Monday, October 27, 2014

"I Will Repay" by Emmuska Orczy - Sweded

France, 1783 
MESSENGER: Sorry but some guy named Déroulède killed your son.
DUC DE MARNY: What?  Juliette, my daughter, you must swear to kill him!
JULIETTE: Me? No offense, Father, but why don’t you do it yourself?
DUC DE MARNY: And get out of my deathbed? 
JULIETTE: Wait, if you were so sick why was my brother off dueling people for no good reason?
DUC DE MARNY: Fermez la bouche and take this oath to become a raging rampage of revenge!
JULIETTE: But I’m like eight years old!
DUC DE MARNY: Well I didn’t say you had to become one overnight!  Give it about ten years or so, that way you can try wreaking vengeance in the middle of social upheaval that will threaten your life since you’re of noble blood.
JULIETTE: But I’d much rather be a sweet and pious nun than a raging rampage of revenge, father!
DUC DE MARNY: Nonsense!  If you’re a nun then how are you going to be involved in the rest of the story ten years from now when I’m dead?
JULIETTE: Good point. 

Paris, 1793.  The city is mired in Revolutionary fervor…and paranoia. 
JULIETTE: Oo la la help me I am in trouble in this street that is coincidentally right in front of Déroulède’s front door.
DÉROULÈDE: Hey now what’s the matter?
JULIETTE: Oo la la I am fainting because this overzealous revolutionary woman is being mean to me.
OVERZEALOUS REVOLUTIONARY WOMAN: I hate her because she’s so pretty, it must logically follow she is an aristocratic collaborator for the monarchists!
JULIETTE: It’s not true even though it totally is.
OVERZEALOUS REVOLUTIONARY WOMAN: I knew it!
DÉROULÈDE: Come now you have made this beautiful innocent and in no way treacherous young girl faint in my doorstep.  I’d better let her in and hope she isn’t plotting some evil-doings.
JULIETTE: *is faking being unconscious* mwahahahah
OVERZEALOUS REVOLUTIONARY WOMAN: She’s faking being unconscious!
JULIETTE: No I’m not!  I mean, *closes eyes and sticks tongue out*
OVERZEALOUS REVOLUTIONARY WOMAN: That handsome man helped out the pretty girl who is an aristocratic collaborator!  It must mean he is also a aristocratic collaborator!

Inside…
DÉROULÈDE: I sure hope nobody suspects that I am in fact a aristocratic collaborator after I rescued that girl they suspected was an aristocrat.
THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL: Nah your cover is air-tight.
JULIETTE: Oo la la I must have fainted.
THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL: Gotta go.  Have fun with the turncoat.
DÉROULÈDE: Are you hurt, fair lady?
JULIETTE: No, but you will be, when I have wrought my vengeance upon you for my brother’s death?
DÉROULÈDE: Pardonez moi?
JULIETTE: I mean, oo la la, where am I?  I am so confused and helpless and innocent!
DÉROULÈDE: You’re in my home, and here is my trusty servant Anne Mie who is in love with me, and also my elderly mother.  Don’t we pose a heartwarming scene for you of domestic happiness?  Doesn’t it just make you want to marry into this family? 
JULIETTE: Your death will not come swiftly…er, I mean, can I stay here until the mob outside leaves?
REVOLUTIONARY POLICEMAN WHO IN NO WAY RESEMBLES CHAUVLIN FROM THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL, AS ORCZY UNFORTUNATELY ALREADY KILLED THAT CHARACTER OFF: Déroulède, you are under arrest for harboring aristocrats and collaborating to save nobles!
DÉROULÈDE: Wha-at?  Nooo I…am not, I don’t know what made you suspect such a justifiable…uh…suspicion.
CHAUVLIN WANNABE: Maybe by the fact that the aristocratic lady is sitting right here.
JULIETTE: Mwahahah my devious plan to get you killed is working!  That is…I mean: “Oops.”
CHAUVLIN WANNABE: I’ll leave you two alone to think about what you’ve done and possibly bond romantically during this life-threatening situation.  I expect you to be engaged and willing to confess when I get back.
DÉROULÈDE: Now that we are alone, Juliette, I do find I must confess?
JULIETTE: That you did kill my brother?
DÉROULÈDE: That too, but believe me he was being annoying and deserved it.  Plus he started it.  But above all I must confess…that I am in love with you!
JULIETTE: I love you too!
DÉROULÈDE: If we weren’t about to be taken away from the guillotine this would be the happiest moment of my life.
JULIETTE: ….But also…I must REPAY!
DÉROULÈDE: Is this about student loans or something?
JULIETTE: My sweet Déroulède who I love but am trying to kill, you don’t understand.  I am this sweet young woman who wouldn’t hurt a fly…but I must repay!  You are handsome and good and obviously not the type to go around impaling people’s brothers without incitement…but I must repay!  You did save me from that mob when I was really just trying to infiltrate your house to seek your doom…but I still must repay!
DÉROULÈDE: If this is about you staying here for several weeks on end while you recover from fake-fainting in the street, don’t worry.  I’m not charging rent.
JULIETTE: You know, for being an undercover agent of the Scarlet Pimpernel, you’re pretty naïve.
CHAUVLIN WANNABE: Well, I’m back. Are you ready to confess?
ANNE MIE: I confess!  It was me!  Anne Mie!
CHAUVLIN WANNABE: Well of course it was you.  No need to be repetitive.
ANNE MIE: No, I mean it was I that wrote the letter informing on Juliette as a collaborator.  I love my master so much that I wanted to protect him from her vengeance…and also maybe wanted to get her out of the picture so he’d fall for me on the rebound.  But apparently that’s not going to happen because I don’t fit the porcelain-doll stereotype of Victorian adventure novel heroines, so I might as well confess and save them in a sort of Sydney Carton way.
CHAUVLIN WANNABE: Ha!  Well unbeknownst to you I was the one that caught that Charles Dickens character, and I have no intention of letting someone else make another “far far better thing I do” speech on my watch!  You’re all going to walk the plank!
DÉROULÈDE: Don’t you mean have our heads chopped off?
CHAUVLIN WANNABE: That too.  Come along now, all of you!  Get into this prison stagecoach
THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL: All aboard!
CHAUVLIN WANNABE: You look somewhat familiar, stagecoach driver person.  Have we met before?
THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL: No, but you seem like a suspiciously similar substitute to someone I killed a few books ago.
CHAUVLIN WANNABE: Wait, that means you’re…
DÉROULÈDE: A deus ex machina?
CHAUVLIN WANNABE: No, more like you’re an overly convenient problem solver that comes in to save the day at the last moment. 
THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL: That’s what deus ex machina means, no matter if Word spellcheck keeps wanting to change it erroneously to “deus ex machine.”  It’s a person or plot device that miraculously comes at the last minute to solve all the issues and wrap all plot lines up in a nice neat bow.
CHAUVLIN WANNABE: Then why didn’t you way so in the first place!  Speak French, man! 
THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL: I try, but it’s hard when my mother tongue is English, wot?
CHAUVLIN WANNABE: Ah ha!  As you are wearing a ring with a red flower on it, and also the fact that you basically admitted it just now, I deduce that you’re the Scarlet Pimpernel!  Since you’re already in the prison stagecoach all I have to do is say that you’re under arrest!
THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL: And all I have to do is say, “Hi ho, Silver!  Away!”
*They drive off into the sunset*
DÉROULÈDE: Wait, where are we going?
THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL: To England, of course!
DÉROULÈDE: In a stagecoach?  Won’t we get a little wet?
THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL: You finish getting the girl while I worry about the little details like that.  After all, I am super awesome.  This stagecoach probably transforms into a ship for all I know!
DÉROULÈDE: Oh that’s right.  Well, Juliette, what do you say?  Shall we take the opportunity of immigrating to a foreign country to start our romance anew, without any political upheaval interfering with our true feelings?
JULIETTE: Déroulède, there are so many things I’ve done against you.  Hating you all these years, planning your untimely demise, not having any clue how to pronounce your name…
DÉROULÈDE: I see.  Well, you have betrayed and plotted against my numerous times in the actual book, but on the other hand you are very beautiful, and I did kill your brother without apologizing.  Can we call it even?
JULIETTE: Only if I can call you Paul!
*And so everyone lived happily ever after until the next book.  Except Anne Mie who pretty much got the shaft from Orczy and Victorian heroine conventions*



Monday, October 20, 2014

"The Enormous Room" by e e cummings - A Review

“Don’t be sad, my little son, everybody falls out of trees, 
they’re made for that by God,” 
~ The Enormous Room, e e cummings, pg. 102

I know it’s hypocritical, but I don’t tend to take bloggers’ recommendations for books.  It’s not so much that I think the blogger has bad taste, or that the books they recommend are uninteresting.  It’s just that I’m a very chronological person, and thus far in my reading career I’ve read a TON of ancient literature, a fair amount of classics, and have only ventured as far as works written up to 1950 or so otherwise.  I’m waiting for these books to stand the test of time, rather than the test of several readers, before expending my precious spare time in reading them.  That said, if a review of a book is good enough, if the plot seems compelling or the characters intriguing, let’s face it: I’m too much of a reading junkie to resist.  After all, how else am I to learn about books I’ve never heard of, but which deserve my Absolute and Immediate Attention, if I don’t listen to other book reviewers? 

That’s how I found out about The Enormous Room.  Flitting about the online book world I came across a video by vlogbrothers, “18 Books You Probably Haven’t Read.”* Although I hadn’t read any of these books, I don’t feel too bad for not rushing out to read ALL of them since frankly Green goes through them so fast I couldn’t process whether I wanted to read them or not.  The one exception which stood out was The Enormous Room, the autobiographical account of poet/author/playwright/artist e e cummings** and his time in a French prison in 1917.  

Monday, October 13, 2014

"The Time Machine" by H.G. Wells: A Review

Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/2/2f/Timemachinebook.JPG
A long time ago when I was just entering teen-hood and had spare time to waste on doing nonsensical things, I was trying to construct a pyramid out of marbles.  Marbles being round and therefore not exactly conducive to stacking like bricks, this was a laborious and time-intensive goal.  Enter listening to audiobooks while I did these sorts of things. In fact, I’m not at all sure, so long after the fact, that these sorts of nonsensical enterprises weren’t created in order to be doing something while listening to audiobooks.  Like the chicken and the egg, I’m not sure which came first.* 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Bibliophile Websites

I'm sorting through some of my archived websites and links, and came across some which I thought might be worth sharing:


Welcome to the Book Arts Web is a good source of ideas, inspiration, online exhibits and tutorials on book arts and binding.  I'm not a huge book artist myself (it just feels....wrong...to cut up or draw on books), but when it comes to book repair, now that's something different altogether.  If it takes cloth tape, acid-free tape, or even glue to make a book readable again--unless it's some priceless antique that should be kept unadulterated by modern solutions--I'm all for it.


If you're in the U.S. and wanting to find more booksales (and really, who wouldn't be in the market for more reading material?), booksalefinder.com is worth a try.  Though this is wonderful news for expanding my personal library, it does not bode well for the expanding of my wallet.  This, however, is a sacrifice I am more than willing to make.


Another great resource which I myself haven't utilized nearly enough is CCProse, a channel on YouTube which posts free audiobooks.  Unlike books on CD, these books are often divided not into "tracks" of three minutes, but according to the chapter divisions.  YouTube being a visual medium, the words that are being read are also displayed on the screen, which I'd imagine would be helpful for anyone wishing to improve their English, spelling, or reading skills in general.