October 2017 books

October 2017 books

Jane, UnlimitedJane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I love Cashore's other books, so if I were to ever pick this book back up and finish it, I wouldn't be surprised if I ended up liking it. But for now, it's a DNF. I read the first fifth and kept waiting for a character (besides the main one) to show up that wasn't rich, enigmatic, eccentric, or needlessly secretive, or all of the above. I was still waiting when I decided to just give up (Stranger Things season 2 came out, so).

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A Pair of Blue EyesA Pair of Blue Eyes by Thomas Hardy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fourth reading. (Spoilers in the first paragraph of this review.) I can't remember if Knight bothered me so much, so early, on previous readings. Maybe he did bother me and my memory of it has just faded, but I seem to recall thinking that Elfride and Knight's courtship was more romantic than I did this time around. Because Knight is awful. He is an awful suitor and an awful human being and come to think of it, Elfride is surrounded by awful people in this book. I used to think (at least I think I used to think) that Elfride brought some of her troubles on herself - that she was immature, and then manipulative, and sometimes silly, and worst of all, indecisive. But this time when I read the book, all I could see was this young woman trying to live her own life, learn her own lessons, try out different behavioral strategies and personalities (as we ALL do when we are that age), and just in general be her OWN DANG SELF and nobody will let her! They all see her as what they want her to be and then are disappointed when she lets her true self shine through in - heaven forbid it in a semi-accomplished young lady! - a moment of weakness. Like, maybe Elfride IS immature, manipulative, silly, and indecisive. But you guys, she is also loving, intelligent, and generally tries to do the right thing. All she needs is a get-a-grip friend (Unity, maybe??) to talk some sense into her and tell her to just be herself, stop trying to change for the sake of a man, and wait for the right guy to come along! PS, his name is Lord Luxellian and he's super hot and even though he checked you out in your carriage in London when his wife was dying but still alive, he was not emotionally unfaithful because he was just appreciating your beauty unromantically.*

(*I MEAN: "The look was a manly, open, and genuine look of admiration; a momentary tribute of a kind which any honest Englishman might have paid to fairness without being ashamed of the feeling, or permitting it to encroach in the slightest degree upon his emotional obligations as a husband and head of a family.")

Still waiting for someone to make a movie of this, btw.

Third reading.

This is one of those books that I like to read every couple of years. There is something so relatable and beautiful and tragic about the story, and it is so splendidly written that it is a joy to experience. Chapters 21 and 22 are some of the finest chapters in classical literature, in my opinion. They bring everything together so perfectly and then turn the story on its head.

One of my favorite passages:

"There are disappointments which wring us, and there are those which inflict a wound whose mark we bear to our graves. Such are so keen that no future gratification of the same desire can ever obliterate them: they become registered as a permanent loss of happiness."

A Pair of Blue Eyes is a great read no matter what mood you're in. Romance, deception, misunderstanding, drama, tragedy - it's all here. My favorite Hardy for sure, and one of my favorite books in general.

I'm still waiting for someone to make this into a movie, by the way.

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Fact-checking the vocabulary of Stranger Things 2

There are two kinds of cultures