What I’m Reading – December 5

Even when I was in hospital, I didn’t get huge amounts of time to read — shocking, I know.  Mark smuggled my laptop into isolation, and saved me from going insane.  I wrote blog posts and my latest book instead of reading.

But there were times when I simply too tired to do either, and I did read to pass the time.  Being locked up in a 12 x 12 room by yourself means you’ll do anything to keep from being bored, even when you have the energy of a slug.

So I got a few books read, and I have a few more lined up inside my various readers, because I spent quite a bit of time browsing the on-line bookstores when the nurses weren’t looking.

Silken Threads by Patricia Ryan is possibly the first non-erotic long historical romance I’ve read and finished in about five years.  And it was a near-thing, too.  I was close to putting it aside around the second chapter or so because it looked like it was shaping up to be a typical poor abused heroine/big misunderstanding plot.  But it veered off that well-beaten path and I kept reading.

Although the “sexy” moniker on the cover is probably stretching it, the book was entertaining enough to hold my attention for its full length.  That’s quite an achievement these days, as my internal writer/editor is usually screaming in agony with many books, forcing me to abandon them because they’re not how I would have written/edited them.

While I was completing my annual walk through The Lord Of The Rings on DVD, I also picked up the e-book version of another fabulous epic:  Gone With The Wind.

It’s been many, many years since I watched or read Gone With The Wind, but as I had time on my hands, and as trekking through epics seemed to be a theme at the moment, and there was a reasonably priced e-book version available, I jumped at the opportunity.

I quite like the movie version, but you really have to read Gone With The Wind to fully appreciate why such a fuss was made of it when it was first published.  Yes, it’s incredibly long.  But the detail in the story is mind-boggling.  Mitchell did her homework when it came to the war and living conditions in the south.

And then there’s the (sort of) romance.  Rhett Butler is the epitome of the alpha romance hero.  Dashing, enigmatic, physical, and endlessly playing mind games with Scarlett because he wants her — but on his terms.

Scarlett though…

Scarlett is a fascinating character, but not as a romance heroine in today’s terms.  She almost fits into the Too-Stupid-Too-Live category, and at times, her blindness over Rhett’s feelings just drives you crazy with frustration.  Her relentless self-absorption and self-centredness, despite the incredibly harsh lessons life keeps handing out over and over again, are a little unrealistic.  Any real person would adapt and change.  Even characters in books change over the course of the novel.  But not Scarlett.  She keeps on keeping on…hanging onto her teenage crush over Ashley, blinkered to the real world and anyone else’s feelings but her own.  She utterly lacks change — except toward the end of the novel there are some incremental adjustments to her thinking and responses (finally!) to the wholesale evolution of the world around her.  These tiny compromises are enough for her to realize she loves Rhett, but too late to keep him.

It’s Scarlett’s one dimensional character that makes Gone With The Wind such a chore to read.  Everything else about the novel is fabulous.

I do wish I had her waist dimensions, though!



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