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Somewhat Off-Topic: What have you been reading lately?


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On 11/5/2021 at 6:31 AM, TikiSoo said:

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Don't know how many of you "got" Bette's comment....but it is referring to those who just answer the OP question with simply stating a title.  It's nice to know what you just read, but what we really want to know is what you thought of it.

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The Brontë Sisters: The Complete Novels with Extensive Biography, by Esther Alice Chadwick

I'd previously read Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, but this also includes Anne's Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall as well as Villette, Shirley, and The Professor from Charlotte.  I actually bought it more for the detailed biography of the Brontë family. 
 
What surprised me most was that even though the father Patrick Brontë was from Ireland and the family considered themselves Irish, they "hated" Catholics, to quote the author. The first time Charlotte saw Ireland was after her marriage in 1854. She makes but a single reference to it as "a land of shamrocks and potatoes", but none of their writing ever mentions the massive starvation and depopulation of their "ancestral homeland" next door.  

Another revelation was their dislike of children and complete lack of any maternal instincts.  Their poor performances as teachers or governesses back this up but it's understandable since their mother died when they were so young.  

Surprised also that it was written 100 years ago because it has none of the flowery language or other clues that can date writing and make it a slog to get through. The author was able to interview people who actually knew the family and added much to the knowledge base while dispelling some myths. Overall a balanced and scholarly book, not the hatchet job I may have made it sound like.  The 262 page bio came bundled with the complete Brontë library and was a Kindle bargain at just 99 cents.

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2 hours ago, Katie_G said:

The Brontë Sisters: The Complete Novels with Extensive Biography, by Esther Alice Chadwick

I'd previously read Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, but this also includes Anne's Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall as well as Villette, Shirley, and The Professor from Charlotte.  I actually bought it more for the detailed biography of the Brontë family. 
 
What surprised me most was that even though the father Patrick Brontë was from Ireland and the family considered themselves Irish, they "hated" Catholics, to quote the author. The first time Charlotte saw Ireland was after her marriage in 1854. She makes but a single reference to it as "a land of shamrocks and potatoes", but none of their writing ever mentions the massive starvation and depopulation of their "ancestral homeland" next door.  

Another revelation was their dislike of children and complete lack of any maternal instincts.  Their poor performances as teachers or governesses back this up but it's understandable since their mother died when they were so young.  

Surprised also that it was written 100 years ago because it has none of the flowery language or other clues that can date writing and make it a slog to get through. The author was able to interview people who actually knew the family and added much to the knowledge base while dispelling some myths. Overall a balanced and scholarly book, not the hatchet job I may have made it sound like.  The 262 page bio came bundled with the complete Brontë library and was a Kindle bargain at just 99 cents.

Katie,  I imagine you've seen the biographical movie about the Brontes,  Devotion.  Made in 1946, it stars Ida Lupino  ( one of my faves) as Emily,   Olivia de Haviland as Charlotte,  and Arthur Kennedy as brother Branwell Bronte  ( depicted as weak and much less talented than his sisters.)  I've read Anne Bronte's  The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, which I actually found quite exciting,  and of course the two more famous novels by her two more famous sisters.   

But I've never read any biographies about any of the Brontes.  If you have seen Devotion, maybe you could full us in as to how accurate - or inaccurate - the biopic is.  Given it was made in the '40s, when adhering to facts was not always a feature of biopics,  I would not be at all surprised if the film was not a very factual depiction of the family.  

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Not  all Irish are Catholic, though most are. Old man Bronte was raised as  a Protestant and later  became a Protestant cleric.

Many years  ago I  read  a biography  of  the family. The cover was  the  painting of  the Bronte sisters  by their brother. I don't

recall many details, though one thing I do recall was  that though  the  Brontes lived  in a fairly remote  area, they were  not as

culturally isolated  as some people think.  

 

 

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21 hours ago, misswonderly3 said:

Katie,  I imagine you've seen the biographical movie about the Brontes,  Devotion.  Made in 1946, it stars Ida Lupino  ( one of my faves) as Emily,   Olivia de Haviland as Charlotte,  and Arthur Kennedy as brother Branwell Bronte  ( depicted as weak and much less talented than his sisters.)  I've read Anne Bronte's  The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, which I actually found quite exciting,  and of course the two more famous novels by her two more famous sisters.   

But I've never read any biographies about any of the Brontes.  If you have seen Devotion, maybe you could full us in as to how accurate - or inaccurate - the biopic is.  Given it was made in the '40s, when adhering to facts was not always a feature of biopics,  I would not be at all surprised if the film was not a very factual depiction of the family.  

MissWonderly, funny you should mention Devotion because I was thinking of that film and trying to remember just how much it fictionalized their lives.  I'll watch it again for more details,  but  can definitely say that any "rivalry" between Charlotte and Emily for the attentions of Mr. Nicholls was totally bogus, for starters.  He didn't start courting Charlotte until well after Emily had died, and it's not clear that Emily even met him formally.

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I have began re-reading The Christmas Train by David Baldaccia.  Do it every few years.  A very good book and not overly long like most of his.  Do not judge the book by the ridiculous Hallmark movie supposedly based on the book.

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Just started The Man with the Golden Gun.  Interesting that the Bond book i read two months back, You Only Live Twice was the biggest inspiration of No Time to Die which i finally watched last week (three times).  In that book Bond was assumed to die and disappeared for over a year before coming back in this book, brainwashed by the KGB and attempts to kill M.

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On 12/6/2021 at 12:39 PM, misswonderly3 said:

Katie,  I imagine you've seen the biographical movie about the Brontes,  Devotion.  Made in 1946, it stars Ida Lupino  ( one of my faves) as Emily,   Olivia de Haviland as Charlotte,  and Arthur Kennedy as brother Branwell Bronte  ( depicted as weak and much less talented than his sisters.)  I've read Anne Bronte's  The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, which I actually found quite exciting,  and of course the two more famous novels by her two more famous sisters.   

But I've never read any biographies about any of the Brontes.  If you have seen Devotion, maybe you could full us in as to how accurate - or inaccurate - the biopic is.  Given it was made in the '40s, when adhering to facts was not always a feature of biopics,  I would not be at all surprised if the film was not a very factual depiction of the family.  

Devotion had little relationship to reality. Emily and Charlotte never competed for a man. Charlotte was described by the Victorian writer Harriet Martineau as the shortest woman she had ever seen outside of a circus. Malnutrition probably played a large part. Too bad Linda Hunt never got a chance to play Charlotte. Patrick Bronte strenuously objected to Charlotte's marrying, fearing that pregnancy might prove fatal to his daughter, as indeed it did.

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I should add that Villette is one of my favorite novels. Charlotte, under the pseudonym Currer Bell, dedicated Jane Eyre to her favorite novelist, Thackeray. This proved embarrassing for him. People who knew Thackeray thought the book had been written by a former governess to the Thackeray daughters, because Thackeray, like Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre, had a mad wife.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/3/2021 at 5:55 AM, TikiSoo said:

Don't know how many of you "got" Bette's comment....but it is referring to those who just answer the OP question with simply stating a title.  It's nice to know what you just read, but what we really want to know is what you thought of it.

Guilty as charged. I posted this on DEC. 1:

"Have a long time habit of alternating between fiction and non-fiction.
So last fiction was The Changeling by Victor La Valle. Non-fiction was The Broken Heart of America by Walter Johnson."

Now to make amends:

 The Changeling was at first a NICE little story about a couple falling in love, marrying, and having a child. Then the ..... hit the fan. Murder, torture, and a dark fairytale. I didn't care for the ending. But when Lavelle writes about the deep love felt by a parent for their child, it makes it all worthwhile.

The Broken Heart of America. For me, it's a sad and tragic history of my midwestern hometown. Probably of little interest unless you live or grew up there. The author and I share a common viewpoint. But this book would probably **** off most of my fellow citizens. 

 

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