• Reading

    Would You Rather Fictional Grab-bag Edition

    I saw this tag Ivy did that Cordy created and I thought it looked super fun.

    Would you rather, be a tenant of Mr. Darcy or Mr. Knightley?
    Mr. Knightly, he is less intimidating.
     
    Would you rather spend a day in the 100 Acre Wood or Neverland?
    100 Acre Wood. I’m about to metaphorically, because there are some bbc radio dramas of Winnie the Pooh, and I need something soothing to listen to.
     
    Would you rather attend a tea party with the Mad Hatter and company or meet the Wizard of Oz?
    The Mad Hatter, that would be funny. I’m not a big Wizard of Oz person.
     
    Would you rather spend a summer at Netherfield with Jane and Mr. Bingley, or at Hamley Hall with Squire Hamley?
    Netherfield and Jane and Bingley, Hamley Hall is only worthwhile if Roger were there and single, and well, he’s taken.
     
    Would you rather be “rescued” by Gilbert Blythe or Colonel Brandon?
    Gilbert, can’t stand Colonel Hum Drum. Unless he was played, as he should have been by Matthew McFayden. But still, Gilbert.

    Would you rather marry Laurie or John Brooke?
    Laurie, if he’d grown up as he should. People, growing up doesn’t mean becoming staid and boring. That isn’t how Laurie really would have grown up, he’d have kept his personality and added some sense of responsibility not turned into a boring, sanctimonious prick. John Brooke is underrated. But I tend to like the teasing guys.

    Would you rather have to participate in a skirmish as a member of Robin Hood’s Merry Men, or as a member of the Musketeers?
    Robin Hood’s Merry Men. I rather think they had better morals (yes, I realized this is ironic coming after my above comments).

    Would you rather have a jolly holiday in a chalk painting or enjoy a tea party on the ceiling with Uncle Albert?
    Not sure what this reference is from, but holiday.

    Would you rather have to chaperone, through their entire courting experience, Lydia Bennet or Anne De Bourgh?
    Anne De Bourgh, she’s quiet and not interfering, basically the opposite of Lydia. Can you imagine how annoying Lydia would be, not to mention the telling at the top of her voice of anything embarrassing?

    Would you rather marry Mr. Wickham or Mr. Elton?
    Mr. Elton. I think I could whip him into some shape. Wickham would just continually cheat.

    Would you rather spend the rest of your life in Middle Earth (starting from the time of the journey of the ring), or Narnia (starting from the time of the Pevensie’s first visit)?
    Narnia, Narnia all the way! And marry Tirian. And change the entire course of the last book starting with banning all primates from Narnia or uninventing them or something.
  • Reading

    Classics Club Spin List

    I decided this most recent spin might be a good way to force me to read something off this list. I left all the Shakespeare on the list because I own all Shakespeare (and plays are quicker than novels). I think I could get some of the others on Serial reader and maybe from family members’ personal libraries. Most of the rest I’ve been meaning to get to more recently (usually to round off reading the author). War and Peace I’ve been meaning to restart. Doubt I’d finish if this got picked but it would perhaps propel me into reading it.

    1. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
    2. Coriolanus
    3. Cymbelline
    4. Dracula by Bram Stoker
    5. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
    6. Hamlet
    7. Henry VI, Part 1
    8. Henry VI, Part 2
    9. Henry VI, Part 3
    10. Henry VIII
    11. King John
    12. Macbeth
    13. Mill on the Floss by George Elliot
    14. Richard III
    15. The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams
    16. The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    17. The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens
    18. The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens
    19. Torrents of Spring by Ernest Hemingway
    20. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  • Reading

    Jane Austen’s Leading Men or Heroes Ranked (Tentatively)

    Thinking about this after Katie’s comment on this post. But I’m due for rereads, so I may have to revisit this post. I know my top two. Also, movie portrayals matter, I watched many of the movies before reading and have watched the films many times sense. I think with many of the characters, the book leaves some openness in interpreting the characters (not all of them), actually, to me the some of the most famous (Darcy, Knightley, and Brandon) are that way. Because they are older/more reserved maybe?

    1. Captain Wentworth. Decisive, military, passionate, I do have to wonder though, how well this would work in reality. I mean does a Marianne-type character work with admittedly something of the male-equivalent in intensity.

    2. Henry Tilney funny, kind, honorable. This I know would work for me in reality.

    Now for the others. I do think I’d pick Mr. Knightley next (or would I?), but I’d prefer John Knightley from the 2008 Emma. That smart-aleck and family loyal character is absolutely my style. I’m not sure what I think of Knightly, I’m not sure he’s as clearly defined, all the movie versions are sort of accurate in a way, but also not. He can seem a bit too, puppy-dog, like trailing after Emma which I don’t like. So maybe I would pick Bingley next although. Bingley and Edward Ferrars I kind of group together. I have difficulty respecting them, and I’m afraid I’d steam role right over them, but I’d pick them over the melancholy Brandon, or the boring (!) Darcy.

    Bingley, precious and sweet but too easily led. But he doesn’t do anything wrong, and he does come back without prompting, I think, although with some hints maybe, or encouragement after seeing Lizzie. My understanding was Darcy said something to him after he came back, but like I said I’m due for a reread.

    Edward Ferrars. Grow a spine dude. It’s not honorable to love another and stay engaged, sorry, that isn’t actual faithfulness. However, he is funny.

    Edmund Bertram. Ah, Edmund, I loved you so much until I despised you so much. And yet, I still think I’d want him before Colonel Brandon. I mean if Edmund hadn’t fallen for Mary, or at least for that long and so hard. Early Edmund would be closer to the top.

    Darcy. I belong to the Darcy is overrated club.

    Colonel Brandon. I’m afraid the unfairly ancient and/or slimy casting of Colonel Brandon has forever tainted him to me. If Matthew McFadyen had played him (ala Arthur Clennam) as I think would have been ideal. I think he needed to be brought to life in such a way as too make him appealing. He’s too melancholy a person for me ideally.

  • Reading

    Rereading Planning

    As I’m a highly picky mood reader, I tend to reach for my favorites a lot, but as I also tend to tire/bored of things thanks to my obsessive repetitiveness, I try to space out my reads. I’ve handwritten lists, but this time I added another tab to my books excel file (for my TBR lists, one tab that is interlibrary loan, one for those at my library), to which I added all my favorite books using Goodreads as a guide, the dates I’d read them previously (if I had them) and the dates I could read them next, generally 4-5 years. I ended up with 30 books and authors I could read in 2020.

    I have an Evernote workbook dedicated to fun. And I was working on seasonal files (food, activities, movies, books, etc.). I’d already had a general breakdown of books for the seasons, and I used my 2020 reread list to update this for this year (and will add to it each year, unless I get bored and find another system . . . which is also a habit of mine). As it currently stands here is my seasonal rereading possibilities list:

    Winter

    • Narnia
    • Lord Peter Wimsey
    • Entwined 
    • Wildwood Dancing 
    • Middlemarch, Eliot
    • Dickens
    • Aunt Jane’s Hero
    • Scott’s Poetry and Ivanhoe 
    • Evelina
    • Romeo and Juliet (February)
    • Friendship and Folly and all the ones I haven’t read

    Spring

    • Anne of Green Gables series
    • Grandma’s Attic series (towards summer)
    • Spring-ish (not main ones) LM Montgomery
    • Gail Carson Levine
    • Gaskell novels
    • Little Women and sequels
    • To Have and to Hold 

    Summer

    • Magic for Marigold 
    • Jane of Lantern Hill
    • A Tangled Web
    • Snicker of Magic 
    • Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom
    • Key to Extraordinary 
    • Sarah’s Journey series
    • Annie Henry series
    • The Borrowers series
    • To Kill a Mockingbird 
    • Katherine Patterson books
    • Much Ado About Nothing 
    • Mother 
    • Abby books

    Fall

    • Blue Castle (end of summer/early fall)
    • Emily trilogy
    • Pat duo
    • Celtic mythology book
    • Brontë novels
    • Sherlock Holmes
    • An Old Fashioned Girl 
    • Thirteen Secrets trilogy
    • The Screwtape Letters

    Christmas needs a little work, but I have plenty of time before that comes around again.

  • Reading

    2020 Reading Challenge

    I started with the The 2020 Christian Reading Challenge  (removing all the Christian theology gives a good challenge for anyone), cut out anything I didn’t want, expanded or changed the global section, and utilized a prompt or two from The Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge. I’ve a few more on here, but they are a little too personal at the moment. I don’t tend to follow these too well, but we shall see. I’d like to mostly focus on the geographic ones, if I can do a continent or area in a month I will be good.

    After I wrote these out, I was listening to this and this episode on the What Should I Read Next podcast which mention global reading and a strong sense of place (a term which I love and which I want from the novels I’m reading, I don’t want a book that could be set anywhere, I want the flavor of the place . . . or the book just belongs on a basic TBR). Both feature sources (and another podcast, this podcast, y’all, looks amazing) that I’m hoping will help me find something I can at least manage to read.

    1. A European classic
    2. A book about a European country
    3. An African classic
    4. A book about an African country
    5. A Middle-Eastern classic
    6. A book about a Middle-Eastern country
    7. A Far East Asian classic
    8. A book about a Far East Asian Country
    9. A South American classic
    10. A book about a South American country
    11. A Canadian classic
    12. A book about Canada
    13. An American classic (or maybe one a month or one every other)
    14. a book about America
    15. A book on the sciences outside of my interest
    16. A book published the decade you were born
    17. A biography
    18. A history book
    19. A book aimed at women
    20. A Book from a best of 2019 list
    21. A book more than 200 years old
    22. A book you think will make you a better person
    23. A book on the current NYT bestseller list
    24. A book that won an award
    25. A book about food
    26. A book about joy or happiness
    27. A memoir or autobio
    28. A book about art
    29. A book about relationships or friendships
    30. A book you own but have never read
    31. A book aimed at men
    32. A graphic novel
    33. A book about marriage or singleness
    34. A book on money or finance
    35. A book about reading or writing
  • Reading

    2020 Reading Goals

    I’m going to aim to do what I did last year, set my Goodread’s Challenge to be 100, but as I want this to be new-to-me books, I’m going to increase the challenge by one book every time I reread a book (and this makes it very easy to count my rerads).
    • Read 100+ new-to-me books.
    • Use my book journal (I need to keep this and pen near by current read).
    • Continue to buy my best self-improvement/inspiring books (such as Atomic Habits, Steal Like an Artist) and reread them while using them like workbooks.
    • Follow my rereads list and guides (more on this in another post).
    • Find more favorite authors (I’ve got a whole list to try I culled mostly from everyone’s year end favorites).
    • Ireland, Celts, Celtic Mythology because I want to.
    • 40 nonfiction at least 10 self-improvement (GTD and other ones I keep returning plus from my list) and 20 more intense/scholarly (and of these 5-10 U.S. History).
    • Papau’s books, Dad’s books. I’ve had one book of each on my shelf for like a year, and I know there are several more I want to read.
    • Actually finish WAR AND PEACE !!!!!! I think I need to print a character guide or find an app or something, my notes I think were part of the hold up last year, I made it a chore.
    • Maybe push for Lewis more since Hamlette is reading them this year?
    • 12 Classics Clubs reads and reviews, since I’d apparently forgotten about this. Surely one Classic’s club read a month isn’t too hard? And Lewis is part of my list.

     

  • Reading

    2019 Reading Summary

    Per my Goodreads Year End Summary:

    • I read 124 books (7 of these were rereads) which was approximately 32,117 pages
    • The shortest book was Goody O’Grumpity by Carol Ryrie Brink at 32 pages
    • The longest book was Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope at 576 pages
    • My average book length was 259 pages
    • My average rating was 3 stars
    • The most read book I read was The Hunger Games, read by 6,036,145 people
    • The least read book I read was Imaginarium: A Graphic Novel by Amanda Kastner, read by 3 people

    Here are some other things I calculated. I didn’t keep my books in excel, I need to do that and Goodreads still hasn’t fixed the date part in their excel export list, so some of these (those that aren’t on their own shelves or rereads) are estimates.

    • I read 15 Georgette Heyer novels
    • I read 14 Mary Stewart novels
    • I read 5 M.M. Kaye mysteries
    • I read 7 Agatha Christie mysteries
    • I reread 7 books
    • I read approximately 50 more light fiction books
    • I read approximately 16 popular/light non-fiction books
    • I read well under 10 classics
    • I read well under 10 serious nonfiction
  • Reading

    Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books I Read In 2019

    I’m linking up here for Top Ten Tuesday.

    Here are some of my favorite and/or the most meaningful books/authors. There are more than 10 books, but only 9 authors, sorry it doesn’t quite fit.

    1. All Things Wise and Wonderful by James Herriot. I listened to this audiobook at work. This the third in a series. I didn’t like the stories as much as the first two, some dark ones (depression and suicide, Soviets)
    2. The Corinthian and The Grandy Sophy by Georgette Heyer. I read lots of Heyers but I’ve marked this two as the top. Not sure if the first would stay as high if I read it again?
    3. The Warden, Barchester Towers, and Doctor Thorne by Anthony Trollope. I’m working my way through The Chronicles of Barchester which E.S. Grayson recommended on her blog. Witty, intriguing look into Victorian England. Still satirical but much less exaggerative than Dickens and not full of caricatures.
    4. Three Times Lucky, The Ghosts of Tupelo, The Odds of Getting Even, and The Law of Finders Keepers by Sheila Turnage. Darling, witty, charming, whimsical middle grade series.
    5. The Moonspinners and This Rough Magic by Mary Stewart
    6. Death in Cyprus and Death in Zanzibar by M.M. Kaye. These four books I read close together and the first three in particular all sort of fit together (and not just because they are all set on islands in the Mediterranean that start with a “c” although that was some of it).
    7. J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography by Humphrey Carpenter. I’m not a biography person but this was a brilliant work about a brilliant man.
    8. I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi. The title is probably intentionally obnoxiously click-bait-y to go with Sethi’s (hilarious in my opinion) sense of humor. I just loved the way he presented finances and financial advice. Sometimes you know, it just has to click with you. I bought his newest version and plan of rereading it and implementing as much as I can.
    9. My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell. I randomly picked this off of Catherine’s blog Based on the Book. It was rather different from my normal read but another unique biography and quite hilarious. It was also fascinating/hilarious to juxtapose its more normal, light of day feeling with the dark, romantic suspense feeling of Corfu in This Rough Magic.
  • Culture and Entertainment,  Reading

    What I Read and Watched: October 2019

    I’m rather burned out and unmotivated. I barely read, watched a few Hallmarks (not really in the mood for many of these this year thankfully, but really read for old favorites for Christmas).

    Books

    The Dream Stealer by Sid Fleischman. Uninspiring kids’ book.

    The Queen’s Secret by Jessica Day George. A middle-grade book that as I was reading caused me to feel like I picked up a middle book . . . I had. I’m interested to a least skim the next whenever it comes out, but not really super inspired to read the first one though.

    From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg. Middle-grade, okay, reminded me of the much more interesting How to Steal a Million.

    Movies

    Clueless. So, way raunchier than I was expecting (I guess I didn’t realize it was 90’s or think much further about that). I could have done without that. All the 90’s Valley Girl talk was hilarious though, at least I assume that is what some of it was anyway. Everyone’s accent sounded Northeastern though. The driving part is funny. Cher is funny. Cher’s friend’s boyfriend who is trying to be all ganster but has braces, that was a hilarious. The “Mr. Martin” and “Harriet” are adorbs. I generally find the modern version cuter, apparently since I loved Martin and Harriet in Emma Approved, better even than Knightley and Emma.

    I wanted to like it, but between skipping because of the scratches on the dvd and my boredom, my trying to do a million things at the same time and finish the movie before family and guests got home from church (Sunday, what a great day to watch a movie like this . . .) and the changes in the plot and far too fast plot, I was disappointed. I will try it again, but yeah. Not near as much “Mr. Knightley” as there was in the book, plus making “Frank” gay completely changed the plot. In Emma, Mr. Knightley is jealous of Frank before anyone meet him, Emma is building him up as the perfect man, there is tons of flirtation, and he generally is the cause of Mr. Knightley realizing he loves Emma, going away to try to get over it, the ultimate avowal of love etc. Yeah, that falls terrible flat in the movie. The “Mr. Elton” guy has more of a point than the “Frank” while I think that Frank holds a slightly bigger role in the book. All that contributed to the flat, rushed ending.

     

  • Reading

    Top Ten Tuesday: Extraordinary Book Titles

    I’m linking up for Top Ten Tuesday (well, a day late) here. I’d fallen out of interest with TTT for a bit. I also feel that when I post I just find some other posts to read, but I don’t always see common interests and/or feel like going through 100+ posts. So I think I’ll try each of the multiples of tens or something.

     

      1. Imaginarium by Amanda Kastner
      2. A Pocket Full of Murder by R.J. Anderson
      3. The Eagle of the Ninth and The Mark of the Horse Lord by Rosemary Sutcliff, for a start, I love all the titles of all the books I love of hers and think those titles are special, but I thought these could represent the more unique to the average person.
      4. The Ordinary Princess by M.M. Kaye. Seeming oxymoron anyone?
      5. A Snicker of Magic and The Key to Extraordinary (how apt) by Natalie Lloyd
      6. Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury and
      7. Dandelion Fire by N.D. Wilson. Something about dandelions, I don’t know, just seems mysterious and whimsical.
      8. Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier
      9. Three Times Lucky, The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing, The Odds of Getting Even, The Law of Finders Keepers by Sheila Turnage
      10. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  • Reading

    What I Read: September 2019

    I surpassed my 2019 goal in August, I believe. But I’d still like to work on my new-to-me reading until December. I haven’t had to resort to much re-reading (I add all my re-reading to my goal, so that I know how much I re-read and so it doesn’t count towards my 100+ new reads), but I might have to increase that since I feel like I’m losing motivation, we shall see. And then I’m going to make sure I have the colored-illustrated version of Narnia to read along with the audio versions on Audible.

    All Things Wise and Wonderful by James Herriot. I finished the third James Herriot collection on Audible. I love these, although this one featured a jarring suicide story and then followed with another one about depression. I could have done without those, I just wanted animal stories with pleasant or funny people stories. I like living in a safe bubble that only I puncture if and when I chose.

    The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay. Ultimately shallow.

    Barchester Towers and Doctor Thorne by Anthony Trollope. Oh, I’m VERY happy with this series of Trollope. It’s very readable and quite funny. His characters are all complex and developed, though not in the traditional sense, more that you very much know they are human, even the women, something Dickens couldn’t or wouldn’t do. I’m not sure when I want to watch Dr. Thorne on Amazon, I think I want to make it through the series, just so my perception of later books isn’t affected even though though each of these books focuses on new sets of characters with mentions of old ones, I just don’t want anything affected. I also discovered that BBC has a radio drama of The Barsetshire Chronicles available on Audible (!!!).

    The Unknown Ajax and Venetia by Georgette Heyer. I enjoyed the first well-enough even though the (rare) not-rake hero was a bit self-righteous towards the end. The first part was quite funny. Venetia, well, the worst type of Heyer rake AND the “older” heroine was more like the obnoxious younger ones in her defense of him. And oh, this one DRAGGED. I seriously thought of putting it down multiple times.

    The Man in the Brown Suit, The Sittaford Mystery, They Came to Baghdad and Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? by Agatha Christie. Apparently I enjoyed these well-enough since I gave them all three-stars. I think I have one Christie mystery left that I haven’t read.

    A Fashionable History of Hats and Hairstyles by Helen Reynolds. Interesting book aimed at children for historical hats mostly. I wish I could find better adult resources, but the ones I got didn’t have illustrations, which is RATHER important for this subject!

    Spiderweb for Two: A Melendy Maze by Elizabeth Enright. It took me a month to finish this. I’m obviously not the intended audience, but I still feel like at a young age, I wouldn’t have liked this as well either. It focuses on the younger two of the family following clues around, I feel like it reaches a younger, narrow age range than the first three books even though its the last of the series.