Thursday, February 14, 2019

Not too bad a day, although I felt very feeble. The back of the Stronachlachar is coming on fine. A couple more Pointless’s will polish it off, except for finishing. I’ve emailed Becca (this summer’s bride) to ask whether she’d like Jared’s “Rock Island”. There’s still plenty of time. The wedding is in July.

Helen and her two available sons are in Strathardle today. (It’s half-term; hence all this activity.) She sent this picture. My husband and I augmented our snowdrop collection quite a bit in our last years there. There are more on the West Lawn, around the other side of the house.

I’ve finished “Persuasion”. You’ve hit another of many nails on the head, Tamar: What, indeed, is the appeal of “Persuasion” over Austen’s other novels? (We’re all agreed that they are all sublime.) My sister agrees with you, Mary Lou and Peggy, that it’s her favourite. I simply don’t see it.

I would support “Mansfield Park” because it’s got sex, and therefore is closer to real life as we know it. Admittedly, no lurve, no his-eyes-met-hers, no Colin Firth. All the better for that, perhaps. And by “sex”, I don’t just mean the denouement. I mean the way sex bubbles below the surface throughout, the way it did when we were in high school.

Kirsten, thank you for explaining the non-relationship of “Cousin Phillis” to the Penguin Challenge. (Mary Lou, you’ll enjoy it.) And forgive me for transposing the letters in your name, on more than one occasion, I suspect. I’ll try to do better.

But while I’m in that area – my friend Kristie, the woman to whom I owe my only trip to Shetland, is having trouble posting comments here. She uses Safari on a Mac. Can anyone help?

“Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, in paperback form, arrived in the post today. I’ll read that next, waiting for March.


  1. Persuasion is my favorite. I think the reason for me is that, while it has Austen's wit and romance, it is so much about grief and regret and how that informs who we become. Maybe because I connect so much with the regret and the sorrow in the book, I find it her most intimate.

  2. Anonymous10:49 PM

    I love all of Jane Austen's works. As I told another friend of mine - "My favorite is whichever one I'm reading at the time."

  3. I just tried it on my ipad using Safari, and I don't see the comment. Hmmmm

  4. Anonymous11:40 PM

    I tried using Safari on my MacBook and no comment would show up. I am now using Google Chrome on my MacBook and works ok.

  5. Snowdrops look lovely. We're still looking at snow here. Why Persuasion? Maybe because here’s Austen valuing self-made navy types and their community and camaraderie, over the landed gentry? (Which is why the TV version with Sally Hawkins didn’t seem to get it, ending with Anne’s regaining the family seat, while the Amanda Root – Ciaran Hinds version really did get it, and managed to work in both Austen’s original, and reworked, endings? And somehow id does feel, as Lee says, the most intimate. Mansfield Park is my least favourite, mostly because Fanny seems insipid and priggish (although Mary Crawford on “Rears and Vices” was a surprise!). As the years go on I enjoy Northanger Abbey and Lady Susan more and more. My takes on all these are influenced by Fay Weldon’s Letters to Alice gem of a book, which someone at the University of Toronto must have assigned for a class about 20 years ago, since copies were readily found in the second-hand bookstores around campus.

  6. Anonymous10:52 AM

    I use Safari on iPad and occasionally have trouble. Sometimes it seems to me it's just a matter of touch when tapping the screen. Other times, I have no idea. I love Jane Austen but have only read her first three. It saddened me that she died so young which was part of the reason I avoided the two published posthumously. If I could get my ancient original Kindle to wake up I would probably read them on there. it seems the right format for her these days. (On the other hand, I'd rather read Ken Follett in book form, so go figure..). Chloe

  7. Adding Day Weldon 'Letters to Alice' to a long long evergrowing list Must-Reads. Is 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' available on Kindle?
    At this rate I'm not going to have time to knit or work... Half term this week coming, and not a moment to soon.

  8. Anonymous1:53 PM

    Am amazed at how quickly you ladies are getting through books! Work, I suppose, interferes with my reading more these days....and yes, sometimes even the knitting too. ;-)

    I use Safari on an iPad and haven't noticed issues with comments....yet, perhaps. Will see. Glad to hear Chrome was cooperative.

    And a belated Happy Valentine's Day to all

  9. Anonymous3:48 PM

    Yesterday I could not use Safari or Chrome (on a Mac) to comment at all. Trying Firefox now!

    Snowdrops are fantastic and welcome!
    Just ice and snow here in Toronto. I don't think I can ride my bike for at least six weeks ...

    Lisa RR

  10. My favorite is Sense and Sensibility, but we are reading Persuasion for bookclub not this next time but the next. I also just ordered a new copy of Bleak House because our son called me yesterday to tell me he stayed up until 2:30 am finishing it and he is such a Dickens fan that he wanted to talk and talk about it to a bookish person.
    Wow! Your snowdrops are lovely and that house is storybook.
    I'm knitting the flax sweater by Tin Can Knits. Our daughter in law and I did a knit along, but she's finished. I have to knit in smaller doses (tendonitis) and it feels like a long slog, even though I love my Rowen Pure Wool pink.
    I hope you have a good day today, Jean.

  11. Agree with Lee about why I like Persuasion. I like Mansfield Park despite its heroine and hero, who strike me as insufferably priggish, but then I like Emma (the novel) too, despite not liking Emma the protagonist.

  12. Breakfast at Tiffany's --- the movie still haunts me - especially the song sung by Andy Miller (Moon River). I cannot listen to it without having to excuse myself and go somewhere to cry. It came out around the time my mother died. I was 8 1/2. The hopefulness of the NYC densizens in that movie never cease to move me.

  13. Sorry - meant to say Andy Williams!LOL!