5 of My Favourite Spring Reads

Spring is finally feeling properly here. There’s the smell of cut grass in the air, birds are chirping far more than normal, and the occasional frost crunches under my boot.

I bloody love spring. So, I’ve tried to bring in some of my favourite books to enjoy at springtime in the hopes that you’ll enjoy them too.

Inspired Adventures' Reading Guide: Strong Female Protagonist

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

This book screams of new beginnings, new friendships and romances, and the opening acts of summer. Especially considering what’s going on in the world at the moment, it’s the perfectly uplifting book to help get you through some dark nights. Elizabeth is such a spritely character, I challenge you to find a better spring classic!

Paper Plane Book Reviews: Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

On a whim, I asked a bookseller at a Waterstones in London to recommend me his favourite book, and Siddhartha fell into my hands. It’s about a man who goes on a journey of discovery. Spring is all about finding yourself anew and throwing off the constraints of winter. If you’re looking to renew yourself this spring, it might be worth seeing how a classic did it too.

The Bees | Books from Scotland

The Bees by Carol Ann Duffy

I noticed yesterday a rather large buzzy bee who was annoying my dog. I actually thought it was a hornet at one point, and got a bit scared, but it made me smile when it buzzed off to go and find some more flowers. I think bees are beautiful, and so is this collection of poetry by the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy. A sunny poetry collection perfect for a weekend outside.

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A Room with a View by EM Forster

This one is more summery, but I think it speaks of new beginnings and being yourself. Following your heart, if you want to be so cliche. As it is, I love EM Forster, and as A Room with a View is probably his most famous and the first I read, I have to recommend this one. It’s nicely short, so will take an afternoon with a blanket to read.

The Geeky Nerfherder: #CoolArt: New Bloomsbury Modern ...

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Of course, I had to add on another romance. The Song of Achilles is one of my favourite books, and I challenge you to find one people love more! It’s beautifully rendered and brings Ancient Greece vividly to life. I highly recommend this one, and it’s perfect for reading in the sunshine and tucked up in bed.

Those are some of my favourite spring reads. What are some of yours?

Until the next time!

Book Review | Pugs & Prejudice! | the most apawable classic yet?

Hey everyone! Today I received Pugs and Prejudice in the post from the publisher, and I thought I would do a quick review on it!

Pugs and Prejudice is absolutely apawable! I loved the illustrations – they looked like old-timey portraits, and the pugs were so cute. The story is told really basically, so it’d be a perfect thing to have if you’re a teacher who has to present this novel to their class. It’d be a great addition to a classroom, because my whole family loved it and two of them barely read!

My mum’s favourite book is Pride and Prejudice, and she absolutely loved Pugs and Prejudice too. It’d be a fantastic gift, and I would definitely get it for that. The puns are both in the text and in the imagery, which is just a lovely touch (ball, anyone?). My favourite page has to be the part where Jane becomes very ill at Bingley’s house – in this edition, the pug is wearing the Cone of Shame, and I just absolutely loved it. I want it framed and hung on my wall, I’m not gonna lie.

Image result for cone of shame

All in all, this is a great little book for fans of Jane Austen, and I had such a great reading experience throughout!

Thanks so much to Hachette and Headline for sending me a review copy! All opinions are entirely my own. Amazon UK

Top Ten Classics I Can’t Believe I Haven’t Read Yet

So I thought I’d try Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, because I’ve always wanted to and therefore I am!

Classics have always been high on my list to read – and a couple of days ago, I went on a massive ‘buying’ spree on Amazon Kindle Store (they were all free, because they’re in public domain – and, if you don’t have a Kindle, you can always download the app! Free books, guys. Free books.), and downloaded loads onto my Kindle for the summer when I’m away for four weeks and can’t take any books with my *sob*. So I thought I’d make this week’s TTT apt to what I’m wanting to read!

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  2. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen – okay, all Jane Austen books (except Pride and Prejudice)
  3. Animal Farm by George Orwell
  4. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury 
  5. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo 
  6. The Lord of the Rings trilogy by JRR Tolkien
  7. The Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  8. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott 
  9. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte 
  10. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte 

And one for luck I just remembered: Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild

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What’s yours?

Becoming Jane [Film Review]

So, I know that Sunday evenings are generally book reviews, but today I watched this brilliant film and I just have to write about it. It’s about Jane Austen, so it’s technically literature.

Becoming Jane is the not-so-fictional story of Jane Austen and her lover, if you like, Thomas Lefroy. It’s a story of love and loss, and how the class systems restrict the true followings of the heart.

Firstly, Jane. Played by Anne Hathaway (who I only discovered today is American), she is the feisty girl I have always imagined her to be. To begin with, I wasn’t sure about her voice, but it grew on me. Hathaway’s acting was great; she was intelligent (even learnt the piano for the part), and helped me to learn about Austen’s life. Furthermore, Hathaway was enthusiastic about the role, which really threaded itself into her acting; you believe in her emotions, the story, it feels like you’re living it yourself.

Second, Tom. Played by the stunningly gorgeous James McAvoy (ahem), Tom is an arrogant sod, basically, who, much like Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudicechanges as he falls in love with a beautiful girl. McAvoy’s acting was brilliant; he stayed in character, during the development of his character too, and his cheeky smile fit in perfectly.

Whilst I am unsure if it sticks to historical events of Austen’s, the plot is a typical romance. Not saying that it’s bad – in fact, it’s become one of my favourite films. It portrays the traditions of the time, the differences in attitudes, and how writers were perceived at the time (see: Mrs. Radcliffe). Rather different from now!

This film is a tear-jerker, especially if you know Jane’s tragically short life beforehand – or, indeed, after. Tom Lefroy was a name I had heard once or twice, in connection with Jane, but I had never thought of it much – she did not marry. But this film gives you historical context, background; it’s essentially a ‘faction’ film (fact and fiction).

Would I recommend this film? Yes, one hundred times yes. You will enjoy it, undoubtedly.

And if you ever have time, come to Hampshire. It’s where I live (hi!); it’s where Jane wrote much of her work, including Pride and Prejudice, and it’s where she, sadly, died, in Winchester; you can see the house in which she passed away and her grave in the Cathedral.

This isn’t a travel blog, but it’s really humbling to go to her house in Chawton, and her grave in Winchester, and is definitely worth the visit (and Hampshire’s great so y’know).

But if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and do some research into this awe-inspiring woman and her lover.

One last thought to end this review on:

Jane Austen is one of the greatest literary figures this world has ever seen and will probably never see again. 

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice

Although when you look on my GoodReads, and it tells you that this book took me 3 months and 6 days to read, do not think that that is because it is terrible. On the contrary, I adore this book. To put it simply, it took me that long because I could not be arsed in the mornings to read complicated language. Ahem.

Pride and Prejudice follows, mainly, the story of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy, after the arrival of Bingley and Darcy at Netherfield, near where the clever, charming and attractive Elizabeth lives. With a nightmare mother and 4 other sisters, all in need of financial security, there’s trouble brewing at Longbourn. The novel also follows many other romances: Mr Collins’, Lydia’s, Jane’s included. (I’m trying not to give too much away.)

If you’re look at the 1800s, this is a perfect contemporary novel. It shows exactly how women were meant to behave (or, in some cases, not meant to). It shows the art of letter writing, something which isn’t used much this days (although I always get a thrill of seeing an envelope with my name, hand written, on the front). And Austen has done a fantastic job with a romantic comedy novel.

My favourite part was towards the end, with Elizabeth and Darcy communicating (yay! Finally!), and, obviously, the eventual engagement (I’m guessing here that every single person knows they get together…). The comedy aspects of it did make me laugh out loud, especially at the sarcasm involved (I’m looking at you, Mr Bennet).

Now, to the language part (aka, the one thing that annoyed me that I still wouldn’t change). It’s long-winded, has big words (many of which I didn’t understand and therefore ignored) and, if it were written in the colloquialism of today, would have been about 100 pages less. The language is what took me so long to get through it, probably. My mind couldn’t take it on the bus rides in the morning to college, when everyone was asleep, and then I didn’t read it on the way back because everyone was awake! Moreover, it is difficult to read just a page; you have figure out where it begins, and then by the time it gets to the end, you’re too involved to stop.

The character development is great. Elizabeth’s change of heart, Mr Darcy’s complete change of character; in fact, I think the only ones who remained the same were Mary, Mrs Bennet and the Gardiners. The character’s are very 3D, and they are all different between each other – Mr Bennet and Elizabeth, Elizabeth and Jane, Bingley and Darcy, Wickham and the Colonel. I wish that all characters were like Austen’s.

Finally, the plot: the plot is a typical romance, admittedly, but it has scandals and subplots, and some parts of it are revealed slowly, so the reader remains guessing along with the characters. I never felt cheated on a plot, and felt that they all added to the atmosphere the book created, as well as the ideas it needed to show.

Would I recommend this book? Yes, definitely. Make sure you’ll be able to handle the language, but other than that it’s an incredible read and I love it to pieces.

#StillWaitingForMyMrDarcy

Awesome Alliteration

So, shall we see how skillfully I can slip in some stupendous, superb (s)alliteration?

Or, let’s not.

But alliteration is a brilliant device to use in writing. But, what is it, first of all – well, according to Google, the definition is:

“The occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words.”

So, basically, the first letter is the same of each word or words that are close to each other start with the same letter – such as my first sentence of this article.

Alliteration is useful to change tone to your story, especially as it makes it more vivid. Furthermore, it gives a more poetic style and ‘mimics the natural rhythm of the rain’. People read it more fluently, and it also makes a greater impact on the the reader’s memory – this means that they are more likely to remember your story if you have good alliteration! Also, alliteration gives dramatic effect – so, for example, if there is a huge action scene, or a scene where your character meets your true love, the alliteration makes the reader feel more for the story and the characters; exactly what you want.

However, you can’t over use alliteration. It gets too repetitive, and it makes the reader almost choke on the words. The readers are likely to stop reading, because they wouldn’t be able to get the words out in their head, either, so they won’t be able to do it if they’re reading aloud especially – exactly what you don’t want.

But you know something that’s perfect for alliteration?

Titles!

Titles are superb for alliteration. For example, one of the best known classics is Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice – which uses two ‘p’s – alliteration. Another one is John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men – two ‘m’s. It helps the reader remember them, and it can be shortened easily, without hopefully making it look bad – for example, Pride and Prejudice can become P&P (…although that can also stand for post and packaging…).

So yeah, I hope I reminded you about the awesomeness of alliteration. Challenge of the week: put some into your writing!

Any topics wanted for next time? Questions, tips? Shoot! 🙂

Sources:
Google
YAHOO! Answers
bbc.co.uk/bitesize