The Book Snob Tag

pile of books
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Am I a book snob?  I don’t know, so let’s do a tag and find out.  This seemed liked a fun one to do now that we all have some more time home to read!

This tag was originally created by Tia and All the Books over on Youtube.  I found it on Madame Writer’s blog.

1. Adaptation Snob: Do you always read the book before you see the movie?

Nope.  In fact, with classics many times watching the BBC adaptation has inspired me to read the book (Great Expectations, Middlemarch), which I might not have done otherwise.  In general with popular fiction, I do like to read the book first.

2. Format Snob: You can only choose 1 format in which to read books for the rest of your life. Which one do you choose: physical books, ebooks, or audiobooks?

I think I have to go with ebooks.  I find that physical books really provide the best reading experience, but since becoming a mom the vast majority of my reading is done on Kindle.  It’s portable, I can read with one hand while following my kid around, or in bed, and switch between multiple books easily.  I’m too practical to be a stickler.

I’ve tried a few audiobooks and find I don’t really care for them at all.

3. Ship Snob: Would you date or marry a non-reader?

Probably not, but the issue doesn’t arise because the person I married is a reader.  We both enjoy sci-fi and fantasy; in fact, one of our first real conversations was about The Lord of the Rings.  We even started reading The Expanse series together, which was very fun until he finished the series and I’m stuck in book 4 and now he nags me occasionally about finishing. 🤣

4. Genre Snob: You have to ditch one genre – never to be read again for the rest of your life. Which one do you ditch?

Horror.  Or even thrillers.  Anything that gives me nightmares or anxiety can go.

5. Uber Genre Snob: You can only choose to read from one genre for the rest of your life. Which genre do you choose?

Fantasy!  This almost feels like cheating because it is such a diverse genre.  I love YA fantasy, urban fantasy, high fantasy, fairy tales, magical realism, alternate history, portal fantasy, etc. etc. Three of the last five books I read were some kind of fantasy.  And there are so many classics, like LOTR and Harry Potter, that I could just re-read repeatedly.

6. Community Snob: Which genre do you think receives the most snobbery from the bookish community?

There does seem to be a divide between those that read YA and those that don’t. I’ve seen a lot of disdain for adults that read YA, like myself.  I also think that Romance gets a bad rap.  I was never a fan myself until a few years ago, and now it’s my go-to for a light, quick, uplifting read.  There’s a wide range of quality, but I’ve read many romances that are real page-turners with excellent characters and meaningful themes.

7. Snobbery Recipient: Have you ever been snubbed for something that you have been reading or for reading in general?

Personally, no, I don’t think so.  My parents used to get annoyed when I would read instead of doing chores, does that count?

So, maybe I’m a bit of a snob, but I don’t think I’m too bad.  What about you?  I’m not going to tag anyone specific, but feel free to post your responses in the comments or on your own blog, and leave me a pingback.

Lens-Artists Challenge #90 – Distance

Distance is hard on us all right now.  We know social distancing is necessary, but it is keeping us from our normal daily activities and relationships.

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The towers of San Gimignano in the distance (Tuscany).

But sometimes, distances gives us a new perspective.  We can see things in a different way, different parts of a whole together, that might not have been apparent up close.

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Little Skellig, seen from Skellig Michael (Ireland)

Distance can be beautiful!  It lets us see contrasts and patterns.  We can see how far we have to go, or how far we’ve come.

Parque Eduardo VII, looking down to the Tagus River (Lisboa, Portugal)

View of Barcelona from Parc Güell

But no matter the distance, always remember that you are not really alone.  We are all in this together.  Make sure you reach out to your loved ones!

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You can find more distance at the original Lens-Artist challenge.

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #89: A River Runs Through It

Lisboa sits at the mouth of the Tagus River, which then travels from Portugal across most of Spain, being the longest river on the Iberian peninsula.  Its navigable waters gave Lisboa a valuable port which made it possible for Portugal to take the lead in Atlantic sea voyages during the Age of Exploration.  Many famous explorers, including Vasco da Gama, embarked from here.  The “Monument to the Discoveries” celebrates this history with 33 key figures of the time period, with Henry the Navigator in front.

The Monument to the Discoveries on the banks of the Tagus; the 25 de Abril Bridge spans the river behind it

This next photo was a bit of a failure in that I didn’t get a good picture of any of my friends!  But as a shot of the river, it’s pretty cool.

We were visiting the Torre Belem, just a bit further down the river.  Out the tower window, you can see the 25 de Abril Bridge, and the Sanctuary of Christ the King on the opposite bank of the river.

You can find more rivers at the original Lens-Artist challenge.

 

My Top 5 Adaptations of Jane Austen Novels

With a new version of Emma hitting theaters, I thought it would be fun to talk about my favorite film and TV adaptations of Jane Austen’s works.

Northanger Abbey (2007)

Northanger Abbey is probably the least-known of Austen’s six main works, so it was such a pleasant surprise to see this competent movie adaptation; it was written by Andrew Davies (more below) and originally aired on PBS Masterpiece in the US.  I particularly liked how they portrayed Catherine’s crazy Gothic fantasies. Henry Tilney is my favorite Austen hero, and I felt this production did him justice, with JJ Feild portraying him as properly genial, level-headed, and quietly charming.  The cast also includes nice turns by Felicity Jones and Carey Mulligan.

Felicity Jones in Northanger Abbey (2007)
Felicity Jones as Catherine Morland

Favorite scene: Catherine is investigating her room at the Abbey by candlelight during a stormy night and finds a mysterious document…which is revealed to be a laundry list in the morning light.

Sense and Sensibility (1995)

Sense and Sensibility is one of Austen’s more popular works, and I have no doubt that it is due in part to this movie.  It was nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture, and won for best adapted screenplay (which was written by its star, Emma Thompson); it helped make director Ang Lee into a household name here in the US.  There’s just so much to love about it: the production quality, the acting, the humor, how it lets not only the love stories but also the Dashwood sisters’ relationship shine through.  

Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, and Emilie François in Sense and Sensibility (1995)
Marianne, Margaret, and Elinor Dashwood

Favorite scene: After her mother and two younger sisters have all retreated to their rooms in tears for various reasons, Eleanor sits down quietly on the stairs with a cup of tea.  (Also, every scene with Hugh Laurie as Mr. Palmer.)

I also greatly enjoyed the 2008 BBC miniseries Sense & Sensibility written by Andrew Davies; I think it is one of the best of their newer round of adaptations.

Pride & Prejudice (2005)

Ever since I saw this movie in theaters I have been in awe of how well it condenses Pride and Prejudice into approximately two hours.  (This also happens to be my husband’s favorite Austen adaptation, and he has been known to watch it even without me!) The characterization is marvelous, and there is not a weak spot in the entire cast.  Lizzy’s parents come across as quirky but likeable, and Matthew Macfadyen’s introverted Darcy is just so good I have no words.  I love how the costumes and scenery make the world seemed “lived in.”  The score is also highly memorable, meriting an Oscar nomination (it garned four in total).

As an adaptation of the novel, my only complaint is the ending: while it is lovely and romantic, it is a bit too Romantic for Austen.  I cannot see her characters ever wandering about the moors en deshabille.

Definitely not Austen…but do we care?

Favorite scene: When Lizzy and Jane leave Bingley’s home of Netherfield after Jane’s illness, Darcy hands Lizzy into the carriage then turns his back and walks away, flexing his hand slightly.

Persuasion (1995)

Persuasion is my favorite Austen novel, partly because Anne Elliot is the heroine whom I am most like (let’s say…retiring).  It was the last novel Austen wrote, and consequently seems a bit more mature in tone, dealing with second chances for Anne, the oldest Austen heroine.  The movie adaptation perfectly captures this thoughtfulness while still delivering a romance that will have you gripping chair backs as much as Anne does.  The use of the settings of Lyme and Bath is lovely, too.

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Favorite scene: At tea with the Musgroves, her sister’s in-laws, Anne sits thoughtfully and silently as each member of the family takes a turn confiding their various interpersonal squabbles to her.

Pride and Prejudice (1995)

The year was 2003; I was doing a group project for my 11th grade British Lit class, based on Pride and Prejudice, which we read for class.  One of the girls was quite artistic, so we made a giant movie poster-style banner with Lizzy and Darcy in front of Pemberley.  And while we drew and painted in my parents’ basement, we decided to get inspiration by watching all six VHS tapes of the BBC miniseries, which I procured from the library.

I now own two or three different copies of it and have watched it probably a hundred times.  You just can’t improve on perfection.

Written once again by the esteemed Andrew Davies, this adaptation follows so closely to the book, I really think it takes the majority of its dialogue straight from there.  It takes six episodes, 5.5 hours in total, to develop the plot and characters perfectly, treating even side characters with warmth and humor to make up a rich tapestry that perfectly encapsulates Austen’s view of life in country society at the time.  Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth are an iconic Lizzy and Darcy.

Favorite scene: Anything featuring Lady Catherine de Bourgh.

Me to my toddler, everyday

Honorable mention: Mansfield Park (1999)

Okay, I don’t think many people would claim that this movie is an excellent, or even good, adaptation of Austen’s novel (which happens to be my least favorite of hers anyways).  It is targeted to modern sensibilities, sexing up the story and making the heroine Fanny a bit too spunky when she’s really just quiet and judgy.  But I will say that this movie made me engage with and appreciate the story more, which is really one of the goals of any adaptations.

Favorite scene: The ending, where the narrator (kind of a mix of Fanny and Jane Austen) recounts how all the characters end up, saying “It could have turned out differently, I suppose…” [All the characters pause and look thoughtful] “…but it didn’t.” [Characters go about their business being ridiculous]

You may notice I haven’t included any version of Emma on this list; while it is not one of my favorite Austen stories, I have seen three versions of it (Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Beckinsdale, Romola Garai) and enjoyed all of them.  I am looking forward to seeing the new version once it comes to DVD.

I also want to give a shout out to Love and Friendship, the witty 2016 adaptation of the epistolary novella Lady Susan; I’d really only recommend it for Austen superfans, but I found it entertaining.

Which of these adaptations is your favorite?  Several are available on streaming so you can enjoy them over the next few weeks of social distancing!