On this date in 1813, Jane Austen’s Pride and Pejudice was first published in England. One of the world’s most beloved books, it has gone on to sell over 20 million copies worldwide and has had many dramatic adaptations.
Here is a scene from my favorite movie version starring Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet and Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy.
I’ve been obsessed lately with a missing Shakespeare play. Apparently, in Shakespeare’s day, the King’s Men performed a play called Cardenio. It was written by good ole’ Will with his successor as playwright-in-chief John Fletcher.
Cardenio was performed twice but never made it into the First Folio. Will’s friends chose not to include plays that he collaborated on. (Let that be a lesson to all those writers out there who think they need a writing partner.)
Well anyway, Cardenio was based on a segment in Cervantes’ Don Quixote. But a legitimate copy of it has never been found. Digging around, I found two mystery novels that use the missing Cardenio as the basis for their plots. Neither book was a work of art, but they were both entertaining.
Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor has cited Nancy Drew as one of her role models.
She’s in good company. Many other modern, powerful women have said the same, including the Supreme Court’s other two female members.
I loved reading Nancy Drew books. When I was young, my mother signed me up for the Nancy Drew book club. I got two books every month and would instantly devour them. I couldn’t wait for the next delivery. She was my childhood heroine. She was only a teenager and she solved crimes!
Nancy Drew was an intelligent, independent woman, who went after a case no matter what. Fear didn’t stop her, bad guys could not deter her. She was determined and clever. Nancy Drew was a modern woman at a time when stories for girls were filled with princesses and faeries.
And she drove around in really cool roadster.
Read more about Nancy Drew, Girl Detecive and Role Model on abcnews.com.
Posted onMay 3, 2009|Comments Off on My Current Reading
The Luminous Life of Lilly Aphrodite by Beatrice Colin
Born in Berlin at the dawn of the twentieth century, Lilly Nelly Aphrodite, is orphaned at an early age, struggles to survive WWI, being alone, hungry and poor. She eventually becomes a silent movie star. That’s as far as I’ve gotten. You’ll have to read it to find out what happens. Here is a segment from the opening:
Lilly Nelly Aphrodite was born in the final moments of the last hour of the nineteenth century. She was caught in a dark blue handwoven cloth threaded with real gold instead of the obligatory white receiving shawl and was declared perfect by everyone around the bedside, including the landlady and the Bavarian lover. Unfortunately, the dye, though a beautiful shade, was not fast and the cloth stained her creased and slippery newborn skin.
My current reading has taken me to Sweden. I’m devouring the international bestseller, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It’s a mystery that takes place in Sweden featuring a financial journalist and a young female computer hacker. The journalist is hired to simultaneously write the history of a wealthy industrial family and solve a decades-old murder.
Here is the opening:
Prologue, A Friday in November
It happened every year, was almost a ritual. And this was his eighty-second birthday. When, as usual, the flower was delivered, he took off the wrapping paper and then picked up the telephone to call Detective Superintendent Morell who, when he retired, had moved to Lake Siljan in Dalarna. They were not only the same age, they had been born on the same day — which was something of an irony under the circumstances. The old policeman was sitting with his coffee, waiting, expecting the call.
“What is it this year?”
“I don’t know what kind it is. I’ll have to get someone to tell me what it is. It’s white.”
“No letter I suppose.”
“Just the flower. The frame is the same kind as last year. One of those do-it-yourself ones.”
“Same as always, all in capitals. Upright, neat lettering.”
With that, the subject was exhausted, and not another word was exchanged for almost a minute. The retired policeman leaned back in his kitchen chair and drew on his pipe. He knew he was no longer expected to come up with a pithy comment or any sharp question which would shed a new light on the case. Those days had long since passed, and the exchange between the two men seemed like a ritual attaching to a mystery which no-one else in the whole world had the least interest in unravelling.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is book 1 of “The Millenium Trilogy” by Stieg Larsson, who handed in all three manuscripts to his publisher, then died suddenly in 2004. The book features many characters and manages to handle gory crime content without being explicitly gross. I’ve lost many hours of sleep staying up late to read as much as I could.
The second book in the series will be released in July 2009.
This television miniseries starring Jemima Rooper aired in the UK last year and I’ve been pining over it ever since.
I managed to watch bits and pieces of it on youtube but now I can finally see the whole thing.
Amanda Price is sick of the modern world. She yearns for the romance and elegance found in the books by her favorite author, Jane Austen. But she’s about to get a rude awakening as one fateful evening, she is propelled into the scheming 19th century world of Pride and Prejudice while that book’s Elizabeth Bennet is hurled into hers. As the book’s familiar plot unfolds, Amanda triggers new romantic twists and turns within the Bennet family circle as she clumsily tries to help the sisters nab husbands and even captivates the tantalizing Mr. Darcy herself. But what about Elizabeth…and what will become of one of the world’s greatest love stories?
Posted onMarch 1, 2009|Comments Off on Brideshead Revisited Again
Just watched the new movie of Brideshead Revisited. Dreadful dreadful dreadful version.
Not only was it shockingly bad, it completely missed the point of the book.
The casting was all wrong. I adore Emma Thompson but she is not Lady Marchmain, no matter how straight she tries to stand. They changed scenes from the book and portrayed Charles Ryder as a golddigger. Charles wasn’t a poor boy who tried to marry into a rich family. He got swept up in their charms while fate kept throwing them back into his life.
But most unforgivable was that this version said out loud all the things that the original left unspoken.
I know it must have been difficult to try to compact Evelyn Waugh’s epic book into 2 hours, so they really shouldn’t have tried. Do yourself a favor and watch the original 11-hour miniseries directed by Charles Sturridge. I’m going to go re-read the book.
For those of you who thought the original series was perfection, here’s Julia’s big scene by the fountain: