sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

March 11, 2010

perennials, from the heart, and lunchtime scenery
posted by soe 11:34 pm

I haven’t looked forward to a weekend this much in a while, so I’m really glad it’s Thursday today.

Here are three beautiful things from the last week:

1. I left work early on Friday, which meant I walked home from the Metro during daylight. Along the way I passed blooming snowdrops and croci (crocuses?). It absolutely brightened my foul mood to see the yellow and purple and white flowers.

2. My parents made me handcrafted gifts for my birthday. Mum sewed me a cheery apron based on one of hers that I always use and framed a trio of old photos of us, and Dad made me a mix cd that I’ve listened to every day this week.

3. The start of the work week was warm and sunny, so I ate lunch outside. On Monday I sat in front of the White House and on Tuesday I parked myself outside the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. I forget sometimes exactly how cool it is to live and work in D.C.

What’s been beautiful in your world?

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into the stacks 2010.8
posted by soe 2:50 am

Just for tonight, I’m skipping post 2010.7, which talks about The Help, because it was just too good to allow my review to go out as is. In the meantime, I offer you the book I read for the first half of my California trip:

Austenland, by Shannon Hale

From the jacket: “Jane is a young New York woman who can never seem to find the right man — perhaps because of her secret obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. But when a wealthy relative bequeaths to her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-obsessed women, Jane’s fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become more real than she ever could have imagined. Is this total immersion in a fake Austenland enough to make Jane kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own?”

My take: In this cute tale of a woman so caught up in her fantasy life that she’s unwilling and increasingly unable to focus on her real life, Jane is a graphic designer living the modern fairy tale life in New York City. Except she can’t find her Prince Charming, or in her case, Mr. Darcy as portrayed by actor Colin Firth.

An eccentric but sharply aware great-aunt dies, willing Jane a trip to an Austen immersion “camp” in England. Arriving, Jane is told to hand over her iPod and cell phone and is assigned Regency-period clothing, schooled in old-fashioned social niceties, and introduced to an estate’s worth of actors and guests designed to make her feel as if she’s stepped right between the covers of Pride and Prejudice.

Adventures and misadventures ensue as Jane compares her past “dating” disasters with the eligible men with whom she is role-playing: young Colonel Andrews, the second son of an earl; Mr. Nobley, a dashing but brooding gentlemen; and Martin, playing the part of Theodore the gardener, with whom she’s supposed to have no contact.

The book isn’t high art and isn’t as accomplished as the young adult fiction that Hale is best known for. But it’s a good romp, particularly if you’re an Austen fan or if you’ve ever fallen in love with a character straight off the page or screen.

Pages: 196

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