Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre (pronounced like ‘air’ for those of you who are confused as I usually am) by Charlotte Bronte, my favorite of the Bronte sisters is one of my favorite books, and easily my favorite of the romantic persuasion.  

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When I was first assigned this book for an independent novel assignment in school, I had mixed feelings. I had heard it described as ‘romantic’, ‘boring’, ‘amazing’, and again, ‘romantic’. So I didn’t quite know what to think. Then, of course, there was the synopsis.

Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead, subject to the cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane Eyre nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity.

She takes up the post of governess at Thornfield, falls in love with Mr. Rochester, and discovers the impediment to their lawful marriage in a story that transcends melodrama to portray a woman’s passionate search for a wider and richer life than Victorian society traditionally allowed.

With a heroine full of yearning, the dangerous secrets she encounters, and the choices she finally makes, Charlotte Bronte’s innovative and enduring romantic novel continues to engage and provoke readers.

I like very dark stories, typically. So this book didn’t exactly pique my interest. However, when I actually read it, I changed my mind very quickly.

While this isn’t exactly promoted, the story of Jane Eyre is quite dark. When the story opens, your thrown into Jane’s torment straight away. The tragedy of Jane’s childhood was that she remembered a time when she was loved and had someone to love, and each time to finds this love it is torn away from her. Her parents, her Uncle Reed, her dearest (and only) childhood friend. These events build her up into the type of women the rich folk look for in a governess (a stay-at-home private tutor/babysitter). Her passion is treated as a sort of undertone. It does not control her, but it gives her a sort of outward spunk (for lack of a better word) uncommon in women of the time. Making Jane one of these most interesting characters I have ever read.

Then, of course, there is the love story. I am a closet-case sap, you see. And while I am very tired of stories where it feels like they quite literally fall into a sort of love like state with a person they’ve talked to once, their relationship was not as simple as the synopsis makes it seem. Jane insists on being his equal, his partner. Not his servant or what have you (even though she’ll only call him Mr. Rochester). She is not a character looking for love, and when she starts to have a crush she fights it. The whole thing happens as it should: gradually, then all at once. And since Charlotte Bronte is such a brilliant writer, we get to experience her pure joy, as it is the first time since she was a very young child that she had been happy. And, really, it’s not that dramatic. Everything that happens is set up in a way where, when it happens, you’re just thinking ‘Of course‘.

Also, this is a Gothic novel. It is dreary. The main characters are damaged (in fact, I believe they discuss this at some point) and there are ghosts and crazy people and fire. Monsters hiding in the shadows, even. Not like the boogieman, of course, but in the way where earlier in the book we are told a ghost story and we watch as it seems to play out (until logic takes hold, of course). But there are moments when the whole thing feels like a madhouse, when you think for a moment someone is going to die. And, perhaps, someone does.

There are maybe two sunshine happiness moments in the whole story. The first, the sequences in which Jane and Rochester declare their love for one another and run off to get married. The second is the ending. I mean, this book has one of the happiest ending in the history of ever. Especially taking into consideration the pasts of the characters and the whole rest of the book. When you get to the ending, it is very satisfying and slightly giggly.

I would recommend this book to people who are fans of classic literature with feminist views, strong female protagonists, romance, and gothic fiction.

If you enjoyed basically anything by Jane Austen, Lady Windemere’s Fan by Oscar Wilde, Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare, or Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, you will probably enjoy Jane Eyre

If you have read Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys and have yet to read Jane Eyre, I’ll have to kindly ask you what you’re doing with your life, because clearly you have done something incorrectly.

Basically, I love this book. Give it look. And if you didn’t love it, please tell me why below.

Have a nice day.

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To the Silver Screen Vol. 1

Perhaps my favorite book to movie adaption (in which I have read the book and seen the movie) is The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. In my mind, the movie was a perfect adaptation and that is do, in no small part, to the fact that Chbosky was the writer and the director of the film as well. In that was, he was able to elaborate on some of the events mentioned in the book, making for a great adaptation. Another aspect that made this so darn enjoyable was the casting, which was perfect. I have no other argument than to say that the casting was perfect.

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower Wallpaper-We Are InfiniteEven though this did not perfectly fit the way I’d imagined them, by the ten minute mark in the movie I couldn’t imagine them any other way. They captured the essence of each character in the same way that Chbosky was able to display the essence of his book on the screen.

In my mind, a book as always been the story of the author, which is why so many adaptations fail. When new writers and directors come in, they often tell the story their own way, giving limited power to the author. I’m okay with this sometimes (as in the cases of Jaws and The Godfather), as the book simply wasn’t cinematic or something of the sort. 

I think this adaptation only worked because Chbosky was at the helm. If he weren’t, many things would have been changed or cut or gone terribly wrong because movie execs just don’t love the story as much as they love the money and their freaking sample-size statistics. Which is understandable, in their position. 

But this whole thing just turned out so perfect, I can’t quite express in words how perfect it was. What’s your opinion on this adaptation? Let me know, and have a nice day. 

And in this moment, I swear we are infinite

 

Great Quotes Vol. 1: One-Liners

This is day 17 of the 30 Day Challenge (look at me go) and this is the start of another series: Quotes. You know when you’re reading something, a book, a poem, anything, and you just have to stop and read and reread the wondrous words on the page because they are just too perfect? I shall be sharing some of these quotes.

The prompt calls for quotes from my actual favorite book(s), but I would spend far too much time geeking out about said books, and we really wouldn’t get anywhere. So we’re just going to look at a few quotes from some books I thoroughly enjoy. Okay? Okay.

We’re going to start off with some of my favorite one-liners.

“Life is a perpetual yesterday for us.” – The Lovely Bones, Alice SeboldThe-Lovely-Bones-305799

“Have all beautiful things sad destinies?” – Wide Sargasso Sea,  Jean Rhys

“Maybe humans are just the pet alligators that God flushed down the toilet.” – Lullaby, Chuck Palahniuk

“They love their hair because they’re not smart enough to love something more interesting.” – Looking for Alaska, John Green

“I decapitated dandelions all morning, leaving carnage and death strewn into my path.” – Twisted, Laurie Halse Anderson

“Heart and head are contrary historians.” – Stargirl, Jerry Spinelli

“All grown-ups were once children…but only few of them remember it.” The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

“Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.” – The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger

“Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.” – Beloved, Toni Morrison570179

“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” – Their Eyes were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurtson

“My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations.” The Fault in Our Stars, John Green

“Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you.” The Shadow of the Wind, Carlos Ruiz Zafon

“And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.” The Perks of Beings a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky

Maybe I cheated a little bit. Maybe I couldn’t resist adding a couple from my absolute favorite books. What can you do? Any lines you like here? And lines you like I don’t have here? Tell me about it in the comments below.

Have a nice day.

Favorite Characters Vol. 2

Let’s talk about the ladies.

Gilda Joyce

In an earlier blog, I believe I cited Twilight as my discovery of a love of reading. I had never read fantasy before and it lead me into trying to find better fantasies, but there was actually two series that came just before. May Bird, and Gilda Joyce.

Gilda Joyce was a sort of young supernatural detectives series, and I loved every second of it. Gilda was extremely eccentric, the type who wore pink cat eye glasses and blue wigs, disguising herself my looking completely ridiculous. She was around the age of 14, I believe, and an aspiring novelist, with around 5 ‘completed’ manuscripts hiding in her closest. She was basically be before I knew I was me. Outspoken, ridiculous, she’ll always be one of my favorites.

Isobel Lanley

Isobel is the protagonist of the Nevermore series. While I don’t immediately consider her to be one of my favorites, she sort of breaks the stereotype, so I feel like I should mention her. She’s a cheerleader dating a football player at the start of the story. Of, you know where this is going. She falls for the quiet kid and dumps her douche bag boyfriend and realize how much of a bitch she was and everyone lives happily ever after!

No.

She’s actually a genuinely nice person. She doesn’t like to break the boundaries of high school, sticking to her own crowd and all that, but she’s a nice girl. And, I mean, an actual cheerleader who competes and stuff rather than just waving around pom-poms in a skimpy outfit. Her boyfriend is also kind of nice, he’s just the jealous type. So dumps him for being a douche. Only after that does she start to fall for the weird guy, and even that has a natural progression to it. She’s portrayed as a lovely young lady, and I appreciate that.

This list might seem slightly underwhelming, but most of the ladies I want to talk about, I feel deserve their own blog. You know, Hazel, Jane Eyre, Nuria Monfort. Yeah.

Ta-ta for now.

Favorite Characters Vol. 1

It’s Day 15 of the 30 Day Challenge. There is no day 14. Day 14 is a lie.

Anyway.

The prompt is favorite male characters. I have so many I’ve decided to just start a series talking about my favorite characters in literature. I’m going to start with Jacob something or other, Mackie Doyle, and Augustus Waters.

Mackie Doyle

Mackie is the protagonist of the YA book The Replacement. Basically, the book is about a small superstitious town that lives with the constant fear of their children being taken in the night by these creatures who are severely allergic to iron. It’s a quirky little tale, taking a lot of it’s lore from fairy lore, and the idea of the changeling. In the book, when one of the human babies is taken, the creatures leave behind one of their own sick children. The replacement usually dies within a couple of weeks. Mackie is one of the replacements that, for some odd, reason, did not die when he was supposed to.

I can completely relate to this kid. Everyone knows what it’s like to feel like a freak in high school, how you’re completely different from everyone. Mackie actually is a freak, and he’s very much aware of how different he is from other people. More aware of it than other people are, in fact. He’s not human, he’s not quite sure what his deal is, and he’s just trying to keep his head down so the superstitious town doesn’t freak out. He’s also kind of a sweet heart and a hero by accident. Those are two of my favorite things.

Perhaps my favorite thing about Mackie is the fact that he’s an idiot. You can read it going ‘Why would you do that? Mackie stop it. Mackie, no. Mackie!’ and be reminded that he is, in fact, a teenager. He makes mistakes. And he’s sweet and he’s just lovely and I love him.

Jacob

We’re not talking about Twilight. We’re talking about North of Beautiful. One of my favorite books, for some reason. There’s something wonderful about Jacob, right from the start. For some background, Jacob is one of the main characters of the story. He was adopted from China when he was very young by a wealthy blonde lady, and meets the protagonist when she almost hits him with her car after getting a treatment to try and remove the giant birthmark (port wine stain) on her face. His attitude toward life is generally light, and he likes to use humor to get through things. but he also knows when to be serious. The truly spectacular thing about Jacob is his philosophy.

Basically, he takes everything, clothing and the like, to be costumes to project what you want people to see, what you want them to think about you. When he goes into a small town where people don’t know him and his family, he knows people are going to stare. He’s clearly adopted and he’s not female (most children adopted out of China are female). People also tend to point out the scar on his face from a surgery to correct the cleft lip. He’s used to staring, but he’s also decided he’s going to decide why people stare. So, in a small town, he goes full out goth. I appreciate that.

I might like Jacob just a bit more than Mackie, but that might be due to the fact that the story of North of Beautiful is put together better than The Replacement. So yeah. I love them both.

Augustus Waters

I lied. He’s getting his own blog. I just really wanted to mention him here, put the thought in your mind. I don’t think you’re ready for Augustus Waters.

Toodle loo!

Favorite Writers

I believe it’s day 13 of the 30 Day Challenge, and I’m going to talk about my favorite writers. The actual prompt is favorite author, but that word has always sat strangely with me. Like at one point you’re a mere writer, and you graduate into an author. I don’t know. Anyway. My favorite writers.

Shakespeare

This isn’t cheating. I would classify myself as a huge fan, not quite a Shakespeare freak yet. The only plays I can quote are Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet. Hamlet is one of my favorites, but I really hate Romeo and Juliet. At least, I hate how it’s used in pop culture. More on that Later.

The man just has a way with words.

Yet him for this my love no whit disdaineth;                                                                 Suns of the world may stain when heaven’s sun staineth.

Good ol’ Sonnet #33. I get this sense of awe each time I read this man’s work. Just, wow. I love it. Enough to buy a hard cover complete works of 1252 pages. Yet, I feel kind of odd using words to describe this man. Because he’s so good with those word, that anything I could possibly say would be completely insufficient.

My favorites plays are Titus Andronicus and Hamlet. And I’ve got to give a shout out for Mercutio’s Queen Mab speech in Romeo and Juliet. 

Edgar Allan Poe

Yes, I own a hardcover copy of his complete works as well. The books is the same size as the Shakespeare one, but the pages are thicker, giving the still impressive 842 pages.

I love this man. Every haunting story or forlorn poem brings a smile to my face. Odd, I know. But if that hadn’t been made apparent by my favorite plays, I am a fan of the macabre. I tend to find the darkest stories to be the most interesting. And Poe just crawled right into my heart.

Is all that we see or seem                                                                                         But a dream within a dream?

My man!

I’ve got to appreciate such works as The Fall of the House of Usher and The Raven. But my all time favorites are as follows:

Poems: A Dream Within a Dream, A Dream, Lenore

Stories: The Masque of the Red Death, The Cask of Amontillado

All Time: The Tell-Tale Heart

John Green

What is this, you say? A writer who’s still alive? Yes, indeed. A writer’s who’s still alive. I have been a fan of John Green since before I actually read any of his books. I love watching him talk. But, once I started, I knew that I would thoroughly enjoy everything he wrote. He has a real genuine way of writing, and I quite enjoy it.

I loved Looking for Alaska. I had never once read a book like that from the point of view of the person who wasn’t damaged or poor of anything like that. He didn’t get it at all, and it was so weird for me. Because I get it, and I’m so used to reading and writing people who get it. And – slight spoiler – the death in the story was not at all dramatic. It just happened. Very quickly, without warning, without a big dramatic set up. Because that’s how death is.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson. I can’t really talk about it as I haven’t finished it yet, but I’m giving it it’s own little section.

Then, of course, there’s The Fault in Our Stars. That book sort of crawled into my heart and lit up my life while I read it. It a book that I want people to read, but I won’t tell people to read. Because that would seem to personal. I know it’s a best seller, but I still operate knowing that no one really read the same book that I did. That books like that mean something different for different people, and with my current circumstances, I know nobody around me quite ‘gets’ what I took from it.

That’s my list. Have a nice day.

DFTBA