catherine initially does. 🙂
Speaking of that, I love the scene when Catherine finds out that the papers are just laundry lists. It’s sort of like Ralph in A Christmas Story: “Be sure to drink your Ovaltine? A crummy commercial?!”
Have you read The Mysteries of Udolpho? It’s still in print, amazingly–Oxford World Classics has an edition that I’m pretty sure is only still in print because of Northanger Abbey. It’s not a bad read, if you’re interested in digging deeper into Catherine’s favorite genre.
The next time Jane will set a book in Bath will be Persuasion, her last completed novel, and the novel isn’t entirely set there (much like NA isn’t entirely set in Bath–it’s funny that we have to wait so long to get to the titular abbey, right?). Anne Elliott is not quite as sanguine as Catherine is about being in Bath, that’s for sure.
Catherine’s family seem so jolly, doesn’t it? 10 children, but also her parents seem to be really down-to-earth, practical sort of people (Although I imagine you’d have to be, in order to have 10 children and not be completely nuts.). She might be–I’m just now considering this–the most practical mother in Jane’s writing. Mrs. Bennet is not. Mrs. Dashwood sort of gets there by the end of the novel, but she has her moments of crazy. There is no Mrs. Woodhouse in Emma, nor is there a Mrs. Elliot in Persuasion, although Mrs. Elliot seemed to be a very lovely person, based on Anne’s remembrances; but Sir Walter wasn’t exactly a peach to live with. What do you think?
mmmm. Summer Friday. Those are beautiful words in the English language, no? 🙂
Since it’s summer, more people read. You can, of course, join the Jane Re-Read (Sense and Sensibility is what we’re talking right now). I’m still reading Prodigal Summer and Northanger Abbey. I just finished I Believe In Love, about St. Therese of Liseux and how she can lead us to a deeper spiritual life, and I really liked that one. There’s a lot to ponder and I’ll definitely be reading it again. (Who am I kidding. I read everything again….unless it’s Moby Dick or Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Shudder!)
I keep debating if I should read Girl on a Train. Yes? No? Thoughts?
My 10 year transplant testing appointment is on Monday. To put this in perspective: UNOS (the United Network for Organ Sharing, which “does” transplants in the U.S.) doesn’t even have 10 year survival rates on their chart. The last one they have is 5 years out, and for women, that rate is 46.1%. I read somewhere that 10 year survival is around 30%, but I forget where.
So, for ONCE, the odds have been playing nicely with me. I rejoice in this. The actual 10 year date is in July, but we do the testing in June, usually.
I’ve discovered that a lot of women don’t know basic maintenance things. This sort of scares me, ladies. You should know to put gas in the car (and what kind of gas), how to jump a car battery, how to use tools, how to unclog a toilet. Even if you’re married, your husband isn’t aways around to fix things! I’m amazed at how many women I know who can’t do any of these things and I want to be like, girls. Come on now!
My brother’s girlfriend sent me this photo of him at Disneyland, and I just love it:
As Br. H said, “How many Evil Empires can you fit in one picture?”
I’ve started swimming again–yay! But man, the muscles feel it when you swim hard for the first time in a season. They rebel the next day. But it’s so good to be in swim season again, I do not mind at all.
Almost time for Edel 2015 in Charleston! I’m so excited!! I’ve never been to South Carolina and I can’t wait to meet all the amazing women who will be there!
We’re doing this slightly out of order–I read S&S first this year, so we’re starting there.
Since this is the first post on the Jane Re-Read, let’s do some basic ground rules:
1) Yes, she’s Jane here. I can’t call her “Austen” like I would “Dickens.” Jane just seems like a friend to me. Hence, Jane.
2) Abbreviations: S&S–Sense and Sensibility; P&P–Pride and Prejudice; MP–Mansfield Park; E–Emma; P–Persuasion; NA–Northanger Abbey; JA–Juvenilia, (not her initials. 🙂 )
3) In each entry–which will come up every two weeks–we can talk about anything related to the book. I’ll post links to other things I’ve written about the particular book, and I’ll also post my favorite movie version of each book (there are multiple versions of every book except NA, I think.)
4) I won’t summarize the book. You can google it for that. I’m assuming you’re going to read (or have read) the book. So it’ll just be notes. So, if you haven’t–spoilers, y’all.
Ready, y’all? Let’s start with Jane’s “darling child,” S&S.
S&S was originally titled Elinor and Marianne, and Jane took time off between the first draft and the published version we know as S&S. She wrote the first draft when she was younger, but it wasn’t published until several years later. Her family relocation to Bath, the death of her father, and the fallout from that made for a peripatetic life. Finally, her brother Edward settled Jane, her mother, and her sister and best friend Cassandra , at Chawton Cottage in the village of Chawton. It was there that Jane revised S&S, P&P and NA, and wrote MP, E, and P.
Much of S&S deals with a topic Jane was intimately familiar with–what happens to the wife and daughters of a man when he dies. The Dashwood women do not fare nearly as well as the Austen women did. Jane’s brothers all pooled their resources to provide for Jane, Cassandra, and Mrs. Austen. (Cassandra was engaged, but her fiance died in a shipwreck.) Regency society was very hard for unmarried and widowed women, and that’s illustrated well in the novel. Without Sir John’s easy rent terms for Barton Cottage, the family would’ve been very hard pressed to find anything near their former situation. While the Dashwood women now live in a cottage instead of handsome Norland Park, they still have at least one maid and a manservant, and are able to live in an approximation of their former life (none of the women have to work, for example, to earn money). But their lives could’ve been much easier if John Dashwood had kept his promise to his dying father.
The closeness of the two sisters is also true to life for Jane. Jane endowed Marianne with several of her qualities: Marianne adores Cowper (Jane’s favorite poet), and shares some of Jane’s personality; also, Jane was the younger sister (and second youngest child in the Austen family). It is easy to imagine Cassandra as Elinor, especially since Elinor is an artist, as Cassandra was. The closeness of sisters is examined in many of Jane’s novels, but particularly here and in P&P (with Jane and Lizzie). In Persuasion, Anne Elliott isn’t close to either of her sisters; Fanny Price in MP is close to one of her younger sisters, and Emma’s older sister, Isabella, is a sort of non-entity since she is married and lives in London, not Highbury, with her husband and children.
It’s interesting that only MP deals with brothers–Fanny is very attached to her brother William, who serves in the Royal Navy (as did almost all of Jane’s brothers). Edmund Bertram treats Fanny like a sister for much of MP, but they’re cousins. There are no “true” brothers in any of the other novels: In S&S, he’s the girls half-brother, from their father’s first marriage; there are no Bennet boys, which is a major plot point, and both the Woodhouse and Elliott families have only girls. (This is also a major plot point in Persuasion, not so much in MP.)
I have a lot in common with Marianne. We both love music and romance and poetry, but I also have a bit of Elinor in me. I would never act like Marianne does in the ballroom scene in London, for example. The old-fashioned girl part of me waits for the man to approach and to do the asking. Like Elinor, I’m aware of social norms and what’s acceptable behavior, and 99% of the time, I follow it. (The other 1%…well, sometimes we all go nuts. :-)) But I also am fiercely loyal, like Marianne is, and don’t take fools lightly, although I generally use my Elinor side to refrain from saying whatever I think. (See, Marianne and the Middletons.)
Am I the only one who wanted Edward to buck up? You are not in love with Lucy anymore–break off the engagement! I totally support him keeping his word, but come on, Edward! You were willing to spend your life with a woman who drove you crazy because when you were young you made a mistake and got engaged?! Boo.
I think every girl has her Willoughby–that man she falls head-over-heels for, the one that seems so perfect. And then you find out he’s not. Maybe he’s not a scoundrel, a la Wickham, but he’s not perfect, and he’s not the man for you.
It’s a fine line between Marianne and Elinor. If you stay silent, like Elinor does, you could miss your chance. But if you’re overly eager, as Marianne is, it can cause you problems later on. I always wondered what Margaret would end up like–more Elinor, or Marianne? Or a good mixture of both?
Like all of Jane’s heroines, Marianne learns a lesson by the time she weds the Colonel (who, incidentally, is never given a first name in the books. He’s just Colonel Brandon.), but I think she’s happier for it. I think she and Elinor both have good, solid marriages, where both of them can love and esteem their husbands (as Mr. Bennet exhorts Lizzie to do in P&P).
What do you think of S&S? Are you more a Marianne or an Elinor?
What a weekend! I spent a lot of time with my needles and yarn!
Let me take you through it!
First, remember this guy? Yes. I have finished the long scarf/cowl thing, and as I was knitting it, I thought it would make a great birthday present for one of my always-cold friends. Her birthday is in September, and these are her favorite colors, so big win there! I love how it turned out.
Second–at the top you can see the finished “lilac” washcloth. On the right is the last skein of yarn for the Washcloth Housewarming Gift Project. This one is called blackberry.
The book part: I’m reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Prodigal Summer, which I’ve been wanting to read for awhile, but once Modern Mrs. Darcy suggested it, I was glad to find it for $4 at Half Price Books. 🙂 So that’s what I’m currently reading.
So I have to cast on the last washcloth. But I did start one new project:
People, this yarn. It’s called morning glory, and it has the slightest red tint to it. I love it. This is a scarf for a charity project. My Lay Dominican chapter collects hats and scarves to give to the patients at the local VA hospital, and this is my contribution. I’m knitting this up on 10 gauge Harmony Rainbow needles and it’s fantastic.
So, whew! That’s a lot for one yarn along! I’m loving knitting this scarf, and I’m so glad I have another skein of this color in the stash for another project. Possibly one for me. 😉
Next week there won’t be a 7QT, since I’ll be in D.C. and attending ordinations that day, so I won’t have time to write! I’ll be churching. 🙂 But I am so excited to be heading to D.C. since I haven’t been in so long, and I’ll be with some great friends. Plus, our hotel offers free homemade cookies–hot–for all visitors.
Really? Can I just live there forever?
Let’s talk about some season finales of TV, shall we?
I love The Middle. Sue Heck is an awful lot like me, from her love of Disney World Planning to her academic endeavors. Last night’s season finale really struck a chord with me.
Sue has been trying, all year, to have the Best Year Ever. It’s her Senior year of high school (AKA, The Year of Sue), and she tries to win one of the class superlatives (best smile, etc.), get accepted to a great college, have the most school spirit, and generally be all around awesome.
But leading up to graduation, everything goes wrong. She loses her yearbook–and her name is misspelled under her photo She’s not eligible for any honor cords because her activities “don’t count”. She misses getting the perfect attendance award because she snuck of campus to eat lunch. Her graduation motorboard is way too big. She doesn’t even want to go to graduation now, because she feels like nothing she did mattered. She has left no legacy. She feels like a loser.
But her mom convinces her to go to the ceremony. At the ceremony, her yearbook is returned–full of notes from people who did notice her, and appreciated her, even if she didn’t get any honor cords or win any Senior Superlatives. She sees the impact she had on the members of her class, and she had no idea they even felt that way.
I feel like Sue sometimes, like everything I do is just passing and I won’t have any lasting legacy anywhere. But The Middle reminds us that people do notice those little things, even if they don’t write about it in our yearbooks.
Another TV finale wasn’t quite so satisfying, and that’s Bates Motel.
Now, I love Bates Motel on a lot of levels, as I’ve previously discussed. But this year it started going off the rails, relative to actual CF/transplant things, and this makes me Displeased.
Emma’s been on the lung transplant list the entire time the show has been on the air, so three years. She hasn’t moved up the list in all that time–her condition has been pretty stable. But this season she started to deteriorate a bit.
Now, the way lungs are allocated is something called an LAS score. Basically, it takes into account how sick you are. The sicker you are, the higher up you are on the list. Emma, actually, probably isn’t sick enough to be first in line on the list. Yes, she’s on oxygen, but her condition is pretty stable.
However, on the show, her dad tells Dylan (Norman’s brother) that the reason Emma hasn’t gotten her transplant is because they don’t have $20,000, which they apparently need to bribe someone to move her up the list.
Um, no. No no no no five thousand nos.
The only way you move up the list is by getting sicker. When I was called for my transplant, I was the top person on the AB+ blood type list, because I was the sickest person that was also the best match for the lungs I received. It’s sort of a complicated process. Organs have to match blood type, tissue type, body size, etc. Emma could only move up by getting sicker, or by people passing on the chance to have the operation, or being removed from the list.
So anyway, in the season finale, Emma gets her call (this is after Dylan has come up with the money and given it to Emma’s Dad). Emma then proceeds to have a crying jag/meltdown in front of Dylan. Now, I know this makes good TV because it’s cathartic and all that, but you have to talk to social workers and therapists about this stuff before you can get listed. You have to be totally on board. You can’t be sort of wishy-washy. Now, yes, I understand that Emma’s a little freaked, but by the time you get the call, you are about to die, normally. Dying on the operating table doesn’t really phase you, because you are going to die without the surgery very soon.
So anyway, this is all so wrong, people. So, so, wrong.
However, she is right about lungs being tricky, in the transplant world. They are. Lucky us.
A few reading notes:
The Royal We: Totally based on Prince William and Kate Middleton (right down to Kate’s fashion choices and wedding dress), only the girl is an American, this story of the future King of England meeting his fiance at a British University is well-told and charmingly written. Nicholas and Rebecca meet cute, break up, and finally get engaged–but will they make it to the altar? Nicholas’s brother, Freddie, is hysterical, but Rebecca’s twin is sort of annoying. But this would definitely make a great beach read. If you’re a fan of the British Royal Family, then give this one a whirl.
Made In the U.S.A.: I found this on the remained table at B&N, read the first chapter, and was drawn in to the story of Lutie and her brother, Fate, who are left alone after their stepmother dies of a heart attack in the local North Dakota Wal-Mart. Intent on escaping Child Protective Services, Lutie and Fate drive to Las Vegas, the last known address of their ne’er-do-well alcoholic father, sure that if they find him, he will take them in. But things definitely do not work out like the pair plans, and they’re finally rescued by Juan, a Mexican immigrant who takes the children to his family in Oklahoma.
The book had a pretty dark first half–Lutie does a lot of things to survive and to heal some serious wounds in herself–but the final pages give the characters chances for redemption. I don’t generally mind dark books, and I’d probably read this again, but reading it the first time had me going “are these kids going to be OK? Because they better be, or I’m going to be really irritated.“
The Happiness Project: This is one of my must-reads, and I’m reading it again. It’s a great kick in the pants for self-motivation to Do Better and Achieve Goals.
And since we have book notes, let’s have some movie notes:
Still Alice: The movie that won Julianne Moore her elusive Oscar is much better than I thought it would be. The book is good, but the movie is better–this falls into a small category of books and movies where this is true, for me (some of the others are The Wizard of Oz, Gone With The Wind, and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix). Moore plays Alice, a linguistic professor at Columbia who is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. Moore’s performance is realistic and sympathetic, but the other best part of the movie is Kristin Stewart’s role as Lydia, Moore’s “black sheep” daughter, who comes home to take care of her mother while her father (Alec Baldwin) moves to Minnesota to run a study at the Mayo Clinic. Stewart and Moore could be mother and daughter in real life, and they play beautifully off one another here. I loved how their relationship evolved throughout the movie.
Panic Room: Yes, another Kristin Stewart movie! This time she plays Jodi Foster’s daughter in a thriller that places both of them at the mercy of three robbers. This is one of Stewart’s earliest film roles, and she and Foster are a believable mother daughter pair, complete with the sass and eye rolls. It’s a tidy thriller that ends somewhat predictably, but it’s a good movie to watch if you’re not up to following a complicated plot.
CCD winds up this weekend. I’ll miss this class, which was much smaller than my previous class of 35 kids. But each year’s class has its own plusses and minuses, and this has been a pretty good group. I’m curious to see how many we have next year, since that affects the “arts and crafts” aspect of the curriculum. With a group of 35, you really can’t do too many art projects, but with 20, you can.
Can you believe we’re halfway through May already? I can’t. I swear things move faster as we get older.
So we’re back!
So this is dishcloth number 3, and I’m in love with this color. It’s called “lilac”, but it seems much deeper than regular lilacs, right? Anyway, it’s gorgeous and it’s so easy to work with.
I’ve been wanting to read Trilby for awhile but I never found a copy–thankfully Half Price Books provided! So I’m hoping it’s as good as I want it to be.
There are certain books that everyone must read before they die (at least in my world).
These are also the books I routinely recommend to people. Some of these are books you may have read in school, and some of them are current fiction that you might not ever have heard of, but that I love to read and re-read.
So, without further ado:
- All of Jane. Really, people. If you’re hanging around here, you need to read Jane. In case you don’t know what she wrote: Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Persuasion, and Northanger Abbey (which is sometimes bundled with some of her unfinished pieces). Go and read.
- The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson, because it’s amazing. Stick with it and be rewarded.
- The Chronicles of Narnia
- And then when you’re done with those, Mere Christianity and The Problem of Pain
- And then read the Space Trilogy: Out of the Silent Planet Perelandra (Space Trilogy, Book 2) That Hideous Strength (Space Trilogy, Book 3)
- The Odyssey , if you didn’t read it in high school, because so much of lit refers to it.
- A Tale of Two Cities (Ignatius Critical Editions) and A Christmas Carol , by Dickens. I picked those two because they’re my favorites and people think they know Christmas Carol, but they really don’t.
- Dante’s The Divine Comedy. The entire thing. Get one with good footnotes. The Penguin I linked to should be serviceable.
- Kristin Lavransdatter: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition), by Sigrid Undset
- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
- The Scarlet Letter: Ignatius Critical Editions , by Nathaniel Hawthorne (it’s sort of seminal in American literature)
- Alexander McCall Smith–anything. I love the Isabel Dalhousie series.
- Acedia & me: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer’s Life and The Cloister Walk, by Kathleen Norris
- Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives, by Gretchen Rubin
- Room: A Novel, by Emma Donoghue
- The Portrait of a Lady (Oxford World’s Classics) , by Henry James
- Wuthering Heights (Oxford World’s Classics) by Emily Bronte
- The Bard: Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, King Lear, Macbeth, As You Like It, Midsummer Night’s Dream–for starters.
- Oscar Wilde’s Ballad of Reading Gaol, which is included in his Complete Poetry (Oxford World’s Classics)
- The Agony and the Ecstasy: A Biographical Novel of Michelangelo, by Irving Stone
- The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
- The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway.
- Frankenstein: Ignatius Critical Editions, by Mary Shelley.
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum
- Dracula (Penguin Classics) , by Bram Stoker (it’s probably not what you think)
- Read these two back to back: Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, and then The Hours by Michael Cunningham.
- The Canterbury Tales , by Geoffrey Chaucer, even if it’s just selections. Because it’s fun.
- All of Laura Ingalls Wilder
- The Year of Pleasures and We Are All Welcome Here , by Elizabeth Berg
- Paradise Lost (Oxford World’s Classics), John Milton
- The Brothers Karamazov, by Dostoevsky
- Anna Karenina by Tolstoy, OR Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (pick Russian or French)
- In This House of Brede, by Rumer Godden
- My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
- Don’t Sing at the Table: Life Lessons from My Grandmothers, by Adriana Trigiani
- Bel Canto (P.S.) , by Ann Patchett
- The Killer Angels, by Michael Shaara
- Girl with a Pearl Earring, by Tracy Chevalier
- Possession, by AS Byatt
So what do you think? Like the list? Hate the list? Think I left stuff out? Let me know in the comments!