Crushing on Classics.

 

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I have just spent a lovely week reading and enjoying the classic book: ‘Jane Eyre’ by Charlotte Bronte. It is a book that I have wanted to read for the longest time and I am so happy that I finally picked it up, because it was everything that I expected it to be and much more. I think that it has actually become my new favorite classic.

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Only a few months ago I picked up ‘Wuthering Heights’ by Emily Bronte for the first time too, and it knocked my socks off. It was certainly a most contentious book for the age, and I was rather impressed with the risk that Ms. Bronte had taken in sending it for publication back in 1846. Even though she used the male pseudonym of ‘Ellis Bell’ as author, it was still considered very risqué for its time. Did you know that Charlotte Bronte told her father that she had written her first book (Jane Eyre), only after it had been published and received its first glowing reviews? Or that the Emily and Anne Bronte did not dare actually tell their father that they too had since become published authors (especially as ‘Wuthering Heights’ created such a maelstrom of gossip!)

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(I will write a post focusing on the Bronte family very soon, but today I want to encourage you to pick up a classic book yourself.)

 

You see there is something magical in the classics that appear to be sadly lacking in much of today’s literature. They display a different style of writing completely from contemporary literature, that beautifully encompasses the culture of those times.

 

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And necessarily so. For example, the pace of life was much more sedate; so most of the stories are a slow burn of passion, intrigue and/ or danger, unlike today’s fast paced plots where, it can be argued, we expect to be held breathless on some rollercoaster of a ride within the first ten pages, or we want our money back!

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Likewise, it appears that those authors of the past, (see Dickens and Austin too) invite us into their protagonists’ head far more often than those of the present; we hear their thoughts and feelings as they constantly echo off the page, signaling to the reader all the ‘why’s’ before we even have a chance to ask. Contrast this with modern literature and these questions of motivation are often left unanswered until the last possible moment- when all is revealed- or not!  It’s a different format for a different age.

 

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Furthermore, with the classics, one can notice that the authors tend to focus immensely on the descriptive’; painting a portrait of each scene in almost intimate detail. The wait can be agony for the reader who wants to know ‘what is going to happen next?’ because they are forced to slow down and match the pace of the time with that of the author, and invest themselves into the story fully and deeply, whether they want to sacrifice their time or not.

It is non-negotiable.

Consider this:

 

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From Jane Eyre, a description of her meeting acquaintances of her master for the first time, while she was working as a Governess at his home. Their station is above hers:

 

‘There were eight; yet, somehow, as they flocked in, they gave the impression of a much larger number. Some of them were very tall; many were dressed in white; all had a sweeping amplitude of array that seemed to magnify their person’s as a mist magnifies the moon. I rose and curtseyed to them: one or two bent their heads in return; the others only stared at me.

 They dispersed about the room, reminding me, by the lightness and buoyancy of their movements, of a flock of white plumy birds. Some of them threw theirselves in half-reclining positions on the sofas and ottomans: some bent over the tables and examined the flowers and books: the rest gathered in a group around the fire: all talked in a low but clear tone which seemed habitual to them.”  (P171)

 

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Note the contrast between the descriptions of one person 150 years ago (above) walking into a room full of strangers, with another, published this year:

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From Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo:

 

 

“Genya led me to the same domed room where we had gathered the previous afternoon for the processional. It wasn’t nearly as crowded today, but there was still a lively buzz of conversation. In the corners, Grisha clustered around samovars and lounged on divans, warming themselves by elaborately tiled ovens. Others breakfasted at the four long tables arranged in a square at the room’s center. Again, a hush seemed to fall as we entered, but this time people at least pretended to carry on their conversations as we passed” (p121)

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In today’s writing we don’t waste words!

 

But that is the very attraction of these classic books to me. Sometimes I want to focus less on plot and more on character driven novels. ‘What’s going through his/her mind?’ ‘Why is he/she acting like that?’ Etc., etc. We are forced to consider every circumstance, every viewpoint and to take nothing at face value. By the end of the book, the reader has a thorough understanding of how each character is driven.

 

 

Having said all this, I don’t think I could spend my days only reading classic books.-I’m also a product of our times and sometimes I do want to run rather than ramble through the pages of a good read. But my point is this:

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There is wonder and enchantment in strolling through a book from another age. We are given a threefold gift, as we not only absorb a good story, but we learn history, and some culture along the way. It may be true that you need to have some patience to fully appreciate a classic book to its fullest extent, but the rewards are wonderful. I strongly advise you to pick up a classic book soon. Put aside some time and treat yourself to a wonderful story from almost forgotten worlds. Clear your calendar, and create a niche of time just to absorb all the nuances and magic that these books hold.

You will see a different world, you will step back in time and experience the world of our ancestors. You will exit them a changed person. Now that’s why I’m crushing on classics.

 

 

lots of love, Sally xx

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Welcome to Week 5 of Soak Sunday.

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Goodness what a busy weekend I’ve had!

 

Some back story: late last year we thought we’d found our dream house. It meant moving several hundred miles away, but we were willing to make a fresh start. It was an old Victorian painted lady and I had great plans for it. Anyway someone beat us to it and we decided to stay where we were, after all, we loved our home and hadn’t actually intended to move prior to falling in love with the Victoria when the details landed in my in-box..

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But you know how that goes- once you decide to move you suddenly can’t stop looking for properties. So we spent Saturday viewing model homes in this area. We found some great contenders and that put us in the right frame of mind to clear out the clutter in our lives ready for when we find the perfect place.

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So Sunday was spent with us facing all our clutter and taking a trip to the garbage tip. Not fun but necessary! It was hard work and every muscle ached by the end of the day, but boy, what a satisfying feeling!

So to get to my point, I really needed a long soak to ease those exhausted muscles. I also needed an injection of energy too since it was only afternoon when we’d finished. So I chose a lovely bath cocktail with citrus notes, to both relax and invigorate me.

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I began with pouring some ‘Olive branch shower gel on the base of the bath, to start up the bubble process. Then I chose the ‘Refresher‘ shower jelly which I’d already prepared into cubes, and I mixed that with the ‘Ex Factor’ bath bomb (that little one with a stick figure in it) that I bought from the Lush Kitchen in the U.K (they ship to the U.S.A)…

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Then I  added two other bathbomb’s for maximum impact – I chose ‘Fizzbanger‘  as seen above. This lovely fizzing bath bomb looks like lemon but is fun of the scent of cinnamon and apples. The colors are spectacular and I did not expect them! They were stunning.

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Finally I added  ‘Yoga Bomb‘ which looks orange but has sandalwood, olibanum and ho wood oils encased inside.

 

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This was even prettier! I wish I could share the scent with you. They were so delicious.

 

 

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I set myself up with a lovely candle from ‘The melting Library’ (I think they are no longer in business sadly) and relaxed into the most delicious citrus scented bubble bath and settled down to read more of my new Diana Gabaldon book ‘Dragonfly in Amber’. It was the perfect end to a busy day. I think I was in there until the water went cold!

 

 

Finally I just want to remind you that Tuesday 28th Feb (tomorrow from this post) is the final day to enter my Beauty and the beast giveaway. You will find full details on my instagram feed. Remember you will earn two extra entries if you leave a comment on this blog (be sure to leave your instagram name here too) I will announce the winner by the weekend and will be giving details about my new Alice in Wonderland themed giveaway which is starting just a couple in just a couple of weeks! Kindly scroll back on here to see the prizes in glorious full detail too.

Have a great day. I’ll be back tomorrow with my ‘Outlander’ book review.

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Lots of love, Sally xxx

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