Vanity Fair by William Thackeray – Readalong Wrap-Up!

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So Vanity Fair has come to an end. And getting to that end had some rather painfully boring bits – not going to lie. In fact, there were chapters that convinced me I would never finish the book, chapters that I literally have no recollection of what happened. But that’s okay because much of Thackeray’s story was superfluous fluff that got lost somewhere along the way for me. I definitely think my main issue was the audio. Not that this particular audio was bad, just that an 800+ page Victorian monstrosity should probably be read if I want to catch all the nuances and details. Lesson learned. Also, SPOILERS.

However, the last 200 pages or so were quite entertaining learning how everyone’s story concluded. I’m glad Amelia finally understood that her marvelous George was a devious rascal and that Dobbin truly loved her. I did get the feeling that by the time they married Dobbin’s feelings had rather cooled towards Amelia though. As for dear, darling Becky, we can only assume that she had some major role in Jos’s death as she continued on with her wily ways. The children, little Rawdon and Georgie, appear to have grown up well enough and hopefully their lives in the Vanity Fair will turn out more honest. But judging how ensconced society still is in the conceit of the Vanity Far some 150+ years later, I sort of doubt it.

In addition to finishing the novel, I also viewed the 2004 film starring Reese Witherspoon. I thought the movie was okay. The casting really intrigued me and turned out fairly perfect. I especially loved Jonathan Rhys Meyer as George Osborne. Perfection. Reese Witherspoon was a good choice for Becky, but Julian Fellows and his fellow script writers dropped the ball on her characterization. They did their best to make her a redeemable character – far less of the wicked little social climber that Thackeray created which bothered me. Do we not watch films with wicked women as lead characters or do we just demand that a wicked woman be getting ahead for reasons we can justify? Can’t she just want a title and money for a title and money’s sake?

I compared Becky Sharp to Moll Flanders throughout my entire time with her. I love Moll Flanders something fierce, even the movie adaptations. For this reason, I think my love for Becky Sharp could never surpass a trifle fondness. Without a doubt, a marvelous character and Vanity Fair’s best, but I didn’t embrace her quite as much as Moll.

Do I recommend this book to fellow readers? If you love Victorian literature and can deal with myriad side plots and large families with the same name – YES! Otherwise, good luck! I’m immensely glad I read Thackeray’s supposed masterpiece but have a feeling the details will fade over time. Now that you’ve read my ridiculous blunderings, head over to Melissa’s blog for the official wrap up post! And a huge thank you to Trish and Melissa for hosting!

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Vanity Fair Readalong: Midway Check-In

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At least it’s midway for some lovely folks! I, however, have fallen a bit behind, or rather I got a late start. I set aside the audio of IT in order to spend all my time listening to Vanity Fair in a desperate attempt to reach the finish line on time. Despite my slight failure at the midway point, I’m fairly positive I’ll finish up along with everyone else. For the sake of this update, I’m on chapter 29 when we should have read through chapter 34 – not too shabby! So what do I think so far?

There are far too many people named Crawley. And no one has a first name so they are impossible to follow. I feel like audio makes this even more difficult for some reason. Or maybe my mental capacities just fall short when I don’t have words to stare at.

Our two protagonists – Amelia and Becky – are interesting opposites who play well against each other. I don’t particularly like either of them, but look forward to seeing where their separate plots will take them. I’m also enjoying Amelia’s growing disdain for Becky and eagerly anticipate someone bitch slapping Becky soonish.

As for the men, I don’t even know what to think. Honestly, most of them bore me to tears and I’d marry not a single one of the bunch.

What keeps me going in Thackeray’s little story are the plot twists. While I haven’t encountered too many as of yet, the ones I have stumbled upon only promise more delicious delights in the near future. I can feel a trembling underfoot – something insanely wicked is sure to happen soon and I wouldn’t be opposed to this or that character biting the dust. With old Boney and the Battle of Waterloo quickly approaching our strapping young men, I predict bloodshed and weeping women soon enough. Is it wrong to look forward to this?

To be completely honest, Vanity Fair hasn’t lured me in like many other Victorian novels. I’m feeling rather lost in the minute details that don’t seem to matter much, the headache of remembering one Crawley from another, and this overwhelming feeling that none of it matters.  Hopefully, a turning point will come soon and I’ll race through the latter half of the novel.

If you want to join along in the discussion, it’s never too late! Just hop on over to Trish’s or Melissa’s blog and get chatty! They are our fine hosts for this readalong and pretty much group read experts at this point! Now I better get back to the Fair!!

TSS: What I’ve Been Up To…

TSSbadge2This week was a good one! Spent most of my time at work preparing for our big office move. We’re leaving Kennesaw behind for the greener pastures of Marietta. I’m super excited about this because that’s 10 minutes less commuting each way. It also means I’ll have my own work space instead of being cramped into an office with two other people.

Jimmy spent all week in Tampa, but is home now until sometime in March! I don’t mind when he travels a week here, a week there – but three weeks in a row is too much, especially when I’m sick.  Thursday was a fun Valentine’s Day! Jimmy surprised me by having flowers and chocolate delivered to my work (see pictorial evidence below) and then I went to see Silver Linings Playbook with a friend. Just as good the second time around!

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The rest of this post will just be a quick round-up of some of my recent entertainments!

What I’ve Been Watching:

Downton Abbey via network television – Broke my heart into a tiny million pieces and I still don’t feel put back together again.

Young Adult on Netflix – A strange little movie and one that was painful to watch. Felt such third party embarrassment for Charlize Theron’s character. The ending was also weird. Not sure I’d recommend this to anyone.

The Bourne Legacy via RedBox – Enjoyed far more than I expected to! Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne was always so cold and stoic that I never fully felt connected to those films. Jeremy Renner brings a sort of humanity and emotion to the role that I really enjoyed.

Paranormal Activity 4 via RedBox – Creepy as all get-out. More of the same, but still scares the daylights out of me. I’m not sure what I was thinking watching this home alone at night.

Homeland via purchase – I’ve only watched the first 5 episodes of Season One. I’m not sure I’m as enamored as everyone else. Not sure why. The only character that really intrigues me so far is Claire Danes’s.

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Dr. Who via Netflix- What is wrong with me? Why can’t I get into this show? It should be right up my alley but I just find it so tediously silly. I managed to sneak in the second episode of season 2 and it’s still not working for me.

New Girl via network television – Yay Jess and Nick with the most epic TV kiss I’ve seen in ages!

Skyfall via purchase – Bought it, re-watched it, and thought it was better the second time around. A GREAT movie. WATCH IT.

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What I’ve Been Eating:

Minato – Great Japanese restaurant in Smyrna near Cumberland Mall. The owners are friendly. Jimmy even brought his parents to this place so they could meet the owners (wife is from Taiwan). If you’re in the area, check it out!

One Midtown Kitchen – A classic Atlanta restaurant with New American Cuisine. Loved everything I ate from appetizer to dessert. Portion size was perfect and price wasn’t half bad. Will definitely return.

East Pearl Seafood – In Duluth (at least I think that’s Duluth). We ate here for our traditional Chinese New Year meal. We had the prix fixe dinner and everyone was utterly melt-in-your-mouth delicious. If you’ve never been to a proper Chinese restaurant, I beseech you to go immediately. Don’t worry if you can’t read the menu. It will all be good.

JCT Kitchen – Book club just had a lunch here and it was phenomenal. I had some fall-off-the-bone chicken that could not have been cooked any better. Also, the space is gorgeous and I want the designer to decorate my house.

Bocado – Had dinner and drinks here a few weeks ago. Cocktails were lovely and food was delicious. We sat at the bar and had a great time. Order the devil eggs for a tasteful surprise!

The One Sushi+ – A new sushi restaurant near us that serves several traditional Taiwanese dishes in a trendy space. Jimmy and I were skeptical about the dishes so decided to test them out. Not bad. Beef noodle and Taiwanese sausage were very authentic with a slight chef’s twist.

Chef Liu’s – Soup Pork Dumplings. Smack. Yo. Mama. Good.

Serpas – Last night’s dining choice/late V-Day dinner. The food was AMAZING. Service a little slow, but the food more than made up for that. On the pricey side, but if you ditch an entree and dessert – a decent sized and priced meal can be had with appetizers!

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Have a wonderful week ladies and gents! Squeeze in as many Oscar films as you can this week because they are all SO GOOD. And read, of course! I’ll be joining in the Vanity Fair Readalong and starting The Late Bloomer’s Revolution by Amy Cohen.

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What a terribly long post! See y’all next week!