Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Book Reviews

A couple of books and a T.V. show ;)

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen.
They recently showed the BBC T.V. drama on our local PBS station, and I read the book just before hand.

First, the book.
This book is a 200 year old classic read. It tells the story of the Dashwood sisters, Elinor (19) and Marianne (17), who are left in somewhat reduced circumstances after the death of their father.
Each of them fall in love with a gentleman, only to discover something that prevents all their hopes and dreams from coming to fruition.
Much like Austen's other work, Pride and Prejudice, this is foremost a novel about human reactions to certain situations. Elinor is a reserved, calm and thoughtful girl, who carefully considers her reactions and does all that is 'proper'. Marianne is a passionate girl, who throws herself into the situations with her heart wide open. The title, Sense and Sensibility, would be best translated in the modern vernacular into Sense and Sensitivity, for in Austen's time, 'Sensibility' meant someone who was rather emotional and open.
It is a good read, so long as you realise that there is going to be no real 'action', because the book is all about reactions.
I thoroughly enjoyed this trip to the past!
4 **** Stars.

Now, the BBC Production.
This was very well done. The production tried to keep very true to the book, the actors were superb and the adaptation stupendous. I did have a couple of gripes... the casting.
While all of the actors were great, I do think some of them...well, looked kind of modern. They did not show those 'classic' looks that were captured so well when the BBC did Pride and Prejudice.
Marianne and Willoughby were somewhat modern in looks. I couldn't quite figure out what it was about them, but I think it was that the standards of 'beauty' for then and now were quite different, and I don't think Marianne and Willoughby quite fit the bill!
On the other hand, Elinor, Mr. John Dashwood, Mrs. Fanny Dashwood, Mrs. Dashwood, Edward, and Colonel Brandon were all excellently cast. In fact, the Colonel Brandon of the show, really depicted he of the book very well! I have to also admit... Fanny Dashwood was VERY well done!
I was a little astonished to find the 2-part show split something like 1 3/4 hours for the first 1/3 of the book and 1 1/2 hours for the latter 2/3 of the book. It was done very well, but I do think that they could have kept in some of that which they excluded!
All in all, I think a well deserved 5 ***** Stars. Well done!

The Creative Family by Amanda Blake Soule

This book was written by she of the blog SouleMama, and it is a wonderful peek into the art of keeping a family creative.
The book is found in the parenting section of the bookstore (which was a little surprise to me, as I thought it would be in the crafting section ;)), but rightly so. Amanda Soule captures the heart of being a parent, and keeping the lives of your kids really special!
Some of her ideas will not be new to you, you will have run across them before... but I did find many of her ideas to be quite unique, and wonderful ways to make life with the kids special.
This book has had quite a buzz around in homeschooling circles, because Amanda does homeschool, and because so many homeschoolers have been waiting for a year for this book to come out!
I would say this definitely belongs on your shelf, and is a great addition to those other, well-loved and well-recommended crafting books... only this one is a little more than just a crafting guide!
It is also an enjoyable read!
5 ***** Stars.

MaryJane's Stitching Room by MaryJane Butters.

You can find MaryJane at MaryJane's Farm, which you may already have heard of before :)
This is another crafty read, a guidebook if you like, to sewing a few things, crocheting a few things and needle tatting.
This book is a nice book. It reads well, and has a few unique patterns in it... I especially like the apron pattern, which I hope to make in a little while :)
I would not say that the book as a whole is unique- most of the stuff in it is available elsewhere- but I think it is very well done and enjoyable to read.
4 **** Stars.


  1. Sense and Sensibility was my least favourite Jane Austin book and I've always thought the BBC's Pride and Prejudice was and still is the best adaptation of one of her books :P

  2. Oh most definitely... but the latest S&S was really good :)


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