Books, Recountings

recountings: not-quite-georgette heyer and i’m a plant killer now

Now, you know I like Georgette Heyer. And I like everyone else who likes Georgette Heyer. And I especially like authors who like Georgette Heyer. And most of all, I like authors who write books inspired by Georgette Heyer. 

So – here I find a book – and I demand from the all the world to know: how did I not find this before?!!! 

THE WEAVER TAKES A WIFE

by SHERI COBB SOUTH

LET’S BE REAL … 

It wasn’t perfect. But most things in life aren’t. My azaleas, for instance, are slightly wilting. Is it because I placed them in the sun too much? Probably. Is it because I haven’t wooed them with Mozart? Most likely. I’m not perfect. They aren’t perfect. This book isn’t perfect. It doesn’t quite reach Georgette Heyer’s glorious heights – but there’s so. much. to. love. Anyway. 

(And She wasn’t perfect either. I’m listening to Sprig Muslin at the moment – it’s my ‘room cleaning’ book. I have many books for many different occasions. My ‘I’m sitting on the loo’ book is about the Romonovs and lemme tell you Peter the Great was WILD. But I digress … Sprig Muslin? Not my favourite. Possibly because of the narrator. Possibly because I’ve read negative reviews about it. Possibly because I’m not approaching it like C.S Lewis told me to – with an open mind.) 

Other things that aren’t so perfect:

  • the heroine’s father is basically selling her off for money to pay off his debts. So. Ew.
  • while there is character development with the heroine – she does a complete 180, but I wish it had been … slightly slower. Some things require time. For instance: your entire world view changing.
  • MY AZALEAS ARE BASICALLY DEAD OKAY?!!
I mean so is the other plant. oh my gosh. i’ve killed TWO PLANTS THIS IS BAD THIS IS VERY VERY BAD

Mr. Brundy. Mr. Brundy is the bomb.

I’m going to be straight up and honest with you: I’ve vast plans about marrying Mr. Brundy. Yes. They are a little inhibited by the tragic fact that he’s fictional … and also fictionally married [dang it] but true love always finds a way. Just like Mr. Brundy. And his heart. 

He takes one look at the heroine and BAM! Cupid’s dart doesn’t just strike him. Oh no! It bloomin’ well drops a nuke on his poor little heart pumping organ. Think Paris and Helen but with less … bloodshed, immorality, Greek gods, and arrows-in-heels happening. 

[As a side note … there’s this BBC adaption of Troy and I loathe Paris. He’s just so bleh and ugh and argh and *smash face on desk*-esque … if you know what I mean.] 

He – Mr Brundy, not Paris. Yuck and BOOO! – looks at his beloved and locks on her with all the focus of one of those dinosaurs from Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. You know – the killing ones: where you’d put a lasor on the target and pull the trigger and the dinosaur would just. Hunt. It. Down. 

He does that. But in a less dinosaur-y fashion. 

It’s a TAD unrealistic but … for this book? I’ll take it.

Mr. Brundy is an illegitimate orphan who’s worked his way up from the workhouses. He’s now one of the richest men in England. He’s honest and hardworking. He also can’t pronounce his ‘h’s. 

“Mr. Brundy,” she said with a nod, making the most perfunctory of curtsies to her father’s guest. 
He made no move to take her hand, but merely bowed and responded in kind. “Lady ‘elen.” 
“My name is Helen, Mr. Brundy,” she said coldly. 
“Very well- ‘elen,” said Mr. Brundy, surprised and gratified at being given permission, and on such short acquaintance, to dispense with the use of her courtesy title.” 


THE CHARACTERS AREN’T ALL DUMB (!)

I was worried. I’m not going to lie. At one point, I was cringing. You couldn’t tell. It was 2:00am and my kindle light was on low but my gosh, I was worried and cringing and inwardly mildly screaming. (Picture Darth Vader with his ‘NOOOO’ but he’s a disappointed but resigned mother hen looking at her son. She knows he’s not all there but she’s so invested in his life that she can’t help cringe and he’s hopping in slow motion and she’s all: nooooo, Kevin.]

But FEAR NOT … there’s a character with his head metaphorically on his shoulders and he Gets Help! so it’s okay.

[There are mild spoilers for the book. I’m sorry. I should have warned you.]

ONE WORD SUMMARY: 

Adorable.  

Pinch-its-cheeks-adorable. I adore it. You’ll adore it. Sometimes it’s a little too simplistic, but I was reading it at 2:00 am, so some of my impressions may be a leeetlle askew. (Also I wrote the majority of this review at a similar time on a different night. It’s when I do my best work. You probably can’t tell. HAHAHAHAHA.)

If you’re familiar with any of Georgette Heyer’s books – you’ll be familiar with some aspects of this storyline. You’ll forgive this book because this is such a wonderful take on a woman realising that it’s not all about appearances, and a man who learns to dance for his wife and ARGGHHH BE STILL MY BEATING HEART!!

kindle / goodreads

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Books

7 reasons why reading books is a terrible decision

I know what you’re thinking: oh my gosh! Is she doing a numbered list!?!! Yes. I am. I’ve done it before – and I have no regrets. And also JOKES ON YOU. I didn’t number the reasons so HA! You’ll never know if reason one is actually number seven.

Bad Decisions Will Be Your New Aesthetic

(Not ‘anaesthetic’. This is a different thing. I’ve never made this mistake. *cough*)

And by ‘aesthetic’ I mean you will have huge rings under your eyes. Because you’ve been staying up reading until one, two, or three o’clock in the morning. ‘Just one more chapter …’ will be your death knell.

You hate it, but you know you love it too.

You Will Have A Vast Vocabulary But Can’t Pronounce Any Of It

I can’t pronounce anything. There!I said it! Who knew that ‘dexterous’ rhymes with ‘mysterious’? No one. No one knew. Because no one pronounces it like that. Apart from you.

You’ll crack out a new word that you are pre-t-ty sure will BLOW EVERYONE’S MINDS BECAUSE IT IS SO APT TO THE SITUATION and crickets chirp. Because no one has a clue about which word you’re using.

You Will Have No Space

Charity shops and Amazon and bookshops and just … you’re doomed, okay? Accept it. There’s no way out.

Fact: you will run out of bookshelves.

Fact: you will have to stack books on the floor.

Fact: you don’t regret a thing.

You Will be Frustrated (You Can’t Resurrect Dead Authors. Neither Can You Make Live Authors Write Faster)

Lots of my favourite authors are dead. Georgette Heyer, I’m looking at you.Also, the ones who are alive write. So. Slowly.

The frustration is real and terrible, my friends.

Your Bank Account Will Hate You

Kindle is evil and Waterstones is worse. That is all I have to say about that.

Packing Will Be A Nightmare

Packing for a trip. Fun, huh? Some people agonise about which outfits they want to take. Should I take this dress or should I stick with t-shirt and jeans and maybe another pair of jeans and another t-shirt? You … might do the same. But choosing which books to take is far, far worse. ‘What ifs’ haunt me and suddenly I’ve blinked and there’s seventy books in a pile and what if I need a Complete History of Medicine? Huh? WHAT IF I NEED IT???

The tragedy is … you’ll probably end up reading a book on your kindle.

Your books are well-travelled though. That’s a plus.

Movies Will Never Be The Same

If you’ve read a ton of books, you’ll have become an expert. You know exactly what is going to follow what, when the dramatic moment when all hope is lost and ahhhh they’ve taken the Hobbits to Isengard!!! and – best of all – when everything will pick up and either a) the characters will die, b) the bad guy will get what’s coming to him and c) when the heroine realises that perhaps the hero wasn’t so bad after all.

Or something like that. 

(I have no idea if the taking of the Hobbits to Isengard was the beginning of Act Three or not. I haven’t read Lord of The Rings. *GASP* I know! Can you even trust me???!!)

My point is: if you’ve read loads of book, you’ll have cracked the story code. And only the Very Badly Made or Very Brilliant Movies will surprise you.

* * *

Anything to add? What about the unrealistic expectations books give you – dead bodies, handsome heroes just everywhere basically, world portals though pieces of furniture etc etc etc … ?

Books, Poetry

a passing glimpse

a passing glimpse, by robert frost

I often see flowers from a passing car
That are gone before I can tell what they are.

I want to get out of the train and go back
To see what they were beside the track.

I name all the flowers I am sure they weren't;
Not fireweed loving where woods have burnt- 

Not bluebells gracing a tunnel mouth- 
Not lupine living on sand and drouth.

Was something brushed across my mind
That no one on earth will ever find?

Heaven gives it glimpses only to those
Not in position to look too close. 

I’ve been quite taken by this poem. It’s beautiful. It catches something – some undefinable, wistful emotion.

Recently, I’ve started to read more poetry. (Though I am still convinced that the best bit of poetry I’ve ever heard of can be found in The Grand Sophy – you know the one – ‘To Sophia, Holding A Lamp’)

Also ‘I’ve started to read more poetry’ seems to imply that I’m reading a lot of poetry. Here. Let me translate it:

want to read more poetry and one evening I was engaged in this very activity. 

And by that I mean I read ten poems. 

I am now a poetry devotee and am obviously an expert.

Books

basically, i’m doomed

It feels like there’s never enough hours in the day to read everything I want to. I know. It’s a trial and a burden. I don’t know how I bear it.

Also, this isn’t technically a ‘TBR’ list. This is a ‘I’m trying to read all these books at once WITH VERY GREAT SUCCESS’ list.

Unholy Spirits by Gary North

This was recommended to me and so far I have read the dedication and the part of the introduction. I have a free afternoon coming up on Saturday. I intend to devour this book then.

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes and Joe Layden

Honest to goodness, though I adore the Princess Bride, Cary Elwes name drops so. many. times. He’ll say someone’s name and then give you their wikipedia entry. Also: a history of Haddon Hill. Or Hall. I can’t remember. I had to put my kindle down and stare blankly out into the ether after that one.

I thought I left that all behind when I stopped reading G. A. Henty.

Superfreakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Sephen J. Dubner

It’s fascinating. It’s wonderful. I’m learning about Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance. Also: it’s taking me forever to finish because I keep forgetting that I’m reading this book.

What Love Is This? by Dave Hunt

I started reading this book, oh, years ago. I’ve restarted it. I read a chapter each morning. I think I’ve been in the middle of it for eons. EONS!!! It’s got to the stage where I’m ticking off chapters, just to feel like I’m making progress.

It’s a good book – I’m enjoying it, it’s making me think (… no jokes, please and thank you) and does raise big questions but at this moment … I’m convinced that it’s like the NeverEnding Story. As in: it never ends.

this may *look* like a grin but it’s probably actually a grimace

The Candy Machine: How Cocaine Took Over the World by Tom Feiling

I am half-way. I have been half-way through this books for a long time. A longggg time. That is all I wish to say about it. At one point, I picked it up and thought: huh, this is really concentrating on cocaine … I wonder if it’ll discuss other drugs?

It is literally entitled ‘How Cocaine Took Over the World’.

A Wind From The Wilderness by Suzannah Rowntree

This is probably me being a coward. I read the first chapter, which was ace. HOWEVER, I then started the next one and realised that I was probably going to be emotionally scarred by the book.

I grow too attached to the characters, you see. It always happens. I don’t like it when a) bad things happen to them or b) they make bad decisions.

And guess what? No matter how many times you glare and cringe at the characters … they don’t respond. They don’t change their minds or get out of harm’s way. Ugh. I know. Who’d have thought?!!

happy reading!

Story Time, Travel / Living Abroad

travel despatches: a tale of ice and snow

This was going to be called ‘despatches from a broad’ which would have been a HILARIOUS word-play but I have contained myself.

ice

Moldova has snow. I am acquainted with the idea of it – Canada dunked me in the deep end and taught my British nerves to deal with lots and lots … and lots of snow. But Moldova has ice and the pavements are covered in it.

This is the formula:

  • It snows
  • Pedestrians compact the snow
  • The temperature rises
  • The snow becomes slush
  • Night falls
  • Temperatures plummet
  • Slush turns to ice

I haven’t seen a single Moldovan slip. Not. A. Single. One. I am rather certain that they have superpowers. Extreme balance. Exceptional grip on their shoes. Underhanded understanding with gravity. That, or they’re waiting for me to clear off and get out of sight and then they all slip over magnificently.

A fellow teacher and I made a bet – the first one to slip buys the other a coffee. Now, I was in no way hoping that she would slip over first. But gravity exists and if she were to prove it … well, no harm no foul.

We were crossing the road. I was slightly ahead of my fellow bet-ee (?). She was explaining the terms of our little wager to a mutual friend when her explanation suddenly halted with a sort of sliding plop.

I turned around and there she was, sprawled along the centre of the road. The brilliant red of her coat looking very picturesque against the dark ice. Fortunately, it wasn’t a bad fall. Unfortunately, I was not going to remain unscathed …

pride comes before a fall

I was hoping to avoid slipping. I had visions of lasting through the entire winter with nary a spill. ‘I lasted an ENTIRE winter with VERY icy pavements,’ I would say with great modesty. ‘I didn’t slip ONCE.’

Ha. Haha. Hahaha.

One evening, we were warned that the ice would be exceeding treacherous the next morning. As we gingerly walked back from school – warily looking at the ground as if it was going to snatch at our feet and maliciously laugh all the while – we pointed out patches of the pavements to each other.

‘That bit,’ we’d say, ‘is going to be VERY icy.’

‘This stretch of the road,’ we’d agree, ‘is going to be INSANELY icy.’

‘Tomorrow,’ I said, eyeing a piece of paving in front of me, ‘this is going to be really ic-‘

Up went my feet. Down went my bottom. It was a moment of exquisite irony. My fingers were a little grazed, my behind was slightly bruised but all I could do was emit a stunned laugh.

since then …

We’ve had freezing rain. It’s become slush now but everywhere had a layer of ice. Walking to school reminded me of skiing really fast. (Which, for some people, must be great. But for me? I was never very confident in the stopping part of skiing. Consequently, skiing wasn’t my favourite thing. I was moderately terrified.) My heart was in my throat. My steps were tiny. My prayers were many.

ice. lots and lots of ice.

But so far, God is good and I have survived. I’ve slipped since but that was to do with a glorious and honourable puppy rescuing mission. (This feat of derring-do might become another despatch from a broad … )

(I’M SORRY BUT IT MAKES ME LAUGH.)