Friday Favorites: I CAPTURE THE CASTLE and journaling

Oct 12, 2012

My hardcover edition

Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle ranks among my top ten favorite books. Along with brilliant writing, it features the sort of characters and plot elements that make me giddy:

— a brainy, bookish girl who wants to be a writer
— a ramshackle castle setting
— an eccentric, artsy family
— a pair of handsome, rich American boys as landlords and love interests.
— kissing and dancing
— yearning and heartbreak, but also PLENTY of laughter.
— English countryside, English manners, English vicars
— did I mention THE CASTLE?

Cassandra and Simon–this scene always makes me cry!

I rewatched the 2003 film adaptation this past weekend, and it sent me into swoons of ecstasy. Yes, in most cases the book is better than the film, but I have to give this screenplay credit for condensing the plot without sacrificing the emotional core of the story. And the cast! Romola Garai is perfection, as always, but in addition there are admirable performances from Bill Nighy, Tara Fitzgerald, Henry Cavill (so innocent prior to all that rutting about in The Tudors), and even Sinéad Cusack (Mrs. Thornton!) as wealthy, straight-talking (and vulgarly American) Mrs. Cotton. Still not quite sure about Henry Thomas as Simon Cotton, but this doesn’t diminish my enjoyment of the film. The point of it all is Cassie, and Garai nails it.

Bonus wonderful thing — while watching I wondered if the gorgeous soundtrack could possibly be available on iTunes. It is! And it was composed by Dario Marianelli, who also brought us the lush soundtracks for Pride and Prejudice (2005), Atonement, and Jane Eyre (2011), among others. Oh, and how fitting that Marianelli is rather handsome in a thinky and soulful way, which has nothing to do with anything except that I like to swoon.

Cassandra, her journal, and her castle

Best of all (and don’t laugh at me), watching this film has renewed my zeal for journaling. And by that I mean actual writing in an actual bound journal, where I can say anything because it’s meant only for me. After watching, I was just itching to write, but my current journal did not inspire. I bought it a few years ago at a lovely shop in New Orleans (Papier Plume), and it’s charmingly compact and leather-bound, but I NEVER WANT TO WRITE IN IT. My hand doesn’t fit! The lines are too narrow. I’ve only managed to write insipid stuff in this little book, which is an insult to the careful, loving way in which it was crafted. I’d promised myself that I wouldn’t start a new journal until this one was filled, but when I looked at the long, long gaps between entries, I decided enough was enough. The little leather book has been put away, and now I am writing each day in my teNeus CoolNotes journal. It fits me! My thoughts spill forth onto its creamy, wide-ruled pages!

(I’m too old, however, to write in it while sitting in the sink.)

Are you a fan of I Capture the Castle–book and/or film? Do you keep a paper journal? If so, tell me all about it!

[Cross-posted to Livejournal]

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