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Showing posts from October, 2016

Jane Austen Adaptations

I wrote about my favourite Jane Austen adaptations here, but I've been meaning to write a post about all the ones that I've seen for a long time - so here it is! (You can also read my thoughts on books based on Jane Austen's novels here.) Pride and Prejudice (1995 & 2005) I feel like my opinion is quite controversial here, because I actually really like both versions. Overall, I think the 1995 version slightly wins out, but only slightly. It's longer, and thus includes more of the story, as well as being more historically accurate, but I do also like the more fast-moving story in the 2005 adaptation, and I prefer Keira Knightley to Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth. The 2005 version was also my first (proper) introduction to Jane Austen, which does bias me in its favour.

Sense and Sensibility (1981, 1995 & 2008) The 1995 Emma Thompson adaptation of Sense & Sensibility is one of my favourite films, and I basically love everything about it. Even though they did add…

Favourite Authors: Noel Streatfeild

I've decided to start doing a series on my favourite authors, probably focusing more on lesser-known authors, but including some better-known ones as well. I'm not sure how often I'll post these, but I'll try to keep it fairly regular.

Mary Noel Streatfeild (1895-1986) was an author who wrote a great many children's books (and also some adult books, although I haven't read any of those). Recurring themes in her books include: family (most books focus on a group of siblings or cousins); children who are especially talented, mostly in the performing arts (acting, dancing, or music), although other talents and interests such as sports (swimming, tennis, skating) also appear; dealing with financial difficulties (sometimes in creative ways). The best known of her books is Ballet Shoes, her first children's novel, published in 1936.

What I like about her books: Portrayal of family life: her families are mostly fairly realistic (except in terms of the amount of tal…

Book Review: Surprised by Oxford by Carolyn Weber

Summary (from Goodreads):
A "girl-meets-God" style memoir of an agnostic who, through her surprising opportunity to study at Oxford, comes to a dynamic personal faith in God.

Carolyn Weber arrives for graduate study at Oxford University as a feminist from a loving but broken family, suspicious of men and intellectually hostile to all things religious. As she grapples with her God-shaped void alongside the friends, classmates, and professors she meets, she tackles big questions in search of love and a life that matters.

This savvy, beautifully written, credible account of Christian conversion follows the calendar and events of the school year as it entertains, informs, and promises to engage even the most skeptical and unlikely reader.

I thought this was a good book. It contained lots of interesting reflections, and provided a lot of food for thought. I enjoyed following the author's journey to faith, and the literary allusions and Oxford setting definitely helped as well.…

Anne of Green Gables Week Tag

Evie at Over the Hills is currently hosting an Anne of Green Gables week, so I thought I'd join in by filling in the tag.


1. How did you get introduced to Anne of Green Gables? I don't actually remember, but I know I read it for the first time when I was about ten. Probably my mum recommended it to me.

2. Are you more like Anne or Diana? Why? I don't think I'm very much like Anne - my imagination certainly can't compete with hers and I'm generally quite a quiet person (as opposed to Anne who talks nearly all the time in the first book). So I'm probably more like Diana.

3. If Rachel Lynde called your hair as red as carrots how would you react? I would be quite surprised, since it definitely isn't. Although ironically I wanted to have red hair like Anne's when I was younger.

4. Gilbert or Morgan Harris? So I had to look up who Morgan Harris was ... it's been a long time since I've watched any of the films. I think I vaguely remember him actually,…

Mini-Reviews #2: August 2016

Yes, this post is rather late; I wrote it quite a few weeks ago and then mostly forgot about it. I didn't do a monthly wrap-up for August though, so if you want to know my thoughts on some of what I read then, read on!
Cinder by Marissa Meyer Rating: 4.5 out of 5 This is outside of my usual genres and I didn't know that much about the book prior to reading it (other than that it was a Cinderella retelling set in the future), but I'd heard a lot of good things about it so decided to give it a go. I thought it was really good - I was really drawn into the story and it definitely kept me reading wanting to know what happened next. The connection with Cinderella is clear, but the book deviates quite a bit from the original story (which was good, because it kept me reading to find out what would happen next). The story does end on a bit of a cliffhanger though with quite a few loose ends not resolved so now I really want to get the next book in the series, Scarlet. Journey to th…

Book Review: Chronicle of a Last Summer

This is a book about a girl growing up in Egypt. It is divided into three sections, each one set during a particular summer, respectively those of 1984, 1998, and 2014, covering the time from when the narrator is a young child, a university student, and an adult. It's written basically as her thoughts during each particular summer. Personally, I didn't feel this book really connected with me on the whole. The first section I found very slow, and very little seemed to happen in it. The book did pick up quite a bit after that, but still it was more focused on an internal monologue, which is not really my favourite style of writing. I think the main problem I had was that I just wanted to know more about the narrator's life; we are not given many details, and few of the characters are even mentioned by name. I would have been interested to know a lot more about what it was like when she was studying film at university, but we are not told very much about this. I also found t…

Classics Club Spin Result + Update

The result of the Classics Club Spin has been announced - the number was 1, which means I will be reading Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott. I've been meaning to read this for ages (since I read Eight Cousins, which was over three years ago) so I'm glad that I've finally got an incentive to get on with it. It's also not too long, so it shouldn't be difficult to finish by the deadline, which is December 1st. As far as reading books on my list is going in general, I haven't been making a great deal of effort with it lately, but I'm hoping to get around to reading more of the books on it soon. I'm currently reading The Fellowship of the Ring (after watching the Lord of the Rings films for the first time a few weeks ago, I've decided I need to get around to reading the books too), which I'm about 75 pages into, and am enjoying, although it's quite a slow-paced read. As well as Rose in Bloom, I'm also hoping to start Clouds of Witness soon,…

What I Read in September

It's October already - I'm not quite sure how that happened! September was a pretty good reading month for me in all - I finished nine books in total and there were some really good ones among them.
Fiction:

Precious and the Mystery of Meerkat Hill by Alexander McCall Smith: This was a very simple story, which was enjoyable, but it was definitely aimed at quite a young audience.
Robin Hood by David Calcutt: This was quite enjoyable. The stories were fairly basic retellings of Robin Hood legends, but the illustrations were what made it really.
Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers: I thought this was really good - there's a link to my review below.
Outcast by Rosemary Sutcliff: This is the second book I've read by Rosemary Sutcliff - I didn't particularly care for The Eagle of the Ninth, but after hearing good things about her books for ages I decided to give them another go - which I'm glad I did, because I really enjoyed this book! I will definitely be seeking out more…