Books

Book 585: Abridged Classics – John Atkinson

I’m going to keep this review super short, since every 1-2 pages represents a classic that is hundreds of pages long! Who am I to write a super wordy review of a hilarious take on so many classics?

Not only are the abridged classics hilarious, but the illustrations included with each are so incredibly perfect I laughed out loud multiple times while reading this. Atkinson covered all my favorites including Austen and the Brontës, and he covered many I’m less interested in (and/or openly despise) like Dickens, Faulkner, Kafka, and Proust.

Recommendation: READ IT. It takes maybe 10 minutes to breeze through the entire work. Each one is a little more humorous than others and some are as puzzling as the original works when you read them. Thanks Caro and Nick for the perfect present!

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Books

Book 553: Dear Mr. Knightley – Katherine Reay

"Dear Mr. Knightley" book cover artThis book is what I was worried of when I found out these were categorized under clean romance and Christian fiction. It could’ve been A LOT worse, but it was just enough to start to put me off toward the end of the novel. That being said, I know there’s a HUGE market for both clean romance AND Christina fiction, so I can’t really fault it too much because it was just a little too preachy for me at some points. I’ll talk more about this later.

I’m still not sure where to categorize this for my own references. I think they’d be more accurately described as inspired by Austen rather than the traditional fan-fiction/fanfiction. Reay does a great job weaving in the stories and characters from Austen’s works but doesn’t necessarily use them as frameworks or even plot outlines. I’ll read the other’s books in her oeuvre that are Austen/Brontë connected because they’re such quick reads, but I’m not sure I’ll follow her into the future.

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Books

Book 543: The Age of Innocence – Edith Wharton

We moved last month and I had to shuffle books around and needed to pull one of a certain size off my shelf and this one was it so I figured might as well read it and I’m glad I did! I honestly thought this was on my Classics Club list, but apparently it wasn’t when I went to document it on my lists.

Apparently, I picked it up as part of my re-read books from high school that you didn’t like to see how they/I have changed after attending a panel at the 2012 Boston Book Festival. Although I didn’t read this one in high school, I read Ethan Frome, which of course I was disgruntled about because it wasn’t Star Wars or fantasy. Now I am again interested in the retelling that I mention, so who knows I might revisit this sooner than I think. Continue reading “Book 543: The Age of Innocence – Edith Wharton”

Books

Book 517: The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet – Bernie Su and Kate Rorick

SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

That counts as a review right?

There’s no real reason to review this book – I mean I loved it, but I also loved the YouTube series – see below for a link GO WATCH IT NOW! There’s a link to the playlist at the end of this post. Seriously, forget my review go get sucked into the drama that is Pride and Prejudice reimagined as a master’s thesis project in the form of a vlog: The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. I mean it was the FIRST digital series to win an Emmy. AN EMMY people—that’s like legit.

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Books

Book 516: Jane Austen: A Brief Life – Fiona Stafford

After being disappointed by the much hyped (by me internally at least) Jane Austen, the Secret Radical by Helena Kelly I looked elsewhere to nurse my mental wounds and found this lovely brief biography by Fiona Stafford. I reached out to the publisher for a copy as the book was recently re-released as part of Austen’s 200th death anniversary.*

I’ve surprisingly steered clear of nonfiction works concerning Austen (not really though because I like that she’s a bit of a mystery even with what we know about her. That being said I do have a few on my shelf that I plan to make my way through eventually. I’m not sure many, if any, will top this delightful read.

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Books

Book 509: The Communist Manifesto – Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

You’re welcome in advance for my not just writing “What a load of horse-shit.” However, as you read keep in mind that’s pretty much what I’m thinking. I’ll try to write something a bit more PC, but I’m not sure how successful I will be.

I picked up a copy of this a little over four years ago and who knows why I did this. I’m sure part of it was just that The Communist Manifesto is one of those books/works that EVERYONE has heard of but that so few have actually read, especially outside of a history course. For me though this book didn’t feel like it was meant to be read, it felt like it should have been an incredibly long and boring speech given at some sort of rally. Basically you’d be incredibly energized at the very beginning, fall asleep in the middle and then energized again at the end.

Continue reading “Book 509: The Communist Manifesto – Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels”

Books

Book 506: Jane Eyre (Manga Classics) – Stacy King, SunNeko Lee, Crystal S. Chan, Charlotte Brontë

What can I say about this?* It was a great refresher and a fun way to dip my toes into the Brontë’s work again without having to commit to a longer read of the entire novel. I talked about the pros of illustrated classics when I read the Marvel Illustrated Jane Austen works (Pride and PrejudiceSense and SensibilityEmma, and Northanger Abbey) and again when I read is when I read the Manga Classics Emma, so there’s not much point in rehashing those.

Overall, the adapters and artist did a great job on the adaptation. There were a couple of things that I was like uh that definitely wasn’t in the book, i.e. positioning of characters and character interactions. I guess it just has to do with making the stories more accessible to wider audiences.

Recommendation: I still prefer the Marvel Illustrated style, but since they didn’t deign the Brontë’s important enough to adapt before they shuttered, this is a pretty good option. They’re a quick refresher on the classics and if they do the job right, which so far both the Manga Classics and the Marvel Illustrated have) they’ll make you want to (re)read the originals!

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for my honest opinion, no additional goods or money were exchanged.