Agnes Grey

Most book lovers have heard of the Bronte sisters. And it’s pretty hard to be a romance loving biblophile without reading at least Jane Eyre OR Wuthering Heights…if not both. Charlotte and Emily are famous names in reading culture. Their tropes are everywhere, from the dark and brooding Heathcliffe-like teen boys in YA EVERYTHING, to the plain Janes of this world who go unnoticed but have so much to offer.

What a lot of people don’t realize is that there was a third Bronte sister, Anne. I’ll admit, she’s missing from my shelf too, as I look up at my two beautiful Barnes and Noble Leatherbound copies of the two books above.

But this weekend, I sat down with Agnes Grey, and I fell just as much in love with Anne Bronte as I did with the more recognizable sisters, and I wonder why she is not just as famous.

298230

At it’s base, Agnes Grey the basic 1800s story of a young girl from a family on the outskirts of society, who decides to become a governess, and falls in love with one of the men she meets along the way. Pretty typical baseline for that period.

However, there are some things I want to point out that interested in the characters and the story:

1. Mrs. Grey could have been rich. She came from a wealthy family, but fell in love with a poor man, and even though her father disowned her, she married him anyway.

2. Agnes was the youngest child, and doted on. When her family needed money, she decided she was going to become a governess to help earn it, even though her mother and sister told her they would handle the situation and she should stay home and be idle. She was determined to help.

3. I’m not sure if they had a diagnosis for “sociopath” in the 1800s, but the first children certainly showed signs of it. The older boy, Tom, liked to trap sparrows and pull their heads and wings off for sport, because “he was not a bird and so he couldn’t feel what they felt”. His father even encouraged this behavior. His sister was much the same way. It was very alarming. I was very glad that the book was not staged around that house for long.

4. I loved Mr. Weston. He was just so sweet and friendly, really quite adorable in how he just wanted to spend time talking with her, without being a bumbling fool like some guys can be in these novels.

 

I could go on, but it’s just a sweet, simple novel. Nothing overly complicated or twisted or dark. I was expecting something a little more gothic, because of her sisters’ writing styles, but this is really nothing like that. The romance is almost set up more like a Jane Austen novel, but with much less drama. It made for a very nice Sunday afternoon.

 

Fulfills Boxall  #88

 

 

Mansfield Park

When I added Mansfield Park to my TBR list, I was excited because I was finally going to get to read a third Jane Austen novel. I’ve read Pride & Prejudice a million times, and Emma twice now, but that’s as far as I’ve gotten so far.

45032

Or so I thought.

Apparently, I’ve picked this book up before, and read at least the first half. I had major book dejavou. I remembered Fanny and William and Edward. I remember the play being practiced. That was about as far as I got though, everything after that was unfamiliar.

I was expecting another romance from Austen, similar to the above two books. So when Mr. Crawford started playing for Fanny’s attention in the second half…I figured he’d win in the end. After all, Darcy and Mr. Knightley were both pretty patient, right?

But Mansfield Park is really a completely different book, really more relatable to something you’d see in a 90s teen movie than in an 1800 romance. You have a young woman with social anxiety who just wants to be helpful and loving to everyone she meets. Her best friend of course is in love with the popular girl. PG’s brother is a flirty stud (see:  fuckboy) who all the ladies want, but when Fanny gets a new dress she suddenly becomes beautiful in his eyes and he “must make her fall in love with him” before he leaves in two weeks. Fanny doesn’t trust him, doesn’t want his attention, and when he screws up, some how that’s her fault. (See again:  fuck.boy.)

Ah well, it all turns out ok in the end, as Jane Austen novels always do. I liked this one, though. Definitely not what I expected at all, and it makes me even more excited to read the rest of her books, if they are all going to be so different.

 

Fulfill’s Boxall #82

WWW Wednesday 4/8/2015

IMG_1384-0

 

 

 

What are you currently reading?

The Turn of the Screw, The Aspern Papers and Two Stories by Henry James

Atonement by Ian McEwan

 

What did you just finish reading?

The Book of Dragons by E. Nesbit

Emma by Jane Austen

The Iron King by Maurice Druon

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

House of Echoes by Brendan Duffy

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Moby Dick by Herman Melville

 

This list may change. I’m picking up a stack of library books from my hold requests tonight, so who knows what I’ll actually read next!

Emma

It is no secret that Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite books. However, I am sadly lacking in most of Austen’s other books. Some I’ve started and haven’t finished, and some I just haven’t got to yet.

18626814

I have a matched pair of P&P and Emma, but this is only my second read through of the latter. It just does not measure up to my beloved OTP. I feel like Jane Austen made a list of every single thing she found ridiculous in her gender, and said “OK, that’s my main character.” Emma is vain, selfish, spoiled, and dense.

I was having a really hard time getting through it and then I realized…Holy Crap this book is Clueless.

 

Mind blown. From then on, I just started comparing all the characters and it made it so much easier to read. Who knew that silly 90s movie would make literature fun? As if!

 

Trees of Reverie April Read-A-Thon | TBR List & Reading Goals

Today is the start of another readathon (well, technically Friday, but it’s on Australia time). These are always such great motivators for me, and since I’ve been in kind of a slump, this will help hopefully!

I’m not going to set any kind of page goal this time, because I haven’t been doing too well on reading lately. But here is my upcoming TBR list, and I’d just like to get through as many as I can by the time the week is over.

Emma by Jane Austen (I’m starting the challenge at 29% through right now.)

The Book of Dragons by E. Nesbitt

Atonement by Ian McEwan

House of Echoes by Brendan Duffy

Rare Bird by Anna Whiston-Donaldson

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Moby Dick by Herman Melville

And then of course, I’m still reading my daily readings by Henry James and the short story collection, so those will count toward my final page count.

I’ll be doing the daily challenges that Sarah posts too, so watch out for those, as well as participating in reading sprints.

WWW Wednesday 4/1/2015

IMG_1384-0

 

 

What are you currently reading?

The Turn of the Screw, The Aspern Papers and Two Stories by Henry James

Emma by Jane Austen

 

What did you just finish reading?

The Iron King by Maurice Druon (Review will be up later today)

Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler

Quidditch Through the Ages by JK Rowling (I’m doing the review for this one as a set with the other two Hogwarts Library books, so it’ll be a little while.)

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

The Book of Dragons by E. Nesbit

Atonement by Ian McEwan

House of Echoes by Brendan Duffy

Cecilia

Today is World Book Day, so I couldn’t just read any ol’ thing. What better way to celebrate than with the book that inspired Jane Austen?

19254730

Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite books, so I had pretty big hopes for Fanny Burney. And I can definitely see the markers where Austen took her inspiration from. But Cecilia is WORK. This isn’t near the sweet, sassy love story that P&P is.

For one, the literacy level is higher. P&P is not necessarily an easy book to read, but Cecilia required me to use the dictionary feature on my Kindle repeatedly. And I have a pretty big vocabulary! Also, the storyline revolves quite a bit around money. I was pretty much over that by 25% of the way through, and was ready for the actual story to begin! I get it, Harrell gambles. Come ON!

Unfortunately, the book never really got past the money. Cecilia IS an heiress after all. Her whole life revolved around her fortune and how to obtain it out of trust. There were a ton of people, mostly men, trying to take advantage of her for that purpose, and they all started to run together pretty quickly.

It turns out…I only had Volume 1 of this book. I went on Wikipedia, because the book ended abruptly with no resolution, and there does seem to be quite a nice, complicated love story in the second half. But…I never got to that part, and I probably won’t download it. I’ll just stick to Austen.

 

What are you reading for World Book Day?

Book to Movie And Back Again

For the longest time, I never let myself reread a book. Once I was done with it, I’d trade it in, move down the list, and never look back.

Why would I waste time reading something that I’ve already read? There are so many other books on my list, and that list is constantly growing.

But then…I started branching out from the Nora Roberts’ romance novel pattern, and read Jane Austen for the first time. I had read The Thorn Birds before, but I READ IT AGAIN. *gasp* I got my hands on a copy of The Secret Garden, which was my favorite book growing up. Other wonderful books started jumping out at me that I had to read more than once because once was just not enough.

Now, my shelves are full. I buy books because I want to keep them, not for trade in value. I am constantly staring at them, loving them, making lists of what I want to read next.


The Hubs got me The Hunger Games Trilogy for my birthday, and shortly after we saw the third movie in theaters. If you saw the movie, you know exactly why I was so anxious to reread the books. THAT MOVIE WAS…WHOA.

I just finished Mockingjay last night. And I know I was keeping R awake because I was breathing so hard. Even though I had seen the movies, there’s so much in the books that I didn’t remember reading. They were just so incredibly powerful.

And I find that happens often when I reread books, especially books that have been translated into screen. I always try to read the book first–because the books are so detailed, there are often pieces of the puzzle I’d miss if I didn’t read the book first. And then I watch the movie, and see the story put together in such a strong visual way. I get to see the characters cast (sometimes great, sometimes not, and sometimes…inconsistent…*cough Daario Naharis cough*), I get to see settings like the arenas from the Hunger Games and the Pit from Divergent.

And almost always, after watching the show or movie, I immediately want to reread the book it is based on. When I do, I find a million things I’ve missed or forgotten, or in the case of The Hunger Games, I start to wonder if I even read the books at all!

It’s what I’m wondering about The Divergent Trilogy now too. But I don’t think I’m alone there. These new Insurgent trailers are so weird. The end of the last movie had us all wondering where they were going with it, and obviously the new trailer is just so different from the book. I have no idea where they are going with this series but I’m going to have to reread the books soon, I think.

Where do you stand on rereading books? Any favorites?

Comfy Read

If I were more photogenic, you’d get a super cute picture of me, curled up in a blanket in my favorite reading spot, with a topknot and a cup of coffee. Some kind of pinterest/tumblr/instagram type shit.

Instead, you get a picture of Pride and Prejudice hanging out in said reading spot. Sorry guys. I’m lame today.

Also, it’s like 90 degrees today. In October. Welcome to Dallas in the fall.

wpid-img_20141007_094513.jpg

 

Trees of Reverie September Readathon Daily Bookish Challenges Day Fourteen

You’ve just started to work at a bookstore or library – what are your top ten go-to book recommendations?

  1. Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling
  2. Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss
  3. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austin
  4. The Thorn Birds by Colleen Mccullough
  5. Secret Garden by Frances Burnett
  6. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
  7. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
  8. Game of Thrones by George RR Martin
  9. Quiet by Susan Cain
  10. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte