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Tag Archives: Elizabeth Gaskell

Happy World Book Day (Armitage Style), Bookworms!

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Happy World Book Day (unless you are either Swedish or British)!

I don’t know about you, but for me there’s nothing better than to dive between the pages (paper or electronic).

I shall be writing more about the 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge I’ve decided to undertake, but today I wanted to have a peek at the books I’ve read because I am a raving loony Armitage fan.

Ya see, Richard makes us better people ūüėČ

One of the first books I read inspired by Richard was Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South.

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I’ve loved the mini-series dearly since it hit me like a ton of bricks in July 2012 and turning to the book seemed like a great idea to squeeze a bit more from my beloved story.

True, Margaret has raven black hair and Thornton is described as a big unattractive Shrek (not really, but he’s got nothing on Armitage), but there are many delicious goodies that never made it to the TV adaptation.

Another book that I reached for was Tolkien’s The Hobbit.

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Although many of my UK and US friend remembered reading this book as children, I didn’t know who or what a Tolkien was until a friendly American bar owner in Warsaw told me about Gandalf and the world of the rings (while serving my underage a*se a bunch of drinks…).

Since then I feel I’ve done my duty to educate myself with regards to Middle Earth, plus I’m more than a little relieved that I didn’t kill off that many brain cells during my wayward youth…

Another book that I have started reading (and need to finish finally) was a book that Richard himself had often referred to.

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Penman’s The Sunne in Splendour follows the life of Richard III, from his youth to the Battle of Bosworth Field.

I can’t really explain why I’d drop it time after time having read a few chapters, it’s well written and I do have a thing for British history.

Sunne, your time will come…

From the books that are on my list of “to read”:

I’m still not ready to delve into the world of Arthur Milller’s The Crucible.

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I have no doubt that I will weave my way in and out of the story, but for now I shall leave it on my Kindle as a reminder of what’s to come, a source of temptation and delayed gratification till I’m ready to create my own emotional crucible.

Talking about delayed gratification, I haven’t actually got this next book:

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Urban Grimshaw and the Shred Crew by Bernard Hare

I can’t wait to get my hands on this story, although wait I must till the embargo on frivolous shopping passes.

This is just a handful of books that I’ve read after being prompted by Armitage, one way or another.

What have you read as an extension of your Armitage admiring?

Part 2: Trudy’s Pet Peeves

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This is the second day when I’m fortunate enough to welcome North & South continuation writer Trudy Brasure, author of A Heart for Milton and In Consequence.

You can check out Trudy’s previous post here.InConsequenceSmall

I hope you all did your homework from yesterday and have thoroughly researched the answers to the quiz questions!

You can also get your hands on Trudy’s latest book In Consequence which is a corker, so check out the giveaway info ūüôā

and now, here are ….

Trudy’s PET PEEVES regarding¬†North and South

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(John withers away insipid comments with one penetrating stare…)

Mind you, I’m aware that my passion for my favorite book/film can get rather geeky and intense. But I’ve spent the last four years thinking about and discussing Gaskell’s story and characters.¬†Forgive me.

#1 ¬†The constant comparison of Gaskell to Austen and¬†North and South¬†to¬†Pride and Prejudice. Must every story with a failed proposal set in the horse and buggy days hearken us back to Austen’s patented plot? Couldn’t we look at Gaskell’s merits as a writer based on her own style and subject material? Austen and Gaskell aren’t even from the same era for crying out loud! Bronte and Dickens seem more likely comparisons for the passion and social issues dealt with in¬†North and South. I know this annoying occurrence will never cease in my lifetime but …Grrr!

#2 ¬†The half-knowledge behind the oft-repeated fact that Gaskell was rushed to finish her ending.¬†¬†Yes, Dickens forced her to hurry her story’s conclusion during the serial publication of N&S in his magazine. It’s a tasty tidbit of history that sticks in the mind. Poor Gaskell – that mean ol’ Dickens! However, what many don’t realize or remember is that Gaskell went back to add two whole chapters and embellish other sections of¬†North and South¬†before it was published as a book. She left that end scene alone. Hmm…. ( psst! I loved the ending in the book! for more about Gaskell’s ending see my post at WestofMilton here: ¬†LINK)

#3 ¬†That PBS/Masterpiece missed airing¬†North and South¬†in the US. ¬†Will we ever know the mystery behind this omission? I’ve heard a few theories, but I’ll never get over this disservice to the American public. If PBS is meant to bring fine art to the masses, they certainly missed sharing one of the BBC’s finest period dramas…. and the best kiss scene ever recorded on film.

#4 ¬†Interpretations of John and Margaret based solely on the first half of the book/story. ¬†I¬†have to wonder if some people really saw/read the whole thing. Granted that the first half is all spitfire and clashing, but the second half in which each learns to deeply consider the other’s perspective is beautifully, if more subtly, drawn. I can’t fathom that Gaskell intended her characters to stay the same throughout the arc of the story. So pardon me if I disagree wholeheartedly with those that believe that Margaret and John would be forever clashing on ideology and social morality. Where’s the proof of that in the unfolding events, actions, and words of the second half?

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Does this look a girl who still holds grievances about the Master’s character and business practices?

#5 ¬†The lousy introduction to the book in the Penguin edition.¬†This almost ruined my appetite for reading the book the first time around. With a heavy emphasis on sexual symbolism and the power struggle between male and female positions, this analysis of Gaskell’s work sapped most of the deeper meaning out of the story and highlighted the dry, intellectual wrestlings that academics feed upon. I’d like to have it out with Patricia Ingham, Ph. D. on a few of the aspects concerning John and Margaret’s relationship that I feel she interpreted completely wrong.

BOOK GIVEAWAY!

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Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of¬†In Consequence!¬†¬†The winner will be announced next Thursday.

Now’s the perfect chance to chat with me, ask me something, or (gasp!) disagree with my interpretation of the story and characters. ¬†I’d love to hear from you.

  

Quiz Answers:

1.) Margaret is 18 in the opening scene of the book.

2.) The Lennox family is from Scotland.

3.) Anna Beresford married  General Shaw.                                 ns4-063 damn! missed that one!

4.) Adam Bell.

5.) Bessy

6.) Helstone is not too far from Southampton. It’s mentioned that Mr. Hale walked there once from the vicarage.

7.) George Leonards (from Southampton) had a job as a railway porter at the time of the incident.

8.) Maria and Richard Hale.

9.) False. It’s not possible to draw an accurate calendar of the events as they are indicated in the book. The Thornton dinner is on the 21st of July, yet Gaskell has Margaret going to Marlborough Mills for the water mattress three days later under “an August sun.” Frederick also arrives much too early on the scene after Margaret has written for him. (Where was the Dickens’ editing hand here I wonder. lol.)

10.) Aunt Shaw had a lap dog named Tiny.

11.) Frederick married Delores Barbour.

12.) Hannah reads from the Bible every night to the household. She tries to read from Matthew Henry’s Commentaries as she awaits John’s return from the proposal.

13.) Hannah remembers “a little daughter – dead in infancy.”

14.) False. The Great Exhibition is never mentioned in Gaskell’s work.

15.) True. In the book, Mr. Thornton learns that Margaret has a brother from Mr. Bell.

16.) True. Higgins calls Thornton a bulldog in the book as well.

17.) Thornton saw Helstone on his return from Le Havre.

18.) True. ¬†John attends both Mrs. and Mr. Hale’s funerals without Margaret knowing he has done so.

19.) Mr. Colthurst is a the vaunted guest at the dinner party in London.

20.) d. It has been two years of struggle and heartache since John first declared his love the day after the riot and that private meeting sans Henry in Aunt Shaw’s back drawing room.

How’d you do? Thanks for joining in the fun!

The Book Giveaway is now finished!

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On John Thornton moving into my bedroom…

Friday was a very busy day for me as I was feeling crafty.

I was planting¬†herbs in lovely and ridiculously expensive French rustic pots and¬†preparing for a new Thorin project that I won’t utter a peep about just yet.

I’m also¬†on a high¬†of adding artwork to my walls, I’ve always favoured a minimalistic approach to d√©cor, but I figured it’s time for a wee change.

I’m not going to bore you with all the stuff I’ve made, but I wanted to share one I’ve been meaning to do for some time.

There just aren’t enough sexy British men in cravats in my bedroom, so I decided to remedy that.

Here’s the result:

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(BTW, not my bedroom,¬†Thornton’s temporarily housed in Magzy’s living room till I can get my dad over with a nail and hammer)

I took the beautiful image that can be found here, but stuck it on a background.

I chose a page from Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South, but wanted to have it hand-written.

Luckily, I stumbled upon a Jane Austin font that can be downloaded for free (me likey!).

 

Originally, I had intended on going a bit artsy with the image, I considered making the silhouette float above the writing background (as in sticking it on foam), maybe age the image so it looks like old parchment etc, but in the end the simplicity really worked.

I mentioned “men in cravats” and ultimately I would like to add a similar image of Mr Darcy.

My two favourite boys stuck on one wall aiding me in getting a good night’s sleep full of delicious dream.

(picture removed, will post a different one)

The problem is I can’t find a good Darcy silhouette that would rival the beautiful Thornton one.

Have you come across any good ones?

If so, let me know in comments and my bedroom wall will be eternally grateful, not to mention seeing my boys first thing in the morning will surely add a spring to my step.

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