[MY BOOKISH OBSESSIONS] How-To: Choose a Wife// A Step-by-Step Guide by Mr. Collins//

November 18th marked the arrival of Mr. Collinsa die-hard fan of the uppity minx residing at Rosings Park, Lady Catherine de Bourgh – at Longbourn.

His design in paying a visit to the lovely Bennet girls was to save them from destitution by, being the kind-hearted man as he was, offering his hand in marriage to whichever one may please his eye.

HOW CAN YOU REFUSE ADMITTANCE TO SUCH AN HONEST MAN? Mr. Bennet sure as hell didn’t for his curiosity wouldn’t have allowed him to. And thus, at four o’clock on a Monday afternoon, he paid the Bennets the great compliment of visiting them.

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With his most affected and insistent manners and a mouth that spoke nine kinds of wonder, he soon accomplished his goal of choosing his future companion.

Now, you must be wondering who the lucky girl was, right?
FORGET ABOUT THAT!
I’ll do you one betterI’ll let you in on his secrets of how to choose the perfect wife for yourself.

TAKE OUT YOUR NOTEPADS BECAUSE IT’S ABOUT TO GET WILD HERE PEOPLE!!

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COMPLIMENTS! COMPLIMENTS!! COMPLIMENTS!!!

From dining table to sofas to the boiled potatoesCOMPLIMENT EVERYTHING! You can never go wrong with a few words of praise. Everyone knows that.

BUT YOU HAVE TO MASTER THE ART OF OVERDOING IT.

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And don’t worry, if you fall short of things to compliment, START PRAISING YOUR PATRONESSLady Catherine de BourghIN FRONT OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE NO IDEA WHO THE FUCK SHE IS! Now, THAT’S a winning stroke I am telling you.

Tell about her to whoever is polite enough to not punch in the faceyour cousins, their parents, their aunts, their future love interest, strangers, dogs, worms. 

SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS!

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DON’T BE RIGID IN YOUR CHOICE

Mr. Collins is a very flexible man.

He understands the delicacy of the business of marriage and he knows how difficult it is to find a partner. And although as soon as he entered the house he chose Jane, the prettiest of the Bennet girls, as his future wife, he wasn’t unwilling to direct his attention from her to Elizabeth in a jiffy when he found out that his first choice was already spoken for.

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You see, it’s THIS casual attitude that ladies out there are looking for. Hop from one girl to another until you find someone crazy, lonely, and destitute enough to accept your hand in marriage.

THAT’S HOW THE PROS DO IT, BRO!

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THE LIGHTNESS OF YOUR FOOT

Ladies LOVE a man who is skilled in the art of dancing.
Bonus points if your skills can successfully mortify them at the most important ball of the season at Netherfield.

The more you are able to expose your partner to ridicule in the eyes of important people, the more chances you have of winning her heart!

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It’s like this – the more exasperated she becomes with you, the more she will be willing to put an end to the trauma of putting up with your ridiculous antics for your attention by JUST SAYING YES. *sigh*

I know it sounds crazy but our dear Mr. Collins SWEARS by it.

So you better listen and keep your rational thinking faaaar awaayyyyy, UNDERSTAND?

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Confess your love

THIS is the moment you’ve been waiting for and I know you must be thinking of a romantic proposal full of all the passion and love you feel for her.

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BUT WAIT!

You seeeeee, THAT’S where you are wrong. You gotta suppress your feelings about her and state your reasons for marriage in the following manner:

🤦🏻Your profession requires you to set an example of matrimony by marrying a girl from a well-off family.

🤦🏻Your esteemed patroness Lady Catherine de Bourgh requires you to choose a wife AS SOON AS FUCKING POSSIBLE, and you DARE NOT to disappoint her. 

🤦🏻You, in your kindness, want to save your cousin from homelessness by providing her and her family a place to live once you inherit their father’s estate. 

🤦🏻Tell her again that the GREAT AND MIGHTY Lady Catherine de Bourgh would like to see him marry either her or one of her sisters. 

🤦🏻Lastly, remind her that her lack of fortune doesn’t matter to him because the house she is living in right now will be his in the end anyway. 

COOL, RIGHT??!!

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IN THE END, MARRY HER BEST FRIEND INSTEAD

Now if even after following all these steps she refuses to add to YOUR happiness in life by marrying you, do not despair.
Do not lose heart.
There is hope for you yet. 

You just have to direct your attention towards her plain and emotionally vulnerable best friend. THAT’S RIGHT! You know she is a burden to her family and will accept anyone right now so don’t lose this opportunity of preying on her weakness.

GO AFTER HER!

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Your main objective should be to have a wife by the upcoming Tuesday. THAT IS IT! So don’t overthink, just take it all in your stride and you should be a happily married man by the end of the week.

THAT’S ALL THAT MATTERS ANYWAY, RIIIIGGGGHHHTTTT????!!! 😉

laurels+flowers_0007_Vector Smart ObjectMan, I had SOO much fun writing this, YOU HAVE NOW IDEA!! *dies of laughter*

So, what did you think, huh? 😉
Do you agree with Mr. Collins’ advice?
Would you like to see a print version of this delightful guide? Because Penguin is desperate to publish it! xD

[A READER’S LIFE] The Crazy Book-Girl// Things I did as a kid that earned me this title//

Books and Me = inseparable.

For as long as I can remember.

I have loved them, lived in them, sometimes hated them as well BUT WE HAVE NEVER BEEN APART. Even during that phase when I used to despise the very existence of the written word – yeah that did happen to me as a teenager – I still ensured the well-being of all the pretties that adorned my shelf. 

And people noticed that. Called me obsessive.

BUT it’s not like I didn’t find leisure in other things as well! I was not the kind whose nose was stuck in a book every hour of every day. I liked being outdoorsplaying badminton/volleyball with my friends after finishing the homework, running, thinking of world-dominion. (AND WE CAME UP WITH SOME PRETTY CRAZY IDEAS! xD)

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But reading was still one of my FAVORITE things to do. And as my love for it increased, so did the number of extreme and crazy things I used to and I am here to share them with you. ARE YOU READY???!! 😉

(PLEEEEAAAAAASE DONT BE TOO SHOCKED!!!)

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I BEAT UP A GUY ONCE

BECAUSE….

he took one of my books out of my bag during lunchtime when I was out with my friends. IT WAS A JOKE, he said! A JOKE? What about the fucking heart-attack I suffered from when I thought it was lost? Add to it the fact that it was the illustrated collection of fairy tales that mumma had gotten for me as a present!

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I was fuming. THIS TIME HE WENT TOO FAR! So I punched him in the eye REAL HARD and took my book back. Sure, it got me a strict tete-a-tete with the principal, my parents were called, I was scolded A LOTBUT IT WAS ALLLLL WORTH IT!

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THE DINOSAUR BOOK

There were some books in our library that kids below a certain age weren’t allowed to read. And the ENORMOUS and ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS book about Dinosaurs and how they became extinct belonged to this category.  I saw a guy reading it in the library once and the next time it was our class’ turn, I asked our librarian for it. But upon hearing my request, she made the ugliest face imaginable and said,

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BUT I WAS DETERMINED TO HOLD THAT BEAUTY IN MY HAND NO MATTER WHAT!

So, I called my grandpa and told him all about it. As a kid, he was the one I went to with all my school-related trifles and this incident was no different.

The next day during our English period, I was summoned to the principal office and there he was, my grandpa, talking to her and I KNEW THAT MY DREAM OF READING THAT BOOK WAS GOING TO BE A REALITY REAL SOON because right then and there the principal wrote a note granting me permission to read whatever I book I desired.

 FORM THAT DAY ON, SCHOOL WAS A B0OK HEAVEN FOR ME! ❤

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MY BOOKISH NEEDS ARE ABOVE YOUR CHILDREN’S

My aunt used to have this little copy of Captains Courageous that I was drawn to. It was a very beautiful – faded and soo fucking cute! The very moment I saw it in her house, I knew I had to have it. So, I, doing my best puppy-dog eyes, convinced her to give it to me. I WAS SO THRILLED BY THE FACT THAT IT BELONGED TO ME NOW!  

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Fast forward to two years later. 

One of my cousins, my aunt’s daughters, asked for her mother’s copy of Captains Courageous. I led her into my room where it was proudly sitting on my night-stand. Upon seeing it, she asked me if she could have the book back now that I had already read it. I refused and offered to buy her a new copy but she wanted her mothers’ which was OUT OF THE QUESTION, as far as I was concerned. She cried about it but I DIDN’T BUDGE.

Listen, THAT BOOK BELONGED TO ME NOW. THOSE PAGES HELD THE MEMORIES OF ALL THE TIMES I HAD READ AND RE-READ IT AND THERE WAS NO WAY I WAS GONNA GIVE IT UP.

(YEP! Now that I think about it, the title was well-earned. 😉 )

laurels+flowers_0007_Vector Smart ObjectTAPING THE EDGES
(I still do this.)

Bent corners add to the beauty of used books but they are a blot to the beauty of the new ones. There is nothing I hate more than seeing the perfection of a new book being compromised and my little self used to feet just as keenly about this.

And to tackle this problem of ruined edges, I started taping the edges of all of my paperbacks AS SOON AS I BOUGHT THEM! Sure, it took a bit of time but IT RENDERED THE COVER INDESTRUCTIBLE (at least from rough-handling)!!

 

LOOK AT THEM!

These editions are 10 years old, have been read MANY MANY TIMES and they are still in impressive condition, aren’t they??!!

YEAH, THAT’S THE MAGIC OF TAPING THE FUCKING EDGES! ❤ ❤

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I know. I know.

You must be judging me for some of these. xD BUT WHAT CAN I SAY!???! That’s how I used to roll! And although I don’t make little girls cry anymore, I am not completely unwilling to throw the occasional punch should any threat may befall my precious paperback companions. 😉

BUT ENOUGH ABOUT MEEE!! I WANNA KNOW ABOUT YOUR CRAZY EXPERIENCES TOOOOO!!!
So, let’s talk.

[MY BOOKISH OBSESSIONS] Ballrooms, Red Coats and £10,000 A YEAR//Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen//

”It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

And just like that, I am back home again.

Some of you already know that I started my Classics journey with Pride and Prejudice. Mumma gave me an abridged version of it – full of images of Darcy and Elizabeth dancing, Mrs. Bennet talking outlandishly, Darcy giving Lizzie the letter – and it sparked a desire in me, a desire to know more, a desire to know AS MUCH THERE WAS TO KNOW ABOUT THESE CHARACTERS, ABOUT THIS AUTHOR!

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This little version of Pride and Prejudice became my best friend. I would take it to school, show it off to my friends (who, by the way, were sick of me going on and on about it),  daydream about it!  I was in love with all of these lovely characters and their lovely stories.

Then my aunt, upon seeing how madly in love with it I was, gave me her mother’s copy of the same. It was yellowed, frayed, the pages were flying every which way and still, it was, to me, the MOST GORGEOUS THING I HAD EVER HELD! ️

It was a memory within memory and I loved that thought.

Many times I was tempted to get it bound and all fixed up but then it’d have lost all the rawness, all the beauty of it! I mean what difference would then have been between a brand new copy and this one? I wanted it to remain JUST THE SAME, no alterations needed. And I have kept it intact, every single page intact. And I am SOOO proud of it!

When I first got it, I couldn’t have been more than 11 years old and my little mind couldn’t really make much sense of the words. Although I knew the story, the complete version still felt like unknown territory. I was having real trouble getting into it. 

BUT I WAS DETERMINED!

I read it, asked mumma about the phrases I couldn’t understand but she soon started to get irritated 🤣. After that, I kept to myself but didn’t stop reading it even when I couldn’t understand what was going on. The second read was a bit easier. And by the third time, I started comprehending everything. Still, I went on to read it TWICE MORE!

SUCH WAS MY OBSESSION WITH THIS BOOK!

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Even today as I recall all those memories, my mind is filled with vivid nostalgia and it is one of the warmest feelings ever.

I don’t know who I’d have been today if it wasn’t for my love for this book. It changed the course of my attention, the very nature of my thoughts and influenced my daily life in the SUBTLEST WAYS IMAGINABLE! 

Miss Austen has bewitched my mind and I LOVE HER FOR IT! And to celebrate this passion, I will be sharing all things Pride and Prejudice, apart from other things, of course.  I hope you’ll enjoy reading them! 

THE WITHERING WELL// October Wrap-Up

There is something about October that gets my blood racing. Those tingly feels on my skin and that excitement in my heart at the mere anticipation of its arrival – but it’s all fading away now, getting replaced with the quiet promise of chilly breeze and romantic days.

NOVEMBER is taking over the excitement of this spooky month and I cannot help but feel enchanted by it. The change in weather during this time incites an even stronger change in me.

A warm hearth, a comfortable chair, a blanket, a hot cup of coffee, a book in hand, and love ALL AROUND.

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With the promise of all these lovely things, I feel at ease.

So, join me as I bid adieu to the fun-packed month of October. ❤

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MY INCOHERENT POSTS OVER THE MONTH

//REVIEWS//

🖤 Rough Music by Patrick Gale was my first read of October and I WAS AMAZED by this author’s writing skills! This book left me awestruck. From complex relationships to heartbreaks, from mystery to catharsis, THIS BOOK HAD IT ALL! And I MUST urge you to read it AS SOON AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN!

🖤 I finally picked up Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and MY ONLY REGRET IS THAT I DIDN’T READ IT SOONER! Such keen emotions! SUCH BEAUTIFUL WRITING! A mere mention of it and my heart starts spinning. LOVED EVERY SINGLE WORD OF IT!

🖤 October’s re-read was The Beauty & The Beast (THE COMPLETE VERSION, of course) and reading it again after soo many years made me realize why I fell in love with it in the first place! It was an enchanting read and I am tempted to make it a tradition to re-read it every few months! ❤

🖤 I also made a post titled – A BOOK REVIEWERS Prayer + Promise + Warning – declaring what you can expect in my reviews.

//MY BOOKISH OBSESSIONS//

In October, I decided to obsess over love letters of Keats to Napolean Bonaparte and MAN WAS IT AN EMOTIONAL RIDE!!! I ENJOYED SHARING ALL THOSE LOVELY LETTERS – filled with longing, love, and jealousyIT WAS THE PERFECT SERIES. ❤

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John Keats’ letter to Fanny Brawne

Napolean Bonaparte’s letter to his wife.

Zelda’s letter to F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Another letter by Keats to Fanny. (this one had me bawling! 😦 )

//A BLOGGER’S LIFE//

🖤 It’s soo easy to get caught up in the never-ending chase of followers and likes and it happened with me as well. In my post titled – Beyond Comments, Likes, and Followers// How to Shake the Popularity Complex// – I talk about how I overcame my obsession with the stats.

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🖤 People underestimate the amount of time and effort that’s needed to make a blog a success and I felt compelled to remind everyone AND MYSELF in my post titled – What does it take to be a better blogger? //E V E R Y T H I N G// – about some habits that the best ones out there make a part of their blogging schedule.

🖤 What happens when you live in constant competition with your fellow bloggers? When your desire to overtake them becomes bigger than your desire to have fun? Find out in – A RAT RACE //Surviving in a World where EVERYONE Wants to be THE BEST//

//A READER’S LIFE//

🖤 I am a very picky and irritable reader. 😝 And over the years I have developed some very weird – some relatable some not so much – quirks when it comes to books and that’s exactly what I shared in my post titled – Confessions of a VERY picky, VERY moody, VERY stubborn reader. 

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AROUND THE BLOGOSPHERE

Get ready for another LOONGGGG list of AWESOME posts from THE BESTEST BLOGGERS!

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🖤 Ford’s poem on PROCRASTINATION was THE BEST AND THE MOST HILARIOUS THING EVERR!!! I loved it SO SO much.

🖤 October is at an end and I will REALLY miss Rook’s INKTOBER posts! So, here are two of my FAVORITES (although every single one of them is GOLD)- Treasure and Ghost.

🖤 Sophie – THE CHOCOLATE 🍫 QUEEN’s 👑– blog is SOO GORGEOUS – especially during October!! So, let’s enjoy all that spookiness, yeah? Here is her review of Serpent Dove by Shelby Mahurin. AND IT’S AWESOMEE! ❤

🖤 Belle is ONE OF THE BEST BLOGGERS YOU’LL MEET and she writes fantastic posts and her most recent discussion on slow/fast readers is a testimony of that. 

🖤 MP’s reviews are always very thoroughly written and information-packed. Two of my favorites are – The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins and Brighton Rock by Graham Greene. 

🖤 Lisa‘s review of Dark Matter – A Ghost Story by Michelle Paver made me sad that I didn’t already know about it! It sounds like a really good one and if it’s not already on your tbr, then please go and check out her review of it! 🙂

🖤 If you are thinking of reading The Light at the Bottom of the World by London Shah 🧜 I suggest you better go and read Dani’s review of it first before making a decision, ALRIGHT??? Oh, and also her review of The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco is A W E S O M E !! *heart eyes*

🖤 Sofii is one of THE BEST AND THE KINDEST 🥰 friends I have made here! AND I AM SOO GLAD TO HAVE MET HER. Her posts are always amazing and I love every single one, including her recent double book review of Orpheus Girl & Grace Year! PLEASE GO CHECK IT OUT!

🖤 Did you know about Scythe by Neil Shusterman? Well, I had no clue that it existed until I read Bludgers and Broomstick‘s review of it! AND NOW ALL I WANT IS TO READ IT ASAP! If you don’t know about this book, I suggest you go check this review.

🖤 Caitlin‘s blog is SOO BEAUTIFUL THAT I WANNA CRYYY!!!!!!!!! I love it soo veryyy much! And her most recent review of Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor is AMAZING! Please go and check her blog out!

🖤 How can I write a blogger appreciation list without a mention of THE AWESOME, THE ONE AND ONLY – Emer?? SHE IS MY BESTEST FRIEND, OKAY?? And I am going to give you an opportunity to go and read her awesome posts like her review of The Light Between Us by Katie Khan. 

🖤 Sophie, the AMAZING BLOGGER BEHIND the blog Me & Ink, is here to share with us some very important blogging tips in her beautiful post titled –  Blogging Tips From A Now 2-Year-Old Blogger (aka I pretend to know what I am doing for a change). So you better go and read it, OKAY? GOOD!

🖤 Lashaan, as usual, writes THE MOST PROFESSIONAL AND AMAZING REVIEWS EVERR!! I love reading EVERY SINGLE ONE and I don’t even read comics. Yep, he is THAT good. Don’t believe me? Why don’t you go and read his review of The Witching Hour by James Tynion IV? You will know what I’m talking about.

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🖤 Leyre‘s posts always make me smile. I LOVE VISITING HER BEAUTIFUL BLOG!! ❤ And her latest post reviewing a couple of romance reads including The Flat Share by Beth oO’Leary is sooo cutteee!! PLEASE GO CHECK IT OUT.

🖤 KB is THE SWEEEETEST SOUL and I am SOO glad I got the chance to meet her here and be her friend! She is so supportive and her posts are always fun. Two of my favorites are her review of The lost Ones by Anita Frank and her discussion titled – Is Context Important to a Book?

I wanted to include SOOOO MANYYY more but since it’s not possible here, I will make another post for them. But for now, please go and visit all these amazing blogs!

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Also, I have decided not to make any official TBR for November. I mean WHAT’S THE POINT WHEN I DON’T EVER STICK TO IT?? xD I will just read what I want when I want. Ha!

ANDDD….THAT’S IT!
October 2019 all packed up and ready to be stored in the archives! 😇😇

WHAT ABOUT YOUUU???
How did this spooky month treat you? 👻☠️What were the most memorable moments? And the best reads?

LET ME KNOWWW!!

[MY BOOKISH OBSESSIONS] The Last Letter

Having read, re-read, re-re-read all of these lovely letters countless times, I was actually quite excited to start this series here.

AND THE RESPONSE I GOT FROM ALL OF YOU MADE IT EVEN MORE SPECIAL!!!! I got into it with a mindset that people aren’t going to like them that much so you can imagine the extent of my happiness when you shared your thoughts and reflections on EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.

So, thank you soo much for increasing my excitement for these beautiful letters. I LOVE YOU ALLL!

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And now I am sad that this is going to be the last one in this series. ALAS! I was having SOO MUCH FUN discussing them with you! 😦 Maybe I will bring them back again? *EXCITED AT THE THOUGHT*

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We started this journey – this wonderful journey – with a passionate display of John Keats’ feelings for Fanny Brawne spilled naked on the parchment. It only makes sense that that’s EXACTLY how we should end it.

I got my first copy of Complete Poems and Selected Letters of JOHN KEATS exactly 5 years ago. I was very much into metaphysics back then and Keats was one of my favorites. When my friend showed me his letter to Fanny, the very first that I shared with you, I fell even more in love with his love for her. Destined to die at a very young age, his letters were infused with the imminence of death and a longing for days he, sadly, will never be able to witness.

It was this sadness that drew me to him even more.

He once said – “Nothing ever becomes real ’til it is experienced.True. His love, his desire, the depth of his heart – I experienced it all with misty eyes. All of it. And the only question this experience left on my lips was –

WHY MUST THE GREAT DIE SO YOUNG? 

”Love is my religion.
I could die for that.
I could die for you.”

These words haunt my mind still. And I have a feeling that they forever will. 

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To Fanny Brawne, 25 July 1819

Sunday Night.

My sweet Girl,

I hope you did not blame me much for not obeying your request of a letter on Saturday: we have had four in our small room playing cards night and morning leaving me no undisturb’d opportunity to write. Now Rice and Martin are gone, I am at liberty. Brown to my sorrow confirms the account you give of your ill health.

You cannot conceive how I ache to be with you: how I would die for one hour – for what is in the world? I say you cannot conceive; it is impossible you should look with such eyes upon me as I have upon you: it cannot be. Forgive me if I wander a little this evening, for I have been all day employ’d in a very abstract Poem and I am in deep love with you – two things which must excuse me.

I have, believe me, not been an age in letting you take possession of me; the very first week I knew you I wrote myself your vassal; but burnt the Letter as the very next time I saw you I thought you manifested some dislike to me. If you should ever feel for a Man at the first sight what I did for you, I am lost. Yet I should not quarrel with you, but hate myself if such a thing were to happen – only I should burst if the thing were not as fine as a Man as you are as a Woman. Perhaps I am too vehement, then fancy me on my knees, especially when I mention of part of your Letter which hurt me; you say speaking of Mr. Seven ‘but you must be satisfied in knowing that I admired you much more than your friend.’ My dear love, I cannot believe there ever was or ever could be any thing to admire in me especially as far as sight goes – I cannot be admired, I am not a thing to be admired. You are, I love you; all I can bring you is a swooning admiration of your Beauty.

I hold that place among Men which snub-nos’d brunettes with meeting eyebrows do among women – they are trash to me –unless I should find one among them with a fire in her heart like the one that burns in mine. You absorb me in spite of myself – you alone: for I look not forward with any pleasure to what is call’d being settled in the world; I tremble at domestic cares – yet for you I would meet them, though if it would leave you the happier I would rather die than do so.

I have two luxuries to brood over in my walks, your Loveliness and the hour of my death. O that I could have possession of them both in the same minute. I hate the world: it batters me too much the wings of my self-will, and would I could take a sweet poison from your lips to send me out of it. From no others would I take it. I am indeed astonish’d to find myself so careless of all charms but yours – remembering as I do the time when even a bit of ribband was a matter of interest with me.

What softer words can I find for you after this – what it is I will not read. Now will I say more here, but in a Postscript answer any thing else you may have mentioned in your Letter in so many words – for I am distracted with a thousand thoughts. I will imagine you Venus to night and pray, pray, pray to your star like a Heathen.

Your’s ever, fair Star,
John Keats.

(I have omitted the postscript.)

His love.
His Venus.
His Star.

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Keats loved Fanny the way everyone wants to be loved. What fleeting joys all the rest of them will be if a heart hasn’t known such love, such burning passion!

”A thing of Beauty is a joy forever.”

Indeed. Indeed. For I will treasure every single word you ever wrote, will inscribe it in my heart, will take it with me whichever world I go to next.

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I really hope you enjoyed this series as much as I did! I had so much fun sharing and discussing with you these wonderful letters. ❤
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL YOUR LOVE. ❤  YOU GUYS ARE THE BESTEST!!!

[REVIEW] Portrait of a Passionate, Determined, and Unafraid Governess //Jane Eyre BY Charlotte Brontë//

Reading Jane Eyre was like an agonizing fire to my already ablaze heart.
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Even before I opened the book, dear reader, I already knew what these pages held. There was a promise of passion, of struggle, of bravery. And as I began with Jane her journey through her difficult childhood and her challenging life, later on, I was filled with emotions I had only ever reserved for Wuthering Heights.

There is a strange intensity in Charlotte Bronte’s words; I was both inside and outside. I was Jane and she was me. We were one. Her plight was my plight. Her wishes were my wishes. My heart was beating faster and faster as I turned the pages, mad with anticipation for I knew, I knew I was headed towards a most beautiful love. 

Brontë writes in a manner that pulls you into the story. You are there with Jane in the red room, you witness what she witnesses, you feel dread as her heart feels it, you hate who she hates.

Being at the mercy of a writer is most liberating.

You are free of any responsibility thence. You don’t have to do anything but let your gaze fall on the words and let them travel far and true into the deep recesses of your mind, awakening memories that you thought you never had, let them make their way south and tug at your heartstrings like a most insistent child, demanding attention, craving love.

Jane Eyre’s situation, as we begin this story, is most pitiful. You cannot help but feel sorry for her. The oppression she faces is unbearable. Would that I could I’d have snatched that little frightened, beaten girl from these pages and kept her close to me, shushed her and lulled her to a sweet and peaceful sleep. I wanted to do that so badly.

Charlotte Brontë succeeded in making me love her from the very first page and I think that’s a quality these sisters had in common – Emily destroyed me by rendering my heart a passion for her dark hero and his wild lover, and Charlotte gave me Janethis plain and obscure heroine, with her simple tale of woe, with her hopes and dreams and the purest heart.

”No, I was not heroic enough to purchase liberty at the price of caste.”

From the very beginning, if there is one thing we are sure of Jane Eyre is that she knows her mind.

Even as a little girl, when asked whether, if given the chance, she would like to live with her own distant relatives even if they were a bit poor, she declined. Poverty was a degradation in her mind and she did not falter in admitting it.

Her fearless and free-thinking mind painted her in such a vivid image in my mind that I quickly forgot I was reading and began to feel that I was being.

She was never a mere fictional being in my mind. She was a living, breathing personacting out her life in front of my eyes, in my world…or was I in hers? I forget.

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Having a passionate temper was deemed her fault since childhood. Jane said what she believed to be true, she felt intensely, she was not a rebel without a cause and yet, these propensities were labeled as FAULTS against the good nature of children.

How I would like to ask every pathetic little relative and acquaintance of Mrs. reed, was it a fault?

Being keen is a virtue of the highest order because it’s the people who feel deeply that love intensely and without guile, as Jane did all her life. She was virtuous, brave, and much too modest. Such qualities don’t come often in that combination and regarding them as faults is a crime, a crime which was committed much too frequently against Jane Eyre.

The rigidity of the society Jane was brought up in crept upon her understanding soon enough and yet she never gave up her imagination and wishes of a better life.

BRAVE INDEED.

The school she had been sent to – Lowood Institution – was, to her, an absurd sort of place, although it did provide her the means to better herself, to be able to make a name in society. Still, the teachers’ violent behavior towards these little girls left me horrified and Brontë’s casual tone while describing it all renders it even more chilling, which I guess was the point. In any way, I was invested so much in Jane’s circumstances that I just couldn’t help my emotions. They were flying every which way

FLOGGED. BULLIED. DISTRESSED. Such was Jane’s state in Lowood. But she never gave up. She was the kind who starts rebellions against injustice and cruelty. Her friend Helen Burns’ influence humbled her greatly out of such thoughts to quite an extent.

Still, the fire that burnt in her heart never really died. It just waited for the right ammunition.

”By dying young, I shall escape great sufferings.”

The little girl tiptoed, past her bedtime, into the room of the ill and the dying. Finding her best friend lying therewith an air of finality about her she couldn’t conceal her tears. And neither could I. Jane’s little heart couldn’t bear the thought of Helen being taken away from her forever and I grieved for her most intensely, most painfully.

How could you, Miss Brontë? What sort of witchcraft is this? You make your readers coil and writhe with pain with an ease that would rival God himself! How could you do this to us?
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Reading Jane Eyre was certainly not an easy task. It demanded too much from meemotionally, mentally, physicallyfor I was heavily invested in Jane’s story from the very beginning – so much so that I couldn’t bear the thought of being driven away from her without knowing her whole story.

Jane was a wild soul hidden inside a duty-bound body.

She longed to surmount the blue hills across the fields, she wanted to break free of the meager existence she had been subjected to at Lowood. She wanted to traverse the woods, to get lost in them, to seek the treasures of experience.

She wanted to love and be loved.

That was all she wanted. Such was the wish of her lovely heart. Can’t every single one of us relate to her desire? No matter where we are, what we do, the one thing that we want the one thing our heart always desiresis freedom.

And SHE DID FIND IT. Later rather than sooner but she got to taste it nonetheless. And how could she not anyway? For a person with such a tender heart and such strong mind, it’s hardly a surprise.

”It is in vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquility: they must have action; they will make it if they cannot find it.”

Jane had always been in a quiet revolt against her circumstances, from the very beginning of her life with Mrs. Reed until the time she went back to Mr. Rochester.

Hers was an unquiet mind and a wandering soul. She could NEVER be contained. Even when she came to work at Thornfield and her situation improved a lot from her previous life, she couldn’t help but feel deprived of all the wondrous people she hadn’t yet met, all the beautiful places she hadn’t yet seen and although hers was a bit of a negative approach, that never stopped her heart from dreaming bigger. Such a combination rendered her intelligent.

”I did not like re-entering Thornfield. To pass its threshold was to stagnation.”

Her first impression of Mr. Rochester was that of someone who had, brought excitement to her stagnant life in those wide and gloomy halls where she was the governess. She longed for activity and for her unfathomable mind, activity, it seemed, had found her at last.

But Jane’s meeting to Mr.Rochester did not strike me as peculiar. It was just the sort of scene a Brontë would want to happen – eerie, mysterious, dark, and a bit exciting. There is not a very striking contrast between the dark and foggy lands that surround Thornfield and the mystical moors where stood the dark abode of Catherine and Heathcliff. And so, the image of their toxic love was kept fresh in my mind even as I followed the events at Thornfield.

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”The ease of his manner freed me from painful restraint; the friendly frankness, as correct as cordial, with which he treated me, drew me to him. I felt at times, as if he were my relation, rather than my master: yet he was imperious sometimes still; but I did not mind that; I saw it was his way. So happy, so gratified did I become with this new interest added to life, that I ceased to pine after kindred: my thin crescent destiny seemed to enlarge; the blanks of existence were filled up; my bodily health improved; I gathered flesh and strength.”

IN SHORT, dear reader, JANE WAS IN LOVE.

Now, having overcome my faint scruples against the match due to something that the brooding master of Thornfield declared in a rushed conversation, something the lines of – “I am old enough to be your father.”I came to understand how well-matched Jane and Rochester were. Jane was not saint-like. She had desires, she dreamt of better circumstances and she wanted to experience all that life could offer.

A tenacious, wandering and clever mind as hers needed someone just as clever.

Someone who could match her temper, who could understand her silent reproaches and dreamy wonders without the need of words. And she had found such a man in Mr. Rochester. And he, in return, wanted to experience all that he could not during his youth. Hiding a most unpleasant and dark secret, he longed to be in the presence of innocence again, to know the pleasures of an unpolluted mind. And who could have been a better fit than Jane?

Her steady and quick remarks kept him on his toes and his broodiness and mystery fed her imagination in a way no-one else ever could.

It is no coincidence when a man finds himself keen on a girl so inexperienced in the ways of the world. A man loves best when he knows he has something to offer that his partner is not in possession of yet.

In Jane, he found such a partner.

He had made Jane his confidante, sharing with her the tales of his misspent youth, this girl who had no idea how such a world worked (despite being a clever person, her mind was still shielded from the vices of the grown-ups). He did this because it made him feel “needed”, “valued” and not as a master, but as a teacher, as an unwilling friend, as a well-wisher. Of such feelings he had been alienated for so long he had quite forgotten the pleasures that they brought.

Rochester and Jane’s love affair was a mere chance. But then which isn’t? It is chance that threw them in each others’ ways, that’s true enough. At this point, they were still just getting to know each other but it was a most ardent love that made it impossible to stay apart.

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Still, this is NOT an account of Mr. Rochester and Jane’s love story, dear reader. But of how Jane dealt with the frequent and distressing blows that life was yet to deal her. Yes, she loved the man, but that’s not the be-all and end off of her story.

It did not begin with Mr. Rochester’s arrival in her life and it certainly doesn’t end with her departure from his gloomy self.

That’s what makes it all the more beautiful. Jane, whose circumstance had made her such a strong womanboth worldly and emotionallywasn’t dependent on anyone to save her from anything. Nothing frightened her as much as being captive. And so she followed her wishes, no matter what and yet had sense enough to not let her character be tarnished by such whimsical fancies as the heart sometimes indulges in.

Her story took a lot out of me. Her journey from being a pitiful (but still not weak) child at Gateshead Hall to being a scared yet determined pupil at Lowood to finding her courage and love in the gloomy and mysterious halls of Thornfield taught me to hope, to be stern where it’s needed, and compassion. 

I have a lot more to say, dear reader, about our heroine and her journey but for now, this will have to do.
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Sooo??
What did you think? Have you read Jane Eyre?
Did my review of her character and her story match your reflections, even if just a little bit?
What did you think of her union with Mr. Rochester?

A BOOK REVIEWER’S Prayer + Promise + Warning.

YOU MUST NOT READ MY REVIEWS for I will let my heart judge the words, without any inhibitions.

When I am holding a book, my mind is no longer the master. For it is my belief that once you let too much reason in, it muddies the effect the story has on you on a much deeper level. 

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Having read a book, I will jump straight into the review with emotions hanging over my head like a sword, threatening to destroy me lest I pour them out on the paper. It pains me to not be able to talk about what I read right away so I will always be very passionate and most insistent while talking about the merits and the faults of a story.

I will not be led by anything other than what my feelings dictate.

There will not be one shred of dishonesty in what I write. Everything will be in strict accordance with the feelings invoked and the thoughts reflected upon during the course of the reading. So you can imagine that it will, sometimes, prove to be a daunting read. And I am okay with that.

When the reader is wholly invested, in a book nothing but a true account of every movement of their mind, owing to the story, will ever give them satisfaction. So that’s what I do. My reviews are much too intense and hold true to only what I thought about the book, not influenced by anyone or anything else. In that way, they will be brutal, and forgiving accordingly.

You must not be in a delusion that you will be told a detailed account of what happened with whom, who did what, and how it all ended for them. No. The only things you will find in my reviews are what moved me, what incited feelings of passionate hate or ardent love, of ignorance and indifference or that of continuous awe. That’s all I can offer you by the medium of my humble writings.

But frankly, why would you want to know anything else anyway?

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Isn’t the real reason why we read book reviews to know what the reader FELT about it? Not what happened, but their REACTIONS to the said events? THAT’S the beauty of every single review out there, isn’t it? Their singularity, their originality.

You must not read my reviews for they will be an honest account of my shattering heart and all the reasons behind it.

They will be raw, overflowing with emotions, and you might then be inclined to suppose that I am blind to the faults of the book. I am not but to think so is your choice.

You must not read my reviews because then, you will HAVE to read the book concerned with as much an open heart and suspended belief as I did, to experience, IN IT’S FULLNESS, the story those pages hold.

YOU MUST NOT READ MY REVIEWS IF YOU ARE UNWILLING TO DO THAT.
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Such are my thoughts on review writing, how they should be and why a reviewer must NEVER be forced to do otherwise. Doing justice to a book, according to our opinions on it, is all we are required to do and THAT’S ALL WE WILL DO.

EVER.