Miss Woodhouse's Musings

…about life, the universe, and everything. Don't panic!

What A Few Weeks It’s Been!

For those of you who may have been wondering, allow me to assure you that the rumours (should there be any) of my technological death have been greatly exaggerated. I am not dead, just very busy. Unfortunately for this little blog, it has been a busyness away from the keyboard. Not that my family minds seeing my face now and then, but that does make it hard to blog.

What, you don’t believe that I’ve really been that busy? Well then, I’ll take you through a little of the past few weeks. (Actually, 11 days according to my mum. Not that anyone is counting. :))

So buckle up- it’s going to be a bit of a long ride!

Friday, 21 May 2010 Taught my last British literature session of the school year. We discussed The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Murder on the Orient Express, and Elizabeth Barret Browning. There is nothing as heartwarming as seeing the look on someone’s face the first time they read the ending of Orient. I won’t give it away here, but if you’ve read it (or seen the epic movie) then you know what I mean!

Saturday, 22 May 2010 Spent the day helping my mum, her office friend, and the friend’s daughter work on small scrapbooks for the two drama teachers. I didn’t intend on spending the whole day with them, but they were so much fun I couldn’t tear myself away. They came up with some cute pages too!

Sunday, 23 May 2010 Devoted the whole day to preparing for my lecture at my university library on…

Monday, 24 May 2010 I learned about my favourite website, LibraryThing, because of the university bookclub. The thing is, I’ve far surpassed the other members in cataloging and participating with the site. So, the library dean asked if I’d give a short informative lecture to the library staff as part of a training series. I was a little rough, but it was the first time I’ve used a huge PowerPoint screen. All in all, it was fun.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010 My English club met with all the officers in the nearby downtown. Our faculty advisor hosted the meeting at her sweet little house. Afterwards, one of the officers and I went to lunch. Best. Chicken. Pita. Ever.

This was also the night of my little brother’s final concert of the year. Due to a marvelous coworker who was willing to swap shifts with me, I was able to attend. The concert was a little long (spell that veeeerrrrrryyyyyyy long), but well worth it. Besides, my friend is home from her job eight hours away and we had a chance to catch up!

Oh yes, and it was Towel Day! Do you know where your towel is?

Wednesday, 26 May 2010 My Bible study class spent the last three weeks viewing “Archaeology and the Bible” DVDs, so I thought it would be neat if my archaeology professor could come speak to the class. He’s super-busy, but he made the time to come. The talk was great- 6 people from my class are interested in auditing classes with him, and I consider that an epic win. Went shopping with Mum that night, which was a ton of fun. :)

Thursday, 27 May 2010 Aforementioned club officer and I met up so she could film a short promo for our club. She did an awesome job- I’ll post the link when it’s up on the website. Then, work.

See, here’s the thing about Thursday. There’s a quote from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy that goes “It must be Thursday. I never could get the hang of Thursday.” This about sums up my day. I woke up super late, couldn’t find the people I needed to see, was scheduled to work 2 hours sooner than I thought, and so the day goes. It was a full moon…full moon. Brings out the crazies- and messes up your day. Anyhoo….

Friday, 28 May 2010 Work again! Also, graduation day for the homeschool program my family is involved with. I helped out with the reception, which was a crazy, crazy ride. Long night, but I was really proud of all the kids who graduated.

Although, I’m not sure exactly when the cake decorator expected us to hold our graduation. Maybe they were so swamped with orders that they were hopeful that our order wasn’t to be filled until next year?

It was a great class; they really banded together well and defined “camaraderie.” Moving on!

Saturday, 29 May 2010 Graduation party for one of my students, and her colours were “Wicked” themed! The party was really fun; I hated to have to leave early, but work beckoned.

Sunday, 30 May 2010 Went to church, went to lunch, cleaned my room. Okay, not a hugely busy day, but still….

Monday, 31 May 2010 Memorial Day! Had a nice time hanging out with my family at my best friend’s house. She gave me my birthday gift tonight; The Romance of the Forest, Just Jane (about Jane Austen), and a purple “got books?” t-shirt. Does she know me or what?

That brings us the long, boring way to today. I simply hope that this convinces you, dear readers, that I’m not abandoning you! Life is crazy, but should setting down now that it’s June [insert maniacal laughter here].  I’ll be back with a more dignified and interesting blog post soon!

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This year I received an advance copy of Hesperus’ printing of Jane Austen’s last novel, Sanditon. The agreement is that I write a review in return for the book, so I thought that I’d also post my review on here. I really did enjoy the story- you all should read it if you have a chance!

Sanditon is the last of Jane Austen novels, written right at the end of her life. As such, it is incomplete and unfinished. This is the reason that I had never read Sanditon before now- this is the end of Austen’s writings. This just brings home the fact that she will not be writing anything new for me to read.

The novel shows amazing promise, and cannot help but leave the reader regretting that the story was never finished. The tone of the novel reads as a conglomeration of her previous novels. The hypochondriacal storyline hints at Persuasion, the varied house party brings Mansfield Park to mind, the quirky characters are similar to Emma, the cutting social critique is similar to Northanger Abbey’s, and so the novel reads. Though some of the material feels recycled from her other writings, Austen still manages to bring her fresh, breezy style of writing to the storyline.

Some of the elements are new to an Austen novel. The story delves into the male psyche more than any other book of hers. Too, Austen’s approach to “health cures” usually restricts itself to commentary on Bath, so the exploration of Bath-wannabes of the time is interesting to see. Lastly, it is one thing to stand back in the 21st century and critique women for letting their overactive imaginations lead them to imagine illness. It adds another dimension to read a woman of the time critique her own gender, especially since Austen was genuinely ill herself at the time.

The reader will be in no doubt that the story was intended to end happily as all Austen’s novels do- the secret lovers find happiness, inheritances help out those who need money, Sanditon will succeed as a health resort, and the heroine finds someone to give her the perfect life. The good will end well, and the bad will end in disgrace. However, the reader cannot help but regret the loss of those little plot twists and charming character development that only Austen can create on her way to happily ever after.

As to this particular printing, Hesperus printed the edition very nicely. Though it is a paperback, the cover has deep flaps that serve as the perfect bookmarks, and the typeface is the perfect blend between readability and old-fashioned style. Overall, this edition is a nice tribute to the final product of Austen’s unique imagination.

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A Very Good Place To Start

The best place to start sharing your thoughts is at the beginning, so here goes. Feel free to ignore this post if you wish, but do realize this will start to explain some things I say later on:

Firstly, I am not legally Miss Emma Woodhouse, but I might as well be! I really am a “Miss Emma”, and a Jane Austen addict before it was even “cool” to be a fan of her books. I blame it on a mother who is interested in British Literature. Thanks Mom! Having used Emma Woodhouse for so many groups and websites, there are a great many people who don’t know what my real name even is. I am fine with that.

What else should you know? I am a Christian of 16 years and counting, a daughter and sister, a full-time university student, an avid reader, reluctant writer, “weekend” photographer, part-time music teacher, occasional substitute teacher, a barista for Starbucks, a movie lover, and a technology geek.

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