Discussion

The Ruler of Books

I got tagged by Em of Em’s Book Corner (emsbookcorner.blogspot.com) to do the Ruler of Books tag created by Ariel Bissett.

The questions relate to if I was the ruler of books, what I would do with my power. It’s a bit of fun that gives you an insight into my favourite books, authors and illustrators.

Here are the questions:

What book would you make everyone read?

Easy. Girl Up by Laura Bates. I wrote a review on it here on my blog if you want to see why I think everyone should read it.

What would you abolish in book construction?

There isn’t much about books and reading that I do not like but if I had to abolish something it would be film cover editions of books. Some can be beautiful and creative but they are mostly used to sell more books based on the fame of the film. I understand their purpose but as a book fan, they can be annoying.

What author would you commission to write you any book?

I would beg Ernest Cline to write a third book! I loved Ready Player One and Armada so I just need another book by him. I love sci fi and fantasy, especially 80s sci fi which is why his books really stuck with me. Also Ready Player One is becoming a film in 2018 and I can’t wait!

What book would you demote to the library basement to make room for new books?

The whole Twilight Saga. Sorry. I just tried them and never got with the trend. I just didn’t really enjoy them as much as other people did.

What cover artist would you commission to make a mural?

I would pick Quentin Blake to make a beautiful mural. I drew up on his illustrations in Roald Dahl books which sparked my love of reading. Without Dahl and Blake, I wouldn’t be the reader I am today.

What character’s face would you put on a coin?

Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice definitely deserves a coin. She’s strong willed and isn’t afraid to stand up for herself. That makes her a great role model to be celebrated on a coin.

What book would you award the Ruler of Books 2016 prize to?

For non-fiction: Animal by Sara Pascoe

For fiction: The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

 

So now I tag Abigail (abigailsbooks.wordpress.com) to do the same. I also tag anyone else who wants to give this a go.

Eloise

Discussion

My Lovely Week

I was inspired to do this post after seeing it on Em’s Book Corner (http://emsbookcorner.blogspot.co.uk). I will be using most of Em’s categories to recreate her original post because I really think her idea deserves to be a tag.

Here it goes!

Currently reading: Right now I’m reading Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman. It mixes myths and fantasy with real life. Like all of Gaiman’s books, it is written beautifully and is such a pleasure to read.

Favourite Instagram Photo: I really like my photo of my newly made TBR jar. I can’t wait to pick out books from it.

image

Books I’ve bought: I haven’t bought any books this week but last week I bought a Penguin Little Black Classic, by Brothers Grimm, and A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf.

Favourite Bookstagrammer: Obviously, this has to go to the creator of this post format, Em’s Book Corner. Follow her on Instagram (http://instagram.com/embookcorner),Twitter (@Em_Book_Corner) and visit her blog (http://emsbookcorner.blogspot.co.uk).

This was a fun post to do so thank you Em. I hope other people will be inspired to do it too so it can become popular.

Eloise ūüėä

P.S. I won’t be able to update this blog twice a week like normal for the next couple of weeks because I’ll be busy (and away from good internet for a few days too). I’ll try to post on Instagram and Twitter still. You can find my accounts in my About page here on my blog. Once I’ve finished I’ll be back to normal and making lots of good posts for you all!

Review

Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys

IMG_6843I recently read this book after it was bought for me as a leaving present by my A level English teachers. It was a relatively easy read and I finished it within a few hours. The edition I have (Penguin Modern Classics) has annotations, notes and a very detailed introduction which make for an interesting read before, during and after the main story.

Wide Sargasso Sea is inspired by Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre and tells of a possible backstory for Bertha (Antoinette Cosway/Mason), Mr Rochester’s mad wife who is secretly locked away in his house. I was fascinated to start reading this book because Jane Eyre has been a favourite of mine since I first read it.

The narration flips between Antoinette and the unnamed husband (Mr Rochester) throughout as the events of the book unfold. This allows an opportunity to fully understand the mindset of both characters. For me, this made it very difficult to sympathise with one character over the other as both characters have severe flaws and hatred for each other. The descriptions of Jamaica allows Rhys to create a dreamy setting to contrast such a bitter tale of love and hate.

Wide Sargasso Sea explores themes of race, reputation and money as the husband is stuck between bettering his reputation by leaving Antoinette or keeping his money by staying with her. Their marriage was built purely on money and business deals organised between their fathers.

This book is a brilliant stand alone book as the themes and events do not have to relate to Jane Eyre for them to be important and rich. The way female mental health is viewed by the characters gives an important insight into how women were treated in the 19th century. However, with such an overlap with Bronte’s novel, it is hard not to think about the book as a strong prequel. The cataphoric reference to the events of Jane Eyre throughout is a real nod to Bronte fans and a way of connecting the two stories together. This for me created many new thoughts and opinions on Rochester and Bertha. I was so convinced that Mrs Rochester was the antagonist of the book, a character whose sole purpose was to complicate Jane’s happiness with Rochester. Now I see her as a more rich character. In fact, I now see her as a person not just a plot line.

Reading Wide Sargasso Sea was the reason why I reread Jane Eyre – which is probably my favourite book of all time.

Discussion · Review

“Reader, I married him”

In the last few days I reread Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. This was after I read Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (my review will be on my blog on Thursday) which is an inspired prequel to Jane Eyre. I was going to do a standard review on Jane Eyre, like I have done for other books, but instead I’d like to start a kind of discussion on it. Instead of just having my opinions on this book, I’d like it to be a discussion¬†of many people’s¬†favourite¬†characters, quotes,¬†sections of the book and adaptations.

Well, me first!

Obviously my favourite character is without a doubt, Jane Eyre. She’s strong and very independently minded without being proud and stubborn. She faces a lot of challenges due to her youth, ‘plainness’ and financial situation but she doesn’t let any of it stop her. Many people think this book is solely a love story but it isn’t. In fact, Jane doesn’t meet Mr Rochester until at least 100 pages in and spends more time than that away from him after. This book is about Jane finding herself and being comfortable in who she is.¬†It’s refreshing that a classic book in the point of view of a woman deals with a lot more than just love and marriage, although they are major themes.

 

My absolute favourite quote is ‘Reader, I married him’. This is probably the most famous Bronte quote and one of the most famous in general classic fiction. It speaks volumes.¬†It is not Reader, he married me, it’s ‘Reader, I married him’. It shows Jane is in control; this¬†isn’t a passive event, it is her event. For a relationship in the 19th century, Jane and Rochester’s is very unique. They both see each other as equals despite big differences in age and pay and this is reflected in how outspoken Jane is towards him. She certainly isn’t afraid to challenge him.

I also really like this quote from Mr Rochester:¬†‘As if I had a string somewhere under my left ribs, tightly knotted to a similar string in you. And if you were to leave I’m afraid that cord of communion would snap. And I have a notion that I’d take to bleeding inwardly’. It’s beautiful and quite poetic for a character who at first seems so harsh and stubborn.

Another favourite quote is ‘I am no bird and no net ensnares me’. This quote is also from Jane and really sums up her character.¬†Despite being poor and¬†financially dependent on others, she wishes to make it known that she doesn’t want to be trapped anywhere against her will. I¬†have so many other¬†favourite quotes from Jane Eyre but I don’t have time to name them all!

 

I don’t wish to give too much away of the plot details but I do wish to mention my favourite sections of the book. My favourite section of all has to be the proposal. The way Jane expresses her feelings so openly just proves how strong a character she is. The twists and turns in such a small section required me, on first reading, to¬†read over¬†a couple of pages a few times to fully appreciate how clever Bronte’s writing is.

Another important section – although a¬†horrible one – is the reflection of Jane’s childhood, both in the care of her nasty Aunt and her 8 years at Lowood Institute. Bronte cleverly shapes Jane’s character around these terrible moments in her past.¬†Jane’s school is even inspired by the one the Bronte sisters had to attend. This horrible past allows Jane to appreciate everything around her and is the reason she feels so close¬†to Mr Rochester as he is¬†one of her first friends. Jane Eyre shows us that we cannot judge people by their¬†circumstances but should consider their¬†heart and soul.

 

My favourite adaptation is the 2011 film featuring Mia¬†Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender.¬†To me, of all the ones I’ve watched it seems most faithful to the book. Mia Wasikowska’s Jane Eyre is as strong and intelligent as¬†she is in the book. She is not afraid to stand up for herself, even in front of those who are richer than her. I like the¬†way the characters all have Yorkshire accents as that is where the book is set. My main problem with it was that it missed a lot of build up that’s important for the pacing of the events, but it is hard to pack a 500 page novel in a 2 hour film!

I also enjoyed the 2006 BBC series as it covered more of the book. For a more unusual adaptation of Jane Eyre I would recommend The Autobiography of Jane Eyre. It is a YouTube series which creates a modern version told through ‘vlogs’ by Jane as she becomes a tutor paid by the CEO of Thornfield Exports, Edward Rochester. As it is a modern adaptation it approaches some of the events differently but in a way that still very much respects the original story. It’s really worth a watch.

 

I hope this structure and content for a blog post is interesting. I would love to know if anyone else has read Jane Eyre and what other people think of this book. It’s my favourite book of all time and I really hope others enjoy it as much as I do.

Feel free to comment any thoughts on my post or on Jane Eyre itself.

 

Review

Girl Up, Laura Bates

IMG_6841I finished this book a few days ago and wow it was incredible! After reading Animal by Sara Pascoe and hearing about this book, I knew I had to read it. I was not disappointed.

Girl Up is a book that perfectly comments and kicks down all of society’s bad rules and customs and allows you to realise all the problems that women face in the world. It deals with all aspects of life including school, sex education, porn, body image, fashion, etc. It tells of the everyday sexism women (and everybody regardless of gender) face because of the gender norms of society. This book does not hold back. Laura Bates is so wonderfully honest and often humorous about everything and is not afraid to use her “sexist bullshit klaxon” in order to call out the problems that upset or angry her. Bates’ implicit confidence is so refreshing and inspiring.

Girl Up aims to banish the taboo of these subjects and encourages women to talk openly about the issues that not only affect them personally but also the issues that affect people in other cultures and of other ethnicities. I strongly believe this book should be read by everyone. This book should not be read by just women but by everyone as the issues explained inside affect everyone.

I don’t often read non-fiction books but this is by far my favourite. It will be the one I go to for inspiration and the one I go to before I call out sexism, just as Bates has taught us to do. I have learned so much about society and being a woman, and I hope we can all learn something about ourselves from Girl Up.

I really couldn’t recommend this book enough.

Review

Animal, Sara Pascoe

IMG_6835

I recently finished reading Animal: The Autobiography of¬†a Female Body by Sara Pascoe.¬† It compares human behaviours concerning sex and body image with animal behaviours in an attempt to reach conclusions about us all.¬† It discusses women’s issues and feminism in a way that I have not seen before.

Sara Pascoe is an English comedian, not a scientist, which means all¬†of the information in the book¬†is secondary research¬†but her conclusions are easy to understand and often hilarious.¬† Mixed into the scientific information and animalistic analogies are anecdotes from Sara’s life.¬† Some are funny and mildly embarrassing but others are deeply personal.¬†¬†This intimacy¬†adds another level to¬†the book which makes it much¬†easier to connect with and take in the important messages about feminism and women’s issues.

This was one of the best non-fiction books I have ever read.¬† With Sara Pascoe’s help, my eyes have been opened to a whole genre of¬†feminist non-fiction.¬†¬†I believe every woman (in fact everyone) should read this book and learn from it.