Stephanie Burgis
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Disappointment, good books and miracles
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Alas, we went to see Pride & Prejudice yesterday and it turned out to be a little bit of a disappointment...I ended up enjoying it a lot by the end, though, just by forcing myself not to think of it as a romantic comedy but instead as a romance. It did work really well on that level--wonderful chemistry, sweet closure, and Keira Knightley amazed me with how good she was as Elizabeth. Unfortunately, all of the wacky supporting characters had been toned down so far into quite-reasonable niceness (Patrick said he could practically hear the actors' and actress's agents on the phone saying, "Mm, we've read the script and our clients really feel...") that they felt a bit bland, most of the humor had been lost, and the movie just wasn't very zing-y. Oh well. Sitting back, forgetting Austen and every other Austen movie adaptation, and just enjoying the sweet, serious romance for what it was, was quite fun all the same.

And it's been a hard week, with really sad family news, as Patrick discussed in his blog, so it was a good time to go out and enjoy a sweet, feel-good movie.

Even though I was a little disappointed with P&P, though, I had wonderful luck a few days ago in stumbling across one of the very best books I've read in a long time: Lolly Winston's Good Grief (or, in the UK title, Sophie's Bakery for the Broken Hearted: A Novel of Love, Grief and Baking). It's about a 30-ish woman's first year after widowhood, and even though I'd seen it before, and the opening pages had really appealed to me, I'd always avoided it because I was afraid it would be just too depressing. I ended up buying it on Friday, though, and absolutely devouring it. I loved, loved, LOVED this book! It managed to be funny and sharp about the saddest possible things, and to work through really profound grief to hope in a way that felt anything but superficial. After I'd read it, I looked at Lolly Winston's website and saw that all sorts of authors I like agreed on it--there are quotes from Jennifer Crusie and Jennifer Weiner as well as The New York Times, etc. It's one of those books I love so much that I feel a rush of affection every time I see it sitting on the arm of our couch. I want all of my friends to read it, but at the same time, I selfishly don't want to lend out my only copy, so I'm tempted to buy copies for Everyone! Since I can't afford to, I'll just have to leave it with this rec: go read it! Really! I promise, it is so, so good, you will be glad that you did.

Apart from that...well...I've been doing lots and lots of daydreaming about my novel, but no writing. Damn it. And lots and lots of worrying about money, with the one large expensive wedding trip and two expensive funeral trips this month. (All of them well worth the cost. We're just short of money right now.) In an act of total grace from Fate, though, our car--which had refused to start for a full week and a half and was finally towed, with the full expectation that it needed a new starter motor, which would cost £200--miraculously began to work perfectly, the moment it arrived at the garage. After two days of staring at it dubiously and poking it with sticks (or the equivalent) the mechanics called us and told us to pick it up, because it worked fine. No charge. And so far it's working beautifully. I don't understand it at all, but I am grateful.

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