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A few years back I read a novel by a Phillippa Gregory and while it was very interesting and well done, it put me off any kind of historical fiction for a LONG time. There was simply too much detail about things I didn’t want to hear about. (Ye olde feminine care products, anyone?) I decided right then that I’d no longer read anything by an author trying to tell of another time.

Pride & Prejudice remains my favorite tale based in England. I endorse it only in three forms. The original book and these two movie versions.

pride_and_prejudice

I’m an Austen purist too – I don’t like fan fiction spin-offs of her tales. But these two movies are a-ok. As is the movie version of Emma staring Gwenyth Paltrow. That’s got my thumbs up. Watch these and sip some tea on a cold day. Nothing could be more warm & fuzzy, I assure you.

pride-and-prejudice-DVDcover

Word to all you Edward fans – he’s a punk little dufus next to Mr. Darcy & Mr. Knightly (Emma). Twilight is a fine series, I really enjoyed the writing… but Edward as ultimate heartthrob? Come. On. (whoops – that was a tangent, let’s get back on track!)

So a few years go by and my reading continues it’s path. Until Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels and Georgette Hayer’s Devil’s Cub pop into my reading material and rock my socks. Shocked and amazed, I did love them much as the people begging me to read them promised. Thanks to them, I will now accept a very few new historical/regency novels each year. Before I admit (yes, I’m like a bouncer with a red velvet rope) a book I have to 1) love the premise   2) like the voice of the author   3) be intrigued by the lead characters  4) skim the book for TMI moments (Phillippa Gregory scarred me!) and finally 5) I read the very last page.

Does that shock you? Well let me tell you a secret – I lean towards the HEA (happily ever after) so I know generally that the ending will be happy. I’ve also found that reading ONLY the last page does not ruin the story or plot. It just tells me how the author finishes, and if it’s in a style I like or if I might find myself flinging the book. Believe me – I’ve put a LOT of books back on the Borders shelf because the last few paragraphs told me just enough to know to walk away.

I use that same last page tactic on all books EXCEPT mystery now, and it’s significantly reduced the number of bad books I’ve read. Of course all of this talk of reading is because mostly the last month I haven’t been able to read very much at all. I’ve been too busy! I hope to share some suggestions for you + a modern England book suggestions post soon. Until then, I’d love to hear about what you are reading and loving….

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9 responses »

  1. Lol, you are funny. Huge Philippa Gregory fan, love all the observational details. Couldn’t possibly bring myself to look at the last page of a book before I read the rest!

  2. I often read the last page also. I read for enjoyment, so if I don’t like the ending, I don’t want to “waste” my time. I enjoy the books so much more when the ending is happy or at least expected (historical fiction). I most definitely read the end of the the last Harry Potter before I plowed in. I know it ruins the experience for some, but for me it enhances it.

    I actually will DVR many of the reality shows I watch (Project Runway, etc.) and see who is kicked off before I actually watch the show. I still watch, but with a different eye.

    I’m a wacko, I know it.

  3. Currently I am reading three books. Kind of like my tv shows and musical interests, random things grab me.

    My Booky Wook: A Memoir of Sex, Drugs, and Stand-Up by Russell Brand

    The Weatherman by Steve Thayer (I need to either finish or quit, it’s been over a year. It’s not what I was hoping for)

    My Sisters Keeper by Jodi Picoult

  4. I love the Keira Knightly version of Pride and Prejudice ALMOST as well as the Emma Thompson film version of Sense and Sensibility.

    Reading mysteries (especially those set in England, like Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers) is my main delight. I could never look at the last page of a mystery, or probably not any other book either.

    Right now, I’m reading The Shack, by Wm. P. Young.

  5. I’m with you on the BBC version of Pride & Prejudice. I am NOT with you on the new version. I couldn’t handle it.
    I do love Emma, though!

    I love anything by Karen Kingsbury. Oceans Apart jump started my love of reading and now I have a bookcase full and have read many more.

    I also love novels about the Amish {fiction} by Beverly Lewis or Wanda Brunstetter.

  6. I have yet to read Pride and Prejudice, but it most definitely is on “my to read eventually” list. lol! There always seems to be too many other books on the go.

    Phillipa Gregory. I remember something vaguely about starting to read a book by her, and not finishing it maybe? The Other Boleyn Girl, I think it was. I think that maybe it was for same reason: too much detail! And seriously it didn’t get me hooked. And if that doesn’t happen within the first chapter then it gets chucked! Too many other good books around for me to waste my time on a book I have to force myself through.

    I read the endings a lot, too. Though just because I can’t stand the suspense of not knowing how it will end. Lol- I’ve tried to stop doing that though. 😛 A couple of times, lately, I did sneak a peek at the the ending and could’ve kicked myself because they were so good and I felt that I had ruined it for myself.

    K…I’ll stop rambling now. lol!

  7. I’ve never read Pride & Prejudice nor have I ever watched the movie. Am I bad??

    I just finished reading My Sisters Keeper by Jodi Picoult. (I haven’t seen the movie yet) I bawled my eyes out over this one.

    I also just finished Danielle Steel Matters of the Heart.

    I always hate finishing a book as I get so wrapped up in the characters while reading it & then when I finish it, it’s a let down as I “miss” the characters for a few days.

  8. May – you and I are on the same page (the last page that is ;D). As for Mr. Darcy and Mr. Knightly (aka Colin Firth) – too. die. for. Since, you and I have the same reading tastes I will try one of your other suggestions. Which should I start with Lord of Scoundrels or Devil’s Cup?

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