I’m sure there has got to be other people who didn’t fall madly in love with Mr. Rochester, right? Right?!
I didn’t understand the Jane Eyre obsession. I grew up super sheltered, I couldn’t understand why what I saw as an adultery story was so popular among the strict people I knew. I still find that part odd, I think they probably loved Jane’s courage in following her conscience first (that is the part where I have the most respect for her).
When I finally did read Jane Eyre, it was right after I read Wuthering Heights, which I think was just way more my cup of tea at that point.* I was around 17 or 18. I’m a Marianne (who is close to Cathy Earnshaw) NOT a Elinor (who is close to a Jane Eyre), and I was at my most Marianne-est. Also my ideal type then was probably something along the Captain Wentworth lines, Aquila from Lantern Bearers, the bitter, strong, still waters run deep type which is how I saw the younger Heathcliff, I guess.
I did enjoy reading Jane Eyre though, more than I expected. However, I didn’t like much less love Mr. Rochester. I feel like there was a lot of Mr. Rochester swooning where I read or hear of books. Just the way he was described put with his personality and age, he just wasn’t my type at all. I just didn’t get the hype. I was also no fan of Jane, I will never love the goody-goody types. I also found St. John (more like my type in the sort of quiet intensity way) more interesting than Rochester, probably in part because he irritated Jane who was, to me, disgustingly sappy over Rochester who didn’t deserve it. Oh, yeah, Rochester was grossly sappy, that was probably a major turn off to me, at least now, that may have been part of it then as well? All I know is that I never cast him as my hero in my mind.
I can’t remember, but I think I may have watched the Ciarán Hinds version (and I was obsessed with that actor then) during this period.
When I reread the book later, I appreciated the story more, and I think perhaps Mr. Rochester didn’t scare me as much? I think when I read it again, I was in the middle of trying to compare multiple movie versions (and I was QUITE attracted to Toby Stephens who didn’t look like the book Rochester, and I just loved his attitude). I found parts funny, but I definitely didn’t like the essence of the book Mr. Rochester or many of the movie versions (Ciarán Hinds now seemed goofy to me) as a hero of my type.
I think even later I tried to reread it a third time, and by this point the age difference appeared QUITE creepy. He’s a 35 old (yet he always seem to be old to me no matter my age, just the way he is described, probably also compared to my naivete in terms of general experience) after an 18 year old (one of my sisters was near that age then). And yeah, combined with his domineering attitude, not great vibes. And they were just so goopily, sappily gross with each other.
So the age difference, there are pretty big age difference in Jane Austen. Emma was at least 21, that in terms of maturity can be quite a big jump from 18, don’t love that difference, especially since Knightley was an adult when she was born, and they knew each other. The worst was Marianne. She was 16 or 17 when she and Colonel Brandon met, he was 35. However, in these type of old books the girls are presented as adult,** in that time period they would have been considered so, they seem fairly mature in the case of Emma and Jane, so that can lessen the creepiness ever so slightly. Also none of the movie portrayals ever really show the age difference as it really is.
I think for some reason the Rochester age difference comes across as waaay creepier than even Marianne and Brandon. I think part of this because Brandon was so straight-laced and reserved and respectful while Rochester is creepy period even were there no age difference. Also, Jane is in his household, is alone in the world, and is seemingly under a fascination/obsession with him which doesn’t feel deserved. Plus, like I said, Rochester, no matter my age, feels older. He is very cosmopolitan, very worldly, written in a way to very much show the age difference (of course Brandon feels older as well . . . because he’s dry as dust)
Rochester is creepy, obsessive, licentious, completely unrepentant over his many sins, very patronizing and controlling and yet makes himself out as the victim quite often. Ew, no thank you.
*When I reread the books several years later I could see that Emily Brontë just didn’t have the same talent or at least didn’t develop it as well as Charlotte, the writing quality is markedly lower in Wuthering Heights than Jane Eyre.
**I find it hard to believe that any possible historical maturity differences could be that great, brains don’t finish developing into the early twenties, and I believe puberty was quite a bit later in older times, at least for the lower classes with malnutrition. Could a “woman” of 18 (which wasn’t always the age of adulthood, for awhile it was 21, I think it switched back and forth for awhile) really have the same intellectual and emotional maturity as a 35 year old man, does it really seem like a good arrangement to have that kind of imbalance? What does that say about the type of man as regards his character and ego that he wants that? It is at best vaguely creepy at worst predatory. And then there are the older women whose only potential husbands are going after barely adults. And the young women, who haven’t been encouraged to look very far in the future by greedy parents or bad circumstances, they have to live with an old man or as a widow at a young age, especially since aging then was far faster than now!
I’m linking up here to Cordy’s Lovely Blog Party.
So, I’ve done, Friends to Lovers, Enemies/Frenemies to Lovers, and now for the oft-maligned, highly suspect love at first sight couples. I think this is best done when it is attraction at first sight (often the other tropes have this but its unequal or there is also enmity at first sight) sans any complicating factors that develops quite quickly into love.
Also, there is a version of this type that features a huge amount of humor and/or suspense. So, lots of Georgette Heyer and Mary Stewart novels and some M.M. Kaye mysteries.
Peter and Donna in A Tangled Web are both a fun, interesting love story, yet at the same time poking fun at this trope just a bit. Of course there is a real parody of this bit with the Jocelyn and Hugh situation. That book is a comedy gem.
More serious and sweet pairings:
- Lord Bradford and Azalea in Entwined.
- The Ordinary Princess and her “Apprentice” in The Ordinary Princess.
- Similarly Cinderella and Kit in the live action Cinderella.
- Danielle and Henry in Ever After.
- I think Linden and Rob in Rebel and Arrow. My 2nd favorite couple in this trilogy and the related duology who get the least amount of time.
Any well-know, well-loved, respected (aka, NOT Romeo and Juliet, lol) couples that I missed?
I’m linking up to Cordy’s Lovely blog party here.
Harry and Ginny in Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince
Ginny pined for Harry for awhile and then took steps to move in with her life. Harry got over Cho and then it was his turn to pine (oh how the turn tables). When I ship a couple I often love the dramatic jealousy bits, and Harry is ridiculous, I think he needed to suffer a bit after Ginny need.
Book 6 is emotionally tumultuous with all the love triangles and fighting, the especial amount trouble with Snape, Ron’s Quidditch drama, all of this culminates for Harry when he, the team captain misses the final Quidditch game due to detention.A
Then he walks in to the common room and hears they’ve won, and he kisses Ginny right in front of everyone in the midst of the jubilation, and its just such a perfect moment.
Harry’s crush on Cho and Ginny’s crush on him were always so public plus they are both pretty confident, popular people, I just loved that their moment was so public and triumphant. . . in contrast to the unbelievably milksop scene in the movie. The movies did Ginny an injustice in the way they portrayed her, she’s useless.
Peter and Donna in The Tangled Web
They are both so dramatic, she’s doing the crushed forever faithful widow bit with her cousin, he’s doing the manly outdoor, woman hating type.
He’s outdoors and she’s stuck indoors at that absurd gathering, both probably bored out of their minds. Then they lock eyes and fall in love in a moonstruck madness love at first glance melodramatic parody way.
They aren’t super young which makes is so much funnier about how dramatic they are including with their later fight. They are my favorite part about that hilarious book. LM Montgomery has a way of taking people who at first glance are trying to be a stereotype and then showing them to be acting ridiculous and knowing they are acting ridiculous and not caring a bit and choosing to go their own way.
Perry and Ilse in Emily’s Quest
Perry had a school boy’s crush on Emily while Ilse always liked him and continually fought with and berated him. I think Perry got over the crush by high school and simply remained stubbornly determined to have Emily because he set his mind to it.
Ilse on the other hand, pretended to get over Perry and never let it slip for decades even to Emily that she loved him. Emily let it slip to Perry when it was “too late.”
I just love the set up, Ilse on her wedding day (why oh why couldn’t it have been to some random man, let’s not think to hard about this monstrosity) hears that Perry’s been killed and hightails it to the hospital in her wedding dress, where after finding out he was hurt not killed, she declares that she will marry him.
It’s just perfectly fitting for both of them, neither of them exactly follow society’s expectations. Loud, dramatic, causes a huge scene and scandal at the non wedding, just generally an awesome wrap up.
Teddy and Bramble in Entwined
Brash Bramble and jovial Teddy. Another love bit where she “hates” him because she’s not romantic, and he’s just so, doofy and their is just so much trouble in her life.
It culminates when he does something noble and then declares his love while being snubbed. When she realizes the truth, she jumps at him and a magic rug swallows them both. It’s quite the scene.
Meg March and John Brooke in Little Women
Less dramatic and more mischievous. I love how Meg starts off declaring she’s going to calmly refuse John then loses her nerve straight off once he actually shows up.
And then he shows himself too smug and gets snubbed for it.
Aunt March barges in and then Meg’s mood changes again contrarily and of course John hears it all, and Jo comes down to rejoice over John’s rout only to find Meg on his knee.
Just the moments, the prose, the humor, one of my favorite bits of Little Women.
I so enjoyed the tag they put out last year and the tag this year looks fun too, I love fairytale things. I’ve been looking through the lists of the retellings on their site for new authors to try, I have a few Mercedes Lackey books on my library shelf right now.
– Your father the king has declared a contest for your hand in marriage. But he’s allowing you to decide what kind of competition it will be. What do you choose? Is there a penalty for losing, or do the losers just go home while the winner remains to marry you?
Hmm, I think it would be cool to have different types of tests, tests on bravery, tests on sword-fighting, tests on character traits. Everyone would all take the tests and get ranked a number then I would choose based on how important I thought the combinations or maybe I would weight the various tests, then I would want the top winners (lets just assume in this scenario that I’m stunning and brilliant and will have lots of suitors, lol . . . otherwise this wouldn’t be interesting) to sort of apprentice at the castle for a period of time, so I could get to know them. Of course knowing me, it would be the guy who doesn’t enter at all or can’t that I’d want.
– You’ve just been told that you’re the Chosen One – the heir to your kingdom’s throne. Of course you demanded proof, but you didn’t expect quite so much of it to be brought forward. You grudgingly ask the state of the land. Your kingdom is at war with two neighboring kingdoms, a third kingdom is expecting your kingdom to ally with theirs and help them fight in agreement with an old treaty, there is famine in two counties in the north, and the barons of the kingdom are fighting over who will supply the palace with food for the next year. What do you do first?
Send food and relief to the two counties in the north (and make sure it gets there and given out properly, preferably with a magical seeing device so I can’t be assassinated if I go and can get a grip on the wars), and while that is being done look at the facts behind all the wars and agreements.
– You’ve set off to find your fortune but end up caught in a storm in the middle of the night in an enchanted forest…and there’s an ominous growl emitting from the trees. A warm looking cottage sits nearby but you’ve heard that questionable figures dwell in this wood. What’s your plan of action?
Even if I climbed the trees, I could freeze to death, if I made an ice cave I could freeze or get mauled. Who knows what is in the cabin, but certain frozen death is outside, I’d risk the cottage, but take a peep in first or see if there was any outbuilding.
– It is time to christen your dear new baby. It’s expected to invite the local fairies but they’re known for “gifting” babies with less-than-desirable characteristics (Ella Enchanted-style). Do you invite them anyway or “accidentally” forget to send out an invitation and risk the wrath of the petty (but powerful) fairy-kind upon your kingdom?
I’d invite them with a “gift list” included, with if possible a royal rule disallowing gifts not on said list.
– Your fairy godmother grants the choice of three gowns for your one chance to meet the prince at the ball: a dress the color of the golden sun, a dress the color of the silver moon, or a dress the color of the sky. Which dress do you choose?
A dress the color of the silver moon, it just has so much of a ring of magic to the idea with the color and the moon, mysterious, mystical.
– Your cursed beloved tells you that only when he marries a true-blood princess will he be set free. Do you choose to aid him by finding a princess that can set him free from his horrible curse? Or do you visit the witch of the forest and make a deal with her to become a princess – but you will only get to be with your prince one day a year.
I’ll choose to aid him to find the princess and hope for something to come up, either that I’m unknowingly a princess, there is “fine print” in the curse somewhere, etc. Things tend to turn up like that in fairytales.
– You’ve just completed a fairy tale adventure worthy to join the ranks of the world’s greatest legends. Alas, the kingdom’s most famous minstrel is also notorious for adding his own embellishments. Would you rather have your story lost to the world, your name and deeds forgotten, or to to be known as a hero throughout the land…just in a very inaccurate and mangled version of the story?
I’d rather be lost to the world than misrepresented.
– You’ve just been approached by a man in a pointy hat who says you’re the chosen one destined to save a magical world. Before you enter the portal to this new world, you are allowed to take one piece of modern technology with you. What do you choose?
Not a phone or internet access, that would ruin the entire fun and adventure. I can’t think of anything off the top of my head that wouldn’t spoil the adventure or couldn’t be done with magic.
– Your parents have angered a powerful witch in your land, and she has chosen to strike out at you to punish your parents. However, since you weren’t the one who actually angered her, she’s letting you choose your own fate: 1) sleep for 100 years and leave your parents to die of old age while you sleep, 2) be locked alone in a faraway tower so your parents will never find you, 3) lose your voice so you’ll never be able to speak to your parents, or 4) give you a fatal golden touch so that you can’t hug your parents lest you turn them into statutes.
Does the golden touch extend to everyone? If no, then that one, if yes, then 1.
– You just found out that you have a twin, and you two were separated from birth because an ancient prophecy claimed one of you would bring ruin upon the kingdom. Are you the prophesied twin of ruin, or is it your brother/sister? How do you figure that out, and what do you and your twin decide to do about it?
Oh, no doubt I’d definitely be the one to bring about ruin to the kingdom. I have more than enough sisters in real life, I’d prefer to have a twin brother and maybe we could go on a quest to figure out how to thwart the prophecy, of course anything we do together would mean both of us would cause the ruin . . .
I’m linking up here to Cordy’s Lovely Blog Party.
“Perhaps, after all, romance did not come into one’s life with pomp and blare, like a gay knight riding down; perhaps it crept to one’s side like an old friend through quiet ways; perhaps it revealed itself in seeming prose, until some sudden shaft of illumination flung athwart its pages betrayed the rhythm and the music, perhaps . . . perhaps . . . love unfolded naturally out of a beautiful friendship, as a golden-hearted rose slipping from its green sheath.”
Now, L.M. Montgomery really likes the friends to lovers arc, often where the man likes the woman, but he is not her “ideal.” Anne and Gilbert obviously, Pat and Jingle (I like Jingle best of all the guys), and Emily and Teddy (he’s not really a man but a spineless jellyfish). I however, feel that she doesn’t really develop the men super well in these. Barney and Valancy on the other hand where the friend-zoning is swapped, she develops both characters well.
Where the girls get Friend-zoned:
- Perry and Ilse in the Emily books (their love story is MUCH more satisfying than Emily and Teddy’s). Perry just had an Emily fixation rather than a love of her.
- Polly and Tommy in An Old-Fashioned Girl. This is because Tommy is a vain young fool.
- Molly and Roger in Wives and Daughters. Don’t get me started on Roger’s idiocy, although I can see how it would take a bit without his idiocy because Molly is young and girlish rather than womanly in attitude, outlook, and interests at first.
Where the boys get Friend-zoned:
- Mac and Rose in Rose in Bloom. Well, they are both cousin-zoned but we try not to think about that too much.
- Mia and Michael in the Princess Diaries movie. This is a childhood fav, he’s just so cute and sweet and respectful about everything even when he is stood up.
- Ginny is Ron’s embarrassing kid sister until she gets over (showing) her crush. They are friends for a couple years. Then Harry gets his taste of being in the Friend zone for a bit.
I’m sure there are couples where they are both just friends then become lovers without any long one-sided interest, the sort of slow burn couples. I’m guessing that doesn’t usually make that interesting of a story as the enemies to lovers/bantering couples, the friend-zoning, or the love at first sight tropes, comment if you can think of any.
Martin and Ivy in Swift and Nomad come across as friends before lovers (to the point I wasn’t at all sure they would get together, usually books give it away), but I’m not sure if it wasn’t a bit one-sided at one point, I’m not sure, but I think of my favorites, that is the closet to a slow burn couple where they are both in the same stage as I can think of.
Ooh, wait, I think Josh and Cher were a sort of slow burn couple, its different from Emma, Clueless makes it seem as if they both realize it near the same time, both were rather in denial for a while.
Now, this is totally overdone I realize. I also feel sure I’ve done a similar post, maybe even for Top Ten Tuesday, I really don’t care though.
I’m also linking up to Cordy’s Lovely Blog party, I think this fits.
I’m not talking about the couples who amateur writes try to make bantering or fighting coupes, where they are just people who are petty fighting and have no chemistry and would probably bicker with a lot of people. I’m talking about a variety from guys who tease (I also just tend to like guys who tease) to equally witty banter to occasionally genuine clashing. But the key? The outrageous chemistry between the two. You can have fight couples without chemistry. In no particular order of favorites:
- Obviously, the originals Benedick and Beatrice.
- Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane in the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries.
- Mara and Sheftu in Mara, Daughter of the Nile.
- Ron and Hermione. I was thinking about how people have said Rowling later said it should have been Hermione and Harry or have themselves said why not Harry and Hermione. Ron and Hermione had a chemistry from the start, yeah the sparks were negative, but they were sparks, Harry just didn’t have the same reaction. He and Hermione had zero chemistry, absolutely sibling vibes, with Hermione as the elder sister. He was open and close with Hermione in a way that had no awkwardness or embarrassment because there was zero attraction, there was nothing there to hide, while Ron and Hermione kind of like circled around each other warily emotionally because there was an undercurrent of something they didn’t at first want to or know how to deal with. And also, I just love Harry and Ginny together (actually my favorite HP couples I think), and again, I think there was something there with them, yes Ginny’s crush, but when Harry finally woke up, they had amazing chemistry, their personalities were just so right for each other.
- Jo and Laurie, yes, I know they aren’t a couple, but their chemistry and closeness! And this is why I ship them!
- Perry and Ilse in the Emily books.
- For the same reason Jeffrey and Skye in the Penderwicks.
- Mr. Thornton and Margaret. Now, they don’t have the banter aspect, until a bit towards the end, but man, do they have the chemistry, and I’m talking about the book
- Now, lots of Georgette Heyer (most of them really) feature a bantering couple, but Charles and Sophy are a standout, they don’t fall into her hugely stereotype couples, and so I think The Grand Sophy is one of her better novels.
- Sophie and Howl in Howl’s Moving Castle.
Now, you could put Darcy and Elizabeth down as being one of these couples, but um, they aren’t at all in my favorites, and really, its hard to use the word “chemistry” in connection with a lot of Austen couples, except of course Captain Wentworth.
I reread the first four Harry Potter books, reading my sister’s illustrated copies. I’m going to wait to purchase my own set once they’ve all come out. These editions are amazing. They definitely give you a strong sense of place and atmosphere.
I read The Shadow of the Wind. This did NOT give me a strong sense of place in the way I wanted. It was very atmospheric though. I won’t be continuing with the series. The writing is excellent comparably, but I just can’t justify the content, in every sensitive area it felt gratuitous.
I’ve decided that I needed to finish at least one book for every Harry Potter book I read. I think perhaps, I need to do that with any rereads, and maybe bump it up to 2 or 3 books for every reread. Maybe once I get my hands on more new relaxing reads (which may have to be once I get a Kindle), I can increase that.
The 1st draft of this post has been lingering in my drafts for a year or two. I’m under 20 drafts, and I’m determined to clear them out as much as I can.
I’ve noticed a round of defense of the popularly disliked characters which seem to includes some straw arguments for why those of us who dislike characters, dislike them. Susan, Cynthia (here is the post on Cynthia which spurred my post), Amy (I’ve done a post on Amy) dislike them? I like being contrary (ya think?!), so I’m going to develop why I’m bothered by Cynthia; I greatly dislike Amy, I have moral issues with Cynthia.
I think that sometimes people don’t realize that its the characters (or people) that are portrayed as main or sympathetic that get the most ire, because their faults and sins are glossed over. I think most everyone thinks characters like Mr. Preston are villains, he isn’t given a bit of sympathy, he’s very simply bad. Not much need for discussion. Similarly with the newest Mrs. Gibson. Also, both of them get their come-uppance, often in quite satisfyingly hilarious ways, and they aren’t super popular either in the book or with readers. I doesn’t seem to me to be very important or nearly as interesting to discuss characters I see as obviously bad.
There are many characters I find obnoxious in Wives and Daughters, I want to strangle Squire Hamley most of the time. I want to throttle Dr. Gibson for falling for that sneak. I want to clobber Roger for falling for shallowness (I love when Osbourne calls him out on this!). To me, however, Cynthia is the worst because:
- The nature of her sins and faults
- Her sins faults get defended not merely by herself but many other characters and readers
- She never either gets a come-uppance or has real repentance
The nature of her sins and faults
She is extremely selfish, and gets away with it in ways that no one else does. Everything she does, even her “unselfish” acts towards Molly are done because its what she wants to do, nothing to do with conscience.
When characters (or people) are pointed out as being selfish, people often rush in with the fallacious, “but everyone is.”
- I’m not talking about everyone, I’m pointing out one character, clearly I see this character as being more selfish
- Everyone is not equally selfish, there is a wide spectrum of selfishness
- Other people’s sins don’t justify one’s own sins
She’s dishonest and in an especially deceptive way. She’s selectively honest (aka, falsely honest), in the way the that shows up so people think she’s fundamentally honest, which is not in fact honesty at all. And its not a repentant honesty, it’s the (oh, my favorite), “This is just the way I am” sort. She uses “honesty” as deception and manipulation.
She minimizes her faults into non-existence by turning the tables and focusing on other’s faults, blaming Molly and Mr. Gibson, when she was totally or majorly in the wrong. In the case of Mr. Preston whose age, lack of character, and position puts him in the major part of the wrong, she uses that to pretend she was totally without fault and also to excuse acting wrongly towards other people.
She uses people. She charms people and plays on their emotions for her own ends. She claims to care for Molly yet what she really means is she likes Molly better than others. She still uses Molly like a tool.
She’s manipulative. Everything turns to her own end, her selfishness, her charm, her playing on other’s emotions, her manipulating circumstances, her vanity of her “character,” her blame-shifting, her victim playing.
These are not simply garden variety faults, but rather sins of a narcissistic and sociopathic tinge.
Her sins faults get defended not merely by herself but many other characters and readers
I’ve always fell firmly in the anti-Cynthia camp, I know people who tried to defend her, and quite frankly, that makes me like her less. To me I see this as turning a blind eye to a not good person, to enabling that person, to enabling this sort of thing in the real world. It’s like another layer of deception on an artistically laid intricate system of respectable sins.
She never either gets a come-uppance or has real repentance
She is fairly popular and leads a rather charmed life. When she is confronted (in private usually), she manages to turn it against the person and paint herself as a victim. She leads on one very silly boy and one good man (Mr. Preston cancels himself out, so I’m not including him). She nearly destroys Molly’s life by using her as a tool and then waltzes in and takes her man by wooing Roger (don’t think I’m letting Roger off the hook for being such a Dodo) simply because she wants to get married and be “independent.” She manages to get what she wants in life (an obedient husband who would never say anything negative to her and wealth) by the end without any qualms of conscience.
One can be man-crazy (or comparatively so) and not let that ruin one’s life. It can be a part. Certainly there are girls/women who seem to have few interests if not only this one, and this man-crazy features largely, and it is crazy and toxic and they are blind to type of guys they end up with because they have no standards, just any man they find attractive will do. But I think like many another stereotype people lazily use this against women who maybe are more interested in guys in general than they are, but who have plenty of other interests and who don’t let that one interest run their brain (or completely run it).
It is hard to explain. I just feel like I often really watch movies because of super-attractive guys and that other girls are looking for strong women characters, and I’m like, why? I want him.
That sounds so shallow, and I can talk about other aspects of the movie, I do want the overall movie and plot to be appealing to me, its not only external looks that I like either, I like both and thank you very much. I think this issue comes out a lot or primarily in the superhero or hero type movies. I just don’t care for female superheroes; I want to see the guys, I don’t want to be a female super hero.
Oh, and like all the other false dichotomies I wrote about (over a year ago?), not being boy crazy or man crazy or whatever does not equal intellectualism. One can be stupid and not boy crazy. One can be “boy crazy” and still appreciate other aspects of the plot. I’m not going to love a stupid movie simply because it has a handsome man in it, but I am going to enjoy a good one a whole lot better if it does.
I think it’s similar with romance in books. I actually don’t think I’ve really read or like liked pure romance novels, books with the genre of romance, but all my favorite books feature romance as a significant part. It’s like with humor, I need several ingredients to stories, and in movies and tv a man I find attractive in person and personality is one of them (in books obviously its the personality).
Provoked by the comments on this post and then this actual post “A Note on How I Experience Stories.” My main thought on that post was, well, if I read like that, I wouldn’t read. I can’t take reality as it is. I need my reading to escape (or avoidance, maybe that is a bit more accurate), I like to view a world safely through the window of a book. I think this is also maybe part of why I don’t like labelling reading as a hobby that one should continually increase, I know it is one that can be used to avoid living and learning and experiencing.
I’ve heard a lot of people say they like such and such character because they can see themselves in them or they feel they are experiencing the world as that character or they relate to that character. Well, I don’t relate either to that sentiment or to characters. And if I see myself in a character, it often is one I don’t like (how’s that for encouraging me to self-reflection?!).
I can’t do that, and if I could I would prefer to just observe. Part of my rereading obsession is returning to the safety and comfort of old favorites. Part of the reason I read within my comfort zone is because I’m reading for comfort. I don’t really care to add tons of details of violence and horridness, I already know of plenty from the news, from history, from my fears, I just don’t get why people add these things to books or why they should be in them, I probably will label many more things gratuitous than many people perhaps would.
I’m trying to go through my drafts again, especially since I’m seemingly devoid of many opinions or post ideas that aren’t complaining at the moment. This should have been finished last fall closer to when I finished rereading the last Narnia book.
I left a comment on a post somewhere that I thought would make a decent blog post draft, and I finally finished my rereading of Narnia. I wanted to measure what I used to think about the books vs. this reread.
My Dad read these twice to us when I was a child and preteen. I “think” I read all of them on my own as an adult.. So my favorites have to do with nostalgia and how I felt as a child as well. Dad read them, I think, in the order they were published? Anyway, he started with The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. I loved it, and the Horse and His Boy. I hated Prince Caspian at first because everything was changed, but love The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. The Silver Chair, The Last Battle, and The Magician’s Nephew freaked me out.
When I wrote the comment I mentioned my favorites are still The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, The Horse and His Boy, and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I said that I’d warmed up to Prince Caspian since the first shock, and that I loved aspects of The Silver Chair, The Last Battle, and possibly The Magician’s Nephew, but I felt that they are “colder” and “darker” and that I thought this was partially the overall atmosphere/tone of the books and plot and partially the emphasis on fewer people.
Since then, I’ve read all the books in story chronological order (I think I may have done that a years back, but I’m not certain) in 2019-2020, and I feel that what I’ve always said about my favorites and least favorites is generally true, but I feel like the differences between are more extreme. Also, I’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster recently, so this is based on my moods when reading.
I do have an absolute favorite: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I just felt my spirits soar and my heart sing when I read this book in a way the other couldn’t do. I think that I didn’t enjoy The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe as much, I certainly dragged on that one, perhaps its too familiar; I felt like I enjoyed Prince Caspian more! I know that The Horse and His Boy fell from being equal with The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
I think that perhaps The Magician’s Nephew is less dislike and more apathy while I feel like I actively disliked The Silver Chair while still liking the characters Jill and Eustace. The book is just so dull, dark, and dreary. The Last Battle is just . . . sad, it’s just a sad book (does Narnia really have to end?) . . . and boring at the same time. But again, I like some of the characters, King Tirian and Jill and Eustace and the old favorites who show up. I think I’d have to say The Last Battle is my least favorite because is just so sad.
I’m thinking that next time I don’t want to reread my least favorites, maybe only reread my favorite 4 or maybe just the (in Narnia chronological order) the first 5, ending on a high note with my favorite rather than a low note with my two least favorites.
So after my most recent rereads my favorites list is something like this:
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Prince Caspian and The Horse and His Boy
The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe
The Magician’s Nephew
The Silver Chair
The Last Battle
When I watched The Plant Based Bride’s reading statistics, I was reminded how not great at data, Goodreads is (their Excel export function just doesn’t do the dates right, so I can’t reliably sort information by year plus lots of other data I want to track). So, I started (not optimistically) searching for an alternative. I stumbled upon a reddit on the same issue and found a link to a youtuber, Portal in the Pages, who created an awesome spreadsheet, the post was a few years ago, so I found the 2021 version.
Be sure and watch the videos for help editing. One thing I knew I wanted to edit was genres, so I searched for a list of total genres to put in the hidden tab. I deleted any I thought I wouldn’t read.
Lists of genres. I used this a base along with my library categories (categories that I’d used to divide my TBR on my library site) to create a fiction and nonfiction list of categories I usually read or think I would read or would like to read.
Here is my current iteration. I think once I’ve finally gotten access to Excel again (I’m hoping to transfer my programs from my old computer, so I don’t have to repurchase, and I will NOT subscribe, its been a bit of a headache), I will try to add back in more of the charts like she had originally, it was just working in Google sheets and after I changed all the first page (which would have been much easier in Excel), I’d have to do way more changing that would be less automatic in Google sheets.