Books

Book 524: The Epic Adventures of Lydia Bennet – Kate Rorick and Rachel Kiley

Like the Damon Suede book I just finished, when I finished finally reading The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet, I went to my local library to see if they had this. I didn’t necessarily want to read it, but the completionist in me was like there are only two books in the series so why not. So here I am almost two months later finally writing my response.

Let’s start with the bad: I honestly don’t think Austen would’ve wanted Lydia to be this likable or this redeemable. I get that Rorick and Kiley, and the writers of The Secret Diaries of Lizzie Bennet web series made creative choices, but Austen very rarely wrote redeemable characters unless they were the stars of her novels (i.e. Elizabeth and Darcy). Lydia’s comeuppance  was to spend her life with Wickham basically exiled from her family. That doesn’t happen in The Epic Adventures of Lydia Bennet and this isn’t a bad thing as it definitely makes this a lot more readable, it’s just not the same to me.

Now on to what worked great!

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Books

Book 523: Lickety Split – Damon Suede

I hadn’t planned to read more than one of these, but when you’re caught up in the moment you can’t really control what comes through on your kindle (or you buy at a bookstore, get from the library, or… well you know what I mean). After finishing Hot Head, I checked to see if this was available at the library and it was, so of course I checked i tout and blazed through it.

Lickety Split, is sort of the opposite of Hot Head in that it’s set in super rural Texas and you’ve got small town life versus big city living. There are still some family hiccups in this one as there were in the first. I guess Suede writes what he knows with a big impact either way. He grew up in small town Texas (surprise, surprise) and fled for the big city at the first opportunity he could.

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Books

Book 522: Hot Head – Damon Suede

I decided to read this after attending the panel at the BPL way back in September and I’m just now getting around to writing this post at the end of November. It’s just been one of those stretches where I didn’t have the time (or desire) to blog. The break was a needed refresher and now I’m making my way through a backlog of posts.

Hot Head tells the story of Griff, a buff red-headed (probably Irish) NYC fireman, and his best friend Dante, a smaller but still buff Italian American fireman. They grew up together, survived 9/11 and are now facing the aftermath of everything that happened. Long story short Griff has realized he is gay and has started to fall for Dante.

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Books

Book 521: The Luster of Lost Things – Sophie Chen Keller

When the publisher reached out to me with a copy of this book they compared it to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.* I read it before I started this blog and I recently (well back in July), saw the stage adaptation of it, and this lived up to the billing. I hate doing the comparison thing, but when the shoe fits…I found this to be an interesting cross between Curious Incident and Joanne Harris’ Chocolat. Seriously, if two books could have a love child, those two books would have this one.

Unfortunately, I didn’t blog about this immediately when I finished the book. This is a good thing, I get to talk about the things that have stuck with me over the past two months, and a bad thing, some of the details are a bit fuzzy.

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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 502: Jane Austen, the Secret Radical – Helena Kelly

Perhaps I’m too smart for my own good, but overall this book was a bit disappointing. With a title like Jane Austen, the Secret Radical, you’d expect there to be revelations of sorts and yet there weren’t. I mean that’s why I requested a copy from the publisher.* I was hoping as the 200th anniversary of Austen’s death rapidly approaches there’d be something completely new and innovative to talk about, but there wasn’t.

Sure Kelly highlighted a few things that I missed when reading Austen, but really she just expounded upon the things that those of us who don’t read Austen ONLY as a romance novelist, but as a social commentator hopefully picked up on. She provided more detail of course, especially when it came to names and places, but overall there just weren’t a lot of revelations.

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Books

Book 498: Remember How I Told You I Loved You? – Gillian Linden

I’m not sure why I picked this up back in January 2014, but I did. It was either the sadness in the title or the open envelopes on the front. I had no recollection of it being short stories as I rarely read them. And yet even when I went to read this, because I wanted a quick read before vacation, I was surprised they were short stories and it says STORIES on the front!

Honestly, this book disappointed me. There were two beautiful quotes, but overall I found the stories to be lacking and somewhat stunted. Many of the stories loosely tied together and I felt it distracted from what could’ve been a wonderful collection of (somewhat depressing) coming of age stories.

“Homesick is how Karen feels, though she doesn’t miss home, more like an earlier version of herself, a person who, in her memory is hardworking, starightforward, pure.” (Common Rooms, 12)

“Lewis and I decided this last night and it was a relief. Not everything has to do with me. Even the things that have something to do with me, like this contract, don’t have much to do with me.” (Sam, 87)

I would rather have not wondered if everyone was connected (and I could be wrong).

All of this being said, I think what bothered me the most about the short stories was that really good short stories to me, leave you curious about everything before and after, but simultaneously leave you feeling fulfilled. These did not, partially because there were characters that were either the same character or one with the same name and it was like wait what, is this a continuation? And partially because they just didn’t feel complete with the exception of Common Rooms, it was by far the strongest and it was the lead of the book.

Recommendation: Pass unless you are really interested in college coming of age stories or really interested in short stories.