Sunday, December 16, 2007

Mansfield mania continued

So I totally forgot that today was Jane Austen's birthday. Happy Birthday, Jane!

I also learned that Amanda Grange (author of Mr. Knightley's Diary, which is awesome, and Mr. Darcy's Diary, which is on my Amazon wishlist) has recently released yet another novel: Edmund Bertram's Diary. I'm really curious about this one, because Edmund is probably my least-favorite Austen hero. I'm interested in reading the events of Mansfield Park from his point of view, especially his relationship with Fanny. His change of affection from Miss Crawford to her seemed rushed to me, coming as it did at the end of the book. I wonder how Ms. Grange handled it.

Inkheart was a big letdown. It never really picked up, and a lot of the cool stuff from the movie trailer (Meggie reading Toto out of The Wizard of Oz, the tornado, the genie) weren't actually in the book. A visit to the Inkheart imdb page reveals even more surprises: Rapunzel? Prince Charming? Hrm.

At least they got the casting (mostly) spot-on. Paul Bettany will be an amazing Dustfinger, and Helen Mirren and Jim Broadbent are excellent as well. And just to bring this post full circle, the young actress playing Meggie? Her name's Eliza Bennet.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Mansfield mania and other musings

As of today, I am officially finished with my first (full) semester of grad school. Grades were posted this evening, and I am maintaining my 4.0 GPA. I was actually shocked that I managed an A in my Exceptional Individual class, because I'm pretty sure I bombed the final (which asked a bunch of questions that most assuredly did NOT come from the book we were told to read, nor from the four lectures my professor gave on the days that he didn't cancel class). Moving on...

I've been catching up on my pleasure reading this holiday break. First up was the one Jane Austen novel that I haven't read more than once already: Mansfield Park. I actually grabbed it because I couldn't find my copy of The Golden Compass, but I've been meaning to re-read it anyway before the Masterpiece Theater JA-fest starts up early next year. In theory, I will re-read all six novels by then, but in actuality, who knows?

I picked up my copy of MP (for only £1!) when I was in England several years ago, and I haven't read it since then. I have, however, watched the 1999 movie version starring Frances O'Connor and Jonny Lee Miller at least a billion times, and that, sadly, is the version that I'm used to. Reading the book again made me realize just how much was changed for that particular film - no William, Fanny ACCEPTS (and then refuses) Mr. Crawford's proposal, and the majority of the "action" toward the end of the story plays out on-screen, rather than in letters. Fanny is also a lot less annoying in the movie. Reading the book, my feelings for her varied between sympathy and exasperation; either I shook my head at how cruelly she was treated, or I rolled my eyes and wanted to smack some backbone into her.

The one part of the story that always (to use a fangirl term) squicked me was that **SPOILER ALERT** she falls in love with and marries her cousin. It may have been acceptable back in Regency England (or for most members of any royal family), but that kind of thing doesn't happen anymore, right? Imagine my surprise, then, to find this Mental Floss article waiting in my Google Reader. If it's okay for Giuliani and Poe, then I guess it's okay for Price. Still kinda gross, though.

In happier news, it turns out that the new BBC version (which aired earlier this year in the UK) has already made its way online. I've only been able to watch the first part, but so far I like it. Seeing The Doctor's companion playing Fanny is a bit surreal, but they seem to have stayed relatively true to the novel.

Now I'm reading Inkheart, by Cornelia Funke, whose name is a constant source of giggles. I bought it after seeing the preview for the movie:

The book's completely different, of course, but I'm hoping the action and adventure will start soon.

I saw that preview before a showing of The Golden Compass. The other trailers included The Spiderwick Chronicles and the Sex and the City movie. Don't get me wrong, I want to see both of them, but come on! I couldn't believe they showed a preview for S&TC before a kid's movie.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Yet another reason Neil Gaiman rocks

This is the greatest engagement story ever.