Tag Archive: Jane Eyre


Villette – Charlotte Brontë

villetteTitle: Villette

Author: Charlotte Brontë

Date Finished: 06/01/13

Re-Read? : First time read

Challenges? : Yes – The Literary Classics & The Classics Club

Overall: 4/5 – rather good

Wow.  A very very powerful book, I think.
I started reading Villette just before Christmas, about the 20th December, I seem to remember, so it feels like it took me forever.  In reality it only took just over 2 weeks but that time between Christmas NYE etc seems much longer than it really is.  Anyway, I am very proud of myself because yesterday this was the book I read for The Classics Club readathon – since then I went from page 472 to 657 so I was very pleased.  It really helps to start the new term without a massive classic hanging over me – I have lots of January exams and probably won’t have that much reading time any more.

The plot in Villette is pretty unique; at least, I haven’t read anything like it before.  Jane Eyre, of course, is the only book that seems to come close, but even that is significantly different – only the style of Charlotte’s writing and some of the typical situations are similar.  I can’t say I loved this book (I only gave 4/5) but I did really enjoy it.  I wasn’t particularly happy with the ending (don’t worry I won’t do spoilers) and now and again the long-depressive-thoughts bits seemed to drag.  Overall, I enjoyed the plot but it definitely didn’t hook me the way Jane Eyre did…although was it actually meant to…?

The characters (in my opinion) are the strongest asset of Villette.  Ok, many are a little unrealistic and annoying, but I feel like I won’t forget them in a long while.  Particularly Lucy (of course), Madame Beck and Graham Bretton.  I have to say I love the (almost Dickensian) way that characters from earlier in the book manage to pop back up coincidentally.  Unfortunately, there were several times when reading Villette where I got the wrong end of the stick; at one point I genuinely though M. Paul and M. Emanuel were two different people!  This is the main reason it is going straight onto my re-read list – now that I understand what’s actually going on, I think I can enjoy it even more next time.

I LOVED the setting in France and adored the French used throughout (warning: don’t read this if French annoys you!) as it really transports you to the setting.  The prose is, naturally, amazing and surprisingly not too difficult to read, especially when something exciting is happening.  This was the kind of book that you need to sit yourself down with and have a big long read – dipping in and out sparsely doesn’t really work…which is why it was so perfect for the readathon!

Like I have said, I didn’t give Villette 5/5 as I can’t say I loved it, but I do think it could easily become a 5 when I re-read it.  I would definitely recommend it as a classic to read for us all, but not more than Jane Eyre – it is less accessible, I find.  However, a really great adaptation (film or TV) would be great, I reckon.  It’s a shame that it lies in J.E’s shadow – most people who I told I was reading this hadn’t even heard of it.  I now understand what people mean when they say Lucy Snowe is such a “question mark“.  She certainly is!
I hope you all enjoyed the readathon and will participate in the next one too!  They really are a great way of reading with people all around the world and making a good dent in big books, even if you can’t commit to all 24 hours (I managed about 15 awake but most of them weren’t actually spend reading!)

Let me know your thoughts on Villette too – I haven’t come across many posts on it so far.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Hello everyone!  I really hope you’ve all had a nice Christmas, I certainly have – lot of relaxing, eating, church, TV and a little bit of revision (I have January exams).  I haven’t had chance to read that much, but I am slowly plodding my way through Villette.  Don’t get me wrong, I am enjoying it, but maybe not as much as I enjoyed Jane Eyre (I am not even half way though, so it could pick up).  I will do a yearly wrap-up early in January and discuss what my reading plans are over the coming month then.

I was at home for Christmas with my family and my grandparents came too, which was nice.  Singing in the church choir for the carol service on the 23rd and at Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve along with playing the piano for a service on Christmas Eve as well was pretty tiring but worth it.  I got some very nice presents, my main one being my driving lessons still plus a pretty cool accordion!  Book-wise, I received The Hobbit & LOTR box-set which I am very much looking forward to reading for the first time! I hope you have all had as nice a Christmas as I have and let me know what bookish gifts you gave/received!

I really hope 2013 will be a good year for us all, full of happiness and reading, although it will have a lot to live up to for me: 2012 saw the amazing Olympics, lovely holidays to Vienna and Majorca plus my exam results which were pretty good haha!  I am going to Uganda in February (scary!) with my Dad and my sister, so that will definitely be a massive experience. Anyway, let me know your plans for 2013 – I would love to know what you’re planning to get up to and all of you enjoy New Year’s Eve!!

Every week, The Broke and The Bookish poses a category for book bloggers to post their ‘Top Ten’ in that week’s category.

This week the category is ‘Top Ten Books I’d Play Hooky With’, meaning your top ten books you would skip school or work for.  There are many days when I think I’d rather stay at home and read my book than go to school, but I’ve picked 10 for the moment.

1. Harry Potter – J.K. Rowling.  The Harry Potter books are those ones which you can just sit down and read for hours without noticing how the time flies, perfect for a devouring a book in a day.

2. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë.  The reason I picked Jane Eyre is simply because I can just imagine curling up with this book on a cold Wintry day and reading for hours.

3. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams.  If you are feeling down or stressed or upset, then there is nothing better than diving into the hilarious and witty HHGTTG, which is one of the most feel-good series I have ever come across.

4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson.  This series is enthralling and the first book is the most gripping of the three.  I couldn’t put it down both times I read it, so it’s a good one for a couple of hours on non-stop reading on a day off.

5. The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins.  I haven’t read these books yet (I am starting tonight actually, as Wuthering Heights is a bit heavy and my sister is nagging me non-stop) but from what I hear, many people find them ‘unputdownable, which suggests they would be good for a day off too.

6. David Copperfield – Charles Dickens.  The reason I picked David Copperfield, is because it is one of those classics that you really have to get into, and what better way to get into a more laborious book, than when you’ve got hours to spare during the day?

7. Romeo and Juliet – William Shakespeare.  I am talking about all of Shakespeare’s plays here (I only picked Romeo and Juliet as I am reading that one next) when I say that they are quite short which means they are great for playing hooky with because you would probably be able to finish one in a day, which is always really rewarding.

8. The Number 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency – Alexander McCall Smith.  Another feel-good series that can pick you up and transport you to somewhere completely different (Botswana in this case) and make you forget about the pressures and stresses in your daily life.

9. To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee.  As many of you know, this is one of my all time favourite books (so maybe I am biased) but I do think it has severe readability and is one of those books that is a real pleasure to read.

10. Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens.  I remember reading this Dickens last Christmas and really enjoying it, but I think that was because I could spend a couple of hours every day reading it, so I highly recommend playing hooky with this one.

Yes, I am starting The Hunger Games tonight, as I am nearly halfway through Wuthering Heights and finding it quite hard going and I fancy a bit of easier reading.  I will let you know what I think of both books in due course.

Every week, The Broke and The Bookish poses a category for book bloggers to post their ‘Top Ten’ in that week’s category.

This week the category is ‘Top Ten Favourite Covers’, with the advice to be ‘as specific or general as you want‘. Therefore I have decided to post my top ten covers of books that I currently own (not in any order – that would be too difficult!)  The covers here are the versions that I actually own.

1. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë (Vintage Classics).  The Vintage Classics series is known for stunning covers – ‘jacket design is integral to our vintage classics’ and each book in the series has a pertinent and beautiful cover.  I love the way they hint at something in the book’s plot, like the key signifying the locked up secret in Jane Eyre.

2. Saraswati Park – Anjali Joseph (Fourth Estate).  Unfortunately, the best part of this book was actually the cover as the story was rather disappointing! However, the cover is very well designed and a pleasure to look at – one of those books you are very careful with, as you don’t want to damage or spoil it!

3. The Man In The High Castle – Philip K. Dick (Penguin Modern Classics).  Again, a book that I didn’t particularly enjoy (although it is very unique) but a cover that I will never forget.  The reason it made this list is because of how shocking the cover is – it immediately perplexes you and really gets your mind thinking.  I did have to be a bit careful as to where I was reading it though!

4. 1984 – George Orwell (Penguin).  This is such an iconic book and the cover is striking and memorable too – both in the book and on the cover you can’t get away from the idea that ‘big brother is watching you‘!

5. The Number 1. Ladies’ Detective Agency – Alexander McCall Smith (Abacus).  This series are possibly THE books I most enjoy reading, on account of their being so funny, interesting and cheerful.  Lovely happy, bright covers which perfectly match the books they are surrounding.

6. Matilda – Roald Dahl (Puffin Modern Classics).  I have always loved Roald Dahl’s books, especially Matilda and The Witches and I have chosen the cover of Matilda for this list.  My version is very pink, but has a large illustration of Matilda by Quentin Blake on the front.  I think Roald Dahl’s words and Quentin Blake’s illustrations and both just as important for these childhood books so that is why this cover is so important to me.

7. The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo – Stieg Larsson (Quercus).  This book is one of my favourites and the whole series keeps me reading through the night.  I especially like this cover of the first book because it shows Noomi Rapace (who plays Lisbeth in the Swedish films) who I think portrays Lisbeth perfectly.

8. Northern Lights – Philip Pullman (Point).  I love the original (back in my day blah blah…) covers of the His Dark Materials Trilogy and I think Northern Lights is my favourite of the three, probably because my favourite colour is blue and that is the main background of this one!!

9. One Day – David Nicholls (Hodder).  There is so much to love about the cover of this book: its design is unique, the orange is amazing, the actual feel of the book is great … I could go on.  A great book with a really novel idea and a really novel cover to match.

10. Emma – Jane Austen (Vintage Classics).  I started this list with a Vintage Classic and I’m ending it with one too; rather appropriately, I think, because in my opinion this series of classics has the best covers that I have come across and they are always the ones that catch my eye when I’m browsing in bookshops.