Thackerary, William Makepeace. Vanity Fair: a Novel Without a Hero. New York: The Book League of America, date unknown.
The story opens with two graduating students leaving Miss Pickerton’s academy for young ladies. One graduate, Amelia Sedley, is well loved and receives an enormous send off while her companion, Rebecca Sharp, barely garners a glance. Becky is an orphaned governess, traveling with Amelia as her guest. Once at the Sedley home Rebecca sets out to become betrothed to Amelia’s brother, Joseph. Jos serves as Collector of Boggley Wollah in the East India Company’s Civil Service. Once that attempt fails Rebecca becomes even more amoral and shameless. In today’s terms she would be classified as a psychopath because of her lack of conscience and her inability to feel anything for her fellow man. Amelia is disgustingly sweet and Rebecca is shamelessly indifferent. Neither one makes a satisfying hero in Thackeray’s eyes. I found the story to be plotless and pointless. What made the reading more difficult was Thackeray getting confused and mixing up the characters.
Lines that got me for one reason or another, “Now and then he would make a desperate attempt to get rid of his superabundant fat, but his indolence and love of good living speedily got the better of these endeavors at reform…” (p 13), “Sir Put Crawley was a philosopher with a taste for what is called low life” (p 41), and “…if you are not allowed to touch the heart sometimes in spite of syntax, and are not to be loved until you know the difference between trimeter and tetrameter, may all poetry go to the deuce and every schoolmaster perish miserably!” (p 60).
Reason read: First month, first chapter. Wish I hadn’t.
Author fact: Vanity Fair (published in 1848) was Thackeray’s best known work.
Book trivia: I was astounded to learn (through IMDB) that Vanity Fair was made into a movie for the big screen and television nearly a dozen times. It even had a radio version.
BookLust Twist: From More Book Lust in the introduction (p x). Pearl says Vanity Fair is one of the books at her bedside.
Holy crap I am late with the list. “I’m late, I’m late” said the White Rabbit! Okay, okay! I just finished The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland so sue me.
January 2013 is another year of hope and of promise. Kisa and I are going to see Trey Anastasio at the Palace in a few weeks. I officially started training for the 5th Just ‘Cause Walk and, and. And! I am training to run a 10k in March. Yay me. But, here are the books…before I get too carried away.
- Rabbit Hill (speaking of rabbits) by Robert Lawson in honor of when All Creatures Great & Small first aired. Get it? Creatures = rabbits. This is a kids book so I’m hoping to fly through it.
- The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith in honor of January being Female Mystery month. I’m listening to this on cd. It’s the first one in the series so expect to see Alexander McCall Smith on my book list for the next 4 or 5 months.
- Lives of the Painters, Sculptors Vol 4 by Giorgio Vasari ~ this (finally, finally) ends the series started in October in honor of Art Appreciation month
- Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackery ~ in honor of the first month of the year I’m reading something from the first chapter of More Book Lust.
- Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet by Eleanor Cameron ~ in honor of the a Happy New Year. Another kids book to lighten the mood.
- Ancient Athens on 5 Drachmas a Day by Philip Matyszak ~ Okay, get this – Female Domination Day in Greece happens in January, hence reading something Greek.
- Tatiana by Dorothy M. Jones ~ in honor of Alaska becoming a state in January. Mo one locally has this book in their library so I had to ILL it. It might have to come from Alaska. How fitting.
- Final Solution by Michael Chabon ~ in honor of January being Adopt a Rescued Bird month. This is another book I will listen to in the car or while working out.
For the LibraryThing Early Review program I am just finishing up Gold Coast Madam by Rose Laws. I also received notification of a January Early Review book but as always I won’t mention it by title until it’s in my hot little hands (or in this case, cold little hands since it’s 6 degrees outside).