Monday, April 23, 2012

"She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me."

Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg: Prom is fast approaching at Longbourn Academy and Lizzie Bennet, a scholarship student, could care less about it. While her high society classmates all worry themselves about dates and perfect dresses, Lizzie is working tirelessly to survive her time at the school.

The only bright spot is her kind friend and roommate Jane, who has always stood by her. But Jane gets bitten by the prom bug when Charles Bingley returns to Pemberley Academy and Lizzie is happy for her. But with Charles Bingley comes Will Darcy, an insufferable jerk and snob of the highest order. Lizzie detests Darcy and the more she hears about him, the more she wishes she didn't know him.

But Lizzie might be all wrong about Darcy and he just be the right person at the right time.

I really enjoyed this book. It made me want to crack open my old copy of Pride and Prejudice, read it all over again and then marathon the bbc Colin Firth series. I got it bad.

But let's start with what I didn't like about the book. Just two tiny things really. Firstly, I really think Elizabeth Eulberg could have played around with their names a bit more because the characters are recognizable through their personalities and their situations rather than their names. I felt like reading the name Charles over and over again for a book with a modern setting was strange. Couldn't you just call him Charlie? I know he's rich and everything but there's no need to be that stuffy. Same goes for Charlotte. Could have shortened her name to Lettie.

Though I did love how she inserted Lady Catherine De Bourgh into the story. Funnily enough, I still pictured her as looking like Maggie Smith.

Secondly, the dialogue reminded me quite a bit of the dialogue in the original Austen novel in how it sounded dated. I know Lizzie is surrounded by people from a different society but I was hoping their voices would sound different and a little more current. I think Lizzie was the only one who truly broke out of that mold.

But let's move onto what I really liked about the novel. First, the characters. Colin is as cringe worthy and mortifying as Mr. Collins has always been. Good lord, I couldn't stop laughing and wanting to hide in the closet for fear reading his name might conjure him up into existence. Also, I really liked Lizzie. I loved her passion for music and the piano and how strong she was in bearing the bullying coming from her peers at Longbourn.

Secondly, Lizzie gets to punch someone. I know that isn't a great reason but everyone was so reserved and proper in the Austen novel that even in the moments of great injustice there wasn't any action. Here we get some. All I'm saying is that someone who really deserves it finally gets theirs in the form of Lizzie's powerful yet delicate fist.

Lastly, it's just a really fun and lovely novel. It breaks your heart in places but by the end, gives it back to you all taped and glued back together.

This novel is now out in paperback.

(Quote from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

I do what I want, Thor.

So I was perusing the internet, as one usually does on a boring night, when I came across this little opinion piece by Joel Stein where he says:

The only thing more embarrassing than catching a guy on the plane looking at pornography on his computer is seeing a guy on the plane reading “The Hunger Games.” Or a Twilight book. Or Harry Potter. The only time I’m O.K. with an adult holding a children’s book is if he’s moving his mouth as he reads.

He goes on to make more sarcastic quips in the remaining few paragraphs but I think his opening truly illustrates exactly what upsets me.

Firstly, what makes Joel Stein an authority on what people should read?  In my opinion, there is nothing that sets him apart from me or the thousands of other book bloggers out there.  We have opinions, we express them and inform readers about particular books.  The ultimate decision to pick up a book is and will always be the reader.

I choose to read what I like and being 23 does not mean I should stop doing that. My age does not define me or my reading tastes.

I also do not like the fact that he tries to make people feel ashamed for reading what they enjoy or for discovering something they might enjoy.  They are reading something; I would be thankful for that in and of itself.

Secondly, his complete disregard for children's literature and young adult fiction is sad, but it is not shocking. It is based on the view that classics and adult fiction novels are the only things that have any worth. Worth is a matter of opinion though since every reader defines it differently.  We all have novels from our childhood that matter to us and why should we forget them just because we grow older? Just because something is labelled as being "adult" does not automatically make it fantastic and it does not establish its worth.  It is the reader who does that.  There is so much depth and character to be found in the novels of the young and to write them off so easily is just plain ridiculous.

Critics who treat adult as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up. - C.S. Lewis.

Thirdly, Joel Stein also thinks we should learn from reading but then does not explain what he means by this.  Is he talking about algebra? Possibly the unique features of writing in iambic pentameter?  I guess we will never know for sure.

I agree that we should learn things from what we read but he implies that there may be only one kind of learning, which is narrow minded.  Stein ignores the bigger picture. Everyone learns in different ways and the things they pick up on from what they read is unique to them.  Nothing is as black and white as Mr. Stein likes to believe.

Final words: I have read classics. I have a whole bookshelf dedicated to them. I have been reading them since I was 15. I have also read adult fiction (romance novels are terrible) and I have only liked some of what I have read (mostly Neil Gaiman, George R.R. Martin, James Patterson and Harlan Coben).

I keep going back to children's literature and young adult fiction because it speaks to me more than anything else does and because I enjoy it.

I'm kind of still holding onto the hope that Joel Stein's article is a joke. Whether it is tomfoolery or not, it sparks an interesting debate. What are your thoughts? Do you think teens should read YA and then move onto adult fiction once they turn 19? Should adults not read YA or children's fiction?

(Bibliography: Stein, J. (2012). Adults should read adult books. The New York Times. Retrieved from

Friday, April 6, 2012

"It's stupid but it's what I do."

Title: Batgirl, Vol. 3: The Lesson
Writer: Bryan Q. Miller
Art by: Dustin Nguyen, Derek Fridolfs, Pere Perez and Ramon Bachs.
Release Date: November 29th 2011

It's Stephanie Brown's second semester at Gotham U and things are about to get a little more complicated than they usually are. The "Order of the Scythe" wants to take Batgirl down and they'll do it anyway they can, including framing her for murder.

Not only does she have to worry about a dangerous cult coming after her, she has to worry about the police too. She's on the run and hiding in plain sight but she can't keep is up forever.

Is there no one in Gotham City who still believes in Batgirl?

First of all, it's a good comic. Interesting and sad but revealing too. I am so happy to see Stephanie's relationship with her mom grow stronger in the pages of this collection because I feel that it was always one of her greatest worries.

Another thing that made my heart flutter happily was that we saw Stephanie and Nick Gage really work together as a team. I loved it because even though he's a little older than her (he's between 28 and 31, I reckon), they make a great pair. What irked me was that she told him to go after Barbara Gordon. Why? Why the hell would you do that? He had way more chemistry with Stephanie. If the series featuring Stephanie as Batgirl didn't end here, I would have liked to have seen some build up between Gage and Batgirl.

The last set of sections in this volume set up so many possibilities and they were all dashed with THE NEW 52 decision. I think that's why I think everything seemed a little rushed towards the end. They saw the decision coming and wanted to try and give Stephanie an ending, a hopeful one.

I like Barbara Gordon and she was a good Batgirl but Stephanie Brown is my hero. Hopefully, one day she'll wear the suit again.

(quote from Batgirl: The Lesson)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Absence makes the Heart grow Fonder

I have been absent for a little over a month now. Both school and some unexpected events factor into this but this blog is not dead. I hope that once my exams are done I shall be free to infuse this place with a bit more life.

-Girl from the Tower