Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Megan Reads Brideshead Revisited: Chapter Two

This was intended for this weekend, but I managed to come down with a rather bad case of stomach flu that sort of prevented that. Oh well. ONWARD.

Before I get too far ahead, though, I want to clarify once again that this feature was pretty much entirely inspired by the Mark Does Stuff blogs. This means macros, .gifs, reaction images, and occasional gratuitous profanity. I’m already liking this book enough to be able to say really strongly that I don’t mean it as an insult to the book at all. If you don’t like the angle I’m taking with this, it’s probably best that you just don’t read it.

Now that that’s over with, thoughts on Chapter Two.

OH MY GOD JASPER GO AWAY.

In this figure, Twilight Sparkle represents Jasper and Rarity’s ass is fulfilling my desires.

I mean, trust me, I can tell that getting drunk at luncheon is bad as well as anybody, but good grief, Jasper, here’s how you handle that:

CHARLES: I usually have a glass of champagne about this time. Will you join me?

ME, BEING SMARTER THAN JASPER: No thanks, I’m not much of an afternoon drinker. And being drunk makes me throw up.

That’s how you do it, Jasper.

So Spring Break rolls around, and Charles chooses to go spend it in Ravenna with Collins, depriving the plot of this (even if I am fairly certain that Spring Break did not mean the same thing in 1923):

(Art by kaiserbund, whose blog is full of pretty things you need on your dashboard. Yes, you.)

However, we are talking about characters who get drunk at luncheon, so maybe that’s not much of an exaggeration. Regardless, Charles’ interaction with Sebastian at this point is confined to letters and pondering over the fact that this feels like a second childhood, except full of decidedly adult things rather than buying upwards of thirty My Little Pony dolls in the course of one summer, which is of course something I have never done in pursuit of a similar feeling, thank you very much. *cough*

You know what else this chapter is suddenly full of? Anthony Blanche.

Now, I’ll be honest, I’d never even heard of this character aside from supercrook mentioning him several times and asking if I’d gotten there yet. So, a private word to my bb Skazka:

Yes, I’m there, and I think I understand your version of Herbert a great deal better for having read this character now, though your Herbert is far more of a soft kittenish creature.

The thing about Anthony Blanche is that in-story, he’s apparently quite exhausting to have to put up with and talk to. Well, Waugh did a really good job of conveying that, because holy Jesus just reading this guy talk makes me kind of do this:

Great googly moogly. It’s kind of awesome reading how few fucks he gives about people knowing he’s gay in the freaking twenties, but at the same time part of me feels increasingly cross-eyed in trying to read his account of being thrown into the fountain.

On the other hand, Anthony’s role as the Thing That Wouldn’t Shut Up does provide a nice little infodump on Sebastian’s family, who I still don’t know what to call. Things I have learned:

1. His brother’s scary.

2. Anthony thinks Julia’s scary too.

3. Apparently the youngest child’s nanny drowned herself.

4. The parents are separated.

5. Anthony insists Lady Marchmain is a vampire. I assume this is more Anthony being Anthony, because if this is true even in the psychological/bloodplay sense, well, there’s a whole aspect of this book I was unprepared for.

Charles, it seems, was unprepared for all this too, because next thing you know he’s having nightmares about all this. When he finds Sebastian again, Sebastian tells him, in much more flowery language, that Anthony is full of shit, and thus the chapter ends. I shall try to get my reactions to Chapter Four up soon.

(And Ska? Yeah, you really have to write Brideshead Reanimated.)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Megan Reads Brideshead Revisited: Chapter One

Megan Reads Brideshead Revisited

My dearest Tumblpeeps, this is not the post I wanted to put up for Chapter One. This is my attempt at reconstructing it, thanks to Tumblr eating the three-hour opus I managed to write earlier. My patience is shot and my nerves are already on edge just from dealing with that, and since I wrote the original post as I was reading the chapter there’s a lot of stream-of consciousness stuff that’s gonna be missing from this post.

I’m really sorry. What a failtacular way to begin the story proper.

Anyway. Let’s just try to move ahead.

Read More

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Megan Reads Brideshead Revisited: Prologue

SUP EVERYBODY. I’M FINALLY DOING THIS.

So this book begins with our narrator, Charles Ryder, arriving with his WWII army unit outside of a “lunatic asylum”. In what is probably the first of many incoming instances of me not quite focusing on the important parts, I have to say that I was kind of pretty thrown by the description of the residents of the asylum. Considering I haven’t read a lot of 30s-50s British literature prior to this except the Titus books (in which pretty much everybody is described as grotesque) and Rebecca, which described the character of Ben, a mentally disabled fisherman, rather similarly, so my first thought is “Okay, seriously, you guys. Is this the only way people with mental disorders are ever described in stuff from that era?”

Anyway. Moving on.

I’ll be honest, right now I’m having trouble actually throwing off the Rebecca comparisons, even though this whole prologue is full of military stuff. See, Charles’ attitude regarding army life is pretty much this by now:

The dreariness with which he describes army life kind of makes me wonder how he could have ever been in love with it enough for that love to die, but hey, I trust Waugh’s gonna let me see that later. Right? Right?

But anyway, the biggest Rebecca intrusion in my head is the fact that yep, he ends up at Brideshead again, and he knows all about that place, and there’s much description of decaying English manorness. Seriously, Mrs. de Winter, if Maxim kicks it before you do, I know an Army captain about your age who you might hit it off with. Y’all can go on about big fancy buildings all you like.

Then, um, that’s the end of the prologue. Yeah.

My interest is piqued. I just hope it’s not all military stuff for too much of the book… I kind of lose interest in most war tropes after the first world war.

I also hope that as the actual plot develops, I’ll be able to write better chapter responses. In exchange for the general weakness of this post, I give you a dancing kitten in a paper bag:

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Megan Reads Brideshead Revisited: Introduction

For the last year or so, most of the literature I’ve read has had to do with RPing.

This isn’t always a bad thing- Our Lady of the Flowers, various explorations of Romeo and Juliet, Monster (which various people have reassured me counts as Srs Literature despite its manga format), some biographies, various other things. I have a copy of Young Torless sitting on my shelf that I really need to get to reading at some point too. But the side effect of all of this is the fact that I usually have a pretty strong idea of what I’m getting into and already know the plot inside and out.

I guess you could say it’s also why I picked up Brideshead Revisited the other day, though this situation is actually fairly different. Yes, it’s RP buddies- supercrook, supermattachine, and morethanprinceofcats- who’ve recommended it to me, but here is all I know about this book going into it:

1) There was a miniseries almost 30 years ago and a movie much more recently; the latter provided a fairly ubiquitous kissing .gif that was all over ontd_ozy for a while and a whole lot of rage from people who liked the miniseries.

2) Something to do with Catholics.

3) A couple of weeks ago I managed to space out and carry a teddy bear out of the house with me without quite realizing I’d done so until about twenty minutes later, when I realized I had a lapful of bear on the bus, and Teja convinced me to name the bear Aloysius because that’s what the teddy bear in this book is named.

In short, this is the first time in a while I’m approaching a book the way most people do, as a relative stranger. With that in mind, I’ve decided I want to do a little follow-up on here where I write up my reactions to each chapter, Mark Reads Harry Potter-style.

This is the edition I’m reading:

The back tells me nothing about the plot, just a lot of praise for Waugh. (Also, I know it changed over time and all but I’m still kind of blinking at the fact that Evelyn was apparently a dude name once upon a time.

So, in short, prologue post goes up soon. See you there.