Book Review: Jane and the 12 Days of Christmas

Once upon a time, there lived a woman named Jane

who wrote novels that caused her warranted fame,

now she probably lies in her grave with unrest

because she stars in books that can be a shitfest,

and one of those novels is this:

20600462https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20600462-jane-and-the-twelve-days-of-christmas

So I received a free copy of Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas, which is awesome, but the book itself is not one I recommend.

It’s pretty terrible – a “mystery” that doesn’t really contain much, you know, mystery.

It stars Jane Austen as a novel-writer/detective who just happens to stumble across murder all the time (this is the twelfth book in the mystery series). In this case, it is Christmas-time, and Jane is being snarky as she visits her relatives & visits old family friends in their nice house.

The whole book revolves around the concepts of legitimacy and honor, which could, to be fair, be interesting topics, but which are not in this particular novel.

Jane comes across as someone who is not fun to be around, and the insinuation is made that she derives the plot of Persuasion from the occurrences in this novel. Jane is noticeably judgmental, including being disdainful for the voiced opinions of a woman whose poverty Jane, herself, seems to have no conception of, and including negativity towards the parenting style of her brother and his wife which seemingly could be partially derived from the fact that Jane, herself, has never born children herself.

Oh, there’s also some romance that is hinted at, for no apparent reason whatsoever.

So… I don’t recommend reading this one. Unless you devour absolutely everything Jane Austen related, regardless of the virtue of its’ content, or you have been reading this series and really need to know what happens next.

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& Now I Want A Cookie

I have uploaded a cover – b/c the NaNo statistics show that uploading a cover makes you 66% more likely to finish your novel, and so my abysmal word count is now subsequently forced to rise, right?

Admit it - now you're craving a cookie

Admit it – now you’re craving a cookie

Oh, also – my cover isn’t really very related to the novel, just to the scene I just wrote.

Oh, also – that’s not really my title.

Um, yeah.

The Blank Paper is Winning

fuck the paper

Day 12 of NaNo, and I have an embarrassingly small # of words. Which is actually fine – I’m really busy, and if I failed my tax quiz so that I could achieve a specific, round # of words by the end of the month, that would be horrible (and I would lose the job offer I recently accepted and would have to spend another winter in Michigan, which would probably literally kill me, to be honest).

Still, I hate to fail, even at arbitrary tasks that I have assigned to myself.

I really want to get to a point where I can at least see where this story is going. I kind of know where I want it to go, but it’s also taking me to unexpected places – which is awesome, because that’s exactly what you want it to do, both for you and your reader.

Anyway, I’m going to keep working. There were also a few days when I didn’t write anything, which for some reason, has failed to increase my word count (sarcasm intended). BUT I am writing more than I would otherwise, which is good. Because school is very busy, and I could literally divide all of my time between school, work, and housework – but that would make me a very dull girl. And we all know what happened to Jack (unless you both read the book & watched the Kubrick movie, in which case, what happened to Jack is very debatable).

How is everyone else’s project going?

Clarity

grasping @ eternity

 Okay – what is this book about?

Is it an interesting supernatural novel? A run-of-the-mill romance? A combination of the two?

I feel like there is a disparity between the cover and the description. I have nothing against romance, but some of it is not meant to be taken seriously. While most of us will read anything at the beach, the cover is indicative, to me, of what is casually labeled a “beach read” – a fun read. The description, on the other hand, at least indicates melodrama, if not the idea that this novel is meant to keep the reader thinking after the last page has been turned.

There’s something about eternity (vampires? hopefully not – I’m feeling a bit inundated by vampires at the moment). There’s something about “doing the unthinkable,” except that that’s “explained” by some gibberish about past lives. Maybe this is a god/goddess thing?

Is it just me, or do you kind of wish publishers would just issue a blank cover if they can’t come up with a fitting image? Or is this novel’s description better than its’ premise?

Anyway, the person with the best elaborated description of the novel (based, of course, on its’ cover) gets brownie points! & even though you’ll probably never meet me in person, and probably wouldn’t know who I was even if you did, you know you want my approval. 😉

NaNoWriMo: A Day Late & Low Word Count In

So, I didn’t write anything yesterday. But that’s okay. If I can “win” NaNo, that’s awesome, and I will probably add a bullet point to my resume, but I am really striving to find balance every day, so I’m not going to beat myself up if a “win” doesn’t occur. I’m winning by writing. (Also, I need to make time for my kid and my grad school reading/schoolwork/etc.)

winning

Anyway, let’s talk writing.

One of the big things I always struggle with, is what to name my characters. I now realize that there is an entire NaNo forum dedicated to what to name things, but, in addition to that resource, I generally find myself using baby name sites. A resource I have used this year is the 25 best-loved baby names. This site is particularly helpful, because I knew that I wanted some popular names for a couple of my characters, due to the nature of those characters.

I hope everyone else’s first 2 days of NaNo went relatively well! Please, share your favorite writing resource in the comments below:

Please to comment below.

Please to comment below.

Bad Feminist Quotes

I just read Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist, and strongly, strongly recommend this book. It will make you think, it might make you intensely uncomfortable, but Gay brings up many good points, and even if you don’t always agree with her, the fact that she’s talking about so many important conversations and will make you think about those conversations makes this book well worth reading.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

“In truth, feminism is flawed because it is a movement powered by people and people are inherently flawed. For whatever reason, we hold feminism to an unreasonable standard where the movement must be everything we want and must always make the best choices. When feminism falls short of our expectations, we decide the problem is with feminism rather than with the flawed people who act in the name of the movement.”

-“Introduction” p. x

“I embrace the label of bad feminist because I am human. I am messy. I’m not trying to be an example. I am not trying to be perfect. I am not trying to say I have all the answers…trying to support what I believe in, trying to do some good in this world…while also being myself: a woman who loves pink and likes to get freaky and sometimes dances her ass off to music she knows, she knows, is terrible for women and who sometimes plays dumb with the repairmen because it’s just easier to let them feel macho than it is to stand on the moral high ground.”

-“Introduction” p. xi

Really, the entire Introduction is amazing.

“In many ways, likability is a very elaborate lie, a performance, a code of conduct dictating the proper way to be… Unlikable is a fluid designation that can be applied to any character who doesn’t behave in a way the reader finds palatable.”

-“Not Here to Make Friends” p. 85

“In literature, as in life, the rules are all too often different for girls… An unlikable man is inscrutably interesting, dark, or tormented, but ultimately compelling, even when he might behave in distasteful ways… When women are unlikable, it becomes a point of obsession in critical conversation by professional and amateur critics alike… Why aren’t they making themselves likable (and therefore acceptable) to polite society?”

-“Not Here to Make Friends” p. 88

“This is what is so rarely said about unlikable women in fiction – that they aren’t pretending, that they won’t or can’t pretend to be someone they are not. They have neither the energy nor the desire for it.”

-“Not Here to Make Friends” p. 95

“This is a baffling statement because there is imply no reality where the phrase ‘strident feminist’ can be reasonably compared to the N-word. I am fascinated by the silence surrounding this statement, how people will turn a blind eye to casual racism for the sake of funny feminism.”

-“How We All Lose” p. 104

“We talk about rape, but we don’t carefully talk about rape.”

-“The Careless Language of Sexual Violence” p. 132

“You’d be amazed what people are willing to do when they are given permission, either implicitly or explicitly.”

-“Some Jokes Are Funnier Than Others” p. 179

“The thing about fairy tales is that the princess finds her prince, but there’s usually a price t pay. A compromise is required for happily ever after. The woman in the fairy tale is generally the one who pays the price. This seems to be the nature of sacrifice.”

-“The Trouble with Prince Charming” p. 193

In fact, the entire essay “The Trouble with Prince Charming” is great. Amusing and poignant. #readit

“We hold all people to unspoken rules about who and how they should be, how they should think, and what they should say. We say we hate stereotypes but take issue when people deviate from those stereotypes. Men don’t cry. Feminists don’t shave their legs. Southerners are racist.”

-“The Politics of Respectability” p. 257

“…even in this day and age, the rights of women are not inalienable. Our rights can be and are, with alarming regularity, stripped away.”

-“The Alienable Rights of Women” p. 273

“Then, of course, there is the problem of those women who want to, perhaps, avoid the pregnancy question altogether by availing themselves of birth control with the privacy and dignity and affordability that should also be inalienable.

Or, according to some, whores.”

-“The Alienable Rights of Women” p. 274

“We are having inexplicable conversations about birth control, conversations where women must justify why they are taking birth control, conversations where a congressional hearing on birth control includes no women because the men in power are well aware that women don’t need to be included in the conversation. We don’t have inalienable rights the way men do.”

-“The Alienable Rights of Women” p. 275

All quotes are derived from the following work:

Gay, Roxane. Bad Feminist: Essays. First ed. New York: Harper Perennial, 2014. Print.