It's been a while since I did this & I haven't kept proper track.
The Man Who Loved Jane Austen by Sally O'Rourke. Plenty of bitter, mirthless LOLs in this one. Basically, a drunken, single, unhappy old woman in her thirties, with flashing dark eyes and a successful career living in a New York apartment and selling her paintings of country cottages over the internet, buys an old dressing table and inside it there is a letter FROM MR DARCY TO JANE AUSTEN and another SEALED letter back from Jane to Darcy! omg omg omg: Northanger Abbey or what. Anyway, the painter lady eventually works out that a modern-day American called Fitzwilliam Darcy (latest hereditary owner of an ex-slave plantation in Virginia) banged his head falling off his horse and woke up in 1810, to find JA ripping his trousers off (literally.) He's back in the present now, phew. But in 1810, he was in Love with Jane (who wanted him to 'teach' her what Love is like. Poor Mr Darcy, alone in the lonely present with his massive wealth and respectful black servants. However, Artist woman sorts him out. The End. Oops, spoilers back there, I spoiled it for you. Sorry about that.
Now I am reading another one which is much the same. Think I'm going to write something about time travel romances featuring Austen. It's good to get the emotions out here and now so I can think about them calmly later on.
The Mysteries of Udolpho by Anne Radcliffe. A lovely book, and quite the page-turner (all seven hundred closely printed pages of it), but I got a little tired of every mysterious shadowy figure or snatch of unearthly sweet music eventually having a natural explanation.
On not liking South Africa by Jenny Diski in the current LRB is not a book, but I read it a few days ago and haven't been able to stop thinking about it. You should read it too.
unnamed book about film adaptation by unnamed film theorist, published late last year; I finally worked up the courage to get it and read it, and am presently experiencing an immense feeling of relief that it's not all the same as my thesis. I should have read it straight off and saved myself the fear and angst.
last but not least....Gaudy Night by Dorothy L Sayers. After reading some of you writing about how you appreciate it I got a copy and read it. A pretty terrific book: in places, verging on greatness. I was totally unprepared for the depth of feeling in the Harriet / Peter relationship (never having read Sayers before) and even though I feel certain that the woman dons Miss Lydgate and Miss de Vine in all their solitary scholarly glory are heavily idealised by Sayers they still said things that made me think quite hard about whether I'm properly cut out for university work, especially as it is now constituted, with endless horrible rankings and scorings and the requirement to do be shrewd and do things strategically rather than for their natural worth or interest. The depiction of the desperate economic and social vulnerability of the women's college bit hard and reminded me very much of A Room of One's Own. I liked the period details too. But the ending.... and now there really will be a big break for the proper quarantining of spoilers, because it really is a detective novel.....
so here are some pictures I took in Port Fairy on the weekend....
Spoiler starts here
OK, if you're reading this I assume you know the book. A lot of the goodwill the book banked up with me dissipated very quickly when it turned out it was the scout that did it. I thought that was a bit of a cheat, but more importantly the scapegoating of the working class woman really saddened me. I understand that the sad logic of the thing is that virulent misogynist prejudice about educated and un-heterosexual women is not confined to men, but still, the same effect could have been got using a character who is not a servant. Anyway, in all other respects an excellent novel. Should I read more of Sayers or will they be anticlimaxes now?