Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Tea Party

The scones and tea are on the table (you'll forgive a girl for adding a wee dram of Tullamore Dew to her tea, won't you?) and you're all invited for a cozy visit. The overstuffed chair is open to the first guest to arrive, but don't worry if you run a bit behind schedule - you're still welcome, and there's an overstuffed couch to match.

Feel free to take the conversation where you will - I just want to natter with my friends today. Here's a topic to start off the convivial chatter:

What's your favorite book of all time, and why? Feel free to wax long in your answers. Here's mine:

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. What does this selection tell you about me? I guess it says that I am essentially a romantic at heart, but something of a common-sense romantic.

I think Mr. Darcy was my first love. What feminine heart could resist a gentleman who showed such tenderness and caring toward his beloved? I love the way Austen painted first his outline - the proud, reserved man who inspired anger and seemed difficult to like - then fleshed him out as a thoughtful man who overcame his character flaw out of love. His actions spoke more about his love than his words. Yes, I've noted the overuse of the word, "love," in this paragraph. Vive l'amour!

I share Elizabeth Bennett's strong sense of the absurd, as well as her taste for simple pleasures (the company of good friends, a walk in the country). I sympathize with her embarrassment over the foibles of her family, and her sober understanding of the implications of their behavior. And then, of course, Mr. Darcy comes to her rescue!

If you've never read the book, the
BBC mini-series of P&P is well worth viewing. Actually, there is more than one BBC version of this story. As Virginia Gal will know, I'm speaking of the version starring Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. This was my first DVD purchase, bought the day I bought the DVD player. In fact, I'm staying home alone on Monday, so perhaps I'll dig it out...

I have to note another favorite book. This one's a novel, with all of the delicious nuances conjured by the word. It's a book called Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon. It's the first in a series of books by this author about the same characters. Outlander is a combination time travel/historical fiction/romantic bodice-ripper that is a cut above all of the rest. It begins in Scotland just after World War II, then takes you back through time to the era of Bonnie Prince Charlie.

Outlander is well done, not at all a cheesy dimestore novel. Gabaldon invokes longing better than any author I've read. Her attention to detail is amazing, as is her writing, and the characters haunt you long after you close the cover on the final chapter of the book. I also fell in love with Jamie Fraser (shhh, don't tell). I must confess to something of a weakness for strong Celtic men (the second DVD I bought was The Quiet Man). But then, I have a fair amount of Celtic heritage to claim for myself, so I suppose it stands to reason...

OK, this one-sided conversation is getting old, so join in, please! No holds barred, and just because I'm an incurable (though common-sense) romantic doesn't mean that I expect only discussion of romantic works from you.

By the way, has anybody seen my copy of Outlander? I think I loaned it to someone. Oh well, time for a visit to


MissMagnoliaThunderpussy said...

I just adore the book and I try to read it at least once a year. While I like the later movies, especially the Colin Firth version, I have great affection for the 1940 version with Greer Garson & Lawrence Olivier, I know it's condensed but it's extremely well done and the casting is excellent, Mary Boland (Mrs Bennett) and Edna May Oliver (Lady Catherine) are standouts in the cast. Of course, in the book, my favorite characters are Lady Catherine and Caroline Bingley, don't be startled dear, It's just me, my favorite character in Wizard of Oz was the Wicked Witch, sympathetic and misunderstood.

I just bought a copy of "Emma" and I'll be starting that in the near future.

My favorite books, from a really young age have always been the complete works of Patrick Dennis (Auntie Mame) and Gone With the Wind. While I usually lean to biographies, I like seaking out the fiction best sellers of the 20's 30's and 40's, Forever Amber, Dodsworth, Stella Dallas, Now Voyager etc. as modern fiction does little for me.

Virginia Gal said...

I love P&P also Merci - excellent choice!

Mr. Darcy is the quintessential dream man - my mom and I have both noticed that so many romance heros have been modeled after him.

I LOVE the BBC version of P&P, it is the one movie all three ladies in the house (my sister, mom and me) can sit down and watch, in six hours straight. I think it is the most accurate depiction of the film. I love the pond scene (who doesn't), my sister and I can quote lines from this movie by heart and are such nerds that often we will do it in passing.

Colin Firth IS Mr. Darcy, he was perfect! He is a great leading man, I loved him in Bridget Jones and Love Actually also.

You know what I like about P&P is all the circumstances that keep throwing Elizabeth and Darcy together. My only regret is I want to know how it ends, I want to see life after the marriage. : )

Lord, I can go on and on about this.

My favorite book is James and the Giant Peach by Ronald Dahl. It is this sweet story, I love the peach flying, I don't know I like the idea of being in the clouds, traveling, with a group of people you love. Something about the whole story always takes me away - whenever I'm sad or depressed I pick this up.

oh I might have Outlander,I didn't like it, if I can find it, I'll certainly mail it to you.

Virginia Gal said...

Almost forgot - thanks for the shout out!

(we have three videos and one DVD of this BBC P&P, we taped it off the tv - that's how addicted we are. We need help, hee hee).

PaxRomano said...

What's your favorite book of all time, and why?

It all depends on the day of the week....

"Fight Club", because it really summed up the way I felt (and still feel) about the age we live in -- On the surface, it’s a tense psychological drama dressed up as a tough guy book, scratch beneath the fa├žade and one discovers a riveting critique of modern society.

“1984”, because no book has ever made me fear totalitarianism like that one! “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”

“ ‘Salem’s Lot”, because Stephen King crafted a wonderful horror story that, at times reads like “Our Town” and “Peyton Place” until it suddenly careens out of control and becomes a bone chiller. When I re-read the book a few years back, it also seemed that King was foretelling the death of American small towns; the creeping vampirism could be a sort of metaphor for urbanization…

“The Summer of Love”, because I think I might have been the only person who ever read this book! The author’s name was Lisa Mason and she took a well worn science fiction theme (time travel) and mixed it up with a realistic story of a run-away living in San Francisco during the summer of 1967. One of the few books I’d ever read that almost moved me to tears.

“Tales of the City”, because Armistead Maupin created a Dickenson story of the lives and loves of a group of odd but lovable people living in the City by the Bay during the 70’s and threw in every possible plot twist he could come up with. There are about a half a dozen of these books (the series), but book one is the best.

Merci said...

Miss Magnolia-

I haven't watched the 1940 version in years. I love Greer Garson, so I'll have to give it another viewing soon.

Lady Catherine and Caroline Bingley, LOL! Don't forget "the olive branch," (Mr. Collins) or the reprehensible (but handsome) Mr. Wickham!

Reading "Wicked" made me more sympathetic toward the witch in the "Wizard of Oz," so I can share your feeling for her (Elphaba, according to Gregory Maguire).

Let me know what you think of Emma. Mr. Knightley is another favorite of mine!

I'll have to read some Patrick Dennis et al. I love the movies that resulted from those books you mentioned, so I'll probably love the books, too.

Virginia Gal-

Yes, I think they should just clone Mr. Darcy and give each woman alive a copy. The world would be a happy place. For women, anyway...

I've read the book too many times to count, so it is part of my psychological makeup. I think maybe it's time to reread it.

I haven't read James and the Giant Peach, but it sounds like something I'd enjoy. I'll have to give it a go.

Virginia Gal & Miss Magnolia-
Feel free to email me any time at my hotmail address:


I'll send you my regular email address from there. I'll only leave this up for a day or two, so that it doesn't float around on the net for too long...

I'll have to check out some of these books, especially the last two, since I'll be visiting the City by the Bay soon. I'm not so sure about Salem's Lot, though. It's hard to read with your hands over your eyes...

Zelda Parker said...

Favorite books?

Should be easy?, Humm, how about "Cujo" by Stephen King. Such empathy that I felt for the big old St. Bernard, being a dog lover. Wonder if I would still like it now?

Another old one: Grisham's "Pelican Brief," guess I was on top of my game as I figured it out in the first ten-twelve pages.

I have been intrigued and lately reading anthing by the Dali Lama. His current books are entittled " The Art of Happiness." This is always in my car for those times you just have to wait.

For fun alone, give me Jennifer Weiner or Jane Heller's "Female Intelligence". Books written by women filled with the humor that always makes me smile.

Merci said...

How are you??? Didn't see you around the office today, and I wondered.

You know I love chick lit :), especially Jennifer Weiner. I might have to check out the Dali Lama. Sounds like something I might enjoy.

We are overdue for a long chat over tea or coffee or something! I need some girl talk.