If This, Then That: Emma and Clueless

Posted 14 August, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in Reviews

If This, Then That: Emma and CluelessEmma by Jane Austen
Published by Wild Jot Press on 1815
Genres: Classics, Fiction
Pages: 298
Goodreads
four-stars

Arrogant, self-willed and egotistical, Emma is Jane Austen's most unusual heroine. Her interfering ways and inveterate matchmaking are at once shocking and comic. She is 'handsome, clever and rich' and has 'a disposition to think too well of herself'. When she decides to introduce the humble Harriet Smith to the delights of genteel society and to find her a suitable husband, she precipitates herself and her immediate circle into a web of misunderstanding and intrigue, from which no-one emerges unchanged. Juliet Stevenson, an incomparable reader, is for many the voice of Jane Austen.

I’ve long known that Clueless was based on Jane Austen’s Emma, but since I’m not a huge Austen fan it took me a long time to verify for myself. I listened to Emma on audio and actually found it immensely enjoyable. Naturally, I was trying to figure out who was who in Clueless. According to the Wikipedia page, I was pretty on point except that I thought that Dionne and Murray were Ms. Taylor and Mr. Weston, instead of Isabella and John Knightly.

Clueless poster

Despite being set in ’90s Beverly Hills, Clueless is actually a pretty faithful adaptation of Austen’s classic. I loved Emma, even if she was a little shallow and well, rather… clueless. There were times when I pretty much wanted to shank her dad, Mr. Woodhouse. I wanted him to just let the people eat. I mean really. As if!

as if gif

I enjoyed the push and pull of Frank Churchill and Austen’s expert rendering of Emma’s inner dialogue. Her tumultuous feelings about Jane Fairfax that seemed to change at the drop of a hat, the cattiness and youthful irritation she feels towards Miss Bates — I just enjoyed it all.

I love that Emma is both a classic comedy of manners and a cautionary tale to young people who presume to know it all before their time, the dangers of assumptions, and why we should just all be up front and honest.

While when listening to the audio, I didn’t visualize most of the characters from Clueless, George Knightly was the exception I couldn’t envision the character chasing Emma up the hill or socializing in her sitting room without thinking of the adorable Paul Rudd.

prudd

I enjoyed Emma more than I thought I would, based on experiences by similar authors of this time period. It’s definitely worth the read. Clueless is definitely worth the comparison watch.

What about you, Reader? How do you feel about Austen? Clueless? Emma? Let’s chat!

April

April @ The Steadfast Reader

11 Comments/ : , , , , , , ,

Divider

Library Love: Two Mini Reviews

Posted 12 August, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in Reviews

mt charThe Library at Mount Char by: Scott Hawkins

Mini Synopsis: Carolyn and her adopted siblings are taken in by a seemingly immortal man who has taught them strange, ancient powers. Now Father has gone missing…

Thoughts and Feelings: I thought this book was tons of fun. There was a twist and turn around every corner. Of course being a serious reader anything with the word ‘library’ in the title or about ‘librarians’ is going to appeal to me. This isn’t an overly literary book, not a whole lot of deep themes for discussion or anything, but I have to say it’s an immensely readable book where it’s nearly impossible to figure out what comes next. Highly recommended.

Who’s Going to Like it? Science fiction/fantasy people are going to like it, the apocalyptic crowd might find parts of it appealing as well. People who stick completely with literary fiction… hard to say. 4.5/5

 

 

strange libraryThe Strange Library by: Haruki Murakami

Mini Synopsis: (Goodreads) A lonely boy, a mysterious girl, and a tormented sheep man plot their escape from the nightmarish library of internationally acclaimed, best-selling Haruki Murakami’s wild imagination.

Thoughts and Feelings: Well clearly I couldn’t write a synopsis better than that. This was my second Murakami after the epic 1Q84, it was so different! I loved this little barely novella. It had the feeling of a fairy tale in both style and substance. It was so delightful and charming while at the same time being creepy and weird. Fantastic!

Who’s Going to Like it? Hard core Murakami fans, obviously. Also anyone looking for a little bit of magical, creepy, weirdness. 5/5 stars

Of course our resident Murakami fangirl over at Lovely Bookshelf has a great review of The Strange Library.

 

Has anyone read either of these? Thoughts? Feelings? Read any good library themed books lately, Reader?

April

April @ The Steadfast Reader

11 Comments/ : , , , , , , , ,

Divider

Must Read Monday: The Beautiful Bureaucrat

Posted 10 August, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in Reviews

Must Read Monday: The Beautiful BureaucratThe Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips
Published by Henry Holt and Company on August 11th 2015
Genres: Fiction, General, Literary, Thrillers
Pages: 192
Goodreads
four-half-stars

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange honest review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

In a windowless building in a remote part of town, the newly employed Josephine inputs an endless string of numbers into something known only as The Database. After a long period of joblessness, she's not inclined to question her fortune, but as the days inch by and the files stack up, Josephine feels increasingly anxious in her surroundings-the office's scarred pinkish walls take on a living quality, the drone of keyboards echoes eerily down the long halls. When one evening her husband Joseph disappears and then returns, offering no explanation as to his whereabouts, her creeping unease shifts decidedly to dread.As other strange events build to a crescendo, the haunting truth about Josephine's work begins to take shape in her mind, even as something powerful is gathering its own form within her. She realizes that in order to save those she holds most dear, she must penetrate an institution whose tentacles seem to extend to every corner of the city and beyond.

I just finished this little tome and holy poop on a stick guys – it knocked my socks off. I feel like The Beautiful Bureaucrat has something for everyone. It’s full of intrigue, a dash of magical realism,  and a whole lot of excellent writing.

It felt a little bit like a grown-up Wrinkle in Time, though why exactly it felt that way — I can’t exactly put my finger on it. But I loved the slightly science fiction feel that didn’t necessarily go overboard and take The Beautiful Bureaucrat into the realm of genre fiction. Admittedly, the characters are a bit flat, but because of the slimness and the surreal feeling of the novel, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

I love the wordplay within the novel, which screams of symbolism – perhaps Josephine’s descent into madness working her job. I love how she eventually started referring to her husband by his social security number. I love the Every Place feeling of The City vs. The Hinterlands.

Some reviewers found The Beautiful Bureaucrat to be somewhat Orwellian, I didn’t necessarily have that feeling — though there was definitely the sense that Josephine was being watched.

Anyway, I don’t want to oversell The Beautiful Bureaucrat, but I think that the length of the novel makes it accessible to everyone and to me it was completely delightful.

What do you think, Reader? Does this sound like something that might be up your alley? 

April

April @ The Steadfast Reader

16 Comments/ : , , , , , , , ,

Divider

Sunday Salon: Sainthood Edition

Posted 9 August, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in memes, musings, Reading

sundaysalon-200-pixshark

 

Time // 9:22 AM EDT

Place // The doghouse. I pulled what I like to refer to as ‘a man’, but what is more accurately described in my relationship as ‘an April’ and made a major purchase of a new phone without consulting The Mister. While lying in bed next to him… … I promise it was less sneakiness and more thoughtlessness. When the iPhone6 came out last year I was an idiot and used my upgrade to only get the one with 16 gigs of storage, I had to have more… like 112 gigs more. The man really should be a candidate for sainthood for putting up with me. He doesn’t even read this, so you know I must mean it.

Reading // Finishing up the audio for Jo Nesbø’s The Son, a decent enough Scandinavian thriller I guess. Also about to finish up reading Atwood’s upcoming The Heart Goes Last, as I suspected it is basically the entirety of the published Positron Serials in one book, expanded, and with (I hope!) an ending. I’m not sure what’s next up though, I got a recommendation from a co-worker that looks pretty intriguing. Huzzah for free-range reading!

Happenings // Went to a birthday party with friends on Friday night at a local establishment resembling a Dave and Buster’s with an indoor go-kart track. It’s been a million years since I went go-karting, played skee-ball, or arcade games in general. To end the night a group of us ended up in the parking lot behind a Krispy Kreme at midnight just goofing off and eating doughnuts. (The dining room was closed, okay?!)  Ah, to be sixteen again. Good times. (…and another example of why The Mister is a damned saint, he stayed home with The Girl so I could pretend I was sixteen.)

playing video games

We’re terminating machines.

Family // The Girl started her new Montessori school this week. We had some hiccoughs because I pulled an April and never opened the ‘Welcome Letter’ email that the school sent. I mean… seriously, ‘welcome letter’ sounds like there’s nothing at all substantive in it. Well, there was and it was Wednesday before I hunted down the required white cloth napkins we were supposed to be sending with her lunchbox. I thought The Mister was going to have a stroke. But that’s all sorted out now.

Trying to buy // a house. We’re putting in a bid today on house number four (we’ve already bid and lost on three prior houses), this is important because we got an email this morning from our ridiculous landlords saying they’ve sold the rental that we’re living in and would like to close ASAP. (We weren’t even aware it was on the market and if they’ve been showing it we haven’t known.) Fingers crossed.

Confessed // to much of the office that I have a blog. I’m terrible at keeping my own secrets, but great at keeping secrets that belong to others. Hi Office!! *waves*

Edit //  I also wanted to share this post from some dear IRL friends about dealing with scary things during pregnancy. Get your tissues out.

What about you, Reader? Have you had an eventful week? Tell me!

April

April @ The Steadfast Reader

23 Comments/ : , , , , ,

Divider

1001 Mini Reviews

Posted 24 July, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in Reviews

So, as you can see from my tabs above I’m attempting the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2010) challenge. I’m not reviewing every book, but when I get low on other things to talk about they make for some good backlist discussion. I have three recent reads turned mini reviews for you.

1001 mini

Zorba the Greek by: Nikos Kazantzakis – #573

Short Synopsis: Two men travel to Crete together. The narrator opens a lignite mine and Zorba talks a lot.

Itty Bitty Review: This book was definitely not my cuppa. I know it was originally published in 1946 but I found Zorba’s attitudes towards and about women to be nearly offensive. The meandering conversations between the narrator and Zorba feel absolutely dated and dull. Maybe something was lost in translation, but this book didn’t work at all for me. 2/5 stars.

Neuromancer by: William Gibson – #233

Short Synopsis: Gritty sci-fi, dystopian future where data thieves and hackers are major players in the criminal underworld and one hacker has to take on an AI for a mysterious employer.

Itty Bitty Review: This book was almost too gritty for me. I have to disagree with comparisons to 1984 and Brave New World, those are way better than Neuromancer. By no means is this book bad, I read it in a matter of days, but it was kind of ‘meh’ for me. I think that people who really enjoy this genre will really enjoy this book. 3/5 stars.

Underworld by: Don DeLillo – #71

Short Synopsis: … I can’t even. Here’s Goodreads:

While Eisenstein documented the forces of totalitarianism and Stalinism upon the faces of the Russian peoples, DeLillo offers a stunning, at times overwhelming, document of the twin forces of the Cold War and American culture, compelling that “swerve from evenness” in which he finds events and people both wondrous and horrifying.

Itty Bitty Review: I know… what? Which is pretty much my reaction to the whole book. Anyone who cares to explain this book to me I would greatly appreciate it. For real. I missed something deep AND important with this book and I love DeLillo’s White Noise. I can’t even rate it because I don’t know what the hell it’s about.

Read any big classic or modern classic novels lately, Reader?Does anyone understand Underworld?

April

April @ The Steadfast Reader

5 Comments/ : , , , , , , , ,

Divider

Sunday Salon: “I’m So Tired”

Posted 19 July, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in memes, musings

sundaysalon-200-pixshark

Time // 10:45 AM EDT

Reading // Go Set a Watchman, it’s slow going – mostly because I’m so tired after commute and family time that I go straight to bed listening to audio books instead of reading, so it’s taking me way longer than it should to complete it. But maybe today?

Listening // Unsurprisingly, to a bunch of stuff! I finished up Vanity Fair, which was surprisingly enjoyable. I also finished listening to Wizard and Glass, which probably accounts for my fourth or fifth ‘reading’ of it. I’m on to Wolves of Calla, which will only be my second ‘reading’ of it. I’m looking forward to book seven, which I remember when finishing it I wanted to go start the entire series all over again.

Also, finally catching up with the cool kids and listening to ‘Serial’ from NPR on my commute. It’s interesting and thought provoking as a lawyer. I’m interested to see what comes of it. Maybe I’ll finally download some episodes of Literary Disco to see what all the buzz is about. Also, I could catch up on Annasaurus Rex’s podcast Type O-Maha.

Watching // Went to see Minions this weekend with hubs and The Girl. Fun.

Feeling // Tired. Naturally. I’ll leave you with a Beatles song to inspire you.

What about you, Reader? How was your week? 

April

April @ The Steadfast Reader

10 Comments/ : , , , , , , , ,

Divider

Sunday Salon: Where She’s an Exhausted Reader

Posted 12 July, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in memes, musings

sundaysalon-200-pixshark

Time // 8:27 AM EDT

This Week // Started my new job. I think it’s going to be a great fit, outside of the commute. I love prosecuting – largely because it doesn’t require me to bill hours or bring in new clients. Oh, and the whole justice for all thing being in my hands is fulfilling as well.  Yesterday Mr. SFR and I went to look at houses closer to the job site, but since he works in the opposite direction the whole thing is going to be tricky. Especially with Atlanta traffic.

Office

My big girl, fancy pants office that I’m quite pleased with.

Now // I brought some case files home that I need to work on a bit to get ahead for next week. I don’t anticipate every weekend being this way, but since I inherited a ton of files – well, it’s catchup time.

Needing // Time and inclination to write and schedule a ton of reviews in advance! My poor comrades at The Socratic Salon are always waiting on my to make my menial contributions to our discussions. Obviously the blog is in the pits as well.

Reading // Okay… well listening… I’ve been making some serious headway into Vanity Fair during my commute and while that time period is definitely far from my favorite — I’m kind of loving it. It’s smart, sassy, and I don’t care what people say about Becky Sharpe, she’s one smart cookie. Amelia makes me want to barf. Before I go to sleep at night I’m listening to Wizard and Glass still. I get home and I’m just so tired that audio is really working well for me all the way around.

Though, I have read the first fifty pages of the new Matthew Quick novel, Love May Fail, and it’s pretty arresting too. Hopefully it won’t take me a decade to finish it.

Good week here, Reader! How was yours? 

April

April @ The Steadfast Reader

19 Comments/ : , , , , ,

Divider

Sunday Salon: Twas the Day Before Work

Posted 5 July, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in memes, musings

sundaysalon1

 

Time // 6:07 PM EDT

Happenings // Just got back from Nashville for a weekend with the family. It’s left me exhausted. On the way up I discovered (probably to my professional and blogging detriment) Periscope. It gave me some amusement on the drive up to Nashville.

We went to see The Hermitage, the home of Andrew Jackson and I basically learned he was a pretty big dick. Who okayed putting his face on the twenty dollar bill? Endorsed slavery? Expanded the role of the presidency? TRAIL OF TEARS? I THINK WE CAN FIND SOMEONE BETTER TO PUT ON OUR MOST USED PIECE OF PAPER CURRENCY. Ahem. Just saying.

Tomorrow is the first day of a new job with a considerable commute. I’m going to get to listen to so many audio books. I don’t know what this commute might mean for the blog – but – I’m not making any decisions yet. Naturally I’ll still be active over at The Socratic Salon. But let’s just wait and see.

Reading // Still working my way through the audio of Wizard and Glass.

Watched // Jurassic World, by far it’s the best Jurassic Park film since the original but – and I’m gonna get some haters here – outside of Parks and Rec, Chris Pratt couldn’t act his way out of a wet paper bag.

Okay Readers! How was your week? What do you anticipate for next week? 

April

April @ The Steadfast Reader

16 Comments/ : , , , , , ,

Divider

Love Wins: A Dramatic Reading of Obergefell

Posted 1 July, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in musings

So last Friday the U.S. Supreme Court issued its 5-4 opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges which ultimately made marriage equality the law of the land in the United States. The decision with four separate dissents totaled 103 pages. While I found the majority decision, written by Justice Kennedy to be as eloquent as Supreme Court decisions come – the real gem in this piece was Justice Scalia’s dissent. He’s furious and it completely shows in his dissent. With all respect due to a Justice of the Supreme Court, I present to you a dramatic reading of Justice Scalia’s dissent in Obergefell. Enjoy. I know it’s no Hogwarts School of Prayer and Miracles, but I still had fun. Justice Scalia’s opinions are not my own, I’m just reading what’s been written.

If you want to read the full text of the opinion and the other dissents it can be found here.

A further resource for all things SCOTUS is SCOTUSblog.com, for their analysis and all the info on Obergefell go here.

Leave me a message about my performance, or just your thoughts, Reader. 

April

April @ The Steadfast Reader

13 Comments/ : , , , , , , ,

Divider