Thursday, March 17, 2011

Cranford anyone? (The Book Addict's Bookclub, Take One)

So who read the book? (The first question for any bookclub). ;)
And the second non-negotiable question: what did you think?

My copy of Cranford is green (like above). So I just thought, what better day than today to take a stab at this willy-nilly bookclub idea, right?

I'll start off by saying I was sort of disappointed in this book. I just expected something Austen-ish I think, and this just didn't have the same pace and intrigue that I find in Austen books. It was hard for me to get into this one. I haven't read any other books by Elizabeth Gaskell and there really is no rationale to my expectation - but there it is.

But other than that, there were some parts that I did find pretty funny. All the gossipy old ladies cracked me up. And, some parts of how this tight homogeneous community operated reminded me somewhat of my own little community, in some ways (for better or for worse), so it was interesting.

It's actually been awhile since I finished reading this, but a couple parts I marked were:

- the beginning of Chapter 5: Old Letters (p 51 of my copy)
"I have often noticed that almost everyone has his own individual small economies - careful habits of saving fractions of pennies in some one peculiar direction - any disturbance of which annoys him more than spending shillings or pounds on some real extravagance."
Then she goes on for a page and a half about these little idiosyncrasies. The man who reused envelopes, how she saved pieces of string, and other people who can't stand seeing others wasting butter. This just made me laugh, too true, too true. We all have our little pet peeves along with some specialties in ways to save money (although of course I can't think of any of mine at the moment). But I did like the way the narrator would go off on these little ramblings to get to her point (eventually). I don't know why, but I thought it was funny.

- and pg 114-115 (in Chapter 10) about the robberies. Oh, the drama. The fabricated stories. The little details blown out of proportion. Panic, assigning blame to innocent people, and assuming others to be completely blameless just because of who they are. Oh, it's just funny, funny.

Annnd . . . I don't have any other deep thoughts to share, really.

What are your thoughts?

Wherever and whoever you are, come join the discussion in the comments section on my blog. We're all friendly around here, so don't be shy. And yeah, you're welcome to join in even if you haven't read the book. Because that's just how bookclub is. :)

PS - who was supposed to bring the treat?? They obviously forgot. Maybe next time.

Oh yeah, speaking of next time. Next up is The Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro. So sometime toward the middle-end-ish of April we'll be discussing it. ;)

And looking ahead:

May: On the Road by Jack Karouac
June: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall - Anne Bronte

(I'm still working on the rest of the plan, sorry. I'll get better at this, I promise. And some encouraging words would be great, if you really want to do this. I've hit a sort of blog slump - even if it's only in my head and you wouldn't notice otherwise - and need a little bit of a push to get going again. Thanks for reading - and commenting. Thanks especially for commenting.)


Ashley Case said...

Well... I started to read the book and only got a little more than a quarter of the way through because it was so slow. I just kept thinking, "There are better things I could be spending my time on." There were some characters or descriptions of the community that I identified with or that reminded me of others, but it wasn't enough to pull me in to the story. I hope the next book is more intriguing! I admittedly am not big on classics though, so my opinion is skewed.

Jennifer Pelo Rawlings said...

Yes, I did read it, though it did take me longer than expected. I thought it was sweet, but not captivating by any means. It felt similar to Anne of Green Gables, lots of little "slice of life" stories, without the compelling character to love. Seriously, we don't even know the narrators name until near the end of the book. I think that the BBC mini-series will be better than the book. I can see where I might find the characters more compelling by watching than reading this one. I've never read this author either though I have watched two mini-series based on her books and loved them both.

I love that we are still doing some sort of book club, so of course I say continue at all costs, even if it's just you and me.:)

Christina G. said...

OK - so I'm terribly embarrassed to say that I am the bad one here that did not read the book. I love classics and will pretty much read anything. I *sort* of intended to read this one but honestly it just didn't appeal to me. I think that's because I picked up a couple of other books that I was also having a hard time getting into and when push came to shove I decided to chuck all the hard to read ones aside for a little while and simply go for some mindless brain candy. That being said, I'm ready for the next one. Remains of the Day, here I come!

And thanks Kristen for putting the effort into this!

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