• Culture and Entertainment

    The Rake gets the Virgin and the Harpy gets the Angel Boy

    “You could live a thousand lifetimes and not deserve him.”

    I LOVE the film Catching Fire, and I always think Peeta is an angel. But thinking that and with all the Georgette Heyer books in my mind . . .

    Georgette Heyer novels represent an/the old type of common thinking, the men do what they want and get the best girl and act all self-righteous if she is even slightly less than perfect even though they are horrid. This led to why rake, libertine, playboy, etc. not having the same connotation as whore even though they are literally the male/female correspondents (like Fez calling Kelso a whore when calling him out on his double-standards, it felt more “right” because he was, rather than cheering him on as a player, you know?). I mean to get the same connotation you have to say man-whore, um, I don’t think this circular, I think it started with the men!

    This started when most stories were written by men and later some women (ahem, Heyer) who liked the save-the-bad boy trope. Also, don’t blame this all on the patriarchy, tons of women upheld (and uphold) this in fact and fiction, glorifying the bad boy. The stories might be dying out or at least certain aspects, but the reality doesn’t feel like it is (although, perhaps the mores were never quite as extreme as fiction seems to imply?).

    Naturally that perspective makes my blood boil. Guess what, “feminism” didn’t fix it; we know have other problems including the exact opposite (although not sexual mores this time, but more in overall character). We have an overarching storyline (watching Hunger Games, Hallmark, and listening to women at work) where the woman can be as shrewish, manipulative, and hateful as possible and blame all men for everything without at all examining themselves. And not merely not understanding equivalency (you are both awful) or even normalcy (he’s the average to your awful, so normal is better than you), but expecting an angel boy.

    Yes, it can happen, but that doesn’t mean it should, you shouldn’t get a good boy, the good girl should get the good boy. The bad man shouldn’t expect a angelic princess. The good people should expect the other good people. Why is this so hard to grasp? I know everyone is some extent blind to themselves, but to be so blind?!!!! To hear most people talk about relationships, you’d think he/she is the saintliest of people who always so incomprehensibly ends up with the devil. Did you ever perhaps wonder just once if you just might possibly have contributed one smidge to the problem?!

    Here are the actual possibilities for a relationship. For simplicity’s sake I’ll assume three states of being although in reality they represent the absolute ends and middle of the spectrum of humanity.

    1. Good
    2. Average
    3. Toxic

    Person A is good and  Person B is good
    Person A is good and Person B is average
    Person A is good and Person B is toxic
    Person A is average and Person B is good
    Person A is average and Person B is average
    Person A is average and Person B is toxic
    Person A is toxic and Person B is good
    Person A is toxic and Person B is average
    Person A is toxic and Person B is toxic

    Even in this highly simplified situation, there are very few saints and demon matches, and since most people are someone in the middle in the average realm, the likelihood that one is of average decency dating someone of average decency is quite high. If you aren’t an angel, why is your significant other supposed to be? If you want an angel, try being one.

    The long version of one reason why I’m single, I’ve not achieved angelic status. Or is it I’ve not even achieved average goodness ?!

     

  • Learning and Exploring

    Those Tom Boy, Strong Girl, Alpha Female Stereotypes

    I tend to relate to a lot of them tomboys in books like Jo and her counterpart Skye Penderwick in terms of temperament. But I’m not a tomboy, I relate to the Megs in terms of domesticity and to the Amys and Annes in terms of taste. It gets kind of irritating to read about all the sweet domestic and/or traditional girls. Sorry, I wasn’t born sweet and mild, the best you will get is somewhat toned down. I’ve been told to tone down, be quiet, stop expressing so much frequently by family members. I think I scare people outside my family.

    Another similar stereotype is that of the loud (often tomboy) women being brave and courageous. Brassy, sassy, rebellious, and loud doesn’t equal strong or brave. Some of us are just programmed to be brassy, sassy, rebellious, and loud. And I’m not programmed brave, like at. all. K, maybe if you are usually a meek, people-pleaser, it IS brave to stand up and firmly say, “please, respect me.” But um, I have have to tone down, calm down to say that. And loudness can come from fear as well as just innate personality.

    Often either explicit or implicitly, these characters and/or their authors state that domesticity equals a level of anti-intellectualism or lack of intelligence. Again, NO. I can love both and do, thank-you-very-much. How one earth does liking homemaking have anything to do with the intelligence and interests I was born with?

    I was raised in a homeschooling sphere that emphasized domesticity, crafts, etc. for girls. I never understood why so many rebelled against them, I took it personally, until I found more people with different backgrounds who like creating things. I learned of them term “maker.” These people like me just LOVE handicrafts, historical fashion, fiber, making things, its part of our DNA.

    Another fallacy involves being girly and sporty or interested in physical activity (climbing trees, fencing, hunting, you name it). You can love to get completely dolled up and also love to play sports and get sweaty. I think this one is older and maybe it has mostly been killed by now? Or maybe it is because I’m more in the volleyball world because of my sisters and volleyball girls don’t follow this stereotype.

    I think in books this is still in force with the heroine who disdains all “frivolous” dress and fuss and goes gallivanting off with her horse and sword. She can like both. Disliking or like frills doesn’t mean you are physically weak or strong.

    Here is to the loud, brassy, girly, domestic shrews. Oh, wait, what?!

     

  • Reading

    Hamlet

    As I mentioned before Hamlet was my Classics Club spin pick. I put off reading it until literally the last day of May, and I finished it in one day while accomplishing other things like a ridiculously long process of hanging a very high curtain rod that possibly triggered a large nosebleed, but that is another story.

    I know I’ve skimmed this story version of Hamlet and possibly the real version ages ago. To me it seemed pointless, confusing, fatalistic, with lots of meaningless tragedy and angst. Oh, and overrated. My “where’s the love story?” teen/early twenties monomania was not satisfied with the left-over love story wreck I found. And philosophy has always eluded and bored me. Hence, my not reading this VERY (if not most) famous play and instead reading some lesser favored ones instead.

    I read Sparknotes No Fear Shakespeare (I apparently got an older version, but there is an expanded version?!) which has Shakepeare’s original one side and modern English on the other side. I’m proud to say I did manage to mostly read from the original, but I found the modern and notes helpful. I’m in love with this version and want to get all the plays.

    So many of the famous Shakespeare quotes are from Hamlet, I knew the most over-used of course, but “frailty thy name is woman (Brandon)” was the best because I just love when literature quotes literature.

    I remembered Ophelia died, and Hamlet’s death although rather forgotten was not a surprise. I was a little confused about Claudius since the notes threw a question on what the “ghost” actually was. Oh, he was guilty, he admitted it, but I was thrown off for awhile. And I was worried he wouldn’t meet his just deserts.

    I was pleasantly surprise by how quick my interest was caught. I found it less dull and melancholy (not really melancholy at all) than I’d remembered. I learned (unsurprisingly) some dirty Shakespearean modern English (yes, the modern period started around then) slang.

    Hamlet (surprisingly) was awesomely sassy. Full of smart comments and tongue lashings. And him popping up to annoy Claudius, especially at the end when he returns from the ship was just hilarious in timing and tone. And because of all this, was he truly mad or feigning madness or both? He sure seemed to enjoy pushing Claudius’ buttons! I’m not sure what the standard interpretation of Hamlet’s behavior is.

    Ophelia was as seemingly incidental in role as I remember, we didn’t “see” Hamlet and Ophelia during their love affair, nor do they seem to have any affection, particularly not he, when we do see them together. I loved her flower bit; her innocent rapier thrust with the language of flowers. Now, she was truly crazy.

    The evil pair did get their just deserts, but I felt the play dragged towards the middle end and then everyone was finished off in a slap-dash manner, and then it ends in a ludicrously quick manner.

    So, while I do think it is overrated in terms of depth, I am inspired to watch versions of Hamlet, and I did enjoy it more than I was expecting. And I’m especially inspired to read and re-read more Shakespeare. On to reading Coriolanus, so that I can watch the play which premieres on Youtube the day this post comes out!

  • 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.
  • Culture and Entertainment

    Favorite Audiobooks and Radio Dramas, Edited

    Auditory only media wasn’t my thing usually. Except of course for Adventures in Odyssey, but then again, that was following my younger sisters’ lead. I still have a hard time thinking audiobooks are “reading” you simply cannot process them the same. But jobs have forced me to learn to appreciate audiobooks and the like.

    Because I’m very erratic/moody in my interests, I’ve bounced around between music, podcasts, Audible, sometimes in overall weekly or monthly themes of one of them, sometimes within one day.

    I’ve tons in my Audible library now since I’ve bought/earned extra credits and coupons plus done the years membership AND discovered you can return purchases if you don’t like the book. Edited: I’ve discovered returning books once done is considered gaming the system, so I’m not going to do that again, unless I truly disliked the book/quality or something like that.

    My first introduction to audiobooks and radio dramas was when I was on audiobooks.com a couple years ago (in order to endure an agonizingly boring temp assignment), I listened to the BBC Jane Austen radio drama, which I adore (and which included Benedict Cumberbatch and I believe Blake Ritson). I’d not heard or understood of radio dramas.

    Then I picked up the James Herriot books read by Christopher Timothy, and oh, my what jewels, especially the first two. I’m on, the fifth now I think. I still was wanted to “count as read” the books, so I tried to read the paperback of the second, um no, Christopher Timothy truly brings them alive, I was too spoiled to do anything but listen. Our library only had the first two on audio, so it was then I went to Audible for a trial, and I don’t know that I’ve cancelled although I paused for a while. The audiobooks in the publication order (in U.S. regular book order anyway) are:
    All Creatures Great and Small
    All Things Bright and Beautiful
    All Things Wise and Wonderful
    The Lord God Made Them All
    Every Living Thing

    Once firmly ensconced in the Audible world, I got back on the track of BBC radiodramas.  Thus far I’ve listened to Jeeves and Wooster, and I was giggling and gasping with laughter out loud at work multiple times. Highly recommend. Then I listened to The Importance of Being Ernest (I swear between, watching the movie innumerable times, reading it twice, and watching the webseries In Ernest, but mostly watching the movie, I should have this memorized) and An Ideal Husband.

    In my library but not listened to yet are multiple more radio dramas: Lord Peter Wimsey, The Barchester Chronicles, My Family and Other Animals, Two sets of Dickens, and the Brontes works. There are many more than this. I think perhaps, I do prefer radio dramas, or bringing to life reading combined with that style of writing that is the James Herriot experience. I do have some regular audiobooks on my list other than Herriot, but Narnia I was trying to read along with because I wanted the experience of the books, and so I got impatient and quit listening. And also, I do think I prefer doing work or something while listening, that is the only way to at least possibly focus.

    In addition to the BBC radio dramas and regular audiobooks, Audible also has tons of The Great Courses, which is an AMAZING resource (I would also love to try their streaming service which has audio and video), so I’ve listened to John McWhorter’s The Story of Human Language. This one does require more especial focus, and I’ve had to “rewind” and relisten to catch things I’ve missed, but OH, if you love language and the tantalizing bits of learning the Wired youtube channel has given, you will LOVE this course. I feel like maybe listen once, then listen again with notes? But then I do love making everything complicated. I’ve still not finished this yet because I’ve got even less focus even before all this happened, and I never was great in the first place.

    My most recent listen (and one I’m “checking out” as if from the library) is Rhett and Link’s Book of Mythicality. I’m not a super fan of much of their gross youtube eating tests or whatever. Ok, I rather HATE that sort of thing, but their personalities and backgrounds are so funny and unique plus being Southern, and I really paid more attention to them after they started visiting and talking about their childhoods in North Carolina, they were hysterically crazy boys, and their descriptions of the stuff they did are hilarious. I think funny in the way they are is hard to find. Like it’s just part of them, everything they do, it’s not trying too hard or anything, they are genuinely crazy people who are funny and weird and confident about it, without you know being the “I’m SoO difFerEnt and WeIrD.”

    I’ve been listening to some of their podcasts, “Earbiscuits” and have laughed out loud. Some of the book is rather strange to listen to, like it’s better to read, and some of it is boring, at least to me. But they narrate it themselves and still have such funny parts (for some reason, I think I found the section on their hair the funniest thus far, they did try crazy stuff, but it’s the way they describe everything that is just hysterical, like they can’t even do mundane stuff in a mundane way) and often include people that are part of their story, like telling their romances with their wives, who give their versions, in their own voices. Also, its so light, that I do have to have much brain power to listen to, but it’s obviously not a gem I will keep.

  • Daily Life

    Liebster Award

    Catherine at Based on the Book tagged me with the Liebster Award. I always love any sort of tag, it means someone else did part of the brainwork for a blog post, lol. And continuing with my laziness, I’m not going to think of questions or tag people, but if you want to answer her questions, she included anyone who wanted in her tag.

    1. Which book have you re-read the most and why?

    I wish I’d kept better track of my rereads. I know I’ve read Pride and Prejudice at least 3 times I think. And HP too. But I’ve also read North and South three times, at least. And that is definitely more of an accomplishment I think. I want to read that one again, it is just so rich and ripe for analysis (I’ve written pages of my impressions of it). Plus its alway interesting to compare books with period drama adaptations (the reward of watching North and South was the catalyst of my first reading and rewatching inspired at least one if not both rereads).

    2. Which Hogwarts house would you put yourself in?

    Ravenclaw all the way. I’d be wishing for Ravenclaw like Harry wished against Slytherin. But I’d also have to wish against Slytherin as well. I’m not sneaky, but I’m not . . . well nice, good, whatever. I consider it a great accomplishment if I ever attain a neutral, bare minimum level of civility that would probably only be considered so in another unfriendly country.

    3. What is your favourite fictional friendship?

    I’m sure I have more but Sarah Jane and Mabel from Grandma’s Attic popped into mind, since their friendship was the main focus of those stories. Childhood best friends who get into scrapes together from tiny children to adults is always a fun plot.

    4. If you could bring back one TV show/series what would it be?

    Well, I think most shows need to end well before they do. And I don’t mean just are long US shows, Sherlock crashed and burned after two seasons, imho. So I’d prefer to go back in time and redo That 70’s Show, putting Jackie and Hyde together sooner. Cutting out lazy shock plotlines. Keeping Eric and Donna as good characters and sucking all the creepyness out of Fez and working in the truly good bits from the older seasons (there were some good burns). And fitting everything in 4 or 5 seasons.

    5. Which historical figure would you like to read a book about?

    I’m FAR more interested in time periods than individual people. Probably someone who had a mysterious end, I’d want to know what actually happened?

    6. Who was the last fictional character you fell in love with?

    I was in a little in love with the leading men in my some of my favorite Mary Stewart and M.M. Kaye books, but I think Max from This Rough Magic was my favorite.

    7. What’s your go-to karaoke song?

    Can’t sing and have never done karaoke.

    8. Which Disney princess/character was your childhood favourite?

    I watched Lion King, Pocahontes, Jungle Book, and Cinderella, were I think major features in my childhood. I know we owned Beauty and the Beast, at least I think we did. But for some reason, I don’t remember that one being watched as much. Maybe it was. But I think the first three made a bigger impression, which is funny, since I was already afraid of my own shadow as a child, perhaps that was the fascination.

    9. Listening to any good podcasts lately?

    Yes, sort of, I’m picky and moody. I have a podcast post in the works.

    10. Have you read any Charles Dickens and do you have any recommendations? (I feel like it’s time I read one.)

    I’ve read most of them. They do feel like a lot of work because they were serials and you definitely feel it. They are also very glum in setting, tone, etc. And well, it’s hard to like/relate to a lot of the heroines (usually the love interests of the heroes), namby-pamby or goody-goody Victorian as portrayed by a Victorian man.

    I also feel like everyone is very opinionated about their individual favorites, I mean it’s highly individual. You could always start with the more famous. Tale of Two Cities is a fav for many (I haven’t read it in years) and it’s short. But I personally think Nicholas Nickleby is a more fun one plus it has at least two recent adaptations one of which features a baby Hiddleston as a minor character. I think that Little Dorrit is also a good one with a wonderful adaptation, and less stereotyped, more full whole person characters including the heroine.

    I feel like I’m due a reread. I’m more of a Trollope person myself since starting the Barchester chronicles. I wonder why he’s not as famous? He is definitely more, refined I guess? More dry sarcasm, more realism in the gentry and nobility in the country rather than lowerclasses in London Less caricature and more foible based.

    11. Any fun websites you like to waste time on?

    Besides Youtube (probably could make a favorite youtubes page and post) which is a weak substitute for good old-fashioned blogs and my few favorite blogs (I need to update my list), and Instagram which is an excellent substitute for facebook, Pinterest, and ah, the WHO and CDC for obvious reasons . . . I resorted to my history which gave me shopping sites (from crafts and historical fashion to shoes and Amazon), banking and cc sites, and following my random interests/trains of thoughts on Google, apparently nothing very interesting. Oh, wait, Spotify (for podcasts mostly at the moment) and Audible (I should do a post on that soon too), have saved my sanity at work for most of my time there although I can’t focus on much at the moment).

    I should (I get to, I was listening to a podcast that said to reframe in grateful terms, I get to work, I get to learn, etc., especially apropos now) use:

    Seterra (that excellent geography site I keep forgetting about even though I have it bookmarked)

    Bluprint (formerly Craftsy, I have tons of purchased classes)

    Creativebug (I have few purchased glasses)

    Duolingo (I’m currently making Duo very sad)

    CodeAcademy (no time like the present to learn to new tech skills).

    Any suggestions? I know lots of services/sites/apps are offering free trials during this social distancing/quarantine period (and oh, it WILL be much longer, my sister keeps saying, “when I graduate” and “when I go back to school” her senior year is ruined). I’d like to make a list of those too.

  • 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.

  • 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

    The 7 Question Book Tag (Or Rather, 28 Question)

    So many bloggers I follow did this tag and had such interesting questions, I answered in the comments and then as I found more questions, I decided I’d might as well put all my answers here.

    Olivia’s Questions:

    What is your favorite genre to read?
    I feel like my favorites don’t necessarily have a “genre” always. I’m more drawn to authors, meaning, if I like an author, I will try all their works, but that doesn’t mean I will like any other author in the same genre. I do like many mystery authors though, but I wouldn’t say, I’d read any mystery book simply because it’s mysteries.

    What was the best book you read for the first time last year?
    I listened to the audiobook All Creatures Great and Small narrated by Christopher Timothy, best decision ever. I’m still not sold on audiobooks overall, but this is the type of book and narrator that brings out the work far better than merely reading it would. I’m currently on the 3rd of the series.

    Do you remember when you first began to read? What drew you to it?
    I apparently struggled to read, but my parents read aloud to us. I remember my dad reading the American girls books. Also, Mom used the 5 in A Row homeschooling curriculum which focuses on the Charlotte Mason method, using books to learn, so we had lots of lovely illustrated books.

    How do you arrange your books? By color? By title? By author? By series? By something else altogether?
    I keep my Barnes and Noble leather and Penguin clothbound editions separate and try to group them by color. Everything else has been divided between nonfiction and fiction, then fiction by author. But I’m going to be redoing my room plus have some newer paper backs and hardbacks that I might keep separate because they are pretty.

    New books or used books?
    New or like new, yet then I’m afraid to touch them, and might just end up reading a library version instead.

    What tends to send you into a reading slump?
    A lack of interest to try anything in my current library horde because I don’t know if I’ll like it or not. A determination to plow through a book I’m not enjoying but have disinclination to read. It’s better for me to put such a book down for a time and pick up another. Occasionally, an addiction to another form of entertainment. Usually that seems to come during the reading slump, but sometimes it’s before.

    What tends to pull you out of a reading slump?
    A easy read or an old favorite, this year thus far it’s been majorly Georgette Heyer, M.M. Kaye, and Mary Stewart

    Eva’s Questions:

    What’s the first book you can remember reading?
    I, apparently, struggled to read. I can’t remember a first. I do remember getting the American girl books, and for some reason, I thought Kirsten was read to me, but I managed Felicity on my own? Or maybe I’m dreaming, those were advanced for someone who couldn’t really read.

    First person or third person POV?
    3rd all the way. First person only rarely.

    What’s the longest series you’ve ever read? (It can be in terms of page numbers, amount of books in the series, or any other method of calculating.)
    I’m pretty sure it’s Harry Potter, I feel I looked up word counts of books and that came up on top.

    What book world would you least like to enter?
    Well, the Hunger Games seems kind of cliche, but yeah, any dystopia (I loathe that genre overall).

    Do you own any autographed-by-the-author books?
    A book about regency times, it’s packed away and I can’t find it easily on Goodreads, so I don’t have the title.

    What is your favorite place at which to buy books?
    Currently, Barnes and Noble, ordering I mean, I usually buy giftcards at a huge discount (discount #1) and then wait for a discount from my membership card (discount #1).

    Who is your favorite sibling duo/trio/etc in literature?
    The Penderwicks are all I can think of from a quite scan of my Goodreads favorite books, I’m sure I have others though.

    Katie’s Questions:

    What’s one genre you used to avoid, but now love?
    I’m not sure I really have this, classics is too broad, I didn’t read many classics as a teen, well, I didn’t read much as a teen as I struggled with it, but I don’t uniformly love all classics. And I can’t really think of any genre that I love that I hated. I’m more likely to be surprised by liking one book out of the genre. For example, I don’t tend to enjoy biographies because of the tone and the not so great historical accuracy (of perspectives, of comparison, of relative importance etc.), but I seriously enjoyed Tolkien’s bio, but that one book doesn’t convert me to the genre, but to the author.

    Have you ever liked a movie adaptation better than the book? Which book? Why?
    Eva mentioned this in one of her posts, I pretty sure everyone who has ever read the book and watched the movie prefer the movie for Alcott’s The Inheritance. I think sometimes I enjoy versions of Emma (movie or webseries) to book, because I can’t stand Emma herself, and the while not written in first person (I’m opposite to you on that, I can struggle with first person a lot) it is effectively written in her point of view, which is an obnoxious one.

    Name one thing about your favorite genre that you absolutely can’t stand. Something you wish you could change.
    That there aren’t enough well-written books in it? I always feel that I’m running out of authors I can respect whose books I can also enjoy.

    When was the last time you shipped a non-canon book couple?
    I don’t think I usually do, because 1) I generally read books where the author fits the characters together well 2) Most of the books I read don’t have true love triangles. Most rivals are either a bad guy or a boring guy, etc. 3) If I don’t like the way the book is going, I won’t finish it, and 4) I don’t really care to put couples who wouldn’t work in the actual story world together. I’m more likely to not like a couple or not like how one character ends up being bad, than actually having another couple in mind.

    Jo and Laurie are the main couple I can think of, because it SHOULD be canon. I feel like there may be some smaller side characters couples I’d like together (like Luna and Dean), but nobody I’m really crying about.

    How often do you write ‘rant reviews’? Or do you prefer to keep quiet if you didn’t like a book?
    I’m better at criticism than elucidating why I like something, so yes to the ranting.

    Thoughts on Charles Dickens? Love him, hate him, in-between him?
    In-between. I loved much about his writing and conception, but the VERBOSITY, my stars, it’s hard to get through the books. Also, I do prefer a bit more character development, and his females are usually the worst in that department, they often lean toward only one characteristic. I haven’t read him in awhile though (because of all. the. words.).

    Paperback covers: glossy or matte?
    Matte, more elegant.

    From Charity:

    What was your favorite series as a child?
    I had lots, but I’m going to go with Little House. I was definitely in a “Pioneer” phase, loved the books, sewed many sunbonnets from the sewing book, played “Pioneer,” played the Oregon Trail over and over.

    What classic book do you feel most obligated to read?
    Well, I have started War and Peace on Serial Reader ages ago, so I really want to finish it.

    If you could run away with any fictional character, who would it be?
    The first that popped into my mind was Martin from Faery Rebels trilogy and the Swift duology. I don’t know though, I think a Rosemary Sutcliff hero would be lovely, escaping would be the accurate term for that escapade though.

    What is your true opinion of Agatha Christie?
    She’s WAY overrated from an artistic standpoint. But I do like her books (not all) for an escapist read. I think I’m often disappointed though, or at least lately.

    What’s the last book you read that made you see red?
    I’ll TBR any book that makes me see red. The last I can think of was Prairie Fires an alleged biography about Laura Ingalls Wilder. I’d already read Pioneer Girl so found the information about Laura redundant. But that wasn’t the main issue, the tone was absolutely condescending and demeaning to everyone, Laura, the reader, etc. And I can’t stand when non-historians touch history, this is usually the result.

    What book would you most like to see turned into an ACCURATE movie?
    I’m always afraid of my favorites being touched, also, I don’t think movies can accurately bring out what I love if I love the good-writing. I think a good series of Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries would be awesome. Plenty of the wit is verbal in those, so not too much would be lost.

    If you could recommend any book, what would it be?
    Well the Faery Rebels (middle-grade blends the ancient celtic faeries, the origin of Tolkien’s elves, not Disney fairies in modern Britain) trilogy and the connected Swift Nomad duology by RJ Anderson, they do not get enough love. I was lent them by and acquaintance (only the first two are available in the US) and the bought them on Amazon.uk.

  • Reading

    Georgette Heyer’s Character Types

    So Georgette Heyer has a few varieties of leading men:

    • Her favorite who comes in two styles, the middle-age rake who may be flagrantly and/or offensively still a rake (I can’t STAND these) or have that more in the background or past history (the above two feature the latter). Not always (maybe not even usually handsome, but almost always “distinguished,” often Corinthian, always the sportsman, always careless of everyone’s opinion. Always wealthy and titled, I think.
    • The young-rake (I think I’ve come across him once, Sherry in Friday’s Child).
    • The not-rake (a couple times), vary in type (may be a decent gentlemen, may be a bit of a dandy, may be a soldier everyone thinks is low-class but isn’t).
    • The good boy (I’ve come across him once, Charles in The Grand Sophy). Usually the good boys are sententious prigs who stay sententious prigs. Charles doesn’t and between him and Sophy (one of the best heroines) this book is one of the best.

    Here heroines:

    • The (always) beautiful (usually) bland teenage (almost always) idiot heroine. Sometimes Heyer starts out misleading you to think “strong-willed” and with a brain only to disappoint later, usually this is a bland “innocent” or just a fool (think These Old Shades). This type is always paired with a rake. Often with the worst one. Usually these pairings make my least favorite stories, with the exception of Friday’s Child because the plot is good and the young rake and his friends are hilarious.
    • The young one (usually early twenties?) with a brain and personality. Usually these get the not-rake or good boy. Almost always or always have one of the more unique plots.
    • The slightly older young ones are are “on the shelf,” they could be mid-to late twenties. They are always possessing of a brain, and usually of a personality, but not always. May have one of the more unique plots, or more likely they may have the chaperone of a silly girl meets some rake connected to silly girl or girl’s lover plot-line variation or some version of responsible older sibling narrative.
  • Reading

    It’s So Classic Tag

    I’m joining the It’s So Classic Blog Party here at Rebellious Writing. 

    I saw posts about this party, but wasn’t super interested (I really don’t have tons of mental energy right now, not really reading much) until I saw all the posts with this tag which were fun to read. I’m not going to tag anyway since a) I’m lazy and unmotivated, b) I’m just linking up to the source and c) Almost everyone whose blog I read and who still posts regularly about books has already been tagged.

    What is one classic that hasn’t been made into a movie yet, but really needs to?
    I’m scared when filmmakers get their hands on my favorites. I think I’m more wanting re-do’s at the moment.

    What draws you to classics?
    The feeling of erudition? The quality of timelessness in perception, prose, etc.

    What is an underrated classic?
    I think that the Charlotte Brontë’s less discussed books are better written than Jane Eyre. I adore Dorothy Sayer’s Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries and KNOW they are far higher quality of books than the insanely popular Agatha Christie novels.

    What is one classic that you didn’t expect to love, but ended up loving anyway?
    I don’t know, maybe the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries, I went in with total ignorance. I don’t think I’ve ever loved a book I was going to dislike or hate, just loved books I didn’t know much about. I enjoyed Dickens more than I thought, but I’m not sure “love” is appropriate, they are so long, and they don’t tend to be relaxing which is what I most want.

    What is your most favorite and least favorite classics?
    My favorites are many L.M. Montgomery novels. So many are just balm to my soul.

    Frankenstein is an example of trash that is made famous when an untalented upper-class teen girl hangs around a group of famous actually talented rakes.

    What is your favorite character from a classic? Or if that is too hard, one is your favorite classic character trope (e.g. strong and silent, quiet sidekick, etc.)
    I’m a sucker for really snarky, witty, confident men (e.g. Lord Peter Wimsey).

    What’s a popular classic that you felt wasn’t actually that great?
    Other than Frankenstein which is the worst, Les Mis, Rebecca, and The Great Gatsby are WAY overrated.

    Who is your favorite classic author?
    L.M. Montgomery.

    In your opinion, what makes a classic a classic?
    Brilliant writing (prose, insight, characterization, wit) and lasting through the ages. Unfortunately, I think that the latter is based on circumstances, not always on worth to talent ratio, meaning, I wonder if many books are lost that would be just as good if not better, simply because they didn’t catch the public’s whim at the right moment.

    Relating to newer books, what attributes does a book need to have in order to be worthy of the title “classic”?
    I think it should only be writing quality and not popularity but popularity can ensure that something will last.

     

  • Reading

    Top Ten Tuesday: Childhood Favorites

    I’m not going to do all the illustrated books (I think I might do that for a freebie). I’m picking books (mostly series) from when I was strongly reading on my own. I’m going with favorites then that I’d want my kids to read.

    I guess my age was maybe 9 to early teens or maybe 9-12 for most of these? (And yeah, that’s childhood for me. I was a kid until maybe 14-15). Lot’s of historical fiction (although not the Historical Diaries or whatever they were called  that my sisters and others loved, I think those were a little too realistic for me to handle then based on my memories of my unsuccessful attempts). My introduction to Rosemary Sutcliff came right on the heels of these age.

    1. The American Girls. Felicity, Josefina, Kirsten, Addy, Samantha, Molly at first, then later Kit, I was growing out of them a bit when Kaya arrived (and she’s the last of the quality ones in my opinion).
    2. The Little House books and the Caroline books (and the Charlotte ones I read when I was a bit older).
    3. Boxcar children (we were all obsessed with these).
    4. The Borrowers (The Borrowers, The Borrowers Afield, The Borrowers Afloat, The Borrowers Aloft, and The Borrowers Avenged) by Mary Norton.
    5. Grandma’s Attic series and Grandma’s Attic Novels (In Grandma’s AtticMore Stories from Grandma’s AtticStill More Stories from Grandma’s Attic; Treasures from Grandma; Sixteen and Away from HomeEighteen and on Her OwnNineteen and Wedding Bells AheadAt Home in North BranchNew Faces, New Friends) by Arleta Richardson. Our friends read these allowed while we sewed or whatever (I think I was bit older maybe preteens to early teens?).
    6. Narnia. My dad read these aloud to us twice.
    7. Sarah’s Journey Series (Home on Stoney Creek, Stranger in Williamsburg, Reunion in Kentucky, Whispers in Williamsburg, Shadows on Stoney Creek) by Wandra Luttrell (so, apparently these are middle-grade Christian fiction but I remember these being good, granted they were favorites).
    8. Annie Henry: Adventures in the American Revolution (Annie Henry and the Secret Mission, Annie Henry and the Birth of Liberty, Annie Henry and the Mysterious Stranger, Annie Henry and the Redcoats) by Susan Olasky
    9. Calico Bush by Rachel Field (Hitty is waaay more famous but this was the first one we read, and I’m not sure if I read Hitty at all, if so it was recently).
    10. Bobbsey twins (to round out the list, these were books I read at my grandparents). For some reason, I never got into the Nancy Drew books or the Hardy boys. I did look at Trixie Beldon, I think those are probably more interesting. I wish I’d read all these when I was younger, some books you can love only if you start young.