Mystery Mini Monday #2

Mystery MininMo.jpg

Happy Mystery Mini Monday, everyone! It’s been about a month since my inaugural MMM post. Thanks everyone who voted on which box I should get next. Zooptopia won out. The only issue turned out to be Zootopia Mystery Minis are harder to track down right now than you might think. My local Hot Topic had two boxes left, but they were both super, super light. I wanted to get a box with, at least, a slight possibility of Nick or Judy, but I seriously think the ones I shook at Hot Topic were going to be either Mr. Big or Finnick. Hopefully, I’ll be able to find a better selection soon.

In the meantime, I sort of ignored the voting all together and picked up a Batman v Superman box.

giphy.gif

I know, I know. The film wasn’t super popular, but I actually liked it quite a bit–even in spite of fully expecting to hate Batfleck. I’m sort of excited for the “Ultimate Edition” to come out on Blu-ray this week. I’ve heard it’s even better than the Theatrical Cut so I’ll definitely be all for buying it.

What can I say? I’m a DC Comics fan.

The Mystery Minis from the film have been on my to-buy list for awhile. I already have a decent sized BvS Funko collection. I own Wonder Woman (of course), the Toys R Us Exclusive Batman and Superman Set, and Knightmare Batman. I’m still on the lookout for the Rock Candy Woman Woman from the film, but I haven’t tracked her down yet. The Mystery Mini set will have to do for now.

bvsmystery.jpgThe choices for the box include three different Dianas, Alfred, Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent, three Batmans, one Supes, a Superman Soldier, and Aquaman. Seriously, other than the single Superman Soldier, there aren’t any bad options. Wonder Woman, Alfred, and Aquaman top my Most Desirable List, but I wouldn’t fret most of the others.

Duh, duh, duh. . .let’s see what I got!

bvswonderwoman.jpg

Score! Wonder Woman!

Ugh, and I just love her. The detail on her suit and crown is amazing. I love her power pose and angry eyes. This is one Diana you wouldn’t mess with. I have an older Wonder Woman Mystery Mini too, but she’s nowhere near as detailed and tough looking as this one. I’m so glad I took a chance on this box. I can always use more DC Women on my shelves!

wonderwomen.jpgSpeaking of DC Women, is anyone signing up for the Women of DC box from Legion of Collectors? I’m so tempted. In my dreams, it would include an Oracle and/or Black Canary Pop. There are just two things keeping me from signing up:

  1. Funko’s unisex shirts don’t fit me.
  2. I’ve not been thrilled with what I’ve seen in recent Legion and Collector Corps boxes. (Smuggler’s Bounty has been pretty awesome, admittedly.)

I don’t know what to do! What do you think?

Also, who’s your favorite woman from DC Comics? (Mine’s Barbara Gordon a.k.a. Batgirl!)

 

Funko Fridays: Harry Potter and the Funko Pop Exchange

Funko Fridays (1).jpg

With only 15 days left until the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, I have to say I’m not feeling ready. That could be because I’ve failed to keep up with my Harry Potter Reread. I stalled somewhere in the middle of the fifth book and had to take a break (A LONG BREAK–I’m currently reading the brick Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell). I think trying to read all seven Harry Potter books in a row was just a bit too ambitious for me. I’m the sort of reader who needs a lot of variety so, apparently, there is a thing as too much Harry Potter.

I still plan on finishing my reread before attempting The Cursed Child. I just probably will be rereading past the release date at this point.

laughing crying.gif

While taking my hiatus from the books, I haven’t taken a break from the series as a whole. I got sorted into my Ilvermorny House a couple of weeks ago and still haven’t come to terms with being placed in Thunderbird. (I’m a Slytherin. It really doesn’t make sense.) I’m tempted to take the test again because I 100% know that I am not a Thunderbird. Horned Serpent or even the Hufflepuff equivalent seems more likely, but not Thunderbird. Nope!

I also have managed to add two new Funko figures to my Harry Potter collection this month. I bought a Harry Potter Mystery Minis box for myself (will share pictures soon!) and I joined in on the Geek Girls x Bloggers’ Funko Exchange and ended up with my second Funko Pop from the line.

My Funko Swap partner was Andrea from Alithea and she was kind enough to send me a Luna Lovegood Pop.

luna-lovegood-pop.jpg

My Harry Potter Funko collection is, obviously, small so I was super happy to add Luna to my set. She’s one of my favorite characters from the series, and I’m still seriously invested in shipping her and Neville Longbottom. I wanted to add Luna to my collection because I thought her figure was absolutely adorable. I love her radish earrings and swirly Mary Jane shoes. She even has a spider ring and impressive wavy hair! While I think some of the Harry Potter figures are a bit boring, Luna–like her character in the books–most certainly isn’t. I’m definitely looking forward to displaying her on my desk!

With Luna Lovegood and Harry in the Sorting Hat in my collection, I’m finding it really difficult not to jump in and start collecting all of the Potter Funkos. Right now, on my very limited wish list, I want Hermione in her Yule Ball gown and Neville. Someday, hopefully, I’ll be able to buy my favorite character of all time, Remus Lupin, too. I’m just worried it will be hard to stop once I start buying this series! I already have so many Pops!!

funko-ladies.jpg

If you’re a Geek Girl Blogger, like me, you should check out the Facebook page of the group who organized the swap. They’re a super encouraging and friendly group of ladies! Also, check out Andrea’s blog. She’ll be blogging about to the swap as well, but she also writes about Funkos and other geeky stuff on the regular so take a look!

So what Ilvermorny House were you sorted into? What Harry Potter Funko is on your wish list?

Funko Fridays Blogging Prompt

Gif Source: Tumblr & Image Source: Home of the Nutty

{Make It Nerdy} Cubicle Inspiration

{Make It Nerdy}

I have two desks: One at the library and one at home. My home office desk is VERY representative of who I am as person. It’s filled with Funko Pops (ones from Harry Potter, Jupiter Ascending, and Crimson Peak) Lord of the Rings candles, and Star Wars art. My desk at work, on the other hand, is decorated with my least favorite Funkos, and other random things.

If you saw my desk at work, you’d think I was a huge Marvel and The X-Files fan. Neither of those things are true (no more X-Files for me, at least, after that horrible event series!).

I’ve really been getting the bug to spruce up my library desk so I feel more at home there. The only problem is that I don’t want to spend much money on redecorating. Basically, I’m hoping to mostly use items I have at home to fix up my cubicle, but we’ll see how that goes.

During my brainstorming process, so far, I’ve been lurking on Pinterest and Polyvore searching for inspiration. I like themes so I’m trying to get an idea of how I want everything to look when I’m finished. I’ve made a few “Cubicle Inspiration” round-ups to get the creative juices flowing. I thought I’d share them with all you–you know, in case you’re getting the designer bug too. And if you have any awesome ideas, let me know! We can brainstorm together. Teamwork’s how I ended up with a rocking Christmas desk this past winter.

{Make It Nerdy} Cubicle Inspiration

A Very Nerdy Girl Desk

 

Likes Pink

 

A Very Bookish Desk

 

Quirk-i-fied Desk

 

How do you decorate your desk (whether at home or at work)?

Graphic Novels on My TBR

Graphic Novels.jpg

I’ve been bad about reading comics this year. The only series I’ve followed in single issues are New Romancer, Venus, Green Arrow Rebirth (which just started), and Goldie Vance. Thankfully, with DC Rebirth happening this summer, there’s a lot of series I hope to add to my pull list. I know I’m at least going to try Batgirl, Batgirl and the Birds of Prey, Superwoman, Supergirl, Harley Quinn, Suicide Squad, and The Hellblazer. I’m crossing my fingers that half of those series are as good as Green Arrow. I need more superheroines and anti-heroes in my life.

As bad as I’ve been with single issues this year, I’ve been even worse with trades. I’ve read maybe eight volumes–which is really low for me (I read 35 last year). I probably wouldn’t even have made it to eight if it wasn’t for all those Star Wars series. I’m not even caught up on them. Maybe I’ll get to Vader Down before Rogue One is released.

In general, I think this lack of comics enthusiasm’s in part because I started associating comics with depression thanks to my binging of X-Men when I was feeling really, really low last year. I’ve been trying to read comics when I’m feeling okay in 2016 to break that correlation.

It’s working. Sort of.

I still catch myself saving up comics and graphic novels to read when I’m feeling bad. The way I figure I can best circumvent that is to read more comics. That way I don’t have to hoard them for bad days. There can be enough to go around on the good days too.

To see if my plan works, I’ve made a proper Graphic Novel to-read list. This way, when I’m wondering what series I should read next, I can just check my handy list.

comics-tbr.jpgGraphic Novels on My TBR

  • Romeo and/or Juliet by Ryan North ~ Choose-Your-Own-Shakespeare-Adventure by the writer of The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl? Yes, please!
  • Harley Quinn by Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, Chad Hardin, Stephane Roux, Alex Sinclair, Paul Mounts ~ I’m very much looking forward to Margot Robbie as Harley in The Suicide Squad. Somehow though, I’ve never actually read any Harley-related comics. I need to remedy that before August, and I figured I’d start with The New 52 and move out from there.
  • Birds of Prey by Gail Simone, Ed Benes, Adriana Melo, and Alvin Lee ~ Gail Simone introduced me to the world of DC Comics with her Wonder Woman and Batgirl series. I haven’t ever picked up her Birds of Prey, but with the new Rebirth series coming out and me having Barbara Gordon withdraws, I figured now was as good of time as any to start it.  
  • Constantine: The Hellblazer by Ming Doyle and Riley Rossmo ~ I read the first issue of Constantine and loved it. I meant to keep buying it in single issues, but I sort of missed the second issue and never caught up.
  • Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughn, Cliff Chiang, and Matthew Wilson ~ Unpopular Opinion: I don’t care for Brian K. Vaughn’s writing. I’ve heard that Paper Girls is sort of “The Goonies with Girls” so I’m going to give it a try anyways. The 80’s nerd in me wants to like it.  
  • Archie by Mark Waid, Fiona Staples, Annie Wu, and Veronica Fish ~ Time for another confession: I’ve never read any Archie comics in my entire life.  With Riverdale coming to the CW, I want to finally change that.
  • DC Bombshells by Marguerite Bennett and Marguerite Sauvage ~ I read the first issue of DC Bombshells and it just didn’t capture my attention. I love the art though and I’m going to give it a proper chance now that it’s in trade.  
  • Black Canary by Brenden Fletcher, Annie Wu, Pia Guerra, and Sandy Jarrell ~ The only thing I liked about the new Batgirl run was Black Canary. From what I remember, she was grumpy and all around lovable. Since I’m also adoring the character in Green Arrow Rebirth, I want to go back and read through her solo series. After that I might try to track down the Black Canary and Zatanna series too.
  • Power Up by Kate Leth and Matt Cummings ~ I know I can always rely on Kate Leth for a fun read. I haven’t read any Power Up yet, but it looks pretty adorable. (Released June 28th!)
  • Captain Marvel by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Dexter Soy, Emma Rios, Richard Elson, Karel Kesel, and Al Barrionuevo ~ I’ve read the first volume in DeConnick’s Captain Marvel before, but I didn’t like it (I actually gave it one star on Goodreads). Recently, I decided to try Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps and I really, really liked it. It’s about time I gave this series another chance.  

What comics are you loving right now? Anything good on your TBR?

Lazy Day Summer Reads

Lazy Days.jpg

Thanks to my Harry Potter Reread, my summer reading is more ambitious than usual. Last year, I mostly contented myself with binging X-Men comics and picking up the stray YA here and there. This year, unfortunately, I’m trying to get through 4,100 pages of Harry Potter while still reading other books in-between for flavor. It’s not tremendously fun, but I know I’ll be glad that I forced myself through it when I finally have Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in my hands.

Or, at least, I hope I will be. Some of those spoilers are bonkers.

Either way, none of that means I’m not dreaming of beach reads, cozy mysteries, and trashy biographies. (I’ve been so tempted to make myself a non-Potter summer TBR, but I know better than to tempt myself.) Still, I figure others are living the dream this summer and reading all the page turners and mass market paperbacks they desire. Since I can’t be among you, I figured I might as well make a list of lazy day summer reads to share instead. These are absolutely the sort of books I’d be reading if it wasn’t for this dratted Harry Potter Reread.

Lazy Day Summer Reads

lazy-days-1

 

Is It Just Me? By Miranda Hart

I adore Miranda Hart. It’d probably be really difficult to read this memoir if you haven’t watched any of the TV show, Miranda, but if you have, it’s absolutely hilarious to read about Miranda Hart’s real life misadventures. Bonus: It’s very relatable for awkward nerds!

 

 

lazy-days-2

Starter for 10 by David Nicholls

I had to include David Nicholls on here somewhere. A lot of you might be familiar with the film Starter for 10 (with James McAvoy, Benedict Cumberbatch, AND Dominic Cooper), and this is the book it was adapted from. It’s essentially about college students competing in a University Challenge competition–which is not usually my sort of thing–but it’s endearing like any of Nicholls’ work. Fun Fact: If you’re checking it out of the library, it *might* be called Question of Attraction. That’s the title on my cover. They didn’t use the original title for us Americans until after the film came out.

 

lazy-days-3

 

Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood

Okay, I might be doing a movie/TV theme unintentionally. I know tons of people love Miss Fisher’s Mysteries. I’ve only watched the pilot, but I still enjoyed reading the first book in the series it was based on. There’s plenty of sumptuous costume changes and dreamy details in this Australia-based mystery series. It’s the perfect read for rainy afternoons.

 

 

lazy-days-4

 

 

The Neverending Story by Michael Ende

There’s something about The Neverending Story that seems summery to me. Maybe, it’s the 80s soundtrack I hear playing in my head as I read the book. Who really knows?

 

 

 

lazy-days-5.jpg

 

I Capture the Castle by Dottie Smith

Coming of age? In a castle? I don’t know that it gets much more “Cozy Summer Reading” than that. Also, if you haven’t seen the adaptation, track it down! It has a very young and strapping Henry Cavill in it.

 

 

 

lazy-days-6

 

Sorcery and Cecelia (or the Enchanted Chocolate Pot) by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer

There’s a very special place in my heart for fantasy novels set in the Regency period. There’s nice gowns, Austen-esque wooing, and magic! I particularly like that this series is written in epistolary form. It’s a quick but immersive read!

 

 

 

lazy-days-7.jpg

 

Why Not Me? By Mindy Kaling

I never expected to like reading comedic memoirs, but Why Not Me? is fantastic. As comedians go, Mindy Kaling is one of my favorites. I have been terrible at keeping up with her show, The Mindy Project since it moved to Hulu Plus, but I will catch up. . .eventually. If you want to know what it’s like to run a TV show and be friends with B. J. Novak., this one’s for you.

 

lazy-days-8

 

 

Hark a Vagrant! By Kate Beaton

Literary and historical comics. READ IT NOW!

 

 

 

lazy-days-9

 

 

Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters

One last mystery before I’m through. Peters’ series is about a Victorian lady, Egypt-enthusiast who fights crime and falls in love. Basically, the entire thing is very entertaining and fun.

 

 

 

What sort of books do you like reading in the summer? Have anything exciting on your summer TBR?

Inside the Theme: Craftamageddon

Inside the Theme

Almost every month, the International Geek Girl Pen Pals Club shares prompts based on their theme for the month. I’ve been wanting to answer some of these Inside the Theme questions for awhile, but I’ve completely forgotten to do it!

Well, not so this time around! The theme for June is Craftamageddon (which is a fantastic word) and I answered all of the prompts. If you’d like to join in on Inside the Theme too, you can find out more on IGGPPC’s blog. If you do the prompts, let me know your answers too!

Inside the Theme: Craftamageddon

1)What is your favorite type of craft, and why is it so amazing?

I love crocheting, but right now, I’m all about knitting. I’m still fairly beginner-level when it comes to knitting so I really appreciate that you can make gorgeous things without being super advanced. I also love that it’s a very easy craft to take with you–which is great because I drag my projects with me when I visit my grandma or need something to work on during my lunch break.

2)What would your preferred weapon in the Craftamageddon be?

Metal knitting needles. Or maybe wooden. It depends whether we’re dealing with crafty vampires or artsy zombies.

3)Where on a scale from “Look At This Pair Of Shoes I Just Made” to “What Do You Mean You Own A Pair Of Scissors?” do you consider yourself? Do you have any funny craftastrophe stories?

I’m probably closer to the “What do you mean you own a pair of scissors?” end of the spectrum–mostly because I’m not super varied when it comes to crafting. I knit, crochet, and am learning how to cross stitch. If you put me near scissors and a sewing machine though, I’m sunk.

As for my worst craftastrophe, it, not surprisingly, has to do with sewing.

When you’re homeschool, most fellow homeschoolers take for granted that you’re very good at homemaking skills, like sewing and cooking. In highschool, I took a class on quilting through my homeschool co-op and it was an unmitigated disaster. I had never used a sewing machine in my life (unlike every other student in the class) and had never even seen a quilt pattern before. The teacher, assuming we were all old hats at this, assigned us insanely complicated squares to work on week by week without telling us how to make them.

I couldn’t even sew in a straight line so you can guess how well that went.

Beyond that, I was using my great-grandma’s sewing machine which was made for sterner stuff than modern day thread. The bobbin kept breaking the thread and it took me eight frustrating hours to get even a portion of my square done.

Finally, we broke down and bought a new machine, but things didn’t get any easier until my teacher realized I had no idea what I was doing. She effectively put me in “Remedial Quilting” and set me to sewing strips of fabric together. It was still awful, but at least, I wasn’t in tears constantly.

By the end of that class, I swore I would never quilt again and I haven’t in the eleven years since. I still have the quilt though and it looks as just slapdash as you might expect from someone unskilled in quilting and burning with fury at how awful her class on quilting was.

 4) 3 Things You Would Bring To A Deserted Island, Craftamageddon style! (Because why wouldn’t you bring a glue gun and washi tape as opposed to survival necessities and loved ones?)

If LOST taught me anything, it’s that tarps are important. I’d definitely bring yards and yards of waterproof fabric, some needles (good for mending clothes and bodies), and scissors (can be both practical and a weapon!).

5)Show us a DIY project you are (sort of mildly) proud of

I’ll show you one of my most recent projects because I think it came out so well. It’s a Miss Marple Scarf and I’m just super impressed that I managed to knit keyholes. I made Outlander inspired arm warmers recently too (my first larger project on dpns), but I made a big mistake on them so they’re staying out of pictures!

100_6720-edit_medium2

What are you crafting right now?

Summer To-Do List

Tasting (2).jpg

Summer is not my season. I hate shorts, swimming, and the mugginess that makes my hair frizzy. I always tend to get depressed in the summer too–which is a joy. (I’m the opposite of those people who get depressed in winter.) Fall is my season, but it, unfortunately, still a couple months out.

Since summer is three months I have to get through, I’m trying to find some things to enjoy amidst the heat and sun. I’m wearing my Dalek dress out shopping, taking little walks to get coffee in the sunshine on my lunch breaks, and seeing loud movies in air conditioned theaters.

Thanks to Mariko at Gamer Wife, I remembered that I like to do proper “Summer To-Do Lists” every year. I racked my brain for some things I’d really like to get done this summer and came up with nine things. Some are fun and some are productive. Either way, I hope they help keep off some of the summer blues and help me enjoy this sweltering season at least a little bit.    

Summer To-Do List

  1.  Try a new coffee shop ~ Downtown, where I work, there are three coffee shops. I’ve only been to one of them. This is not acceptable.
  2. Read One Summery Book ~ I don’t do beach reads often, but I do want to read one properly summery book this year. It’ll probably be a YA with sunshine and shorts on the cover, but anything on a “Best Beach Reads” list will do.
  3. Join a Book Club (Either Online or In Person) ~ I’ve tried to join one book club in my life. It was a YA one that I thought would be a good fit. It was not–thanks to the fact that all the other people in it were children’s and youth librarians. I want to give book clubs another chance, but I’ll probably ease myself into it this time with an online-based club. If you have any recommendations for good ones, let me know!
  4. See Summer Movies ~ I’ve been good about getting out to the theater this year, and I plan to continue that viewing streak through the summer. Movies on the top of my to-see list are:
    • The BFG
    • The Secret Lives of Pets
    • Ghostbusters
    • Star Trek Beyond
    • Suicide Squad
    • Pete’s Dragon
  5. Start a Rewatch/Recap ~ I’ve been meaning to start a recap/rewatch all year, but when I get to the point where I have to choose a show, I have a panic attack. I fully intend to conquer this weird anxiety I have about doing recaps soon.   
  6. Try Boba Tea ~ Okay, I’ve been wanting to try boba tea for over a year but the Midwest hasn’t been cooperating with me. I recently found out from a coworker that a local shop serves it. I will finally be able to satisfy my curiosity and pretend I’m in an episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.  
  7. Knit a Pair of Socks ~ This is possibly the least summery activity ever, but I WILL knit a pair of socks before fall! 
  8. Visit a New Restaurant ~ There’s this place near me that serves fancy, gluten free tacos. I’ve never had a fancy taco. It’d definitely be an adventure to try one.
  9. Find More Comics to Read ~ All of the comics I was reading in the spring finished their runs. Right now, the only two books I’m reading are Green Arrow and Goldie Vance (which is almost over!!). I’d like to add more comics to my pull list. 

What’s on your Summer To Do List? Are there any book clubs, comics, or summer reads you’d recommend?

Mystery Mini Monday

Mystery

I don’t know about you, but I get a vicarious thrill watching others open subscription boxes. They aren’t something I indulge in very often so it’s fun to watch others get so much enjoyment out of them. I’d love to be able to do unboxing videos myself someday, but until I have a decent camera and extra cash, that’s not going to happen. What I can do, though, is the occasional Mystery Mini Unboxing.

It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything about my Funko collection (and that’s probably for the best since my DC Comics and Star Wars sets have grown exponentially), but I was just in the mood to open a Mystery Mini with you all. I thought Mystery Mini Monday could be a fun new feature to add to Readerly Geek. Obviously, it won’t be a weekly sort of thing, but every once and awhile when the collector bug bites, I thought it’d be a neat, little thing to do.

For my inaugural Mystery Mini Monday, I’m opening a Disney Princess box.  

mystery-mini-2.jpg

In case you can’t see the back, the possibilities with this particular box are Cinderella, Gus Gus, Ariel, Flounder, Belle, Cogsworth, Anna, Olaf, Elsa, Snowgy, Tiana, Naveen as a Frog, Jasmine, Raja, Merida, and one of her bear brothers (not to be confused with Brother Bear). Really, there are no bad options when it comes to these Mystery Minis. I already have Merida, Cogsworth, and Pocahontas (who’s a Hot Topic Exclusive along with Mulan), and I absolutely adore them. Size-wise, they’re not tons smaller than an actual Funko Pop so it doesn’t seem absurd to pay $7.99 for one. The new Mystery Mini designs in general are all around so much more adorable and intricate than their predecessors that I find it hard not to want to add tons of them to my collection. (I try to resist the urge, but obviously, you have to give in every once and awhile.)

If I had to choose which figure I’d most like to open today, it’d have to be Belle. Since I already have Cogsworth, it would be nifty to have a Belle to go with him. Beyond that, Belle’s my favorite princess in this set. I mean, Mulan’s my favorite overall, but as she’s not an option, Belle, of course would do.

Okay, time for the opening. . .

mystery-mini-ariel.jpg

Oh my gosh! It’s Ariel! I don’t have a single The Little Mermaid-related figure, so it’s definitely amazing to add one to my collection. I already know where she’s going to go on my shelf–right between Elizabeth Swan and Captain Hook from Once Upon a Time. My pirates needed a friend on their ship. . .I mean, shelf.

She’s such a cute figure. I love her swooshy hair and little tail. The paint on her isn’t 100% perfect, but for me, as long as her face looks nice (which is does), I can handle a little smudging on her tail. I’ll definitely have to think about buying another one of these in the future since I still don’t have Belle or Mulan. Maybe, next time, I splurge further and buy one at Hot Topic.

Actually, if you’d like to help me out, you can vote on which Mystery Mini box I should buy for my next Mystery Mini Monday. I’d love to say I’ll be unboxing one of the new Harry Potter Mystery Minis next time, but since who knows when they’ll actually show up in the stores, I’ll hedge my bets. 

Thanks for voting if you did!

What Mystery Minis (or mystery boxes in general) have you purchased lately? 

{Book Review} Edmund Bertram’s Diary

the (1)

Reading Edmund Bertram’s Diary showed me that it’s been too long since I’ve read Mansfield Park. It’s my favorite Jane Austen novel, but I don’t reread it as often as Pride and Prejudice or Emma. It’s insightful, clever, and fairly dense so it’s not the sort of story I go back to again and again. It doesn’t help that it includes my second least favorite Austen hero, Edmund Bertram.

You might wonder why on earth I put myself through reading a “diary” of one of my least favorite Jane Austen characters. Well, for one, Lianne from eclectictales.com recommended the series. Secondly, I balanced my love of Mansfield Park and my hatred of Edmund and Mansfield Park came out the winner. (It helped that I could picture Johnny Lee Miller as Edmund in my head too.)

The title, Edmund Bertram’s Diary, is fairly self-explanatory as far as plot goes. The novel is Mansfield Park as told through Edmund’s diary entries. The story starts just before Fanny Price (Edmund’s cousin) arrives at Mansfield and ends a bit after the conclusion of Jane Austen’s novel. It includes plenty of Edmund’s obsession with the lovely Mary Crawford (which is bad) and a decent amount of his struggle to keep the estate going while his father is away in Antigua (which is good).

If I thought (foolishly) that Edmund Bertram’s Diary would make me like this hero more as character, I was wrong. Amanda Grange’s novel doesn’t work as an apology for the character. Edmund spends a fair amount of the book being a privileged, oblivious jerk, and I am not so certain he even has an epiphany and changes at the end. Reading about his inner struggles and feelings only made me hate him more.

It probably didn’t help that it’s never sat well with me that Edmund was obsessed with Mary Crawford for 90% of the novel, but then–relatively quickly–falls for Fanny in the end. The diary retreads this ground and doesn’t even try to spark the chemistry between Fanny and Edmund until Mary is solidly out of the picture. That was one of the few faults I found with this book. At least the film adaptations try to give us hints of sexual tension. There was none of that to be found here–making me quite certain that Mansfield Park should have ended with Fanny marrying a nice seafaring man (her brother could totally introduce her). Then, she could have a nice house and keep cats and pugs and not have to deal with her ridiculous aunts and cousins anymore.

The end.

Sadly, this book gives only vague hints of chemistry between the cousins and fails to redeem Edmund. Worst of all, I don’t get my happy, pug-filled conclusion. Instead, I was forced struggle through the last hundred pages as Edmund Bertram repeatedly feels the need to mansplain Fanny’s suitor, Henry Crawford, to her.

The mansplaining got so annoying that I started dogearring the pages where Edmund felt that he knew better than Fanny. There were a lot of dogearred pages.

I mean, he’s just the worst:

“But I have refused him,” {Fanny} said quietly.

“Of course, for the moment. But when you come to know him better you will see that he is just the sort of man to make you happy.”

She said no more but, feeling sure that she would soon change her mind, I let the matter drop. . .

p. 207

“. . .There were never two people more dissimilar. We have not one taste in common. We should be miserable.”

This was bleak indeed. So bleak that I felt fancy was at work, rather than reason.

p. 220

Yeah. I won’t say I hate read this part of the novel because it’s too well written for that, but I felt a certain amount of righteous wrath reading Edmund’s thoughts. This book could have been retitled “Mansplainer: A Diary” and it would have been 100% appropriate.

As for the lightning bolt moment when Edmund FINALLY realizes that he loves Fanny, well. . .I’ll let you read that for yourself too.

As I watched her, I found myself wondering how it had happened, how long she had been like this. Had she suddenly blossomed? Or had I simply not noticed the moment at which she had turned from a hesitant girl into an assured woman.

p. 287

Shades of “Gigi” are all over that quote. I truly did want to give Edmund a chance, but can you really blame me for wanting to throttle him instead? I don’t blame Amanda Grange for this nonsense. It was in the original novel. She just extrapolated on it. Edmund Bertram’s horrible and reading how horrible he was on the inside delighted me in a lot of ways. I finally feel justified for my dream ending, and I really just want to read Fanny/Sailor or even Fanny/Henry Crawford fanfiction now.

Edmund can go fall in a hole.

In spite of all my. . .um. . .strong feelings about Edmund in this novel, I did really and truly love this book. (Surprising right?) It was well-written and gave me all the feels–not all of them positive but still. . .I’d recommend it to anyone who has no qualms about hating a Jane Austen hero and wants more Regency novels in their life.

I will 100% be continuing on with this series. I will probably read Captain Wentworth’s Diary next because it’d probably be best for me to go with a Austen hero that I actually adore as a follow-up. I won’t lie though–I’m beyond disappointed that there’s no “Edward Ferrars’ Diary.” He’s my most loathed Austen character and I would have hate-read the heck out of that book.

I give this book Four out of Five Pugs

Who’s your least favorite Austen hero?

{Remembrall Readathon} Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (1).jpg

Giving myself all the high fives so still being on track with my Remembrall Readathon! It’s fantastic that these early Harry Potter books are so short. I like being able to fly through them in two to three days. I know that won’t be the case for the later books so I’m treasuring it while I can.

After I finish Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, I’m planning to take a brief break to read a non-HP book. I don’t want to burn out on the series. On top of that, I *may* have signed up for the Classic Film Book Challenge. We’ll see how big of a mistake that was as the summer goes on.

Like I said last time, this post will be full of spoilers for the entire series so beware!    

Back Story

The Chamber of Secrets has never been my favorite Harry Potter novel. It’s a little too similar to The Sorcerer’s Stone for my taste, and a great chunk of it is a review of what happened in Book One. (The story doesn’t even get started until 90 pages in!) Basically, my feelings toward CoS boil down to the fact that, while there is stuff to appreciate in it, there’s just not quite enough newness to make it a thrilling reread.

Out of all the Harry Potter novels, there is only one I’m looking forward to rereading less than this one, and that book is The Goblet of Fire.  

Not All Slytherins

Okay, one of the major issues brought up in Chamber of Secrets is House Pride/Bias. We all know that there is too much divisiveness among the Houses in Hogwarts, but in some cases, House bias gets really ugly in this book–particularly when it begins to associate being evil with being sorted into Slytherin.

There’s that quote about how all evil Wizards come from Slytherin, but that quote doesn’t imply that all wizards in Slytherin are evil. Unfortunately, The Chamber of Secrets doesn’t present it that way. All of the Slytherins we’ve met up until this point have been bigoted, mean, and ruthless. According to Pottermore Wiki, a Slytherin’s traits are cunning, ambitious, creative, and resourceful so I think it’s too simplistic to represent them all as being villainous. None of Slytherin’s traits necessarily indicate evilness or bigotedness or meanness. Also, just because a House was established by Salazar Slytherin (a not so nice Parseltongue) doesn’t mean that after hundreds of years it can’t move beyond his personal beliefs.

I don’t think Rowling ever really moves beyond the Slytherins are bad representation. I find it frustrating that only Slytherins are presented as being evil. This isn’t just because I was sorted into Slytherin. I think it’s a weakness in the series because it oversimplifies people as being either destined for evil or good.

This is obviously a big topic, but I want to wait until later in the series to really sort out (haha) how I feel about the Hogwarts Houses and sorting process.

Harry and the Horcrux 

One of the things I was most looking forward to in rereading The Chamber of Secrets was getting to see the first Horcrux again. Last time I reread this book, I wasn’t thinking too much about the fact that Harry and the journal both possess a portion of Voldemort’s soul. When you do think about that aspect of the story, things get pretty creepy. I mean, just read this quote:

And while Harry was sure he had never heard the name T. M. Riddle before, it still seemed to mean something to him, almost as though Riddle was a friend he’d had when he was very small, and had half-forgotten. Pgs. 233-234

If that doesn’t give you chills, I don’t know what will. There’s also the hints in this novel about Parseltongue, Harry worrying about being sorted into Slytherin, and the similarities between himself and Voldemort. Obviously, without Books 6 & 7, it’d be difficult to guess the meaning of these hints, but knowing how the story ends up, they’re a little disturbing.

This is the last time for a while that we see Harry interacting with another piece of Voldemort’s soul, but I think it’s just fascinating to see the endgame of the series being built up so early on. J. K. Rowling had a plan from the beginning. I love seeing the pieces of it fall into place.

Conclusions

The Chamber of Secrets still isn’t one of my favorite Harry Potter novels, but it gave me a lot of food for thought. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for inter-House issues as the series progresses, and I have to say that I’m quite looking forward to Lupin showing up in Book Three.

Curiosities and Quandaries for Further Investigation

  • Dobby says things were worse for House Elves and non-human creatures in Voldemort’s day. Exactly how much worse could they be?
  • If you got turned into a humanoid cat like Hermione, wouldn’t you, at least, have a little bit of fun with it?
  • What exactly is the Sorting Hat? Is it just a charmed object or does it have a consciousness of its own? When it comes to sorting, is it limited by the strictures of the Founders? Why was it given power over the sword of Gryffindor?

Which House have you been sorted into?