Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Bookish Chat with Melody

Today ushers in the first installment in the Bookish Chat series, which I mentioned back in... December, I think.  This will be a monthly feature in which I interview someone of my acquaintance who is Into Books, so to speak, and hopefully we shall all learn and profit from the experience.  Take out your notebooks, children.

Our first guest speaker will be Melody of Regency Delight, whom I may have mentioned a time or two on this blog before.  I would tell you a bit about her, but actually she's going to do that herself, so I shall let her take it from here. *hands microphone*

Welcome to the podium at Yet Another Period Drama Blog, Melody! Have some tea to calm your nerves and tell us a little bit about yourself. Name, general age-ish (feel free to be as vague as you like), hobbies, least favorite type of shoe, favorite flavor of ice cream, and how you started blogging. Ready, steady, go!

Goodness, mentioning podiums to me will make me nervous! Can we just pretend we’re having a nice, cozy chat in my living room? I shall gladly accept the tea, however. Thank you.  I believe you just told everybody my name, but it’s Melody. As Elizabeth Bennet would say, “I am not one and twenty,” but how much less than that is up to you to imagine. When I have extra time you may find me writing long emails (or even real letters), sewing (I’m currently in the extremely early stages of a Regency Dress Project… we’ll see how that goes), pretending I can play the piano, enjoying a good period drama or, of course, a book. I’m also a bit too skilled at wasting time, which could include anything from staring out the window daydreaming to scrolling aimlessly through Pinterest.

Least favorite type of shoe? To wear, or to see? To wear—anything that hurts. To see—anything that makes you cringe just to look at it because you KNOW it must be hurting.

I don’t have a favorite flavor of ice cream, but when I was younger I would have said cookies and cream. So let’s just go with that.

I started blogging like most people—went to blogger.com and clicked on the button to create a new blog.  ;)

Ahem, forgive my sarcasm. I started blogging mainly so that I could have a place to talk about Jane Austen. I was running out of ‘real-life’ resources for this. And before I knew it I had all sorts of delightful (online) Janeite acquaintances, and I was starting to learn just how many fish were in my sea, haha. The sea of the Jane Austen fandom, you know. Because it’s big.

~Okay! So now that we know a little bit more about you (well, okay, the adoring PUBLIC knows a little more about you-- I already know everything about you because I am your best friend), let’s ask some bookish questions. Tell us about three books that you loved when you were little-- that is, under ten or so. 

If you know everything about me, why don’t you answer these questions FOR me? Hmmm? Betcha couldn’t. ;) (She'd do it better than anybody else, though.)

For some reason the first book I thought of is Pepper’s Journal: A Kitten’s First Year by Stuart J. Murphy. It’s a picture book, and it was supposed to have been designed to teach children about calendars, but I just loved looking at the pictures and reading all the journal entries that the girl made about her new cat. When we got a kitten (I was six at the time) I even tried to follow suit, but the journaling didn’t last very long. Somehow real-life cats don’t seem to be as easy to write about.

Surprisingly, I'm actually having trouble answering this, even though I did love books as a little girl.  I guess being the youngest in my family, once I lost interest in certain books they were only to be forgotten with no siblings to pass them on to.  But let's see here... well, I loved Beverly Cleary's Ramona series, in particular Ramona's World and Ramona Forever, though I'm not sure at what age I liked which ones.  And just for a bit of Young Reader Trivia (about myself, that is) the first book I ever remember reading all by myself (with no one to help when I got stuck, you know, and not counting things like Bob Books) was Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman . For some reason I remember that quite clearly. And then afterwards yelling up the stairs “MOMMY, I read this WHOLE THING by MYSELF!” Heehee.

~Oooh, I loved Are You My Mother? when I was little too. :D Anyone who knows you even a little bit will know that you are a big fan of Jane Austen. (Well, duh.) Which book of Jane Austen’s would you recommend to a newbie fan, and why?

Definitely Pride and Prejudice. It’s the brightest and most sparkling, it’s the easiest to read, I think the characters are the most identifiable of any of her books, and you don’t have to be accustomed to Jane Austen’s wit to find it as funny as you’re supposed to. (You do, however, need to have a proper sense of humor. If you don’t… well, I doubt you and Miss Austen will travel far together.)

However, this may vary from person to person. In certain cases I may recommend other books first, if I can tell one of the others would be more of a favorite. For instance, if they prefer a more romantic and emotional story, Persuasion is what I’d put into their hands. It’s also the shortest. ;)

~What is your favorite biography? Tell us a wee bit about it.

Ooooh. Um… I don’t really think I have a favorite biography. See, with biographies and most nonfiction, I tend to poke through them rather than read the things in the entirety. This may shock you (ha), but I’ve looked at more biographies of Jane Austen than anyone else… and I can’t pinpoint a favorite. None of them have really swept me off my feet. I tend to prefer books that include her biography but also have other interesting stuff. 

Hey, isn’t dodging questions a normal part of interviews?

~Oh, indeed it is.  You should run for office, m'dear.  ...KIDDING.  Okay, so I’m well aware that you, like me, are fond of quotes, and the more bookish the better. What are some of your favorite quotes about books?

Eeheeeee. :D *clears throat*

“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.” ~Henry Tilney, Northanger Abbey

“The pleasure of reading is always doubled when shared with a friend.” ~J.C. Gress

“Never judge a book by its movie.”

" ‘Oh! it is only a novel!’ replies the young lady…in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humor are conveyed to the world in the best chosen language.” ~Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

(I know there are many others I adore, but my memory is not cooperating. :P)

~What did you most recently finish reading? Would you recommend it?

Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay. I finished it within four days and that’s quite rare for me, because I’m not a fast reader so it takes quite a bit of time. ;) Would I recommend it? To the readers of this blog, yes. Because anybody bookish will connect with this book in several ways; it’s simply spilling over with classic literature quotes and references, some other books I know of or have even read, also some period dramas and… that’s just fun. (The main character is a bookworm, obviously. Also a writer! This is not particularly a JA spin-off as it may sound; it’s set in present day.) I mean, the book starts with a dedication worded the same way as Anne Shirley’s in the second movie… how cool is that? (It, cough, ends with a quote from P&P05 but… that was the only reference to that movie so I can overlook it. :P) I should probably write an actual review instead of rambling like this, but anyway, though there were some things I didn’t like, overall I enjoyed it muchly (storyline is good too) although some of the themes are Not Suitable for Young Readers.

~Did you discover any good new authors in the last year? Which of their books did you like best?

Hmmm… there were only a few books I’d read by authors I hadn’t read yet and I wasn’t particularly thrilled with any of them, although I did enjoy With Every Letter and On Distant Shores by Sarah Sundin… overall. Although some of the attraction-kissy-nonsense kind of disgusted me although it didn’t go as far as some Christian romance novels I’ve tried to read. :P I did do some serious eye-rolling, though.

~Quick! First funny quote from a book, off the top of your head!

“Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail.
Mind! I don't mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country's done for. You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a door-nail.”
~A Christmas Carol

~What are your thoughts on the subject of e-readers?

While they can probably have some particular uses, for the most part I’m against them. Real books are some of the best things in the world and I hate to have wonderful things replaced. By modern nonsense. Folks, if I’d lived at the turn of the century I probably would have been one of those people against “progress.” :P Some things back then were an improvement I’ll grant you, but now… we’re advanced enough already, thank you. You can stop now. New does not mean better.

~What would be your response to someone who told you she never read books?

Something like this, I would imagine.

~In what part of your library would you be most likely to be found?

Depends on the occasion… I might wander around, or if I need to wait a while and have a new book I want to read I might just find a random chair somewhere and settle down. And, cough, sometimes if I’m waiting for a family member and don’t have anything particular to do I’ll go get on one of the computers. I know, horrid, right? “Maybe I have a new EMAIL!” :P

~What is the best nonfiction book you’ve read in the last few months? Tell us a tiny bit about it.

Like I said, when I read nonfiction I tend to just poke through them… so I guess that will have to count. Well, it was awfully fun reading The Making of Pride and Prejudice. Which is a book about, fancy this, the making of Pride and Prejudice. The 1995 miniseries, that is. :) It has a lot of interesting information behind it along with just fun facts.

~If you could have a fictional side character over for tea in the nearish future, who would you choose and why?

Yikes! That’s a hard choice! But on a whim, I’ll say Philippa Gordon from Anne of the Island. Just because she’s a girl so I’d feel more comfortable with her, she’s likely to have some interesting clothes to admire, know her way with teacups and of course the most important thing—she’s hilarious and would be a most excellent conversationalist.

~Quick, name a book you love that begins with N.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. What? That’s the first thing I thought of!

~Somehow I knew you'd pick that one.  Heehee.  (The letter was chosen at random, by the way.) And now... recommend six titles for the lovely readers of this blog. Any titles. Six of ‘em. Do it. Now. (No, I’m not bossy.)

Six? SIX? Don’t you know what you’re tempting me to do when you say that??? Okay, okay. I won’t do it. I shall conquer this. :D

(If any of you figure out what’s going on here, I’ll be very proud of you.)

Emma by Jane Austen
Running Out of Time by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
The Luckiest Girl by Beverly Cleary
The Anne series by L.M. Montgomery (and if that’s cheating, then Anne of Green Gables—and they can figure out the rest for themselves.)
Henry Tilney’s Diary by Amanda Grange
There, three classic, three non-classic.

Thank you very much for hosting me, dearling! I’m honored to be able to start it out and I look 
forward to reading future bookish chats. Goodbye, everyone! *mock-princess/celebrity wave*


Thank YOU, Melody, for participating in this little interview!  Our friendship was, I believe, cemented at the very beginning by our shared love of good books-- as P.G. Wodehouse said, "There is no surer foundation for a beautiful friendship than a mutual taste in literature."  We owe a lot to our bookshelves.  :D  If you'd like to read more of Melody's writings, do please check out her blog-- Regency Delight (Jane Austen, &c.).

We'll have a new bookish interview guest in February, so do stick around!


payton marie said...

I LOVE this! This is a such a good idea, m'darling Chauvelin. Of course, anything regarding books always delights me, but this is so special! :)
Lovely reading your answers, Melody dear! I had to laugh at how many times Jane Austen's name was slipped in there. ;) And the Lizzie Bennet gif was just gold. :D

Maddie Rose said...

Oh! A bookish chat blog series what a wonderful idea!

And it is Melody, I am shocked. ;)

Aw! Are You My Mother? Yes I definitely read that one...

Dear Mr. Knightley, huh? I usually don't pick up books with a Jane Austen modern twist to them, but I suppose I just might give this one a try!

I understand where you are comin from. Sadly, I do have an e reader, because often bookstores and libraries don't have the stories I read, and have to send out for them. I found it is easier to get Kindle novels. But I do infinitely prefer real books.

HAHA oh you used a Lizzie Bennet Diaries gif! I rather liked that vlog series, though it was sometimes questionable.

I agree, Phil would be a lovely person to have to tea :)

Really? Another Jane Austen modern mash up that you would recommend? Wonderful, for I love to read those types, but often you are left wondering if the writer has even read Jane Austen, you know?

Can't wait until February's. This should be very fun to read :)

-the Madd Rose

Melody said...


And cute picture at the top. Where'd you fiiind it? Wait, let me guess-- Pinterest? ;)

Melody said...

Maddie Rose,
Well, first all, Dear Mr. Knightley hardly even qualifies as a JA spin-off... it's just that the character in it loves JA and a bunch of other classic books, too. As for Henry Tilney's Diary, it is by no means a Jane Austen modern mashup. It's supposed to be Northanger Abbey from Henry's point of view, and it's quite fun. There's a lot for the author to work with, considering how little is actually said about the Tilney side of things.

I agree, so many JA spinoffs are duds. Haha

Amy, I forgot to mention-- your header pleases me. Heehee.

Caroline L. said...

Oh, how fun! I love a cozy chitchat about books. =] Wonderful job at answering such tough question, Melody. Limiting oneself to naming only six book titles is incredibly difficult!

Natalie said...

This is such a delightful series, Amy!!! I'm so excited for more!
Anything about books (good books, mind you) will make me happy....

Melody, I must try to find The Making of Pride and Prejudice at my library. It sounds interesting!
What is Dear Mr. Knightley about? What themes make it unsuitable? I mean, would you think it safe for a 15 year old to read? ;)

Melody said...

Caroline L.,
Hehe, I was just glad it was "any" six books rather than my favorite six... that would be a bit harder! ;)

It's about... well, here's a link. Haha. http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17657649-dear-mr-knightley
Aaand... not sure. I'm not sure I would have wanted my fifteen-year-old self reading it, haha... but on the other hand, the author doesn't get toooo descriptive or tactless about things, but just some of the things the character(s) run into area bit modern-non-Christian-adult-ish. :P And it's also hard to say since I don't know the particular standards of you and your family... maybe give it to one of your parents and ask them to poke through it a little and decide? ;)

Natalie said...

Thanks Melody! I'll definitely give it to me parents first if I get it. :)

Naomi said...

I think it's so nice the way you and Melody get on so well together.

Stephanie said...

This was a lovely read! Thank you ladies!!

Hamlette said...

What a fun idea! I look forward to more additions to this series throughout the year. Charming!