Tag Archives: classic

Jane Eyre- Charlotte Brontë (and some thoughts about technology)

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I am not an angel,’ I asserted; ‘and I will not be one till I die: I will be myself. Mr. Rochester, you must neither expect nor exact anything celestial of me – for you will not get it, any more than I shall get it of you: which I do not at all anticipate.

Alright, confession time. For those of you who are friends with my on Facebook or have seen me at work you already know. A little over a week ago I was having a glass of wine after work. Then I had another glass of wine. Then I decided to get on Amazon. Two days later (Praise Amazon Prime) I had a kindle. I know…I know. I have received a lot of backlash from my fellow literary minded friends. I also chastised myself quite a bit. Years ago my mother bought me a Kindle because I was hauling The Autobiography of King Henry VIII: with notes from his fool 2 miles to and from the train in Chicago. This book is 1,000 pages and was a back wrencher. I finished that book in hardcopy, mostly just to say I did it, then moved to the Kindle. I read a few modern books; The Hunger Games, Beaches, etc. Then found “The List” and dove head first in to reading The Hobbit. As I sat on the train looking around at the people reading newspapers and the like I realized that this was sacrilegious. This is not how this book was supposed to be read. I sold my Kindle and never looked back. Flash forward to a week ago and wine. The new version of the Kindle is lightyears ahead of the clunker that I had back in 200(I don’t remember). The screen actually has the look of paper and just feel nice. The tap anywhere to turn the page is also a nice feature. A regular of mine at work said that I would love the dictionary function and that it would be hard for me to read hardcopies again because of it. She was right. If you’re on WIFI it can even translate different languages for you (Where were you when I was laboring over the Greek in The Secret History!). There’s no glare and which will be nice for when we are able to have Porch Time again. So, yes, I like my Kindle. Nay, I love my Kindle. Never fear, friends, I shall continue to read hardcopies, my own library is too large to not. I have also toyed with the idea of subscribing to Kindle Unlimited; think Netflix for Kindle. Anyone out there have it? In fact, anyone out there have thoughts about the Kindle and want to share? Comment away! Now, on to Jane Eyre.

Keeping with the theme of honesty, I saw the movie first. My fiancé was out of town and it was a rainy September night. What better way to watch Jane Eyre? I loved the movie and when I saw it on The List I knew I would probably love the book as well. I loved Wuthering Heights after all, this should be no different. It wasn’t. Eyre was easier to read actually, only towards the end does she start to write in the cadence of people’s accents. Something her sister did right from the get go. The language is beautiful and easy to understand even if you don’t know the correct definition to the words they are speaking, you get the emotion behind them.

As far as characters go…Jane was very likable sometimes annoyingly so. She always seems to do what is right for everyone around her. That’s not to say that she doesn’t look out for herself, above all things she knows the importance of being true to one’s self. Something I, and I’m sure most women, admire in her. Rochester…Oh, Rochester. For me his character swayed like the grass on the moors. One minute I felt as though the love he had for Jane would tear him in two. The next I thought he would strike her and keep her docile and compliant. As I was telling a coworker of mine; you have to keep in mind that this was written at a time when women were supposed to be docile and sit in corners with their sewing. I believe that this is why Rochester cherishes Jane so. She is different than the rest of the ladies that come in contact with him throughout his life. She can sit quietly and stare out a window meditating over her day or she can sit by his side and have the witty repartee that I believe he craves.

In the end Jane Eyre is a book not only about love but about forgiveness and how we, as a community, treat one another. There are many similarities between Eyre and Heights and I can’t help but imagine the sister’s sitting in a parlor together swapping notes and reading each other’s manuscripts.  That is a beautiful thought.

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On the Road- Jack Kerouac

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With the coming of Dean Moriarty began the part of my life you could call my life on the road.

Begin a relatively short book it took me longer than normal to finish, not for any lack of trying. Certain things came up along the way that got in the way of my reading time (we moved, I got crazy sick, and with the move it has cut my train time in half which also cuts my reading time). Either way, enough excuses, on to the book.

I have been noticing a trend with the most of the books on The List; it’s very rare that I get sucked into the plot right from the first chapter. With most of them it has been taking me at least until the middle of the book to really get in to it, no exception with “On the Road”.

Once I got into the rhythm of the book, and yes I think there is a rhythm, I began to understand and cherish the relationship between Sal and Dean. More than the relationship with Sal and Dean is the relationship between Sal and the road. Even Dean and the road, mostly Dean and the road. I can understand why, at the time this book was published, it moved a generation to pack up what little possessions they had and hitchhike across the country. Because on the road you are free.

It reminded me of the film “Into the Wild” about Alexander Supertramp. He packed up a backpack right after college graduation and hitchhiked, hiked, and walked across the United States and in to Alaska. If I remember correctly this book was an inspiration for Alexander and many others of their generation.

Getting back to the book, it is beautifully written and takes you back to the beginning of the beat generation. But it is in the last chapter where the book really opens up, in my opinion. I’m not sure if it is because I was finally getting used to the language and the pacing or if it’s because I had actually had an hour to just sit and get lost in the book, but the last few chapters were all together heartbreaking and warming. Even though relationships dissolve and new ones form you still know that the old crew is still in everyone’s hearts and minds because of the amazing journey they went on together.


Dracula – Bram Stoker

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“Oh, my God, what have we done to have this terror upon us!”

I finished this one a few weeks ago but the past few weeks has been a tad busy; what with working and going to my best friend’s wedding. But the time has come for me to post about Dracula.


First off I want to say that I was quite surprised about the format in which Dracula was written. When I first opened it I thought it was going to be a very cut and dry novel format, but what I got were pages filled with diary entries, memos, and letters. This made it easier for me to get into the story and actually fall in love with the characters.

Now, we all know the story of Dracula the bat in the night that sucks the blood from humans, but there were still twists and turns. For example; that he mostly targets women, the way you must kill him or anyone changed by him (stake in the heart and cut off their head and fill it with garlic). One of the most surprising things in the book, aside from the blood sucking demon, was the friendships that sprouted from the tragedies that follow the Count. Mina and Lucy started the book as friends but as their relationship is strained Mina becomes friends with Lucy’s score of suitors and her fiance. The friendships are what kept me interested because even though the dark aspects of the book were interesting the bonds that are formed during the period in which they are trying to rid the world of darkness are so heartwarming that you can’t help but fall in love with each of them.


Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland- Lewis Carroll

“Curiouser and Curiouser.”

I started reading this one a few years back when it felt like my life was getting “curiouser and curiouser” and yet I couldn’t keep my mind in the book for more than two seconds.

One of the few shorter books on The List I read “Alice” in about two days. It is filled with the inner workings of a child’s imagination and some times makes you think “Is what I’m seeing really what I’m seeing?” Short and to the point “Alice” brings you back to childhood where rabbits can talk and a deck of cards could be pieces in a royal court. At times nonsensical, it all comes together in the end, much as “The Life of Pi” sort of blind sides you with an ending, so does “Alice” provide a method to the madness.


Wuthering Height- Emily Brontë

I have heard it said that Wuthering Heights is one of the greatest love stories ever written, but it goes way beyond love. So much so that it borders on obsession, and I still couldn’t put it down. The love that Catherine and Heathcliff have for each other goes between pure passion and crazy obsession, and though you can feel that they love each other even at their worst of times, sometimes I couldn’t help but feel that Heathcliff was going a little over board. I think that stems more from his revenge, because this is a love story but ultimately it is a lesson in revenge.

When Catherine’s father dies he tells his children to continue to treat Heathcliff as if he were one of his own, even though he is only his “adopted son” found in a gutter in Liverpool. Though they say that they will Hindley, Catherine’s brother, returns from his time away with a new wife and even more hatred for Heathcliff then when he left. Heathcliff is made to work in the stables and given lashings for speaking out or looking at someone the wrong way. At his last flogging Heathcliff mutters to himself that he will get revenge on anyone who wrongs him. Hindley, Edgar Linton (Catherine’s husband), and even Catherine herself end up in the line of fire. He seeks revenge on everyone in the world, so much so, that by the end he is left completely alone.

It is a love story that keeps you on your toes, between the vengeance and the all encompassing love of two people you get your money’s worth out of this beautifully written novel.


Jude the Obscure- Thomas Hardy

It took me about a month to read the last of Thomas Hardy’s novels. It wasn’t that the story wasn’t up to par it was that the language was so dense, being written in 1895, but even so, I’ve read a few books from this time period and none of them have been this hard to swallow.

Jude the Obscure follows the life and times of Jude Fawley and man who is just trying to right by himself and be with the woman he loves, but things just don’t seem to come together for him. He gets duped into marriage by a girl who pretends to be pregnant, something’s never change. She ends up leaving him after they end up fighting about the supposed child. He follows his dreams to the town Christminster where he wants to become a scholar and work in the church. This is also where he meets Sue Bridehead, the love of his life and his cousin. Though he wants nothing more than to be with her, after his dreams of attending college in the village are dashed, faith and Sues disposition are against them.

Sue Bridehead is one complex woman. She does whine quite frequently and she never really knows exactly what she wants. It’s constantly “Jude I love you” “Jude I hate you” “Jude I’m so sorry, please forgive me”. I will admit that I became rather annoyed with her towards the middle but when something in her finally breaks and she quite literally goes a little insane. you come to realize that maybe she wasn’t right in the head the entire time and that one thing needed to happen for her to completely break. Although I applaud her for her convictions and how steadfast she is on her views of marriage and friendship between the sexes, I ultimately think she is a damaged woman and no one realizes it until she is too far gone to save her.

Jude the Obscure is a sad novel, there’s no denying that, and yet there are aspects of love and devotion on every page. By the end you do feel for the title character and really just wish him all of the best. Jude really is a stand up guy and he tries to do the right things even though they may not be what he truly wants. By the end you grieve for his loses and cheer for his triumphs and just wish him a moments worth of peace.