Bride & Prejudice!

brideandprejudiceAs you may recall, this is the 200th anniversary of Pride & Prejudice and I’m participating in a year round challenge hosted by Austenprose.

For March, I watched Bride & Prejudice. This movie has been on my must see list since it was released. I can’t believe this was the first time I’ve actually seen it. I’m such a fan of Bend it Like Beckham that I knew I’d want to see everything from this director.

Bride & Prejudice takes the classic Jane Austen story and updated to modern day India. Lalita (the Elizabeth character) is attending a friend’s engagement party when she first meets her Mr. Darcy. He’s an American businessmess looking to open a hotel in India as the one he’s staying in is not up to snuff.

This movie excellently showcases all the major themes from the original novel with a new emphasis on classism. Mr. Darcy as a wealthy American considers his way of life superior than those in India because of his wealth and amenities. It leads to this interesting ourburst from Lalita which I loved.

brideandprejudiceindia

I found the movie plot to be quite realistic. However, I didn’t really find Mr. Darcy very enticing. I’m not sure what Lalita really saw in him but I’m still glad they found each other. The one aspect of this movie that made it different then all other adaptations is the fact that it’s a BOLLYWOOD movie which means music and dancing!!

brideandprejudicedancing

Previous challenge entries: 1 / 2

Are you taking the Pride & Prejudice challenge? What are you reading at the moment? Have you seen Bride & Prejudice? Do you love it?

Add me on Goodreads!

Celebrating St. Paddy’s Day with my favourite Irish writers!

cliffsofmoher
{Cliffs of Moher on my last trip to Ireland}

One of my favourite things about visiting Ireland is their admiration for their literary heros. I’m not sure it’s possible to not be reminded of James Joyce or Oscar Wilde while you’re there. Their literary history is constantly referenced throughout the country. I love that. I don’t see a lot of monuments to Canadian literary icons when wandering around here. Not to say that there aren’t any, I just haven’t seen them.

Anyway, last year I posted My 5 Little Bits about Ireland and this year I thought I’d add to it. As I mentioned, Ireland has a rich literary history. Without a doubt, that tradition has continued to this day. In fact, I find that many of my favourite writers are Irish women. Here are my top two. If you haven’t read a book by these ladies recently, I suggest you pick one up!

bettertogether
{Source}

Sheila O’Flanagan: I was introduced to Sheila O’Flanagan’s books when my parents received a recommendation from a bookstore employee. I was working at a resort at the time and they included it as part of a care package. I’m not sure which book I read first but after that moment, I made sure to finish her entire catalog. Her latest, “Better Together” focused on life in a small town from the perspectives of two different women. The first, Sheridan, a young woman who’s just lost her job, boyfriend and apartment and Nina whose husband of decades has found national fame and isn’t sure if the small town life is right for him anymore. The book struck a perfect balance of the romance of new love and the difficulties that may come with older relationships.

mercyclose
{Source}

Marian Keyes: Upon my discovery of Sheila O’Flanagan, I started looking for Irish authors specifically. Marian Keyes was another terrific find. I loved the way she marries serious situations with romantic comedy. I particularly like her series about the Walsh sisters which has been spread out over a decade with a book focuses on each one. The latest in the series, “The Mystery of Mercy Close“, has sister Helen a private investigator, trying to track down a missing member of a newly reunited boyband. While trying to solve the case, she’s also struggling with depression which she has been hospitalized with before. Although, you would think this would be a completely maudlin story, it’s actually very interesting and quite funny.

Who are you favourite Irish writers? How are you celebrating St. Patrick’s Day?

Pretty Reads: Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

001

As you may recall, this is the 200th anniversary of Pride & Prejudice and I’m participating in a year round challenge hosted by Austenprose.

For February, I re-read Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding. I selected this book because it is probably the most famous modern adaptation of Pride & Prejudice. It’s also one of my favourites and I haven’t read it since the movie was released.

I clearly remember reading this book for the first time. Half of the time, I was trying so hard to figure out what a stone was. I wasn’t quite the accomplished anglophile that I am today. Ha! Re-reading a book after so many years (and so after so many viewings of the movie) made it feel like a whole new experience. I even found the copy I read at my parents home so I could read the same edition. The book is still laugh out loud funny.

For instance, “It struck me as pretty ridiculous to be called Mr. Darcy and to stand on your own looking snooty at a party. It’s like being called Heathcliff and insisting on spending the entire evening in the garden, shouting “Cathy” and banging your head against a tree.” – Bridget Jones

I think Bridget Jones became so popular because she’s a relatable heroine. It’s easy to dismiss her as a bit of an idiot when in my opinion, she’s just not bothered. She has a job but she’s not really passionate about it. She wants to lose weight but she’s never actively doing anything about it. She only goes about two days without smoking or drinking. It’s as though she’s worked out in her head how she has to achieve certain tasks to be perfect and she’ll only be happy when she’s achieved them.

number of current boyfriends zero

The movie, although fairly different from the book, still manages to capture its essence. Certain events are moved around or changed but the best bits of the dialogue are included and I think they did a really good job with it. I remember when it was announced that Colin Firth was going to be Mark. It made me so happy because although I barely knew who he was, I knew that Bridget had a crush on him in the book. It was so clever to include him. This has become one of my favourite movies as well. We won’t talk about the sequel (although I still watch it often).

Previous challenge entries: 1

Are you taking the Pride & Prejudice challenge? What are you reading at the moment? Do you also love Bridget Jones?

Add me on Goodreads!

Pretty Reads: Jane Austen Marriage Manual by Kim Izzo

Hello!

I hope you’re all having a terrific Saturday so far! Unfortunately, I am not. My throat is so scratchy and awful. It’s been tea & soup for me all day. I’m hoping I feel better tomorrow. 😦

Anyway, on to the topic of the post at hand. As you may recall, this is the 200th anniversary of Pride & Prejudice and I’m participating in a year round challenge that’s hosted by Austenprose.

For January, (I’m a bit behind), I read Jane Austen’s Marriage Manual by Kim Izzo. I selected this book because it was a new release written by a Canadian. Surprisingly, I hadn’t heard of this book until it was mentioned in a magazine article right before this challenge kicked off. It was a great excuse to pick it up from the local library.

marraigemanual{Image from Goodreads}

This book tells the story of Kate, a magazine editor in her late 30s who has recently lost her job. Well, she’s more like a freelancer who prefers short term contracts than toiling away at the same organization for too long. After she loses her job, she suffers another personal loss that propels her into action to marry for money. Since she was able to secure a freelance article to write an article on how young women are using Austen’s techniques to marry for money, she decides she still has some gas in the tank and she should try to snag a rich husband for herself. Alright for some.

Naturally, all does not go accordingly plan. Yet, miraculously, it all works out in the end. I hope I’m not spoiling anything but we all knew that was going to happen.

I really enjoyed this book for a couple of reasons. I enjoyed that the lead character was more than 26 years old. I have nothing against 26 year olds but it seems that most single lady stories are centered around women under 30 and it’s nice to read something different. I also liked that although she had a bit of a glamourous job (beauty editor) she wasn’t really all about fashion & celebrity. Again, not that those are bad things (I love them!), just that those are very common interests for a book characters.

I also loved her new bff Fawn Chamberlain. Fawn’s an older woman who’s married for money a few times. She’s sort of Kate’s fairy godmother dispensing invaluable advice to Kate. I’d love to see a book of Fawn’s exploits.

The one part of the story that seemed to disconnect was her relationship with Mr. Money. I can’t tell you more than that!

All in all, I really enjoyed this book. It was a fun read without becoming ridiculous. Although there’s the typical bit of writing magic, the story itself is fairly believable.

Are you taking the Pride & Prejudice challenge? What are you reading at the moment?

Add me on Goodreads!

Happy Birthday Pride & Prejudice!

Today’s marks the 200th anniversary of Pride & Prejudice! Do you think that our dear Ms. Austen had any idea that we’d be reading her works so many years in the future? It almost seems as though she’s had a renaissance over the past few years. Starting really (in my opinion) with Bridget Jones’s Diary which reminded everyone about Pride & Prejudice and the mini series it inspired. I know this might be sacrilege to some but I prefer the 2005 film because Colin Firth’s Mr. Darcy actually makes me nervous.

 {This moment of flirtation is everything.}

I think I was first really made aware of Pride & Prejudice in the Meg Ryan / Tom Hanks film, You’ve Got Mail. It was Kathleen’s (Meg Ryan) favourite book and she described Elizabeth Bennet as, well I’ll let her tell you.

Actually, now I really want to watch that movie! I do love Elizabeth more than Mr. Darcy. She’s such a modern woman. If you would take her exact words and characteristics from 200 years ago, she would still be considered modern and relevant today. Casee did a great post today on how amazing Elizabeth is which sums up my thoughts perfectly.

pride-prejudice-bicentenary-challenge-2013-x-200If you’re looking to celebrate 200 years of Pride & Prejudice, please join me with this Bicentary Challenge hosted at Austenprose. I came across it a couple of weeks back and it sounds like so much fun. I’m going whole hog and signing up for the Aficionada challenge (9-12 selections). I’m actually hoping to focus more on new items as opposed to re-reads although there are a few of those. I’m so excited to read Bridget Jones’s Diary again, I can’t even tell you.

January: The Jane Austen Marriage Manual – Kim Izzo (book)
February: Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding (book)
March: Bride & Prejudice (film)
April: Pride & Prejudice – Jane Austen (book)
May: Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife – Linda Berdoll (book)
June: Pride & Prejudice (2005 film) (I love this movie so much I’m sure I’ll watch it more than once.
July: Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart – Beth Pattillo (book)
August: Lost in Austen (miniseries)
September: Midnight in Austenland – Shannon Hale (book)
October: TBD
November: TBD
December: TBD

Since there are always so many new Austen adaptations I didn’t want to set anything in stone so early on. I’ll update my list as more ideas come in. If you have anything you’d recommend, please let me know!

Are you a Pride & Prejudice fan? What do you love about it?

Pretty Reads: Favourite Books of 2012!

Hello hello!

I hope you all had a very enjoyable holiday!! Unfortunately, I was having some pretty awful allergy problems so it wasn’t the best it could be but I’ve definitely had worse. 🙂

This year, I found that I had a lot of books that I loved which is terrific. Thanks to Goodreads, I’m actually able to remember them by the time December rolls around. Honestly, what did I do before Goodreads? I love it so much! Also, I easily achieved my goal of reading 60 books this year. This went a lot better than last year’s goal of 50 that I kept putting off until the fall and then rushed to complete. Using goodreads to track books actually reminds me to make more time for reading. It’s so easy to put it off when you can easily spend an hour on your iphone doing nothing.

Anyway, here are my favourite books for 2012!

1. Favourite Thriller: Before I Go To Sleep – S.J. Watson

This was easy for me. I literally could not put it down. It’s a quick read but I was so anxious about the outcome that I couldn’t stand to wait until the morning. I think I stayed up until about 3 am to finish this. Then I just laid back, stared at the ceiling and thought about it some more. I loved the layout as you discover what’s happening at the same time as the main character. Fantastic!

2. Most Unexpected Favourite: The Sisters Brothers – Patrick DeWitt

This was a book club selection. Otherwise, I’m not sure I’d have ever picked it up. I mean, it’s a Western and that’s not really my think, is it? However, I really found this book to be so interesting. It was another one of those stories where you don’t really have all the information until the end so even if it’s not really a mystery there are some things you’re curious about. This book details the relationship of The Sisters brothers who are hired hit men as they go in search of their latest job. The dynamic between the brothers was really interesting and I liked how their roles changed throughout the book. I also really enjoyed how much joy they got from brushing their teeth for the first time.

3. Favourite New (to me) Series: Her Royal Spyness – Rhys Bowen

Easy for me to pick this series. I love it so much as you may have read here. I have to say I really enjoyed watching the Downton Abbey Christmas Special where they visit Scotland. I thought that Lady Georgiana would approve.

4. Favourite Memoir: Paris in Love – Eloisa James

I am a sucker for an expat in Paris memoir. Unfortunately, I never enjoy them as much as I think I’m going to. Fortunately, I really loved this book. Their life in Paris wasn’t really a non stop drama like many of these memoirs are. It was really just a snapshot of their day to day lives. That’s always the part of travelling that I love the best. The imagining that you live in that particular city at that moment. This is why I never really come back with a lot of stuff. I can’t stand to be in stores when I can be walking the streets!

beautifulruins5. Best Travel Fantasy: Beautiful Ruins – Jess Walter

Speaking of travel, I don’t think I visualized a book more this year than Beautiful Ruins. It was such a lovely story combining all of my favourite things : old hollywood, Italy and mystery. It really made me wish I were luxuriating on the coast of the Italian Riveria. {Book Image}

6. Best Chick Lit: Ten Girls to Watch – Charity Shumway

This was actually a recommendation I found on Freshly Pressed! I’m not sure I would have come across this book otherwise. The basic premise is that Dawn finally has her first proper magazine job which is to research the previous winners of a magazine’s Ten Girls To Watch for its 50th Anniversary. Of course there’s roommate and boyfriend drama but that’s not really what I was so impressed with. It’s embarrassing to say this but it was one of the few books I’ve read in this genre where all the women mentors are really very supportive. There’s no Miranda Priestly types here.  I honestly expected some kind of backstabbing, manipulative woman to show up at some point. However, that’s not the purpose of the book. It’s about navigating her life as a new professional  not how many times can she be humiliated in 400 pages.

7. Favourite Ensemble: A Game of Thrones – George RR Martin

You all know how obsessed I am with this series. Hence the scarf:
002
Now that my holiday presents are complete, I should be able to finish this by the end of the weekend. Nerdtastic!

8. Favourite Historical Fiction : The Queen of Last Hopes: The Story of Margaret of Anjou – Susan Higginbotham

I didn’t read as much historical fiction as I did last year which surprised me. I really liked this book as I knew very little about this particular part of history. This was a Goodreads European Royalty Book Club pick. I find it so interesting that many of these stories have suspicions about the heir’s actual parentage. It’s as though the easiest way to bring down a house is to imply that the wife was unfaithful. Sadly, this continues through to the present day. However, at least now there’s DNA testing to silence the critics.

9. Favourite Real Life Book Club Pick : The Forgotten Garden – Kate Morten

This was one of my picks for our book club this year but that’s not the reason it’s on the list! I really loved it! I loved that this story had many different plot points that worked so well together. This story has romantic elements but it’s essentially about the inner dynamics of a family and what you’re willing to give up to keep others happy. This was the first book I’ve read from this author and I can’t wait to read the rest!

10. Favourite Book that lived up to its Hype : Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

I really did not want to read this book. I didn’t like the title or the cover art for some reason. On that basis alone, I decided it was not the book for me. However, I couldn’t ignore how often I read about it on one book blog or another. In the end, I decided to pick it up from the library and just give it a go. I had no expectations except maybe wanting to not like it. Well, this was a literal don’t-judge-a-book-by-its-cover moment. Much like Before I Go To Sleep, I could not put this down. I think I was up until 3 or 4 am with this. I had put it down a few times in a effort to go to sleep but I was too anxious about what was happening. I literally gasped three times during this book and once I finished, I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

What was your favourite book this year? Let me know! Also, please join me on Goodreads!

Top 10 Tuesday : Top Ten Books On My Summer TBR List

Top 10 Tuesday is a book meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Check them out and join us!

Here are the books I hoping to read this summer:

1.  The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton: It’s my book club book for last month but involves a garden & fairy tales. I’m so on board for this.

2.  Honeymoon with my Brother by Franz Wizner: Also a real life book club pick. I love reading memoirs in the summer. The author’s fiancee calls off the wedding days before so he & his brother go on the honeymoon together and end up travelling around the world. Love the idea of that.

3. The Little Shadows by Marina Endicott: The story revolves around three sisters who are in vaudville.

[Photo Credit: Goodreads]

4. The Last Boyfriend by Nora Roberts: Nothing screams a summer read like Nora. It’s the second book in her latest series which is told from the perspective of three brothers as they restore the local inn to its former glory.

5. Where’s Alice Bliss? by Laura Harrington : See the last Top 10 Tuesday. I’ve been meaning to read this for ages.

6. The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano: See above.

7. Mrs. Tuesday’s Departure by Suzanne Anderson: I won this on Firstreads by Goodreads! Very exciting! It’s a historical fiction book set in WWII Germany. It’s always a thrill to read something by a writer you’ve never read before. You never know what you might discover.

8. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald: I want to read before the film comes out.

9. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier: I’ve wanted to read this forever. I can’t believe I haven’t read it yet.

10. Through No Fault of My Own: A Girl’s Diary of Life on Summit Avenue in the Jazz Age by Coco Irvine: This was recommended by a friend through Goodreads. I didn’t even know you could do that. It’s now my new favourite function on Goodreads overtaking the barcode scan feature on the app.

Join me on Goodreads!

That’s it! I think I should remind myself to take a look back on September 1 to see what I accomplished from this list. Challenge accepted! What’s on your summer reading list?

Top 10 Tuesday : Rewind!! 10 Books I just had to buy…but are still sitting on my bookshelf

I haven’t done a Top 10 in awhile. Mostly because I found that I kept repeating the same books or authors. I’ve decided I’m only going to join in a Top 10 Tuesday if I’m going to be able to include something new. Top 10 Tuesday is a book meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Check them out and join us!

Surprisingly, for someone who reads as much as I do, I don’t actually buy that many books. My reasons are basically that I probably won’t read them a second time and I really have no space for them. If I do buy books it’s usually because they’re on sale, they’re secondhand or I need to purchase for my book club. I also like picking up classics as they’ll probably be re-read and they’re very inexpensive. I prefer getting books from the library because if we don’t use the library, they’re likely to shut them down. I think if I had an e-reader, I would purchase more books.

Here are the books I have waiting to be read that for one reason or another, I’m keeping on the back burner.

All images from Goodreads.

1.  Mansfield Park by Jane Austen: I’m not sure why. I’ve started it then I got distracted by something else. I have to be in the mood for a classic. Purchase at Chapters at least 6 months ago.

2.  Dr. Jeykll & Mr. Hyde by Louis Robert Stevenson: I was so inspired by Scottish literature when I visited Edinburgh in 2009. I actually ended up eating in a cafe that was the home of the person who inspired Dr. Jeykll & Mr. Hyde. Purchase at Chapters. I believe my roommate has this one which is probably why I forgot about it.

3. The Ivy Chronicles by Karen Quinn: Picked up for $6 at a second hand bookstore while waiting for fries at Mrs. Mike’s (local drive in). I’ve only had for a couple of weeks.

4. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson: This one was actually a gift I received from a friend. I completely forgot about it until this weekend when I was organizing a couple of shelves. Now I feel really bad that I haven’t read it yet. 😦

5. Where’s Alice Bliss? by Laura Harrington : I received this for free as well and I need to write a review on it but I can’t actually find it! I have no idea where it’s ended up. New goal! Find, read and review by the end of the month.

6. The Boleyn Inheritance by Phillipa Gregory: I picked this up at McNally Robinson (local bookstore). They have so many great books in their bargain books section. I can never seem to get away without purchasing something.

7. The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano: See above.

8. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald: This one is really embarrassing. I had to read it for a course over 10 years ago but never got around to finishing it. I think now is the time though. I want to read in advance for the new film adaptation.

9. The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde: I purchased this with Dr. Jeykll and Mr. Hyde. I think my roommate might have this as well. I’ve read it before but it’s been so long I barely remember it. I need to re-read.

I can’t think of a #10 so not too bad.  I think I should make it my personal goal to read these by the end of the year. What do you think? What books are still hanging around on your shelves?

Join me on Goodreads!


Pretty Reads: Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen

ImageLast Friday, I stopped by the library in the neighbourhood I grew up in to check out their selection. Isn’t it funny how some things never seem to change? Anyway, I make a point of going there every couple of months because my library is mostly French. The English section is quite small. I generally don’t mind because I can just order books in but sometimes I just like to browse. As I was making my way through the racks of books, I noticed Her Royal Spyness. Quite honestly, I thought that the cover was cute and picked it up solely for that reason.

I never expect much from these cozy mystery type books but I do enjoy reading them and I like finding new series that I can always go back to when I need another book to read. This one, became one of my favourites this year! Set in the 1930s, Georgie is a very minor royal (34th in line to the throne) who’s expected to keep up with social status as a Lady but has absolutely no means to do so. This is due to the fact that she was cut off financially from her brother the Duke (aka Binky) who really has no money either. Dying of boredom in her family’s estate in Scotland, she flees to the family home in London in an effort to make some money and have some social life. Naturally, in these kind of mysteries, she gets in trouble and it’s up to her to crack the case!

Here’s why I loved it:
Georgie is adorable, feisty and a bit clueless due to her upbringing. She literally can’t do anything practical because of how she was brought up. However, she’s very determined to pay her own way and not marry anyone unless it’s for love. The subplot of being a minor royal with no money to live on yet she’s not really allowed to work is very interesting. It kind of reminds me of the drama that Sarah Ferguson got into with her money problems. It’s as though we expect her to take care of herself but really, what is she qualified to do? It’s not as though they are brought up to learn any sort of trade or profession. No offense Fergie, I do admire your spunk! It’s not really as though she could try to get a job minimum wage or whatever.It’s just an interesting thing to contemplate.

I also enjoyed her relationship with her brother, the Duke. There’s really no animosity between them considering that he’s the only one who gets to inherit and he cut her off. I think if that’s the society that you’re brought up in, you’re not that surprised when you’re expected to marry your way out of a situation as a woman. Very reminiscent of Downton Abbey or Pride and Prejudice. Hey! Let’s see how many other pop culture references I can make in this review. 🙂

The best part about discovering this series? They’ve already published 6 books! Don’t you just love finding a new series to read? I’m crossing my fingers that the next books in the series are as fun as the first!

Have you ever read Her Royal Highness? What are some of your favourite book series? Please let me know your recommendations!!

Top 10 Tuesday : Favourite Quotes from Books

Top 10 Tuesday is a book meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Check them out and join us!

Sorry so behind with this today. I just finished work and I’m all over the place! lol

1.  “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” – Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

2.  “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” – Shakespeare, Hamlet 
Not so much a book but I use it so often I think it counts.

3. “Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.” – Jack Kerouac, On The Road

4. “It’s a truth universally acknowledged that when one part of your life starts going ok another falls spectacularly to pieces.” – Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones’s Diary

5. “Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing. ” – Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

6. “Remember well and bear in mind a constant friend is hard to find.” – Laura Ingalls Wilder, The Long Winter

7. “There are exceptional people out there who are capable of starting epidemics. All you have to do is find them.” ― Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point

8.  “Winter is coming.” – George R.R. Martin, The Game of Thrones

9. “She understood that her heart operated on its own instructions, that she had no control over it or, indeed, anything else.” ― Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex

10.  “Never give up on something you really want. However impossible things seem, there’s always a way.” ― Sophie Kinsella, Mini Shopaholic

Join me on Goodreads!

What are you favourite quotes from books?