Awards

Unique Blogger Award | 3

What a better way to spend a lazy Sunday than sharing a bookish award? Thanks so much to Erin @ Pages of Milk and Honey for nominating me! Erin is lovely, so be sure to check out her blog.

  • Display the award!
  • Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.
  • Answer the questions they’ve written for you!
  • Nominate 8-13 bloggers and give them three questions in the spirit of sharing love and solidarity within our blogging family!

If you could only choose one genre to read for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Definitely classic literature. It’s become my favorite genre over the past few years, despite its rather stuffy, dull reputation. (Click here to read more about my adoration of classics.

What is the worst book you have ever read?

I always struggle answering questions like this one because I generally tend to enjoy the books that I finish reading. However, one book that I did not enjoy was Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany and Jack Thorne. If you’ve been keeping up to date with the controversy surrounding this play, then you’re probably not surprised to hear that it left a proverbial sour taste in my bookworm mouth. I’m not sure I would go so far as to say that it’s the absolute worst book I’ve ever read, but it’s definitely up there on the list!

Describe your perfect reading nook!

I’ll read pretty much anywhere, but my favorite places are outside with beautiful scenery in front of me: at the lake, on the quad of Wheaton (fondly known as the Dimple), or even in my back yard at home in New Hampshire.

Thanks again, Erin!

What are your answers to these questions? What do you think of mine? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Hidden Gems of Classic Literature

Happy Tuesday!! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) asks us to share hidden gems–in other words, books that we believe aren’t discussed or read often enough. As per usual, I’m going to focus on classics that I believe deserve to be read more, discussed more, and highlighted more, both within and beyond the classroom setting.

What classics do you wish were discussed more often? What do you thinks of the books on my list? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Classic Couple

A Classic Couple: Romeo & Juliet and The Hunger Games

Sometimes it seems as though everyone is birthed from the womb with an inherent knowledge of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. I have a feeling that a similar situation will happen with Suzanne Collins’ novel The Hunger Games in a few generations. Just as the mention of Shakespeare’s famous play immediately conjures up ideas of star-crossed lovers and family feuds, The Hunger Games may inevitably be associated with fights to the death, trust and betrayal, and forbidden love. Today, I’d like to discuss the many similarities between these books that make them more alike than one might initially expect.

+ Star-crossed lovers. Let’s get this one out of the way first since it’s probably the most obvious similarity. Both of these texts are rooted in romance, particularly relationships that are seemingly not supposed to happen. While Romeo and Juliet shouldn’t be together due to the clash between their families, Katniss and Peeta should be focused on killing each other rather than trying to seduce one another. These relationships occur rapidly yet are fueled by different motivations: love and lust vs. strategy and survival. The flawed natures of both of these relationships emphasize the far extent that people will stretch for romance.

+ Life and death: The dichotomy of living and dying plays a significant role in both texts. Each of their climactic scenes focuses on the tension between these two opposites and plays with the reader’s expectations of what should happen next. Romance becomes a life source for Katniss and Peeta as it helps them gain the popularity needed to ultimately survive the games; however, love becomes the downfall of Romeo and Juliet as it blinds them to realistic consequences and leads to their hasty deaths.

+ Youth: Part of the reason these texts are so remarkable is the age of the protagonists: Romeo and Juliet are in their early teen years, whereas Katniss and Peeta are in their later teen years. While this is often one of the more frustrating aspects of Romeo and Juliet for modern readers—they’re willing to commit suicide over someone they’ve known for three days when they’re thirteen?!—age plays a more positive role in Collins’ novel. Katniss and Peeta are able to fight back against an entire oppressive regime even though they are still teenagers.

+ Rebellion: Likewise, together these texts highlight the advantages and disadvantages of rebelling. While Shakespeare paints a rather bleak picture of what could happen when you go against the wishes of your elders, Collins seems to advocate standing up for what you believe in and opposing unjust authority figures. In this way, romance is used to make a very political statement in The Hunger Games. 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at two very different, very similar texts!

Click here to check out other Classic Couples from past posts.

What do you think of this classic couple? What other books would you pair with Romeo and Juliet? What are your thoughts on either or both of these books? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Appreciated, Not Enjoyed

Happy Tuesday!! As per usual, I’ve decided to switch up this week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme a bit (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl). The theme is supposed to be Books I Disliked/Hated but Am Really Glad I Read; however, I often find it hard to list many books that I really dislike because I tend to like most of the books I read. I say this all the time, but it might be more accurate to say that I end up either enjoying or appreciating most of the books I read. For me, there’s a big difference between genuinely finding pleasure in reading a book and appreciating it for various historical/cultural/textual reasons. I might appreciate a book’s writing style or historical significance, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I had a great time reading it. Today I’m going to share ten books that I appreciated but didn’t enjoy reading. 

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

This novel is always a go-to answer for me when it comes to this dichotomy. I’ve read this book twice (once on my own, once for a college course) and I just really can’t get past Hemingway’s choppy, dull writing style. However, I do appreciate this novel for being interesting to study (what would we do without all of that bull symbolism?!).

Moby Dick by Herman Melville

I’ve never properly studied Moby Dick in a classroom setting, but reading it on my own one summer was enough for me. While I appreciate it as an important work of literature, there’s just far too much information about whaling in this novel for me to genuinely enjoy reading it.

Basically anything by William Shakespeare

I’ve talked about my love-hate relationship with Shakespeare many times before on this blog, so I feel like this one goes without explanation. (Although if you want more clarification, you can read this post that I published a while back).

Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

While I appreciate the historical significance of this novel in light of the Civil War and race relations in the United States, I couldn’t get past the stereotypical caricatures of slaves that this text promulgates. It might have been a step in the right direction back in the nineteenth century, but it certainly is a step in the wrong direction now. This is a case when historical context is definitely a huge factor when thinking about the work as a whole.

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

In general, I am a big fan of Charles Dickens. His novel Great Expectations is one of the books that initially made me fall in love with reading classics and I love his witty, dramatic, creative writing style. While I appreciate Oliver Twist as a work by Dickens, I couldn’t help but be disappointed by how dark and sad this novel is. I’ll be the first to admit that this is entirely a personal preference– I just don’t enjoy reading really sad books!

On the Road by Jack Kerouac

There’s no denying that On the Road is an iconic text with an important literary influence in terms of the Beat and counterculture movements of postwar America. However, it’s frustrating to read something that seems to go on and on and on forever with little structure or direction. I understand that’s the point of the novel… but that doesn’t mean I have to enjoy it!

Dracula by Bram Stoker

While I admit that this novel is really fun to study and write about, reading it always feels like such a chore. Once you get past the initial iconic scenes in the creepy castle, the rest of the novel moves much too slowly for my taste. I feel like a good portion of the middle could definitely be cut out.

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

To be fair, I don’t actually remember anything about this novel from when I read it many years ago. All I know is that in 2012 I rated it one out of five stars on Goodreads and all I wrote in my review is: “This was probably one of the worst books I have ever read.” Holly of the past was HARSH.

Basically anything by Stephen King

While I appreciate Stephen King for being a prolific writer of numerous creative, unique, meticulously crafted books, I just can’t get past his choppy, terse writing style. (Similar to how I feel about Hemingway… can you tell this is a trend?)

Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

I feel as though I would really enjoy this book if I studied it in the proper historical/political context; however, when I read it a few years ago I couldn’t help but feel as though much of the satire and historical significance went right over my head.

What books have you appreciated but not necessarily enjoyed reading? What do you think of the books on my list? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY