Thursday’s Thoughts ~ What Grabs Me


Which author’s writing surprised you when you first read their work and what about it grabs you?

Today’s question is brought to us by our wonderful Serena at Savvy Wit & Verse.  Great question, Serena!  As I did last week, I’m going with the first answer that came to mind ~ Margaret Mitchell.


scarlettAlthough I had seen images of the movie version of Gone With the Wind long before I read the novel, I never saw the movie and did not know much about the story.  Still, I had seen the pictures of Vivian Lee as Scarlett.  I don’t have to tell anyone what a stunningly beautiful woman she was.  Is there anyone alive who doesn’t automatically think Vivian Lee when they think Scarlett?  I didn’t think so.

So, when I read the first line of the novel, it grabbed me right away:

Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were.

What?  She’s not beautiful?  That was a surprise.  Hollywood would never have casted an unattractive woman as Scarlett.  Perhaps their reasoning were somewhat different, but they, as are we, are no different than the Tarleton twins.  We’ve all really been caught up in her charms.  We can’t imagine her any other way.  From that first short line, I was hooked by Scarlett through the writing of Margaret Mitchell.

That was almost 25 years ago.  To this day, Scarlett is my favorite fictional character.  Rhett and Melanie are not that far behind.  I have read the book five or six times since my first reading.  I’ve watched all or parts of the movie countless times.  Neither ever get old for me. One might think that such a huge tome and a movie with a built in intermission would be a once in a lifetime type of adventure.  Not so for me.  Not only have I read the book several times all the way through, I own probably more copies than that.  I have more than what is pictured below, but those were the ones I had readily on hand for my spur of the moment picture.


The small paperback version is the first copy I owned and the only copy other than the one fro the library that I’ve ever read.  I preserved the cover after my second reading by covering it with an adhesive platic covering.  The hard cover is a 1964 copy.  It’s cover is torn and not in great shape, but I had to pick it up when I saw it at a yard sale.  The large paperback version has recently come out and I couldn’t not pick it up.   I’ve also included my copy of Southern Daughter: The Life of Margaret Mitchell, Darden Asbury Pyron’s biography of Margaret Mitchell.  I rarely read biographies, but I couldn’t help but make a point to read more about her.  Her novel has shaped my views of both heroines and villains more than any other author.

I will be reading Gone With the Wind again next month along with Matt from A Guy’s Moleskin Notebook.  Why don’t you join us?

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  • At 2009.02.26 22:48, Matt said:

    Thanks for the shout out Jennifer. I need to get myself a copy for the read along. I’ll be posting the details very soon. 🙂

    Matt’s last blog post..The African American Literature Book Club: Top 100 Titles

    I can’t wait to get started with this, Matt! I’m so glad you’re doing this.

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    • At 2009.02.26 23:18, Sheri said:

      I LOVE LOVE LOVE Margaret Mitchell and GWTW. Scarlett is my all-time favorite character, EVER!

      Sheri’s last blog post..Thursday’s Thoughts: Lisa See Grabs Me!

      What does that say about the two of us, Sheri – other than that we have good taste that is? LOL!

      • At 2009.02.26 23:21, Melissa said:

        You know, I’ve watched the movie but never read the book. Now I feel inspired to after reading your post. Thanks so much for sharing this! 🙂

        Melissa’s last blog post..100+ Reading Challenge

        Please do read the book. It’s wonderful.

        • At 2009.02.26 23:48, Kathy said:

          I love this book too! I read the book before I saw the movie and actually saw it at the theater for the first time. (No, not when it was originally released.) It’s so funny that I didn’t remember that line from the book.

          Kathy’s last blog post..Review: Coraline

          I saw the movie at the theater when they re-released it about 10ish years ago. It was such a different experience. I’d never laughed during it so much as I did then. You forget about how large a role the rest of the audience can play.

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          • At 2009.02.27 00:16, Ti said:

            I haven’t read this book OR seen the movie! I know. I am so ashamed but it is so hard to watch a 4 hr movie with kids in the house.

            Ti’s last blog post..The Balancing Act

            Ti! I might have to defriend you on Facebook for that comment! LOL!!!! I completely understand the movie being out of reach, but you need to pick yourself up a copy of this book and read it. Kids will be in your life forever, but reading GWTW for the first time must be done now! 😉 ~ Please don’t defriend me on Facebook because I’m a bad influence. LOL!

            • At 2009.02.27 00:33, Valerie said:

              I have a lot of other books I’m “supposed” to be reading, but I’ll join you guys for the read-along! Maybe I’ll make it my bedside book when the readalong starts. I read it so many times from the same exact paperback version you have. But it has been years since I last read it; I recently bought a hardback version for ease on my older eyes :-).

              Valerie’s last blog post..Music Musings

              Excellent! I love drawing people over to the dark side. It reads really fast. I’m looking forward to reading my pretty new paperback version. I’m a much more respectful reader these days, so hopefully I won’t need any contact paper this time. LOL!

              • At 2009.02.27 00:42, Sandy said:

                I first saw the movie when I was in high school, and fell in love with it. I’ve watched it over and over again and have never tired of it! Now, after 42 years of life, I am finally going to read the book (with you and Matt!). I just went out to my favorite used book store and got the small paperback copy that looks just like yours. I am going to start it tomorrow!!!

                Sandy’s last blog post.."Messenger" by Lois Lowry (audio)

                Wonderful!!!! I am so excited you’re joining in. You won’t regret it!

                • At 2009.02.27 11:10, Ladytink_534 said:

                  I really ought to re-read Gone With the Wind myself. I haven’t read it since I was in sixth grade!

                  Please re-read it with Matt. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun!

                  • At 2009.02.27 15:00, Serena (Savvy Verse & Wit) said:

                    First, I am blushing…no one has called me wonderful before.

                    Great answer! I have to say I’m the opposite…I have seen the movie more times than I can count, but have not read that book! Can you believe it???

                    Serena (Savvy Verse & Wit)’s last blog post..Plum Lovin’ by Janet Evanovich

                    You are wonderful, Serena! Now stop blushing about it. LOL! You must read GWTW with Matt and Co. You won’t regret it. And seeing the movie really won’t have “ruined” the book at all. There is a lot in the book that could never have possibly made it into a movie – even a movie as long as that.

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                    • At 2009.02.27 17:54, Alyce said:

                      I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t read this book yet, but it’s on my list.

                      • At 2009.02.27 19:33, Kiki said:

                        I love this book–I have the same small version paperback that you do since I was about 13–my cover is off, but still around!

                        I recently bought another mass market paperback version for my 13 year old to read. It is much thicker, but the print was also much bigger–I’ll have to compare the number of pages–guessing about200-300 more in the “new” mass market version!

                        I can’t imagine anyone but the cast from the 1939 film in their roles–Leigh as Scarlett, Gable as Rhett, Olivia De Haviland as Melanie. A few years ago some book group friends and I took our daughters to an old movie theater down town to watch GWTW one–what a lovely time that was!

                        I may try to read along…love your blog!

                        • At 2009.02.27 20:34, chartroose said:

                          Scarlett was my Mom’s fav character, too, and older daughter’s best friend has called herself Scarlett for years.

                          I’m looking forward to reading about your read along. You and I should do one this summer when I have more time. What do you think?

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                          • At 2009.03.05 02:47, Sheri said:

                            Hey, Jennifer! Where’s your entry for this week’s Question of the Week at Thursday’s Thoughts… Are you posting it on Thursday?

                            Anyway, here’s my answer to your question:



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