Thursday, January 12, 2017

And on it goes...

Volume 5 of Clarissa is in the can.  Lovelace's schemes are working on and off and Clarissa, though attracted to him, is wary of him.  On and off he talks about marriage but one or the other of them has reservations every time it is brought up, or the settlements take a long time, or the house they plan to stay at is not ready, etc.  Most of these delays are of Lovelace's making, so that he gives Clarissa the impression that he wants to marry her, but he actually will not.  She sees through his ways about half the time.

This volume really highlighted what a difficult position Clarissa is in.  She has left her family but can't really trust the person she left with.  She really has no good options here.

Monday, December 12, 2016

So, about that resolution...

The resolution didn't work out exactly the way I wanted!  I got out of the habit of reading again.  Clarissa is just slow going.  The plot is really, really interesting.  There is a lot of intrigue,.  Unfortunately, for the modern reader, the old fashioned language makes the book a slog.  It's not the kind of book that I can just pick up and read for 2-3 minutes here and there.  It takes some commitment and thought to read, get into it, and think about what is going on.

In Volume 4 we see more of Lovelace's true colors.  Did people really act like that back then, or was this poetic license?  A morality play - don't run off from your family, young women, or you might get wrapped up into a situation as bad as this one?

I'm actually interested to see if some of his bad plots come to fruition in Volume 5, or if Clarissa and her family and friends will be able to extricate themselves from his clutches!

Friday, January 8, 2016


New Year's Eve 2014.

Me to Pea, age 6: People sometimes make New Year's resolutions.  You pick something you want to try to do or to improve on for the next year.  Would you like to make a New Year's resolution?

Pea: Sure.  (thinks)

Me: Have you decided on your New Year's resolution?

Pea: Well, I was going to have it to be less shy, but I think that will be too hard.  So I think I am going to try to turn myself invisible from time to time.

This year I made a few New Year's resolutions.  The one relevant to this blog is that I resolved to read more.  Specifically, to read a little every day.  Not counting numbers of pages or minutes, just a little bit daily.  I get out of the habit of reading sometimes, and when that happens I miss it.

Reading a little each day got me through volume 3 of Clarissa fairly quickly. I love how Richardson develops the story through the letters of the characters - I feel as though I am watching it unfold along with them.  In this volume we discover that Lovelace is not that great of a guy after all.  He's a womanizer who set Clarissa up because he wanted her.  He isn't sure he wants to marry her and probably won't be faithful if they do marry.

Clarissa is in a rough spot here.  It would probably make her life easier if she could turn herself invisible from time to time.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

She did it!

Clarissa hemmed and hawed her way through volume 2, but decides to go off with Mr. Lovelace at the very end.  We learn that her friend Anna Howe's mother doesn't approve of Clarissa's general attitude toward her duty to her parents.  We also find out that some of the nonsense that Clarissa's parents are subjecting her to is due to Mr. Lovelace himself.  Apparently that's how you got a girl in 1750.  You went behind her back and caused her parents to pretty much force her to marry someone else.

I'm definitely looking forward to reading volume 3 to see the uproar amongst Clarissa's family members when they realize she has headed out!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Has been a while...

Life happened, and I had not had much of a chance to read any of the 1001 Books.  I started Volume 1 of Samuel Richardson's Clarissa twice and my goodness, it was long, slow, tedious, and I just couldn't get into it.  My reading time was taken up by sleeping (pregnancy), reading various magazines, reading to my 2 older kids, pre-reading some elementary literature for the soon to be first grader, playing some Candy Crush (ahem) and just basically doing pretty much everything in the world I could think of that was not reading Clarissa.

That changed this week.  I was inspired to open the Kindle app again and restart Clarissa from the beginning.  This time I made it through Volume 1.  Hurrah!  If you can muddle through the old fashioned language and the fact that Richardson takes 8 pages to do what could be summed up in 2-3 paragraphs, the story is not terrible.  Basically, Clarissa is a much loved, much doted on, spoiled daughter.  Her grandfather leaves her this huge bequest in his will.  This frustrates the hopes of her older brother in obtaining a title.  Clarissa's chosen suitor, Lovelace, is a decent guy who has kind of a bad reputation.  Clarissa's brother prevails upon the family to marry Clarissa off to this gross little guy Solmes in order to get her away from Lovelace and also to get her inheritance away from her to further her brother's prospects of someday getting a title.  Clarissa refuses.  Will she have to marry Solmes?  I guess we have to wait 9 volumes to find out!

The entire narrative is done in letter form between Clarissa and her friend Anna Howe, and there are a couple of letters from Lovelace in there as well.  There are definitely some themes in this book, at least so far, that carry through very well to today.  What is the extent of a daughter's obligation to her family at the expense of her own happiness?

In any case, volume 1 of 9 down - just 8 more to go.  I'm hoping to build momentum here and not have such a long absence from reading and writing this time around!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Too short.

Life, that is.  Too short for me to slog through City Sister Silver.  I'm sure it is a very nice book.  It is a stream of consciousness about the Czech people during and after the downfall of the Soviet Union.  I found it violent and too stream of consciousness/post modern for me.  I just couldn't do it.

I am aware that this is a very well regarded book.  Just not all that well regarded by me.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Cops and Robbers.

It has been a while since I updated this blog.  At the end of December/beginning of January, I got sucked into The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.  Which is a fantastic book, but is about 700 pages long.

Then I started City Primeval by Elmore Leonard.  I really enjoyed this one.  It is a book about a police officer in Detroit who is tasked with bringing a murderer to justice.   What I liked about the book was that it was obvious the whole time who did it.  The officer knew who committed the crime, but the issue was whether he would be able to get the guy.  The book was written about the 1970s, I think, so there were little mentions of various things from that era that I liked, too.