Daily Archives: August 26, 2008

Weekly Geek #14

Yay, Weekly Geek is back up and running over at Hidden Side of a Leaf. These week’s geek theme is a photo tour:

Many of you have already posted photos of bookshelves, so here are some other ideas for photo tours. You could post just one, or many.

*Bookshelves, of course.
*TBR piles.
*Your favorite places to read in your house or apartment.
*Other favorite places to read: coffee shop? library? park? secret hiding place at work?
*Your book group: faces, places, books you’ve read for it.
*Collages: books you’ve read or plan to read, or just your librarything collage.
*Your kids reading in their favorite places.
*Your own ideas!

So the only real guideline for this week’s Weekly Geeks is that it should include bookish photos.

Copying my best friend’s idea, I split up my TBR pile and my already-read pile between my two bookshelves. This one is my To be Read Bookcase. 4 of the 5 shelves are all books that I own. The 2nd shelf from top are all books that are borrowed from friends and need to be returned. I believe there is a total of 84 some odd books on those shelves. This bookshelf doesn’t really change, because I tend to check books out from the library rather than read what’s on this shelf. But, I did manage to move Northanger Abbey over from one shelf to another. Also, A Secret Life of Bees will be finding itself a new home soon.

The top three rows on this stack of shelves are books I’ve already read. These two bookcases make my bedroom. Lovely waking up to such wonderful sights each morning. I used to have a third bookcase, same size as the one holding all of my TBR books. But I managed to donate enough titles to actually move one bookshelf out of my room.

I was at an Art Festival in Palo Alto Sunday afternoon, and happened to cross a street filled with chalk art. There were a number of beautiful renditions of art. This one of Curious George is the most bookish. Unfortunately, you can’t see the top of it very well from the glare of the sunlight.

Northanger Abbey – Review

Northanger Abbey (Bantam Classic) You can tell that Northanger Abbey is one of Jane Austen’s earlier stories because it isn’t quite as long as the rest, and the main essence of the story isn’t in the love triangles and misunderstandings. In fact, this book is simply about loving books. Although Persuasion is the last of the Jane Austen books, and the only one I haven’t read, I feel safe to say that Northanger Abbey is by far my favorite novel. It is just as ripe with social commentary on the upper and middle class, the educated and non-educated, the pious and the selfish.

The story takes place mostly in Bath, England when a young Catherine Morland is sent to spend a few months with friends of the family, the Allens. On one her first days she encounters a very sociable young man named Henry Tilney. Catherine soon develops a strong crush on Tilney, but unfortunately, he is nowhere to be seen for the next few chapters. Enter Isabella Thorpe. She reminded me very much of Mary Crawford from Mansfield Park. Isabella also came with a brother, John Thorpe, who did nothing but torment Catherine with his obnoxious behavior. Through a series of missed chances, Catherine is finally able to keep her engagements with the Tilney siblings once they return to Bath. Striking up a pleasant friendship with Henry and Eleanor, Catherine is soon invited to spend a few months at Northanger Abbey with the Tilney family, and here the fun ensues. Her mind ripe with images of Ann Radcliffe’s Udolpho, Catherine lets her imagination get the better of at the abbey. Henry, even encourages Catherine’s fantasies by drafting an entire plot of her adventures exploring Northanger Abbey in a scene that could have been taken straight out of Udolpho. Henry’s imagination and sweetness in this scene made it one of my favorites in the whole book.

Catherine Morland is an extremely likable heroine. She is early on defined as “almost pretty” by her parents, but also very humble and simple. Isabella is a flirt more concerned with fashion than her friend’s well-being. John Thorpe and Henry Tilney are polar opposites of each other in virtually every way. Henry comes from a family with money, the Thorpes only pretend to have money. John abhors reading: “I never read novels; I have something else to do” (p32), whereas Henry tells Catherine “The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”(p85). But at the heart of the story is just a love of a good story, which is why the romance of the Catherine and Henry, and that of Catherine’s brother James and Isabella is almost in the background to Catherine’s love of books and love for a good story.

This book is one best read late at night. I was up until 1am reading before I finally made myself go to bed. I kept falling into that trap of “one more chapter” but that’s not so easy when each chapter is only 2 or 3 pages long, and you are dying to know where Catherine and Henry will finally meet, or if the Thorpes will keep interrupting their plans.


Northanger Abbey
by Jane Austen
Bantam Books, 1818 (original publication date)
ISBN 0553211978
212 pages

Find this book at your local library

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