Good morning, readers! And happy hump day – we’re halfway through the week!
I hope to make What I’m Reading Wednesday a regular part of the blog. It gives me a regular excuse to gush about what I’m reading, and will hopefully give me the ass-kicking I need to make reading progress. If you see the same books every Wednesday, feel free to give me a prod in the comments.
Disclaimer: SPOILER ALERT
And now, without more ado, what am I reading?
First: Emma, by Jane Austen
As you might have guessed by the title of this blog (explanation here), I’m rather a huge fan of Jane Austen. I re-read Pride and Prejudice every two years or so for fun, and read Sense and Sensibility a couple of years ago, but I’d never made an effort to read all of her published works. That ended this summer, when I finally read Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park, and Persuasion. After Emma, I’ll find Lady Susan, though I don’t know anything about it.
Emma is just what you’d hope for in an Austen novel – lots of social drama, witty conversations, and a huge variety of characters, each with their own
crazy flaws unique quirks.
But here I am, two thirds of the way through the novel, and the heroine has no clue who she’s properly in love with. Normally, she knows pretty well early on, so she can pine after him for most of the book. Please don’t tell me if I’m right OR wrong, but I’ve been fairly convinced that Emma’s gonna get with Mr Knightley, but neither of them seem aware of it.
I have one third of the book left and we still have to get our hero and heroine to fall in love, resolve some weird tension with Jane Fairfax, settle Mr Churchill and Harriet (maybe together? I’m not nearly as certain of it as Emma is), and deliver a huge can of whoop-ass on Mrs. Elton (please please please will someone just give that woman a severe talking-to, it’s driving me nuts). I have no clue how Ms. Austen will manage it.
Second: Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë
I’m listening to this book as an audio podcast, read by Elizabeth Klett, on Heather Ordover’s Podcast CraftLit. The reader is absolutely marvelous, and Heather’s comments and introductions are really great as well.
I’ve heard lots of negative comments about Jane Eyre: it’s weird, dark, boring, and really really long. I’m actually really enjoying it. The honest way that Ms. Brontë describes events that have such a deep root in her own life makes the story seem that much more real. And then she throws in these great gothic elements that are a little odd and very jarring.
I’m not quite halfway through this one. Jane has just come to terms with the fact that she is desperately in love with Mr. Rochester, but can never have him. She somewhat cheerfully resigns herself to her fate of forever pining for him, which seems rather silly.
Apparently I’m in for a lot more drama from this story than heretofore expected. We’ll see how I weather it. I’m making very very slow progress in this book, as much as I like it, because another audiobook has just come on the scene…
Third: Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins
Another audiobook, this one read by Caroline McCormick.
I tried reading this book during finals of the fall semester of my junior year of college, and I couldn’t do it. This book is so stressful, and was too much for my delicate emotions during the stressful time of finals, so I never finished.
I’m about halfway through, and Katniss and Peeta are on their way to the Capital for Hunger Games Round 2. Frankly, the whole Quarter Quell thing, where old victors have to go back to the Hunger Games, seems like a fairly transparent device to repeat the plot pattern of the last novel. (As in – why think of a new story, when you can just describe children fighting to the death all over again?) I got all excited by everyone’s talks of rebellion, and yet here we are, on our way back to the Capital for round 2.
Katniss’ whiny emo-ness is a little grating, too. “I looooove Gale!” “I think I love Peeta?” “I don’t love anyone!” “Why do so many people love me?!” C’mon, girl, make up your silly mind!
Now that I’ve got that off my chest, I can honestly say that those are my only two grievances. Ms. Collins’ writing style is clear and unembellished (aside from a few extraneous adverbs – to say someone “gulped water thirstily” is silly and unnecessary – if they weren’t thirsty, they wouldn’t be gulping water – and now you know my opinion of extraneous adverbs!). The characters are vividly described, so I find it really easy to sink into the story and really experience what they’re going through. The world she makes feels so real. Panem is like reality, but crueler and darker, with all the bad parts of our world sharpened and intensified.
Also, I totally ship Katniss and Peeta. Gale can go be a whiny whiner somewhere else.
Any thoughts? Agree? Disagree? No spoilers, please! 🙂