Thursday, December 30, 2010

Literary Musing : Modern Renditions of Classics

We all know the stories of Pride and Prejudice, Little Women, Wuthering Heights, Sense and Sensibility, Other Jane Austen Titles, The Scarlet Letter, Moby Dick and Jane Eyre. When we see these titles we all know what they are about, we’ve either read the books “the originals” or if you are like me, then you have read modern day “What if ...... was set in the 21st Century or today’s society or even a time travel back to their time books, many of those which are adorning the bookshelves of teenage collections.

                                                            When it comes to Jane Austen, I am a sucker for her. I just love her stories and anything about her, her books and of course the hot Mr Darcy. She also happens to be one of the most written about authors and many of her books have been made into modern renditions.

Titles Include:

• Pies and Prejudice by Heather Vogel Fredrick , Prada and Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard , Prom and Prejudice , Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Van Riegler , According to Jane by Marilyn Brant , Jane in Scarsdale , Austenland by Shannon Hale , The Man who Loved Pride and Prejudice etc. The Secrets of the Dashwoods and other books by Rosie Rushton. For Renditions of Jane Austen, the majority of them are taken from the story of Pride and Prejudice with other’s being of her minority stories.

• With the rise of Supernatural Creatures and Fantasy, even the classic novels do not escape their wrath as we are presented with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Dawn of the Dreadfuls – A Prequel to PPZ, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, Mansfield Park and Mummies, Emma and the Werewolves, Mr Darcy, Vampyre, Jane Bites Back.

• We all know the tales of Little Women, now with the world becoming practically obsessed with Vampires, released has been Little Vampire Women. Just imagine what Louisa May Alcott would think with her novels being made into Supernatural Fantasies.

• We all know the story of Wuthering Heights by one of the Bronte Sisters, the infamous love triangles of Heathcliff and Cate or Kate, Edward and Isabel. The first rendition I read of this book was called Wuthering High – A Bard Academy book and it was set in a boarding school environment where the teachers were actually re-incarnations of the Wuthering Heights Characters, another new one that has a sense of Supernatural to it which I have heard is along the lines of Wuthering Heights is Immortal by Gillian Shields and of course Wuthering Bites – which are both on my Kobo e-reader to read and devour. One of my all-time favourite books which I was recommended ages ago by someone who worked in a 2nd Hand Book Shop was The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, it is an adult’s book that is loosely based on the story /theme of Wuthering Heights and is definitely worth the read. Just recently I read Withering Tights by Louise Rennison.

• The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a book, I am not too familiar with the classic version but alas due to books in the modern day I have become wiser with the tale and the painted A. When we think of .A. hands up who has read the series “Pretty Little Liars” by Sara Shepard. It is one of my favourite book series and in one of the earlier books –it might actually be Pretty Little Liars –the first book. One of the main characters Aria is reading the Scarlet Letter for English and she decides to paint a red A on the dress of the teacher who her dad cheated on his wife for. The series that also writes Wuthering Bard also wrote a modernized version of the Scarlet Letter called The Scarlet Letterman (which is another book on my TBR List).

• Moby Dick by Herman Melville – he is about the only writer besides the writer of the book in the bible that Jonah is in , that can make a whale eating somebody an exciting story. It is also one of the more talked about Books that feature in Gilmore Girls as one of Rory’s many reads. Again this book is on my TBR List – but the creator of The Scarlet Letterman and Wuthering Bard has written one called Moby Clique.

• Jane Eyre, another tale that was written by one of the Bronte sisters and another classic that has been succumbed to the written word of remakes. This time in the format of Jane Airhead and the newer book Jane – (this is on my TBR List).


• Of course, it wasn’t just books that were remade as where would we be without our media and even William Shakespeare didn’t miss the brunt of it as most of his plays have been remade into films – Romeo and Juliet, Letters to Juliet, She’s The Man –Twelfth Night, 10 Things I Hate about You – The Taming of the Shrew, Wuthering Heights – An MTV Version, Lost in Austen, Shakespeare in Love and many many more.

Thus to conclude , this shows us that no matter how many times they are re-written or pre-produced and it doesn’t matter what format. The novels that are Classics are still in a way popular than ever and are being re-read.

Did I miss anything? If you have a suggestion or a title that you think falls into this category, please comment and add it to the post. Also if you have any suggestions for future topics that you would like to see. Email the Phantom Paragrapher @ Paulazone@live.com  

Literary Musing : Banned Books 2010 – The Most Challenged Top Ten Books Classics in the 21st Century.

Banned Books 2010 – The Most Challenged Top Ten Books Classics in the 21st Century.


Every year, during Banned Book week – we are presented with a list of books that have been officially looked upon as troublesome etc and are compiled into a list that many have decided to challenge for one reason or another, ones that people don’t think are suitable for us to be reading.

During Banned Book Week, I wrote up a review of the series “Vampire Academy” by Richelle Mead as we had the mini challenge to read and review a book that was on the banned list and it got me thinking, how many other popular books that the majority of teens, even adults have read –made the list. The books that I list below are ones that I’ve read.

How many of you, can say Yes I’ve read that and question yourself, why it was banned? Some books and authors suffer through the banning of books and receive criticism, backlash galore. Here below is a list of books and authors that have gone through the theme of Banned Books.

A. Ellen Hopkins – She was disinvited to speak at a Teen Book conference as they said that her books contained topics not suitable for teens and issues that were not suitable. Ellen Hopkins is one of my favourite authors who specialises in writing books that contain what most call “Edgy Content” and they do tackle subjects, issues that others may sometimes see as taboo e.g. Eating Disorders, Drugs, and Sex etc. Some of her titles include: Tricks, Impulse, Crank, Glass, Burned etc.

B. Lauren Myracle – Her series “The TTYL series” which includes titles – ttyl, ttfn and l8r, g8r. They are about the dramas of three high school friends, Zoe, Maddie, and Angela, are written entirely in the style of instant messaging. "These books deal realistically with young adult lives. They were put on the banned list as they include talk of nudity, sex, drugs and offensive language.

C. The Perks of Being Wallflower – This book by Stephen Chbosky is what I would classify as a contemporary classic novel, if contemporaries could ever be classified as a classic. Chbosky's teenage narrator describes various scenes in his life and explores topics such as introversion, teenage sexuality, abuse, and drug use. Chbosky has cited Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye as an inspiration, and pays homage to it by naming it as one of the books Charlie's English teacher gives him to read. This was put on the banned list due to homosexuality, religious viewpoints, sex, anti-family, drugs and suicide.

D. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee – Every year it seems that a book that is a recommended high-school read and seen as a classic in sense is added to the banned books list. Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning story of rape and racial inequality in 1930s Alabama is a veteran of the most-challenged list, due to Lee's use of the word "nigger". "Similar to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Lee uses the language of a certain time “But the use is to put forward a very strongly anti-racist message. It is really a shame that one particular word makes a book objectionable when the message of the book is exactly the opposite." The reasons were of course Racism and offensive language used.

E. Twilight Saga – Stephenie Meyer – The ever popular saga that I guarantee unless Vampires aren’t really your thing and that’s at a last resort. This series has been read by everyone, it’s that popular and on high-demand. It’s even been made into films.
F. The Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger – Another classic that seems to forever be on the list of banned books yearly. JD Salinger's iconic novel of teenage rebellion has provoked a storm of complaints – from being "anti-white" and "obscene" to being "centered around negative activity" and "a filthy, filthy book" – since its publication more than 50 years ago. It returned to the list of most challenged books this year after a four-year absence. "It's a cherished favorite for many readers so seeing it there can be shocking," says Maycock. "People might ask 'are we still having problems with Catcher in the Rye?' The truth is, yes we are. It's a classic because of many of the things that make it potentially objectionable, including the language used and the fact that Holden Caulfield is a classic non-conformist. That can be scary."

G. My Sister’s Keeper – Jodi Picoult - Picoult's novel, which has since been made into a film in 2009, tells the story of 13-year-old Anna who sues her parents for medical emancipation when she is expected to donate a kidney to her sister Kate, who is dying from leukemia.

H. The Earth, My Butt and other Big Round things – Carolyn Mackler - Mackler's Michael L Printz award-winning novel tells the story of high school student Virginia Shreves, who has a "larger-than-average" body and a medium-sized inferiority complex.

I. The Color Purple – Alice Walker - Walker's most famous novel won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the National Book Award, and has been adapted for stage and screen. Set in rural 1930s Georgia, it focuses on the position of black women in the southern US, and has frequently been targeted by censors since its publication.

Have you read any books that have in the past been listed on the Banned Books List? Have any topics that you wish to share and that you want to read about, give me an email on paulazone@live.com

Till, Next Month – Thanks for reading this month’s Literary Musing with The Phantom Paragrapher.

Literary Musing : Pretty In Pink Literature

Pretty in Pink Literature


With the rising trend in Chick Literature for Young Adults to the older audience of Females, it’s not surprising that there has been a new brand of genre released titled Pink Literature.
What is Pink Literature you may ask? Pink Lit is basically Chick Lit genre aimed at tweens and YA/Teens – more commonly the age group of 10-18 years.

Books that fall under the category of Pink Lit are books that have or surround those everyday issues like Love, Friendship, Relationships and Boys, Boys, Boys as the Britney Spears song goes.

Today’s Blog post will be a little different with me breaking it into lists of authors and titles that are appropriate for the specific age-groups with a little blurb about each title or collection of titles.

Ages 9-12

• Switched, Vampilicious, Fang-tastic and Re-Vamped series by Sienna Mercer – This is a mixture between Supernatural as one twin is a human and the other is a Vampire. It contains School, Friendships, Families and Boyfriends.

• Any books by Jacqueline Wilson – Most famous for her series Tracey Beaker , this author has a range of books suited to all ages but the most common age-group for her writing falls at 9-12 yrs.

• Faithgirlz – The girls of 622 Harborview Park – This is also falls into the category of Christian Fiction as it is written by Melody Carlson. Each book features a different project and deals with friendships, relationships, families.

• The Amazing days of Abby Hayes – Anne Mazer – Each book is written in a diary format and discusses the everyday life and troubles/triumphs that arise for Abby from Schooling to Parents to Boys and Friends.

• The Babysitters Club- Anne Martin – A group of teen girls who started running a babysitting group, the book involves boys, relationships, friendships, school and parents.

Ages 13-18
It is this age group that is the most common readers of what is known as Pink Lit , next time you are in your local library or book shop take a look in the teen area , look past the supernatural and paranormal books, look past the adventure novels and what do you have remaining?

• The Georgia Nicholson Diaries by Louise Rennison – Most famously known as Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging or Perfect Snogging ( depending which book you picked up).

• Withering Tights – Louise Rennison: This book is written from the perspective of Georgia’s younger cousin Tallulah and also runs a theme of Wuthering Heights.

• Any books by Jacqueline Wilson – When you move into the teen area, you are presented with a range of Jacqueline Wilson books suited to the older audience – Girls in Love Series, Love Lessons, and Jacky Daydream etc.

• What a Week to – Rosie Rushton: Rosie Rushton is another author that has a numerous amount of books dedicated to Pink Lit. Her most famous series suited to Pink Lit is What a Week to..... , this author has also written a number of books that are What if Jane Austen lived in the 21st Century spin-offs e.g. The Secrets of Love.

• The Princess Diaries , All American Girl etc – Meg Cabot – This author is one of those ones that if you haven’t read any of her books , then where have you been , obviously living under a rock. Her Princess Diaries series were made into movies starring Anne Hathaway as Mia and her latest series Avalon High is being made into a film.

• Diary of a Teenage Girl , True Colours etc – Melody Carlson – This is another author who has written many wonderful series and if you are wanting books with a Christian background then this is the author to pick up – her books touch on a number of issues, some which can be a bit edgy( more of edgy content next post)

• The Mates, Dates Series, Cinnamon Girl and Zodiac Girls- Cathy Hopkins- These series are aimed at teen girls and talk a range of things from Puberty to Boyfriends, Friends, School and Family.

• Pink – Lili Wilkinson – This is a novel where a Goth/emo girl attends a new school and completely re-invents herself into a Pink wearing type of girl. Similar to the movie Legally Blonde and Wild Child.

Do not fear readers, as the lists that I have provided are only a glimpse into the world of Pink Lit and there are so many more fabulous Pink Authors out there, some of the ones that I have not included on the list is because I am going to use the books/authors for later topics.

If you have any book recommendations to add to the list, feel free to email me or post a comment.

To conclude , if there is a particular literature topic that you would like touched on or a book that you would like talked about or reviewed , feel free to email me at Paulazone@live.com  or post a comment on the blog post.


That’s all for now, signing off till next month’s blog post , you have just been reading this month’s Literary Musing from The Phantom Paragrapher.

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