Tuesday, September 16, 2014

It's Nothing Personal

It happens to us all.

Every now and again, we simply need a break.

Not a long break or a permanent break - just a little hiatus to catch our breath & recharge our batteries.

That's me right now.

Like the true introvert I am, I've crawled into my shell & I have nothing to say.

Well...only a little bit to say...

I've been unwell, I've been away & I've been busy. My mind is preoccupied & my thoughts are scattered.

I could beat myself up for not reviewing and visiting blogs. Instead I've decided to be kind to myself and give myself the little technology break my mind is obviously in need of.

Instagram, twitter & facebook will not be checked daily. And I will blog again as soon as I can piece together a coherent blog post.

In the meantime...

I'm half way through The Bone Clocks, I'm only four chapters into my Classic Club Spin book and my TBR pile is growing not diminishing.

I will simply and happily use all this extra spare time to read, read, read!


P.S. I like pinterest, but sometimes quotes, like this one, are not easy to trace back to their source.
Please accept this unacknowledged repost as a compliment to the original author for saying exactly what I wanted to say at this moment in time.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Joys of Blogging #368

There are no words to adequately describe how wonderful it was to meet Melissa (& her lovely Huz) from Avid Reader's Musings face to face in Sydney last night. 

Melissa contacted me last year asking for advice on things to see and do in Sydney.
Several emails & blog posts later and with anticipation & excitement, the happy day finally arrived!

I believe that Huz and Mr Books were concerned about how we would recognise each other and one of our Booklets was concerned about cyber strangers & how did we know if we were meeting axe murderers or not!
Delightfully, Melissa and I recognised each other straight away & the only lethal weapons in sight were the deadly gin and tonics served at high altitude!

We splashed out for drinks at Blu Bar on 36 to take in the magnificent views of Sydney Harbour at sunset. We laughed, compared accents & chatted non-stop about books, blogging and travelling!

I don't normally post photos of myself on my blog, and these pics are not the best I've ever taken, but I simply had to share this special occasion.

I hope, before too long, that Mr Books & I will be able to return the favour & catch up with Melissa & Huz in Indianapolis.


Monday, September 8, 2014

Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

I haven't read a lot of teen/YA fiction lately - it has been boring me to tears to be perfectly honest.
Which is difficult, when it's my job to read children's book!

Thank goodness then, for Meg Wolitzer and Belzhar.

I was reluctantly, then wholeheartedly, drawn into this sad world of teens with 'issues' and their special school, The Wooden Barn.

Wolitzer's writing was enchanting; her characters were believable and before I knew it, I was sucked into this strange world of inspired teaching, mysterious journals & teen angst.

Belzhar was also a story about the power of words - "great writing (does) make a difference" - and the healing power of story in helping us through life.

The trick being, of course, to know when it's a story we're telling ourselves "because the truth was unbearable."

Wolitzer referred to the stories & poetry of Sylvia Plath throughout this book, as well as creating her title in homage to The Bell Jar, which has only made me more determined to read it!

Belzhar is an October release for Simon & Schuster Australia.
Highly recommended for teens, YA and adults wanting an easy but compelling read.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Seven Letters From Paris by Samantha Vérant

I so wanted to love this story.

Seven Letters From Paris: Sometimes Love Gives you a Second Chance: A True Love Story should have been right up my alley.
My Random House rep knew of the basic story behind my very own romantic marriage, so she thought of me straight away when this proof copy turned up at work.

Sure, Sydney is not Paris, and our time apart was 14 yrs, not 20. I was only 19 when I met my husband for the first time, just like Samantha. However ours was more than a holiday romance back then as we dated for 4 yrs....& the beginning of our second time also centred around letters and emails.

As you can see, two very similar romantic stories - we should have been kindred spirits. I should have been able to relate to Samantha's story. But I didn't.

The part that finally made me give up was when Samantha flew to Paris to meet Jean-Luc for the first time 20 yrs later.

Perhaps it's simply not possible to describe the true intensity of feelings of that day, that moment when you meet again. The hopes, the fears, the anticipation, the regrets, the excitement, the wonder, the confusion, the tears, the laughter, the passion - so many expectations & possibilities crowded into one moment, one day. Ten years later, that day is etched onto my brain, heart & soul forever.

Sadly, I was unable to enter into Samantha's world at this point of the story. I felt deflated, like something important had been glossed over. Even Paris seemed bland. I couldn't capture the excitement or feel the emotion. It was a story being told, rather than an experience being shared.

I do wish Samantha and Jean-Luc all the love and happiness in the world. I hope their real life story continues to be as wonderful, romantic and special as ours is to this day.
Even though all our friends say our story would make a fabulous movie, after reading Seven Letters, I think I will save our story just for us.
Unless you know the people involved, with all the back stories and nuances understood & accepted, reading someone else's love story is just, well...unsatisfying.

Seven Letters From Paris is a November release from Random House Australia.
This post is part of Dreaming of France.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami

I finished Tsukuru a week ago but have struggled to write my review. I'm not sure what I have to say or how to say it.

Tsukuru is a much quieter story than 1Q84. It's also a lot shorter! The editing and translation felt more succinct; either that, or I'm getting used to Murakami's style.

Loneliness, depression, loss & insecurity are explored as Tsukuru comes to terms with who he is, his past and what this means for his future.

This is all very familiar territory for Murakami & it would seem that his fans, also, cannot get enough of these themes.

I think I'm one of those fans.

Tsukuru's story has got under my skin. The visions of loneliness have struck a chord, the beautiful Liszt music has become a favourite.

I'm always fascinated by stories that explore how we see ourselves because it is often vastly different to how others experience us. Part of Tsukuru's pilgrimage is coming to terms with these two different view of himself. But like real life, there are no clear revelations, no startling turning points & no significant overnight changes in behaviour or attitude.

At the end Tsukuru has more understanding and self-awareness, but he is still the same Tsukuru struggling with self-doubt, loneliness & identity.

I will be reading more Murakami; I'm very curious to see what came before.
What is Murakami's personal pilgrimage with loneliness, depression, loss & belonging? Will he ever work it out? And do we even want him to?

This post is part of Dolce Bellezza's Japanese Reading Challenge & Jenny's Alphabe-Thursday 'P' (is for Pilgrimage) post.
For my previous discussion on the cover and music click here.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Flying Orchestra by Clare McFadden

The Flying Orchestra was first published in 2010 & Clare McFadden won the CBCA New Illustrator's Crichton Award in 2011.

I can't believe that I have never written a review about this wonderful, inspiring, beautiful book before.

I reread it recently and was amazed all over again by the soulful, moving story & the evocative illustrations.

Set in Brisbane, this is a story that will capture your heart and live inside you for a very long time.

As a (former) teacher I could imagine choosing favourite pieces of music to play whilst sharing this book with my classes. I was delighted to discover that Clare has done just that! She has created a youtube book reading whilst three friends accompany her.

The sound quality is not great, but I've included the link below, so you can enjoy this story for yourself.
So, do yourself a favour.
Stop everything, sit down, take a deep breath, relax & listen to this gorgeous story. It's just seven minutes and it will be the best thing you do today!


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Palace Full of Princesses by Sally Gardner

A Palace Full of Princesses contains four of Sally Gardner's Early Reader stories - The Frog Prince, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty & Snow White.

Each story has about 6-7 chapters, large font and lots of colourful pictures on each page.

The stories are traditional with the occasional modern twist and a little humour. 

Snow White has all the dark twists and turns you expect, Cinderella is wish fulfillment personified, the Frog Prince is cheekily persistent & Sleeping Beauty ends with 

"The prince and princess lived very happily. They had sixteen children and their favourite story was, of course, the story of Sleeping Beauty."

Sixteen children!

All the pages are decorated with pretty borders, frames, stars and lots of delightful details.

A Palace Full of Princesses is the perfect gift for new readers or to read aloud with your princess-loving 4+ child.

Monday, September 1, 2014

One Minute's Silence by David Metzenthen & Michael Camilleri

I wrote a post about the proliferation of Australian WW1 stories for children earlier in the year (here). I honestly didn't think I would be adding many more reviews to this ever-growing list.

It seemed that all the possible ways of commemorating and remembering the war had been covered - letters, diaries, seeds, clothing, photos, horses & donkeys. Gallipoli, Beersheba, the muddy trenches of France & camp hospitals. Wounds, capture, gassing, fear, amputation, death, grief & hope. Mateship, nurses, poppies, pines, medals, the last post, graves, memorials & coming home. The bravery & futility, the differences & similarities, the making of a nation, the ANZAC's, the home front, the propaganda & lest we forget.

Every angle explored, every emotion evoked.

Until, that is, One Minute's Silence by David Metzenthen crossed my path.

This is a picture book for older readers. Metzenthen's text has mature themes & concepts.

Camilleri's black & white cross-hatch drawings are stunning, confronting & full of symbolism.
They engage the reader from the start as we see a highschool classroom full of bored teenagers slouching on their desks. The teacher is poised to lead a minute's silence as we see the classroom clock tick over from 10:59:59 to 11am.

During the one minute's silence we are taken on a journey, back to the trenches of Gallipoli.

The faces of the classmates appear in the trenches. They feel the fear, they face the danger. The realities of war are confronted in some very powerful & challenging images.

We see the faces of the Turks in the trenches opposite. They feel the fear, they face the danger, just like the ANZAC's...as the faces of their highschool classmates appear in Turkish ranks too.

Metzenthen highlights the impossible, hopeless nature of the Gallipoli campaign. And Camilleri's drawings hit you where it hurts. One Minute's Silence is a book full of provocations, reflections & discussion topics.

They leave us with Ataturk's now famous speech from 1934.
The same words that now also adorn the Gallipoli memorial at ANZAC Cove,

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Jane Austen Community

Thanks to one of our AiA reviewers, I started searching for a Jane Austen society in Australia...which has led me on to a much bigger world of Jane Austen love than I could ever have dreamed or hoped for!

I thought that some of you might also like to see just how much love there is for Jane Austen and just how far that love has traveled.

I give you the Jane Austen Society of Australia...founded in 1989. (I had hoped to attend their August meeting entitled 'Through a Scholar's Lens: R W Chapman and Jane Austen' but bad weather got the better of me.)

"Jane Austen Festival Australia is an annual celebration in Canberra where Austen and Napoleonic fans from all over Australia come and indulge themselves in everything Regency – including dancing, music, food, games, archery, fencing, theatre, promenades, grand balls, talks, workshops, costumes and books. Since its inception in 2008 this little festival has blossomed into one of the most delightful four days anyone could experience each April."
They also have their own, regularly updated blog here.

Jane Austen Society of Melbourne has been meeting since 1993.

The Jane Austen Society of Adelaide started in 1996.

The UK are very organised with their JAS.
All the regional branches are clearly listed on their home page.

There is a Jane Austen Centre in Bath (which I have been fortunate enough to visit in 2007). They also have their own Jane Austen magazine.

Ireland have their own Jane Austen Society blog.

The Jane Austen Society of North America can be found here and Canada here.

If you have a google translate option you can read the JAS Netherlands site or Brazil's!

Goodreads has a Jane Austen group. You can also join the Republic of Pemberley!

If you prefer Jane Austen adaptations then My Jane Austen Book Club could be your cup of tea.

There are so many blogs devoted to all things Jane Austen it would be impossible to list them all. Here are a few to get you started though...
Austenprose
Austen Family Album
Jane Austen Addict
The Secret Dream World of a Jane Austen Fan
Jane Austen's World
Stitching With Jane Austen

Thank you to Jenna for hosting this year's Austen in August. It's wonderful to have a whole month every year devoted to all things Jane Austen.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Haruki Murakami

I only 'discovered' Murakami last year when I finally got around to reading 1Q84.

If I wanted to be picky, there were some niggles about translation, length and plot developments. But these were details...and as time has gone by, I've come to view Murakami as a bigger picture, all encompassing, get under your skin & into your psyche kind of writer.

1Q84 certainly infected my psyche...I wanted more.

Over the past year I have been slowly accumulating Murakami's backlist. And this year I found myself caught up in the excitement surrounding the worldwide release of his English translation of Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage.

Although I use the word English loosely, since for some unknown reason, the worldwide publication has gone with the American spelling of colorless. For many of us in England and Australia this is annoying, offensive and/or just mildly irritating depending on how much of a purist you are!

Perhaps that's why the UK & Aussie editions came with stickers - a consolation prize in the trans-Atlantic spelling bee!

As a book collector who likes her editions to match when possible, the cover chosen for our edition is to be applauded for it's attempt to match the Random Vintage covers for Murakami's backlist (below).

The cover reflects the colours of the characters & their overlapping connections.

The stickers represent Tsukuru - they allow us to make/build/create our own covers.

A couple of days after starting the book, I spotted the Japanese Literature Challenge and their month long readalong for CTTAHYOP.

Perfect.

Except I am now struggling to put together my review for Colourless Tsukuru, so I thought I'd play around with a few lists and Lizst instead!

Since I'm still a Murakami novice, I've been wondering which one I should read next.

Goodreads top 5 Murakami books are:

1. Kafka on the Shore
2. Norwegian Wood
3. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
4. 1Q84
5. Hard-Boiled Wonderland & the End of the World

Refinery29 suggests:

1. Norwegian Wood
2. Dance Dance Dance
3. Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman
4. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
5. After Dark
6. South of the Border, West of the Sun

Priyanko Sarkar at Mensxp recommends:

1. Norwegian Wood
2. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
3. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
4.Kafka on the Shore
5. 1Q84

Matthew C Strecher at Publishers Weekly lists:

1. A Wild Sheep Chase
2. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
3. Hard-Boiled Wonderland & the End of the World
4. 1Q84
5. Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage
6. Kafka on the Shore
7. Hear the Wind Sing
8. Pinball, 1973
9. Norwegian Wood
10. Dance Dance Dance

Which one should I read next?
I'd love to hear what you think is Murakami's best book to date and why.

While you're pondering your responses, you might like to listen to Liszt's "Le mal du pays" from his Years of Pilgrimage suite Year 1: Switzerland.

We're enjoying a 2 week long rain-fest in Sydney at the moment (with no immediate end in sight)! The visual (below) feels like it was made for my mood right now.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Use Your Imagination by Nicola O'Byrne

Use Your Imagination becomes the standard response for the big bad wolf when rabbit asks for help to tell a story...

...as long as rabbit's imagination involves a 'once upon a time', a baddie in the size and shape of a wolf, a hero, a forest and an ending where the big bad wolf is no longer hungry!

Obviously, the big bad wolf has forgotten how all good fairy tales really end though as rabbit takes control of his story...just in time!

O'Byrne tells a tale that is funny, vaguely familiar and full of imagination.

This fractured fairy tale is the perfect resource for school teachers to explain the basics of storytelling to their classes.

It's also perfect for parents to share with their 4+ year olds or for anyone, any age, who enjoys seeing the innocent underdog best the baddies of this world!

A win/win book for everyone (except the big bad wolf of course!)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Japanese Literature Challenge

I've been blogging for 5 years now & I'm still surprised by just how HUGE this book blogging world really is.

Thanks to Tamara at Thyme for Tea (who I only found recently when I joined in my first Paris in July challenge) I've just discovered the Japanese Literature Challenge hosted by Bellezza at Dolce Bellezza.

This is its eighth year (really!) and right now it's perfect for me.

I bought my brand new copy of Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Year of Pilgrimage on the 12th August (with bonus stickers!)

Thanks to visitors and family birthday's though, I've only just started it this week.

The first night was taken up with sticker mania.

I spent some time trolling through instagram & twitter to see what others had done with their stickers.

Most people were being quite creative with their cover designs, although a few were hilarious in their "lets just put all the stickers on as carelessly as possible" method.

However I realised very quickly that this cover design thing was not going to work for me.

As soon as I spied the sheet of stickers - I knew what I wanted to do.

Therefore I plan to read through the book and as I spot the phrase that represents a sticker I will add it to that page. Simple!

The only problem so far is that 5 of the stickers are in Japanese script. I have absolutely no idea what they say!

So now that I've sorted out the sticker situation; I'm reading to get stuck in.

This readalong & I are a match made in heaven!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Vanilla Ice Cream by Bob Graham

Vanilla Ice Cream is Bob Graham doing what he does best.

Ordinary lives in microcosm - the similarities between very different communities - the simple pleasures of life, family, pets and the inter-connectedness of, well, everything!

This simple story begins in India with a sparrow looking for food.

Like all Graham's work, though, the bulk of the story occurs in the illustrations. We see children playing hopscotch outside a small food shack. A customer is sitting down to a plate of samosa's. The sparrow flits around, until it eventually spies an open rice bag on top of a truck full of rice bags...about to head off to the big city and the docks.

The rice is placed on board a cargo ship and sails across the ocean, with the sparrow on board too.

Eventually the ship arrives in a new city and the sparrow flies out over the land.

Walking through the Botanic Gardens are toddler Edie Irvine, her grandparents and their dog. They stop at the cafe for afternoon tea. Edie has her bottle and her grandparents sit down to enjoy an ice cream cone.

Along comes our cheeky little sparrow, looking for fresh food. It spies some crumbs on the table. The dog leaps after it, pulling grandad's arm, knocking over the vanilla ice cream and.........


Vanilla Ice Cream has been endorsed by Amnesty International UK "because it reminds us that we should all enjoy life, freedom and safety."

If you'd like to see more Bob Graham illustrations, then click here to see my post about his recent Retrospective in Canberra.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Henny by Elizabeth Rose Stanton

Henny is not your usual chicken - she's a chicken born with arms!

"Sometimes Henny liked having arms and sometimes she didn't.

She liked being different.

She didn't like being different."

This is a sweet and funny story about how Henny copes with being different. 
She faces her worries & discovers all the good things she can do with arms - all from the safe haven of her mother's unconditional love.

I read Henny to a group of 3-4 yr olds this week to great delight. 
The children and their parents chuckled at the textual & visual humour. They poured over the simple line drawings, fascinated by Henny's arms.

Stanton is a debut picture book author with a blog & website of her own - I can't wait to see what she does next. 

But for now, if you love your quirky with a good dose of adorable, then check out Henny now!
Giggles guaranteed.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

I decided to reread S&S for this year's Austen in August.

To give my reread structure & direction I decided to compare Jane Austen's Sense & Sensibility with some of it's adaptations and movies.

This post will focus on the original novel (1811), the Emma Thompson movie (1995) & Joanna Trollope's modern interpretation (2013).

The first, very obvious, big difference are the ages of Elinor and Marianne. In the novel, they are 19 & 17 respectively. Thompson was 36 in 1995 (& Winslett 19).

19 & 17 were perfectly usual ages for getting married in Jane Austen's time. Today, we would be horrified to hear of someone marrying so young. Perhaps Thompson's actual age during the filming reflects our modern sensibilities surrounding the usual marrying age for women?

The movie uses a lot more park & garden scenes early on to allow Elinor & Edward time to converse & get to know each other.
Jane Austen, instead, leaves us (like Elinor) without a lot of detailed information about Edward's character, so that we are left to battle the same feelings of doubt & insecurity as Elinor. Austen leaves us to work out Edward's character by his actions rather than his words.

However a movie requires showing & telling, action & drama and obvious connections, therefore we watch Edward attempting to confide in Elinor about his engagement to Lucy.
When Lucy reveals to Elinor her secret engagement (in one of the most magnificent dastardly bitch-slaps in literary history), we don't feel too harshly towards Edward because the scene in the stables showed us he tried to be honourable & open.
Austen leaves all of us hanging.

Austen has an alive & well Lady Middleton with several small children at Barton "her manners had all the elegance which her husband's wanted".

S&S provides many examples of mismatched marriages & ill-fated affairs  - the Middleton's, the Palmer's, the John Dashwood's, Col Brandon's early love affair, his god-daugther's fall from grace and eventually Willoughby & Miss Gray.
These unhappy, ill-suited pairings contrast sharply with the girls expectations to marry for love (sensibility), but also with respect, honour, dignity, common interests & prudence (sense).

Young Margaret has a much larger role in the movie than in the book. In both versions she is the childish revealer of family secrets. In the movie she becomes another way for us to see how honourable, gracious and fun Edward really is.
Austen leaves us hovering between Elinor's esteem & admiration for Edward and Marianne's concern that he is lacking vitality or passion. Is Edward in fact, too meek and mild for Elinor? In the movie we are left with none of these doubts - Edward is charming, sensitive and everything we could hope for (in a partner for Elinor).

Austen has Edward visit the Dashwood's at Barton Cottage for a week just after Marianne is left in the lurch by Willoughby. In the movie we don't see him again until London - the promised visit is forgone - he only sends the atlas.

In the book, Lucy reveals her engagement to Edward whilst walking in the park with Elinor - this reflects JA's habit of using the garden and the great outdoors for major revelations and turning points.


The movie condenses several dramatic moments and important points in the one London party & softens Willoughby's "hardened villany."
Austen marries Willoughby to Miss Grey whilst the Dashwood sisters are still in London. Brandon also reveals to Elinor, in the book, that he and Willoughby duelled.

Marianne, at Cleveland, does go for a long walk to see Combe Magna from the hill, but there is no rain or storm and she returns well. Her illness comes on several days later, very gradually.
Whereas the movie uses the storm to show how much Colonel Brandon cares for Marianne - he rescues her and carries her inside, almost collapsing on the floor from the exertion (unlike the younger more athletic Willoughby earlier on in the movie who deposits Marianne effortlessly on the couch).

Austen gives Willoughby, upon hearing about Marianne's illness, the opportunity to rush to Cleveland and speak with Elinor. This is how we finally hear his version of events in the book. Miss Gray composed the ghastly letter her wrote to Marianne and forced him to return her trinkets.
Both versions, though, seem to gloss over the fate of Brandon's god-daughter.

In the movie I struggled with the leap for Marianne to marry Colonel Brandon. In the book it clearly states that 2 years goes by and how Marianne "was born to discover the falsehood of her own opinions...."

The movie also has the advantage of facial expression, gestures and tone of voice. Whereas JA relies entirely on "the careful crafting of her sentences, the intricacy of her story-telling, and the accuracy of her observation on human nature." (Lindsay Doran)

Sense and Sensibility was written in 1795 but not published until 1811.

The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay and Diaries by Emma Thompson (1995) was far more fascinating than I thought it would be.

Ang Lee "spoke of the deep meaning that the title held for him - Sense and Sensibility, two elements that represent the core of life itself, like Yin and Yang, or Eat, Drink, Man Woman." (pg 15)

I liked the duality of this image - the importance of a balance between sense AND sensibility.

Dotted with stills & memorable images & an introduction by Lindsay Doran, the diaries are a curious mix of modern and Regency England .

At times, I found Thompson's modern voice disconcerting - swearing, smoking and drinking after a hard day on the set. Sleepless, stressful nights with sleeping pills, self-doubt and dietary problems. Reflections on Hugh Grant's problems in LA after finishing his part in the shoot! And, curiously, no mention of her growing feelings for Greg Wise (Willoughby) who she went on to marry in real life in 2003.

I loved learning about how the actors got themselves into their characters & how the hair & makeup crew became obsessed with working tapestries between scenes.
Insights into what they intended with certain scenes were fascinating as was the reason why some scenes were added and others dropped.

"At least we know that over the years we've tried everything - bringing Edward back in the middle (which didn't work as there was nothing for him to do), seeing Brandon and Willoughby fight the duel (which only seemed to subtract from the mystery), bringing Willoughby back at the end: a wonderful scene in the novel which unfortunately interfered too much with the Brandon love story. "

Ang Lee asked all his actors to get into the interior life of their characters by answering questions & doing 'homework'.
Imogen Stubbs who played Lucy Steele, won the best effort award when she wrote a letter to Elinor from Lucy years after both their marriages! Thompson included the letter in the appendix. It was hilarious and very clever - Imogen inhabited Lucy's skin perfectly.

Thompson also shared her thoughts on acting technique, romance & feminism...

"Primary emotions like anger, fear and sorrow, even happiness, are a doddle in comparison with an exchange of dialogue that makes Elinor and Marianne, for instance, genuiniely appear to be sisters."

"S&S is about love and money. Perhaps its main question is, can love survive without money?...Romantic codes teach us that love conquers all. Elinor disagrees. You need a decent wage, a competence. Some people need more. Some people need more money than love. Most people would rather have love with a comfortable amount of money. . It's a difficult thing to accept....But interesting that our 'western' romantic symbols cost a great deal. Roses, diamonds..."  And don't forget the exorbitant cost of most modern weddings and honeymoons. A display of wealth is very much a part of our modern day romance.

"Elinor and Edward seem both to belong to the eighteenth century, the age of Augustan reason....Marianne shoots towards the middle of the nineteenth century, embracing each romantic ideal like a new lover. The turn of the century seems to produce a Janus-like generation, some clinging to the old systems, some welcoming the new age. Always a powerful time. As for 1995, hm."

I have deliberately left my views on Trollope's recent adaptation to last. It was impossible to compare it to the original or the movie without throwing it across the room in disgust!

I gave it a week's grace and tried again, but still found it impossible to finish. The problem for me is that Trollope insisted on telling me everything I needed to know instead of showing me via her dialogue or action.

ie "Fanny had turned out to be a pure concentration of self-interest. She was, apparently, just like her equally tiny mother: hard as nails and entirely devoted to status and money. Especially money. Fanny was mad about money."

Did you get that? Fanny is a nasty piece of work who loves money! Trollope then goes on in this vein for several more paragraphs!

JA doesn't tell us any of this. We see & hear it for ourselves. We hear it when Fanny talks John down from providing any money to his sister's welfare, in the way she arrives at Norland, in her many comments about Edward's career & marriage prospects, in her treatment of Lucy....

I've never read any Trollope before, so I don't know if this is her usual way of writing or whether she simply baulked at the classic example of story telling before her.

All I can say is, if you're looking for an entertaining, well-crafted, beautifully written, complex story then stick with the original! If time is short, then by all means watch Emma Thompson's movie...it's almost as good as the book! Which is high praise indeed!