Category: Fun Stuff


I hate Charles Dickens. I know he’s like Mr. Classic Literature, but there’s something I find insufferable about his work. I once tried to read Oliver Twist, but got halfway through and gave up in boredom and annoyance. ‘Oy I’m a poor little waif named Oliver and all I want is a bowl of soup and someone to love, but alas cruel fate is maligned against me. Oh God! Oh England! Shut up and get a job Oliver. According to William Blake there’s loads of chimney sweeping gigs available, and you could look sad and pathetic with coal dust all over your face.

At least I made it halfway through that one. I’m not sure I got past the first paragraph of Great Expectations. I lost interest when Dicky was blathering on about the times and said that it was “the epoch of incredulity.” Really? The epoch of incredulity? I don’t even think people said that kind of stuff 150 years ago. I think you meant the epoch of verbosity Dick. Or the epoch of writing sentences so long that the reader can’t remember the beginning by the time we get to the end. Wait, I think I remember something about someone dying in a tower. Now normally that type of thing would catch my attention, but I’m sure I forgot because I was bogged down in the mintuae of what type of stones the tower was made of and how many and whether there was an odd or an even number, and that’s before we even godforbid get to the curtains. Not to mention that Dickens was the biggest flaming racist of the Victorian era.

What I really need is a time machine so that I will never have to hear anything described as Dickensian ever again. Next stop: Mormon County, Utah to have a little chat with Stephanie Meyers about empowering her protagonist a little.

Fantasy #2:

I will go to JK Rowlings house and she will show me the secret entrance to Hogwarts hidden in the basement of her castle. Listen, we all know Harry Potter was much too imaginative and detailed to be fiction. Obviously JK got her material from the source-aka Harry Potter, and the series is clearly a biography for muggles, not an incredible young adult fantasy series. If I get sent to jail and send out a blog asking for bail money it will be because I broke into Rowling’s house and was throwing things in the fireplace looking for Flu Powder.

Fantasy #3:

I want to hit up a happy hour with Elizabeth Bennet. She just seems like a great one for girls night out. We could make fun of her cousin Mr. Collins and speculate together on whatever could have possessed Charlotte to marry him. Maybe Jo from Little Women would show up and we could discuss the benefits of dating an older man.  And Much Ado About Nothing‘s Beatrice would keep us all laughing with her witty (yet loving) quips about Benedick.

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Getting Kids to Read

For a great article on getting kids to read check out http://thismamalovesherbargains.blogspot.com/.

Everyone knows that the book is always better. It always supremely annoys our non-reading friends to be informed how much greater the book was.  However, there are a few movies I’ve found that upturn the usual rule and outclass their literary counterparts. It’s a short list because these movies are a rare breed, and if you can think of any more please leave a comment below.

Stardust, Neil Gaiman:

Stardust is the story of Tristan Dunstan who promises to catch a falling star in return for his love’s hand in marriage. However the star has landed over the wall, which houses the magical realm Stormhold. To complicate things further within the land of Stormhold stars aren’t celestial bits of rock but take human form.  Tristan has to persuade his star, Yvaine to accompany him back to the wall, while dealing with witches, pirates, and princes who are after the star as well.

I actually watched the movie first and fell in love with it, so I was expected the book to really knock my socks off. The book was an average piece of fantasy. It was interesting and funny, but not something I would return to over and over again like I’ve done with the movie. I actually quite enjoyed the ending of the book even though it was substantially different from the movie’s dramatic climax. Overall however I thought the movie was more exciting, more romantic, and simply more fun.

The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexander Dumas:

Another book where I loved the movie first and expected to be bowled over by the book. The story follows Edmond Dantes who is wrongfully imprisoned in the alkatraz-like Chateau D’If. Eventually Edmond escapes, but not after learning about a fabulous treasure horde from one of his fellow inmates, and returns to civilization like a vengeful ghost intent on systematically destroying everyone who had a hand in putting him away for all those years.

I read Dumas’s unabridged addition and maybe that was my problem. It was simply too long. The movie had rapid action within a well-constructed plot. Basically it took all of the best elements of Dumas’s classic and wove them seamlessly together. I also felt unsatisfied by the book’s ending, especially after I toiled through all of those pages. Maybe I’ve been infected by Hollywood, but I prefered the guy-wins-his-true-love-back ending instead of guy-drops-his-true-love-and-leaves-with-the-Greek-slave-he-freed.

Twilight, Stephanie Meyers:

 I only had to endure it for two hours instead of the time it took me to finish the book.

Honorable mention: Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien

I do not think these movies are better than Tolkien’s epic saga. However, I thought they deserved an honorable mention because I don’t think it’s possible for a movie franchise to better capture a book’s spirit than Peter Jackson did with Lord of the Rings.  I was (and still am) incensed at the movies’ recharacterization of Faramir, but everything else was a minor complaint.  A movie simply can’t capture all of the detailed mythology that went into LOTR, but Jackson still did a terrific job.