Actually, I'm sick. :( Rome gave me allergies, a cold, and then a fever. *sigh* But luckily, cold and fever were the last day I was there, so most of the trip was fantastic. And I was okay with the allergies, because the only appeared due to the MASSIVE amount of flowering trees all over the city.
Conclusion: Rome is GORGEOUS!
Travelling snob that I now am, I can say that I didn't enjoy it as much as some of my other vacations (Ireland, London, Paris, Venice) but I did absolutely love it. The city is incredible, and we also took a day to go see Florence. Oh, and Michelangelo's David? Crazily awesome.
SOOOOO.... Pictures? yes? no?
I'll put some up, but first!
After hours of freaking awesome happiness, I'm proud to announce I finished reading Wives and Daughters. 268,089 words, so you don't blame me horribly for how long it took me to read this novel (keeping in mind that I'm an awfully slow reader). Authors! This book was awesome. <-- The previous sentence wins the prize for most inaccurate adjective of the year. Awesome isn't the right word - delicious, fun, charming, enchanting, satisfying, delightful - those are the right words. Awesome... well, that just doesn't quite capture the spirit.
Elizabeth Gaskell's Wives and Daughters is one of the best classic novels written by a woman that I've ever read - including the sadly limited amount of Jane Austen I'm familiar with. Why isn't this book more famous? Why hasn't it sold bajillions of copies? Well...
it was never finished.
Yup, you heard me right. Elizabeth Gaskell died before she could finish her nearly 300,000 word masterpiece. (Authors all over the world are shivering at the idea!) There was one installment left.
And yet... Authors, take my word for it: this is a book that is more (MORE) than worth your time. Whether or not you prefer YA, science fiction, fantasy, or books on the mating habits of penguins, you ought to read this. And if you're afraid of the lack of ending, Elizabeth Gaskell left notes on how the book was supposed to end, though she never wrote it out fully, and things are pretty well wrapped up in the next to last chapter - at least, you instinctively know how the last chapter will end, even if you wish you could have read it.
The book isn't copyrighted in the US, so if you want, you can read it online. I recommend buying it, because it's just... one of those books that's meant to be in book form, if that makes any sense.
Plot Summery(written by moi, because wikipedia sucks on their W&D article. Oh, and I can't think today, so it'll be very... factual. Not flowery. :D) :
The MC is Molly Gibson, daughter of the local doctor in Hollingford, a quaint 1830's British town. Mr. Gibson is a widower, very sarcastic, with a good sense of humor, and he loves Molly fiercely, even if he doesn't often let her see it. Over the course of the first few chapters, we see the introduction of the Squire Hamley, his sickly wife (who invites Molly for a visit), and their sons, one of which is Roger Hamley; a steady, unhandsome fellow, who lives much in the shadow of his brother Osborne. Osborne Hamley, not introduced until later, is poetic, intelligent, and is constantly doted upon by his mother and father. In spite of this blatant favortism, the bond between Roger and Osborne is utterly unbreakable, and one of the most touching parts of the book. But Osborne has a secret, one that only Roger knows, and, though he longs to, has sworn never to reveal to their parents. A secret that Molly accidentaly overhears, and is instantly entreated to promise secrecy to as well, which she does.
During Mrs. Hamley's sickness, Molly becomes like one of the family, even to the extent where the dying Mrs. Hamley calls her Fanny - the name of her daughter who had died years before. But when Molly's father remarries a widow named Hyacinth Kirkpatrick, she has to return home to the frustrating hilarity of a new, shallow stepmother, and a sparkling new sister.
Cynthia Kirkpatrick is enchanting. But she's also very coy, and has that 'something' that artists and poets have often tried to capture. That charisma that isn't quite charisma, but is something much more captivating. She falls in love with Molly easily, and the two become best friends, while Mr. Gibson likes Cynthia well enough. But she's very secretive, and her secrets will soon throw them all - the Gibsons, Hollingford, the noble family at the Towers, and the Hamley's - into quite an 'imbroglio'.
All right, forgive me my inadequate summery, but it's such a beautiful book. There's also a miniseries, released in 1999, that captures the story very well. The movie is made in the same spirit as the novel, and reading the book and watching the movie are two very similar experiences - and that's really quite the compliment. :) The movie has Justine Wadell as Molly, Tom Hollander as Osborne (he was Mr. Collins in the newest Pride and Prejudice, and also that bad guy in the second and third Pirates of the Caribbean movie) and Rosamund Pike as Lady Harriet (she was Jane from the newest Pride and Prejudice).
Also, the movie makes up an ending to the book that's an alternative to Elizabeth Gaskell's notes, but not too far off, and is really enjoyable.
Um... I guess I'll post Rome pictures now? :D
(P.S. OMG GUYS I miss you SO flipping much I can't wait to get back to all your posts and read read read read READ to my heart's content. But not today, sadly, because I'm afraid of spreading my fever on to you all through a computer virus. (that's how it works, right? right?) But soon! And in the meantime, I'm going to start reading another book! I gave up on the Yiddish Policeman's Union, I'm just not being able to read it through. I'll try again in a year or two. :P Any recommendations? Maybe I should catch up on my Jane Austin.)