Monday, April 27, 2009

Jane Eyre

Repeatedly I have been told by friends that I must read Jane Eyre. That if I enjoyed Austen, I'll certainly enjoy Brontë. When I received a decent amount of gift cards for the holidays I picked the book up with the intention of reading the book and whether or not I liked it, I could add it to my collection and if I ever have children and they are to read it for school we would not have to get a copy.

So I sat down with the book and began to read it myself only to discover that I truly enjoyed the book and was very much enraptured by the main character, Jane, and all of her thoughts. It had the right amount of traumatic experiences and drama but not enough to make it too dire. There is also the proper amount of romance for daydreams and happy feelings but not enough to make it sappy.

The writing is easy enough to read quickly and understand. The termenology that often confuses readers of Austen is not an issue with Brontë work. The only complaint I do have is that there are brief discussions and small paragraphs in French because Jane Eyre does speak and understand French and at points she is accompanied by other characters who speak French. My issue with this is that I, despite taking a year of intense French courses, do not speak any French past "I do not understand" and "Do you speak French".

But aside from that it still has that obstacle of a woman who is living life and then facing a decision of who to love and what is proper. It reminds me of Austen's work in that way. The continuous stride to be an intelligent woman with a voice and yet being caught in a love triangle. But I, for one, enjoy reading that type of literature and daydreaming of it. If you are against books that ultimately dive into the romance genre then I will press for you to stay away from this. But if you are looking for an entertaining read, a decently written one at that, and you don't mind hearing the (almost) entire life of a girl whose had many negative things happen to her PLUS the romance, then yes... go for it!

It's also a classic. ;-)

PS: This is one of the books off of my must read challenge!

A Little Princess

"Never did she find anything so difficult as to keep herself from losing her temper when she was suddenly disturbed while absorbed in a book. People who are fond of books know the feeling or irritation which sweeps over them at such a moment. The temptation to be unreasonable and snappish is one not easy to manage."

A Little Princess has been one of my favorite books all my life. I cannot even begin to guess how many times I've gone and reread that book. It's by the same author as The Secret Garden and you can see the similarities between the two books. England, the main character little girl who is without parents, a great life lesson or change in life, India.

In many ways Burnetts story is much alike TSG as listed above. I think the most heavily placed theme in both books isn't so much a story about little orphan girls but the important lesson the child learns.

Sara Crewe, the main character, is a wonderful child but one can see in the modern day how she would be easily disliked (by the classmate villain of the story for example). The child is of a nice matter, liked by most everyone, and is presented with every wish she has. That can be annoying. However, her character is so strong and sweet it should brush aside any dislike.

Sara's life is tossed head over heels when her father dies and she looses all of her good fortune. And yet, she continues to be strong and to behave decently. This strength seems almost impossible to imagine in that of a child who has just lost their beloved father- the only family she knew. But Sara continues on, trying to make the best of things and keep her curious thoughts alive.

It's an uplifting book full of hope and a happy ending. It's a good story to display to children, a way to point out that children will not always get what they want and sometimes very unfortunate things do occur to those who are undeserving. And yet, if you remain strong the likelihood that you will surpass these negative moments are better.

I am sure that when I have a child I will read this book to them over and over as they grow up. I adore it and I am very supportive of the bottom line of the tale. I hope anyone who is looking for a good feel type of story with a positive aire this would be it.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Hobbit

While in High School I read The Lord of the Rings and found it books which I loved but had to take a very long (and slow) time of reading. I'm not quite sure what the reason behind this is because usually when a book takes me forever it's because I don't like it. But Lord of the Rings broke that rule. It seems that The Hobbit is much the same as The Lord of the Rings. It took me forever to read although I did enjoy it.

I enjoyed how it was told as if one were to tell a story to children. Referring to characters as 'poor Bilbo' or 'our dear friends' makes the reader feel more emotionally attached to book and it's characters. Add the elements of this fairy tale with elves and dwarves, dragons and wizards, and it becomes the perfect story to tell to your child or read amongst a family.

However, Lord of the Rings is a bit more dark and grim. I feel it's not necessarily suitable for children. At the very least, older children with a high maturity could, I am sure, handle it. But The Hobbit is funny, warm, and cute with just enough adventure and tension to make it's readers eagerly continue on.

Most people can relate to at least one character in the book since Tolkien hosts an elaborate cast with every type of personality available. I adore Bilbo Baggins because I can relate to his enjoyment of his home life. Waking up, having tea and breakfast. His little garden and Bag End. He is set on his ways and content with life, completely against the idea of having it change, and at times very grumpy. There is an underlining meaning to the story, amongst the magical creatures and adventures, that when you have a chance to live life it will indeed change you. But is that really such a bad thing?