It’s been a week of re-reads for me. There may have been (okay, there was) a Barnes & Noble run this week (I admit to a weakness for both their books and their cafe), but I’m hoarding the new books for all the flights I’m going to be on over the next week.
Here’s the re-read round-up:
— Melissa Nathan, Persuading Annie.
I already rambled on about this earlier in the week, but, for those who didn’t see it, this is Nathan’s rewrite of Persuasion. I will admit to a preference for her P&P take-off, Pride, Prejudice and Jasmin Field (the Spot the Ashtray scene still makes me laugh myself silly), but Persuading Annie is an incredibly clever take on a novel that’s hard to translate to the modern context.
I was trying to think of other Persuasion remakes, but the only other one that came immediately to mind was Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. Am I missing some?
— Florence King, Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady.
Whatever else one might say about Florence King, she’s one hell of a prose stylist. Whenever I get particularly stuck, I go back and read snippets from the The Florence King Reader, just to marvel at her turns of phrase and her erudite and eclectic blending of recondite subjects. Only Florence King would refer to an annoying contemporary as “Messalina with a master’s degree”.
This is her memoir of growing up in the South in the 1930s and 40s in the midst of an unabashedly barmy household. My favorite bit of the book? When she’s sent to kindergarten and suffers the disillusionment of realizing she’s a child, not just a very short adult.
— Florence King, The Florence King Reader.
Having gone on at some length above, all I’ll say is that one of my favorite bits of this book is her intro to the excerpt from the romance novel she wrote, under another name, back in the 80s (The Barbarian Princess by Laura Buchanan), in which she explains that, as the book was set in Latin-speaking Britain, she wanted to get some Latin words in. The solution? The heroine spends most of the book shouting “Desiste!” as various people attempt to ravish her (hey, it’s an 80s romance novel; it’s a ravishment per minute!)– except, of course, when she’s ravished by a whole gang, at which point she shouts “Desistite!” One wouldn’t want to be incorrect in one’s verb endings, even during a ravishment.
If anyone’s seen the Merchant Ivory spoof, Stiff Upper Lips, this always makes me think of the drowning scene, where the pompous classicist shouts, “Adjuvate! Adjuvate!” (Using, of course, the correct soft classical “v”).
You probably had to be there.
Okay, I’ll stop babbling now and get back to the round-up.
— Susanna Kearsley, The Shadowy Horses.
After all this time, this is still my favorite Susanna Kearsley novel– and that’s saying a lot. Set around an archaeological dig in Scotland, it combines the best elements of Mary Stewart and Barbara Michaels.
What have you been reading this week?