Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Upcoming Books

Thanks, Tonya for the great suggestions. Since I'm the boss around here (ask my husband, it's a streak that runs through me that I just can't get rid of...) and because of a lack of other suggestions, I've decided to go ahead and assign our books for the upcoming months.
For January:
Since I'm sure a lot of us have read Twilight, I think that "Dracula" by Bram Stoker would be a great choice. Plus, as Tonya has pointed out, the female roles in it would be something nice to compare with "The Scarlett Pimpernel" and Marguerite as a heroine. I've chosen it for January because it should be easy to find in your libraries.
For February:
Tonya also suggested "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho. You can go to and look it up to read an excerpt. It's a fable type story and different from both "Dracula" and "The Scarlett Pimpernel," so I think it's an excellent choice.
For March:
Because I just LOVE Gail Carson Levine (and again, I have to thank Tonya for this because in our book club in Laramie, "Ella Enchanted" was the first book she suggested we read, which led me to all of Levine's many wonderful books!)--anyway, I have been dying to read her latest, "Ever," and once again, because I'm the boss, that's what we're all going to do! :)
If you have strong opinions against any of these, let me know, I'm willing to make a change on Feb and March (not January because it's too close). If not, let's go with it and please leave more suggestions for books for the following months. Happy reading!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

More Options

I've read both of Renee's suggestions, but not since AP English ten years ago, so I'd be game for either or both. I'm not sure on the Jane Austen Biography though. Every time I think of that movie I get so mad. Honestly, I hate that life can be so cruel sometimes. The movie clearly hit home to me. Anyways, books.

I was just reading my cousin's blog and she had a list of books she recommends, too. I'll admit that at 11 at night I'm not going to research them, but I do trust her opinion. I've read the Twilight and Eragon books but not the others, and I've been wanting to read Dracula for a while now, and not just since reading Twilight. Dracula marked a big change in how women were viewed in literature. Do any of you know something about the other books?
  • Dracula: by Bram Stoker
  • The Alchemist: by Paulo Coelho
  • Chickens in the Headlights: by Matthew Buckley
  • Twiltight, New Moon, and Eclipse: by Stephenie Meyer
  • The Host: by Stephenie Meyer
  • Eragon, The Eldest and Brisinger: by Christopher Paolini
  • The 13th Reality: by James Dashner
  • The Bartimaeus Trilogy: by Jonathan Stroud

Friday, December 19, 2008

Tonya's Idea

Tonya had a great idea so that we don't waste too much time deciding on books. We will line up a whole bunch of suggestions and choose one for January, February, and March all at once, so that we have plenty of time to discuss and comment! I'm looking forward to your ideas!
One book that I've wanted to read for a while is "Becoming Jane Austen" by Jon Spence. It is actually a biography on Jane Austen's early life and the movie "Becoming Jane" is based off of this biography. From what I've heard, Spence uses Austen's letters and her books to construct her early life and what led her to become the person she was. I own "Becoming Jane" the movie, and since some of that movie is contradictory to other information I've read on Austen's life, I'm eager to read the book and find out for myself. As a HUGE Jane Austen fan (as well as a historian...) I am very intrigued.
I'm sort of into the classics lately, so here are a few of my other suggestions:
Wuthering Heights (I've never read it, although I own it...)
The Scarlett Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne

Thursday, December 11, 2008

January Book

Well, December is half over and April is the only one that suggested anything. In truth, I was waiting and hoping for a couple other suggestions, so I decided to go this route instead. December is pretty busy for all of us, so let's just go ahead and pick a January book in the next week or so and get a jump on it. That's the best plan I have for this month, any other ideas would be great!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I finally finished reading!

I finally finished the book! I know; I'm slow. I was slow to start, but I think I picked up April's copy at the library just as she turned it in. Overall, I enjoyed the read. It was refreshing to read something that made me think more than the Twilight books or the other teen lit I've been reading lately. I'm glad we read a classic this go around.

As for the questions, I did the same as April and read the intro in the book. It gave the SP away so early. While that was a bit of a let-down, it allowed me to watch how the author developed his character through Percy while most readers were unsuspecting of his identity. The only other real prospect in my eyes was the prince.

Was Marguerite justified in her actions? Who truly can say when someone is justified. I like what Sarah said about the brother vs. the stranger, but wouldn't the brother have been disappointed for betraying the man he himself had sworn loyalty to plus what about the fact that the SP had saved over 100 lives and was potentially to save many more? I don't know. I'm just grateful I'm not in the same situation. However, did anyone else feel that since Marguerite was the most intellectual woman in Europe that she should have been able to avoid being led to rat out the Marquis de St. Cyr and then come up with something at the end other than hide in the darkness, scream at the shack, and then faint? I am so grateful that more is expected from women in books now. I know she didn't eat or sleep for three days and she tore her feet up walking after everyone, but come on. Couldn't she have done something with her pretty little intellectual head?

Lastly, I knew Percy was the Jew the moment he entered the picture. For one thing, I like to pay attention to the characters the author spends time on. They're usually important figures some how. Also, again, the stoop. It was a dead give away.

My last two things to discuss - how do you visualize the author? The intro to my book described Marguerite as being the author's ideal representation of herself. Basically, the author was everything Marguerite was not - tall vs short, slender vs plump, actress vs writer, etc. I read the book with a slightly comical slant due to this info. It changed the way I read Marguerite. I enjoyed her character, but I'm not sure I'd write myself as being so incapable. Also, my book mentioned that this book was patterned after and easily adapted to the stage. Think on how each scene was set up. The play is being put on is Salt Lake City this upcoming summer. Does anyone want to go? I think it would be really fun.

As for books to read, I would love to read either or both of April's suggestions. If we don't end up discussing them until January, that would be fine with me. In fact, I wouldn't mind if we plan a few books out and we can read them as we go.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

December Book!!

Can you believe it is already the end of November? I really can't, but what this means for us is that we need a new book. In all the bustle of the holiday, I forgot to post for suggestions! So, everyone leave a comment with a book they'd like to read or an old favorite that you think we might like and we'll decide quickly so we can all get to reading!
Also, I've heard some comments that there wasn't as much discussion as was expected, so please, if you have any suggestions for how to make disscussion easier, let me know! We'd love to have everyone participating, and I know that November probably really flew by without you realizing it. December will probably be the same, so we'll shoot for a great discussion in January!
Also, if you feel that posting a new post for every comment is too time consuming, simply add a comment to a post if you have a quick word about something. Perhaps that will get our discussions going!
Hope everyone had great Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I knew that the Jew was actually Percy as soon as he appeared, because he was stooping. I thought it was funny that they were telling all of the scouts to watch out for someone that was very tall, or who appeared to stoop to hide his height. Then there is a stooping Jew right in front of them and they don't suspect? I didn't think they were too observant.
I had no idea that the Jew was Percy until Marguerite heard his voice after everyone left. I was totally clueless. Never even crossed my mind. Once again, probably because I was reading too fast to catch the clues. I'm really going to have to read this book over...
And I know what you mean about being a newlywed! ;) Although, I think it's totally us. My husband and I were talking about a couple we knew that seemed to fight a lot and I said, "Don't you remember being first married? Getting used to each other? We had a lot of little disagreements too..." And he said, "No."

Don't read the Intro

I found out who the SP was by reading the intro of my copy from the Library. I was a little discussed but I still loved reading the book. As for Marguerite my heart broke for her. The only family she felt she had was her brother. She didn't betray the SP without much hesitation and guilt. She even tried to tell her husband after the Ball but was stopped by the wall Percy refused to let down. She and her husband weren't even friends at the time she betrayed the SP so how could she even consider he might be the SP.

The relationship between Marguerite and Percy at the beginning of the book reminded me of being a newly wed. Did anyone else feel that way? Oh how those days were filled with unneeded drama and pride. Thank goodness they are long over. I was very glad to see at the end the walls on both sides of the Blakeneys marriage come down. My Question is: Did any of you suspect the Jew to be the SP?

My Answer: I thought the Jew was the SP when he came to the Inn but I was not sure until the end. The scouts report and the Red headed Jews account did not match up so I was tipped off by that.

This was a great read! I can't wait to read everyone's responses.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Everyone is justifying Marguerite for me!

After reading Mom's (Rob) post about the book, I'm looking more and more kindly on Marguerite...if the SP did listen at the door of the theatre and knew the struggle that the Frenchman had placed her in, then I forgive him for forgiving her so quickly :)
But I have to comment on you calling the SP a hypocrite--I think that he didn't tell Marguerite who he was because of what he found out she had done. I mean as the elusive SP he couldn't exactly trust someone that he thought had betrayed her fellow Frenchmen...just my thoughts.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

When did I know?

I guess I read a lot of mysteries, so I pretty much suspected Percy when he and Marguerite came to the Inn. I suspected this because of the description of him, being tall, well built, etc., etc. And also, I caught on that he wasn't with Marguerite during the whole time of the visit of her brother. There seemed to be little things along in the book, that suggested that Percy was 'it': 1) his frequent absences with little or no explanation to Marguerite (is she really that dense?), 2) his all together 'too' lazy attitude, 3)How did he keep in such great physical shape if he was so lazy?, and 4) he was great friends with Sir Andrew and the other (I can't remember his name). I really enjoyed the book. I thought it was well written and, I thought, just a little predictable :)

At the Inn, I thought Sir Andrew and his cohort were a little lax in their duty, I mean, really, they can get people in and out of France with out getting caught, but they don't notice a guy climbing under the bench in the dining room, it really couldn't have been that big of a room! They should have been more vigilant.

I can't really decide if Marguerite was justified in her actions or not, considering I pretty much knew Percy was the SP from the start, so I wondered why she didn't also. However, I think Sarah has a good point, if she really didn't know, then yes, it's a no brainer to choose one's family over a stranger. She also had great respect for the SP so she was pretty sure he could get himself out of any danger, and once she knew, she did everything in her power to help him. So that's a point for her.

Now, I think that Percy was listening at the theater box door and knew exactly how he was betrayed, also there was something about the way he looked at Marguerite after he came in, as if waiting for her to tell him about the problem with her brother and hoping she would trust him with that information and when she didn't he thought he had lost.

There seems to have been several things Marguerite could have done differently in order to save her brother (but then we would have the book, if we went and changed everything!). 1) she could have confided in Percy, 2) told Sir Andrew about the plot instead of stealing his paper or 3) told the truth about herself in the very beginning and then she would have known all about him.

Which brings me to my question: Wasn't Percy just a little bit of a hypocrite? He seemed to not forgive Marguerite for not coming clean before they were married, yet he kept his secret from her and acted a totally different person than he really was. They should have trusted each other, but there again, it wouldn't be the book it is without those things. :)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Sarah's defense

You know Sarah, when you put it that way, I guess I see your point...I think I was probably thinking in a 2008 type of mode where women can get into the action and really take part and this book was written almost 100 years ago when that wasn't really the case. Good point!

Friday, November 7, 2008

My turn... (Don't even read the first line if you aren't done with the book)

At what point did I know Percy was the SP? Maybe I'm slow, but I didn't even really suspect Percy until he was the only one in the dining room, sleeping. But after that I pretty much knew for sure, though I thought Marguerite was pretty slow on the uptake!

I have a different opinion than Ranee on the second question. I think that Marguerite was pretty justified in her actions, I think she was appropriately torn up about it. She was put in an impossible position. And if you are choosing between the life of your brother and the life of a stranger, I think it would be difficult to choose the stranger. She also knew for sure that her brother would die if she did nothing, but had the hope that the SP would somehow be able to escape considering his cunning. I think that Percy knew about the betrayal because he talked to Sir Andrew, I'm guessing he filled him in. Or maybe the SP is just so all knowing, he figured it out all on his own. :) I think that Marguerite proved herself by the lengths she went to to try and warn Percy, and the fact that even if she couldn't save him she wanted to die next to him, as long as she could tell him she truly loved him. That's good enough for me! :)

I enjoyed this book a lot, and look forward to continued discussion about it!

Scarlett Pimpernel- Some Discussion Questions

Now that we have all had a chance to get into the book (I hope!), I'm going to go ahead and ask some questions (and of course post my opinions). So, if you haven't finished, you can be thinking about these initial questions as you read. And also you might want to avoid the blog until you do finish as our posts are bound to contain some spoilers. I guess it may seem kind of early, but I want to give us plenty of time to really hash it out! ;) After this first month if anyone feels like they missed out because we started discussion too early and they couldn't get into it, let me know. We'll have to fly by the seat of our pants here and see how it goes! J

Also, these are just some initial questions to get the discussion started. If it really starts going and I don't feel like we need any more prompting, I probably won't post more. Also, always feel free to pose questions of your own! The whole point is to broaden our horizons and pick up on others views. Let's get going!


  1. At what point did you begin suspecting the true identity of the Scarlet Pimpernel? When were your suspicions confirmed?
  2. What do you think of Marguerite's motivations throughout the book? Was she justified in her actions? Why or Why not?

**If you have not finished the book please don't read beyond this point!!!***

So, I get to go first! How fun!

Because (as my mother pointed out—we've already been doing al little face-to-face discussion on the side J) I read too fast and skip over things sometimes, I didn't suspect that Percy was the Scarlet Pimpernel (hereafter referred to as the SP) until I realized that Percy hadn't been with Marguerite and her brother during his whole visit. And since I was still reading quickly, my suspicions were not confirmed solidly until I read that Sir Percy had been the only one in the dining room, asleep. Then I knew!!

Was Marguerite justified in betraying the SP to save her brother? I don't think so. As I told my mom, I think that once she knew what her brother was into she should have realized that he and the SP could take care of themselves. I was disappointed in her and I think that Percy took her back much too easily in the end. I think that she should have had to show more how willing she was to not only save her husband but to save others….I don't know…

And I'm a little confused on one thing. How did Percy know about her betraying him at the ball??

So with that said, Let's discuss!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

This sounds like fun! Thanks Tonya!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A site to read "The Scarlet Pimpernel"

As I was browsing the web for "The Scarlet Pimpenel" I found this website. You can listen or read the book online for free!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

November Book

Well, everyone that expressd a preference on which book they'd like to read chose either one or two and the most common choice was "The Scarlet Pimpernel"This book (this picture is just one of the many editions out there) is by Emmuska (or Baroness) Orczy.

From the review:
"In the year 1792, Sir Percy and Lady Marguerite Blakeney are the darlings of British society—he is known as one of the wealthiest men in England and a dimwit;she is French, a stunning former actress, and “the cleverest woman in Europe”—and they find themselves at the center of a deadly political intrigue. The Reign of Terror controls France, and every day aristocrats in Paris fall victim to Madame la Guillotine. Only one man can rescue them—the Scarlet Pimpernel—a master of disguises who leaves a calling card bearing only a signature red flower. As the fascinating connection between the Blakeneys and this mysterious hero is revealed, they are forced to choose between love and loyalty in order to avoid the French agent Chauvelin, who relentlessly hunts the Scarlet Pimpernel.First published in 1905, The Scarlet Pimpernel is the best-known novel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy, a prolific author of popular fiction and plays. The novel pioneered the tale of the masked avenger and paved the way for such future enigmatic swashbucklers as Zorro, Superman, and the Lone Ranger. Repeatedly adapted for stage and screen—most recently as a successful Broadway musical—The Scarlet Pimpernel is a relevant and enormously entertaining tale of survival and pluck during times of widespread fear, hypocrisy, and corruption."

If you're interested in buying this book, here is a link to the cheapest one I found (quick find) on Amazon:

I'm very excited!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Welcome to the Blogging Book Club

Normally, I think, each month at the end of the month we'll all suggest and decide together what book to read. But since this is the first month, I thought I would just list out four suggestions and we'll pick from one of those.

  1. The Secret Garden
  2. Wuthering Heights
  3. Vanity Fair
  4. The Scarlett Pimpernel

These four are kind of classics, I think. I thought that would be a good way to start. They are all very likely to be in your local library, also one of the reasons I chose these four. Once we really get going we can broaden our reading out to new subjects, new authors, etc. So let me know which book you guys are most interested in and we'll choose one to start.

Second, I thought I'd lay out a basic outline of the month.

The first two weeks I think should be dedicated to just reading the book. We are all busy people, so I'm sure we'll need the time. Then we can spend the next couple weeks discussing. In the final days of the month we'll choose a new book for the next month. If you finish early and want to post, go for it! If your post is going to give away key parts of the plot or the end, please write something that indicates there are spoilers in your post so those of us who haven't finished can be warned.

If anyone has any other suggestions, let me know!