On Prose and Female Characters

I have planned to spend this afternoon working on Maths equations, but screw it — I want to talk literature.

In preparation for the A2 English Literature that I shall be taking next school year if I get the grades (*fingers crossed*), all potential students have been advised to choose whatever books they want to study (at least two, but preferred three) from the Canon and otherwise finish reading them over the summer holidays. And, being the person that I am, I absolutely had no idea what to choose — I desperately wanted to work with one of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books, but a little part of me wanted to be “taken seriously” as a literature student and so I ended up with:

  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (chosen by my English teacher)
  • Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

I’ve finished reading The Handmaid’s Tale quite a while ago, and I found it enjoyable once I managed to get into the story. I had spent the first half of the book annotating like mad, I barely enjoyed the novel for its narrative until near the end. I’m reading Tess of the D’Urbervilles and as I’m well into Phase Five, I can safely say that I’ve found some similarities between the two books.

One, there’s the format — both books are split into separate sections. Two, there’s utterly depressing aura radiating from the text itself. Three, there’s the clear helplessness within the female characters.

And it infuriates the living daylights out of me.

Yes, I know I ought to search for something positive and focus on that instead… but I simply can’t bring myself to — at least, not unless I forget about Gilead’s treatment towards women, its double standards and complete backwardness when it comes to rebuilding the population. Moira was one of my favorite characters throughout, yet once I found out that she betrayed her beliefs by working at Jezebel’s, I was ready to take out a tub of ice cream and just wallow.

In Tess of the D’Urbervilles, how on earth can I ignore Tess and her complete reliance on Angel Clare? He is a hypocrite who refused to forgive Tess for her past indiscretions, despite having the same situation as her! Admittedly,  I still have the rest of the novel to read through but, if I’m honest, I’m finding it very difficult to see the two lovers in good lights at the moment. They somehow remind me of Catherine and Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights, but at least those two had the decency to admit to their selfishness and just be plain mean to other people.

Tess absolutely adores Angel; she bloody well idolizes him and I can’t help but think that Hey, this can’t be healthy. Has she never seen Twilight?? (That’s a joke, if you can’t tell.) While I can’t blame her for having to go through what he did, I do blame her for putting Angel on such a high pedestal. Do you know that bit where he was sleep-walking and he carried her into a coffin? Tess admitted to not being afraid at all! If anything else, she liked being to close to Angel.

IS THERE SOMETHING WRONG WITH THE WIRES IN YOUR BRAIN? HE’S PLACED YOU IN A COFFIN! If that’s not going to convince you, Tess, understand that he’s doing it in his sleep! His subconscious wanted you dead! Once you had revealed your past, the Tess he once knew was dead to him — and you still enjoyed his sleep-kisses. I’m sticking by my opinion of Angel being a hypocrite, by the way.

I sincerely hope this novel can redeem itself to me… there’s still the odd two hundred pages to comb through. In the end, Wuthering Heights “redeemed itself” when the second generation found happiness despite the faults of the first generation. I suppose what I’m looking for in Tess is some form of a happy ending… and that’s really a wrong mindset to be in, now that I think about it. Not all stories have happy endings.

But still. Is it too much to ask for Tess to grow a pair and stop being the victim in everything? (Or am I essentially asking a penguin to fly?) I have no idea.

Moving on, I’d like to end this post on a lighter note. After all, what spurred me to type this post up was the sight of this beautiful, beautiful quote:

To Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman. I have seldom heard him mention her under any other name.

John Watson on Irene Adler

It’s a very striking first sentence. I must admit that two whole novels (A Study in Scarlet, The Sign of Four) and two short stories (A Scandal in Bohemia, The Red-Headed League) into Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s work, I seem to find his prose enjoyable. Before, I struggled with his choice of words and seemingly random succession of scenes; now, I whiz through it like a pro. I could take this as a sign that perhaps my quarrel with Tess will be resolved in time, but then again…

…I have no problems with Sherlock’s and John’s characters, nor do I dislike Hardy’s prose style. It’s Tess herself that I have a problem with. Oh dear.

Over and out.


Ginny Weasley, The Defense Of

I was reading an article a couple of nights ago about Ginny Weasley not being the right one for the Boy Who Lived, Chosen One, Guy Who Offed The One With No Nose et cetera, et cetera… Well, after reading it I was so hyped up about it that I *cough* casually wrote up this response instead of finishing up that research assignment I had due the next day.

Oh, but no worries. I finished that assignment in time! After I had searched within myself and found a means by which I could express my thoughts on the Harry/Ginny shipping. Cue the online rant!

I know there are a lot of people who hate Ginny — I think there are more Ginny haters than there are Ginny lovers, but either way I can see where each side of the competition is coming from. However, I really do believe that Harry belongs with GinnyIt’s what Rowling wanted, isn’t it?

Yes, she wasn’t featured much in the books. But the books are not a love story — one of the main themes might be love and its power to conquer evil, but it’s not a love story with mushy dates and passionate snog sessions. It’s about other things: love of friends, of family… of redemption, loss of innocence.

It could be argued that Hermione would go very well with Harry. I honestly think that this is just strongly influenced by the films; you can’t deny that Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson have strong chemistry, and it doesn’t help that Yates is a Harmony shipper and disliked Hinny (I know, ridiculous ship name XD), but still Hermione chose Ron. Ron made her happy, not Harry. Besides, I think Harry would go bonkers with Hermione’s nagging and Hermione would drive herself mad with Harry’s roller coaster moods.

Hermione might have been there for Harry for all the hard times, but it wasn’t her who was able to put him in place when he was acting like a prat in OotP. Ginny did. Hermione simply didn’t understand how to get to him, no matter how much she tried.

Another argument is the possibility of Harry being pared with another character such as Cho or Luna. Well, Cho was a disaster, hung up as she was with Cedric. I can’t blame her for that since I do think she felt something for Harry; the timing was just wrong for the two of them. Harry wasn’t emotionally mature yet when they were dating, and she was still grieving. If they hadn’t dated in 5th year then perhaps something could have happenedafter the two of them got over their demons. Still, Cedric is still too big a factor to consider, though it could work since Angelina and George had Fred’s death to bind them along with their friendship. (I don’t mean to sound harsh, but it’s true.)

As for Luna, she’s more like the spiritual friend for Harry than anything. They both could see Thestrals and she helped him accept Sirius’ death, but Harry is too grounded a person to actually develop anything with Luna beyond their friendship. They went on a date, but that was just as friends. It shows how comfortable they are with each other, knowing that they could do on a dinner date without either of them confusing the situation as more than anything than friends going to a party together.

Just because Ginny was not mentioned in the books very much, doesn’t mean her personality is not right for Harry. There were many indirect characterizations through Harry’s experience with her family as well. Rowling herself made is so that Harry and Ginny were the only ones that Voldemort had possessed, binding them together. Ginny had won that Quidditch match against Cho, a symbolism of her being a better match for Harry. She might not be as smart as Hermione, but Harry isn’t looking for braniac intelligence for a match, just someone who can handle being with him when he’s in one of his moods. As for any inspiring advice, wasn’t it Ginny who said “…anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve?”

So yeah, I don’t mind the odd Harry/other character shipping every once in a while, but at heart I’m a strong Harry/Ginny shipper. They’re canon, and it’s slightly disrespectful to go against the author, don’t you think?

This was probably messy and my points were everywhere all at once, but in my defense it was written late at night and… yeah. That’s all I have. Everybody’s entitled to their own opinion, of course, but this is my view on the shipping.

Link to my favorite -- well, my only -- Harry/Ginny fanfiction website

The Morning Gift by Eva Ibbotson

Eva Ibbotson has been on of my favorite authors as a young teen; I remember borrowing (and loving) The Secret Countess and A Company of Swans from a friend, and from then on Ibbotson has been right up there with J. K. Rowling — and believe me, for a Potterhead like me, that’s a high honour.

Anyway, I could go on about finding a copy of The Morning Gift in the school library completely by accident, seeing the familiar cover and immediately going to the front desk to check the book out so that I could re-acquaint myself with the novel, but what I really want this post to be about (apart from procrastinating for an English Lit. essay that I have to write) is the love story between Quin and Ruth.

Quin is a college professor and he first met Ruth as a child in Vienna. Years later when the threat of Hitler forced Ruth’s family to emigrate out of the country, Ruth is left behind with only Quin to help her. Complications arise and in the end Quin decides to marry Ruth in order to safely get her out of the country and into England, his homeland. By marrying her, Ruth is therefore becomes an English citizen.

It all seems to be straightforward, doesn’t it? Ruth spends time with Quin,s he falls in love with him and he falls in love with her… but there’s this annoying little tick in the form of Heini, Ruth’s childhood sweetheart. He’s a piano virtuoso and can be very irritating (you know how artists can be… such divas!).

Now, I fully understand that some characters have a role to play. Only a couple weeks ago my English Lit. class has covered Vladimir Propp’s theory on stock characters, and I can totally see Heini as The False Hero. Or The Villain, but that sounds more like Verna Plackett with her quest to gain Quin’s attention and be his wife. Moving back to Heini and his relationship with Ruth, I just can’t wrap my head around how on earth a sweet, intelligent and somewhat otherworldly girl like Ruth could ever see Heini — selfish, self-centered, pig-headed — as someone she truly loves.

I know love is blind and everything, but come on! The guy refuses to pay rent, even though money was scarce. He spends waaay too long in the bathroom, and he bosses Ruth around like an assistant! That isn’t the way a man treats his amour!

*takes a deep breath*

But I understand — really, I do. Heini’s role in the story was to set Ruth on her way to Quin. After arriving in England, Ruth and Quin didn’t act like a newly married couple. They barely acted like they were friends, to be honest. Quin returned to his teaching job, which coincidentally had Ruth as a student. This part was kind of exciting with the prospect of forbidden love and everything, though Ruth and Quin being married made it all legal.

As time passed, Quin began to see Ruth as the woman she was, not the silly little girl he met in Vienna; he has fallen in love with her. Of course, Ruth was still as silly as ever, but throughout the story you could see her transition from girl to woman. Anyway, when Heini wanted to really “make her a woman”, awkward situations arose and Ruth ran to Quin’s open arms — figuratively speaking, that is. Ruth now understood why she wasn’t able to be with Heini: it was because she didn’t love him. How could she? He wasn’t right for her… that git.

The story progressed on from there, though what really interested me was the gradual progression from “family friends” to “lovers” that Ruth and Quin’s relationship evolved into. I won’t say that it was all very romantic, for the knowledge that WWII was looming over their horizons and the effect it had on the characters provided a sense of heaviness. I suppose it’s simply the romantic school girl in me, but there were some parts of the book that I absolutely swooned over. In chapter 25, for example, Quin said to Ruth, “What I’m going to do now, is kiss you.”

The context, of course, was that Ruth wanted a divorce in order to be with Heini. She was hysterical about it, and I knew that deep in her subconsciousness she never really loved Heini. That’s why she’s making excuses for her behavior — specifically, as my more modern peers would so eloquently phrase it, “not putting out.” But the way Quin took charge, it was so… Anyway, Ruth, suffice to say, admitted her love for him. How could she not? There’s a whole hero complex going on: falling in love with her savior and all that rot, yeah?

So there you have it, a story of a middle-aged bachelor and a young woman falling in love after they get married. A bit twisted, but there you go. Love is blind after all, isn’t it?

The Morning Gift is a wonderful read, and it was enchanting to be able to re-read it again. It’s really surprising what a few years can make, because I remember reading the book for the first time two, three years ago… I remember being swept by the love story then, and not to say that I wasn’t swept by the love story now but with the few nuggets of information I’ve gained from experience and my English Lit. classes (hey, I’m actually learning!!), I realize I have approached the book from a completely different viewpoint.

A Reading Assignment: The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

The God of Small Things by Arundhati RoyToday was the first official day of school. It’s “official” because we actually did lessons today, which was both a relieving and worrying… *bites nails* But I want to focus of my AS Literature class where we, the class, were assigned to read The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy.

I don’t really know what to think of this, since I’ve never been assigned a novel to read for school before. A short story, maybe — an excerpt from a novel, even… but never an entire novel. I like reading books well enough, but I only do if I chose which books to read.

No one, not even a teacher, has chosen a book for me before. It’s a strange feeling. I suppose I could trust her — she is the teacher, after all. I’m just worried, I think, that I might not like the book and therefore put off reading it, and that would lead to a series of events in which I fail the class.

*continues to bite nails*

To be fair, though, I’ve sneaked a peek into the first chapter while everyone was busy taking notes (I’m a fast scribbler), and I must admit I like Roy’s writing style. I don’t want to pass judgement yet this early in the book, but it’s nice so far. Anyway, I think someone mentioned that there was a movie… ;D

The Two Things I Never Expected To Be Connected

WARNING: spoiler’s ahead.

Having lived in the Philippines the past four years, I must admit I’ve been behind on my Doctor Who episodes. However, I’ve spent this past month catching up on my ultra favourite TV show and I can’t say how happy I am to be finally up to date. I’ve just finished the seventh episode (A Good Man Goes to War) of Season Six, and after this post I’m going to watch the next one (Let’s Kill Hitler).

What happened in A Good Man Goes to War is basically this:

Amy is held captive on Demon’s Run and the Doctor assembles an army of allies to recover her. Meanwhile, River reveals her greatest secret to the Doctor.

— summary from Wikipedia

River’s greatest secret, apparently, is that she’s the daughter of Amy and Rory. She’s also part-Time Lord, seeing as she was conceived the TARDIS on her parent’s wedding night (see The Big Bang) allowing her DNA to be altered. It’s very spacey wacey, so I’m not going to talk about that any more… what I am going to talk about, on the other hand, is the situation between Melody/River and the Doctor.

I can’t really fault Steven Moffat for this, seeing as the idea has been introduced more sophisticatedly way back since Season Four when David Tennant was still the Doctor, but I can’t help but connect the idea of River Song/ Melody Pond and the Doctor being together with Twilight, specifically Breaking Dawn.

Am I the only one who sees this? I know Twilight has a bad reputation for being shallow and, well, shallow, but I’m still a fan and my mind has somehow connected the book saga to the television series.

Here’s a table for you to understand:

Doctor Who (2011)

Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn (2008)

River/Melody is Rory and Amy’s daughter

Renesmee is Edward and Bella’s daughter

Amy has had the hots for the Doctor

Jacob was Edward’s rival for Bella’s affections

Amy and the Doctor kissed

Jacob and Bella kissed

The Doctor didn’t like Amy ‘that way’

Bella preferred Edward than Jacob

The Doctor knew River/Melody as a baby

Jacob imprinted on Renesmee when she was a baby

River and the Doctor like each other

Renesmee and Jacob like each other

See where I’m getting at? There are so many parallels, it’s uncanny! And I can’t help but think that maybe the reason Amy was besotted with the Doctor is somehow the same as to why Jacob liked Bella so much. There were both unborn partners involved! The Doctor with River and Jacob with Renesmee! (This is just a wild theory, by the way…  not to be taken seriously.)

On another note, there’s a small, small part of me wondering whether Moffat cheated or not, or perhaps Stephenie Meyer had a dream about this. Either way, I don’t really mind. I just like connecting dots, is all… ^__^

Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë

To be completely honest, I never really planned to read any of the Brontë sisters’ work after Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. Yeah, I know, shame on me.

A friend of mine introduced me to the movie of the former (we just talked about it, and I haven’t really seen the movie yet), and as for the latter, it was because of Twilight that I began reading it. When I showed up in school with that book in hand, I had to explain countless of times that “I really wanted to figure what the fuss was all about.” I mean, why does Bella like the book so much and Edward doesn’t? But I digress…

Agnes Grey is a, first and foremost, a retelling of Agnes’ days as a governess. Now that might sound just like Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, but let me tell you it’s not. Both wonderful in their own right, the two books cannot be more different with their portrayal of the daily life of a governess.

To be honest, I found Agnes Grey a little boring — I’ve got nothing against it, except that Agnes dragged on and on about her religious views. I suppose that’s indirect characterization; Agnes is a fervent Christian. That’s all well and good, but there were too many times (for me, anyway) that Agnes went off in a tangent about religious ethics while all I want was for her to fall in love already!

I’m sorry. I’m a teenage girl. I’m not the sappy, lovey-dovey kind of girl, but I WANT to get to the part of the story where the boy likes girl, and the girl likes boy in return. That happens eventually in Agnes Grey, though not until past halfway through the book. Still, Agnes’ Mr. Weston is a very admirable man, and by the tone of the book, it’s understandable why the two lovers didn’t get together until they did. It’s just not in their personality to come running into each other’s arms in slow motion at the beach… though there was a beach scene near the end, and that slightly gruff but still romantic proposal at sunset.

*Sigh* What can I say? I love me some romance.

Agnes Grey is a worthwhile read. It might not sound like it with the way I’ve talked about it above, but it is. Believe me, it’s worth it.

Are You A Harry Potter Fan?

Philippines’ OK! magazine had a Harry Potter exclusive this month, which is understandable since the 8th and last installment of the movie series is being released this month. If you didn’t know that, then you must have been living under a rock or something. (How you could you not know?)

I read the articles as meticulously as I could, scanning the pictures and trying to commit them to memory. Since my memory and I aren’t on the best of terms, I failed on that particular endeavor. Nevertheless, my fun was not diminished in any way because of this prompt:

I couldn't resist it. I had to answer.

It took the better part of my night, but I managed to email them and though I know that there’s a small chance of ever printing what I wrote them, there’s still a small part of me hoping they would. Yes, it would be cool to have my name printed, but that was not the reason why I wrote them. I wrote — well, emailed –them because I wanted to express how much Harry Potter meant to me as a fan. That, and I’ve always wanted to write to them but I’ve never gotten around to it until now.

I guess all I needed was a nudge in the right direction, and Harry Potter did that for me. ^__^

Hello, my name is Luigi and I’m sixteen years old. I became a fan of all-things Harry Potter after watching the GOBLET OF FIRE when I was younger. I was in my tween years, living in England with my family, and a friend of my mother’s saw how enthralled I was by the movie that she suggested that I should read the books. Back then, I was only budding reader. My “repertoire” only included a select few titles from the British author Roald Dahl, and the prospect of reading something as thick as the ORDER OF THE PHOENIX, the book I have decided to read first because it followed on from GOBLET, was simply daunting. But I trudged on: my mother bought me the book and I was hooked. I remember exclaiming at the dinner table one day that “I would love to be Cho Chang.” When my mother asked why, I just smiled coyly and continued eating my dinner. I didn’t want to tell her that I wanted to be Cho because she gets to kiss Harry. (Don’t tell her that now, either ;D) what can I say, I was just a young girl then.

As for the rest of the books, I rallied back and forth from the library to my house to my school and read them. I didn’t care if I read them in order or not (which I certainly didn’t — it doesn’t make me less of a fan). And I didn’t care that I stayed up late telling myself that “after this chapter, I’ll go to sleep.” I remember reading PRISONER OF AZKABAN in just one day. I remember squealing with joy when my mother presented me my own copy of CHAMBER OF SECRETS and HALF-BLOOD PRINCE years later. And I also remember my fondest memory, which is of my best friend gifting me the DEATHLY HALLOWS when it came out on 2007. We also went to the cinema together and watched ORDER OF THE PHOENIX with her mother and sister. It’s one of my dearest memories because I was preparing to leave England then.

Moving back to the Philippines was difficult. The culture shock, though not overwhelming, just changed me from the kid that I was then to the (slightly rebellious) teen I am now. The biggest shock? The fact that the Harry Potter books weren’t allowed in my new school and that my new classmates didn’t care much for the boy wizard. I guess maybe that’s why I’ve held on to the series — the books, the movies and the fan fiction — so much was because they were one of the ties I had to England.

Harry Potter is not just a story for me. It’s not just a bunch of movies either. They’ve influenced me in ways I can’t even find words to explain.

Because of the books, I’ve branched out into other genres and became an avid bookworm, and somewhere along the way I began writing. Just small fan fictions at first, but then I moved on to my own original works. (Still, that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped writing fan fiction… I doubt I ever will.)

Because of the movies, I’ve been introduced to the frenetic world of the movie industry. I now follow the works of legendary British actors such as Alan Rickman, Richard Griffiths, Maggie Smith, Ralph Fiennes and Helena Bonham Carter. And let’s not forget Rupert Grint, Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe. It was because of Radcliffe that I had jokingly announced one day that I’d “make a Filipino movie script so wonderful and cast him a part he can’t refuse” after reading an interview about it. And you know what? I plan on making that lighthearted comment a reality. I’m a very ambitious girl — that could be the Slytherin in me.

I know that there are a lot of people who adore Rowling’s fictional world, and I do understand that I am not its biggest fan.. I didn’t go out of my way to buy the books the moment they were released. In fact, I only own four out of the seven books, and THE TALES OF BEEDLE THE BARD. I didn’t grow up with the books like some people, nor did I do the same with the movies — frankly, I still have a lot of growing up to do.

What the books are to me are not my childhood, they are my guidelines… in the loosest sense of the word, of course. I won’t be enrolling myself into a boarding school anytime soon, but I will keep in mind whenever I come across a situation in which I have to choose between what is right and what is easy, Harry did not choose the easy path. Neither did Dumbledore, nor did Snape, the Weasleys, the Order of the Phoenix and Dumbeldore’s Army. They fought for what they believed in. They fought against great evil, discrimination and corruption. They fought for their loved ones, for justice and fairness to all Wizarding folk.

The Harry Potter series are not just about its titular character, and it’s not just about his family and friends, either. Rowling tackles every facet of life: from education to romance to politics, she has depicted our lives in one way or another. I suppose that’s why she has managed to enthrall us all with her creation, for it relates to many different people in many different levels. It might just be about a fantasy world for one person and about an orphaned boy for another, but it can also be a satire of a corrupt government, racial prejudice and social discrimination.

I’m sorry for going on and on about this, but once I get started about Harry Potter, I won’t stop until I run out of steam. Or if someone forcibly shuts me up. Yes, I’m a fan of Harry Potter. I’m a fan of the books, I’m a fan of the movies and I’m a fan of the person. Harry is not just a fictional character for me; he might have been at first, but he’s not that anymore. That goes for all the other characters as well. Rowling wrote them so well they just jumped off the page and began strutting around like real people, like they really existed.. And I admire Rowling for that. I really, really do. I aspire to be as good a writer as her one day.

Yes, it is indeed saddening (and slightly depressing, too) that the entire franchise is coming to a close. We might have been able to ignore that empty feeling when the DEATHLY HALLOWS came out on 2007 since the movie franchise was still going strong, but with the eighth and last movie installment being released on the 15th (or 14th in some parts of the world), you can’t ignore it anymore. To some fans, the emptiness might just last a few days or weeks. To some it could even last for months. There’s no denying that something monumental has just finished and it hurts for it to do so. It certainly does for me. I’m tearing up as I write this now.

But you know what? To quote what a wise woman once said: “…The stories we love best do live in us forever, so whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.” See? It’s not the end of the world. There’s still more of Harry Potter to pass around. Personally, I’m waiting for a theater or TV adaptation, though I’m not holding my breath. Meanwhile, I’m gonna read up on some fan fiction, maybe write some more if I have the time. You’ll never know: just like the many novels out there that continue Jane Austen’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE past Lizzy’s marriage to Mr. Darcy, you might just see books about Harry’s life between the Battle and the Epilogue.

This is Luigi, an avid Harry Potter fan. Thank you for reading and I hope this wasn’t a complete waste of your time.

And you, are you a Harry Potter fan? If so, what is your history with the books and movies?

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

So it only took me approximately two and a half months to finish reading the book. I began reading on the 9th of April, immediately after I finished reading Emma while on a flight to Manila. That book I began reading near the beginning of this year, and between school and my ‘busy’ virtual life, it took me four months to read.

Anyway, Northanger Abbey is just a nice read. It’s quite funny, quite like Emma was, though I doubt Northanger Abbey was meant to be humorous. It was funny for me, anyhow. It was easy for me to laugh at Catherine’s antics, especially during her first night at the Abbey. She craves so much for drama in her life, and I can kind of relate to her in that sense. With my overactive imagination, I sometimes imagine what my life would be like if it were just like a novel. Of course, unlike Catherine, I know the difference between fact and fiction…

…I think. ;D

Near the beginning of this story, before Catherine stays at the Abbey with her friends the Tilneys, she mostly hung around with this girl she met in Bath named Isabella. My first reaction to reading that name was: “Wow, that’s the same as Emma Woodhouse‘s sister in Emma.” My second was: “Huh, I wonder if there’s an Edward character around.”

I do apologize for the Twilight reference. It’s the Twi-hard in me.

Isabella Thorpe is a very loquacious girl and she’s my least favorite characters. She has lots of lines in the books, and I found that trying to read them just made my head ache. She’s a piece of work — you can easily tell her fake attitude when she speaks, which I suppose was kind of indirect characterization. When the engagement broke up between her and Catherine’s brother, James, I sided with James. Just like Mrs. Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, I don’t like Isabella Thorpe.

Well, actually… Here’s another Twilight reference. Isabella Thorpe reminds me of Jessica Stanley. She’s like a Jessica and a Lauren Mallory combined.

As for Catherine, her naïvety just irked me a little bit. I get that she’s the main character and everything, but still. (It’s been mentioned more than once in the story that she’s the “heroine”, though frankly I don’t understand this.) I just had to roll my eyes at some passages of the book when describing her theories and wishes to compare the Abbey and the people residing there to her mystery novels.

The romance in the story comes in the form of Mr. Tilney, and I find it very refreshing that he only liked Catherine because she liked him first. At least, that is how I understood it in this passage:

…his affection originated in nothing better than gratitude, or, in other words, that a persuasion of her partiality for him had been the only cause of giving her [Catherine] a serious thought.

Northanger Abbey is a worthwhile read. Or if you’re too lazy to read its intricate English, just watch the 1986 film. There’s the more recent 2007 TV drama. Fair warning though: I haven’t seen either of those adaptations, so I can’t guarantee that they’d be loyal to the book.

Have fun reading!

What’s Up With Pottermore?

With all the hype going around this new website, I decided to jump in the bandwagon, so to speak. I’m not really that excited with whatever news Rowling’s got (I’m quite content with the seven books, eight movies and countless admirable people surrounding the franchise), but that’s not me saying I don’t care.

The owls are gathering... Find out why soon

Because I care, really. It’s just my crappy internet connection working against me. The highest it can go is 33 kbps — 50 on a good day, 10 on a bad — so that means I can’t open up YouTube. However, diligently scouring through the many articles on the internet, this is what I got:

  • J.K Rowling’s announcing something on the 23rd of June; the YouTube link is for the countdown
  • It has nothing to do with the upcoming movie
  • No matter how much the fans pray, the announcement has nothing to do with a new set of Potter books, either… *insert sad face*
  • On the brighter side, it could either be…
    1. A virtual encyclopedia — I read somewhere that Rowling was planning to do this years ago. I wonder what’s going to happen to Harry Potter Lexicon if this is true.
    2. A social networking community — this would be my favorite, since I’m an avid social networking geek. I would love to connect with other Harry Potter fans.
    3. Last but not the least, a multi-player online role-playing game.

I’ve had my fair share of RPGs — Hogwarts New Zealand comes to mind at the moment — and I have a strong feeling that this might be answer. I mean, it’s PotterMORE. Potter Multiplayer Online Role-playing Experience. Need I say more?

I can’t take credit for the idea, seeing as it’s not mine. I got that from this link. Still, I think the idea has credit. While I’m still rooting for the social networking community, I’m not saying no to an RPG.


Over and out.

#23 – A picture of your favorite book

I can’t say I have a favorite book, seeing as I’ve read so much I can’t even remember the last name of the authors, let alone any major plot lines other than she was the bad guy and he was the father of the good guy who was the secret weapon — or whatever.

What is a favorite book, anyway? Am I just supposed to look at the fiction books, or are non-fiction books allowed to? How about ebooks, because I have plenty of them.

In my opinion, a favorite book is book, fiction-wise, that is so well written the reader just can’t put it down. The reader would have to forced to read it first thing in the morning and wouldn’t be able to let go until it’s late at night. The reader would have to be forced to read-walk and to read while eating. The reader would have to be moved so that after reading the last word and seeing the great expanse of blank page after that last paragraph, he or she would just sit back and look blankly ahead and just sigh for a story well written.

I’m picky about books, and I don’t like mistakes. When I see a typographical error or an excess in punctuation — hello Stephenie Meyer and your addiction to commas — then I’d feel that slight tingle of annoyance. And that’d just ruin the story for me.

Though I like guessing at what would happen, if I am proven correct and that spooky neighbor really did turn out to be the bad guy, then I’d lose a little respect for the author. I want something that would make me gasp out loud and shriek to the world (i.e. my friends and family) that I did not see that coming. I want to think back on that moment, think back on my reaction, hours later and just smile because a good story made me react like that.

To quote a wise sage whose name I can’t recall right now:

A truly great book should be read in youth, again in maturity and once more in old age…

So if I had to choose a favorite book — and skipping the Harry Potter series because that would be an unfair advantage ;D — I would have to choose the following two books (because I can’t choose between them):

  1. Emma by Jane Austen, a book I’ve been reading since the beginning of the year and had finished just as summer started 
  2. and Ella Enchanted by Gail Carlson Levine, a sweet story I’ve read in one day
Emma I’ve chosen because I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve laughed out loud while reading it. And Mr. Knightley is ever so lovable. ^_^
As for Ella Enchanted, I just really like those kind of stories that are so sweet and innocent. And the love story between Ella and Char, in my opinion, was not mentioned enough, it made me crave for more.

So there you have it, folks. My two favorite books. Care to tell me yours?