Category: Readalong

Cecilia Read-Along Book III: Briggs better have my money

Fair travelers, journey to the master post if thou art lost.

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Predictions about Cecilia’s suitors are running rampant in last week’s post, but this week, it’s all about money. Cecilia seems to the be only person with enough of it, but until she turns 21, she must rely on her guardians to access it – and none of them are making that easy. I am uneasy about her money being in the hands of these three peculiar, and in at least one case, horrid men. That usually doesn’t turn out well. Just ask RiRi:

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A few readers are off the wagon, while a few are just climbing on. I’m reading ahead in Book V and believe me, you wanna stick around. Book III is short but can be confusing, so let’s break it down with gifs o’ plenty:

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Cecilia Read-Along Book II: It’s all happening

Fair travelers, journey to the master post if thou art lost.

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It’s all happening for Cecilia this week! Our Frances vs. Fanny discussion is still going strong in last week’s post. Rick of Read the North pulled some of Burney’s sickest burns in his Book I wrap up. Much discussion about who should be cast in the roles of Mortimer Delvile took place on Facebook and Twitter. I’ll get you caught up with all that in a minute. But first, this happened:

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I’m still not sure why, after years of blogging about live Canadian authors, I got called by the CBC for blogging about a dead British one, but, I’ll take it. Have a listen here. Welcome CBC listeners: if you’re reading with us, please say hello in the comments!

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Cecilia Read-Along Book I: It’s Frances (Miss Burney if you’re nasty)

Fair travelers, journey to the master post if thou art lost.

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Don’t call me Fanny

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Before we get into Book I, we must address a controversy: Is it Fanny Burney, or Frances? Does it matter? AS A FEMINIST, must I go with Frances? Rick at Read the North weighs in, backed up by Lives of the Novelists, which I must obtain: Continue reading

Cecilia Read-Along: #SquadGoals

Fair travelers, journey to the master post if thou art lost.

Cecilia Readalong Button edit

I trust you’ve all started reading? If not, read on for some more information about where to find the book, and if you have, I’ve started a running list of characters, which is helpful with these big novels.

Editions

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My line-up: Kobo ebook, Oxford World’s Classics print, and Project Gutenberg html for easy searching

As I noted in the master post, it’s not easy to get your hands on Cecilia. And it’s only become more complicated since then. Let’s break down the options, and read-alongers, if you post this week, please show off your edition!

  • Print: While difficult to find in libraries and physical book stores, you can order online. I believe the Oxford World’s Classics edition I have is a good one; it reproduces the first edition and does not correct “eccentricities of punctuation, spelling, and grammar” which would take all the fun out of reading an 18th century novel. You can order straight from the source.
  • Ebook: Earlier, I recommended an ebook because they’re readily available. HOWEVER. My cheapie Harper Collins edition is decidedly not the same text as the first print edition; comparing to Oxford, the ebook is watered down: unnecessary capitalization removed, “everytime” becomes “every time,” and so on. Not sure if this is reproducing a later edition, or is just modernized, or what. Same deal with the Project Gutenberg edition.
  • Audio: There is a free audio version on LibriVox and perhaps I’m being snobby here but shouldn’t the narrator be British?

Cecilia’s Squad: Who we’ve met so far

This is only up to about Book I Chapter 7 as of this writing. For those of you just beginning, this may help you get your bearings.

  • Our Heroine: Cecilia Beverley: 21, orphan, heiress
  • Her guardians:
    • Mr. Harrell, husband of childhood friend, chosen simply so Cecilia can live with said friend.
    • Mr. Briggs, a business man who will provide “vigilant observance” of Cecilia’s fortune.
    • Mr. Delvile, ” a man of high birth and character” who will make sure Cecilia “should in nothing be injured” – i.e. remains a lady in the streets… and the sheets.
  • Her suitors:
    • Mr. Monckton: married to a 76-year-old crabby pants, he’s probably in his thirties or forties and was real annoyed when, just a few years after marrying this old lady for money, a 17-year-old heiress moved in next door. Timing is everything!
    • Mr. Arnott: brother of childhood friend Mrs. Harrell, lays it on pretty thick, likes that Cecilia “isn’t like the other girls,” gag me…
    • Sir Robert Floyer: Fashionable, friend of Mr. Harrell, weird horse obsession
  • Her friends
    • Mrs. Harrell: A childhood friend who moved to the big city some years ago. A very “city and country mouse” reunion so far.
    • Mr. Morrice: Her friend whether she wants him or not. This guy cracks me up.
  • Her frenemies
    • Miss Larolle: “flirting, communicative, restless, and familiar” she is the 18th century equivalent of a basic bitch.
    • Miss Leeson: “silent, scornful, languid, and affected,” definitely afflicted with resting bitch face.

Be you VOLUBLE or SUPERCILIOUS (see ch. 5) we’ll meet back here next Monday to discuss Book I.

Cecilia Read-Along: Start Reading!

 

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Happy Canada Day and Happy Cecilia Day! Have you started reading yet? To give you a jump start, I’ve found us a theme song. No, not that one.

“Oh Cecilia” is by Canadian band Born Ruffians, and features Toronto’s dancing crossing guard Kathleen Byers. Incidentally, Born Ruffians are in Edmonton playing two free shows at A Taste of Edmonton on Juy 29 and 30. Cecilia meet-up, perhaps?

Start reading and I’ll meet you back here on Monday!

On manifestos

In 2016, I vow to read fewer books.

Before I tell you why, we need to talk about reading challenges, and resolutions, and manifestos, and such. My issues with them are many, and as follows. Oh, I don’t mean YOUR reading challenge, settle down. OR DO I?

  • The assumption that people give a shit what you’re reading. Particularly with respect to TBR challenges. Why on earth do I care if, or for how long, you’ve owned a book? I do not. I give a shit if you have something to say about what you’ve read. (I am participating in a TBR challenge this year, so I guess I kind of care. I still find it odd.)
  • Approval-seeking. Particularly with respect to diversity challenges. I actually saw someone tweet about how many days it’d been since they’d read a cis-het white male author. That’s wonderful, but talk to me once you’ve reviewed one of those books. You don’t get a cookie for #readingdiverse.  (Yes, I unfollowed.)
  • Strict rules. Insisting on strict definitions of what constitutes a classic? Nope. Kicking me out of the challenge if I don’t post an update by whatever date? Nope. Insert “Ain’t nobody got time” or “zero fucks” meme here.
  • Quantity over quality. You read 52 books this year? 75? 100? 250? 300?  That’s nice. Tracking is fine. But challenges that emphasize how many books you read are just weird.  I mean, if you read one book this year, you’re ahead of the majority of the population, so calm down.
  • Pigeonholing. Particularly with respect to “reading bingo” type challenges with a bunch of categories to fill in. Now, I know the categories aren’t meant to be mutually exclusive, but, it’s kind of implied. So when one of your sixteen categories is “female author,” I’m gonna give it a side eye. Surely, there are better ways to define a challenge category! Check out this great post from Feminist Texican Reads about a Feminist Read Harder Challenge to see what I mean.

The absolute worst example of all of these things, and the inspiration for this post, appears not on a book blog, but on LitHub, of all places. A Reader’s Manifesto for 2016 is about one guy’s reading resolutions, though the title implies it’s for all readers, and pardon me, these are not mere resolutions, this is a manifesto, which is much fancier. Okay then. We’ve got the “assuming people give a shit” angle covered. Continue reading

Novellas in November 2015

Welcome back to the third edition of Novellas in November!

This event is so special to me, I stopped doing all other blog events. This year is super-special, because event creator The Book-A-Week Project is back, and is calling himself The Book-A-Week Project again.

How under appreciated are novellas? Well, how many times have you heard Garth Risk Hallberg’s City on Fire referred to as his (900+ page) debut? Turns out, he wrote a novella back in 2008! No, I am not going to read it, as I already devoted weeks of my life to CoF, but you see: novellas get no respect.

It’s not all bad news. Giller Prize shortlisted Fifteen Dogs qualifies at 171 pages (and it’s freaking awesome,)  and there are a couple of short story collections on there too – or baby novellas, as I like to call them.

Novellas are a great way to sample a genre or author you wouldn’t usually read, not to mention they’ll kickstart that Goodreads challenge as we approach year end. Wanna novella with us? See below for inspiration, follow me and #NovNov on Twitter, and let us know what you’re reading.

The novellas are coming! The novellas are coming! #NovNov

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My 2015 novellas

  1. Ghosts by Cesar Aira (139 pages) Noted novella connoisseur Michael Hingston recommended this to me. I trust his recommendation so much that I dropped $14 on the ebook, which is a little hard to swallow for the length. It is creepy as hell so far.
  2. Bartleby & Co. by Enrique Vila-Matas (178 pages) Based on this intriguing review by JacquiWine.
  3. The Poor Clare by Elizabth Gaskell (60 pages) Because I wanted a super-shorty and because it’s Elizabeth Gaskell.
  4. The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami (96 pages) Is this a novella? I don’t know. But it’s been on my shelf for a year or so.
  5. The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon (183) Because novellas are short, not easy.
  6. Cheerful Weather for the Wedding by Julia Strachey (119 pages) So I can watch the adaptation.
  7. Every Day Is For The Thief by Teju Cole(128 pages) Another one that’s been on the shelf far too long.

More novella TBR inspiration

You know what I’m missing? CanLit. Where my Canadian novellas at?

A Tale of Two Cities: The Afterword

I had this great idea for my TOTC wrap up post. Okay, I stole it from The Afterword Reading Society. I wanted readers to give me a tweet-length review and compile them here. We had a real diverse set of reactions and I wanted to convey that, and it might help those of you who are on the fence about reading this book. Also, what could be better than tweets and books?

Then I wrote my wrap up post really fast and forgot to do it. So here are a few mini-reviews. Now I’m really done with this book. If you’re jonesing for another read-along, check out Moby-Dick on Roofbeam Reader or The Hobbit on Another Book BlogContinue reading

A Tale of Two Cities Read-Along: Wrap up and contest winner

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We had everything before us, we had nothing before us.

That’s an excerpt from the first paragraph of A Tale of Two Cities. The “best of times” bit is the only part that’s ever quoted, but the whole thing’s pretty good. And this bit in particular sums up how I feel upon finishing this book and this read-along. On the one hand, well, that’s done (or as the Habs might say this week, “c’est tout.”) On the other hand, TOTC is like many classics: once you get that first reading out of the way, there’s lots more to discover. Continue reading

A Tale of Two Cities Read-Along Update #4: Friend Zoned

 Having the worst of times figuring our what this is all about? See the master post!

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Another late post. Shall I grovel and apologize for my wasted life and lack of morals, a la Sydney? Nah, let’s just get to it! We read to the end this week. Are YOU finished?

Miss Pross, Like a Boss
My favourite character has been Madame Defarge almost the whole way through, UNTIL NOW. I always liked Miss Pross. Her wild exaggerations, her creepy devotion to “ladybird,” her even creepier idolization of her brother, and her complete disdain for the French make her a “character” in the same way that Jerry is. I loved that she and Jerry end up together, abandoned by the main players, and that Miss Pross saves everyone in the end and busts a cap in Therese’s ass – who saw that coming?

Friendzoned
First of all: the whole concept of “the friendzone” is gross and sexist. However. Sometimes the term just fits. And Sydney is in the Friend Zone like whoa.

Up until now, the only “friend zoned 19th century French literary character” I knew was Eponine from Les Mis. We all cringed for her as Marius used her to get to Cossette. But Sydney Carton takes it to a whole new level – he never even really confesses his love, and doesn’t even get to die in Lucie’s arms.

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The End
We all knew how this was going to end. We all knew the last line. But it still had an impact. I rushed to the end, but slowed down on the last pages, and that last line hit me, big time. I may have cried (I totally cried.) I have to say, though, I don’t know if Clueless was correct in its analysis that Sydney meant “Tis a far, far better thing doing stuff for other people.” Sydney sacrificed himself for Charles, but, it was really all for Lucie, who he was obsessed with. I didn’t think this was really a “friendship” novel, at least, not the way I thought it would be.

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The Best of Blogs
I’m catching up on blogs, so if you aren’t here, link in the comments!

Tune in next Monday for: final thoughts and contest winner!

Did you cry at the end?