Becoming Jane Eyre by Sheila Kohler
After Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea, it’s time—time to plunge into the wild world of Jane Eyre fanfiction for my senior thesis. It’s doubly interesting for me because it’s just so odd to see fanfiction divorced from fandom and fannish history. There’s a whole stack of them on my metaphorical desk at the moment (it’s really more of a drawer in my literal cabinets) and a handful on the way from the public library. Becoming Jane Eyre got to me first, so that’s what I started with. It’s technically not a derivative work of Jane Eyre since it’s a “reimagining” of Charlotte Brontë’s life, but based on what it turned out to be, I think it definitely counts.
Sharpe’s Eagle by Bernard Cornwell
The reason I picked up Sharpe’s Eagle is Sean Bean (perhaps better known as “Ubiquitous Bad Guy” as the RiffTrax gang affectionately call him). My introduction to Bean naturally came with Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings, but I’ve also enjoyed his work in National Treasure (shut up that was a good movie) and, of course, Game of Thrones. But Bean rose to fame by starring in a television series adapted from Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe novels. After watching one episode (each episode is essentially a movie), I decided it was time to get acquainted with what I’ve been calling “the Napoleonic James Bond” for a while.
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Laurie Halse Anderson is a young adult novelist whose work I knew vaguely of during my own adolescence (and yes, I’m beyond delighted that I get to put that in the past tense now), but never actually read—although I might have read Fever, 1793 in middle school. Y’all know how my memory is; if I’m vague about whether or not I finished The Lord of the Rings during that time period, everybody else doesn’t stand a chance. But I missed out, apparently; upon entering my class on children’s and young adult literature, my fellow classmates were abuzz with how much they loved Speak. As the class got compressed towards the end of the semester, the class was divvied up into two to read either Speak or Bait; luckily, I got to be in the Speak group. I settled down to do my classwork and was utterly transported.
The Kiss Murder by Mehmet Murat Somer
Next to one of the various Trader Joe’s I frequent is the amazing Richard’s Variety Store, which sells everything from vintage candy to collectible Barbies to Jesus action figures. It also has a nice and eclectic collection of books, from offbeat fantasy to prettily designed classics to art books. In the mysteries pile, I found The Gigolo Murder and was entranced by the gorgeous cover. Since the cover announced there was a first in the series, I immediately added The Kiss Murder of the Hop-Çiki-Yaya mysteries (also known as the Turkish Delight mysteries) to my reading list. A few weeks later, I found it in the bargain section of Books-a-Million, with an equally stunning cover. This book wanted to be read.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
When I was a wee lass, I remember there was a much abused paperback of Pride and Prejudice in the back of my parents’ car. I tried reading it once, but I think it was about the age I discovered I can’t really read in cars. I’ve somehow managed to get to eighteen without reading it, so I decided to correct that shameful omission.
The Eyre Affair
by Jasper Fforde
I’ve heard of the Thursday Next series off and on–I’ve seen fellow students walking around with a copy, and, of course, it was recommended in Nancy Pearl’s Book Lust. (I must mention that I drew up a great deal of my reading list from Pearl’s Book Lust and More Book Lust, which is why it pops up in my reviews so often.) The more I heard about it, the more I liked it–alternate history, a dash of science fiction, a dollop of detection, and a heaping spoonful of action/adventure… it’s almost perfectly engineered for me. It’s a marvel I haven’t gotten around to reading them before! Obviously, I started off with the first in the series, The Eyre Affair.
The Joy Luck Club
by Amy Tan
My favorite librarian at my high school library printed me off a college reading list she had stashed on her computer, and The Joy Luck Club
was one of the books on there. I’ve always been curious to read Amy Tan–I’ve seen a story from this novel performed as a monologue, and I’ve read one of Tan’s essays on writing about her experience as a Chinese-American woman. Also, the public library didn’t have The Luxe
in stock. Don’t judge me. Continue reading