Sunday, June 26, 2011

Guest Post: Concerning Teen Fiction

I have this friend. Her name is Kelli and she has a pretty cool blog that kind of reminds me of Hyperbole & a Half. Today she's here to talk to you about Young Adult Fiction.
I want you to know how much I appreciate you coming to me. I know it couldn't have been easy. And of course, everything that you reveal to me here will remain in confidence.

Second. . . you're not alone. Hundreds of people have this problem; we can't possibly know how many, because a lot of them never come forward. They live out their lives, with the shame and the guilt bubbling just below the surface, their terrible perversions twisting everything they hold dear until they die, as defeated husks.

But that won't happen to you. You're getting help.

I know how easy it is to get hooked. Yes. I was there once, I was like you. I was inexplicably drawn to that darkest part of the Barnes & Noble. I've thought, It's nothing serious. I just need a break from Stephen King and Jane Austen. Just one book about proms, and boys, and fashion. Maybe even some vampires. Nobody has to know, and I can stop whenever I want, right?


Teen Fiction is serious business. It's not something you can just try once and quit. Once you're in, you're in it for good unless you reach an arm out of that horrible muck and cry to the heavens I NEED HELP!

I've heard your plea, friend. While I can't promise to cure you completely, I can give you the tools to cut yourself a path from the glitter-dusted high school hallways to real literature with developed characters and emotional plots.

My methods may seem counterproductive to you, but I assure you they've helped at least a few people. I can count, like, three, off the top of my head. You can't argue with results like that!

First, go to the library (or the bookstore, if you're a particularly strong person) and pick up this book.

Then, put it down, and go find one of these actually good books instead.

Armageddon Summer
by Jane Yolen and Bruce Coville

This book is written from the perspective of two teenagers from freshly divorced homes, going to live on a mountain in Boston with 300 other people from their church, because the pastor says the world is going to end on July 27th. There's a lot of good stuff about religion, the corruption of the human race, mob mentality, and relationships, and even though it's about two hormonal teenagers camping out on a mountain, it doesn't focus much on the two of them. It's been one of my favorite books since I was in fifth grade, and I still read it regularly.

It's an amazing book, but it's classified as Teen Fiction and will therefore satisfy your baser desires, while at the same time weaning you off of them.

Big Mouth and Ugly Girl
by Joyce Carol Oates

Another one of my favorite books. This one is also written from the perspective of two teenagers, one of whom gets arrested for making a joke that sounds like a bomb threat. It focuses a lot on relationships and clashing personalities, and how careful you have to be with what you say.Part of the reason I like it so much is that it's written like how teenagers think and talk. I can't really explain the other parts. You just have to read it.

There's enough stuff in there about stupid jocks and annoying parents to satiate the dark hunger within.

Once you're done with those, you're ready for a series. These books have so many books with so many twists and turns in them that you'll never need to turn to more drastic, desperate measures. . .

. . . like I did.

The Princess Diaries
by Meg Cabot

No, I do not mean the movies. Although if you have seen the movie (the first one anyway) I won't blame you. It was hilarious. The books, however, have a few key differences.

First and foremost: Mia's dad wasn't dead, and her grandmother was a complete bitch. Also, Mia absolutely does not want to be a princess, but doesn't have a choice, and the throne is in no danger whatsoever. There are also quite few stupid little changes that I didn't really get, but really annoyed me. Here are the ones I can think of without going upstairs to grab one of the books:

-They live in a loft in Manhattan, not in a refurbished firehouse in San Francisco
-Lily's show is called Lily Tells It Like it Is, not Shut Up and Listen
-Lana and Josh's last names are Weinberger and Richter, not Thomas and Bryant
-Mia and Lilly are in ninth grade, not tenth
-Her mom dates her Algebra teacher (Mr. Gianini), not her Debate teacher (Mr. O'Connell, who DOESN'T EXIST EVER ASDJHALSKJDL:;)

I seriously just thought of like, five more while I was peeing, but we'd be here all night if I didn't stop there.

Anyway, the books are good. There's a lot more stuff about being an actual teenager than there is about princessy crap, which means she worries about sex and Britney Spears and failing Algebra and dating. There are like, ten books, and they're all pretty good. Some of them get a little whiny, but everything ties together in a satisfying way, and you can read them over and over again and always get your fill of teen drama.

Which is good for you and your unsavory addiction.
Pretty Little Liars
by Sara Shepard

Again, I don't mean the show. The show isn't fantastic, and it's way less interesting. I just thought the promo shot was better than the cover of the first book.

The Pretty Little Liars series revolves around four girls (one of whom, contrary to what the above photo would have you believe, is not of undefined ethnic descent) and their friend who disappeared three years ago, when they were in seventh grade. It's good, sordid stuff that combines typical high school drama with murder, scandal and intrigue about the community. There's a big dance in just about every book, so you're sure to get more than your fill of prom dresses and bitchy girls, while still feeling like you're reading a big book for grown-ups.

These boo-- er, steps, will make things much easier for you out in the real world. Soon you'll be able to taste food again. Colors will be brighter. Your husband/wife/nonspecific significant other will stop resenting you, and your finances will take a considerable upswing. Maybe you'll get that big promotion.

And if none of that happens. . . well, you can always do a guest blog about it.

(a guest post by Kelli Renas)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Literary Hop - If Sienfeld was a Book

Should literature have a social, political, or any other type of agenda? Does having a clear agenda enhance or detract from its literary value?
Literary Blog Hop
Chances are that if you reached double digits in the 90's or get TBS you've seen Sienfeld. You know, that show about nothing? I've always had mixed feelings about it. I love Sienfeld when I'm really bored and there is nothing else to do, but if there is anything on, and I mean anything I'll probably switch to that. You're probably wondering why I'm talking about a syndicated show that just won't seem to go away but I have a point, I swear.
No plot for you!

I won't read something about nothing. I don't need each book to have a really strong point of view with clear political ties and a message as big as the Hollywood sign, but I want there to be something. It can be something as simple as how solitude has effected a persons life, but even something as dull as a single person talking about their day to day life as a hermit speaks to how difficult a life like that would be in todays society. Really, I just need a little message, a hint that the author has something at stake in writing their work.  I guess this is my real problem with the mystery/thriller genre. It's more about the author finding the correct formula that will keep the reader guessing but still sound plausible than anything else, and I don't like formulas.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday - Reasons Why Book Bloggers are Better than Other Bloggers

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because they are particularly fond of lists over at The Broke and the Bookish. I'm sure they'd love to share your lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten list.
This weeks Top Ten Tuesday topic is:
Top Ten Reasons Why I Love Being a Book Blogger

- Reading is Now a Priority - I love to read. I do. Why would I be sitting here at my oversized laptop in the dark typing up post after post for you guys if I didn't. But somethings reading is a chore, especially when a book is slow, or if I just want to watch TV or stare at facebook. This blog is a constant motivation to keep reading when I want to slack, and I like having something to hold me accountable.

- I Know What I've Read - Originally I started writing reviews as part of a new years resolution in 2009 because despite the fact that I can tell my best friend what sweater she was wearing that one time we ate at applebees three years ago I often get books confused with each other. Now I have lists (oh, how I love lists) and summaries as well as my fresh opinions of each book I've read for the past two years. It's fantastic! No longer are the books on my shelf taunting me with their choruses of "You read me once but think I'm that one about that dog and that kid" (Because my books like to pretend they're children stories when they harass me).

- I Like Books and You Like Books - Surprise! I think books are pretty awesome. You might even call them the bee's knees. Or not. It's really up to you. Chances are if you're reading this you think they're pretty awesome too. According to a video I saw in my 11th grade health class that makes us friends because we have "things" in common (public school FTW). But seriously, I don't have very many bookish friends in real life. Sure, some will sit around quietly while I talk at them about Mr. Darcy or something but here in the blogging community I can have a real conversation about all things bookish. It's refreshing and helps keep me sane.

- Recommendations - Remember that part where my friends don't really read? That was really detrimental to my reading habits. Now I have a slew of blogs I read on a regular bases where I get awesome new books to put on my TBR list. These are also mostly books I probably wouldn't have come across on my own.

- Writing - Okay, I know this isn't serious writing but at least it's something. I love that I have an excuse to write something every few days. It keeps me sharp.

- Twitter - I love twitter so much. I love book bloggers on twitter even more. Every day it's like I get to read a dozen or so mini reviews, as well as get all the latest book news all from a constantly updating feed of awesome.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Pride & Prejudice You Haven't Seen...

As you're probably well aware I've been rereading Pride & Prejudice as part of The Book Rat's Jane in June read-a-long. Well, last week my roommate and I got to talking - what versions of Pride & Prejudice need to happen. I mean, of course the A&E Colin Firth miniseries is a favorite, and I'm also a huge fan of the more resent Kiera Knightly film, so what other versions would become instant favorites?

We decided the best way to do this was to take directors who have favorite actors use in most of their films, as well as a specific style of filmmaking. The first cast's we came up with were for a Wes Anderson and a Judd Apatow.  If you have other suggestions for directors/styles/teams let me know!

My awesome roommate Jasmyn made the charts since I'm terrible with Photoshop. In case you're interested we also posted about our casting project on Camp or Crap (our bad movie blog).

Is this what normal people in their 20's do with their nights? Wait, maybe I don't want the answer to that.

One last thing: Wes, Judd, If you're reading this you should totally make these movies. I'd see them a bazillion times. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Pride & Prejudice Read-a-Long Part 3

This is the summer I'm perpetually behind. Late for lunches, group outings, picking my brother up from school - so it only stands to reason that I'd chronically be posting my read-a-long updates a few days late.  I decided to go back to Misty's questions, since without them I ramble like a big ol' rambling...thing...yeah.
How could you not love him?
  1. Discuss the whole of Lizzie's stay at Hunsford.  There are many great, famous moments in this stay, as well as memorable characters.  Discuss your highlights and low points (if any), your thoughts on characters like Lady Catherine and Col. Fitzwilliam, etc., as well as the new facets we see of the familiar characters

    I think Elizabeth's stay at Hunsford is my favorite part of the book. I may have said that about the ball in my last post, but I was wrong, this is totally my favorite. All of the characters in these chapters are really strong and memorable. Mr. Collins goes out of his way to be as proper (read:foolish) as possible around Lady Catherine, and since Elizabeth spends a lot of time observing Charlotte and sort of avoiding talking to Collin's his ridiculousness is easier to handle. Which brings me to the infamous Lady Catherine. To me, Lady Catherine is one of the funnier characters in Pride & Prejudice. Not in a haha funny way, but in a real life way. You know when you're sitting with someone who obviously thinks they know everything there is to know about life and more importantly, they know you're doing everything wrong? That's Lady Catherine, and she's hilarious to talk about behind her back. Sure, she's a witch with a capital B when you're with her, but she every encounter with her means you have a great story to tell at dinner parties!
  2. Discuss Darcy's proposal.  Prompts: What are your feelings on this scene; what do you think of the behavior of both Darcy and Lizzie.  Contrast this to Lizzie's first proposal from Collins.  Is Lizzie's complete surprise believable, especially in light of Charlotte's prolonged insistence that Darcy feels something for Lizzie, and the slight hints Darcy drops prior to the proposal?

    First off, I love this proposal, even if I think it's really flawed and is not what I'd want to hear. I get it, Darcy knows Elizabeth is below him and that's why he's "Struggling" and fighting his own emotions and everything but THAT'S NOT WHAT YOU SAY WHEN YOU ARE PROFESSING YOUR UNDYING LOVE FOR SOMETHING. You say things like "you're perfect" and "I'd catch a grenade for you" ...okay, scratch that, it's just as bad, but still you don't tell the object of your affection that you could do better but you'll settle for her. Especially since Darcy's pretty garuded about his feelings. I totally buy that Elizabeth didn't realize how he felt. She'a already formed her opinion of him by this point and despite the fact that Charlotte thinks that he might like her she has no reason to believe his feelings would be strong enough to come over and sneak propose to her.
  3. Lizzie has to this point turned down two proposals.  Share your thoughts on this from the perspective of the modern woman (presumably) you are, and from the perspective of a Regency gentlewoman.  Consider the reactions of the people in her life, especially Mrs Bennet, if they were to find out.  Also, consider her rejections from the males' perspectives.  Is Darcy (or even Collins) justified in being shocked to be rejected?

    I discussed this in my last post. I think it's very interesting that Austen chose to have Elizabeth turn down two socially acceptable proposals. As a modern woman I'm all for Elizabeth's independent streak, and if it happened today it really wouldn't be a huge deal (especially since Mr. Collin's is a buffoon)  but in the 1800's that would be a huge deal. Mrs. Bennet would have gone crazy if she found out Elizabeth turned down a second proposal, and she'd probably become the subject of town gossip.

  4. Discuss Darcy's infamous letter.  Does/did it change your opinion of Darcy?  Lizzie feels she has acted "despicably" and regrets much of what she said; do you have reservations about any parts of it, things you still think Elizabeth should hold against him?  If you could question him or react to him, what would you say.  Consider writing your own response letter.

    I know when I first read Pride & Prejudice I had a really hard time liking Mr. Darcy until I read his letter and started to understand the man that is Darcy. He was right about the character of most of the Bennet family and his story of Wickham is very heartfelt and honest. True, if I had gotten that letter and he was telling me how he'd ruined my sisters life and how silly my family was I'd probably be pretty mad for a bit, but as an innocent bystander who has watched the Bennents be silly the entire book it's perfectly acceptable and makes Darcy more human.

  5. In the first response post, we asked ourselves about our opinions of Darcy and Wickham.  Give your opinions of the two now.    Also, reevaluate your opinions of Collins and Bingley, our other 2 "eligible" men.

    My opinions of the four men are pretty straight forward. Darcy's cool, Wickham's irritating, Collin's is a buffoon and Bingley is a pretty boy.
I'm running out of time so I'll leave you with with that. Hope everyone's enjoying their reading!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pride & Prejudice Read-a-Long Part 2

Keeping up with my I'm-not-in-school-so-scheduling-has-gone-out-the-window period that's been going on for the past couple weeks I bring you Part 2 of my thoughts of Pride & Prejudice for the Book Rats Jane in June Read-a-Long. Instead of answering the questions I decided I was just going to go over some of my broader thoughts of this section.

Oskar Wild is not as big a fan of Jane Austen as I am.

Now, if you'll remember back to Part 1, I was minding my own business reading Pride & Prejudice and BAM Elizabeth Bennett was just annoying the pants off of me. She was all judgmental and mean to Mr. Darcy, who was making me swoon with his timely placed eye comments and quiet disposition. I was very confused. I liked Elizabeth in my previous reads? She was the everyone! I was discouraged, I put my paperback down, went to the library, started On the Road and thought fondly about Colin Firth. I needed time. 

Okay, I didn't need that much time. I was back to P&P within a few days and found my feelings completely changed. Elizabeth was the love-able heroine I remembered from several years back. She was poised and confident and completely awesome! The ball at Netherfield left me cringing, but in a good way, since I know that not all hope is lost. I was also starting to appreciate the roles of the umm... sillier...characters. Lydia drives me up the wall, but she certainly has her purpose and while I can't stand Mr. Collin's I love how oblivious to real customs Austen made him.  Even Wickham's true character starts to show at the end of this section. Masterfully done, Jane, masterfully done. 

I was also really thinking about marriage during these chapters. Okay, that isn't a surprising fact. Mrs. Bennett is always talking about marriage. If you think about it, Jane was living in a time where you needed a husband to have any sort of comfortable living, otherwise you were a burden on your family and that sad person people talked about at balls who is now the crazy spinster down the lane. So what does Jane do? She has good ol' sensible Elizabeth turn down the marriage proposal that could keep her family in their home because Mr. Collins is crazy irritating. Wow. That's a huge gamble girl! I feel like the reason Pride & Prejudice has remained a favorite so long is that Elizabeth is more of a 21st century girl than a 19th century one. She has her own thoughts and opinions and doesn't want to end up in some forced, loveless marriage just because it's expected of her and I think that's awesome. It also lead me to believe there needs to be a Doctor Who episode where the Doctor visits Jane Austen and tells her about feminism and then whoever his companion is inspires Emma. 

Oh, last thing. I was right, the pages are starting to fall out of my crappy paperback, anyone have suggestions for good Pride & Prejudice editions?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Far to Go - Pick

Alison Pick

1938, The Sudetenland, Czechoslovakia. The Bauer's and their governess, Marta, have it all - a profitable textile factory, good friends and what they think is safety - but when Hitler and his supporters start making trouble the Bauer's begin to realize how dangerous it is to be Jewish in these changing times. Far to Go is the story of how they try to keep their lives and their pride while protecting their dearest treasure - their son and ward Pepik.

Sometimes I pick up a book with the hopes of getting that warm fuzzy feeling that happy endings offer. This was not one of those times. Pick uses her personal connections and the stories she's heard of the Kindertransport to inspire the Bauer's tale, and all of her background information pays off. The Bauer's seem like a real family, with their own secrets and traditions. Their day to day life is pretty average, but in Pick's story it's part of their struggle - trying to keep their lives normal in a changing world. It's a refreshing take on a very common story. The Bauer's and Marta's struggles are against their old friends and their old lives and this made it easy to feel for them without having to see the bigger picture of World War Two.

Pick also inserts a modern tale told from Marta's daughters, Anneliese's, perspective. Her insight is interesting, but it often felt short and forced. In reality, the Bauer's story can stand on it's own, and even though Anneliese's story is connected it felt more like the subject of another book instead of one instep with the plot the reader has come to know. On the other hand I found the letter's from various family members inserted between chapters much more informative and moving. They gave the same insight into the fate of the characters as Annelieses's chapters, but did so in a more subtle manner that really made my heart ache.

Overall Far to Go was a good read. It was short, but that didn't stop it from being a total page turner. It is truly one of those books that will stay for weeks after you finish. If you're looking for something heavy, but still quick for a summer read this is definitely one to pick up.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Outside Influences - Literary Hop

Literary Blog Hop
As always, the Literary Hop is hosted by the lovely ladies over at The Blue Bookcase. They're awesome. You should check them out. 

What other outside influences affect your reading experience? Do you think these influences enhance or detract from the experience?

Okay, here's my thing with outside influences - I feel like everything is an influence. My knowledge of a period or place could draw me to a book, or a friend of blogger recommendation. Sometimes it's even movies and TV shows. After I saw The Princess and the Frog I went in search of books set in New Orleans in the 1920's, and after one of my many Tudor's marathons I picked up Phillipa Gregory for the first time.

Whatever you say, dear.   

Really, after I saw the Tudor's for the first time I tore through anything related to Henry VIII, Anne Boyle or any of his other wives. I had a problem. My friends were worried. They also didn't know who Henry was, which probably explains why they didn't want to hear about my rants. 

Which leads me to my largest outside influence - whatever my current obsession is. A few years ago I was crazy about Prague. In response I read pretty much everything Kundera wrote. I thought Monet was an interesting person for a hot minute and I read Claude & Camille after leaving his Wikipedia page up for three days. I go through months where I spend all my free time looking up information of a time period, a place, a person or theory, and this inevitably leads me to fiction based around the same thing.  What it comes down to is that I like books that continue my understanding of a certain subject. 

Overall I think these influences add to my reading experience. Usually they just leave me with welcome background knowledge that gives me a deeper understanding of my current book. Of course, if it's a book that is responsible for my current obsession it can become a bit distraction if I end up searching the internet for specific information, but mostly it's a welcome distraction. 

Well, I'm off to watch Castle and then to probably find a book about a writer shadowing his latest inspiration. Hope everyone has a good weekend!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday - Amazing Settings

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because they are particularly fond of lists over at The Broke and the Bookish. I'm sure they'd love to share your lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten list.
This weeks Top Ten Tuesday topic is:
Top Ten Favorite Settings

1. Hogwarts - The Harry Potter series - Come on, you've all been around here long enough to know I'm Harry Potter crazy. Hogwarts is totally awesome. It's magical, it's safe and there is all of this awesome food everywhere. Plus, if you were at Hogwarts there is a pretty good chance that you're a wizard yourself and that's a pretty good reason to be happy. Fun times.

2. Pemberley Estate - Pride & Prejudice - I'm kind of a sucker for fantastic, old houses and that' is exactly what Pemberley is. I've always pictured Pemberley as this dreamy, beautiful estate filled with that large library Caroline Bingley is always babbling about and a family that wants to be happy. I'm also picturing it less like a museum than the miniseries made it out to be.

3. The Cemetery of Forgotten Books - The Shadows of the Wind - I'm obviously a bookish person, so it's not really a surprise that I love the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. It's exactly what it sounds likes. Okay, not exactly. The books aren't burned or buried, but instead hid inside of this building that doesn't look like a library but totally is. I'm sure there would be a ton of treasures in it.

4. Boarding Schools - A Slew of Novels - I wouldn't have actually wanted to go to a boarding school, but they tend to be pretty awesome in books. I mean their's Hogwarts, and then the boarding schools in the Carol Goodman novels - which tend to be more language and art oriented and crazy awesome - then there are the classic boarding schools like the one's Fitzgereld wrote about. It's just an interesting setting where knowledge is being shared, hormones are everywhere and drama is just around the corner.

5. Old Manor Houses - Everywhere - You know when you're reading a book and it's kind of old and everyone lives in a slightly creaky, mostly dingy, really old Manor. I love those houses. They're awesome.

6. England - If there is one place I read about more than any other it is definitely England. There are just so many fantastic English writers, and of course there are also some pretty amazing historical settings as well.

7.Faerie - Stardust - One of my favorite worlds Neil Gaiman has created. It's magical and dangerous, but also completely entertaining.

8. Paris between 1870 and 1930 - Paris is a magical city, and because of this there are a ton of books set their. A lot of the time I have a hard time finding novels set in Paris that fit what I'm looking for. However, I am almost always up for books about artists in Paris, and because of that I tend to fall head over heels in love with books set in Paris during these high art times. You've got the impressionists,  Lost Generation, Channel. There are just so many interesting people walking the streets during this period.

9. The Tardis - Okay, I haven't read any of the Doctor Who books, but I do watch the show and since they are taking a mid season break and I spent a lot of time yesterday watching Matt Smith running around saving the world the Tardis makes my list.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Pride & Prejudice Read-a-Long Part 1

So I'm doing the Pride & Prejudice read-a-long as part of Book Rat's Jane in June event. I'm a little behind though, so my post is a little late. Regardless, I'm crazy  happy to be rereading Pride & Prejudice for the first time and spreading the Jane Austen love.
This is me with my beaten up copy of P&P. I'm not entirely sure it will survive the reread. 

Tell us a little about your experience with Jane: is this your first time reading Pride and Prejudice/Austen? If so, What were you expecting going in? If this is not your first Jane, what makes you want to read this again?

For me I've always felt I like Jane Austen more in theory than in practice. I read Pride & Prejudice for the first time a few years ago and was really happy to have loved it, but my next few attempts with Sense and Sensibility and Emma (which I didn't finish) left sometime to be desired from my Jane Austen experience. When I started this reread I was really looking forward to rediscovering the things I loved about Austen from my first experience with her so maybe I could be motivated to finish her other novels.

Share your first impression of the book so far. What have the highlights been for you? Any favorite parts so far? Least favorite parts? Things you found confusing?

I remember the first time I read Pride & Prejudice thinking "Where's Lizzy?" for the first two chapters. Having seen parts of the movie and, you know, just existing in a literate world I knew she was the protagonist of the story, yet she isn't really important in the beginning of the book. Now that I know to expect all this Jane business everything read much smoother, and I was generally surprised at how fast P&P reads.

Jane Austen is known for her memorable characters. What do you think so far of the characterization? Do any stand out to you? If this is a reread for you, do you notice new things in the characters with each reread? Do your favorite characters change with each reread?

I use to really love Elizabeth. She was like the everygirl:  smart, funny, easily misguided but with her heart in the right place. During this read I'm loving her less. She's still smart and witty, but she just isn't sparkling for me right now. However I am really enjoying Mr. Darcy in the beginnings of the novel. He's sweeter than I remember and it seems obvious now that he only had the best (if slightly misguided) intentions at heart.

What do you make of the principle characters so far? Do you relate to any particular one?

i feel like there is a lot of set up in these first 80 something pages. We're just learning the basic traits of each of the characters. Lizzy's smart and sassy, Jane's calm and sweet, Mrs Bennet is a crazy person (not really crazy just crazy irritating) and Mr. Darcy's kind of proud.

Discuss the eligible men of Pride & Prejudice: Impressiosn of Mr Bingley, Mr Darcy, Wickham and Mr Colins.

As far as eligible men go, the only two I think are worthy of my attention are Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy. Bingley's terribly sweet, and recognizes his own faults and is just all kinds of adorable. And Darcy's just Darcy. He's that men guy in class you had a crush on because he said stuff like "Hey Stupid! You're holding up the line!" and  you laughed and laughed because he was cute and if he was cute he obviously deserved your attention...That's probably a really bad way to think about Darcy. Oh well.

Also. I hate Mr. Collins with a passion.

Discuss the Bennet girls stay at Netherfield.

Elizabeth and Jane's time at Netherfield is one of my favorite parts of the book. We learn so much about the Bingley's and Darcy while there. Plus it's really funny. Living in the 21st century intstead of the beginning of the 19th it's easily to see Elizabeth as a sensible and normal modern girl, but in reality she's kind of odd for her own time period. The time at Netherfield really plays off that.  Caroline is irritating, but really kind of funny and it's interesting to see the Bennet's from someone else's perspective.

Discuss Wickham's revelation of Darcy's character: Judging solely on the text so far do you believe the things Wickham tells Lizzie? what impressions do you have of Wickham, Lizzie and Darcy after this?

Jane really got this part right. Wickham's Darcy tale is, in my opinion, completely believable. He's nonchalant about it and doesn't spend very much time dwelling on Darcy's "wrong doings". More so he convinces Lizzie that Darcy could actually be the type of man that would disregard his fathers wishes, and so far Lizzies opinions have been fairly accurate. I still don't particularly like Wickham as a character, but that could just be because I think he's kind of dull.

Discuss the humor in the book so far: There are a lot of different types of humor on display throughout the book, from Mr. Bennet's dry indifference, Lizzie's witty banter, Mr Collins ridiculousness, etc.

My thing with Pride & Prejudice is that it's funny, but it's not really HaHa funny. I really love Mr. Bennet's dry humor though. During my reread I've found several of his passages underlined with little "lol"s next to them. He's the insider that realizes his world is pretty trivial and kind of insane. Lydia's blatant disregard for manners makes me laugh too. She's just so, so silly. The one person who is probably suppose to be comic relief that I don't find funny is Mr. Collins. He just irritates me so much and It's all I can do to not picture to disgusting man that plays him in the movie whenever I see his name. It's like his words are nails on a chalkboard. They're not funny, they're irritating.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

May in Review

I don't know about you, but I thought May was kind of weird. Not just "what is this weather why is my basement flooding DEAR GOD DON'T LET MY CAR TURN INTO A BOAT" weird, but like real life weird too. I graduated in the middle of the month and ended up coming back to my parents house, which has been much better than I had actually expected it to be. 

I also got a dog. His name is Oskar (like in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close) and he's an 8 week old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel/Bichon mix. Our older dog, Buddy, isn't overly thrilled by the new fur ball, but is adjusting. Anyway, I'm babbling about puppies. This isn't a puppy blog. 
Without further adieu here is my May in Review post. As always, I took the template from the lovely Lily at Lily's Bookshelf.

This is Oskar. He has mastered the "I'm skeptical" look. 

Books Read:
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Rowling
The Tragedy of Arthur - Phillips
Far To Go - Pick
Leaving Van Gogh - Wallace 
Total Number of Books Read This Month: 4
Total Number of Books Read This Year: 19
Most Anticipated: 
Leaving Van Gogh

Biggest Let Down:
The Tragedy of Arthur

Favorite Read:
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (I cried so much guys. So much.)
Overall Reflection: 
I'm starting to think my original goal of reading 75 books this year might be unrealistic with the start I got off to. Regardless, it's been a slow reading year for me. Hopefully this summer will help me to pick up my pace. I'm kind of sad I'm done with Harry Potter for a while, but it will probably be best for my friendships and my own mental health if I can talk about things that are Hogwarts related. Other than that everything's been pretty normal. 

How was your May? Read any fantastic books? Let me know!