Texts From Jane Eyre by Mallory Ortberg

Texts From Jane Eyre is another very witty and clever book that I highly recommend for a change of pace and a good laugh. The book is comprised of short “screenshots” of text conversations between some of literature’s most memorable characters and authors, including Jane Eyre (hence the title), some done in a modern style and some retaining their classic voices.

Because it’s such a short book and again, I don’t want to spoil it for you, here are just a few classic characters you will “chat” with:

  • Circe:
    • “where did the pigs come from Circe?”
    • “i don’t know, a pig farm, a pig mommy and a pig daddy who loved each other very much…”
  • Jane Eyre:
    • “I KNEW IT. DID YOU LEAVE BECAUSE OF MY ATTIC WIFE IS THAT WHAT THIS IS ABOUT”
    • “yes. Absolutely.”
  • Hamlet:
    • “darling i don’t mean to criticize but you really hurt your father’s feelings last night”
    • “hes not my real dad. why do you even like him”
  • Nancy Drew:
    • “do you think you can come get me?”
    • “are you tied up again?”
    • “i’m just over at the cave by the old mill”
    • “so you’re tied up…in a cave.”

If you giggled at any one (or all!) of these, then you’ll really enjoy the rest. It’s a perfect way to get to “connect” with some of your favorite literary characters in one place. It’s fast paced, light fare, and well worth checking out!

 

 

 

 

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Oy with the Gilmore Girls Booktag!

So I follow HappyWhenImReading.com (you should too!) and she posts some really fun stuff, like this #GilmoreGirls book tag! So, being that I just finished reading “Talking as Fast as I Can” by Lauren Graham, I’m in such a Gilmore mood that I thought I’d do the tag too! Ok, I’ve got my coffee- let’s do this!

 


Lorelai: A character with a witty or sarcastic sense of humor

Jo from Little Women. I totally wanted to be like her when I was preteen. Such a smart, sassy spitfire!


Rory: Favorite classic

Gone with the Wind, hands down.


Luke: A book you secretly love but are afraid to admit

Haha, I mean this was really close with the Twilight series, but the 50 Shades of Grey series. I’ll plead the fifth on the explanation, hahaha… haters gonna hate!


Lane: A musical character

Mia, from If I Stay. Not only was the book good, but the movie soundtrack made me appreciate the cello a lot more.


Dean: Your first book love (character or book you first loved)

Oh gosh… Well I remember many bedtime stories that I loved, including Dr. Seuss books, If You Give a Moose a Muffin, and Three Little Kittens, but I’d say the first books that I started reading (and not my dad) were the American Girl series. I loved their adventures and being taken back to their respective time periods. I can’t remember who my favorite was, though!


Sookie: A book you’ve devoured

There are too many to count, and sometimes it’s just easy to speed through a short novel. So I’ll say I’m going to interpret “devoured” as “completely absorbed”- which in case I couldn’t get enough of South of Broad. Even though that took me a week to finish, I was sneaking every chance I could get to read it. And you bet when I get my own copy, I’ll be rereading it!


Jess: A book you love, that gets the most hate

Any Twilight fans out there? Yeah, me too. Even though people hate (and for crying out loud, it wasn’t meant to be a classic piece of literature!), I loved the series and the conflict between characters and the fantasy and the action… but yeah, it is a little embarrassing to admit sometimes.


Miss Patty: A book that was ruined by the hype

I never could get into the Lord of the Rings series (pause for effect). And then, the movies were super hyped (ORLANDO BLOOM!) and I said well I’ll watch the movies instead, and then I couldn’t even get through the movies without getting lost… so yeah. LOTR, not my thing.


Emily Gilmore: An expensive book

I really don’t pay attention to prices of books because on the regular, I buy most of my books cheap, second-hand, and well loved ❤

But, oh gosh, my college textbooks were stupid expensive (though my program director did try and keep the costs down). So, I kept all the ones that I knew I’d use as a resource. I can’t remember which one was most expensive, but if you really want some exciting equine resource textbooks, check out: Equine Veterinary Medicine, Clinical Anatomy and Physiology for Veterinary Technicians, Horse Business Management, and Saunders Comprehensive Veterinary Dictionary! (But seriously, equine nerds, eat your heart out!)


Paris: An uptight character

My girl Hermione, obviously! That is, until she learned how much fun breaking the rules can be!


 

As much fun as that was, that was also a super hard tag. It could be my over-caffeinated brain or the challenge itself, but either way I hope you enjoyed, and feel free to give it a try!

 

Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham

Where are my Gilmore Girls fans out there?!

Welcome welcome! So, I just had to read Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham for so many reasons.

  1. Because I love “Gilmore Girls“.
  2. Because Lauren Graham is hilarious.
  3. Because everyone who has read this said it’s hilarious.

So for all thee above, I checked it out of the library and read it in two sittings. And it is hilarious, and enjoyable, and makes me believe that Lauren Graham and I should be friends… just saying. Although, I think I’d have an awful time keeping up with her because she seems to like having a million things on her plate!

Being a biography, the book covers Graham’s childhood, to how she decided to be an actor, to her big break on “Gilmore Girls“, and then to her latest project of “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life“.  It was interesting to “get to know” Lauren, and to peek at how she came to be Lorelai Gilmore. The bio is full of comedy, sarcasm, and a little satire. But between all that is also a lot of great advice- some Graham’s, some “Old Lady Jackson’s”. Each chapter is fast pace

I don’t want to spoil it for you, as it is a relatively short book, but here are some of my favorite parts:

  • “I hadn’t really seen “Slap That Bass” as much of a comedic song, but maybe I was wrong? So I decided to go with their response and sort of shimmied my shoulders, adding even more personality and pizzazz.”
  • “The Top Secret Hollywood Secrets Food Chart”
  • “Paper Towels, a Love Story”
  • “Where ‘Oy with the poodles already” was born! I’ve said it on command for you in airports across the land, but honestly I forgot where exactly in the show it appeared.”
  • “But life doesn’t often spell things out for you or give you what you want when you want it, otherwise it wouldn’t be called life, it would be called vending machine.”
  • “It’s his variation on the Pomodoro technique, called Kitchen Timer, and it’s transformed the way I write…I love it so much that it makes me want to touch my fingertips together in that wonderful symbol we just invented in the last decade.

Image result for heart symbol hands

I highly recommend the read, especially if you’re a fan or if you need some light reading or humor in your life. I promise you’ll walk away from it with a smile and a good dose of laughter! 

Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It – Intro by Elizabeth Gilbert

So if you didn’t see the review I did for Eat Pray Love, please start there– I’ll wait.

Ok, you with me? Good, because my Lord this woman and her freaking book. Here is physical proof that A BOOK CAN CHANGE LIVES. Change LIVES, people. A whole book, based off one bestseller, that influenced so many people that they actually could create a 200 page, short story style book with the accounts of those that felt like their lives were changed in some way because of that book.

So obviously, this is why I urge you to read Eat Pray Love. And then when you’ve done so, read …Made Me Do It because there are so many people like you out there, with their own story and their own struggles and their own coping methods, and all they needed was a friend who understood. And there lies unapologetic Elizabeth Gilbert, who put herself out there via a novel and said, “I’ve been through this, too.”

Now, at first, as I started reading this I thought it would be a bit dramatic…you know, “Oh I read this book and it changed my life and it’s my bible.” I mean, I know about fandoms, and this compilation seemed like it would be fandom material. However, my frame of mind reverted to how I felt reading Eat Pray Love, and their stories were heartfelt, inspirational, and just as resonating as Gilbert’s. The people in …Made Me Do It took their journeys to a point where they could have an out-of-body reflection upon their situation, wrote about it, and in many cases stated that they are still progressing. THAT inspired me. They all shared that exact feeling of “It doesn’t have to be this way, and I have the power to change it.”

So, if you need a little motivation or inspiration, please, check out these books. Buy them, so that you can mark them up and reflect upon them when you feel the need to. Let these people, who shared their stories, influence you to share yours.

 

Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts

Propped up on the “Top Shelf Recommendation” bookcase in the local library, Where the Heart Is grabbed my attention with the pretty yet simple cover and the quick description of Novalee Nation’s dislike for the number seven. By the end of the novel, it grabbed my heart as well.

I was quickly wrapped up in the story of Novalee Nation as her and her boyfriend, Willy Jack Pickens, were westbound for better luck. Natives of Tennessee, Novalee grew up without parents- she didn’t know her father and her mother left her when she was seven – dropped out school her sophomore year, and was living with Willy in a trailer, and seven months pregnant. This misfortune left Novalee dreaming of a home without wheels under it, gold framed family photographs, and blue china in the kitchen cabinets. Willy, on the other hand, was dreaming of money and riches and sipping sloe gin fizzes at Santa Anita. Little did they know that their lives were about to go in completely different directions. On a potty-break pit-stop at Walmart, Willy decides to ditch pregnant Novalee and heads west alone, only to end up in more trouble. Novalee, unsure and in disbelief that Willy would leave her stranded, has no real option other than to hang around the Walmart and see if he returns.

When she realizes that Willy isn’t coming back and that she is indeed stuck in podunk Oklahoma, Novalee starts making a plan. She takes up residence in Walmart, befriends some locals- including Sister Husband, Moses Whitecotton, and Forney Hull (who I think all readers will love)- and starts preparing for the birth of her child, knowing that she wouldn’t be able to afford hospital bills. However, when the big moment arrives, Novalee’s life is going to change forever.

I absolutely loved this book. I had a slight sense of deja vu that I’ve read it before, or seen parts of the movie (that I’ll now have to definitely watch and compare), but it didn’t spoil any of the plot twists and surprises that Letts had set in store for the readers. It is an older book- published in 1992- but it doesn’t feel too dated and has such a timeless plot that makes it easy to relate to in current times.

I found myself so submerged in the pages that a couple of times I had to remember where I was when I looked up! I highly suggest you read it, and if you won’t take mine or the library’s recommendation, it also has seal of approval by Oprah’s Book Club. Absolutely beautiful story.

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

As always, Jodi Picoult knows how to write a page turner, complete with uncomfortable controversy that squarely reflects current affairs. Small Great Things, published last year (2016), is her latest heavy-hitter, this time tackling the subject of race, privilege, and prejudice.

Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse of twenty years, single mother of a straight-A student, and a well-educated, hard-working woman. Her mother, a domestic to a wealthy television personality’s family, gave her every opportunity she could to further Ruth’s education and independence. When Ruth found out she was pregnant while her husband was overseas fighting in the war on Afghanistan, she was determined to give her child the same opportunities to be successful and then some- anything to help overcome the imminent obstacles from being Black.

Turk Bauer is a new father to baby Davis, husband of Brittany, and son-in-law to infamous white supremacist Francis Mitchum. His childhood was rocky, to say the least. His father left the family when Turk was young, his brother was killed in a car accident, and his mother drank herself into a stupor that eventually left her dead. Lost and angry, Turk befriends followers of the Mitchums, learns the ways of white supremacists, and eventually marries into the Mitchum family. At the hospital with new baby Davis, the last thing Turk wants to see is nurse Ruth coming into the hospital room, examining his child and wife. As soon as she’s done, Davis’ file is slapped with a Post-it:

“NO AFRICAN-AMERICAN PERSONNEL TO CARE FOR THIS PATIENT.”

When baby Davis goes into cardiac arrest with only Ruth available to help, Ruth has to decide- disobey orders to try to save the baby’s life, or watch on as he’s unable to breathe and do nothing.

Following a typical Picoult plot, the situation plays out in court and the reader gets to see every facet of the argument with points of view from all the characters involved. I have always loved this about Picoult’s books, because she easily allows the reader to slip into the first person narrative from one character to the next. Reading from Ruth’s point of view, I find myself cringing at the blasé comments from Ruth’s white coworkers, and near tears when she is arrested maliciously in the middle of the night. Despite all that she has done to blend in, she still sticks out. She unknowingly surrounded herself with people in denial, not acceptance, of her color. When reading from Turk’s point of view, I absolutely despised him, even when I found that I was pitying him. His childhood was terrible, the situation with his son was terrible… but his anger and strife fueled hate, and he never sought to rise above, only to get even.

Throughout the novel, I can’t help but feel uncomfortable. I’m white, privileged, and one of those people who don’t like to ruffle feathers (so to speak), but I’m aware of the facts that others don’t have the same privileges I do because of the color of their skin. Yet, I haven’t gotten the courage to stand up against it- I’ve sat back and kept quiet in fear of sounding ignorant, naive, or racist, and that’s just as bad as encouraging it. Reading novels like this (or like this http://bit.ly/2voDbia ), makes me check my white privilege, and gives me the determination to discuss these issues, even when it makes me uncomfortable. As Picoult mentioned in her Author’s Note:

“Why was writing about a person of color any different? Because race is different. Racism is different. It’s fraught, and it’s hard to discuss, and so as a result we often don’t.”

These days, it’s easy enough to go on any social media outlet and find heated discussions on racism, but to actually discuss racism from an educational standpoint, without personal or political bias, is difficult. I applaud Picoult for encouraging these discussions in a thought-provoking manner, for writing this book, for helping others open their eyes and truly see color, rather than ignore it.

Small Great Things is absolutely a must read, and another that belongs on your bookshelves.

 

ATTENTION BOOK REVIEW BLOGGERS!

Hi Everyone!

So I’m relatively new to the blogging game, and this is my first blog that I’ve been disciplined enough to maintain. I’m really enjoying it, and it’s really heightened my reading experience now that I’m looking for good things to note in the next blog post. But as far as gaining an audience, I’m feeling pretty stuck.

I need some help. I’ve been sharing my blog on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, but I’m not getting many followers that way. And I’m not being follower-hungry, but I would like more interaction with my posts- you know, recommendations, discussions, that kind of thing. I have a few ideas about what I could try, but I was wondering what you all suggest?

Here are some of the things I’ve thought of trying:

  • Instagram- new account specifically for book covers with link to blog
  • Twitter- (I don’t do Twitter very well but) new account, tweet when new blog post available
  • Upgrading WordPress to a Personal or Premium plan

What do you think?