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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Pride and Prejudice

There are so many books to read, and there is so little time, that I rarely return to books I have read in the past. I’m continuously moving down the list, one after another, devouring the next book in line.

However, there are a select few stories that I crave repeatedly. My guilty pleasure books. My cures. Whenever I get a little stressed, lonely, bored, or when I just can’t figure out what I want to read next, these jump out off the shelves. They are my best friends, my confidants. They are my security blanket.

Their covers are worn, and I rarely lend them out, because I never know when I’ll need to read them again. They are:  Secret Garden by Frances Hodges Burnett, Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough, and the most important one, Pride and Prejudice by the wonderful Jane Austen.

When I found out Books & Brews was going to kick off their Monday night Book Club with P&P, I may have done a happy dance in my cubicle. And then I immediately downloaded it to my Kindle because *gasp* I actually loaned my copy out to my sister! I must really love her!

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I have read P&P 10 times at least, but this time was different. I don’t know if it’s because I journaled all the way through, or if I’m reading it from a different place in my life, but there were so many things that I’ve never noticed in the story before.

The biggest one is that Mr. Bennet is a MUCH more complex character than I ever realized him to be. Sure, I always knew he doted on Elizabeth, and rolled his eyes at Mrs. Bennet. But he’s really not that great of a guy, is he? I always loved him because he was such a closeted introvert, but he also goes into town to cheat on his wife pretty much his whole marriage, and his daughters are well aware of it. The whole “If you don’t marry Mr. Collins, your mother will never speak to you again, and if you do, I won’t.” wasn’t so much teasing his wife as it was a pot shot. It makes Mrs. Bennet’s anxiety and nerves seem a lot less ridiculous.

Also, I had never paid much attention to Mary before, but she has a lot of very intelligent things to say. She fades in the background behind her beautiful, extroverted sisters, but I would be really interested to see who she would be today. A lawyer maybe, or a journalist.

I can’t wait to talk about this on Monday. I have so many notes and I’m excited to hear what other P&P fans have to say. Of course, this book is all about the love stories of Darcy and Elizabeth, and Bingley and Jane, but there’s so many other complexities that after more than one read you will find woven into the plot. Sometimes it’s good to come back to reread your favorites.

What book do you come back to again and again?