'How pleasant it is to spend an evening in this way! I declare that after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.' No one made any reply. She then yawned again, threw aside her book, and cast her eyes round the room in quest of some amusement. — from Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen (1775-1817)
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September 10, 2010

Challenged




I'm a little bit of a fraud, signing on for Readers Imbibing Peril (R.I.P.) V, an annual challenge hosted here (and discovered here). For one thing, murder mysteries are my comfort reading (that only sounds strange when you say it out loud). Some months, I could accomplish Peril the First ('Read four books, any length, that you feel fits my very broad definition of scary') without blinking, and for another, other than mysteries the genres included in the challenge (thrillers, sci-fi, gothic horror) really aren't my cup of poisonous herbal tea. But this is the perfect time of year for this kind of book, and it will be fun to read about what other people are imbibing.

I'll probably do most of this reading in October, but this is a good weekend to fit in a short book and I thought I'd finally read The Turn of the Screw. (I'm going to be reading Henry James for fun!  Does that count as double scary?)  It's included in my old college copy of The Portable Henry James, and when I pulled the book off the shelf just now I was reminded that the book was a present from a Secret Santa:


I'm trying to remember exactly what this note means. I think it had something to do with an attentive trustee, also named Henry James, of the small library that I took care of in my student job. I went to Henry James Junior High, too (still another Henry), so in a sense he's been haunting me for a very long time.

Poor Henry. Why did they have to choose this picture for the front of the book? Granted, he was never much of a looker, but he seems just a little demented.


Then again, oh my. It seems cruel to mention this right under that portait, but there was a Masterpiece Theater production of The Turn of the Screw made in 1999, starring  ...


'...this prospective patron proved a gentleman, a bachelor in the prime of life, such a figure as had never  risen, save in a dream or an old novel, before a fluttered anxious girl out of Hampshire vicarage...He was handsome and bold and pleasant, off-hand and gay and kind. He struck her, inevitably, as gallant and splendid....'
Oh, yes, inevitably. Henry James must be experiencing a rebirth of popularity, because all of the library copies of this DVD are out.

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