SeptembEYRE: Finale!

IMG_20130901_071408It’s all over, folks. Our dear little Jane Eyre has transformed into Jane Rochester. Now that her marriage plot has ended let’s discuss the last fourth of the novel.

St. John Eyre Rivers. That man has some serious issues, no? He’s described as marble – cold and hard. His marriage proposal to Jane was seriously unsettling to me – all 30 or so pages of it. Some of the things he said about Jane’s character were truly horrible. Do we still like St. John? Do we understand where he comes from and his lack of warmth? Do we agree with his decision to need a missionary companion more than an emotional connection?

I think St. John exists solely as the antithesis of Mr. Rochester. We need to see Jane interact with this man of God to not only get Jane back to Rochester, but also to the get the reader back there as well. I know my final impressions of Mr. R were ones of assholery.

What did you think of Jane’s inheritance? I mostly think it just helps bring Jane closer to Mr. R’s equal. Now that she can support herself and doesn’t need a man, she can marry freely and openly a man of her own choosing.

Back in Millcote, Jane learns that Thornfield has gone BANG in a blaze of fire provided by the ever lovely Bertha (could someone else have done it?). Mr. R has lost a hand, an eye, and his vision. Now he’s finally ready for his dear little elf, Jane. Quickly, they marry and live the happily ever after. What about these crippling events (beyond Bertha’s demise) finally set Jane and Mr. R up for marriage? Are they truly now on equal footing? I’m at least glad R has no need to make Jane into a trophy wife.

As for our supporting cast, I’m glad Jane stays close with her cousins. I’m not surprised St. John meets an early end. Pilot!! So happy to see Adele back under Jane’s guidance. But I was a bit miffed not to have Mrs. Fairfax back. I know she was mentioned, but I wanted to talk with her a bit.

This has been such a marvelous read-a-long! Thanks to everyone who has visited and commented. A HUGE thanks to Kerry for hosting. I can’t wait for more group reading in the future!

RATING: starstarstarstarstar

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TSS: LSWho?

TSSbadge2Not much to say today other than GLORY, GLORY!! Winning a game like Saturday’s terrific bout against a stellar LSU team was just So. Much. Fun. It made me so nostalgic for all the times I stood in Sanford Stadium screaming until I had no voice left and grinning like a madwoman alongside my best friends. Ah…memories.

Like I said, my life isn’t filled with a ton of happenings lately. Just keeping really mellow and enjoying the cooler weather. Haven’t read a ton, but that’s okay. Every mind needs a bit of a break once in a while. Today I have book club and we’re discussing Maus and Persepolis. I think the discussion will be really thoughtful.

October has arrived (soon, anyway) must faster than I expected it to. I love October far more than most months so I’m excited to get into the mood of Halloween. I ordered a collection of Alfred Hitchcock films to enjoy this month and also the 35th Anniversary editing of the film, Halloween.

The hubs is looking to buy a car soon. I can’t begrudge him a new car because he hasn’t owned a car of his own choosing (he’s had hand-me-downs from his parents) in almost 10 years. The lack of car payment has been nice, but he’s a huge car guy so I know he wants something a little more personal – something with a manual transmission at least. He test drove a Cadillac CTS today, but ultimately decided it wasn’t the car for him. Tomorrow he’s test driving a BMW 5-series. We shall see. Obviously, he’s not shopping new cars as we’re huge fans of buying used (and don’t have the biggest of budgets, ha!). He’s looking at cars of the 2007/2008 era with around 30K to 50K miles. I hope he finds something he can enjoy – cars are his hobby like books are mine. As for my car, Ernesto is 6 years old and going strong! I’ll be driving the Japanese Spaniard (don’t ask) until the wheels fall off.

UGA$!logo

So how are things in your neck of the woods? Any exciting plans in October? Did your football team have a good weekend or did you do a lot of couch coaching and fist shaking?

Friday!!

Isn’t that such an inspired post title? I’m just filled with all of the creative thought today. #sarcasm

I’ve been mostly quiet on the blog this week because I haven’t been reading – or at least finishing – very many books. And that’s a terrible shame. Bad slump!

Mostly, I’ve either socialized, watched some form of television/film, or read bits and pieces of many things. Notably, I did inhale both Maus (a reread) and Persepolis for book club but won’t chat about those until next week. Still chugging along on Jane Eyre and The Silent Wife.

See, the thing is, I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by ALL THE BOOKS. At the moment, I have ten or so books that I need to be reading. There’s The Round House and House of Earth for review – The Easter Parade, Freud’s Mistress, and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children for book club-ish activities – The Historian and Dracula for October/RIP VIII readalongs – and The Goldfinch BECAUSE. HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In better news, I’ve had a pretty successful week over on BookTube. See this week’s videos below:

I’m hoping to accomplish a lot in the month of October, but feel like I need some sort of boost or motivation. Despite all the complaining, bookish problems really are the absolute best problems to have.

A to Z: A Bookish Survey

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This looked like so much fun when I saw it popping up on my favorite blogs. Started by Jamie over at The Perpetual Page-Turner!

Author you’ve read the most books from: Laurell K. Hamiliton, Charlaine Harris, Janet Evanovich, Ray Bradbury (Once upon a time, I loved urban fantasty.)

Best Sequel Ever: Technically, I’m not sure this is considered a sequel, but A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin was superb and proved that books later in a series can be just as compelling, if not more so, than the first book.

Currently Reading: Jane Eyre, The Silent Wife, and Maus.

Drink of Choice While Reading: Water or hot chocolate.

E-reader or Physical Book? Physical Book – I just haven’t latched on to the ebook craze yet.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School: Gale from The Hunger Games – I was obsessed with best friends turning into more. Plus, brooding.

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance: Eleanor and Park, I really did not want to read this one.

Hidden Gem Book: All of Ray Bradbury’s work outside of Fahrenheit 451. I love his short stories. Dandelion Wine and Something Wicked This Way Comes are also stellar.

Important Moment in your Reading Life: Junior year English in high school. Especially The Scarlet Letter. I finally learned how important and layered literature could be.

Just Finished: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon – meh.

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read: Self-help. Not a fan.

Longest Book You’ve Read: Not sure – some contenders: The Memoirs of Cleopatra by Margaret George, Gone With the Wind, and the Song of Ice and Fire series.

Major book hangover because of: Big Brother by Lionel Shriver…that ending, jeez.

Number of Bookcases You Own: Five, but looking for a sixth!

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times: Pride and Prejudice – way more than any other book.

Preferred Place To Read: These days I do a whole lotta reading curled up in bed.

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read: 

“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”
― Neil GaimanCoraline

Reading Regret: That I’ll never be able to read ALL THE BOOKS that I want to in my lifetime.

Series You Started And Need To Finish (all books are out in series): These techincally aren’t completed series but I am way behind: Thursday Next and Flavia de Luce.

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell, and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.

Unapologetic Fangirl For: Jane Austen…obviously. And Donna Tartt.

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others: The Goldfinch!!!!!!!!

Worst Bookish Habit: Buying way more books than I can possibly read.

X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Your latest book purchase: Night Film, Dracula, and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late): The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman – read in one sitting.

SeptembEYRE: Week Three

IMG_20130901_071408All of the things happened this week, am I right? First, there was the love confession and proposal in the garden plus the creepily split tree. Mr. Rochester then tried to make Jane a trophy wife by adorning her in silk and jewels. Next we had the wedding that wasn’t meant to be and the uncovering of Bertha Mason. These events all led to Jane’s fleeing Thornfield, wandering the countryside in destitution before finally finding solace (sort of) with St. John and his sisters. Who is named St. John?

So much plot progression and so many symbols. We’re left without knowing what will become of our dear Jane. I couldn’t help but think she was a tab bit melodramatic in her exit. I know she’s prone to passionate outflows, but she’s also practically minded as well. At least have a place to go for goodness sake.

Anyway, let’s talk Rochester. Do we like him at all? He seems such a bear to me and not in a good way. His trying to make Jane into something shiny really pissed me off, but I’m glad Jane put her foot down. Do we feel sorry for him in regards to Bertha? Do we wholeheartedly believe his story? Do we think he should be free to marry? And what of the first Mrs. Rochester?

A whole paragraph of questions with no answers!! I don’t have much commentary other than I both loved and hated Rochester and Jane at various points. Bertha has always been an intriguing literary character and one I’ve never wholly known what to make of. Rochester makes her out to be this utterly unsympathetic demonic monster whose only happiness is destroying him. How convenient.

Jane’s brief visit to beggar-dom was heartbreaking until it was eye-rollingingly over the top. Two days of begging and she’s ready to keel over and die. Really? I’d think Jane’s spirit would keep her going a bit longer, no? What did y’all think?

Now that St. John has come into Jane’s life, the novel’s end is nigh. What are you hoping happens in the last few chapters?

Sorry for the rambling post – writing this in a flash before dashing off to work. Can’t wait ’til the finale next week.

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

IMG_20130915_070703Ah, The Bone Season. Probably one of the most anticipated books of 2013 and definitely one of the most marketed. Famously, Samantha Shannon received a 7 book deal with a six figure payout. The movie rights were also snatched up before the book had hit shelves. That’s a lot of hype to live up before you even mention the Harry Potter comparisons.

The novel’s premise is complex. Shannon has created an urban fantasy, dystopian world calling itself an alternative 2059 London. Our supernatural creatures include clairvoyants (a million different classes of them), the Nephaim, and Emim. Clairvoyants are hunted down by a new Scion government and executed or jailed for simply existing. Paige is 19, the most talented kind of clairvoyant – a dreamwalker – and one of the Seven Seals, the leaders of an underground organized crime syndicate. But then she gets captured by the Nephaim and all hell breaks loose.

I can’t even express how simplistic of a plot summary that last paragraph was, but honestly, it hits the high points.

What many have complained about in The Bone Season is the overwhelming amount of info-dump that takes place near the beginning of the story. It’s a whole lotta show and not tell, absolutely, but I didn’t find that to be off-putting whatsoever. I found it fascinating – almost like a nonfiction analysis of this new and complex world. Samantha Shannon has quite the detailed imagination and that’s where I think the Harry Potter comparisons ring true. She knows her world inside and out.

The Bone Season also includes a good amount of 19th Century British street slang that makes a glossary necessary although I didn’t look at it a single time. I didn’t think many of the terms were too difficult to suss out through contextual clues. I did, however, find the map and classes of clairvoyants included in the first few pages highly informative and flipped over to them frequently. But I love that sort of thing.

To put it simply, The Bone Season was a tad underwhelming story-wise. I loved the world building, but the plot progression was entirely derivative and predictable. There’s nothing truly new here. The action is well-done, and I think Shannon could become a great writer, but she needs more experience under her belt. The phrasing and sentence structure were a bit too bland or cheesy and slowed the book’s pacing down quite a bit.

I can’t honestly recommend that y’all go out and buy this book, but if you are looking for something filled with action, superb worldbuilding, and are willing to overlook some flat writing/plotting, then check this one out from the library. I’ll probably wait to see how the series progresses before picking up any additional titles in this series.

Rating: starstarrating_star_half-1cx8y5d

Announcing: Southern Literature Month 2014

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I’ve been thinking a lot about my homeland recently, particularly in regards to the literature I read. Susan Gregg Gilmore co-hosted the Books on the Nightstand podcast earlier this year and really got me thinking about what is Southern American Literature. Does it deserve its own genre? What makes a Southern novel tic?

With these questions in mind I’ve decided to host a themed month of reading every January! I’m really thrilled to invite y’all down to the South through some good ol’ fashioned armchair travel. While reading will be our main medium – please feel free to explore film, art, food, and even actual Southern travel (you’ll love our mild winter temperatures!).

I haven’t ironed out all the details yet, obviously. January 2014 is still ages away, but I wanted to go ahead and put some feelers out in the blogosphere to see if anyone would be interested in participating. I run things super casual so you can join in anyway you choose, and I’d just have a main linky page for everyone to come together. Community for the win!!

So if you’ve always meant to read Gone with the Wind or wanted to try fixin’ some grits for breakfast (lunch or dinner works just fine) leave me a comment below! Feel free to grab the button and pass on the message.