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.

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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

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.

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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!

 

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?

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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?

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.

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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

Goodbye Chick-lit, Hello Dragons

In the hallway of my childhood home, we had these towering bookshelves that were full to the brim. At least that’s how I remember them…maybe because I spent quite a lot of time, sitting on the floor in front of them, with books scattered on the floor around me, pulled off the shelves. While seated, there was a whole row of Babysitter’s Club, neatly pink and organized. But if I stood up, I could reach all of my mom’s books. And those, my friends, are what I loved most. Those were forbidden fruit. The books I REEEEEEEEEEEAAAAALLY wasn’t old enough for, but read anyway. I don’t really remember any of them, except for Thorn Birds, which I have already told you about, and still love to this day. I do know, that a great many of them were romance novels, because if there’s one thing my mother loves–it’s a love story. I share that trait with her, as do my sisters.

For most of my reading career, smut was my one true love. Especially historical romances. I loved the lords and ladies the most. And it wasn’t even that I needed the sex scenes…that held no interest for me, I mostly skipped over that…mostly. It was the romance that I wanted. I had this dream of being swept off my feet–the Disney Ideal. You know what I’m talking about.

I also loved more modern Chick-Lit. That stuff I could relate to more as I got older, because the women were like me–the same time period, the same worries–to a point anyway.

But then, suddenly, I completely lost interest in them. Maybe it is because I started reading more difficult books, I think that has a lot to do with it. Or maybe it is because I became a lot more cynical and realistic about love and relationships. That’s probably more likely. I’m not going to sail on a pirate ship and meet a dark and dusky sailor…and if I did, he’d be more likely to kill me than love me. HR and Chick-Lit became comical and unrealistic.

That said…I lost faith in that genre about the same time that dragons and magic became believable in my mind. How twisted is that? I think my desire for whimsy makes sense though. When everything in my life was dark and dismal and depressed, I craved the light. When reality was kicking my ass, I wanted a fantasy world full of wizards and adventure. And now that I am out of that darkness, and my life is happy…I no longer need the fake love stories, because I’ve written my own. So why not continue with whimsy and magic?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I will always be a romantic, and I will always ship certain characters. I can’t help it. And when those characters get together in a story…fireworks go off in my head! I just don’t necessarily need that to be the sole premise of the book, or need it to be full of sex and smut. Give me a little substance with the love story. Even Pride & Prejudice has a LITTLE drama. A bit. It’s a classic. Right?

Favorite First Line

It’ll be no surprise to many of my readers what my first line choice is. I did go through all of my books this morning before choosing, but I kept coming back to this one.

I’ve probably written this in my journal a hundred times. It just opens the book so well. I am not sure there is a better first line that sets up the theme and tone of the book so well as the one Jane Austen wrote at the beginning of Pride and Prejudice.

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Quote

In his library …

In his library he had been always sure of leisure and tranquility; and though prepared, as he told Elizabeth, to meet with folly and conceit in every other room of the house, he was used to be free from them there…”

Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

I have always liked and related to Mr. Bennet. He does on Elizabeth because she is the sensible and sarcastic one in the family, as he is. And he is a classic introvert. The only thing he absolutely wants to do every day is be left alone in his library with his books. At the table, he lets his daughters and wife do the talking, he observes most of the time.

I can picture him in the library, smoking jacket on, maybe a glass of port or brandy, worn books all around. It certainly would have been my favorite room in the house.