“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.” – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Every year since 8th grade, I have reread Pride and Prejudice for my birthday “week.” A total of 15 times. Each time I read it, I leave with something new and yet the same comforting feeling of something old and familiar. Pride and Prejudice has guided me through friendships, romances and learning to be an independent person. It has taught me that it is okay to say no, even when your family expects something of you. To say no when someone pushes it on, not believing you the first time due to your gender.
“Really, Mr. Collins,’ cried Elizabeth with some warmth, ‘you puzzle me exceedingly. If what I have hitherto said can appear to you in the form of encouragement, I know not how to express my refusal in such a way as to convince you of its being one”. – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
I have collected copies of Pride and Prejudice since my first read. Each copy having different covers, footnotes, and even languages. I have around 40 copies now; each of which I love something about. Yet the copy I come back to each time is the the one I read the first time. Covered in highlighter, chicken scratch and held together with neon pink duct tape, this book is my birthday week companion, and I cannot wait to start it again this today for what I hope is a most excellent year.
Pride and Prejudice
Held together with tape
I will leave you with my favorite quote – one that I need to remind myself of this upcoming year
“I must learn to be content with being happier than I deserve.” -Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
James Joyce is not an author everyone wishes to tackle. Specifically, his work, Ulysses. I distinctly remember going to the campus bookstore to pick up my copy of the Ulysses and the assigned book of notes, Ulysses Annotated: Notes for James Joyce’s Ulysses Revised by Don Gifford and Robert J. Seidman for an English Literature class I was taking for the second year of college. The book of Notes was larger than the book itself. Each sentence Joyce wrote had ten possible meanings. I didn’t know literature could be this complicated. Have this many puzzles. Be this utterly mind-boggling. I had read plenty of the literary canon by then, but this was a first. It took us a month to read the book. A month in which I learned how much more literature could be than mere words on a page.
The book itself has a tumultuous history of getting banned in the United States for obscenity in 1921 until 1933. The post office burned copies it found. It is considered by many to be one of the most important works in modern history. Trying to summarize this book is in a chore in itself. The book divided into parts I, II, and III within those three parts are 18 episodes, much like Homer’s Odyssey is divided into 24 episodes, takes place over a single day, June 16th, 1904, and follows Leopold Bloom as he goes about his day. That is the summary. That is it.
A single day.
One Irish city.
“Think you’re escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home.” ― James Joyce, Ulysses
Ulysses is a book everyone should try to tackle in their lifetime. It will make no sense until it finally does. Though each time you read it, you might just come away thinking the book is about something completely different than the previous read. Or come away a person with a new perspective on life. Guaranteed.
Perhaps rules is too harsh of a word.
That being said I have two simple rules when it comes to reading
1. No dogs. I do not read books about dogs. I do not care if it’s a happy book about dogs. No dogs. The dog always dies. Each and every time! No matter what! Even if it lives to a ripe old age of 150 in dog years. After the book, I am left in a puddle of tissues, red faced balling my eyes out and unable to sleep. No dogs ever. Or cats or elephants or ducks or tigers for that matter. Just no animals.
2. I stop reading if I don’t like the book after the 2nd chapter. I’ve been told this is one wasteful and two what if it gets better. It won’t. It rarely does. It must be noted that there is a difference between a slow start and just bad writing. A slow start I can handle. Bad writing is a no go.
2.5 Ok maybe I have three… we will just go with 2.5. I rarely read books about war or soldiers. Just not my jam nor my cup of tea.
Do other people have reading rules when it comes to picking out books?
I read a lot of romance. Some might say too much romance, however compared to my 86-year-old grandmother who reads a romance a novel (only cowboy romance mind you) a day the number of romance novels I read a year is chump change.
Here are the romance novels I am hoping to read over the next couple of months:
- A Princess in Theory (Reluctant Royals #1) by Alyssa ColeBetween grad school and multiple jobs, Naledi Smith doesn’t have time for fairy tales…or patience for the constant e-mails claiming she’s betrothed to an African prince. Sure. Right. Delete! As a former foster kid, she’s learned that the only things she can depend on are herself and the scientific method, and a silly e-mail won’t convince her otherwise. Prince Thabiso is the sole heir to the throne of Thesolo, shouldering the hopes of his parents and his people. At the top of their list? His marriage. Ever dutiful, he tracks down his missing betrothed. When Naledi mistakes the prince for a pauper, Thabiso can’t resist the chance to experience life—and love—without the burden of his crown. The chemistry between them is instant and irresistible, and flirty friendship quickly evolves into passionate nights. But when the truth is revealed, can a princess in theory become a princess ever after?
- Marriage of Inconvenience (Knitting in the City #7) by Penny Reid There are three things you need to know about Kat Tanner (aka Kathleen Tyson. . . and yes, she is *that* Kathleen Tyson): 1) She’s determined to make good decisions, 2) She must get married ASAP, and 3) She knows how to knit. Being a billionaire heiress isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In fact, it sucks. Determined to live a quiet life, Kat Tanner changed her identity years ago and eschewed her family’s legacy. But now, Kat’s silver spoon past has finally caught up with her, and so have her youthful mistakes. To avoid imminent disaster, she must marry immediately; it is essential that the person she chooses have no romantic feelings for her whatsoever and be completely trustworthy. Fortunately, she knows exactly who to ask. Dan O’Malley checks all the boxes: single, romantically indifferent to her, completely trustworthy. Sure, she might have a wee little crush on Dan the Security Man, but with clear rules, expectations, and a legally binding contract, Kat is certain she can make it through this debacle with her sanity—and heart—all in one piece. Except, what happens when Dan O’Malley isn’t as indifferent—or as trustworthy—as she thought?
- Hello Strangers (The Ravenels #4) by Lisa Kleypas
A woman who defies her time. Dr. Garrett Gibson, the only female physician in England, is as daring and independent as any man—why not take her pleasures like one? Yet she has never been tempted to embark on an affair, until now. Ethan Ransom, a former detective for Scotland Yard, is as gallant as he is secretive, a rumored assassin whose true loyalties are a mystery. For one exhilarating night, they give in to their potent attraction before becoming strangers again. A man who breaks every rule. As a Ravenel by-blow spurned by his father, Ethan has little interest in polite society, yet he is captivated by the bold and beautiful Garrett. Despite their vow to resist each other after that sublime night, she is soon drawn into his most dangerous assignment yet. When the mission goes wrong, it will take all of Garrett’s skill and courage to save him. As they face the menace of a treacherous government plot, Ethan is willing to take any risk for the love of the most extraordinary woman he’s ever known.