|more GH! and mooses!
||[Jan. 26th, 2011|10:11 pm]
More GH...First Powder and Patch, an early work set in the era of Louis XV. It's about an ernest if slightly bossy young gentleman living in the country with no love for town polish. The girl he loves, as well as his father, contrive to get him to go and become polished, which he resentfully does. He goes to Paris with his uncle and sets about to learn all that there is to learn, and becomes quite good at it all. He comes back to England to claim his lady, though it doesn't go so smoothly. I rather enjoyed this book despite the large amount of French in it (and I thought These Old Shades was bad!) until the last bit. The speech by the girl's aunt about how women have no reason and that men should naturally be master over them because they have what women lack, no matter what the intention of the author or the character, was grating to no end. Then the girl acts...like a ninny! She had no redeeming qualities! She raged then flailed then did some big time FAIL FAIL FAIL, and had to be saved by the guy. UGH.
I also read the short story collection Pistols for Two. I didn't expect to really love it, as I have no great love for short stories, but a couple of the stories were pretty good. "Bath Miss," about the guy who picks up the granddaughter of an old friend of his mother's from her school in Bath and gets into some adventures thanks to the innocent girl was rather adorable. So was "Full Moon," which was about a girl who tries to run away and elope because she thinks her father will make her marry an old fogey but instead is rescued by the very man she's running away from. I laughed at the end, where the guy basically has to cover up for her escape by being really daft and makes the father think he's totally nuts!
I heard a delightful interview by the author of an article called Jefferson's Moose in the February Scientific American on the SA podcast, check it out here. It's about a famous French naturalist who comes up with the completely crazy theory of American biological degeneracy which becomes something of an obsession with Thomas Jefferson and other founding fathers, as well as later American naturalists, to disprove. James Madison assists him in collecting data, so he writes letters to him about such things as the measurements of weasel's sexual organs (with charts!). I want to read the article now, as well as the book the author of the article wrote about on the subject.