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Nov. 21st, 2014 08:55 pm
taelle: (rain)
 In USSR books were difficult to get. That is, you could buy an exciting modern novel about factory conflicts over producing better steel at any time, but good stuff - classical novels, historical books, adventure stories - was hard to get. You had to queue, or bring a lot of scrap paper for the right to buy popular books, or you had to know the right people who could get a book for you. The only way I managed to read Three Musketeers when I was about 8 and the film was recently out and all my classmates have read it already and I suffered was that my mother managed to borrow it in her workplace library.

So there were books you heard about and could not get. One such book was Jane Eyre: my mother had a story about how she was in a camp at school and managed to get it - I can't remember whether it was for a night, or whether she just was too eager - but basically she was reading it by the moonlight at the window, and the moonlight was moving away so she was reading and hanging out more and more out of the window to get more light.

Clearly it was a good book. And then there was perestroika and everybody went and published books (oh those horribly-made books of early 1990s), and you could actually buy stuff. And I got my hands on Jane Eyre. ... and it was probably too late - my mother read it at 14, and I was about 17, and it was interesting and dramatic, but really. Too dramatic - Mr Rochester, of course, did not help things, but mostly what I did not like was Jane's inner passions. They were a bit much for me.

And then, maybe a year later, a friend told me that she read a cool English novel by Jane Austen. Hmmm, I said, it's like another Jane Eyre?
No, my friend said, not at all. I can't remember whether she lent me the book - probably not, I think I went and bought my own. Pride and Prejudice, and I still have it, I think, even though I got better editions since then. But, well, my friend was right. I felt I met a book I could be friends with. A book where the heroes felt no need to be dramatic, and were polite, and yet their inner life was all more engrossing for them.

... and that was ages ago, and it seems to me that the majority of books is more like Bronte than Austen (I fib a little when I actually mean 'more like Jane Eyre' - I later read Shirley and loved it a lot, especially Caroline. And the historical context. And relationships... why did I not nominate Shirley for Yuletide?). And getting more and more so: here I am, reading about books on, say, DW or Tumblr, and my flists tell me: "Read this book, it's awesome! Everyone is broken and the protagonist is angry all the time!" Um. How about no.) But there still are some books I can be friends with.
taelle: (crafty)
I've been noticing that some books for me are like a test: I can handle people saying that they don't like/don't understand them, but when people start making _judgements_ on them, it makes me want to move back. Austen is a clearest example. "Austen? Oh, I am not interested in romance novels/chicklit/one more book about girls looking for husband'. Uhhhuh, and I am probably not interested in _you_.

Also, I've been reading an interesting blog, and its author had a post about bringing out and analyzing her internal convictions. And, well, she used crafts as an example - that for her paper crafts is stuff you do with kids, sewing and knitting is normal but still it's more economical to buy stuff... well, the basic conviction she discovered is kinda evident. And it threw me into thinking about me and crafts. Because my first instinct was 'She's right, and what I do is useless' - I do have some periods of thinking like that, usually stopped by 'and what _isn't_ useless?'

But. I know I am not interested in paper crafts, and sometimes I think it's because I find them useless, but. I know some people don't do cross-stitch because is useless... and maybe it is. I often find cross-stitching quoted as this ultimate example of useless fiddling, stuff old-fashioned spinsters/housewives do. And I certainly have a bit of inferiority complex because I use patterns created by others - not creative at all, basically a version of painting-by-numbers. (then again, I mostly consider myself not a creative person anyway).

So, am I trying knitting because it's useful? Because it's more creative? I certainly knit much worse than I cross-stitch (though it's difficult to cross-stitch badly) Even in fandom, knitting is kinda cool, and the only 'cool' cross-stitching is that book that offers patterns for cross-stitching the word 'fuck' and stuff like this.

... actually, no, I don't - I mean, I am also trying sewing, but that _is_ kind of practical, while knitting feels somewhat similar to cross-stitching for me, this process of doing things stitch by stitch, slowly, without trying to get this all at once (I am a slow person rather tired from the world that keeps wanting me to embrace whole processes at once and to be spontaneous and creative).

As for paper crafts, the simple truth is that I don't enjoy handling paper and cardboard the way I enjoy floss and yarn and fabrics.

I tend to forget this at times, though.

And I would love to knit better. And to not be afraid to sew and knit for myself (well, knit not-scarves for myself). And possibly to quilt.
taelle: (sad)
I keep being amazed and annoyed by people who think Jane Austen (a) wrote chicklit; (b) wrote about people whose behaviour has absolutely nothing to do with how real people behave.

... but then, I've been getting more and more annoyed at people and generally misanthropic lately. To the point of having people migraines. Well, actually, stress migraines, the stress originating from having to be in contact with people for more than half an hour at the time, but ... the same thing.

Can I be a bear this winter? Also, Internet has plenty of annoying people: how do I hide from them?
taelle: (sad)
I feel too tired to do a proper workload, and this troubles me greatly. Perhaps I should go back to taking vitamins - I can never quite believe in their effectiveness, but I must do _something_. ... but I did manage the minimum work I had to do today. Oh well.

I have this habit of making work pauses to read Internet discussions, since they're much less engrossing than any other type of break I might take (the downside is, of course, that I don't rest properly - I'm still at the computer).Today (and yesterday) I was entertaining myself with people arguing whether it was ethical and/or legal to do print-on-demand editions of fanfics. I can't quite imagine why it would be less legal than posting fanfiction online, since the fanficcer still gets no profit, but apparently a lot of people feel that an actual book done by an actual publisher makes all the difference (I suppose they feel the fanficcer in this case puts herself on an equal footing with the author of canon. Or something). Oh well, you learn something every day.

Had to mail some documents, so I walked to the 20-minutes-from-us post office, instead of the one on our street - like I started doing recently. I still marvel at how two post offices can be so different. No queues, a nice walk and  postal employees who do not feel sending mail or packages a panic-inducing task - so very refreshing. Though our post office was also surprisingly nice today - for some reason they delivered a package to our apartment instead of bringing a notice for me to go get it. I can't figure out their rules. ... also, the walk to the farther p.o. is through one of my favourite places in the city, especially now, with golden autumn practically at its best. I do love it here.

I continue reading Tolstoy for secondary characters, but I can't help wondering about Pierre. He's so childish... I had an argument with my mother today, about how peculiarly he was brought up, neither as a man of society nor as someone who'd have to work for a living. If his father planned to legitimize him and presumably have him as a heir, why did he leave Pierre so poorly socialized?

... also I suddenly thought that in a way Sonya is Fanny Price, only without a lucky ending - refusing the suitor she did not want and not getting neither the one she wanted nor any respect.

Also, I felt too tired to write but I know myself and I went and wrote a tiny sketch of a Preposterous AU Crossover (another one) - however, this one requires planning before writing anything sensible. Am I up to planning? There's a lot of writing stuff that I should be planning, from this AU to my LBB fic, but I am terribly bad at this. Oh well, guess I'll have to learn.

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Sep. 29th, 2011 11:07 pm
taelle: (Default)
My brain did not want me to read anything requiring any amount of concentration, so I reread three Christies I remembered worst of all. Still works as comfort reading. Rereading and comfort reading is a curious thing - sometimes a book stops working for you. I used to reread Max Frei to bits until I just couldn't. Suddenly author's world view was too much in my face and too different from mine to enjoy it.

I am fine with other times' views, though - well, mostly fine (I used to like a mystery writer either writing or setting her novels in the 50s and then I reread her books and couldn't stand the way women were treated). I know a lot of people who can't read Austen for reasons ranging from 'these people are busy with stupid things and make mountains out of molehills' to 'the women's lives are intolerable and it is suffocating to read about their powerlessness'. And I know people who find Sayers or Heyer too antisemitic, too homophobic or too... something - which I mostly don't. Okay, Heyer's modern mysteries do read kind of homophobic to me, but somehow the dismissal of a heroine's activities as silly (I do tend to love Heyer's more male-centered novels more) troubles me far more than the image of a stereotypical Jewish moneylender. Maybe because the latter is someone so stereotypical that I just can't relate? A 'type', not a person, which feels more like author's shorthand than conscious attitude.

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Sep. 5th, 2010 05:33 pm
taelle: (reading)
Again about Austen being a romance - have people who say this ever read her books? I mean, Emma's about Emma growing up - and realizing she wants Knightley is just a part of it. Most of the novel Knightley interacts with her as a friend and, in many ways, a teacher, and their outwards interactions, I suppose, do not change much. In Mansfield Park the heroine gets the hero in the postscriptum, and we are never shown how they had their romance - because the book is about Fanny being a moral compass for people around her, I always thought, and holding to that part of herself. I guess Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion are most romance-like in their plots, but they are so not about Lizzie and Anne getting married!

... I have this rereading bug lately, and now I want to reread Austen too, and I simply do not have time for this now. When I was little, I thought I was reading too fast, and I always had problems finding more books - and now I am definitely reading too slowly. Oh, and I am rereading David Drake's RCN series now, so, maybe some day I'll get through all my rereading plans (and get new ones).

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Aug. 28th, 2010 01:48 am
taelle: (reading)
People who say Jane Austen wrote female wish-fulfillment stories/collections of examples on how to get married hurt my brain. They hurt my brain so much I am unable to even answer to this.

In other words, no, I haven't forgotten how to blog. I've forgotten how to think. I think.


taelle: (Default)

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