Thursday, September 26, 2013

Trying to come back...

First things first: Have you seen the way my blog looks now? How different and beautiful it is? And particularly, the lovely banner on the top? My very own sister Stephanie did it all! There are still a few things to tweak, but I'm excited with the way it's turning out!

Now for the less exciting stuff. I was doing SO WELL at posting nearly every day, and then all of a sudden I hit a bump and I don't post at all. And I'm falling completely behind at reading all of your beautiful blogs, too. Funny how that started happening right after the post about blogger fatigue.

School is taking up a lot of my time, of course. And this semester, all of my classes are turning out absolutely fantastic. I'm not even being sarcastic. I love every single one of my classes. Since three of them are English classes, I've naturally been reading a lot. Here are some of the things I've read so far:

Masterpieces of World Literature: The Epic of Gilgamesh, Oedipus the King
18th Century British Literature: The Country Wife, All for Love (Antony and Cleopatra), and I started Pamela (lucky me)
Victorian Literature: Lots of rousing essays and poems by John Ruskin, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning, Thomas Carlyle, and others

Sounds wildly exciting, right? You just can't wait to read what I have to say about the Epic of Gilgamesh, right?

Yeah, okay, these things are fun to discuss in class, but I honestly don't have a lot to say about them here on the blog. I would pretty much never read any of these things on my own time.

But, that's what I thought earlier this year, in spring term. That's the exact same thing that kept me from posting about all the great stuff I was reading back then, and then I regretted it. So, that's not going to happen again! Now that I've had a bit of a break to get my bearings and figure out this semester, I'm going to come back to the blog. Of course, I won't write about everything I read... I'll stick to the (relatively) interesting stuff. Then, if you studied literature in college, you can take a walk down memory lane. Or if you didn't, you can now know exactly what it's like. (Snort.)

Sorry this was such a short and dull post. I just needed to write about my plans to get myself motivated, you know? See you again soon!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Bleak House by Charles Dickens

Oh, Mr. Dickens. You confuse me sometimes.

On one hand, Dickens was a marvelous storyteller. His books have intricate, detailed plots that appropriately raise the tension little by little, while also offering characters that we can laugh at and relate to. His writing style is witty and engaging. And yet...

I don't know what it is, but I always feel that there's something missing in Dickens's novels. Perhaps it's an aspect of the characters. They're either too obvious, or not believable. Rarely do I find a Dickens character that is fascinating enough to me that I want to dig deeper.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

15-Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 13

Click on the picture to check out the challenge and participate!

"Describe one underappreciated book EVERYONE should read." 

I seriously dislike the fact that "everyone" is in all caps there. I don't know that there is one specific book (excluding what I believe to be scripture) that literally every person should read (and if there is, I don't claim to know which it is). Aside from that, to be honest, I don't really read a lot of underappreciated books. I read mostly classics, and if not classics, then usually it's bestsellers and award winners and highly-recommended books. So...yeah. All very appreciated. 

So be aware that these are what I consider to be underappreciated classics...and not necessarily everyone should read them...but they're good ones to consider, if you haven't read them yet. (Okay, excessive disclaimer over.)

First is Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. I definitely wasn't expecting this one to be much good, and it blew me away. Don't trust the horrid black-and-white film--the original book is completely different! 

Second is Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. This is possibly the funniest Austen novel I've read, and yet it seems to be even more obscure than Mansfield Park. Probably because the romance isn't quite as dreamy as Lizzy and Darcy. 

Third is (forgive me) Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. Say what you will about this book, I will stand by it as an American classic. Oddly, it seems to be considered something of a sub-par classic, which I just don't understand. Because it's sympathetic toward white Southerners? Because it depicts racism? (Quick, sweep Tom Sawyer under the rug...) Anyway, I really loved this book. Even better than the movie. 

What underappreciated books do you think everyone should read? 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

15-Day Book Blogger Challenge - Day 12: Blogger Fatigue

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"How do you fight blogger fatigue?" 

A couple months ago, I was kind of done with book blogging. I never felt like writing and I sort of forgot about my blog for about a month. I was reading a lot for school, but I just wasn't interested in writing about it.

Then one day I started reading other blogs again, and I remembered what I was missing. I got inspired and started writing for the ol' blog again. Since then, I've been posting more than ever and having a blast.

So, here are the things I try to do so I can stay in the zone and post as often as possible:

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Shakespeare's Macbeth and The Winter's Tale

Over the summer, I took a Shakespeare class, as some of you already know. I kept up pretty well on posting about the various plays we read, but toward the end of the term, the last two plays got a bit lost in the shuffle.

So, I'm going to give you two mini-posts on each of them: Macbeth and The Winter's Tale


I have always loved this play, and this time around was no exception. Intrigue! Murder! Madness! (Destiny of the Republic?) Not only is it an enthralling play to watch and read, there are so many questions it raises. Are we slaves to fate? Do we decide our own destiny? Do Macbeth and Lady Macbeth really love each other, and does love really conquer all? (In this case, it would seem it doesn't.) I love these juicy questions in a Shakespeare play. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

15-Day Book Blogger Challenge - Day 11: Best Blog Posts

Click on the picture to check out the challenge and participate!

"Show off! 5 of your best blog posts!" 

Hopefully, this one won't be too difficult because I haven't been blogging that long. I only have 130-ish posts to choose from, and they're certainly not all my best. Not too hard, right?

Why I Don't Like Science Fiction and Fantasy: This is the first post that leaped to my mind. Looking back on it, I think I got a little strong in my criticism (well, maybe more than a little), but I still feel like it was a good post. It really got people talking, and I was pleased to get lots of recommendations for good sci-fi and fantasy. What I like about this post is that I got some things off my chest, but I also learned after writing it that I might be missing out on some great books. Which brings me to...

Monday, September 2, 2013

Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard

I wasn't sure what to expect with Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard. Whose madness? What medicine? Which president? And what could the three possibly have in common?

I'll tell you, by way of summary for those who haven't heard of this book. President: James Garfield. Madness: Charles Guiteau, the man who shot him. Medicine: What the doctors who treated Garfield knew woefully little about, leading to Garfield's untimely death.