Welcome to Hannah’s Sketch Book Challenge
Day 3- A book that surprised you
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrel, by Susanna Clarke
I can’t think of a more surprising book than Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. It’s very easy to explain- it’s an alternate history which takes place during the Regency period and tells the tale of two men (and their country), within the premise that magic exists. It is a pastiche of 19th century writing styles, a comedy of manners, an endearing rib at the concept of Englishness, and a damn fine yarn.
I have never read another book like this. It is the first and only of its genre, and no matter how much you hear about it, you won’t be ready for its tone, its humor, its blase attitude, its utter reality and its smug otherness. Also, it has totally meta footnotes, which carry out a sort of Pale Fire-like continuation of the universe, and in their way tell an equally fascinating story- one about scholarship, entitlement, and the pursuit of knowledge.
SPOILERS! They’re all dead.
I needed something to do- this is what I did. Felt like drawing… doom, I guess.
Thanks so much for playing Hannah Draws Portraits! I sorta feel like I didn’t live up to your gorgeous, but I gave it an honest to God shot.
Welcome to Hannah’s Sketch Book Challenge (you may have noticed that it’s been over a week since the last entry. I feel no stress about this. It never said the 30 days had to be consecutive.)
Day 2- A book you will never read again
Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
I respect Jane Austen. I respect people who read Jane Austen. I do not like Jane Austen. I put in my time, too. A friend of mine who I look up to like an idol loves Jane Austen, and when we were children (well, teens) I would do anything to be like her. So, I read Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey- I just don’t care for them. No disrespect. I find Austen intelligent, funny, feminist, wordy, boring, and shallow. So, you know- I can see the good, but I can’t get over the bad, is, I guess, my point.
For the record, I loved the Emma Thompson movie version of Sense and Sensibility. I haven’t seen the miniseries of Pride and Prejudice, but I hear it’s pretty special. I wasn’t interested enough in the Keira Knightly movie to sit through it.
Welcome to Hannah’s Sketch-a-Day Book Challenge!
Day 1- Favorite Book
Down and Out in Paris in London, by George Orwell
I don’t love George Orwell. I don’t love Animal House. Don’t even like it, actually. I don’t love 1984. I hate that one. Down and Out in Paris and London isn’t a distopia, but it is by George Orwell, so I always feel like I should qualify my love of it by distancing myself from a habitual reader’s closeness to the author, just in this case.
That being said-
I fucking LOVE Down and Out in Paris and London. I’m not sure why, but it speaks to me so well, so clearly- it reveals so much about what we want, and why we want it, and how much of that is pure misty perception. I love it so much I was terrified to read it again, for fear of it not living up to my expectations. But then my brother Peter gave me a really beautifully messy, cheap paperback copy from 1954 (it was published in 1933), and I felt inclined to pick it up one not-so-special day.
I didn’t exactly live up to expectations- it reset them. It’s a book about expectations, in some way, and I think the point, on some level, is- toss em out. Not useful. Shouldn’t be a part of your decision-making process, anyway.
If you ever feel inclined to read a book about being poor and homeless or working as a dishwasher and wondering how you got where you are in your life and analyzing the purpose behind unhappiness and whether it is even possible to make yourself happy- if you ever want to read a book like that, read the cheapest, most poorly made post-war copy of it that your brother can find for you. Make sure it has an unexpectedly angular, modernist cover at odds with the belle epoque flair of the cities within. Make sure you can picture someone like yourself reading it 60 years ago.