Thursday, April 30, 2015

Recently Watched: Death Comes to Pemberly

Based on the novel Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James
Produced by the BBC 
Released in 2013
Consists of three sixty minute episodes
Staring: Matthew Rhys, Anna Maxwell Martin, and Jenna Coleman

So in between writing papers last weekend, I watched the BBC's Death Comes to Pemberly. I have not read the book, I know, I know, I've committed a book lover's sin, but I've been wanting to watch this mini-series since it came out so I went for it. 

I'll skip the part where I talk about how much I love everything the BBC puts out, because you guys have heard it a million times, but I really enjoyed this series! I was fully entertained. At first I was a little unsure of the casting, (I'm still a little annoyed by the obvious incorrect age gap between Lizzie and Darcy, but then adaptions rarely portray ages correctly so I 'll let it slide,) and I thought that Jenna Coleman might be too beautiful for her role as Lydia, but all those doubts faded away during the first episode. The acting was great and I thought the characters were very believable and accurate to Austen's original characters. 

And ladies, there are some very handsome men in this one. I loved hearing what happened to the characters of P&P and thought that everything was believable and perfect for the characters. I would still be willing to pick up the novel sometime in the future even though I already know what happens because I enjoyed this series that much. 

If you have read the book and seen this, tell me what you think? Did it stay pretty true to the book? What did you think of the casting? 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Bronte Tag!

Jess at Curiouser and Curiouser  made up her own tag. You go girl! So I'm here to do The Bronte Tag. I've yet to read anything by Anne Bronte, but i have read Emily and Charlotte's masterpieces but I'm hoping to pick something up by her soon. This tag is super versatile and can be done whether you read classics or not. Okay, let's get started.
Anne, Emily, and Charlotte painted by their brother Branwell
  
Jane Eyre
A book or series with a twist you didn't see coming
Passing by Nella Larsen

This is one of my favorite underrated classics. It's so good and it's such a fast read. I highly recommend you check it out, the ending is so good. 

Shirley
A book/series with more than one protagonist
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffery Eugenides

This one is really interesting because there are five main characters that you don't know anything about. Really interesting novel lay out. 

Villette
Book/series set at school
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

This series has a lot of great elements. It has an American protagonist who goes to a boarding school in London, it has supernatural elements, and the protagonist Rory is so funny.   

The Professor 
A book/series you didn't like by an author you love
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

I love both Green and Levithan but didn't love this book. It wasn't bad by any means, I did enjoy it, but it wasn't as great as I thought it would be.

Agnes Grey
Book/series with positive female friendship
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Bradshares

This book is the best female friendship book I have ever read. I loved this series so much when I read it in middle school, and I really should reread it. This series is so great, and the female friendship is so powerful and heartwarming.  

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
Book/series with a parent protagonist
Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler

This is a really great fictional account of Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald's life together, and one that I really enjoyed. It was accurate, and it made these iconic figures into real people. 

Wuthering Heights
Book/series with a problematic love interest
Hold on Tight by Abbi Glines

Oh man! Do not get me started on this book. I can not believe how awful and toxic this relationship is. I can't even begin to list the problems with this book, but the biggest and most shocking problem was domestic violence.  

Tales of Angria
Book/series that reminds you of your childhood
Bloomability by Sharon Creech

I read quite a bit of Sharon Creech as a middle schooler, but this one was my favorite and really stuck with me for a long time after I read it. This is a really great coming of age and self-discovery story with a great female protagonist.  

Don't forget to check out Jess's original post here.  

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books with Characters Who Are Crazy



It took me a really long time to decide on my topic for this week (having my books packed up and not all at the same place doesn't help either) but I was inspired by one of the books on this list to talk about crazy characters. 

Now, when I say crazy I mean an array of things on this list, as you will see. Some are serial killer crazy and some are dealing with mental issues (which of course doesn't make them crazy but for the purposes of this list I have included them) and some of them are evil crazy. So if you want to get into the mind of someone a little unstable and unreliable, here are some of my recommendations.  

 
1. Tracks by Louise Erdrich: Pauline
This is the novel and character that inspired today's topic. Holy (haha, that was an excellent joke if you have read the novel!) smokes is Pauline crazy but so fascinating to read as a narrator. I will be reviewing this book next week so there will be more on Pauline then.

2. Hamlet by William Shakespeare: Hamlet
Shakespeare has a large number of crazy characters to pick from, but Hamlet is one of the best and the craziest. I'm reading this one right now, and Hamlet is brilliant, but crazy.

3. Where Things Come Back by John Corey Walley: Could be spolierish so I won't tell you
I'm afraid telling you who is crazy could be spolierish but trust me, someone in this novel is straight up crazy. I love this book and really want to reread it soon! 

 
4. The Catcher in the Rye: Holden Caulfield 
It's because I love Holden that I can call him crazy!

5. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde: Dorian Gray
Dorian Gray is obsessive, evil, and extremely beautiful; is there a better combination for a crazy literary character? Wilde's writing is pure genius of course, which makes his character all the better. Read my review here.

6. Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas: Celaena Sardothien
Now, I love Celaena Sardothien very much, but you can't deny that girlfriend is crazy sometimes in every possible meaning of the word. This is what makes her such a real, and beautiful character.

 

7. The Sherlock Holmes Stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: Professor Moriarty
Moriarty is one of my all-time favorite villains. He's the perfect villain for Holmes, and he makes my skin crawl in every movie or tv show adaptation!

8. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens: Mrs. Havisham 
Okay, so I have only read the graphic novel version of this story, but I got enough of the story to know that Mrs. Havisham is crazy. Anyone who spends fifty plus years living in a wedding dress she was wearing when she was left at the alter wins a spot on my crazy list.

9. Choke by Chuck Palahniuk: Everyone in the entire novel
Everyone in this novel is crazy and unstable, but some of them are lovable in odd ways. This is the only Palahniuk I have read, and I think it is quite tame for him, so if you don't think you would be a fan of some of his wilder stuff (that's me) then this could be a good Palahniuk experience for you. Read my review here.


10. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman: The Narrator
Girlfriend is crazy, but she has dang good reason to be! This is a short story and a piece with feminist themes I recommend you check out. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Recently Read: Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Author: Becky Albertalli
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Page Count: 320
Status: Stand alone
Rating: 4/5



Simon is in high school. Simon is not-so-openly gay. Simon is having a secret email relationship with another boy at his school. The problem is, Simon doesn't know who this boy is, and he thinks he has real feelings for him. When someone at Simon's school reads one of the emails, Simon finds himself being black mailed into trying to make a romantic connection between his black mailer and his best friend while he tries to decipher the identity of his email lover. 

This book was so cute! I'm not the biggest contemporary fan, so I'm always a little hesitant to pick them up, but I generally enjoy them more when the narrators are males so I decided to pick this one up. It did take a little while for me to get into it (I always find it a little jarring to enter the mind of a teenage boy for the fist couple chapters of a book) but once I got into it, I couldn't put it down. This book had me laughing out loud and swooning! The romance in this novel is so cute and I loved the mystery element in the romance.

Of course, this book is more than just a really entertaining read. It's proof of the bravery that it takes to be yourself. Side note: I'm currently watching the Bruce Jenner Interview as I am typing this and he is also proving this statement, and he is proving it very well. There is a lot of love and truth in this novel that is just as important to the novel as the cute romance and laugh out loud moments. One quote that I loved from this book is, 
"I'm just so sick of straight people who can't get their shit together."
I really recommend checking this one out, it was cute, funny, heartwarming, and meaningful. Leave me your recommendations for YA books with gay main characters, as I would love to read more.

  

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Weekly Wrap-Up: Paper Overload!

What's New 
I am on paper overload right now! I have three huge papers due next week, and the following week is finals. But I was able to finish one of the papers on Friday, so I'm feeling pretty okay right now, but ask me again tomorrow when I'm trying to study for an exam and finish a research paper.

Reading Update
I haven't had the chance to do much reading this week, but I'm hoping to find some time to read this weekend. Since last week, I have started and read about fifty pages of Mosquitoland and I have started and read half of my last piece of required reading for the semester Tracks by Louise Erdrich! I'm really enjoying Tracks and I am glad that it was assigned because I had never even heard of it before this class!
 

What I Bought:
Nothing this week!

What I Posted:
Monday- I reviewed my first Penguin Little Black Classic - On Murder Considered one of the Fine Arts by Thomas De Quiency
Tuesday- I talked about Ten of my All Time Favorite Authors
Wednesday- I featured Howl by Allen Ginsberg in my latest Poetry Spotlight
Thursday- I did the Classics Tag which was so much fun!

Last Week's Wrap-Up

What's Next: 
I've got a review of Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, Top Ten Tuesday, and another book tag!

If you guys read and blog about classics I would love if you let me know and left me a link to your blog because I am always on the look-out for more blogs that talk about classics.   

The Sunday Post Hosted by: The Caffeinated Book Reviewer

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Classics Tag!

I was tagged by Jess to do the Classics Tag, which is right up my alley of course! Writing this post is my excuse to take a break from a history paper so I couldn't be happier to be talking about my love of classic literature!
Okay, let's get started!

An Over-Hyped Classic 
People are CRAZY about this Shakespeare play but I did not like it one bit! And I know a lot of people love the film version of this play, but I did not like that either. 

Favorite Time Period To Read Classics from
I love modern classics- specifically anything 1920's onward! I love the Lost Generation and Modernism and anything that was a result from WWII. 
Favorite Fairy Tale 

My favorite fairy tale Blue Beard was a recent discovery. This fairy tale is so strange, violent, and disturbing, but it is so curious and puzzling that it really intrigues me. I also love how often it is alluded to, retold, and reworked in modern fiction. 
Most Embarrassing Unread Classic

I need to read Frankenstein ASAP! I loved Gris Grimly's graphic novel adaptation, and ever since reading that I have been itching to read the original.   
Top Five Classics I Want to Read Next
 

 


Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams, Sylvia Plath
Tess of the D'urberville, Thomas Hardy
Sense and Sensiblity, Jane Austen
And Then There Were None, Agatha Christie 
A Room with a View, E.M Forster 
Favorite Modern Retelling


I love that both Pride and Prejudice and Bridget Jones' Diary make me laugh out loud! Bridget is such a great character, and so is Lizzie. If you love P&P I highly recommend reading Bridget Jones! Plus, Collin Firth is in the movie adaptation of Bridget Jones! (Swoon!)
Favorite Adaptation 
 

I just read Emma not that long ago, and I loved matching up the plot and characters to Clueless! Please don't get me started on the timelessness of Jane Austen again, because once I start, I can not stop!
Least Favorite Adaptation 

This one takes the cake for the scariest adaptation for sure! If you have not seen this, or didn't even know it existed, it is the single weirdest thing I have seen in my entire life. My fourth grade teacher showed it to us and I'm still recovering. Dorothy is in a mental institute receiving shock treatments because the adults think she is crazy for talking about Oz. No, I'm not kidding you. 
Beautiful Editions

I would give my future first born child for a collection of the Penguin Deluxe Classics, or any of the special edition classics that Penguin puts out. They sure do know how to publish a beautiful book!
An Under-Hyped Classic 

The End of the Affair by Graham Greene caught me off guard. It was my first Greene novel and I am so glad I started with this one. The writing is beautiful and this book has so many layers and huge themes to it for such a short book. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton is one of my all-time favorite books ever, and it is not talked about enough! Ethan is such a vivid character and the symbolism of the pickle dish is one of the greatest examples of symbolism I have ever come across in all my reading. 

I Tag...
And You! If you read and discuss classics on your blog, please do this tag and leave me a link to it!
I am always on the hunt for new blogs that talk about classics. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Poetry Spotlight: Howl by Allen Ginsberg


In my second year of college I took an Introduction to Poetry class and I fell in love with reading poetry. Before then, poetry was always a little intimidating and a medium that I didn't have much experience with. But after that class, I became addicted to reading poetry, and during the class I actually found myself thinking in and expressing myself in poetry- which I never would have guessed would happen in a million years. So, with this series I'm here to share some of my favorite poems in a way that I'm sure will turn out rambley and unorganized.

Before reading about this poem, it may be helpful to read this short introduction to the Beatnik Literary movement I made in the form of my Literary Look: The Beatnik Movement post.

Howl by Allen Ginsberg is on of the most well known pieces of literature from the Beatnik movement which occurred in the late 1950's- 1960's in America. The poem became an anthem of sorts for the rebellious and fed-up youth. This poem was first published in 1956.

Read the Poem Here  Well just the first two parts of the poem since it's not in the public domain yet.
Listen to Ginsberg Read the Entire Poem Here

Some basic info on Ginsberg and his works:
Ginsberg is a"founding" member of the Beat generation. He met Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs at Columbia University. Ginsberg was always a trouble maker and was suspended from Columbia twice. Ginsberg had a very strong fear of the atomic bomb, which was a recurring idea in his works and he battled bouts of depression and mental illness. His best known works are his poems Howl, and Kaddish a poem in six parts which he wrote in the course of forty-eight hours under the influence of multiple drugs. Howl is also well known for the controversy that followed the poem's publication when it faced an obscenity trial, which only helped sell countless copies of the poem. Ginsberg is also well known for his activeness in the fight for equal rights for same-sex couples, as he himself was gay, and had possible sexual relations with many members of the Beatnik writers including Kerouac and Burroughs.


Thoughts on the poem: 
Howl is quite an angry and angsty poem. The first line of the poem, I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness... is quite well known and starts off the poem's powerful and disturbing imagery. The poem is dived into three parts and provides commentary on just about everything you can imagine. Throughout the poem Ginsberg has some very breathtakingly beautiful phrases, and his capitalization is interesting and something to look out for while reading. The poem is quite pessimistic and you can taste the anger, bitterness and resentment that Ginsberg is harboring. Part I of the poem contains some very interesting commentary on art and poetry specifically, and contains some very disturbing images of his friend Carol Solomon, to whom the poem is dedicated, in a mental institute. These two images together are very jarring and very interesting to read. 

Ginsberg deals with a lot of abstract and concrete concepts in this poem and he does it very beautifully. First he will present you with the image of a Drunken taxicab of Absolute Reality and then he presents you with the image of someone who Presented themselves on the granite steps of the madhouse with shaven heads and harlequin speech of suicide, demanding instantaneous lobotomy. This poem speaks on the wasted potential of his generation and the fine line between madness and genius.  

If you do give this poem a go, I recommend reading it a few times, well I recommend that with all poems actually but this one especially, so you can catch all of Ginsberg's beautiful and horrific images and see them contrast.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this poem if you have read it!  

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: I Love These Authors


I like a lot of authors, so picking my top ten all-time favorite authors is really difficult. So, here I'm listing five young adult authors that I have enjoyed multiple books from and that I trust to deliver something I love every time, and five classical authors that I have read multiple works from and have loved them.   

Young Adult
1. Marcus Sedgwick
I've read: Midwinterblood and Revolver

2. Andrew Smith 
I've read: Winger and Grasshopper Jungle

3. David Levithan
I've read: Boy Meets BoyWill Grayson, Will Grayson and How They Met and Other Stories 

4. Jenny Han

5. Sarah J. Maas
Classics
6. Sylvia Plath
I've read: The Bell Jar and Ariel

7. Jane Austen
I've read: Pride and PrejudicePersuasion, and Emma

8. Edna St. Vincent Millay
I've read: Poems! A Poetry Spotlight on Millay is coming this summer.

9. Oscar Wilde
I've read:The Picture of Dorian Gray and various poems, short stories, fairy tales, and letters. I should post about those soon too!

10. Ralph Waldo Emerson 
I've read: His essays and letters. Moral of this post is that it's hard for me to post about things that I really, really love. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Recently Read: On Murder Considered One of the Fine Arts

Author: Thomas De Quincey
Genre: Classic Essay/ Satire
Publication Date:  1827
Page Count: 56
Rating: 3/5




I ordered a few of the Penguin Little Black Classics and this was the first one I read. I love a little bit of satire now and again, and this one satirizes the human tendency to obsess over murders and celebritize the murderers (which is still very true to this day). The essay is set up as a speech being given by the head of a club of people who follow and discuss the art of a well executed (pun intended) murder. 

This essay had many of my favorite components of satire: it made me laugh, it was sassy, and it was thought provoking. It talked about a lot of classical philosophers whom I wasn't familiar with, but the essay gave enough information about them for me to be able to keep up with the commentary. If you enjoy satire I recommend checking this out. I'm also interested to read De Quincey's Confessions of an Opium Eater essay which is his most well-known work. 

    
Each of the Penguin Little Black Classics starts with a quote from the piece, this is the quote from De Quincey's essay. I think these books are so cute and I love that they are just a little collection of poems, short stories, or essays that can be read in one sitting. I already own two others that I haven't read yet and I have lots more of them on my Book Depository wishlist. 

Are you a satire lover? What's a satirical piece that you love? Do you love the Little Black Classics as much as I do? Which ones are on your wishlist?  

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Weekly Wrap-Up

What's New:
The end of the semester is still approaching and that means so are many, many deadlines. I've been staying up way too late reading lately, which is both great and awful. I haven't had time to read blogs as much as I would like to lately so I'm hoping to get a chance to catch up on those once the semester ends. Here's a look at what I read and what I'm currently reading.

What I Read Since My Last Wrap Up:
The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury
I actually already reviewed this one and you can check 
it out here. 

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, Becky Allbertallit
Review for this one is coming up but I gave it
4/5 stars on Goodreads.

Currently Reading:
Mosquitoland by David Arnold


What I Borrowed From the Library:
Mosquitoland by David Arnold

What I Posted:

Monday- I reviewed my first Vonnegut book, Cat's Cradle
Tuesday- I shared ten of my Favorite Thought Provoking Quotes
Wednesday- I talked about a really enjoyable adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma
Thursday- I reviewed The Sin Eater's Daughter

Last Week's Wrap-Up

What's Next: 
I've got lots of posts in mind, I just need to find to write them up between papers and projects! This upcoming week I'm hoping to get out at least one of the reviews I need to post yet, a Poetry Spotlight on Ginsberg's "Howl", and possibly a great tag I was recently tagged to complete, in addition to Top Ten Tuesday of course.

Let me know how you guys are doing, are you hanging in there if the end of the school year or semester for you?

Stacking the Shelves Hosted by: Tyngas Review
The Sunday Post Hosted by: The Caffeinated Book Reviewer

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Recently Read: The Sin Eater's Daughter

Author: Melinda Salisbury
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publication Date: 2015
Page Count: 238
Rating: 3/5


Twylla was destined to be the next Sin Eater. After the death of someone a Sin Eater must eat the sins of the deceased before their soul can peacefully pass into the next world, but then fate had a different idea for Twylla. Her touch is deadly and she works as the queen's executioner. 

I'm not sure what I think about this one. The characters were likeable and the story was entertaining, but the ending was a little oddly done. The plot moved at a slower pace for the first 3/4 of the novel and then all of the sudden in the last fifty or so pages a ton of plot happened and then the book ended. This is the first in a trilogy (?) and I know that the end was a set up for the rest of the series, but it just seemed like all we needed was the last fifty pages to set us up for book two. Because all of that plot development happened so fast I found myself feeling a little confused about what exactly was going on. I do like this book enough to be interested in picking up the others in the series when they are released though. 

I liked the world and I thought the concept of Sin Eating was so cool- I would have loved to have more information about this idea and I'm hoping it will play a huge role in the next books. There was a few interesting plot twists in here that I really enjoyed and I read this rather quickly because it was so entertaining and quick. 

So I guess I enjoyed this, but it didn't blow my mind. I just can't decide how I feel about this one. I'm curious to know what you thought of this one if you read it so let me know!  

And how gorgeous is that cover?!