• Book Talk,  Uncategorized

    Madame Bovary: Romantic Fantasy and Bourgeois Realism.

    Many people, myself included, at one point may have lumped Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary into the same category. On the surface they do bear close similarities. Though Madame Bovary is by far the shorter of the two, both novels feature unhappy women who commit adultery and who are both summarily punished for their actions with unremitting guilt that drives them to suicide. But their situations in life, and how they come about these ends, are different. Emma Bovary’s story is infused with a kind of fate that Anna Karenina’s is not, or at least isn’t to the same extent. These themes, of fate and inevitability, are what drive…

  • Book Talk,  Uncategorized

    Anne of Green Gables: Canada’s Sweetheart

    Fiery-haired, bright-eyed, Anne Shirley became cemented as a Canadian icon very nearly as soon as her story hit shelves in 1908. Even reading Anne of Green Gables one hundred and twelve years later, it is easy to see how the plucky orphan with her flaming red hair and flair for the dramatics won the hearts’ of young and old. Though L.M. Montgomery is most well known for Anne of Green Gables, for whose titular heroine she went on to write seven more books chronicling both Anne’s adventures and later that of her children, she also went on to pen the lesser known Emily of New Moon trilogy, along with Pat…

  • Book Talk,  Uncategorized

    Mrs. Dalloway: An Introspective Portrait of Life

    It seems oddly fitting in some ways that in these confusing times we are all living in I would pick up Virginia Woolf’s novel Mrs. Dalloway, a work that confused and still continues to confuse readers and critics alike, even today in the 21st century. Despite defying categorization, Woolf definitely has her admirers, and her experimental style continues to garner praise for its unconventionality. But of course there are also detractors. Woolf is an author that is sometimes not always to everyone’s taste. A lot of people might even now deride some of the very things that once made her work so revolutionary, and instead of applauding it for its…

  • Book Talk,  Uncategorized

    Marriage, Class, and Love in Charlotte Bronte’s Shirley

    Many readers were no doubt first introduced to the Bronte sisters through either Emily Bronte’s novel, Wuthering Heights, or Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. I myself was no exception, and it is easy to see why these two iconic books have shaped what people think of when they think of a quintessential “Bronte novel,” since both conjure up images of windswept moors and thwarted lovers. (These books in particular are also by far the most popular because Anne’s works in years past were little read, and are only in the last decade or so gaining popularity.) Shirley then, at first glance, seems a different creature entirely. More akin to a smaller…

  • Book Talk,  Uncategorized

    The Secret Garden on Screen: Old and New

    Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden, has been a beloved story in my family for many years. My mother read it to my aunt when she was young, and then later to me and my sister. Carrying a message of hope and renewal, the tale of a little girl who learns to bring a garden back to life, and along with it, the hearts of all whose lives she touches, including her own, is a timeless classic of children’s literature. And since there hasn’t been a major adaptation for years, not since the 1993 film directed by Agnieszka Holland starring Kate Maberly (Daniel Deronda), I was really excited to see…

  • Book Talk,  Uncategorized

    Middlemarch: A Monumental Undertaking

    Judging by its sheer size alone, it is little wonder that many people express intimidation upon viewing what is widely regarded as George Eliot’s greatest literary achievement: Middlemarch. Deemed by many as “the greatest English novel” Eliot’s classic social commentary on middle-class Britain is considered a premier example of Victorian fiction. Despite the seeming quaintness and self-containedness of its setting, the story is in no way hampered by myopia as some might expect; on the contrary, Eliot manages to sketch and portray a wide array of distinct characters. It is difficult to distill Middlemarch down to a basic summary. It is at once a critique of religion, politics and class,…

  • Book Talk,  New Releases

    Love and Fury: The Powerful Legacy Wollstonecraft Bequeathed To Her Daughter

    Hello everyone! Since Mother’s Day isn’t too far behind us, I thought that this absolutely awesome novel about mothers and daughters that I was fortunate enough to receive an eARC of on NetGalley, was particularly fitting. (All quotations are taken from the eARC I was provided. There may be some differences in the final published version.) Love and Fury is Samantha Silva’s sophomore novel, and it is anything but a slump. I haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading her debut Mr. Dickens and His Carol, but I definitely will be seeking it out now since I was so impressed with this tour de force. This book was so unique…

  • Book Talk

    Spring has Sprung: Gardening Through Literature

    The seed for the idea for this post was planted over a month ago, but it wasn’t until the semester ended that I felt I could dedicate the necessary time to bring it to fruition. During my last semester of college, I was able to take a really interesting course called Nature Writing. The class was unlike any other I had previously taken, and it focused on environmental literature, as well as analyzing narratives with a nature lens. In addition to this we were also given opportunities to write critically and creatively using the natural world as a vehicle for our work. It was a really insightful class, and in…

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    Wives and Daughters: Gaskell’s Influence in Victorian Literature

    Whew! I feel so happy with myself right now. This book that I am going to talk about today is one that has been on my to-be-read list for so long, and this finally was the year I read it. I have been familiar with Elizabeth Gaskell’s Wives and Daughters for several years now and have watched the beautiful costume mini-series created by Andrew Davies, (who has created countless stellar period pieces for the BBC), multiple times. I also have read Gaskell’s North and South, and watched its accompanying adaption, as well as Cranford. Overshadowed by her many peers, Elizabeth Gaskell is a fabulously underrated author who is only in…

  • Book Talk

    Simpler Times and Strawberry Acres

    Hello all! I am back again with a fun, and rare find that I guarantee is not something you already have on your shelves, but something you hopefully may want to add after reading this! But first, a bit about me. As many people who know me in real life know, I was homeschooled growing up. My mother also had a very large library, (and still does.) I grew up lucky enough then to have access to a wide-range of children’s literature of all kinds, and I still remember lying on the little, padded bench, tucked in a small nook under the cabinets of our converted library space, my nose…