Posts Tagged ‘bronte’

Well, it’s official, today is my last day of summer vacation. I start training (which I’ve already done, last year, but don’t let me get started on that tangent) tomorrow for two weeks and then I have a week of workdays and then the kids come back on the 27th. Those three weeks of preparing for the little darlings means that I will be worn out even before the kids arrive and it also means a lot less time for me to read which I really hate to part with. Oh well, I’m thankful to even have a job in this economy and at least I will be back into a routine.
Since tomorrow is technically my “first day of school” I have decided that this weeks TTT will be books set in or around a school.

10. Pledged: The Secret Life of Sororities by Alexandra Robbins
I was never in a sorority in college, but I was always fascinated by the girls who wore matching shirts with Greek letters on them and who seemed to only socialize with each other. I only knew what sororities were like from TV shows like Beverly Hills: 90210 and movies like The House Bunny. This book isn’t that much different than those televised portrayls. Robbins goes undercover and rushes a sorority, gaining the trust of the girls in the house and gives us all the gory details of body image troubles and hazing horrors. It made me pretty glad I never decided to seek out one of those matching t-shirts.


9. The Magic Schoolbus Series by Joanna Cole and Illustrated by Bruce Degen 
Let’s be honest here, who didn’t want to be in Ms. Frizzle’s class and get to go on these slammin’ field trips? The Magic Schoolbus books were non-fiction fun escapes that taught me (and countless other youngins) about topics like the solar system, the water cycle, and, my personal favorite, what it’s like inside of a hurricane.


8. Villette by Charlotte Bronte 
Okay, this one probably made the list because I just finished reading (and loving) this one. However, there is always something so romantic and exotic about a European boarding school that I just love.

 7. Blackboard Jungle by Evan Hunter

Okay, this book was written in the 1950’s- when kids were still “good”!!! If you thought that they were bad then, I double-dog dare you to attempt to set foot in a school today. Seriously, folks, nothing can prepare you for what happens inside a school. It would blow your mind. It does mine on a daily basis.

6. Matilda by Roald Dahl
I loved Roald Dahl, and I especially loved Matilda. Matilda was a relatable character for me since she was reading well before going to school. I hated that mean old Ms. Trunchbull for her and I equally loved Ms. Honey. This is a charming story that I can’t wait to share with my daughter one day!


5. Christy by Catherine Marshall
Christy is the story of a 19-year old girl who goes to teach in the Smoky Mountains of NC (yes! I love a NC Mountains book!) and discovers hardships both from the townspeople and from her reluctant students but eventually comes to love them all. There was also a CBS-produced mini-series staring Kellie Martin that came out which is equally enjoyable!


4. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
Frequently chalanged and often seen on the ALA’s Top 100 Banned/Challenged Book List this social-commentary book has it all- sex, secret socities, refusal to sell chocolate for those stupid school mandated fundraisers (ever year I end up with a stack of straight-up CRAP that I have felt like I had to buy from the students. The book is pretty intense and it raises up some thought-provoking concepts.



3. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Front Cover
I read this book in one sitting while I myself was in high school. It’s got some pretty tough issues in it, but one of my good friends did a unit on this book with her eighth grade  honors class last year, and it must have gone pretty well. The kids seemed to enjoy it and I had a lot of them come into the library asking for more books like it and more by Anderson. There was also a Lifetime TV movie staring Bella Swan that came out a few years ago.

2. I am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe.
My aunt sent me a copy of this book for my birthday the year before I left for college. Like the protagonist, I, too, am from a small, rural, North Carolina town. After reading this book I wasn’t sure if I was excited or nervous to go to college. This was a fun read and I felt really smart reading a Tom Wolfe novel (and one that was so thick, too!). This is one I remember immensly enjoying and one that I will need to revisit soon.



1. The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
Hogwarts, Hogwarts, Hogwarts, Hogwarts– enough said! (PS, I think that I would be a Hufflepuff, but that kind of thing is best left up to the sorting hat).


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Confession: Never on my own have I completed a reading of a classic just for fun. Actually, never have I even read many classics at all. I’ve only read a select few and they were all for school. I have felt intimidated by the classics ere now. When I did read them for school, it was different because we met two to three days each week to discuss what was happening in the book, so any parts I did a “huwahhaa?” face at were explained to me a day or two later.

Emma Watson Confused Gif

I just finished reading my very first classic on my own. Perhaps a 573 page tome was not the best choice for me to read first. However, I loved Villette by Charlotte Bronte. I selected this one despite its length because I had enjoyed reading Jane Eyre in college and believed that I would have done well with that one had I read it outside of a classroom.
Having started this blog with the intention of being more well-read and combined with the fact that my five-year life plan includes me going back to school to obtain a second Master’s Degree (this time in literature) I knew that I needed to face my fears and delve into the world of the classics. With the successful completion of this first solo-classic reading and with some group motivation and support from Jillian and the rest of the classic’s readers at The Classics Club I feel very confident that I can reach my goal of reading 50 classics in the next five years.

Classic: Villette
Author: Charlotte Bronte
Publication Date: 1853 -Victorian
Pages: 573
Publisher: Barnes and Noble Classics
Where I got it from: Bought at B&N
Dates Read: July 14, 2012-July 26, 2012

“ ‘I live solitary.’ ‘But solitude is sadness.’ ‘Yes; it is sadness. Life, however, has worse than that. Deeper than melancholy, lies heartbreak.”

With my first reading of a classic, I did face some of the fears I had about classics readings: lots of big words that caused me to read the book with a dictionary and a pencil in hand, wordy sentences that if written today would be much condensed (“What you do is wrong…it is an act characteristic of men of your unreliable imaginative temperament; a step impulsive, injudicious, inconsistent- a proceeding vexatious, and not estimable in the view of persons of steadier and more resolute character.”), references that I am unfamiliar with (Labassecour), and words in French (the French actually persuaded me to enroll in a beginners French class at the local community college this Fall!). The fears were not unconquerable though and I jumped headfirst into my first classic novel and the result was greater than the fears. I succeeded at something I thought that I could not and now I am no longer apprehensive of taking on the other classics I’ve always wanted to read but been too intimidated to. Now, I am excited to do so.
Villette was just as good as Jane Eyre. I won’t say that it is better than Jane like George Elliot did in his glowing review of the book. Villette tells the story of Lucy Snowe who has survived some childhood trauma that left her orphaned and living with her godmother and godbrother (is there even such a thing?!). Later she gets a whim of courage and decides to move to France where she ends up teaching in a boarding school that is as mysterious as its inhabitants. The characters in this book are greatly fleshed out and you find yourself feeling strongly one way or another about them. Several of the characters appear briefly at the beginning of the book, and just as you are about to forget about them entirely, shazam! they pop back up out of nowhere and are suddenly front and center main characters messing stuff up for “Meese Lucy.” And of course like any good novel there is a small bit of romance sprinkled in. This book is deemed to be pretty auto-biographical. Apparently, Bronte herself was a teacher in a boarding school where she fell for her headmaster. Like Bronte, the heroine of Villette also has the taste of peanut butter taken from her mouth.Two possible suitors are present through most of the story and I found myself wondering which she would eventually end up with (if either! This girl is Miss Independent!) and if I even wanted her to end up with either of them.
Jane Eyre, Lucy Snowe is not. She is practical and cold and she holds back from the readers. She never reveals all to us. It took me almost 400 pages to realize that the girl was seriously smitten for M. Paul Emmanuel. While reading Jane Eyre I felt like I could trust Jane and that we were BFFs from Page One. With Lucy, I felt like I was earning her trust and even after 573 pages, I still don’t have all of it. Lucy is guarded (possibly from the traumatic childhood she endured?!). This is a book that I needed several hours of quiet solitude to be able to read. This is not something that you can just whimsically pick up, read a few pages, and put back down. The action, the emotion, the characters, the writing style all demand astute attention at all times. However, that is not to say that it was a chore to read; far from it. It was a delight. The story is engaging and you find yourself yearning for that friendship and trust from Lucy. You seek to know what will become of her, of Ginevra, of Paulina and even fussy old Madame Beck. I dare you to pick this book up and not be pulled into the world- especially if you suffer from Classic-a-phobia like I USED TO! Five out of Five stars.

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powering through Villette

My progress in Villette by Charlotte Bronte so far!

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