Reading and Watching

We read a classic each year for our book club.

I belong to two book clubs. Once a year,  each of the clubs chooses a  "classic" book to read and discuss. Monday night, I had my first Zoom session. We discussed Jane Austen's last work, Persuasion.

Persuasion was Jane Austen's final completed work and was published in 1817. It is the tale
of Jane Elliott, a spinster(??) of 27 who has refused offers of marriage and who finds herself the
"reliable" member of a family of impoverished aristocrats. Anne has been persuaded to refuse the offer of marriage of Frederick Wentworth because of his lack of prospects and of family connections.
When Wentworth returns, eight years later, as a prosperous naval officer and the quarry of the local husband hunters, Anne's life is set in turmoil.

I've been reading The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict. It is a historical fiction account of the romance and marriage of  Mileva Marić, a Serbian physics student, and Albert Einstein. The couple met at University in Zurich where Mileva was the only female physics and mathematics student.

Mileva gives up her studies for marriage and motherhood.
It seems tragic that a young woman who had travelled so far to study and who had dreams of
achieving something great, gave up her ambitions. Certainly, in the early days of the 20th century,
a two scientist family (except for the Curies) would have been a rarity.

an interesting production

My local public library provides free access to a digital service called Hoopla. I am able to borrow
7 items (audiobooks,  digital books, movies, television series) a month.  I saw this BBC version
of The Buccaneers by Edith Wharton and as I had enjoyed The Age of Innocence, I decided to watch it.  Edith Wharton died before this novel was finished so it was finished as a screenplay by Maggie Wadey.

The Buccaneers is the tale of four young wealthy American girls who travel to England to find titled
husbands. The girls find their matches in aristocratic families in need of fresh money to maintain their
country houses and lifestyle. Unfortunately, everyone does not live happily ever after.

It is interesting to find a theme in one's reading. I did not choose Persuasion for the book club classic read because I was in Mexico at the time of the meeting. The Other Einstein appealed to me because I had read The Paris Wife (about Hadley Hemingway) by Paula McLain. The Buccaneers appeared as a suggestion on Hoopla.

Years ago, it seems that the choice of a husband or the choice to remain unmarried dictated the circumstances of a woman's life. Certainly, marriage to a genius would have been challenging.

What have you been reading lately? If you belong to a book club, what sort of books do you choose?
Have you had a Zoom meeting? There is certainly a lot of time for reading and watching these days.


  1. The Other Einstein sounds interesting and Persuasion was my favorite Austen novel. I still have a copy of it at home but haven't read it in decades. And I have a thrifted copy of The Buccaneers in my bedroom now but haven't begun it yet. I loved The Age of Innocence, both the book and the movie that my sister and I saw on wide screen theater and felt that it should have won an Oscar for Best Picture. I know that I remember seeing a television mini-series of The Buccaneers many years ago and loved it but I don't know if it was the BBC version. I remember taping it and even with poor quality I watched it over and over.

    No, I have never used Zoom!

    I just started Elizabeth Berg's Year of Pleasures last night, just finished Nelia Gardner White's Hathaway House. For an early novel it was good but it is her later books that I love and reread every few years. And I read all three of Susan Branch's trilogy the first few weeks of this isolation period. They were just what I needed, sweet and comforting.

    I haven't been in a book club in decades. I envy the social aspect of book clubbers but may have outlived the patience to read a book chosen by others. Does it ever frustrate you?

    1. I really enjoyed The Age of Innocence both the book and movie too. I wonder if The Buccaneers copy that you have has been finished. The 1938 edition was "as EW left it"
      but there was another ending written 1993. It is different from the screenplay.

      Monday was my first Zoom. I really enjoy Elizabeth Berg's books. It seems that Susan Branch is very popular right now.

      Book clubs are very different. I have an evening social book club and a church book club. The church club is more serious although the books chosen are secular. I find that we often have the most interesting discussions with the books that we don't like.

    2. The 1995 movie version of Persuasion was excellent--one of the very best Austen film adaptations. Had a terrific cast. Unfortunately, not sure it is available on any free platforms.

    3. I watched the 1995 movie after I read the book. I had to pay for it on Apple TV. Lots of BBC productions are unavailable on any free platform in Canada. I find Hoopla through the public library the most likely. I'm not sure what the public library pays for a site license but it is under-utilized.

  2. I loved the 1995 movie of Persuasion. I have since read the book and also loved it. I haven't read The Other Einstein, but it sounds an interesting story. Have never used Hoopla at the library or done any Zoom meetings with anyone.


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