Tag Archives: reading

Currently Reading…Jane Eyre

8 Nov

Okay so I’m on a sort of classics reading binge right now. Not sure what initially sparked it but I sure am glad it happened! I think it might be due to the fact that at least once a year, I read my favorite book of all time, Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden (you can read a bit more about my obsession with TSG here). Though I took AP English in High School and plenty of World Lit classes in College, I somehow never read Jane Eyre of Wuthering Heights! I know, I know! I’m missing out right? I would certainly agree as I am currently 100  pages into Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte’s masterpiece and I can defiantly see why this book has had such an endearing quality through the centuries.

Yes, the book is dark and brooding but that is part of the charm of it; we all have a dark spot inside us, some place that recognizes Jane’s pain and even revels in the icy winters and barren landscape of the Yorkshire moors. I grew up in North Eastern Pennsylvania and have experienced cold that pierces your lungs and freezes your tears and I just love how Charlotte Bronte evokes those memories of the cold, the way it settles into your body, into your hair. I love Jane’s perspective, especially the ‘I’s of her speech that gives the reader a window into the very soul of our protagonist. I also deeply love that Jane is a heroine similar to Jane Austen’s Elizabeth Bennett in that she is strong willed, even in a society that balks so freely at that trait in a woman. She bites her tongue but then she also does not shy away from defending herself and I think that is what makes her so admirable. Jane is far from perfect but she always feels flesh and blood.

 

I feel like I’ve discovered a secret little treasure in this novel (okay, it’s a literary masterpiece so not really secret but maybe…new to me?). I look forward to my evenings after dinner has been made,work has been finished and baby has been put to bed, when I can curl up in front of the fire with a mug of hot chocolate (and occasionally, a hot toddy!) and delve into the mysterious and magical world of Jane Eyre.

I cannot wait to see the new movie starring Michael Fastbender and Mia Wasikowska but I’m one of those people that have to read the book first. It’s a fine line between speeding through a novel to get to the dessert: the movie, and savoring each line. I hear the movie is beautiful and lucky for me, Netflix also has an earlier version on instant-stream starring miss Sookie Stackhouse herself and Charlotte Gainsborough.

Have you read Jane Eyre? What are your thoughts?

 

 

In the meantime, here are some stunning covers for the many, many editions of Jane Eyre out there! (I just love a good book cover, don’t you??)

The Many Faces of Jane Eyre:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Into The Book: Daughter of Smoke and Bone

8 Nov

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor evokes so many beautiful landscapes, especially those in Prague. So I thought I’d gather a collection of images of the actual locations described in the book. Get ready to bask in some Gothic architectural beauty!

Below is the stunning loveliness that is The Charles Bridge: a medieval bridge in Prague where a lot of the scenes in the book take place. From Zouzana’s epic marionette show, to Akiva’s fight between his Seraph siblings. It’s pretty easy to see why this gorgeous location played such a large role in the story.

You can totally picture some angels going to battle here can’t you?

Here are some images of Prague in Winter (when the book takes place) and the incredible streets that make up this fairy tale city.

 

 

Laini Taylor does such an excellent job of describing the heat, the rich scents and sounds of Marrakesh that you hardly need visual accompaniment but just in case…Here’s where Karou goes to meet Izil to pick up teeth and secrets and here’s where she first spots Akiva!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now Elsewhere…is whole other story. As for now, you’ll have to use your imagination!

 

Happy Reading!

Currently Reading…The Duchess by Amanda Foreman

27 Feb

So yes, I’m reading two books at once which can be confusing except the the subjects of both (Marie Antoinette and Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire) are so similar that it makes the whole precess feel almost like reading one super awesome book. Really. The two famous women of the late 18th knew each other well and became close friends when Georgiana went to Paris and stayed with the Queen at Versailles.

Both women had married young and were around the same age. Both had experience with distant and rather emotionally frozen husbands and both had a deep love for fashion. Just as Marie Antoinette set the fashion world on fire in France, Georgiana was the fashion queen of England. Both women were hounded endlessly by the paparazzi of the day (the local papers) and criticized for their outlandish fashion statements.

Above, the Duchess of Devonshire is being mocked for her methods of political gain, shown kissing the butcher the gain his vote for The Whig Party. The Whigs were the political party endorsed by the Duchess and her Husband as well as their inner circle known as the ton.
Above, a scene of gambling which became infamously synonymous with the Devonshire house and their aristocratic friends. Georgiana had a known gambling problem and throughout her life, incurred large debts because of it.
This image above shows Marie Anotinette and her husband King Louis in a satire of her ‘barnyard life’. The queen was outwardly criticized for her ‘make-believe peasant life’ she created and lived out in Le Petit Trianon, a gift home from her husband.
This image shows Marie Anotoinette’s famous hairstyle in which she wore a boat atop a large pouf in her hair to commemorate a French Naval victory. Georgiana also famously wore a similar look.
Though neither woman could be called a saint, they both suffered similar feelings of being imprisoned in their marriages and both felt the constant need to ‘preform’ for the public as well as the fellow members of the aristocratic class. Both women used fashion as a means to express themselves and to gain attention and political prowess in a time where women had very little. Are you madly in love love with them yet?
Though there have been countless books chronicling the life of Marie Antoinette, none before had analysed the role her fashion choices had in the making of the woman and the hostilities against her. If you want a totally different take on 18th century life, politics and propaganda (and of course, the queen herself) you MUST read Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution.
 I have already seen the movie The Duchess staring Kiera Knightly and Ralph Fiennes but I was not a huge fan (I think I’m in the majority here but stay with me). I feel like it focused too heavily on just a few aspects of her life and didn’t really give good insight into just how insecure Georgiana felt from her upbringing (her constant need to please her parents is discussed thoroughly in Amanda Foreman’s book). Though it was a feast for the eyes and the actors did an amazing job at bringing the characters to life, the movie was very, very depressing. And I know Georgiana’s life was far from happy but it would have been nice to have given her more moments of happiness  along with showing her suffering.  Below are some images form the film version of The Duchess.
Above: A costume from the film on display, the wedding dress.
Above: More of Georgiana’s amazing costumes worn by Kiera throughout the film.
I have a major crush on this hat.

Currently Reading…Queen of Fashion:What Marie Antoinette Wore To The Revolution By Caroline Weber

27 Feb

Everyone knows at least something about the infamous Queen of France Marie Antoinette. Where you can only recall that she was beheaded during the French Revolution or that she had killer style (Sofia Copella’s film comes to mind) there’s no doubt that the woman was amazing. For her to still be a staple of popular culture today, more than 200 years later, is no small feat.

I’m currently working on a novel that takes place in the late 1700’s and though it will deal only in part with France, I couldn’t resist the plethora of visual-imagery-eye candy (can i coin that?) that is Caroline Weber’s book. It details the beautiful complexity of life, love, politics and fashion in the young queen’s life and how her fashion choices reflected her political views, her emotions and even played a part in her tragic downfall. Fashion, as always, has a story to tell that goes far beyond the lines of color and structure. Back in the 18th century, it was a for women who had very little rights and freedoms, to express themselves.

So without further ado (no idea if that’s the correct spelling), I give you all things fashion and Marie.

* Fun fact from the book: Marie loved to ride horses and often did so wearing trousers and in a ‘more masculine’ ridding attire. She also fashioned ‘masculine-feminine’ jackets and tailoring details.

If I could live inside these paper pages…

27 Feb

If you are anything like me, then you’ll know the feeling of falling so madly, head-over-heels in love with a book that you want to just step inside it and stay a while. I often find myself slipping off into fantasy land (which can include anything from a Pharaoh’s Palace to Hogwarts Castle, or rural Scotland in the 1700’s…to name just a few). I wanted to create a blog where I could talk about and share the wonderful experience of reading and where I could gather materials (supplementary shall we say?) to draw a more tangible picture of the book and bring it to life.

Though I am a fan of book clubs in the sense that you get to share a reading expeirience with a group of people AND have someone else to talk to about it (it’s just the worst when you don’t!) I also find that they can be too constircting. As a full-time young mom with two media-related jobs, I often don’t have all the time I would like to be able to read. So when I do, I don’t want to read something that I’m just not interested in. Maybe I’m being stubborn (okay, probably) but the idea of ‘required reading’ is what always bumbed me out in school. It just takes the fun out of it for me, to have to keep up even when you’re not at all intersted. My dad has the amazing quality of being able to finish a book, no matter what, but I on the other hand, am way more picky/impatient. I’m by no means bashing book clubs; in fact, I think they can be great and I’ve always wanted to start one.

Which leads me to…why I’m starting this blog. Not necissarly to review books (there are plenty of great blogs and websites already that do that) and not really a book club but…kind of? I really just want a place where I can share and store information collected from around the web pertaining to the real-life (if the situation calls for it) world of the books I read. It will be a work in progress to better understand historical context, art, characters and the world of reading that makes each reader experience unique. Thanks for visiting and please feel free to leave me any tips you have for improvement!

xoxo

Rachael