all my embarrassing secrets

Friends: "Your British accent is really, really terrible."
Me: "Hey! Just this morning I was reading Sense and Sensibility out loud to myself and I sounded great!"
Friend: "NO! That can't be true!"
Other friend: "It's her secret single behaviour...."

I'm not midway through Sense and Sensibility, but I must admit I've seriously come around on Elinor.

Yes, she's boring (not Fanny Price boring, but still). Yes, she's not as romantic as Marianne. But she's also not as silly, frankly. The way I think of Wuthering Heights as a teenage girl's fantasy, I think of Marianne as a heroine to the Crushing on Zac Efron crowd. (That's who the kids like these days, right? Zac Efron? Is it bad, by the way, that I too walked out of 17 Again with a wee crush on him?)

Elinor's a heroine to the been-there, done-that, keep your chin up for the love of dignity, set. I think Jane Austen may have liked her better.

And the girl can take a slap in the face like no one's business.

Also, just started reading Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking for book club -- a very strange juxtaposition. [Oh my God. Wikipedia says this book is a classic in "mourning literature." Is there such a thing? Mourning literature? How is that helpful? Of course, it's not supposed to be "helpful," I suppose. For that, one moves on to the self-help section? Ok, stopping my not-based-on-any-facts-at-all rant.]

I've been warned about this one: Writing's gorgeous but the chances of getting seriously depressed are good.

The book starts on this note -- words I imagine typed, zombie-like, soon after the author's husband's death:

Life changes fast.
Life changes in the instant.
You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.

The question of self-pity.


Stephenie Meyer: Not a vampire

I know, sounds obvious, eh? Just because you write a series of books about vampires doesn't mean you are, in fact, a vampire.

Yet the author of this Vogue article seems to want to make sure you, reader, understand the concept. The author of Twilight is not a neck-sucker, despite staying up late at night and wearing black.

(Note to self: Don't say "neck-sucker." It's weird.)



"A woman of seven and twenty," said Marianne, after pausing a moment, "can never hope to feel or inspire affection again, and if her home be uncomfortable, or her fortune small, I can suppose that she might bring herself to submit to the offices of a nurse for the sake of the provision and security of a wife.... It would be a compact of convenience, and the world would be satisfied. In my eyes it would be no marriage at all, but that would be nothing. To me it would seem only a commercial exchange in which each wished to be benefited at the expense of the other." -- p. 49

Yes folks, I'm reading Sense and Sensibility, digging on Marianne's blissful romantic ignorance and Elinor's painful down-to-earth sense.

Ooh, and thanking my lucky stars I'm not 17 anymore. But rather, erm, 27. (Yikes. Clearly I'm at the advanced age wherein any romantic attachment would merely be me playing nursemaid to my older, sickly lover. Any takers?)

(I just wrote, "any takers?" on my blog. While talking about my love life. Le sigh.)

Besides evaluating the merits of high school reunions (skipping) and sleeping (true bliss!) and taking full advantage of brackets (grammar is for losers), I really did think a lot about romance this weekend.

In part because I read my first romance novel in a very long while. At least, my first true romance novel in a long while -- it was a joint venture written by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer, but much smoother than their last outing. Last time, I found myself skipping all the parts written by Mayer, whereas this time I didn't really notice the switch between writing styles. And, like all Crusie novels, it kind of avoided the typical "woman is five-foot-eight, size six, drives red sports car and listens to Springsteen" cliches. Instead, woman is plump and loves food and is given to bouts of scary, scary anger that are rather unbecoming. (Jane would not approve, let's be honest. The woman preferred William Cowper's sleep-inducing religious poetry to Alexander Pope's joking. Yeesh.)

Bizarrely, I sort of forgot these stories end with happily ever after. (Spoiler, sorry.) In fact, this one really had to reach to get to the ever after part. And at points I wasn't sure I bought the whole Agnes-softens-wants-long-term-relationship-with-hitman scenario. Or, alternatively, hitman-softens-starts-picturing-Agnes-as-wife-and-mother-to-his-children play. Can five days really work such magic? And should it?

Clearly I've been reading too much Margaret Laurence of late. Now, I've only just read two books by now, but I'm thinking Laurence is not a big one for the fairy tale endings. Which is pretty awesome -- perhaps even skewing my sense of reality back to.... reality....?

"Does one have to choose between two realities? If you think you love two men, the heart-throb column in the daily paper used to say when I was still consulting it daily, then neither one is for you. If you think you contain two realities, perhaps you contain none." -- p. 150