Monday, January 25, 2010

Book Club: North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

Last Thursday, we sort of discussed North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell for book club. Mostly, we watched. Yes, it was a strange book club experience. Fun, but strange.

The best thing about book club last week was we had several new members join us. I don't know why, but getting new people to come makes me so happy. In fact, we had so many people there that several of us ended up on the floor. And several more ended up on the misfit chairs.

I tried really hard to re-read North and South in preparation for book club. I got to about page 150 or so. Then I started skimming. Then I just gave up. But I did buy and re-watch the movie. I marked all the scenes that I thought people would be interested in.

But first, we talked about the book just a little, how it starts out quite slow, then really picks up with all the different crazy stuff that happens, and when the love story really gets going. We talked about the difference between the book and the movie, and how the movie was pretty good at showing Margaret's emotion, but didn't do the book justice at Mr. Thornton's deeply passionate thoughts.

Of course, we all loved Richard Armitage (at least, I think we did!), so without much further ado, we stopped talking and started watching. Some of the scenes we hopped to: (there may be mild spoilers here, so beware if you care)

- Margaret's first impression of Mr. Thornton ( totally different from the book)
- tea time with Mr. Thornton and the un- handshake
- the rock throwing incident (we then discussed Mr. Thornton's obsession with this in the book)
- meeting Bessy and Mr. Higgins
- Mr. Thornton visits Mr. Higgins, then later, eats with the workers ( I love that part!)
- Margaret visits the mill, Mr. Thornton visits Helstone
- the trains pass... the end!!! Ah, the end.

It was very fun to watch these movie clips with everyone... at least I thought so. Hopefully everyone else, even the newbies, thought so too, even if it was a bit of a strange book club.

Up next month: Fairy Tale month in which we discuss Beauty by Robin McKinley, Beastly by Alex Flinn, Zel by Donna Jo Napoli and Golden by Cameron Dokey. I think we should have added Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon Hale to the list, but that might be pushing it a little!


  1. I read North & South in its entirety after watching the movie. I admit to much preferring the movie version (maybe because I watched it first?). I think the book definitely has more going on in Thornton's head, and the ending is somewhat different with the whole kissing train scene. But I like the movie- actually just lent it to my friend to borrow and she is texting me all the time now about how much she loves Richard Armitage! Hehe- CLEARLY it's time to re-watch this movie again!

  2. How fun. It was just a Richard Armitage kind of day. :) But then what day isn't?

  3. Weird but we are doing this book in our book club this month. I didnt read all your review because my copies has not come in from the library yet. But the little I read of your review it does not sound promising.

  4. Really? Did you think it started off slow? I don't remember that.. I'd like to reread this book at some point, I really loved it when I did. And the fab adaptation came out and Richard Armitage and all..

  5. Aarti: Yes, the movie needs watching often.

    Angie: Agreed!

    Laura: It does NOT sound promising? I'm sorry if I gave that impression because I love this book! Really. You should totally look forward to it!

    Clover: Yes, a little slow, and everyone seemed to agree, but still I love this book.

  6. I don't agree! I loved the whole thing. I loved it in the beginning - I guess I'm a character kinda girl. By the time it "picked up" I had elevated it to a "can't put it down." And the movie WAS great. But the book was...well...THE BOOK.

  7. Julie, glad to hear it! I love that it turned into a "can't put down" book for you... dang I forgot the Bookword for that one! But did you get the feeling that for most everyone else, it was hard at first, and better at the end?

  8. Yes, I guess most felt that way. But Michelle had a similar opinion to mine. We talked about it before book club. Incidentally, more/new people tends to make me clam up and not volunteer. :( Working on it.

  9. Just finished this book. It was slow it a lot of parts but it kept me interested enough that I wanted to finish. I guess I shouldnt be surprised of the lack luster ending but I was. Trying to find a copy of the movie to watch it now.



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