2

The Stand

Just finished The Stand.  What a marathon! Not sure how to feel about the whole thing, definitely not what I was expecting.  Very glad that I chose to read the original 1978 edition as I honestly felt like another 150-200 pages could have been shaved off the book easily without losing the quality.  I’ll have some more comprehensive thoughts to post soon.

In the meantime, do any of my followers have any opinions on The Stand?  What about the original v. the uncut edition?

0

REVIEW: The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet

wpid-img_20140924_204817725.jpg

Origin: Waterstones, Glasgow Sauchiehall Street, (23 September 2014)

Dates read: 23-24 September 2014

Let two things be known.  First, that I’m a massive Jane Austen fan.  Second, that I’m a sucker for modern updates of classic literature or drama.  Thus, Clueless, 10 Things I Hate About You, She’s the Man? Totally my thing.  So, obviously The Lizzie Bennet diaries were going to be totally up my street.  Thankfully, I didn’t discover them until they’d almost finished.  That way, I got to binge on them to my heart’s content during my final exams for my undergraduate degree.  They were definitely a great way to take my mind off things when I was feeling just a little stressed out.

So, it was pretty natural that I would love this book.  And I did.  It directly follows the plot of both Pride and Prejudice and the Lizzie Bennet Diaries videos, the premise being that this diary is a supplementary document for Lizzie to submit as part of her thesis to flesh out the gaps between her own private life and the private-public version of herself that she presents in her videos. It’s a really interesting idea, and I found myself being totally immersed in this world, to the point that I almost couldn’t remember what had happened in which version!

The format obviously has a few problems.  While many of the entries offer more detail on things we saw in the videos (and some deal with things we didn’t see, more of which in a second) some are very, very close to being exact rehashes of what happened on screen.  And two of the entries – at two pivotal points in the story! – are transcripts from the video.  This just feels lazy. I also occasionally felt the voice strayed away from something that would be natural to write in your private diary into directly aping Lizzie’s (and other characters’) voices from the videos.  Few people write the way they speak.  I can accept this more in an ordinary novel; for example, many thought the voices of Hazel and Gus were unnatural in The Fault in our Stars, but I saw it more as an idealised version of how we think we sound as teenagers, as opposed to something that was supposed to directly mirror reality.  However, in this diary, I found that sometimes Lizzie could have done with having a looser, more natural voice, as that’s how one tends to write in such a personal account.

However, reading this was more than worth it for all the extras and bonuses that the writers through our way. Chief among these was the choice to give a few extra details about Jane and Bing’s relationship and the detailing of the day out in San Francisco.  The diary did have the unfortunate side effect of making me like Lydia less rather than more but I guess I’m just never gonna love her.  I get that it’s from Lizzie’s often biased perspective, but I don’t like how her irresponsible behaviour in this iteration gets turned round into being everyone else’s fault but hers.  Maybe that’s just my perspective getting in the way, though.  There are some genuinely sweet moments in this books between all the characters.

I’d recommend this to anyone who liked the Youtube show, but I don’t know if it would necessarily work outwith that.  I think it would, but I think the Youtube show is ideally viewed first.  How do you know if you’ll like the Youtube series?  If you like “quirky”, modern takes on classic literature that aren’t too serious, and are relatively faithful to the source material (but aren’t too anal about exact detail-matching) then I would definitely recommend it.  Also, it certainly is light-years beyond the vast majority of the Jane Austen “sequels” and other such stuff that have been written.

 Out of ten: SEVEN!

Recommended for fans of: Anna and the French Kiss – Stephanie Perkins, The Boyfriend List – E. Lockhart, (obviously)  anything by Jane Austen, but especially if you liked the update of Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope for the Jane Austen Project.

0

Confessions of a Book Hoarder

How do you stop buying books?

No, seriously, I want to know.

I don’t have a lot of money at the moment.  I don’t have a problem cutting back on buying clothes, or DVDs, or even cutting back on going out (because I’m fortunate enough to have a flat where I can socialise with my friends).  But for some reason, I cannot stop buying books.

It’s not causing me a serious financial problem, given how cheap books have become in the last few years.  But what it does cause is a) a space problem and b) a stress problem.  I now have too many books.  I am also of a very “Type A” personality when it comes to wanting to organise things.  Having so many unread books that I can’t even remember what they all are is somewhat troubling to me.

But on the other hand, I loved buying books.  I love finding new things that I know I’m going to love – or at least hope that I will!  I love the whole experience of going to a book shop and finding things you didn’t expect, or of getting books in the post, or even finding amazing deals for my Kindle.  There’s just something exciting and special about books and reading that I can’t quite resist.

So, how do you keep control of your book-buying tendencies?  And if it’s not books, what do you collect?

0

Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Books on My Fall TBR List

Thanks to The Broke and the Bookish for the prompt. Welcome to my first post – hopefully the first of many!

Anyway, not only am I going to answer this question for meme-based purpose,  but I’ll be using this as my first chunk of books for my first blog challenge! Although they’re technically my “fall” (AUTUMN DAMMIT) reads, I’ll probably be aiming to finish these by the end of October.

TOP TEN BOOKS ON MY FALL TBR!

    IMG_20140923_225610724[1]

(sorry for my crappy photography – my real camera is out of batteries at the moment!)

      • The Forever War – Joe Haldeman

This sounds right up my street.  I like space opera when done right, and this most likely isn’t a classic of the genre for no good reason.  A lot has been made of the parallels to Vietnam so it’ll be interesting to see how it’s aged from that perspective, especially given I was born long after that war ended.

      • The Metamorphosis – Franz Kafka

This will be my first Kafka – I hope I’m ready for it!

      • Sons and Lovers – DH Lawrence

 I know very little about this text as I picked it up almost on a whim – which is why I decided to read it before the more well known Lady Chatterley’s Lover.  I’m not really sure what to expect from it and I know Lawrence can be polarising, but I intend to at least give it a good shot.  It’s not in the picture as I couldn’t find my copy when I went to look, but I do know it’s there.

      • The Golem and the Jinni – Helene Wecker

 This is a fairly hefty book and one that got quite a lot of attention over the last year or so.  I love the premise and the variety of settings that seem to have been used for the book, so I’m really looking forward to an immersive experience with this one.  It’s within my slightly fantasy-leaning comfort zone, too, so that should help me to enjoy it (though on the other hand may make me more critical).

      • The Windup Girl – Paolo Bacigalupi

 I’m not a huge fan of steampunk but this came fairly strongly recommended so I’m going to give it a go. It sounds intriguing, but I have been burned on this kind of thing before.

      • If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller – Italo Calvino

 I’m maybe a little wary of this one because of the unusual writing style (it’s in second person, singular)  and because I’ve been told it’s a bit, well, weird, but I read the first page and was blown away by how gorgeous the language is so I’m looking forward to getting stuck in.

      • Castle in the Air – Diana Wynne Jones

 I loved Howl’s Moving Castle when I read it a few years ago, and I’ve been meaning to get round to this one for far too long.  I’ll probably reread the first before I get to it, just because I can.

      • Labyrinths – Jose Luis Borges

 I’ve woefully neglected my reading of short fiction in the last few years – I think I was strongly put off it at school by reading and over-dissecting a couple of short stories that I really didn’t care for.  However,  my boyfriend read a few of these out to me one night (he has a great reading voice!) and I knew I definitely had to give them a go.  This is one of quite a few short story anthologies on my list, so we’ll see if I can get over my distaste!

      • Midnight Riot – Ben Aaronovitch

 I’ve been told this is like a less problematic Dresden Files set in London.  I have no idea how true that is but I’ll look forward to finding out. (NB I have not read any of the DF books but I have been strongly put off them by some of the excerpts that I’ve come across, especially regarding the women in the books and will be unlikely to read them.)

      • A Streetcar Named Desire – Tennessee Williams

 I know, I should probably actually go and see this, but I simply don’t have the money for the theatre.  I’m going to compromise by watching the film straight afterwards.

So these are what I’ll be getting cracking on with once I finish The Stand.

  • BONUS KINDLE READ: I’ll be re-reading Northanger Abbey on my Kindle while I’m out and about as preparation for reading the Val McDermaid treatment of the same as part of the Jane Austen Project.
1

I Have A Problem

So, I have this problem…

IMG_0755

It’s a paper-based problem…

IMG_0756

In fact, it’s a paper-and-ink-based problem…

IMG_0759

IMG_0757

THERE ARE JUST TOO MANY BOOKS!!!

So, you see my issue.  I have a ton of books.  And many of them are unread.  At the moment, I’m taking a bit of a gap year between finishing my studies and beginning my graduate job.  My quest is simple.  Diminish the number of unread books that I own by summer next year to a reasonable an manageable amount!  Now, in order to do this, obviously I must keep track of what I’ve read.  And this is where this blog comes in.  I’m going to chronicle my adventures in literature, hopefully with a bit of a sense of humour, in order to gain some semblance of order in my reading life.  I’ll be posting reviews, photos, videos, and all other kinds of ephemera in my quest to make a dent in the book stack.

ONWARD!