Jane Austen Mini-Reviews pt 1: Sense & Sensibility, Pride &Prejudice,Northanger Abbey

I’m curently making my way through all of Austen’s books for the Jane Austen class I’m in, I’ve read them all before except for Mansfield park, but I like rereading books and I am noticing new things. Though I have been struggling to keep up with the lengthy reading assignments, I’m enjoying the class and I’m able to engage with the books more critically then when I read them in my free time during high school.

Sense and Sensibility

  • This might be my least favorite Austen novel. I had read it before, but remembered next to nothing about it because frankly this book is a bit boring.
  • It’s written well, there’s a lot of interesting themes but I don’t find the characters as compelling in her other works.
  • This also is a hard book to get into, the first chapter is dry.
  • Unsatisfying ending, I wanted more
  • The men don’t deserve the women, Captain Wentworth is okay but Edward is boring I feel like I know nothing about the guy

Pride and Prejudice

  • Iconic first line, so many people know it by heart.
  • Mr. Darcy is awkward and that’s probably why we all like him so much
  • Lizzy is cool, but Keira Knightley is why I love her. I would not have loved her so much if I’d read the book before seeing the movie.
  • I think there are better Austen heroines, though this might be s controversial take.
  • Not to be more controversial, but while I love this book it’s definitely not my favorite Austen novel, it’s not her best work.
  • The couples feel more like equals, unlike in Sense and Sensibility. Jane and Bingley and Lizzy and Darcy simply work together and feel meant to be in a way the couples in Sense and Sensibility don’t

Northanger Abbey

  • Underrated (compared to her other books)
  • A good place to start if you haven’t read any Austen. For me it’s the easiest and quickest of her books to read.
  • Different in tone than Austen’s other novels. It’s more like her juvenile if you’re familiar with those. If your not then let me explain, it feels less developed and a little more humorous.
  • The romance is weak. It’s okay, but nothing special, this didn’t really hinder my enjoyment of the story though. I think the romance is less important than in other Austen novels.
  • There are some great quotes about books, Catherine is the bookworm everyone wants Lizzy to be.
  • If you like the gothic than this is worth reading, it subverts the norms of the genre.
  • Also, if you are familiar with Anne Radcliffe’s work you might enjoy this, Catherine loves her books, and some of them inspired aspects of Northanger Abbey.

I like Jane Austen’s later work better, what about you, do you have a preference? Has anyone else read Austen’s juvenilia? It’s pretty interesting, especially if you’re a big Austen fan.

Discussion Assigned Reading: Does Having to Read Something Take Away from the Joy of Reading?

I’m currently pursuing a BFA in Creative Writing, I take a mix of English and Writing degrees plus the general education classes will all have to have. Most of my classes involve reading, there’s the usual textbook assignments, but for many of my classes I have to read things I would read on my own. This sounds good right? To get to read something good without having to make extra time for it. In theory this is the ideal situation. But there is something different about sitting down and reading a book for class, and reading it just for the sake of it.

A lot of people have this voice in their head that makes them not want to do something once they’ve been told to do it. Trust me I get it, I was a sassy teenager once who didn’t want to do the things she was told, even when I had wanted to do that thing a moment before. I have however, grown out of that (for the most part) so it’s not really a factor for me But this is something I’ve heard other people mention whenever this topic is brought up. For me the problem isn’t that I don’t want to read whatever is assigned, I mean sometimes I really don’t like what we’re reading, but a writer I want to read as much as I can. And especially works other people find to be significant in some way. But anyway, my trouble is that I have a hard time not analyzing everything I read, I think about why every little thing matters, what the symbolism is all the things you are thought to look for in an English class.

When I’m reading something completely different than I would for a class it’s a little easier, like if it’s a graphic novel, or anything that would be considered ‘light’ reading. The only book I read last semester was Wayward Son, and I had no problem enjoying that one. I think one thing that helped was listening to it on audiobook, this way there was something to distinguish the book I was reading for pleasure and the one for class. I didn’t have any trouble reading during the summer, but over winter break I read Little Women, and it first it was hard to shut off the analytical English/writing major part of my brain. I think that it’s harder to read classics without engaging them critically like you would for a class. And when you are reading them for a class, it’s different then reading them just for fun. Like whenever I read Too the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf I liked the story, but I couldn’t really get swept away by the story because I was reading it through that academic lens.

This semester I’m taking a Jane Austen class, it’s a lot of reading but I thought that since I like Jane Austen it would be easier to keep up with the reading then with other classes. It isn’t really any easier. I have read most of her books before I enjoyed them, but right now I’m reading Pride and Prejudice for the third time and I don’t find myself wanting to read it. I’m reading it because I have to and it’s good, I just don’t look forward to reading it in the same way I did the last two times I read it. I mean I am engaging with the book in a different way, noticing new things, and I look forward to class and the discussions we have. I just get less pleasure from the actual act of reading and that makes me a little sad. I don’t want to always be thinking critically of every book I read. But I guess that’s what I signed myself up for. I’m spending a lot of money to learn about something I’m passionate about, yet it’s making my enjoy one of my favorite things less. It’s not exactly ruining reading that would be going too far, and it’s impossible to ruin reading for me, but college is changing how I read and I’m not sure I like how it’s changing.

What do you all think? How do you feel about assigned reading? Are there any other English or writing majors who understand this struggle?

Why I Love Greta Gerwig’s Little Women

This post is long overdue, but better late than never right?

I saw Little Women on new years day with my mom, and it was the perfect way to start of the new year. I finished the book right before we went to see the movie so it was first read and first film of the year. Even though this wasn’t a story I had grown up with it quickly won me over. I probably like the movie better than the book, but I’m glad I read it before I saw the movie it made me enjoy it more. Somehow the movie makes my love for the book increase. I think one reason for that it that when you experience the story in both forms it helps you to see how nuanced it is, or at least it helped me to see that. It’s because there is so much going on in this story, that I can’t stop thinking about it. Like, I’ve thought about this movie everyday since I saw it. Everyone around me is surely tired of me hearing me gush about it. But I’m not going to stop until everyone I know has seen it. There’s a lot to talk about, I think the best place to start is by telling you what I think this movie (and books) is about.

KEep Reading

How do you find the RIGHT story? // I’m working on a book!

I started this year with the intention to write everyday, that plan fell through five days in. But I realized it was never going to work and that’s fine. I went into this self imposed challenge knowing that you don’t have to write everyday to be a writer, but I thought that doing so would help me. Then I forgot to write one day and had writers block the next. Anyway, I started this write every day goal because I want to finish writing a book this year, well finish a draft. I’ve only ever finished a few chapters of any project I’ve started and I desperately want to change that. Writing everyday is not necessary to do this what matters is that the time I spend writing counts, and it’s not going to if I don’t know what direction the story is headed. I need to find the right story.

Continue reading “How do you find the RIGHT story? // I’m working on a book!”

2019 Year in Review: The end of the decade, the start of an age

It’s now 2020! And I’m back from my hiatus and so excited for all in store for me this year. The last decade had been great, but I really think (though it’s cliche to say) that the 2020’s will be my decade. I grew up during the 2010’s I went through middle school, high school, and started college. Two of my siblings got married, I adopted three cat’s and became a self proclaimed cat lady. I thought a lot about the future and now all those daydreams are becoming a reality, I’m going to be studying abroad in the fall, and I really really want to publish a book sometime in the next ten years. Before I get caught up in what’s to come I want to look back at my favorite things from the last year.

Books

  • Bloodwitch
  • Carry On
  • Becoming
  • Evelyn Hugo
  • Water Runs Red

Apparently the only book I gave five stars to this year was Bloodwitch, I did like most of the books I read but I didn’t find a new all time favorite. While the Witchlanders is one of my top fantasy series I had already discovered the series, so yeah I didn’t fall in love with anything new. Maybe I’ll read better books in 2020?

Movies: (in chronological order of when I watched them)

  • Spiderman Into the Spiderverse
  • How to Train Your Dragon the Hidden World
  • Spiderman: Far From Home
  • Downton Abbey
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Honorable mention to Little Women since it technically came out in 2019 but I saw it on new years day so its going to be in my 2020 year in review. But It’s so good that I had to mention it here, it’s a new favorite of mine.

TV Shows

  • She-Ra
  • Steven Universe
  • Outlander
  • The Good Place
  • The Dragon Prince

Albums

  • Fine Line by Harry Styles
  • Lover by Taylor Swift
  • Frozen 2 Soundtrack
  • Doom Days by Bastille
  • Sing to me Instead by Ben Platt

The bigest surprise of the year was me becoming a Harry Styles fan and his album being my favorite of the year instead of Taylor’s. I will probably listen to Lover more, but Fine Line is objectively the better album. Honestly, Lover is really fun and I’m glad Taylor is happy but it’s far from her best work. I listened to more music this year then I probably ever have and I hope I keep trying different artists in the year to come. I also need to listen to more broadway recordings, I didn’t do enough of that in 2019.


What are some of your favorite things that you watched read or listened to in 2019?

What’s been going on with me // a look into my busy life

Hello, it has been over s month since I’ve written a blog post. I moved back into my university on August 18th, and I feel like I’ve been busy nonstop since. Last year I was able to post a few things during the first month, things feel different this time around though. I have had posts up, but they were all scheduled ahead of time and I ran out of those a while ago. I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to take a hiatus, which is basily what I’ve been doing but I figured I should clue you all in on it. I don’t want to just disappear without comment. And I don’t want this blog to go anywhere, I’m a little scared that it’s going to slowly fade out. Rather, that I will keep trying to make it work but be able to.

I love blogging, however there is a lot of other things going on in my life right now. I have a heavy course load, as well as a job and I’m a co chair for the hall council of my residence hall. It’s a lot, and it’s not going to slow down anytime soon. I think I’m going to start setting aside time to blog, even just a few minutes a week is better than nothing. I know though that even if I do that it will be at least another week before I post again, and it is impossible for me to post twice a week like I’d like to. I do really want to keep this blog going, even if I don’t post but once a month. A big reason why, is I want to turn this into a study abroad blog next year.

I’m officially going to be studying abroad in the fall of 202o. This is a huge dream of mine one that’s been brewing for years, and it still feels unreal that it’s so close to happening. I would like to have tblof posts about all my adventures to look back on. That’s something I actually think I will follow through on. A lot of what’s been going on is stressful, but it’s also exciting. I realize that I’m privileged to be able to go to a good university, and to have a good support system I’m not taking my education for granted, it is so important to me. I’m working hard, but I’m also doing my best to take everything in and give notice to every small good thing that comes my way.

That’s all for now, I’ll be back as soon as I can. Also, I will probably not have much bookish content up for a while I haven’t been reading, and I think I’d like to post some other college related things. Let me know in the comments what you would all like to see.

Books I keep avoiding

Top Ten Tuesday is a weakly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is books you keep avoiding and why.

There’s Someone Inside your House

I enjoyed Anna and the French Kiss and I was excited for this when it was first announced, but the reviews I saw were not very positive. I might eventually read it, I’m just in no hurry and I’m not going to spend money on it.

Turtles All the Way Down

I read loathed Looking for Alaska, couldn’t get into The Fault in Our Stars, and never finished it. Turtles has gotten a lot of acclaim, and it actually sounds up my ally but my past experiences with John Green’s books makes me hesitant to read it. 

Kingdom of Ash

I’m torn I read the rest of the series and I hate to leave a series unfinished, but I really really didn’t like Empire of Storms. Also I don’t have time to read a a 800 something page book!

Strange the Dreamer

Daughter of Smoke and Bone is not a good book, it’s overhyped. People are probably going to disagree with me in the comments, but it’s how I feel. Strange the Dreamer has a great premise, I’m scared though that it will be disappointing just like Lani Taylor previously series. 

Twilight

I barely missed the Twilight age, I watched the movies but was a little too young to have read the books. I didn’t have any interest in at until fairly recently, this series is still wildly discussed and I’m curious. I want to know what all the fuzz is about. However, I’ve been putting them off in favor of other books. 

Sabriel

This series has been on my TBR for years I even started the book once, however I couldn’t get into it. I think it’s going to be one of those books that takes a while to become invested in, and I haven’t been in the mood to try again. I love fantasy I really do, but I still get intimidated by large epic fantasy stories. 

Are there any books you find yourself putting off reading? If so what are they and why are you avoiding reading them?

The Waffle Book Tag

I love waffles I love books what could be better then putting them both together? Let’s dive right into this adorable tag.

The Rules

  • Link back to the original creator, Kat @ Novels & Waffles
  • Feel free to use any of the waffle graphics in this post, just make sure to credit Kat
  • Tag as many people as you want (or don’t want)

Persuasion

Jane Austen is my favorite classic novilist, and after a lot of internal debate I’m eighty six percent sure Persuasion is my favorite of her novels. I also love Pride and Prejudice, but I think I like the 2005 movie better then the book itself.

Ms Marvel

I am way behind with these comics, but they are the perfect answer for this question. Kamala Con is adorkable, her stories are enduring and I don’t know I just think there’s something wholesome about them.

Nancy Drew

There’s a few books I could choose for this, but I’m going with Nancy Drew. I didn’t read a ton of these growing up, but I did read some of the books, loved the 2007 movie, and played a few of the games. Nancy Drew was way more of my sister’s thing then mine, but it’s still something I associate with growing up.

Malachi from With the Fire on High

He’s a sweetheart, and pretty much instantly won me over. He’s a nice guy and that’s what Emonie deserved.

Crooked Kingdom

This question made me realize how much I avoid reading sad books, but umm that one really sad thing made me cry in Crooked Kingdom. Also the Crows love waffles so I couldn’t possibly write a waffle related post without mentioning them.

Water Runs Red

I’ve read a few contemporary Poetry collections but this one stands out from the bunch. It’s cleverly designed in a way that makes it feel like a journal. Plus the theme of a friendship breakup isn’t something you see all the time.

Percy Jackson & The Heroes of Olympus

I might not have read all of Rick Riordan’s books, but I did stick with Percy Jackson through ten entire books. And I enjoyed every minute of it, I loved all the characters I met throughout these books and laughed at all their shenanigans. Honestly I miss these books, they have a certain charm, and kind of humor that only Rick Riordan can achieve.

Persuasion Bookmark

And my phone, since it allows me to read and listen to audiobooks on the go. But since I talked about Persuasion earlier its right only right to mention my favorite bookmark.

I tag anyone who loves waffles and books and wants to do this cute tag.

Book review: Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.


I enjoyed this more than I was expecting to. I had heard mixed things about the author previous book An Enchantment of Raven’s, and I had decided not to read it, but now I’ve changed my mind. This story wasn’t anything particularly special it’s the standard YA fantasy. You have your orphan protagonist whose ordinary life gets uprooted, and who finds herself at the center of a world threatening conflict. Then you have the dashing love interest, lots of excitement and action and some magic.

It’s the basic recipe for a successful YA fantasy. I’ve read tons of similar books, and found this one to be familiar and predictable. Yet I still ended up getting swept away by it all. It’s one of those books I really enjoy while I’m reading it, but that isn’t memorable. Even after having recently finished it I can already tell it’s not going to leave a lasting impression. All that being said this was super enjoyable, and a few hours of amusement is all I wanted out of it.

I liked how so much of it was set in libraries and enjoyed the interactions and relationships between the characters. For me the characters aren’t amazing on their own and like other elements of the book their rather generic, however the dialogue was spot on. This was a satisfying read I didn’t love it, but you can’t love every book you read. I’ll be interested to see what Rogerson writes next.  

Top Ten Tuesday: my favorite tropes

Top Ten Tuesday is a weakly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Band of misfits

I don’t think I’ve actually read many books with this, I’ve definitely seen shows about it, but I do enjoy it. I like any books about groups of friends, unlikely friends are even better. Seeing characters who are thrown together through happenstance become each others family is always a emotional and enjoyable experience.

The chosen one

This is a classic that I have yet to grow tired of. I mean I do think it is is over used, but when done well I love it. I just don’t want to see it in every Fantasy book.

Epic adventures/quests

Admittedly traveling scenes in books can be dull, but it’s often necessary to have the characters travel in order to achieve a goal. So just like with all the things on this list I enjoy it only when done well.

Evil relative (usually a parent)

I think this gives the character more of a emotional investment in the conflict, and ups the stakes. Yes it’s done often, but it’s sometimes necessary.

Hate to Love

Whether it’s enemies to friends or enemies to lovers I’m always a sucker for this trope. All my examples are hate to love though, since it happens way more often. Pride and Prejudice is the absolute best example.

Hidden abilities

This is more so one I respect as opposed to love, it can work really well, but sometimes authors use it for the sake of convenience and it can feel tried or flat out lazy writing. Other times I get why it’s there and it’s fun to read about someone discovering an awesome new ability.

Love square/octagon

I’m not particularly a fan of love triangles, but I a complex romance involving four or more characters. Basically if I need to draw a diagram to understand who likes who than I’m on board. I know this kind of thing gets on some peoples nerves, but I like the drama and romantic tension as long as it’s well done of course.

Magic schools

I’m always looking for stories set in fun magical schools that sound way better than boring muggle schools. I don’t care much for most books set in High School, but give me a magic academy of some sorts and I’ll immediately add it to my TBR.

Royalty

I love books about royals, I enjoy all the drama and intrigue. This is more of a trend then a trope, although characters finding out their actually Royalty is a trope I enjoy as well.

Traveling

This is similar to epic journeys that I talked about earlier only this one applies more to contemporary novels and traveling to real world locations. Like books about road trips or studding abroad, this is one of my favorite niche genres.