Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Books, the British and the New Year

My hiatus from the blog is of course the fault of a busy-busy holiday schedule and in no way related to my inherent laziness or lack of novel progress. So on my New Year's Resolution List, below resolutions about exercising, eating better and reading my Bible every day, is this:

Write at least 500 words on my novel each week.

I know. But I'm determined to get it finished. Attending my sister's college graduation in December got me thinking about my career goals, and what I came up with is that, above all else, in 5 or 10 years I want to be a published author. Period. My other career goals were secondary to that. So now I need to get cracking. I'll keep you updated.

In other news, I had a fabulously British-y Christmas. JB gave me the DVD of the newest Jane Eyre movie adaptation from Masterpiece Theatre (finished it last night and...Oh Yeah. It was Awesome). He also gave me the North & South movie I've been wanting. No one else would get it for me, probably due to confusion, even though I have patiently and repetitively explained that the one I want is the BBC version of Elizabeth Gaskell's 19th-century novel and NOT the early '90s Civil War miniseries starring Patrick Swayze.

I also got lots of fab books from family, but the one I inhaled in less than four days wasone JB gave me: Little Lady, Big Apple, the sequel to The Little Lady Agency, both by Hester Browne. Can I say how much I'm in LOVE with these books? Melissa Romney-Jones is now firmly entrenched as one of my favorite literary characters. If Mary Poppins, Hitch (from the Will Smith movie), Bridget Jones and Elizabeth Bennet all somehow produced a child, Melissa would be it. She's talented without always realizing it, in turns unsure of herself and conficent, lovably naive, a curvaceous size 12 (yeah!), and has a cast of offbeat friends and hilariously evil relatives. In Little Lady, Big Apple, she travels to NYC, kind of like Sophie Kinsella's Becky Bloomwood in the Shopaholic series.

The story literally made me laugh out loud (on an airplane, no less), and by the end I was wishing Melissa was real, would become my best friend and let me borrow her wardrobe. The book is definitely Chick Lit, but literary snobs: don't turn up your nose and miss it. Chick Lit has conventions that must be followed just like any other genre (what would a Gothic romance be if the heroine didn't explore the spooky house?) but Hester Browne does everything in a fresh way that's compelling and well written.

My only very small beef with the books is kind of funny and not a big deal. Melissa's boyfriend Jonathan is American, and occasionally he or other Americans will say something in a very Britishy way. One that especially caught my eye was when Jonathan told Melissa he couldn't reach her because her phone was "engaged". I had to stop for a moment before realizing he meant the phone was busy. I guess when you think about it, "engaged" is a more accurate term for it, but nobody I know would say that. And Jonathan uses the adjective "proper", as in, "we'll go and have a proper lunch tomorrow". No American guy I know would ever say that, although I do live in the South and men tend to be more macho-acting...

But anyway. Go get the book and read it. The next installment, Little Lady Agency and the Prince is due out in February according to her web site, and I can't wait.

Way down on my list of resolutions is also to blog more often. We'll see how that goes, too.

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