Dear Readers,

I now consider this blog to be my Juvenelia. Have fun perusing the archives, and find me at my new haunt, here.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Combining Two of My Favorite Things

Jane Austen and media incompetence (if only I could fit feminism in here somehow):

Check out this correction in the Washington Post:

A Dec. 16 Book World review included an incorrect name for a character in Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice." His name is Fitzwilliam Darcy.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Judd Apatow; The Sexist Emperor Has No Clothes

Fellow-ette and her fellow, via gmail chat,respond to this horrendous "conversation" between Judd Apatow and his doormat wife Leslie Mann.

It would be hard to argue for JA not being a misogynisty doofus at this point, no? If you need more convincing, see my former posts on the subject. (And Katherine Heigl agrees, natch).
Anyway, this is a conversation that reveals how men and women can converse in non hierarchical-stereotypical-social-roles-prescribed-ways. Who'd a thunk it?

that apatow/mann article was sick
Her Fellow: right?
F-ette "look at us playing our gender roles!"
Fellow portrait of an abusive marriage
F-ette sad
Fellow yeah but i really felt bad for her
she wasn't even being that shrewish
F-ette: i know me too
he came across like a huge arsehole
Fellow you could tell he tried to force her into that role
1:36 PM
"it'll be great - you nag me, and i'll say funny things!"
F-ette: like he thinks it's all so funny
Fellow yeah
such a prick
F-ette: yeah
but she doesnt
Fellow nope
F-ette she wants to KILL him secretly
Fellow: clearly
F-ette: hahaha
Fellow also she is right about all of those things
those are sheisty presents!
F-ette: YES!
Fellow they all involve him controlling her
F-ette: its so obnoxious to get her a trip to italy
1:37 PM F-ette: they should be deciding together!
Fellow without even talking to her about when/where she wants to travel!?
F-ette we agree!
Fellow he clearly sees her as property
haha true
F-ette yeah
we are the same


It's that time of year again

Dar Williams sings her "holiday" classic, the Christians and the Pagans. Aww.
And remember folks... let's put the Sol back in Solstice!

Yours in humbug,


Friday, December 21, 2007

The Golden Compass vs. Harry Potter. Smackdown!!

I picked up this YA fantasy novel hopefully, in anticipation of the film. Well I never saw the film because the reviews were just so totally dismal, but the book was fantastic. The most affecting part, as everyone says, is the relationship between the humans and their Daemons--or animal manifestations of their souls. So believable and well-drawn! I also loved Iorek, the ice-bear, and the warm gyptians and the cold but kind witches.
With all that happy praise out of the way, Phillip Pullman, you are no JK Rowling. As much as I adored this book, I neither rushed out to buy a sequel nor would have been more than a little miffed if I'd been interrupted. If it were a Harry Potter book my eyes would not have left the page. The difference is that JK Rowling taps into something in our core humanity that very few writers in any genre are able to.
Still, I'm going to pick up the Subtle Knife one of these days, and devour it greedily.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Jennifer Weiner, author of much loved she-centric (not chick-lit) fiction, has a blog, and it's funny, interesting and super egalitarian. She bashes privilege like a pro! Rock on.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Daniel Deronda--reviewed and re-Jewed.

I love me a sexy Hebrew.

Greetings readership. It's been a long time, as they say, and there's much to catch up on that will never truly be caught up upon, because time is ephemeral and stuff. (Again, what I've been doing.)

To prove my mettle, I return to you with a full-on discussion of Daniel Deronda, a very wonderful and complex work by George Eliot that helped me get through the December blahs. And of course being an egalitarian bookworm chick, I followed up my dense reading with a dense viewing of the obligatory Andrew-Davies penned BBC miniseries, which wickedly sexed up the villain to such an extent that he may qualify as the worst. husband. ever., even for a BBC miniseries. Which as we all know is saying a lot.

As all the critics like to remind us, Deronda is a novel with two parts, the connecting thread of which is our eponymous hero, Daniel. Said critics also agree pretty unanimously that the "Jewish" half, wherein the gentleman/prince Daniel, like Moses, discovers his true identity and redeems his people, is not nearly as well-written or brilliant as the half which narrates the bitter redemption of beautiful, selfish, Gwendolyn Harleth and her journey among the aristocracy. Write what you know, as they say. While Eliot is able to perfectly illuminate the miserable lot of women by using real characters (Gwendolyn might be the most psychologically astute portrait of shallowness in literary history), when she gets to the Jooz, she's so busy trying to portray them as exotic and wise and sinless and mystical that she forgets to make them people.

I was almost more enamored of her stereotypical depiction of the somewhat "common" Cohen family and their silver shop than by the exalted Mordecai and Mirah. This conundrum, not coincidentally, really reminded me of Uncle Tom's Cabin (Harriet Stowe and Eliot were correspondents), with its pure, sinless oppressed blacks, and its solution of sending them to Liberia, just as the sainted Deronda and Mirah go off to Palestine. All this is complicated stuff-- there's more than a lot of unintended racism in both novels, which use the innocent "other" to throw into relief the corruption and decay of their societies. However, Stowe and Eliot are also responding to the bigotry of their peers and may have felt they didnt have room for nuance.

It's tempting to say that the moral of Eliot's literary failing is that art shouldn't be sacrificed for politics. However, we can't deny that public reaction to these novels was much stronger than it would have been to op-ed pieces because people were moved by them.

Anyway I'm glad I tackled this book. George Eliot may be the most formidably intelligent of the 19th century novelists, and the novel has enough redemptive literary qualities that one can enjoy it both as a work of art and a relic of its time-- (AND a retort to the Trollopes and Dickens' of the world who put nasty Jewish characters in their book.)

But on to the BBC version... it was just so gorgeously well-done. Nice work, Andrew Davies. Hugh Dancy is a very pretty man, and he captured sensitive Daniel Deronda perfectly while Romola Garai was also an excellently spoiled Gwen. I really enjoyed seeing six degrees of Austen adaptations. Amanda Root (aka Anne Elliot--Persuasion) was a simpering Mrs. Davilow. And of course the actor who played Henleigh Grandcourt (Mr Rushworth---Mansfield Park) was perfectly sinister. And lastly, slimy Lush was played by David Bamber (Mr. Collins--Pride and Prejudice) to creepy, obsequious perfection. Another fun factoid-- Jodhi May, who played Mirah, was bitchy, plain Cousin Grace Stepney in The House of Mirth.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Murphy's Law

states that whenever I wear rainboots, it dries up, and whenever I wear suede cowboy boots, it friggin pours.

Readers fair, tomorrow is the final day of my internship/project. I shall be back to blogging in full force shortly. Aren't you excited? I am.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Tell Your Friend Veronica...

Happy [C]hanuk[k]a[h] readership fair. Hope your dreidels land on gimmel every time!

I know it's been like forever and a million gazillion days, but what can I tell you? In two weeks I'll be back to my layabout freelancer ways, with a major project under my belt and other battle scars galore to show, and I'll have more time to devote to EBC. Plus, I'm reading the Golden Compass and if I have any free moments at the moment, I'd rather be chillin' with Lyra and Pantalamion than blogger and sitemeter, to be honest.

In the meantime, as I said before, check out my sidebar buddies.

And if you must must read fellow-ette-penned claptrap, this is what I've been doing (as of the last week in September) and has been keeping me so busy. And please do comment on this Huffpo piece that I put up tonight about gender roles in Disney's Enchanted.

Oh, also, I passed a milestone of sorts on sitemeter sometime recently, while I wasn't paying attention. 20,000 unique hits or something like that. As I always say, for a personal, irregularly updated, barely-focused and poorly promoted blog, it's not bad. SO THANK YOU FOR VISITING. I love you, I really do, and don't lose faith!

So drink your gin and tonica
and smoke your marijuanica
&c &c &c

the faithful

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The God Delusion--It's All an Illusion

There's not much I can say about this book that I haven't already kinda said (back in my existential college days) when it comes to my feelings about religion or the lack thereof. But I will say one thing: pick up this fucker. It's a very provocative read and it outlines a lot of unbelievably rational and valid arguments for why, evolutionarily speaking, religion came to be and why, evolutionarily speaking, believing in magical men up in the sky makes absolutely zero sense.

But I wish Dawkins would deal more with the psychological need for religion--the comfort of ritual, the human capacity for awe and reverence, and most importantly, the desire to understand death. I think that last one certainly deserved more treatment. I think Dawkins has a right to question this stuff and question it robustly, but he certainly ought to engage with it in order to be fair. A more interesting question for me is about how those of us rational secular folks who are drawn to liberal religion can get some of the same spiritual satisfaction in life without the God part.

And with that, I'll just say Shalom.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Is the Pen a Metaphorical Penis?

Thus reads the very first sentence of my beloved the only lit-crit book I've made it through cover-to-cover The Madwoman in the Attic, by awesome feminist academic duo Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar. Anyhooch, I bring this sentence to your attention because Jezebel, which is potentially turning into (and I cringe to say it) the coolest blog on the block--and could easily have reached that mark already if it weren't for all that fashion BS-- came up with a list of the most misogynist-prickish man writers of all time, including my personal un-favorites Tom Wolfe and Philip Roth. They bring it up because of the death of Norman Mailer, who was also a misogynist prickish man writer. And of course Hemmingway. Oh, Hemmingway. What more can I say about thee?

Monday, November 12, 2007

It's a Dark and Stormy Night

The thunder and lightning are making me think about how nice it is to curl up with a blanket, a loved one, and your favorite egalitarian book or other form of entertainment.

Stay dry, readers!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Favorite YA Novels?

Over at hipster-feminist snark central Jezebel, a massive, massive thread has popped up over gals favorite adolescent reads. Some of the authors contually being shouted out up are true heroines of mine and Egalitarian Bookworm Chicks like Judy Blume, Lois Lowry, Madeleine L'Engle and Natalie Babbitt and YA series like the Babysitters Club, Boxcar Children, and Nancy Drew. I'd like to give a very personal shout-out to the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys Super-Mysteries, because Nancy Drew was always just about to make out with Fred Hardy before she decided to return to boring Ned Nickerson, and Joe Hardy and Bess Marvin had a great back-and-forth rapport.

And as I think back to my youhful bookworm days there are just all these old YA novels from my mom and grandma's generation--The Girl of the Limberlost, Daddy Long Legs, E. Nesbitt's entire ouevre and Beverley Cleary's charmingly dated "teen" novels--Fifteen being the one I remember best. They were so much fun despite their old-ness.

God, reading was so awesome (and so much less work) back in the day. I'm currently being pushed by one current tutee and one former student, both still in high school, to read Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series, which are super hot right now, and I can't wait til winter break to immerse myself in them.

So, readers, what were your favorite girl or guy-hood reads? Nothing is too trashy for EBC's standards.

My favorite authors

Some of my Favorite Authors


Brontes, Emily and Charlotte

JK Rowling

George Eliot

Andrew Davies

Tolkein Society

Wilkie Collins


Maeve Binchy

Toni Morrison

Anne Tyler

James Joyce

Alice Walker

Jhumpa Lahiri

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Stop Trashing the 60s, and 60-somethings, Barack

So this week Barack Obama criticized Hillary Clinton for her age and, we might add, for being part of the age of aquarius:

"I think there's no doubt that we represent the kind of change that Sen. Clinton can't deliver on, and part of it is generational," Obama, 46, said on Fox News. "Sen. Clinton and others, they've been fighting some of the same fights since the '60s, and it makes it very difficult for them to bring the country together to get things done."

This "togetherness" strain of his is really begining to bug me. First of all, why all the hate towards the 60s? I guess everyone who knows me know that I have a particular fondess for that decade because of the possibility it presented for political engagement and also because it was, well, kinda groovy.
I'm just not so sure how much bipartisanship is going to win the day when the Republicans have turned into such fascist nutbags. I want someone who's going to fight for civil liberties and peace, and maybe having lived through the days of rage is a good credential.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Support the Writers' Strike!

Here are three separate HuffPo pieces explaining why it's important to stand behind our comrades-in-word-processing.

Friday, November 02, 2007

A New Blog On the Block

Sister-in-arms Jane Fan started her own awesome Bookworm Blog. Go check it out. And take this awesome first-line quiz she links to. I did much worse than I expected (67%), prolly cause I hadn't read any of the MAN-BOOKS on the quiz and I was at work at my lady news agency.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Sinead O'Connor Was Right

Even though it wasn't the same Pope.

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI urged Catholic pharmacists on Monday to use conscientious objection to avoid dispensing drugs with "immoral purposes such as, for example, abortion or euthanasia."

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

This looks interesting

A memoir about being an English prof at West Point during our era of war. I may wait til it comes out in paperback, but still, cool.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Anti-literary establishment picture of the day

though I still think JF is an insufferable snob.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Dumbledore is Gay.

Yep, yep, he is. And JK Rowling is the most egalitarian of all bookworm chicks.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Bruce at Madison Square Garden 10.18.07


That was one of the most amazing two and a half hours ever. Thanks to Bruce, Patti, Stevie. Clarence and the gang for making it so.

more tomorrow.

the voiceless, ringing-eardummed fellowette

UPDATE on 10.20

So maybe my regular readers (hi all three of you!) are wondering about why this swaggering, soul-patch having, guitar-strumming dude fits in with Egalitarianbookwormchickism, and why I'm so excited about him. I'll try to explain why the Boss fits in as an EBC while discussing Thursday night's concert at the very same time. To wit:

Bruce Springsteen concerts are not like other concerts---this is my third, and I'm definitely getting into the swing of how they work. They're essentially rock-concerts meet tent revivals, a sort of secular spiritual camp meeting if you will. The crowd of thousands and thousands stands on its feet close to the entire time, and has coordinated rituals, starting with the low-pitched shouting of "Bruuuuce" before the band shows up, singing an "oh oh oh oh oh" chorus at the end of Badlands that doesn't exist in the actual song, punching fists in the air in time to various choruses, and standing in awed admiration/ecstasy with cellphones (what happened to the good old days of lighters?) aloft during "Jungleland."

But there are plenty of bands that invoke that kind of following. What sets Bruce apart from the pack, I've decided, is what makes him an honorary egalitarian bookworm chick. First of all, he;s accessible to everyone, and I mean everyone. His rockin' tunes only exclude uber-snobs. That makes him egalitarian. Secondly. his lyrics are deceptively complex--see previous post below--and allegorical and evocative and beautiful. That makes him a bookworm, and a poet. And thirdly, by going to his concerts, lots of macho beefy dudes get to shout in unison to lines like "I wanna change my clothes, my hair, my face" and "take a knife, and cut this pain from my heart" without losing face--a brilliant juxtaposition that I think partly explains the holy popularity of the Bruce concert ritual. So that makes Bruce an honorary chick, in my book anyway.

So I know that despite the transcendent heights that the concert reached. the Boss seemed a little subdued on Thursday. And I think it's because if you listen to his new lyrics and analyze them, Lit-major style, they may in fact be the most political he's ever written. He's very angry and ashamed of our country for falling asleep for the last six years, and disheartened by what our government has been allowed to do. I felt that in particular when he chastised the audience for cheering louder for cheeseburgers than for the Bill of Rights. But therein lies the irony of political art to begin with--people want art to simultaneously awaken them to reality and help them escape that reality. So even if people didn't know how to react to his policy-patter, he did have like ten thousand souls simultaneously singing "Who'll be the last to die for a mistake?" and he also had us affirming our belief in the promised land, or the land that was promised to us, anyway. And that is a great accomplishment in and of itself. Bruuuce.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Little Sprinsteen Poesie

In honor of my trip to his Madison Square Garden concert tonight. Here's Gypsy Biker," which is about the homecoming of a killed soldier.

"Gypsy Biker"
by Bruce Springsteen

The speculators made their money on the blood you shed
Your momma's pulled the sheets up off your bed
Profiteers on Jhames Street sold your shoes and clothes
Ain't nobody talkin' because everybody knows
We pulled your cycle up back the garage and polished up the chrome*
Our gypsy biker coming home

Sister Mary sits with your colors, but Johnny's drunk and gone
This old town's been rousted, which side you on?
They would march up over the hill, this old fools parade
Shouting victory for the righteous for you must hear the grace
Ain't nobody talkin', but just waiting on the phone
Gypsy biker coming home

We rode into the foothills, Bobby brought the gasoline
We stood around the circle as she lit up the ravine
The spring hot desert wind rushed down on us all the way back home

To the dead, well it don't matter much 'bout who's wrong or right
You asked me that question, I didn't get it right
You slipped into your darkness, now all that remains
Is my love for you brother, life's still unchanged
To him that threw you away, you ain't nothing but gone
My gypsy biker's coming home

And now I'm out countin' white lines
Countin' white lines and getting stoned
My gypsy biker's coming home



Wednesday, October 17, 2007

White Band Day

Today is International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Here is a piece I wrote about women and poverty, and here is a link to an awesome e-card, a way to join the STAND UP campaign which is trying to gain a new Guiness World Record.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

You Say It's Yer Birthday...

So guess WHAT? Today is bosom blogger friend Romancing the Tome's birthday toooo... they are two years older than me, and to help them celebrate I guest-posted very soberly over there on the topic of what corsets give to feminism (huh? you say. Go read the damn blog.)

So give them some love! And give me some love!

Give us all some looove cause yeaaah birthdays are sooooo fun and this metaphorical champagne suuuure is bubbly.

And on the subject of birthdays and ranting and whatnot, I'd also like to thank JaneFan of Austentatious, Mags at Austen-blog and Cara at the Curvature for being my sisters-in-bloggage. Check them out on my new, somewhat more streamlined and grown-up sidebar.


It was, errr, one year ago today that I started this mighty effort, this groundbreaking achievement also known as this blog. Yes, readers fair, I commenced EBC in the balmy height of last globally-warmed October 16th; it was way to test out my book reviewing prowess and try to recapture my glory days in the teacher-blogosphere.

Now of course I review books professionally (for a pittance, but still) and the blog has devolved into a feministy pop culture rant-fest with a particular fixation on a certain prestigious newspaper. The specialite de la egalitarian bookworm maison appears to be lots of broken links and nonexistent images and general creative disorder.

But enough of this blather.

As a way to celebrate my first birthday, I thought I'd take my dwindling readership on a journey through EBC's greatest hits--that is, the posts that have garnered me the most technorati linkage, the most hits, the most comments, the most chatter and of course, the most ire. So here goes:

  • I started off by drooling over the hottest men to have ever graced the screen in period literary adaptations: here they are in all their smoldering glory.
  • I live-blogged the Masterpiece Theater two-parter Jane Eyre and ruminated about madwomen in the attic.
  • I slammed Judd Apatow's ridiculous sexism as evidenced in "Knocked Up."
  • I skewered Hollywood misstep Becoming Jane.
  • I reveled in inanities, dissected superfluities and railed against hypocrisies.

Many happy returns to meee!

Hahahaha what a joke. Make yourself useful, Egalitarian Bookworms, and go read Mother Jones or something. Ima get drunk on some* champagne.


Saturday, October 13, 2007

A Moveable Feast

I've been doing some personal writing about France, so I picked this classic memoir up for inspirational purposes. I have very mixed feelings about Ernest Hemmingway because he had these pinnacles of sheer brilliance ("A Clean, Well-Lighted PLace" is one of my fave short stories ever) but he was a, umm, well, a misognynist prick.

It was natural then, that reading his memoir reaffirmed both these conclusions. I loved above all his descriptions--his Paris came alive to me, the cafes with their cold white wine and oysters, the fishermen on the Seine, the coldness and coziness of his artist's flat. I enjoyed his ride down to Lyon with the alcoholic F. Scott Fitzgerald and his afternoons with Gerturde Stein and Alice B. Toklas (although he comes across quite petty in his description of Scotty and Steing) and his winter in the Austrian Alps.

His personality is so endlessly self-affirming that it's a bit of a bore: still, ignoring E-Hem's tendency to wax obnoxious, I trasure this book for its clear images of Paris of Yore and its tidbits about the literati of the lost generation.

Tucker Carlson is A Big, Fugly Bully

Seeing him on Bill Maher tonight filled me with rage again. Nobody, but nobody, beats up on my homie and the only good thing about the Times (except for one rookie reporter) Paul Krugman and gets away with it.

In other TV news, Friday Night Lights rocked.

UPDATE: Read this hilarious wonkette takedown of the Tuckster.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Re-Reading Northanger Abbey

Sweet jaysus, readership I'm behind in my book reviewin'. I re-read Northanger abbey like six weeks ago, for the first time since eightth grade, and I enjoyed it so much more now that I've become more ejimacated. Like I've actually read Fanny Burney and Anne Radcliffe and I've also read Austen's own juvenelia, so I can see how NA fits so nicely between her early pure satire and her later developed novels. And I can see how her tone in this one in particular borrows frm Burney, who has this amazing trick of burying sharp criticism in the naive words of her heroines.

But what struck me about this book, more than the gothic parody aspect of it which met my expectations of brilliance, was its amazing satire of freindship and interrelations between young people, particularly its depiction of Isabella and John Thorpe. John's boorish indifference and Isabella's flirtatiousness, fake self-effacement, and protestations of loyalty, and above all, both of their sense of their own self-imporance felt incredibly fresh and relevant. In essence, Austen used this book to completely skewer the cool kids without any of that half-hate half-love that marks contemporary "satires" like The Devil Wears Prada. Would that Jane's witty takedowns were applied with regularity to the cast of Gossip Girl.

I love this woman.

Susan J. Douglas, author of awesome media guide Where the Girls Are, which I reviewed and adored, slams the Grey Lady's anti-feminist bias in light of the recent Katha Pollit review debacle. Her piece was published in uber-intellectual lefty pub In These Times. My favorite graf:

New York Times Book Review... has rarely met a feminist it liked. The former ballerina Toni Bentley, author of a book on the delights of crotchless panties and the epiphanies of anal sex (I quote: a “direct path … to God”), was assigned to review Pollitt’s latest collection of essays, Learning to Drive and Other Life Stories, and apparently didn’t like it. Fair enough. But Bentley, possibly disappointed by the lack of sodomy, used her review as an opportunity to trash feminists and to trash Pollitt for both being one and not being one who is stereotypical enough.

I am so sick of the way the Times deals with gender and race. Why, Jill Abramson why?

Monday, October 08, 2007

My avatar

Looks absolutely positively nothing like me. But she's pretty cool cause she likes to read.

Yahoo! Avatars

That is all.


Jenna Bush--a patrician bookworm chick if there ever was one. Enjoy the New Yawker's review of her literary debut, which includes this tidibit (via Jossip):

She has a weakness for dubious ethnic analogies: “His eyes were wild, like those of the pumas that lived in the jungles,” and “A nurse wrapped Beatriz in a blanket—like a burrito.”

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

All I Can Do is Talk About TV

For me, watching Stewart and Colbert at night is this completely necessary and addictive catharsis. After I spend all day at the office reading the blogs and the paper about all the horrible developments abroad and the rise of fascism and my socialistish blood has been boilingfor about 15 hours, I need to belly laugh about it all. If I don't laugh it out, I can't sleep--or I'll end up being too scared of extraordinary rendition of my womb by right-wing federal thought police. Now my boys John and Stephen don't always give me exactly what I need in that respect, but sometimes they hit all the right notes. Last night, they both nailed their respective asshole guests so nailishly that I'm still kvelling.

Check out Stewart telling "Tweety" aka Chris Matthews that he's a fascist pimp, and Colbert pretty much dropping his character to nail smarmy anti-semite John Mearsheimer (of Israel Lobby infamy).

Mazel Tov, boys.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Okay, I'm Caving.

Enjoy this latest piece of idiocy/brilliance from the lonely island heartthrob trio... who, incidentally, need to QUIT that sinking unfunny corporate ship at SNL PRONTO and go totally viral.

Monday, October 01, 2007

The Careful Use of Compliments

An Isabel Dalhousie novel by Alexander McCall Smith.

I just love the Sunday Philosophy Club series, which take place in pubs, galleries, and concert halls in rarefied Edinburgh and beyond. As much as Smith's Precious Ramotsowe No. 1 Ladies Detective books charm me, this series has something they don't: a smouldering yet realistic romance. Plus there's a delicatessen that serves cheese and pickles and lots of trips to the misty Scottish Countryside. Also did I mention the hot [discreetly implied] May-December sex?

Anyway, this latest installment keeps the mystery, the aestheticism, the gentle snobbery and all that good stuff going... there's a painting forgery scandal, a juicy argument with Isabels' shallow niece Cat, and yes, our philosophical Isabel has a little bundle of joy.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Emperor's Children

I have a whole other queue of books to blog but this book was really a huge letdown. And so I'm going to do something I rarely do, and put it down.

To begin with, I've never read a book so unabatedly obsessed with interior decorating. I mean every single room was described in excruciating detail down to prints and damask curtains. I'm sorry, Mizz Claire Messud, but that is not the way we egalitarian bookworms like to skewer the upper crust. As a rule of thumb, we don't satirize the self-styled elites by lovingly describing their motherfriggin curtains.

And this only begins to touch upon the book's adjective problem. There were way too many of them, and they were way too fancy, and way too obviously meant to make the book deep, when all it really wanted to do was loll about on leather sofas and comment on the high heeled shoes of its heroines. Gah.

So I'm done with this book--and on the hunt for a new, gossipy-fun book to occupy me on my now thrice-daily commute. Any ideas?

Monday, September 24, 2007

O, Tempora! The Times screws Dems over again.

Sunday's widely circulated Times Styles piece about presidential candidates' personal lives blamed the internet and indiscreet candidates for the proliferation of supposedly "too-personal" anecdotes. It noticeably and completely ignored the mainstream media's primary role in this trend--not to mention that of special prosecutors. It just boggles my mind how much hemming and hawing had to be done--so much journalistic flip-flopping and so many pointed omissions that IMHO, the article as it is makes no fookin' sense (nor might I ad, does it give us any new 411).

Michael Powell writes that:
Too Much Information is a concept rarely honored in modern presidential politics. In a YouTube, cellphone photo, I’m-posting-it-on-the-Web world, no secret is safe, no taboo assumed, no limit observed.
Powell seems to have forgotten that his own newspaper (not to mention cable TV pundits) profiles the fashion decisions, family lives and the personal histories of candidates on a regular basis, playing to an audience that's far more established and influential than the YouTube/internet generation.
How American politics came to this pass has two answers. The short version starts with Jimmy Carter, who told Playboy magazine that that he had lusted in his heart after women. And it ends with Bill Clinton and the Starr report. President George W. Bush got the message; asked about his own past peccadilloes, he more or less said those were in the past.
Powell, while essentially praising Bush for stonewalling the press, de-emphasizes the fact that Bush was free to dismiss questions posed to him, while Clinton's hand was forced by the special prosecutor's office. By this logic any candidate who refuses to divulge personal information should be praised. But he reverses this assumption when discussing democratic candidate John Edwards.

The reporter begins by saying: “I hope this isn’t too personal.” That’s when Mr. Edwards’s inner siren should have started screaming. How, the writer asks, did you break her rib with a hug?
“Maybe it is a little personal,” Mr. Edwards says.

Here, Powell castiages John Edwards for not knowing what a reporter was going to ask beforehand, and then politely refusing to answer the question without making a big fuss over it. But in his fawning closing anecdote about Rudy Giuliani, Powell praises him for doing what amounts to the same thing as Edwards, but more rudely.

A young mother stood up and asked Mr. Giuliani about his three marriages and his frosty-to-nonexistent relationship with his two children. He fixed her with that stare.
“I love my family very very much and will do anything for them,” he said. “The best thing I can say is, kind of, ‘Leave my family alone, just like I’ll leave your family alone.’ ”
Don’t go there — what a candidate concept.

The twisted logic of this story, and its refusal to acknowledge how the Times staff and columnists like Maureen Dowd have contributed to the phenomenon of over-scrutinizing the candidates underscores how disingenuous the mainstream media can be when it comes to its own role in shaping political discourse. I mean, peoples, this is like the tenth Sunday styles article about how closeted Times reporters lust after manly manly men teh candidates. Can we get real for a second, Timesmen? Hello? Anyone?
Apparently not.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Dearest readers,

I'm going to be blogging quite sporadically for a while. It was really exciting to get all the traffic and linkage and comments this summer, and to see the numbers keep climbing and feel kind of important.

But I am totally swamped at the moment with a bunch of freelance writing assigments, a 10-15 hour/week tutoring commitment, and an internship starting on Thursday.

I have a massive backlog of books to review and corporate media items to bash and feminist analyses of music and movies to offer, and I'll try to catch up when I have a chance. But until then, read the awesome blogs I link to in the sidebar and try to keep yourselves egalitarian and bookwormy. I'll see you on the flop side. (And yes, I meant flop side. It wasn't a typo, okay?)

much love,


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Justice for the Jena Six

This is such a huge issue. If y'all do anything today, click on the image above and find out what you can do about this massive abuse of our justice system and proof that sadly, overt racism is still alive and well in America.

Samantha Bee

"Nails" conservative pundits, Sex and the City, and "Mystery," the dating guru, in one fell swoop.

Now there's a funny commedienne who actually subverts gender paradigms or what-have-you (Tina Fey, you watching?). Apolos for those of you who have already seen this clip on the feminist blogs, but hey, you can't get too much of a good thing.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Ya know what rocks?

Having a hetero life-partner who rocks at witty feminist pop-cultural analysis.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Another Egalitarian (Bookworm?) Heroine

Kathy Griffin, at the Emmys:
“a lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus. So, all I can say is, ‘suck it, Jesus.’ This award is my god now.”

And of course, it's getting censored. Fuck the theocracy!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Britney Spears at the VMAs

Say what you will about her choice of outfit, her "dead eyes" and her bewildered demeanor, but, this ---> is not fat.

We all need to look at this woman and say to ourselves, "WE DID THIS TO HER."

She is a reflection of us in the end, and maybe that's why she makes us so uncomfortable.

UPDATE: in case you're wondering why I'm emphasizing her un-fatness, read this sentence from the AP (and the comments from any gossip blog that discusses Ms. Spears)

She lazily walked through her dance moves with little enthusiasm. It appeared she had forgotten the entire art of lip-synching; and, perhaps most unforgivable given her once taut frame, she looked embarrassingly out of shape
I repeat, this was an AP article.

UPDATE 2: Check out what fellow Egalitarian Britney-Defender Rebecca Traister has to say, and a great letter in reponse.

Saturday, September 08, 2007


Time for more self-promotion: I wrote the end-piece in this season's Bitch magazine, and it's a brief history of Austen-mania in the last few decades. Writing it gave me the awesomely rad opportunity to combine three of my greatest passions: Jane Austen, feminism, and being cheeky about pop culture.

Bob Dylan Has A Message For You, Egalitarian Bookwormies

Click here to retrieve it.

Friday, September 07, 2007

RIP Madeleine L'Engle

Beloved YA and adult author Madeleine L'Engle passed away today. L'Engle was one of my absolute favorite authors when I was a teen. I read the Meg Murray books, the Polly O'Keefe books, the Vicky Austin books, and I obsessed over the characters who travel in between the "chronos" world of Vicky and the "kairos" world of the O'Keefes, even going to far as to write up family trees for her characters in my journal. I also read all of her earlier YA novels and her adult novels. I read all of these booksover and over and over again (seriously). L'Engle wrote real, believable heroines. She wrote about sex and death frankly and unashamedly, and her spirituality infused her books without being didactic, allegorical, or patriarchal (ahem! CS Lewis). She loved science and so did her female charcters.
More personally, she made me want to be a writer, and she helped me feel less scared about growing up. The debt I owe to her as a figure of inspiration is almost unparalleled. So thank you, Madeleine L'Engle.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Do Blondes Have More Fun?

Hi there, my favorite left-wing radical pop-culture-loving bookworm readers.

I ask the above question of you, 'cause yesterday, at my once-annual trip to the salon during which I actually get more than a cheapie cut, I told Cherri, my hairdresser, to go funky. And apparently funky meant taking some blue-dye and putting streaks of it throughout my unassuming chestnut tresses--and now I'm a half-blonde.

I can't decide whether the look is more punk rock or Park Avenue--Paris, France, or Paris Hilton. Have I betrayed my feminist sensibilities by going blonde instead of getting a dark-brown hipster 'do? Have I betrayed my rebellious streak by going blonde instead of my previous favorite, burgundy red?

I don't know. But I wonder if people will judge me differently now that my locks are lightened.

Monday, September 03, 2007

It's Labor Day

Unions, those pesky folks who brought us the weekend, health insurance, and other risky socialist elements.


Sunday, September 02, 2007

It's Britney, Bitch

Okay, so Ms. Spears may not fall into the purview of normal EBC topics, but confound it, man. She's back! And my peeps and I are blasting this single, "Gimme More" all throughout this long weekend. Enjoy it!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Wherein I Blog Elsewhere (and the Commenters, Alas, are Not Egalitarian Bookworms)

Hi readers! Did you agree with my series of angry posts about Judd Apatow's estrogen-makes-me-cringe fest "Knocked Up?"

Did you enjoy my evisceration of the non-affable, condescending patron ess izing "Becoming Jane?"

If so, check me out on HuffPost, where I made an incisive, thoughtful connection* between these two movies and the SCOTUS partial-birth abortion ban to boot, and all the commenters can says is "but, but, but, Knocked Up is a funny movie. Why be the feminists taking things so seriously?"

*said semi-ironically, of course

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Frozen Dessert Blogging

I just got me a big box of green tea mochi. And I have to say, that it is a mochi god among mochis. It is soo delicious!!

It has a happy home in my freezer next to my skinny cow vanilla-chocolate ice cream sandwich pinwheels. YUM.

A Picture Is Worth...

Not-so-egalitarian non-bookworms watching their blackberries the fine sport of tennis.
Via Gawker.

Owen Wilson's Problems

..are arousing sympathy and bewilderment, while Britney and Lindsey will continue to get the most intrusive and negative coverage imaginable. It's "Owen's haunted side" vs. "Girls Gone Wild."

Now, I happen to love Owen. But for a long time, he's gotten a winking pass from the media for his partying and womanizing , a kind of acceptance which certainly hasn't been granted for bed-hopping starlets. Never have I seen in the tabloids the idea that this cute guys's promiscuity might be a cry for help --but had it been vice versa, sleeping around might have been seen as a "warning sign" for some troubled pop ingenue.

The double-standard at work everywhere.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Crocs Talk

fellow-ette: did you hear what happened to my CROCS today?
the ones i got wichu and [fellow-ette's boyfriend]?

fellow-ette's brother: no what happened?
i haven't checked the crocs message board yet
didnt hear
me: hahaha
i was going up an escalator
and it smooshed the front of my shoes
or one shoe
and it got stuck
10:37 PM so i pulled my foot out
and half the croc stayed in the escalator
the whole front got ripped out
10:38 PM it was sad!!!
10:40 PM bro: thak god you're okay
did your foot get pulled towards the escalator as well;
that is so scary
10:42 PM me: yeah i thought i might break a toe
it's lucky the shoes were so soft
they just ripped instead of hurting me
bro: be careful puhleaseeee!
10:43 PM lucky there was no strap on top or something
did it catch as soon as u got on?
could u still see it or was it sucked in?
10:45 PM me: it was on the way off
and no, the escalator just kept going

Yes, readers dear... that is the story of my continuing shoe saga. I finally find a pair of comfy, nice shoes I actually like, and they get mauled by an escalator. And this was within an hour of a business appointment, so I had to buy a pair of ultra-reduced Steve Madden flats off the clearance rack and they made me feel like I understood the pain of Chinese foot-binding. Ow!! Why are shoes so oppressive?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Ivanhoe, Rebecca and Rowena: Worst. Threesome. Ever.


I dug into this hefty classic before and after my marathon immersion in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It was an interesting juxtaposition because, of course, both are epic adventure novels with castles, dungeons and heroes up the wazoo. But how much better our boy wizard is than the flat, uninspired Ivanhoe, who makes the idiotic choice of ditching our (and Walter Scott's) favorite, the noble Jewess Rebecca, for the insipid-poorly-drawn Rowena. Ultimately, Rebecca is the heart of the novel and its saving grace--and her amazing portrayal redeems Thackeray from the anti-semitic caricature he does of Rebecca's father, Isaac of York-- who works the whole O my daughter! O my ducats! thing ad nauseum, much like his inspiration, Shylock.

But I must confess, dear readers, despite my cynicism and modern-day skepticalisticness, when Rebecca was on trial for sorcery and Ivanhoe rushed into defend her my very heart was palpitating, my skin was clammy with excitement, my mind was full of anticipation and misgivings. And when he at last galloped in on horseback, I shouted with joy. Walter Scott sure knew how to spin a good yarn, and the yarn-spinners are the soothers of society.

Anyway, perhaps my favorite discovery after reading Ivanhoe was William M. Thackeray's brilliant parody/sequel, Rebecca and Rowena. It's both respectful and also merciless in its depiction of Rowena as a cold, domineering wife, Ivanhoe as an alcoholic, henpecked husband who dreams of his old adventures, and gentle mockery of all the resurrections, plot twists and inconsistencies in the original.

Check it out here.

My favorite excerpt:

In a word, she was always flinging Rebecca into Ivanhoe's teeth. There was not a day in his life but that unhappy warrior was made to remember that a Hebrew damsel had been in love with him, and that a Christian lady of fashion could never forgive the insult. For instance, if Gurth, the swineherd, who was now promoted to be a gamekeeper and verderer, brought the account of a famous wild-boar in the wood, and proposed a hunt, Rowena would say, "Do, Sir Wilfrid, persecute these poor pigs: you know your friends the Jews can't abide them! "

Sunday, August 26, 2007

New Literary Biopics I'd Like to See--Inspired by the Success of "Becoming Jane"

(tagline: "Their love story was her greatest inspiration")

Becoming Vladimir: Pedophilia was his greatest inspiration.

Becoming Toni: Infanticidal escaped slaves were her greatest inspiration.

Becoming Fyodor: Brutal murder, self-doubt, subsequent exile and eventual redemption were his greatest inspiration.

Becoming Herman: Pigment-deficient whales were his greatest inspiration.

Becoming Ralph: Invisibility was his greatest inspiration.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Kenneth Branagh's As You Like It

...Books in running brooks and sermons in stones...

I am a huge fan of Branagh's overwrought Much Ado About Nothing and much less fond of his overwrought Hamlet. I think that's because Shakespeare's comedies have emotional and dramatic depths that need to be brought out, while his tragedies need direction that emphasizes subtlety (I've never seen KB's Henry or Othello or other films so I reserve judgement on those).

But due to the impressions detailed above, I was really looking forward to last night's HBO As You Like It premiere... and for the most part, I wasn't disappointed. The cinematography or whatever you have it was lush, and the music was absolutely, numblingly gorgeous. I thought the perfomances of Rosalind, Celia, and Orlando were close to astounding--full of the kind of flirtatious wit that makes Shakespeare's comedies so wonderful.

Now, for my quibbles: all in all, there was too much delcaiming of the Bard's language--some of it could have been quicker, more naturalistic. I found Kevin Kline's Jaques a little bit flat--does anyone remember how wonderful his Bottom was in the Midsummer Night's Dream of a few years back? I feel like he's become a self-parody--and my mom pointed out that the Robin Williams resemblance is getting too uncanny.

But enough complaints. Any beautiful new Shakespeare adaptation is welcome. Alfred Molina was a superbTouchstone, and all the pastoral characters were lots of fun, and there was definitely this very 1960s era earth-child vibe to the whole thing, even though it was set in Japan, that I found kind of groovy. Even if this play has less weight than Twelfth Night, Measure for Measure, or The Tempest, it's a very fun and clever one, and the language makes it golden.

So be sure to catch it on reruns if you have not already!

The New York Times Loves a Good Catfight

Oh, readers, were I a better correspondent, I would devote a section every day to detailing the ridculousness that is the paper of record's attempt at this thing called "teh blogging." But I'm not that kind of correspondent (yet). So instead, I bring you my usual half-explained rant about something the Grey Lady has done that's pissed me off. Today, they take a headline from Drudge about how Michelle Obama said something that could be construed as hating on Hillary Clinton, as Wonkette says, if you're drunk. I'm going to now close-read/debunk several parts of this blog-post:

"If you can’t run your own house, you can’t run the White House.” The words are from Michelle Obama, wife of Barack. Will they ignite this campaign’s version of a “baking cookies” or “never had a real job” moment?

I don't know, how about igniting a "shut the hell up and report the news" moment? Does the Times ever stop to consider how sexist and ridiculous all this scrutinizing of the potential first ladies' comments vis-a-vis each other are? I mean, it's one thing to report on something like this with a healthy dose of skepticism. It's another to lap it up like a cat laps up milk. Later, the author says:

Here’s a choice: You can take a look at the transcript Sargent provides at the above link and decide for yourself, or you can let bloggers decide for you.

The Times decides to do the latter, of course. But look through the comments. They are truly angry--not at Michelle, but at the way the Times has chosen to report this. A sampling:

1-That the NYT only covers this stupid non-controversy reaffirms my decision to obtain news and information from outside the traditional media that seemingly cannot sit still through a five minute speech.

2-Why is the media wasting our time trying to drum up a “cat” fight between Mrs. Obama and Ms. Clinton? These are the ridiculous exploits that derail critical, serious focus on important issues, such as war, taxes, global warming, poverty and a dozen other real and pressing world problems. Give us a break….!

3-All of these comments are spot-on. Please give us substance and leave the fluff for the lesser media outlets.

4-Why is this blog, under the auspices of “the paper of record,” further propagating this ridiculous story? Read the transcript–she was clearly talking about her own family. It’s so annoying that the media turns to Drudge to pick up stories that don’t mean anything. Is this what I get for spending my money on Times Select? Garbage.

5-Tempest in a teapot indeed….please, please, please, my beloved NY Times, give us substantive reporting on the issues and the philosophical and moral choices we have,

6-If we’re going to assume that Michelle Obama “meant” some kind of dig when she made the comment, “If you can’t run your own house, you can’t run the White House,” why isn’t it just as easy to imagine that it was a dig at all the Republican candidates who are into their 2nd, 3rd, etc., marriage? Why is everyone assuming that, if it was anything at all, it was a dig at Hillary??? We need to start focusing on the issues, people, and stop analyzing the minutia for potentially scandalous tidbits.

Yada, yada, yada you get the point. People are mad. Folded in with this parade of complaints are are a smattering of sexist, racist "Michelle Obama has a big fat mouth" snipes as well as plenty of "ever think this was a dig at Giuliani?" comments. The former are assholes, the latter are correct-- for the Times to assume that one woman's critique must be squarely directed at another and make a catfight out of a molehill is completely absurd and thoughtless. And beyond that, the whole "Michelle Obama has a big mouth thing" is complete BS-- an unsubstantiated piece of paranoia which the Times has fed into again and again. This happens every time a first-lady-to-be is revealed to have a brain, and it pisses me off. This was irresponsible reporting.

Left-Wingers Are Egalitarian Bookworms!

Via Think Progress:

Liberals, it turns out, read more books than conservatives, and both read more than independents. They probably participate in lots of other anti-american activities too, the dirty commies.

Here's my favorite factoid:

34 percent of conservatives have not read a book within the past year, compared with 22 percent of liberals and moderates.

But they listen to Rush Limbaugh! Surely that counts for at least two or three 19th-century novels.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Great Fire

Shirley Hazzard's the Great Fire took me a damn long time to finish. But I enjoyed it in the end. It was written in a very intense, sophisticated, non-egalitarian bookworm style, but the underlying love story and the originality of the plot made it worth plodding through. It's also always cool to see a female writer be risky with her prose. The British chicks do it best.

The plot, insofar as there is one, is about a British war vet in Japan who befriends, and falls in love with, a pair of siblings, children of a pair of, essentially, imperial stooges. The brother is dying from a degenerative disease, the sister is bright and precocious, the parents neglectful. A romance kindles between our very heroic hero and Helen, the sister. But the romance is only the spine: this book spans the east and stops in Italy and London, and touches very lightly (yet no less painfully) on the horrific aftermath of war and disease. Hazzard's characters are elegant literate folk and the entire thing feels drizzled with a grey mist that I'm guessing is a bit of British weather and war-weariness pervading the writing.

It's a Rainy, Rainy Day and I'm Just Hatin' on the Mediaocracy

And I haven't posted to this blog in like, forever. Can you blame me, fearless readers? It's so prematurely dingy out there. And the news has been so damn depressing: hurricanes, mine collapses, the gov't spying on us, deadly bombings in Iraq etc. etc. Who wants to blog lightheartedly, or do anything lightheartedly for that matter?

But the time has come for action, and so I vow to return to thee, readership. My biggest plan is to renew the original purpose of this website thingy and do some verified book-bloggin--as my groovy LibraryThing sidebar suggests, I've read a whole bunch of classy novelskis since I spent time in Italia, and not a single one have I blogged. So I'm going to try to work back up to A Moveable Feast, which I just finished this morning. In the meantimes, check out this last-week HuffPo blog post about the MSM and news embargoes--we all know that I was incensed when the Times pre-reviewed Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows despite Scholastic's wishes. Apparently, the Grey Lady wasn't ready to take that same firm stand against the White House when it came to taxation.

Choice egalitarian tidbit:
In the former case, with nothing of major import on the line, two big newspapers had no trouble breaking agreements and getting their hands on an unreleased novel--it was all in pursuit of The News, after all! Yet when it came to a topic that mattered to millions of Americans--and affected them in the pocketbook region--similar newspapers steadfastly hewed to the gentlemen's agreement they made, taking no pains to subject the tax plan to even the slightest scrutiny.
Sigh. It's going to take a long long long ass-time to wash away the sins of our "objective" press.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


was actually kind of good. There was a little too much gratuitous female sex-part fear and the girls were too cute to be realistic, but in the end it was a tribute to same-sex friendships in high school, in all their fucked-up-ness and glory. In the end, why it was a better film than Knocked Up was that it didn't aspire to profundity or morality, and it didn't pretend to embrace the female perspective. It was a movie about high school guys trying to get laid. Period.

I'm still waiting for a movie about a chubby female dork who, without undergoing a physical makeover of any sort, attracts the popular guy just by being cute and goofy. Not going to happen in Apatoworld.

Update on 8/21:

I wanted to add my thoughts on the homoeroticism in the movie. I think you can make a substantive case that the Seth character is gay. From his overwrought braggadocio onwards, there's something abour him that isn't entirely comfortable in his own skin, and it may be more than the usual teen angst. Seth only watches porn with (ahem!) close-ups of guys in it, because he says women's bods on their own don' t "do it" for him. He has a childhood obsession with drawing male genitalia. He is intensely jealous that his two best friends will be sharing a room in college. There's the thing he says about looking into some kids eyes and realizing that he's "so sweet it was like the first time I heard the Beatles." And, as Time's Richard Corliss notes, the girl he has a crush on has the interestingly androgynous moniker Jules.

Of course, the final sleepover scene where our male characters cuddle up and declare their pseudo-platonic love is an ode to intense same-sex high school friendships, which in a way are a training ground for romantic intimacy and therefore homosocial by necessity. But the subtext with Seth is very strong, and very interesting too. Any other thoughts on the underlying currents in this film?

Friday, August 10, 2007

A Touch of Romance

A Uk survey lists readers' favoritest love stories:

(via the Guardian)

"It's really heartening to see how these stories, written so long ago, retain the power to captivate 21st century audiences," said Richard Kingsbury, channel head of UKTV Drama, which commissioned the study. (aha! a TV station commissioned it eh?)

My main girls Jane and the Brontes are definitely representing. I might add some post-1900 romances like The Age of Innocence or Tender is the Night but since those all end so miserably... I see why they didn't get votes. But then again Wuthering Heights' "and then the two ghosts wandered around the depressing moors forever" ending isn't exactly heartwarming. Nor is R and J. So go figure.

The top 20

1 Wuthering Heights Emily Brontë, 1847

2 Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen, 1813

3 Romeo and Juliet William Shakespeare, 1597

4 Jane Eyre Charlotte Brontë, 1847

5 Gone with the Wind Margaret Mitchell, 1936

6 The English Patient Michael Ondaatje, 1992

7 Rebecca Daphne du Maurier, 1938

8 Doctor Zhivago Boris Pasternak, 1957

9 Lady Chatterley's Lover DH Lawrence, 1928

10 Far from The Madding Crowd Thomas Hardy, 1874

11 = My Fair Lady Alan Jay Lerner, 1956

The African Queen CS Forester, 1935

13 The Great Gatsby F Scott Fitzgerald, 1925

14 Sense and Sensibility Jane Austen, 1811

15 = The Way We Were Arthur Laurents, 1972

War and Peace Leo Tolstoy, 1865

17 Frenchman's Creek Daphne du Maurier, 1942

18 Persuasion Jane Austen, 1818

19 Take a Girl Like You Kingsley Amis, 1960

20 Daniel Deronda George Eliot, 1876