I want to be Anne Elliot

Persuasion by Jane Austen
Persuasion by Jane Austen
Number of pages: 271
My copy: Bantam Classics edition

Eight years ago Anne Elliot bowed to pressure from her family and made the decision not to marry the man she loved, Captain Wentworth. Now, circumstances have conspired to bring him back into her social circle and Anne finds her old feelings for him reignited. However, when they meet again Wentworth behaves as if they are strangers and seems more interested in her friend Louisa. In this, her final novel, Jane Austen tells the story of a love that endures the tests of time and society with humour, insight and tenderness.

* * *

Oh dear, where should I start with this novel?

I’ve heard a lot about Persuasion from my Austen friends, but I never really thought of picking it up until one day that I found myself without a book in the mall while waiting for my brother. My first Austen read was Pride and Prejudice, and I was planning to read Sense and Sensibility next, because…well, it seemed like the next logical choice, right?

But everyone I know seemed to really love Persuasion so that won while I was looking for the next book to read.

Suffice to say it waited on my shelf before I actually got to read it. At least it didn’t wait for 2 years as P&P did, but if I didn’t force myself to read this, I don’t think I would have finished it at all.

And you know what, I’m glad I did. :)

A little background on why I had to force myself to read this book.

I’m not a fan of classics. I made a resolution last 2006 to read 10 classic books in a year but only got to one (To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee). The next year I didn’t read any and last year…I got to one, too. It’s weird because when I was a kid, I remember reading A Little Princess and The Secret Garden and Anne of Green Gables without even complaining of their old language. But now, I’d pick another book over a classic book any day.

While I was planning one of my NaNoWriMo novels, I read a lot of references to classics that I couldn’t relate to because I didn’t read them. Then I read Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series and I felt left out because I don’t know most of the characters he mentioned in the series. I realized that if I want to be a writer, and if I want to be really well-read, I’ve got to pick up some classics and read them. I mean, they have got to be good — they wouldn’t be classics if they weren’t, right?

Now I’m still learning to appreciate classics. They are still not my first pick among the books I have, but I’m giving myself a dose every now and then. It takes a while for me to get through the language, and if I stop reading for a couple of days I’m bound to get lost, but it’s a learning process I suppose. It’s a challenge, and well, I like this challenge, so yeah.

Oh, and classic books can be downloaded as ebooks for free, so that is definitely a perk. :P

Back to Persuasion.

It took me a while to really get into this book. I admit the first few pages kind of made my head hurt, because I couldn’t get into the language. But once Anne Elliot finally showed herself in the book, I started getting comfortable and I actually started liking it. A lot.

I think the thing that really struck me here was Anne Elliot herself. I loved Elizabeth Bennet in P&P, but I realized how much I loved Anne more in this novel. Elizabeth was a feisty and strong-headed woman, someone who you’d want to have as a friend. Anne was someone who I want to be. She’s emotionally mature, with the way she deals with her family and her emotions especially with Captain Wentworth. She knows when to speak up and when to let it be. She keeps her appointments despite what other people say, and she has her mind and heart in the right place. It was sad that she’s such a social outcast in her family, but I think that gave her the character that made her so lovable. I bet she doesn’t even need to take some adult acne treatment, and if she needed to, she would have taken it with much grace.

Who wouldn’t want to be her, seriously?

Continue Reading →

Up and Coming: February 2010

Oh boy. More new books coming. I was going through Goodreads last night and saw some books that I was looking forward to getting in the next month. I don’t know when these books will get here, but Fully Booked usually gets them immediately…so yeah, I might be poor in February again. Haha.

Little Miss Red by Robin PalmerLittle Miss Red by Robin Palmer
Release Date: February 9, 2010

Sophie Greene gets good grades, does the right thing, and has a boyfriend that her parents — and her younger brother –just love. (Too bad she doesn’t love him.)

Sophie dreams of being more like Devon Deveraux, star of her favorite romance novels, but, in reality, Sophie isn’t even daring enough to change her nail polish.

All of that changes when Sophie goes to Florida to visit her grandma Roz, and she finds herself seated next to a wolfishly goodlooking guy on the plane. The two hit it off, and before she knows it, Sophie’s living on the edge. But is the drama all it’s cracked up to be?

I loved Robin Palmer‘s first two books, Cindy Ella and Geek Charming, and I was delighted to know that she has another book coming out, this time based on Little Red Riding Hood. Awesome, awesome. :) Fairy tale re-tellings are always fun to read, and Robin Palmer has done great in her first two books. This should be just as interesting, I think. :)

Gone by Lisa McMannGoneby Lisa McMann
Release date: February 8, 2010

Janie thought she knew what her future held. And she thought she’d made her peace with it. But she can’t handle dragging Cabel down with her.

She knows he will stay with her, despite what she sees in his dreams. He’s amazing. And she’s a train wreck. Janie sees only one way to give him the life he deserves–she has to disappear. And it’s going to kill them both.

Then a stranger enters her life–and everything unravels. The future Janie once faced now has an ominous twist, and her choices are more dire than she’d ever thought possible. She alone must decide between the lesser of two evils. And time is running out…

I read the first two books in this series (Wake and Fade), and I liked it very much. I’m the type of person who can’t be silenced until I finish an entire series (which is why I finished reading Breaking Dawn…and totally regretted it), and this is the end for Janie and Cabel. I remember not being able to sleep while reading Wake — not because it was scary but because it was very captivating. Fade was just okay, but I liked what I found out about Janie there. This is the final book, and I can’t wait to learn what will happen to Janie now.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan (paperback)
Release Date: February 9, 2010

In Mary’s world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future – between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?

Okay, I know this has been released, but forgive me, I want the paperback. And the paperback won’t be released until February, so it’s technically an up and coming for me. :P Plus I’ve mentioned this book before, and this is an idea for you why I want this book so bad. Come on: young adult fantasy…with zombies! I want!

And I should write about why I like paperback books better than hardbound ones.

* * *

So it’s only three books for now, and all young adult! I’m still kind of getting the hang of blogging about books and checking out release dates. I’m not sure where else to find a list where the to be released books can be found and easily sorted, so I just relied on searching for the authors and books I want. ^^; There are other books in the list, but I’m not so sure what they are about…so for now just these three books. Maybe next month I’ll have more to write about. :)

Now where to buy these? I can pre-order this at Amazon and get it when my dad gets home, effectively stopping me from reading them immediately so I can work on my to-be-read pile. Hm. Let’s see. But if I spot any of these in the bookstores around me, bet that I’ll get them fast. :P

The Chic Shall Inherit the Earth

The Chic Shall Inherit the Earth (Shelley Adina)

The Chic Shall Inherit the Earth by Shelley Adina
All About Us # 6
Publisher: FaithWords

Number of pages: 256
My copy: paperback, bought from Fully Booked

The girls of Spencer Academy are ready to take on life after high school . . . if they can make it through their last term!

Lissa Mansfield has come a long way since transferring to Spencer Academy two years ago. She’s made a great group of friends in Gillian, Carly, Mac, and Shani. She’s strengthened and grown her relationship with God. She’s even gotten over the Callum McCloud “incident” from her first term. Now she’s set to graduate and experience college life!

But with the girls about to separate and head in different directions, Lissa is faced with some of her biggest challenges yet. Her archenemy, Vanessa Talbot, has a shocking secret—one that could destroy her reputation forever. Can Lissa act on God’s prompting and reach out to her foe when Vanessa needs a friend the most? And with college on the horizon, will Lissa and Kaz finally come to terms with their feelings for each other? High school may be ending, but the excitement has just begun!

* * *

There are certain books that can wait before you actually crack its pages. They’re the types of books that you want, but are in no hurry to read, so they sit pretty on your shelf, waiting to be picked once you’re finished with what you’re reading, or once you feel like reading them. They wait patiently for you, never complaining, never taunting you to read the last few pages to see what would happen in the end, and it can wait for a long time before you actually read it without complaints.

This book wasn’t one of them.

When I read the first book of the It’s All About Us series for the first time, I wasn’t really pleased with it. I liked it, yes, but I didn’t feel like it was a favorite because I couldn’t really relate to it, and all the name and brand dropping kind of got to me. I mean, the characters were Christian; why are they spouting off brands and such? Don’t they have better things to do than concentrate on designer brands or something? I wouldn’t be surprised if the girls started complaining about nose blackheads there given the way they were so brand conscious.

I could have given up on the series then, but I have this obsessive thing on finishing what I started, so when the next few books came out, I got them and read them. Slowly, I started to fall in love with the characters and understand where they were coming from, even if I couldn’t relate too much. I found myself rooting for them, and even if I don’t really wish for the kind of life they have, I wished to find friends like Lissa, Gillian, Carly, Shanni and Mac — friends who would stick by you through and through and pray with you and be there for you like real God-given friends are.

I have to remember that these books were written to cater to a specific kind of group: the Gossip Girl/insert book series name here generation. I like watching Gossip Girl on TV, but I never picked up any of their books because I never felt interested in it. A friend told me they’re good, but they were kind of scandalous, especially for the audience it was written for. The It’s All About Us series counters that, and shows us that girls can love God and still have fun. The books focus on the real important things: friendship, love, family, following God’s will and growing in God’s love. It’s like a breath of fresh air for all young adult books, and it’s something that parents wouldn’t be afraid to let their daughters read. :)

I’m blabbing about that because I’m trying to avoid spoilers for this book. I got this book yesterday, and I was trying to resist reading the book because I told myself I’d finish Persuasion first. I failed miserably, picked the book up last night and read it until way past my bed time, and it was so worth it. I slept with a huge smile on my face knowing that was the ending, and even if I wanted a bit more, I’m okay with how this series ended. I really liked Lissa in this book, much more than I did in the first book. I like how she had matured from the girl who wanted to be popular to a girl who loves her God and her friends and is happy with that. I like the other conflicts in the story, too, and it was nice to see more of Vanessa even if I don’t know what else will happen to her. It was really nice to read more of Kaz, too, and I wouldn’t mind having a best friend like that. :) I just kind of feel off about how Lissa was depicted in the cover — I don’t know if it’s just me, but Lissa there (the blonde) looked a bit too old to be the Lissa I imagined. Carly (I think it’s her, the one on the right), looks gorgeous though. :)

What I love about the entire series is it never really wraps up everything nicely — the consequences of their actions are still there and they can’t turn back from their mistakes. They just have to learn to forgive themselves and others and ask forgiveness and trust that God knows what He’s doing. It doesn’t sugarcoat any of the issues, but instead connects it with practical lessons and teachings that could be applied in everyday life.

If you haven’t read the series yet, I recommend that you start with the first book because it’s really where the story started, and this book concludes the series in a really romantic and satisfying way. :) No regrets in buying this yesterday or staying up late to read this. I’m going to miss the girls, but I’m happy to know I can always visit them on my bookshelf.

It’s you. It’s me. It’s us. – Lissa Mansfield


BTT: Unknown Favorites

This week’s Booking Through Thursday question is interesting, and a bit hard — at least for me:

Who’s your favorite author that other people are NOT reading? The one you want to evangelize for, the one you would run popularity campaigns for? The author that, so far as you’re concerned, everyone should be reading–but that nobody seems to have heard of. You know, not JK Rowling, not Jane Austen, not Hemingway–everybody’s heard of them. The author that you think should be that famous and can’t understand why they’re not…

Okay this is just kind of hard. I feel like most of my favorite authors are known authors, but maybe it’s because I’ve been reading them for so long and I found some people who also love the books that I love to read, so it feels like a lot of people read it. Did that make sense?

But I think it would be awesome if more people read:

  • Frank Peretti – author of This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness to name a few, and one of the best Christian fiction that I’ve ever read. I’d like to think his books are not only for the Christian people, because it’s really awesome. :)
  • Camy Tang – I only discovered her about two years ago, and her chick lit books remain a favorite on my shelf. I always recommend her to friends who are looking for good, quality (and clean) chick lit, and she’s a really nice person, too. :)
  • Tosca Lee – I was blown away by her book, Demon, and even if I haven’t finished Havah, yet, I know from the first few pages of it that it’s also a beautiful book. I can’t wait for her third novel that comes out in 2011 — the story of Judas Iscariot. Don’t you think that’s just yummy?

I think that’s it. More people should read their books, really. It would make the world a better place (and maybe I’m not kidding there hahaha).

On another note, not really related to BTT. Earlier today we dropped by at Fully Booked during afternoon break just for kicks, and I got caught in a book splurge again. *headdesk* I was only intending to look for Carrie Ryan’s The Forest of Hands and Teeth to make sure it’s still there, waiting for me to buy it next Friday. (It’s not.) What I found instead, was Shelley Adina‘s final book in the It’s All About Us series, The Chic Shall Inherit the Earth. And there’s only one copy left.

Ugh. I hate it that I could have bought Carrie Ryan’s book last Friday, only I didn’t because I wasn’t in the mood to buy a hardcover book. I wanted to buy it last Sunday, but I didn’t because I was waiting for the sale in Eastwood. AND NOW…it’s gone. :(

Alas. Maybe the paperback is meant for me.

But I’m happy to find Shelley Adina’s book because that meant my collection is complete. My wallet isn’t so happy, though, and this means I may have to bring lunch to work for a week to compensate. :P But I can’t wait to see what happens to the protagonist and the antagonist, and if she and the guy from the first book will finally get together. I was planning to read it after Persuasion, but alas, it cannot wait. So sorry, Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth, you’d have to wait a bit. This won’t be long. :P

Project 20:10

Just when you thought there are no more challenges to join for 2010, yes?

Of course not. It’s still January, there’s still room for challenges! :)

Introducing another challenge that I will be crazy enough to join this year — and this will probably be the last, because if I join one more I think I’ll really go crazy. :P

Where was I? Oh yeah, introducing the project.

An interesting graphic, I know. Here’s what Project 20:10 is about:

PROJECT 20:10 is a campaign to get people to support more local content, as well as create more local content.

By joining the project, you pledge to read/watch/play the works of twenty (20) local authors/ creators/ developers who you haven’t supported before, before the year 2010 is up.

Also, by joining, you pledge to create an original piece of high quality fiction/ comic/ animation/ game worth at least ten (10) pages/ minutes/ levels before the year 2010 is up.

The premise here is to solve the deadlock: the main problem for our lack of local content is there is no support, and there is no support because there is lack of local content. It’s an endless loop that will never end unless something is done to break it — and to break it, both sides should be addressed.

So this year, on top of my other reading challenges, I’m also joining Project 20:10:

SUPPORT 20: I pledge to read the works of 20 local authors who I haven’t supported before, before 2010 is up.

CREATE 10: I also pledge to create an original piece of high quality fiction at least 10 pages before the year 2010 is up.

I’m not sure if what I will write for this year’s NaNoWriMo will be considered “high quality”, but the Create 10 thing is almost done, at least by November. ;) The Support 20 might be hard, though, and probably way beyond my comfort zone. The only local fiction I pick up are the local chick lit — at least the ones that catch my eye. What else could I read? Do graphic novels count?

But a challenge is not a challenge unless I get to challenge myself, right? Okay, that probably only made sense to me. But if you’re a Filipino, you like reading and you’re interested in challenging yourself, join Project 20:10! This might be your chance to start seeing more quality Filipino works on the shelves of our bookstores! We have to start somewhere, right?

Oh, and Project 20:10 is having its launch on January 30, 2010 at the Ateneo High School Fair, 1:00PM. As part of the launch, there will be a talk on character creation by Yvette Tan, Elbert Or and more! :) More details in their Facebook group page (where you can join too!).

Okay, now where to get those 20 local works now…any suggestions?