Friday, November 9, 2012

I Capture the Castle and Book Marks (but not the kind you might think)

Swans in the moonlight
Moon rise, moats, swans, sunsets, first love, heartache, writer's block, trains, fur coats, religion, faith, bathing, candlelight, America, music, dance, fashions, jealousy, photography, tea, bears, poverty, luxury, wildflowers, dogs, cats, journal keeping, picnics, strong drink, the Devil, paganism, Midsummer's Eve, villages, homework, hand washing, tinned meat, shopping, aunts, beauty, prison, first kiss, brothers, sisters, art, enigmas, champagne, nudism, rain, four poster beds, country homes, wheat fields, gramophones, London, Hyde Park, crossword puzzles, blue skies, wedding trousseau, and Love.

My, my. This is just a partial list of the many things addressed in I Capture the Castle. Like Blake's "world in a grain of sand", Dodie Smith captures not only the Castle but All of Life in this book.

I won't even attempt to plot the story. If you want to know what happens, you will simply have to read the book which I highly recommend. 

I do believe the most enchanting scene was Cassandra's (the narrator) swim in the castle moat in the moonlight. (That alone should tempt you to read the book.)

I must say though, that because I read for plot (which is why I adore a good mystery), I did sometimes want Ms. Smith to move it on a bit and at the same time I kept thinking I must write down some of her wonderful observations and descriptions.  

This book has been in my possession and on my TBR list for so long it is wonderful now to have finally read it.

Now, a brief note on people who mark in books:

I bought my hardback copy of I Capture the Castle as a used book from Powell's Books in Seattle. When it arrived in the mail I was happy to see it was in such excellent condition. Or so I thought, that is, until I began to read and stumbled on the oddest check marks, ticks, circles, and squiggly underlines throughout the text. I could not fathom what the previous reader was noting. The marks were all so random. It drove me crazy. I started erasing as I read but then took to turning the book upside down and erasing the marks in each chapter before I read it. It was most annoying and I do feel all that manual labor ruined the flow of the prose for me. At least that carnal book lover didn't use a pen or highlighter. That would have been just too, too much to bear.

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