Jane Eyre

 

Thank you to my big brother, Curt, for telling me 57 years ago that he thought I’d like the book he’d just finished reading: Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte. I read his copy and it’s been my favorite book ever since. And having just finished listening to the audiobook version, fabulously narrated by Thandie Newton, I can say without reservation that it is still my favorite book!

from the publisher, Penguin Random House:

Charlotte Brontë’s most beloved novel describes the passionate love between the courageous orphan Jane Eyre and the brilliant, brooding, and domineering Rochester. The loneliness and cruelty of Jane’s childhood strengthens her natural independence and spirit, which prove invaluable when she takes a position as a governess at Thornfield Hall. But after she falls in love with her sardonic employer, her discovery of his terrible secret forces her to make a heart-wrenching choice. Ever since its publication in 1847, Jane Eyre has enthralled every kind of reader, from the most critical and cultivated to the youngest and most unabashedly romantic. It lives as one of the great triumphs of storytelling and as a moving and unforgettable portrayal of a woman’s quest for self-respect.

I know from experience that this is a classic that should be reread at different times in one’s life. Each time I read it I see something new, receive the story in a different way. This is the first time I’ve listened to it read aloud to me, and my narrator did an incredible job! Thandie Newton’s narration was an absolute gift…so perfect, so insightful. It added a whole new dimension to the story for me.

Charlotte Bronte’s writing, though, is superb. I didn’t want to miss one word of it as I listened.  Her plot is compelling with an amazing level of detail about Jane Eyre’s experiences and her responses to them. I know that when I first read it I was carried away by the romance of it, and it is a deeply romantic book. This time, I was completely carried away by her struggle for independence and for her right to live her life by her strong sense of right and wrong, without compromise. That was a personal strength that was in her from a very young age, strength that  helped her survive an incredibly cruel childhood, a difficult pathway into adulthood, and was the source of her courage and resilience as an adult seeking to find her place in the world.

Once again, after finishing this reading of the book, I find myself deeply admiring Charlotte Bronte. She created a complete and totally engrossing world in this novel, and she created a main character that continues to inspire me.

 

I chose this book to read for The Classics Club, as one of my 50 books in 5 years. I also count it as one of the books on my list for R.I.P.-XIV.

Walking Yorkshire

…Yorkshire Dales

Someday I would love to go walking in Yorkshire, in the United Kingdom!  I would love to explore the literary landscapes, visit the home of the Brontes, see for myself the moors described in The Secret Garden and in Wuthering Heights. But in the meantime, I have been doing some “virtual walking” around Yorkshire, and getting to know some of its famous landmarks.

This virtual walking is really a lot of fun! I have connected my Fitbit, which tracks my daily steps, to a non-profit website (and app) out of Scotland called “World Walking.” This organization was designed to help motivate people to walk more and focus on good health.

They have put together many different walks you can choose, and you can walk solo or create a team of walking friends to help you reach your chosen destination. It’s teamwork rather than competition. When you choose your walk, it is broken up into milestones, which are destinations you reach on your way to finishing the complete walk. For each milestone, there are photos and a written section that explains the historical and cultural significance of that location. There is also a link so you can see the street view on Google and look around you at almost any time!

I have loved getting to know more about Yorkshire! It has definitely encouraged and increased my walking — it takes 547,880 steps to complete my Yorkshire route!

Becoming more familiar with that part of England has also piqued my interest in the literature that comes from that area. There are many authors that are either from Yorkshire or who lived and died there, or who live there now.  Susan Hill was born in Yorkshire. The Bronte sisters are perhaps the most famous writers who lived and died there. J.R.R. Tolkien, Alan Bennett, Winifred Holtby, Joanne Harris, Kate Atkinson, are all authors with connections to Yorkshire. I originally thought that as I did my virtual walking around Yorkshire (see the map of my route), that I would read books by these authors. I have been reading (and loving) some of Susan Hill’s books, and I am now listening to the audiobook of Charlotte Bronte’s,  Jane Eyre, but I’m afraid I will finish my walking goal before I’m able to put much of a dent into my Reading_Yorkshire goal!

If you are a walker, or interested in doing more walking, you would find this site very motivating. Please do check out worldwalking.org!

Christmas in Absaroka County

Christmas in Absaroka County is a collection of short stories by Craig Johnson. He has added some novellas and short story collections to his Walt Longmire  mystery series, and they are a lot of fun to read.

from the publisher…

I am very fond of the character of Walt Longmire and am enjoying slowly reading through this mystery series. The extra glimpses of Walt that we see in these short “in-between” books give us a deeper understanding of the character and just add a lot of interest and fun to whole experience of this series.

 

I read this book for the R.I.P.-XIV reading challenge.

Garden Snapshot: Clematis

My beautiful new Clematis “Prince Charles” is in full bloom. I planted it this spring as part of my year-long celebration of turning 70 ….  just because … Prince Charles just turned 70, too! I know that sounds very silly, but silly is good sometimes!

It’s a beautiful Clematis and seems to love where I planted it. I am so enjoying its beauty, and I’m having a lot of fun with my year of embracing and celebrating turning seventy!

The Little Sister

“I used to like this town,” I said, just to be saying something and not to be thinking too hard. “A long time ago. There were trees along Wilshire Boulevard. Beverly Hills was a country town. Westwood was bare hills and lots offering at eleven hundred dollars and no takers. Hollywood was a bunch of frame houses on the interurban line. Los Angeles was just a big dry sunny place with ugly homes and no style, but goodhearted and peaceful.

~ The Little Sister, by Raymond Chandler

Author Raymond Chandler…  and author Dashiell Hammett ten years earlier…  and Hollywood films of their books starring Humphrey Bogart playing their main characters, Philip Marlowe or Sam Spade… All this equals Los Angeles noir at it’s finest.

One of the books I chose to read for R.I.P-XIV was The Little Sister, by Raymond Chandler. It had been a long time since I read any of Chandler’s books so I was fascinated by the hard, cynical, burned-out private detective character of Philip Marlowe. And I was equally fascinated by Raymond Chandler’s writing style and creative way of telling this story. It’s no wonder that Hollywood loved and still loves these types of stories. When reading them, they’re hard to put down. And Raymond Chandler was one of the best and someone who inspired many writers to follow in his footsteps.

from the publisher:

In noir master Raymond Chandler’s The Little Sister, a movie starlet with a gangster boyfriend and a pair of siblings with a shared secret lure private eye Philip Marlowe into the less than glamorous and more than a little dangerous world of Hollywood fame. Chandler’s first foray into the industry that dominates the company town that is Los Angeles.

 

A fun read, The Little Sister is the fifth book in Chandler’s Philip Marlowe series. It was published in 1949, so I am also including it on my list of books read for my year-long celebration of turning Seventy years old!

It’s fun to think that The Little Sister and I are the same age!

I read this book for both my R.I.P-XIV challenge and my year long celebration of turning Seventy!

September 2019

Welcome, September! I love late summer in the Pacific Northwest! There’s usually very little rain (this year especially) and after Labor Day the temperatures are mostly mild. It’s one of the loveliest times of the year here, and especially lovely for reading on the porch!

Currently reading: three children’s books from the library about Wangara Maathai
Currently on my Kindle: The Little Sister, by Raymond Chandler
Current audiobook: Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte, narrated by Thandie Newton

I’m looking forward to my September reading. My stack of mysteries is ready for R.I.P-XIV, as are other books on my TBR lists for the various challenges I’m working on. September will also include some nice long walks and perhaps a day trip or two over the Coastal Range to the ocean fifty miles away.

So glad you’re here at last, September!

 

August Reflections 2019

Could there possibly have been a busier August?  Here’s a brief summary of this busy, happy month.

  • Family reunion for the first two weeks of the month
  • Our 50th wedding anniversary on August 16th
  • A day trip to visit our daughter who is living in Washington State
  • Numerous walks to the library
  • Ten books read this month
  • Not enough time spent gardening and weeding, because it was awfully hot for the last two weeks

I hope you enjoyed your August, too!

 

The Lost One

Mary Stewart is one of my favorite authors, so when I found that Audible had The Lost One available (one of her short stories that had recently been republished), I downloaded it immediately knowing that it would be a perfect beginning for my RIP-XIV reading challenge! I was going to wait to listen to it until September 1st, but I have no self-control and decided to go ahead and start my challenge a few days early. So on this hot afternoon, I hunkered down inside with some knitting and my earphones on and listened to it. PERFECT book for this challenge! Great narration and non-stop suspense. I do love Mary Stewart!

…from the publisher:

The recently rediscovered short story ‘The Lost One’, perfect for fans of Daphne du Maurier, Santa Montefiore and Anya Seton.

First published in Woman’s Journal in 1960, and set against the backdrop of unfenced country and dark winding valleys at night, the aptly named ‘The Lost One’ features The Wind off the Small Isles heroine, Perdita West, who brings her characteristic pluck and courage to this classic Mary Stewart tale of suspense and intrigue….

I listened to this short book for the Readers Imbibing Peril XIV challenge.

An Agatha Christie Film Festival

…photo I took at The King’s English Bookshop, Salt Lake CIty.

I wish there was an actual go-to-the-movies “Agatha Christie Film Festival” in town, but since there isn’t, we are having our own right here at home. As part of the Readers Imbibing Peril XIV reading celebration of mysteries and all things spooky in September and October, the hubby and I will be watching as many old movies of Agatha Christie stories as possible. My parents used to love the old Agatha Christie movies, starring Margaret Rutherford, and would take our whole family to the movies every time one would come to town. So of course I am including some of those in this film festival, along with the TV series of Miss Marple and of Poirot. We are definitely going to enjoy our evening TV times for the next two months!

I invite you to check back every once in a while to visit my page for keeping track of the books I read and the movies I watch for this fun reading challenge.  Click here or on the little RIP-XIV symbol on my sidebar to see my growing list.

 

Watching these old films is part of my “PERIL on the SCREEN” in the Readers Imbibing Peril XIV.