Posts Tagged ‘marieconwayoemler’

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Two Shall be Born

May 20, 2014

I mostly avoid reading Marie Conway Oemler books I haven’t read before — I dread the point at which there won’t be any left I haven’t read. So I’ve been putting off reading Two Shall Be Born for, like, five years at least.

I don’t know if it was worth waiting for. I don’t, at this point, expect any book of hers to live up to Slippy McGee or A Woman Named Smith, and this one certainly doesn’t. But that’s not to say it isn’t pretty interesting and weird, and that’s all I really want, I guess. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Racism, xenophobia, etc.

September 28, 2010

Note: I’m not trying to criticize authors for views that were widely accepted at the time in which they were writing. Or, at least, not much. Mostly I’m trying to take a semi-critical view of my feelings on the subject.

I think I’ve talked about this here before, but I’m still not sure how to deal with racism and xenophobia when they show up in the books I talk about here. And they show up a lot.

Every time all the black characters are stupid, or the author talks about the whites of their eyes a lot, or Chinese people are conniving opium addicts, or the entire Italian population of New York lives for the opportunity to steal a white man’s job, it’s offensive. It’s never not going to be offensive. And if I’m already not really liking a book, an instance of blatant xenophobia will probably make me stop reading it.

But what about the books that have a lot going for them until the narrator takes a trip through his local Chinatown and shudders with disgust at the population?

You can’t judge an author writing in 1900 for their racism the same way you could if they were writing now. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they get a free pass, either. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Strong Women?

August 18, 2010

A commenter on my post at Edwardian Promenade asked for recommendations of Edwardian Era novels with strong female characters. I thought I’d repost my reply here, along with a request for recommendations from you guys. There are undoubtedly not enough strong female characters in early 20th century popular fiction, but with our combined knowledge, I’m sure we can put together a longer list than this.

I have a few recommendations, none of which are exactly in the right period. I hope they help anyway.
The first book featuring Emma McChesney was published in, I think, 1915. Mrs. McChesney is probably the strongest character I’ve come across in early 20th century fiction, period.

A Woman Named Smith, from 1919, is one of my favorite books, mostly because the heroine, Sophy, discovers over the course of the book that she’s a lot stronger and more capable than she thought.

Lady Peggy O’Malley is from 1915-ish, and her book is in part a WWI one. Her family is horrible, but she rises above them, and retains her spunk and pluckiness almost until the last page.

Lois Cayley is a self-proclaimed adventuress from…sometime between 1895 and 1900. She becomes a maid, a bicycle advertisement, a typist, and a reporter, and although the book bogs down towards the end, the earlier parts make up for it.

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Six Recommendations

October 15, 2009

I decided this morning that I wanted to make a list of ten books I’ve covered in this blog that I would wholeheartedly recommend. Not my favorites, because there are a lot of books — Tracy Park, for one — that I love too much to be able to think about them objectively. I’m not totally sure I’m looking at these objectively, but I do think they’re good, and I can’t see any reason why people shouldn’t still be reading them. I’m a little bit sad that I was only able to come up with six, though. Keep in mind that my standards, as usual, are incredibly inconsistent. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Freckles

August 28, 2009

So, A Girl of the Limberlost is only a sequel to Freckles in the way that Alger’s Phil the Fiddler was a sequel to Paul the Peddler, but the text of A Girl of the Limberlost is kind of aggressive about insisting that the reader read Freckles as well, so I did. (The only thing Alger was only ever aggressive about was insisting that a fifteen-cent plate of meat come with a plate of bread.)

So, um…this is where Slippy McGee came from, I guess. It’s really disconcerting to me to see how much Marie Conway Oemler owes to Gene Stratton-Porter. At the same time, though, it’s kind of nice to be able to catalogue all the ways Oemler was better. But this post is not about Marie Conway Oemler, except in the sense that every post on this blog is a tiny bit abut Marie Conway Oemler. It is about Freckles. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Long time no update

August 28, 2008

I haven’t updated Redeeming Qualities much recently, but that doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about it. Things keep getting in the way, like the Olympics, with which I was obsessed for about a week (and then the swimming ended). I’m also trying to catch up on some TV shows before the new season starts. I’m still reading — I’m always reading — but I’ve been reading more modern things, like a few novels and novellas by Connie Willis, and working my way through a collection of Agatha Christie etexts. The Christies are old enough to review here, but certainly not obscure enough, and after all, what is there to say about an Agatha Christie mystery after the first five or ten?

I have a few things I’m planing to post about in the near future. I’m working my way through a book by Sarah McNaughtan called Peter and Jane, which is alternately fascinating and mystifying (in a boring way), and I want to do a post about Jerome K. Jerome, but I’ve decided to finish Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow before I reread Three Men in a Boat. I also recently started a Mary Roberts Rinehart book called Dangerous Days, but I stopped reading it because I suspected that the only likeable character was about to be murdered. I do intend to finish it soon, though. And then, I haven’t read any Carolyn Wells books in a while, and I really do have to finish writing about the Patty books.

Meanwhile, I do read the comments people leave, though not as often as a I should, and as several people have found recently, I’m always happy to talk about Patty Fairfield, or anythign else I’ve written about here. I mean, I mostly started this blog in the hopes of finding someone to talk about A Woman Named Smith.

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One Year of Redeeming Qualities

March 10, 2008

Last week was the one-year anniversary of this blog. I still enjoy writing about weird old books. I’m a little bit impressed that I’ve managed to keep it going for so long. I don’t know that there’s much else to say about it, but I thought I should do something to celebrate, so here’s a list of my favorite finds since I began writing Redeeming Qualities, in order of discovery.

Read the rest of this entry ?

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