Wishlist Wednesday #9

Wishlist Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Pen to Paper. Post about one book per week that has been on your wishlist for some time, or just added (it’s entirely up to you), that you can’t wait to get off the wishlist and onto your shelves.

I have spoken many times about how much I adore The Folio Society’s Austen collection. Well, they’ve just released their edition of Persuasion so… get ready to hear a little more about it.

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‘Sir Walter Elliot, of Kellynch-hall in Somersetshire, was a man who, for his own amusement, never took up any book but the Baronetage.’ With the opening of Persuasion, we appear to be in known Austen territory: the empty-headed Sir Walter, whose only reading is the Baronetage (mainly the page about himself), promises familiar delights. Yet the atmosphere of this book is as different from Austen’s earlier works as autumn is to spring. Anne Elliot is haunted by her past mistake in turning down her first love, Frederick Wentworth, due to pressure from her family – misplaced persuasion. But a financial calamity will put her, unexpectedly, in the way of a second chance. Jane Austen’s last finished novel, Persuasion shows her at her most moving, powerful and mature. As C. S. Lewis wrote, ‘It is, in a sense in which the other novels are not, a love story.’


 

If you’re not an Austen fan, Persuasion is the book I recommend reading after Pride and Prejudice. It is not ‘light, bright and sparkling’ like Pride and Prejudice – it is a lot more mature, and you can often find it on autumn reading lists. Austen died in the midst of editing it, so it isn’t as polished as her other works – but out of all of her novels, Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion have a fairly similar structure. It’s also the most beautiful love story – sure, Wentworth can be a bit of a jerk, but that man can write a letter.

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Bound in metallic cloth with a matching slip case, and featuring gorgeous colour illustrations, I think I would be terrified to crack open this edition – it is far too beautiful (… and expensive) to be ruined by my clumsy self. It won’t stop me coveting The Folio Society’s Austen collection though.

Wishlist Wednesday #8

Wishlist Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Pen to Paper. Post about one book per week that has been on your wishlist for some time, or just added (it’s entirely up to you), that you can’t wait to get off the wishlist and onto your shelves.

As I’ve mentioned multiple times on this blog, I regularly lust after a well-designed book. I recently came across Penguin Classics’ Faux Leather Editions designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith. They are absolutely stunning, and won’t hurt your wallet as much as something like the Folio Society’s works (still coveting their Austen collection, though!).

I have a lot of these already (Frankenstein, Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice and The Brothers Grimm), but I would quite happily fork out $30 for these gorgeous editions!

Webseries Wednesday: Edgar Allan Poe’s Murder Mystery Dinner Party

Webseries Wednesday is a new monthly feature that I created to discuss my favourite literary inspired webseries!

So, I have officially jumped on the bandwagon and become a fan of Shipwrecked’s Edgar Allan Poe’s Murder Mystery Dinner Party. Unlike a lot of literary inspired webseries, instead of being inspired by classic literature, this one has been inspired by the authors themselves.

All of your favourite classic lit authors, poets and playwrights are featured – Charlotte Brontë (Ashley Clements), Emily Dickinson (Sarah Grace Hart), George Eliot (Lauren Lopez of A Very Potter Musical fame),  Louisa May Alcott (Tara Perry) and Mary Shelley (Whitney Avalon). On the male front, there’s Oscar Wilde (Tom DeTrinis), Ernest Hemingway (Joey Richter), H.G. Wells (Blake Silver), Fyodor Dostoevsky (Clayton Snyder), and, of course, Edgar Allan Poe (Sean Persaud).

The premise of the show is that Edgar Allan Poe holds a murder mystery dinner party in order to impress Annabel Lee (Mary Kate Wiles, and yes, that Annabel Lee), and he invites some of the world’s most renowned authors. However, things start going awry when people actually start getting murdered.

One of my favourite gags in the series is every other character ignoring Emily Dickinson, a reference to the fact that she didn’t achieve any fame until after her death. Oscar Wilde aside, I’m not familiar with a lot of the male authors’ works, which means I often need to look them up on Wikipedia to understand the jokes. Nevertheless, it is quite glorious as far as webseries go, and if you’re a fan of classic literature, I encourage you to check it out!

Top Ten Tuesday #22

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they post a book-related prompt for book bloggers to answer. This week’s prompt is an  All About Audio Freebie! I have chosen to talk about my Top Ten Current Favourite Songs.

I love music. I grew up singing in choirs, listening to early rock’n’roll, blues, and jazz music (thanks Dad!), and a day does not go by without me listening to music. For this week’s #TTT, I decided to list some of my current favourite songs – some are old(er) gems that I forgot existed until recently, some have only been recently released, but all of them make me want to get up and dance whenever I hear them.

Top Ten Tuesday #21

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they post a book-related prompt for book bloggers to answer. This week’s prompt is Top Ten All Time Favourite Classics

I love classic lit! As you probably know – because I mention it every chance I get – Jane Austen is my literary queen. However, she’s not the only one – the Brontë sisters, Elizabeth Gaskell, Sylvia Plath, and Virginia Woolf are just some of my favourites.

  1. Emma by Jane Austen: Jane Austen is the master of social commentary, and she contributed to much to what we know as the modern day novel. A lot of the techniques she used are pretty commonplace today, but she was actually the pioneer of these techniques, most notably free indirect discourse. Emma is Austen at her best – so simple, and yet so brilliant. It also features my favourite Austen heroine, Emma Woodhouse, who is an ‘obstinate, headstrong girl’ if you ever saw one.
  2. Villette by Charlotte Brontë: If you only read one novel by Charlotte Brontë in your lifetime, make sure it is Villette. It is fascinating how much you come to care for a protagonist that does not care for you.
  3. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë: Anne combines the social commentary you’d expect from an Austen novel with the absolute madness that is basically the Brontë trademark. It is so much more mature than Agnes Grey, and rumoured to be a response to Emily’s Wuthering Heights.
  4. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell: This is kind of like a politically charged Pride and Prejudice, if Lizzy had the personality of Darcy and Darcy was new money. I didn’t sell it well, but
  5. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath: People often associate this book with angsty teenagers who want to be different. It is full of dark, biting humour and bleak truths, but is mostly a poignant tale of an individual trying to come to terms with their personal demons.
  6. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott: Who doesn’t love Little Women? My lifelong dream was to be one of the March sisters, and while everyone adores Jo, I always wanted to be Beth. As a child, I was impatient and a little fiery (not unlike Jo), and I always felt like Beth was the person I should aim to be. No matter how many times I reread, it always manages to break my heart (Beth, no!). This one is purely on the list for sentimental reasons, but always a fun, quick read.
  7. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery: This one is mostly on the list because it is one of the defining series of my childhood. Before Harry Potter, before A Series of Unfortunate Events, there was Anne. There is something so charming about Anne, and I was always jealous of her red hair as a child (even more insulting: she didn’t appreciate it!). I enjoyed reading stories that revolved around a flawed heroine who constantly found herself in trouble. I appreciated the fact that Anne struggled with her temper, something that I struggled to do as a child. I identified with Anne, and her story is one that I love to revisit.
  8. Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf: Whenever I read Woolf, I get the impression that she understands life better than anyone else. She has such a beautiful voice – it’s so dreamy and wonderful. While reading, you float in and out of characters’ consciousness, and learn more about them in a few pages than other authors could pack into an entire book. It’s a wonderful character study.
  9. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie: Is this not the most classic piece of children’s literature? It’s a complex story disguised as children’s literature, and has everything: brimming with adventure, tinged with nostalgia and filled with beautiful prose, I always walk away from this book wanting to hug my mum.
  10. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll: Okay, so Alice in Wonderland has no plot and is a bit nonsensical – but therein lies its charm. It is whimsical and is able to bring me so much joy, even as an adult.

Austen Mania: The Cate Morland Chronicles

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a huge Jane Austen fan. Anyone who knows me knows my love for Literary Inspired Webseries (LIWs). My most recent obsession is with The Cate Morland Chronicles, an adaptation of Austen’s Northanger Abbey.

If you’re not familiar with Austen’s works (or if you’re only familiar with her big name books), Northanger Abbey follows Catherine Morland who was not born to be a heroine. She believes that novels are a realistic depiction of life, which wouldn’t be a problem except she reads Gothic novels, which were the trashy novels of the Regency period – think of them as the 50 Shades of Grey of their time. They were terrifying and sensationalist for the sake of being terrifying and sensationalist, and Austen, being the witty woman she was, decided to write a parody of Gothic romance novels, and thus Northanger Abbey was born.

In The Cate Morland Chronicles, Cate is a recent journalism grad who is obsessed with all things fandom, particularly The Mysteries of Udolpho, a short-lived TV series that now has a cult following. After she gets a job at an LA-based entertainment magazine, she comes into contact with Henry Tilney, the star of The Mysteries of Udolpho, and all the fun begins!

What appeals to me about this webseries? Cate is exactly how I imagined Catherine would be when reading the book. She’s equal parts charming and winsome, there’s a little bit of naivete and innocence about her, but most importantly – she’s a rabid fangirl of all things fandom. She’s relatable and sweet, a little dorky but a lot of fun to watch. Of all of Austen’s heroines, Catherine was the most likely to have her own vlog (with Miss Emma Woodhouse coming in a close second because of course everyone would want to watch her give advice about everything under the sun).

If you’re involved in the LIW fandom, you’ll probably know that another Northanger Abbey adaptation finished airing a few months ago – Northbound. I loved that adaptation dearly, although it wasn’t what I expected from a webseries inspired by a parody of Gothic lit. This Catherine was relatable and quirky, but the tone of Northbound was very different to The Cate Morland Chronicles.

It’s very sweet and very watchable, and I encourage you all to watch it if you have a couple of hours to kill!

If you’d like to jump down the Austen Inspired Webseries rabbit hole, here’s some to try:

The OG: The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, an adaptation of Pride and Prejudice

 

Emma Approved, an adaptation of Emma (full disclosure: I am incredibly critical of this webseries as an adaptation, something that probably stems from me loving the novel so much. However, it is very popular amongst the LIW fandom and is still the best webseries adaptation of Emma I have found, so…)

From Mansfield With Love, an adaptation of Mansfield Park:

I am yet to find webseries adaptations of Sense and Sensibility and Persuasion that I can stick with, but when I do – you guys will be the first to know!

Top Ten Tuesday #20

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they post a book-related prompt for book bloggers to answer. This week’s prompt is Ten Facts About Me.

1. I love Austen novels dearly, and have been in two stage adaptations of her works.

This won’t surprise anyone who has been reading my blog on the regular, but I love Jane Austen, and have had an obsession with her novels since I was about ten. I was cast as Mary Bennet in Pride and Prejudice two years ago, and it was the most fun I’ve ever had. I finished up a production of Sense and Sensibility in February; I played Lucy Steele.

2. I am yet to fully jump aboard the ebook train

I mean, I can see the appeal of ebooks, and I do own some – it saves on shelf space, which is a bonus because I have limited space for bookshelves and am severely lacking in bookshelf space. I just prefer physical books, because reading is a sensory experience for me. I love the feeling of the pages between my fingers, I love the smell, I love the pretty cover art and deckle edges and decorative end papers.

3. I don’t organise my books in any particular order

I feel terrible about not really having a system – I know some people who order by genre, some who order by colour, but the limited space I previously mentioned means that it all gets shelved in one huge mess. The most organised my shelves get is having all the books in a series lined up next to one another (which is admittedly one step better than my sister).

4. Aside from J.K. Rowling, Melina Marchetta and Jaclyn Moriarty are the authors I’ve been following the longest.

I feel like they’re just taking off in the book blogger community – Marchetta because of the Lumatere Chronicles, Moriarty because of the Colours of Madeleine trilogy – but these two wrote the stories of my childhood. Looking for Alibrandi and Feeling Sorry for Celia are very much loved, well-read stories that have gotten through the harder times of my teenage years.

5. Books are my security blanket

Much like Rory Gilmore, I carry a book (or two) around with me wherever I go. Sometimes more, because what I read really depends on my mood.

6. I will often stay up late to read

I probably shouldn’t, because I have to get up so early for work (4.30am), but I will often stay up reading past midnight.

7. My favourite film adaptation of a book is To Kill a Mockingbird

Has there ever been a more perfect adaptation of a book than To Kill a Mockingbird? It hit all the important points of the story, was well-cast, well-acted, and well-written. I love it and whenever I have a bad day, it’s my go-to film.

8. I got my first library card when I was three

My parents taught me to read at a young age, and I was always desperate for books so… they did the only reasonable thing, and got a three year old a library card.

9. The book that really made me love reading was Harry Potter

I mean, I always liked reading. As a kid, I liked to read and read Beatrix Potter, Enid Blyton,  Little Women, Anne of Green Gables – all the good stuff. I discovered Harry Potter when I was nine, and like an entire generation of children, was inspired to really love reading.

10. I love stationary.

Like, the only reason to look forward to going back to school was the requisite stationary shopping.

 

 

 

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday #19

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they post a book-related prompt for book bloggers to answer. This week’s prompt is Top Ten Books We Enjoyed That Have Under 2000 Ratings On Goodreads.

I read a lot of the ‘big name’ books in YA, so this prompt was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be, as even some of the smaller name books I’ve read had more than 2, 000 ratings. I ended up with a lot of books that are part of a series (but I wouldn’t have continued on with the series if I didn’t enjoy it), some poetry and older books, and a lot of Australian novels (but I am more than happy to promote Australian talent!). Here is my list of eight books I really loved, but have gone under the radar of the GR community!

 

Top Ten Tuesday #18

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they post a book-related prompt for book bloggers to answer. This week is a freebie week, and I have chosen the prompt is Top Ten Fictional Crushes.

Things I have learnt from writing this list:

  • I get literary crushes on male characters from the time period of c. 1800 – 1920
  • I will get attached to characters who exhibit the follow traits: kindness, loyalty, wit, intelligence, and/or compassion
  • But never underestimate the attractiveness of a so-called ‘bad boy’
  • Jane Austen wrote the best romantic interests (almost all of them are listed on this list – with the exception of Edmund Bertram from Mansfield Park because blegh, Edward Ferrars from Sense and Sensibility because he has no personality, and Colonel Brandon from Sense and Sensibility because while I love him and find him v. gallant, there are other fictional characters I love more).
  1. Gilbert Blythe from Anne of Green Gables: Gil was my very first fictional crush, only to be usurped by Laurie Laurence a few days later (I was a very fickle seven year old). Gil is kind, loyal, intelligent and witty – and his love for that Anne girl is #relationship goals.
  2. Laurie Laurence from Little Women: Laurie is the original broody musician. He’s charming and fun, although he does run off to Europe to deal with all his angst after Jo refuses to marry him (nobody needs that kind of diva behaviour in their life).
  3. George Knightley from Emma: Everybody knows and loves Mr. Darcy (see below), but let’s be honest: Knightley is the greatest of Austen’s leading men. He’s gallant; moving into Hartfield – the Woodhouse family estate – after he and Emma marry, because he knows that Mr Woodhouse wouldn’t be able to cope without Emma. He’s kind, principled and compassionate. Also, I am obsessed with the film Clueless (which is a loose adaptation of Emma), and honestly – Paul Rudd? Swoon.
  4. Frederick Wentworth from Persuasion: Daaaaaamn, the man can write a love letter:

    “I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone, I think and plan. Have you not seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes? I had not waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice when they would be lost on others. Too good, too excellent creature! You do us justice, indeed. You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating, in F. W.

    Sa-woon!

  5. Henry Tilney from Northanger Abbey: I love Mr. Tilney for his wit and sass – it redeems his less admirable qualities (like the fact he basically proposes to Catherine because he’s flattered she’s got a crush on him).
  6. Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride and Prejudice: Lizzie and Darcy’s relationship is a fairytale. He’s family-oriented and loyal, and once he realises how his behaviour is interpreted by others, he sets out to change his ways. He also saves the Bennets from social disgrace, which is a big tick in the swoony department (even if I get my feminist card revoked for saying it).
  7. Edward Rochester from Jane Eyre: Okay, so I’m kind of questioning my judgement by including Rochester on this list – he’s emotionally manipulative and tries to get Jane to compromise her morals to be with him and he plays mind games with just about everyone he comes into contact with,  but there’s also something very attractive about a bad boy, particularly one played by Toby Stephens.
  8. Charlie Taylor from Finding Cassie Crazy: I had the biggest literary crush on Charlie as a teen – he stole teachers’ cars, drove them out to Richmond and gave them a tune-up. He struggled his way through school (he once got 27% on an assignment and his teacher wrote ‘Great work, Charlie!’). He was a teenage delinquent, and I loved him for it. He was also kind, loyal, and sweet. He always went above and beyond for his friends, and I liked that.
  9. Neville Longbottom from Harry Potter: Everyone’s always swooning over Malfoy, Harry, and Ron – but WHAT ABOUT NEVILLE? Yes, he’s awkward and bumbling, but he’s also kind and sweet. He never makes excuses for himself, and soldiers on through life despite the fact he drew the short straw. He’s lovely, and the world should show Neville some more love.
  10. Adam Parrish from The Raven Cycle: Much like Ronan Lynch, I just want to protect Adam Parrish from the world.

Who are your favourite fictional crushes – do we have any in common? Comment below with your literary loves, and don’t forget to post a link to your #TTT!