had sparks openly admitted at the time of publication that go ask alice was not non-fiction, and was, rather, a loosely fictionalized account of a gir...morehad sparks openly admitted at the time of publication that go ask alice was not non-fiction, and was, rather, a loosely fictionalized account of a girl that sparks claims to have known, it would not have reached the literary popularity that it did. one of the reasons the didactic tone was accepted by teenagers was that they believed it to be a true story coming from one of their peers. had they known that the morals, in fact, had been inserted by a middle-aged mormon author with no actual drug experience to speak of, they would have been less inclined to accept its message of total abstinence, and sparks would not have been able to carve a literary career out of the body of a dead girl. [ full article ](less)
i asked my parents about whether they had to read kipling's jungle book in their school days (circa 1950-1960+) but they said no. then they told me th...morei asked my parents about whether they had to read kipling's jungle book in their school days (circa 1950-1960+) but they said no. then they told me that they did in fact have been told the story about a boy being raised by wolves. it seems that this is a common story told by (grand)parents and passed on to the next generations, the story is older than kipling's novel. i'm gonna have to do some research on that and see where it leads me too ...(less)
forgive me father, for i have sinned. it’s been a long time since my last confession. these are my sins:
i bought rossetti’s goblin market and se...more1.75/5
forgive me father, for i have sinned. it’s been a long time since my last confession. these are my sins:
i bought rossetti’s goblin market and selected poems as an expensive a folio edition, because i enjoy a good story as much as thoughtfully crafted book design. plus i only understood fractions of it, the writing style is not much to my taste, but that might change if i understand the subtle undertones and messages the author is trying to convey.
this is it, you guys. you cannot get a better designed book if you’re looking for a collection of rossetti’s poems. and … holy shit, it’s just awesome because jillian tamaki illustrated it! [ see more ]
obviously the most famous of her poems is the goblin market. i had my first encounter with her work through laini taylor’s beautiful book lips touch: three times which can be discribed as a nod to rossetti’s poem. here some of my favourite lines:
two thoughts of death.
her heart that loved me once is rottenness now and corruption; and her life is dead [...] foul worms fill up her mouth so sweet and red; foul worms are underneath her graceful head. yet these, being born of her from nothingness these worms are certainly flesh of her flesh.
- p 114
buds and babies
a million buds are born that never blow, that sweet with promise lift a pretty head to blush and wither on a barren bed and leave no fruit to show.
sweet, unfulfilled. yet have i understood one joy, by their fragility made plain: nothing was ever beautiful in vain, or all in vain was good.
- p 100
life and death.
life is not sweet. one day it will be sweet to shut our eyes and die [...]
life is not good. one day it will be good to die, then live again. [...]
- p 72
when i was dead, my spirit turned to seek the much frequented house: i passed the door, and saw my friends feasting beneath green orange boughs [...]
emily webster and the class of 1912 are graduating from high school. for emily's friends, it's the beginning of a new chapter in their lives as they p...more emily webster and the class of 1912 are graduating from high school. for emily's friends, it's the beginning of a new chapter in their lives as they prepare to go to college. but not for emily. despite her love of learning and her academic achievements, she will be spending her next year at home. she is an orphan whose only living relative is her elderly grandfather and she feels it is her duty to take care of him. when her classmates leave home, emily becomes lonely and depressed during her "lost year." but with a little dedication, emily eventually finds that learning can take place outside of the classroom and you don't need college to grow as a person. [ foreveryoungadult ]
cindersilly: is a positive and engaging alternative to the classic cinderella fairy tale. the book contains less of the adversarial relationship betwee...more
cindersilly: is a positive and engaging alternative to the classic cinderella fairy tale. the book contains less of the adversarial relationship between the stepfamily and cinderella. instead, the stepmother plays as weary and unable to take action to change the course of her life. thompson portrays the stepsisters as modeling after their mother, but they find by the end of the story that cindersilly’s approach to life enriches them beyond their mother’s method. cinderella is a joy in this story – just what you always wanted her to be – but not necessarily in a hyper-feminine way. and I love how she and the prince become friends. they’re allowed to just be kids! [chambers | miss representation](less)
Look, I feel for the authors and readers of chick-lit. The amount o...more4 POPULAR MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT PRIDE & PREJUDICE
1. Jane Austen wrote chick-lit
Look, I feel for the authors and readers of chick-lit. The amount of crap they put up with is completely out of proportion to the cheesiness of their genre. When books like The Da Vinci Code and the Left Behind series get treated seriously in major newspapers, and Michael Crichton testifies before Congress on environmental issues, it really does seem churlish to dump on this new evolution of the romance novel (actually, it seems a lot more than churlish, but I don't have enough evidence to talk about where I really think this backlash is coming from). And the fact is that in terms of plot, chick-lit, like romance before it, is the literary descendant of Austen's fiction. But to turn that correlation around and call Austen's fiction proto-chick-lit is so far beyond the pale that it would be laughable if there weren't people out there saying it seriously. I'm not talking about the issue of the quality of Austen's writing as opposed to your average chick-lit novel (that way lies 'but this is good/why, then, it's not SF')--I'm talking about the fundamental building blocks of the genre.
The stereotypical chick-lit heroine is the representative of a lost generation--women who, although they have rejected the traditional subservient, domestic role of the female in their actions, have done so almost unconsciously, and are now searching for a new paradigm for their lives. Austen's heroines, in contrast, know their place in the world--as wives and mothers--and are eager to assume it. More importantly, chick-lit is almost universally concerned with the gratification of desires--I want a great job, I want a studly yet sensitive boyfriend, I want a child--whereas Austen's novels, Pride and Prejudice in particular, are morality plays. The reward for becoming a better person, Austen tells us, for shedding the petty selfishness of childhood and emerging into maturity, is a good, stable marriage, the right and privilege of becoming the bedrock of a new generation of Englishmen and -women. This is so far from chick-lit's themes of self-actualization and self-acceptance as to very nearly make the works polar opposites, which is hardly surprising--Austen wrote 200 years ago, when conformity and self-sacrifice were virtues, not vices as they are, for better and worse, today.
2. Elizabeth Bennet is a 'modern' woman
Why? Because she refuses to marry an odious man simply for the comfort of financial security? Because she won't degrade herself by accepting Darcy's parsimonious and grudging first marriage proposal? Because she's intelligent and strong-willed? All of these qualities make Elizabeth a remarkable woman, but no more in Austen's era than she would be today. As far as her desires and dreams are concerned, Elizabeth is firmly and steadfastly a woman of her own time. She wants to marry a good, honorable man, hopefully for love, but at the very least out of mutual respect. Her refusal of the obsequious Mr. Collins is anything but modern--it is the only correct action, Austen tells us, for an intelligent woman when faced with the prospect of being ruled, her entire life, by a fool. Elizabeth is dismayed by her friend Charlotte's decision to accept Mr. Collins not because she has romantic notions of marrying for love, but because she has a clear-eyed image of what their marriage would be like.
Like many of Austen's novels, Pride and Prejudice is a blueprint for making a good marriage. Elizabeth and her sister Jane are surrounded by examples of how not to choose a mate--Charlotte and Mr. Collins, Mr. and Mrs. Hurst, their own parents--and one or two examples, chiefly from the Gardiners, of what a good marriage should look like. In this, Austen is anything but modern--she is an arch-conservative. The notion that they might not marry, that they might be forced to make their way in life as governesses or as spinster sisters, dependent on the goodwill of their relatives, occurs to her characters only as a frightening fantasy, and to her readers almost never.
3. Mr. Darcy is a reformed rake
I came across this one in an especially insipid article in the Guardian a few years ago, which trotted Darcy out as an example of how women like to fix men. Which is true, but not about Darcy. It's what makes Pride and Prejudice such a singular novel--for maybe the only time in the history of the romance, the guy fixes himself. Not that Darcy was ever a rake by an stretch of the imagination. Austen makes it clear that he's a pretty stand-up guy--honorable, generous, intelligent--even before Elizabeth gets to him. Like every single one of us, Darcy is flawed, but unlike most people, when that flaw is pointed out to him, he tries to make himself better. His actions in the book's second half are an attempt to show Elizabeth that he's taken her words to heart, even as she becomes aware of the many fine qualities she's missed in him. Her love is his reward for learning humility and overcoming his snobbishness, but apart from the first push, Darcy achieves that transformation all on his own.
4. Elizabeth Bennet is a twit / Elizabeth Bennet is perfection incarnate
Like Darcy, Elizabeth is flawed--she allows her hurt feelings at his prideful manner to dictate her behavior towards him, refusing to consider that he might have good qualities as well as bad. She allows herself to lose sight of morality when she tacitly approves of Mr. Wickham's fortune-hunting behavior simply because he's flattered her with his attentions. And, like Darcy, Elizabeth is made aware of her faults and is deeply ashamed--"I had not known myself", she tells her sister. Although her actions in response to this revelation aren't as pro-active as Darcy's (Elizabeth's role as a woman in Austen's fiction is, after all, a passive one), she does try to make amends for her mistakes. It's her intelligence and her keen moral sense that allow Elizabeth to recognize her faults and change into a better person, and while she's hardly a paragon, there's no question that she is an admirable character.
As deeply fond as I am of Jane Austen's novels, and of Pride and Prejudice in particular, I don't pretend that they're without their flaws. Austen's romances are cerebral and mostly passionless, and her characters' world is no wider than her own limited, proscribed existence. The wonder of Austen's fiction is the fact that she took these coldly moral tales, combined them with her warm wit and keen powers of observation, and came up with a miniature of humanity in all its glory and silliness. Some things, some aspects of human existence, are missing, but in much the same way that we don't turn to Tolkien for complicated and flawed characters, and we don't read George Eliot when we're after a barrel of laughs, it's wrong to try and impose those aspects on our reading of Austen. For better and worse (but mostly for better), she is what she is--one of the finest authors in the English language, and well worth a first, second, and third look.