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Archive for the ‘Fiction–Classics’ Category

My vacuum cleaner was behaving rather rummily the day after Thanksgiving, and though I needed a new one, I wasn’t mug enough to get up at the deucedly ungodly hour of 4 am just to save a few pieces of eight.  However, as 10 o’clock rolled round, my old man, who is a bit of a hard-boiled egg at times, suggested I make a go of it; and this time I thought he had a splendid wheeze so

“Right ho!” I said, “This is devilish brainy!” and sallied out. 

I never associated myself with those coves that get up early the day after a holiday, but one year I did it.  I decided to get up the old bulldog pluck and was out the door at 5 am.  I got into a dickens of a spat with a few birds that wanted the same things as me, and after a frightful row, I emerged victorious and I must say, I was jolly well bucked.  I mean I was completely full of beans about it all.  Aside from the atmosphere of bally disapproval that I received from those other blighters, I felt quite the nib.  Anyway, this year, I was so dashed excited about those robot vacuums that I went toddling up to a department store that sold them.  I soon discovered that I had already missed out on the good deals. 

“Rum!” I shouted.  “How the deuce can they do that to an old girl?” 

But I acted as if I didn’t care a hang, raised up the old onion, and with a “Toodle oo.” was out the door.

 

This is the language of P.G. Wodehouse, and as I have demonstrated above, adds a mixture of refinement and hilarity to a story, so I just had to try my hand at it.  Two volumes by Wodehouse were given to me for my birthday, Carry on, Jeeves  and The Inimitable Jeeves.  I have been spending many an evening chuckling out loud as I read the hilarious misadventures of Bertie Wooster and his “devilish brainy” valet, Jeeves.    In Carry on, Jeeves  Bertie and the other “coves” he hangs with are from the upper class British establishment, but have the added characteristic of all being supported by their rich aunts.  The basic jist of every story is how one or the other of his lackluster friends is faced with being disenfranchised by said aunt.  Jeeves to the rescue!  Bertie appeals to Jeeves, who not only has some scheme or other up his sleave, he also knows or is related to practically everybody in the empire.  And though these “wheezes” may seem somewhat hairbrained to us, they make for a “rip-roaring” good read.  It also seems as if Jeeves’s plans never goes entirely as one expects and then his reaction is “The contingency was one always to have been anticipated as a possibility.”  Finally, as in every good comedy, a happy ending ensues and Bertie, in appreciation, gives in to whatever hangup Jeeves has about him at the time:  a pink tie that needs to be thrown away, a moustache that should be shaved, or a bowler hat that should be bought.  On another note, the entire time I was reading these books, I was imagining Hugh Laurie in the part of Bertie Wooster, when unbeknownst to me, he had made the role famous.  Yes, I couldn’t believe it “Jeeves and Wooster” was a comedy series starring Stephen Fry as Jeeves and Hugh Laurie as Bertie Wooster.  Well, this is absolutely top!

 

“How does he do it, Bertie?  I’ll tell you what I think it is.  I believe it’s something to do with the shape of his head.  Have you ever noticed his head, Bertie, old man?  It sort of sticks out at the back!”

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People’s tastes in literature differ about as much as tastes in music.  Take one DF (dear friend) for instance.  When, I recommended Ted Dekker’s Circle Trilogy, Black, Red, and White, she just replied that she had tried to read it, but didn’t like it at all.  “I think it was too fast paced for me…or maybe it’s just I’ve spent so much time reading 19th Century English literature.”  Jane Eyre is her favorite.  She has read it countless times, and I’ve heard her remark more than once that she just wants to “be Jane”.  I used to chuckle about this, until I really thought about it.  What does that say about her that she wants to insert herself into this really dark tale?  Is she looking for a mystery man, full of dark secrets, not the least of which is (I don’t want to spoil it) something he keeps locked away in his lonely old house, or does she want to be persecuted by a wicked Aunt, but through hard work and study be able to make something of herself?    Granted, I like the book, despite it’s darkness; but do I obsess about it?  Absolutely not.  I will not write any more about this Bronte work because I’m hoping my friend will defend herself with some choice comments as to its merit and beauty.  Someone who really loves a book, should write about it.  So, come out with it, and be convincing, please!

Another friend of mine borrowed the first book in the Circle Trilogy last week.  She asked for the next two books today, as she had already finished the first one.  I asked her if she liked it, but strangely she said, “Yes.”  In sort of a questioning way, and then after much thought said, “Yeah, I liked it.”  In my head I’m thinking, “Okay, you read the first 300+ pages in less than a week and you’re asking for the next two, and you’re not quite sure if you like it?”  I told her about my first friend and her comments about 19th Century English Lit., and this friend said, “She should read Jane Eyre.  I’m reading it now and ugh.”  Now don’t assume this friend (#2) is not well read.  Her mother was my college English professor, and is also something of an Anglophyle (her mother that is), so friend #2 has cut her gums on Dorothy L. Sayers and T.S. Elliott.  As to her actual tastes, I’m not quite sure.  I know that we spent a winter together fighting over Brock and Bodie Thoene’s Zion Chronicles, which is a Christian Historical fiction series set in Israel during the 1940’s, during the time it became a nation. 

I think my tastes in books could be defined as various shades of passion.  There are some genres, of course, I just don’t read at all (horror, romance, etc.); but of the books I read, I really just love them all.  If you had asked me two weeks ago what my favorite genre was, I would have said “mysteries”; however, the same question several months ago would have been answered with “historical fiction”.  This week, however, I think I have indeed discovered what one genre it is that affects me like a drug.  When I’m not reading it, I think about it.  I want to talk about it to everyone I meet (well, that’s almost any good book I’ve read), I stay up much too late reading it, and when I have to turn out the lights, I’m sad because I can’t be reading.  I walk around the house almost in a daze, wondering if there is anyway I can just enter that world I’m reading about.  I don’t do the things that need to be done, because I just have to finish this chapter in the book.  I carry the book with me and attempt to read it everywhere:  in the school car line, at traffic lights (this can be dangerous), in the waiting room at the chiropractic office, between dance classes.  I take baths instead of showers, because you can’t read in the shower.  My DH sees the effects and wonders if I’m reading something that is going to “edify me spiritually”.  “Who cares?” I reply.  “I need this.  I need an escape every once in awhile.  I need to read about a place that is so unlike my own little world and that can transport me there every time I pick up the book.” Now, I admit I have discovered that what I’m really longing for is Heaven and God, but I don’t take the time to remind myself of this when I’m in the midst of a good read.  Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier is one such book.  It is pure fantasy, and I realized the first fantasy I had read since reading The Lord of the Rings.  I have always loved folklore, especially Irish, and Marillier brings to life the old tale of the Wild Swans and weaves a story of love and sacrifice that leaves you heart sick until the very end.  Many may remember this fairy tale of a young girl who must free her six brothers from an evil spell that has changed them into swans.  She is called to a difficult and painful task by “the Fair Folk” and in addition is required to complete her task without utterring a sound.  This story will leave you breathlessly wanting more.  In fact, I am having to force myself to stick to my self-imposed rule:  Alternate Fiction with Non-fictionObviously, this rule is a good one, else nothing would get done around my house.  So, if you want fantasy, choose Daughter of the Forest, if you want a good, unique, “fast-paced” thriller, read Ted Dekker’s Circle Trilogy, if you want an exciting historical novel try the Thoene’s Zion Chronicles,  and if you’re a hopeless romantic and really want to be bummed out, read Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre.   (Oooooh, I’m going to be getting some comments now, I know.)

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