The Sunday Salon: 2012 in Review

It’s the last Sunday of the year, so you know what that means. Either I’m getting stingier or this year hasn’t been the best reading year for me—while last year’s year in review post was agonizing to curate, I did this year’s in a few hours. Hopefully, 2013 will ring in a higher batting average for my reading. But it’s not that I haven’t enjoyed my reading this year; I definitely have, especially my nonfiction reading—I mean, I discovered Tom Wolfe this year, so that is a definite plus. As ever, this list is culled from what I read in 2012, not what was released in 2012 (although I read more recent titles this year than in past years).
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Booking Through Thursday: Secondly

Favorite secondary characters? (Note the plural)

My immediate response is to leap to The Lord of the Rings, but that’s an ensemble piece, so there really are no secondary characters. So I think I’ll start with Mary Morstan from the Sherlock Holmes canon; I loved her from the moment I saw her in Guy Ritchie’s film adaptation, where she throws a drink in Holmes’ face because he’s being awful to her. She’s not treated too well in the stories—Doyle, uh, forgot she existed at one point?—but I still love her character. Onto Mrs. Selwyn from Evelina, a sarcastic widow whose clever cruelty can upset the young, kind heroine, even though Mrs. Selwyn protects her.  …I’m not really dredging up anyone else, because I tend to think of secondary characters in film, rather than novels, because it looks like I read a lot of ensemble pieces!

Review: Evelina

Evelina by Frances Burney

I’m not normally one for the unimaginative author theory—you know, the idea that results in movies like Shakespeare in Love, which posits that Shakepeare only came up with Twelfth Night because it happened to him—but my class has been particularly taken with the parallels between Frances Burney’s life and the narrative presented in Evelina. Burney had a very close relationship with her father, struggled against ideas of female writing as improper (as evidenced by the alternating shame and confidence she presents in the introduction to the novel), and, hearteningly, ultimately married a Frenchman and supported him and their children by her own pen. (Why, yes, I’m definitely going to read a biography of Burney.) But enough about the author—what about the novel?

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