Knocking some Sense and Sensibility into the year

This afternoon, I stumbled upon TheAustenProse and read that Laurel is organizing this reading challenge to mark the bicentenary of Jane Austen’s first published novel, Sense and Sensibility.

Knocking some Sense and Sensibility into the year

This being one of the author’s novels that I’ve been meaning to read but haven’t gotten round to reading, the opportunity was simply too good to pass up.  Besides, having watched the movie starring Emma Thompson and Kate Winslett  on video, it makes sense to me to finally pick up the book and read it. What better time than this year to do so!

But wait, this challenge is not just about reading the novel.   The fun is extended to sequels and spinoffs, and other related interpretations of it.  Oh, and this will fit right with the Historical Reading Fiction Reading Challenge I’ve also signed up for.
Level of Participation: Neophyte: 1 – 4 selections
Knowing my schedule this year, I’m going to try for this level.

My selection for the challenge:

Books:

Sense & Sensibility (Marvel Illustrated), Nancy Butler and Sonny Liew

Colonel Brandon’s Diary, by Amanda Grange

Suspense and Sensibility or, First Impressions Revisited, by Carrie Bebris

Movies:

I Have Found It (Kandukondain Kandukondain) 2000

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Book Review: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The reason for the silence … my hard disk crashed.  To cut the long story short, here I am again, attempting to catch up on lost posts and reviews that were saved but not posted.  Pray my memory serves me well.

Title: The Graveyard Book

Author: Neil Gaiman

Genre: YA Fiction

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Year Published:
2008

Stand alone or series: Stand alone

Why I read it:

I read this as part of the list for both the 2010 Reading Challenge hosted by Bart and the TBR Challenge 2010 hosted by Keishon in June. Yes, that’s how backlogged I am!!!!

the graveyard book

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Book Review: False Colours, What Happens in London

One of the key elements I look for in a romance novel is humour, and IMO, Georgette Heyer and Julia Quinn have got this down pat, and none quite so evident as in these two books I read recently.

Book Review: False Colours, What Happens in LondonWhen I first blogged about the reissue of Georgette Heyer books, False Colours intrigued me with its story arc – that of a twin, Kit Fancot, impersonating his brother, Evelyn, who has gone mysteriously missing, and on the eve of the dinner meeting with the prospective in-laws. What was supposed to be a one-night only ‘performance’ soon evolved into playing host to his brother’s intended, Cressy, and her grandmother at the family’s country estate, and Kit soon found himself drawn to the heroine.

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March TBR: The Last Empress

For the month of March, we are to read a “Historical romance or fiction or mystery” and my choice is the sequel to Empress Orchid by Anchee Min, which I read for another TBR challenge some three years ago. My fascination with history doesn’t just stop at wars, knights, and myths.  A large part of the curiosity has to do with the roles women play in those olden days.  Take the rare few female monarchs for example, Queen Elizabeth, Wu Ze Tian, Cleopatra, and the controversial Empress Cixi (Tzu Hsi), the kind of power play, politics and sacrifices they were inevitably drawn into sure make them intriguing figures to study.

last_empressThe Last Empress, written in first person, traces the trials and heartaches the young widowed Empress Cixi experienced in trying to raise her young son, the heir to a doomed kingdom which has barely recovered from a damaging Opium War with several power hungry European nations.

Now, in our part of the world, Cixi has always been portrayed, in drama, movies and TV serials, as a stern, insecure matriarch who refused to cede authority and government of the country over to her sons, first Emperor Tung Chih, and then Guang Hsu.

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Reading Mary Stewart’s Arthurian Saga

Any fellow reader looking at my bookshelf may wonder why there are so more tomes on the Arthurian legend than any other myths or fairy tales, with versions of the Trojan war/ Iliad coming a close second.

Well, I guess my love of tales of the legendary King and his noble Knights of the Round Table stem from the fact that my very first story book was a volume of Tales of the British Isles.  In it, as you would have guessed, are stories of Arthur, Merlin, Galahad, Gawain, Tristan, Percival, and other popular anecdotes surrounding this bunch of noble warriors of a bygone era that grew more mythical with each telling. Growing up, one of my favourite books is Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Mists of Avalon, which offers a different perspective of the legend, which was subsequently made into a tele-movie, watched and loved by yours truly over the years.

Reading Mary Stewart’s Arthurian SagaSo, when it came to Mary Stewart’s saga beginning with The Crystal Cave, then The Hollow Hills and followed by The Last Enchantment, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the series is written in the first person, with Merlin as the narrator.  The Crystal Cave recounts young Merlin’s childhood, and takes one through his formative years in his Roman father’s army, right until his father’s death.  The Hollow Hills follows Merlin abroad while he waited for Arthur to grow into the magnificent King and ends in his triumph and coronation as High King.

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Print to screen: Atonement, Age of Innocence

I made a mistake by watching the movie first before I finished reading the multiple award-winning, critically acclaimed novel Atonement by Ian McEwan.  Admittedly, the movie moved the story along a little faster, and intrigued me from the beginning with its casting of Keira Knightley as the lead actress, long before I set eyes on the novel itself.

But when I picked up the novel and read this synopsis on the back of the book:

On the hottest day of the summer 1935, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis sees her sister Cecilia strip off her clothes and plunge into the fountain in the garden of her country house. Watching her is Robbie Turner, her childhood friend, who, like Cecilia, has recently come down from Cambridge.

By the end of that day, the liver of all three will have been changed for ever.  Robbie and Cecilia will have crossed a boundary they had not even imagined at its start, and will have become victims of the younger girl’s imagination.  Briony will have witnessed mysteries and committed a crime for which she will spend the rest of life trying to atone.

I decided to plough ahead with the reading. However, halfway through chapter six, unable to withstand the suspense, I succumbed to temptation and put the video on.  The pace and dramatic tension sped up quite a bit in the film, and I like how it stuck pretty much close to the book and retain the use of the three main characters’ perspectives and flashbacks to bring the story across. The only difference was in the way Briony chose to reveal the truth at the end.

Indulging again

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Calling all Georgette Heyer fans!

Sourcebooks has released reissues of some of the most beloved works from the prolific, and dare I say authoritative Regency romance writer, Georgette Heyer under its Casablanca label.

Whether you’re a long-time fan or a new convert, there’s bound to be one amongst these six reissues that will capture your imagination. And the gorgeous new covers are not the only reason to check these Spring Heyer Titles out, amongst which these caught my eyes:

Book Review: False Colours, What Happens in London

False Colours sounds like double trouble to me … especially when Christopher “Kit” Fancot is asked by his financially desperate mother to masquerade as his missing twin brother, Evelyn and ended up falling in love with Evelyn’s betrothed, Cressy Stavely!

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