Classic Books

When it comes to classics, those books end up being a bit underrated. Just because classics are tough reads doesn’t mean to ignore them. Classics are some of the best written books in history- there is a reason why they are called classics. I actually am in the middle of Bleak House. What are some of my favorites?

Love

  1. Illiad
  2. Odyssey
  3. Don Quixote
  4. Tale of Two Cities
  5. Great Expectations
  6. A Christmas Carol
  7. Oliver Twist
  8. Nicholas Nickleby
  9. David Copperfield
  10. Hunchback of Notre Dame
  11. Les Misérables
  12. Secret Garden
  13. A Little Princess
  14. Little Women
  15. The Hobbit
  16. Lord of the Rings Trilogy
  17. Chronicles of Narnia Series

A lot of those books are not easy reads. To get through them, I had to always have a dictionary nearby. That was due to words I didn’t know what they mean. Some of those books came with an advantage: Les Mis by the musical and A Christmas Carol by the George C. Scott movie for example. If I had literally just seen Les Misérables on the shelf, I would have walked right past it, but due to my knowledge of the musical, that became useful. Something tells me that I read Chronicles of Narnia after I watched at least one of the films.

Dislike

  1. Shakespeare- the tragedies (those were read when I was more close-minded)
  2. Pride and Prejudice
  3. Anna Karenina
  4. Great Gatsby
  5. Frankenstein

Those are just some examples of classics I don’t like

Conclusion

There are some classics that are still sitting on my shelf. Hard Times, Kidnapped, Gulliver’s Travels, and War and Peace are those novels. Something tells me that War and Peace is not going to be touched for a long time: considering that I didn’t fully like Anna Karenina. The most annoying thing about Tolsoty is the fact that you have to use google translate at times- some of the lines are French or German.

What about you, what are some of your favorite classics?

Little Women (2019)

On Sunday, I finally got to watch the 2019 movie of Little Women. Little Women was a story I fell in love with a long time ago. The only problem is I don’t know why I loved it. It has nothing to the fact that one of the characters has my name. Little Women is a classic.

This story follows four sisters- Amy, Beth, Jo, and Meg. It is about their lives as young women. Due to having a sister myself, I can truly understand their sisterhood. Now on to the movie:

One confusing part about the movie is that it doesn’t follow their lives in a linear way. It goes back and forth between the past and the future. So, it can be hard to follow their story and know which time period you were in. Yes, you still had the same actresses- but it is a bit complicated. Eventually I was able to tell the stories apart. These girls are all into the arts: artist Amy, musician Beth, writer Jo and actress Meg. I literally can truly see sisterhood- from getting along to not getting along.

This is a wonderful movie. These four sisters share a close bond. Sometimes I got the characters mixed up- not between the character, but the actresses. I always could recognize Meg- after all already saw Emma Watson as Belle and Hermione. Turns out that Jo ended up writing a book about their lives- her book is called Little Women, and she did it in honor of Beth, who died from Scarlet Fever. Jo was truly the narrator of Little Women.

Time to reread the book

First time You witness a death in Storytelling

One of the hardest topics found in any kind of storytelling (Opera, Musical, Book, and Ballet) belongs to death. The hardest time to experience that element is the first viewing. Depending on the character, how it is portrayed, and genre. So, how do I feel when it comes to that first moment?

Genre

Well, there is pretty much one genre where you can get excited when a character dies. That only happens in mystery- now the fun really begins because you get to start being the detective.

In pretty much all the other genres, you can get excited, angry and saddened by death. The genre where death is usually found belong to tragedies- however they still can happen in happy series and books. This does happen at times- you may not get angry at the author.

Character- Spoilers

Who gets killed does affect your emotion. Usually if it is an actual villain, I get pretty excited. Also depending on the character, a death scene can be unmemorable.

There are the obvious characters you love- that is usually when I get angry at the author. There has been one exception to this. I recently finished Shades of Magic series. Holland, White London’s Antari, does act as a secondary antagonist- so in the first two books, I didn’t even like him. But when Conjuring of Light came around, I slowly started to like him. So guess what I didn’t want to happen- I wanted him to live. Well, when he died, I didn’t get angry at the author- that was because I understood the purpose and meaning behind it: it was ultimately him who destroyed Osaron.

This sounds crazy to say- there have been some stories where I originally found deaths unmemorable. Meaning, I nearly forgot they happened. Due to that, I thought ALL deaths be that way. However, Les Mis decided to prove me wrong.

Death Scene- Spoilers

Yes, how a death is seen can affect your emotion as well. Some death scenes can be pretty intense and some less intense- does that make sense. For example, Mufasa’s death in Lion King is one of the most intense ones.

What were other memorable death scenes? Les Mis- Fantine, Eponine, Enjolras, Gavroche, The Students, and Jean Valjean. Nicholas Nickleby- Smike. Etc………There is something in common between all of these: they are not alone. Most of them actually are tragic characters: usually that is expected if a character is tragic. There have been a few exceptions: Mufasa isn’t a tragic character, but does get killed.

So it is important for a death to be memorable or else you will forget they happened. In addition, that could lead to possibly not liking a book.

Les Misérables

I am going talk more in detail here about the Les Mis deaths. Before this musical, I really believed ALL deaths were unmemorable and literally thought they couldn’t happen through song. Songs like “Come to Me”, “A Little Fall of Rain”, and “Finale”- those are ALL death songs.

Prior to “Come to Me”, Fantine has been abandoned by her lover focusing her to leave her daughter in the hands of the abusive Thenardiers, got fired from her job, and eventually turned to prostitution. She really did believe a letter she got from the Thenardiers was true, but in reality a hoax. Fantine had better hopes that her child would have a better life. She almost got sent for prison, but Valjean intervened. During “Come to Me”, Fantine was still thinking about Cosette and was still worried about her daughter’s future. Valjean, our of compassion, promised Fantine he would raise Cosette. That act of kindness made Fantine die in peace and comfort.

Even Eponine lived a tragic life. She did appear to be loved as a child, but as she got older, everything became worse. She became the neglected, unloved, and lonely teenager. No one showed her kindness- there was only one person who did. Due to the kindness Marius showed, she fell in love with him. She was also living in extreme poverty- her love for Marius was unrequited. In the end, she gave her life for Marius, the only good thing in her life. “A Little Fall of Rain” is such a touching and moving scene- Marius may have been devastated, but so glad he decided to be with her. “A Little Fall of Rain” truly does show that Marius did care about Eponine and shows how much compassion he is capable of.

Look- Gavroche, Enjolras, and the Students (excluding Marius) died for what they truly believed in. Even when Enjolras told them to leave to not waste lives, the students kept their ground and stayed. Their relationship was that strong, which was truly shown in the intimate and heartbreaking “Drink With Me”.

As with Valjean- Cosette and Marius arrived in time. Valjean was with his adopted daughter and son-in-law by his side.

I think there is some symbolism found in the Les Mis deaths. The only character who died alone is Javert- he killed himself. Out of all the characters who died, he didn’t know how to show forgiveness, love, or mercy. The vast majority of characters were not alone.

Conclusion

Yes, it is true we can get excited, angry, and saddened by deaths. Yes, we may not get angry at the author- that usually happens when we can learn the meaning and purpose of them to happen. Saddened is usually more likely to happen- of course all deaths are heartbreaking. But when it comes to villains, I am not exactly saddened, but pretty excited. That is only because villains are likely to be extremely disliked unless the antagonist isn’t a villain. We have to get excited at a mystery’s death- if we don’t, the fun doesn’t truly begin.

Crazy how just one musical changed how I perceive deaths. It is easier to find a memorable death. It is easier to find a touching and movie death. I usually am an emotional wreck when a Les Mis death happens. But when it comes to books- I never am in tears, but still feel heartbroken.

Books- How I Found Them

Yes, I am a bookworm. Here is the question: how did you first come across the books you read. There are multiple ways that has happened. Let me give some examples below: some are books I didn’t like.

Required Reading

This was one of the things I disliked the most about high school and college. There is an easy chance not to like them- for one thing, you are not able to read at your own pace and for certain books, you end up being close-minded to. What are some of those required books?

  1. Lord of the Flies
  2. Of Mice and Men
  3. The Great Gatsby
  4. Romeo and Juliet
  5. Macbeth
  6. Julius Caesar
  7. Taming of the Shrew
  8. And Then There Was None
  9. Illiad
  10. Odyssey
  11. Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Well, as you may notice—-most of them are sad or tragic stories. In high school, I was close-minded to tragedies especially towards Shakespeare. Only just a select few of the required books were loved or liked: Taming of the Shrew, And Then There Was None, Illiad and Odyssey. While by the time I read Uncle Tom’s Cabin, I already fell in love with tragedies: yes I loved Uncle Tom as a character, but didn’t like the story.

Musicals

Yes, this is true. Some books were read because of certain musicals. If I had literally just seen some of these books on the shelf, they would easily be ignored. The perfect example is Les Misérables- that unabridged book is over 1000 pages, which is why it is something that could be walked away. My love for Les Mis led me to wanting to read future books.

Recommendation

Some books I read were recommended either by my family or a bookstore. Due to Les Mis, my dad recommended Tale of Two Cities. Tale of Two Cities happens during the French Revolution, which was before Les Mis happened. Due to loving Tale of Two Cities, my dad recommended Great Expectations. One semester in Spanish, we did a project, where I choose to do it on Don Quixote after my dad recommended it. Something still confuses me about that book: it is a tragicomedy.

What about bookstores? Park Road Books is really talented at recommending books. The best example is A Darker Shade of Magic, the first of the Shades of Magic series. They also recommend Spinning Silver- this is the only retelling I read: this is based off of Rumplestelskin (you probably know what I am talking about). I do get nervous with retellings- that wasn’t the case for Spinning Silver- based on the summary, I knew it was very original.

Choosing Yourself

This is where I can include another independent bookstore- Malaprops. You are sitting at this shelf with books wrapped up, and all you see are adjectives- you choose the book based on the wrappings.

Due to Les Mis, a number of other classics were books I choose myself. I wanted to read Oliver Twist because that story was what inspired the Les Mis musical. Due to loving Les Mis, I discovered Hunchback of Notre Dame- another Victor Hugo book.

A lot of Dickens books were starting to be read because of my love for A Christmas Carol. I grew up on the George C. Scott movie- yes, two Dickens’ books were recommended due to Les Mis. However, the others in someways got inspired by the first book as well as loving Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations. Nicholas Nickleby, David Copperfield, Bleak House, and Hard Times I choose to read due to just seeing them on the shelf. One day in the bookstore, I did not know what classic to buy: that is how I found Bleak House and Hard Times.

Some of the other books were just found on the shelf. Uprooted, Land of Stories, Avalon, and Sister’s Grimm are examples of that. I think that also applies to Lord of the Rings. I literally think J.K Rowling drew inspiration for Harry Potter from Lord of the Rings. I do think I also just saw Percy Jackson on the shelf: love Greek Mythology after all.

Movies

Why am I saying this? Some books wouldn’t have been discovered if I didn’t watch the movies. Harry Potter, Narnia, and Princess Bride were first discovered by movies alone. A Christmas Carol fits this as well- watching the George C. Scott movie over the Holidays is a family tradition.

So how do you discover the books you love?