Tag: classic literature

24 Hours of Reading

I was trying to decide what book to read next when I noticed I have a nice collection of books under 200 pages so I decided to have an impromptu readathon. I didn’t realise that reading for 24 hours in 48 hours is already a thing but that’s what I decided to try here.
I was very tired at the end of attempting this but it was a lot of fun and really helped me catch up with my reading goal.

The Books

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby

THE GREAT GATSBY, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story is of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his new love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

The Bloody Chamber

Angela Carter was a storytelling sorceress, the literary godmother of such contemporary masters of supernatural fiction as Neil Gaiman, David Mitchell, Audrey Niffenegger, J. K. Rowling, and Kelly Link, who introduces this edition of Carter’s most celebrated book, published for the seventy-fifth anniversary of her birth.

In The Bloody Chamber – which includes the story that is the basis of Neil Jordan’s 1984 movie The Company of Wolves – Carter spins subversively dark and sensual versions of familiar fairy tales and legends like “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Bluebeard,” “Puss in Boots,” and “Beauty and the Beast,” giving them exhilarating new life in a style steeped in the romantic trappings of the gothic tradition.

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The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

The Notebook (The Notebook, #1)

How far can love endure?

Noah Calhoun has just returned from World War Two. Attempting to escape the ghosts of battle, he tries to concentrate on restoring an old plantation home to its former glory. And yet he is haunted by images of the beautiful girl he met there fourteen years before, a girl who captured his heart like no other.

But when these distant memories begin to slide into reality, the passion that had lain still is ignited once more. Though so much is in their way, the miraculous force of their love refuses to fade.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Northanger Abbey

‘Northanger Abbey’ tells the story of a young girl, Catherine Morland who leaves her sheltered, rural home to enter the busy, sophisticated world of Bath in the late 1790s. Austen observes with insight and humour the interaction between Catherine and the various characters whom she meets there, and tracks her growing understanding of the world about her.

In this, her first full-length novel, Austen also fixes her sharp, ironic gaze on other kinds of contemporary novel, especially the Gothic school made famous by Ann Radcliffe. Catherine’s reading becomes intertwined with her social and romantic adventures, adding to the uncertainties and embarrassments she must undergo before finding happiness.

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne Elaine Howlin Literary Blog

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Scarlet Letter

This is a troubling story of crime, sin, guilt, punishment and expiation, set in the rigid moral climate of 17th-century New England. The young mother of an illegitimate child confronts her Puritan judges.

However, it is not so much her harsh sentence, but the cruelties of slowly exposed guilt as her lover is revealed, that hold the reader enthralled all the way to the book’s poignant climax.

The Girls of Slender Means by Muriel Spark

The Girls Of Slender Means

Like the May of Teck Club itself, “three times window shattered since 1940 but never directly hit,” the young women of London after WWII do their best to act as if the world were back to normal: practicing elocution, jostling over suitors and a single Schiaparelli gown. Chosen by Anthony Burgess as one of the Best Modern Novels in the Sunday Times of London, The Girls of Slender Means is a taut and eerily perfect novel by an author The New York Times has called “one of this century’s finest creators of comic-metaphysical entertainment.”

Venus in Furs by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch

Venus in Furs

Severin von Kusiemski is obsessed with the Greek goddess of love, and is consumed by the desire to be dominated. When he meets his voluptuous neighbour, Wanda von Dunajew, he is enthralled, and convinces her to enter into a contract: she is to be his Mistress, he will be her slave. So they travel from the harsh Carpathian slopes to verdant Italy, where Severin’s once-reluctant Mistress embraces her power with an icy fervour, testing her slave’s devotion to breaking point. This otherworldly study of dominance, lust and submission broke new ground in literature and continues to challenge our conventions of love and sexuality.

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Get Ready With Me & Hans Christian Andersen

Hi everyone,

I’m doing another Get Ready With Me and a classic tale today. I decided to do The Emperor’s New Clothes pairing it with a nude look to go with his new outfit 😉

Hope you enjoy the video.

The Emperor’s New Clothes

Denmark

Many years ago there lived an emperor who loved beautiful new clothes so much that he spent all his money on being finely dressed. His only interest was in going to the theatre or in riding about in his carriage where he could show off his new clothes. He had a different costume for every hour of the day. Indeed, where it was said of other kings that they were at court, it could only be said of him that he was in his dressing room!

One day two swindlers came to the emperor’s city. They said that they were weavers, claiming that they knew how to make the finest cloth imaginable. Not only were the colours and the patterns extraordinarily beautiful, but in addition, this material had the amazing property that it was to be invisible to anyone who was incompetent or stupid.

“It would be wonderful to have clothes made from that cloth,” thought the emperor. “Then I would know which of my men are unfit for their positions, and I’d also be able to tell clever people from stupid ones.” So he immediately gave the two swindlers a great sum of money to weave their cloth for him.

They set up their looms and pretended to go to work, although there was nothing at all on the looms. They asked for the finest silk and the purest gold, all of which they hid away, continuing to work on the empty looms, often late into the night.

“I would really like to know how they are coming with the cloth!” thought the emperor, but he was a bit uneasy when he recalled that anyone who was unfit for his position or stupid would not be able to see the material. Of course, he himself had nothing to fear, but still, he decided to send someone else to see how the work was progressing.

“I’ll send my honest old minister to the weavers,” thought the emperor. He’s the best one to see how the material is coming. He is very sensible, and no one is more worthy of his position than he.

So the good old minister went into the hall where the two swindlers sat working at their empty looms. “Goodness!” thought the old minister, opening his eyes wide. “I cannot see a thing!” But he did not say so.

The two swindlers invited him to step closer, asking him if it wasn’t a beautiful design and if the colours weren’t magnificent. They pointed to the empty loom, and the poor old minister opened his eyes wider and wider. He still could see nothing, for nothing was there. “Gracious,” he thought. “Is it possible that I am stupid? I have never thought so. Am I unfit for my position? No one must know this. No, it will never do for me to say that I was unable to see the material.”

“You aren’t saying anything!” said one of the weavers.

“Oh, it is magnificent! The very best!” said the old minister, peering through his glasses. “This pattern and these colours! Yes, I’ll tell the emperor that I am very satisfied with it!”

“That makes us happy!” said the two weavers, and they called the colours and the unusual pattern by name. The old minister listened closely so that he would be able to say the same things when he reported back to the emperor, and that is exactly what he did.

The swindlers now asked for more money, more silk, and more gold, all of which they hid away. Then they continued to weave away as before on the empty looms.

The emperor sent other officials as well to observe the weavers’ progress. They too were startled when they saw nothing, and they too reported back to him how wonderful the material was, advising him to have it made into clothes that he could wear in a grand procession. The entire city was alive in praise of the cloth. “Magnifique! Nysseligt! Excellent!” they said, in all languages. The emperor awarded the swindlers with medals of honour, bestowing on each of them the title Lord Weaver.

The swindlers stayed up the entire night before the procession was to take place, burning more than sixteen candles. Everyone could see that they were in a great rush to finish the emperor’s new clothes. They pretended to take the material from the looms. They cut in the air with large scissors. They sewed with needles but without any thread. Finally, they announced, “Behold! The clothes are finished!”

The emperor came to them with his most distinguished cavaliers. The two swindlers raised their arms as though they were holding something and said, “Just look at these trousers! Here is the jacket! This is the cloak!” and so forth. “They are as light as spider webs! You might think that you didn’t have a thing on, but that is the good thing about them.”

“Yes,” said the Cavaliers, but they couldn’t see a thing, for nothing was there.

“Would his imperial majesty, if it pleases his grace, kindly remove his clothes.” said the swindlers. “Then we will fit you with the new ones, here in front of the large mirror.”

The emperor took off all his clothes, and the swindlers pretended to dress him, piece by piece, with the new ones that were to be fitted. They took hold of his waist and pretended to tie something about him. It was the train. Then the emperor turned and looked into the mirror.

“Goodness, they suit you well! What a wonderful fit!” they all said. “What a pattern! What colours! Such luxurious clothes!”

“The canopy to be carried above your majesty awaits outside,” said the grandmaster of ceremonies.

“Yes, I am ready!” said the emperor. “Don’t they fit well?” He turned once again toward the mirror because it had to appear as though he were admiring himself in all his glory.

The chamberlains who were to carry the train held their hands just above the floor as if they were picking up the train. As they walked they pretended to hold the train high, for they could not let anyone notice that they could see nothing.

The emperor walked beneath the beautiful canopy in the procession, and all the people in the street and in their windows said, “Goodness, the emperor’s new clothes are incomparable! What a beautiful train on his jacket. What a perfect fit!” No one wanted it to be noticed that he could see nothing, for then it would be said that he was unfit for his position or that he was stupid. None of the emperor’s clothes had ever before received such praise.

“But he doesn’t have anything on!” said a small child.

“Good Lord, let us hear the voice of an innocent child!” said the father, and whispered to another what the child had said.

“A small child said that he doesn’t have anything on!”

Finally, everyone was saying, “He doesn’t have anything on!”

The emperor shuddered, for he knew that they were right, but he thought, “The procession must go on!” He carried himself even more proudly, and the chamberlains walked along behind carrying the train that wasn’t there.


The Hare’s Bride ASMR Reading with Forest Sounds

Trying my hand at something new (again). I absolutely love ASMR videos, playlists and podcasts (especially coffee shop and writing ones), they’re great for helping me relax and get to sleep. One of my favourites is listening to someone speaking. I listen to the Stuff You Should Know podcast the most (which isn’t ASMR but works the same) and the Sleep and Relax ASMR podcast at night. And for ambience during the day I mostly listen to ASMR Rooms on YouTube. Seriously her videos are amazing!

Anyway, I wanted to do a reading one featuring a classic fairytale. I really enjoyed doing this and want to do more so I hope you enjoy it 🙂 (I’ll do more even if you don’t though :P) I think I’ll do more fairytales and some ghost stories.

And just so you know I’m Irish so I hope you like Irish accents 😉

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January Wrap Up

I feel like I’ve been starting every wrap up lately with “So I didn’t read much this month” and yeah… I didn’t read much this month. I don’t know what’s going on guys but I’ve been slow on reading lately. This month I did take an impromptu trip to the Canary Islands so that slowed me down a bit. I’ve never booked flights and gone somewhere in such a short space of time. My parents were there for three weeks and kept sending me photos of how nice and sunny and warm it was there. So I had a look at flights, found some cheap ones with Ryanair and joined them for a weeks. It was fabulous and I want to go back now!!!

My laptop is kaput so I don’t have any pretty pictures of the books this month sadly.


I felt like it was shaping up to be a bad reading month but Uprooted took care of that. If you only take one book from this review take Uprooted. It was so good!

Lady Chatterley's LoverSunglasses After DarkRed Rising (Red Rising, #1)UprootedMacRieve (Immortals After Dark, #14)Rosemary and Rue (October Daye, #1)

Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence ★★★★☆

I was surprised by this book. It was a lot more than what I was expecting. I thought it was just going to be a story about a woman’s affair with a man of lower class and then they’d run away together. Job done. But I think there’s a lot more going on. There’s a lot of discussion about class and how poor people can become rich people, and a lot of exploration into the dynamics of romantic relationships and how they evolve.

Sunglasses After Dark by Nancy A. Collins ★★★☆☆

Oh man. Where to start with this one. The thing is there is a really good story here but it got bogged down in lengthy flashbacks and recurring lazy editing. This book came out in 1989 which is fine BUT for some reason it was re-released and modernised in the last few years. Well she attempted to modernise it anyway, all she did was make a mess. The editing is so bad there are sometimes whole sentences repeated with just one or two words changed in it and a lot of spelling mistakes. At one point faces is written as feces. The odd mention of a DVD player to modernise it doesn’t effect anything and confused me because I knew this book came out in ’89 before reading it. And bumping the current events forward in time messed with the timeline for the flashbacks also making the human characters a lot older than I think they were meant to be.

Red Rising by Pierce Brown ★★★☆☆

It was ok… I had high expectations after reading a lot of reviews for the series but it didn’t really reach them. The concept is very interesting and it started out really well but I lost interest during the training segments. The story seemed to just stop. There is a lot of character development during that time but… meh

Uprooted by Naomi Novik ★★★★★

Amazing!!! Absolutely loved it! The synopsis makes it sound like a run of the mill Beauty and the Beast retelling but there is so much more to this story. It is amazing!!
I will definitely be rereading this. I don’t want to say too much about it but there are wizards, witches and an evil enchanted forest.

MacRieve by Kresley Cole ★★★★☆

Loved it but I did get a little bit bored near the end. I think it was stretched out just a little too much. Cole has a formula to her romance books so it can get a bit predictable. I think I just wasn’t in the right state of mind while reading it (I probably read this one too soon after the previous book). Overall I loved the story and can’t wait to find out what happens with Webb and those nasty wizard guys.

Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire ★★★★☆

Awesome! I think this is a series that I will really enjoy.
Not sure about the audio though… The narrator is fine when doing Toby’s voice but everyone else sounds weird and often whiny. She pronounced a few Irish terms wrong which annoyed me a bit. Surely wouldn’t hurt to check before recording how to say something, would it?

 

All of the books mentioned are available from Book Depository with free worldwide shipping.

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Far From the Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy

14800528Title: Far From the Madding Crowd
 
Author: Thomas Hardy
 
Genre: Classic Romance
 
Series: n/a
 
Goodreads Rating: 3.91/5
 
 
Synopsis: Hardy’s powerful novel of swift sexual passion and slow-burning loyalty centres on Bathsheba Everdene, a proud working woman whose life is complicated by three different men – respectable farmer Boldwood, seductive Sergeant Troy and devoted Gabriel – making her the object of scandal and betrayal. Vividly portraying the superstitions and traditions of a small rural community, “Far from the Madding Crowd” shows the precarious position of a woman in a man’s world.
 
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What I thought about the book: I really enjoyed this though I did have a few issues with Bathsheba’s character. She was just a little too proud for me, it got a bit annoying. Overall the story was great. I love the slow burning romance and the cataclysmic repercussions to people’s actions.
I may do a full review (with spoilers) for this one…
 
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My Rating:
4 paws