Ambassador of Books ~ Book Club Madam ~ Blogger Gal

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cranford Read-a-long: Checking In

So how is everyone coming with CRANFORD? Are you enjoying it or wishing it would end? Has anyone finished early? Update me on your progress and let me know what you think of it so far.

*** Participants ***

Amateur Reader @ Wuthering Expectations - Suey @ Its All About Books - Ruth @ Booktalk and More - Meghan @ Medieval Bookworm - Becky @ Becky's Book Reviews - mel u @ The Reading Life

*** Your Links ***

If you've posted about the book on your blog let me know and I'll add your link here. It can be a link to your review, your thoughts on the book as you read-a-long, or anything else related.

*** My Thoughts ***

First off, I have to correct my original post in which I said this book has 27 chapters. Not sure where I got that from, but there are actually only 16 chapters. Now that we've got that cleared up ...

This quote, found in the very first chapter, made me laugh out loud and let me know that I was in for a real treat with this book:
When Mrs Forrester, for instance, gave a party in her baby-house of a dwelling, and the little maiden disturbed the ladies on the sofa by a request that she might get the tea-tray out from underneath, everyone took this novel proceeding as the most natural thing in the world, and talked on about household forms and ceremonies as if we all believed that our hostess had a regular servants’ hall, second table, with housekeeper and steward, instead of the one little charity-school maiden, whose short ruddy arms could never have been strong enough to carry the tray upstairs, if she had not been assisted in private by her mistress, who now sat in state, pretending not to know what cakes were sent up, though she knew, and we knew, and she knew that we knew, and we knew that she knew that we knew, she had been busy all the morning making tea-bread and sponge-cakes.
[That line reminded me of one of my favorite movies, Under the Tuscan Sun, the part where they're talking about the "creepy Italian trees": "it's like they know, and they know that we know that they know ...." That part of the movie always makes me laugh too.]

Then there was the story of what happened to Captain Brown because of his love of the Pickwick Papers - "poor, dear, infatuated man!" as Miss Jenkyns says. And Mrs. Forrester's adventure with her cat and her precious lace - HA!

The humor in this book is bubbling right under the surface and I just love it.

At the same time there are some parts that pull at my heartstrings. Do you remember the part where Miss Matty is burning all her old letters? My Gram and Grandpa exchanged love letters during WWII. As a teen, my mom found and read them and said they were absolutely beautiful. Gram caught her reading them though, and she was so embarrassed that she burned every letter. Doesn't that make you want to cry?! I would love to have those letters now, to be able to know my grandparents as they were when they were young. Reading about the burning of the letters in CRANFORD brought that story to mind immediately.

Those are my thoughts up to this point - I can't wait to see what each of you think about the book so far.


Becky said...

I've read the first five chapters of Cranford. And I am really enjoying it so far. It's a bit episodic, loosely connected stories, instead of "one big plot" but I like it. I'm definitely excited to be reading this one now along with some other great bloggers.

Lezlie said...

All excellent parts! The burning of the letters made me all misty-eyed, too! I don't want to give anything away if people haven't gotten that far, but the love of Miss Matty's life got to me, too. For all it's quirkish fun, Cranford has it's emotional moments, too!


Lezlie said...

I mean "its quirkish fun". Bad grammar! :-)


Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

Becky - So glad you're enjoying this. When I decided to do the read-a-long I didn't realize it would be the same month I'd be hosting the discussion of A THREAD OF GRACE for your book club. It's been really hard to switch between these two books since they are so completely different!

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

Lezlie - I know EXACTLY what you mean. I'm at another part with Miss Matty later in the book and it is having the same effect on me.

Ti said...

I'm not at all familiar with Cranford. I am going to Google it now.

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

Ti - I'm reading it online through Project Gutenberg (in case you want to try a few pages to see if you like it).

Suey said...

I am catching that subtle humor. It's great. I just finished the part about burning the letters and yes it killed me, especially since I really get into compiling family histories. I'm just now at the chapter where Poor Peter has run away, and we have yet to find out what happened to him. Poor poor Peter.

Amateur Reader (Tom) said...

The letter-burning scene is a perfect example of how the book works. It's a genuinely poignant scene, yet many of the letters - especially those of Matty's misguided father - are hilarious, as is Mary's reaction to the whole business, as well as to the lack of candles.

Amanda said...

I totally wanted to do this but I am so back logged on everything. I'm reading your updates though :) And I watched the mini-series!

Oh...and there's concensus that you need to be on Twitter. Yes, we've talked about you :)

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

Suey – Ah, poor, poor Peter. ~LOL~ I’m really loving the humor! And I'm very into family history as well, so we have that in common too.

Amateur Reader – You are completely correct – that scene with the letters made me want to laugh and cry at the same time. I’m so thrilled to have discovered this book and to be reading/discussing it with other bloggers.

Amanda – I understand, no worries! And you’re talking about me on Twitter? Really? Why? I’ve been fighting the Twitter thing b/c I think 1) I’d get completely sucked into it and 2) I can’t imagine why anyone would want to hear from me constantly. Am I missing out on something great?

Amanda said...

When I first heard about Twitter I thought it was completely ridiculous. But it's actually pretty fun and entertaining. And addictive! Give it a try! :)

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