“Northanger Abbey”

January 2, 2009 at 6:13 pm | Posted in Classics | 10 Comments

I checked out Northanger Abbey with a heavy heart.  So distressed was I that I had to tell the librarian: “This is the last Jane Austen novel I haven’t read yet, and there won’t be any more!”  She commiserated with me quite well – what can be worse than running out of “new books” by a favorite author who has rested in Book Heaven for many years?

This sadness was greatly mitigated when it turned out I liked this story better than all the others.  Mr. Tilney is the hero for me!  I thought Catherine’s introductory conversation with him was one of the best things I’d ever read, and it seemed oddly modern.  Tilney was the first male Austen character I’d met who made me want to converse with him.

The other thing I liked about Northanger Abbey is that it’s a parody of gothic novels.  I kept finding myself imagining a modernization of the story based on horror films.  (In fact, it’s probably been done, since whenever I have an “original” idea like this it turns out I’m just hopelessly out of the loop, like when I “invented” eBay in 1998).  There is definitely a reason why this is a deathless classic, and why Austen has her own star in Book Heaven.

Resolutions

January 2, 2009 at 6:03 pm | Posted in Book Blather | Leave a comment

New Year’s Eve is my favorite day of the year.  I always make a big production out of it.  First I run around cleaning house and trying to finish up all those little household projects that need doing, for instance putting up my new bird feeder.  Then I get out last year’s journal and go over my goals.  I sit down and grade myself on the year, and then I plan the next year’s goals and resolutions.  On New Year’s Day I try to do whatever I can to get off on the right foot.  Probably not as interesting as going to some fabulous party, but hey, I’d rather stay home.

Facing facts isn’t always fun.  I realized I had never made “Read 366 books” an official resolution!  While I made that (nonexistent) goal with 9% to spare, in the process, I blew every single other resolution I made.  I wanted to lose 10 pounds, and instead I gained 8, half of that between Halloween and Christmas.  I didn’t complete so much as a single chapter of the book I planned to write, either.  It turns out that sitting around reading a big pile of books has its drawbacks.

So I did what had to be done:  I did not finish a book on January 1.  I spent the time doing some financial planning instead.

You know what?  Reading is just so much more interesting than doing everything else.  I feel like I really should read less, but I don’t want to cut back, especially not when I’ve finally realized how much I’m capable of doing.  I’m torn.  But I think I’ve found a way around the problem.  I’ve resolved to walk at least 1000 miles this year – not too hard, since according to my new pedometer I already walk roughly 3 miles a day – and I’ll start listening to more audiobooks so I can spend more time cooking and working on sewing projects.

Of course I plan to do some challenges this year, and as I run across them I’ll post them.  It’s just that I’ll be doing some of them on the treadmill.

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