Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Joining the Classics Club

Well, I'm going to do it. I'm jumping into the Classics Club. As they describe at their blog, "The Classics Club is a club created to inspire people to read and blog about classic books. There’s no time limit to join and you’re most welcome, as long as you’re willing to sign up to read and write on your blog about 50+ classic books in at most five years. The perk is that, not only will you have read 50+ incredible (or at the very least thought-provoking) works in five years, you’ll get to do it along with all of these people. Join us! We’re very friendly." As I read the books on my list below, I link that blog post to the Classics Club site and hopefully get feedback from others. I love the idea of an online blogger club devoted to exploring the classics and I look forward to challenging myself. Some of the books I have listed below are re-reads (which is allowed- I've marked them with a star) and many are new reads- those books that I have always wanted to read someday but have never pushed myself to pick up. I hope that with the Classics Club challenge, I will be inspired to broaden my reading horizons like never before. Which isn't to say this is all I will be reading. I have many memoirs and biographies still to explore, as well as the fantasy and contemporary novels I also love to read. I refuse to be hemmed in by a list, especially when it comes to my reading. The list below can also change, according to the Classics Club rules. If I decide to read a different classic or want to take one off my list, I can do that. It is a living list, one that can change and adapt to my reading tastes. My blogging style or frequency will not change; rather, I view this endeavor as a personal reading challenge, but one that will hopefully bring me in contact with more literary bloggers.

Here then are my 51 classics, to (hopefully) be completed by January 23, 2018.

- My Dearest Friend: Letters of John and Abigail Adams ~John and Abigail Adams
- Things Fall Apart ~ Chinua Achebe*
- Little Women ~Louisa May Alcott*
- Moods ~Louisa May Alcott
- Selected Letters of Louisa May Alcott ~Louisa May Alcott
- Journals of Louisa May Alcott ~Louisa May Alcott
- Handmaid’s Tale ~Margaret Atwood
- Persuasion ~Jane Austen
- Fahrenheit 451 ~Ray Bradbury
- Tenant of Wildfell Hall ~Anne Bronte
- Agnes Gray ~Anne Bronte
- Jane Eyre ~Charlotte Bronte*
- The Professor ~Charlotte Bronte
- Villette ~Charlotte Bronte
- Pilgrim’s Progress ~John Bunyan
- Power of Myth ~Joseph Campbell
- The Awakening ~Kate Chopin*
- Little Dorritt ~Charles Dickens
- Bleak House ~Charles Dickens
- A Christmas Carol ~Charles Dickens*
- Pickwick Papers ~Charles Dickens
- Tales of the Elders of Ireland ~Ann Dooley
- The Brothers Karamazov ~Fyodor Dostoevsky
- Middlemarch ~George Eliot
- Silas Marner ~George Eliot
- The Great Gatsby ~F. Scott Fitzgerald
- A Lesson Before Dying ~Ernest J. Gaines
- Early Irish Myths and Sagas ~Jeffrey Gantz
- Cranford ~Elizabeth Gaskell
- Wives and Daughters ~Elizabeth Gaskell
- Madwoman in the Attic ~Sandra M. Gilbert
- For Whom the Bell Tolls ~Ernest Hemingway
- Siddhartha ~Herman Hesse*
- The Church in Early Irish Society ~Kathleen Hughes
- Collected Poems ~Edna St. Vincent Millay
- Gone With the Wind ~Margaret Mitchell
- Anne of Green Gables ~L.M. Montgomery*
- Song of Solomon ~Toni Morrison
- A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf ~John Muir
- 1984 ~George Orwell
- Selected Poetry ~Ranier Maria Rilke
- Frankenstein ~Mary Shelley
- Dracula ~Bram Stoker
- Walden & Civil Disobedience ~Henry David Thoreau*
- The Hobbit ~J.R.R. Tolkien*
- Anna Karenina ~Leo Tolstoy
- The Color Purple ~Alice Walker
- Age of Innocence ~Edith Wharton
- Ethan Frome ~Edith Wharton*
- Picture of Dorian Gray ~Oscar Wilde
- Mrs. Dalloway  ~Virginia Woolf

What do you think? To me, to-read lists contain the excitement of the first day of school, Christmas, and entering a new library all rolled into one. I am excited to meet like-minded readers and hear their thoughts on what they read and I look forward to sharing my own reading experiences more fully. Here we go!

Posts on My Classics Club Books (I'm linking these as I go):
Little Women: A Piece of Myself 
Villette: In Villette
Early Irish Myths & Sagas: Bits and Pieces 
The Journals of Louisa May Alcott: Thoughts on a Journal
Selected Letters of Louisa May Alcott: The End of May 
Mrs. Dalloway: Summering

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My Weeks With Charlotte and Louisa

Currently Reading: Tolstoy and the Purple Chair by Nina Sankovitch, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Wildwood by Colin Meloy, and The Yellow House by Patricia Falvey

I have had a difficult time starting this post, which is odd since the books I want to discuss are ones I absolutely loved and which had a deep impact on me; yet for some reason I am having trouble translating those feelings and responses into words. However, I will try.

Recently, I have wrapped myself up in the lives of two female authors so completely that I have found it difficult to become absorbed in other things. Though I have read voraciously these past several weeks (finishing nine books and currently working on four more), Marmee & Louisa by Eve LaPlante and Charlotte Bronte: A Passionate Life by Lyndall Gordon have been my favorites of the bunch. While I had planned on reading LaPlante's book, thanks to a great recommendation by my reading twin Mabel at Maple & A Quill, once I started reading about one inspiring, strong-willed woman author, I wanted desperately to read about another. So from 1850s Concord to 1830s Yorkshire I went, journeying through the lives of two remarkable and different-but-similar women.


I really find it hard to describe the excitement I get when I pick up books by or about either Louisa May Alcott or Charlotte Bronte. I have found, through their works and especially their personal writing, a deep affinity with both, a friendship of understanding that exists only in words. I first discovered this when I read Eden's Outcasts by John Matteson last year, a biography about Louisa and her father. (Follow this link to my post from last April). In Louisa, I recognized something of myself- we are different, but we are also so very much the same. With the new publication of Marmee & Louisa, I was interested to examine the other end of the spectrum from Matteson's work- Louisa's relationship with her mother. In doing so, I learned a remarkable lot about Abigail Alcott and gained a new-found respect for the woman who is largely ignored in much of Alcott scholarship but who figures so prominently in Louisa's own work. Here, Abba's journals and letters were explored, and her history and background given more central focus. A kindred spirit to her daughter, Abba too felt passion and expressed it in her writing, and strove to make her voice heard; ultimately, she did not succeed in her life's ambitions, but she was able to nurture and watch her daughter make the strides she could not. The plight of "woman" in 1800s America is keenly felt in the story of Abba Alcott, and I felt my blood boiling more than once for the injustices that held intelligent, free-thinking women like her back from their full potential. Even Louisa, who fulfilled her dream of writing and earning an independent wage, was not famous for the themes she explored in her other works, but for the children's stories she was asked to write as a woman, something that truly bothered Louisa. This book explored more fully Louisa's attachment and affection for the women in her life, namely her mother and sisters, as well as their influences upon Louisa's life, perspectives, and writings. It allowed me to learn about Louisa in a fuller context, as did the biography/history I read a bit later about Transcendental Concord called American Bloomsbury by Susan Cheever. LaPlante's book was a celebration of what women like the Alcotts endured and achieved, and most particularly, examined the strength of the mother/daughter relationship. It was a beautiful work, one that filled me up with inspiration, like a full stomach after a satisfying meal. Yet it still left me hungry for more.


I vacillated between another Alcott biography or a different biography altogether, and settled on reading about Charlotte Bronte, another woman writer who pushed the boundaries of feminine propriety and determined to make her voice heard. Charlotte Bronte: A Passionate Life was the one- in form, it is a biography, but it is actually more of a discussion of Bronte's work and the life experiences that led to the themes, characters, and style of writing found in her novels.Why I never realized before how much more I could learn about Jane Eyre by reading about her creator, I will never know. I feel, once again, a deeper appreciation and understanding of Jane Eyre because I finally feel as if I know and understand what Charlotte was trying to say with her work. Through Gordon's book, I was given an introduction to the way that Charlotte viewed the world, her perspective and her thoughts, and how she voiced her views with her writing. Much of her work has an autobiographical tinge to it, which I knew, but details that Gordon offered up were eye-opening. For instance, I had never known that the character of Helen Burns was modeled on Charlotte's older sister Maria, who also died of consumption at their harsh boarding school. Another aspect of Jane Eyre was revealed as part of Charlotte's own struggles: "Part of Jane's experience is to know the extremes of a seething, chaotic life and one of disciplined order. It is here that Charlotte Bronte gave form and meaning to the private extravagance of her own life tugged between the claims of the self and the claims of society." Gordon goes on to explain that Jane must try to find a balance between the heat of unrestrained passion (her initial relationship with Rochester) and icy indifference and cool reason (St. John Rivers), and does so when she finally returns to a changed Rochester. There is so much in Charlotte's life that will now color my reading of Jane Eyre; in particular, Gordon gave a fantastic analysis of Rochester and of Bertha, stating that while many modern feminists decry the treatment of Bertha, especially at the hands of a woman writer, Bertha is meant to symbolize the type of woman that Charlotte detested- "rich, thick, insensitive beauties." Bertha also acts as "a warning of mindless passion," of what one can become when reason does not temper passion. Charlotte sees Bertha as the cause of her own misfortune, treating her as "a warning more than a character." Charlotte's writing explored how women could express themselves fully in a society that had strict expectations of what a woman should and should not say. She felt a fire within herself that she did not see in many other women she knew, besides her equally forthright and passionate sisters.

I can see now that Charlotte and Louisa have many things in common: their passion, their refusal to be anything but who they were, their desire to make their voice heard through writing, and their dependance on expression and writing as a part of themselves. Both women wanted to speak out as women to depict what women were actually like, and they both explored the drawbacks women often faced. Both women suffered from spells of depression and loneliness, finding solace and meaning in their work. I find it no coincidence that one of Louisa's favorite books was Jane Eyre, for I think both women shared a similar perspective of the world, despite differences in location and age.

Both Gordon and LaPlante discussed Charlotte's  and Louisa's other works in great length as well, which has inspired me to pick those up someday soon. Astonishingly, I have barely read any of either Charlotte or Louisa's novels, despite viewing them as two of my favorite writers. Jane Eyre of course is my literary bread-and-butter; of Louisa's writings, I have read Little Women several times and have read a few of her short stories. I love reading about them so much, that now it is time to meet them in more of their own work. But, true to form,  I still have more biographies planned and I can't contain the spark of excitement in me when I contemplate revisiting both women. All in all, I have spent several wonderfully enjoyable weeks in the minds and souls of two remarkable writers, and I have come away feeling more inspired than ever before.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Wind Out of My Lungs

Currently Reading: American Bloomsbury by Susan Cheever and Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

I have been reading so much lately that I hardly know where to start when discussing it all. Tonight, a small discussion and some impressions of The Book Thief, a book about a German girl, WWII, the power of words, and Death as narrator. Here we go.


"Rain drops like gray pencil shavings"... "moonlight like a strand of hair"....."a voice like suicide." Markus Zusak has a brilliance with words that pushed me over with a force and a strength as I read The Book Thief. Before I discuss the story itself, I have to mention the words, the writing style, that makes this book so different from others I have read. In this book, similes and metaphors describe the world in different and wondrous ways, as the sun sheds tears and the sky turns the color of breakfast. Verbs do not act the way they should, performing acts in ways they have never done before. Feet scold the floor, Liesl's voice tramples on words as she reads aloud, another voice hands a question to the listener. The use of verbs and metaphors are almost magical in their strength and potency. The twist of words really makes this book powerful. Which is perfect, really, since the book is about words- their power, their strength, their potential for harm and for good.

How can one even find the words to adequately describe The Book Thief? It is beautiful in its story, captivating in its writing. I listened to the audiobook, which was achingly beautiful; I highly recommend listening to it. The Book Thief is a story of human beings- what we are capable of, the dark and the light, the ugly and the beautiful that we have within us and that can be found among us. It is about human potential, human frailty, and human strength. It is a story of the power of words- how they can heal and tear down, build up and destroy. I especially enjoyed that it was a story from the German citizen's point of view, which is often not "done" in WWII novels. Here, we see that everyone suffers in war, that no one is immune from the hate that words can conjure up or the love that words can also produce. It is an essential lesson for many of us who think we understand that time but never can and never will. The book is beautiful in so many ways; so many days later, it continues to haunt me.

I couldn't shake the book off of me, so I scoured the Internet for links and interviews, biographies of the author, book club interpretations. Here is a link to a great interview of Markus Zusak, the author, and of his decisions in writing The Book Thief. However, it does contain spoilers so only read it if you have already read The Book Thief. I also found an interview of him for The Guardian that is about how and why he writes, which is pretty interesting. 

The Book Thief was so thick, so potent with emotion that I know it is a book that I will have to read and reread before I feel as though I have fully internalized it. I especially love books with characters that are so utterly human, I forget they are not real. This book overflowed with these characters- Hans and Rosa Hubermann, Liesl, Rudy, Max, the mayor's wife, Frau Holtzapfel- they all leaped from the page into my soul, as dear to me as my loved ones. Death as the narrator completely changed the entire rhythm of the reading, because it is something so foreign and yet so brilliant. He too is a character that I loved deeply. The story was not predictable, which cannot usually be said about WWII/Holocaust books. It took my breath away, knocking the wind out of my lungs as it dropped me down. It was sad of course, but it also ended so well. A friend described the reaction to the end of the book, after the tears, as simply a contented sigh. Exactly. 

I hope you discover The Book Thief too. I have no doubt it will become part of you, as it did to me.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Standing for Something

Currently Reading: Charlotte Bronte: A Passionate Life by Lyndall Gordon and Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (My two favorite women authors at once! What is this madness?!)

A lot of deep thoughts have been swirling through my mind recently, prompted and inspired by many unrelated pieces all coming together to somehow influence each other. These pieces include, among other things, the last election cycle, Charlotte Bronte, another blog post, and a Fun song. And after much deep thinking and an inspiring email from my slightly-older-but-so-much-wiser-cousin, I'm ready to write it out.

This blog is one of many pieces in my life where I express myself creatively- my journal, my kitchen, my poetry, my job, and even my schoolwork are other areas of my life that serve as creative outlets and allow me to be true to myself through free expression. I relish these creative outlets, I demand them for my wellbeing and my sanity. Besides the blog world, social media gives us even more outlets for free expression: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads, and more abound to serve us. We are granted parts of the canvas and encouraged to sling our paint wherever we wish. They serve dual purposes: connecting us to others and giving us a means of creative expression. I am not engaged on all of these sites because I don't have the time or the interest for them all. But I add to my Goodreads shelves and I update my Facebook status and I spend much of my online time seeing what my friends and relatives are up to as well. There is so much good from all of this- seeing pictures of my growing nieces and nephews, messaging a friend to pick a time to get together, or sharing a joke with a faraway friend. All of this is necessary to sustain my relationships with others.

There's an underbelly to it all, of course. I think the last election cycle this past fall proved that social media can be dirty. Facebook became a place where political opinions were shared, misunderstandings arose, and debates ensued. In some ways, I think this is healthy. Every person not only has a valid opinion, but has the right to express that opinion. There is no limit, no hindrance to our ability to express ourselves on social media, and this is especially true when we feel strongly about certain topics. But there is something about this that scares me and it is epitomized in the comment bar. Facebook doesn't just allow us to post our own opinions, but we have the constant ability to comment on the conversations, threads, posts, and shares of others. While this seems innocuous, I actually believe it leads us to the impression that we all have the right to talk each other down without listening to what others have to say. It cuts out constructive and informative conversation, and whittles our dialogue with others down to mere sentences. Social media allows us to communicate our opinions and make our voices heard, while simultaneously drowning out our voices because of the cacophony it produces.

*Enter Charlotte Bronte* I have been reading a wonderful biography exploring Charlotte's life and its influences upon her works. I have not only learned much about Jane Eyre through discovering Charlotte's life, but I have also gained a deeper understanding and respect for women during the 19th century, and female writers in particular. While I do want to discuss her and Louisa further in a separate blog post soon, there was a portion that struck me and stuck with me. After the deaths of her siblings, Charlotte was left living in Haworth, on a lonely Yorkshire moor, taking care of her ailing father. While this did often influence Charlotte's depression, Lyndall Gordon makes it clear that her isolation and loneliness, her separation from others and especially from society, made it possible for her art and voice to develop. While she makes this point right when Charlotte is about to write Villette, it actually is true of the circumstances surrounding her earlier novels too. Her secluded life at Haworth influenced the person she was- her opinions of London, her ease in society, her view of women's roles, and her passionate expression. If Charlotte was a different man's daughter or had lived in a bustling metropolis, perhaps the world would not have been gifted with her voice. I can only imagine the silence, the seclusion, the loneliness Charlotte lived with every day, for that does not exist for us anymore, as it was for her. She created her own mental stimulation and her voice flourished in the silence. Only with her letters and her novels was she able to champion her opinions and views, and so she did so with fervor. As I have read, I couldn't help wondering whether some form of detachment is necessary to inspiration, to art, to forming one's voice. Charlotte herself wrote in a letter to Mrs. Gaskell about the "need for isolation in order to be true to herself."

*Enter Fun song* Their new song, called "Some Nights", to be exact. It is a beautiful song, a moving commentary on war, particularly the Iraq War. The lyrics are outstanding, sheer poetry. (Check out this music video- goosebumps, I tell you.) These are the songs I love, the ones that make me stop and read the lines and feel their meanings in the depths of my soul. There are two lines that have haunted me the past few days: the first says, "I found a martyr in my bed tonight/stops my bones from wondering just who I am, who I am, who I am, oh who am I?" The second: "Oh Lord, I'm still not sure what I stand for/ What do I stand for? What do I stand for? Most nights, I don't know." Powerful stuff right there. And it hits me because knowing what we stand for, what we believe in, what matters to us, is essential to our growth as individuals, to the inward development of our characters throughout our lives.

There are things I stand for, things I believe in with my whole heart and soul. But communicating those things has become the barrier that I cannot cross, the locked gate I can find no key for. Since November, and even much earlier, I have struggled with the truth that in order to avoid the negative comments of others or the debilitating, faceless debates with ones I love, I must hide who I am, that I am actually not free to express myself and therefore, am not free to be who I am. As a person who seeks expression through my writing, through my creative outlets, it frustrates me and makes me feel hindered because I am constrained by the very medium that is supposed to free us all. Another blogger, Kelle Hampton on Enjoying the Small Things actually just wrote about a similar point the other night, which was another part of the catalyst that inspired me to write this post. Her post was about the negative criticism that comes from others when we share and connect and bare our souls through social media. She wrote, "Validation is an interesting thing though, and no matter how strong or unphased by criticism we are, there is an undeniable human desire to have people like what we feel passionate about--our art, our words, our stories, our styles, our writing, our opinions.  It's why we sometimes feel hesitant to publish or share.  What will people think?"

Of course, I could counter all of this by asking why is it so important for me to express my opinions at all? Publicly expressing my opinions or publicly affirming what I stand for does not make them any more solid or real. So why share them at all? And in the same vein, why do I feel the need to comment on the opinions and beliefs of others? Why do I have the right to insert myself into another person's mind and life? Perhaps the real answer lies in figuring out the role that personal expression should take in the world of social media.

Am I bothered that people I love do not and probably will not ever truly know or understand me? If I was being honest with myself, the answer is yes. What I believe and what I stand for are part of who I am. I want to share that, not to make others think the way I do, but so that I too will be heard. So what to do? Do I limit my interactions on social media to avoid anything that might anger or be misunderstood? Do I step back from it all, in order to let the silence inspire my own life? Do I express my inner thoughts and share my beliefs, despite the criticism?

I want to stand up. I want to live what I believe. And I want to find my voice. The question is finding a way to do so.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Welcoming the New Year

Currently Reading: Charlotte Bronte: A Passionate Life by Lyndall Gordon and The Yellow House by Patricia Falvey

Well, I certainly didn't ring in the New Year with hats, drinks, and noisemakers. Nope, I was stuck in bed with a raging cold that has still not abated, though it is on its fifth day and is starting to wind down. Nevertheless, I am happy to celebrate a new year and look back on the accomplishments and experiences of the old one. All in all, 2012 was a good year for us, though it got more difficult toward the end.
It was the year of our Ireland trip



a best friend's wedding


my sister's graduation


good food


the start of grad school


finding the beauty around us


and many new memories with Nathan, my family, and my friends.





And of course....lots of reading!


I look back on 2012 with fondness despite the loss of Opa in February and other difficulties that have surfaced in recent months. The ones I love are happy and healthy; opportunities and boundless potential lies before us and within us.
As I did last year, I am posting a list of the books I read and finished during the year 2012. (I am still reading some that I started in December, but I am only going to count the ones I have finished). I get a certain unexplainable pleasure in looking back at what I have accomplished in the course of a year and plan with delight the books I will read in the new year. They are listed in order of when they were finished (for the most part) and my favorites of the year are marked in bold.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society~ Mary Ann Schaffer and Anne Barrows
Boone County Originals~ Mike Doyle
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince~ J.K. Rowling
The American Resting Place: 400 Years of History Through Our Cemeteries & Burial Grounds~ Marilyn Yalom
Lolita~ Vladimir Nabokov
Princes of Ireland~ Edward Rutherford
Rebels of Ireland~ Edward Rutherford
The Last Storyteller~ Frank Delaney
A Discovery of Witches~ Deborah Harkness
The Flight of Gemma Hardy~ Margot Livesey
The Flowering of Ireland~ Katherine Scherman
O Come Ye Back to Ireland~ Niall Williams and Christine Breen
Water for Elephants~ Sara Gruen
Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected~ Kelle Hampton
Eden's Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott & Her Father~ John Matteson
Dubliners~ James Joyce
One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are~ Ann Voskamp
Ireland~ Frank Delaney
Animal Farm~ George Orwell
Midnight in Peking~ Paul French
Jane Eyre~ Charlotte Bronte
On Celtic Tides~ Chris Duff
Annie's Ghosts~ Steve Luxenberg
Daughter of the Forest~ Juliet Marillier
Son of the Shadows~ Juliet Marillier
Lady Almina & the Real Downton Abbey~ The Countess of Carnarvon
Shadow of Night~ Deborah Harkness
Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows~ J.K. Rowling
Child of the Prophecy~ Juliet Marillier
Inishmurray: Island Voices~ Joe McGowan
Little House in the Big Woods~ Laura Ingalls Wilder
Little House on the Prairie~ Laura Ingalls Wilder
People of the Book~ Geraldine Brooks
Isle of the Saints~ Lisa Bitel
The Wilder Life~ Wendy McClure
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children~ Ransom Riggs
The Eyre Affair~ Jasper Fforde
Northanger Abbey~ Jane Austen
Brooklyn~ Colm Toibin
I Am America (& So Can You)~ Stephen Colbert
The Turn of the Screw~ Henry James
Welcome Joy: Death in Puritan New England~ Gordon Geddes
Flame of Sevenwaters~ Juliet Marillier
Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook & Eat~ Bee Wilson
Moon Over Manifest~ Clare Vanderpool
Marmee & Louisa: The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott & Her Mother~ Eve LaPlante
Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World~ Vicki Myron
Short Stories~ Louisa May Alcott
The Book Thief~ Markus Zusak

Of the 49 books, 15 were rereads, seven were audiobooks, 30 were fiction, and 19 were non-fiction. Last year, in this post, I commented that I hoped to reread some of my old favorites and explore some more non-fiction in 2012, and I think I accomplished both goals. I also definitely fulfilled my goal of reading a lot of Ireland books, both before and after our trip. In addition, I noticed this year that I have become more interested in reading memoirs and biographies than I have before. There are seven biographies/memoirs on this list and I have more coming up on my "to-read" list as well. I don't have any New Year reading resolutions per se, but I do hope to continue reading more memoirs and biographies, and delve into more classics than I did this year. In particular, I hope to pick up books I have always said I will read, but haven't yet. We will see how I do!

I have SO MANY blog posts brewing in my head (and partly-started) on newly explored books- learning about the relationship between Louisa May Alcott and her mother in Marmee & Louisa, weeping over beauty in darkness in The Book Thief, and rediscovering Jane Eyre by learning more about her creator in Charlotte Bronte: A Passionate Life. So much to talk about, I can hardly wait! Happy New Year everyone! I pray that 2013 is good to all of our loved our country... to our world.

Keep On Reading...

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