31 July 2007

Reads & Listens, July 2007

Reads:

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
In the end, I still regret Fanny's marriage to Edmund. Yes, her patience and virtue were rewarded with the one man she desired, but what a man to desire! Why do I feel as if Edmund married on the rebound from Miss Crawford and mostly picked Fanny because she was a convenient and appropriate choice for a man of his position?

Girls: Volume 2: Emergence written by Joshua Luna (Art by Jonathan Luna)
The people of Pennystown band together after some truly weird shit goes down one night in their small town. Will they survive the invasion of "girls?" What's going on with the giant sperm? Will the plot progress?

Listens:

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle written and read by Barbara Kingsolver
I loved the descriptions of nature, home-based food production, and food preservation, but Kingsolver's preachy politics (which I agree with!) wore on me. Also, she writes about Americans as if she weren't one and her enthusiastic description of Europe as the source of All Things Good seems awfully simplistic and romanticized (has she never been in a Sainsbury's or Tesco?).

Small Wonder written and read by Barbara Kingsolver
Collection of essays all sort-of encompassed by September 11th. Not all essays are new -- some have been tweaked a bit to contemporize or bring in line with the others -- but all are interesting. Kingsolver has a beautiful reading voice and, even though I was often annoyed by the contents of her essays, I could have listened to her forever.

Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett (read by Stephen Briggs)
Nac Mac Feegles! Witches! Always a good time.

A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett (read by Stephen Briggs)
More Nac Mac Feegles! More Witches! Plus Annoying Teen Cliques! And Death! Yippee!

22 July 2007

Mansfield Park


Jane Austen's Mansfield Park has been my lunch read for the last two weeks. I've seen the (1999) film two or three times and enjoyed it immensely, but I've never managed to finish the novel. I like Fanny Price very much, but she is so passive she sometimes makes me want to grind my teeth and throw the book across the room. Probably her passivity annoys me, because I see how necessary it is and how little good fighting might do her. She has no wealth, no beauty, no talent or charm with which to acquire even the limited freedoms open to her cousins.

I know, of course, that she ends up with Edmund rather than the (reformed) rake, Mr. Henry Crawford, but I have difficulty reconciling myself to that "happiness."

Oh, Mr. Henry Crawford! How I wish you had loved Fanny a little bit more! Edmund is a good sort of fellow and will keep Fanny content, I am sure, but I would love to see her pushed to passion.

Who knows? I'm miles from the end yet and everything is still possible. Perhaps Edmund will push her to passionate speech? Speak passionate love, Fanny?!

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (Headline Review, 2006)

08 July 2007

A Happy Weekend Out & About

For supper tonight, I had ice cream followed by clam fritters and more ice cream. Delicious and nutritious, no? Supper was supposed to have been McCormick's "Greek Style Skillet Supper" (made with soy crumbles rather than beef), but we were out and summer fun foods were everywhere and who were we to resist?

Desperate to get out of the house and away from the cries of woebegone housebound Catzilla Kitty, we had hied ourselves off to the farmer's market. She'd made us crazy with her poor plaintive cries to be allowed out (she has a nasty infection and is not allowed outside until she is quite well again). On the way back from the market, the highway was overrun with Summer People trying to get home to their various inland urbs so we escaped onto the side roads as soon as possible and ended up idling our way to the comic book shop.

Mmm ... Sarge's Comics. Picked up Girls, Volume 3: Survival, Loyola Chin and the San Peligran Order, Re-Gifters, and P.L.A.I.N. Janes. Those last two are part of DC's newish tweener girl graphic novel line, Minx. I think they're supposed to be comic books for girls who don't know they like comic books. The two I bought are really nicely put together and the stories seem a lot of fun, but I don't know how much they'll inspire their readers to explore the rest of the DC universe. Some of the Vertigoproducts look attractive, but how will tween girls find them? DC doesn't seem to be doing any cross-promotion.

Anyway, after Sarge's we took a little walk down to the pier and watched the ferry come in with all the returning weekend islanders then walked up the street, stumbled into Michael's Dairy Downtown, and shared a cup of "monster mash" (vanilla ice cream with crushed chocolate sandwich cookies, chocolate malt balls, and M&M's). Then, after I voiced a yearning for clam fritters, The Husband took me to Captain Scott's Lobster Dock where I ate some pretty fine fritters and "lobster tracks" ice cream ("vanilla ice cream with red colored chocolate caramel cups and chocolate cookie ripple") and where The Husband fed his french fries to the sparrows (who were obviously anticipating this).

Can we properly call them french fries once again? Or are they still "freedom" fries? Why do we dislike the French so much, anyway? Weren't they our allies during the Revolution and the War of 1812?

02 July 2007

Safety


Currently listening to Barbara Kingsolver read her essay collection Small Wonder and (somewhere around the middle of the first disc) she asks:
How much do we need to feel blessed, sated, and permanently safe? What is safety in this world, and on what broad stones is that house built?
After discarding a bunch of foolishness, my answer turned out as simple as this: the circle of my husband's arms.