Archive for December, 2009

Check up!

December 27, 2009

Odessa says:
Hey guys… how’s the reading? I’m still stuck in book two, but mostly because there has been so much Doctor Who to distract me lately. Mostly I’m wondering: are you still there? (*Crickets*) Oh, alright. See you next year.

Lynne says: I’m still here! I just finished book one today! It’s been crazy at home over the holidays.  I’ll be spending the next seven days in CT, so hopefully I will have more time to read.  Happy New Year everyone!

Sega says: Yep, I’m still here. Still plodding along, a bit, but close to finishing Book One! I’ve been reading on my way home from work – it makes the commute better. Alss, too bad I cannot read Middlemarch AT work instead of dealing with customers.

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Book 1: Miss Brooke

December 16, 2009

Odessa says:
I just finished reading Book 1 of the volume. Lynne, I believe you are also reading the Barnes and Noble Classic edition, have you noticed all the typos? Quotation marks are missing at the beginning or close of quotations, at one point the word “be” appears where I am quite sure it should say “me”. Am I just crazy or have you noticed this too?
As to the text, I must say I was surprised when reading to find that in the middle of normal third person narration, Eliot breaks the fourth wall and makes a comment directly to the audience at certain places. That was surprising. I was also surprised at how casually she discusses female stereotypes. The very first chapter begins with the quotation “Since I can do no good because a woman/reach constantly at something near it,” from The Maid’s Tragedy. An interesting tactic, not directly challenging the commonly held male and even often female belief about gender roles in her day. Perhaps she does this to set her audience at ease so they aren’t turned off by her politics? From all the criticisms I’ve read Eliot is a feminist writer, maybe she’s just very crafty about how she introduces it.
My feelings about Dorthea are mixed. Her modern equivalent would probably be one of the young women that are extremely impassioned about environmental and political issues that throw themselves into every one they can find as deeply as possible. She has good ideas and an inquisitve mind, but as her sister says, it’s not practical. She is extremely idealistc, but in a strange, almost masochistic way. She recieves great pleasure and satisfaction from denying herself things and suffering. In her marriage, which has been foreshadowed as vastly unwise, she sees herself as less worthy of love than her husband. If you can call it love. She doesn’t want someone to love her, she wants someone that is “better” than her, someone to father her in a way. Not a good basis for a marriage.
At the end of the first book we are finally introduced to our second protagonist, a young Dr. Lydgate. I haven’t formed much of an opinion on him, but his romantic interest Rosamund does not seem as atrocious as I expected. The summary says he ‘marries her to his ruin’, but she seems like she may be a sympathetic character in her own right.
Sorry, didn’t mean to write my own book here, what are your observations?

Lynne says:

You’ve totally lost your mind, Odessa.  I have no idea what you are talking about…actually I’ve noticed it too.

Dorothea Brooke strikes me as ridiculously naive.  She wants a father figure to tell her what to do rather then a husband to be equals with.  I almost threw my book across the room a few times in my frustration with Dorothea.  How could she be so blind to Sir James Chettam’s feelings towards her?  What man is going to spend time and money trying to make a woman happy with the intent of marrying her sister?  Casaubon seems to be along for the ride, and just wants someone to read to him when his eyes are tired.

Rosamund needs to grow up, there is no such thing as love at first sight, and Lydgate, I like him.

I’d make some deeper observations, but I keep dozing off at my computer.  I’ll probably edit this in the not too distant future.  ❤

Also: “We mortals, men and women, devour many a disappointment between breakfast and dinner.” (Chapter VI)

Sega says:

Dorthea is very frustrating; she seems, like Odessa said, to be almost a sort of masochist. She will kind of introduce things and then decide against them as a big show of denying herself what she just suggested (the whole scene where she and Celia are splitting their mother’s jewelery). Dorthea is very, very showy in her faith and almost seems to be obsessed with being a kind of martyr. She seems to be looking for more of a teacher than a husband when she marries her husband. Celia definitely seems much more sensible, and frustrated with her sister (understandably).

I also find it interesting that the townspeople act as a kind of chorus; they comment upon the action but don’t want to interfere with anything; there are many characters who seem to just “let” things happen (such as Mr. Brooke does when he lets Dorthea get married even though it’s a supremely BAD idea!)

I haven’t really developed any opinions on Lyndgate or Rosamund yet, so we shall see!

Epic Books

December 10, 2009

The ladies of epic book blog are here to read the books that no one else does.  Those epic books, the classics you know you want to read and never find the time to.  We’ll be starting with Middlemarch by George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans).  The synopsis from barnesandnoble.com states;

“Eliot surrounds her main figures with a gallery of characters drawn from every social class, from laborers and shopkeepers to the rising middle class to members of the wealthy, landed gentry. Together they form an extraordinarily rich and precisely detailed portrait of English provincial life in the 1830s. But Dorothea’s and Lydgate’s struggles to retain their moral integrity in the midst of temptation and tragedy remind us that their world is very much like our own. Strikingly modern in its painful ironies and psychological insight, Middlemarch was pivotal in the shaping of twentieth-century literary realism.”

There are three of us reading together, and I’d like to take a moment for all of us to introduce ourselves.

I’m Lynne, a senior English major graduating undergrad in May 2010.  My favorite novel is Jane Eyre, and I have a love of fantasy novels.  I’m also an avid knitter, I love creating functional objects out of a ball of string.

I’m Odessa and no matter what I do to pay the bills, writing is my true profession. I love a literary challenge, won NaNoWriMo this year, and blog at http://thebookeaterblog.blogspot.com.

And I’m Sega, a senior English/Psychology major (but still have two years to go) and an aspiring novelist. I also participated in (and won!) NaNoWriMo this year, and I love reading and writing (but not so much arithmatic).

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December 2, 2009

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