Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Character Names {For Plants}

Happy Tuesday!! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) is supposed to be Best Character Names; however, as per usual I’ve decided to put my own spin on it. A few years ago I made a Top Ten Tuesday list of Characters I’d Name My Plants After, which was a blast. Today I’d like to do a similar list along those lines, so I’ll be sharing ten character names for plants. {Shout out to my plants back at home in the States– hope you’re still alive on my window sill!}

What are some of your favorite character names (for plants or otherwise)? What do you think of the ones I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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Feminist Fridays

Feminist Fridays: Pride and Prejudice (circa 1995 BBC)

Jane Austen’s classic novel Pride and Prejudice, along with many of her other novels, often receives criticism for depicting women as utterly dependent on men. While I wholeheartedly disagree with this criticism (look at Austen’s satire! her wit! her humor! making fun of those who depend on men!), today I’d like to discuss this perspective regarding a modern adaptation of the novel: BBC’s 1995 Pride and Prejudice mini series starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth. After watching this in a matter of days at the beginning of my spring break (and becoming remarkably invested in the story absurdly quickly), I’ve returned to the age-old question: is this beloved, classic story feminist, particularly in mini-series form?

Of course, it has to be recognized that the Georgian Era in which Pride and Prejudice was written and is set is highly problematic by modern standards. Not only did women have no right to property and had to rely on advantageous marriages in order to move up in the ranks of society, but they also did not have great opportunities in terms of education, occupations, and paths forward in life. The incredibly class-conscious society depicted by Jane Austen in this 1813 novel and reflected in the 1995 mini-series left no room for the freedom of expression and opinion that women now have as a right today. It is to be expected that in depicting such a sexist society, the story itself would not be a call to action for the rise of women’s rights.

However, I would argue that there is something decidedly feminist about this story, particularly in the character of Lizzie Bennet. Not only is Lizzie independent, witty, and intelligent, but she is also much more active than women were expected to be during this time period. For instance, this subversion of the passive, obedient standard for women is apparent in mini-series scene where she trudges all the way to see her sister, Jane, at the Bingley’s house and arrives covered in mud. While the other women in the house scoff at Lizzie’s disorderly appearance, Mr. Darcy admires her for her subversion of gender norms. These feminist moments may seem subtle, but I believe that they’re vital to understanding this story as a counter to sexist expectations of women during the Georgian Era.

Another admirable aspect of this novel and screen adaptation is the emphasis it places on bonds between women. While the romantic plot of this story is often highlighted as the most important element of the story, I think it can be argued that the relationships between women are equally as prevalent. The Bennet sisters rely on each other for comfort, support, and guidance in a society that stifles young women and fails to see their potential as independent citizens. The bond between Lizzie and Jane is particularly strong in the mini-series and demonstrates the importance of women lifting each other up in times of struggle, be that emotionally or physically. When it seems as though Mr. Bingley is no longer interested in Jane, Lizzie admires her emotional strength and encourages her to move on and not dwell on the past. Again, these moments may be subtle, but they nevertheless highlight the ways by which women in this society helped each other and found their own kinds of power in their lives.

Is Pride and Prejudice a flawless feminist text or television series? Of course not. However, I think it would be amiss to entirely discount this story as one that portrays women poorly without any meaningful underlying purpose. For all of its faults, I’m happy to admire this story for its feminist moments (and the binge-watching splendor of the mini-series!). If you haven’t yet watched this mini-series, I would highly recommend it!

Click here to see other Feminist Friday posts!

What are your thoughts on the novel Pride and Prejudice and any of its television or movie adaptations? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Monthly Wrap-Up

MARCH 2018 | Wrap-Up

{When you realize half way through April that you forgot to schedule your March wrap-up before you left to travel for two weeks… oops! Better late than never, right?!}

It’s official, folks: we’re one-fourth of the way through 2018! I’m pretty sure I say this literally every month, but it’s so hard to believe that the months are flying by this quickly. Not only was March a transitional month in terms of weather, but it also marked my transition from Hilary term to a sprawling five-week spring break. (SO. MUCH. TIME.) Here’s what I’ve been up to for the past month:

In March I read a total of 14 books:

  1. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
  2. Willa Cather: A Life Saved Up by Hermione Lee
  3. Life in the Iron Mills by Rebecca Harding Davis
  4. Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff
  5. Happily by Chauncey Rogers
  6. The Grim Grotto by Lemony Snicket
  7. Between the Acts by Virginia Woolf
  8. A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
  9. Orlando by Virginia Woolf
  10. Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman
  11. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
  12. Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham
  13. The Penultimate Peril by Lemony Snicket
  14. The End by Lemony Snicket

Much to my surprise, my favorite book I read in March was Between the Acts by Virginia Woolf. This novel is part of my assigned reading for my upcoming Virginia Woolf tutorial in Trinity term, so I figured I would get a head start over my spring break and try to get some reading done early. As the last book Woolf ever wrote, Between the Acts is not often considered her best work by literary critics. However, my low expectations (relatively low, since Woolf is a brilliant writer) were absolutely shattered. I adore this novel. You know a book is great when your first instinct upon finishing it is to turn back to the beginning and start reading again (which I would have done had I not had so much other required reading to get to…). If you’ve never read Between the Acts before, I highly recommend it!

+ MOVIE: This month I had a favorite show rather than a favorite movie: the 1995 BBC mini-series adaptation of Pride and Prejudice starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth. I decided to watch it on a whim one night and before I knew it I had finished it a few days later, completely invested in seeing how the story played out on screen despite the fact that I’ve already read the novel several times. So much cheesy dialogue! Awkward interactions! Romantic suspense! If you’re ever looking for something fun and heartwarming to watch on Netflix, definitely check out this mini-series if you haven’t already!

+ MUSIC: I’ve always enjoyed the songs by Lorde that I’ve heard on the radio over the years, but I never actually listened to her most recent album Melodrama in full until this month. I am not exaggerating when I say I have lost count of how many times I’ve listened to this album on repeat in the last few weeks. It’s dramatic and moody and angsty but so, so catchy. A few of my favorite songs are “Homemade Dynamite,” “The Louvre,” and “Supercut.”

+ FOOD: This month I had the best ice cream sundae I’ve ever had in my entire life. I don’t often get to enjoy ice cream that I don’t make myself due to my nut allergy, but my mom found a shop in London called Yorica that is free from every major allergen except soy. I was living. Waffles?! Brownie pieces?! Flavors besides vanilla?! If you’re ever in London and want some delicious allergen-free treats, I HIGHLY recommend stopping by Yorica!

+ PLACE: LONDON. I’ve spent so much time in London this month that I was actually able to navigate parts of it without using a map when my mom came to visit. Normally I’m not a huge fan of cities in general, but there’s something about London that makes it feel different from other cities I’ve visited. Maybe it’s the lack of looming skyscrapers like in New York City or the relative quiet compared to bustling Boston. I can’t wait to keep exploring this remarkable city!

March went from a snow-covered Oxford at the end of Hilary term to a relatively sunnier spring break in no time at all. So much happened in March that I can hardly write about it all– visits from many family and friends, trips to London, strolls through museums, afternoons in cafes, and even a day at a nearby palace. As the end of my year abroad approaches (eek!!!) I’ve been gradually diving back into the world of Wheaton through picking classes, sorting out housing for next year, and thinking about what I’ll be doing over the summer. So much seems to be happening at once lately!

At George Street Social, one of my favorite cafes in Oxford.
Me standing in front of the gorgeous Blenheim Palace.
The Baker Street tube station… Sherlock, anyone?
Fueling my Les Mis obsession one street at a time.
A photo of a photo of my mom in front of the Radcliffe Camera in Oxford.

Stay tuned for many, many posts about all of my traveling adventures in the near future!!

 Here are some notable posts from my blog this past month:

Here are some posts that I loved reading this month:

How was your month of March? What was the best book you read? Did you do anything really fun or exciting? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Tags

The Captain America Book Tag

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A while ago I saw the Captain America Book Tag on Bookmark Lit and even though I wasn’t specifically tagged I knew I would have to do it eventually. Captain America is by far my favorite Marvel Avenger and the fact that this tag blends this amazing hero with books makes me want to give Morgan @ Gone with the Words, the creator of this book tag, a standing ovation.

Without further ado, let’s start the tag!

Great ExpectationsSteve Rogers/Captain America: a book with a big character transformation

Pip from Great Expectations by Charles Dickens is just one of the many characters in this classic novel that undergoes a massive amount of character development over the course of the story. They don’t call it a bildungsroman for nothing!

18405Peggy Carter: a book with a strong female protagonist

If it’s a strong, independent, determined, headstrong female protagonist you want, then look no further than Scarlett O’Hara from Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. Though she can be stubborn, rash, and melodramatic, there’s no doubting her incredible strength in the face of poverty, death, and heartbreak.

The Raven King by Maggie StiefvaterBucky Barnes: a book with your ultimate BROTP

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater is oozing with BROTPs galore. You can always count on Maggie Stiefvater to write adorable, relatable, and enviable friendships in general. (Honestly, just one of countless reasons to read this fantastic series!)

looking for alaskaHowling Commandos: a book with squad goals

Miles’ eclectic group of friends has always been one of the many reasons why I love Looking for Alaska by John Green. They have so much fun with their wacky adventures and it’s clear that they really care for and support one another, as all good friends should.

pride and prejudice cover 2Red Skull: a book with a cliché plot

I’m not going to lie: at this point, so many people have copied her that the plot of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice seems pretty cliché nowadays. Of course, we can’t really blame her for this– it has been centuries since it was written, after all!

23732096-2Natasha Romanoff: a book with a snarky side character

Nancy from The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl by Ryan North & Erica Henderson is the ultimate snark side character. She’s smart, has a hilarious dry sense of humor, and is always ready with a quick quip or two to liven things up.

When We CollidedSam Wilson: a book with a friendship meet cute.

When We Collided by Emery Lord is filled with adorable moments, but one of the cutest is when John and Vivi first meet at the pottery shop. Their cuteness is even multiplied by the inclusion of Jonah’s little sister in the scene. It doesn’t get more adorable than that!

more than this coverWinter Soldier: a book with a great twist (plot twist or retelling)

How could I not highlight the amazing plot twist of More Than This by Patrick Ness? I still remember the shock I felt when I first read it, even though it was a few years ago now. I never saw it coming!

gone coverI’m Just A Kid from Brooklyn: a book with a memorable setting/character backstory

Nearly all of the characters in the Gone series by Michael Grant have interesting, surprising, and complex backstories. Considering how many characters are introduced throughout these six books, that’s quite a feat!

matched coverDo You Two…. Fondue?: a book with a love triangle

SO. MANY. LOVE. TRIANGLES. There are a million books to choose from, but I’ll go with Matched by Ally Condie. I’m just going to be honest with you all: this love triangle was really annoying and simply bothersome. Like with most love triangles, there’s just so much drama involved!

life after life coverYou’ve Been Asleep, Cap: a book you love with a dual timeline/time travel

I’m not really sure what to call the twisting and turning timeline of Life After Life by Kate Atkinson…. Time travel? Multiple perspectives? Rewriting history? Whatever you’d like to call it, I’ve never read a novel that plays with time quite like this one does.

jellicoe road coverTil The End Of The Line: a book with the OTP to end all OTPs

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Taylor and Jonah from Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta are my favorite OTP, if I had to choose just one. If you haven’t read this book already, what are you waiting for?! ❤

IlluminaeI Had A Date: a book with a cliffhanger

I remember finishing Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff and immediately wanting to read a sequel. The ending was way more intense and fast-paced than expected, especially considering the experimental format of the book itself. If you want a book that will leave you hanging, I definitely recommend this one!

fangirl coverI Understood That Reference: a book with a pop culture reference

The first book that popped into my mind when I read this prompt was predictably Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Though the pop culture reference in this book is fictional, Simon Snow resembles a popular magical series about wizards closely enough that I feel like it mirrors an actual reference.

What are your answers to these prompts? What do you think about the books I’ve mentioned? Who is your favorite superhero? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Bookish, Tags

Scavenger Hunt Book Tag | #bookstagram Style!

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Hello, hello! I  hope you’re all having a wonderfully bookish day. Since I’m currently away at college and don’t have access to all of my books at home, I thought I would do this Scavenger Hunt Book Tag using photos I’ve posted on my bookstagram. Thanks so much to Ola @ Ola Reads Books for tagging me!

Okay, this might be a bit more challenging than I initially expected…

FIND A BOOK WITH THE LETTER ‘Z’ IN ITS TITLE OR THE AUTHOR’S NAME

Thank goodness for One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez… it’s the only book I have a photo of with a “z” somewhere on the cover!

FIND A CLASSIC

The cover of this classic novel is decievingly lighthearted! Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte is such a dark, twisted, captivating novel. I need to reread it soon!

FIND A BOOK WITH A KEY IN THE COVER

There’s not technically a key on this book cover, but there is one in my photo! (That counts, right?)

FIND SOMETHING ON YOUR SHELVES THAT ISN’T A BOOK

TEA. I couldn’t go without mentioning this essential part of my everyday routine!

FIND A BOOK WITH AN ANIMAL ON THE COVER

This bird plays an interesting role in John Corey Whaley’s Where Things Come Back. I highly recommend this quirky, unique novel!

FIND A BOOK WITH A GIRL ON ITS COVER

My beloved Penguin Threads edition of Emma by Jane Austen.

FIND A NON-YA BOOK

Can you tell that I love my Penguin English Library editions? This copy of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorites. 

FIND A BOOK WITH GOLDEN LETTERS

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spines spines spines 📚

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I found these books tucked away in a corner of my library. Even though they’re weathered and old, they still have some shine left!

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What do you think of the books I’ve mentioned? Do you have a bookstagram? I’d love to check it out! Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Tags

The Alphabet Book Tag

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I hope you’re all having a lovely day! I was tagged ages ago to do this Alphabet Book Tag, but it seems like too much fun not to do. Thanks so much to Ola @ Ola Reads Books for tagging me!

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Pick a book that is on your shelf or one that you have read in the past and fill out each letter of the Alphabet. The idea is to use books that you have either read or that are on your TBR list.

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All of the books that I have chosen are ones that I have read (except for Y!). When possible, I’ve linked my reviews of them as well.

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A – Animal Farm by George Orwell

B – Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

C – City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

D – Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

E – Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn

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F – Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

G – Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

H – Hamlet by William Shakespeare

I – Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

J – Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

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K – King Lear by William Shakespeare

L – Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

M – My Ántonia by Willa Cather

N – Noggin by John Corey Whaley

O – Our Town by Thornton Wilder

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P – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Q – (The) Queen of Everything by Deb Caletti

R – Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

S – Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

T – Thrive by Arianna Huffington

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U – Ugly People Beautiful Hearts by Marlen Komar

V – Vicious by V.E. Schwab

W – When We Collided by Emery Lord

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X – Xenocide by Orson Scott Card

Y – (The) Year of Reading Dangerously by Andy Miller {I haven’t read this yet but I’ve come to the conclusion that I cannot remember I single book I have ever read that starts with the letter “Y.”}

Z – Zero by Morgan Dark

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And YOU, of course!!

What do you think of the books I’ve mentioned? More importantly, have you ever read a book that begins with the letter “Y”? {I’m really curious about this now!} Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish TV Show Recommendations

Foodie Facts About Me-9Happy Tuesday! September is finally here, which in my mind means that it is officially autumn. There of countless reasons to love autumn, but today I’m here to talk about one very specific reason: TV shows. So many shows– both new and old– begin in the fall, and it can be difficult to know what to watch. Since this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is based on TV shows, I thought I would share a list of my Top Ten Bookish TV Show Recommendations in case you’d like to coordinate what you watch with what you read, or vice versa.

If you like these shows, then you would probably like these books! (And vice versa.)stranger-things

miss peregrine's home for peculiar children coverMiss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Creepy, mysterious atmosphere | Kids with unusual powers | Suspenseful with unexpected twists

far far away coverFar Far Away by Tom McNeal

Small town setting | Creepy vibes | A chilling mystery | Young protagonists

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455373Sphere by Michael Crichton

Science fiction | Incredibly suspenseful with plenty of plot twists | Potential for alien contact | Unique setting

ten little aliens coverTen Little Aliens by Stephen Cole

Based on the TV show | An additional adventure with the Doctor and companions | Alien contact | SUSPENSEFUL!! | A fun “Choose Your Own Adventure” section

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IlluminaeIlluminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Spaceships | Adventures in outer space | High pressure situations | Many different characters

 

11The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Outer space setting | Alien contact | Adventures on other planets | Cheesy humor (in a good way!)

Lost

84943Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Stranded on an island | Need to work together for survival | Ensuing chaos and drama

Jurassic Park by Michael CrichtonJurassic Park by Michael Crichton

Unexpected adventures on an island | A bunch of strangers brought together | Dangerous creatures | A bit terrifying | Suspense

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the secret adversary coverThe Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie

A snarky problem-solving duo | An intriguing mystery | London setting | Surprising twists

the rook coverThe Rook by Daniel O’Malley

London setting | Mystery to be solved | Crazy adventures | Unexpected twists | Witty, intelligent protagonist

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attachments coverAttachments by Rainbow Rowell

Office setting | Adorable office romances | Witty sense of humor | Lincoln sort of reminds me of Jim Halpert (kind of)

is everyone hanging out without me coverIs Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

Written by Mindy Kaling, a writer and actress in The Office | Absolutely hilarious | A humorous perspective on real world situations

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23453112Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

Aziz Ansari plays a character in Parks and Recreation | A lot of personality and humor, especially listening to the audio book | The new methods of “modern romance” play out in the show

jane eyre coverJane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Strong, independent, intelligent female protagonist (like Leslie Knope) | Witty sense of humor | Overcoming obstacles

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nick and norah's infinite playlistNick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

Crazy adventures in a city | Wild schemes and plans | Romance | Funny characters, great sense of humor

the opposite of loneliness coverThe Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

Living life in your twenties | Interesting perspective on everyday situations | Witty sense of humor

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anna and the french kiss coverAnna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Adorable romance | Private school setting | Fitting into a new school | Teenage struggles

the disreputable history coverThe Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

School setting | Struggles of growing up and being a teenager | Independent, intelligent, witty female protagonist

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pride and prejudice cover 2Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Everyone is trying to get married | Family and relationship drama | Adorable romantic moments | Comedy

The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsThe Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Intense competition to achieve a common goal | Certainly tense, potentially violent | Competition ends when one person is left standing

What are your favorite TV shows? What do you think of the ones on my list? Any book or TV show recommendations? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Bookish

5 Fascinating Fictional Fathers

Fascinating

Happy Fathers’ Day! In honor of this important holiday, I thought I would share a list of 5 Fascinating Fictional Fathers from literature. These fathers aren’t perfect; however, they provide a lot of food for thought when it comes to thinking about the role of a father in a family. There are so many examples of interesting father figures in literature that I could discuss, but for now here are just a few!

pride and prejudice cover 2Mr. Bennet from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Some time ago I posted a little discussion about this rather controversial father. While I really enjoyed his character in P&P, many people have told me that they think he’s a terrible father. While I agree that he could definitely benefit from some parenting classes, his flaws nevertheless make him all that more interesting as a character. It makes you wonder why he’s determine to be present at some points in his daughters’ lives but surprisingly absent during others. However, he does have moments when it’s clear that deep down, he really does care about the well-being of his daughters. If only he would show it more often!

harry potter and the sorcerer's stone coverJames Potter from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

It’s interesting to reflect on how much we know about James despite the fact that his character isn’t even alive in this series itself. This might sound a bit strange, but I’ve always felt as though the spirit of James has lived on through the many father figures that Harry has throughout his life: Arthur Weasley, Sirius Black, Dumbledore, and Remus Lupin, just to name a few. It seems like they all try to be a father for Harry in their own ways at different times throughout his years at Hogwarts. For this reason, perhaps the spirit of James Potter never really dies.

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper LeeAtticus Finch from To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I couldn’t write a post about fictional fathers without mentioning the wise, kind-hearted, loving Atticus Finch. Where would Scout (and we!) be without this remarkable father figure? Not only is he one of the most scrupulous literary fathers, but he also offers some incredibly valuable advice about empathy, justice, and morality. At one point, he tells Scout: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view—until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” I couldn’t have said it better myself!

fangirl coverArthur Avery from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Although one might not automatically think of him as one of the primary characters in Fangirl, Cath and Wren’s father is nevertheless an important and interesting aspect of the novel. He is certainly flawed– he struggles with mental health issues and consequently cannot always be there to take care of his daughters– but he still does his best to be a caring, supportive father. Arthur Avery is there when Cath and Wren most need him, and in my mind that’s what counts the most.

2612801Charles “Pa” Ingalls from Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

I though I would end this list with an old childhood favorite of mine: Pa from the Little House on the Prairie series. I vividly remember reading this first book in particular when I was younger and falling in love with the simple yet wonderful life of this family. Pa is the a perfect example of a stereotypical father figure: strong, caring, kind, resourceful, and a provider for his family in more way than one.

Thanks to all of the fathers out there, fictional and otherwise! What are your favorite fictional fathers? Have any fun Fathers’ Day traditions? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Age Well

Top Ten Tuesday_

Welcome to another installment of Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! I hope you’ve had some great experiences and read some even better books since the last TTT! This week I’ll be showing you a list of my Top Ten Books That Age Well. In other words, these are books that I have enjoyed more reading them recently compared to when I first read them years ago.

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+ The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger: First read as a high school freshman, later read as a high school senior. I enjoyed this more the second time around because I was able to empathize with Holden rather than thinking of him as some annoying teenage boy.

+ The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain: First read as a high school junior, later read as a college freshman. I loved this book the first time I read it, but I appreciated it even more the second time because I realized how cleverly Twain uses language to emphasize his points.

+ The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald: First read as a high school junior, later read as a college freshman. Again, I loved this book in high school and love it even more today, if that’s possible. However, reading it with my literature class this past semester opened my eyes to an additional layer of meaning regarding imitations, illusions, and appearances that I had never thought about before.

+ The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway: First read as a high school junior, later read as a college freshman. I didn’t necessarily enjoy reading this classic either time I read it, but I did gain a better appreciation for Hemingway’s writing style and overall story during the second read. In my literature class we talked about how Hemingway’s writing is as equally about what’s on the page as what he omits, and reading it with this in mind definitely helped ease my frustration a bit.

+ The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: First read in 2011, later read as a college freshman.When I voraciously read this on my own in 2011 I was reading purely for plot, as it’s easy to do when you’re really exciting about a book. However, when I read it more recently with my literature class my eyes were opened to thought-provoking interpretations of characters, districts, and even the genre itself. It definitely made me enjoy the book even more!

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The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place by E.L. Konigsburg: First read in third grade, later read in high school. My love for this book hasn’t changed a bit, though my general understanding of the story certainly has. Back in third grade I described this book as a summer-camp story, when in reality it deals with so much more than that: friends, family, history, art, growing up, and even small town drama.

+ The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien: First read in middle school, later read in high school. When I first read this trilogy I was so frustrated by the omniscience of the “villain,” AKA Sauron. I was so used to reading stories where the “evil” side had an obvious presence that I couldn’t fully comprehend the idea that he was an eye?!  Since then, of course, I’ve grasped a much better understanding of these beloved books.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: First read in eighth grade, later read as a college freshman. To be honest, I didn’t really enjoy this classic novel when I read it for the first time; however, now that I’ve recently reread it I can confidently say that this book is brilliant. It’s so much more than a romance story, which is precisely what I failed to see back in eighth grade.

Paper Towns by John Green: First read in middle school, later read in high school. Now that I’ve graduated high school, I think about this book a lot differently. It’s riddled with a sense of nostalgia for me that wasn’t present when I read it the first time around in middle school. I feel as though this book is perfect for that, though: it has something unique to offer both high school students and graduates.

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta: First read in middle school, later read in high school. Oh, this lovely book! My love for this book has grown over the many times I’ve read it since middle school. The difference for me is that I know appreciate Marchetta’s writing more, the way she expertly develops characters that you can’t help but root for and the way she writes several story lines that seamlessly intertwine.

What books have aged well for you? What do you think of the books on my list? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Bookish

Why Mr. Bennet is My Favorite Character in P&P

Why Mr. Bennet Is My Favorite Character in P&P-2When I read Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice for the second time, I fully expected Mr. Darcy ultimately be my favorite character. Everyone and their mother seems to love Mr. Darcy in that infatuated, fangirl-ish way, but I found that my admiration was sparked by a different P&P man: Mr. Bennet. Here’s why:

1. He’s bookish and spends most of his days in his library.

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2. He puts up with Mrs. Bennet, who is insane.

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3. He has a great sense of humor.

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4. He is wiser than he seems.

“I know that you could be neither happy nor respectable, unless you truly esteemed your husband; unless you looked up to him as a superior. Your lively talents would place you in the greatest danger in an unequal marriage … My child, let me not have the grief of seeing you unable to respect your partner in life.”

– Mr. Bennet to Lizzy

While reading P&P, I couldn’t help feeling as though Mr. Bennet was one of the few sane characters, along with Lizzy. He is realistic, logical, and far less concerned with pleasing others than are his wife and daughters. His calm demeanor is emphasized even more by the ridiculous nature of Mrs. Bennet, who is rather exhausting to listen to by the end of the novel.

Is Mr. Bennet flawless? Absolutely not. The exorbitant amount of time he spends in his library should probably be spent with his family instead, and it seems as though his relationships with his daughters and wife could certainly be improved. However, I think he’s a character worth taking a second glance at. After living in the shadows of the other characters, perhaps it’s finally time for Mr. Bennet to step into the spotlight.

Who is your favorite character in Pride and Prejudice? What do you think of Mr. Bennet? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY