Book Sharing

I love books book club nerd blogger

I love books!

I love books book club nerd blogger

All kinds of books. Biographies, history, sci-fi, fantasy, romance and more. Books can take you away to exotic destinations like Narnia, Asgard, Middle Earth, Hogwarts, Galactic Sector ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha, Oz, the planet Buzzell and beyond! And if you love books as much as I do, then come over to Instagram @nerdinthesand

In an effort to live a more minimal lifestyle, I’m attempting to pare down my collection of books. This is your gain, readers!! Cause instead of selling my books…I’m just giving them away! That’s right…they’re free. A couple books a week!

If you live in the US, like to read books and have an Instagram account then you could win them. This week I gave away Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige and A Whole New World by Liz Braswell.

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I hope you’ll take my books off my hands and put them into your own! And as I find new reads that I simply love and can’t put down, I’ll make sure to let you know and share them as soon as I do actually put them down.

And for some other book related goodness, come on over to Goodreads and join my Star Wars Book Club!! We read Star Wars books and talk about them and we want you to join us!!Star Wars book club on Goodreads nerd blogger

Not My Timeline

Look, whether you are a passenger on the Trump Train or are currently working on your protest signs for the next march, you cannot deny that there has been a shift, a change in the winds. But instead of getting Mary Poppins, we got hatred, derision, division, fear, riots, protests, strikes, trolling, name-calling and more.

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Photo from MattForney.com

A lot of us are asking, “Why, God? Why?” But listen, God didn’t vote for Trump! So, I think what it boils down to is that we are simply asking the wrong question. We have to step back from the ledge and examine why and how we got here to begin with. And I think I have the answer…

Someone messed with our timeline, guys!! Look, I like think about what I’d do with a time machine as much as you do! Quick, top 5 time periods you’d travel to. Quick, top 5 dead people you want to brunch with. We’ve all fantasized about warning the Titanic about that pesky iceberg, assassinating Hitler before he has a time to wipe out millions of Jews and bearing witness to some of history’s greatest hits.

But as we all know, with great power comes great responsibility. And someone just got greedy.

Someone went to all the trouble of building a time machine and it worked. They went back! But, instead of being a careful observer, they tinkered with the timeline leaving us with what can only be described as the beginnings of a dystopian 80’s film.

The thing is, this person will eventually have to return to our time and they’ll discover what they’ve done. It’s up to us to cut them off at the pass and commander whatever contraption they’ve managed to create.

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Photo from bustedtees.com

So whether it’s a flying Delorian that runs on gigawatts, a giant blue police box that defies space and time, a brass sled, a fancy necklace, a wormhole, an old pocket watch or something a bit more sophisticated like in Terminator…it’s up to us, my fellow Americans, to be vigilant.

We must find this meddler and put to rights what has gone terribly, terribly wrong.

So…if you see something, say something. We can come back from this. After all, if Marty McFly could fix his timeline, there’s hope for us!! I have to believe there’s still hope.

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Dear Inspiration,

Dear inspiration,

Dear spark of imagination,

Dear intense, unfailing dedication to sharing my inner conflagration,

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Where have you gone today? Correction, where have you been for a while now? I remember the days when we would sit in Central Park, me with a pen and paper, you swarming through my whole being, igniting the cobwebs in my mind and turning every silken thread into a tapestry of thoughts. These days my thoughts feel less substantial. My writing less inspired. My blog sadly missing you and your flare for the dramatic honesty.

Something was lost between New York, California and Florida. Perhaps you lost track of me in my travels. I tend not to stay in one place for long, if I can help it. The fault is yours, for I travel to experience more of you. But lately when I sit down to write, what comes out is a cacophony of words that have no cohesion. A maelstrom of thoughts with no clear conclusion. Where have you gone, my inspiration? Did I leave you in New York? I thought I felt your breath on my neck when we went to California. Every sunset we saw together would inspire poetry. I wasn’t seeing those sunsets alone was I?
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I know, I know…sometimes you visit me in the wee hours of the morning, when I’m still drunk on dreams. But what you leave behind, I cannot seem to grasp. The mere whisper of magic…the faint scent of the divine. I wish I could lasso your power and harness your energy. I wish I could keep you in a bottle and pour you on when I need you most.

But you are not to be caught in my fisher’s net. You, imagination…you are fierce and wild and will not be tamed by a mere mortal. Even one who thinks as highly of you as I do. Even one who puts a store of dreams in the mention of your name. Even I don’t deserve to keep you locked up, like a tiger in a zoo. Locked up and caged where you do not belong.

There are others who call upon your influence. Others who need you as much as I do. And I know you have to answer their siren call, for their call is no more important than mine. You have to be in so many places at once. God made it so. The way He made it so Santa Claus could travel through the night and need no rest till his work is done. You, too, are undaunted by the call of your duty to the dreamers of the world.

Galaxies are created in your name. Brand new worlds uncharted by human cartographers are discovered. Characters spring to life, upright and fully functioning in the minds of the creators, your offspring. Those who write and draw and sing and dream. Those who make empowered speeches that inspire others to write and draw and sing and dream. This is the evidence of your majestic influence. The bright colors splashed upon our world to brighten dull days and give bold words to mundane moments. You, the paintbrush of God himself, are hard at work in someone else today.

Don’t forget to return to me. Don’t forget your faithful friend. I await your return with eager anticipation. My pen still finds the paper in your absence. My voice is not gone. I use the remnants of what you left behind when last we were together and I will write and draw and sing and dream until the day you come back to me.

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New Year, New Word

As you may (or may not, if this is your first visit to my blogosphere) know, I gave up New Year’s Resolutions a few years ago. I decided it was time to stop changing things about myself and start challenging myself to simply be better.

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Each year I choose a word that will become a mantra, a creed, a manifesto to use for the whole of the year.

2016’s word was “Free” and to be honest, it was the opposite of a free-ing year. At times I wanted to be anywhere other than where I was. But in the aftermath of the year that seemed interminable, I can’t help but reflect upon those inalienable rights that I have taken for granted, like…you guessed it, Freedom.

But I don’t want to start this year with the same mistakes as last year. The challenge is to be better. And better is what I intend to be.

With that being said, this year I have chosen the word “Believe” to represent my journey through 2017. Somewhere between New York, California and Florida I stopped believing. I stopped believing in myself, in humanity, and in basic human decency. And while my belief in God never wavered, my trust in Him sure did and my belief in His plan over mine definitely took a hit. God and I have been in a bit of a knock down, drag out for the majority of the year.

But let’s be honest, I was only one doing any fighting in this relationship.

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Believe is one of those airy concepts like “Dream” or “Imagine.” It’s not quite as tangible as other words might be. “Trust” is a word you can sink your teeth into, but Believe…it’s more abstract. There are a lot of ways it can be applied.

That’s exactly what this year is gonna be about. What exactly do I believe? What do I believe about myself? What do I believe about the world? What do I believe are the best practices from a political standpoint? And how does my belief in faith translate to my daily life?

This is a big one, guys. You know how you never pray for patience because if you do God’s gonna throw something or someone at you that will force you to BE patient? This feels like that kind of mine field. Figuring out my core beliefs could take me anywhere.

The Liz of 2016 wasn’t ready for that kind of adventure. The Liz of 2016 wasn’t ready for that kind of challenge. The Liz of 2016 was merely treading water. But no more!

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I hope you’re ready to share in this journey with me. And I hope you choose a word that will represent your year. If you decide to give up on resolving to change, then share your word in the comments below and I will do my best to encourage you this year.

What I’ve learned most from 2016 is that community and encouragement are more important than ever. There are way too many things in this world, in this country that will divide us if we let them. The way we speak, the words we say, the colors of our skin, the religions that we practice. That’s why we have to find common ground. The fact that we are all flawed human beings is a great place to start!!!

Have a Happy New Year and know that I BELIEVE in you!

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Yes…YOU!

Unrealistic Friendspecations

Unrealistic Expectations from Friends TV show blog nerd

As a single, 30-something who was living in New York until a short time ago, I relate to the beloved TV show, Friends, on so many levels. Too many to count. There is no show that means so much to me and has influenced my life the way Friends has (with Seinfeld coming in at a close second.)

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I didn’t watch Friends when it first aired in 1994. I was only 12 and my parents did not find it appropriate viewing material for a 12 year old girl. They were right, of course. But that didn’t keep me from wanting to watch it and it certainly didn’t keep me from tuning in the minute I was old enough and watching it till it ended in 2004, when I was a junior in college.

Looking back, I now know that it played a huge part in my eventual move to the big city. The entire first year I lived in New York felt like a dream, like I was in an episode of Friends. I’d see a street sign or a coffee shop and dream of Central Perk and the 6 most quotable characters in the history of TV. Tell me you don’t say this in Chandler’s voice when you read it “Could I BE wearing any more clothes?” Well, Joey doing Chandler’s voice, but I’ll bet you knew that too.

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As much as Friends will always have that place in my heart and that finale will continue to make me cry even after I’ve seen it dozens of times, I do think that Monica, Ross, Joey, Chandler, Phoebe and Rachel created some unprecedented expectations of what friendship could look like, but usually doesn’t. Where most shows up to that point (again, besides Seinfeld) were about family units or couples getting together, Friends was something altogether different. A set of 6 inseparable Friends who created a family away from family. They did everything together and remained connected for 10+ years (we know they are still together in TV land somewhere.)

Think of all the Christmases and Thanksgivings they spent, not with their nuclear families, but with each other. Think of their trips to Vegas, Barbados and London. The jobs that were forgotten the minute something came up. The family that was forgotten in lieu of the family unit that was created in New York City. Shared life stage and values bonded them in a way that has just never been seen since Friends left the small screen. How I Met Your Mother touches on those element and at times feels similar, but it doesn’t manage to touch the level of nostalgia and love that people (and I) have for Friends.

At the same time, what was created between the 6 of them is as unattainable in real life as a Ross and Rachel friendlationship is. People don’t drop everything to go to Barbados with you, much less for a work conference they have no interest in. You’d be lucky to have one or two good friends show up at your destination wedding, much less the whole pack (minus a pregnant Phoebe.)

I can’t even get some of my friends on Skype most days, much less entice them away from their families, their jobs and their lives to come play with me at Disney. It’s less a complaint and more a realization that real life is just that much harder sometimes, than an episode of Friends (realization may be a little strong.)

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I miss what I found in New York and the brief moment that I grasped onto what it was like to have capital F, Friends. A group of people who were pursuing things the way I was. People who were bonded together in the face of a strange, transient city like New York.

Sure, we didn’t drop everything for each other, every single day. And because New York is so expensive, we all really did have to work most of the time, making it very difficult impossible to sit around in a coffee shop all day, talking about relationships and about our feelings. It just didn’t happen. That’s a beautiful dream that only can live in TV land.

But I think that’s what made Friends so popular and such a strong show with staying power. That kind of Friendship is what we all hope to find. The kind that can last 10+ years and weather being on a break and children and marriages and stuff. When you find that kind of capital F, Friend…hold onto them and never let them go!!

And now…my favorite Friend, Chandler:

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Quality over Quantity

Pick your friend's nose E Cards friendship blog post

Think back to when you were in the 2nd grade. How many friends did you have? If you’re a social butterfly like me, then you had lots of friends. I knew practically everyone in the 2nd grade at my little, country elementary school and they all knew me. I was the one who was always on the play ground holding court and making sure everyone had room on the jungle gym. If you can’t get along on the jungle gym then there’s no hope for you in the halls of a school. I tried very hard to make people feel welcome and accepted, which lead to my bevy of friends.

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Photo: Unsplash.com by Daniel Ruyter

Flash forward to high school and gym time was an entirely different story. Not only do jungle gyms disappear in 6th grade (sadly) but so did my popularity. In 6th grade I began to show signs of becoming awkwardly tall and awkward in personality. The quirks that set you apart and make you cool when you’re little, immediately are seen as weird when you hit middle school. It’s all about homogeny and I wasn’t good at that game. So, I had a couple friends that were my besties, but that was really it. All the awkwardness of middle school was only exacerbated by age and my entrance into high school. And to some degree it continued into college.

The older I got the smaller my pool of friends became. In my head, I still had this picture of me on the jungle gym surrounded by all kinds of people, all kinds of friends. The friends that will get your back in a fight. The friends that will tell you it’s stupid to fight. The friends that started the fight. The friends who are fighting you. The friends on the sidelines cheering you on. I’m the kind of girl that cherishes all the friends. The more the merry.

So, to have a handful still throws me sometimes. I feel like I’m doing something wrong if I invite my friends to my party and 4 people show up. It doesn’t diminish the importance of those 4 friends, it’s just that sometimes my head doesn’t reconcile itself to my present reality. It may sound juvenile or silly, but what it really is, is completely honest. I have a hard time with reality. Especially when I paint really gorgeous thoughts and ideas in my head. Why wouldn’t I want to spend more time up there?

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Photo: Unsplash.com by Brooke Cagle

See, in my head, it’s easy to be friends with people, but in reality it is difficult to be a friend and have friends sometimes. Especially when most of my besties are far, far away. There are times when I think that I’d make a better cave person than a friend. I want so desperately to do life with people that I care about, that I forget that there are people who don’t want to do life with me back. It’s still a new concept for me, hopeless optimist that I am. But it has become part of my present reality. A decidedly painful reality.

I get it. We all have one life to live and we have to make choices about who gets our time. Time is very important to me, so I understand spending it well. I guess the thought that I would be someone undeserving of a person’s time and energy is just so baffling, because I find myself occasionally delightful at best and moderately tolerable at worst. I hope that doesn’t sound narcissistic. It’s just that I spent all those awkward teen and college years trying to be anyone else. And I’ve finally accepted that I’m a pretty neat person. So I don’t apologize for liking myself after all this time. Liking yourself is a gift!

With that in mind, I want to give the time that is allotted to me to those individuals who enhance my life’s journey. And what I’ve learned is that quantity does not matter. Who cares how many friends you have? What matters is who will show up when you need them the most. The quality of friendship far outweighs the latter.

I am blessed to count on my hands a number of people who would drop everything to take my call. And who I would do the same for. I hate to make it sound harsh and I truly hate adulting. While cutting out the chaff may be difficult, it is a vitally important step in the process of growing up.

That’s not to say that I don’t still sometimes wish I was back on the jungle gym where things were easy and you became friends with someone simply because you were both wearing the same color…it’s just not physically true anymore. And I don’t have time for the fair-weather friends of the world. What happens when the storm comes? Who’s holding the umbrella with you? That’s the friend I want in my corner. It’s the kind of friend I hope that I am to my quality handful.

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Photo: Unsplash.com by Pavel Badrtdinov

You’d think that social media would help immensely with this friendship problem, but it only muddies the waters. It only creates a false sense  of closeness with people who let go of you a long time ago and you just forgot to delete from your contact list. So, gentle reader, choose quality over quantity. You can pick your friends and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose…unless they’re a quality friend, then they’ll probably pick your nose right back!

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Photo: SomeEcards.com

Battle of the Darcy’s

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As Valentine’s Day approaches, I wanted to take a look at one of the most romantic figures in all of literature…Mr. Darcy himself. I’m hard pressed to find anyone that matches up to this paragon of moral fiber. So instead of pitting people against him. I’ll pit him against himself and share some of my favorite Darcy’s with you.

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Graphic made by Mint Afternoon from ScoutMob

I admit, it was hard to rank them, if only because everyone who I’ve seen take on the role has brought something delightful and fully their own to the great visage of Mr. Darcy. And has only managed to cement my love of Darcy with each and every scene. From movies to television mini series to the You Tube phenomenon. Here are the Darcy’s I know and love. Let me introduce…

#1: Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy

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No one more embodies the qualities that I look for in a Darcy, than Mr. Colin Firth from the BBC mini series version of Pride and Prejudice. These days when I read the book over and over again, it is Firth’s face that I picture offering Elizabeth his hand in marriage. It’s Firth that saves poor Lydia’s reputation from the evil clutches of George Wickham and it is Firth that comes to Elizabeth again and asks if her heart has changed towards him. He is THE Darcy for me. So he deserves his place at the top! I dare you to defy this!

#2: Colin Firth as Mark Darcy

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Is it any wonder that when Helen Fielding wrote Bridget Jones’ Diary she was inspired by Colin Firth’s Mr. Darcy as the hero of her story. BJD is a modern adaptation of Pride and Prejudice (for those of you who didn’t know.) And in casting Fielding’s homage to the original Mr. Darcy, who better than the original Mr. Darcy. Enter Colin Firth…again! For all the reasons that he makes a truly great Darcy, not only in a period drama, but in modern times, I refer you back to point #1!

#3: Sir Lawrence Olivier as Mr. Darcy

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Next up is the classic, the incomparable (I know, I am in fact comparing him) Sir Lawrence Olivier. This 1940 version of Pride and Prejudice was actually my first introduction to the Jane Austen story. (I admit I never read the book when I was supposed to in high school.) One night this treasure came on TCM (my favorite channel in college) and I was enchanted. Starring Lawrence Olivier as Mr. Darcy and Greer Garson as Elizabeth Bennet, it was the first time I gave Pride and Prejudice a real chance. And yes, you read that right, it wasn’t until college that I truly fell in love. And it was Sir Lawrence who did the wooing. This adaptation actually strays from the book in many places. Lady Catherine comes to like Elizabeth and even recommends her to Darcy. We never even see Georgiana Darcy. And the costumes are not representative of the correct time period. But it just goes to show that sometimes accuracy does not always entreat the deepest of loves. This film sparked my love of all things Austen, which is probably why Olivier holds so high a placement on this list. I won’t apologize for it. He belongs here. And I still have a copy of this movie on VHS to prove my love!

#4: Daniel Vincent Gordh as William Darcy

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As each adaptation is released and spun in a new direction, I find brand new ways to love this age old story. Enter The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. A You Tube web series that in fact inspired me to try my hand at telling my own stories through the use of a web series. Lizzie Bennet is a grad student in mass communication and starts a vlog. Charlotte Lu, her best friend, helps her shoot and edit the videos. William Darcy is the haughty owner of Pemberley Digital, a media company that Lizzie eventually visits as part of her study. Darcy doesn’t even get screen time till Episode 59. The viewer relies on Lizzie’s retelling and reenacting of events and is the better for it, because Ashley Clements’ Lizzie Bennet is definitely one of my all time favorites. Will Darcy is significantly more hipster than his predecessors, but the result is simply delightful.

#5: Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy

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While Macfadyen makes a very good Darcy, I have so many issues with this version of Pride and Prejudice. The line “Well then, your hands are cold” said by Elizabeth Bennet after Darcy confesses his love a second time, irks me to no end! And his declaration of “I love-I love-I love you”… BLECK! Even Mr. Bingley telling Jane Bennet that he’s “been an unmitigated and comprehensive ass” rubs me the wrong way. But Macfadyen makes so high an entry on my list, not based on the merit of the entire film, but on his performance as Darcy alone. There is a moment when he and Elizabeth are flirting about Lizzie’s proficiency at piano and he smiles at her…that smile alone earns him a high ranking! But the rest of his performance is sufficiently Darcy-esque. And it should be noted that I also really enjoy Kiera Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet, it’s just the other liberties that grate.

#6:  Martin Henderson as Will Darcy

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I have such a soft spot for this Bollywood adaptation, Bride and Prejudice. The flourishing musical numbers alone sold me on it. But the way they weaved the story into the culture of India’s Bollywood is effortless and maintains the integrity of the original work. Martin Henderson’s Will Darcy is appropriately charming at times, but can also play a snobbish prig as well. His chemistry with Aishwayra Rai’s Lalita Bakshi is straight out of an Austen novel and it just works!

#7: Matthew Rhys as Mr. Darcy

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This Darcy is a newer entry for me. I never read the P.D. James novel, Death Comes to Pemberley (mystery novels are more my mother’s speed.) But I can never seem to pass on an adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. So when Netflix suggested that I watch it, I did! And boy am I glad that my Netflix knows me so well (scarily well!) Matthew Rhys has everything one could want in a classic Darcy. This PBS Masterpiece mini series is a continuation of the story of P+P. Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam have a son and are living in marital bliss, until there’s a murder at Pemberley and the infamous George Wickham is a suspect. Darcy starts to question everything, including his devotion to his beloved Elizabeth. I have to tell you, this is a sexier Pemberley than Austen lovers are used to. There’s even some Darcy and Elizabeth make-up sexy times. Didn’t see that one coming! If you haven’t seen this movie…head to your nearest Netflix and do it!

#8: Sam Riley as Mr. Darcy

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I already shared all my thoughts about Pride and Prejudice and Zombies earlier this week. (Click Here) But I’ll reiterate the merits of Sam Riley’s hardened, zombie-killing Darcy. He is prejudiced. He is prideful. He is a charming bad ass!! Look at that gif…oh the brooding!! He has what it takes to earn the Darcy title. He is only so far down on the list because all of his Darcy predecessors stole my heart first. Else, I’d say he definitely deserves higher placement. There just isn’t any room. Sorry, Sam!

#9: Elliot Cowan as Mr. Darcy

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Enter Elliot Cowan’s Mr. Darcy in the mini series, Lost in Austen. Cowan is also an excellent Darcy, but again…he suffers the number 9 spot because everyone else beat him to it. But excuse me…there is an homage to Colin Firth’s Darcy that cannot go unmentioned. When Amanda Price trades places with Elizabeth Bennet and finds herself smack in the middle of a story she has grown up knowing, watching and loving, she takes it upon herself to try and keep the characters true to their story lines. And even interjects some deliciousness here and there. Including this moment where Mr. Darcy emerges from the water (after Price told him he had to jump in and do this to appease her.) YUM!

#10: David Rintoul as Mr. Darcy

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Ah! Poor David Rintoul. Here he is rounding out the end of my list. David is an excellent Darcy, as Darcy’s go. What he suffers from is a very slow paced, 1980’s version of Pride and Prejudice that I find much harder to watch then every other adaptation on this list. Rintoul has all the appropriate airs and looks darn good in a top hat and ascot, if I do say so myself. But this is not a version that I pop in on sick days. In fact, rewatching it for this list was mildly painful and I didn’t make it through the whole thing…just skipped to the good parts. If you don’t know what the good parts are, then you have homework to do and better get to it!

There you have it. My comprehensive list of Darcy’s. I’ve got a crush on all of them, but how about you?

Ladies, which Darcy floats your Valentine’s boat?

Men, is there a Miss Bennet that you prefer above all others? One of these days I’ll get around to ranking the Elizabeth Bennets of the small and silver screens.

In the meantime, don’t miss Friday’s #NerdySlumberParty. We are talking all about crushes! Which means Darcy will definitely have to be mentioned! 😉

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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies?

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Seth Grahame Smith books

If you are a die hard Jane Austen fan, like me, then perhaps you are or were skeptical about the merits of a book that adds blood, gore and the undead into the prim and proper world of Austen’s Regency Era story. Guess what…the resulting work is simply astoundingly fun! A match made in heaven or rather…hell!!

Let me assure you…the movie is no less awesome than the book! I was worried that the film adaptation might skimp on the story and go straight for the gory, but the sweeping romance of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet’s love story was not sacrificed.

The Highlights

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies movie blog

Mr. Darcy

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I was also skeptical about Sam Riley’s, Mr. Darcy. He does not have the countenance that I have come to expect from my Darcy’s. But I have to tell you on the scale from Colin Firth to David Rintoul…I’d place Riley above below Matthew Rhys, but above Elliot Cowan. If only because I’ve never met a Darcy I didn’t like and there are 10, in my estimation, that deserve ranking. Sam Riley definitely gave a solid Darcy performance and upon multiple viewings, I expect him to rise in esteem. The curious thing to me was the timber of his voice. It had a gravelly quality to it that at first I did not care for. But given the dark nature of the zombie apocalypse it started to fit in better than a more refined English accent. All in all, a very charming addition to the Darcy family.

Elizabeth Bennet

Lily James Elizabeth Bennet Pride and Prejudice and Zombies movie blog

As high as my standards are for Mr. Darcy, they are even higher for the second oldest Bennet sister. Perhaps it’s because I identify so closely with her that I hold her in such high and lofty esteem. Lily James has everything that an Elizabeth Bennet should have. A love of longs walks, a ready wit and oh yeah, she kicks serious zombie ass…a quality I never knew I always wanted in Elizabeth Bennet. Her chemistry with Sam Riley is tangible. Especially in the famous proposal scene, where Mr. Darcy makes his love and his reservations about their match known. Let’s just say Elizabeth, a trained warrior, doesn’t take the insult of his proposal lightly and more than just verbal sparring ensues.

Mr. Collins

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It’s the first time I was ever rooting for Mr. Collins, even if just slightly. The incomparable Matt Smith enters the scene as the silly, ridiculous, irreverent Mr. Collins. But where his predecessors have played the role with nauseating smarm, Smith manages to make Collins seem charming (the only other Collins who achieved a level of charm is Maxwell Glick’s Ricky Collins from the You Tube sensation The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.) It probably helps that I’m incredibly biased towards loving all things Matt Smith, seeing as he is Doctor Who and all! He will always get my vote. I was happy that Charlotte Lucas got to have such a delightful match, though Charlotte herself in this film is quite forgettable.

Lady Catherine de Bourgh

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I cannot go further without mentioning another powerhouse in the world of geeky fandom. Lena Headey, Cersei Lanister herself, rounds out this cast as Mr. Collin’s benevolent patroness, the Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Except once again, with delightful twists in store for the fan of this classic story. Lady Catherine is no mere aristocrat sitting on her laurels and passing judgement on the Misses Bennet. She is a hardened warrior who has slayed hoards of zombies and even has an eye patch to show for it (a patch used for necessity, not vanity.) When she confronts Elizabeth about whether or not Darcy has made her an offer of marriage, she does more than ask a few tough questions.

The rest of the players are aptly cast, though widely forgettable. Except for the nefarious Mr. George Wickham who is played by the very charming Jack Huston. So charming, in fact, that I was hoping Wickham would end up being as delightful as the man who played him. Alas, Wickham remains a scoundrel in this adaptation as with all the others.

The Walking unDead

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As a fan of all things zombie and all things Jane Austen…my standards on both sides are always very high. I equally expect my romance to be sweeping and my head shots to be brutal. So I am happy to say that I was as satisfied with the portrayal of these beloved characters as I was with the zombie effects. The shots were so resounding that I could feel them in my chest. The zombies were believable…the blood and guts visceral. And the action was fast paced and hard-hitting. It’s as much an action movie as it is a romance. What better way to get boys to appreciate the wonderful world of Austen…just add zombies!

All in all, a really fun movie. I watched the entire thing with a gigantic smile on my face. But, reader… I did not walk away unscathed…

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Thanks to Lootcrate for infecting me with the zombie virus!!

The Redemption of Kylo Ren

The question on everyone’s mind lately… “Is Kylo Ren Redeemable?” or as my guest blogger Michael Burgett queried yesterday: “Will Kylo Ren Be Redeemed?” If that question is not on your mind, then you just haven’t seen Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens enough! Go watch it again and then we can talk!

Reader, you know me by now. I’ve shared many an embarrassing story with you. I’ve told you about my dates and about my family and about my hopes and my dreams. I believe that you truly know me, in all my pie-in-the-sky optimism. So, of course, my answer to both the aforementioned questions would be yes. Yes, Kylo is redeemable and yes, he will be redeemed. In fact, I’d go further and say it is merely a matter of time till he is redeemed. And it is one scene in particular that gives me this hope for the son of Han Solo to find his way back to the Light.

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Han is leaving the Rebel base to go destroy Starkiller and confront his son who has turned so far from the path that Han, Leia and Luke had wanted for him. Leia and Han share a tender moment of goodbye, not knowing that it would be their last moment together. Leia says to Han “there is Light in him.” And as we know, this is a strong theme in the Star Wars universe. The presence of Light is more than just a touch of the good side…it is hope. Padme felt the Light in Anakin. Luke felt the Light in Darth Vader. That pull to the Light is a powerful feeling.

Often it is the Dark side that is given all the strength of power. And in the past we have witnessed the pull from the Light to the Dark in Anakin’s journey. Kylo’s journey, for us, starts out in the Dark with that sliver of Light still shining inside him. Light that he is desperate to eradicate and turn from.

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Now, I know what you’re thinking. All that Light talk happened before Kylo kills his own father, our beloved Han Solo. Tell me something…does one deplorable act completely erase your humanity? Some might say yes, but I say no. (It’s a different story when it comes to the Emperor. Ask me about it sometime!) Kylo is still Leia’s son. And in the end if when Kylo comes back to the Light side, he will have to fully feel his actions on Starkiller base. The Dark side allows you to cloud your true feelings and boil them down into pure anger. But as any person who has experienced anger knows, there’s usually something else going on underneath it. And Supreme Commander Snoke knows this. He is pulling Kylo’s strings the way Emperor Palpatine pulled Anakin’s. The Dark side is manipulation and lies.

Now, I really like the point that Michael in his article yesterday. If this were just a villain, like Darth Vader was back in 1977, then we wouldn’t be having this argument. We don’t argue whether Hannibal Lecter will be redeemed or if Lord Voldemort will come back to the side of good wizardry in the end. But in 1983, when Return of the Jedi was released, George Lucas taught us that even a bad guy as bad as Darth Vader himself could find redemption and bring balance to the Force. Let’s not forget that lesson just because Kylo Ren has no prophecy to bring about his redemption.

We, the viewer, had no idea what history lay underneath Vader’s mask till the prequels came out in 1999. With Kylo, we know a little of his history, but none of his motivation. Why did he turn? What drew him to the Darkness? What lies about Darth Vader’s legacy has he been told? And if he finds out the truth about The Chosen One, will that make a difference?

All will be revealed in due time, reader. We may have to wait a few more months than we want to with Episode VIII being pushed from May 2017 to December 2017. But think of how happy your Star Wars friends will be to have another onslaught of delicious merchandise to acquire that Christmas. It’ll be so easy to shop! So in the end, the wait is worth it. And we can continue our speculation up until the very day when the truth is shared with us.

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In the meantime, I invite you to come join my Nerd in the City book club on Goodreads. So much delicious Star Wars Expanded Universe reading material to dive into and dissect!! Do not miss out!