Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Will Make You Laugh

toptentuesdayAhh, it feels good to be blogging! I have had an extremely busy month and finding the time (and in some cases, the desire) to blog was nearly impossible. But I’m back today for a fun Top Ten Tuesday all about books that have made me laugh.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Will Make You Laugh

The Martian

The Martian by Andy Weir – Do I talk about this book too much on my blog? Probably, but it’s all well-deserved praise! Astronaut Mark Watney, this book’s narrator, is extremely sarcastic and witty. Several times during my reading of this book I had to put it down to laugh or immediately find my husband to read excerpts to.

attachments

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell – Another book that I love to gush about! Rainbow Rowell’s humor is perfect for dorks like me. Half of this book is composed of witty email exchanges between BFFs Jennifer and Beth. Their sarcastic rants will make you want to joke around with your own best friend.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling – I recently reread this book for the umpteenth time and even though I know the story by heart, I still laugh at the smart alecky dialogue between the characters. My favorite example from Azkaban is when the Marauder’s Map insults Professor Snape!

Me Before You

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – The last thing I expected when I started to read this book was to find myself dying of laughter. But Will and Lou are absolutely hilarious. It probably has something to do with the fact that they’re British and love to tease and insult each other.

Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – “It’s been many years since I had such an exemplary vegetable.” Oh, Mr. Collins, you are so stupid.

earnest

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde – John Worthing and Algernon Montcrieff are so ridiculous sometimes, it’s almost impossible not to laugh. Especially when they argue about muffins.
Earnest

AoGG

Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery – I have always loved how dramatic Anne Shirley is, with her graveyards of buried hopes and dreams and her dyed green hair. Some people find her theatrics annoying, but not me :)

robinhood

The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle – I can’t imagine a version of Robin Hood that isn’t funny. He always has the perfect comeback, and even when someone bests him he still finds a way to laugh about the situation. I laughed a few times while reading this book, but the 1938 movie version makes me laugh the most. It’s my favorite adaptation of the Robin Hood legend.

muchado

Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare – My favorite Shakespearean comedy! Beatrice and Benedick make me laugh so much, especially the scene where they’re tricked into thinking the other one is in love with them. Since it’s Poetry Month AND currently Shakespeare week, I think it’s the perfect time to watch the movie adaptations of this play, and laugh and laugh about this scene:
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Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand – I’m sure this play is extremely cleverer in it’s original French, but unfortunately I’m not quite skilled enough to be able to understand all the puns. It’s still pretty funny to read in English, however, and I also enjoyed the Gerard Depardieu film version. Just imagine Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night but Viola is replaced by a French man with an enormous nose (that’s a really bad summary but you get the idea).

Thanks for reading! Have you laughed while reading any of these books? 

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Top Ten Tuesday: My Syllabus if I Taught ‘Shakespeare Modernizations’

toptentuesdayI’m very excited about this week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) because it is a topic I’ve thought about a lot: what would be on my syllabus if I was a teacher. For years now I’ve told myself that if I ever taught a college class, it would be about Shakespeare adaptations because I love seeing those parallels between centuries-old plays and modern films (and now webseries!).

I’ve seen most of these modernizations, but I added a couple of new-to-me films because they really intrigued me. Ideally, if I was really teaching this class, we would read the play and then watch a modern adaptation of it.

Top Ten Adaptations on My Syllabus if I Taught ‘Shakespeare Modernizations’

The Lion KingThe Lion King (Hamlet) – The first Shakespeare adaptation I ever saw (also the first movie I ever saw in theaters)! The Lion King is a happy ending retelling of Hamlet, my favorite Shakespearean play, so I would definitely be including it. It would probably be the first assignment :)

10 Things I Hate About You10 Things I Hate About You (The Taming of the Shrew) – A 90s classic. I adore this retelling of The Taming of the Shrew. When I first heard it was a Shakespeare adaptation I went and read the play on my own and began comparing the two. I really enjoyed how they kept Kat fiesty throughout the entire movie.

She's The ManShe’s the Man (Twelfth Night) – The red lettering on the movie poster describes this movie perfectly. I love that the original confusion and pandemonium of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night is maintained in this modern film retelling. Plus I think Amanda Bynes is perfect for this role.

muchadofilmMuch Ado About Nothing – I’ve talked about how much I loved this adaptation before, so it would definitely be on my syllabus! One thing we would discuss is how it’s modernized even though the script is word-for-word Shakespeare (with the exception of one word). This is also my favorite Shakespearean comedy!

nmtdNothing Much To Do (Much Ado About Nothing) – In the past few years, “literary inspired webseries” have become very popular and pronounced. The first one I ever watched was The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, an adaptation of Pride and Prejudice where Lizzie is a communications grad student and Mr. Darcy is a young CEO of a media enterprise. Nothing Much To Do is a New Zealand based webseries that follows the lives of a group of high schoolers, namely Beatrice and Benedick who loathe each other. The first series was phenomenal, and for season 2 they are using the same characters to adapt Love’s Labour Lost, which I have not read yet but probably would before teaching this class :)

Romeo + JulietRomeo + Juliet – I would have to include Romeo and Juliet on the list, especially since there are so many different adaptations of it. The “forbidden love” theme alone has been repeated countless times. This 90s version of the play is one of my favorite adaptations, however, probably because it makes me as emotional as the play does. Plus it’s fun to study it as a film in itself.

MacbethShakespeaRe-told: Macbeth – Even though Macbeth is my least favorite Shakespearean work (that I’ve read), I would have to talk about it, because it is a great play (I just despise the main characters). About 10 years ago, the BBC released four Shakespeare adaptations in a series called ShakespeaRe-told. I’ve only seen the Macbeth adaptation and I remember it being gruesome (mostly because of “Macbeth’s” profession as a chef.

A Thousand AcresA Thousand Acres novel/film (King Lear) – The first of four adaptations on this mock-syllabus that I haven’t actually seen yet. King Lear was so incredibly sad to me that I’ve only read it once, but the story-line has always stuck with me so I would like to read/see A Thousand Acres one day. Side note: I realized while preparing this post that the relationships between King Lear and his daughters/his daughters with one another is mildly portrayed in Jane Austen’s Persuasion, with Anne Elliot representing Cordelia. That would also be fun to discuss!

The Black AdderThe Black Adder (MacbethRichard III, and Henry V) – I just discovered this TV series when I was researching for this post, but it has Rowan Atkinson and it received high reviews, so I think it would be an interesting addition to the syllabus.

OO (Othello) – Another film I haven’t yet seen! Othello is one of Shakespeare’s tragedies that has me face-palming over the characters’ blindness and stupidity instead of feeling sympathy for them. But it has plenty of good themes that I’m sure are relayed into this film as well. Plus, I love Julia Stiles :)

Alternative:

The Forbidden PlanetThe Forbidden Planet (The Tempest) – This movie just sounds so fun. A 1950s sci-fi version of The Tempest (another play I haven’t read yet). Maybe I would assign this as extra credit or something?

Do you know of any other Shakespeare adaptations I should add to this mock syllabus? Let me know! I love discussing The Bard and his endeavoring inspiration.

Top Ten Tuesday: Romance Novels

toptentuesday

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is all about what we like and dislike in romance novels. I actually wish there was another term for “romance novel,” because it automatically brings to my mind those old Harlequin paperbacks with Fabio-esque characters on the cover. In reality, the romance genre is very wide and varied, and they don’t all feature Fabio.

What I Like in Romance Novels:

  1. Hilarious and often embarrassing situations.
    Yes, I love laughing out loud, but I also love the aftermath of embarrassing situations when characters make amends and you find out how likable they really are :)
    Fiance muchado
  2. Pride-and-Prejudice-types of romances.
    Lizzie and Darcy’s relationship is classic, and I don’t care how often I see it repeated in other romances. If it’s done well, there’s a high probability that I’m going to love it.
    NorthandSouth AoGG
  3. Unrequited love and tragic situations.
    I don’t care how sad these types of books are, I love unrequited love stories (especially if it’s no longer unrequited at the end). I also feel the same way about tragic books, when a fictional couple faces a dramatic conflict and they have to recover from it. I learn a lot of lessons from those types of novels.
    senseandsensibility janeeyre
  4. Letters! (or emails or text messages)
    I think Jane Austen said it best: “Let us never underestimate the power of a well-written letter.”
    attachments meanttobe Persuasion
  5. Character growth.
    I always enjoy a story with deep and well-developed characters. One of my biggest bookish pet peeves is trying to suffer through a novel, especially a romance, when the characters are utterly flat and unmotivated. (these books definitely show great character growth!)
    lastbestkiss sisterhoodeverlasting
  6. Deep themes and serious issues.
    I love books that make me feel those deeper emotions. When it comes to romantic books, I really enjoy the ones that deal with sad, and even dark issues unrelated to the central romance. Also, maybe I just like books that move me to tears because that means it’s some pretty powerful writing.
    secondchancesummer mara dyer Redeeming Love

What I Dislike in Romance Novels:

  1. CHEESINESS.
    I can handle one or two clichés, but a whole book full of them? Not so much.
  2. Explicit descriptions and foul language.
    Nope. I don’t finish any book, from any genre, that is overtly explicit/graphic or that includes too much foul language. Nothing turns me off quicker than seeing a dozen curse words splattered across a single paragraph, especially when they’re the weirdest and rarest ones I’ve ever heard. If an author can put THAT much creativity into which curse words their characters spew, surely they can come up with some less abusive vocabulary? (ok, rant is over–see, I told you it bothers me!)
  3. Unrealistic characters, plot lines, or dialogue.
    If it’s unbelievable, it’ll be unenjoyable for me too.
  4. Characters who are obsessed with their significant others.
    I’m talking New Moon Edward and Bella obsessed. I don’t want to read books where characters mope around and don’t know how to survive when their significant other leaves them or is gone for one day. It’s pathetic, dangerous, and in the case of Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights, just plain creepy.

What’s your favorite romance novel? Do you share any of my pet peeves or favorite motifs when it comes to romances?

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite 2014 Reads

toptentuesdayThis week’s Top Ten Tuesday, brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish, is all about the best books we read in 2014! I am very happy that my Top Ten is filled with so many classics! It’s not surprising, because I love classics and they usually fill up about half of what I read, but this year I read so many young adult books that I wasn’t able to read as many classics as usual. I guess this just means that I picked a few really good classics ;)

Top Ten Books I Read In 2014

robinhood secondchancesummer muchado sisterhoodeverlasting littlewomen

10. The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle: Robin Hood, my love <3 Your tricks and mischievous ways never fail to entertain me :)
9. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson: This book made me bawl like a baby, and only the best books can make me do that. This was the third Morgan Matson book I read, and before that I was already convinced that I’d preorder her future books because they’re that good.
8. Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare: Usually I prefer Shakespearean tragedies, but Much Ado was so funny and suspenseful that I found myself really enjoying it despite its “shallowness.” The recent film version is great as well.
7. Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares: I just read the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series for the first time this summer, and I loved the four sisters so much! When I went to read this 5th, more adult book, I knew it was going to be a lot different from its predecessors. It’s darker and sadder, but also so much fuller than the other four books. Several chapters made me cry, but not just out of sadness. There’s one scene in particular involving my two favorite characters that is giving me butterflies in my stomach just thinking about it <3
6. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott: The beloved March family! I so wish I had read this book as a young adult. It would have gone well with Anne of Green Gables, but in any case I loved it so much when I read it earlier this year. And of course, the Winona Rider/Christian Bale movie is spot-on. I could watch that all day, AND it’s a Christmas movie so that means I will be watching it soon!

 

tokillamockingbird sinceyouvebeengone meanttobe NorthandSouth attachments

 

5. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee: This is one of those classics that is usually assigned in school, but it wasn’t for me, and after reading it I totally wish it had been! But maybe not, actually, because there’s always that dreaded assigned reading curse that can destroy books for us =P It doesn’t matter what age you are, this book will touch your heart.
4. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson: This book is perfect for summer reading. It made my heart smile with giddy happiness and it’s a Morgan Matson book so obviously it’s amazing.
3. Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill: This book was so cute! I seriously could not put it down. I love books that mix in multiple communications platforms, and this one deals a lot with texting mishaps. Plus, if you love travelling, especially to the UK, you’ll love this one. The whole book takes place in London and Lauren Morrill makes you feel like you’re actually there. I’ve been dying to see all the places that were mentioned in the book ever since I read it.
2. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell: I just finished this book a few days ago and I am still on the book hangover. Some people might think it’s weird to rave about a book that’s been around for over 150 years, but right now all I want to do is rave about North and South. The last time I felt like this was when I read Jane Eyre for the first time last September. My best friends can attest to it, I talked their heads off about that book (but I even converted my BFF into liking it after she HATED the movie!).
1. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell: This has been my favorite read of the year so far. I’ve talked about it so many times, I don’t know what else to say besides IT’S WONDERFUL!

 

There you have it! That was a lot easier than I thought it would be, actually. I rated all of these books 5/5, and there were around 6 other books I also gave a 5 star rating this year. It’s been a good reading year for me :)

 

What has been your favorite read of the year?

Shakespeare in the Spring: Much Ado About Nothing

07. Craft, Kinuko Y. - Much Ado About NothingMuch Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare
First Performed in 1599
Classic/Play
Format: e-book; 116 pages
Also From This Author: Romeo and JulietHamletMacbeth
Goodreads | Amazon
My Rating: 5/5

Firstly, Happy Birthday William Shakespeare! I’m a few hours late but not by U.S. time ;)

I thought an appropriate way to celebrate would be to gush about how much I enjoyed Much Ado About Nothing, which I read for the first time last week :) After reading and posting about Macbeth, it was nice to dive into something much more light-hearted and uplifting.

Like several of Shakespeare’s comedies, Much Ado follows the trials and tribulations of two couples; Claudio and Hero, the sweet-tempered ones, and Benedick and Beatrice, the witty ones who always seem to be at odds with each other. Although there is one main conflict that seemed rather malicious, we automatically know that since it’s a comedy, we have no need to fear any worse case scenarios. Spoiler alert: there’s a happy ending.

The things I enjoyed the most about this play were Shakespeare’s quippy one-liners, of course, but also the characters, who very much reveled in teasing and playfully tricking one another. One of my favorite scenes was Act II Scene III, when Don Pedro, Claudio, and Leonato, knowing that Benedick is hiding nearby, create this elaborate lie that Beatrice is in love with him. Immediately afterwards, Hero, Margaret, and Ursula discuss the same lie while Beatrice is eavesdropping, and by the middle of the third act, our two witty rivals are smitten.

“Therefore let Benedick, like covered fire,
Consume away in sighs, waste inwardly.
It were a better death than die with mocks,
Which is as bad as die with tickling.” Hero, Act III scene I
( I just loved the death by tickling line!)

There were several smile-inducing moments for me in Much Ado About Nothing. I’m a sucker for those Pride and Prejudice type romances, and I couldn’t find any flaws in Benedick and Beatrice as their relationship went from bitter rivals to loyal lovers. In other Shakespearean comedies, I feel that the romantic relationships are shallow; Benedick and Beatrice’s love felt much more plausible and long-lasting to me.

muchadofilmJoss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing (2012)

I had been eagerly wanting to watch this recent film adaptation by Joss Whedon since it’s release in 2012, but of course I wanted to actually read the play first. The film itself is word-for-word Shakespearean dialogue so if you haven’t read Much Ado or you aren’t very familiar with the Shakespearean tongue, you may have some difficulties in following along. BUT, many of the actors do a phenomenal job of reeling you in, even if you don’t know what the heck is going on.

For starters, Nathan Fillion (from Firefly and Castle), plays the moronic Dogberry (essentially a detective/sheriff who thinks too highly of himself despite the fact that half the time he doesn’t even know what he’s saying) and he had me laughing out loud so often, especially during this little coat mix-up scene:

dogberrygif

Love the T-Rex arm!

He did a great job at portraying the pure ridiculousness of his character.

Another scene that really moved me was the almost-wedding scene, when Claudio outs Hero in front of all the guests as being unfaithful. All of the actors were very convincing, and I felt more saddened by that scene after watching the film than I had from simply reading the play.

Also, after finishing the movie I began listening to this song from the soundtrack on loop. The lyrics are all Shakespeare, but the tune is catchy and fun to sing along to :)

I haven’t seen Kenneth Branagh’s 1993 version of Much Ado About Nothing, but it is on my to be watched list. It features Emma Thompson so I have no doubt that I’ll enjoy it.

There you have it! Hope this post encouraged you to read Much Ado About Nothing! And if you have already read it, what did you most enjoy?