Book: Vile Bodies

Vile Bodies
Evelyn Waugh
1930

This novel centers around the social circle in London called the “Bright Young People”. At the very center of the action is Adam and his fiancé Nina. Adam has serious money troubles, but that never seems to bother him. The young socialites sail through their lives scandalizing their elders and generally forgetting anything that happens almost as soon as it ends. Obviously this book is largely commentary on society, but Waugh seems to be forecasting it’s downfall as well. I found it interesting that he also predicts a major war and was right, but that’s another point. Anyway, he clearly sees the problems with such society and some of the dangers are pretty clearly laid out (Miss Runcible’s fate in the book is pretty horrific). One of the things that is refreshing about the society, though, is that very tendency to put themselves in dangerous and exciting situations. Everything from throwing parties in blimps to driving race cars is in there.

This novel sounds great read aloud. All of Waugh’s stuff seems to have that quality (I haven’t read all of it) and it adds a lot for me. Each character is pretty two-dimensional, but that seems normal for people who plan on getting married because “it’s such a bore not being married”. Their voices are similar, but not quite the same, which is nice. That happens in circles of society and the fact that the book reflected that did a lot for supporting the point. I also liked that it wasn’t just the “bright young people” who were portrayed as being less than idea. Nina’s father and Lottie in particular were good examples of the older generation’s flaws. No one really came out looking good in this book, but such is the case with satires (which this only sort of is, but you know what I mean).

I really enjoyed reading this book, but I really felt that Brideshead Revisited is a better book. This did make me want to read more of Waugh’s work, which for some reason Brideshead never did. I particularly liked the title of this book. It was so appropriate and set just the right tone, but took me a few chapters to get it (which I actually like). I liked that location rarely mattered to the action, but was usually described anyway. The descriptions were great. But at the same time, the fact that Waugh rarely described people was also really good. I got a good idea of who they were just by listening to their conversations, which in many ways works better than just descriptions. The “Virtues” in particular were shown through conversation rather than description and it worked beautifully.

There is a fairly recent movie based on this book called “Bright Young Things”. I hadn’t any interest in seeing it before reading the book, but now it has made it onto my Netflix queue. I still don’t have high hopes for it at all, but I’m willing to give it a try and see how it interprets the movie.

I would definitely recommend this book, but Brideshead Revisited really is better.

- Publisher’s Description
- Book Blog Post (First Impressions)
- Book Blog Post (World)
- Book Blog Post (Title)
- Book Blog Post (Final Thoughts)
- Buy it from Amazon

Runway Thoughts: Emma Cook

I know that I took a break for a while from reviewing things, but now I’m back at it. Today I’m looking at the 2006 fall runway collection from Emma Cook. I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen Emma Cook’s designs before (at least, not and recognized them as such).

EmmaCookDress1

A lot of this collection was very reminicent of the 1920s. It all had a nice, modern twist to it, but couldn’t you totally see Daisy from The Great Gatsby wearing this outfit? I could. I like the look, it works on tall stick-thin models who have no breasts. I’m not sure how it would work on a three-dimensional woman, though.

EmmaCookDress2

I love the scalloped edge detailing on this dress. It’s so pretty. The whole pattern feels very lace-like and almost organic to me, but with a touch of stained-glass. I’m not wild about the sleeve length, but otherwise I think it’s very pretty.

EmmaCookDress3

This is another dress that is very 1920s! I love the pairing with the shoes, they feel just right for this dress. It’s very slip-like and simple, but also has that touch of daring from the 1920s and just makes me think of flapper girls. I like this dress a lot.

There was a lot that I liked about this collection, but little that I would actually wear. It’s a great, modernized 1920s collection, but 1920s just aren’t me. They are perfect designs for models and tall skinny girls with no breasts, but for most women they just end up looking not-quite-right.

Two Championships!

This year is a milestone for the University of Wisconsin Hockey department – both the womens and mens teams won NCAA championships! Congratulations Badger Hockey!

Publisher Requirements

I’ve been following the adventures of a very interesting person named Hemant, the “friendly athiest”, who has been visiting different churches, bible studies and prayer meetings and writing about them. His thoughts are fascinating and I highly recommend reading them, whatever your faith. Some of the places he visited sound very interesting and reading it always makes me consider doing something similar (although I haven’t yet). Check out his thoughts and the thoughts of Jim, a Christian who is helping with the project, at Off the Map.

Yesterday Jim posted that he had been contacted by a major publisher who was interested in publishing a book about such a project. Hemant wasn’t interested, so Jim posted the requirements on the blog and asked if anyone was interested. The project sounds wonderful to me. I’m incredibly impressed with what I’ve read on the blog and if the book seemed even close to this quality of thinking, discussing and writing I would absolutely buy and read it. My concerns were with the requirements. I actually got angry on reading them. Most of the people who know me will see my imediate reason why, but I’ll post them anyway before I say any more.

Publishers Requirements (note these are non negotiable for this project- no hate emails please)

Male

Atheist

30 or under
Friendly
Can Write
Can work Sundays
Good with Media

Ok, I can totally appreciate the requirements about writing and avalibility. Obviously it really only works if the person is friendly, and clearly if they weren’t an atheist this wouldn’t work the way they want. Based on those requirements, I don’t qualify. That’s fine. While I am interested in going to visit churches, I’m not remotely interested in writing a book about it as my reasons for doing so would be deeply personal and I would feel compelled to be a little more objective for a book.

The other two requirements that I haven’t mentioned as yet are what angered me.

Why do they want someone under 30 years old? Are they looking for a college student or something? Then why not just say that? And what possible difference could it make to the book? I think that finding a person with the right goals and attitudes (and an open mind) are what matter and see no reason that it should matter if they are 29 or 31! Age should really play no part in this.

The other requirement that infuriated me was the requirement that the writer be male. What possible difference could sex have on the project? Why is a woman less qualified or acceptable for this simply by virtue of be female? That makes no sense! It shouldn’t affect writing ability or objectivity. It shouldn’t affect how open to new ideas and accepting of other people someone is. It really shouldn’t make any difference at all and I see no real, acceptable reason the publisher could possibly have for requiring it. Women are atheists too (I know a few, actually) and would be every bit as qualified to write such a book as men are. I really don’t understand this requirment and it is very insulting. I am seriously debating about if I would buy such a book, were it to be published, with the requirement that the author be male. If I sent in a reseme for this project with no mention of my sex (and a genderless name, unlike Katharine, obviously) and was otherwise completely qualified, would they really reject me, even if they had decided to hire me for the project, when they found out that I’m a woman? That makes no sense whatsoever.

I guess I’ll have to wait and see what comes of the project and decide on what I want to do about it later. There isn’t much that I can do now. If I had the name of the publisher, I might write a letter, but with little hope that anyone would pay attention to it or care. So I guess for now I have to wait and see.