February 27, 2012

Literary Heroine Blog Party

I've been browsing the blog world recently trying to find some more diverse book blogs to follow. Most of the ones that I've found so far are dedicated to YA. Don't get me wrong, I love me some teeny bopper books... but I don't read YA exclusively (or even typically). I was so excited to find Jillian at A Room of One's Own who started blogging in 2010 to chronicle her journey through the classics. Needless to say, I was pumped to find a blogger that loves Austen, Dickens and some good ole Gone With the Wind.

She just participated in The Literary Heroine Blog Party, hosted by Accordion to Kellie, and I absolutely loved reading through her answers. I've mostly reviewed contemporary literature so far, and I thought this would be a great way for anyone following along to get to see another one of my passions - classic literature.

Go check out some of the other posts - you'll be so impressed! The event ends February 29, so you've still got two days if you want to participate.

Thanks for hosting, Kellie!

The Questions

Introduce yourself! Divulge your life's vision, likes, dislikes, aspirations, or something completely random!
For as long as I can remember, I've loved to read. My reading journey has been a varied one. From memorizing Madeline to hiding in my bathroom to read just one more chapter after bedtime, I have long been in love with the written word. I love the adventure and escape of reading. The way words can come alive to create another world. The way you can connect to the story to the point that it almost feels real. The way books are so personal and revealing, but also so perfect for sharing. I'm completely and totally sold on the magic of reading.

I grew up on a steady diet of series - Anne of Green Gables, Little House on the Prairie, the American Girl adventures, the Saddle Club books... Those books have given me a soft spot for series and sagas. Most of all, I adore getting to see a character go through life and grow into themselves. I also love how reading a book can help you grow into the best version of yourself. It's funny how that works, isn't it?

I collect copies of Pride and Prejudice and secretly wish I was British. I'm in love with Gilbert Blythe. I cried when Fred Weasley died in the last Harry Potter. I wish I could un-read the Twilight series. My favorite place to read is at the beach. If I can't be there, it's in the bathtub. I like to use receipts and postcards as bookmarks. I can't pick a favorite genre because I love too many, but if I could only read one I'd pick the classics. I refuse to fold the page corners down. I love to re-read books, and that's not limited to just my favorites. I want to be someone who loans people books, but I can't bring myself to part with my books. I usually organize my bookshelves by genre, but lately I have two categories that have caused me to re-arrange my bookshelves: to read and to re-read. I'm Hannah, and I'm a book nerd.

What, to you, forms the essence of a true heroine?
The essence of a true heroine is rooted in her mind. All of the qualities that I love in my favorite heroines can be traced to their mind. They love to read (and sometimes write). They're intelligent and clever. They're wise - they might make mistakes but they recognize them. They're kind and treat others with respect. Even if they delight in imagination, when it all comes down to it, they are grounded and solid. They are so much more than just a pretty face. They are women you want to call friend.

Share (up to) four heroines of literature that you most admire and relate to.

Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables (and the rest of the series) -
From her love of reading to her enthusiasm for life, I love Anne Shirley. She stands up for herself and her friends. She is loyal and kind. She's got a temper that gets her into trouble. She talks an awful lot, but it's just so endearing. While she can be a total drama queen, I laugh along with her antics and appreciate her spirit. I love her - and she helped me fall in love with reading.

Jo March from Little Women - 
Headstrong and passionate Jo. She is independent and has huge dreams. Whether she's in a fit of temper or locking herself in the attic to write furiously, she is whirlwind that flies across the page. She knows her own mind, which makes me love her all the more. Jo is a spitfire, but she's the kind of woman you'd love to have as a friend.

Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice -
Lizzy is sensible and down-to-earth. She's witty and not afraid to speak her mind. She doesn't care much what other people think of her, and she loves her family despite their faults. I love that she isn't just pretty - she's clever and smart! I want to either be Lizzy or be best friends with her. She is, without a doubt, one of the most memorable heroines in all of literature.

Elinor Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility
Unlike my other three heroines, Elinor is calm, steady and very rational. She can be more quiet and introverted. She isn't given to wild displays of emotion. She becomes the rock for her family, taking care of them in ways no one can see. I love that despite her calm demeanor, she doesn't lack for feeling. She has just as much in her heart as all the other heroines I love and admire.




Five of your favorite historical novels?
I'm cheating because I just can't narrow it down to five:
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
  • BONUS: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Out of those five books, who is your favorite main character and why?
Elizabeth Bennett. From her fine eyes to her sharp tongue, she is one of the most delightful characters that was ever created. She's my favorite because she is the character that I would most want to be friends with in real life. I already mentioned all the things I love about her in a previous question (so hopefully you actually read that answer!). She's also my favorite because I want to be more like her. She's witty and isn't afraid to speak her mind... but she also isn't afraid to admit when she's wrong. I LOVE that she can recognize and admit her faults.

Out of those five books, who is your favorite secondary character and why?
Levin. I've got to be honest, it's been a while since I read Anna Karenina, but as soon as I read this question, Levin's name popped into my mind. I remember loving Tolstoy's behemoth of a book because of this secondary character. But I can't remember why I loved him! Guess I'll have to re-read this soon...

My other choice would probably be Diana Barry because every young girl needs her own bosom buddy. I love her friendship with Anne and how they're always there for each other. She's the best kind of friend - she'll join in Anne's hijinks but try to steer her clear of too much trouble.

If you were to plan out your dream vacation, where would you travel to - and what would you plan to do there?
These questions are so hard to answer! I love to travel, and I can't imagine having to narrow it down to my one "dream vacation." I'd probably choose England (even though I've been there before) because there is still so much I haven't explored. I absolutely love all things British, so my dream vacation would be to spend weeks on end in England. What would I do there? Well, I'd explore every nook and cranny, of course!

Other desired destinations: Ireland, Italy, France, Morocco, South Africa, Switzerland, St. Lucia... the list could go on and on.

What is your favorite time period and culture to read about?
I really love Regency and Victorian England! I'm sure no one is surprised by this answer if they've read anything else in this post. I also love reading about different war times - including the Civil War, World War I and II. I have also started to read a lot more contemporary fiction, but it isn't my "favorite" time period to read about.

You have been invited to perform at the local charity concert. Singing, comedy, recitation - what is your act comprised of?
I'm a horrible singer. I'm not very good at being funny on purpose... unless I'm being sarcastic. So I guess recitation? But probably not that either. Honestly, I'd be the person organizing the concert, not performing in it. I'd totally have everything under control and be running the show.

If you were to attend a party was to portray a heroine of literature, who would you select to represent?
I'm going to go with Catherine Morland from Northanger Abbey. Just trying to mix things up here...



What are your sentiments on the subject of chocolate?
Let me see... this should sum it up perfectly:

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Favorite author(s)?
At the top of my list are Jane Austen, L.M. Montgomery, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Louisa May Alcott. In terms of the classics, I'd like to include Leo Tolstoy, Charlotte Bronte, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Charles Dickens, too, but I've only read one book by each so I don't think I can claim them as favorites just yet.

Besides essentials, what would you take on a visiting voyage to a foreign land?
I'd totally be taking my Kindle (because I can never pack as many books as I want to read when traveling and the Kindle has finally solved that dilemma). I'd also bring a journal so that I could record my thoughts while I was traveling. I wouldn't want to forget a thing! Although this is probably considered an essential, I'd also make sure I bought enough money to buy anything there that caught my fancy. 

In which century were most of the books you read written?
I can't really answer this because I tend to jump around with my reading. Lately, I've been reading mostly recent books - 21st century and some 20th. But I also love the classics and turn to books in the 18th and 19th century pretty frequently! So does the fact that my answer includes four centuries tell you anything about how my random reading habits?

In your opinion, the ultimate hero in literature is...

Please meet my dream man. His name? Gilbert Blythe. Even as I write it, my heart does a little leap for joy. We are old friends - Gilbert and I. He’s the first boy I fell in love with. 


If you have never met him, he lives in a world crafted by L.M. Montgomery. When I discovered him in Anne of Green Gables, I realized he was different. Then, as I watched the movies, I knew it was meant to be.

He was handsome, of course, but that wasn’t what I first noticed. It was his love for Anne. Calm, steady, faithful… This wasn’t just any boy. My friends met him, and they fell in love, too. I couldn’t blame them - it would have been hard to resist his charm. 
Of course, it was only pretend. A relationship with a character in a book could never last. But the standard had been set. The bar had been raised. I decided that I was looking for a “Gilbert.” I loved his love for Anne. He chose her from among all the other girls, waited for her to come around, and loved her because she was different. He wasn't afraid to tell her she was wrong when she needed to hear it - but it was always for her own good. And he teased her when she took herself too seriously.
So, for me, Gilbert Blythe is and always will be the ultimate hero in literature.
Describe your ideal dwelling place.
The answer to this question probably depends on the day you ask it. Today, I'm dreaming of a big white farmhouse surrounded by acres of land. I'd have a huge front porch with a swing that is perfect for curling up with a good book. The house would be filled with lots of light, love and laughter. The hardwoods would be well loved and the furniture would feel lived in. It would be a place where everyone felt welcome to come and no one wanted to leave. And there'd be a library. With a reading book. But that's a given.


Just because I'm dreaming big today, I'd also have a lovely cabin by the lake. It'd be small and cozy, just steps away from a dip in the cool water. I'm also thinking the lake would be in the mountains so then I get a great view. What? It's my dream world... anything is possible!


Sum up your fashion style in five words.
I don't think I can even come up with five words for my current fashion style. Here are two: classic and comfortable. Working in a corporate environment, I tend to stick to the basics. Dress pants and some nice tops are my go-to routine wear. I just pick whatever takes the least amount of work.

In my ideal *cough**Pinterest*cough* world, I'd be way more hip. Like so:


(All these pictures are of the same stylish lady over at Atlantic-Pacific. She's way more daring than I'd ever be. But I'd like to be this cool.)

Have you ever wanted to change a character's name?
Nope. The author created them and named them - I'm just happy to be introduced to them.

In your opinion, the most dastardly villain of all literature is...
I don't think I've read enough literature with really dastardly villains! I need to get on that. With that being said, I think Shakespeare had some rather dastardly villains - Richard III is the first that comes to mind. That was a rather wicked guy!

Three favorite non-fiction books?
Besides the Bible, here are my top three as of today:
  • My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers - The best devotional evs. No question.
  • Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand - A book I finished a few weeks ago and can't stop thinking about.
  • Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling - The book that kept making me LOL.
Your duties met for the day, how would you choose to spend a carefree summer afternoon?
This is an easy one: outside with my nose in a book!

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Create a verbal sketch of your dream hat - in such a way as will best portray your true character.
I'd happily throw on one of these wide-brimmed beauties for a day in the sun. I love a big floppy hat that offers just the right amount of shade - all the better for reading, my dear. Something simple (made out of straw) but with a touch of added beauty - whether it be flowers or a ribbon. I'm a pretty simple girl at heart, and I love that this kind of hat is both functional and visually appealing.


Share the most significant event(s) that have marked your life in the past year.
I graduated from college, married a handsome fella, and started my first job in the real world. It's been a busy year to say the least. I am so very grateful for all the changes the last year has brought. My cup in certainly running over - and I am so thankful!

Share the Bible passage(s) that have been most inspiring to you recently.
"The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
      you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
      indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
      in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me;
      because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken."
                 - Psalm 16:5-8

6 comments:

  1. Hello there! Loved reading your responses to this post–just followed you over from Accordion To Kellie.

    I too, secretly wish I was British, and when I'm bashing about my house, I might be overheard speaking in a jaunty British accent, but shhh, don't tell anyone...

    Love this!: "I wish I could unread Twilight series".––and heartily agree with you on that.

    I heart Gilbert Blythe too!!!! What a guy...

    Your dream houses are pure loveliness...especially the white one–reminds me of Green Gables :)

    I am so in love with my new Kindle...and the many numerous piles of books I can now lug around with me in the palm of my hand. So brilliant.

    Great post!

    Jeanine

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    1. Hello Jeanine! Thanks so much for stopping by - and for writing such a sweet comment! I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. I'm about to head over to your blog and check out your responses :)

      I find it particularly enjoyable to read Pride & Prejudice aloud in my best attempt at a British accent - so you'll find judgment here on that point!

      Glad you agree with my sentiments on Twilight! I still can't believe I read them all. So embarrassing (and such a waste of time that could have been spent on more worthy books!)...

      And don't even get me started on my love for Gilbert. I could spend hours talking about him and my love for the Anne books! I also LOVE finding people that love Gilbert as much as I do!!

      I'm so happy you love my dream houses! I thought the white one was reminiscent of Green Gables too :) So glad I'm not the only one!!

      Oh my, the Kindle is brilliant! It has solved so many of my book dilemmas. It used to take me forever to decide what books to pack for a family vacation to the beach - now they all fit in one place. Genius. Although I still buy hard copies of certain books... there are some books I just need on my bookshelf!

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    2. Yes, there will always be something unmistakably more superior and excellent as an actual physical book. However, the creation of ebook readers is truly genius :)

      Wow, I applaud you for getting all the way through Twilight series- now that takes some fortitude heehee :)) I only got through the first novel. My sister though read them all. Now the Harry Potter books–those I plowed through :))

      One day, I will go to Prince Edward Island. That would be amazing, I think :)) Thanks for responding back to me!!! :)))

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  2. I forgot about Richard III!!! Excellent choice. I actually haven't read that play yet, but I will soon, and Richard III is way scarier than Iago (who I picked.) :D

    I love all your heroine picks and almost want to go into my post and add Elinor Dashwood as a bonus heroine. She really is one of my favorites. I admire her sense of calm and rationality, though I'm nothing like her. I'd probably most want to be her friend.

    I need to finish reading the Anne of Green Gables series. I've only read the first so far, but I own the rest.

    Also - yay Gone With the Wind!!

    Thanks for the kind words :)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      I just read Richard III in a Shakespeare class last year, and he immediately jumped to the top of my villain list. He was crazy!

      I loved all of your heroine picks! I considered adding Marianne to mine, too, because I love her just as much as Elinor.

      And heck yes to Gone with the Wind! That book is incredible! I'll never forget the first time I read it. I thought it would take forever because it seemed so long - and then I FLEW through it. I need to re-read it soon!

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    2. I know -- me too (Gone With the Wind)! It'll be my fourth time. I'll probably have to wait until 2013 because I'm super busy and want to sink into it -- but I MUST reread again. :D

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