Thursday, June 21, 2007

Chapter 2 & 3 At the Sedley's

After tossing the "Dixionary" out the carriage window, Becky and Amelia sit back and try to enjoy the scenic trip through the country on their way to the Sedley's house. Thackeray uses this moment to give a little insight into Becky's family background: her father was an artist with a drinking problem and her mother was a French heiress/opera singer. After Becky's mother died, her father wrote a long letter to Ms. Pinkerton of Chiswick and begged her to take his daughter in as part servant/part student.

Becky hated Chiswick, but decided to make the best of it and used her talent in music and French to educate the younger ones at the school. She even bribed one of the other school mistresses to pay her money to teach the little kiddies to play the piano, because after all she was saving the school money over having to hire another teacher. Becky seems to be an astute business woman early on.

Before the carriage ride ends, Becky makes note of Amelia's lovely cashmere shawl (of which she had two) and discreetly asks about her brother Joseph and what he does and how much money he has.

Chapter 3 begins with a disturbing vision of Joseph: "A very stout, puffy man, in buckskins and Hessian boots, with several immense neckcloths that rose almost to his nose, with a red striped waistcoat and an apple green coat with steel buttons ..." SCREAM AND RUN girl! But Becky stays put and with a demure look in her eye whispers loudly to Amelia how handsome she thinks he is.

The rest of the chapter goes on about Joseph and how much fun he has in India and how lonely he is back home. He is an extremely shy fellow, but also extremely vain considering his wardrobe and the fact that he changed his outfits several times a day. It seems like he can't bear the thought of too much human contact, and uses his clothes and food to mask anyone from getting to close.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

SIDEBAR: Middlesex

Oprah's book club is reading Middlesex >

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Leaving Chaswick

We meet two main characters in the first section of the book: Amelia Sedlak and Miss Becky Sharp. It opens with the two young women departing from a ladies' academy: dull, sweet Amelia (rich) and fiery sharp-witted Rebecca (poor). The book details much (in 18th century fashion) about the send off that the school mistress, Ms. Pinkerton, and her daughter/niece (?) Jemima put together... about how they are going to miss Amelia because she is the sweet popular one, full of joy, etc. It's clear that the girls were treated differently at the school, Becky worked and went to school, Amelia was sent there because of her families wealth. Jemima wants to send Becky with a copy of the Johnson's Dictionary (I guess it's a gift that all well bred girls receive when leaving the school) as she goes, but as Becky departs she whips it out of the carriage back at Jemima. Everyone is appalled.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Our New Book: Vanity Fair by William Makepeach Thackeray

Ok gang; since I said I would do this at the last gathering, here we go.

Thanks to Amy for the book! I have read the first few pages (and the last few pages too - HA) and will post a synopsis every few days or so for Guido's benefit since he doesn't read the book half the time.

Feel free to chime in if you want; if y'all can't remember your user names and passwords let me know and I'll resend an invite.

Friday, October 27, 2006

SIDEBAR: Expo Photos

Here's a good site of World's Fair Photos

Devil in The White City

Five out of the six villains met last night to discuss Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. Bombgasm red-flagged his book so much that it had a sort of wounded look to it, but everyone always appreciates his highlighting and underlining efforts when it comes to reading passages.

We all couldn't fathom the concept of building such a large event with such large scale structures, with the exception of an Olympic event, but even then I think the Olympics kind of pale in comparison to the Columbian Exposition of 1893. And what was the final number count of visitors - 27 million? The cultural legacy it left is even more interesting, and maybe not quite as obvious, but still as pervasive, today, coloring every aspect of daily modern life--from museums to the Pledge of Allegiance to Cracker Jacks and Disney World. Shredded Wheat, Pabst Beer, Aunt Jemima syrup, and Juicy Fruit gum a few more.

The darker side of the Chicago based story, Mr. Serial Killer, was interesting and a bit more puzzling as to why this character wasn't as famous as Mr. J. Ripper. Larson did a good job of writing his character and the victims. The only thing I didn't like about the book is the switching gears. I appreciated the glimpse into Chicago life in the 1800's, but reading about the exposition logistics, politics and personalities and then jumping to the killer's life was a huge mental switch for my simple mind at least.

Shoozie is picking the next selection - let us know what it is soon!!!!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Yo' Villains

I know that SOME OF US are in San Diego, but is there anyone else that is updating this? Do tell. Otherwise we should change the format.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

bark bark BARK

Book Club was kind of a blur, but I remember talking about The Ponder Heart and discussing the clever way Welty writes right into the southern drawl language without a missing a beat. We all agreed that it was a hard step at first, but it didn't take long to pick it up and get into the story.

...then Guido put on Ruby's dog collar and started barking (ZAP) and the night went downhill from there. Never a dull moment wit my homies!

Our next proposed selection is Devil in the White City: Murder, Mayhem and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson. Give it a yay or a nay and we'll go from there.