Strip the Willow and Rip the Bodice

Because everyone needs a hobby …

I’ve been a terrible blogger … August 4, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Liz @ 11:01 pm

So – next week I’m apparently working every day … total of about 38 hours. I’m going to have to figure out a new schedule for the books. My original plan was twelve books and I’m sticking to that – but this blog is obviously going to carry on into the fall and will depend on my schedule. There we go.

Until I pick up the next book though (oh – expect vlogs though – I may vlog) – happy news, I am keeping a tumblr, which is like a quick blog, if you’re unfamiliar. It has no purpose really – it’s just a bunch of stuff sort of thrown together. I update it a few times a day (and you can ask me questions and all on it) so visit and browse (click the title below) –

The Multicolored Mustache

Speaking of happy things – hurrah for the judge in California! Hurrah for equality! My happiness literally is unexplainable and I don’t even live in California! Hurrah!

 

Getting things sorted – then back on schedule … hopefully … July 27, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Liz @ 1:48 pm

So I’ve started ‘training’ at my new job. Exciting … humph.

Anyway, until I can figure out how to work everything out (I may start bringing the books to work once my shifts get longer … which I think they will … I’m really not sure … if you’re Sarah or Paul, you know exactly what’s happening in my head right now). Translation – blog on hold for another week – just so I can get into a new schedule that includes more than writing Dickens quotes on the back of my hands.

Oh – have an Inception .gif.

I. Love. This. Cast.

I’m going again to the film this week. It will be my third time. Judge away.

Right – so, my plan currently exists of trying to put down The Old Curiosity Shop and pick up Wuthering Heights instead (working on outlining an essay and I have a feeling this book will be handy – plus, I just watched the new mini-series (see my thoughts on that on facebook (it’s one of my statuses)) and feel as though I’m going through a Brontë crisis of faith). I don’t know how that’s going to work out … I’m currently reading another book on lit theory and got hung up on a sentence so my attention keeps wandering from subject to subject – blah.

Crapola – I also have to write a mini-review of North and South. Right. I need to write up a schedule to get myself on track.

I totally sound scatterbrained at the moment, but there are lots of things happening all at once here so bear with me at the moment!

And go see Inception.

ETA: I woke up this morning miming typing in my sleep (I even backspaced when I typed a word incorrectly). I do not know what this means but enjoy random story of the day.

 

Oh this week … July 19, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Liz @ 3:57 pm

So – I’m going to be suspending this blog for the next week. I’ve two interviews for jobs and I’m nervous as all sin so I don’t think my mind will really be in a good mode to go in and be all … literary … (well, beyond reading some Dickens – but that’s my fun reading).

But I will be back – I’m just doing what’s best for the blog. I don’t want to half-ass anything.

 

And I make … four June 28, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Liz @ 7:10 pm

I already read the book for this week so I am going to post on it – either tomorrow or the day after, though, as today … today, I had a tooth pulled.

I have a fear of dentists and this was the first time in years I had gone thanks to an awkwardly growing wisdom tooth. Long story short – everything is fine but the tooth needed to go.

So it went – I can’t feel half of my face – and I’m watching the new HP trailer over and over again because it’s epic.

And you’ll hear all about Doctor Who soon, too.

Just have to regain some feeling …

I’m the fourth person I know now who, in the span of these two months have had to go in for something done to their teeth. I thought it was the law of three? Or is that only death? Ah well …

 

Taking the week to sleep … June 6, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Liz @ 8:27 pm

So – I’ve decided to take this week off from my blog. There’s a lovely lot I need to catch up on – my own reading, my own writing – plus, it’s starting to feel like a chore to write a post and I don’t want to feel that way when I’m writing. I want to enjoy it like I usually do.

This week I’m going to go from this:

To this:

I’ve decided, too, like the structuralism posts, I’m going to do this every three books just to let my mind rest and freshen up for a new set of reading. It’ll be for the best – that way I can really sort of give my all to each book since I’ll have the rest.

Therefore – see you all next Monday!

Oh – and because I’m doing this – here’s the cover of the next book as a teaser:

Eloisa James' 'Duchess By Night'

Notice the blonde? Notice only a girl on the cover? And – it’s the first purchase from B&N so get excited!

Excited as you can, at least haha!

 

7 Hours in a Waiting Room Means … May 24, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Liz @ 9:39 pm

No new post today – the new book will start tomorrow.

My gramma had knee replacement surgery today and we ended up sitting in the waiting room for seven hours. The good news? I finished Villette. The bad? I only managed to get about 30 pages into the newest book. (But, in finishing Villette I bought myself a lot of time to read the novel for this blog – I probably won’t start North and South until the weekend)

Of course … my very small indentation in the book may be because I was making a lot of marginal notes … but that’ll be for you all to see soon. Plus – I have to crosscheck notes from the previous book – which I couldn’t do at the hospital.

So – tomorrow: New post. New book.

And we’re going to have fun with this one – I got that feeling.

 

Serendipity … May 7, 2010

Well, I’ve been in this position before.

Starting a blog. Looking at the book I’m going to be ripping apart. Thinking “Oh Dear God What If I Run Out Of Things To Talk About?”

But I doubt that will be the case.

A few weeks ago, over a three or four day span, I chronicled my reading of the first Twilight book – chapter by chapter. You can find that here. My professor and I both agreed (though he voiced it and I did the agreeing) that it was beneficial. I explored the question: Why on earth is this crap so popular? And I ended up without really finding an answer, but exploring structure, theory, and whatnot. In a nutshell – no answer, but a fun exercise (even though I still maintain my detestation of Twilight). I like tearing apart texts – even bad ones.

So I had a thought.

I’m graduating. My summer is in flux – mom’s getting a divorce, where we’re living may change and that will involve A LOT of packing and arranging, I’ll probably be learning how to drive … Anyway, there isn’t much I can do besides read and write.

Not that I’m complaining.

I’d love to chronicle my experiences reading Dickens and Brontë and Gaskell and rinse and repeat – but that would just be a gushy blog of me lauding Dickens for his structure, admiring C. Brontë for her semi-sort-of biographical work, and finally reaching Gaskell, who I’ve been waiting to reading for ages. But – like I said – that would be self-indulgent and a complete bore for you to read.

So I decided to take a note from Twilight. I’d read some more bad literature – but of a different kind.

Yep. I’m going to read those trashy, bodice ripping, romance novels.

Let me make a quick disclaimer though – these novels are not the only books I’ll be reading over the summer. My plate is full with the authors I mentioned above (though I’ll probably finish reading Little Dorrit before I graduate) and a new Lit theory book coming in the mail (not to mention my own writing, subscribing to a lit journal and whatnot). Just making that clear …

A Visual: Me Reading "Little Dorrit"

Okay – so that’s done. Back to the bodice ripping.

What makes these novels different from Twilight is pretty much obvious: they aren’t works of fiction that people are venerating like a bible, unless it’s Lifetime and you’re Nora Roberts, the book will probably never be adapted into a screenplay. But – more importantly – the novels are taken more as is: trashy, gushy romance. And that is why I have more respect for these books than I ever will for Twilight. They don’t pretend to be something they’re not.

Bodice rippers are full-blown escapist books – I hardly expect to find characterization, plausible plot – anything that makes up the novels I usually read. People – women mostly, of course – read these not for the thrill of the structure or the narrative, but pretty much the thrill of the sex: the guy getting the girl and vise versa.

In no way in this blog am I planning to demean these books. In fact, I want to take a different approach than the one I took with Twilight. I’m not going to go chapter by chapter, character by character blah and blah and blah. Instead, I’m taking a book a week and subjecting it to theory and whatever else comes to mind in the … I don’t know … ‘literary realm.’ I’m not looking to answer a question like I was with the other blog – there’s no thesis, no problem to solve. I’m just … looking.

And probably over-reading – but there’s a bit of fun in that, isn’t there?

Of course, don’t worry: I’ve heard a lot of people liked the snark of my Twilight blog – that certainly won’t be missing here. When I say ‘respect,’ I don’t meant I’m going to treat these texts any less critically. (Come on – I mean, my mode of selecting these books boiled down to word choice – but more on that in a second).

So – there’s my plan. Once a week after I graduate (that is, starting the week of May 17th), one book – a few posts on the book and then a new book the next week for the whole of the summer.

Lucky for you – I’ve already got the first two week’s reading lined up – and here’s the story (no, I’m not going on a tangent – this is actually pretty interesting).

As a senior with all of her work done and graduation just … waiting to happen pretty much, my friends and I have been looking for things to do. Places to walk to, playing games out on our college green – little things, fun things. And one of these things was going to the fantastic used bookstore here in Lancaster Dogstar. It really is this great place – it’s like a little nook of wonderfulness with a great cafe across the street.

My friend Sarah and I decided to take a walk there on a particularly lovely day (meaning yesterday), when we had both finished work – everything handed in and done. My main goal: Find the trashiest book I could to kick this blog off with a good start.

Easier said than done. I think Dogstar is too classy for trashy romance (and I’m hardly going to say that’s a bad thing) and I ended up walking out with … yep, a Gaskell. North and South.

I once walked into an AT&T store for a Blackberry and came out with an iPhone so this has to be normal ...

$2 well spent.

Anyway, I thought after that experience that this was going to be hard. I mean, I knew where to find the darn genre, but to go into Barnes and Noble and pick one up? Just like that?

I need a bit thicker skin before I do that.

But today – today, Val, Caroline, Sarah and I went to Starbucks. And, thanks to a roommate who’s been eating my food, I’ve had to do a little bit of stocking up at Giant. So, I took my little cart and there was the beautiful revelation: while I couldn’t find what I was looking for in a used bookstore, there it was in multitudes – in Giant. A supermarket.

So – those words I mentioned before? I picked up a few and flipped through. I didn’t really know what to look for beyond a sort of Fabio, half-dressed cover so I made a list in my head of words. Throbbing. Bosoms. You get the picture. And, thankfully, in Giant there is self-checkout.

My first two bodice rippers were bought in complete anonymity – well, beyond the fact I whipped them out when I walked over to Starbucks for a good laugh with everyone (but I had Little Dorrit with me so I felt like I had enough ‘street lit cred’ to pull ’em out and joke).

So I named this post ‘Serendipity’ because the first book I chose just goes perfectly with the title of the blog. The title, for the curious, I came up with a few days ago. “Strip the Willow” was my favorite dance in Scotland. It’s pretty much a dance where you get swung around by big Scottish guys and get really dizzy and sometimes they spin you so fast (because they don’t realize you’re the human equivalent of an adult chihuahua) that your feet lift off the ground. Thus: Strip the Willow and Rip the Bodice. The second half should be self-explanitory by now.

And now, I introduce the first novel I will be reading:

A Highlander's Homecoming by Melissa Mayhue

Yes, those are REAL sparkles on the cover. I looked at that as a confirmation that this had to be the book I started with: Scottish (like the title) and it sparkles (like my last blog)? Perfect transition. Serendipity.

Downside? This blog doesn’t officially start until the week after I graduate so there’s some time to wait – but hey – I had to give a small preview of what’s to come.

But thinking back to how I stumbled upon this novel (and the other, which will remain a surprise, of course) is interesting. I found it not in a bookstore, but a supermarket. It’s like these books are at the ready – you don’t have to make a special trip to buy them. They’re just … there. Waiting.

And throbbing.

Okay – I’m going to take that as a sign I need to wrap this intro up.

A quick few things before I go to the midnight showing of Iron Man 2: the books I use will be cited, and if you click on the image of them (such as the one above) it will take you to the B&N order page (also summary page if you’re inclined to look it up before I tackle it). I’m completely open to comments, questions, and emails – suggestions even. I don’t want to be a bore so – if you’re reading this blog, following it, whatever – speak your mind! I’m sure I’ll think of a few other things that will come up from time to time but that’s it for now so …

Bookmark this page and check back starting the 17th!

(oh, and if you can’t read the captions of the pictures, just resize the page so the pictures fit better)

And, for those familiar with my Twilight blog – I offer a:

PALATE CLEANSER! CLICK ME!