My Reading List 2006 1. 金田一:鬼火岛之迷 2. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens 3. 改造野猪 - 白岩玄 4. lighthousekeeping - Jeanette Winterson 5. Ten Nights of Dreams/Hearing Things/Heredity of Taste - Soseki Natsume 6. The Beggar's Opera - John Gay 7. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen 8. Princess Diaries 6 - Meg Cabot 9. Princess Diaries 7 - Meg Cabot 10. The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien 11. The Knight's Tale - Geoffrey Chaucer 12. Fortune's Slave - Fidelis Morgan 13. The Little Prince (re-read) - Antoine De Saint-Exupery 14. Charlotte's Web - E.B. White 15. The Fellowship of the Ring (re-read) - J.R.R.Tolkien 16. Northanger Abbey - Jane Austen
It has been a most unsatisfying year for movies but a rather satisfying one for books. :) I don't read much, but I greatly enjoyed what I've read this year. And I shamelessly tell you that I cried after The Little Prince and Charlotte's Web. The most page-turning books were Fortune's Slave and Northanger Abbey.
Surprise, surprise! I just said that a Jane Austen novel was page-turning! I mean, yes, I love her novels, but at the start, whenPersuasion was my very first Austen novel, I didn't appreciate as much as I do now, and to me it had been a bore. But only after studying it with a little more depth did I realise how amusing Austen's novels are.
I finished Northanger Abbey last night (past midnight, rather). It wasn't exactly a romantic book, ("...though Henry was now sincerely attached to her, though he felt and delighted in all the excellencies of her character and truly loved her society, I must confess that his affection originated in nothing better than gratitude, or, in other words, that a persuasion of her partiality for him had been the only cause of giving her a serious thought." -Northanger Abbey) but it was certainly an amusing one, filled with Austen's usual sarcasm, irony and anti-climatic sentences added to the end of paragraphs. I caught myself smiling to myself quite a few times while reading, and totally enjoyed that feeling. (:
It wasn't as easy for me to sympathise with the heroine in this novel as compared to Anne in Persuasion, and....I don't remember why. But only after she was removed from Bath and gone to Northanger Abbey did I subconsciously sympathise with her quite suddenly.
Northanger Abbey holds a very different overall tone as compared to Persuasion or maybe even Pride and Prejudice. Maybe it's because the heroine is pretty young, at 17 years of age, but the writing style seems to be faster, more forceful, more "openly" energetic and more "directly" opinionated. (I mean, of course Austen shows pretty strong opinions in her novels but she wrote it more openly here, without needing to read between the lines sometimes.)
It's not my favourite plot (to which, the back of the book cover had a description not exactly more than half true) but it's still a good read. I nearly picked up Sense and Sensibilty or Emma, the seemingly more heard-of titles among Austen's novels but Northanger caught my eye and after I read the description of it I decided to buy it. I felt cheated by the description! BUT still, I liked it. It's funny. Really.
And then I read Charlotte's Web, for the first time, when I'm past childhood. While I was watching the movie, there came a point when Templeton told Wilbur that he was to be killed and eaten in Winter, and this little boy wailed VERY loudly in the cinema, crying out, "NOOOOOOO!" until his mum had to carry him out of the theater. It was a very..."broken" film, as though they were just visually translating the book, (whatever the book said,they just put it up, without a good enough flow or a nice, constant pace) but the part which saved it all was when Charlotte was about to die, and when Wilbur went home and they all looked up at the corner of the door where shreds of Charlotte's web still remained. I was about to cry, but from the corner of my eye I saw my dad looking at me (and I later found out he really was trying to catch me crying! ) so I decided to hold it. Grrr. That was one of the two things which saved the movie. The other was its soundtrack and credits. IT WAS A BEAUTIFUL SOUNDTRACK. The movie was only an hour plus long. They didn't really focus on the issues which would strike older readers/viewers more - like the part about the Queensborough Bridge (something like that) and the thing about spiders' web being miracles themselves, so I guess the target audience was KIDS. They really just visually translated the whole thing! Without any emphasis on any scene except when Charlotte was dying!
"Why did you do all this for me?" he asked. "I don't deserve it. I've never done anything for you."
"You have been my friend," replied Charlotte. "That in itself is a tremendous thing." -Charlotte's Web, by E.B. White