This week Krysta and Briana at Pages Unbound are hosting the discussion: Do you have a favorite time period for classic literature?
DEFINITELY. As in, it’s not even a contest. I love Romantic literature. In particular I tend to enjoy French Romantic literature more than English, but as long as it isn’t Dickens I’ll read pretty much anything from the time period.
The Romantic era is a pretty big umbrella that covers a lot of different literary styles. It lasted from approximately 1790-1850. That means that both Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters are Romance authors, and they’re just about as different as they come. I’m sure I could google characteristics of the Romantic era, but I personally associate Romance novels with being long, melodramatic, and emotional. Some of the novels that epitomize Romantic literature for me are Jane Eyre, Les Miserables, and Great Expectations.
What I personally love about Romance novels is the feeling and emotion they are written with. Since mot of the classics I read in school were from the Romantic era or later, when I was first introduced to the Classical era through Tom Jones or Candide, I was surprised at how … aloof the novels seemed. In Romantic novels you get to really know the characters, their thoughts and feelings. This is taken to the nth degree by Charlotte Bronte in Jane Eyre when she wrote *gasp* in the first person.
Continue reading “Classic Remarks: Favorite Time-Period”
This week Krysta and Briana at Pages Unbound are hosting the discussion: Tell us about a classic you find humorous. And my automatic response is to ask, is it too obvious to talk about the collected works of Jane Austen?
In particular Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Emma and Northanger Abbey are the funniest of her novels. While Northanger Abbey isn’t laugh-out-loud funny like the other three, its satire remains so relevant today that I found this book to be hilarious enough to want to write a YA spoof about Twi-hards. I’ve lost interest in that project since YA paranormal romance has fallen out of popularity, but whatever, I still love Northanger Abbey.
But Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite books of all time *because* of how funny it is. I think where Austen’s sense of humor really shines is in her over-the-top characters. Mr. Collins is a particular favorite of mine, and his speech about why Elizabeth should marry him one of my favorite parts of the book. Lady Catherine also has some great moments, and Mrs. Bennet is a hoot.
Austen is great a one-liners, too. The opening line remains one of my favorite in literature. “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man of good fortune must be in want of a wife.” Her general observations about the world aren’t always relevant still, but are nevertheless funny. In general her writing style is aloof and witty, and for whatever reason I am in love with it.
Continue reading “Classic Remarks: A Humorous Classic”
Emma and Frank Churchill plan an outing for the Highbury group to scenic Box Hill for a picnic. Tensions between Emma, Frank, Jane Fairfax, and the Eltons come to a head as a result of this party, and Emma is finally forced to confront the shortcomings of her character. And Harriet’s new love interest helps Emma to recognize her own feelings…
Why I Love This Book: Volume 3
Continue reading “Favorites February: Emma Volume 3”
- Ah, the love story. I was so invested this time through, so able to catch on to the little details, I was practically swooning.
- Jane Fairfax is a very interesting character, and I love seeing her fleshed out in this volume.
- Seeing everyone, even Mr. Knightly, thoroughly abuse Mrs. Elton is so satisfying.
- In some ways Volume 3 in soooo cringy, because all of Emma’s flaws come to their climax. But seeing her learn and grow is one of literature’s great character arcs.
- I just adore how Mr. Knightly loves Emma so much that he’s willing to move to Hartfield, something unheard of in that day and age. ALL THE FEELS!
Back again with another Favorites February! This week I’m taking a look at the second volume of Jane Austen’s classic novel, Emma. Emma is considered by some book critics and historians as the “perfect novel”, and a lot of the things that make the novel so great come into play during volume 2. I hope you enjoy, and as always, play along in the comments!
Frank Churchill finally comes to Highbury, meeting all of Emma’s expectations for an amiable young man. Could she be falling in love after all? The only way to find out: a ball! Mr. Elton also returns with his new bride, both ready to spite Emma at any chance.
Why I Love This Book: Volume 2
Continue reading “Favorites February: Emma, Volume 2”
- The real actual problems with Emma’s character are more deeply explored and less superficial.
- Mr. Knightly starts to really come in to his own as character with a personality.
- The satire is sooooo biting.
- Especially on the re-read, catching the sub-text about Jane Fairfax.
- Maybe this makes me a snob, but I feel like a lot of the finer points of this volume hinge on a working knowledge of society of that era, and I feel like such a smarty-pants for catching it all!
Elizabeth sat in the train compartment with her sister, Jane, absolutely mortified. God, that had been embarrassing. Her mother loudly pointing out kids from all the “best” wizarding families and insisting Elizabeth make friends with them, her sisters running around and screaming with nobody stopping them. Lydia had even tried to get on the train! And then that boy she’d been sitting with had smirked at her like that before getting up and moving to another compartment. Could there even be a worse first day at Hogwarts?
A rather ugly girl knocked on their compartment door. “Excuse me,” she asked timidly, “can I sit with you?”
“Of course you can!” Jane answered, moving over to make room. “I’m Jane, and this is my sister Elizabeth.”
“I’m Charlotte,” she responded, sitting down, smiling. “Anyone want a Chocolate Frog?” Continue reading “Sorting Hat Sunday: Pride and Prejudice”
I guess it was about a year ago now that I re-read Sense and Sensibility,. As I do, I went to goodreads to see what the popular reviews were saying. Most were pretty predictable Austen reviews, but one in particular snagged my attention. It made me so angry, and I’m still thinking about it a year later.
I’m keeping the author of the review anonymous, obviously, and I’m only going to quote here a small portion of the review. If you want to read more you’ll have to do your own digging on goodreads.
Reading Sense and Sensibility made me realize why I don’t like Jane Austen’s books, and probably never will: she was a brilliant author, and her novels are funny and well-written, but at the end of the day, her characters spend 90% of their time talking about boys. Nothing else happens: they go to a ball, where they worry about which boy isn’t dancing with them; they have tea, where they talk about which girls have snagged which boys; and they write letters about which girls have done scandalous things with boys. It’s just pages and pages of “I like you but you hate me!” “No, I really love you, you were just misinformed!” “My, what a silly misunderstanding!” “I agree! Let’s get married!” and all its variations and it bores me to death. I love the humor, and I love the characters, I just want them to do something interesting. This is probably why Pride and Prejudice and Zombies resonated so well with me – finally, the Bennett sisters got to do something besides sit around and mope about the various boys who weren’t talking to them for whatever reason!
- If you don’t like Jane Austen’s novels (or as she says at the beginning of her review, romantic comedies), then why are you reading one?
- Saying nothing else in this book happens other than they talk about boys is a gross exaggeration and just plain not true. The very first thing to happen, for example, is their father dies and they are forced out of their home before they are even done mourning him.
- Even if that was true and nothing else happens except for boy stuff, it is unfair to place your 21st century expectations for a novel on a book written in the early 19th century.
This third point is the one I want to talk about today. Continue reading “Context Matters: Criticizing the Classics”
Since Star Wars Episode 8 came out about a month ago, I’ve seen TONS of lists ranking the Star Wars movies from worst to best, favorite to least favorite, whatever. Oh my gosh, it’s so much fun, and I just had to do it too! Which led to a LONG list ranking my favorite Marvel movies (lots of unpopular opinions there!), and then led to me talking about all the bookish rankings I could do.
Oh my gosh. Ranking books and movies is my new addiction.
So, for absolutely no reason at all other than this is what I WANTED to do on a Sunday morning while I’m stuck in bed having braxton-hicks contractions, my list of Jane Austen novels from most favorite to least favorite. Enjoy! Continue reading “Ranking Austen”
Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
Series: The Austen Project
Maturity Level: 5
View on Goodreads
This version of the Bennet family and Mr. Darcy is one that you have and haven’t met before: Liz is a magazine writer in her late thirties who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to help and discover that the sprawling Tudor they grew up in is crumbling and the family is in disarray.
Youngest sisters Kitty and Lydia are too busy with their CrossFit workouts and Paleo diets to get jobs. Mary, the middle sister, is earning her third online master’s degree and barely leaves her room, except for those mysterious Tuesday-night outings she won’t discuss. And Mrs. Bennet has one thing on her mind: how to marry off her daughters, especially as Jane’s fortieth birthday fast approaches.
Enter Chip Bingley, a handsome new-in-town doctor who recently appeared on the juggernaut reality TV dating show Eligible. At a Fourth of July barbecue, Chip takes an immediate interest in Jane, but Chip’s friend, neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy, reveals himself to Liz to be much less charming. . . . And yet, first impressions can be deceiving.
This was, hands down, my least favorite version of Pride and Prejudice I have ever encountered. However, like so many books I’ve read in 2017, I found that when I just stopped expecting it to be P&P, I actually rather enjoyed it.
Continue reading “Review: Eligible”