Search terms: you ask, I answer

This is one of my favorite games to play on my other blog, but I don’t think I’ve ever done it here. I feel it’s only polite to try to help those who visit me seeking something specific. Luckily, WordPress can tell me what they were looking for.

real dornish peppers: It would have been better for you to hear this from a loved one, but I’m afraid there’s not a real Dorne. I imagine you could substitute any of several varieties of chili?

things that are not scary: Macaroons. Napkins. Toothpaste. The Blair Witch Project.

sansa loves lemon cakes: Yep.

jen rasmussen hawaii nude: Not that I recall.

richard armitage butt: Seriously, four of you in the last thirty days? I am not the proper resource for this. Meaning no offense to Mr. Armitage, there aren’t very many people whose butts I care to know stuff about.

american horror story briefly topics: Ghosts, aliens, medical experiments gone awry, odd explanations for the Black Dahlia, creepy clowns, creepy nuns, creepy war criminals, completely uncreepy and nonsensical witches, serial killers, and ladies who want babies. Not in that order.

info on murder of jen rasmussen: I imagine I’d be the last to know.

we found a witch may we burn her: How do you know she’s a witch?

jen scary thing: Not generally. Maybe if that Hawaii thing was true.

where do you send for letter to cary fukunaga: I can’t help with this, but if you write to him, tell him I loved his Jane Eyre!

four and tris with supernatural powers: I agree this would be cool.

excessive planning: THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THIS.

i would always rather be happy than dignified: Jane and I both approve.

mr rochester x reader lemon: This is almost certainly code for something, but as I’m not a Cold War spy, I don’t know what. Perhaps my commenters can offer suggestions, if it wouldn’t blow their cover.

I would always rather be happy than dignified

I’ve harped on this elsewhere in the past, but I firmly believe that an adaptation of Jane Eyre rises or falls on the strength of its Rochester. It’s not that Jane isn’t a great, complicated character. It’s more that there’s absolutely no way you can dislike her. She’s one of the greatest literary heroines we have. Nobody sitting in that audience is going to have a hard time rooting for Jane.

Rochester, on the other hand. Kind of an asshole, right? No, no, not entirely. I’m not saying I don’t love Mr. Rochester. Of course I love him. But I do have to be brought around to loving him. Come on, the guy keeps his wife locked in the attic. Whatever the circumstances, you can’t just let that go with nary a raised eyebrow, you know?

For viewers to fully appreciate Jane’s struggles, sympathize with her, and ultimately nod in teary delight at the point of reader-I-married-him, versus screaming “YOU DID WHAT?” and throwing the popcorn, they have to be able to see what she sees in the man. While Jane is busy declaring herself his equal, the rest of us are wondering if he’s really good enough for her. If your Rochester can’t pull it off, even a flawlessly played Jane isn’t going to save that film.

fassbenderochesterThis is why I’m not surprised that the Wasikowska/Fassbender version of Jane Eyre won the September poll by a landslide, with 56% of the vote. Michael Fassbender, please don’t take this the wrong way, because I know nothing about you personally and I’m sure you’re a nice person, but you’re a very convincing asshole. You can probably blame Cary Fukunaga for that if you want, because this is an expertly directed film. There’s no shying away from the darker sides of Rochester’s character, but it’s mixed with the exact right combination of vulnerability, sympathy, and emotion (and, because this is Rochester we’re talking about, brooding) to make the whole thing work. Plus, regardless of everything I just said about the cruciality of Rochester, Mia Wasikowska delivers a really excellent performance as Jane.

stephensrochesterI was glad to see the Wilson/Stephens version come in second place with 22% of the vote, because I quite like that one, too. It’s a different spin, to be sure. Neither character is really dark and broody enough, and Toby Stephens’s only flaw here is that he’s just a bit too likable. But the performances are very good, and the chemistry as well, so it all works anyway. And of course the beauty of the miniseries format is that there’s more time to get in more of the book. Everything benefits from the highest possible amount of Brontë.

The October poll is up, be sure to cast your votes!

The post title is not terribly relevant, except that it’s one of the best Jane Eyre quotes, and probably appropriate for my blog. Or my epitaph.

September wind-down

Just a week left in September. Time to stow away the Earth, Wind, and Fire and pull out the Danny Elfman. I think that’s not a bad trade. I’ve always felt that October is unequivocally the best month of the year. And not just because of the Halloween treats. Okay, mostly because of the Halloween treats. But also foliage! And fall weather! And the Carolina Renaissance Festival! Although let’s face it, the purpose of the Ren Faire has a lot to do with caramel apples, which just brings us back to treats.

My next newsletter is coming in early October and will include the recipe for the coconut-curry-lentil soup that sustains me for the first half of NaNoWriMo. Whether you participate in NaNo or not, this soup is just the best if you live somewhere that has autumn. Or lentils. Also in that newsletter: the first look at the ebook cover for Ghost in the Canteen, the latest release information, and great mostly-semi-healthy snacks to eat at your desk.

Speaking of NaNo, the site always resets around October 1, so that’s a good time to register, if you haven’t already. If you’re into the November madness and want to be my buddy, I’m hiding there under the very clever alias of jenrasmussen.

Finally, you’ve only got another week to cast your vote in the September poll in the sidebar. Frankly, I’m kind of surprised the Joan Fontaine/Orson Welles version hasn’t gotten more love, though it’s not my personal favorite. I’m sure the October poll will be something super fun an exciting! Well, mostly sure. I haven’t thought of it yet.

Bookshelf tag – I’m it!

I’ve been tagged by Marcia Meara, whose answers you can find here. It works like this:

“Answer the following questions about books on your bookshelf and then tag five other bloggers. You can answer the questions any way you want, whether it’s on your blog, in a video, or a combination of the two. Then remember to let whoever tagged you know when your post is up so they can read it.”

1. Is there a book that you really want to read but haven’t because you know that it’ll make you cry?

Actually there isn’t. Goodness, my first answer is boring. Now I’m sad.

2. Pick one book that helped introduce you to a new genre.

One? Just one? Well, I guess I have go to with good old Lord of the Rings then, which when I was 8 or 9 years old made me a fantasy reader for life.

More recently, although still many years ago, I was generally bored by biographies until I started reading Allison Weir. I believe The Six Wives of Henry VIII was the first of hers I read. I enjoy historical fiction, though, so that was kind of a natural progression.

I can’t think of anything recently that’s inspired me to read a genre I haven’t before, but that’s because I’m pretty much a genre floozie. I’m not sure there are any I haven’t read before.

3. Find a book you want to reread. (Question 3 is suspiciously absent from Marcia’s list, but I found it on Stella’s.)

I reread books regularly, specifically books with very well-drawn settings that give me that sense of being transported elsewhere: Rebecca, Lord of the Rings, the Harry Potter series.

Oddly, it’s not necessarily the same list as my favorite books, although of course I wouldn’t reread it if I didn’t love it. But rereading for me is more about the world than the characters or story. Jane Eyre is probably my favorite book of all time, but I don’t reread it as often as some others.

4. Is there a book series you’ve read but wish that you hadn’t?

Heavens, no. Why would anyone wish they hadn’t read something? I suppose that happens in the sense of wishing you hadn’t wasted time on something, but if I felt that way about the first book, I wouldn’t go on to read the whole series.

5. If your house was burning down and all of your family and pets were safe, which book would you go back inside to save?

Well, can’t I just save my Kindle, so I’m saving a bunch at once? Or scoop a whole armful off a shelf? It seems unlikely I could only save one. But if my fingers are burning off and I can only balance one book on my elbow, I’d go for Jane Eyre, because poor Jane’s had enough destroyed by fire.

I don’t actually have any expensive or special editions of anything, so from a collector’s standpoint, I wouldn’t weep for the physical objects themselves. Apart from all that wasted paper, that is.

6. Is there one book on your bookshelf that brings back fond memories?

Again with the just one! It’s very cruel. I’m just going to ignore the “just one” instruction from now on, okay?

I’d have to go back to all the children’s books that meant so much to me in my youth: Lord of the RingsThe Hobbit, Susan Cooper’s Dark is Rising series, Narnia. Anne Shirley, I will always love you.

I also have fond memories of waiting on my front porch for the last Harry Potter book to arrive, then spending the entire rest of the day eating fudge and reading it, having delegated all household and child-rearing chores to others. It was like a holiday.

7. Find a book that has inspired you the most.

I’d have to say all the childhood books named above. They made me love books and reading, which is something that has shaped my entire life.

8. Do you have any autographed books?

Nope. But I’m considering stalking Marcia long enough to find out where she lives and break in to steal that autographed copy of Rebecca she has. It’s one of my favorite books of all time.

9. Find the book that you have owned the longest.

Maybe this doesn’t count, but I’ve got the covers of my original childhood copies of The Horse and His Boy, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and Anne of Green Gables all framed. As for which entire book is oldest, I’m honestly not sure. They’re all looking pretty beat up. I’m one of those people who eats while she reads and stains the pages with chocolate, and dog-ears her pages, and makes a tragic mess of the binding. (You can see why I love my Kindle.) I don’t mind my books being lived in.

10. Is there a book by an author that you never imagined you would read or enjoy?

Not really. I don’t read the ones I don’t think I’ll enjoy. I’m trying to think if I felt forced to read anything in college and then ended up liking it, but as far as I recall, I pretty much looked forward to all of those too, because I’m a dork. Except Moby Dick and Notes from Underground. I never imagined I’d enjoy either of those, and I was right.

Tag time!

I’m going to tag Servetus. I’m not sure she’ll do it, as her blog is themed and this won’t fit, but she’s all scholarly and stuff, so I’d be curious to read her answers.

I’m also going to tag Paula Light.

And Roy.

And Lisen Minetti.

And Lyda.

Mostly because those five seem like they’d have very different answers, and I imagine variety and discovering new books is part of the point. I’d tag Don too, but I’m pretty sure he’s busy burningburning.

Thanks for thinking of me, Marcia!