Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

If anyone else has read the After series, they’ll completely understand why I chose to read Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice next. Kind of crazy how one author’s words can inspire you so much that you feel the need to read other works they mentioned just so that you can understand their characters better, isn’t it?

I’m not super familiar to Jane Austen’s work to be honest. I remember reading Emma in high school, but it was for an assignment and for some reason anytime I’ve been assigned to read it I just don’t do well with retaining any of it. Probably some psychology we could get into there, but this isn’t the place for that.

I also did read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but I think that and the original novel really should be kept separate from each other. I don’t remember it that well, but as far as I’m concerned they tell very different stories.

When I started reading Pride and Prejudice, I have to say, I was really bored. The first half of the book was really uninteresting to me and honestly I was struggling to get through it without falling asleep. Darcy was a jerk, Elizabeth hated him.

When he confessed his feelings for her it felt really out of place. I understand that he had pride, so he felt that anyone would be honored to receive a proposal from him, but what really made him think she would accept? Maybe he thought she was mean to him because she liked him? It was just strange to me.

However, once she told him off and he wrote her the letter I did start to feel more connection to the story. They misunderstood each other and had to adjust their ways of thinking to come back together at the end. It was cool to see the ways that they both changed.

I did really enjoy the second half of the book. Seeing Darcy redeem himself with Elizabeth and the ways that he was willing to change the way he was and help her out behind the scenes because he loved her was actually kind of touching. Elizabeth ended up with Darcy because she respected him and because he respected her. I can definitely see why so many people love this story.

My grandmother apparently loved the adaptation with Colin Firth, so I may need to check that out eventually. In the meantime, I’m going to go watch Pride and Prejudice and Zombies because it’s free on Comcast right now.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

I’ll admit, I was only interested in reading Wuthering Heights again because of how often it was mentioned in the After series. Honestly, I think I’ve been assigned to read this book probably at least 3 times throughout high school and college, but I’m not sure I ever actually read it all the way through.

I feel like I could probably write a whole essay on how I feel about this book, but I’ll try to keep it short.

From the beginning I felt bad for Heathcliff. Cathy is kind of a spoiled brat and the way that she puts on a different face for everyone else is pretty annoying. She clearly loves Heathcliff and can really be herself with him, but seems to care more about money and that Edgar will be able to provide the nicer life.

She’s honestly a pretty terrible person and does/says things that she knows will hurt people. It’s interesting that she ended up this way and that Hindley was a terrible man, especially because their father was so nice and they had Nelly around their whole lives, and she should have been a good influence.

Cathy and Heathcliff are a good match because he is equally as terrible as her. It’s kind of her fault that he ended up this way, but he also only seems to do things that he knows will hurt people. It’s terrible what they do to Isabella and I’m glad that she runs away from him.

It’s pretty drastic that Heathcliff felt the need to destroy the entire Linton family just because Cathy decided to marry someone else. At the end it does seem like he starts to realize that it was all for nothing, so I guess that’s good.

This story is really just about people causing each other pain and suffering because they were more worried about their social status, which is pretty sad.

I was glad that Catherine (the daughter) ends up with Hareton at the end. Those the close family relation between everyone in the second generation of Earnshaws, Lintons, and Heathcliffs is super weird. The only character I really felt sorry for the whole time was Hareton. It made me really sad when Catherine made fun of him for trying to learn how to read to impress her. He was honestly the other character that tried to improve his situation instead of hurting other people.

The ghost element to the story was interesting, but I kind of felt like it wasn’t necessary. I think it would’ve been better if Cathy was just gone forever rather than Heathcliff searching for her ghost. I guess I just wish it would’ve been more important to the storyline, than just something that was at the beginning and the end.

It’s definitely a complicated story. I’m glad that I’ve finally actually read the whole thing. Probably won’t do it again though.

The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks

I’ve been meaning to read The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks for awhile, and even bought a paperback copy from the bookstore when I went about a year ago, but it’s taken me this long to finally pick it up and read through it. I’m so glad I finally did.

I think in order for me to really enjoy a book I have to either be really interested in what it’s about or I have to be able to somehow relate parts of the story to my life. With this one in particular, there were a lot of things in the story line that I felt I could relate to.

Although I was  a journalism major in college, I took an art major class and actually had considered switching my major because I enjoyed it so much. Still kind of wish I would have done something with art in college. I kind of admired that Sophia had chosen it with her background and having immigrant parents who worked really hard just to survive in a new country. I know she’s a fictional character, but I feel like if she were real it would be a really difficult decision to pursue something you’re passionate about rather than something that will help you land a good job. I respected her for that.

Ira and Ruth’s art collection was also a fascinating part of the story for me. Almost makes me want to start collecting art, but I’m not sure I have the eye that Ruth had. This kind of ties in with me wanted to be an art history major. I just have always had an interest in the arts and it’s cool to think that there could’ve been a couple who lived and met all these amazing artists in their lifetime. Again, I know it’s fictional, but I really loved this part of the story line and how it tied the two couples together in the end.

And, of course, I’ve fallen for the guy who would work himself to death to help out his family. I could definitely see a lot of him in Luke, so that kept me interested. Being a hard worker and family-oriented is something that I absolutely find attractive in a man, so I could understand why Sophia would fall so hard. Definitely been there.

Plus, who doesn’t love a good love story in general? This one had a lot of depth to it and you could tell that Nicholas Sparks did a lot of research while writing. I’m honestly surprised it took me this long to read it and I feel like I should definitely read more of his work.

Any recommendations for what Nicholas Sparks book I should read next?

Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

I had always heard that Frankenstein was boring for a horror novel and that it wasn’t really what most people expected. Though I am a huge horror fan, I haven’t read a lot of horror fiction and this was never really on my list of books I wanted to read.

One night recently I was looking for a movie to watch and decided to start the 2017 movie Mary Shelley staring Elle Fanning because the trailer looked pretty good. First of all, I thought the movie was great and I was kind of shocked to learn that most of what happened in the movie was true to Mary Shelley’s life. The reviews online aren’t great, but I really enjoyed it.

So after watching the movie I decided to finally read Frankenstein. I have to say, it wasn’t at all what I expected.

Maybe I wasn’t reading closely enough, or maybe it was intentional, but I felt like the creation of the creature went by really quickly and I wasn’t even sure that it had actually been done when Frankenstein says that it opened its yellow eyes. With him rushing out and leaving the creature behind, I wasn’t sure if it was something that he had imagined doing or not, especially when it was missing once he finally came back.

For a while I questioned the existence of the creature. When his brother was murdered and Justine was found guilty and executed for the murder I still thought that maybe Frankenstein was just mad and paranoid.

Honestly it wasn’t until he actually had the conversation with the creature that I believed it even existed. The creature’s story was really sad. He just wanted someone to accept him for what he was and not run away because of his appearance. You can kind of understand how he would end up so angry with Frankenstein after trying over and over to prove that he wasn’t some monster.

Just want to say here that it doesn’t make any sense for the creature to have learned to speak so well. That was the only thing that bothered me about the whole story. Curious if anyone else thought this as well when reading.

I understand that Frankenstein didn’t want to create another monster to put out in to the world, but also understood why the creature would be so upset to learn that his creator refused him some sort of happiness.

Frankenstein ends up losing everyone he loves to the vengeance of the creature and then spends the rest of his life hunting him down. There is a nice moment at the end when Frankenstein dies and the creature feels sad and regretful that he took away Frankenstein’s happiness and ultimately made him waste his life. It was pretty interesting that they both sort of felt this regret that they had caused each other so much pain.

I didn’t think the story was boring at all, and I actually found myself wanting to keep reading after finishing a chapter. It wasn’t very scary, but it was definitely interesting and well written. I can’t believe Mary Shelley was 18 when she started writing this. Kind of incredible honestly.

Becoming by Michelle Obama

I’m not sure what made me decide to read Michelle Obama’s book. I don’t think I’ve ever read a memoir before, I guess I was just interested in hearing more about her life. I will admit, I was more interested in her after I found out that she’s a Capricorn like me.

I honestly really enjoyed reading this book. At some points, I couldn’t put it down and needed to know what part of her life she was going to discuss next. It was so interesting to see everything from her point of view throughout Barack’s political career and how much her life changed.

She’s a very interesting person and after reading this I feel like Barack and Michelle were too good for this country. They genuinely wanted to make things better and tried to do so. It’s a shame that we’ve taken so many steps back with the current presidency.

It really made me sad to hear how personally she took a lot of the attacks against her and her family. I don’t think we even think about these public figures as normal people and we don’t think about how our words could hurt them. It’s a shame to think that there are so many people, especially with the internet, who felt it was important to shame them or bring them down for things like their appearance. People are so hateful and really need to take a step back and assess their own lives if they really feel the need to do these things.

I would absolutely recommend this book, and I’ve actually been telling people they need to read it since I first picked it up. Her voice is very strong throughout the book and there’s this honesty and rawness to her storytelling that makes me feel almost like I know her now. I realize that I don’t actually know her, but she seems like the type of person who I could easily have a conversation with and I’d actually really love if I ever got the chance to do that.

Highly, highly recommend!

The Shining by Stephen King

I have never read anything written by Stephen King before. It’s pretty crazy actually because I’m such a huge fan of horror movies. I’ve always heard that he wasn’t happy with the Stanley Kubrick film, so I was interested in seeing how it was different.

I really, really enjoyed the character development. You could really see that there were hidden issues inside of each of the characters and that the hotel really fed off of their problems. I absolutely loved Wendy and really found myself rooting for her the entire time.

Danny was such an intelligent little boy. I really loved his character as well and the insight into his thoughts while he was trying to understand the adult’s problems and thoughts.

In the movie, I feel like I never really but together that Danny’s “talent” was called shining. I vaguely remember Hallorann calling it the shine, but for some reason that just didn’t stand out to me, which I thought was interesting. I also never really felt like the hotel was after Danny in the movie, it just seemed like Jack was sort of stir crazy and needed a drink.

There were so many things in the movie that weren’t in the book and really surprised me. The creepy twins, the blood gushing from the elevator. I feel like both of these are very iconic and always what people think about when they think of The Shining, so it was interesting that they weren’t even part of the book.

The story was more creepy than scary, just gave me sort of an eerie feeling.

The ending was much better than in the movie, in my opinion. Instead of Jack freezing to death the hotel blew up and burned down completely. It’s more believable, I guess.

I also liked that it showed what happened to Danny, Wendy, and Hallorann at the end. I was glad that they all survived and sort of stayed a part of each other’s lives. I’m kind of interested in reading the sequel, but I don’t know if I’ll do that any time soon.

This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald

In high school I was assigned The Great Gatsby and absolutely fell in love with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s storytelling. My grandmother had a collection of his short stories and I read through them pretty quickly. I’ve always meant to read more of Fitzgerald’s work, but have definitely let other books take precedence over them.

I finally decided to sit down and read This Side of Paradise.

From the beginning, Amory is an odd child. He’s definitely privileged, thinks he’s smarter and better than everyone else. He doesn’t believe that the people around him, other than his mother, can hold intelligent conversations with him.

He believes that he thinks differently than other people. I’ve read that Fitzgerald based Amory on himself, which is actually kind of funny because I do think that creative people believe that they think differently from other people and that others won’t understand their ideas. I feel like I’ve felt that way about myself a few times, not to say that I’m necessarily the most creative person in the world, but I think my brain sometimes works differently than others.

The story continues and Amory moves to Chicago where he meets a girl that he sort of likes. Throughout the story, he basically will fall for every girl that’s beautiful and slightly different from how he expects a woman to think or act. I guess this relates back to him thinking that he’s different and he’s attracted to anything that also seems to stray from the norm.

He eventually goes away to school and again doesn’t fit in with anyone. He still has this mindset that he’s a free-thinker and that he’s above everyone and everything, doesn’t really try to fit in. It’s surprising honestly that he finishes college.

He then goes to war. I was a bit surprised that there wasn’t much to this part of the story. I guess maybe Fitzgerald didn’t think it was relevant enough?

Amory returns home and falls in love with Rosalind. Once again it’s a very quick and sort of shallow love. She was probably right that it wouldn’t have lasted, but he couldn’t accept it because he wasn’t the one to end their relationship.

It’s hard to feel sorry for him honestly. He’s so entitled and really makes poor decisions very spontaneously. After Rosalind breaks his heart he feels sorry for himself, becomes an alcoholic, loses his job, and spends the rest of his family money on alcohol.

By the end he’s still struggling to fit into society and there’s a long conversation he has about socialism in the back of a taxi.

I’m just not really sure what this book was about or if there was a point to it. I guess Fitzgerald was just sort of writing about his personal feelings and things that he’s experienced in his life. It was interesting, but it’s sort of shocking to me how much people seem to love this book. I’m not sure that I’d ever recommend it to someone or that I’d choose to read it again.

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (Series) by Jenny Han

After hearing a lot about the movie, I finally sat down one day and watched To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before on Netflix. I absolutely loved it. It was so cute and relatable. It made me laugh and cry. I just really loved it.

Of course I had to read the books. They were so good, I could seriously read about Lara Jean and Peter all day long. I actually wish that was an option in life.

I read the three books in this series so quickly that it doesn’t make sense for me to make three separate posts about how great they were and how much I loved each one. Definitely light reading compared to some of the other books I’ve read, but they were all so so enjoyable to read.

I was actually pretty upset after reading them all that Jenny Han said she wouldn’t be writing any more books about Lara Jean. I want to know about Korea, college with Peter, the rest of their lives, etc.!

I’m so glad that Netflix announced they’d be making the second movie and the cast looks really great. Definitely looking forward to it’s release!

The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks

I’ve been on a bit of a Zac Efron kick lately and this is probably one of my favorite movies that he’s starred in, so of course I decided to read the book.

This was actually a really nice break from some of the longer, more serious books that I’ve been reading lately. I actually read the first half of this book so fast that I really delayed finishing it because I didn’t want it to be over.

It was nice how there were little differences from the movie like Logan meeting Keith at the beginning. This was actually really interesting because it set up the hatred Keith had for Logan even before he was with Beth.

The different perspectives for each chapter really worked to tell the story from all sides. When authors do this in books a small part of me always thinks about how I had professors in my writing classes say that this is lazy storytelling. I don’t really care about it though or think that it’s lazy, Game of Thrones does it and that’s one of my favorite series. It’s almost necessary sometimes and helps to bring a story together from different points of view.

The end had me freaking out. I almost cried when Zeus was in the creek. I was seriously more worried about him that anyone else, and they made it seem like Logan died too! I was actually really angry that they would do this in the book and almost put it down. Super relieved when I kept reading and found out that he had survived.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

Took a little break from Harry Potter before coming back to read the final book, but it felt so good to come back and all I have to say is WOW. This book was seriously sooooo good.

It’s definitely the best out of all of them. Seriously there was so much action from beginning to end, I’m not surprised at all that they decided to break it up into two movies.

I am so sad that so many characters had to die in the end. It was hard to read about the deaths of so many of them.

I really can’t believe I never read these books before now. I grew up with these books around constantly and I’m so sad that I missed out on the hype of the new books being released and the movies coming out, but I’m so glad that I’ve read them now. Better late than never, right?

Seriously this series is just so amazing and the writing is so good. Everyone should read these books. I can’t believe I’m done!