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Joined May 2016

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Normal People by Sally Rooney
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Italian Backgrounds by Edith Wharton
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I enjoyed this look at a long life well lived. There was a bit philosophy, a bit of adventure, and an attempt by the author to distill wisdom from this life to pass down to his own children.

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Accordion Crimes | Annie Proulx
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I struggle to describe this book in a way that won‘t put you off from reading it. It can be dark (Proulx has the most creative ways to kill and maim her characters!) but it‘s also humorous. Each section has an illustration of a type of accordion, but this is the one the book follows through years and miles, as it is owned by successive players from various immigrant communities. #bookspin @TheAromaofBooks

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 1w
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Untitled | Untitled
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My December #bookspin list. Thanks @TheAromaofBooks for all the fun. I can‘t believe 2023 is almost over!

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 1w
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Both a poignant memoir and a well-researched look at one of the most intractable problems in America, this book made me sad, made me think, and made me want to do better. She doesn‘t offer a simple solution to these complex problems, nor does she blame “the coastal elite” for the problems of rural America. She portrays the people sympathetically as fully human, neither demonizing nor canonizing them. Highly recommended.

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When I need something uplifting, I can‘t go wrong with Bishop Curry. Starting this today.

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Hoping the courage of the authors will rub off on me a bit. I‘m more than a third of the way in, and it is making me hopeful and uncomfortable; angry and shamed; but also energized to seek out my personal next steps.

willaful You might look into SURJ, an organization that encourages white folks to fight against racism. 1mo
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Varina | Charles Frazier
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Fighting a cold allowed me to do nothing today but read, and I devoured this in one day. Varina Davis, like most of us, was more complex than either side of the conflict wants to believe. Frazier‘s writing is exquisite, and I learned things I had not known - like the capital of the CSA was briefly in my hometown. Photo is from her New York days. So much of her life was controlled by others, I hope she was happy in those last years. #bookspin

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 1mo
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the monkey wrench gang | Edward Abbey
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I enjoyed revisiting in my mind the western places I love, but I just can‘t get into this era/genre of literature. I can love older works and modern works, but the 60s and 70s style just leaves me cold. But at least I can mark this off my list. 🤷🏻‍♀️

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I have issues with the writing and some incidents that I consider lazy plotting, but I must say that this gave me lots to think about. So it‘s a three-star pick. I think it‘s easier to confront our older history (“yes, my ancestors held people in enslavement, but that was so long ago”) than to ponder nearer questions (“Did my grandfather belong to the KKK?”) I‘ve added the tagged nonfiction below to my reading list to work on the “what next?”

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Untitled | Unknown
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BarbaraJean This image is so very satisfying to me. 😊 1mo
Lcsmcat @BarbaraJean Somehow it felt like fall. 🤷🏻‍♀️ 1mo
BarbaraJean There‘s something about the image in combination with the white text, right-aligned… it‘s just very atmospheric and visually pleasing! 1mo
TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! 1mo
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Ghosts | Edith Wharton
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The final three stories only have two ghosts - Perrier is more a murder mystery. They were all a bit predictable, but held some sparkling Wharton sentences. I liked how, once Charlotte opened one of the letters, it was too pale to read. And in Mr. Jones, how the only one who could see him was the one who was annoyed by rather than scared of him. Thoughts? Do you think Wharton is as skilled with short stories as novels? #whartonbuddyread

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batsy I enjoyed these stories very much. I think it might not be as scary as some hope it might be but Wharton manages to infuse a sense of dread or anxiety in each one. Like in Pomegranate Seed: "In the deep silence of the room the tearing of the paper as she slit the envelope sounded like a human cry". Or the way she tells her mother-in-law, "I've known for a long time now that everything was possible". Delightfully gothic. 1mo
batsy Perrier was interesting for being a bit like a fairy tale, with some great set pieces with her deftness at description: "To anyone sick of the Western fret and fever the very walls of this desert fortress exuded peace." And this: "Almodham was out there somewhere under that canopy of fire, perhaps, as the servant said, absorbed in his dream. The land was full of spells." 1mo
Lcsmcat @batsy Yes! And this: “the gradual imprisonment in a pose assumed in youth, and into which middle age had slowly stiffened” (edited) 1mo
Currey I rather enjoyed Perrier although there turned out to be no ghosts because as @batsy mentioned, the setting was so well brought to life. I do believe that Wharton does better with anxiety and dread than with actual ghosts. 1mo
Graywacke Well, I really wanted to meet Henry Almodham, our scholar and misogynist in his desert refuge. So I‘m kind of annoyed at Gosling. 🙂 1mo
Graywacke I enjoyed reading all the stories, but didn‘t care for any of their closing twists. I liked the idea of servants running the home their own way in Mr Jones. And i liked the characters in Pomegranates Seed. I think I liked all the characters 1mo
Graywacke I‘m glad I didn‘t drink or bathe in that water… 1mo
Lcsmcat @Currey I think what made these stories was that Wharton focused on the people and their emotions/reactions rather than on the supernatural beings. 1mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I felt like the younger servants were afraid of Mr. Jones but the older ones weren‘t. Like maybe they were using him to keep the young ones in line. 1mo
dabbe @batsy Perrier also made me think of A PASSAGE TO INDIA. I just felt the same deserty-vibe. 1mo
dabbe In looking at all of the stories as a whole, I found Wharton excelled at building the tension and drama, which kept me turning those pages, and then leaving me flustered at the end because most of the endings were not complete resolutions. She made me have to attempt to put the two-and-two together. And her writing ... I just finished TESS OF THE d'URBERVILLES and kept thinking how gorgeous Hardy's writing was--reminding me of Wharton. 1mo
Graywacke @dabbe i went through that process with each story too. Tension and curiosity as i read, and they usually left me a little “flustered”. But then, even knowing this, i‘d hop into the next story happily. 🙂 1mo
Lcsmcat @dabbe I love Hardy‘s prose too, and for his time he held some feminist ideas. So another thing in common with Wharton. 1mo
dabbe @Graywacke Wharton just has that way, doesn't she? I even tried to find some analysis online to help me fill in the pieces, but I didn't find much. 1mo
dabbe @Lcsmcat Exactly! It's hard to read him nowadays because what women had to go through was so damn infuriating, but his prose would get me lost in the story--just like Wharton. 1mo
Lcsmcat @dabbe @Graywacke It felt very Henry James to me. Like Turn of the Screw. 1mo
Graywacke As a side note - looking ahead: We had talked about reading Italian Backgrounds next. It‘s only about 100 pages and would make a nice early December easy group read. However, the series Buccaneers is coming out on Apple TV November 8. So, maybe we sneak _that_ into November. It‘s 400 pages, so, it‘s not really a sneak, but a commitment. Anyway, share your thoughts. I‘m pretty happy any which way. (edited) 1mo
Graywacke (Amazon kindle gives a print length of one page. 🙂) 1mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I‘m happy to go either way - whatever the group wants. 1mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat i think squeezing Buccaneers in would take a whole lot of enthusiasm. Based on the response here… 🙂… i‘ll go with Italian Backgrounds for December. I‘m looking forward to it. 1mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke 😂😂Sounds like a plan. 1mo
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Dear Edward | Ann Napolitano
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I finished the tagged book and started the next as my #treadmillBook. Dear Edward was a weak pick for me. I could see what the author was trying to do, but for me it fell short. The ending felt rushed. But I cared enough about it to finish it (and keep walking.)

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This was just what I needed after Clarissa! Light, hope-filled, and fun. With Smiley‘s deft prose to boot. It was also my April #doublespin and I finally got around to it. 😂

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A good book, but not a great one, about a troubled year in the life of a troubled family. #bookspin @TheAromaofBooks

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 2mo
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Ghosts | Edith Wharton
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Seeing more of the Wharton prose I love in this set. Above is a quote that made me chuckle and rang true too. 😀 MMP was my favorite of the four, although Bewitched was a close second. #whartonbuddyread what did you think? Going to be on the road today (grandson‘s first b-day!) but I‘ll check in when I can.

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Currey @Lcsmcat I enjoyed MMP also because Wharton had me laughing at myself for falling for her tricks but I think I preferred Bewitched with its cold winter setting and the sense of longing for it not to be real throughout. Also liked the dog ghosts in Kerfol 2mo
batsy MMP was great & very unexpected #spinsterlit in the sense that it really shows how existing as a single woman in those times could really render you practically, well, dead. I shouldn't laugh but it was some dark humour there. I loved Kerfol and the dogs getting their revenge... Triumph of the Night probably the weakest of the four but still very much appreciated how it showed the "dark" side of capitalism. 2mo
batsy And Bewitched was so good in terms of setting and atmosphere. Very Ethan Frome in its vibes. And pretty great in showing how far people will reach for a supernatural explanation to avoid confronting what's in front of their eyes. 2mo
Lcsmcat @Currey @batsy The dog Ghosts were great! 2mo
Lcsmcat @batsy Great insights into Wharton‘s commentary on spinsterhood! 2mo
Lcsmcat I confess I‘m having a more difficult time sparking discussion of short stories than I do with novels. I keep hoping for a unifying theme other than, well, ghosts. 🤷🏻‍♀️ 2mo
Currey @batsy Yes, loved that insight into the deadly unmarried….they are so frightening 2mo
Graywacke @batsy very interesting on #spinsterlit 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat me too - wondering how to respond. For me, on one sense, they are nice stories, but mostly with snack-able themes. But i‘m enjoying being in them, within this story telling. It‘s just a really pleasant place to spend some reading time. MMP made me laugh. The rest was fun enough. What a character Prudence Rutledge is, with her unpainted marble statue closed eyes. 2mo
arubabookwoman I wasn't able to get to this wk's reading. Will catch up next wk. I did read these long ago with little memory of them, but seeing the comments I remember the dog ghosts, and loving that story. @Lcsmcat @Graywacke That is often my problem with books of short stories, but I like these stories because they are each so complete and self-contained. 2mo
batsy @Graywacke What a character Mrs Rutledge is! Looking "as if the stone-Mason had carved her to put atop of Venny's grave"... ? 2mo
batsy @arubabookwoman I agree that each story is complete and self-contained. The common theme is ghosts but even the dog story touches on something deeper, like domestic abuse/tyranny, and each one has something interesting to say. I find that I'm enjoying it more than I expected because short stories do tend to be hit or miss for me sometimes. @Lcsmcat @Graywacke 2mo
TheBookHippie I want the above in a picture frame in my house 😅🤣♥️ 2mo
TheBookHippie I love short stories I was reading these in the morning and switched to dimmer lighting in the evening with tea, it‘s like little visits Mrs Rutledge won the favorite this week. It‘s hard to discuss other than it‘s a good way to pause and immerse. I do feel like this was more “her” as in writing style and spinsterhood still seems to me preferable back then 😵‍💫🤣🤷🏻‍♀️😂. 2mo
Lcsmcat @batsy @Graywacke I‘m enjoying them too. I didn‘t mean to imply that I wasn‘t. More apologizing for not providing very much in the way of discussion prompts. 2mo
Lcsmcat Mrs. Rutledge was a character all right! 2mo
Lcsmcat I find short stories great when my concentration is low, because as @batsy says they are self-contained. Last week‘s set seemed flatter than Wharton‘s usual prose, but these had some great lines. 2mo
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I knew going in some of the plot (it is after all almost 300 years old) but there was still much (1781 pages worth!) to take in. While I vacillated on how to rate it, I‘m glad I stuck it out to the end. I loved thinking about Richardson‘s impact on later authors like Jane Austen. And was disturbed by how little has really changed in regards to men‘s treatment of women. It was easy picture most of the characters ⬇️

Lcsmcat ⬆️ in suits and ties instead of perruques and shoe buckles. My favorite character was Anna, although even she frustrated me at times. And Richardson amused me with his so-obvious insecurities about his writing and the public‘s & critic‘s response to it. 2mo
AnnR Well done! 👏 2mo
Megabooks Awesome job! 2mo
Amiable I‘m so proud of all of us for tackling this chunkster to the ground! 2mo
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Ghosts | Edith Wharton
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Apparently there‘s a movie of The Lady‘s Maid‘s Bell, from which I grabbed this still. I may watch it later, but that wasn‘t my favorite of this week‘s 4. I liked Afterward the best. Lots of Henry James echoes, and less of the Wharton prose I‘ve been admiring. But these are early works - all but All Souls published 1910 or before - so I‘ll wait to see if it returns. What‘s everyone thinking? #whartonbuddyread

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Lcsmcat From “The Eyes” - His stupidity was a natural grace—it was as beautiful, really, as his eye-lashes. 2mo
Graywacke I‘m behind. Sorry, rough week. I‘ll try to catch up. I‘ve read All Souls, The Eyes and the wonderful little preface. I encourage everyone to search out the preface if you don‘t have it. Probably a free Amazon sample will include it. It‘s about 5 pages. 2mo
batsy Afterward was my favourite, too. Something about it lingers, stays with you. Apt title! Loved this line: "Lyng was not one of the garrulous old houses that betray secrets entrusted to them. It's very legend proved that it had always been the mute accomplice, the incorruptible custodian, of the mysteries it had surprised." All Souls is my next fave, though I have to say I enjoyed them all. The Lady's Maid's Bell left me with a lot of questions. 2mo
Lcsmcat @batsy I had a lot of questions on LMB too, it felt not quite complete. I was enjoying All Souls until the end, which felt awkward to me, like she wasn‘t fully committed. 2mo
Currey @batsy @Lcsmcat Yes I also liked Afterward the best. It truly ended but with many unanswered questions that stay with you. LMB crafted as if it was a classic ghost story but with no where to go once it was established. To be honest, I didn‘t really understand the eyes. Feeling stupid about that. Did the last young man sees the old man‘s eyes in his dreams? 2mo
Currey @Graywacke The preface was excellent! 2mo
Lcsmcat @Currey I wasn‘t sure if the eyes were “passed on” to the young man or if the old man _was_ the eyes? I have questions too and haven‘t researched it. 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Understood. Take care and check in when you can. That‘s the beauty of short stories. 2mo
arubabookwoman @Graywacke Yes, the preface was excellent. My favorite too was "Afterward" with "All Souls" just slightly behind. I think it was because with those 2 stories, the supernatural doesn't appear. immediately and jump out at you--there's a possible explanation from the "real" world, even if it may be horrific. As when Mrs. Clayburn searching the deserted house wonders if she will find "her dead servants, mown down by a homicidal maniac." The ???? 2mo
arubabookwoman immediate immersion into the supernatural bothers me. I guess I like my ghost stories grounded in the real world. I found it interesting that "All Souls" echoed some of Wharton's preface in denouncing the thought that ghosts stories went out when electric lights came in, and also echoing that a good ghost story should send a chill down your spine. Both these stories did that for me. I liked the other 2 stories less. "ThEyes" was fine as far ?? 2mo
willaful TLMB reminded me of what in improv theater is called a “passenger scene“ -- when a character is thrust willy nilly into the middle of other people's story for the ride -- and it stuck me that a lot of older ghost stories have this sense of distance. In “All Souls“ too, most of what's really happening is elsewhere, and I kind of thought it might have been scarier not to even have it explained. 2mo
arubabookwoman as it goes, but I have the same question as above. After the story was told why did young Phil react as he did? Why did it take Culwin so long to recognize this? I am really puzzled by this. I also have a lot of questions about "The Lady's Maid's Bell." I'm usually puzzled by short stories, but this one particularly puzzles me. Was Mrs. Brampton having an affair with Mr. Ranford? Why did the ghost (Emma) lead the narrator to Mr Ranford's? ???? 2mo
Lcsmcat @willaful That‘s a good description! I would have liked All Souls much better without the “it could have been witches” ending, which felt awkward and unconvincing to me. 2mo
arubabookwoman Why was there a rule never to ring the bell? When the bell did ring, who rang it? Why could only the narrator see the ghost? What was the ghost trying to tell the narrator about Mr. Ranford? Was Mr. Ranford in the house the night Mr. Brimford returned and Mrs. Brimford died? Why did Mrs. Brimford drop dead? What was the red spot on Mr. B's forehead. And did anyone else notice that in 3 of the 4 stories there were maids named Agnes? 2mo
arubabookwoman @Lcsmcat I agree the story would have been better without that ending. 2mo
Lcsmcat @arubabookwoman I have the same questions! I watched the Granada adaptation that this picture is from and that screen writer / director implied that when the bell rings Emma is ringing it, so Mrs. B doesn‘t want anyone else doing it. That made sense to me. The affair/no affair question was just as vague in that one and no explanation was given for Emma leading her to Mr. R. I kind of think she was having an “emotional affair.” 2mo
arubabookwoman @Lcsmcat As I was thinking it over, I was starting to believe Emma was ringing the bell, and that she rang it when she thought Mrs. Brimford was in danger (from Mr. B. ?), or otherwise needed help that Emma, as a ghost, couldn't give her. Emma was there as a ghost protector for Mrs. B. And maybe Emma led her to Ranford to warn him, or have him come try to save Mrs. B. 2mo
dabbe I'm behind but hope to catch up today. Lots of excellent posts to read here; I'm saving it for happy hour! 🤩 2mo
Graywacke Ok, just caught up. I enjoyed them all, with The Eyes feeling a little weaker, and I didn‘t get the end (Was it Murchand‘s own elderly face he had been confronting all those years ago? And was there a gay love interest?) The 4th, TLMB, being fresh in my head, I think had the most suspense. It‘s a pleasure to read Wharton. She overcomes all distractions and wins me over early in each story. 2mo
Currey @Graywacke I did think there was an implied gay love interest but I was not sure about the eyes….were they shared or were they Murchand‘s own old eyes? Not sure but that probably makes the most sense 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke @Currey I agree that a gay relationship was implied. But the eyes themselves? I‘m not sure about them. 2mo
Graywacke Preface quotes: "Do you believe in ghosts?" is the pointless question often addressed by those who are incapable of feeling ghostly influences to…The celebrated reply (I forget whose): "No, I don't believe in ghosts, but I'm afraid of them," is much more than the cheap paradox it seems to many. ? 2mo
Graywacke ? To “believe," in that sense, is a conscious act of the intellect, and it is in the warm darkness of the pre-natal fluid far below our conscious reason that the faculty dwells with which we apprehend the ghosts we may not be endowed with the gift of seeing. 2mo
Graywacke Quote 2: for deep within us as the ghost-instinct lurks, I seem to see it being gradually atrophied by those two world-wide enemies of the imagination, the wireless and the cinema. To a generation for whom everything which used to nourish the imagination because it had to be won by an effort, and then slowly assimilated, is now served up cooked, seasoned and chopped into little bits, the creative faculty 👇 2mo
Graywacke ? (for reading should be a creative act as well as writing) is rapidly withering, together with the power of sustained attention; and the world which used to be so grand à la clarté des lampes (google tr: great for the brightness of lamps) is diminishing in inverse ratio to the new means of spanning it; so that the more we add to its surface the smaller it becomes. 2mo
Graywacke Quote 3: Ghosts, to make themselves manifest, require two conditions abhorrent to the modern mind: silence and continuity. 2mo
Graywacke @Currey i‘m not sure it makes sense about the eyes. It might be a very misleading suggestion. One thing that puzzles me is what the parallel was. (My mind thinks these are two situations in which he avoided doing what he should have done in order to not upset anyone. That his conscience was confronting him about his weakness.) 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke She sounds like us Boomers today talking about the internet 😆 2mo
Graywacke @batsy I love that line about the Lyng house. (Did anyone else see Heart of Darkness elements in Afterward? The whole far-off dreamy experience and back to reality aspect, and the way it‘s conveyed…maybe just my own random brain association? Dorset would be an awkward Congo.) 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat the wireless and cinema! And I‘m posting about this on my iPhone! 😳 Feeling very seasoned and chopped into little bits… 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I didn‘t think of Heart of Darkness, but now that you say it, I think you‘re right. It would have been 11 years old when she wrote Afterward, so around long enough for people to get the reference. 2mo
Graywacke @arubabookwoman i do prefer the plausible explanations over actual ghosts (well, except in Ghost Busters!…or Discworld) Only TLMB really pushes that. I just told myself she‘s real. It almost worked for me. 2mo
Graywacke @arubabookwoman on Mr. Ranford - certainly it wasn‘t a torrid affair. More like an affinity. But who knows how far it went. I felt terrible for Ranford at the end. I also don‘t know why she died, or what the cause was, or if it was bound to happen anyway (in which case Emma was giving Ranford one last visit). @Lcsmcat Interesting about Emma ringing the bell. I couldn‘t puzzle that out. 2mo
Graywacke @willaful interesting about “passenger scene” On a different note, one thing I really liked about All Souls‘ is that we don‘t really need to have anything weird going on. Could all be (mis)perception. 2mo
Graywacke What I kept thinking about while reading was trying to imagine life with servants, or being a servant (I loved Mr. Wace!). Such a different world. And the mistress, already captive to female expectations, is captive a second time to the will and feelings and abilities of her own servants. Men are captive to them too. It seems like such an odd lack of privacy and control. 2mo
batsy @Lcsmcat "if the old man was the eyes" that's the kind of thing I was going with, too @Currey I too didn't feel like I totally got this story, but the ambiguity of it it all worked for me (although I do think it's probably my least favourite out of the four). 2mo
batsy @Graywacke I need to read Heart of Darkness! 🙈 But I like that you found parallels... This story seems to work on multiple levels. I liked the suspense of the questions in TLMB too, to the point where I don't know if I necessarily wanted them all answered. 2mo
batsy @Graywacke Love that quote from the Preface. 2mo
batsy @Lcsmcat I agree about the witch aspect robbing All Souls of some of its supernatural power, for some reason. The story also struck me as one of those "last person on the planet" type stories, particularly resonant for our era, and underneath it all a kind of reckoning with death. 2mo
batsy @arubabookwoman I had all the same questions as you and I also wondered if it was Emma ringing the bell, but then I wondered would Emma be also exiting her room right before Hartley is getting ready to come out of her own, but I just chalked it up to ghostly behaviour I don't quite understand 😅 @Graywacke I loved Mr Wace too! 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I don‘t think I could have stood having servants. My mother hired a housecleaning service for us after my 1st kid was born and it made me so uncomfortable to sit there with the baby while she cleaned! 2mo
batsy @Graywacke The bit about servant life and life with servants really stuck with me. And the way the husband was like, "How many of there are you anyway?" put me squarely in Sarah Waters territory and I anticipated if we were perhaps going to get some sapphic undertones (sadly, none). It's actually a great story about the precariousness of a maid's life, with all the menace and unease coming from the conditions of their life in a strange place. 2mo
TheBookHippie Catching up today! I‘ll report back 😵‍💫😅 2mo
dabbe RE: TLMB: some of the analysis I looked at has Emma possibly helping with the “affair“ between Ranford and Mrs. B; the entire staff hated Mr. B, and there is the hint that Mr. B may have abused Mrs. B as well as had numerous affairs (the maid even states that he looked her over and was not moved). Emma's room seems to be the gateway between life and death as no one goes into that room at all, and Emma is only seen at the doorstop or in the ⬇️ 2mo
dabbe hallway. She also may have been trying to send the message about the relationship between Ranford and Mrs. B (what do you suppose was in the letter that she wrote to him?) so that the new maid could protect Mrs. B and keep helping to hide the relationship from Mr. B. Also there's the idea that the narrator is not reliable (1st person POV's usually imply that) ... she was recovering from a severe sickness and was referred to as being pale (even ⬇️ 2mo
dabbe fainting in front of Ranford and his house). The fact that Mr. B sees Emma at the climatic ending shows there must be the paranormal going on here. What did Mrs. B die from? Maybe a heart attack (it was mentioned she had a weak heart) at the whole climatic scene? Similar to Mrs. Mallard dropping dead at the sight of her husband in “The Story of an Hour“ by K. Chopin? I loved that the story left so many questions--that makes for great discussions! 2mo
dabbe Found this interesting article about Wharton's ghost stories in THE NEW YORKER if anyone's interested:
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We did it! Time for final thought on #Clarissa as we all gain back hours in our reading lives. Thanks for keeping me company for this marathon. I may post some quotes below, but Richardson‘s whining wasn‘t how I was feeling this week. How are you feeling about the futures he gave each character? About his answers to the critics? (Especially as regards the length! 😂) Glad you read it, or sorry?

Tamra Congratulations! 🎉 2mo
Librarybelle I am very far behind but have enjoyed reading the thoughts of everyone. It‘s my goal to be completed by the end of the year. Thank you for hosting! 2mo
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Lcsmcat @Librarybelle You can do it! Feel free to tag me if you post your thoughts. I‘m glad to have finished, but I‘ll be thinking about this one for a while. 2mo
Lcsmcat Some quotes: this one says so much about Richardson! “For there is an injustice in being moved at the afflictions of those who deserve to be miserable.” (Who gets to decide?…) 2mo
Lcsmcat R insulting his readers: “A few observations are thrown in by way of note in the present edition, at proper places to obviate this objection, or rather to bespeak the attention of hasty readers to what lies obviously before them.” 2mo
Lcsmcat R insults his critics: “The author thinks he ought not to prescribe to the taste of others; but imagined himself at liberty to follow his own.” 2mo
AnneCecilie I‘m glad you initiated this and that I joined in. I never would have read it otherwise. Off course it got too long at times, but I‘m glad I read it. I will never look at a rake in the same way again. They always comes up in romance novel/ series with a certain romantic air around them, but after reading about Mr Lovelace, I will no longer look at them in a romantic way. 2mo
Jerdencon Thanks for taking us on this trip! @Lcsmcat I never would have read it otherwise even if it felt like homework some weeks! Lol 2mo
Jerdencon As for how he played out everyone‘s lives - I think I was most happy that Clarissas brother was so miserable! He deserved it - although I wish Lovelace had a more miserable ending. And I‘m glad Belford and Charlotte ended up together. 2mo
Lcsmcat @AnneCecilie Thanks for joining in! I agree that, while his idea of the “perfect woman” felt preachy, his depiction of a rake/libertine felt spot on. 2mo
Lcsmcat @Jerdencon Yes! James deserved to be miserable. I felt he was the catalyst that set the evil in motion. And it did feel like work some weeks, but I‘m glad I stuck with it. 2mo
Amiable I wasn‘t sure at first, but I ended up being glad that I read this one. I grew to appreciate Richardson‘s writing strategy and how he skillfully used the epistolary format to tell multiple sides of the story. It‘s funny —today I was reading another book and had a brief flash of “wait, I have to log at least 10 pages of Clarissa first!” I‘m not used to my freedom yet. 😄 2mo
Amiable Thank you, @Lcsmcat, for hosting and keeping us on track! 2mo
Lcsmcat @Amiable I‘ve had that same reaction! I feel a little untethered. 😂 I haven‘t posted a review yet because I was waiting for today‘s discussion, but I have gone back and forth on a rating, but always glad we stuck with it and finished. 2mo
Amiable @Lcsmcat The bragging rights alone are worth it! 😀 2mo
BookwormM Glad I read it so now I never have to read it again 🤣🤣this group definitely made it easier 2mo
Lcsmcat @BookwormM 😂🤣😂 2mo
Lcsmcat @Amiable We need those “Learned Slattern” T-shirts! 2mo
Jerdencon @Amiable that was me this morning - I was like let me catch up but I didn‘t have to! @BookwormM I am so glad I never have to read Richardson again too! Lol 2mo
TheEllieMo I‘m glad I read Clarissa, it was tough going at times just because the story took such a long time to move forward, but I feel a sense of accomplishment at having finished. I completely lost interest in the Postscript though, I felt Richardson was being awfully pompous, though I did agree with him that a man like Lovelace having a conversion would be improbable (edited) 2mo
Lcsmcat @TheEllieMo Pompous is a very good description of Richardson! It really got to be funny to me how he answered each criticism so pedantically. 2mo
Currey @Lcsmcat Thank you for leading us along and thank you to the whole group for persevering and making reading this chunkster barely doable. Could not have done it without you! 2mo
Daisey @Lcsmcat Thanks so much for leading this read. I‘m glad to have accomplished it and there are definitely aspects I could appreciate, but it‘s also one of the hardest books I‘ve ever kept reading and I don‘t think I‘ll ever actually recommend it. As for the characters‘ endings, I thought most were appropriate and enjoyed reading that section for the most part. 2mo
BarbaraJean I‘m glad I read it for multiple reasons—understanding its influence on later authors, bragging rights, the group experience—but also, I DID want to know how things turned out: to see the villains punished & to see where everyone ended up. Each character‘s voice was so individual: it says a lot about Richardson‘s skill that I could see each of these characters so distinctly. @Amiable I was definitely impressed at his usage of the epistolary format! 2mo
BarbaraJean The future of Clarissa‘s family was satisfying in some ways, but also, her parents dying fairly soon, and her siblings having miserable marriages felt a little too on the nose. Anna‘s future was a little disappointing, but expected. I need Anna fanfic!! @TheEllieMo YES—pompous is exactly the word I‘d use for the Postscript! R's answers to the critics were annoying (protesting too much?!), and it all felt far too self-congratulatory. 2mo
BarbaraJean I‘m SO glad you initiated this. I loved the reading support from the posts & discussions along the way. That kept me going & immeasurably increased my enjoyment of the book. I wouldn‘t have read this without the buddy read, and wouldn‘t have enjoyed it nearly as much without our weekly rants! @Lcsmcat @Amiable I‘m dying for a “Learned Slattern” shirt! Any graphic designers out there? Or anyone savvy with quick online methods for t-shirt designing? 2mo
Lcsmcat @BarbaraJean Clarissa‘s parents dying so soon did feel a little too easy, didn‘t it? Like R couldn‘t figure out how culpable they should be and therefore how miserable they deserved to be. Thanks for joining us on this journey! I wouldn‘t have kept going without you all and the input each week! 2mo
TheBookHippie Thank you so much for leading and the group effort. I‘m glad that although difficult at times it stretched us to be uncomfortable … these atrocities still happen to women and to see it in print has hopefully helped women feel seen. As for the author I find him to be an arrogant prick 😵‍💫😅😅😅💙😂🤣😝. The literature influence, bragging rights and solidarity we gained is something I am so proud of! Go us! 2mo
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Somehow I ended up with two books about unhappy preteen boys going at the same time. Tagged book is my #bookspin and Dear Edward is my current treadmill book. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Ghosts | Edith Wharton
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A reminder to the #whartonbuddyread that the first discussion for Ghosts is next Saturday. The collection each story was originally published in is in parentheses for those of us reading from The Complete Works eBook.

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It‘s not often that I wish a book were longer, but the author‘s decision to limit this to three days meant that there were great gaping holes in some storylines. But Donoghue did an excellent job immersing the reader in a hospital ward for pregnant women with the flu. She captures the beauty the chaos the joy and the pain. Ready for book club and wondering how the discussion will go.

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Supposedly this is Anna talking about #Clarissa, but I think it‘s Richardson being jealous 😁 and as I‘m distantly related to Jonathan Swift, I couldn‘t resist this quote. But the story is done, and all that‘s left is the shouting, as they say. Are you satisfied with Lovelace‘s death? His last minute repentance? What about Col. Morden - did he do the honorable thing, or did he let L. tempt him into behavior he‘ll regret?

Lcsmcat And if you‘ve stuck it out this far, Congratulations- only one more week! Then you too can wear a “Learned Slattern” t-shirt! (edited) 2mo
Amiable While I was hoping for Lovelace‘s demise, the whole scene—after nearly 2,000 pages of minute details —felt anticlimactic to me. 2mo
See All 33 Comments
Lcsmcat @Amiable I agree. I would have liked to hear it from Morten‘s point of view instead of introducing a totally new character at the end. Also, I think Morden would have very mixed feelings about the outcome which didn‘t get explored much. 2mo
Amiable Anna‘s letter to Belford this week was my favorite, especially her lament about the expectations placed on women that limit their options: “Why must I be teased into a state… when now I can do as I please, and wish only to be let alone to do as best pleases me? And what does my mother say? ‘Anna Howe, you now do every thing that pleases you; you now have nobody to control you; you go and you come; you dress and you undress; you rise and ⬇️ (edited) 2mo
Amiable You go to rest, just as you think best; but you must be happier still, child!‘ —As how Madam? ‘Why, you must marry, my dear, and have none of these options, but in everything, do as your husband commands you.‘” 2mo
Amiable Anna was born into the wrong century, for sure. But it‘s interesting that a male author in 1748 could zero in so exactly on such domestic frustration and anguish experienced by women of the time. (edited) 2mo
Jerdencon @amiable exactly! @Lcsmcat excited to finally finish this up! 2mo
Lcsmcat @Amiable I wonder how much Richardson actually understood of women‘s frustration, given how he characterized Anna as ungovernable and too full of spirit. But he did let her be that way without dying a horrible death so 🤷🏻‍♀️ 2mo
Amiable @Lcsmcat Exactly. The universally acknowledged “perfect” woman is the one who dies. So what does that say? Not sure—my brain is numb after 1,700+ pages! 😄 2mo
TheEllieMo @Lcsmcat whilst not in any way wishing this novel was any longer (😉), I too would have like more of an exploration of a Morden‘s feelings; he would perhaps have felt that justice had been served, but at the same time he want against his dear cousin‘s express wishes. 2mo
TheEllieMo @Amiable I‘d like to think there was a bit of a feminist lurking in Richardson. The “fallen women” suffered terrible deaths, the “perfect woman” died, albeit peacefully, while the troublesome woman, though mourning her friend, is happy 2mo
Daisey @Amiable @Lcsmcat I agree that I would have preferred to read this final scene from Morden‘s perspective. As it was, the duel and death were anticlimactic after all these pages. I also have come to appreciate Anna so much more since the beginning of the book. 2mo
Lcsmcat @TheEllieMo Good point! I like your theory. 2mo
Currey @Lscmcat @TheEllieMo Yes, I do think that Richardson giving Anna a happy ending was at least a touch of positive, but it was not the happy ending she asked for, it was only the conventional happy ending. 2mo
TheBookHippie @TheEllieMo I hope so, that‘s the most wonderful way to look at it too. 2mo
TheBookHippie @Amiable numb brain!!! 2mo
Amiable @TheEllieMo @Daisey @currey I feel like Anna is a Jane Austen girl stuck in a Clarissa world. (edited) 2mo
TheBookHippie So anticlimatic!!! After hoping so long for his demise… That‘s it?! That‘s all we get? Surely the reader deserves more, even if it is more pages 😵‍💫😅🤦🏻‍♀️🤪 2mo
Lcsmcat @Amiable “Austen girl stuck in a Clarissa world” Yes! And I feel like JA read this and thought “That‘s not the way I would write it” and then did better. 2mo
Lcsmcat @TheBookHippie I too wished for more gruesome details (or a more gruesome death) for L. And I wanted him to die true to nature rather than claiming last minute repentance. Guess that makes me a bad person? 2mo
Lcsmcat @Currey @TheEllieMo True, Anna gets the traditional happy ever after instead of what she said she wanted, but I don‘t think she‘s facing an unhappy life. 2mo
TheBookHippie @Lcsmcat I was hoping for the exact same thing. 🤣♥️ 2mo
AnneCecilie I must admit that I was just happy about Lovelace not being able to destroy any more lives. At the beginning I was a little skeptical towards Anna and hope that the gossipy nature of the first letter was just to help the reader into the story, and that proved right. Anna turned out to be a true friend and I think she get the best end she could hope for in the society she lived. 2mo
BookwormM Well that was not much bang for your a book an almost friendly civilised duel not what I wanted for Lovelace and Morden broke his word to that most excellent of women so that wasn‘t good either. Would have preferred a coaching accident where only L is injured and dies a lingering death 😈 2mo
BarbaraJean I figured this is how it would end, but still, I was not at all satisfied with L's death and “repentance.“ (I mean, we all know how his previous repentance went, so... the only reason this lasted is that he died.) And I was frustrated with Morden taking L's bait. Of course, L absolves himself by insisting he worded it in such a way that Morden could have taken it differently, but given their personalities, it all seemed very inevitable. 2mo
BarbaraJean @Lcsmcat @TheEllieMo @Daisey I agree, I would have preferred to hear the duel from Morden's perspective. There easily could have been an additional letter from him to Belton--what's another few pages at this point?! There would be a lot to explore there, with him so expressly going against Clarissa's wishes, and I don't think it would take a whole lot of pages to at least acknowledge what must have been a moral conflict for Morden. 2mo
BarbaraJean @Amiable @TheEllieMo Anna's feminism was striking. I don't think Richardson was at all a feminist--but he does have Anna make a compelling argument in favor of female agency & freedom. Anna is definitely more interesting! Maybe R's views on women are a bit more complex than I was assuming, given Clarissa's end. I still think he couldn't get out of the dilemma presented by C's “ruined“ honor. She had to marry or die, and L was a scoundrel, so... 2mo
BarbaraJean @Amiable @Lcsmcat I LOVE the idea of Anna being “a Jane Austen girl stuck in a Clarissa world“! I think that's spot on. Especially realizing Austen would have read this. (Also I think we have another awesome t-shirt idea there...) 2mo
Amiable @BarbaraJean We could make millions off the t-shirt rights! Or at least hundreds. 😀 2mo
Liz_M I was hoping Lovelace would die slowly, agonizingly of syphilis, first losing his looks and then his mind 2mo
Lcsmcat @Liz_M That would have been so much better! 2mo
Daisey @Liz_M Yes, this would have been an appropriate way to finish him off! 2mo
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Finished my September #doublespin. Not what I expected, but, despite the odd, awkward ending, a mild pick. @TheAromaofBooks
Pondering it more, one thing that sticks out is that none of the women seem to exist except in relation to men. Even the book club (which got dropped awkwardly) they were all about the men who were or weren‘t in their lives.

TheAromaofBooks Yay!! 2mo
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Ghosts | Edith Wharton
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And the winner is . . .Ghosts (by a slim margin of those of you who voted) The parentheticals are the collections these stories are in for those of us reading from The Complete Works of Edith Wharton ($1.99 on Kindle) We‘ll start on the 14th to give people time to get a copy. I didn‘t check page counts, but the number of stories is roughly equivalent. #Whartonbuddyread

26 likes9 comments
Ghosts | Edith Wharton
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Option three for October #whartonbuddyread

See All 13 Comments
LeahBergen It‘s a great collection 👍 2mo
Graywacke Ok. My vote goes here. 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke 😂 I guessed as much. 2mo
Currey @Lcsmcat Sorry I jumped the queue. I can get option #1 and option #3 and not the second. I will vote for Ghosts 2mo
Lcsmcat @Currey Got it. There‘s a lot of overlap so whatever people pick should work. My “Complete” has them all and it was 1.99 on Kindle. 🤷🏻‍♀️ 2mo
rubyslippersreads I vote for this one. 2mo
batsy Sorry, I'm not sure what's the difference between the Ghosts versions and apologies if I've missed the explainer elsewhere. I'm happy to read Ghosts in whichever edition as long as I can find an epub or Kindle version! 2mo
IMASLOWREADER i read this one before and it‘s pretty awesome…never knew she wrote ghosts stories 2mo
Lcsmcat @batsy The Three collections have some overlap, but each has some stories the others don‘t have. The post here has a list of the contents of each. Lcsmcat's post on Litsy https://litsy.com/p/aGIzWHl1TDFE All the stories are in the Complete Works eBook which is $1.99 on Kindle. (edited) 2mo
batsy @Lcsmcat Thank you! I'll stick to my pick but I'll be happy with reading any one of these. 2mo
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#Whartonbuddyread Second option for October. Vote by commenting below.

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Tales of Men and Ghosts | Edith Wharton
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#Whartonbuddyread Comment below if this is your choice for October

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Anna‘s smart mouth is a welcome interruption of Lovelace‘s self-centered whining and Richardson‘s preaching! Will she marry Hickman in the next tow weeks? (That‘s all that‘s left!) Or will she and Belford bond over their grief for the incomparable #Clarissa? Inquiring minds want to know. 😂

Jerdencon I have a feeling Anna is going to ditch Hickman and end up with Belford. And Lovelace back to his old self - ugh- really hoping his boat sinks on his trip! (edited) 2mo
Lcsmcat @Jerdencon A sinking boat would take others with him. I‘m hoping an aggrieved husband in France kills him. 2mo
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TheEllieMo Anna and Belford - that‘s a possible twist I hadn‘t considered! She does seem very resolutely anti-marriage, though, so I suspect, as she seems to be a woman of means, that she will remain single. As for Lovelace, he still thinks he has done no wrong. His basic defence seems to be “well, yes, I raped her, but she wasn‘t conscious, so it‘s not like a did any damage to her honour, so what‘s the problem?”🙄 2mo
TheBookHippie @Lcsmcat oh he should die that way in a duel is good too! Ughhhhhh. 2mo
TheBookHippie Let‘s hope Anna stays single 🤷🏻‍♀️ if she has enough money, this book doesn‘t make anyone want to marry. 2mo
Amiable I‘m ready to be done with this book now. Can we be done with this book now? 😫 2mo
Lcsmcat @Amiable 😂 I confess I may read ahead just to finish faster! 2mo
Currey @Amiable With you on that. 2mo
BarbaraJean I highlighted this passage, too! Anna is fantastic. My guess is that she comes around to Hickman in the end…I mean, Richardson is writing this, after all. 🙄 I‘m eager to see Lovelace get SOME comeuppance at this point. Death by duel with disgruntled husband or wasting away by venereal disease are top of my list! 2mo
Lcsmcat @BarbaraJean Oooh, wasting away from an STD would be perfect- but how many chapters would that add? 😂 2mo
BarbaraJean @TheEllieMo Just when I think Lovelace has used every possible “defense,” he comes up with another new excuse. I think the new ones this week were “But she wasn‘t conscious so it didn‘t count” and “It was Widow Sinclair‘s fault” 🙄😡 2mo
BarbaraJean @Lcsmcat Maybe the epilogue and postscript will give us a glimpse of the future? A girl can dream… 2mo
TheEllieMo @Amiable I must admit, it‘s been hard picking up the book this week 2mo
TheEllieMo @BarbaraJean what I find really sad is that a certain breed of men still, today, blame women for the men‘s behaviour😔 2mo
Lcsmcat @BarbaraJean That and “but I, who hate marriage, was willing to marry her and make it all better.” 🙄 2mo
Lcsmcat @TheEllieMo @aimiable There was an awful lot of preaching in this section! But the end is in sight! We can do this! 2mo
Lcsmcat @BarbaraJean I hope the epilogue is hopeful! 🤞🏻 2mo
Amiable @Lcsmcat @BarbaraJean Those parts at the end of various letters where Richardson just summarizes OTHER letters? I‘m like, holy schnitzel, how much longer could this thing have been if he included THOSE too?? 2mo
Amiable @TheEllieMo It seemed for a hot minute that Lovelace may finally have seen the error of his ways and was truly remorseful—but no! He manages to snatch defeat from the hands of victory once again. 😖The dude deserves the worst that Richardson can throw at him. 2mo
BarbaraJean @TheEllieMo Oh, absolutely. It‘s infuriating how familiar/current Lovelace‘s excuses sound. 2mo
Amiable @Jerdencon @Lcsmcat @BarbaraJean I am too impatient to wait for Lovelace to die of an STD. How about a duel where he‘s shot in the stomach and doesn‘t die immediately but lingers in excruciating pain for several days? I mean, the karma bus rolled right over Mrs. Sinclair and Capt. Tomlinson. It has to be on the highway headed full speed towards Lovelace. 2mo
Amiable @Currey We‘re SO close! Why do these last 60 pages feel like an eternity? 😬 2mo
BarbaraJean @Amiable Belford uses their deaths to warn Lovelace, so I‘m hoping that the fates of Sinclair and Tomlinson are a foreshadowing that L‘s deserved end is on its way. I was actually a bit frustrated by the hot minute where L seemed truly remorseful, because I didn‘t want him to reform and live happily ever after! 2mo
Lcsmcat @BarbaraJean Me too! I did NOT want Lovelace to reform, even if he lived a miserable life. (edited) 2mo
Lcsmcat @Amiable @Currey Maybe because there‘s not much action? It‘s reminding me of the beginning. 2mo
Jerdencon @amiable I agree - I‘ve been trudging through Letter 55 which is just pages and pages of how amazing Clarissa was - I just need it to move on 2mo
BarbaraJean @Jerdencon I saw how long letter 55 was and it deterred me from reading ahead this week!! 2mo
LeahBergen I was wondering about those two getting together, too! And I appreciate ANY passages that aren‘t about the saintly character of Clarissa by this point. 🤢 2mo
Lcsmcat @LeahBergen That trope is getting old isn‘t it? 2mo
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Untitled | Untitled
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Just in time, my October #bookspin. @TheAromaofBooks

TheBookHippie Such a pretty background! 2mo
TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 2mo
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This author has been to a Town Council meeting or two. 😂

SamAnne Hah! Yes. 2mo
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Hey #whartonbuddyread people, there‘s been some discussion about what to read next, but no consensus.
I‘m hosting the next work and hoped to schedule it for after mid-October (when we finish Clarissa!) So please comment below with your choice for the non-fiction Italian Backgrounds or the short story collection Tales of Men and Ghosts.

See All 24 Comments
TheBookHippie Are tales and Ghosts the same? Fun for October but I‘ll read anything. 2mo
dabbe I vote for 👻. 2mo
Lcsmcat @TheBookHippie They may overlap, but Ghosts seems to be a posthumous collection, whereas Tales of was published in her lifetime. 2mo
TheBookHippie @Lcsmcat That makes sense! 2mo
Currey Probably the result of chilly autumn winds as opposed to soft Mediterranean breezes but I am leaning toward ghosts 🧟‍♂️ 2mo
AllDebooks I'd be happy with either, but Ghosts seems more apt for October 2mo
batsy I'm interested in both, but Ghosts is perfect for October 🙂 2mo
arubabookwoman There are different stories in the 2 collections, tho there is an overlap of about 5 stories which appear in both. We will need to decide which collection to read if that's ehst is chosen. I probably won't read the NF if that is what is chosen, but will participate with the stories. 2mo
Graywacke I definitely want to read both, but I vote for Ghosts next 2mo
Lcsmcat Can someone post a table of contents for Ghosts, and I‘ll post the contents of Tales of Men and Ghosts so we can see what the overlap is? 2mo
Lcsmcat 1. The Bolted Door, 2. His Father‘s Son, 3. The Daunt Diana, 4. The Debt, 5. Full Circle, 6. The Legend, 7. The Eyes, 8. The Blond Beast, 9. Afterward, 10. The Letters 2mo
AllDebooks 1. All Souls' 2. The Eyes 3. Afterward 4.The lady's maid's bell. 5. Kerfol 6. The triumph of night 7. Miss Mary Pask 8. Bewitched 9. Mr Jones 10. Pomegranate seed 11. A bottle of perrier 2mo
Tamra Thank you for the invite - I‘m going to sit this round out. 2mo
CarolynM I‘ve been too preoccupied to read these last couple of months, I hope I‘m getting over it but I‘m not promising anything. I want to catch up with what I‘ve missed and I‘ll try to join in with whatever you choose. I‘ve missed being part of this group and the excellent discussions. 2mo
Lcsmcat @CarolynM We‘ve missed you too. I hope things improve and that you‘ll reach out if there‘s any way I can help. 2mo
CarolynM Thanks Linda 😘 2mo
Graywacke @CarolynM We‘ve missed you! Wish you well. 2mo
Graywacke Tales of Men and Ghosts (1910) and Ghosts (1937) are separate collections. There is also The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton, a 1973 anthology. (“The Lady's Maid's Bell“; “The Eyes“; “Afterward“; “Kerfol“; “The Triumph of Night“; “Miss Mary Pask“; “Bewitched“; “Mr Jones“; “Pomegranate Seed“; “The Looking Glass“; “All Souls“) Thanks for the story lists, @Lcsmcat & @AllDebooks. 2mo
Graywacke If I were voting for which Ghosts collection, I would vote the 1937 collection, which is $12 as a kindle book on amazon. The 1973 collection is a little cheaper there. The 1910 collection Tales of Men and Ghosts is out of copyright and free. 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I‘m on the road so I need to get home to my Kindle to be sure, but my eBook is billed as The Complete Edith Wharton so it should have all the stories, just maybe not in the collection mentioned. (I do know there‘s not one titled Ghosts, but those stories may be scattered across the collections.) 2mo
Lcsmcat So all the stories of both Ghosts and The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton are included in the Complete Edith Wharton that I have. So I‘m ok with any one of the three. I‘m going to make three posts, one for each book. Please vote on your choice by commenting on the one you want to read next. Each has 10 or 11 stories, so they‘re about the same length. 2mo
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Three quotes today, because I‘m loving Col. Morden. He has James‘s number for sure. I also loved how Anna, when she came to say goodbye to #Clarissa wouldn‘t see her family. So, the will‘s been read - thoughts? Is Morden correct that C wounded her family by her generosity? What about the “paper” that was to be given L if he insisted on seeing her body? Or, to shift gears, how did C‘s attitude to “her poor” go down with you?

Currey @Lcsmcat I chuckled at “vixen for her virtue” this week… I don‘t think she intended to hurt her father but nevertheless did. The “her poor” was a bit much. The Poor‘s Fund for those in need of temporary assistance was fine, but the bifurcation from temporary to those who are too lazy to get themselves out of poverty does not reflect my understanding of the economics of that time… 3mo
Currey I did like the fact that she attempted to take care of Mrs Norton and that she more or less left nothing to her siblings 3mo
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BookwormM I personally got bored with reading the will I rather wish she had left it all to the cats 🤣🤣liked the observation that Belford was best executor as he would follow her wishes whereas her family would disregard it. 3mo
BarbaraJean I think Morden was exactly right about the will wounding her parents, even though she didn‘t intend hurt. That‘s why it hurt—she was generous in the face of severity, and they are self-aware and soft-hearted enough (at this point) to feel keenly how little they deserve Clarissa‘s honoring them as parents. @Currey I also was SO gratified to see she did not leave anything significant (financially speaking) directly to her siblings! ⤵️ (edited) 3mo
Jerdencon @Currey I was glad she didn‘t give anything really to her brother and sister. And her brother still trying to control things. He‘s so annoying. 3mo
BarbaraJean (Cont‘d) The siblings‘ petty grasping over her library, the money left to Mrs. Norton, etc. absolutely exposes their hypocrisy. I was worried how the will would go & was pleasantly surprised that it did not gratify the siblings one bit. The responses were everything. From showy grief & mourning to “no, that should be mine” once the will was read. 🙄 @BookwormM The observation about a non-family executor was spot-on! Still impressed by Belford. 3mo
TheEllieMo @Currey I highlighted the “vixen in her virtue” line, mostly because I was annoyed at the way Mowbray was painting Clarissa as the cause of some downfall of Lovelace 3mo
TheEllieMo I think Morden was correct about the will wounding her parents. A quote that stood out for me this week was from her mother: “What a barbarous parent was I, to let two angry children make me forget that I was mother to a third — to such a third!” 3mo
Lcsmcat @TheEllieMo I loved that quote too! Finally she recognizes her complicity. 3mo
Lcsmcat @Jerdencon @Currey @BarbaraJean I loved the way she treated her siblings, particularly her brother. She kind of said “if you shape up Dad might leave it to you when he dies. But only if.” 3mo
Lcsmcat @Currey The “deserving poor” trope annoyed me, even though I know it was the way of that class and that era. 3mo
arubabookwoman I've been following along occasionally with the group read but was mostly reading on my on, faster than scheduled. i finished volumes I-VII in June and have not been able to force myself to pick up the final two volumes. Why? Once it became apparent Clarissa was going to die (almost as if she had willed herself to die) I didn't want to go on. I'm not sure whether I was viewing it as a cop out, or thinking it was just "of its time."???????? 3mo
arubabookwoman Can anyone help me find a reason to pick this up again? 3mo
arubabookwoman If I'm reading some of today's comments correctly, perhaps some of her family might get their comeuppance? 3mo
Lcsmcat @arubabookwoman I‘m enjoying her family getting some amount of comeuppance, but I‘m not sure that‘s reason enough to finish. For me, seeing how Richardson‘s work influenced later writers is fascinating. And I‘m also stubborn and want the bragging rights. 😀 3mo
TheBookHippie @BookwormM ARISTOCATS!!!! 3mo
TheBookHippie @Lcsmcat I‘m in it for the bragging rights !!! 3mo
Amiable @Lcsmcat I too am more fascinated by the impact this book has had on other writers since it was published than I am by the book itself! 3mo
Amiable @TheEllieMo That was one of my favorite lines from this week! Although it didn't make me like Mrs. Harlowe any more. Too little too late, lady! 3mo
Amiable @Jerdencon I have my fingers crossed that in the epilogue her brother will die a slow, painful death by bubonic plague. :) 3mo
Amiable @Lcsmcat @thebookhippie Re: bragging rights -- do we have an agreed-upon total number of pages for this behemoth? I'm reading the Kindle edition, which is 1,783 pages. That total matches up with the same edition on Goodreads and also on Storygraph. And it also matched the approx 50 pages per week schedule. Is the paperback different? Do we want to settle on a page count? I want to include it in the #ChunksterChallenge2023 reports. (edited) 3mo
Amiable @BarbaraJean I was also disgusted by the quick pivot from “how the world must suffer from the loss of this beautiful soul!“ to “why is cousin Hervey getting so much stuff?“ These people are the literal worst. 3mo
Lcsmcat @Amiable @TheBookHippie My ebook has 1,783 pages too. 3mo
TheBookHippie @Amiable mine is a penguin classics paper back 1532 however the print is smaller than in my Les Mis penguin by far 🤷🏻‍♀️😅 it is says to have the most words of any book published in English I would say that‘s true. @Lcsmcat my ebook is also 1783 3mo
Lcsmcat @TheBookHippie @Amiable I think, given what we‘ve been through since January, we claim the most pages any edition allows. Is there a Large Print edition out there we can commandeer? 😂 3mo
Amiable @Lcsmcat LOL! 😄 Or we record it as “1,783 pages that felt like 4,000” (edited) 3mo
TheBookHippie @Lcsmcat oooooo large print!!! 3mo
TheBookHippie @Amiable yes. Accurate. 3mo
Lcsmcat @Amiable Yes! 3mo
21 likes30 comments
Ordinary Light: A memoir | Tracy K. Smith
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My #bookspin for September was this beautifully written memoir by poet Tracy K. Smith. It‘s heartwarming and heartbreaking, and funny and sad, and very, very, real. Highly recommended.
(My copy is missing its dust jacket and thus very plain, so I found a picture of the author online.)

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! 3mo
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Kim | Rudyard Kipling
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At first I thought this was going to be for me like The Three Musketeers- a book I could appreciate might encourage boys to read, but not my up of tea. But I‘m glad I kept going. In addition to the vivid descriptions of India, Kipling gave us very real, lovable, humans. The Llama‘s concern for Kim‘s soul; the horse trader‘s concern for Kim‘s temporal life, Kim‘s concern for everyone around him, warmed _my_ heart. Thanks @TheAromaofBooks

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! I'm glad you enjoyed this one!! I didn't post very many discussion posts, but I also found this one surprisingly enjoyable. I wasn't expecting a spy novel! 😂 3mo
Lcsmcat @TheAromaofBooks Me either! And it was more “adult” than other Kipling I‘ve read. 3mo
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We saw it coming, but still. And we have four more weeks of letters? Lovelace‘s reaction (and Mowbray‘s!) left me fuming. And the too late change of heart of her family, too. NOW you decide she‘s not lying? If I weren‘t reading this on my Kindle throwing might have been involved. 🙄 #Clarissa

TheEllieMo Lovelace is making it all about him and his woes (which is standard for him, to be fair); Mowbray is the complete opposite of Belford, a rake without remorse - and blaming Clarissa for Lovelace‘s current behaviour! 3mo
TheEllieMo I can‘t help agreeing to a point on one comment from Lovelace, though: “her departure will be owing rather to wilfulness, to downright female wilfulness, than to any other cause.” Clarissa had so many offers of help, but turned them all down and starved herself. 3mo
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Jerdencon Everyone except Belford made me mad in this section - her family, Lovelace -all of them. I‘m curious to see how this is going to play out. 3mo
Lcsmcat @TheEllieMo I agree that Clarissa contributed to her own death, but I wonder if there were implications that we don‘t see with the modern eye. Like, did he give her an STD, or did she get cholera or something when she got thrown in jail? As oblique as the “announcement” of her death is, I can‘t help wondering if my modern eyes are missing something. 3mo
Lcsmcat @Jerdencon This section made me angriest yet. Lovelace‘s outrage was such a necessary plot point that somehow that was less angering than his current behavior and her family‘s nonsense. 3mo
BookwormM I am puzzled by what else can be going to happen given Clarissa is gone. 3mo
Daisey @Lcsmcat @TheEllieMo don‘t tend to think it is a physical illness because of the doctor‘s responses. If we were meant to believe there was another underlying cause, I think he would allude to it. I also hate to think she is willfully causing her own death, but in her experience, this level of weakness is the only thing that has kept Lovelace from pursuing her. It is her only escape. (edited) 3mo
Currey @Lcsmcat @Daisey I also can‘t imagine what the next 200 pages will bring but remorse on everyone‘s part. Perhaps they all catch some horrible disease and die too! That would be fitting but not likely. I agree with Daisey that it was not a physical illness. I suspect that the understanding of disease back then made dying of a broken heart something that could happen without out and out willfully starving oneself but really do not know. 3mo
TheBookHippie @Lcsmcat As for health I was thinking the same - did she get a blood infection or the like from internal wounding. 🤷🏻‍♀️ 3mo
TheBookHippie @Currey Shakespeare would kill them all off perhaps, we won‘t get that satisfaction I‘m afraid. 3mo
Lcsmcat @Daisey The doctor might allude to it, but “medical” terms have changed so much. Tuberculosis used to be referred to as “wasting away” for example. So I just wonder if 21st century readers are missing something or if she really just decided that life wasn‘t worth living since she had been “dishonored.” 3mo
Lcsmcat @Currey @Daisey I‘m hoping for a horrible death for L and bankruptcy and spinsterhood for Arabella. If that makes me a horrible person, then 🤷🏻‍♀️ 3mo
TheBookHippie @Lcsmcat she could have just given up… 3mo
Lcsmcat @TheBookHippie She could have. I used to think dying of a broken heart was romantic nonsense, but my grandfather died less than 2 weeks after my grandmother basically because he wanted to. They‘d been married 73 years and he didn‘t want to be apart. Not that C died of love. I‘m just saying that the whole “will to live” thing is real. 3mo
TheBookHippie @Lcsmcat I‘ve seen it to many times during my geriatric nursing career. 3mo
Amiable I‘m with @TheEllieMo @Currey and @Daisey in believing Clarissa withered away on her own will. A number of letters had no delicacy about speculating on her possible out-of-wedlock pregnancy, so I feel like it would have been mentioned if she had a physical injury or illness that would have resulted from the rape. 3mo
Amiable Her options appeared to be marry Lovelace and “legalize” the rape, or die. The former option was not palatable to her, so she opted for the latter. Had her family forgiven her “sins” and provided a third option, I don‘t think she would have chosen death. But that would be a less interesting book, I imagine. 😀 (edited) 3mo
Amiable I‘ll admit I did choke up a bit at the scene where Clarissa is nestled into Mrs. Smith‘s arms in her final moments so she could imagine she was being embraced by her mother. It made me hate the Harlowes and their too-late-and-too-insincere change of heart at the end even more. 3mo
Lcsmcat @Amiable That scene really brought home just how young Clarissa was, didn‘t it! Still just a child, really. 3mo
Lcsmcat So re: cause of death, the article @Amiable linked to on her post said “Clarissa” is an operatic tale of sibling rivalry, feminine virtue, prostitution, drug-induced rape, anorexia, insanity and duels to the death” Do you think Clarissa had anorexia, which is after all a disease of regaining control and often afflicts teenagers? 3mo
BarbaraJean @TheEllieMo I‘m with you on Clarissa‘s refusal of help. I do think it might have been different if her family had believed her and provided their support, or if Anna or Mrs. Norton had been allowed to come to her—I think any of that would have given her the will to live. But I read this as absolutely Clarissa‘s choice to die. The doctor said as much, very early on—that it was in her own power to get better. @Daisey @TheBookHippie @Currey @Amiable 3mo
BarbaraJean @BookwormM @Currey I also don‘t understand how we still have four more weeks of letters!! I am SUPER interested to read her will (although I think I‘m going to find it infuriating). And I foresee plenty of book-throwing feelings will be induced by her family‘s insufferable grief and “forgiveness” now that her death has “exonerated” her in their eyes. 3mo
31 likes23 comments
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I really enjoyed this biography of First Lady Edith Wilson. Casual history seems to focus on Eleanor Roosevelt as the power lady in DC, but Edith did it first and more completely!

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Solar Power | Tea Benduhn
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Not book related, but I can‘t resist sharing. Our solar panels went live this afternoon! I can‘t wait to see that first reduced electrical bill. 🌞

Bookwormjillk That‘s awesome. Congrats! 🌎☀️ 3mo
AmyG You will love it. My husband tells me every month how low our bill is! 3mo
Lcsmcat @AmyG Our system came with an ap that tells how much we‘re producing, and then spells it out in terms of “how many cell phones charged” or “how many trees planted” 😂 3mo
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Lcsmcat @Bookwormjillk Thanks! I‘m ridiculously excited about it. 3mo
dabbe 🤩🤩🤩 3mo
AmyG Yes….we also have a similar app. It‘s awesome. 3mo
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Richardson is preaching through Anna now, but I can‘t disagree with him on this point. #Clarissa is “dying by inches” to quote Stephen Sondheim, and Lovelace is as implacable as ever, calling everything he did to her “a mere jest” and calmly explaining that if he‘s unhappy of course he must abuse his servants. 🙄 Even 5 more weeks is not enough time to redeem him in my opinion.

BookwormM I liked Morden‘s contribution telling the Harlowes how it is 3mo
Lcsmcat @BookwormM Yes! It was good to see that Clarissa wasn‘t wrong about his being on her side in the end. But I still have to ask what took him so long! Even in the 1700s one could travel between France and England faster than that. 3mo
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BookwormM But then the story would be so much shorter and Richardson needs to make his money 🤣🤣 3mo
Amiable Lovelace is detestable, yes. But my ire this week is directed at the Horrible Hard-Hearted Harlowes. That letter where Cousin Morden describes his meeting with the family! I can't stomach them. Why do they all allow James to dictate their feelings and actions? When he said “if ever my sister Clary darkens these doors again, I never will,“ the correct answer should have been “Don't let the door hit you in the arse on the way out!“ 3mo
Amiable I cheered Morden's retort: “That (James) wants to be taught the difference between courage and bluster, and it is happy for him, perhaps, that I am his kinsman, though I am sorry he is mine.“

(edited) 3mo
Amiable Even Brand, that pompous arse, understands the dynamic. While I get an instant headache when I start reading his “letters“ and “thoughts,“ his remark about the Harlowes rings true: “Let me tell you, 'by-the-by,' that they had carried the matter against her 'so far,' that I believe in my heart they were glad to 'justify themselves' by 'my report,' and would have been 'less pleased' had I made a 'more favorable' one.“ 3mo
Amiable Curious, too, about why Morden is the only one who is willing to presume that Clarissa was innocent until being proved “guiity.“ Why was everyone else in her life so quick to assume the worst of her, if she has been the true model of a perfect woman for 18 years? 3mo
Amiable Although Clarissa has tested my patience as well. She is embracing the idea of death as though she is in love with it. She says she isn't doing anything to hasten Death's arrival, yet when the doctor tell her she should live a few more days she is disappointed. At one point Belford reports she says “to me, who have had so gradual a weaning-time from the world .. I dwell on, I indulge (and strictly speaking, I enjoy) the thought of death.“ (edited) 3mo
Amiable And again, as much as Lovelace makes my skin crawl, he can see Clarissa's actions and intent: “She'll persuade herself at this rate, that she has nothing to do, when all is ready, but to lie down, and go to sleep, and such a lively fancy as hers will make a reality of a jest at any time.“ I had to highlight his instructions to Belford: “Tell, therefore, the dear creature that she must not be wicked in her piety.“ 3mo
Daisey @Amiable Yes, Brand‘s letters are tortuous to read, but he gets it exactly right in that comment about the family. I am so glad Morten is finally here and making an effort for Clarissa, but he does move so slowly. Even now, I wonder why he waits to communicate with her more directly. 3mo
Lcsmcat @Amiable I highlighted Morten‘s retort too. Another reason I wish he had arrived sooner. 3mo
Lcsmcat @Amiable I think Brand has always understood, but (and this will come out more next week) he reminds me so much of Mr. Collins from P&P. 3mo
Amiable @Daisey I wonder if it‘s because Morden, like everyone else, doesn‘t believe Clarissa is really as sick as she is? Because what healthy person just ups and dies at 19 for no reason other than a broken heart (except in novels, I mean)? Morden was a rake in his past (which is why he understands Lovelace) so he probably doesn‘t believe in the broken-heart diagnosis. (edited) 3mo
Currey @Daisey It is one of the few times I agreed with Lovelace. Clarissa is willing herself to die. It is a perfect revenge on Lovelace but a bit much on the piety scale. 3mo
TheEllieMo Lovelace is still detestable, believing he has done nothing wrong; Clarissa is starving herself in martyrdom, even though Morden is at last here and willing to help; Brand is obsequious but I find his ‘letters‘ ‘amusing‘. The only person coming out with any kind of integrity at the moment is Belford 3mo
Amiable @TheEllieMo I feel like Richardson is using Belford as a counterpoint to Lovelace— he‘s a rake who has seen the error of his ways and has been saved and reformed thanks to exposure to and guidance from a good woman (Clarissa). He‘s like the “what could have been” version of the story. 3mo
TheEllieMo @Amiable yes, you‘re spot on. 3mo
Currey @TheEllieMo Exactly 3mo
Lcsmcat @Amiable I agree. And I appreciate his doing so rather than preaching at us some more. 😂 (edited) 3mo
BarbaraJean @BookwormM @Amiable I'm glad Morden stands up for Clarissa, but I was infuriated by the family meeting. James berating everyone for any sympathy for Clarissa, Arabella being moved by C's letters then telling everyone that‘s just C's “talent.“ Then the greed!! Arabella is worried C will die and leave everything to Anna, and Mrs. Harlow basically says the family would've “softened“ if C had made “concessions“ regarding her grandfather‘s estate. 🙄 3mo
BarbaraJean @Amiable Brand really does have the measure of the Harlowes. They're determined to believe the worst of C to justify their treatment of her. And I'm SO over C's obsession with death. Bringing the coffin into her room was so over the top it's almost comic. Then the hypocrisy of Mrs. Harlowe's comment to Mrs. Norton that if C were to die, her “error would be quite forgotten.“ Richardson is pushing death as the path of redemption for lost “virtue.“ 3mo
BarbaraJean @Lcsmcat @Amiable Brand completely understands the dynamic because he's just as self-serving as the Harlowes. And YES—Brand definitely reminded me of Collins. His comment about Clarissa, if she lives, wanting to keep a chaplain close by…and his little insinuations and assumptions about how it could be him and where that might go. Ugh. 3mo
Amiable @BarbaraJean Did it sound to you like Clarissa had written her will to leave her estate to the family? I wasn‘t sure based on what she wrote in her letter about it. I will seriously throw this book against the wall if that horrid family makes out financially after she dies! 3mo
Lcsmcat @BarbaraJean Brand makes me cringe, but, like Uriah Heep of David Copperfield, he‘s very aware of what‘s going on and how to turn it to his own advantage. 3mo
BarbaraJean @Amiable It sounded to me like she did. I just double-checked, and in letter LV, to Anna, she describes her method of writing her will as: “putting myself in my relations' places, and, in the greater points, ordering my matters as if no misunderstanding had happened.“ So... yeah. I think book-throwing is in order if she dies. (You and me both.) 3mo
Amiable @BarbaraJean Ugh. That‘s what I thought too, but I was hoping I misunderstood what I read. 😖 Those people should not be rewarded for their terrible behavior. 😡 3mo
Jerdencon @Amiable I thought the same thing about the brother saying he will leave and never come back - go! @Lcsmcat I‘ve said that before about it taking forever for morden to come too. 3mo
Jerdencon And I have to say this prolonged “death” of Clarissa is bugging me. I half think she‘s faking it… 3mo
Lcsmcat @Jerdencon Such a soap opera! Richardson is really milking it. 3mo
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Well I can check this off my list now. I can‘t say I exactly enjoyed it, although the last couple chapters were better and almost got there for me. But not quite. This will be heading to a Little Free Library near me. 🙂 Thanks to @TheAromaofBooks for giving me the impetus to read this.

TheAromaofBooks This one has definitely been a mixed bag! Worth reading, I think, but not one I'll ever revisit. Thank you for reading along with me!!! 3mo
rachelk I need to read this just so I can stop being embarrassed about not having read it. 😆 3mo
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“The country was in peril; he was jeopardizing his traditional rights of freedom and independence by daring to exercise them”

Demon Copperhead: A Novel | Barbara Kingsolver
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I wasn‘t expecting to finish this today, but I got going and couldn‘t put it down. Faithful to David Copperfield without being slavish, and it will break your heart over and over. Kingsolver makes you stick in there, and really SEE without making you feel preached at. After my trip to WV this summer where “Foster Parents Needed” signs were everywhere I wish everyone could read this book with an open heart.

Amiable I just started this yesterday. Seven chapters in and I‘m fully invested. 3mo
Leftcoastzen I‘m in pretty deep myself . Chapter 29 but doing audio. Great story so far. 3mo
Lcsmcat @Amiable She grabs you from the beginning! 3mo
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Lcsmcat @Leftcoastzen I‘m not sure I could do this on audio. I‘m curious how Damon‘s mishearings are handled (Farm Party for Pharm Party for example.) 3mo
Leftcoastzen @Lcsmcat I‘ve got the ebook handy too. 3mo
Djspens I went back and forth between audio (on walks and while driving) and book in hand. I had an a-ha moment while reading “pharm” after hearing “farm”. Loved this book! It will stick with me for awhile… 3mo
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Untitled | Untitled
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I might be reading too many books at one time. #Clarissa #whartonbuddyread #randomclassics #irlbookclub #treadmillAudio I‘m loving the connections between some of them, like the Edith Wilson bio and the Edith Wharton which overlap time-wise.

Circle City Books & Music | Pittsboro, NC (Bookstore)
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I went for #Kim, because I thought I owned a copy but apparently didn‘t, and walked out with these plus 2 not pictured for my husband. #sorrynotsorry

Leftcoastzen Nice haul! 3mo
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As sorry as I am to give Lovelace more air, I think this may be the author‘s response to his fans. #Clarissa was released in installments and was the talk of its day. I wonder if Richardson was getting pressure from readers to have our girl take him to court?

Liz_M If nothing else, Clarissa was certainly getting pressure from "friends" and family to prosecute Lovelace 3mo
BarbaraJean Oh, that‘s interesting—I hadn‘t thought about this being a response to readers clamoring for Lovelace‘s prosecution! But that makes sense. As much as I don‘t want to agree with Lovelace, ever, I agree that Clarissa would likely fare poorly against him in court. For as much as everyone who talks to Clarissa calls her an angel, a paragon of virtue, etc.—Lovelace is too slippery, too effective as a manipulator. 3mo
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TheBookHippie @BarbaraJean I agree with you. She is no match for him. 3mo
TheEllieMo @Lcsmcat I hadn‘t picked up on that, but now you mention it, it makes sense. And I agree, @BarbaraJean, Lovelace would definitely be able to swing a jury in his favour - just look at all the “woe is me, look how much I‘m suffering!” he does! I must admit this week‘s reading for me has been all about Mr Brand and the absolute pomposity of his letter! The style of it came as a bit of light relief in an otherwise very dark story 3mo
TheBookHippie I forget while reading how originally people received this. I bet there was outcry! As there should be. 3mo
Amiable @BarbaraJean I'm also puzzzled and saddened by how quickly Clarissa's family and some friends (at least at first -- even Anna Howe was a doubter) were to believe the worst of her. If her family -- who should know her best -- would not serve as character witnesses, what hope would Clarissa have to prevail in court? Especially in that time period. (edited) 3mo
Lcsmcat @TheEllieMo @BarbaraJean Lovelace could totally swing a jury his way. His looks, social class, and skill in manipulation would ensure he got off even today, not to mention back then! 3mo
Amiable I also hadn't known that Richardson published these letters in installments. I did read that in later editions of his book he added the footnotes to further explain his rationale for the various plot twists. He must have really gotten beat up by readers for what he put Clarissa through! :) 3mo
Amiable @theelliemo I wanted to pitch the book against the wall while reading that letter from Mr. Brand to Clarissa's father! Ye gads, the use of quote marks and italics to report on her “behavior“ drove me nuts. I could literally picture him talking with excessive air quotes: “My friend's wife is of the opinion that all is not 'as it should be' ... morning prayers is made the 'pretence' and 'cover' for 'private assignations' ...“ I wanted to punch him! (edited) 3mo
Lcsmcat @Amiable @TheEllieMo Brand‘s letter 🤬 I heard it all in the voice of Tucker Carlson “I‘m just asking” Sheesh! 3mo
BarbaraJean @Amiable Absolutely—if even Anna was taken in, and Clarissa‘s family believes the worst, she doesn‘t have much hope of the jury taking her word for it. it‘s still infuriating to me how easily people are taken in by Lovelace when they‘re willing to think the worst of Clarissa at the drop of a hat. 3mo
BarbaraJean @TheEllieMo @Amiable @Lcsmcat Ugh, that letter from Brand was hilarious (all the quotation marks and the pompous Latin quotes!) but also so awful. I couldn‘t believe how biased he already was. Basically: “her landlady spoke too highly of her, so I immediately went to find someone who didn‘t know her so I could poison them against her.” 🤬 Isn‘t Brand the clergyman the family enlisted to forcibly marry her to Solmes because Lewen wouldn‘t do it? 3mo
Amiable @BarbaraJean Yes, I think he was! Props, though, to Belford for directly confronting the “friend“ and the “friend's wife“ (yes, I am purposely waving my hands around with air quotes!) to tell them, hey, I'm standing right here -- so go ahead and insult me to my face! Of course they retracted their “observations.“ (edited) 3mo
BarbaraJean @Amiable Yes! Go Belford! I was also impressed that the “friend” and “wife” (complete with air quotes here as well!) acknowledged that they didn‘t really know what they were talking about and had since found out better about Clarissa. They actually seemed remorseful. Or “remorseful.” 😂 3mo
Jerdencon Omg - the letter from Brand and his grammar was funny! I know it‘s probably unlikely but want Clarissa to end up with Belford and Lovelace to go to jail or at least lose all his money! 3mo
Lcsmcat @BarbaraJean Belford has really stepped up in this section. 3mo
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The audiobooks I listen to on the treadmill are chosen based more on what‘s available than anything else (my library‘s selection is limited!) but I‘m glad I stumbled on this one. So far it‘s very interesting.

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Untitled | Untitled
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My I-can‘t-believe-it‘s-almost-September #bookspin list. @TheAromaofBooks

Ruthiella I‘ve had Elizabeth Strout‘s debut on my TBR for forever it seems. 3mo
TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 3mo
Lcsmcat @Ruthiella Me too! 3mo
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Even if you think you know where Dickens is taking you, you never quite know what you‘ll meet on the journey. I loved every minute of this #chunkster, and now I‘m ready for the Kingsolver retelling (Demon Copperhead). @Amiable

Amiable Great job! I‘m going to dive into “Demon Copperhead” too as soon as I‘m done with my upcoming library hold. 3mo
dabbe I adored Dickens's DC! I need to read DEMON COPPERHEAD, too! 3mo
Lcsmcat @dabbe @Amiable My in person book club is reading it for our September meeting. I‘d love to discuss it with you too after you read it. 3mo
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dabbe @Lcsmcat I'll let you know when I start it! 🤗 3mo
Aimeesue “Janet! Donkeys!” Is my favorite quote ever. Mostly because it‘s so short I always get it right. And it makes me laugh. 😁 3mo
Aimeesue @dabbe Demon Copperhead is even better than DC, imo. Much more depth, especially for the women, which is a nice change. Dickens always irritates me with his poor puppet women. 3mo
Lcsmcat @Aimeesue I love the donkey bit! 3mo
dabbe @Aimeesue Good point. Though I do love the names he comes up for his characters. 🤣 3mo
Lcsmcat @dabbe His names are priceless! 3mo
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A quote from the Rev. Dr. Lewen because I don‘t want to give Lovelace‘s whining any more air, and because it‘s a different voice. Buy even he seems to be laying all the responsibility on our #Clarissa! Not blaming her for what happened, but telling her to fix it or she‘s guilty of harming the next woman L decides to rape. Sheesh! Also, does anyone else find Richardson‘s prose harder to get through when he gets preachy, or is it just me? 🙄

Lcsmcat Also, I‘m at the final day of a conference today and then will be driving home so, as they said on SNL back in the day “Talk among yourselves” and I‘ll chime in when I can. 🙂 3mo
Currey @Lcsmcat It is not just you. Richardson puts some of his preaching into Clarissa‘s voice when she is correcting Anna‘s behavior or even when defending herself. It makes her decidedly less appealing when she is correcting but I appreciate her defending herself. It beats “woe is me”. 3mo
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Amiable I continue to be amazed that -- given the time period, when women had so few legal rights-- people keep urging Clarissa to prosecute Lovelace. While I agree with Dr. Lewen that doing so may help prevent Lovelace from raping another woman, his tone is more “it has to be you because you are society's ideal of the perfect woman, so YOU are trustworthy and believable.“ Which is both a huge compliment to Clarissa and an unfair burden. ⬇️ (edited) 3mo
Amiable And also an insult to other women. Although I could have missed his point-- maybe it also has to do with the fact that Clarissa has Lovelace's letters to Belford, where he expressed his evil plans in excruciating detail. So she has proof that it wasn't consensual and that she was drugged and held down. 3mo
TheBookHippie It‘s very preachy and even with all her assets to make a good witness she won‘t be believed -not much has changed and the law wasn‘t on her side. I do appreciate something other than the woe is me narrative but I‘m not sure the author has captured what her voice would actually be like in reality …🤷🏻‍♀️ 3mo
Lcsmcat @Amiable Does Dr. Lewen know she has the letters? (I can‘t remember who knows what.) But yes, he lays it on a bit thick about her perfection. Which seems like another burden on C‘s shoulders. 3mo
Lcsmcat @Currey Much less appealing! 3mo
Lcsmcat @TheBookHippie I think Clarissa is not portrayed as a real person, but more of an ideal. So there cannot be a real voice. 3mo
TheBookHippie @Lcsmcat I agree I think I just wish it was real 🙃 3mo
Lcsmcat @TheBookHippie We can live and hope. 😏 3mo
Jerdencon I agree with everyone- and at times I find myself skimming a lot of the letters when they don‘t move the plot along… 3mo
BarbaraJean YES about the preachiness, whoever's voice he puts it in and even if I agree! Clarissa's exhortations to Anna feel that way, as well as Belford's to Lovelace. @Amiable I was also surprised that she's being pressured to prosecute. Even a “paragon of virtue“ like Clarissa wouldn't be believed--her family doesn't believe her and I think that would carry a lot of weight against her. Definitely agree about that being a backhanded compliment as well! 3mo
BarbaraJean Now that I've agreed with the problems inherent in her being pressured to prosecute... on the other hand, I found Lewen's encouragement to do so (especially in the quote above) a bit refreshing. It felt vindicating that Lewen believes her, and that he's encouraging her to stand up for herself. A bit #BelieveWomen, if you will. I don't agree with his guilt trip or the idea that she's to blame for future victims if she doesn't speak up, but still. 3mo
Lcsmcat @BarbaraJean It would be nice (if not helpful to the plot) to hear Dr Lewen apply some of that pressure to Clarissa‘s family. Maybe get them to believe and support her before he asks Clarissa to stand up in open court. 3mo
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I have to agree with Belford here - not marrying Lovelace is a reward! And what about L‘s ranting about his letters being shared? What a spoiled toddler! #Clarissa

Currey @Lcsmcat I wondered at Lovelace becoming ill and how that might turn the plot. It does not seem as if it will prompt him to true repentance. (edited) 4mo
Lcsmcat @Currey I wondered how sick was he really, and how much was it part of his pouting over his disappointment. 4mo
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Currey @Lcsmcat All the letters from the family in this section were very frustrating….more of the same: “you did this to us” (and yourself and we know you are just faking being ill). Her sister is the worst but the uncles too. Thank heaven for Mrs Norton 4mo
Daisey I think Lovelace‘s complaints about Belford sharing extracts from his letters was the most frustrating aspect for me in this section. Really? After he stole and rewrote letters coming to Clarissa, he‘s going to complain about this! 4mo
Lcsmcat @Daisey Exactly! He has no room to complain and yet he‘s all victim all the time. 4mo
Lcsmcat @Currey I have no hope for the Harlowe family ever becoming decent human beings. 4mo
TheEllieMo Lovelace is a typical narcissistic bully, he‘s happy to dish it out but can‘t take a dose of his own medicine! I have come to truly hate him 4mo
TheBookHippie I don‘t think there‘s a redeemable bone in Lovelace body 😵‍💫. Is pathological narcissistic a thing ?! I agree with @Daisey his complaining is unfathomable after all he‘s done .. 4mo
Amiable My favorite line was where Belford tells Lovelace “I‘m sorry you‘re sick, but if you‘re going to die it‘s too bad you didn‘t do it four months ago before you raped her.” 🙌🏼 I‘m starting to wish Belford and Clarissa would get together. 4mo
Amiable And how terrible was Lovelace in letter 13? Where he barges into Mrs. Smith‘s —even though Belford told him explicitly to stay away — and proceeds to run roughshod over the poor people trying to keep Clarissa safe. If I didn‘t already hate him this would be the final nail in his coffin. (edited) 4mo
BarbaraJean I really wanted someone to respond to his being sick the same way people are responding to Clarissa: “We have no sympathy for you because we know it's not as bad as you're claiming it to be.“ 😂 @Daisey @TheEllieMo YES!! The nerve he has to complain about how bad things are for him, when he's inflicted so much worse on others and his own “difficulties“ are entirely the consequence of his own actions. 4mo
BarbaraJean Obviously it's not the worst thing he's done by far, but I wanted to punch him in the face over this week's visit to London: his insistence on traipsing all over the house to find Clarissa, plus his ridiculous antics in the shop and his self-satisfied account of how he won everyone over. His narcissistic entitlement is infuriating. I'm with @TheBookHippie - if pathological narcissism is a thing, he has it! 4mo
TheEllieMo @Amiable I‘ve been warming to Belford for some time, he has come to see that that libertine life is not a moral one. I am harbouring hopes that he will ask Clarissa to marry him 4mo
Amiable @TheEllieMo I don't see much of a future for Clarissa, to be honest. She seems to have embraced the idea of death a little too much. I know she said at one point that she wouldn't do anything to hasten it, but she appears to be wasting away anyway. Whether it's because she isn't eating or because she has convinced herself that death is the only option for her at this point ... I don't know. I don't like the vibes. I hope I'm wrong. 4mo
TheEllieMo @Amiable I fear you may be right 4mo
TheEllieMo @Amiable meant to reply to this one earlier as well; I found that scene difficult to read because I was just hating Lovelace‘s behaviour so much. What an absolute ****. But credit to Richardson for writing a character I feel real emotion for! (edited) 4mo
BookwormM I am appreciating the shorter letters and faster pace in this section I was fed up of pages of drivel from Lovelace 4mo
jewright @Amiable—I thought this too. He really has no respect for anyone‘s boundaries. He is sure his wants trump anyone else‘s feelings or rights. (edited) 4mo
jewright @Lcsmcat—He has taken something to make himself sick before to try invoke sympathy from Clarissa. I had trouble believing he was actually sick here. 4mo
Lcsmcat @jewright I know! That‘s why I don‘t trust that he‘s really sick. (Actually I don‘t trust him period.) 4mo
Lcsmcat @BookwormM It feels like the pace has picked up again after a slow stretch. 4mo
Lcsmcat @TheEllieMo I‘ve warmed to Belford too, but I don‘t see him as a match for Clarissa. She needs someone less leadable, I think, to be able to respect her husband. 4mo
Lcsmcat @BarbaraJean The visit to London was painful to read! And a character defining moment too. No way he will ever sincerely reform! 4mo
BarbaraJean @Amiable @TheEllieMo I agree about Clarissa being too preoccupied with death. It feels like Richardson is struggling with how to resolve things for her. I'm impressed at the choice to have Clarissa refuse to marry Lovelace, but I have a feeling Richardson's only other option to wrap things up will be her dramatic and tragic death. 4mo
Jerdencon @amiable @TheEllieMo I have been thinking she ends up with Belford too - although that may be too far fetched for the time period. 4mo
Jerdencon And I was so mad when he barged into the Smiths house - like I was legitimately angry as if he had done it to me!! I just want something bad to happen to him for once. 4mo
Lcsmcat @Jerdencon Richardson is very good at engaging (manipulating?) the reader‘s emotions. He reminds me of Richard Paul Evans. 😂 4mo
Amiable @Jerdencon Me too! I could feel my blood pressure rising as he was stomping through their house! And lying that he had a search warrant! I wanted the constable to show up and drag him out of there. 4mo
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“The good Doctor said she was nervous, and, to relieve her, proposed a round game at cards; of which he knew as much as of the art of playing the trombone.”