Jonathan Strange and Rediscovered Books


Last Sunday, May 17, BBC finally aired the first episode of the 7-partmini-series, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, based of course on the book by Susanna Clarke. Finally!!  I’ve been waiting years for this – basically as soon as I finished the book.  After the book was published there were rumors, then plans, for a movie, and I think they got to the screen-writing part, but nothing ever came of it.

Then about a year ago, BBC announced that it was going to do a 7-part mini-series.  That is probably even better than a movie, because it will be 7 hours long (7 1 hour episodes), so they can include a lot more details.

So I watched it last night, and….it was pretty good!  I had listened to the first few chapters on audio book a few months back, and so far, it was spot on with the first episode of the series, titled “The Friends of English Magic.”  I don’t know any of the actors in the show, but they fit their roles well – except for Childremass, who I never imagined looked and acted like a drunk, scruffy-looking, pirate.  Other than that, he was pretty good.  The gentleman with thistle-down hair, identified in the show only as The Gentleman, was also pretty good and downright creepy.

For those who watched it and found it boring, don’t worry, it’s just an introductory episode. I remember being bored during the first few chapters of the book too. The story will definitely pick up soon, and things will get pretty interesting!

Of course, all this is making me want to read the book again (or maybe listen to the audio book).  It is one of my favorite books of all-time, so, maybe I will read it again soon.

Stay tuned! And if you haven’t yet, what are you waiting for!?!


From lack of shelves around my house and because of limited space, most of my books have been in storage for years, and in my recent quest for “something good to read,” I decided to rummage through the most accessible boxes (I opened 6 of 8 or 9 – not exactly sure how many boxes there are now, since they are all pretty much hidden from view by other boxes).

I was happy to find some of the books I was looking for, and quite surprised to find books I didn’t even know I had!

rediscovered books

Some of the books I knew I had and was looking for, to read soon:

1.  The Tin Drum – Gunter Grass

2.  Oscar and Lucinda – Peter Carey – Currently reading, but slow-going.  Interesting though.

3.  The Red and the Black – Stendhal

4.  Austerlitz – W.G. Sebald – not in the photo

5.  The Heart is a Lonely Hunter – Carson McCullers

6.  The Sot-Weed Factor – John Barth

Books I didn’t even know I had (but might as well read):

1.  Frankenstein – Mary Shelley

2.  The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins

3.  The House of Mirth – Edith Wharton

4.  Moby Dick – Herman Melville

Books I might read if there’s nothing else:

1.  The Fountainhead – Ayn Rand

2.  Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand

3.  North and South – Elizabeth Gaskell – I’ve tried reading this twice, but I really can’t get though it, even after I watched the BBC Series, which I enjoyed.

4.  The Portrait of a Lady – Henry James – Not so sure about this one.  I’m currently reading The Turn of the Screw, but I don’t like Henry James’ writing style.  But who knows..

Anybody read any of these?  What did you think?


11 thoughts on “Jonathan Strange and Rediscovered Books

  1. I’m interested in what you have to say about The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter in case you get to read it. Also, this reminded me of my own copy of The Tin Drum. Might as well look for it and place it together with the books I stacked as possible reads for this year. 🙂

  2. What fun! I have most of my books on shelves in a room of the basement of my house but I seldom actually go in the room because I also have all kind of newer books upstairs on my desk that keep taking my attention away from the older acquisitions. So when I do look at the basement shelves I am always surprised by what I find. I have read all the books on your “books I didn’t know I had” list and they are all awesome. At least I think so 🙂

  3. Have books all over the place, including double rows on some deep shelves in a closet. I tend to put out the better-looking hardbacks for people to see (which doesn’t mean they’re the best literature). Portrait of a Lady is already on my to-read shelf. I know The Turn of the Screw of course, mainly from the play adaptations and from the 1961 film The Innocents (scary!), but other than that I’ve only read James’s The Europeans (not great). I read Frankenstein recently and was surprise by how much I enjoyed it. The Woman in White and Moby Dick I read in my teens. I’d like to read The Tin Drum one day but may try the German original.

    • I have overflowing shelves too…usually books I have bought recently and those I’m planning to read. Books on shelves that stay unread for about a year, and books I’ve finished usually go into boxes.

      It could be the writing style, but The Turn of the Screw isn’t very scary…at least not in the modern horror way.

      Wow, reading a book in the original language it was written in instead of a translation would be really great!

  4. You must read “The Woman in White” by Wilkie Collins. I remember as a young girl picking it up from a carefully curated table in Stuart Brent’s bookshop on Michigan Avenue in Chicago and Mr. Brent coming up to me and encouraging me to read it. I loved it, and maybe also the remembered reading experience of being taken away by it. That was a long time ago, when independent bookstores flourished (sigh!). “The Woman in White” may not resonate with you, though, as it’s 19th century British lit, and I see Henry James and his style of writing aren’t winning you.

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