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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Still not reading 'Bleak House,' everyone.

While I'm avoiding 'Bleak House' I just finished 'Among Others' by Jo Walton. Loved, loved, loved it. Which is odd, because it's really slow and not a lot happens overall; and normally I hate that. In case neither of you has heard of it, 'Among Others' takes place in 1979-1980 and is the story of Mori--yeah, I see what I did there--a fifteen-year-old Welsh girl who gets sent to an English boarding school after her twin sister is killed and she, herself, is crippled. All of which happened when they stopped their mother, an evil witch, from taking over the world.

Relax, you two, these aren't spoilers. All this happens between the prologue and the start of the book proper. The novel is a series of Mori's journal entries in which she describes her life at school, her father whom she just met and her attempts at fitting in.

I guess I enjoyed this book so much because Walton makes Mori so utterly charming and lovable. Walton makes Mori's voice that of a whip-smart, terribly lonely fifteen year old, but that's just the half of it. Mori is so phlegmatic about her situation that one moment you marvel at how strong she is and the next you wonder how much of it is a front. Read it for yourself, it's outstanding.

Source: My local library.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

11-11-11 Challenge Update

I'm not saying that 'Bleak House' is kicking my ass, but I'm coming to the conclusion that this is a novel best suited for reading in installments like it was originally published. And then I read this article that confirmed my suspicions. So, I'm no longer ashamed to be taking my time with 'Bleak House.' I have time to catch up, he said airily.
I'm 118 pages in and not much is happening. We've caught barely a glimpse of the great and all-consuming lawsuit, Jarndyce and Jardyce, that is at the heart of the novel. I don't know if Dickens provides more details about the suit or if it's like the shark in 'Jaws:' the less we see of it, the scarier it is. So far, most of the story is centered on Esther Summerson, an almost impossibly good-natured orphan who is drawn into the world of the lawsuit as a 'Ward of Jardyce.' The purpose of these wards--Esther is one of three--is unknown at this point, but considering we've met an elderly former ward who's since gone mad, I'm not optimistic for Esther.
But I am optimistic that my perseverance will be rewarded.

Note to FTC fucks: 'Bleak House' is from my personal collection.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I can't think of anything clever for Five

5. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Directed by Jonathan Demme. Written by Ted Tally.
Starring Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, Ted Levine.
  I am not a horror movie fan. As a result I've never seen a frame of any of the 'Friday the 13th' or 'Nightmare on Elm Street' franchises. Never had any desire to watch 'Scream,' or any of the various torture porn of the last decade or so. You get the point.
  As a result I avoided 'Silence of the Lambs' for at least a year or so after it came out. I finally saw it on VHS after having it recommended to me for the umpteenth time and I really liked it. And over the intervening couple of decades this film kept sneaking up on me. I'd watch it on cable whenever I could, even badly censored for swear words. Eventually I bought it on DVD more of as an afterthought than anything else. Then I'd watch it at least once a year. Then I started a Flickchart account and it shot to #5 fairly rapidly. How often does one of your all-time favorite anythings just tip-toe up on you and nestle into your heart and mind? Not often enough in my book.