List Challenge: The Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge

I was a die-hard Gilmore Girls fan back when it was on TV. I’ve rewatched the series several times and am excitedly awaiting the release of the the new episodes on Netflix.

There were many reasons I liked Gilmore Girls, and one of those reasons was that Rory loved to read. She would throw out literary references faster than I could catch them. I never kept track of the references, but thankfully, someone else did.

I present to you: The Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge! (Also, see below for this embedded list.)

According to the list challenge, throughout the entire seven seasons,”Rory Gilmore was seen reading 339 books on screen.” Some of the comments on the list challenge beg to differ. Some commenters mentioned that some books were only mentioned, not read. Others mentioned that only other characters read the books mentioned and not Rory. Another commenter disagreed with The Divine Comedy  and Dante’s Inferno  being listed separately because one is a part of the other [I happen to agree!]

I delved a little further and found Buzzfeed wrote a list as well, titled, “All 339 Books Referenced in ‘Gilmore Girls'”. There are also a number of lists on GoodReads as well with different book totals. One cited 355, while others separate the books out by season. There is even a Richard Gilmore book list.

I found another post that lists 338 book references. This blog post even references a  Wiki article that lists all references in each episode and a link to the Rory Gilmore Book Club on GoodReads.

So many books, not enough time! Speaking of time, it’s time to get reading.

Oh, in case you were wondering, I’ve only read 40 of the 339 books. How many have you read?

Pride & Prejudice

Jane Austen’s second novel centers on the Bennet family and we read most of the novel through the eyes of Elizabeth Bennet.  She and her family live in a suburb of London and we come upon the Bennets as they receive word a new tenant will take occupancy of a nearby estate.  Mrs. Bennet hopes to marry one of her 5 girls off to Mr. Bingley.  He is rather fond of the eldest Bennet, Jane, but selfishness in his family and friend Mr. Darcy separate them for the majority of the novel.  Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy do not instantly fall for one another, but there is a spark of something when they first meet at a ball.  Elizabeth dreams of a marriage of equality – where each are passionate about the other.  This leads her to turn down Mr. Collins’ offer of marriage in order to keep the Longbourn estate in the family as he is the male heir to inherit the property.  Within 3 days of her refusal, Mr. Collins is engaged to Elizabeth’s close friend Charlotte, which surprises Elizabeth as she thought Charlotte could have found a better match.  Shortly after their marriage Elizabeth travels to the Collins’ estate to visit her friend and finds out Mr. Darcy will be attending there shortly.  After a few weeks worth of conversations and walks, Mr. Darcy proposes to Elizabeth, but as it was not the most romantic gesture, he proposed because he can’t stop thinking of her but as Elizabeth is still quite angry with him for the way he treated Mr. Wickham who she was fond of, she denied Mr. Darcy’s proposal.  Shortly after returning home to Longbourn, Elizabeth travels north with her aunt and uncle and stop by Pemberly, the estate where Mr. Darcy resides, but is thankful to learn he will not be there.  Coincidentally, he returns a day early and Mr. Darcy sees her.  Rather pleased to see her, he introduces her to his sister.  Elizabeth makes plans to return the next day to visit more with his sister but is forced to cancel due to a family emergency.  Lydia has run off with Mr. Wickham, who the Bennet family and neighboring town Meryton have come to realize is not an honorable person – he left many debts unpaid.  Unbeknown to the Bennets, Mr. Darcy travels to London to find Lydia and Wickham.  Lydia is forced to marry Wickham as they had not married yet, but planned to.  Mr. Bennet allows one visit of the newly married couple before exiling them from the family.  Mr. Darcy comes to tell Elizabeth, who now realizes her mistake in refusing Mr. Darcy’s proposal, that he found her sister in London.  They take a walk whereupon they talk about their feelings and decide to marry.

I enjoyed the story of Pride & Prejudice, but Austen wrote mostly in passive voice, which made it difficult for me to read.  I felt the story was drawn out, longer than it needed to be, or at least the scenes and dialogue could have been more succinct.  I am glad to have read it, there are many classic books I want to read simply because they are classics.  I’ve never been to interested in reading classics, but have decided to add more into my “to read” category.

Pride & Prejudice Essay

I finally finished the book this evening.  Although I enjoyed the story, I think I’m too feminist to read it.  Mrs. Bennet’s character annoyed me immensely.  And Lydia’s once she was married.  And Collins’.  I was rather disappointed the story did not actually focus on Elizabeth and Darcy – it was a whole soap opera of pride, prejudices (thus the title!), drama, and long drawn out scenes with hard to read, detailed, long sentences that really slowed the pace of the story down for me.  I’m all for romance novels, but I just never connected with the story.  It’s a shame, I was excited to read it.  I am still excited to read the next book Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackery.

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Social status governed the lives of everyone in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.  The acquaintances a person holds reflects back upon him/herself and they affects the social status of the individual, their family, and the acquaintances the person already has made.  In Austen’s novel, there are two characters, Charlotte Lucas and Lydia Bennet, who marry less than ideal matches.  Each girl married for different reasons and the consequences of their marriages affects their social circles differently.  Why did Charlotte accept Mr. Collins’s proposal?  Why did Lydia run off with George Wickham?  And the final question: which match would Austen herself disapprove of more than the other?  Based on Austen’s own life experiences, she would have disapproved of Lydia’s marriage more than Charlotte’s marriage.

Charlotte Lucas was close friend of Elizabeth Bennet.  Elizabeth was rather shocked and surprised when three days after Mr. Collins had proposed marriage to her, he proposed to Charlotte Lucas, who readily accepted.  As Charlotte expresses herself, “I am not romantic, you know.  I never was.  I ask only for a comfortable home; and considering Mr. Collins’s character, connections, and situation in life, I am convinced that my chance of happiness with him is a fair as most people can boast on entering the marriage state,” (p.125).  This statement implies that Charlotte is not currently in love with Mr. Collins, but she is not marrying for love as most people at the time did not marry for love.  She simply wants a good, happy life and she believes based upon Mr. Collins character and social standing that he will be able to provide that for her. After she is told of the entailment of Longbourn, her status with the Bennets becomes suspect until Elizabeth visits Charlotte after her marriage.  The social circle around her and her family is content with the match, but Elizabeth knows Charlotte could have found a better match.

Lydia Bennet is the youngest of the Bennet women.  She acts upon her emotions rather than suppressing them and following the socially accepted order of events.  She is rather selfish in indulging her desires to walk to Meryton nearly every day to see the regiment in town.  Lydia’s reputation was ruined by her elopement with a man in financial and honor debts.  In order to preserve the family’s reputation and ensure good matches for the remaining unwed daughters, the Bennets were forced to make a choice: Lydia was casted out of the family.  Lydia married George Wickham because she was in love with him, but he was not in love with her.  Lydia was used by Wickham to settle his debts in Meryton, Brighton, and London.  Once again Mr. Darcy bailed out his selfish childhood friend, but this time it was in hope of winning Elizabeth’s heart.  Although Lydia was aware of Wickham’s gambling debts, she ignored them.  Quickly, Lydia’s behavior reflected Wickham’s, becoming a leech on everyone she knew.

Austen surely did not approve of either of the two marriages, but most likely she disapproved of Lydia’s marriage more than Charlotte’s.  Although Austen died young at the age of 41, she was briefly engaged to a man named Harris Bigg-Wither (Fullerton).  He is described to be similar to Mr. Collins in physical appearance.  The morning after his proposal, however, Austen withdrew her acceptance.  Similar to Charlotte, Austen accepted Bigg-Wither’s proposal based upon what benefits it could offer her and her family.  Charlotte carried through on the engagement and married Mr. Collins, of which Austen would have disapproved.  Lydia, on the other hand, married Wickham because she was in love with him.  This would have pleased Austen, but the shame brought about by running off with Wickham created more of a discord within Austen.  Family, along with her writing, was most important to Austen.  She too was from a large family and accepted social norms.  The devastation of a sister eloping with a gentleman of such unworthiness would have devastated Austen.  Thus, Austen would have disapproved of Lydia’s marriage more than Charlotte’s marriage.

In Jane Austen’s novel, Pride and Prejudice, family and social acceptance governed the lives of everyone.  Charlotte Lucas, a longtime friend of Elizabeth Bennet, entered into a marriage of status and to secure a good future for herself.  Austen almost did the same, but withdrew her acceptance the morning after she gave it.  Austen would have been pleased on Charlotte’s reasons for marrying Mr. Collins, but would have disapproved of not marrying for both love and a secure future.  Lydia Bennet did marry George Wickham for love, but he did not care for her with the same intensity.  Their marriage was a business deal.  Austen would have disapproved of Wickham’s reasons for marrying Lydia as well as Lydia’s indulgence in selfishness.  Austen was a passionate person, evident in her novels, she loved her family and her writing, and she would only marry someone with those same passions who reciprocate her love with the same intensity.

 

References

Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. New York. Barnes & Noble. 2004.

Fullerton, Susannah. “About Jane Austen – her life &her novels”. Jane Austen Society of

Australia. Web. 14 April, 2010. http://www.jasa.net.au.

Not That Into Pride & Prejudice

Am I the only one who has trouble reading Pride & Prejudice?

I do realize this was written in the early 1800s, nevertheless, I am finding it difficult to engage in the story.

Austen’s use of pronouns and lack of connection to their antecedents boggles my mind.  Plus, when the name “Miss Bennet” is used, I have no idea which Miss Bennet it refers to as there are 5 of them in the room speaking!  Use first names!  So many females in the story and that I have no idea which woman is being referred to with “her” and “she”.  Jane, Eliza, Mrs. Bennett, Catherine, Lydia, or any of Bingley’s sisters.  Darcy is the one person I’ve kept straight so far.

I think Austen has a very good command of the English language for being only age 21.  I smile at the English spelling (it grew on me when I was abroad in South Africa & Australia).  However, I do think she uses too much passive voice to my liking.  Also, Austen’s long sentences confuse me with so many phrases set off by commas that by the end of the sentence I have to look 6 lines up to see what the beginning was!  Austen is very descriptive in her writing, which I do enjoy, but I lack a connection to the story.  I see a word and my mind drifts off to something else.

I enjoy the story, despite my confusion with the text.  I am not fond of the scheming Mrs. Bennet to force her daughter (Jane) to stay longer at Bingley’s house and Elizabeth joins her.  But what really had my mouth open arguing at the text (a sign of a good book!) is Mrs. Bennet’s insistence of Elizabeth to accept Mr. Collin’s proposal of marriage.  I understand this was customary at the time, but I may be a tiny bit feminist in stating a woman should at least have a say in who she will marry, after all, it is her life.