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lgpiper

Reading Slothfully

I was told in elementary school that I only could read at half the speed for success in college. Oh well, one benefit of slow reading is you get to live with the characters a longer period of time. I read in a vain attempt to better understand people. At my other homes, I'm known as a spouse, pop, guy in the choir, physical chemist, computer/web dilettante and child-care provider. In theory, I'm a published author, if you consider stuff like Quenching Cross Sections for Electronic Energy Transfer Reactions Between Metastable Argon Atoms and Noble Gases and Small Molecules to count as publications. I've strewn dozens of such fascinating things to the winds.

Currently reading

A Good Death
Christopher R. Cox
The Black Cargo
John P. Marquand
A Highland Christmas
M.C. Beaton
Tales from Moominvalley
Tove Jansson, Thomas Warburton
Moominland Midwinter
Tove Jansson, Thomas Warburton
On The Beach (Vintage Classics)
Nevil Shute Norway
The Maltese Falcon
Dashiell Hammett
Obscure Destinies
Willa Cather
A Start in Life (The Michael Cullen Novels)
Alan Sillitoe
Mobilizing Web Sites: Strategies for Mobile Web Implementation
Kristofer Layon

Lady Susan

Lady Susan - Jane Austen My awesome niece, Becca got all excited that a movie just came out which is allegedly based on Jane Austen's short, epistolary novel, a novel written early in Austen's career, but not published until some fifty years after she died. Neither Becca's mother nor her aunt responded to the call that we all go see the movie. I figured the least I could do was read the damn thing. And so I have.

This work is called an epistolary novel, although short novella is probably more accurate. It runs only about 22,750 words. The epistolary thingie means we're basically just reading letters from one person to another, primarily Lady Susan to her friend Mrs. Johnson and Mrs. Vernon to her mother, Mrs. DeCourcy.

Lady Susan is a recent widow with a 16-year old daughter whom she can't abide. The book begins with her inviting herself to her brother-in-law's for a visit, perhaps a few months. She'd caused rather a problem where she'd previously stayed, vamping the man of the house, Mr. Manwaring, and breaking up the engagement of the Manwaring daughter to Sir James Martin. Lady Susan can't decide whether she wants Sir James for herself or for her daughter, Frederica.

At her brother-in-law's house, she begins to vamp her hostess' brother, Reginald De Courcey. Basically, she's one conniving, manipulative minx, all the while claiming that everything she does is motivated by the purest of intentions. Any suggestions to the contrary, she claims, are merely malicious slander.

So, we follow Lady Susan's machinations, how they are viewed by those around her and how she views them herself. It was really a rather entertaining read. Not so sure about the movie, however.