Thursday, June 26, 2008

WWJD? (What Would Jane Do?)

Isn't that the question for all time?

What would she do? We don't know what Jane Austen would have done, unfortunately.

However, I can picture her being a hopeful young woman possibly putting all her hopes and dreams into her books. While I don't think she was ever persuaded to refuse someone's love because of his rank in society, I can't help but think that she may have loved someone as deeply as Anne Elliot loved Captain Wentworth in Persuasion.

In this novel, and I assume in her other novels too, her characters are all about self-control and delayed gratification, especially the women. The women have opinions they don't share out loud. They may no share them with their husbands either. The men could inherit their father's estate, but the women had a dowry to entice an appropriate suitor. I loved how Anne tries to explain the difference between men and women towards the end of the book...

"...We certainly do not forget you, so soon as you forget us. It is perhaps, our fate rather than our merit. We cannot help ourselves. We live at home, quiet, confined, and our feelings prey upon us. You are forced on exertion. You have always a profession, pursuits, business of some sort or other, to take you back into the world immediately, and continual occupation and change soon weaken impressions."

Although it may be Anne speaking, it's Jane Austen's mind putting those words on paper. I find it rather courageous of her to say such things at a time when women were no more than decorative delicate china.

If you're looking to start reading Jane Austen, I would begin with Persuasion. It's not too long and it's a story we all know. Boy meets girl. Boy breaks up with girl and they spend quite some time apart. Boy comes back to girl. Boy marries girl. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 15, 2008


I was having a conversation with a colleague of mine the other day about reading. We weren't talking about students, but, instead, we were talking about the two of us.

I have a tough time reading. I don't have the patience to sit for long periods of time and pay attention to any book. My mind tends to wander. Her experience is the same. The sad truth is that we have a hard time reading and yet we're teachers. More than one person has heard me say that I'm not a reader, but I'm trying. I started reading again back in October, and I can't seem to stop doing it now. It still takes me longer than anyone else, but I try to set some time during the day to stop and read at least two chapters. I have persuaded myself into reading more. I know it'll be a good thing. I love it already.

I'm currently reading Persuasion by Jane Austen ( I finally get her writing. It only took a whole book to get there, but I get her.)

My summer reading list:
Audition by Barbara Walters
Home by Julie Andrews
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin
Finding Battlestar Galactic by Lynette Porter, David Lavery & Hillary Robson
Ordinary People by Judith Guest

It's quite ambitious, but wish me luck.

Any suggestions? (I'm afraid I won't get any, but I'm trying anyway.)

He Look-a Like-a Man

I knew going to JC Penney's would be a bad idea, but I thought I would give it a try. People must be shopping there again because there seems to be more merchandise on the racks than in years past. This is not where this story is going, but I thought I should mention it in case someone was interested.

Shopping for my father, I find, is a difficult task. He has all the electronics someone may need or want and he's not too fancy with his other tastes. So, this year, I asked what he would like for Father's Day. He wanted socks. Not just any socks. Not Goldtoe. Not dress socks. Not white athletic socks. Just white cotton socks that are not too thick and too hot for summer wear. The socks he wanted were to be found at JC Penney.

There I was, on a Friday night of all times, waiting in line to buy three packs of socks for my father when an older lady caught my attention by speaking to me. She looked like Joan Rivers because of the taught face and the restylane enhanced lips. She was a quite the sight. One might say she had a whole lot of look going on, but I applaud her for trying.

She said, "Excuse me, you look like a man. What do you think of this shirt?"

The shirt was brown with a large centered picture of a large mouth bass on it that said Gone Fishing on it. I was more offended by the shirt than I was by the "Excuse me, you look like a man" comment.

I answered honestly, "I don't like it, but that's just me."

Clearly no liking my opinion, she loudly calls her 40-something year old daughter over to explain to her that "this man", meaning me, didn't like the shirt. The daughter looks me over and says, "Of course you wouldn't like that. You're preppy. Look at him. He's a prep." She didn't say it with a tone, but I didn't like the words that were spoken.

So, after much chatter amongst them, the daughter finally decided on the same shirt only in navy.

I don't know. I wasn't insulted, but I wasn't flattered either. I tried helping, but you can't help someone who thinks a shirt with a large fish on it is attractive.