January Reads

Hello dear readers, I have abandoned you! I know it’s been months since my last post, but alas, I have returned.

Last year I made a small New Year’s resolution, which was to broaden the amount of new books I read.  The reason for that was because I always tend to fall into a pattern of re-reading all my favorites, forgetting about new books I want to read. Suffice it to say that I did not do so well on that front.  I think I read 5 books I’ve never read before, and the rest were my favorites. For this year, however, I decided I wanted to read what ever I wanted, no matter if I’ve read it before or not.  By mid 2016 I wasn’t reading quite as much as I like and I don’t want the same thing to happen this year.  I want to always be reading something. So I want to write a post each month about the books I’ve read and what drew me to each book.

The first book I read this month was //The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald//

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What drew me to this book: So at the start of the month I came across an advertisement for a new show called Z: The Beginning of Everything, and upon further research I discovered the show was about Zelda,the wife of F.Scott Fitzgerald; and to top it off Christina Ricci is playing her so I was immediately curious. I watched the pilot episode and really loved it. I then felt like watching The Great Gatsby (2016) and then felt like I must re-read the book! haha

“He smiled understandingly-much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced–or seemed to face–the whole eternal world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.” – The way Gatsby makes Nick feel

This book is definitely one of my all time favorites, I read it for the first time when the movie came out. The feelings of nostalgia and lost love are powerful and felt in every page.

“For a moment the last sunshine fell with romantic affection upon her glowing face; her voice compelled me forward breathlessly as I listened – then the glow faded, each light deserting her with lingering regret, like children leaving a pleasant street at dusk.”

The second book I read was //A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness//

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What drew me to this book: Being true to my nature, I saw a preview for this movie and found out it was based on a book. I then went ahead and ordered the book! The movie looked amazing and I love Felicity Jones as well as Liam Neeson. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I was right to buy the book just based on the preview.

This story actually really surprised me and I found it to be deeply moving and beautifully written.  It’s filled with wonderful lessons and truths about life. The illustrations really make the story extra special and I was delighted to find out the artist was Jim Kay, who illustrated the color editions of Harry Potter (*^_^*).

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“You do not write your life with words…You write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do.”

The answer is that it does not matter what you think, the monster said, because your mind will contradict itself a hundred times each day.

The third book I read was //Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling//

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What drew me to this book: Need I provide an answer? haha. Seriously though I bought the screenplay for Fantastic Beasts as soon as I knew they had published it! I just hadn’t gotten around to reading it, but as the movie doesn’t come out on Blu-Ray till March, I decided to give it a read.

The screenplay reads really easy and as I have seen the film already I can imagine everything as I read it, which is awesome.  The movie was seriously cast perfectly and I just love the new characters of the wizarding world. I enjoyed reading this screenplay so much more than Cursed Child.  Maybe it was because I know J.K. Rowling actually wrote this one.  I loved the illustrations and all the beautiful details of the actual book.

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“Newt Scamander : “My philosophy is that worrying means you suffer twice.”

Only after reading all 3 books did I realize that they have quite a few things in common.  The Great Gatsby and Fantastic Beasts take place in the 20’s and in New York . All 3 books were made into movies or come from a movie.  And The Great Gatsby and A Monster Calls share similar themes of loss and dealing with the death of someone important. I really loved having a book to read at all times. Whatever I’m doing with my day, I love the comfort of knowing there is a story waiting for me to read and discover it.

Until next time, Jeannete x.

 

 

 

The Boy Who Lived, Will Always Live On

In my heart…

Is that too cheesy? Sorry, haha. But honestly people may be a bit worn out with all the continuing talk about Harry Potter after all these years, but not I. Always…remember? (still cheesy, sorry haha) The Harry Potter stories will always be relevant and meaningful to me. I have already mentioned before why Harry Potter means so much to me. But in short, I read them at a time in my life when I needed them the most. I was always a push over as a kid and all my friends were never really true friends. I always wished to have friends like Harry, Ron, Hermione, Neville, and Luna. They were kind, understanding and just lovely.  Reading their adventures filled me with something that I just wasn’t getting in real life. And the feelings I still get reading the books are indescribable.

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So yes, as a 27 year old, you might get the eye roll or laugh at still being obsessed with Harry Potter, but unless you’re a potterhead, you just won’t understand.

I am always excited to read new material from the Wizarding World, like the new writing by J.K. Rowling of the Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (proud Pukwudgie!) and I’m really excited for the new movie, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. However, I still missed my favorite trio. So with the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child of course I was extremely excited and at the same time nervous.

So for those of you who don’t know, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a play written by Jack Thorne based on the original story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany. The script for the play was released in book form so that people who can’t attend the play in London can still somewhat experience the story. Now, when I first read the description of the play I was horrified. What were they doing to my favorite story!? I felt like they were tainting something that was pure and perfect!

“It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children. While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.”

I was worried that this story was going to sully everything I knew about Harry Potter and the wonderful world J.K. Rowling had created. The last words of The Deathly Hallows read “All was well.” But now with Harry Potter and The Cursed Child, we know things are not all that well. Without giving away any spoilers, I did thoroughly enjoy the read. But of course this is not the eighth book although it is the continuation of the story we all love. The script is not wonderfully detailed like the books and was never really intended to be. This is just that, a script to a play that would definitely be more enjoyed seen on stage rather than read. However, J.K. Rowling gave us 7 wonderfully detailed books and 8 visually stunning movies were made, so all we need when reading this script is to use our imagination.

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The story itself went into some dark places that can only be written for adults. There is a part about Harry as a child talking to his aunt Petunia that just made my stomach drop and heart break. Of course we know Harry suffered at the Dursley’s but Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone was written for children so it doesn’t really touch on dark issues. One of the things I really loved was Ron and Hermione’s relationship. It seemed very solid and loving, unlike what many people predicted it would be like for them. Harry and Ginny’s relationship though appearing pretty solid as well seemed a bit lacking in romance for me, but that’s maybe because most of the scenes they had together were in concern for their son Albus.

My favorite new character was Scorpius Malfoy, who reminds me of a mixture of Hermione with a bit of Harry and Ron, if that makes sense. Albus Potter on the other hand, is more difficult to describe without using any impolite words-haha. However, all the events that transpire are believable to the main story. A lot of people were saying this read like really terrible fan fiction, and I think that that is because it is not a book written by J.K. Rowling. It can take you days or weeks to finish a Potter book, whereas I finished Cursed Child in 4 hours. Most of what makes Harry Potter so special is J.K. Rowling’s ability to write amazingly, so amazingly that we believe her world. I love the movies, but one thing that was missing from them and from this script book is the awesome thing that the books had, which was that as the reader we knew Harry’s thoughts and reasons behind every word. We warmed up to Harry because we knew his mind. The books have wonderful layers that are just so intricate that it’s impossible not to delve right into their magical world and feel for the characters so much, as if they were real people. So it’s not fair to compare the Cursed Child to the rest of the Potter books.

One of the things the Cursed Child demonstrated was that no world has a happily every after, even a magical one. And it wouldn’t be fair to expect Harry to lead a perfect life, he is human after all. He was bound to have other struggles beyond Voldemort.  In my mind, having grown up with Harry, I just wanted his whole life to be perfect, even his children to be perfect! But how realistic is that? So in a way I am happy with the plot of this story because it brings more realistic issues into a very unrealistic world. Besides that, we meet lovely new characters and are reunited with some surprising old ones that for me made the whole story worth it :’).

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Those beautiful wonderful books helped me through so much, gave me courage when I needed it and still have a warm place in my heart that fills up a bit more each time I read them. Will the Cursed Child have the same effect? Maybe not. But it will have a place of honor in my mind for sure, if not my heart. And reading it is an experience every potterhead should take part of.

Until next time lovely readers, Jeannete x.

A Bit About Jane Eyre

Hello dear readers,

I am someone who feels anxious about having unread books in my own bookshelf. I feel that if you buy a book, or are gifted one, then you must read it at least within the year. So every book I own, I have read, except for about a handful. Those unread tittles make me itch with anxiety whenever I remember them sitting alone and unread on my shelf. So in an attempt to start reading those unread books, I picked up Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Now, I have mentioned in a previous post that I love classics, but I had never gotten around to reading Jane Eyre, even in high school which is when most people read it.

So what brought Jane Eyre to my bookshelf? I was in the mood for a nice romantic movie one day while looking through Netflix and I came across the 2011 film Jane Eyre. I am a huge fan of Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender, so of course I gave it a watch. And I am glad I did because I really loved it. It had all the elements of a great movie, an orphan girl with a troubling childhood, a brooding handsome man in love with a plain girl, a mystery, and a happy ending. So since I enjoyed the movie so much, I become interested in reading the book. Because as soon as I find a movie is based on a book I must read it, knowing it will be a million times better.

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The 2 leads are of course more beautiful than described in the book

I believe in the law of attraction, any ideas and thoughts we set fourth come back to us in many different ways. A few weeks after watching Jane Eyre I took to visiting my local thrift store. I love looking through the old books hoping to find a hidden gem. I had completely forgotten that I had wanted to read Jane Eyre, when the tittle popped out to me while looking through the bookshelves. Sure this book isn’t on top of many peoples reading list and it’s not that surprising to find it in a thrift store. It’s an old story that many people no longer relate to, but I felt it was the universe reminding me that I wanted to read it.

So as I mentioned earlier, this book I had longed for remained unread in my book shelf for more than a year! Yes, when I came home from the thrift store that day I attempted to read the book, but I found myself being bored by the Victorian way of speaking and writing. I set it down and didn’t revisit it. I am somewhat glad I ignored it that day, because I think I was meant to read it when I did. Last week I picked up Jane Eyre and was totally engrossed by it. I have not felt this way about a book in a very long time. I was feeling so many emotions. I was laughing, crying of sadness and happiness, I was stirred by the love story, and was an anxious wreck whenever a suspenseful part came about. It may appear as just a simple story about a plain girl’s life; but in that, we encounter so much more than expected. We find Jane Eyre is anything but plain and her character and sense of self really grab the reader.

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Jane was a true feminist, brave, intelligent, and had a curious inquisitive soul. She has seriously become a role model in my life. After reading this book, I looked at what people thought about it online (big mistake, haha). Many people thought she was a prude for not marrying Mr. Rochester or that the story was dry and boring. I think that her not marrying Mr. Rochester just demonstrates her strength of character and self worth. Not very many would have been able to deny a man that loves them that deeply regardless of the fact that he was married. I asked myself many times if I would. And I don’t think I could have, especially with the way he pleaded with her during their separation. But like Jane Eyre knew, the relationship would have been fraught with guilt and possibly resentment. Is it true happiness if guilt and uncertainty are always looming around you? And sure, I myself had some difficulty with this story the first time I tried reading it, but if you give it a chance it will definitely surprise you and hopefully teach you something, as it did for me.

now I remembered that the real world was wide, and that a varied field of hopes and fears, of sensations and excitements, awaited those who had courage to go forth into its expanse, to seek real knowledge of life amidst its perils”

This quote resonated so much with me. Sometimes we live life in such a routine that we forget that the world is so much bigger than us. That we must seek it and explore it, and learn from it, regardless of how scary that idea might be to us.

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woman are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a constraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags.  It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom had pronounced necessary for their sex”

I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”

Women weren’t known for saying things like this in 1847! Charlotte Bronte was definitely a woman beyond her time, thus making her heroine Jane Eyre one as well. Jane Eyre considered herself an equal to men, and I believe that is one of the reasons Mr. Rochester fell in love with her.

I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, or even of mortal flesh:⏤it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God’s feet, equal,⏤ as we are!”  

“As we are!” repeated Mr. Rochester”

I quickly forgot that the Victorian way of writing had bored me before. Instead it now made me long for daily conversations of this depth. I felt such a rapport with Jane. I even get the feeling she might be a fellow INFJ. That is why I say I read this book at the perfect time in my life. I will forever cherish the way this book made me feel, the longing for a more meaningful life it has stirred within me and the crude reality that I cannot let life pass me by, but must take initiative in times of doubt.

Every atom of your flesh is as dear to me as my own: in pain and sickness it would still be dear.”

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“She comes from the other world⏤from the abode of people who are dead; and tells me so when she meets me alone here in the gloaming! If I dared I’d touch you to see if you are substance or shadow, you elf!”

I also loved the supernatural aspects of this book. I love the fact that Mr. Rochester calls Jane a fairy, elf, and other mythical creatures in an endearing way. Also the mystery surrounding Rochester’s wife was perfectly played out and gives the reader a sense of mystery as they read. Jane’s experience in the red room,her premonitions and dreams all add to the supernatural element found in Jane Eyre.

The ending was truly beautiful and satisfying for a reader that longs for Jane’s and Mr. Rochester’s happiness. I feel like they needed to have gone through that ordeal for Mr. Rochester to really appreciate Jane for the woman she was. Not that he didn’t before, but I think their separation cemented their undying and unwavering love for each other.

And as I had known, the book was much, much better than the movie. I watched the film again after I finished reading the book, and it sadly paled in comparison. All the conversations between Jane and Mr. Rochester, Jane’s thoughts and Charlotte Bronte’s descriptive and emotional narrative are all greatly missed in the movie. But for anyone not looking for a lengthy Victorian read, then the movie should do just fine although I would recommend watching other versions as I will do as well, to see if the others did the book any justice.

Have you read Jane Eyre before, what did you think about it?

I love that Jane addresses her readers, so I think I will do the same ^_^

Until next time, Jeannete x.

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“I know what it is to live entirely for and with what I love best on earth. I hold myself supremely blest — blest beyond what language can express; because I am my husband’s life as fully as he is mine.”

 

My Top 5 Favorite Books Of All Time

My love for reading began at a very early age.  I remember my older sister would read to me a lot when I was younger and when teachers started assigning books to read in elementary school, I read them all.  One of my favorite books when I was little was Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark by Alvin Schwartz.  I found the pictures and the stories to be really creepy and loved them.  I mostly read short stories and many of Judy Blume’s books although the only one I really remember is Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret-haha. But the first book I actually fell in love with was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling.  I read this in middle school and just ate the whole thing up. I enjoy reading mixed genres, though I do favor classics.  So here goes, my top 5 favorite books of all time.

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Lumos doesn’t miss an opportunity to appear in a photo, here he is posing with my fave books 😀 The spines are all bent and pages falling apart (I even spy a never returned library book!) But I’ve read and re-read them countless times so they’re bound to have some wear and tear.
  1. Harry Potter-All 7 books hold the number one spot (although, if forced to pick, The Half-Blood Prince is my fave)-J.K. Rowling

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    “I am not worried, Harry,” said Dumbledore, his voice a little stronger despite the freezing water. “I am with you.”

These books mean so much to me.  When I was in middle school I didn’t have many friends and I wasn’t in a particularly happy place, but reading these books filled me with so much happiness and wonder.  I only read up to The Goblet of Fire and didn’t start reading them again until after I graduated high school.  I have re-read these books more times than I can count and each time they are just as amazing and powerful to me.  They inspire me to be a better person.  They demonstrate the importance of friendship and love and how every human deserves love and respect, no matter our differences.  We are all living, breathing creatures that deserve to be treated equally.  It doesn’t hurt that the books are filled with magic and fantastic characters.  I credit Harry Potter with creating my love for reading and all things magical.  I will re-read these books until I’m old and gray.

2.  Les Miserables-Victor Hugo

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“To love or to have loved, that is enough. Ask nothing further. There is no other pearl to be found in the dark folds of life. To love is consummation.”

This book was assigned by my high school english teacher in the 10th grade.  I fell in love with it and read it unlike many of my classmates.  This is one of those books that I love re-reading because of the importance of it.  It shows the struggle of the lower class, Jean Valjean’s journey of redemption, a love story, not only between a man and a woman but familial love, and an epic battle; this book has it all!  It’s a book so full of beauty and sadness that I just love it so much (how many times do I have to say how much I love it!).  And the themes written about in this story, though written so very long ago(1862), are still relevant to our lives today.

3.  Dracula- Bram Stoker

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“But my very feelings changed to repulsion and terror when I saw the whole man slowly emerge from the window and begin to crawl down the castle wall over that dreadful abyss, face down, with his cloak spreading out around him like great wings.”

So Bram Stoker’s Dracula was the first ever vampire book I read, and what ultimately started my obsession with them. I already liked creepy books, but never had I read a story such as this one.  It’s not particularly scary but it can be very creepy.  It is a love story even though you may not realize it at first because of the title.  The characters are fighting for the ones they love, as Dracula attempts to destroy them.  I fell in love with Jonathan, Mina, Van Helsing and even Dracula himself.  I loved how the female characters in this story are so strong and take initiative in many of the adventures that lead to the climax of the story.  If you’re trying to test the waters with scary books, I highly recommend Bram Stoker’s Dracula.  He was the man that created the character of Dracula.  Though Dracula has been re-made so many times in film and stories in very corny and over the top ways, nothing beats the way Bram Stoker originally portrayed him.

4.  East of Eden- John Steinbeck

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“Monsters are variations from the accepted normal to a greater or a less degree.  As a child may be born without an arm, so one may be born without kindness or the potential of conscience”

This book turned out to be an unexpected and amazing read.  It begins fairly slow,  as the narrator describes the landscape of his hometown (Salinas, Ca).  Though the descriptions are beautiful, I didn’t know what to expect.  I kept going, and I’m glad I did, because this book is absolutely amazing.  It’s a story that covers multiple generations.  We see children grow and age and have children of their own.  We see their struggles and mistakes and how they affect them in the long run.  This book left a huge impression on me and taught me that our actions control our destiny, not what people think or expect from us based on preconceived notions they may have about us, but what we choose to act upon.  Because there is always a choice.

5.  On the Road- Jack Kerouac

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“I was beginning to get the bug like Dean.  He was simply a youth tremendously excited with life, and though he was a con-man, he was only conning because he wanted so much to live and to get involved with people who would otherwise pay no attention to him.”

And last but not least, On The Road finishes up my top 5 favorite books of all time. In this book  Jack Kerouac tells about his own stories and adventures on the road through his fictional character Sal Paradise.  We meet curious and interesting characters that actually existed.  And as we see everything through his eyes, his lust for travel and obsession with Dean Moriarty become contagious.  I found myself wanting to get out on the road and experience adventures of my own.  I love that it’s based on actual events and that these people actually lived and breathed.  They had really big ideas and wanted more from life.  All these events happened in the 40’s-early 50’s and it’s intriguing to see that people did not appreciate the conformity they were expected to agree with and follow.

Of course this is just my top 5.  I have a lot of love for all the books I’ve ever read.  Maybe next time I’ll write about my next 5, that would make up my top 10 favorite books.  But for now I’ll leave you with these.  Have you read any of these? Do any of them make your top 5?  Let me know what your top 5 favorite books are, I’d love to know 🙂