25 October 2012

for darkness shows the stars: a new take on jane austen

I swung by the library last night after work to pick up a new book.

At home, I am surrounded by books, and in case you can't tell from that widget over there on the right {scroll down: see the one called "Also, I Heart Reading"? Yeah, that's what you need to be looking at}, I'm almost always reading multiple books at once.

Stacked around my apartment in odd places—no, let's not call them odd. Let's call them quirkily surprising places. Let's call them proof that I love reading; surely I must if there is a stack of books on top of my microwave.

And on that tiered lamp from Target; one of the other shelves is currently holding nesting dolls from Russia {well-travelled and literate and a stacker!}.

And by my fruit bowl.

I am surrounded by books wherever I go, and so it's always surprising when I find myself uninspired with my selection. I have—literally but not in a hoarder kind of way—stacks of books to choose from. Books that at one moment I found interesting enough to buy but that, at this moment, aren't meeting my reading need.

I read multiple books at once to fulfill multiple reading needs. I like non-fiction for the weekends and travelling, when I have more time to read.

I like literary prose for the early mornings, when I do my best writing.

And I like engaging stories for bedtime, and that was what I was missing. I was trying to read literary prose {Dearly Beloved, a stream-of-consciousness novel by Anne Morrow Lindbergh—yes, that Lindbergh—that makes me think of my beloved Katherine Mansfield} at bedtime, and instead of calming me and transitioning me into sleep, it somehow made my dreams fantastical and memorable and I woke up more than I usually do.

No, that wouldn't do at all, so I swung by the library last night to pick up For Darkness Shows the Stars, a young adult book set in a dystopian future.

Nothing says "will not give you fantastical dreams" like "dystopian future," eh?
Oh, but it's more than a dystopian future: it's a re-imagining of Jane Austen's Persuasion in that dystopia.

Last year at this time, I re-read Persuasion {you can read about it here}, so maybe this is just my Persuasion season. Maybe next year, I can read a utopian future re-telling of it.

But for now, I hope in this For Darkness Shows the Stars, I get:
  • discussions of how many pounds a year a man has: Unless this dystopia has no money and therefore no way to judge a man by how much he's worth.
  • a silly, overdramatic scene that takes place on the pier in Lyme Regis: If you've read Persuasion, you'll know that there's a pivotal scene involving some jumping that is too precipitate, poor communication, and an unfortunate hitting of the head on the pier. I think in this re-telling, Lyme Regis should still exist—it should represent some indestructible part of society, and it should be the only place left to have fun, even though, in the movie version of Persuasion at least, it looks like a wet, windswept, unfun place to be.
  • a letter written by the Wentworth character that makes the rest of the story worth it: As I wrote about last year, I will read 234 pages of that story, just to get to the point where Wentworth passionately declares his love—in a letter. {Um, sorry if you've never read the book. I probably should've said: SPOILER ALERT.} In this dystopian future, I will accept a hologram communique {you know, like in Star Wars} as the form of this letter.

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