Shticks and Shenanigans. Mostly.

Miss Buncle’s Book by D.E. Stevenson: It’s possible that if I hadn’t read Jane and Prudence so recently, I’d have enjoyed Miss Buncle’s Book more. I was all prepared to be charmed but I found most of the characters, including the titular Miss Buncle to be just too insipid! This book just isn’t fun the way Barbara Pym’s Jane and Prudence is. I know, I know, they are two separate entities—why the comparison? Well, because they are both set in quaint English villages, detail the lives of those who people the said quaint villages, and both aspire to charm their readers (or so I think anyway!)

The problem is Miss Buncle’s Book has characters who are kind of cardboard cut-outs of various prototypes. So you have the gold-digger, the capable spinster, the queen of the social circle, the retired army-man, etc. etc. Their interactions are kind of interesting but each character in and of themselves are just plain boring. They’re simply not interesting enough for me to care much about them. (On the other hand, I WANTED to know what was going on with the characters in Jane and Prudence.)

I am wondering if I should give another of Stevenson’s books a go to see if I might like her any better? What do you guys think? Have you read any of her works? Did you like it?

“Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang: This one was prompted by the movie. We saw the movie, and wanted to read the story to see a) if we were right about the parts which had been Hollywoodized aka dramatized unnecessarily (we were) b) if the story was better than the movie. Duh. It was. Of course. I love sci-fi for the ideas it explores, and this was no-different. From the wielding of the Sapir-Whorf theorem (which is even more dramatically illustrated in the chapter “The Grammar of Animacy” in Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Brading Sweetgrass which I absolutely loved and am waiting for my turn at the library again so that I can finish it!), to Fermat’s Least Time Principle to the deconstruction of languages to my least favorite part of the story about free-will and determinism, “The Story of Us” weaves lots of stuff into a seamless plot. If you liked the movie, or are interested in any of the things I mentioned, I’d urge you to read it!

The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall: What is it about Birdsall’s stories that gives me all the feels? There’s something so honest about the way her characters think, and feel, and interact that I can’t help being sucked into their world. My favorite character by the way, is the five year old Batty! The sisters’ adventures reminds me of Enid Blyton but the depth, and the fullness of their inner lives reminds me of Elinor M. Brent Dyer’s Chalet School series. And there’s so much humor in Birdsall’s world! I wish I could be more coherent about these books. Maybe I’ll have more to say on a re-read? Do you love the Penderwicks too?

6 thoughts on “Shticks and Shenanigans. Mostly.

  1. My husband and I have loved all the Penderwicks books so far. My kids were a little old for them, but we all four loved the first one, with the bunnies. We had a bunny of our own at the time.

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  2. I love the Penderwicks; they give me all the feelings too, and I can’t wait to share them with my nephew when he gets old enough, since they’re exactly the kind of books little me would have read over and over again. Thus far, it is the fourth book, The Penderwicks in Spring, that got me right in the heart the most amount. I straight-up cried two tears down on my face ON THE BUS with that one, and I hate crying in front of people and I also hate crying, so it was quite momentous. :p

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    • Awww! I’m sure you’re going to have a wonderful time sharing it with him!

      And oooh, the fourth book has all the cries, does it? Hugs for the Jenny whose heartstrings got tugged on the bus, and gave way to tears! 🙂

      Like

  3. Rats – I have Miss Buncle’s Book on my TBR and I was sure I’d like it. I’m still gonna give it a try, but at least now my expectations have been lowered, ha ha. 🙂 I read the first Penderwick book years ago and very much enjoyed it.

    Liked by 1 person

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