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CYS Other Book Club: Actual Books!

2 months ago
Commended by JJJ-thebanisher on 9/12/2019 10:21:12 PM

I had the notion of doing something with Reading Corner, because this section is the equivalent of the quiet area of the old local library that nobody ever goes into, and that's my favorite sort of place.

I thought, in the spirit of Briar's CYS story book club, it would be fun to read an actual book together--whoever wants to--and we could discuss it.  The only rules I would suggest are a) No pressure to read (I spend my work days cajoling people to read things, and nobody needs that in their fun time), b) Let's stretch ourselves and try things outside genres we might usually read, c) Let's take turns picking books, trying to vary genres as much as possible--novels, books of short stories, graphic novels, plays, books of poetry.

Let's goddamn learn something.  If you would like to read this month, post here or just read anyway and surprise everyone. 

For the first--let's say month?--I suggest "I Capture the Castle" by Dodie Smith.  It is comic, tragic, romantic, and genre-busting.  This is a shortish novel (written by the woman who write 101 Dalmatians, weirdly enough) which has a great narrator writing about her poor family who live in a crumbling castle.  Let's read this in September and discuss starting October 1.  It is fine offer impressions as you read before then, but keep it spoiler free.  Here are the first paragraphs to see if this is your cup of tea:

"I write this sitting in the kitchen sink. That is, my feet are in it; the rest of me is on the draining board, which I have padded with our dog's blanket and the tea cosy. I can't say that I am really comfortable, and there is a depressing smell of carbolic soap, but this is the only part of the kitchen where there is any daylight left. And I have found that sitting in a place where you have never sat before can be inspiring I wrote my very best poem while sitting on the hen house. Though even that isn't a very good poem. I have decided my poetry is so bad that I mustn't write any more of it.

Drips from the roof are plopping into the water butt by the back door. The view through the windows above the sink is excessively drear. Beyond the dank garden in the courtyard are the ruined walls on the edge of the moat. Beyond the moat, the boggy ploughed fields stretch to the leaden sky. I tell myself that all the rain we have had lately is good for nature, and that at any moment spring will surge on us. I try to see leaves on the trees and the courtyard filled with sunlight. Unfortunately, the more my mind's eye sees green and gold, the more drained of all colour does the twilight seem.

It is comforting to look away from the windows and towards the kitchen fire, near which my sister Rose is ironing though she obviously can't see properly, and it will be a pity if she scorches her only nightgown. (I have two, but one is minus its behind.) Rose looks particularly fetching by firelight because she is a pinkish person; her skin has a pink glow and her hair is pinkish gold, very light and feathery. Although I am rather used to her I know she is a beauty. She is nearly twenty one and very bitter with life. I am seventeen, look younger, feel older. I am no beauty but have a neatish face.

I have just remarked to Rose that our situation is really rather romantic two girls in this strange and lonely house. She replied that she saw nothing romantic about being shut up in a crumbling ruin surrounded by a sea of mud. I must admit that our home is an unreasonable place to live in. Yet I love it."

CYS Other Book Club: Actual Books!

2 months ago
Books? Actual....books? Like, the kind that used to be downloaded onto paper?

I used to read those. I think. It's been such a long time I might be misremembering.

CYS Other Book Club: Actual Books!

2 months ago
Looks like an interesting book. Count me in!

Edit: Just ordered my copy on Amazon.

CYS Other Book Club: Actual Books!

2 months ago
Will Gower disapprove if I point out this author died 30 years ago, and so she probably has no use for whatever piddling cut Amazon would have given her anyway.

I'm hoping my library has a copy, but a lot of you don't seem to have libraries or know what they are. I'm aiming that will not keep anyone who actually wants to participate from obtaining a copy though so I will not put up with money used as an excuse.

Anyway, looking forward to commentary on a story that's not copy and pasting or slight rewording of the same thing we all already posted as a review.

CYS Other Book Club: Actual Books!

2 months ago
I bought a used paperback copy for like 6 bucks, so her cut would be nothing if she were still alive. On the whole money topic, I think it's well worth it to get your own copy. The library's great, but I enjoy the feeling of knowing the copy is mine and not something taken from the lid of someone's toilet (although ironically that's could very well be what I ordered). For less than the price of a movie you're getting hours and hours of entertainment. Totally worth it and you don't need to sell your body for popcorn money.

CYS Other Book Club: Actual Books!

2 months ago
Yeah, used book is no better than a library book, you did not in any way cut down on the potential grossness if we're looking at it from that angle.

On second thought I'll probably just get it on my Kindle.

CYS Other Book Club: Actual E-Books!

2 months ago
Another win for Amazon.

CYS Other Book Club: Actual E-Books!

2 months ago
Are you sure about that?

CYS Other Book Club: Actual E-Books!

2 months ago
Pretty sure... I haven't heard of anyone getting electronic books anywhere other than Amazon, especially for their Amazon device. Oh wait, are libraries loaning electronic copies now? Minus the slow computers, the last time I was at the public library the extent of their electronics was shitty movies from the 80s and bad PBS documentaries. I remember it was a big deal when they finally set up a self-checkout station. Perfect thing for a building full of introverts. With an electronic library, the need to go out into public is eliminated entirely. They're really adapting to their "customer" base. Stream of consciousness aside, I'm looking forward to reading this. Part 2 of The Idiot is really slow.

CYS Other Book Club: Actual E-Books!

2 months ago

I really, really didn't like The Idiot.  I don't think much of Dostoyevski's novels in general.  The Brothers K had its moments, but on the whole, I found them unrewarding slogs.

CYS Other Book Club: Actual E-Books!

2 months ago
This is my third-ish book of his I'm reading. Went through Notes, Crime and Punishment, and Poor Folk (and other stories) last year. His novels seem to have a lot of unnecessary dialogue that does not progress the overall story whatsoever. I'm not sure if it's a cultural thing, but the amount of outbursts by different characters feels a bit excessive. Plus, someone always seems to fall ill at some point. I really enjoyed Part 1 of The Idiot. Nastasya Filippovna was introduced and developed in such an intriguing way. From the painting to the surprise visit, I was hooked. Then the dynamic between the Prince, Ganya, and Rogozhin kept me engaged in relation to Nastasya. I found there to be a lot of suspense in wondering how the tension would be resolved between them, especially considering how different the prince is compared to those two in particular. Nastasya's backstory with Totsky only fueled the fire and added to the drama. Part 1 ended at a high note, and Part 2 seems to start slow and stay slow. I'm about 20 pages from Part 3 and I hope it's better, although your comment doesn't make me as optimistic. The Brothers K is next on my list.

CYS Other Book Club: Actual E-Books!

2 months ago

For me, Tolstoy is about a billion times better.   Anna Karenina is in my top ten list--and Gogol's Dead Souls is right up there too.  I love Russian liteature, but I will rarely pass up an opportunity to denigrate Dostoyevsky.

CYS Other Book Club: Actual E-Books!

2 months ago

I could never get in to Crime and Punishment... But I think that's probably because I was listening to the audiobook and the guy reading it had the most painfully boring voice I've ever heard. I should really try actually reading it sometime. :p

CYS Other Book Club: Actual Books!

2 months ago

Definitely noping this one, I'm afraid. Looks like a really awesome book... But if I start reading a new book every month, I'll never get any writing done. :(

CYS Other Book Club: Actual Books!

2 months ago

We'll miss you, Avery, and by the way, put me on your book club list.  I'm going to participate next time if I can.

CYS Other Book Club: Actual Books!

2 months ago

Yippie! ^_^

CYS Other Book Club: Actual Books!

2 months ago

I'm down Gower, might as well participate a little more if I'm going to be floating around.  Just ordered myself a prime patient zero copy of it from Amazon.  Maybe someone wiped their ass with it, maybe not.

CYS Other Book Club: Actual Books!

2 months ago

Cool!  This is shaping up nicely.

CYS Other Book Club: Actual Books!

2 months ago
After my roommate left on business travel with the mail key, I finally was able to rescue my copy from the mailbox last night. Chapter 1 is very interesting and very random. Perhaps it’s due to the fact I rarely read things written in 1st person POV or maybe because the book is Gower-recommended, I felt a strong similarity in style to Gower’s quiz. The narrator writing events happening in front of him/her without fluid pacing is certainly something I’m not used to. Anyone else notice about half the descriptions in the first chapter were “pinkish”, especially towards a certain character? I’m just one chapter through and I’m glad the book’s engaging. Should be a fun read.

CYS Other Book Club: Actual Books!

2 months ago

I find the narrative voice completely compelling.  She is so observant, and so attuned to colors and small details.  I can't stop rereading particular sentences where she describes the room, and lets us know tidbits about what's unusual about the family.  I'm glad you're enjoying it. 

CYS Other Book Club: Actual Books!

2 months ago

Ah, a real book club? My dreams have come true! I haven't read as much since I got outta high school, but I used to blow through a book every few days. I would love to join. It seems really charming.

CYS Other Book Club: Actual Books!

one month ago
Commended by mizal on 10/1/2019 11:10:13 AM

Spoilers for first 100 pages:

I've read this book before, fairly recently (like last year); it immediately went right to my top 20 books list.  I wanted to read it again for this book club, not only to share it, but also because I wanted to see if it would be as good the second time, or even better, when I could focus on the amazing writing rather than plot.

Not that there's that much plot in the first 100 pages, as you may have noticed.   So much of the fun of this book is Cassandra's idiosyncratic, casual-but-clearly-well-read style.  The conceit that she's writing this in her notebook, and that, in a way, she is trying to figure out how one becomes an author--I find that incredibly charming, and her turns of phrase are both witty and ever-so-slightly teetering on the border between young adult and adult.   Grabbing two examples that I underlined:  "Topaz was wonderfully patient -- but I sometimes wonder if it is not only patience, but also a faint resemblance to cows"; and, a big lunch:  "We had roast chicken (wing portion, two shillings), double portions of bread sauce (each), two vegetables, treacle pudding and wonderful milky coffee.  We were gloriously bloat."  So even if there were no plot whatsoever, I could read Cassandra's prose all day. 

Her light touch and witty writing, though, is in the context of the most miserable living conditions.  And Cassandra describes this in great detail--their hunger, their lack of furnishings, the crumbled home, the depression of their father, the hopelessness of getting money, the humiliation of it all.  But, and I think this is the key, she does it without much brooding or dwelling.  Her touch is light, and she always has a sense of herself as an artist experiencing this, or maybe a book character.   She's an outsider, an observer, a writer.  She's here to "capture the castle"--to suck out every drop of description and personality from the situation.  Gaiman says to people who are suffering:  "Make good art."  This is Cassandra's solution.

So, plot.  The plot hinges on exactly two things:  one, we need money; two, Rose seems sellable in marriage, in a Jane Austen sense.  Rose and Cassandra (and Topaz, to a different degree) understand the situation as one that comes up *all the time* in Austen and Bronte.  What do poor women do?  They marry.  And so, Rose, realizing what sort of character she is, and in what sort of book, realizing that she needs to suck it up and trudge down the altar, tries to play the part.  Neither Simon (too beardy) nor Neil (younger son, and possibly a bit snippy) seem the ideal man for the part, but that's all right.  And so these first 100 pages almost become a parody of these classic woman-authored novels, these satires on how you get a man, and what women need to do for financial security (and Rose is willing to jump on the grenade not only for herself, but her whole family.)

What I love about these first 100 pages is that the novel refuses to go the obvious route--Topaz is not at all a wicked stepmother, but one of the "girls" as Cassandra often refers to her and Rose collectively.  Topaz is quite loving and kind.  And Stephen just does not seem to spark anything in Cassandra romantically, even though you'd think someone as sensitive and poetic as Cassandra would lean that way.  Nope.  He inspires pity instead.  Instead of seeing comfort in religion, this family, the Mortmains (the Dead Hands, a term suggesting oppression), seems downright pagan.  Cassandra refers obliquely to this several times, and Topaz seems to have a pretty casual relationship with nudity outside and in her work.

The bear-fur episode--okay, I could do without that.  That was a little silly.  That the one bit I didn't enjoy rereading.

In short, I find Cassandra's language totally amusing.  She's doing it:  castle captured.

 

CYS Other Book Club: Actual Books!

one month ago

Sorry, I think this is a text or a joke to new members. Because PROBABLY THE dullest BORING FIRST CHAPTER I HAVE  READ IN ENGLISH. 

A stupid teen British girl with grandeur deliriums describing a ruin even duller than herself . With  a life, boring and repetitive in a grey place in a ruin

CYS Other Book Club: Actual Books!

one month ago
I finished The Sixpenny Book earlier this week, so I'll give a better response once I've caught up.

CYS Other Book Club: Actual Books!

one month ago
As she only cries about once a year I really ought to have gone over and comforted her, but I wanted to set it all down here. I begin to see that writers are liable to become callous.
I was struggling a little with the first person POV, but this just sold me on the character and the whole idea of this thing being written as a journal. There really are some beautiful sentences in here, and some funny ones too, even this early on.
It turns the whitewashed walls rosy; even the dark beams in the roof are a dusky gold. The highest beam is over thirty feet from the ground. Rose and Topaz are two tiny figures in a great glowing cave.
Really fond of this bit and the last sentence in particular. There is a lot of attention to color in even the first few pages, and pairing it even with the names this way is a nice touch.

CYS Other Book Club: Actual Books!

one month ago
I finished the first journal and I'm in the second one now having been told something AMAZING happened and things are now looking up. Last night I got up to the part in the recounting where the sisters are hiding behind crates with the furs, and I'm happy Cassandra is there this time to give Rose some swift kicks if she starts acting like an idiot again.

I'm very much in love with this book. The actual writing is just beautiful...although so much of the atmosphere and imagery depends on the uses of lighting and color that I do kind of wonder how it would hold up for @Mayana. She should read a couple chapters for science.

Since it's written as a journal Cassandra's voice colors the whole thing pretty strongly. She's such an empathic and positive person, but never in a cloying way; she's practical and doesn't have any illusions about the family's situation. But it's so rare to read a story about a dysfunctional family that contains both a stepmother and a vain, discontent, and *pretty* sister and have them treated so positively. The amount of love the character has for everyone and for the castle itself is just coming through constantly. She's obviously frustrated with her father's uselessness but isn't capable of getting properly bitter about it even in a diary. I also like that while she seems so insightful about the people around her, the author still allows a few things that are obvious to the reader to whiff over her head, because she's still just a kid after all.

Reading about the first time they discovered and exploring the castle, the writing in that whole section is just *so good*, it really captured the whole feel of going on this spontaneous adventure, the mood is like...'giddy' is the best word i can come up with. It also gives you a *really* clear idea of the layout and look of the place which I didn't previously have. I can genuinely picture it now like a real location. And it makes clear what was lost when the father stopped being himself.

And then it goes from that to painting this bright happy springtime picture of when it was fixed up and new, and from that to the reminder Cassandra is writing this while cold and hungry and miserable in the third version of the castle. She talks about how all the reminiscing is making her sad... and then something as simple as realizing she's getting a hot bath that night perks her right up again. Really drives home that she's just a naturally happy person, because this same story could obviously be told in a much bleaker and more bitter way.

I feel like I should really go back after I read this and like, chart out the patterns of color usage, because I'm sure there are layers and layers there. (That others have probably analyzed to death already but oh well.)

The three 'phases' of the castle in her memory all have associated colors and seasons, and then there's little details like dyeing the clothes green and having this incredibly loaded conversation about springtime and new beginnings with Stephen just as things begin to change for them all.

Also what the fuuuck was going on with Rose wishing on the carved devil head? I mean I already know it's not going to be *that* kind of story, but it seems like it's just going to keep teasing at it, and Rose is indeed a dumbass.

CYS Other Book Club: Actual Books!

one month ago
HEY @ninjapitka @Avery_Moore @TheChef @puddlebunni IT'S TIME TO DISCUSS THE BOOK NOW! You all read it, right?

CYS Other Book Club: Actual Books!

one month ago

You got that from, "Definitely noping out of this one"? :p

CYS Other Book Club: Actual Books!

one month ago
You posted in the thread, thus you are in this. Anyway I'd recommend giving it a look sometime if you do get the chance, it's easy enough to find a free copy and it's not an especially long book. It can be gotten through in 2-3 evenings.

CYS Other Book Club: Actual Books!

one month ago

I really should do. It definitely looks like the kind of book I'd enjoy. ^_^

CYS Other Book Club: Actual Books!

one month ago
Oh a tag. I feel so important. I think we’re in exactly the same spot in the book. I was actually describing the book to a coworker yesterday and the seemingly ordinary events are made outrageously interesting by the Cassandra’s voice and style. It’s very gripping in the sense that anything can happen at any time. Meaning, Cassandra will stop, start, or continue the page from an entirely different place and time. Kind of keeps you on your toes as a reader.

I definitely enjoy Cassandra’s perspective, Topaz’s “maturity”, Stephen’s devotion, Mortmain’s mysterious demeanor, but I’m still deciding on Rose. There are times when she seems annoying and entitled, and others when I feel sorry for the poor girl and like her best. I can’t help the feeling something tragic is going to happen to her. Obviously I have nothing to back up that statement. Perhaps it’s just the Game of Thrones effect where I’m trained to think anyone remotely likeable is probably going to get stabbed.

There are two scenes that stood out, although they could probably be considered just one: The bath scene and nudie Topaz with her rubber boots. They are perfect examples of seemingly normal events (at least for the family) that end up like a sit-com on NBC. The family is weird from the outside, but Cassandra writes everything as if it’s normal since, well, it is for her. That fact hit me like a truck when the Cottons first show up. The Cottons themselves don’t seem like the most normal of people, but at least they aren’t alienated from civilization and have a sense of the way the world works. The idea of sitting on a plate in the bath seems like the smart solution to avoid green dye on an otherwise clean butt. Same goes for wearing rubber boots when becoming one with nature. If it’s raining, why wouldn’t you wear boots? All the important stuff is already uncovered. The way those two sections are weaved together is part of the reason I’m enjoying the read so far. It sort of reminds me of the way a comedian would string bits together.

I’m interested to read what happens in the next part. We’ve been introduced to the main players and grown accustomed to some of their quirks. As entertaining as the whimsical journaling has been, it feels like the plot is just starting to take off.

CYS Other Book Club: Actual Books!

one month ago
It’s very gripping in the sense that anything can happen at any time. Meaning, Cassandra will stop, start, or continue the page from an entirely different place and time. Kind of keeps you on your toes as a reader.


That was something I mentioned in the Discord when I first came across it. "I'm going downstairs. Back now. Something weird just happened." Paraphrasing, but I was just like ooooh, that's clever. It was a small thing that established that that kind of time jumping where anything happens and explanation only after the fact could be expected, so it already side-stepped the issue with a lot of 1st person and especially 'journal' style stories where everything is so chronological and dull and the POV is stuck entirely in the things the character can observe for themselves.

There was one bit for instance, where we know what Rose is thinking in a situation because she told Cassandra later, and later still Cassandra got around to writing about it all and was able to incorporate that.

CYS Other Book Club: Actual Books!

one month ago

Alright, I feel as if I am going against the grain, so I will attempt to properly explain why I could only get through about a quarter of this book.  

I Capture the Castle is a lovely book, but it doesn't meet my standards for engaging storytelling, simply because I don't find the idea of a character written to be charismatic through their style of writing and observations to be compelling by itself.  Definitely not compelling enough to get me to read through a hundred pages to push the plot forward.  The quaint way in which Cassandra describes her surroundings, including her sister, stepmother, and others is likable, but it goes on for far too long in my opinion.   I was waiting for some sort of hook, a bit of dynamic writing to contrast the manner in which she'd begun her story, but it never came.  

Instead I was forcing myself to read, and by that time, any sort of progression in the plot would have met unsympathetic eyes.  For that reason, I ceased reading.  It's just not quite my style, but I can completely understand why someone else would enjoy it.  

Of course, I own a nifty paperback version of the book now, and chances are I'll probably get around to finishing the entire thing.  Chances are also good that upon completion I'll have a different opinion of the book, but for now this stands.

CYS Other Book Club: Actual Books!

one month ago
Yo, I'm the Chef. I like to write gruesome, gory, gnarly stuff.
I mean I could've told you already a coming of age story about a girl in the 1930s is not for you, lol.
It reminds me in some ways of Little Women, just written much more artfully and yet plainly at the same time...if that makes any sense. (It's supposed to be in some ways a spoof of Austen and Bronte, as Gower already said, but I'm not as familiar with those...they've been moldering on my Kindle a long time after a brief attempt years ago) Not perfect examples, because those books rely on certain stereotypes that this one conspicuously doesn't, and I really can't overemphasize just how much character and charm the writing itself adds. But that should be a good enough indicator of whether someone thinks they'd enjoy the story anyway. That and if you're a TOXIC MALE that needs to have explosions and tits in the very first chapter to consider a plot to be 'moving along'. Hmph. Someone fetch the hedge clippers, we can easily fix TheChef.

CYS Other Book Club: Actual Books!

one month ago

Lol. Alright, you make a fair point. I may have to wait until the 2025 film release of "I Capture the Castle" directed by Michael Bay to get the most out of Topaz's... character.  

And hey, to be fair, the whole point of this little shindig was to learn something new.  I have learned that my attention span is a bit longer than Mara's, whose span is comparable to the circumference of about three raisins.  My own, of course, is equivalent to about *glances at desk* a can of Blue Diamond "salt n vinegar" almonds.

Oddly enough I don't think the ol flop n' chop is going to help with that.

CYS Other Book Club: Actual Books!

one month ago

You read far more than myself and I am happy not have bought the book I have an online version from an Indian library. 

Is the book well written?  Yes, it is. The first four pages, and the description of the ruins; the world are externally well written, and at the same time making credible that is a diary from a teen that dreams emulate the glory days of his father. 

 

So structure, flow and style I can't talk badly about them. Even if I find the first ten pages really slow down. 

.So why do I stopped at 50 pages.? Because I don't really care about any of the characters and their lives don't provoke any sympathy for they pleas. It is like a passionless relate to how a young lady wants to sell herself to save a family that doesn't deserve it as they are all a bunch of lazy pretenders. 

 

I don't care if she married or what will happen to all characters. Nothing in the book make me feel anything for them and the book doesn't have any plot device except telling the life of a bunch of mediocre people I give a fuck about.

So is literally a well-done piece of art but has the enjoyment of seen paint dry.

 

And like the enjoyment is a big part of why I read I prefer re-reading Oliver Twist to read more of this 

CYS Other Book Club: Actual Books!

26 days ago

 

Thoughts about Pages 100-200 (To chapter 12)

Cassandra looks at things, and most interestingly, she observes herself observing.  And the level of attention she pays to things that most people would just skim over is *itself* interesting, so we spend a lot of time in this book watching Cassandra watching people.  I know that for some people that would be deadly dull, but the magic of this book is that it isn't.

"...if you watch people eating and talking -- really watch them -- it is a very peculiar sight:  hands so busy, forks going up and down, swallowings, words coming out between mouthfuls, jaws working like mad."

She's like an alien anthropologist.  So, I guess, a writer, or an artist.  But the book is full of people like this, who watch and find beauty in things, like when she and Simon listen, just listen to the sounds as they walk, and Cassandra writes what they notice almost as a poem ("Somebody hammering / A hen announcing an egg, / A cottage wireless saying it was the British Broadcasting Corporation...")

This is the point where people are going to throw the book across the room (or whatever the equivalent of that is if you read on a tablet) and say there's no plot in this book.  Which is not at all true, but I could forgive someone who felt that way between pages 100-200, say.

Because some of that looking and noticing and watching people watching you is very strategic and desperate and sad.  I think my favorite moment (and it's horrible in its simplicity) is when Rose orders the creme de menthe even though she loathes it because the green looked beautiful against her hair, and she was thinking of herself as something being looked at aesthetically by the men. 

What's fascinating to me in these hundred pages is how Cassandra has the same thoughts as the reader might--that, well, here we are at the end of the book (as far as she knows).  Problems have been solved, the money issue appears taken care of, and romantic issues are resolved.  And yet she feels a way.  She doesn't know what the way is, either.  ("Flat?  Depressed?  Empty?  If so, why, pray?")  Something is wrong.  This doesn't feel right for the end of a book, and suddenly all the things that are not wrapped up threaten to burst the book.

What is wrong with Mortmain, and why has he been so completely let off the hook for supporting his family?  Is this is leading to a love story between Neil and Cassandra?  Stephen and Cassandra?  Stephen and Mrs. Fox-Cotton?  (ugh, for some reason).   The wish upon the devil, and the vaguely pagan feeling surrounding these ruins and their Midsummer rites keep coming back to haunt this place.

Finally, I just want to note that the moment where Rose talks about the shaving feels, at least to me, so unromantic I want to avert my eyes. 

CYS Other Book Club: Actual Books!

26 days ago

@mizal

@TheChef

@ninjapitka

CYS Other Book Club: Actual Books!

26 days ago

Non-spoiler stuff - sort of stuff to think about

Here's some thoughts I had that might be interesting to ponder as you read and catch up.

  • This book feels so frank about sex and nudity for 1948.  Notice when people are naked in this book.  There's a surprising amount of it.  And "Miss Blossom" seems like she's so callous and jaded.
  • Does Cassandra seem more like a little kid or more like an adult?  I can never pinpoint it.  She's 17!
  • I always forget this is Topaz's third marriage.  I don't know why that changes things but somehow it does.
  • Why is Thomas in this book at all?  I can't quite figure out what he's here for.
  • Is it me, or do the men in this story (aside from Mortmain) get so much less character?  I like Simon and Neil but they don't have even a third of the character that Cassandra or Rose or Topaz do.  Maybe it's just that Cassandra isn't trying to "capture" them?
  • I'm also trying to that about what it exactly means to capture, in Cassandra's sense.  It sounds like chess to capture the castle.
  • This book is so pagan feeling.  What's with that Vicar?

CYS Other Book Club: Actual Books!

25 days ago
I was wondering about Thomas. You mean he's useless and barely mentioned *forever*? Wow, spoiler that.

As amused as I've been by casual nudity and all the paganism as character quirks, I'm much more impressed now that you reminded me what year this was actually written in.

Although I've mentioned before how much I enjoy A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and that's pretty practical about sex for a story from 1943. There protagonist's aunt is a giant slut for one thing, and never portrayed as anything but likeable and a practical person who gets things done.

It was probably pretty progressive in a lot of ways for the time actually. Mom had both the major puberty talks with her daughter, a pedo got shot in the dick, and it even briefly acknowledged that gay dudes and foot fetishists exist.

CYS Other Book Club: Actual Books!

8 days ago
I made it through another chapter and still avoiding your other post until I catch up completely. Where is everyone else at?

I thought the first chapter of Book Two started off really slow. I've come to realize I'm not a fan of finishing one part high and having the next drop off a cliff. My progress through The Idiot has been stopped for the same exact reason. Luckily in this case, the "action" (more like absurdity) picks up a few pages later. In my first post, I said I couldn't make up my mind about Rose. Certain behaviors made me think she's what you would call in 2019 "a dumb bitch" and others made me like her. In this chapter, I thought she was adorable and engaging. There are two major parts that contribute to this: being in the "haunted" house and taking the guise of a bear.

I can't help feeling sorry for Rose. She wants to be a dignified lady not living in squalor, and yet she finds herself in these silly situations. Part of me thinks she's clumsy, though I can't recall a passage alluding to that. Perhaps she's just a victim of the times and consistently rolls 1. Even worse, it feels like she's so incredibly close in this chapter to her goal. The coats the girls are inheriting had the possibility of money. They were actually fairly close to money and proper clothes (remember they had to wear their "whites" in this chapter). Things were looking up and then she finds herself chased with a pitchfork by the man she was trying to avoid. Yep, things never go Rose's way. Poor girl.

I'll address one of your thoughts. I think Cass's "capturing" is more in the literal sense (I think that's the right word here). Like a picture "captures" a moment in time, I think the "capturing" is her journaling. Years pass and seasons change, but the events transpiring in their castle during that time period will live on. I meant to say that in a less gay way, but oh well.

CYS Other Book Club: Actual Books!

7 days ago
I'm still going to finish this. I'm currently just letting all the things I need to read pile up into a looming tower of disapproval and judgement until eventually I feel threatened enough to do something about them all at once.

CYS Other Book Club: Actual Books!

7 days ago
Is this one giant pile or do you have a separate one for all your storygame reviews?

CYS Other Book Club: Actual Books!

7 days ago
It is all the same pile and I'm v distressed.