Review of “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice CoverTitle: Pride and Prejudice
Author: Jane Austen
Series:  N/A
Release Date: January 28, 1813
Pages: 384


BLURB:

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” So begins Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen’s witty comedy of manners—one of the most popular novels of all time—that features splendidly civilized sparring between the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of eighteenth-century drawing-room intrigues. Renowned literary critic and historian George Saintsbury in 1894 declared it the “most perfect, the most characteristic, the most eminently quintessential of its author’s works,” and Eudora Welty in the twentieth century described it as “irresistible and as nearly flawless as any fiction could be.”
–penguinrandomhouse.com

Classic Challenge – Book Review by Audrey

Jane Austen used the world of social status and family ties to tell a story between the Bennets, Bingleys, and Mr. Darcy. Throughout the book, questionable decisions create situations that  make you resent the Bennets and grind your teeth. Jane Austen told a story full of irony and fantastical situations that we today would not find ourselves in. The book itself was very well written, even if we did have to decode the text. The people, although some intolerable, were relatable in their mistakes and left you laughing at their comments. I found that my favourite characters were those that used sarcasm, such as Elizabeth and Mr. Bennet. They way the characters were portrayed left you with wonder and astonishment as their words and actions were unusual to what we would think about doing today.

Overall, the book was good, but did not meet the expectation of popular tellings. As I read, I found myself with one of two feelings. Either wanting to continue because the actions of the people were enjoyable to me, or  fighting the urge to stop as the story hit a standstill. This book would not be my first choice of recommendation, but is neither one I would tell people to stay away from.

Audrey’s Rating: 4/6

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“Sunset Boulevard” (1950)

Classic Cinema Review by Wendy

Sunset BoulevardA screenwriter is hired to rework a faded silent film star’s script only to find himself developing a dangerous relationship.

Rating: Passed    Drama, Film-Noir    Paramount Pictures

Starring:   William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich von Stroheim

The movie is in black and white and narrated from the main character’s point of view. Joe Gillis (William Holden) is a struggling Hollywood film writer in urgent need of money and a writing job.  The feel of the movie is very much like an episode out of the Twilight Zone.  After Norma Desmund (Gloria Swanson), the eccentric, retired actress and her servant, Max (Erich von Stroheim) are introduced, I actually wondered if this movie was some kind of spin-off from the Twilight Zone.  I refer to Max as Norma’s servant because that is exactly what he is/does.  He serves her every whim, desire and conjured-up fantasy.  Their relationship becomes even more absurd after learning he was the first of Norma’s three husbands!  Max’s indulging of Norma’s fallacy-world is just as self-serving. These actors both portray crazy quite well!  Their odd affair illustrates Norma’s dramatic ability to disassociate herself from a close bond and devise an entirely different scenario as if they were all just characters acting in a new role.

I appreciated how Joe’s struggle felt realistically portrayed and current to today.  He is desperate for a job or a loan and it is that very desperation that traps him into the strange arrangement with Norma.  He is obviously uncomfortable with Norma, Max and the situation in which he finds himself. Joe is a decent guy who can’t help but have some compassion for the aging actress who is no longer relevant, even when he is utterly frustrated with her dramatic manipulations.

Even though Norma has lived most of her adult life in an opulent bubble, she cannot hide from reality forever.  Eventually her actions go way beyond an acceptable perimeter.  The end of the movie left me sober wondering if our society has evolved in a positive or negative way since 1950 when considering justice, crimes and those who are truly insane.

Wendy’s Rating: 3/6

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Review of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen


Pride and Prejudice Book Cover

Title: Pride and Prejudice
Author: Jane Austen
Series:  N/A
Release Date: January 28, 1813
Pages: 384


BLURB:

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” So begins Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen’s witty comedy of manners—one of the most popular novels of all time—that features splendidly civilized sparring between the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of eighteenth-century drawing-room intrigues. Renowned literary critic and historian George Saintsbury in 1894 declared it the “most perfect, the most characteristic, the most eminently quintessential of its author’s works,” and Eudora Welty in the twentieth century described it as “irresistible and as nearly flawless as any fiction could be.”
–penguinrandomhouse.com

Classic Challenge – Book Review by Wendy

So Audrey and I started our first month’s Classic Book Read and Review with Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.  I am pleased to say we read this in a unique way by taking turns and reading it aloud to each other.  It made it a fun experience.  I’m not going to lie, some parts felt dry and long, and we were asking for some drama. However, many other times, we were laughing at the polite insults Jane Austen managed to ingrain into the dialogue.  Reading aloud to each other, greatly encouraged us both to express our thoughts on the text and sometimes our confusion! Yes, this very proper, formal English often prompted us to re-read a section in order to discern its meaning.  I think we both equally wanted to strangle Mrs. Bennet and disown Lydia. (I have taken the liberty of reminding my daughter just how lucky she is to have a mom that is so NOT like Mrs. Bennet.)

The book primarily revolves around two of the Bennet’s five daughters, Jane and Elizabeth and their navigation towards the main goal of society for every young woman during that time…to be introduced to wealthy gentlemen and eventually get one of them to propose marriage.  I found both of these ladies quite likeable but I may have rolled my eyes at Jane’s naivety and cheered for Elizabeth’s sass more than once.  The writing brought so many characters alive and made them distinct.  Some of them were easily likeable (Mr. Bennet and Mr. Bingely) and some were cringe worthy (Mr. Collins).

I will just note that the creepy factor of cousins marrying and even those marriages being arranged by parents who were so consumed with a “good match” sent shivers up my arms…and dropped my jaw….and ewww! I actually never realized how often that must have happened and how not only acceptable it was during this time in history, but often encouraged! Yikes!  I will gladly live in the 21st Century where science has taught us so much, including the negative effects of incest!

I am so glad to have read through the entire novel this time, (maybe the third try really is the charm)  I am grateful to Audrey for reading it together.  It was enjoyable and created some memorable moments for us both.  I am looking forward to watching the movie Pride and Prejudice together now…and then Pride and Prejudice Zombies.

Wendy’s Rating: 4/6 

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Codex Update – Favorite Heroines

Heroin Quote

Heroine is defined as a woman noted for courageous acts or nobility of character

Wendy’s Top-Ten Favorite Heroines

  1. Rema – The True Reign Series by Jennifer Anne Davis
  2. Roseline Enescue – The Arotas Series by Amy Miles
  3. Katniss Everdeen – The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
  4. Tessa Gray – The Infernal Devices Series by Cassandra Clare
  5. Perizada of the Fae – The Gypsy Healers Series by Quinn Loftis
  6. Gabi and Lia Betarrini – The River In Time Series by Lisa T. Bergren
  7. Hermoine Granger – The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
  8. Kaia – The Order of the Krigers Series by Jennifer Anne Davis
  9. Sara Grey – Relentless Series by Karen Lynch
  10. Sang Sorensen – The Academy Ghost Bird Series by C.L. Stone

“The Key” by Jennifer Anne Davis

The Key Cover

Title: The Key
Author: Jennifer Anne Davis
Series: 
True Reign (Book 1)
Release Date: 
11/16/13
Pages: 
342


BLURB:

Within these pages lie kingdoms with castles and princes who fall in love with fair maidens, but make no mistake-this is no fairytale.
Seventeen-year-old Rema lives in a brutal kingdom where travel between regions is forbidden, people are starving, and looking at someone the wrong way can mean death. Nineteen-year-old Darmik is the king’s son and Commander of the King’s Army. He spends his days roving the island, doing his father’s bidding and trying to maintain control over the people.
When a chance encounter throws Rema and Darmik together, they share an instantaneous connection, but any sort of relationship between them is strictly forbidden. Darmik’s brother, the Crown Prince, notices Darmik’s interest in Rema and, in a calculated, political move, blackmails her. Faced with an impossible choice, Rema is forced to sacrifice her heart in order to save her family.

Chronicle Review by Audrey:

I first decided to read this book when I was doing a school project. I honestly wasn’t expecting much out of it. Sure, the concept sounded good to me and the idea was definitely there. Though, as soon as I started “The Key”, it immediately occurred to me that this wasn’t just another book I was being forced to read for school. To perfectly sum up my feelings about the book would be entirely impossible to do in just one sitting. Though hopefully I can give you a little insight of what I felt. Hopefully.

From start to finish, this book is a whirlwind of emotions. With death and other twists (although predictable), this book never had a bland moment, not once. The lives the characters were living were relatable, though gratefully not too much. The medieval time period has always had a certain calling to me, so while reading this, I definitely was impressed at the amount of knowledge and research done to give her characters like Rema true and realistic feelings on society. Jennifer Anne Davis writes not only a love story, but one of adventure and deceit.

Like I said, me writing this review could never do this book, or the series justice as I can’t describe it to myself. But because all of the components incorporated into this book, and the next two, I finished my school project not only with time left to spare but I had to grit my teeth as I waited for the third book to come out. All in all, I have read this book and the other two in the series about three times, and that number will undoubtedly continue to grow.

Audrey’s Rating: 6/6

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“Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” (1953)

Classic Cinema Review by Wendy

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Showgirls Lorelei Lee and Dorothy Shaw travel to Paris, pursued by a private detective hired by the suspicious father of Lorelei’s fiancé, as well as a rich, enamored old man and many other doting admirers.

Not Rated      Comedy/Musical     20th Century Fox
Starring:  Jane Russell, Marilyn Monroe and Charles Coburn

So this was my very first Marilyn Monroe movie.  Since I was a girl who grew up in the 1980’s, I HAD to see the movie where (I assume) Madonna got her “Material Girl” inspiration!  I will admit, at first the movie was a bit how I expected; A musical with beautiful women acting coy while using their feminine charms to get what they wanted.  After watching further into the movie, it became more apparent to me that Lorelei (Marilyn Monroe’s character) was playing at her own part.  She was completely honest in her intent and actions.  She definitely used her feminine charm and perceived innocence to her advantage, however she was quite intuitive in her understanding of how men, specifically, saw and treated her.  I really enjoyed Lorelei’s friend Dorothy.  She seemed more realistic in her expectations, and yet she was the one surprised to realize her feelings and reciprocation of those feelings with a man.  The plot was a little light and not complicated and there were a few ridiculous situations, but it was fun and I’m a sucker for cliché, happy endings.

Wendy’s Rating: 4/6
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Its difficult to give some kind of a star rating to an older movie since I haven’t watched many to make comparisons. I have watched a ton of movies from the past few decades though and quite a fair share of musicals.  I am giving this movie-musical four out of six crowns.

Welcome!

Originally, I wanted to start this blog as a way to challenge myself to read more classic books and meaningful literature.  After looking at lists like “99 Classic Books Challenge“,  “50 Books To Read Before You Die” and “Amazon’s 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime“, I realized, much to my embarrassment, that I have read very few. (Shame! Shame!) Read More