Posts Tagged ‘paris’


Molly Brown 2/3

June 24, 2013

I’ve now read books five and six of the Molly Brown series — Molly Brown’s Post-Graduate Days and Molly Brown’s Orchard Home. And I think I’m taking a break for a bit. I don’t like anyone anymore. Or care about what happens to Molly.

Here’s what happens in the first two post-college Molly Brown books:

A bunch of people fall in love with each other. Everyone is super jealous of everyone else. Molly and Professor Green are much less entertaining than they were before. Molly’s aunt, for whatever reason, is evil. So is the mother of a girl they meet on their way to France in book six. The kind of people who were redeemable in the earlier books aren’t anymore. The humor is meaner. The friendships are less convincing.

I’m sure part of the way I feel about these two books is about my having run out of patience, but not all of it. So, I hope to come back to Molly Brown at some point and finish the series, but for now I am done.


The Strange Woman

April 30, 2013

Usually a novelization of a play retains a fair amount of the original structure. The author of the novel may add in new locations and stuff, but you can still tell that, say, one particular group of chapters used to be the second act and originally took place entirely on someone’s front porch, or that one lengthy bit of narration used to be a monologue, or something. The Strange Woman, adapted by Mary McNeil Fenollosa (writing as Sidney McCall) from a play by William Hurlbut, puzzled me because I couldn’t see the underlying structure of the play, and none of it seemed like it had come from a play — until more than halfway through the book, when John Hemingway returns from Paris with his fiancée. Or his sort of fiancée. Read the rest of this entry ?


The Dull Miss Archinard

July 10, 2011

So, there’s this really wonderful book that I found at the New York Public Library a few weeks ago. I mean, I don’t even know how to describe how special it is.

The Dull Miss Archinard is not that book. But I probably never would have come accross it on my own.

The book is called Toward a feminist tradition: an annotated bibliography of novels in English by women, 1891-1920, by Diva Daims and Janet Grimes, and it is a list of books by women that have a bit of a feminist bent (or an older-than-average heroine, or a heroine with a career), with blurbs compiled from contemporary reviews. It is the reading list of my dreams. I mean, aside from all the descriptions of books about how having children out of wedlock will inevitably lead to everyone involved dying the most miserable deaths possible, whether for moral reasons or because of the state of society, depending on the political inclinations of the author. But the books that delight in wretchedness seem to be counteracted by books about women founding salons, or farming coconuts. It’s pretty great. Read the rest of this entry ?



October 7, 2010

It occurred to me this morning that probably a lot of you haven’t read Trilby. This, it seems to me, is a problem, and should be rectified. Trilby was published in 1894, but set in the 1840’s or ’50s, and it was massively popular — Wikipedia says Dracula was more popular, but I don’t think Dracula inspired hats, and I’m quite sure it didn’t inspire foot-shaped ice cream.

It’s hard to explain what makes Trilby so special, but it undoubtedly is. Part of it is probably George Du Maurier’s illustrations — he was a staff member at Punch before he was a novelist, and the characters in Trilby are as much visual creations as literary ones. The book is also full of songs and bits of poetry, so it’s sort of a multimedia experience in a way that’s only beginning to be discussed again now with the advent of ebooks. Actually, some kind of enhanced ebook version of Trilby would probably work really well.

Anyway. Read the rest of this entry ?