Monday, August 31, 2009

R.I.P. Reading Challenge!

Stainless Steel Droppings is hosting a scary reading challenge. I like a good scary book as the next person and with Fall upon us and Halloween I thought I would join in! Here are your genre choices:

Mystery.
Suspense.
Thriller.
Dark Fantasy.
Gothic.
Horror.
Supernatural
.

There are two simple rules:

1. Have fun reading.
2. Share that fun with others.

I've been wanting to read my large collection of short-story horror fiction! So this is the perfect excuse!

Zombie Bite Giveaway

Velvet at vvb32 is hosting another zombie giveaway! Click here for more information. If you take the zombie calculator test you will be able to win World War Z by Max Brooks.

This is how long I'd last if I were bitten by a zombie before becoming totally infected!

The Zombie Bite Calculator
Created by The Oatmeal


My last meal would be anything yummy I could get my hands on! Before brains become the nasties I would eat!

Zombie Challenge: Movie Review: White Zombie

I bought four DVDs of Horror Classics a few years ago for Halloween and have been slowly watching them off and on. So I thought the Zombie Challenge by Velvet would be a wonderful opportunity to watch White Zombie with Bela Lugosi.

A young engaged couple find themselves in Haiti to meet a Mr. Beaumont who will setup a business opportunity for Nathaniel. But on the way meet a bunch of zombies and their master, who steals Madeleine's scarf...

Basically, Mr. Beaumont wants Madeleine for himself and convinces the zombie master to help and thus she's turned into a zombie. Her fiancee and a local doctor must save the day!

This was a fun and cheesy horror classic. These zombies weren't the undead that ate brains like today, but those who are put into a trance-like state and are under mind control, such as in the Voudou tradition. And this was the movie that introduced America to the concept of zombies!!! A true horror classic, for sure!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Book Review: Intimations of Austen by Jane Greensmith

Synopsis from Goodreads:

This collection of nine short stories includes backstories, sequels and what-ifs to Jane Austen's beloved novels. Greensmith provides sympathetic insights into characters you love to hate. Her what-if stories are realistic, true to Austen’s characters, and delightful to sink your teeth into. And always, Greensmith, Romantic that she is, calls forth the power and beauty of the natural world to heal, bless, and nurture the wounded, the misunderstood, the lonely, and the confused on their journeys through life.
My Review:

These short stories were amazing!

1. Rainbow Around the Moon-
The snow has stopped and the cold has set in. It's growing dark. I light the lamps and make the fire roar. I stop my work and go outside to read the skies and pay my homage. And there, low on the horizon, hangs the moon, still full but waning. Its halo speaks of coming snow, or sore, rain. Its halo is iridescent, a rainbow around the moon. A promise of peace. Peace at last.
Just a taste of her beautiful imagery. This story was inspired by Persuasion.

2. 3 Sisters- Is a bit of a mish-mash of all of her novels!

3. The Last Baby- We learn more about Mrs. Bennett and her side of the story and how she fell in love with Mr. Bennett and her anguish over losing her only son; a very touching story.

4. Bird of Paradise- Inspired by Mansfield Park. We learn more about Fanny and her relationship with Edmund and how she grows into her role as Mrs. Bertram.
And by this stream, Edmund kissed me as if for the first time. He ran his fingers through my hair, catching them in the curls that bobbed about my neck and throat. We went inside and went upstairs, and used up three candles complete that night. My feet never got cold.
5. Color of Love- Inspired by Pride and Prejudice.
His marriage banns were blue, and gold , and green. He never took for granted the kaleidoscope that was Elizabeth. Even in old age, when his eyes began to fail him and he had to squint to see the contours of her sweet, loving face, Darcy felt her yellow candle warmth caress and love his blues away until all the world was Eden once again, and all the light was the soft green of newly mown hay. Sunrise, sunset. Waterfalls in dark forests. A meadow filled with flowers. Craggy heights and distant vistas. Elizabeth was the color of his love.
6. Remember We Are English- Inspired by Northanger Abbey. We learn more how Henry defied his father and fell in love and married Catherine! It's very romantic.

7. When the Fates Conspire- Inspired by Persuasion. This one is pretty humorous! Two fates actually conspire to bring back together Anne and Frederick!

8. Heaven Can Wait- Pride and Prejudice. We learn about Jane's first love who wrote her poetry and how Bingley helped her to move on.

9. All I Do- Pride and Prejudice. This puts a different twist on the events of P&P. Lizzy marries Col. Fitzwilliam rather than Darcy! That's all I'll give away!

This book was such a treasure to find. My only complaint is I wish Jane Greensmith would write all of these short stories into actual novels! They are amazing. I recommend this book of short stories for any fellow Janeite!

Part of the Everything Austen Challenge.

Movie Review: The Soloist

Journalist Steve Lopez is looking for a new story and stumbles upon one when he befriends Nathaniel Ayers, a homeless man with a violin in the streets of L.A. He wonders what his story is. How did he come to be here and homeless and also such an accomplished musician?

We learn through flashbacks about Nathaniel's life. He was a musical genius as a child and chose to play the cello. His family life was pretty rough; his parents divorced. We learn of his descent into his mental illness of schizophrenia where he couldn't function on his own at school nor with his sister who tried so desperately to take care of him. He found that the voices became silenced outside and on his own.

This is also the story of how Steve Lopez learned how to be just Ayers's friend and not his savior. They both learn and grow from knowing each other and that journey is scary, yet beautiful.

This is a fantastic movie and a gorgeous story on the reality of mental illness. This is important since understanding of mental illness, especially serious types such as schizophrenia are still so misunderstood in society and I feel that this was one more step towards this understanding.

Movie Review: 17 Again

It opens with Zac Efron in high school and he is the high school stud. Basketball star, nice guy, and has hottest girl in school for his girlfriend until she tells him that she's pregnant right before he plays his biggest game ever with scouts in the crowd...what does he do? He follows her out and doesn't play his game and they live happily ever after, right? No.

Jump ahead 16 or so years and we have Matthew Perry stuck in a deadend job with two teenage kids who don't respect him, and on the verge of a divorce. He goes to stay with his high school buddy who's super rich and is also the biggest Star Trek nerd ever. When he wakes up the next morning he's 17 again! He re-enrolls in high school, tries to befriend his own kids, and ends up trying to get back together with his wife (all while still 17!).

It's a lot like Big or 13 Going on Thirty with lots of chances for comedy and lots of opportunities for growth and reflection. I really enjoyed this movie. It was smart and funny and a great family film.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Book Review: The Confession of Fitzwilliam Darcy by Mary Street

The Confession of Fitzwilliam Darcy:

Pride and Prejudice retold through the eyes of Mr. Darcy. I love seeing what other authors will do when it comes to Mr. Darcy.

The beginning was a bit slow and Darcy was pretty boring and broodish and arrogant. But by the middle it was starting to get pretty good. I liked hearing his thoughts, but I thought she rushed the book a bit and left out details I would have liked to known. She just gave brief summaries of what he was doing when he wasn't with Elizabeth...so I would've liked to have seen and heard and experienced what he was doing. That's why I really enjoyed the Fitzwilliam Darcy Gentleman Series by Pamela Aidan.

It was a quick read and fun, overall.

Part of the Everything Austen Challenge.

BINGO and Super Commenter Awards

A ginormous shout out of thanks to Kals and Colette for handing over this award to me!

This award was started by Bookin With BINGO and here are the rules: This "B-I-N-G-O" Beautiful Blog Award means that this blog is:

B: Beautiful- Cecelia at cecelia bedelia
I: Informative- Laura at Laura's Reviews

N: Neighborly- Devon at Devon's Quiet Corner

G: Gorgeous- Al at Publish or Perish

O: Outstanding-
Mom-Musings


Colette also handed over the Super Commenter Award to me as well! I love comments and commenting. They make my day and so I try to be supportive of others' blogs as well since they are all so different and interesting! So a big thanks to all who have regularly commented on my blog and make me feel so special!

So here are my super commenters!

Kim at Musty Meanderings of the Middle Ages
Zombie Girrrl at Crackin' Spines & Takin' Names
Renee at Steeler's Girl Blog
Melanie at Melanie's Musings

Thanks to everyone again! I love being apart of the blogosphere!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Book & Movie Review: To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird

Description by Goodreads:

A gripping, heart-wrenching, and wholly remarkable tale of coming-of-age in a South poisoned by virulent prejudice, it views a world of great beauty and savage inequities through the eyes of a young girl, as her father—a crusading local lawyer—risks everything to defend a black man unjustly accused of a terrible crime.


My Review:

This story is a classic because it continues to resonate with its readers/watchers no matter what decade or century one lives in.

I first read Harper Lee's novel in my ninth grade English class. It had a profound effect upon me. Growing up in Utah where everyone was pretty White I hadn't really thought about racism, I mean, I knew it existed, but I'd never been exposed to it either personally or in literature. So when I read this novel it allowed me to enter that world where it exists (I know it exists everywhere), but where it actually brought me into a world that dealt with it culturally as part of daily life. I remember while reading how appalled I was at the ignorance and hatefulness of these characters. I remember feeling akin to Scout and her brother and friend during their summer excursions and wondering who Boo was. I remember feeling injustice and sorrow and a desire to do my part to make the world better.

So once again I feel a classic is a story that gets me thinking about the world, my own prejudices and how I am pulled out of my comfort zone. To Kill a Mockingbird is just such a story. It is beautifully told through the eyes of a small girl and allowed me to see the events in a different view.

I was very surprised that this movie came out in 1962 since the Civil Rights Movement was still in its infancy. All of the actors did a superb job, especially Gregory Peck as Atticus and Robert Duvall as Boo Radley. The book is usually better, but I still felt the impact of the story in movie form. Thus, both have impacted me and continue to do so each and every time I read/watch this beautiful and poignant story.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Book Review: Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler

Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, Grade: B

From Amazon.com:

Laurie Viera Rigler’s debut novel, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, was a hit with fans and critics, and a BookSense and Los Angeles Times bestseller. Its open-to-interpretation ending left readers begging for more—and Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict delivers. While Confessions took twenty-first-century free spirit Courtney Stone into the social confines of Jane Austen’s era, Rude Awakenings tells the parallel story of Jane Mansfield, a gentleman’s daughter from Regency England who inexplicably awakens in Courtney’s overly wired and morally confused L.A. life.

For Jane, the modern world is not wholly disagreeable. Her apartment may be smaller than a dressing closet, but it is fitted up with lights that burn without candles, machines that wash bodies and clothes, and a glossy rectangle in which tiny people perform scenes from her favorite book, Pride and Prejudice. Granted, if she wants to travel she may have to drive a formidable metal carriage, but she may do so without a chaperone. And oh, what places she goes! Public assemblies that pulsate with pounding music. Unbound hair and unrestricted clothing. The freedom to say what she wants when she wants—even to men without a proper introduction.

Jane relishes the privacy, independence, even the power to earn her own money. But how is she to fathom her employer’s incomprehensible dictates about “syncing a BlackBerry” and “rolling a call”? How can she navigate a world in which entire publications are devoted to brides but flirting and kissing and even the sexual act itself raise no matrimonial expectations? Even more bewildering are the memories that are not her own. And the friend named Wes, who is as attractive and confusing to Jane as the man who broke her heart back home. It’s enough to make her wonder if she would be better off in her own time, where at least the rules are clear—that is, if returning is even an option.
My Review:

For my review on Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, which was her first book, click here.

I had a hard time with the philosophy of the previous book, but enjoyed the idea of traveling back in time and experiencing a new life and new time, especially around the time of Jane Austen. There remained quite a few unanswered questions and a lot of suspended belief by the end of the book, so I was really hoping for some final answers in her sequel.

So there were a few! But not as many as I was hoping for. Basically, my take is that we're all one and therefore can float between space and time, kind of a type of reincarnation. So Jane's spirit guide, the old woman, grants her her desire for her new life and her soul ends up in Courtney's body while Courtney heads to Jane's.

SPOILER ALERT


In the first book Courtney heard from others that Jane had talked about someone named Abraham Lincoln and that she had other ideas on what the future was to hold. How did she know since Jane never ends up back in her own time and vice versa for Courtney? We also learn that Courtney drew an exact likeness of Jane in her sketchbook before she ever set foot in the past. And their respective men we're also treated as different versions of the same man. So in an essence Jane and Courtney are one in the same. I just don't like that. I was hoping that Courtney and Jane could learn new things and ideas in these new times and lives in order to figure out how to make their actual lives better. I wanted them to get back to their own times and learn how to love their own lives with these new perspectives. It's too easy to stay where one is at than have to go back and face our real problems. I also didn't like the fact that Courtney, basically, had to forget who she really was so she could be comfortable with the past! She loses her whole identity about who she is and literally becomes Jane Mansfield...just reminds of brainwashing and I don't like that!

But there were important lessons to be learned, even though it didn't end how I wished. I wrote down a few great quotes from her book:

Even if a man who looks like a thief is, indeed, a thief, that is not the whole story. Only by stepping into his shoes can you begin to comprehend what made him a thief, and what else he is besides a thief, for we are not only just one thing, we are many...

Each of us has the power to create heaven or hell, right here, right now.

Time is fleeting, and few of us are fortunate enough to notice that there is always another chance at happiness.
So overall I enjoyed this book much better than her first and feel that I'm probably in the minority when it comes to how I see this philosophy so I do recommend both books for Jane Austen fans; this opinion just happens to be mine!

Part of the Everything Austen Challenge.

Sex and the Austen Girl (& a BIG Giveaway)


Stephanie over at Written Word has Laurie Viera Rigler as a guest poster...she is the author of Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict and Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict. Read her guest post here. She is also giving away both of her books to three lucky winners, just read her post and answer her question at the end in the comments section and for an extra entry either tweet about it or blog about it. So I'm blogging about it!

The question is: Are we better off now, or would we be better off back then?

This is a tough one. I definitely enjoy the way my dating relationships have gone and how I met and eventually married my husband. But my dating experiences have been kept within a culture within a culture. I'm a Mormon and all of my experiences have stemmed from that. So in a way I think I grew up with a hybrid of the two. I wasn't allowed to date til I was sixteen. My Church says abstinence before marriage. We also believe marriage is for eternity, not for just this life. So when we date every person becomes a perspective spouse! So it's a hugely different dating dynamic when we bring God into it and the dominating culture. I should clarify that I grew up in Utah as a Mormon where most everyone around me was my same religion...thus the culture/social expectations of dating were everywhere, not just the religious ones.

So when I dated, I dated men I knew would help me keep my standards and would respect me. My courtship with my husband was great! I made the first move and he responded in kind. So like I said before, a hybrid works best and that's the way it worked for me!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Movie Review: Clueless

Clueless, Grade: A-

When this movie first came out I was in high school and boy did it resonate with me (not that I was rich, etc...!), but the idea of becoming someone better, especially at the adolescent stage of life, just resonated with me. I didn't have any idea that it was based on Jane Austen's Emma til much later! So this movie has always been a little close to my heart!

Cher is a rich fifteen-year-old in LA, who's rich and popular and totally clueless! Just like her Emma counter part, Cher feels she is the queen of her domain and uses her charms to convince her teachers to give her better grades and ends up bringing two of her teachers together! Soon a new girl Tai moves in from the wrong side of town and Cher decides to befriend her and give her a makeover. And then there's her Mr. Knightley, Josh, who happens to be her ex-stepbrother. Will Cher get a clue or remain clueless???

This is a great modern adaptation of Emma, but more than anything it's just a great movie!

Part of the Everything Austen Challenge.

Jane Austen Mix Match Part I

Nicole at Books and Bards is sponsoring a giveaway for the book Lost in Austen by Emma Campbell Webster. All we have to do is mix and match characters from Jane Austen's beloved books! She has a whole list of possible bachelors and bachelorettes on her post. But you can come up with any ideas!

My two happy singles are Caroline Bingley and General Tilney. Since Caroline couldn't get Darcy to marry her she ends up meeting Captain Tilney at Bath. She figures she'll give him a try, but once she realizes that his father is rich and a widower she soon pursues him instead! Since she has a bit of a fortune through Charles she's able to snag up the general and has no worries that he doesn't love her since she isn't in love with him either. So they're both happy in their misery!

Humane Award


The Humane Blogger Award
A big thanks to Velvet at vvb32 reads for nominating me with this award!

The award is for:
This award is to honor certain bloggers that are kindhearted individuals. They regularly take part in my blog and always leave the sweetest comments. If it wasn't for them, my site would just be an ordinary book review blog. Their blogs are also amazing and are tastefully done on a daily basis. I thank them and look forward to our growing friendship through the blog world.

Rule:
Nominate 10 bloggers you feel deserve the Humane Award.

My note: To all the Humane Bloggers: Thanks so much for commenting and having such wonderful blogs as well!

Humane Bloggers:

Little Yuzu

Melanie's Musings

Steeler Girl's Blog

Chapter Chit Chat

One Person's Journey Through a World of Books

write meg!

Books and Bards

Stacy's Books

Lit and Life

Devon's Quiet Corner

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Movie Review: Pride and Prejudice (1980 &1940)

Pride and Prejudice (1980), Grade: C-

Let's just say I'm very grateful for the 1995 version and the 2005 version. This one was boring and I didn't like Darcy at all or Lizzy for that matter. I kind of hoped they wouldn't get together in the end. I guess if you're a purist this may be worth one view, but I really could have missed this one.

Pride and Prejudice (1940), Grade: B-

This one was short and sweet and they had a few changes to the story so that made it fun! Definitely worth one view. I definitely didn't get the feel that it was Regency England. The costumes were all wrong. I felt like it was taking place in the Civil War south of America! I was expecting Scarlet O'Hara to pop around the corner at any time with her 'fiddle-dee-dees.' The acting is a bit cheesy, but overall it was a fun adaptation!

Part of the Everything Austen Challenge.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Movie Review: Bride and Prejudice

Bride and Prejudice, Grade: A-

When this first came out I wasn't too sure about it...so I never saw it, but then I read someone else's review on this for the Everything Austen Challenge and I decided to give it a try! I'm sure glad that I did. It was smart, funny, and intelligent. I'm also a sucker for musicals...so that might throw some people off since they do spontaneously break out into song and dance throughout the show!

I loved the story retold through the Indian culture! Darcy was still conceited, "Caroline Bingley" vain and vapid, and "Lizzy" still as smart and witty as ever!

In this version Darcy is American and his family is really rich due to being in the hotel business and comes out with his friend "Bingley" and Bingley's sister (not the names in the movie) to attend a wedding. We meet "Mr. Collins" who is trying to break with his Indian roots and be "American." Darcy's mother wants to exploit India for her hotel business and looks down on "Lizzy" for being a "native." "Mr. Wickham" is also quite more devious in this one.
The costumes are beautiful as well as the cinematography. This director is also the director of Bend it Like Beckham, which is also a wonderful film. I highly recommend this adaptation of Jane Austen's beloved Pride and Prejudice!

Part of the Everything Austen Challenge.

The Dreaded Zombie Chicken Award!

Al from Publish or Perish has so thoughtfully given the Zombie Chicken Award due to my unusual interest in zombies! Thanks so much, Al! It's a real privilege to be honored with such an award!

The Details:
The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken – excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all.

I would like to pass along this dreaded award to those that either love zombies as much and I'm sure a lot more than me and to those that I would brave a pack of crazed zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words!

Kim at Musty Meanderings of the Middle Ages: She always has something either inspiring or informative or both!

Velvet at vvb32 reads: She has enormous amounts of zombie love too and lots of other things to boot!

Devon at Devon's Quiet Corner: She's just so sweet...she follows both of my blogs and comments on my lame-o posts and what she has to say on hers is fun and interesting as well!

Zombie Girrrl from Crackin' Spines & Takin' Names: She's also a fellow zombie lover and all of her book reviews are unique and fun!

Michelle from Torch Under The Blanket: She has a fascinating and very creative blog!

Buckeye Girl from A Buckeye Girl Reads: She has also joined in on the zombie challenge and she loves romances so if you want some good ideas check out her blog!

There are so many more, but not enough time so please share the zombie chicken love to those most deserving and in order to not be cursed by aforesaid zombie chickens!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dummocks and Baseball

Legitimate blows given in certain games.
-G.F. Northall's Warwickshire Word-Book, 1896

Abner Doubleday, according to legend, on June 12, 1839 formalized his rules of baseball. At that time it was called "knickerbocker rules," since he developed them in Elihu Phinney's cow pasture near Cooperstown, New York.

The rules have definitely changed since then. At first the number of players was not specified, and there was no outfield wall to hit a home run over. The game was to go til the first team reached 21 runs no matter the number of innings. There was no overhand pitching either until 1884.
Here are some old terms that referred to baseball:
  • can of corn- a high fly that's easily caught.
  • ukulele hitter- a player who makes short hits
  • sold out- bases full
  • carry a safe- to run slowly
The actual baseball was also called a cantaloupe, potato, tomato, punkin, horsehide, pellet, pill, and an apple and onion.

I love baseball! I thought this was some interesting trivia! My church team is also on our way to Regionals this weekend so wish us luck!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Movie Review: Pride and Prejudice (1995)

Pride and Prejudice (1995), Grade: A

I didn't even realize there was a 1995 version until I saw the 2005 version. So when I learned of it I went immediately to my library and borrowed it and soon after I bought the 10th Anniversary Special Edition. It's been a great addition to my DVD collection and my hubby even enjoys watching it with me!

Liked: The excellent cinematography, filming, and acting. Elizabeth, Lydia, Mrs. Bennett, and Mr. Darcy (Colin Firth), and Bingley were excellent!

Not-liked: The actors who played Jane and Wickam and Caroline Bingley. Jane wasn't the purported beauty that everyone said she was, no offense to the actress who played her, but Miss Ehle is just a much prettier lady. And I always pictured Wickam a little more handsome and dashing than the portrayal of Adrian Lukis. Caroline was a bit old for the part, I thought.

It's a wonderful adaptation and I absolutely love it!

Part of the Everything Austen Challenge.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Zombie Challenge: Zombie and Its Origins Part II

According to Gary Rhodes in his book White Zombie: Anatomy of a Horror Film common usage of the word zombie only really took off after the release of the highly successful movie White Zombie in 1932. There was even a court case over the use of the word zombie when the Halperins (the makers of the White Zombie film) wanted to make an unlicensed sequel (Revolt of the Zombies) to the original. According to More Word Histories and Mysteries the company that was suing them "successfully argued that most Americans knew the world only from the original film, even if it had been used previously in bestselling books and had already appeared in dictionaries." They also were able to force a witness for the Halperins to admit that "zombie had no general meaning in the English language and that not one person in a hundred knew what it meant before White Zombie."

And with the movie Night of the Living Dead in 1968 the association of zombies and Haitian Vodou was almost gone. From then on zombies were flesh-eating villains who could infect others and could only be killed by violent blows to the head! (Check out Pride and Prejudice and Zombies for this exact rendering of zombies)!

But there is also plenty of scholarly interest in Vodou and zombies. Ethnobotantist Wade Davis offered a scientific explanation for zombification: "Vodou sorcerers first induced a deathlike state in their victims and then woke them into a zombie trance by administering powerful drugs obtained from local plants and animals."

There's no doubt about it, there are plenty of resources on anything zombie, whether it's watching a movie, reading a book, or looking online! Go zombies!

Movie Review: Northanger Abbey (2007)

Northanger Abbey, Grade: B+

I really enjoyed this version of Northanger Abbey. The 1986 version wasn't very well done, but this version was just delightful. The actor who plays John Thorpe...you just want to strangle them! I love the innocence of Catherine and how she wants to be good and yet she is so naive when it comes to society. We also get a better picture of Isabella and what kind of person she is...her foray with Captain Tilney. I just love the themes of Jane Austen. It's so important to marry for love (and hopefully money as well)!

Part of the Everything Austen Challenge.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My '60s Jane Austen and Giveaway!

Velvet at vvb32 is hosting another giveaway! Go to the Mad Men creator and create your own '60s version of Jane Austen! Go here for more information on how to join in her giveaway!

The prize is: British Library Jane Austen Pocket Diary 2010.

I love all things Austen!

Here is my '60s Jane Austen:

I chose this depiction because I feel that Jane would've definitely been wearing pants if she could've gotten away with it and she would've loved talking in front of people all about her books! Go Jane!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Movie Review: Emma (1996 TV)

Emma, Grade: B+

I must admit that I'm biased to the Gwyneth Paltrow version. It's the first one I saw and I fell in love with those portrayals of the characters. This movie also got me interested in reading the actual Emma so while I read it I imagined the characters from Gwyneth's version.

So I wasn't quite sure how I'd take to this version. I'm not a big Kate Beckinsale fan anyway (I thought Pearl Harbor was dreadful). So the first time I watched it I thought it was a bit boring and too long and I hated all the portrayals except for Harriet Smith (Samantha Morton is an amazing actress and she played Jane Eyre in the A&E version). But for this challenge I figured I'd give this one another go. It was a lot better the second time around! I think it has to do with reading Jane Austen For Dummies. I understood the story better from understanding the culture better and thus the dialogue became more witty.

And for some trivia: Mark Strong who play Knightley is the seventh brother in the movie Stardust. He's so hilarious in this movie; a comic genius towards the end!

So both are definitely great to watch and I added this version to my DVD collection as well! I'm so glad I took a second look at this version and am excited to reread the book and then rewatch the movies to see how things are different and similar!

Part of the Everything Austen Challenge.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Movie Review: Mansfield Park (2007)

Mansfield Park (2007), Grade: B

I love all things Austen, so I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. But Mansfield Park isn't one of my top Austen novels. Fanny isn't my favorite heroine nor is Edmund my favorite hero. I think I enjoyed the older BBC version a lot better. In this version you don't quite get the abuse that Fanny has to endure while she's with her cousins. Aunt Norris is a horrible person, yet you don't quite get that feeling in this movie. And I just kept hoping that Edmund would wake up and smell the coffee when it came to Mary Crawford! He does, but it takes forever. The movie shows a lot of her and her brother as they talk of their schemes to marry into the family. Hayley Atwell was an excellent Mary Crawford. Fanny was played as more of a tomboy in this one. She seemed more of a genteel sort of personality in the other version. So all-in-all, it was a fun version and worth a view!

Part of the Everything Austen Challenge.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Zombie Challenge: Zombie and Its Origins Part I

Zombies have origins in the Haitian religion of Vodou. The actual word zombie was borrowed into English from Haitian Creole (which comes from French and various African languages). It also comes from the Bantu language family of Africa and was brought from West Africa with slaves that were sent to French plantations before 1804. Various word origins include: zumbi "object with supernatural powers," and zambi "ghost, departed spirit," from the language Kikongo and nzambi "god" in Kimbundu.

According to More Word Histories and Mysteries:
...zombies are believed to possess only the part of the soul that animates the body, for they have been deprived of the aspect of the soul that gives them their individual personality and the ability to make moral judgments.
Zombie didn't appear in English til the 19th century in various historical works, but entered popular speech in the early 20th century. William Seabrook wrote a sensationalized memoir of his time in Haiti called The Magic Island and subsequently introduced the American public to zombies in 1929.

So fascinating. All of this information was taken from More Word Histories and Mysteries from the editors of the American Heritage Dictionaries. I'll be adding more for another day!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Everything Austen Challenge Update

I've just been going like crazy on my list! I'm actually just going to keep going on everything Austen until the deadline. I want to see how many I can get in in the next five months.

Watched From My List:

  1. Pride and Prejudice (2005)
  2. Sense and Sensibility (Emma Thompson)
  3. Emma (Gwyneth Paltrow)
  4. Persuasion (newer version)
  5. Pride and Prejudice: A Latter-day Comedy
  6. Sense and Sensibility (2007)
I still have P&P (1995) to watch!

Read From My List:
  1. Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict
I still have Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict (in progress), Confession of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Intimations of Austen, Mr. Darcy, Vampyre.

Watched Not On My List:
  1. Lost in Austen
  2. Persuasion (1995)
Read Not On My List:
  1. Jane Austen For Dummies
There are quite a few more movies in the works that I'm going to be watching and I really want to reread Austen's original novels and finally read Mansfield Park. I also am looking forward to some fan-fiction that I've read reviews on from fellow Austen Challengers! It looks like a great last half of the year!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Movie Review: Sense & Sensibility (2007)

Sense & Sensibility (2007), Grade: A

I love this version! I thought it was another great adaptation. This one is a bit longer than the Emma Thompson version so they were able to flesh out the characters a lot better. Though, I did miss Mr. Palmer in this one. Hugh Laurie was sooo wonderful.

I thought the actresses were well suited for the parts, you know, being younger than their previous counterparts! I'm wondering why they always feel that Marianne needs to be blond since she's supposed to be darker in the novel? The fencing duel between Willoughby and Colonel Brandon was very divine as well!

Both adaptations are spectacular! Give this one a try as well!

Part of the Everything Austen Challenge.

Forgotten English: Doss

Doss: To sleep.
In the old pugilistic days, a man knocked down, or out of time was said to be sent to dorse. But whether because he was senseless, or because he lay on his back, is not known, htough most likely the latter. Formerly spelt dorse; [from] Gaelic dosal, slumber.
--John Camden Hotten's Slang Dictionary, 1887
To dorse with a woman signifies to sleep with her.
--Francis Grose's Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, 1796
Boxing Etiquette

In 1925 the French Boxing Commission discontinued the old boxing custom of kissing one another on both cheeks just before squaring off with each other, after finally realizing the irony of this strange custom.

Just some interesting bit of trivia for the above paragraph! You gotta love English!



Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I'm 'A-rockin It Blog Style!

I love the blogging world! I get to meet so many wonderful people and their lovely and interesting blogs! I'm so glad to have met Velvet and her blog vvb32 Reads! She's just given me a "Your Blog Rocks" award! Thanks so much. Her blog has a lot of fun challenges and giveaways, including lots of zombie mayhem, so check her out!

And so to share the Rockin' love of Blogging here are some other rockin' blogs:
Miss Remmers's Review: She's on a rockin' mission to get young people reading!

Lakeside Musing: She's a fellow Austen Challenge blogger and her reviews are lovely!

A Buckeye Girl Reads: Also met her since she's doing the Austen Challenge as well!

Melanie's Musings
: Fellow Austen Challenger and leaves fun comments on my blog!

Stacy's Book Blog: She has lots of interesting stuff, including her Top 100 movies, and I thus borrowed her idea for my blog as well!

At Pemberley: Fellow Austeneer and her reviews are so creative. Either giving us tips on how to watch the miniseries "Lost in Austen" or writing review letters to Ms. Austen, they're just incredible!

I think I will give this award out again for all those I failed to mention! Thanks again for letting me be apart of your book-blogging-'n stuff lives!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Book Review: Jane Austen For Dummies by Joan Klingel Ray

Jane Austen For Dummies by Joan Klingel Ray, PhD, Grade: A

I loved this reference book! The author did such a great job on explaining the things of Austen.

Here are the sections:

Part I: Getting to Know Jane Austen, Lady and Novelist

This part introduces Jane Austen and the era she lived/history of what was going on at that time in her world, and authors that inspired Austen in her writing.

Part II: Austen Observes Ladies and Gentleman

We learn all about dancing, courtship, and the business of marrying (along with some other tidbits). I loved this section! There's been so many things I haven't understood about her books and now I do!

Part III: Living Life in Jane's World

This section talks about women's limited roles and rights during her time, what being a gentleman entailed for men, home life, manners, and religion. This section really gets to the heart of the thoughts and ideas of her characters, the roles they played and why.

Part IV: Enjoying Austen and Her Influence Today

This section talks about reading her books with new insight. She also mentions the various adaptations of her novels to the stage, screen, and television and talks of authors who've been inspired by Austen.

Part V:The Part of Tens

She gives bounteous lists of places to visit, Jane Austen books to read, and her favorite Austen literary characters!

She packs so much information and yet makes it very readable and enjoyable. Plus she repeats many things so you don't forget what you've learned! This is one I will be putting on my to-buy list for quick reference as I reread all of her novels again!!!

Part of the Everything Austen Challenge.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Movie Review: Coraline

Coraline, Grade: B+

Coraline moves into a new home with her parents in the rainy northwest. It's boring and it's dreary and her parents completely ignore; life sucks and she wishes for something more. She sure gets a whole lot more when she discovers a tiny door that leads to an alternate dimension where everyone, including her alternate parents, have buttons for eyes. Though that seems a bit weird, Coraline enjoys the attentions from her parents until....all is not how it seems.

I don't think I'll be letting my son watch this one til he's older. It's a bit scary in parts, even for me!

The animation is amazing and bright! I loved watching it!

The story teaches how to make what you've got even better and worthwhile.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Movie Review: Persuasion (Ciaran Hinds)

Persuasion (Ciaran Hinds), Grade: A-

It had been quite some time since I saw this so I was excited to view it again for the challenge, even though it's not technically on my list! I also viewed the newest BBC version as well and so I wanted to compare them, to see which one I liked best.

Well, I love them both! They both have different things that I liked.

I really like Ciaran Hinds's portrayal of Frederick better; I think he's just an overall better actor, even though he's isn't quite as handsome as Penny-Jones.

But I enjoyed Anthony Stewart Head as Sir Eliot a lot better than the other guy's portrayal! He just seemed to be more immature and childish.

The two ladies who portray Anne's sister: just awesome! The 1995 version has the Miss Bates actress from the Emma version of 1997 so she was just fun to watch in this kind of role!

The 2007 version I thought had a bit more suspense when it came to Frederick being married/engaged or not. The Crofts start to tell Anne about their brother getting married, but fail to mention that it's not Frederick, and it goes on for quite a few minutes before Anne finally realizes he's still single. Also at the end with the letter from Frederick the 2007 version builds up more suspense as she runs around everywhere looking for him in the rain!

I also enjoyed both endings...the 1995 version shows Anne getting ready to board the ship her new husband captains...she's like Mrs. Croft, she loves the sea and home is where her hubby is! But the 2007 version also is nice since they show more of their relationship at the end, which I always like!

It has been awhile since I've read Persuasion so I'm not sure which movie does a more faithful portrayal, but they're both great watches and am putting the 1995 version on my DVD buy list!

Part of the Everything Austen Challenge.

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