The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

Late one evening in 1849, art teacher Walter Hartwright walks from his mother’s home in suburban London into the city. He meets a mysterious woman wearing white on his path, and he helps her to the city. The next day, he travels to his new employment in Limmeridge House, the Lake District, to teach the lovely Miss Fairlie. As the subsequent events are told through various people’s remembrances, letters, and journal entries, we learn how all the mysterious people and strong personalities are connected. It doesn’t all become clear until the very end.

I loved how I never knew what was coming next as I listened to the audiobook for The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. I was surprised to find that the titular woman in white appeared at the very beginning, and then I was surprised to find that I had no idea what would happen next and how it all fit together. I had suspicions that were generally correct, but the details were impossible to predict. That doesn’t mean it was out of the blue: far from it. I was just kept in eager anticipation for how the unknown would eventually resolve.

Beyond that, I delighted in the characters. I loved the recording I listened to, which was downloaded from librivox.org. While it was amateur, the narrators did a great job of capturing the personalities of the different narrators, and after listening to it, I wonder if the writing spoke clearly for itself. Were the characters written this strongly? I suspect they were, for most of the people in my librarything group (which read this two months ago) loved the characterization as well.Continue Reading

Reading Journal (19 Aug): Miscellany

I’m behind on blogging this week, as in I have three reviews that need to be written. I’m behind on the administrative things, like memes (I still haven’t done the BBAW meme and nominations are already closed!). I’m behind on reading your blogs.

And yet, there are so many things I want to talk about.

I want to talk about how I finally caved in. I joined twitter. Do I really need to be online any more than I already am?! Is this really necessary?

I want to talk about how I got all warm and happy when I saw that I’ve been nominated for several BBAW awards. I felt like all the hard work is worth it! I know I am one of many, but I still feel all good inside: someone likes my blog! Enough to nominate me! Me! Thank you so much. It has given me such a feeling of confidence to know that my blog isn’t silly.

I want to talk about how reading everyone’s posts about classics for the Really Old Classics Bookworms Carnival I hosted yesterday was so much fun because it reminded me that there are people who still read the classics and like them! All those books I talked about yesterday? I want to read them. Now. Wouldn’t it be amazing to be so widely read? But not only that: I want to be able to converse about them. I want to be a deep reader too. I want to sit down with John Donne and the commentary about his poetry and I want to understand.

I want to talk about experiencing classics over the course of a few weeks, rather than hours.  While I enjoyed my July filled with modern fiction, I’m getting back into a classics mood. I spent almost a month listening to The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, and it was fun to have that complicated mystery to look forward to. It was a pleasure. Now I’m reading Gulliver’s Travels at about the same pace (although it’s shorter, so I read less every week). While Swift is definitely not as fun, it’s still a relief. I can’t describe why reading a classic feels like a relief, it just does. It’s great, and stretching it out makes it real and physical, rather than a by-passed pleasure. I’m not reading to turn pages. I’m reading to read.

I want to talk about how much fun it is to read nonfiction. The knife book I’m reading is giving me all sorts of great pointers for kitchen skills and safety, and the architecture book I’m reading is, while it may be over-my-head in many points, absolutely fascinating. I find myself browsing the web for additional pictures of these old buildings that are just gorgeous, even more so now that I know how revolutionary their building was 120 years ago.

I want to talk about how I cried when we said good-bye to Pooh again this week, and how when I put down the book and wiped away my tears, my son looked up at me and said, “More? Pooh?”

So I guess what I’m saying is, I want to focus on what I’m reading in these Reading Journals. That means I guess I’ll have to do the other stuff – memes and what not – in separate posts. I love my reading.

What do you want to talk about this week? What are you reading? Do you twitter?

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35th Bookworms Carnival: Really Old Classics

bw2Welcome to the 35th Edition of the Bookworms Carnival.

Today we celebrate really old classics. I hope this carnival is fun, whether you already have developed a love for really old classics or are among those who haven’t read them lately (or ever!). Maybe this will give you some ideas for your next classic read.

I organized most of the carnival by subject, with a brief overview to the posts I’ve linked to. Make sure you visit the blogs and leave your thoughts on their reviews there. Carnivals are a great opportunity to help you choose what to read next. They are also a great opportunity to find bloggers with your reading tastes, or maybe those bloggers who read things out of your comfort zone that you’d like to try reading some day.

If you haven’t read any really old classics, maybe this will be a springboard for you to do so.

Enjoy!Continue Reading

Castle Waiting by Linda Medley

In Castle Waiting, Linda Medley delightfully tells some new fairy tales. Some of the tales are reminiscent of traditional fairy tales, but most of them are original in some clever way.

Castle Waiting is a rundown castle that is a refuge for a small community of outcast creatures. It is a place for acceptance, and learning the stories of the remarkable characters in the castle helps us to do so.Continue Reading