Saturday, November 30, 2013

15-Day Book Blogger Challenge, Day 14: Deal Breakers

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

I have been a serious slacker on this challenge. Whoops. But I will finish! Almost there!

Today's prompt is: Tell us your deal breakers. 

1. Eroticism, excessive language, or anything that I find too immoral to read. I don't mean to be snobby, and I hardly ever put down a book for this reason--I can handle some language and some sexual content, but if it's just meant to be shocking, then I have better things to waste my time on.

2. Bad writing. Sometimes I can push through it, but if the writing is so bad that it gets in the way of my ability to focus on the story itself, then I'm more likely to put the book down.

3. Boring characters. I need characters that are more complicated and not cliche. I'm more than happy with cliches in movies, but when I'm reading, I want the characters to have some substance to them.

4. Post-Twilight vampires. Just no.

What are your deal breakers? 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Evelina by Fanny Burney

"If you like Jane Austen, you'll like Evelina," my 18th-century Brit lit professor promised us before we began reading this book. I'd never heard of it, but I do like Austen, so I was interested to see if my professor was right. 

So, was he? Am I going to send all you Janeites running out to the bookstore to buy Evelina?

In a way, it was a lot like Jane Austen. Like I said, it's a story about a young woman coming out into society. Plus, it has other Austen-esque features, such as: romance, class issues (and sometimes, class issues IN romance--that's a bonus), marriage, annoying people who won't shut up, gender issues, propriety problems, and probably lots more.

But believe it or not, with all those similarities, this book really didn't feel much like Austen to me. It was somewhat darker. Unlike with Austen novels, the characters didn't spend all their time in the drawing-rooms of the gentry. The "improper" people weren't just snooty Catherine de Bourghs inviting young ladies to play their pianofortes; they were often genuinely cruel, rude, creepy, or just downright gross (or all of the above). Just a few of the events that would never show up in an Austen novel:

Saturday, November 16, 2013

My Bookshelves

This week, Modern Mrs. Darcy is hosting a fun link-up: What's on your bookshelf?

My bookshelves are a bit pathetic. I don't really buy a lot of books due to my starving-student status. So these are just the beginnings of my book collection.

I only have one bookcase in my apartment that I actually put books on, and that's this monster bookcase built into the wall in our bedroom. It's tucked discreetly between our closet and the bedroom door. I fell in love with it when we moved in--we didn't have much shelf space in our old apartment.

These books are general fiction. (Though I can see a couple on there that deserve a place with the classics. Oops.) There's my husband's battered copy of October Sky, which we read together this year, and my beloved The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

This is my British literature shelf (plus Moby Dick, War and Peace, and Little Women, because I didn't want to break up the pretty editions). There's my lovely Jane Austen collection; the red velvety one is the copy of The Secret Garden that I read as a kid; and the brown one on top is Bleak House, which I read recently. And the MLA Handbook, for some reason.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Pamela by Samuel Richardson (Vlog!)

I'm going out on a limb today and I tried video blogging for the first time ever!

Please cut me some slack on this video since, like I said, it's my first "vlog" ever. My lovely backdrop is my untidy kitchen and pantry...I swear it was the best lighting I could find in my apartment. And I do get a bit rambly at the end. So please try to ignore my mistakes. It was a fun experience overall and I do hope to do more video reviews in the future. Let me know what you think of it!

(Also, I look really young--I promise I'm not fifteen years old. :) )

P.S. Here's a blog post on my other blog about my video blogging experience, what I learned, and why you should try it, too!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Oedipus Rex by Sophocles

I've been meaning to write this post for quite some time now. Since Oedipus Rex (or Oedipus the King) is on my Classics Club list, I feel like it's only right to write about it.

But it's something I want to write about.

If you read my post about ancient literature, you know that I was less than thrilled with this and various other works that represent the grand ol' ancient world. Now, usually I prefer the literature of a time/place to just about anything else it has produced. But that certainly isn't the case with the Greeks and Oedipus Rex.

I gave everything I had to like this play. I read it and discussed it with my class, and I went and saw a live stage version of it. But nothing could make me enjoy it. In fact, it was hard to appreciate it on any level.

Maybe it's just that Sophocles and I simply don't have a connection. Maybe I'm just not old enough to appreciate it. Maybe I'll read it again in twenty years and then love it. I certainly hope so.

But for now, this pretty much sums up my reaction to Oedipus Rex: All these things happen that are supposed to be exciting, but I'm just bored and grossed out.

Now that I think about it, that's actually a pretty amazing feat. If that's what Sophocles was trying to accomplish, then I applaud him.

Does anyone out there have words of wisdom that can convert me to this work of genius?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote

This book was quietly wonderful. It wasn't one of those books you have no choice to love, that grab onto you and force you to love them, like Les Miserables or Wuthering Heights or Little Women. No; this was a book that quietly took its place in the corner, folded its hands, and just sat.

What struck me about this book was that there was virtually no significant plot. Sure, there were events, but the events mainly served to expose the character, Holly Golightly. Holly Golightly was the only thing that mattered in this story. Even the narrator was there only as our eyes, to enable us to see her, as a person profoundly interested in her.

Holly is not the everyman that novels are famous for, the main character that everyone can relate to. She's much better than that; she's completely unique. She's an enigma, a celebrity, a personality circus freak. She's wild. She's amoral. She's out of the bounds of anything society tries to impose on her.