The Summer of Reading Dangerously

danger When it comes to books, I like what I like, and I very seldom step outside this comfort zone. I read the novels of Jane Austen on a continuous loop, as well as occasionally breaking out a few of my favorite Victorian classics. There’s a certain flavor of YA sci-fi romance that I devour like a junkie, I dabble in the more pulpy mysteries and thrillers, and I’ll even sample a humorous memoir, a la Tina Fey’s Bossypants or anything by Chelsea Handler, now and then. But there isn’t a lot outside of these genres that I’ll pick up with anticipation, or that tingly feeling you get when you pre-order a book from Amazon. (Best feeling in the world.)

I try! I really do. I have bought so many books outside of those parameters that truly spark my interest, but then end up gathering dust on my shelves. I don’t know why, exactly. It could just be that they’re not as comfortable as my usual fare, maybe even a little dangerous… So this summer I’m giving myself a few reading assignments. In trying booksto broaden my horizons, I’ve chosen books that are outside of my usually preferred genres, and in trying to save money, I’ve chosen books that I already own! I was also very mindful about choosing books from diverse authors and featuring diverse characters, as this is an issue that needs greater awareness from everyone. I may be posting about my experiences with these books as I read them, but for now here is my list with brief descriptions and my pre-reading thoughts. Feel free to join me in my summer of reading dangerously.

  • The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

“Discovered in the attic in which she spent the last years of her life, Anne Frank’s remarkable diary has since become a world classic—a powerful reminder of the horrors of war and an eloquent testament to the human spirit. In 1942, with Nazis occupying Holland, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding. In her diary Anne Frank recorded vivid impressions of her experiences during this period.”

This book is a staple of middle school reading lists, yet I somehow missed it. I remember reading portions of the play in eighth grade, and seeing some half-hearted acting from the other thirteen-year-olds in my English class, but I’ve never read the source material. I’m excited to read this one because I believe, even having never read it, that it is one of the most important books of the 20th century. It’s the words and stories of ordinary people that give us the truest sense of what the world was like during earlier times in history.

  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

“Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and more. Henrietta’s cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can’t afford health insurance. This phenomenal New York Times bestseller tells a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew.”

I think it may be the science element that made me shy away from this book. I can’t tell from the description or from skimming the pages if it’s going to be heavy-handed on the science, or more focused on telling a human story. The ideas presented appeal to both my mind and my heart, what with the almost sci-fi story point of the “immortal” cells, the historical element, and the social justice issues that are implicit in this story, so I’m sure I’ll find something to love about it. I guess I’ll just have to dive in and see!

  • Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

“A powerful, tender story of race and identity by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the award-winning author of Half of a Yellow Sun. Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion—for each other and for their homeland.”

This novel initially intrigued me because of the culture clash aspect of it. I love reading about immigrant experiences in America, but I’ve never read a story from the perspective of an African coming to the modern US. I’m curious about, and think it’s important to understand, the differences in the transplant experience for newcomers from all parts of the world, as well as their common struggle to become a part of this nation while retaining their cultural and ethnic identities.

  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

“Bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author’s own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by Ellen Forney that reflect the character’s art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.”

Sherman Alexie spoke at my college once, and I didn’t go to the lecture, but a girl in my poetry class did. The next day in class she told us a story about this really rude guy who had cut in front of her in line at a coffee shop. She continued, “Then later I went to the Sherman Alexie thing, and that rude guy got up on stage and started talking.” This story may have clouded my judgement just a teensy bit, but I’m willing to put that aside and read this novel, which is great by all accounts I’ve heard.

  • Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

“Jean Rhys’s reputation was made upon the publication of this passionate and heartbreaking novel, in which she brings into the light one of fiction’s most mysterious characters: the madwoman in the attic from Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. Set in the Caribbean, its heroine is Antoinette Cosway, a sensual and protected young woman who is sold into marriage to the prideful Rochester. In this best-selling novel, Rhys portrays a society so driven by hatred, so skewed in its sexual relations, that it can literally drive a woman out of her mind.”

I feel like I’m almost cheating by choosing this one, as it’s a companion to Jane Eyre, one of my beloved English Victorian novels. Through this book I’ll get to see Brontë’s world through a very different pair of eyes, though. Of course my experience will be shaped by my deep familiarity with the original novel, whose heroine I both admire and slightly fear, in a way; I don’t think I would want to be friends with Jane Eyre. I’m very interested to see if the first Mrs. Rochester will inspire a similar reaction.

 

Well, there they are. I have my entire summer planned! Now the question is which one I want to read first…

The Human Story: An Exploration of “Havah” by Tosca Lee

(This article was originally posted on my other blog, Watts Up With Rhonda, about three years ago and labeled as a review, but it’s not really a straight-up review, hence my calling it an “exploration.” I decided to post it here because Tosca Lee just released a new novel about the Queen of Sheba, which I can’t wait to read, and I was reminded of this book. This is an amazing book and I’m planning to reread it, so I dug up this old piece that I wrote about it. Enjoy!)

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This re-imagining of a biblical tale is, at its heart, the story of God’s relentless love for humanity.

When an author novelizes an already well-known story, especially one as ingrained in both secular and Church culture as that of the world’s first woman, she takes a huge risk. Virtually every reader who picks up the book will have preconceived ideas about Adam and Eve, the Garden of Eden, original sin, and primeval history that they’ll, consciously or sub-, be expecting to see verified. This is the risk that Tosca Lee has taken withher novel Havah: the Story of Eve.

In her author’s note, Lee acknowledges the familiarity most readers already have with the story and explains her choice to use the characters’ Hebrew names in an effort to distance her retelling from our expectations. Eve becomes Havah, though Adam’s name stays the same, and their sons become Kayin (Cain), Hevel (Abel), and Shet (Seth).

The beginning of the novel introduces a problem: how do you describe a place that only two people in the history of the world have ever seen? Lee’s solution is rather simple: there isn’t a whole lot of description, and I think that was the right choice. Describing the Garden of Eden would be like trying to describe Heaven, though to a lesser degree: too prone to cliché and abstract to be really satisfying. It is enough to know that it is a perfect place, where the relationships between God and human, man and woman, are pure and untainted, honest and beautiful. Just enough of this state of perfection is shown to make us feel the loss of it.

The point at which the story changes from that of two people and their Creator in Paradise to that of the world as we know it is, of course, the Fall. This is really the climax of the novel, though it is only 60 pages in. Up until now, we have only been given glimpses of the woman’s desire for knowledge and understanding of God and snatches of her conversations with the mysterious serpent, who seems to be the only other creature who has the same curiosity that she does; it is this curiosity and desire for knowledge that in the end motivate her to eat of the tree.

But I couldn’t understand, solely based on the content of the novel, why two people who have a literally perfect life would so easily go against the wishes and warnings of the One who gave them life. Of course I know that Adam and Eve did sin, but if I hadn’t known the story before reading the book, the book wouldn’t have convinced me.

If the build-up was slightly lacking, though, Lee makes up for it in the riveting moment itself. In the novel, as in the Genesis account, the man is present the whole time for that fateful scene—he witnesses the woman’s conversation with the serpent and sees her grapple with the decision to eat the fruit. He even almost encourages her to sin in the fictional account, putting the decision for both of them into her hands and saying, “We are one flesh. We live or die the death together.”

That’s probably not exactly how it went down, but it is effective in showing that the blame for the first sin is shared equally between the two genders. Gender equality is something that Lee acknowledges in her author’s note was important for her to show in the novel, an equality “designed by God, recorded by the Genesis author and influenced—for good or ill—by the world.”

The man and woman’s equality is marred by the Fall—though still equal, they can never understand each other the way they used to. This state of misunderstanding unfolds with gradual heartbreaking realization, their separation from each other almost as devastating as their exile from the Garden and the continual, tangible presence of their beloved Creator. The lightning storm and earthquake that accompany their flight from the Garden are the violent physical manifestation of the breaking heart of God.

The remaining three quarters of the novel in a way function as a fictionalized account of the first thousand years of human history. It’s fascinating to watch the development of human invention, to see the advancement of ideas and technology in agriculture, in writing, in metal working and city-building. But through it all there is woven a thread of darkness, the shadow of the Fall. This darkness is witnessed in Kayin’s murder of his brother Hevel and in the barriers it places between Kayin and his family. The darkness is also seen much later when people begin to corrupt the worship of the One true God, and even to worship false gods.

Havah never forgets that the world is not as it should be, and that it was her decision that made it that way. But she also never gives up hope that the world will be restored. In a dream near the end of the novel she has a glimpse of how that restoration is to come about: she watches as an animal sacrifice burns on the altar, then changes into a man, “Adam made new. As I stare, he plucks from the shrub the small fruit,” the fruit of the tree that gives eternal life.

Image: “Michelangelo Buonarroti 022” by Michelangelo Buonarroti – The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei. DVD-ROM, 2002. ISBN 3936122202. Distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Michelangelo_Buonarroti_022.jpg#/media/File:Michelangelo_Buonarroti_022.jpg

On Falling in Love with Fictional Characters: Life Lessons from My Literary Crushes

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I fell in love for the first time at 15.

The object of my affection was completely unaware of my regard, however, not because he was a Hollywood actor or boy band heartthrob, or even my high school’s star quarterback, but because he existed only within the pages of a Jane Austen novel.

Now before you jump to conclusions, let me assure you: it was not Mr. Darcy. While that gentleman had many fine and amiable qualities, it was Henry Tilney, the facetious, witty and compassionate hero of Austen’s earliest novel, Northanger Abbey, who held my heart.

Henry is intelligent, funny, charming, practical and generous, and he takes a decided (though not suspicious) interest in ladies’ fashion. He is an avid fiction reader as well, remarking that, “The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.” He is, in a word, perfect.

I fancied that I was a bit like Catherine, the book’s heroine, naive but good-hearted, loyal and kind, and such a voracious novel reader that she sometimes blurs the lines between fiction and reality (OK, maybe I was a lot like her). And if that was true, then when I was ready to look for a hero of my own, I would need someone like Henry to keep me grounded, and I would want someone like him to make me laugh.

This was the first time I had ever thought of my possible future husband or romantic partner as anything more than a faceless Prince Charming, a cardboard cutout groom to stand beside me while I sparkled in my beautiful Cinderella wedding gown. Funny that it took falling in love with a fictional character for me to think of the person I would end up with as real.

Throughout the novel, Henry and Catherine have their ups and downs. There are misunderstandings and disappointments, and even after the blissful ending we expect from Miss Austen, there are hints that this happily ever after might still have its rocky bits. Henry (and Jane) taught me that real love won’t be like a fairy tale, but if you’ve found the right person, it can be even better.

Henry made such an impression on me that it was years before I loved again. Six years, actually. From the ages of 15 to 21 I lived in an Austen haze. I would barely read anything else, unless it was in some way related to my dear Jane. Of course I tried the Brontës, as many with Austen hangovers do, and I even went on to the books Jane herself had actually read: Fanny Burney’s Evelina (which I still reread from time to time) and Cecilia (though I didn’t finish that one–it’s so long!) and Ann Radcliffe’s The Italian and The Mysteries of Udolpho (Henry and Catherine’s favorite novel).

But right around my 21st birthday I rediscovered a genre I had loved as a preteen, before I got hooked on Austen: science fiction. I read Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game for the first time that spring, a novel often found on middle school and even older elementary reading lists, most likely because of the characters’ ages. The synopsis sounds like current YA fiction, as well: In a distant future, the best and brightest of Earth’s children are sent to a Battle School in space in hopes that one of them will become the leader we need to defeat a menacing alien race. Among them is Andrew, or “Ender,” Wiggin, the book’s young and conflicted protagonist.

I’m glad I first read Ender as an adult. If I’d read it at 13 or 14, I probably wouldn’t have been ready to be intrigued by the deeper philosophical questions it posed, or that of its sequel, Speaker for the Dead. Set 25 years later in Andrew Wiggin’s lifetime, but about three thousand years later for the rest of humankind (since traveling across vast distances of space messes with the flow of time), Speaker finds the descendants of Earth scattered across the galaxy on colonized planets, and centers on a group of settlers who must learn to live in harmony with the sentient native species of their world.

Ender himself is the Speaker of the title, and he travels to the colony to “speak the deaths,” a funeral rite of sorts, of two men who were killed by this native race, and that of another whose family is deeply connected to them.

It was this compassionate, quiet, contemplative adult version of Ender who captured my heart. He steps into a house full of children who have just lost their father and a woman who has just become a widow in more ways than one, and despite their hesitance and even outright hostility toward him, never shows them anything but patience and kindness.

Perhaps this spoke so deeply to me because I had just experienced my first real loss myself; it was around this time that my grandfather died. Just as Ender was helping this family through their grief, he was helping me through mine.

Through his compassion, Ender comes to understand the native species of the planet in a way no one else ever has, and is able to bridge the gap between them and the humans to form a strong interspecies bond. He also helps a family face their own demons, and so begin their journey to healing. Ender taught me that love means trying your hardest to understand, and still giving of yourself unconditionally even when you don’t.

The rest of that summer was a strange one for me. I was about to leave home for the first time, I was preparing to go back to college after being out of school for over a year, and I read Twilight. All four books. In less than a week. I can’t say I’m ashamed of it, though I’m not exactly proud, either. But it was in the midst of this fever that I found I Capture the Castle.

Set in a crumbling Norman castle in the 1930s English countryside, Dodie Smith’s wonderfully charming and clever book is the account of 17-year-old aspiring writer Cassandra, who is constantly honing her craft through recounting the events of her days and recording observations in her journal. She laments that living as she does in a quiet village without the means to travel very far out of it, she will never gain the life experience she needs to become a truly great writer.

Cassandra and her family’s quiet life of genteel poverty is interrupted by the arrival of two American brothers, Simon and Neil, who move into the neighborhood. Cassandra, without even realizing, slowly falls in love with Simon, even though Simon has quickly fallen in love with her sister Rose. It’s easy to see why Cassandra is drawn to Simon (and why I came to love him, as well): he is intelligent, generous and kind, has a love of literature and music, and he takes her seriously when all the other characters seem to dismiss her as a precocious child.

Our heroine experiences the bliss of first love and the ache of disappointment all over the course of one summer. The resolution of this love tangle doesn’t wrap everything up with a bow, but it isn’t entirely without hope, either. Cassandra and Simon’s future is left open, in parallel to one of Cassandra’s observations early in the novel, when she muses that blissfully perfect, happy endings in books are like brick walls; they don’t allow the reader to imagine a future for the characters beyond the final page. Their stories simply end.

Simon (and Cassandra) taught me that sometimes you don’t get the happy ending you wanted, but that doesn’t mean your story is over.

Five Fictional Libraries I Wish I Could Visit

Libraries have always had their own kind of magic. Everyone who loves books knows this. The endless fantastical possibilities for learning, adventure, and self-discovery contained within the pages of all those rows and rows of shelves and shelves of books have a strange kind of power to both entice and enlighten. And as if real libraries weren’t amazing enough, some of the libraries I see in fiction seem to be taken right out of my bibliophilic fantasies. Here are five for which I wish I had my own library card.

 

The Beast’s Library (Disney’s Beauty and the Beast)

This has always been my favorite scene in BatB, I think because this is the library of my dreams. It’s hard to decide what I love most about it. The huge windows, the giant globe, the fancy writing desk, the multiple levels and balconies containing loads and loads of books, more than Belle and I have ever seen in our lives. Maybe it’s the fact that the Beast gives it all to Belle, just gives it to her, because he’s gotten to know her and seen her kindness and he loves her and knows that this is something she will love… Sigh. So many feelings about this movie. Thanks, Disney.

Hogwarts Library (the Harry Potter series)

Of course a magical school would have a magical library, but this one isn’t just magical because books are magic–these books are actually magic! No more sorting through the Dewey Decimal System, or even worse, Library of Congress (does anyone understand how that system works?), to find what you want or replace the books you’ve finished. The books do it all for you! Plus, where else can you find such rare titles as Qudditch Through the Ages, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and The Tales of Beedle the Bard? Not Amazon! (Actually, wait, yes, you can find them on Amazon.)


Rory Gilmore’s Library (Gilmore Girls)

As a bookworm who grew up in a tiny bedroom, I feel Rory Gilmore’s pain. When books are many but space is scarce, you have to get a little creative, and Rory does. Not limiting her book storage to just the one small bookcase she owns, Rory stores books in dresser drawers, under her bed, and anywhere else they’ll fit. Plus, she always has at least four in her school bag, with a very precise selection method.

 

The Library (the Doctor Who episodes “Silence in the Library” and “Forest of the Dead”)

This library, “so big it doesn’t need a name,” covers an entire planet. It’s the 51st century, and even though human technology has advanced beyond our wildest imaginings, people still love good old-fashioned books, so much so that we’ve filled a whole world with brand new editions of every book ever written in human history. I find that a very comforting thought. Of course, we come to find out that the Library is also home to something not so comforting (not telling you what–spoilers!). But the opportunity to explore for months, years, decades even, and never see the same book twice would almost make it worth the risk.

The Library at Alexandria (Alexandria, Egypt until the third century C.E.) Ancientlibraryalex

Okay, so this one isn’t actually fictional. It was a real place; there are historical records and everything. But the Great Library is so shrouded in myth and lore, both about its contents and its demise, that it seems like something out of an ancient legend. We will probably never know how many scrolls were contained within the Library’s walls, or what knowledge was lost during the several fires and other events that eventually destroyed the collection, though it’s possible that most of the actual content of the scrolls survived in other locations.

Though we’ll never be able to physically visit any of these amazing libraries, as readers we are always going places in our minds. What do you think? Would you want to visit any of these libraries of imagination? Which ones did I miss?

What if Disney Princesses were Jane Austen Heroines?

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So we’ve read about casting Austen heroines as the Avengers, and Disney Princesses as pretty much everything, but have we combined them yet? If not, why has it taken so long? Two of the biggest names in popular culture are begging to meet, and I’m going to introduce them!

Before getting into specifics, there are a few broad similarities between the ladies of Austen and the ladies of Disney to consider. Both groups represent huge pop culture phenomenons and are commonly viewed as paragons as femininity. Jane Austen wrote her heroines during an era that was very restrictive for women, while the Disney Princesses have garnered (somewhat warranted) criticisms for promoting those same restrictive and sexist ideals.

However, both the novels of Jane Austen and the films of Disney (especially those in recent years) are some of the most prominent works in Western culture to feature female protagonists, and strong, autonomous female protagonists at that. Film adaptations of Austen’s books tend to perform pretty well at the box office, while Disney Princess movies are some of the highest-grossing films of the past decade, proving wrong the idea that female-led stories don’t sell.

As a die-hard fan of both Austen and Disney, I feel it is my duty to point out all the wonderful qualities in both of these bodies of work, and what better way to do it than casting the Disney Princesses as Jane Austen heroines? So let’s get to it!

 

Elsa and Anna (Frozen) as Elinor and Marianne Dashwood (Sense and Sensibility)

Besides the fact that they’re sisters, the Arendelle ladies are a perfect fit to portray the Dashwood ladies for a myriad of reasons. Let’s start with Elsa as Elinor. Both are very protective and nurturing toward their younger sisters and both repress their emotions to protect those they love, causing them to be seen as cold and unfeeling, when in truth they have great emotional depth. Meanwhile, Anna and Marianne are both seen as the more high-spirited and romantic sister, and both fall in love with really handsome, charming guys who turn out to be cads, before ending up with kind, steady gentlemen. Plus, look how similar all their names are! Elsa, Elinor; Anna, Marianne. Is that eerie or what!?

 

Cinderella (Cinderella) as Fanny Price (Mansfield Park)

As young women who were raised by emotionally abusive relatives, yet still manage to retain their innate kindness and moral courage, the similarities between Cinderella and Fanny Price are really uncanny. Both ladies also receive help from wise benefactors who appear in their lives at just the right time, then have their sparkling, magical moments at a ball, where they both dance with their respective princes. (You almost have to wonder if Jane Austen was thinking of the original fairy tale when she wrote Mansfield Park. Since one of the most popular versions of the story, the Grimms’, was published in 1812, right in the middle of the period when Austen was writing her novels, it is entirely possible!)

 

Jasmine (Aladdin) as Emma Woodhouse (Emma)

Beyond the obvious (“handsome, clever and rich”), Jasmine embodies Miss Woodhouse’s most essential character traits. She is confident, independent, smart, quick-witted under pressure, and, like Emma, a bit of a daddy’s girl. Both women express personal opposition to marriage (but then they fall in love, of course), and consequently gain a little experience in warding off unwanted suitors! While Emma has lived her entire life in a tiny English country village, Jasmine finally venturing outside the confines of the palace walls is the catalyst for her story. They are also both a little snobby at the beginning of their stories, but learn to accept and value people from all walks of life by the end.

 

Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) as Anne Elliot (Persuasion)

This one may seem like a bit of a stretch, but stick with me. For much of Persuasion, Anne’s fate is decided by those around her; she doesn’t take significant (to her own life) action of her own volition until near the end of the novel. Similarly, Aurora is a character who is often acted upon, but doesn’t ever really act herself. In fact, of all the Disney Princesses, she has the fewest speaking lines and the least amount of screen time. And just as Aurora is awakened from her magical sleep with True Love’s Kiss, love awakens Anne out of her metaphorical sleep and gives her the courage to take her fate into her own hands.

 

Rapunzel (Tangled) as Catherine Morland (Northanger Abbey)

No one who had ever seen Rapunzel in her infancy would have supposed her born to be an heroine, yet just like Catherine, that is exactly what she becomes. Both sheltered young women spend their time wondering when their lives will begin, then jump at the chance for adventure when it comes along. Both are a bit (albeit charmingly) naïve, and apt to let their imaginations run away with them. Both also fall in love with men who have kind, generous hearts underneath all their charm and swagger.

 

Belle (Beauty and the Beast) as Elizabeth Bennet (Pride and Prejudice)

This one is so perfect it almost hurts. First of all, there’s the fact that they’re both everyone’s favorite. Both enjoy improving their minds through extensive reading, and both are beloved by, yet a little removed from, the people in their home towns; they’re too clever for their own society. Both turn down proposals from ridiculous suitors, both have close relationships with their fathers, and both refuse to conform to ideals of womanhood inconsistent with their own identities. On top of all that, both Belle and Elizabeth encounter men who are surly, arrogant, rude, and beastly on the outside (one of them is literally a beast), but who learn to be the true, kindhearted princes within. Plus, there’s that description of Elizabeth’s “beautiful expression in her dark eyes,” which fits Belle to a T!

 

Note

Since there are fewer Austen heroines than Disney Princesses, there were several princesses I had to leave out, even though I really, really wanted to include them. Mulan, Pocahontas, Ariel, and Tiana were a few I wanted to cast as an Austen heroine, but they just didn’t seem to fit as well as the princess I ended up casting. But maybe they would be good fits for some of the minor characters, or heroines of Austen’s lesser-known works? What do you think? Do you agree with my choices? Who would YOU have cast?

Images:

1. “Elisabeth Bennet (détail)” by C. E. Brock – Scans from the book at Pemberley.com. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Elisabeth_Bennet_(d%C3%A9tail).jpg#/media/File:Elisabeth_Bennet_(d%C3%A9tail).jpg

2. “Belle disney” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Belle_disney.png#/media/File:Belle_disney.png

Hello Readers!

This blog is exactly what the title says. I’ve been writing about books for almost as long as I’ve been reading them, and thought I should finally have a blog dedicated to books! I’ve written quite a bit about books on previous blogs I’ve had, so I’ll probably be recycling some of those posts on here. Thanks for reading!