5 Classics for Beginners

It’s no secret that I am a great lover of Classic Literature. Anything before about 1940 and I’m sold. Except for Dickens, don’t know why. *shrug* And when you are a lover of the classics, it comes up a lot. Especially on Instagram, for some reason. So a lot of the time I get asked the question:

“I want to read more/some classic literature, but I’ve never really read any. Do you have a recommendation of where to start?”

Why is it so hard for people to find a classic they think they’re interested in? My theory is because so many of them are SOOOOOO long, and people are intimidated by the length, and that they may have a preconceived notion that classics are slow or dull. Well, I’m not going to lie friends, many of them are long. And if your main source of literature is 21st century YA, then yeah, the pace is going to be a lot slower than you are used to. But I think they are worth reading anyway. Once you get used to the slower pace, you’re going to find some amazing stories.

Which brings me to my first recommendation. Don’t stop after one. If you find you don’t enjoy your first classic, don’t give up. Like I said, if you’re mostly used to YA, the different pace is going to take some getting used to. And, therefore, my second suggestion. Don’t read the one you’re most interested in first. I would hate for you to have a bad experience with Pride and Prejudice because you didn’t understand it, or because you were bored. Start out with one that you’re willing to not be in love with.

So, with no further ado, here are my suggestions for first classics.

The Scarlet Pimpernel

The Scarlet Pimpernel is always my go-to suggestion for a first classic. Set in the era of the French Revolution, the daring Scarlet Pimpernel is an English spy who rescues the fleeing French nobility from the very jaws of Madame le Guillotine. French actress Marguerite, who has married into the very British nobility in the thick of these plots, must discover the identity of thy mysterious Scarlet Pimpernel, but will doing so forever estrange her from her doting husband?

I always recommend this book for a couple of reasons. The writing style is fairly quick and exciting for most of the book. It opens with a bang, a deception and a chase sequence sure to hook the reader in. By the end of the book I was turning pages so fast I don’t know if I was reading even half the words on the page, so desperate was I to find out what would become of Marguerite. The second reason is that this book has a really nice blend of a great spy story (with all the twists, disguises, and surprises) with a swoon-worthy love story. I think modern readers will really connect with the content of this book, and the writing style is very accessible. It is one of my all-time favorites.

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Bookish March Madness: Championship

Here it is! The round to end all rounds! Which book from The Great American Read will be crowned as my all-time one-and-only champion?!?!

In the first corner, one of history’s most beloved novels, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE! Written by Jane Austen, this book is the basis for one of history’s greatest romance tropes, enemies to lovers. It has sparked countless remakes, adaptations, and inspired-bys. Readers continue to fall in love with Mr. Darcy (and Colin Firth) and see themselves reflected in the quick wit and dry humor of Elizabeth Bennett.

In the other corner, HARRY POTTER! It is impossible, friends, to overstate the impact Harry Potter has had on my generation. When I was in fifth grade kids who had never finished a book were clamoring to read my teacher’s copy. It made a generation of readers. And as adults we are having the chance to read this series to our kids. Its message of friendship, love, and magic is timeless, and its humor and emotions still ring true. We will always be re-reading this book.

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Bookish March Madness 2020: Final Four

Is it in bad taste to continue this series after the actual March Madness tournament has been cancelled due to Covid-19? Or is it comforting to have something goofy and light? I hope the second, because here I am.

For those of you just tuning in, this March I’m celebrating my apathy for basketball but my love for brackets with a “tournament” pitting the top 16 books from The Great American Read against each other. What is the point? 1) To declare the ULTIMATE WINNER of the BEST BOOK OF ALL TIME 2) Because I really like brackets. Making a buzzfeed bracket (or whatever the current favorite site is…) didn’t appeal to me, so here we are.

These are my Final Four favorite books. There was some heartbreak last round (saying goodbye to The Lord of the Rings and Little Women), but this round will bring in some VERY difficult choices. All the books remaining are books I truly love, and they are all quite different from one another. It’ll be like comparing apples and oranges, but I will suffer through it. (For the record, apples are better.)

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Bookish March Madness 2020: Elite Eight

*cue exciting music*

[in deep announcer voice] LADIES AND GENTLEMAN! Weeeellllcome to Booooookish March Maaaaadness!!! *wild cheering*

Okay, maybe not, but hi there! Thanks for reading again! Or, for those of you who are here for the first time, welcome. I’m making some room in your basketball filled social media feeds with some bookish content.

This week, it’s down to the Elite Eight! These books from PBS’s Great American Read have survived one round, but who will be the ULTIMATE CHAMPION?!?! (aka my personal favorite)

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Bookish March Madness 2020: Sweet Sixteen

*singing* I don’t know anything about basketball, except that MY TEAM BEAT BAYLOR. La-la la-la la-la laaaa.

Sorry it’s out of my system I think. *cough* Baylor sucks *cough*. Hem, on to books now, shall we?

As an antidote to the annoying phenomenon that is seeing your social media fill up with people who don’t know anything about sports talking about “their bracket,” this month I’m hosting my OWN March Madness tournament. The top 16 books from The Great American read will face off in a match to the DEATH to see which will be MY FAVORITE BOOK. Why? I don’t know, because brackets are fun. *shrugs*

Feel free to give me your thought on the match-ups in the comments. Am I right, or wildly wrong? Did I not do justice to your all-time favorite book? This wouldn’t be sportsball if we didn’t end up in an almost-fist-fight for our team!

So here we are with Week 1, the Sweet Sixteen. [insert generic sports-buzzer-sound here]

To Kill a Mockingbird vs. The Help

Oh, you guys are going to hate me. I read To Kill a Mockingbird maybe five or six years ago and I liked it, but I didn’t love it. Like, I get why it’s a super important book and everything, but I just didn’t really connect with Scout. Her overly simple way of seeing the world frustrated me. And maybe that’s the point, but there it is. On the other hand, I ADORE The Help. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it’s just one of my favorite pieces of historical fiction. Which is saying something, because I love historical fiction. I was so inspired by the women in this book, especially Aibileen.

and the winner is… THE HELP!

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March Madness 2020 – Bookish Edition

Hey all you boys and girls out there! I don’t know about you all, but I can’t get enough of brackets. I love doing all those stupid online brackets to see which Disney movie I like best, or what my favorite Taylor Swift song is, or literally anything except sports. And since I fully expect my social media feed (if I was on social media anymore…) to be flooded with basketball content for the next month, I thought I would go ahead and throw a bookish bracket out there for you all! (But mostly for me, lol)

So I was thinking about what kind of bracket I would want to do, and I had lots of ideas. YA Paranormal Romance, Time Travel, Classics, Dragons! But … basically I realized I wasn’t going to have time to do all of that reading. Next year I’ll have to start in July! Haha.

Anyway, I was thinking about what I could do without having to do a bunch of extra reading. And, BOOM, it hit me! About two years ago I was completely obsessed with The Great American Read. If there’s anything I like better than brackets, it’s lists!! Amazon Top 100, BBC Books to Read Before You Die, Great American Read, I’ve done them all. I never usually am able to check off more than twenty or so, but The Great American Read happened to have a lot of books I love on it. Then, AFTER THAT, I was so in love with the show that I went out there and read more! There’s still a few on my tbr, but I’m hopefully getting to them this year.

Seriously, The Great American Read was a great mini-series, and it’s still available on PBS’s website. If you love books and you love PBS you have to watch it!

So here it is, my 2020 March Madness Bookish Edition Bracket!

Ta-da!!!

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How to Enjoy the Superbowl: A Guide for Bookworms

Hey there all you sportsball fans! It’s the biggest night of the year! Tonight at something-o-clock, a bunch of really fit dudes are going to throw a possibly-spherical ball around a court/field and try to score points in front of millions! Who is playing? WE DON’T KNOW! Why is this a big deal? WE DON’T CARE! Will we still watch?

….

Maybe?

It’s easy to get sucked in to the Superbowl excitement. Possibly you are obligated to attend some sort of party. (Hey, at least there will be food!) Maybe your family is having other people over to watch the game. (Probably also food!) Perhaps you and the people or pets at your house decided to watch just for funsies. But, let’s be honest, we’re book people. This is the ONLY night of the year that we watch sportsball probably. How on earth are we supposed to enjoy it?

Luckily for you, I was quite the sportsball fan at a different period in my life! So I am here to be your guide! I have all the tips and tricks for enjoying the big game, even if you have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what is going on!

1. Have food and drink.

Really the entire purpose of this event is to eat something really bad for you. If you can get themed food to help you get in the mood, great! If not, order your pizza AT LEAST two hours before you want it, because they are going to be swamped.

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