Sunday, 2 December 2018

Reading wrap-up + Favourites | November 2018


Hello, beautiful people!


November is finally over, which means that we have entered the very last month of 2018 and I cannot believe this. Where did this year go? I felt like November lasted forever, because as usual with each November, it was a very busy month at uni and as I have to find an internship on top of getting through uni, well... I didn't have time blog. I'm so sorry about that, I was consistent in October and so happy with my content, then I disappeared. Well, oops? Let's hope I'll do better in December and in the meantime, let's wrap up November!


W H A T  I  R E A D


Once again, I'm only managing to read my "usual" amount of books for two reasons: a) audiobooks and b) participating in a 24h readathon. Here are the books that I read:

  • Cranford, by Elizabeth Gaskell, 3/5 stars
  • Aime-moi, je te fuis, by Morgane Moncomble, 4/5 stars
  • Assassin's Apprentice, by Robin Hobb, 4.5/5 stars
  • Fantastic Beasts The Crimes of Grindelwald: The Original Screenplay, by J.K. Rowling
  • Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel, by Val Emmich, 3.5/5 stars
  • The ABC Murders, by Agatha Christie, 3/5 stars
  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid, 5/5 stars (reread)
  • Royal Assassin, by Robin Hobb, 5/5 stars
  • Poirot's Early Cases, by Agatha Christie, 3/5 stars
  • Lady Midnight, by Cassandra Clare, 5/5 stars (reread)
  • A Deeper Love, by Cassandra Clare and Maureen Johnson, 3/5 stars
  • The Wicked Ones, by Cassandra Clare and Robin Wasserman, 4.5/5 stars
  • The Land I Lost, by Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan, 4.5/5 stars
  • Through Blood, Through Fire, by Cassandra Clare and Robin Wasserman, 3.5/5 stars
November was such a great reading month, I caught up with my Agatha Christie challenge (I was one book behind), as well as with the Ghosts of the Shadow Market novellas, so I could be ready for Queen of Air and Darkness (I am so not ready). I also finally started the Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb and I adore it so much, I cannot wait to finish it in December!



F A V O U R I T E S 
EVENT & MOVIE // Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald


As I was mentioning in my October wrap-up, I attended the worldwide premiere of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald in November and it was probably the best night of my life. I won tickets last minute, after thinking for weeks that I wouldn't be able to attend and I had such a blast. Before the premiere, we went to the Harry Potter pop-up store so I could buy Newt's scarf, then we did the photocalls in the Galeries Lafayette and had so much fun! At the premiere, we saw the red carpet on the big screen, Eddie Redmayne spoke French and I almost fell off my seat, while my boyfriend, who had red carpet access, got my screenplay of the first Fantastic Beasts signed by J.K. Rowling and Katherine Waterston (Tina Goldstein)!

Now, when it comes to the movie, there are many things that I love about it: Newt Scamander still owns my whole heart, it was a wild ride and I loved seeing the French Wizarding World. Still, I know it's not perfect and I agree with everyone who has been calling out the problematic aspects of the movie, I truly do and those aspects make me so angry. I still love the franchise though, because the first movie means the world to me and watching the second one manages to calm me down, but I acknowledge those aspects.

BOOKS // The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb


Since the beginning of the year, I've been in a huge fantasy slump. I read some outstanding fantasy novels at the beginning of the year, such as City of Brass or Children of Blood and Bone, and then... I got disappointed by almost every fantasy sequel I was anticipating and I barely read any fantasy at all. However, a few months ago, my boyfriend started reading the Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb and he loved it. Between him and my parents, who have ben talking about it for YEARS, I decided to give it a go, and became really obsessed with it as well. I am fascinated by this world, I love how fleshed out the characters are and I always want to keep reading it. It's getting me out of my fantasy slump, which is amazing, because I have four other trilogies waiting for me in this world, so I won't have to leave it for a long time. I cannot wait to get back to Assassin's Quest once I'm done with The Dark Artifices trilogy!


MUSIC // Alison Sudol's Moon


Even if you don't know her name, you probably know Alison Sudol. She plays Queenie Goldstein in the Fantastic Beasts movies, but her acting skills aren't her only talents, for she also is a musician (you might know Almost Lover from a few years back, she recorded it under the name A Fine Frenzy). Anyway, she released her new EP in November and I so fell in love with it. Alison is such a talented, inspiring and kind woman, which shows in her songs. They make me feel good, they make me feel safe and they're pretty much all I've listened to in November. There are only five of them, so it's hard to pick favourites, but I think that mine are Escape the Blade and It's Really Raining.
STUDENT LIFE // Bullet journaling


Last, but not least, I started bullet journaling again at the end of September and it's been so helpful. I kept making lists everywhere on my phone (which was ridiculous), as I was stressed with everything I had to do for uni, while maintaining my regular life habits. I've kept with it since then, it calms down my anxiety to organize myself in such a way, it also helps me to feel more productive. I'm also a bit more creative than before with it now, my bujo was in earthy tones during the Fall. Now that Christmas is approaching, it's full of red, green and blue, and I can finally use the Christmas masking tape that my boyfriend offered me last year!


L O O K I N G  A H E A D


I couldn't be happier to be in December, I have been in a Christmas mood for a while and I can now express it at its fullest! When it comes to uni, I only have two weeks left before being on holidays (I'll still have projects to turn in during the holidays, but I'll be able to breathe), so the end is in sight for the semester and I'm so happy about that. Other than that, Queen of Air and Darkness is coming out in two days, and I have movies I'm excited to finally watch, such as Mary Poppins Returns, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (that's mainly why I read the Spider-Gwen comics this summer) and Aquaman. I also have all my favourites of the year posts to write for here and I cannot wait to do that!



Lots of love,

Lucie

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Reading wrap-up + Favourites | October 2018


Hello, beautiful people!

We're already eight days into November and I'm only publishing my October wrap-up now. Oops. October felt like a really long month, mainly spent studying and waiting for/taking the subway, but I'm still really enjoying what I'm studying, so it's all good! Most importantly, Fall settled in Paris and it made me so happy, I even went to Montmartre to see it in its autumnal colours, I adored it so much. While I barely can't remember what I did, I know I enjoyed every moment I had when I was outside of uni and I even got some days off at the end of the month!



W H A T  I  R E A D

I quickly realised in October that because of uni, I was getting less and less time to read... To the point that I stopped reading altogether during weekdays, until I started listening to audiobooks again! I spend so much time in the subway or walking outside to either go to uni, meet up with people or going grocery shopping, that I can easily listen to three hours of an audiobook per day, when I'm motivated. On October 30th, I also did a 24 hour Halloween readathon with my best friend, which was amazing, and that's why I managed to read the same amount of books as usual (I read five books in one day, everything is fine)! Otherwise, we'd have been lucky if I had read more than five books, oops. 


Anyhow, here are the books that I read:
  • Before the Devil Breaks You, by Libba Bray, 4.5/5 stars
  • The Importance of Being Earnest and Other Plays, by Oscar Wilde, 3.5/5 stars
  • The Woodlanders, by Thomas Hardy, 4/5 stars
  • The Rules of Magic, by Alice Hoffman, 3/5 stars
  • The Mill on the Floss, by George Eliot, 3.5/5 stars
  • Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray, 4/5 stars
  • The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson, 3.5/5 stars
  • City of Ghosts, by Victoria Schwab, 4/5 stars
  • Toil and Trouble: 15 Stories about Women and Witchcraft, edited by Jessica Spotswood and Tess Sharpe (anthology), 3/5 stars
  • Melmoth, by Sarah Perry, 3.5/5 stars
  • The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson, 3.5/5 stars

My favourite read of the month was Before the Devil Breaks You, it was a great Halloween read and I adore the Diviners series so much, they get better and better with every instalment. I cannot wait for the fourth book to be published! I also participated in Victober this month, which is why I read so much Victorian literature. It made me so happy, for I had missed it so much! My favourite Victorian book was Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray, it surprised me and Becky Sharp was so much fun to read about. The last five books I read all were perfect for Halloween and I'm glad I kept them for that time of the year!


F A V O U R I T E S

HALLOWEEN

I was on holidays for the last few days of October and I spent them with my best friend. On October 30th, we did a Halloween-themed 24h readathon, which was a lot of fun and I managed to read even more than I wanted in the first place. For Halloween, we went to the pumpkin patch and later carved our pumpkin Erik, we dressed up (me as the Phantom of the Opera, her as Luke from Gilmore Girls), we baked a lot of Halloween-themed food and I also watched some of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. It was such a great day and October couldn't end on a more positive note.

TV SHOW // How I Met Your Mother

I think I deserve a round of applause, because... I finally started watching How I Met Your Mother! I had been putting it off forever because a) I know part of the ending... b) it's so loooooong. However, I like having a comedy show to watch, without really binge-watching it (so be warned: it might take me an entire year to watch the whole show). I just watch episodes here and there, when I feel a bit down, or while I'm eating breakfast, 20 minute-long episodes are perfect for that. I'm in the middle of season 2 at the moment and it's been so much fun to watch! My boyfriend is thrilled I'm watching it, as he tried to make me watch it for so long, and now I watch it in part with him.



READING // Scribd and audiobooks

After seeing Romie @ Romie We Deserve Love talk about Scribd, I was curious to give it a go and had my free trial in October. If you don't know Scribd, it's a digital library, e-book and audiobook subscription service and I adore it. As I was mentioning at the beginning of this post, I mainly read audiobooks when I'm at uni and it's all thanks to it, because I can listen to many of them each month (I listened to four audiobooks in October). I can also easily find ebooks and have everything in the same place, as I don't have an e-reader at the moment. As I've been exploring it, I've also read several articles they host, I really like this subscription service! I might write an entire blog post about it in the future, if some of you are interested.

TV SHOW // Peaky Blinders

In October, I also started yet another period drama, because everyone is always talking about it and there were signs everywhere for a week that I had to start it. So... I did and I became obsessed with it. Peaky Blinders is set in 1920s, Birmingham and follows the Peaky Blinders gang, led by the ambitious Thomas Shelby. I wasn't sure what to expect when I started it, but once I start watching an episode, I can't stop, because it's so gripping, I'm fascinated by the characters and I have to know what will happen. The episodes are an hour long, but you don't see that hour pass and as there are only six episodes per series, it's quick to watch. I'm in the middle of season 3 at the moment, I can't wait to catch up, before waiting for series 5 in anguish like everyone else.



APP // Memrise and learning Danish

In April, I travelled to Copenhagen and fell in love with the city and Denmark. Since then, I've been so curious about Denmark and its culture in general, I want to discover everything. I also really wanted to start learning Danish, because why not? In October, I finally did so with the app Memrise, which I used a few years ago for English classes (it's perfect for learning vocabulary, you can enter the words you want and it'll help you learn!). As you can of course find online courses, learning one word at a time, I tried it out and can't praise it enough. It makes you learn one word after another, then entire sentences, so you understand how the language works. It's quite good for a free online service (there is also a premium option, but I don't have that)!

FOOD // Porridge with soy milk

As I was saying in my fall bucket list, I wanted to find the perfect autumnal breakfast and... I did! For various reasons, I don't use cow milk often now and have switched to soy milk for so many things in the past two months (yoghurts, Starbucks drinks, and so on). I was curious to cook porridge with soy milk and it's the best thing ever. It gives me such a cozy feeling, it makes me feel so good, so I've been eating porridge with soy milk almost every morning in October (typing this, I just did too) and my days always start better off with it. I also always put honey in my porridge and often added bananas and walnuts for the past month.

L O O K I N G  A H E A D

It feels a bit weird to look ahead to November considering we're November 8th, but well, let's go. November usually is my least favourite month of the year, because I'm always drowning in uni work and it's quite gloomy, but I'll try to make the most of it. Like in October, I have a ton of studying to do, because I have many assignments due, but I got this! I do have some good things to look forward to, Alison Sudol just released new music, some books are coming out and most importantly... It's Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald time. As you're reading this, I'll be at the Parisian premiere of it, waiting to discover what will happen next to the characters and it feels surreal. I was only sure to go last minute, but I did it! I am both excited and terrified for this movie, because the first one and its cast (minus one person......) mean so much to me, but also because of all the problematic aspects of it. Still, I'm hoping for the best and I cannot wait to see my favourite characters on the big screen again, I have missed them so much!


How did October go for you? Any exciting plans for November?


Lots of love,
Lucie

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Halloween recommendations



Hello, beautiful people!

Halloween is less than a week away and I couldn't be more excited! It also means that I only have one day left before my week of holidays and I really need it. We don't celebrate Halloween that much in France, but I love it anyway and reading/watching/listening to content that remind me of this spooky and dark atmosphere during the month of October is always so much fun. Because of that, I thought that today, I would share with you some of my Halloween recommendations! Last year, I already recommended historical fantasy novels that are perfect for Halloween, so I won't mention them again in this post, it would get quite repetitive, so feel free to (re)read it. Anyhow, time for Halloween recommendations!


For great Halloween reads, I recommend...

♡ The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell - This Gothic novel is set during the Victorian era, in a crumbling country mansion, where a young widow is sent to see out her pregnancy. While her new servants as resentful and the villagers hostile, Elsie thinks she only has her husband's cousin for company... Or so she thinks, for behind a locked door lies a two-hundred-year-old diary and a creepy wooded figure that bears a striking resemblance to Elsie herself. Its chilling atmosphere and the constant doubts of the characters makes it a gripping read that's perfect for the season!




♡ Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier - What a shocker, I am trying to make you all read Daphne du Maurier again... Well, she's my favourite author, so it's not *entirely* my fault. Rebecca is the fascinating story of a timid girl working as a paid companion to an old lady, until she falls in love and marries the widowed Maxim de Winter. After that, she moves to his Cornish country estate, Manderley, where the phantom of his beautiful first wife, Rebecca, seems to haunt the whole place. This novel is absolutely brilliant, with an intoxicating atmosphere and you'll want to keep reading, until you know the whole truth. By the way, if you've already read Rebecca, you can always give My Cousin Rachel a try, it's perfect for the season as well and I adored the 2017 movie adaptation with Rachel Weisz and Sam Claflin!

♡ If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio - This mystery novel, which has been compared (with reason!) to The Secret History, follows Oliver, who has just been released from jail after ten years, and is finally ready to tell the truth about the events that led to his incarceration. Ten years ago, Oliver was one of the young Shakespearean actors at a conversatory, where roles were played on and off stage, but in their last year, the balance of power shifted, which led to violence on opening night, until the students have to face their own tragedy. Those characters are all so morally grey and reading about their passionate relationships, with a thin limit between hate and love, as well as their fascination for Shakespeare, was amazing and it's perfect for Fall in my opinion!

♡ We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson - The Haunting of Hill House has been all the rage lately (I can't wait to read it for Halloween), because of the Netflix adaptation that was recently released, but Shirley Jackson's works are full of perfect Halloween reads, from what I've gathered. I have already read We Have Always Lived in the Castle, which follows Merricat Blackwood, who lives on the family estate with her sister Constance and her Uncle Julian. There used to be seven Blackwoods... until they all died from a fatal dose of arsenic. This one is set in a small town, has a Gothic murder mystery and you never know who to trust, which is all you need!




Gothic Tales by Elizabeth Gaskell - Of course, I couldn't write this recommendation post without including some Victorian literature. I read this collection of several short stories during last year's Victober and it was perfect to get me in a Halloween mood. These chilling Gothic tales blend the real and the supernatural to eerie, compelling effect: you will find a story inspired by the Salem witch hunts, another with an evil doppelganger, or one with a mysterious child roaming the freezing Northumberland moors, to name a few. Those were my first Victorian spooky short stories, my personal favourites being The Poor Clare, Lois the Witch, The Old Nurse's Story and The Grey Woman. This is also your reminder to read Elizabeth Gaskell, she's a wonderful author!

 Crooked House by Agatha Christie - I've spent 2018 reading one of Agatha Christie's novels per month, so I'm starting to know her works quite well; my favourite I've read this year was Crooked House and what is better than a crime novel, surrounding a family in a big mansion, to spend Halloween with? It follows the Leonides family, that were a seemingly happy family, until the head of the household was murdered. I adore reading about imperfect families in crime novels, where everyone is suspect, when the limit between hate and love can be very thin, and Crooked House was perfect for that!



I also recommend you to watch and listen to...

♡ Stranger Things (Netflix, 2016) - I don't think I really need to introduce Stranger Things to anyone now, don't I? This TV show, sets in 1983 Hawkins, Indiana, and is the story of a young boy who vanishes into thin air. As friends, family and local police search for answers, they are drawn into an extraordinary mystery involving top-secret government experiments, terrifying supernatural forces and one very strange little girl. Even if almost everyone has watched Stranger Things, I think that Halloween would be a perfect time for a rewatch for all of us, while we're still waiting for season 3 to be released... *sigh*



Tim Burton's Corpse Bride (2005) - I have to admit that I've always been easily scared, so I don't watch a lot of spooky movies (even though I'm trying to change that) and I'm not really the best at recommending them. However, I rewatch the animated movie Corpse Bride every year, because it's a huge part of my childhood. In a fictional Victorian town, Victor and Victoria, who haven't even met yet, are set to be married, until Victor ends up putting a ring on a forest root while practicing his vows... Which happens to be the finger of a murdered woman. He then goes to the Land of the Dead, meeting Emily, said woman in a bridal gown who claims to be his wife. Ensues all kinds of mayhem, while Victor tries to go back to the surface, but also to do the right thing. I adore the songs of this movie so much and it's so aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Halloween really is the best time to rewatch Tim Burton's animated movies in general, tbh. *starts singing This is Halloween*



♡ Andrew Lloyd Weber's 
The Phantom of the Opera (1986) - I might have developed a *slight* obsession for the musical version of The Phantom of the Opera earlier this year (the book isn't that great, if you were considering reading it, though) and it's definitely a perfect Halloween musical! I mean, a mysterious phantom running around an opera in Paris? Yes, please. Can you believe that it's been created in 1986 and it's still running? That's how great it is! So please go listen to it, it's so dramatic and spooky at times! The Music of the Night is my favourite song of it all and it's giving me major Kylo Ren vibes. I so want to watch the musical live in London at some point, it must be so spectacular.



Oh, how I cannot wait for Halloween to come around. I have *finally* figured out my potential Halloween costume and I'm planning to have a little celebration with my best friend. We'll try to make Halloween-themed food and drinks like last year, and we'll watch Crimson Peak, hopefully we won't be too scared, haha.


How are you planning to celebrate Halloween?

Lots of love,
Lucie







Credits: The ghosts and bats in the first picture picture were designed by Titusurya.

Sunday, 21 October 2018

My favourite characters in Victorian literature | A Victober series


Hello, beautiful people!

Today, I'm here for my third post in my Victober series, which is a weekly feature during the month of October that's all about sharing my love for Victorian literature.  I wasn't quite sure about what I wanted to write about this week, until last night, when I finished my third read for Victober. I realized how often we discuss our favourite books, but discussing our favourite characters is equally as important and I really wanted to do so, especially to introduce you Victorian heroines that made a lasting impression on me, because they were so ahead of their times. There is only one male character that makes the list, actually, because most Victorian male characters are dreadful, but anyway. Without further ado, let's discuss my favourite Victorian characters, and I hope that sharing my love for them will make you want to read the novels they're in!


♡ Bathsheba Everdene, from Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

Far from the Madding Crowd is one of my top 3 favourite novels ever, so of course I have to talk about it! Its main character, Bathsheba Everdene, is at the head of a farm, defying expectations from Victorian society, because she is a woman. I admire her, because she's ambitious, independent, headstrong, determined, and free-spirited. She makes it clear, time and time again, that she doesn't want to become a man's property and that she will manage her farm by herself. How can you not love her, when it's 1874 and Thomas Hardy makes her say things such as:
“Well what I mean is that I shouldn’t mind being a bride at a wedding, if I could be one without having a husband. But since a woman can’t show off in that way by herself, I shan’t marry-at least yet.”

It's true that she makes mistakes, and sometimes acts in a very stupid way. But she is a feminist heroine, even though she's often forgotten. She knows she will have to work twice as hard as any man, to earn respect from her employees, and she does it. She is ahead of her time and isn't scared to defy expectations, which she does amazingly. Many people are mad at her for some of her romantic entanglements, but she does her best in a society dominated by men and she stays true to herself. I adore her so much.



♡ Helen Graham, from The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë

Anne Brontë is my favourite Brontë sister because of this novel and because of Helen, who is such a strong heroine. She is a fierce, loyal, caring and brave character, who puts her safety and her son's first, even if it means being criticized by all. She aims to be financially independent and not to depend on men (in any case, she'll fight it as hard as she can). Most of all and that's a very famous scene in the book... she slams the door on her husband's face, protecting herself and not giving in to his abusive behaviour. She argues with him, she resists him, even though this wasn't discussed as a possibility at the time. I didn't know what to expect when I read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, so reading about Helen couldn't help but amaze me, for she's one of the strongest 19th century heroines I've ever read about.

♡ Gabriel Oak, from Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

Yes, I know, another character from Far from the Madding Crowd, but it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. Gabriel Oak is the only male character in Victorian literature that ever makes it to my favourite characters post, because he's such a kind, caring and selfless man and unlike every single Victorian male character, I don't have anything to be mad at him about. I love Gabriel Oak, because he can take no for an answer, he isn't frustrated that a woman is above him in a hierarchy, he will always try to help people, even if it hurts his feelings and he is nothing, but kindness. 

♡ Lady Audley, from Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon

I read Lady Audley's Secret during Victober last year and adored it, especially Lady Audley herself, who was one of the most interesting characters I've ever come across in literature. She is a brilliant and ambitious woman, who defied all social conventions, had questionable morals and the reader has doubts about her for the whole novel. I am completely in awe of her character, because while she doesn't always make the right choices, she did everything to get what she wanted in life and I can't entirely blame her for that. Besides, I love morally ambiguous characters and she's a perfect anti-heroine!



♡ Maggie Tulliver, from The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot

Last but not least, Maggie Tulliver actually gave me the idea for today's post and it's also all thanks to this amazing article on Literary Hub, defending Maggie, as she's often considered to be George Eliot's most underrated heroine. Maggie makes so many mistakes in her life, that's true, but many of them are due to the men around her, as well as society in general. She is the type of heroine who is too much for her time, she is considered too clever, too passionate, too impetuous and commits a grave crime in Victorian society : she occupies space that has been denied to her. I knew I'd get along splendidly with her from the moment she was reading books people would advise her not to read! I have issues with The Mill on the Floss, that's true, but Maggie was such a great character.

That's it for me today! I hope that you had a wonderful week and that everyone participating in Victober is having a great time. 

Thanks for reading,
Lots of love,
Lucie

Sunday, 14 October 2018

My journey with Victorian literature | A Victober series



Hello beautiful people!


Today, I'm here for my second post of my Victober series, which is a weekly feature during the month of October that's about sharing my love for Victorian literature. This week, I wanted to talk about my journey with Victorian literature, which is linked to my journey with classics in general. If you don't know about Victober, it's a month-long readathon I'm participating in and I talked about it more here.



Getting introduced to Victorian literature...


When I was younger, I used to devour classics, I always became curious when literature professors talked about them with us in class, which led me to discover so many books I wanted to read. I was discussing this my mom just this week: I had always been so excited to learn how to read, then to read all the books people older than me talked about. As I am French, I started my journey with classics with French literature, especially falling for 19th century literature... As I told you last year, my obsession with Les Misérables started at a young age, and then there was Emile Zola, whose works I adore so. As I loved 19th century French literature so much, reading Victorian literature was a logical path, in a way.

I only heard about English literature years after, and when I was a teenager (I was about fourteen or fifteen), there was a summer where I decided to read some of the Brontë sisters' works, which were my first introduction to Victorian literature. I remember having a whole schedule to make sure I read a certain amount of pages each day, but I just ended up devouring Wuthering Heights very quickly, because I couldn't get enough out of it. Right after that, I jumped right into Jane Eyre, which I also loved, even though not quite as much as Wuthering Heights. I was so obsessed and even got a box set with an adaptation of some British classics that Christmas, eagerly watching the 2009 ITV adaptation of Wuthering Heights. I didn't read many Victorian novels in the following years, even though The Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare made me want to read a lot of Victorian literature and I got introduced to Charles Dickens through Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities, which are my favourite novels by him so far.



Falling in love with Victorian literature...

I've talked about it a lot since last year, but I've been trying to figure out what my reading tastes truly are for the past two years and trying to understand that... Led me to fall in love with Victorian literature. In September 2016, I was participating in an online book club and the theme of the month was "Victorian literature"; we had to vote for which novel we wanted to read, and... 

Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy won. 

It wasn't even my first pick*, but I read it out of curiosity. Needless to say, as it's now one of my top 3 favourite books of all time, this book changed my life, I deeply fell in love with it (and Gabriel Oak), watched the movie adaptation right after and it was all I could talk about for months. I was listening to the soundtrack of the movie and was singing along Let No Man Steal Your Thyme all the time, I couldn't stop thinking about it. Finally, at long last, this book made me want to explore Victorian literature, because I didn't know that many Victorian authors. At that time, I was also introduced to the Penguin English Library editions and that was the beginning of another obsession, as many Victorian novels are edited in those (two birds, one stone).

*North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell was, I read it two months after and adore it so much.

While Far from the Madding Crowd reignited the love I had started to feel for Victorian literature through the Brontës, falling in love with Victorian literature wasn't quite over, I was still a baby in that matter. Many things changed in my life in 2017, one of those being that I started buddy-reading way more. My friend Clara and I started buddy reading Thomas Hardy's and Charles Dickens' works together, which was so motivating, and the more time passed, the more I was reading Victorian literature on my own. I focused so much on Victorian literature last year and the 2017 edition of Victober really helped me as well. I kept discovering authors whose writing style I adored, which led me to read and want to read more and more books. All bookworms know that it's quite an endless circle, which is quite exciting!  

And now what?

That's pretty much the story of how I came to read as much Victorian literature as I do today, it really changed my life. Discovering that part of literature also introduced me to a part of the bookish community I didn't know too well and I adore talking with people who love classics in general as much as I do. Reading Victorian literature makes me really happy, I'm quite proud of my journey and on my little scale, I get  asked for recommendations often, and I've been called the PEL Queen as a joke (I totally claim that title, though). 

I still consider that I've barely scratched the surface, because while I know most of the famous authors for sure, there are still so many I want/have to discover and I know so little... But I do try to document myself as much as possible on topics that interest me (that's the Ravenclaw in me)! So far, I've mainly read Victorian novels and some short stories, but thanks to this edition of Victober, I have finally dived into plays and I'm hoping to read poetry in the future as well, I'm probably missing out a lot on that topic! 

In any case, I'm really just getting started and I'm glad I have time to explore that part of literature.


Thanks for reading,
Lots of love,
Lucie

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Recommending my favourite Victorian novels | A Victober Series


Hello beautiful people!

As you might have seen in some of my previous posts, I am once again participating in Victober this month and I couldn't be more excited to dedicate a lot of my time to Victorian literature again. I also wanted to focus a bit more on Victorian literature on the blog as well, so I thought I would try* to post once a week about it in October... So it's the beginning of a month-long Victober series! For this first week, I wanted to talk about my favourite Victorian novels, so without further ado, let's do this!

*we'll see how this goes, as I'm quite busy with uni, reading and everything else, haha.


Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy (1874)


Far from the Madding Crowd is the novel that started it all, reignited my love for classics and made me fall in love with Hardy's writing, it also is one of my top 3 favourite novels. It follows Bathsheba Everdene, an independent and proud working woman whose life is complicated by three different men, making her the object of scandal and betrayal. I adore how it discusses the place of women in a world dominated by men and how strong Bathsheba is (even though she can be quite annoying at times), the way Hardy describes rural communities and most of all, I adore Gabriel Oak so much. I'd also totally recommend the 2015 movie adaptation with Carey Mulligan and Matthias Schoenaerts, it's one of my favourite movies and I listen to the soundtrack all the time.


The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë (1848)


If you don't know Anne Brontë is my favourite Brontë sister, even though I love them all. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall impressed me so much, it was so ahead of its time and Victorian society wasn't really ready for it, which only makes me love it more. This novel is about a mysterious woman who lives at Wildfell Hall, running away from her past (I don't want to say too much, so I shall stay quite mysterious in my summary)... It deals with so many important themes, such as gender roles, abuse and alcoholism, and is considered a feminist novel. Helen is one of the strongest female heroines I have come across in the 19th century and I can't help but to adore her. If you still haven't read Anne's works, please give her a chance, she deserves it so much.


Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (1847)


Wuthering Heights is the first Victorian novel I read as a teenager, because I was curious about English literature and it sure didn't disappoint. This novel starts when Lockwood has to seek shelter at Wuthering Heights, the home of his landlord. There he discovers the tempestuous story of Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw, and how it influenced the lives of their descendants. I adored Emily's dark and twisted characters, the story and her writing style as well as the chilling atmosphere on the moors. It's been so long since I first read this one, so I'm hoping to reread it before the end of the year or at the beginning of the next one, we'll see.


Tess of the d'Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy (1891)


I know it's not very original to mention one of Hardy's novels for the second time in this post, but he's one of my favourite writers and I rated so many of his novels 5/5 stars. This one is about Tess Durbeyfield who has to claim kinship with the wealthy d'Ubervilles family, but meeting her 'cousin' Alec proves to be her downfall. Later on, Tess meets Angel Clare, who seems to offer her love and salvation, but she has to decide whether to reveal her past or remain silent in the hope of a peaceful future. Once again, I adored the themes Hardy addressed in this one, with the theme of the 'fallen woman' in a very patriarchal society, as well as the criticism of social conventions and the thin line that exist between what society considers right or wrong. It's a very heartbreaking read, but a stellar novel. I also adored the 2007 BBC adaptation, which starred Gemma Arterton as Tess and Eddie Redmayne as Angel (okay, I first wanted to read this novel because of Eddie, I'll confess it).


Ruth by Elizabeth Gaskell (1853)


Another Victorian author I adore is Elizabeth Gaskell and my favourite of her works is Ruth, which isn't very well-known. This novel is about Ruth, who works in a sweatshop and is selected to attend a ball to repair torn dresses, which leads her to meet aristocrat Henry Bellingham. They form a secret friendship which goes horribly wrong for Ruth when she discovers she is pregnant. It centers around the 'fallen woman' theme again, which might seem a bit weird, but a lot of my favourite classic novels deals with that topic. I find it really interesting when authors take a stand and criticize how women who had children out of wedlock were judged and treated by society, even though it's quite revolting and heartbreaking. I love how compassionate Gaskell's take was, especially considering it was the first half of the 19th century. I also adore North and South, her most famous novel, but this one definitely took me by surprise!


So there you have it, here are my favourite Victorian novels! You can quite tell who my favourite Victorian authors are thanks to this post for sure. I have so many Victorian novels I am eager to read, though, so I hope this list will grow bigger and bigger as time goes on.


Lots of love,
Lucie

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Reading wrap-up + Favourites | September 2018


Hello, beautiful people! 

September was such a long and busy month. I moved back to Paris, started my new master's degree and have been loving my classes, started talking to new people, fangirled too much, watched Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone on the big screen for the first time in my life (!!), visited museums, enjoyed the beginning of Fall and saw my friends again. Of course it was exhausting at times and I need to remember to keep time for myself, but it was so worth it, I feel like my life is going in the right direction and it couldn't make me happier.


W H A T   I  R E A D

September has been a great reading month, I overall enjoyed every single book I read and also developed a thing for Greek mythology retellings: I so need them all! Well, I've been reading less and less because of uni (I read a book per week these days), but I don't really mind, it makes me happier when I finally have time to read! 

Here are the books that I read:
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke, 4.5/5 stars
  • Hans Andersen's Fairy Tales: a Selection, 3/5 stars
  • The Silence of the Girls, by Pat Barker, 4/5 stars
  • The Children of Jocasta, by Natalie Haynes, 3.5/5 stars
  • Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray, 4/5 stars (reread)
  • If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio, 4/5 stars 
  • The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie, 3.5/5 stars
  • Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor, 5/5 stars (reread)

If we don't count rereads, my favourite book of the month was Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. I had been looking forward to reading it for so long and it didn't let me down, it was such a complex novel, with amazing historical details and fleshed-out characters. I cannot wait to watch the adaptation at some point! I was also full in my autumnal reading in September, it was perfect!

F A V O U R I T E S



DRINK // Pumpkin Spice Latte

I'm not a very original person on that one, for everyone raves about Pumpkin Spice Lattes every year, but I adore it so much and it's the perfect Fall drink. Unfortunately, I couldn't drink too much of it because the weather was very warm for most of September, but now that it's colder, that's the only Starbucks drink I'll get until they stop making it. I still need to try to make my own, that shall be the plan for October.

MOVIE // Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Until this month, there was this one thing that had bothered me for almost my entire life: I had never watched Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in theaters. I was five when it came out and while I did read the book, my parents didn't want me to see the movie on the big screen, because I would have been too scared (now that I think about it, most Disney movies scared me BUT ANYWAY). However, I did watch the rest of them in theaters and it always made me so sad to have missed out on the first one. Then, this month, they aired the movies on the big screen again (thank you, France) and I was able to finally, after seventeen years, watch it there. I cried most of the time, because I was so overwhelmed and the wheel had finally come full circle. Like so many people, Harry Potter is what I grew up with and it means the world to me, so that was the best feeling in the world.


MISC. // French press coffee maker

For some time now, I really wanted to get a French press, not only for the aesthetic (#shallow), but because I really needed a coffee maker of some sort for when I moved back to Paris. My mom first got me a big one so we could use it at home and I adore the whole process and the taste, it's my favourite thing for sure. She then got me a smaller one (for one person) and I've been using it everyday, now that I've moved back to Paris. I obviously named the big one Lorelai Gilmore and the small one Rory Gilmore, I HAD TO.

TV SHOW // Gilmore Girls

Speaking of which, my best friend and I started our Gilmore Girls rewatch at the end of August and have continued in earnest throughout September. We even watch it at distance now, as we're living in different cities. Gilmore Girls truly is one of my favourite TV shows, it makes me feel good, motivates me to study as hard as I can and makes me want to drink coffee all the time. I had so missed my favourite character, Paris Geller. I also have a Gilmore Girls moodboard on my desk and that's the perfect study motivation.


(I love her so much and now 
I'm reaaaaally emotional)

FASHION // Scratch sneakers

I had to throw away my good old sneakers in August and it made me so sad, I had them for more than a year and a half and they were so comfortable, I travelled everywhere with them! With that came the need to get new sneakers and... I gave in to a cheaper brand that made cute scratch sneakers. I even put a golden star on one of my shoes and it made me love them even more, they're all the more unique. I used to not like scratch sneakers very much, but they're so handy, comfortable and I like the concept of them! It seems like they're trendy again because I keep seeing people wearing them and I so approve.

FASHION // Grey plaid dress

As I'm typing these lines, I'm actually wearing said dress. If I could wear it everyday, I would? Grey is one of my favourite colors (with purple and yellow), I adore dressing in it so much. While I was looking at clothes online and in stores, I saw that there were lots of grey plaid dresses in the autumnal collections, so I gave it and got myself one. Mine is super comfortable and has both blue and green lines as details on the sleeves, which is perfect for the Slytherclaw that I am! It also looks very cute with the scratch sneakers, so it helps its case!

L O O K I N G  A H E A D


October seems to be shaping itself like quite a challenging month, but I'm ready for it. Now that uni truly has started, I have lots of projects due, which is stressful, but also exciting, I am eager to study, study and study again. When it comes to reading, October means Victober and I am beyond happy to get back to Victorian literature as much as possible! I also have so many movies I want to see on the big screen (... five?!) and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society will get released as a DVD in France! I cannot wait to get my hands on it and to rewatch it over and over again. Oh and of course, October is the best Fall month, it's time to do everything on my Fall bucket list now, right?


How was September? What did you read? Any new favourite things?

Lots of love,
Lucie