The Sunday Salon -It’s My Birthday!!

The Sunday Salon.com

Yes, today is my birthday for real. June 29, 1973. Other events of less importance that occurred on this day were:

  • The Grateful Dead played at Universal Amphitheatre in Universal, California.
  • George Hincapie, Olympic road cyclist, was born in Queens, New York.
  • On June 29, 1973, Walter Carr opens Elliott Bay Book Co. at 101 S Main Street in Pioneer Square.
  • Elvis Presley was in concert in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • In Chile, a tank regiment under the command of Colonel Roberto Souper surrounded the La Moneda presidential palace in a violent but unsuccessful coup attempt. (the Tanquetazo)
  • In Bayview, Idaho, thirteen UFOs, which appeared as “steady white lights,” were reported over Lake Pend Oreille by a local family. According to one of the witnesses, the objects were in view for approximately one hour and were seen passing over the lake in all directions. They moved swiftly but emitted no apparent noise, according to the family.
  • 40 Carats, a movie comedy starring Gene Kelly opened to poor reviews.
  • Congress approved a compromise with President Nixon on the funding of U.S. combat activities in Indochina, agreeing that the bombing in Cambodia could continue.
  • An amendment finally passed by the Senate on June 29, 1973, after the signing of the Paris Peace Agreements, to prohibit any future use of U.S. forces in the Vietnam War, specifically in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, without congressional authorization.
  • President Nixon establishes the Energy Policy Office. The office is responsible for formulating and coordinating energy policies at the presidential level.
  • Former top Nixon campaign aide Frederick LaRue pleads guilty to obstruction of justice.
  • Cubs were at 47-31, in first place by a margin of 8 ½ games.
  • Queen Elizabeth II passed through Brantford at 5:00 p.m. during a train trip of southern Ontario

Obviously, I was the best and most important thing to happen on June 29th, 1973!

Now, to my reading…

I am still currently doing my Jane-a-thon.  I’m getting ready to start Mansfield Park.  From here on, all the Austens are unknown to me, unless you count watching Clueless, a modern day Emma.  I must admit, however, that I have been cheating.  I’ve been reading The Boat by Nam Le when out or away from my Austen book.  It’s a book containing short stories of Vietnamese people who’ve left their homelands.  I’m in the middle of the first SS, and am entranced.  It’s so good, I almost want to pitch Jane aside for it.  It’s also a book I promised to review, so that’s another reason I want to read it… I have twelve such books!

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice

Title: Pride and Prejudice
Author: Jane Austen
Publisher: Barnes & Noble Classics
Publish date: 2003
ISBN: 1593082010

“How despicably have I acted!” she cried. “I who have prided myself on my discernment! I, who have valued myself on my abilities! who have often disdained the generous candour of my sister, and gratified my vanity in useless or blameable distrust. How humiliating is this discovery! Yet, how just a humiliation! Had I been in love, I could not have been more wretchedly blind. But vanity, not love, has been my folly. Pleased with the preference of one, and offended by the neglect of the other, on the very beginning of our acquaintance, I have courted prepossession and ignorance, and driven reason away where either were concerned. Till this moment, I never knew myself.”

Pride and Prejudice, or First Impressions, was first published in 1813 simply “by a lady”.  It is the story of two sisters, the one prefers to view the world through optimism, while the second with sarcasm and pleasure with her own wit and views.  While the first sister, Jane, learns by the end of the book that evil can and does exist in people, and that people can be vicious and cruel all the while wearing a pleasant face and friendly voice.  The second sister, Elizabeth, learns that all is not as it seems on the first impressions, and judgement should be reserved until more facts have come to light.

In Pride and Prejudicewe see Mr. and Mrs. Bennet’s family of five girls and no sons,  whose estate must fall to a male heir,  deal with concerns for their future.  Mr. Bennet prefers retreat to his study and occasionally regret not having saved for his family’s future after his death.  He is permissive of his youngest daughters’ wild and flirtatious behaviour chasing after soldiers.  He continually berates his younger three daughters in deference to the older two “sensible” daughters.  Mrs. Bennet chooses to contrive opportunities for her daughters to be alone with a potential suitor, such as sending her daughter out in the rain so she can catch a cold and be forced to stay at the suitor’s home.  She shows wanton favoritism of her silly, ill-behaved youngest daughters, making a fateful choice to send her to Brighton where the daughter makes a socially reprehensible choice that threatens to ruin the family all together.

The lesson learned in Pride and Prejudice is that appearances are not often what they seem.  Mr. Bingley’s sisters seem friendly and doting to Jane, but it is all an act, as their true feelings are that of superiority and disdain.  Mr. Wickham is attractive, affable, and pleasant, but in truth is a wicked womanizer who runs out on his debts and responsibilities.  Mr. Darcy seems cold, snobbish, proud and ill-mannered, but this is really how his shyness and fear of meeting new people, as well as his choice not to reveal the truth of his past with Wickham in order to defend Wickham’s maligning him.

I have read Pride and Prejudice before, and rereading it reminded me how much fun and funny it was.  Many of the tete a tetes between different characters are delightful: Mr. and Mrs. Bennet’s interactions, Elizabeth and Darcy’s verbal volleys, and best of all, Lady Catherine’s demand the Elizabeth NOT to accept a proposal from Darcy is met with the latter’s socially inexcusable refusal which leaves the Lady sputtering and hissing disdain for the entire Bennet family.

I have found that the first time I read this book, I was definately Elizabeth.  Now, about 15 years later, I am still Elizabeth Bennet.  I tend to jump to judgements, though not as quickly as before.  I am a fierce defender of my family, more now than before.  I have a sarcastic wit that I enjoy in myself, which is richer with the experiences of life and a better understanding of people.  I love and respect those who champion integrity and help the loved ones of the one one loves.  I am, however tempered with a little Jane: I do choose to believe people good until they prove themselves otherwise.

Like Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice could be modernized and be just as true and socially relative as in 1813.  Parents still desire for their grown children to be successful and  happily married to a good person.  Children still die of embarrassment when out in public with their parents.  And the fiercest enemies of happiness is our own friends and family. 

Booking Throught Thursday -6/26

btt button

What, in your opinion, is the definition of a “reader.” A person who indiscriminately reads everything in sight? A person who reads BOOKS? A person who reads, period, no matter what it is? … Or, more specific? Like the specific person who’s reading something you wrote?

I would call someone would indiscriminately reads everything they can get their hands on as a really and tryly bibliophile, bookworm, a true reader. If was a speed reader with a photographic memory, I could read a lot more than I do now, and maybe it wouldn’t be Mt. TBR, but a small hill. I’d call someone who could read everything LUCKY!

A “reader” in my opinion, it someone who reads when they can. WHAT is not as important is the simple fact that they prefer books over other media, and they read regularly. An “avid reader” would be someone who reads whenever they have a free moment, reading while eating and anytime they have to wait somewhere. A book junkie reads at the expense of showers, eating, cleaning their house, and even leaving the house. A book junkie would call into work to stay home and read. I rank somewhere between “avid reader” and “book junkie”.

One of my fantasies have always been to be locked in library and left to read away (of course food and bathrooms would be avaialble).   I often joke in the winter time that I’m praying for a freak blizzard while the kids are in school so I can just stay in and read.  I’ve stopped watching movies for the most part, because they lack imagination… the movie screen inside my head is much better than their pale interpretations. 

It shocks me to think that a lot of people never read more than 12 books a year, and some people don’t even read ONE book a year.   These people will joke about not having read anything since they were made to in high school.  I just don’t understand how people can say this in an almost bragging tone of voice!

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Sense and Sensibility

“You have no confidence in me, Marianne.”
“Nay, Elinor, this reproach from you – you who have confidence in no one!”
“Me!” returned Elinor in some confusion. “Indeed, Marianne, I have nothing to tell.”
“Nor I,” answered Marianne with energy. “We have neither of us anything to tell; you, because you do not communicate, and I, because I conceal nothing.”

Sense and Sensibility was Jane Austen’s first published novel, and, as writing wasn’t considered something a “proper” woman would do, it was released anonymously as simply “by a lady”. It was never expected by Jane or her family to do well, and they were shocked when it sold out within two years.

Sense and Sensibility is the story of two sisters, Elinor and Marianne, who couldn’t be more different. Elinor prefers decorum and reserve, biting her tongue and following the rules or polite society. Marianne, on the other hand, is passionate, impulsive, and speaks her mind, society be damned.

When it is revealed to Elinor in confidence that Lucy is engaged to the man Elinor loves, it is a crushing blow. She cannot relieve herself of this burden by “getting it off her chest” because she has promised Lucy to tell no one on her honor. In contrast, when Marianne discovers the man who made promises of love to her by his actions is to wed another, she falls into an uncontrollable downward spiral of depression, at one point nearly dying from the sorrow.

Both sisters approach life from different view points, both thinking the other wrong for theirs. But in the end, like most black-and-white views, they come to realize the validity of the other’s point.

What is interesting to me is that I have read this book twice in my life: the first time when I was about 21 or so, the second one now, on the precipice of 35 (my birthday is in four days). At each point in time, I have been first Marianne and now Elinor. I, like Marianne, had to learn that passion burns fast and leaves you with nothing but an empty stomach and disconnect notices. Like Marianne, I also had to learn that a handsome face that spews sweet words and then disappears like a fall-morning fog when the sun comes out cannot compare to an average man who’s not quite so eloquent but is there for the long hall and can be trusted.

The main points I think Austen was making in this book is that the society of her time was too quick to judge and condemn a woman for doing the same thing it found amusing in its men. A woman who expressed her mind was considered ill bread and of low-class, whereas a man doing the same thing went to Parliament.

Austen shows the results of society’s double standards with the dinner party at the Dashwood’s party. As the women are sitting at dinner, Austen describes the conniving thoughts behind Mrs. Ferrar’s behavior and treatment of Lucy over Elinor, whom she believes is trying to trap her son into marriage (Lucy is really the one she should worry about, yet she unwittingly encourages her in order to humilate Elinor). An argument begins over whose son is taller, Fanny’s or Lady Middleton’s, and lines are drawn, offending each other, in an attempt to gain superiority.

Ultimately, of course, love wins out, wrongs are righted, and justice is served.

Jane-A-Thon In Progress!

Jane Austen

I have finally begun my Jane-a-thon, which I’ve been dying to do for some time now. I’m putting aside ARCs, books to review and overdue library books. But such is the sacrifices I make for my obsession!

Jane Austen (1775-1817) is one of the greatest authors of all times, and possible the greatest woman author as well. She cleared the way for many others, the Brontë sisters, Mary Shelley, Virginia Woolfe, and so many others. There were women writers before her, but there was something in the way that Austen wrote that proved a woman could write with a balance of logic and emotions, and that both sexes could enjoy her work. In Austen’s short life of 41 years she published a book every year or so after the 1811 publication of Sense and Sensibility.

When I was in my high school honors English reading club, I read Pride and Prejudice, and I read Sense and Sensibility after watching the Thompson-Grant movie. These two are the only Austen’s I’ve read before, never really taking notice of the others. However, a couple months ago, I thought it might be interesting to read all of them, straight through chronologically to see how Austen grew as a writer, and to get a fairer sense of the life and times of Georgian England.

The following are the Austens in chronological order:
Sense and Sensibility published in 1811
Pride and Prejudice published in 1813
Mansfield Park published in 1814
Emma published in 1816
published in 1818
Northanger Abbey published in 1818

And now… a Janing I must go!

Tuesday Thingers 6/24

 Photobucket

Last week I asked what was the most popular book in your library- this week I’m going to ask about the most unpopular books you own. Do you have any unique books in your library- books only you have on LT? How many?

 I have quite a few unpopular ones, and one that is unique to my library.

I am the only person on LibraryThing to have a copy of The Wild Bunch by Peter Dawson. It’s a little pulp fiction dime store novel I got for free when our local homeless shelter (it’s in a former school) cleaned out their library.

I have several that I share with only one other person:
Chills and Thrills: Tales of Terror and Enchantment by Priscilla Hawthorne

Doctors of Death Volume #3: When Man Became a Guinea Pig for Death by Philippe Aziz

Writing: Style and Grammar by James D. Lester

Boys Are Even Worse Than I Thought (Cousins Club 4): Boys Are Even Worse Than I Thought (Cousins Club)</a> by Patricia Hermes

The Dilemma of Education in a Democracy by Richard Powers

Families – The Future of America by Harold M. Voth

Rip Van Winkle and Other Stories (Unabridged) by Washington Irving

Sun Yat-Sen, Founder of the Chinese Republic by Cornelia Spencer

Hitler Vs. Roosevelt: The Undeclared Naval War by Thomas A. Bailey And Paul B. Ryan

Do they fall into a particular category or categories, or are they a mix of different things?

Since a lot of my books came from friends and relatives, garage sales, library sales, thrift stores, Goodwill, and free from the mission’s clean out, my library has quite a variety. Now that I’m on BookMooch, PBS and LT, though, my top six tags (after unread, TBR, no longer own, etc) are series, 20th century, 1001, non-fiction, adventure, and fantasy.

Have you ever looked at the “You and none other” feature on your statistics page, which shows books owned by only you and one other user? Ever made an LT friend by seeing what you share with only one other user?

I didn’t even know there was a statistic page until I read this question… could’ve saved some work on my library page… so I guess that answers the first question.  To the second:  Yes, I have made LT friends through the shared library thing.  Though, because of my Doc Savage books, my weighted shared list is kind of messed up.

Hope’s Boy by Andrew Bridge

Photobucket

TITLE: Hope’s Boy
AUTHOR: Andrew Bridge
PUBLISHER: Hyperion
PUBLISH DATE: 2008
ISBN: 9781401303228

My mother… wrapped her arms around me tightly, and whispered fircely several times, “You are my boy. Remember, you are my boy.”

-page 164, Hope’s Boy by Andrew Bridge

 

This is an emotionally difficult book to read. It is the story of a boy who leaves the loving stability of his grandmother’s care in Chicago to fly across country to live with his mother Hope, whom he barely knows. In the two years he lived with her he was beaten by his mother’s boyfriend, was taken on a burglary run by his mom and her best friend, watched Hope be raped and was powerless to stop it, evicted from an apartment and forced to live with strangers who looked at the two of them like something they’d scrape off their shoe, and finally to the motel where he was taken by the county from her. Of all the things she did and didn’t do, she DID give him love and made sure he knew he belonged to her.

Hope’s Boytears back the curtain of the life of a child trapped in a system that does little to help reunite families, explains little to nothing to the child in its care, and abandons him with empty promises of return with a family that is free to go unchecked in their abuse of the intruder in their home. A system that abandons those who age out to the winds, where thirty to fifty percent are homeless within two years. The majority of the nations 500 thousand plus foster children never graduate high school, and possibly as few as 3% graduate college. It is a broken system of hopelessness, in which children are wharehoused instead of cared for. This book is a clarion call to change.

My heart broke for young Andy. He endured helplessly watching his mother’s descent into madness, paranoid schizophrenia the most likely diagnosis. He is ripped from her arms by a social worker as a police officer shoves Hope to the ground and holds her there with his knee in her back. Wharehoused in a huge county orphanage that feels more like a criminal detention facility, he is placed with a family only after he has completely withdrawn into himself. He spends the remaining ten years of his childhood with an abusive, tyrant foster mother, whose rare kindnesses are few and far between.

Throughout it all, he hangs onto the few messages of encouragement like “You are my boy”, “Do not allow the world’s injustices define you”, and “You are my little genius”. Despite all this, and defying all statistics and odds, Andy, now Andrew Bridge, succeeds to become a Harvard Law graduate and Fulbright scholar.

This book is a must-read for anyone working with or within the foster care system. How we treat these children, children who have no control of the events of their lives, is an indicator of our civility as a nation.  Throughout the process, it must be remembered that LOVE is one of the most essential nutrients a child can receive.  Without it he will fail to thrive, slip through the cracks, and become just another statistic.

Love may not be enough to wake a child in the morning, dress him, and get him to school, then to feed him at night, bathe him, and put him to bed.  Still, can any of us imagine a childhood without it?

-page 295, Hope’s Boy by Andrew Bridge

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 494 other followers