Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, February 19, 2018

Black Panther steps into the spotlight for a new age of superheroes

One of the most anticipated films of this year has turned out to be a roaring success and not just based on the record breaking box office totals.

 Black Panther has been receiving positive reviews from audiences and critics alike as massively as seats have been filled in movie theaters around the country and across the globe. My sister and I started our cinematic new year off with Black Panther at a matinee showing that was next to the last one sold out that day.

It's rare for a matinee screening to be sold out that rapidly, even for big ticket fare like the Star Wars franchise, so we knew right away what a major deal we were walking into here. My sis hadn't even seen Captain America:Civil War(which introduced Black Panther into the current Marvel Cinematic Universe) but caught on quick to the plot line unfolding before us.

With out giving out any major spoilers, here is the basic story: upon the death of his father, Prince T'challa(Chadwick Boseman) returns home to the hidden African nation of Wakanda to ascend the throne.

 To outsiders, Wakanda is simply a small country of farmers but thanks to the power of vibranium,a metal that also was used to create Captain America's shield, their technology is far ahead of the rest of the world. It's a place that has never known Western colonialism nor suffered under foreign oppression.

Keeping Wakanda safe is T'challa's main priority and with the help of his scientist sister Shuri(Letitia Wright) and his protective queen mother Ramonda(Angela Basset), along with former love interest and spy Nakia(Lupita Nyong'o), plus general of the royal female guard known as the Dora Milaje, Okoye(Danai Gurira), he goes forth to hunt down an old enemy.

That prior foe Ulysses Claue(Andy Serkis) unexpectedly leads them to a newer and possibly greater enemy, Erik "Killmonger" Stevens(Michael B. Jordan). Killmonger has a secret connection to Wakanda and plans to use their advanced weapons for his own revenge based agenda. That's all you really need to know beforehand to enjoy the action packed and emotionally charged pace of the movie. For a movie that runs a little over two hours, the steady beat of the plot points makes that time seem short:

There are so many good things about this movie that it's hard to know where to start: the beautiful looks of the settings,especially in Wakanda, and vibrant costumes, the kinetic energy between the characters, the excellent character development given to Killmonger( Michael B. Jordan having worked with director Ryan Coogler in prior films such as Creed made all the difference).

I guess for me, having so many strong female characters was my personal favorite. Yes, they were working for a male heir to the throne but out of dedication to higher principles rather than merely having a man in charge.

At one point,(semi-spoiler) there's even a brief conversation between two of the ladies about whether or not to support a new regime due to who's in charge and frankly, I wondered if this kind of debate is going on in real life higher offices because if it's not, it should be and with as much candor as this fictional discussion had.

Anyway, my favorite of the female characters was Oyoke, a woman who brooks no nonsense in any of the situations thrown her way and her loyalty is as fierce as her battle stance is at any given moment. I would love to see Oyoke get a solo movie somewhere down the line and not just an appearance in the next Avengers film. Perhaps that may happen, we shall see:

One of the best things about Black Panther is that it's opening the door to more diverse representation in mainstream genre films and proving that audiences will most definitely come.

I know some people out there are already unhappy about that and to them I say "You don't know the true nature of fantasy". A major pillar of any fantasy/scifi forum, whether it's film,book or television, is that sociopolitical subjects can be showcased in a format that allows everyone to examine them more objectively.

From the space alien/race relations metaphors on the original Star Trek TV series to the crisis based themes found in Lord of the Rings, fantasy in particular has reflected the conflicts of the culture at hand. Rather that simply be escapist entertainment(which is not a bad thing when needed), solid fantasy fare has much more to say about what's going on around us.

Hollywood needs to embrace this fully instead of shying away, as they often do. I wish that DC Comics would add more of this to their movie line-up(the only exception so far has been Wonder Woman) but their CW shows have caught up better with the times.

 On series such as Supergirl, The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow, we have plenty of smartly written female leads, interracial relationships(both platonic and romantic),multicultural characters given true depth and gay/bisexual representation,all of which enhances each series and the characters involved.

The newest addition to this small screen universe is Black Lightning, a show that is grounded in real world issues as much as Black Panther is and also a wonderful comic book adaptation being well respected and appreciated. This is the wave of the future,folks, let us catch it in the here and now!:

Hopefully, Black Panther is a sign of better movies to come and not a one and done deal. Our fictional heroes need to be relevant and relatable in order to properly resonate with audiences of all ages and backgrounds.

This movie is amazingly good,plus the soundtrack is full of great tunes(many of which are by Kendrick Lamar and friends). I honestly can't find any fault with this and will even admit that Black Panther had a tighter third act than Wonder Woman did(and I adore WW!).

If you have the chance to see this in theaters, take it, I beg of you. Black Panther is both high quality and thoughtful entertainment, which is what we deserve from Hollywood and should demand more often. Having more great superheroes to look forward to can help us get through the tough times ahead and bring us all together in a way that clearly our real world leaders can't or won't:

Friday, February 16, 2018

Treating myself to some post-Valentine romantic reads

Yes, Valentine's Day has come and gone but that doesn't mean you have to tuck away those romance themed novels until next year. If anything, a good love story is truly soothing for those moments of real world stress(which we are sadly experiencing more and more of these days).

Since my Valentine's Day plans were limited, due to a sprained knee(which is getting much better,thankfully), I chose to treat myself to a little online shopping for a few fictional literary treats. While one of the titles is actually a Blogging For Books request, all three of my picks do have a romantic theme yet each of them differ in style as well as substance:

THE LADIES OF IVY COTTAGE: This second entry in Julie Klassen's new series focuses on Rachel, an impoverished gentlewoman who moves in with her friend Mercy Grove,who runs a private girls' school. Rachel takes a teaching position at Mercy's college but all too soon, it's clear that she is not cut out for the job.

However, Rachel did inherit her father's massive book collection and is encouraged to start a circulating library in the village. While that notion does please her, a mystery crops up as she sorts through the books and Rachel finds herself relying upon the man who inadvertently caused her financial distress for assistance in this matter, with perhaps a promise of love surprising them both.

Despite the old fashioned setting of Klassen's stories, she does feature heroines who are seeking to be more than just wives and mothers(although she doesn't rule that option out at all). While her leading ladies do want to find true love, they also want to be appreciated as capable women on their own merits as well:

THE WEDDING DATE: This debut novel by Jasmine Guillory has been getting a lot of good buzz and it sounds like smart and savvy romcom fun.

Alexa and Drew have quite the meet-cute as the two of them become trapped in an elevator at the same San Francisco hotel. While Alexa was simply on her way to a girlfriends only party, Drew is expected to attend a wedding and is without a plus one.

She agrees to help him out of this tricky social situation and their one time only date slowly yet surely starts to turn into something much more.  With both of them having careers that allows them limited free time on the weekends to date and each of them having very different social circles, this modern love may not be as easy as their first "date" was to arrange.

I am so looking forward to checking out this delightful book and hope that it will be the first of many wonderful reading engagements with Jasmine Guillory. Finding a new author to enjoy is harder than going on a blind date, if you ask me:

WHITE FUR: Jardine Libaire's novel has several elements to juggle, starting with the story being set in Manhattan during the latter half of the 1980s.

When Yale student Jamey meets up with working class Elise, their connection is instantly physical and leads them both down an emotional path which separates each one from their friends and family. Their passion is strong enough to keep them together but how long can that flame stay lit before it burns them both out?

This book is being touted as a sexy,modern Romeo and Juliet, due in part to the intricate writing style of the author, and that certainly sounds intriguing.  It would be sweet to savor a well heated romance, indeed:

Different degrees of romance, to be sure, but each of these books has much to offer in that category. Granted, I'm not the biggest romance reader, or the most knowledgeable, yet the one love that I completely do understand is of books and for that, I will always swipe right:

Monday, February 12, 2018

Pairing up some Austen inspired media treats for Valentine's Day

With Valentine's Day not too far off, the rush to get gifts can be hectic and in some cases, not always applicable to those who can't enjoy the traditional candy and flowers standard.

To that end, I say, why not do a book and a movie instead? Both are gifts that keep on giving and usually in good supply this time of year. Whether you're thinking of a special someone or just looking to treat yourself, pairing up a nice novel with a fun film can be great shopping.

Since Jane Austen tends to be extra popular for this holiday, I have matched up a trio of Austen inspired books and movies to provide a nice example of where your Valentine's present picks can lead to.

 First up is Curtis Sittenfeld's Eligible, her modern day take on Pride & Prejudice, set in Cincinnati,Ohio with a Lizzy Bennet that's in her early forties, a Bingley who was once the lead on a reality dating show and Mr. Darcy as a top surgeon whose personality appears to be as cold as his scalpel.

I happen to be rereading this book at the moment(just had to buy myself a paperback copy after enjoying the library loan hardcover) and it is fast paced,witty and rather realistically romantic.

My match for Eligible would be the film adaptation of Karen Joy Fowler's The Jane Austen Book Club, which may sound strange yet please do hear me out on this choice.

Both books are fine plays on the Jane Austen mystique and do share a lot in common. Each one has heroines who are ladies of a mature age dealing with real world as well as emotional issues, with leading men that may or may not be good for them at first. Also, The Jane Austen Book Club has it's own version of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, in the form of stubborn dog breeder Jocelyn and sweet natured science fiction fan Grigg and unless we get a movie version of Eligible, will make for very fine stand-ins in this regard:

Next up is The Jane Austen Project by Kathleen A. Flynn, in which a pair of unlikely time travelers journey to the Regency period in order to make the acquaintance of the legendary writer herself.

Their mission goal is to find those lost letters of Jane's(before her sister Cassandra burns them after her sibling's demise),along with the completed manuscript of The Watsons and bring them back to the future.

However, for Rachel and Liam(posing as brother and sister), things become more complicated than either of them expected. On top of that, romance pops up in a most inconvenient manner for themselves and their mission.

The best movie match-up for this story is the British miniseries Lost In Austen, where modern day Londoner Amanda Price finds herself literally transported to the bookish realm of P&P.

Reluctantly standing in for Lizzy Bennet, Amanda does her best to keep the central story line on track yet plot points do start to go off course in spite of her efforts. Yes, romance with Darcy does happen but that's not the only love affair that takes a very different direction from what was written:

For our last hook-up, we begin with The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay. Two good friends, Mary and Isabel, decide to take a well earned break from their lives by visiting a Jane Austen themed English estate in the city of Bath.

While their trip proves to be fun, Mary becomes concerned when Isabel seems to be blurring the line between play acting and reality. To add more confusion to the mix, Mary's boss Nathan stops in to offer his assistance both personally and professionally to the situation.

Such a story brings to mind Austenland(based on the Shannon Hale novel) and while the movie is a bit more adult natured than Reay's book is, both do deal with the notion that it is possible to enjoy too much of a good thing and that includes Jane Austen:

If you do go the Austen route this Valentine's Day, I wish you much joy and if your preference is for original recipe than a remix version, that's a grand book and movie combo in and of itself. Romance and Jane Austen do go hand in hand, especially for those willing to take a chance there:

Friday, February 09, 2018

Walking those first steps towards the Dark Tower for some Series-ous Reading 2

In launching a new round of my Series-ous Reading challenge, I felt it best to keep one set of books as the main focus this time out.

Since I happened upon a good number of titles from Stephen King's The Dark Tower saga at a local rummage sale last spring, that certainly did seem to be a sign to try and go down that particular literary road.

I did read the first two volumes in the series,The Gunslinger and The Drawing of the Three, years ago but didn't get too far with the rest of the books. With the series now complete, revisiting those two fantasy novels was necessary to get this party truly started.

The Gunslinger isn't exactly a novel; more of a collection of interconnected stories that feature our reluctant hero,Roland, the last warrior of his kind in pursuit of the ultimate enemy, the man in black.

The first sections of the book have the feel of a classic spaghetti western, as they use to call them, with Roland telling a stranger who gives him food and shelter for the night of his time in the remote town of Tull.

There, he takes up with lonely bartender Allie while a recently revived from the dead man delivers a message from Roland's adversary(whose dark magic brought him back) and another grim messenger awaits him, with the intent to set a deadly trap for Roland to avoid or fall into.

Before Roland is ready to take up his quest again, bullets do fly fast and furious and it's not hard to see why one of the early inspirations for the character was Clint Eastwood's The Man With No Name:

However, that cold cinematic figure is not enough to define Roland. His relationship with Jake, the young boy from a not too distant Earth, slowly yet surely reveals the true heart beneath the duty bound fighter.

Their bond is not an easily developed one as Roland knows that Jake was tossed into his path as a temptation to stray from his goal and the boy is all too aware of that fact as well. During their time together, Roland and Jake share moments of frustration and anger towards one another yet neither can truly quit the other as the journey goes on.

By the time a hard choice has to be made,  a sad yet mutual understanding is held between them and while this is not the last emotional connection that Roland will make along the way, the first cut is the deepest indeed:

Towards the end of The Gunslinger, you really do get a fuller sense of the mythos that King is building here,especially when Roland does his dealings with the Oracle in the Mountains(whose prophecies do a fair amount of table setting for what's to come).

That mix of many worlds is at the heart of the whole Tower quest, which gets quite the jump start in The Drawing of the Three as Roland must call forth a new band of traveling companions. At the moment, I'm at the part with Eddie Dean, a man on a bad mission who is just as surprised as anyone to be summoned for a world saving deal like this.

Eddie is in a long line of unlikely allies,some of whom begin as bad guys(Spike in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series, for instance) or just less than inclined to be on the side of the angels(Captain Cold's character arch in the Arrowverse).

 Yet, in the right circumstances, such a person can be the right one to have by your side when the fight becomes the worse. Granted, I haven't watched The Walking Dead in a good long while but a guy like Eddie Dean, criminal junkie, could be just as reliable as Darryl Dixon is on that dark journey as well:

Well, my return to the road that leads to The Dark Tower has gotten off to a decent start there and as the rest of the year moves on, my time with the books shall be well reflected. However, I will be making a couple of pit stops along the way, with the Poldark novels that I am also far behind in reading.

Hopefully, by the time that the next season of the PBS series arrives, I will be more in tune with the dealings of the Poldark family in print and that includes tackling Jeremy Poldark once my reading of TDOTT is at an end:

Monday, February 05, 2018

Recovering from a cold with a book haul or two

Like many a book lover, nothing will stop me from getting the book I want and that includes a bout of inclement weather that leads to a nasty head cold.

Some things are worth a little inconvenience,although I could do without the congestion.

Anyway, my main reason for making this latest library haul was to pick up a copy of Cheryl Strayed's Wild that was on hold for me. Yes, I know this book has been out for quite some time now(long enough to be adapted into a Reese Witherspoon movie and a plot point on Gilmore Girls:AYITL) but it feels like the right time for me to check it out.

Even with it's popular success, opinions are varied about this memoir in which Strayed chronicles her trek on the Pacific Crest Trail, a thousand mile journey that seasoned hikers consider daunting. As a means to clear her mind upon the death of her mother and other personal issues, that trip does sound a bit much yet if you think of it as a spirit quest of sorts(don't know if Strayed felt that way,just my own notion), this is certainly the physical and emotional challenge to take there.

I haven't seen the movie and will probably wait until I finish the book to watch it. I'm sure it's a fine adaptation but like Lorelai Gilmore, I'm a book person first,so it'll be better to experience Wild that way in the beginning:

Since I already had another library book on renewal(Lilac Girls) at home, Wild got paired up with Falling by Jane Green. I've been reading plenty of mystery/thriller lit lately and need something a touch lighter to sooth my spirits.

Falling's leading lady is Emma, an English woman who jumped the pond in order to pursue a high profile career in Manhattan. She makes another jump into a new life in Westport,CT, by choosing a beach rental house as the start of her home improvement business.

Fortunately for her, new neighbor Dominic happens to be eager to assist in rebuilding the house and interested in a little romance as well. Emma is drawn to him but resistant for many years, including not wanting to interfere with Dominic's tentative bond with his son Jesse. However, love may be able to smooth over those potential rough spots.

With Valentine's Day coming up, this sounds like a nice,relaxing read and Green does know her way around a solid romantic story structure. Yep, this definitely is the type of book to curl up with a warm cup of tea by:

Of course, a library trip is not enough to console my seasonal cold ridden self, which lead to buying a few literary items online.

Part of my current reading joy these days has been Melanie Benjamin's The Girls in the Picture, about the long term bond between movie queen Mary Pickford and ground breaking screenwriter/director Frances Marion. It's a smartly written and timely novel that really brings old school Hollywood to life.

Naturally, upon realizing that I have a new author's work to explore, I needed to own another one of her books and chose The Swans of Fifth Avenue as my next stop into Benjamin country. The swans in the title refer to a group of high society ladies in New York during the 1950s and 60s, lead by queen bee Babe Paley. Her preferred escort was Truman Capote, who eagerly took part in their social scene and exchanged many a confidence among this superficial circle of friends.

However, it was Paley who took the heat when Truman publishes a thinly veiled version of a hushed up scandal as a magazine story, causing several rifts and matters of trust to be shattered. This slice of socialite pie certainly does sound appetizing and more juicy than any dessert should be:

Also, this was a good opportunity to add another Miss Marple book to my small Agatha Christie collection and I went with The Body in the Library.

I've only read this story once,back in 2012 to be exact(thank you,Goodreads, for that date!) and even seen a TV adaptation of it. The plot is simple enough yet quite challenging as Miss Marple's dear friend Dolly Bantry is anxious to discover just how the dead body of an unknown young woman wound up in her home library.

The solution is not hard to reach at first but it's only the start of a greater mystery to be unfolded. This promises to make for an excellent reread(perhaps during Spring Into Horror this April?) and the stylish book lined cover art makes this ideal as a gift to reopen again and again:

Well, hopefully this cold will have run it's full course before the end of the week and I can relax with my books a bit more. It helps to think about the warm weather to come in the spring, along with a special new PBS series called The Great American Read. Now that's going to cause many new trips to the library and not just for me!:

Friday, February 02, 2018

Warmed up to a new year of reading due to a Winter's Respite

The first Seasons of Reading challenge of the year,Winter's Respite, is officially over and by finishing five out of the eight books that I had planned for this event, my success rate is pretty good there.

I might have been able to squeeze in another book before the end but it took longer than expected to get through The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan, which is not a bad thing.

Yes, the novel is clearly inspired by the regal romance of England's Prince William and Kate Middleton(and given more relevance these days with another British royal wedding on the way) yet these characters are not paper dolls for the authors to play with. They're fully thought out,relatable people that you connect with and want to follow on their emotional journey.

From their first meeting at Oxford to a friendship based on binge watching a cheesy supernatural show and then a secret relationship that unexpectedly goes public, American Rebecca "Bex" Porter and Nicholas Lyons, young heir to the English throne, are a charming couple without being picture perfect. They make mistakes and trust the wrong people(some of whom are blood relatives) at times and yet, manage to find their way towards each other.

Clearly, Cocks and Morgan did their homework and then some on the lifestyles of the royally connected as many of the details of acceptable regal behavior(including suitable wardrobe choices) are well featured. Also, the harsh toll that massive and truly invasive press coverage/brutal public opinion can take on someone, whether they be to the manor born or average person, is strongly displayed:

The Royal We,overall, is a love story and it's sweetly told, especially in those chapters when Nick and Bex are able to share a private moment together. The chemistry between them is sparkling with shades of true tenderness and desire.

Going into this book, I was hoping to have a bit of a Notting Hill feel to the story and The Royal We does have a good deal of that, with offbeat friends, the tricky nature of dating someone famous and seeking a path to true love despite everything else.  Even with the obvious differences, watching Notting Hill and reading The Royal We are an ideal pairing, much like tea and scones:

Speaking of media related reads, I did have a lot of with Daisy Goodwin's Victoria, which is based on the first season of the Brit imported series airing on PBS.

While it does focus more on the title queen and less on the subplots with the palace staff than the TV show does, we get much more personal insight into Victoria's conflicting inner emotions as she ascends the throne. More importantly, we get to see both sides of the growing bond between the new queen and her first prime minister, Lord Melbourne.

Victoria and her "Lord M" clearly had a connection that ,in another time and place,could have been a deeper romance. However, it was a love that wasn't meant to be and thanks to this companion novel, well worth reliving in print:

As I consider my TBR for this readathon, I went rather British in my selections(except for Stephen King) and have no regrets on that score as Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express was one of those high points.

As it was my first Poirot book, this introduction to the droll yet stylish detective made a solid impression with me. The experience of meeting such an iconic character in their original literary surroundings,rather than a cinematic counterpart, is one that deserves any reader's full attention and on that score, M. Poirot is a charmingly formidable fellow.

With his dapper mode of dress,fastidious nature and careful eye for detail, Poirot puts his powers of perception on full display here and while I still prefer the homespun keenness of Miss Marple, this was a suspense driven train ride that made every anxious mile a page turning pleasure:

My thanks to Michelle Miller for giving us all a good opportunity to start our reading year off right and I look forward to the next big event in the spring. In the meantime, I will keep up with Jane and the Prisoner of Wool House and Drawing of the Three(which is part of my year long reading challenge there) as well as enjoy other great books that fall into my path.

I also hope to enjoy some of the great movies coming out this year that are based on books(and that does include Black Panther,oh yes!) and will keep my fingers crossed for that switch to the silver screen to not be hopelessly lost in translation:

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Get ready for a Super Bowl of Reading!

This weekend, some serious Super Bowl celebration will be under way as viewing parties packed with food,friends and a good sized TV will make merry all the day and night long.

As one of those folks who are not into sports, I do wish everyone else invested in the big game a lot of fun and may your favorite team(for this particular Super Bowl) win.

However, to my like minded book lovers, I propose that each of us find our own special form of entertainment during this time by setting up a Super Bowl of Reading. It's very simple; pick a pair of books to read back-to-back in whatever genre you chose and judge for yourself which one is better.

You can do this with a friend or two, if you want, and you don't have to wait for the day of the actual Super Bowl to start. Just make next Monday your deadline,with the prize being reducing your TBR pile by two(or more, if things work out that way). I'll showcase three examples of literary match-ups that should make for great competitive reading indeed, just to get you all started:

FINAL GIRLS VS. THE CHALK MAN: These two thrillers have quite a bit in common, as both are debut outings(in FG's case, the first time for that pen name) with lead characters haunted by tragic events in their past which are coming back to threaten their present.

For Riley Sanger's Final Girls, it's Quincey Carpenter, one of a trio of women who survived horror movie like massacres and is now trying to lead a quiet life.

When news of the death of her fellow Final Girl Lisa proves to be under suspicious circumstances,along with the reappearance of the other FG Samantha, she begins to wonder if a new killer is out there hunting them all down. I'm reading this one at the moment and so far as the collective word of mouth has promised, it's a fast paced and engaging read.

The quick pace of FG ought to allow me to meet up with The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor before the end of the workday week. The leading man of that terror tale is Eddie, a mild mannered school teacher in a small English town.

The odd arrival of a note with a piece of chalk at his home brings back unwanted memories of when he was twelve years old back in 1986. Eddie and his boyhood friends found the body of a dead girl, with that discovery leading to more tragic results.

Now, in 2016, Eddie fears that those past errors are truly returning as a new body count begins along side the re entrance of an old pal that he hoped never to run into again. My hunch is that both of these books will make for fine page turning chills here but we shall see which one has more of that winning killer instinct indeed:

CLASSIC ADAPTATION SHOWDOWN: To get a head start on the spring TV season, there are a couple of time honored titles set to hit the small screen that make for great reading.

My personal favorite, Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, is scheduled for PBS Masterpiece in May, with the likes of Angela Landsbury and Emily Watson on board.

This tale of sisters has had many a film version/miniseries made from it,about as much as Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice(more on that in a moment) but any new take on such a heartfelt book as this is worth watching, not to mention a good excuse for rereading!

Meanwhile, Starz plans to air E.M. Forster's Howards End this April. Hayley Atwell will be starring as Margaret Schlegel, who the Wilcox family suspect of tricking their recently deceased mother into leaving her the title country house.

As Margaret knows nothing of that bequest, she considers the attentions of widower Henry Wilcox(Matthew Macfadyen) to be honorable with their unexpected romance leading them both to marriage. That union stirs up several conflicts, including a secret affair as well as a relationship between Margaret's younger sister Helen and a troubled clerk named Leonard Bast.

While Howards End hasn't been adapted as much as Little Women has(the most notable version being the 1992 film with Emma Thompson and Anthony Hopkins), both should make for great television and interesting books to compare and contrast. While the tone of each is very different, both are female centric stories that challenge society's notions of propriety in their own unique way:

BATTLE OF THE AUSTEN INSPIRED: It is a truth universally acknowledged by readers that of the six novels by Miss Jane Austen, the one that is most tempting to recreate on the page is Pride and Prejudice.

With that in mind, there are numerous P&P inspired books to choose from,almost enough to fill up an actual library with,so in the interest of simplicity, I suggest a pairing of Eligble by Curtis Settenfeld and The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by the creators of the popular web series.

Both re-image the Bennet sisters in modern day America, with Settenfeld's suitors being doctors(one of whom appeared on a Bachelor type of reality show) and the Darcy of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries being the head of a tech empire.

 Each have their own brand of wit and romance, with the Eligble characters being a bit older than the LBD cast. Settenfeld's take on P&P was part of a publishing project that made over four of Austen's books yet it stands on it's own rather well, in my opinion.

You could argue that The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet has an advantage by being attached to the web series(or disadvantage, come to that). Nevertheless, both offer a fun new look at this timeless tale although if it comes to a battle of the Lydias, I'd place my bet on that plucky LBD gal:

If you do take up the challenge of the Super Bowl of Reading, do remember to have fun with it,especially if read-a-long buddies are involved. Snacks are encouraged, bookmarks will be essential and no trash talking, please(unless you really want to do that in lieu of cheers). Reading is always fun and fundamental, not to mention the ideal indoor sport, if you ask me: