Thursday 28 January 2016

Reviewing the Classics #1 Pride and Prejudice

Something that I’m constantly wanting to do is read more classic novels. As an English Literature graduate, I have of course read my fair share of classic novels, from Charlotte Brontë to Mary Shelley. But there are many more out there that I have not yet read and would love to read. I thought that keeping a schedule and creating a section on my my blog to review the classics would be the perfect way to give me the motivation to do this! As classic novels are usually quite lengthy, and the archaic language can make them somewhat difficult to get through, I have decided that I will read and review a class novel once every two months on my blog! If you have any recommendations for classic novels that you think I absolutely have to read then please leave them down in the comments! For my first post, I shall be reviewing Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

Goodreads Summary:

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife." 

So begins Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen's witty comedy of manners--one of the most popular novels of all time--that features splendidly civilized sparring between the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of eighteenth-century drawing-room intrigues. 

When I told my friend that I had got through five years of studying English Literature without once reading a Jane Austen novel she was actually shocked. I actually have no idea how a Jane Austen novel has never come up in my studies, despite having studied novels from the Brontë sisters, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Herman Melville, Oscar Wilde and F. Scott Fitzgerald just to name a few. I thought that this needed to change! So I have started with what is arguably Austen’s most popular novel, Pride and Prejudice.

I have somehow avoided watching any of the movie adaptations of this book, and the only thing I had heard of it was that there was a character named Mr Darcy who everyone thought was the best man in the world. I have actually heard people saying how they would love to marry a man like Mr Darcy, so I went into the book thinking he would be perfect and have no faults. I was actually shocked that he was extremely condescending and thought that he was too superior to dance with Elizabeth. Why would people say he was the perfect man when I thought he was a huge asshole? I loved that the book instantly had me questioning something and changing my expectations of what the book would be like. It instantly made me understand the title of the book, with Mr Darcy obviously being the pride and Elizabeth being the prejudice.

I always love when two characters hate each other but then grow closer, and even though this is a classic novel I still enjoyed watching that happen. The change that both Mr Darcy and Elizabeth go through to overcome their faults was interesting to read, and I loved that Mr Darcy realised his faults and changed his ways. It gave an important message that people can change, and just because they have done something bad in the past which they obviously regret, they should be given another chance and not have someone constantly bring up the past. I loved that Elizabeth allowed herself to have feelings for Darcy once he showed her kindness and that he could be selfless.

i really didn’t like Elizabeth’s mother, as it was obvious that she didn’t care about her daughters happiness, she only cared about getting them married off. It was interesting to see that to her a woman was worthless unless she had a husband. I found it funny how much she hated Mr Darcy, but the minute Elizabeth told her he had proposed to her, she changed immediately and started saying how tall and handsome he was. I did however like Mr Bennett as he seemed to genuinely care about his daughters, especially Elizabeth.

I did however feel as if there were too many characters to keep up with, and I was getting confused over who was related to who. I did love the main characters though, and I loved how as the book progressed I started to like Mr Darcy and realise why women see him as the perfect man. However, he is not perfect. He has many faults but he tries to work to overcome them which is why I ended up enjoying his character. He is not someone who enjoys attending balls and dancing with lots of women, which makes him come across to some people as being rude and I empathised with him for that. I loved that although he at first saw Elizabeth as an inferior, she soon becomes his equal who he both admires and respects. I loved how his proposal was so different than Mr Collins’ as it was obvious that Mr Collins had no respect for what she wanted at all, and took her refusal of his proposal to mean that she was playing hard to get and that she should keep asking her. However, when Mr Darcy’s proposal was rejected he accepted it, and although he explained why he had acted badly to her, he did not keep trying to get her to marry him, which I loved as it showed he cared about what she wanted rather than being selfish like Mr Collins had been.

Although I am not usually someone who enjoys romance novels, I did enjoy reading this book more than I thought I would. I definitely want to read more Jane Austen books in the future!

Sunday 24 January 2016

My Favourite Books from 2015!

I will be starting something new on the blog next week so watch out for that happening! For now I have made a video talking about my favourite books that I read last year!

Thursday 14 January 2016

Review on Let It Snow

On Christmas Eve, the worst snow storm in fifty years falls on the residents of Gracetown, causing chaos to it’s inhabitants. A girls train breaks down on her way to spend Christmas with her grandparents in Florida, cheerleaders have overtaken the local Waffle House, and a boy might just realise that the love of his life has always been standing right in front of him. From some of the best selling YA authors comes a collection of three romantic short stories, which are all expertly interconnected.

After searching for some Christmassy reads, I finally decided on a book that had been sitting on my shelf gathering dust for a year. I received this book as a Christmas present last year, but felt that it was a bit silly to start reading it after Christmas had finished, so sadly it has been abandoned. That is until now!

I initially wanted to read this book as it included stories by two of my favourite YA authors, Maureen Johnson and John Green. I admit this is the first time that I have read anything by Lauren Myracle, but as she was involved in a collection of stories with John and Maureen I figured she had to be good!

I really enjoyed the first two stories, especially Maureens. I loved Jubilee and thought she was an entertaining and funny character. I loved that the story turned a completely different direction to what I thought it was heading in, and I found the problems with the flobie village hilarious. Stuart was also a really sweet character, and I had secondhand embarrassment for him with his mum trying to get him to date Jubilee. We all have a family member who is constantly asking us why we’re not dating someone and who is always trying to set us up with someone, so I thought this was a great addition to the story. I loved that although it was overall a light and fun read, there was just enough suspense to make it impossible for me to put the book down.

I have been a long term fan of John Green, so I already had high expectations for his story. It was everything you would expect in a John Green novel, a bunch of teenagers going on a quest to do a certain thing where they have problems along the way but end up in a good situation. I wouldn’t say it was original for John, as the storyline was quite similar to Paper Towns, and the characters reminded me of other John Green characters, such as JP being similar to Ben from Paper Towns and Tobin being similar to every other male John Green protagonist. Once you’ve read more than three John Green novels, you start to see a pattern to how similar the characters are, and although I still always enjoy his stories it would be nice to see more diversity in his male protagonists. However I did enjoy the story and loved the light hearted humour. I thought JP’s obsession with the cheerleaders was so over the top that it was funny, as he would go to any lengths to make it to the Waffle House. Tobin and Angie’s relationship was also my favourite out of the three stories, as I always love stories where a friendship turns into something more.

I have to say that I did not enjoy Lauren Myracle’s story as much as the previous two. I started reading this one with no expectations, and ended up disappointed that I did not find it as enjoyable as the previous two stories. Although Addie’s story is all about redemption, I ended up feeling bad for Jeb more than anything else. However the teacup pig subplot was adorable and now I really want a teacup pig! Even though I did love all the characters from the previous stories coming together, I did not enjoy Myracle’s way of writing them. The character voice developed by John and Maureen was lost, and I felt more like I was reading a fan fiction version of these characters rather than it being canon. I also felt that Jeb could have been included more in the book overall, and thought that he was going to be a main character in Myracle’s story, but alas he only showed up right at the end which was a disappointment.

I recommend this book for anyone who enjoys light YA romance to read around Christmas time in front of the fire. Although it is not the best collection of stories i’ve ever read, I enjoyed them far more than I would usually enjoy contemporary romance stories and they definitely got me into the festive spirit!