When I was a little girl, like a lot of other small children, I liked reading the Arthurian Tales in children’s form. There were so many of them: The Sword in the Stone, The Knights of the Round Table, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Lancelot and Guinevere etc. But the best thing is that as I grew up, they got more and more sophisticated until I was fifteen and found the two volumes of Le Morte d’Arthur by Thomas Malory. It was like discovering a diamond after having nothing but crystals - there weren’t very many words for having the real thing in my hands. I am going to admit I read both volumes in the same day because I just couldn’t put it down. It was everything I’d ever wanted - an adult book made from the books I read as a child. This book completely changed me and changed what I thought about the children’s stories of my younger days. They really did come from other things. That was all a well and good theory until we got on to the fairy tales and Charles Perrault. Then it just got creepy and weird.
When you think about reading books you think about doing an isolated and solo activity, but if you're a social person who also likes to read, how do you accomplish this?
It has been a number of over ten years since I first read “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte. I was going to be thirteen and it was fairly cold outside (my birthday is in the winter). I was reading “Jane Eyre” for the first time because it was on a reading list I had found listed next to “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen - another classic. The way in which I discovered my copy of the book was simply by going to my local bookstore and reserving myself a copy (it was fairly popular and the book had sold out at that time). When I first read the book, it absolutely took me away. It made me cry, it gave me hope, it made me sad, it made me cry again and then finally, when it was all over - I could sob to myself happily in peace. It changed my whole life that book did. It was like reading something that was specially written to hit you right in the heart and make you feel every inch of the character’s emotions with them. Every bit of her anger and resentment, all of her rage and then, all of her calm and sorrow. Eventually, you can feel her happiness as well.
For over six decades, Katharine Hepburn was one of the most popular and most talented leading actresses in Hollywood. Born to incredibly wealthy parents in Hartford, Connecticut, USA - Hepburn was mostly known for her amazing talents to play any such character that she wanted with a great amount of accuracy. Her intelligence was often put together with a personality made of steel and she moved Hollywood's image of females forwards by her amazing fearlessness. The AFI called her the greatest actress of Classic Hollywood Cinema.
This novel is told in five separate episodes of one man’s experiences growing up and being told that anti-semitism was the normal way of thinking. Since our narrator is an aristocrat, he has some obvious class prejudices which include anti-semitism towards the poorer Jewish folk. Slowly, but surely, he seeks to learn that his prejudices were wrong and actually, there is no difference between him - a rich and worldly man, and a working-class Jewish person. He realises this through various friendships, relationships and even complex meetings involving Jewish people in which he finds not only sympathy and rage, but also confronts himself in this rage - asking himself why he thinks about them in this way. As the narrator confronts his past, we see prime Jewish characters of complex natures such as Wolf Goldmann, the hearty child of Dr. Goldmann who only seeks to make a friend but often struggles to assimilate into a more ‘Eurocentric’ lifestyle. We also see the Jewish woman in which our narrator falls in love with. But, in hiding and concealing her Jewishness, he ultimately leaves her for her fakery. There are also many more in which the narrator has to confront why exactly it is that Jewish folk hide their Jewishness but then expect nobody to realise. He analysis this over and over again, looking both ways at how this is a product of being racially stigmatised and how this is also a deceit on the part of the Jewish folk who choose to conceal themselves. As we go through the book once more, we find that the confrontation that the narrator has with himself looks deep within his own personal prejudices and develops some contradictions and hypocrisies before he can attempt to rectify things that he had once believed that now, seem absurd.
I first read this book when I was sixteen years’ old and the way in which it had an effect on me was so long-lasting that I don’t think I got over the book for a long time. I don’t think I’m even over it now. I’m just coping. I discovered the book after finding a really pretty Penguin copy in the bookstore. It looked rustic and beautiful and so I bought it. I had heard of the book but didn’t really know what it was about before I’d read it. My first reading experience of it was definitely immersive. It was one of those things that I stayed up all night for and I really got so into it that by the time it was morning, I hadn’t even realised the sun had come up. I was still making notes and drawing pictures. That’s what I do when I get too into a book to the point of no return. I make notes and sketches. This book completely changed my perception on the way books about the sea could be written. It was one of the first American books that I’d ever fallen in love with so much that I barely put the book away for an entire year afterwards. I had it on my bedside table and would constantly be scribbling about it, highlighting it and writing short stories about the characters and other wild adventures they’d go on at sea. Yes, this was my life and pretty much, still is.