Living With A Book Addict: A Bookseller

Kim at the bookstore

Kim at the bookstore

In this, the latest installment of the Living With a Book Addict series, I’m going to chronicle the recent development that has happened with our favorite book addict: she got a new job!  Now, along with the titles of blogger and book addict, we can add bookseller.  Kim recently started working at a book store and has happily immersed herself in the world of book selling for several months now.  It’s safe to say that she has taken her love of books and reading to a new, professional level, and I get to offer my insight (as always) on the changes that have taken place since this new opportunity!

First and foremost, I’m happy that she gets to do something that she is truly passionate about when she goes to work.  Many times she’s come home and happily told me about the people she’s turned on to new series and authors, and there was even one special time when she convinced a young girl to read Pride and Prejudice.  As you can imagine, there is no shortage of recommendations that she offers, and I think it’s great that she gets to interact with so many others who are interested in reading.  Even now as I write this, she’s telling me about another customer who came back into the store and thanked her for recommending a series that he ended up really enjoying.  It’s been awesome to see the impact that a fulfilling job has had in increasing her overall drive and motivation to go to work.

Secondly, how about those discounts?  Now, if I ever need to buy a book, I can look forward to a sweet discount!  I’m kidding, although the discount is neat, what’s more interesting to me is hearing about a whole new industry that I know basically nothing about.  After Kim comes home from work she tells me all about how the store operates and how certain books are destined to appear on certain shelves, etc.  I think it’s quite interesting, and between those stories and some interesting stories about the general public (anyone who has worked in retail knows how “unique” some of the general public can be at times), there’s always something new to talk about.  This new job has been a great source of new stories and new friends, and I imagine that there is much more in store for the future.

Finally, I’m just happy that our favorite book addict has been able to surround herself with her passion, making her happy.  I know it sounds self-explanatory, but after all the hectic adventures we’ve had due to my job, I’m glad to see her just as vibrant and motivated as she was before all of this happened.  The ability to bring her love of books to others is worth more than the money she gets to make as a bookseller, and knowing that makes both of us happy.

So, next time you enter your local bookstore, take a look around at the employees and see if there’s an extra spring in their step.  If so, perhaps they too have the same passion for books and want to share it with others.  Make sure you say hello!

My Top Ten…Villains (Part I)

Many apologies for the delay in my top ten list this month!  Everyone loves a good villain.  Well maybe not everyone, but this blogger does.  I love a villain whose characterizations sometimes beat out the protagonists. My top ten list this week is composed of my top ten most memorable villains! Enjoy!

10.) The Volturi from The Twilight Series

Dark and foreboding, the Volturi are the major ruling family of the vampire world in the Twilight series.  Originally appearing disinterested and detached from those whom they rule in the beginning of the series, they soon show their might and anger when finding out that Bella knows the inner workings of the vampire world.  Ruthless and efficient, these villans are especially dangerous because they employ humans to go out into the world and bring additional humans back to the Volturi as a food source.  Now that’s blood chilling!

File:Cronos armé de la faucille (harpè) contre son père et divers médaillons pierre gravée crop.jpg9.) Kronos from The Percy Jackson Series

According to Greek Mythology Kronos was the leader of the first group of twelve Titans that overthrew their parents: the leaders of the Golden Age of mythology.  Kronos and the other Titans were then overthrown by Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades and locked away in Tartarus.  He is usually pictured with a scythe, which he used to kill his father Uranus!  In the Percy Jackson series Kronos is responsible for coordinating plans to take down Zeus and the Gods on Mount Olympus.  It’s up to Percy to figure out the plans and keep Kronos in his prison in Tartarus.   This villan has it all: a classic tale, lofty ambitions, and mythic tales.  You could call him the father of all villans!

8.) The Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland

Any character whose motto is “off with their heads” deserves to be on this list in my eyes.  The Queen of Hearts is an absolute crazy bitch!  She orders everyone around, forces people to do her bidding, and abuses animals so that she can play croquet!!  Her dominance over the kingdom is absolute, and her evil cunning is unmatched.  However, her dark sense of humor provides some respite from her cold heart and makes her all the more memorable as a top villan.

7.) Wickham from Pride and Prejudice

Wickham is an absolutely horrid person.  He is a gambler, cheat, womanizer, liar, and so much more.  He leaves debt behind him  and sullies women’s reputations wherever he goes.  In Pride and Prejudice, he lies about the type of person Darcy truly is to make the residents of Meryton like him and give them his sympathy.  He is one of the worst types of villans, one who hides his true identity behind a face of compassion that changes at the last moment possible.  The fact that Wickham got most everyone to trust him except for Darcy shows how sly this fox really is!

6.) Grendel from Beowulf

For those of you who have never read Beowulf do it! Grendel is an enormous monster beast that has been terrifying and destroying the kingdom of He0r0t.  He eats soldiers, destroys buildings, and is just a royal pain in the butt.  Although his motives aren’t explicitly stated, a general need for revenge and greed drive Grendel to be the angry monster that he is.  Eventually killed by Beowulf, Grendel puts up quite a fight and is just a generally disagreeable monster.  His mom is also a pretty worthy adversary for Beowulf a well, but you have to read the book to find out about her!

Join me tomorrow for my top five villains!! Until then, happy reading!

Check This Out – Scripting Pride and Prejudice

So as a blogger I feel it is my duty to tell you about some of the awesome things that are on the internet.  One of the things I must tell you about is an AWESOME interview with the woman who wrote the 2005 film script for Pride and Prejudice.  Adam Spunberg, co-creator of the Jane Austen Twitter Project, was lucky enough to get the opportunity to interview Deborah Moggach and find out how she was given the opportunity to write the screenplay for one of the most beloved novels of all time.

The interview is in two parts, with part one here and part two being posted at some point today on Picktainment.

Our congratulations to Adam on an interview well done; we are eagerly awaiting part two!!

Winners Announced in The Books That Changed Our Lives Giveaway!

Six lucky winners have been chosen in the Books That Changed Our Lives giveaways! 

Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt –  Congratulations to Bethie who left a comment on March 11th. 

The Giver by Lois Lowry – Congratulations to Laura who left a comment on March 24th.

Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson – Congratulations to Elizabeth who left a comment on March 9th.

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch – Congratulations to Amy who left a comment on March 10th.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – Congratulations to Bianca who left a comment on March 13th.

Killing Yourself to Live by Chuck Klosterman – Congratulations to Hira who left a comment on March 16th.

 
Congratulations to all our winners!! 
 
 
Winners: Please contact me with your name and mailing address by April 8, 2011 to claim your prize.  Shipment is to the US and Canada only. 
 
Special thanks to everyone who participated!!

My Top Ten….Books I Wish I Was A Character From (Part II)

As promised in yesterday’s post, here are my top five books I wish I was a character from!!

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5.) Robert Langdon – The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown

Robert Langdon has to be one of the most brilliant characters ever created.  The amount of knowledge the man has is insane.  The best part about him is that he is completely normal!  He swims every morning, is a teacher, and lectures amongst other things.  His knowledge of symbols and their deeper meanings are astounding.  His abilities to put together puzzle after puzzle is admirable.  Of all the books that Dan Brown has written with Langdon as a character, Da Vinci Code is the one I chose to want to be from.  I’d love to be taken all through Europe on a quest for the holy grail.  Being a puzzle lover myself, I can only imagine what it would be like to get to take a crack at the codes that he gets to solve.  How cool would that be?

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4.) Elizabeth Bennet – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

With Pride and Prejudice being my all time favorite book is it really that shocking that I’d want to be Elizabeth Bennet??  Elizabeth is a woman after my own heart. She’s witty, passionate, fiercely loyal to those around her and isn’t afraid to speak her mind.  She is a bit of a modern woman stuck in old times.  Now, the real reason I want to be her?  Mr. Darcy of course!!! Is there any woman who has read Pride and Prejudice and NOT fallen in love with Mr. Darcy??  Mr. Darcy sees Elizabeth for who she really is and falls in love with her.  He sees that she’s not a cookie cutter woman who throws herself at a man simply so that she can have a house and income to survive on.  She turns down two marriage proposals, wanting to rather be penniless than to marry for anything but the strongest of true loves.  She gets just that in the end, and it’s for that reason I’d love to be her. 

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3.) Percy Jackson – The Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson has quite an interesting family tree.  On a school trip to a museum he finds that not only is he the son of Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea, but that he is under attack by evil forces which wish to destroy him and all the other children of Greek gods and goddesses.  Apart from the whole defending your life portion of being Percy Jackson, it would be incredibly awesome to wield his powers.  The ability to control water as if it was a living object under your command is incredible, and Percy finds that his powers don’t stop there.  He has a natural ability to lead and defend his friends, and he becomes a great warrior.  Who wouldn’t want to be this guy?  Additional perks would include having a bunch of other Greek god and goddess children as friends and spending Christmas with uncle Zeus.  Not too shabby, huh?

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2.) Charlie – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

I challenge you to find a child that grew up in America that does not know the story of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  From Gobstoppers to Three-Course dinner chewing gum, Dahl created a world of crazy candies and impossible sights and sounds.  Being Charlie would be like being a kid in a candy store, literally.  Imagine turning into a blueberry or being shrunken down to miniature size, driving a rootbeer-powered car, flying because of fizzy drink, or being able to lick wallpaper that tastes like candy.  These are all things Charlie got to see and do in the pages of one of my favorite children’s books.  The chocolate river, the oompa loompas, the candy that grows on trees: these are all things that I wish could be real.  Being Charlie, just even for a day, would allow me to indulge in that childhood dream, and would allow me to forget all my worries and cares.

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1.) Harry Potter – The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

Magic?  Check.  Flying?  Check.  Witches and wizards?  Check.  A hidden world of adventure, danger, and unbelievable sights and sounds that can’t be explained?  Of course.  This is the world of a wizard known as Harry Potter.  Ever since I’ve read the first novel in the series, I’ve had a serious itching to play Quidditch.  I would also love to be able to change an inanimate object into an animal, and to send letters via my owl.  As Harry Potter, I would have the ability to do all of this and more.  Often people dream of magical worlds, but the world that Rowling creates is beyond anything I could imagine.  I honestly would love to be able to go to Hogwarts and get lost in the magical world.  It seems so honest and removed from the stress and trials of ordinary life.  To escape to this world would be the ultimate experience, and out of all the books that I wish I was a character from, this is my top one!

Well readers, what books do you want to jump in the pages of?  Why?  Do you agree with my choices? Disagree?  Let me know in the comments section below!

The Books That Changed Our Lives – GIVEAWAYS!!!

Firstly, I’d like to thank my friends and fellow bloggers for contributing such fantastic blog posts for the blog series this week.  I’m so lucky to have had such talent on the blog this week!  I hope that this week’s posts have inspired some of you out there to pick up the books we spoke about. 

Secondly, I hope that some of you have been inspired to start a dialogue about books with those around you.  It’s so interesting (at least in my opinion) to find out how eclectic people’s book choices can be.  I think the group of us that wrote this week have proven that!!

To recap the giveaways that are being offered see below.  To enter, click on the link and leave a comment on that post!  Good luck to all who enter!!  Entries will be accepted through March 30th at midnight.  US and Canadian residents only please.

1 copy of Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt

1 copy of The Giver by Lois Lowry

1 copy of Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson MD

1 copy of The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

1 copy of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

1 copy of Killing Yourself to Live by Chuck Klosterman

I just wanted to express, again, my sincere gratitude for those of you who joined us this week.  Another blog series is in the works for next month, so, keep checking back for details!

In the meantime…

…Happy Reading!!

The Books That Changed Our Lives – Laurel Ann’s Edition + GIVEAWAY

Guest posting for us today is Laurel Ann Nattress from Austenprose.  Thank you for joining us!!

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 Many have been pressed into reading Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen’s most popular work in their early teens. I was not one of them. It was not introduced to me in my High School literature class, nor did any of my courses in Landscape Design at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo have it listed in the syllabus. I give my mother Carolyn full credit for introducing it to me at a very young age through the 1940 MGM movie adaptation starring Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson. The movie inspired me to investigate the original novel in a family edition of The Complete Novels of Jane Austen that graced our library, but I was far to young to comprehend the language and the droll humor and did not venture past the first few chapters. It would take another adaptation in 1980 before this Anglophile would become a Janeite. I can easily blame Jane’s beautiful language, or Mr. Darcy’s nobel mien, or Elizabeth Bennet’s conceited independence, but what really change the way I would look at fiction ever again was Austen’s incredible story.

The Masterpiece Theatre production of Pride and Prejudice starring David Rintoul and Elizabeth Garvie ran close to five hours and included much of Jane Austen’s original language. Swept away to Regency England, I was not only enchanted by ball rooms, bonnets and breeches, but by the wacky Bennets.I knew within the first fifteen minutes of the broadcast that Elizabeth Bennet and her nightmare family were now my new addiction. Poor Lizzy Bennet. I could totally relate. Her mother was a chattering busybody and her father totally disinterested. Sisters Lydia, a dangerous flirt, Kitty, vacuous twit, Mary, a pedantic prig, and Jane, a bit too nice for her own good. I had been raised in a family of three girls with no male heir. Our family apples did not fall far from the Bennet tree. I of course was the spunky, courageous and impertinent Elizabeth Bennet. Happy thought indeed! Since “a ladies imagination is very rapid” I had to read the original novel. I was not disappointed. Pride and Prejudice has remained my perennial favorite ever since.

Beside the Bennet/Nattress household similarities, why did I like the story ofPride and Prejudice so? Firstly it made me laugh, and “follies and nonsense, whims and inconsistencies, do divert me, I own, and I laugh at them whenever I can.” Secondly it allowed me to escape into a world of genteel civility where society valued grace, manners and good breeding. Thirdly, and most importantly, the heroine Elizabeth Bennet was a woman of words and action. She was strong, spirited and determined: offering opinions decidedly and scampering about the countryside gleefully. No one could pop her balloon and if they tried,she could throw a withering remarks deflating smug Caroline Bingley or arrogant Fitzwilliam Darcy in a flash. What woman in her right mind would not want to have her confidence, her energy and her sharp wit? I did!Who would not want to reread this novel every year of their life? Who indeed?

It would be many years, and all of Jane Austen’s novels later, before I would discover the Internet and hook up with fellow Janeites at the Republic of Pemberley, and still more until I was inspired to create my own Austen-inspired blog, Austenprose.com.I can now blame Jane and her witty, romantic novel for igniting my pride, prejudice and passion for her works. I enjoy blogging about Jane immeasurably and I credit Pride and Prejudice every day for introducing me to a magical world that I am compelled to return to by reading the many sequels that are now available.I never imagined that a new career would spring from this obsession. My own book, Jane Austen Made Me Do It, makes its appearance this Fall. “I am the happiest creature in the world.” gushed Elizabeth Bennet to her aunt Gardiner on her engagement to Mr. Darcy, and I could not agree more.

A life-long acolyte of Jane Austen, Laurel Ann Nattress is the editor of Austenprose.com and the forthcoming short story anthology Jane Austen Made Me Do It to be released by Ballantine Books on 11 October, 2011. Classically trained as a landscape designer at California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, she has also worked in marketing for a Grand Opera company and at present delights in introducing neophytes to the charms of Miss Austen’s prose as a bookseller at Barnes & Noble. An expatriate of southern California, Laurel Ann lives near Seattle, Washington where it rains a lot.

GIVEAWAY- One lucky winner will be given a copy of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.  Leave a comment below if you’ve ever had a book lead you down a certain career path.  Comments will be accepted through Wednesday March 30th at midnight.  Winners will be picked at random and announced Thursday March 31st.  Giveaway open to US & Canadian residents only. 

My Top 10….Literary Couples (Part II)

As promised in yesterday’s post, here are my top five literary couples!

(Please be warned, there could be some spoilers in my blurbs on each couple)

5.) Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff (From Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte)

                Catherine and Heathcliff to me is one of those love stories where the love the characters have for each other is their vindicating trait.  Catherine and Heathcliff grow up in the same house together, she as the master’s daughter and Heathcliff as the family’s adopted son.  As Heathcliff and Catherine grow they become closer and closer.  The two sneak over to an estate close to their own to see a lavish party and what wealth can give them.  While there Cathy gets attacked by one of the dogs and is taken inside the house where she stays for several weeks.  When she returns home she has become a lady and claims that she is marrying Edgar, the master of the wealthy estate she stayed at.  Heathcliff over hears her telling a housemaid that while she really loves Heathcliff she has to marry Edgar to get the wealth and social prominence she so desires.  Heathcliff leaves to go get educated and become wealthy, hoping that he can win Cathy back.  Heathcliff is gone for three years and in that time Cathy gets married.  When Heathcliff returns and sees that Cathy and Edgar are married he vows to get vengeance on Edgar for by marrying Edgar’s sister Isabella.  Heathcliff turns into a cruel man and literally drives Isabella mad.  Now if you’re thinking Cathy is selfish and Heathcliff is cruel, angry, bitter, and heartbroken you’d be absolutely right.  It’s who they are in the end of the novel that shows how vindicating love can be.  If you’ve never read this novel I heartily encourage you to give it a whirl.  It’s rough reading through the first time, as you want to just shake the characters and say “wake up!”, but it’s one of those stories that you have to read to understand what I mean. 

4.) Laura Ingalls Wilder and Almanzo Wilder (From the Little House Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder)

                For those that have never read the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder let me give you a brief breakdown.  Laura’s books chronicled her childhood moving from place to place with her family as they tried to survive as a farming family.  Laura meets Almanzo in her teen years and falls in love with him despite there being a ten-year age gap between them.  Their courtship is one of a time long-lost and forgotten in today’s society.  Almanzo courts Laura for three years before he proposes to her and gives her first kiss.  It’s relationships like this of a bygone era that make my heart truly flutter.  Those of you that know me know that I’m a hopeless romantic and wish that life could be like it was in simpler times like these.  People weren’t fluttering from person to person; they met one person who they knew they could share their life with and did just that.  Another reason I absolutely love Laura and Almanzo is because their story is real!! It gives hope to the reader that they too can find a love as pure and consistent as theirs.

3.) Romeo and Juliet (From Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare)

                Romeo and Juliet are THE quintessential couple when it comes to ranking literary couples.  The two loved each other so much that they refused to live without the other, literally.  Any list ranking great love stories has to have theirs!  While their love is certainly tragic, it is true, wholesome, honest, and deep.  Those that find love like Romeo and Juliet’s are incredibly lucky.

2.) Anne Elliot and Captain Frederick Wentworth (From Persuasion by Jane Austen)

                Anne and Frederick….A pairing that finds me at a loss for words.  Anne in her youth becomes head over heels in love with Wentworth and accepts a proposal of marriage to him.  She is persuaded by a close family friend that the marriage would be imprudent due to what is expected of a woman of her social standing.  Wentworth has no money, no connections, and would in essence bring down the family name.  Believing everyone to know what is best for her, Anne breaks the engagement, and in doing so breaks Wentworth’s heart.  Years later the tables have turned; Anne’s father has spent the family into a debt and Wentworth has become a rich Captain in the Navy.  Wentworth’s sister and brother-in-law rent out Anne’s family estate, thus thrusting Wentworth and Anne back into each others company.  Having been separated for over 7 years Wentworth believes himself to be completely over his love for Anne.  Anne on the other hand threatens to be as in love with him as ever.  Knowing that it is her fault for their broken engagement she keeps silent while in his company.  Tragedy strikes however and Wentworth turns to Anne for her help, thus opening his eyes to this majestic creature he used to love.  They must figure out if their love is enough to overcome the years and experiences they’ve had apart.  Anne and Wentworth are truly the crème de la crème of Austen literature.  Even though they’ve been separated for several years they both know deep down that they’ve only ever truly loved each other.  That consistency is both admirable and breathtaking to a heartless romantic.

1.) Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy (From Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen)

                Where do I even begin for these guys?? Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy have a love story that is not all that hard to believe.  It is rife with misunderstanding, pride, shyness, arrogance, prejudice, understanding, forgiveness, passion, and trust.  Their relationship starts off badly with an ill begotten statement made by Darcy at a ball.  Lizzie bases her feelings for Darcy on this statement she overhears and refuses to change her opinion of him until much later in the novel.  Darcy quickly realizes the mistake in his comment when he sees her beauty and wit. He begins seeking out her company during her stay at his friend’s estate and the balls at which they are both in attendance.  Lizzie refuses to believe that he has a non-arrogant bone in his body and continues with the verbal assault on him both to his face and to her friends.  Darcy and Lizzie have a DISASTAROUS first proposal where she tells him that he is that last man in the world that she would ever marry.  Darcy realizes that she is right in her assessment of him in certain areas and writes her a letter refuting the other points.  This broken proposal makes Darcy realize he needs to change and stop being prejudiced to those below his social standing.  Lizzie, after reading Darcy’s letter, realizes that she is all wrong about him and is mortified that she was so blinded by pride.  They meet again several months later and both are completely changed in the other’s eyes.  Seeing a chance to start again they embark on a friendship that threatens to be ended when Lizzie’s sister runs away with Darcy’s enemy.  I won’t bore you with any more of the plot, (although I don’t think anyone could ever be bored by Pride and Prejudice) and get straight into why I love them.  There is such a lesson to be learned here.  While first impressions are important, don’t let them be the end all be all of shaping a person’s character.  Lizzie and Darcy find true love and companionship in each other once they let their egos out-of-the-way.  I love reading their story because they are both full of faults (as we all are) and it’s the admission of their faults to each other that paves the way for a love to blossom between them.

Well readers, there you have my top ten literary couples.  Let me know who your favorites are (whether they are in my list or have been omitted!)

Until next time, Happy Reading!

#70 A Review of North by Northanger by Carrie Bebris

Cover Image North by Northanger is the third novel in the Mr. and Mrs. Darcy mystery series, written by Carrie Bebris. Currently there are five novels in the series the most recent being The Intrigue at Highbury  which was recently published earlier this year. The Mr. and Mrs. Darcy mystery series takes the characters from Jane Austen’s novels and puts them smack dab in the middle of whodunit’s.  Elizabeth and Darcy are the main sleuths, with each book introducing the characters from another Austen novel into their storyline.  The first novel Pride and Prescience was about just the characters from Pride and Prejudice.  The second novel, Suspense and Sensibility includes the characters from Sense and Sensibility along with the Darcy’s.  North by Northanger introduces Henry Tilney from Northanger Abby into the mix. The Matters at Mansfield, the fourth in the series introduces the characters from Mansfield Park.  The Intrigue at Highbury brings Emma and Mr. Knightley into the Darcy’s lives.  According to Bebris’s author profile on goodreads.com, she is currently working on a book that is influenced by Persuasion.  I’m assuming that this book would be the sixth in the series, as Persuasion is the only Austen book not yet represented in her collection.
  
Picking up where the last book left off, Elizabeth and Darcy have returned to Pemberley where Elizabeth is beginning to settle into her duties as mistress of Pemberley.  She begins moving some furniture and after moving Lady Anne’s (Darcy’s mother) writing desk she finds a letter that has fallen out.  The letter is addressed to Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy.  Elizabeth is startled to see her name on a letter written by Lady Anne, considering she’s been dead over 16 years. Darcy and Elizabeth read the letter, written the day Lady Anne died, and find that it implores Fitzwilliam’s future wife to find an object that held great importance to her.  Having no idea where to start looking the two push aside the letter and focus more on finding a suitable person to help with the delivery of their first child. They travel to Bath to meet with a doctor that Darcy has deemed appropriate to birth his first-born child.  While in Bath a Captain Frederick Tilney sends a letter with an invitation for the Darcys to come to his home, Northanger Abby.  He states that their mothers were friends and that he would like to renew the acquaintance between the families.  Upon their arrival at Northanger Abby they are quickly ushered into the home by a woman with no manners, the Darcy’s servants go missing, and they are left to eat without their host. (While dressing for dinner, the Darcy’s happen upon a beautiful set of diamonds left in the dresser in their room)  Upon finishing dinner they are quickly brought to a room that has a bandaged Captain Frederick Tilney in it.  Frederick tells them that he had an accident while training his men and then begins to candidly ask questions about Lady Anne and a memento of some kind.  Elizabeth and Darcy feel uneasy with the questioning, and excuse themselves to their rooms. Returning to their rooms they find that their servants are still missing and that their room is a mess.  They pack their belongings and leave for Pemberley the next morning.  Due to the inclement weather and bad roads they find they most stop at an inn for two days.  While at the inn a constable comes to their rooms to ask them if they had been to Northanger Abby the previous night and begins questioning them about their time there.  They come to find out that the diamonds they found in their bedchamber have gone missing and an anonymous letter states that the Darcys are responsible.  After a search of their belongings Darcy’s walking stick is found to have a secret compartment (which Darcy knows nothing about) with the diamonds in it.  Darcy is thrown in jail with the promise that they will return to Northanger Abby the following day to speak with Captain Tilney.  Upon their arrival they find that Captain Tilney is not there, but his brother Henry is.  Henry claims that his brother had died days earlier and that it could not have been his brother who met them the previous night.  The constable throws Darcy back in jail to await his trial until the spring.  Elizabeth finds that the only way she can get her husband out of jail is to get Lady Catherine involved.  Lady Catherine comes to the rescue securing their release to Pemberley as long as they stay under her care. Darcy, and Elizabeth, with the help of Henry Tilney must figure out who has framed them for the robbery and why, all under the condescending nose of Lady Catherine.  Lady Anne’s letter and her memento all come into play as piece by piece the mystery comes together.
 
This is my favorite novel in the series so far.  The first two novels dealt with plots that included supernatural and mystical elements.  North by Northanger went in a different direction entirely.  After reading the first two I was expecting the supernatural to play even a small part in the plot.  North by Northanger was the most realistic of the three I’ve read because it was believable.  It’s not that far-fetched that you find an old letter begging you to find a certain object, or that people disguise themselves as someone else for less than honorable reasons.  Bebris really found Elizabeth and Darcy’s voices, and wrote them in a way that I think Austen herself would be proud.    
 
I really enjoyed the storyline that dealt with Lady Anne.  Elizabeth grows into a more mature character while reading Lady Anne’s letters and journals about being pregnant.  She becomes more in-tune with her feelings as an expectant mother which creates a new side of Elizabeth for the reader and also a new kind of relationship with Darcy.  I was really surprised with the whodunit at the end!  As surprising as this sounds I enjoyed Lady Catherine! She was a big presence in this book and it was funny to read the bits between her and Elizabeth. I was disappointed at the non-presence of Catherine Morland.  Bebris makes one reference to her in the entire novel, which just seemed strange to me considering that her husband Henry Tilney was so involved.  I read the book from cover to cover in one sitting.  It’s an engaging and stimulating read that will keep you on your toes from beginning to end. (Best to not start this in bed.  I started the book at 10:30pm, planning on going to sleep at 11pm.  Closed the book a little before 2am, completely finished – HA)
 
 
4 out of 5 stars

Complex Reading vs. Simplistic Reading

Adam and I were discussing The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway when we began discussing complex books vs. simplistic books.  We started discussing it because I was talking about how The Old Man and the Sea speaks in very simplistic language. I personally am a fan of classic literature books, books that follow the style of Jane Austen’s writing period, and also books that make you think.  It’s not very common that I read a book written in simplistic terms.  While it’s a nice break, I enjoy reading to enrich my mind, grow my vocabulary, make me think, and also make stop and pause to look and appreciate the things around me.

Adam had said he wished more writers would write simplistically. He felt that books get overly wordy and explain everything in such small detail.  He would rather be able to think about what it looked like, smelt like, felt like, etc on his own. He wants authors to cut out the “fluff” and get down to the nitty-gritty.  I can agree with him about fluff to a degree.  Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck has almost a full chapter explaining in extreme detail about a turtle crossing the road. It is the MOST boring thing I’ve ever read in my life. So on the subject of “fluff” I can agree to a degree with Adam.

The more and more I thought about what we were discussing the stronger I felt for books that weren’t super simplistic. In my eyes reading holds the keys to enriching people’s lives and minds.  For people who will never be able to travel to Europe in their lifetime, they can pick up a book and read about what it’s like. Those that will never make it scuba diving, mountain climbing, sky diving etc, they can pick up a book and read about others experiences doing it.  None of us know what it was like to live in the past when King Henry VIII ruled, but we can pick up a book and read about what it was like.  If writing was always written simplistically, we might not be able to experience any of these things through words.

Reading complex things also expands your intelligence.  The more you read the better your vocabulary gets and your sentence structure get stronger.  You learn to recognize metaphors, themes, similes, protagonists, antagonists, conflicts, resolutions, etc. 

When I think of classic literature I don’t think of simplistic authors or simplistic books – I see Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, Charlotte Bronte, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hawthorne, Poe, Arthur Miller, Steinbeck, etc. I see Pride and Prejudice, Macbeth, North and SouthTo Kill a Mockingbird, The Odyssey, The Canterbury Tales, etc.  These books are taught in schools and taught year after year because we learn from them.  As a child you’re taught with picture books, then you begin reading and move to chapter books, as we get older and our brains can handle more we begin reading “the classics.”  That is how we progress on to college and into the working environment. As our brains retain more knowledge our reading levels change, allowing us to read more complex books. I think in order to continue to grow intellectually, that adults should read complex books.  Throwing in a simplistic book here and there is ok, it gives your brain a rest, which is definitely necessary.

As I was talking to Todd last night I said to him that I think reading books with details is important as well.  For me reading poetry expands the meaning of love, reading books that discuss the look, smell, taste of things enriches my own senses.  Reading about a sunrise/sunset and then seeing one – I can understand the text better and understand the beauty around me.

I’d love to hear everyone else’s thoughts on what I’ve said.  Adam has been kind enough to begin writing a response to my thoughts that I’ll post up before the week is out.  Please comment and let me know what side of the argument you fall on!

Happy Reading!