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:
dogberrygif

15638

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? 

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: My Favorite Books!

toptentuesday

Whew! I took an unexpected week off from blogging and I think it did me a lot of good. I’m going through some personal things at the moment, some of which I’m hoping to post about tomorrow on my late February wrap-up.

But for now, let me ease back into blogging with my favorite meme, Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)! This week’s topic is about our favorite books. For a long time now I’ve had a very stable Top 5, so for today I had to decide on my top 6-10, which was hard! I almost cheated…

Top Ten Favorite Books

AoGG Pride and Prejudice janeeyre Persuasion Harry Potter

attachments IMG_2049 tokillamockingbird littlewomen Hamlet

Anne of Green Gables is my all-time favorite book, but Anne of the Island should be on this list, too! I only left it out to make room for some others. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, and Persuasion are so close I could easily switch them around. Yes, my favorite Harry Potter book is the last! Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows made me feel all the feels, and I thought it was the perfect ending to a favorite series. The rest of the books on this list probably don’t belong in that order, but I haven’t given it much thought before now. Those would be my next favorites, though. Attachments is my favorite book from this decade, so far. Short Straw Bride is my favorite historical novel. What else can I say to justify To Kill a Mockingbird‘s place in my heart and on this list? Little Women is another book that makes me feel so deeply! And Hamlet has always been, and most likely always will be, my favorite Shakespearean play (and favorite play in general, for that matter), no matter how cliché it sounds :)

There you have it: my ten favorite books! Do you like any of my favorites? And what are your most beloved reads??

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: Books I Want to Reread

toptentuesdayThis week’s Top Ten Tuesday meme, brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish, is all about rereads! I love rereading books, sometimes I even reread books right after I finish them for the first time. Other books, like Anne of Green Gables or Jane Eyre, I reread during specific seasons.

Here are some of the books I’ve been wanting to reread for a while now:

aseparatepiece greatexpectations harrypotter thestranger

A Separate Peace by John Knowles – I read this book in 7th grade and it really made an impression on me. I wonder how I’ll feel about it after a reread.
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens – I have only read a couple of Dickens novels, but this is one of his best. I have forgotten most of the story since first reading it in 8th grade, so hopefully a reread will correct that.
The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling – I’ve already reread Harry Potter once after the last novel was released, but during Halloween we watched the two Deathly Hallows movies and now I’m holding myself back from rereading the series again. I have so many other books on my TBR list, but I’m hoping I’ll have more time during Christmas :)
The Stranger by Albert Camus – Another novel I remember little from, the reason I want to reread this is because of its cultural importance & my ties to France.

asyoulikeit littlehouse ourtown wheretheredferngrows

As You Like It by William Shakespeare – My first ever Shakespeare play! My amazing 8th grade teacher had us read this play in class before going to see it performed on stage. I’ll always credit Ms. Bowden as the one who originally got me to fall in love with Shakespeare.
The Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder – A childhood classic :) I haven’t read these books since I was probably 9 or 10, but I loved them and I really want to experience them again.
Our Town by Thornton Wilder – I read a lot of good books in middle school! This one also really impacted me when I first read it. I think I’ll probably cry when I reread it.
Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls – know I’ll cry when I reread this one. I was a mess when my 3rd grade teacher read this to our class. Tissues everywhere.

BONUS! Here are two TV series I want to rewatch:

boymeetsworld battlestargalactica

Boy Meets World – My favorite TV show while growing up! I’ve rewatched multiple episodes since the show ended, but I’ve never rewatched them all.
Battlestar Galactica – Matt and I had a Battlestar Galactica marathon back in 2012. We watched the whole series in less than 3 weeks, and I loved how it ended. Since then I’ve been wanting to rewatch it in order to pick up all the clues along the way.

 

What are some of the books and tv shows you’ve been wanting to reread/rewatch lately?

Top Ten Tuesday: To Read or Not to Read?

toptentuesdayFinally! I’m finally home after lots of traveling and vacation which means I’m actually able to sit down and post this Top Ten Tuesday post on Tuesday. This week’s meme topic is “Books I’m Not Sure I Want to Read,” but I’ve also included books I do want to read, but have put off for months/years, and also books that I know I never want to read.

Top Ten Books That Have Me Asking Myself, “To Read or Not to Read?

TTT0812_1

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – This book has been all over the place this year (even though it’s from 2011), but that is not the reason I don’t want to read it, neither is the fact that I already know multiple big spoilers. I don’t want to read it because I don’t feel like being wrecked by a book that I know is going to wreck me in advance…if that makes sense. I may watch the movie one day, and who knows? Maybe I’ll even read the book, but for now it’s on my “Do Not Read” shelf, as much as that has shocked some of my friends.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson – I’ve heard that this series is great, and despite mixed reviews of the film version, I think I may like the story. But I haven’t had enough interest to check the book out. Not yet, anyways.

Eragon by Christopher Paolini – I own hardback copies of the first three books in this series, and my husband really loves these books. BUT, the reason I haven’t read the books yet is because I saw the movie and. It. Was. Awful. Even though I know the books aren’t awful, I just haven’t wanted to read them yet.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett – Another book/movie that I’ve heard so many good things about. I received this book from a Secret Santa this past Christmas, and I’d really  like to read it this year, but, like most of the other books on this list, I haven’t had the desire to read it yet (I think I’m dreading crying).

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan – Ok, the reason I haven’t read this series yet is because two years ago I bought the first three books in French, hoping it would help me work on my French, but I gave up after the first chapter took me hours to read. I’m currently trying to read another novel in French and, although my level has improved enough to get me halfway through the novel in a week, I’ve been procrastinating on finishing it as well because reading in French is tiring… I am determined though!
TTT0812_2

A Feast For Crows (and the remainder of A Song of Ice and Fire series) by George R. R. Martin – I bought a bundle of the first 5 books in this series with an entire Amazon giftcard that I had received for my birthday 2 years ago and I am still regretting it. I read A Game of Thrones, freaked out and read A Clash of Kings, gradually feeling more and more turned off by the vulgarity and graphic nature of the writing, and by nearly all of the characters. But I kept on reading up until halfway through A Storm of Swords, and right after the “Red Wedding,” I had enough. I skimmed the synopsis for the rest of the series (so far), just to find out the fate of some specific characters. I have no intention on finishing this series, or watching the TV show. It’s just not for me.

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde – This is a play that I’ve been told multiple I would enjoy, and it’s on my Classics Club List, so I know I’ll get to it eventually. I am really looking forward to finally reading it one day!

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger – The movie version of this book is one of my favorite movies. I love sad movies (which may sound contradictory to my reasons for not reading The Fault in Our Stars…), and this movie had me crying for literally 15 minutes after I walked out of the theater. But I LOVED it, and my mom or my brother bought me this book for the following Christmas and I’ve just never gotten around to reading it. I definitely want to, though!

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell – I’ve read two of Rainbow Rowell’s novels, Attachments and FangirlAttachments, an adult fiction novel, is one of the best novels I’ve read this year. Rowell’s young adult novel, Fangirl, however…I really wasn’t into. So since Eleanor & Park is also a YA novel, I’ve been putting off reading it. Maybe one day?

All’s Well That Ends Well by William Shakespeare – This is probably the most random entry on this list, but it was a play I wanted to read while I was doing a mini-Shakespeare thing on my blog back in April, but I kept putting it off. I am such a procrastinator! It will get read this year, though. I just don’t know when ;)

What are some books you are on the fence about reading?

Shakespeare in the Spring: Macbeth

macbethMacbeth by William Shakespeare
First Performed in April 1611
Classic/Play
Format: e-book; 132 pages
Also From This Author: Romeo and JulietHamletMuch Ado About Nothing
Goodreads | Amazon
My Rating: 3/5

If I could have, I would have avoided making my first “Shakespeare in the Spring” post about Macbeth, but I read it back in October (it’s perfect Halloween reading) and I never got around to writing my post about it.

So, why the avoidance?

I adore Shakespeare. I love quoting him, I love watching film adaptations of his plays, and I love talking about his works with bookworms and non-bookworms alike. However, there is one thing about Shakespeare that I don’t like: I do not like his Scottish Play, Macbeth.

Shakespeare’s tragedies are my favorites. In 8th grade we read both As You Like It and Hamlet. I did like As You Like It (we even took a field trip to see the play–my first!), but when we started Hamlet I fell in love. It had everything a “wanna-be gothic” pre-teenage girl could want to read (yes, embarrassingly enough, that is how I classify that epoque of my life). And since then, I have greatly admired Shakespeare’s tragedies. I love reading them and experiencing them all over again, except for Macbeth.

I’ve read Macbeth twice now and both times I’ve been unhappy about it. It’s not because of Shakespeare’s writing (his words and themes I actually did like), but I think it’s because of Macbeth and even more so, Lady Macbeth. Let me compare these two characters to another Shakespearean tragic hero: Hamlet. Despite the indecisive masochistic behavior of Hamlet, I still root for him. Even though his identity as a tragic hero means he’s doomed, I still want good things for him. I cannot say the same for Macbeth and his wife. I really wanted them to die the whole time. Well, maybe not Macbeth, but definitely his wife.

It’s wonderful that Shakespeare created such a strong and dominate female lead. I really did appreciate that she broke the model for a traditional female character. She was actually more of a male figure than Macbeth: she’s strong-willed, ambitious, and violent. However, I really viewed Lady Macbeth as more of a disease; after Macbeth hears from the weird sisters that he will be king, his wife immediately begins feeding him poisonous thoughts about power and it is she who provides Macbeth with the plot to kill King Duncan. Macbeth is barely able to summon enough “courage” (if you can call it courageous to kill your friend and king) to commit the murder, and it is Lady Macbeth who guiltlessly adds the finishing touches needed to successfully frame two of the king’s men.

This murder and great conflict occurs early on in the play in Act II, and in the remaining three acts we witness how the deepening guilt destroys Macbeth and his wife. For those who have read Macbeth, you know there are plenty of memorable themes going on. Obviously, don’t murder someone in order to take their place! The guilt will literally be the end of you. Hamlet taught that to us as well. I think my favorite theme from Macbeth, however, was that not everything is as it seems, or as Macbeth so eloquently puts it, “fair is foul, foul is fair.” What seems like a fortuitous future may actually bring us nothing but regret and guilt, our friends could end up being our enemies, and even those characters who would appear angelic and hospitable (such as Lady Macbeth) could actually be the most ruthless of them all.

I know that Macbeth  is one of Shakespeare’s most admired plays, and I understand why, but I have a question for those of you who love it: what do you find most enjoyable about it? Like I said, I’ve read it twice already and I don’t anticipate ever reading it again, but if anyone wants to take on the challenge of changing my mind about it, please try!