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About Everyman

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    Northwest Washington State, USA
  1. The more important question for me is, did she enjoy it? What's the point in reading for pleasure if it's not pleasurable?
  2. Doesn't it depend entirely on the books? In the time it will take me to read, think about, digest, and make intelligent discussion group posts about Mann's Magic Mountain, one of my current books, I could easily breeze through twenty of the light mysteries my wife prefers. Ditto for Wordsworth's Prelude, another current read. How many light books could I read in place of my re-reading of War and Peace for another book discussion group, starting in a few weeks? If I ever do get to reading Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, which I really want to, how many breeze-through books will it replace?
  3. I read somewhere the thought that you should take 80 minus your age, and that's how many pages you should give a book before you put it aside and move on to another book. If you're 80 or over, presumably you can abandon it any time you want to. While it's a bit hokey, it does make the point that the older you get, the fewer books you will be able to read before you die, so it makes sense to get more selective. Personally, I have no guilt at all about abandoning a book I find not as interesting as I hoped it would be. There's are so many books on my TBR shelves (yes, not shelf, shelves) that at my age leaving one on the shelf while reading a book I'm not finding worthwhile is dumb.
  4. 1. Can you explain how these three options were chosen? 2. For future polls, would you consider adding an option to vote for "none of the above, I would prefer another set to vote on"?
  5. Hmmm. Let's see. I suppose it should be something that ties in reasonably with the book, so it's probably not fair to suggest that she could have done a Mary Kingsley and traveled in Africa (or China or South America or elsewhere) as a single British lady, even though she certainly had the spirit and spunk for it. And since it's also probably not fair to introduce a new male love interest for her right at the end of the book, if she doesn't marry St. John or Rochester, there's nothing left for her but spinsterhood. It's too bad that John Reed is dead -- she could have found that he had learned from his misfortunes, become a good man, and could have married him and lived happily ever after. One possibility is that she could have gone back to Lowood as a teacher or perhaps headmistress and used her talents and money to make life better for the next generations of orphans. She and Miss Temple could have lived together comfortably as old maids and companions for each other. With several old tabby cats who would purr in their laps during the evenings. Or, with Jane's new found wealth, Blanche Ingram could suddenly re-emerge and befriend her (gold-digger that she is) and introduce Jane to her set and Jane will be swept off her feet by a handsome and wealthy titled society blade and live a high society life between his London mansion, his country estate, and his shooting lodge in Scotland. (Oops -- I think the grammarians here will wince at the switches of pronominal antecedents in that sentence.) Actually, by the last chapters, Charlotte has pretty much closed off most alternate futures for Jane, hasn't she? All the men she knew even reasonably well are either dead, abroad, or blind and partly crippled. She has no home, and no place for which she feels any homelike affection except the now destroyed Thornfield. Without introducing some whole new episode into the book, where can she go except back to Lowood or back to Rochester?
  6. First, thanks for the welcome. And I have gone ahead and posted a few words about myself in the introductions section. Perhaps subservient was a bit too strong, but she seems to have given up any sense of personal independence. Yes, she did make decisions (she pretty much had to during Rochester's time of blindness, didn't she?), but when she says "I know what it is to live entirely for and with what I love best on earth..." she seems to me to have yielded her personal independence for a life merged with that of a man. Which isn't a bad thing; her marriage does sound like a melding of equals, and equally perhaps Rochester has given up his separate independence as much as she has. But given the feistyness and spunk which carried her through almost all of the book, it seems that Bronte is saying that those characteristics were okay while she was finding a man to love, but that at that point it was time to cast them off.
  7. I discovered this site through a post on one of the Barnes and Noble Book Club forums. It feels like a friendly place to sit down in easy chairs and talk books. Most of my reading is in books published pre-WWI, except for nonfiction in which I try to keep fairly current and a few later writers including Hemingway and Faulkner. I have two primary passions, one for the classical Greek and Latin writers, from Homer through Aquinas (they don't at first glance seem well represented here; have I missed their area?) and the other for 16th through 19th English fiction, poetry, drama, essays, and letters. But those tastes aren't exclusive; I have read many of the traditional classics from other cultures (Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Cervantes, Rabelais, Mann, Nietzsche, Voltaire, Kant, et. al). I read very little modern fiction; I figure it it's worth reading I'll catch it when it shows its staying power, and if it disappears within a year or two of publication, as so much does, I figure I'm better off having spent that reading time with Herodotus, Plotinus, Plutarch, Trollope, Hazlitt, Shakespeare ... So much for reading. As for me, I'm in the process of retiring after running through a variety of careers from teaching through corporate finance through political consulting through law with a few others in between. I live with my wife in Northwest Washington, on an island with no bridge, only ferry service to the mainland. Our two daughters, their husbands, and our two grandsons (1 month and 3 months) live next door to us, so I'm getting lots of grandparenting time, which is a greater blessing than I can possibly express. Anything else you need to know about me will, I'm sure, slide out during various posts.
  8. I understand why you included Jane Eyre in your list, but I have a somewhat different take on her. Throughout much of the book she does indeed express independence and feminine strength, but at the end Bronte tags on the final episode where she reverts almost totally to the traditional subservient female role and devotes herself entirely to the care and feeding of a man, leaving behind all sense of herself as a independent woman. I admit to being mystified as to why Bronte chose to make this major change in her character, but it seems beyond question, to me at least, that she did. Is there another way to understand the final few pages of the novel?
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