osprey_archer: (books)
[personal profile] osprey_archer
What I’ve Just Finished Reading

I finished The Railway Children! [personal profile] asakiyume had acquired a copy of the most recent movie for us to watch, which gave me extra impetus, but it was a real pleasure to read so I probably would have galloped through it anyway. Highly recommended if you like early twentieth-century children’s books.

Also highly recommended: the 2000 film version of The Railway Children, which is quite faithful to the book - it cuts a couple of scenes (and one of the cut scenes is the one tragically sexist scene in the book, which is otherwise so good about letting the girls be just as heroic as their brother) but doesn’t add much, which IMO is generally where adaptations go wrong, adding in scenes that don’t suit at all. The biggest addition, I think, is that the film draws out some of the stuff about class relations which is latent in the book - but it doesn’t become overbearing or anything; it’s still quite secondary to the fun adventures.

Also Jerry, by Jean Webster - who is most famous for writing Daddy-Long-Legs - and this is definitely a case where I can see why that’s the book she’s remembered for, although Jerry is not without charms. A young American man - and, as a side note, his name is Jerymn, which I have never seen before and would be inclined to take as a misspelling of Jermyn except Webster spells it that way every single time. Has anyone else run across this name? How do you pronounce it?

Anyway, Jerry - to give him his easily pronounceable nickname - Jerry is vacationing in a dull Italian country town when he meets a beautiful American girl. To get closer to her (and enliven his dull days), he masquerades as an Italian tour guide. She sees through him at once, but doesn’t let on, and the rest of the book consists of the two of them gleefully upping the ante of the masquerade.

What I’m Reading Now

I’m almost done with Jane Langton’s The Astonishing Stereoscope, which sadly I think is not nearly as good as either The Fragile Flag or The Fledgling, although also not nearly as bad as The Time Bike. A good middling Langton! And I will continue to search for The Swing in the Summerhouse, which is about, I think, a magical swing, which I think is just perfect and delightful and I hope the book lives up to it.

There are also a couple of post-Time Bike books in this series, but I am a little leery about reading them. Still, if I do run across them…

What I Plan to Read Next

My next reading challenge is coming up! It is “a book published before you were born,” and the only challenging part of this will be fixing on just one. The library has kindly purchased Kate Seredy’s The Chestry Oak for me (this is the first time I have made a purchase request at a library! I feel so powerful!), so perhaps that; but there is also the possibility of reading more Nesbit...

Date: 2017-07-26 03:16 pm (UTC)
evelyn_b: (Default)
From: [personal profile] evelyn_b
I definitely need to read more Nesbit! I liked Five Children and It. I must have missed your discussion of The Time Bike - or just have a terrible memory - it's an intriguing title (though not in a way that screams "this book definitely won't be bad!); I'm sorry to hear it was bad.

his name is Jerymn, which I have never seen before and would be inclined to take as a misspelling of Jermyn

Oddly enough, I don't think I've seen either of those names! Or if I have, I've forgotten. They look equally odd and plausible to me at first glance, though probably the "ymn" at the end of the first one is stranger in English than "myn."

Date: 2017-07-26 06:59 pm (UTC)
sovay: (I Claudius)
From: [personal profile] sovay
I guess the "ymn" is probably pronounced as in "hymn"? So Jer-im.

I saw from the first pages (I went looking through several copies of this book online just in case yours had a typo; the answer appears to be no) that Gustavo with his eye-dialect accent mispronounces "Jerymn Hilliard" as "Jayreen Ailyard," so it looks as though the "m" is silent. I find this absolutely fascinating.

Date: 2017-07-26 06:54 pm (UTC)
sovay: (I Claudius)
From: [personal profile] sovay
and, as a side note, his name is Jerymn, which I have never seen before and would be inclined to take as a misspelling of Jermyn except Webster spells it that way every single time.

I've never seen that. He looks like he hit the post-Tolkien fantasy boom about seventy years early.

She sees through him at once, but doesn’t let on, and the rest of the book consists of the two of them gleefully upping the ante of the masquerade.

That sounds delightful.

And I will continue to search for The Swing in the Summerhouse, which is about, I think, a magical swing, which I think is just perfect and delightful and I hope the book lives up to it.

I remember liking both The Diamond in the Window and The Swing in the Summerhouse, although not as much as The Fledgling and none of them was ever as strange as The Fragile Flag. I believe I missed Time Bike and it sounds like a good thing, too.
Edited (unnecessary cat-provided paragraph break) Date: 2017-07-26 06:54 pm (UTC)

Date: 2017-07-27 04:20 am (UTC)
sovay: (Rotwang)
From: [personal profile] sovay
but the children's crusade aspect of The Fragile Flag is just different than anything else I've ever read.

Yeah. And the way it's almost science fiction and almost an alternate present and almost an allegory and it all works. I have seen stories of children bonding with creatures of the super/natural world before. Whatever The Fragile Flag is, I haven't seen a lot of that.

Date: 2017-07-26 08:13 pm (UTC)
lost_spook: (Northanger reading)
From: [personal profile] lost_spook
which is otherwise so good about letting the girls be just as heroic as their brother

The Treasure-Seekers are pretty good at this, too. I'm glad you enjoyed it! For some reason, I never got hold of much E. Nesbit when I was young, although it seems unlikely that our library didn't have any, and it was all right up my alley, but nevertheless, I did have The Railway Children, and re-read it a fair few times, although not for ages, so I'm glad to hear it holds up.

For adaptations, I'm not sure which ones I've seen, but I understand the old one with Jenny Agutter as Bobbie is pretty famous for a reason.

Date: 2017-07-26 09:07 pm (UTC)
lost_spook: (Northanger reading)
From: [personal profile] lost_spook
Ha, I think I knew that, but I hadn't remembered when I wrote it. But, yes, because she was so iconic in the role (in the UK anyway) they had to. I doubt somehow it'll happen again.


Oh, and I've never heard of Jerymn, either, and I used to collect names as a teenager - I still have this massive lever-arch file full of them. (Jermyn, yes). My best guess would be some obscure form of Hieronymous, which also gives us Jerome, Geronimo etc., but not that? Of course, it could just be a weird surname used as first name, but most results on Google are for typos for Jermyn, so... *baffled*

Maybe it was a typo and then she decided to bluff it out? ;-)

Date: 2017-07-26 09:22 pm (UTC)
lost_spook: (writing)
From: [personal profile] lost_spook
Typewriters had been going for a while by then, though. It varied as to who had one, of course, and she might well have given it to someone else to type anyway, but there were plenty about, from the 1880s onward.

Or perhaps she had just misread Jermyn as Jerymn all the years of her life and wasn't about to change now.

This seems legit, though.

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