"We are what we believe we are."
C.S. Lewis

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Mop Philosophy Book Club

The Portrait of a Lady
Henry James
 I am really excited about this first book club selection and I hope that you will read this novel, one of my all-time favourites, along with me so that we can have a good chat about it.  We'll meet here on Saturday, June 29th to begin our book club discussion.  Of course the post will remain open so if you can't check in on that first meeting day please feel free to drop in at any time.
 Henry James was born in New York City in 1843 to a privileged and well-educated family and spent his youth traveling in Europe.  He attended Harvard Law School briefly but realized he wanted to focus on his writing, by all accounts he was a hard worker and enjoyed early success as a novelist.
His older brother, William James, was an important American philosopher.

 I first read The Portrait of a Lady nearly twenty years ago but it is one of those novels that has really stayed with me.  I'm certainly curious to read it again and observe the effect the novel will have on my thinking at this stage of my life.

 Henry James excelled at observing Americans living in Europe and his style of psychological realism really explores the idea of the individual American personality set in the "old-world" customs of European society.
 The Portrait of a Lady was written in the 1880's but went on to undergo revisions in 1908.  It is considered by many to be Henry James' greatest work.
 It has been published many times and it was fun for me to find these different book covers.  I hope that you will be able to find a copy in your local library or in a used book store.
 I decided to buy my own copy of the book to celebrate the occasion, it's one I'd like my daughters to read as well so hopefully I'll be sharing it around my household.
If you'd like to buy a copy you can check out this option on amazon.com.
Here is an option on amazon.ca.
Last but not least, here is the amazon.uk option.
 I hope that you'll join me on the 29th of June for our first book club, and if you don't care for the selection this time around check back in July, maybe you'll enjoy the next classic pick.
Happy reading my friends and enjoy your weekend!
xoxDani

36 comments:

  1. This is wonderful Dani!

    This is a classic I have not read, so it will be all the more fun! Great choice!

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    1. A book you haven't thumbed, WMM, I am gobsmacked. You did used to work too hard ;-)

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    2. WMM like GF I'm surprised you haven't read it but also thrilled, can't wait to read all about what you think of it!

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  2. I like Henry James even if I am not so big on classics and I read Portrait of the Lady and enjoyed it. I do need a refresher though, so I will check it out from the library. Or wait, I think I have somewhere at home :)

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    1. ajc I'm so happy, looking forward to your thoughts on it...

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  3. Excellent! Long ago read this; re read The Golden Bowl last year on a trip. You have to read HJ slowly so this will be good for us.

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    1. Lane I agree, it can't be rushed but it's a great read, I need to re-read The Golden Bowl as well.

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  4. Great choice - it is one of those books I keep meaning to read!

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    1. coulda shoulda, I think you are going to like it!

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  5. I haven't read Portrait of a Lady since high school. Good pick, Dani! Like you, I'm interested to see what it says to me at these years later.

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    1. mommydearest, it had quite an effect on me when I first read it, I wonder if it will now? Looking forward to your reaction.

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  6. Excellent. I haven't read this book in decades! Yikes, that sounds long. I too am curious about my reaction now. It's interesting how my motivation to read the book is influenced by the varying covers.

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    1. AWSL, some of those covers are pretty interesting aren't they? I am happy you are along for the book!

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  7. LADY- LIKE Dani, I agree with Lane, James is best read slowly to soak in all the details and nuances. I just re-read Wings of a Dove a couple of months ago, so really looking forward to re-visiting TPOAL. Captivated by all the different covers, so thanks for digging those up!

    Have you seen the Jane Campion film of same?

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    1. GF I have seen the film but ages ago, might have to watch it again before our discussion!

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  8. Thanks for getting the book club started. Brilliant choice, excited to re-read over the Memorial Day weekend. Will be on vacation on June 29th but will surely post as soon as I get the chance.

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    1. Marie that's great, and you can pop in anytime, that is the convenience of a book club in this format, we're not tied to a date and place!

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  9. Oh I'm beyond excited about this, Dani! Thank you for introducing this and I hope to join in the conversation in June! Also, I have a rare all-silk piece, entirely unworn that I wanted to email you about... I'll do that ASAP.
    Best wishes!

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    1. maqsad, I hope you can as well. And what's this about an all-silk piece, waited for email with bated breath here!

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    2. Hi Dani! I'm so sorry it was do late, but I emailed you yesterday . With a new baby and a 4 year old, everything takes 4 times as long as before!

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  10. I read the Portrait of a Lady and saw the Jane Campion movie and I don't remember ANYTHING of the book or the movie, except that I liked both (in fact I went on and read many other HJ books. I think I prefer his novellas to the novels because I remember those better). I don't even remember if I read it in French or Italian, certainly not in the original English. This could be a challenge for me, but I don't know if I can do it. I will check in anyway on the 29th to read,everybody's comments.

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    1. Hi Ema, well if you tried to read it in your THIRD language I would be most impressed!

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  11. Hi Dani-I'm in, although I always have difficulty staying the course with fiction. I am looking very forward to everyone's insights.

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    1. David I think you'll like it, maybe alternate it with a non-fiction book when you start feeling bored with it!

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  12. I'm going to be the teenage snarker in the room and chortle about character names like Ralph Touchett and Caspar Goodwood! (You can't do this kind of stuff after Freud . . . or after Judy Blume!)

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    1. Hexicon, teenage snarker welcome! Those names are hilarious, so subtle...

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  13. Hi Dani, this sounds like a good choice - I have never read any Henry James. Looking forward to this!

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    1. Patricia I think you'll really enjoy it!

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  14. Excellent! I read this over 20 years ago - probably in my final year at school, so almost 27 years ago....
    I really look forward to reading again as maturer version of myself!

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    1. ruth, I know, I wonder how we'll think of it now that we're older...

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  15. The Portrait of a Lady is one of my favorite Henry James books. I think I've read it 3 times now. So excited to see what other people think! Love all the different covers.

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    1. princesslambchop looking forward to having your input too!

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  16. For those of us inclined to read ebooks, there is a free copy here:http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/2833

    This is so exciting!

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    1. Thanks Mrs. Mom that link is so helpful!

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  17. Im going out to my local bookstore to get it. How funny to see all the different covers and interpretations of what it is to be a lady

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