Jane Austen‘s Pride & Prejudice was the first classic novel that I truly fell in love with. I have seen all six film adaptations multiple times, and read it more times than I can count. Reading her novels has been a comfort to me through good times and bad, and I can honestly say I have grown a kinship with the author. By reading her works I feel as if I know her, as if she is a dear friend and I am reading her letters. It is a dream of mine to see England through her eyes, visiting all the places she loved (as well as some of the locations featured in the films). I am not sure when, but someday I really want to go. Keep reading to see my ultra-secret Jane Austen themed English road-trip vacation plans!
Astrology is one of my long-time hobbies: I have been studying it for years and have countless books, workbooks and notebooks on the topic. It is the study of the influence of the planets and stars on our lives. You probably know your sun sign if you like to read your daily horoscope, but natal charts can be much more in-depth. Anyway, I was watching more Jane Austen movies the other day and started wondering which sign some of my favorite characters might be. There is little written evidence of characters birthday months, so here is what I imagine based on personalities!
LYdia Bennet ♈ Aries
Sweet and flirty Lydia might not seem like a headstrong Aries upon first acquaintance, but do not be fooled by her childlike innocence. Though confident and eager, she can be reckless, impatient, and irresponsible. Aries is a fire sign—red-hot, impulsive, and ready to go. What her sisters see as carelessness appears to suitors as fearlessness, and her desire for independence gets her into trouble.
Elizabeth Bennet ♉ Taurus
Earthy, practical and down-to-earth are perfect descriptors of Eliza Bennet. Although easy-going and respectful, the Taurus can be unbelievably stubborn and reluctant to compromise (as proved by her prejudice of Mr. Darcy). Like any Taurus she loves the beauty of nature but can be self-indulgent in reading and walking, sometimes to a fault. She is also incredibly determined, patient, and enduring—once she knows what she wants!
Emma Woodhouse ♊ Gemini
Gemini’s are witty, bright, and talkative, very much like the social butterfly Emma Woodhouse. Studious and clever, Emma is a great example of this airy sign. She is a thoughtful neighbor and is quick to help her friends. However, she can be gossipy and shallow. Thankfully, Mr. Knightly consistently keeps her in-check with his honesty.
The Great American Read is an eight-part series that explores and celebrates the power of reading, told through the prism of America’s 100 best-loved novels (as chosen in a national survey). All of the books that made the list are truly great, but only one can be named The Great American Read.
Read our last post to see which 40 Books are leading the race, and find a list of my favorites listed below. If you don’t see your book, there is still time to change that. You can vote for your favorites each day until Thursday, October 18, 2018 at midnight PT, when voting closes. Click here to vote now.
The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood
The 1984 book explores the issues of womens rights, religion, and individual liberties. Atwood conceived the novel as ‘speculative fiction,’ (similar to Louis Lowry’s The Giver), works that imagine a future that could conceivably happen without any advances in technology from the present. In other words, she said, “Science fiction has monsters and spaceships; speculative fiction could really happen.” Every aspect of the book was inspired by social and political events of the early 1980s, but remains poignant because we can imagine this happening today.
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby is a classic choice for The Great American Read because it is an archetypal representation of The American Dream: if you work hard enough, you can succeed. The story primarily concerns the young and mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby and his passionate obsession with a married Daisy Buchanan. Considered to be Fitzgerald’s magnum opus, The Great Gatsby explores themes of decadence, idealism, resistance to change, social upheaval, and excess, creating a portrait of the Roaring Twenties that has been described as a cautionary tale regarding the American Dream.
The Help, Kathryn Stockett
People should read The Help because it is real. Though it is a work of fiction, it is based on true events. The story is about African Americans working in white households in Jackson, Mississippi, during the early 1960s. Kathryn was born in 1969 in Jackson and grew up in a household with a black housekeeper. The story was based on her experiences growing up and it was just adjusted to occur in the 1960s in the midst of the civil rights movement. A beautifully written but painful story steeped in American history. It tells the story of black household workers in the South in the early 1960s—domestic helpers who take great risks by sharing stories about what it’s like to walk a mile in their shoes. Their tales not only reveal the great sense of empowerment that comes from sharing and having your voice heard, but also remind us of the greatness of the real women who do this work today under sometimes terrible conditions. It is a novel about empowered, heroic women taking a stand for human rights during the civil rights era. It was also adapted into a movie in 2011.
With her older sister Estrella in the ICU and her father in jail, eleven-year-old Luz Castillo has been taken into the custody of the state. Alone in her room, she retreats behind a wall of silence, writing in her journal and shuffling through a deck of lotería cards. Each of the cards’ colorful images—mermaids, bottles, spiders, death, and stars—sparks a random memory.
Pieced together, these snapshots bring into focus the joy and pain of the young girl’s life, and the events that led to her present situation. But just as the story becomes clear, a breathtaking twist changes everything.
This book was stippled with Spanish aphorisms and phrases, and included an impressive amount of vocabulary in-context, to help teach Spanish to non-speakers. A full deck of Lotería cards is presented back-to-front, to mark the chapters, as if the reader is flipping a card when turning the page, reminiscent of Isabelle Allende and Salvador Plascencia’s magical realism.
“I didn’t feel like remembering today so I laid out the cards close to each other so that they were touching like tiles, like El Nopal.” (175).
Luz associates her memories with the Lotería cards, using them to prompt her, to spark her memories. Than she writes about it in her journal. As we read her diary — addressed to “You”, always capitalized, in reference to the reader, or in reference to a higher power — we understand the trauma she is trying to run from. Continue reading