The New Emma

Mr. Knightley is the best. He has always been the best.

Standing in line at the concession stand on a Thursday night for the first Palo Alto screening of the new Emma, self got into spirited discussion with two young women about thoughts of different Emma iterations. “Oh! The Winona Ryder version, so under-rated!”

Self had to think a moment before saying “Christian Bale, right?” Ooh, that was good casting!

“The most under-rated Mr. Knightley is still Paul Rudd,” said a young woman.

That’s right! How could self forget! Clueless! Paul Rudd, what a dreamboat!

“I want Paul Rudd’s skin-care routine,” said another young woman.

“Me, too!” self put in, enthusiastic. “Mr. Knightley’s supposed to have a nude scene in this one.”

“The problem is when they make him too old,” said the young woman.

“Well, remember Johnny Lee Miller? He was GREAT. And THIS one’s a rock singer, too.”

“BBC, right?”

“Right! Romola Garai as Emma!”

That is the most fun self has had in a movie concession stand, EVER.

As to the movie itself. The reason self was madly rushing to the movie, despite her front lawn looking like this:

20200228_120104

was Sheila O’Malley’s review.

After seeing the movie, self doesn’t think Johnny Flynn unseats Johnny Lee Miller. Or Paul Rudd.

Since this is the first time she’s ever seen Johnny Flynn, she can’t tell if he always speaks in that languid drawl, or if he just speaks that way because he’s playing Mr. Knightley. But his eyes speak volumes!

Nevertheless, self was vastly put off by those great, bushy sideburns. And decided forthwith that sideburns are just — a mood-killer.

And the starched cravats slicing into Flynn’s cheekbones, what!

And she was completely shocked that there was no build-up to the nude scene. But was happy to see the actor was slender — i.e., not buff. Which would have been a real slap in the face to Mr. Knightley if he were, in self’s humble opinion.

Stay tuned.

 

Five Best Heroes Self Encountered in 2019 (All Fictional)

Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit

Frank Guidry, November Road

Henry Tilney, Northanger Abbey

Niall Delaney, The Parasites

Sunny, Record of a Spaceborn Few

Quite a range of heroes, from a thriller, a romantic comedy, a du Maurier (who is in a class all her own), a fantasy, and a work of science fiction. Three of the five books that gave self her favorite heroes of 2019 were written by women.

Though self ended 2019 far below her Goodreads Reading Challenge goal, she is setting an even higher goal for 2020. Would you believe it if self told you that she used to be able to read 60 books a year?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Five Best Heroines Self Encountered in 2019: One Real, Four Fictional (Stay Tuned for Part 2: Heroes)

Anne Glenconner, Lady in Waiting, My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown (memoir)

Catherine Morland, Northanger Abbey (novel)

Cora Seaborne, The Essex Serpent (novel)

Nora Gerraoui, The Other Americans (novel)

Rita Sunday, Once Upon a River (novel)

All of self’s favorite heroines were in books written by women. Coincidence?

To Read: Books About Houses

Self is constantly tweaking her reading list. She likes to binge-read by theme. One year, she read nothing but travel books. Another year, she read only books written by women. Last year, she limited her reading to books written about, or on, islands.

Right now, self is interested in houses. Houses exude such a sense of permanence, they are wonderful to read about, especially during the holidays.

Currently reading: The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien

A Very Short List: Novels About Houses

  • André Dubus’s House of Sand and Fog
  • Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca (Manderley!)
  • Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle
  • E. M. Forster’s Howard’s End
  • Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin
  • Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey
  • Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows (Toad Hall!)
  • Stella Gibbons’s Cold Comfort Farm
  • V. S. Naipaul’s A House for Mr. Biswas

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Breaking Down Self’s 2019 Reading List

Most of Self’s favorite reads so far 2019 were novels (six out of 10).

Three of her favorite reads of 2019 were memoirs written by doctors.

One of her favorite reads of 2019 was a book about the environment.

Five of her six favorite novels were written by women.

This year she attended the Fowey Festival of the Arts (in honor of Daphne du Maurier) and during the festival, she bought a copy of Jane Austen‘s Northanger Abbey from Bookends of Fowey. She loved loved loved it.

None of the books she read in January and April ended up making much of an impression.

One of her six favorite novels has been optioned for the movies by Lawrence Kasdan.

One of her six favorite novels won a prize.

One of her six favorite novels is a finalist for a Kirkus Prize.

Her 2019 Goodreads Reading Challenge was to read 34 books.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

The Sensible Mrs. Morland

Northanger Abbey, p. 273:

Mrs. Morland addresses Catherine’s seeming dejection after the abrupt end of her visit with the Tilneys:

“. . . you are fretting about General Tilney, and that is very simple of you; for ten to one whether you ever see him again. You should never fret about trifles.” After a short silence — “I hope, my Catherine, you are not getting out of humor with home because it is not so grand as Northanger. That would be turning your visit to an evil indeed. Wherever you are you should always be contented, but especially at home, because there you must spend the most of your time.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Long Day; Thirsting for Henry Tilney

It’s been a long day walking around Prague. Finally back in the hotel, self finds herself thirsting for Henry Tilney. A wine bar across the street says:

DSCN0101

Henry Tilney, p. 246:

  • If the effect of his behaviour does not justify him with you, we had better not seek after the cause.

The wisdom of a 23-year-old man! He is so kind to our heroine.

DSCN0100

Stay tuned.

“the man she likes”: Northanger Abbey, p. 231

Self flopped into bed at 2 and did not wake up until almost six. Sooo tired! Nevertheless, at some point, she WILL go downstairs, she WILL take the tram, she WILL inquire of passersby regarding restaurants serving “traditional” Czech food. Either that or she will go to the grocery store next door which sells the most amazing, huge, sweet cherries she has ever tasted in her whole life and buy more cherries!

Now to Northanger Abbey: Catherine Morland, Eleanor Tilney and Henry Tilney are in the drawing room, discussing Isabella Thorpe.

“But perhaps,” observed Catherine, “though she has behaved so ill by our family, she may behave better by yours. Now she has finally got the man she likes, she may be constant.”

How candid Catherine Morland is! How artless. Henry Tilney listens without once giving away his true opinion of Ms. Thorpe. For the nth time, self really loves Henry Tilney, because his manners are so exquisite.

Stay tuned.

Henry Tilney, The End of Daenerys

It’s nearly the end of Northanger Abbey, Henry Tilney still hasn’t declared any feelings for Catherine Morland, but self loves loves loves this him: his diffidence, his wit, his tenderness towards his sister Eleanor. So far, this is her favorite Jane Austen ever (a close second: Emma)

Still reading about Game of Thrones‘ final season because it hurt self to the core. Still more from yesterday’s USA Today (the first thing self grabbed during afternoon tea at the hotel yesterday):

  • Much like Cersei’s death last week, Dany’s demise felt like a dull, anticlimactic end.
  • Bran “hasn’t had a personality since Season 6 and is the least-helpful all-seeing magical reason ever.”

Self is still bitter that they brought Gendry back in Season 7 just to function as Arya’s boy toy in Season 8 (also, if you really want to know, she thinks Ed Sheeran’s pointless cameo in Season 7 should have warned her: You’re not going to like the way this ends.) Cleganebowl happened too late to really matter. Bronn stayed on-brand as the No. 1 Advocate for Brothels. Nice job, Sansa Stark, becoming Queen of the North. The melting down of the Iron Throne was whatever. Jon got to keep his melancholy look. And Davos was sitting right next to Gendry during the gathering of all the remaining families of Westeros, so these two will get to become each other’s family.

Self thinks the wriers’ interest in the story ended with Season 6. After, they were just making sure they dotted their “i’s” and crossed their “t’s” per contractual basis.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

.

Henry Tilney to Catherine Morland

Self’s new literary crush is Northanger Abbey‘s Henry Tilney. In his exceedingly dry wit, he is the perfect foil for our heroine, she with the unquenchable thirst for the Gothic, Catherine Morland.

p. 177:

Nothing further to alarm perhaps may occur the first night. After surmounting your unconquerable horror of the bed, you will retire to rest, and get a few hours’ unquiet slumber. But on the second, or at farthest the third night after your arrival, you will probably have a violent storm. Peals of thunder so loud as to seem to shake the edifice to its foundation will roll round the neighbouring mountains — and during the frightful gusts of wind which accompany it, you will probably think you discern (for your lamp is not extinguished) one part of the hanging more violently agitated than the rest. Unable of course to repress your curiosity in so favorable a moment for indulging it, you will instantly arise, and throwing your dressing-gown around you, proceed to examine this mystery.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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