Pride and Prejudice… finally read for the first time!

Pride and Prejudice

So, I finally finished Pride and Prejudice.  Not only did it take me years to pick up the book and start reading it, but once I picked it up, I’ll be honest it took me forever to finish it.  Definitely a lot longer than I expected it to take me to read it.  Before I get too far into my review, this is the summary from Goodreads:

“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.

One of the shortest book summaries on Goodreads that I’ve seen!  Perhaps they assume by this point everyone knows what it is about?  Elizabeth, being the second of five sisters is the lead character in this story.  The book starts with all five sisters at home with the excitement of Mr. Bingley coming to town.  As the sisters are all similar ages and are “out” in society, actively searching for a husband they are excited to meet him, and it is not long before they meet him and his friend, Mr. Darcy.  The first third of this book I found hard to get through.  This book could very easily ended up on the disappointed list by the way the book started.

Wait, wait, let me duck and hide before you start throwing things.  There were several times in this first portion of the book that I felt like I was on the outside, and that the author was not letting me into the story.  She kept telling me about things happening but not really letting them happen.  Does that make sense?  Please tell me if I’m not explaining myself clearly.  Also, I felt like she bounced around a bit too much in the beginning and it was really hard for me to get to know the characters.  So, I pushed through. I was determined… this was going to get better.  And it did, things settled down a bit and I got to know Jane and Elizabeth a bit better, which helped.  But she still did that thing telling me about things that were happening but not letting them happen. It drove me nuts.  I’m actually a little hesitant to start another Austen book because I am wondering if that is her style, or just how she wrote this one?  I will read another Austen book, but not sure which one yet… any suggestions?

So, if I had to rate this book, I would rate the first portion a 1.5 or 2… and the last bit a 3 or 3.5 but I’ll average the book to a 3.  This is a book I can see myself trying to read again, and who knows maybe I’ll like it better the second time around – I liked Mockingjay better the second time around, so it could happen.  I’ve seen the BBC version of this book, which I really liked… and I want to see the Kiera Knightley version; I heard good things about it.   So, anyway, I’m glad that I read it and finished it.  Does anyone have any Austen insights or feedback?

3 out of 5 stars.

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It’s starting to get interesting…

“In a hurried manner he immediately began an enquiry after her health, imputing his visit to a wish of hearing that she were better.  She answered him with cold civility.  He sat down for a few moments, and then getting up walked about the room.  Elizabeth was surprised, but said not a word.  After a silence of several minutes he came towards her in an agitated manner and thus began,….”

– Pride and Prejudice

Dear Readers,

Dear readers and classic book lovers,

I write to you in request of your opinions of: Wuthering Heights.  This book has been in my TBR pile for a while now… to be frank, I started the book years ago.  When I was probably too young to read it, and didn’t actually get very far.  So,  I recently heard from another reader that watching the movie helps in appreciating the book (in this case – not recommended for all books).  So, I found a BBC version of Wuthering Heights (2009)  recently and watched it.  And hated it.  What a horrible story.  What horrible people.  They’re just not nice people.  Mean.  I wanted to like the characters or at lease just one of them… but I couldn’t.  Please forgive me if you like this book, I do not mean to offend. Actually, if you do like the book, please please tell me why.  I know I shouldn’t compare the book to the movie so before I scratch this book off the list… I come to you, fellow readers.   Is it the book… or is this TV adapted version to blame?

All my love,

LJ

Jane Eyre….a new favorite!

Jane Eyre

Yes, I finally read Jane Eyre!  I honestly cannot believe that it took me so long to read this one for the first time, but I can tell you that I am glad that I did.  I think that part of why I put off reading Jane Eyre and so many other classics, is partly due to intimidation.  Have you ever been intimidated by a book for any reason?  Because of the language, size, author, literary influence?  Well, I’m not afraid to admit that the next book on my classic TBR list that intimidates me just a liiiitle bit is War and Peace.  Just a little, but I digress.  Jane Eyre has definitely become a new favorite of mine!

In case there is anyone else out there who, like me, have yet to read this, here is Goodreads’ summary:
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.

First of all, I’d like to talk about the language.  I love the way they chose their words during this time period.  Don’t get me started on how we have butchered the English language.  Welp bae, idk I am totes a noob.  I’m not even sure what I just said, but I’m still cringing just from typing that.  Let’s just focus on some things out of the book, shall we?

“I shall sully the purity of your floor.”  

“I had not intended to love him; the reader knows I had wrought hard to extirpate from my soul the germs of love there detected; and now, at the first renewed view of him they spontaneously revived, great and strong!  He made me love him without looking at me.”

“Even for me, life had its gleams of sunshine.”

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”

…and, of course…

“Reader, I married him.” 

To be sure, I shall be wandering about saying ‘what the deuce’ to all of my acquaintances for a fortnight until I am outcast.  Well, “I would always rather be happy than dignified.”  Ok, I couldn’t help myself – I am just tickled pink with these sayings.  Ok, one more: “Why are you speaking to the air?” That last one was technically from the movie, and not from the book but it still makes me laugh!

This book has all of the little pieces that make it wonderful from Jane’s saucy personality, to the kindness in her friend Helen, the verbal banter between Jane and Mr. Rochester, and the mysterious ‘ghost’ in the attic.  More than that, I personally felt like I could identify with Jane. I have only two complaints, and they’re not really complaints but things that just made me tilt my head and lift my ears (like a puppy) thinking; really? 1. The family that she happens to find when she runs away are… her cousins?   What are the chances of that?  Eh, OK if you say so… 2. I don’t speak French which makes it a little difficult to understand Adele when she speaks in French.  But I love the rest of the book so much, those two things don’t really make a difference to me.

So, what about you?  Did you love it as much as I did?  What were your favorite parts?  Did anyone not enjoy it?

5 out of 5 stars.

The never-ending TBR list…

So, I’ve been thinking lately about actually starting to tackle that TBR list.  Not just the pile of books that I haven’t read yet, but the books that I’ve wanted to read for years and never got around to… or even some books that I probably read too young and would like to read.  For instance, I just finished The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (review to come) and am currently reading Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.  I’ve never read Jane Eyre… or any of Jane Austen’s books, I’m ashamed to say.  This will be remedied shortly.  Thus, I’ve assembled a list of classic books that have been on my list  for a while now, to share with you.  Let me start off by clarifying; this is by no means an exhaustive list nor are the books listed in any particular order.

1. Pride and Prejudice

2. To Kill a Mockingbird* (This is a re-read to be honest – I read it in middle school)

3. War and Peace

4. Beloved

5. The Hiding Place

6. Anna Karenina

7. The Princess Bride

8. Little Women* (Another re-read)

9. The Bridges of Madison County

10. Emma (Well, the whole Jane Austen collection, really)

11. The Handmaid’s Tale

12. The Color Purple

13. A Wrinkle in Time

14. The Great Gatsby

15. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

So, what do you think about my list?  How many of these have you read?  Am I forgetting any?  What’s on your list?