Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The World We Found: Thoughts And Inspirations

"And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer." 
- F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby film poster. Love.

Yes, fellow Fitzgerald and Jazz Age enthusiasts: the trailer for Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby has arrived! The spectacle of taking in the costumes, the lines, and the sheer scale Luhrmann has unfolded for our beloved classic, promises incredible cinematography- I just can't get enough.

I always have a deep love for time periods before the 1960's, such as the Jazz Age and the wartime years- whether it's films, music, or the lifestyle, there's something grand about the way things were back then. I truly believe that my mother and my grandmother's generation were one of the greatest.
My heart soars for things like typewriters, gramophones, grand libraries and film noirs! I love listening to big bands like Glen Miller's - especially in the summertime!
If you say dance, I think: swing. If you say romance, I think: old-fashioned love.

Pure magic:

Whenever I'm out horseback riding, I imagine myself to look along the likes Mary Crawford in this picture- but in real life, it often turns out to be more like the Wild West (which I don't complain, I enjoy it as well). The Western style of riding is more predominant here, although I would definitely love to ride English style if the opportunity allows itself. No matter: out on the trail, I'm in my own state of bliss, and nothing can rob me of that feeling.

Must do more riding in my lifetime. From Downton Abbey


Come summertime, I have the urge to re-read this again:

And this: 

I also find myself yearning to walk in a vast field, or sit under a willow tree like I used to do at my grandmother's, while reading this book:

Whenever I fall under the weather or am really ill, I turn to Casablanca for comfort. When I'm well and it's a quiet Saturday evening, I turn to Casablanca for a pick-me-up. Heck, I turn to Casablanca for all kinds of reasons- what can I say, it's an absolute gem!

 I always imagined that if I were able to plan the perfect roadtrip, my transportation would look along like the lines of this: 
My perfect idea of a roadtrip.

And if I had my way of seeing films, I would make sure there would be more of these:

My kind of drive-in.

I'll never forget when I watched Roman Holiday for the first time. I was ten, and I thought Audrey Hepburn was the most wonderful actress I had ever laid eyes on and I wanted to be just like her.

Audrey Hepburn will always be my biggest influence.

Hope everyone is having a fantastic week!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

An Interview with Kim Izzo

"How I wish I lived in a Jane Austen novel!"
- Dodie Smith, I Capture the Castle

Recently, I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Kim Izzo, author of The Jane Austen Marriage Manual. Having been a long-time Jane Austen fan, it was thrilling to read a novel that gave her stories a modern touch. 

Kim Izzo, who lives in Toronto, has made many radio and television appearances including The Today Show, Canada AM and Oprah. Her opinions and advice have graced the pages in newspapers and magazines as The New York Times Sunday Style section, Vogue UK, InStyle, Glamour, and Marie Claire. The author is currently the deputy editor of Zoomer Magazine.

Enjoy my Q & A with Kim Izzo!

1. What made you decide to focus on a literary figure like Jane Austen? 

I always loved her books and the film adaptations. When I came up with the idea of what a modern woman without the ability to earn a decent living and keep a roof over her head would do, I thought of all of Austen's heroines who were in the same predicament. What they did, their only choice was to make a good marriage. So I thought it was the perfect combination if a modern woman tried to do the same.

2. What books or authors have motivated you as a writer?

Austen of course! I love the writing of Edith Wharton, The Custom of the Country in particular. F. Scott Fitzgerald and John O'Hara also inspires me.

3. Kate Shaw confronts many difficulties throughout the novel, whether it is a financial or emotional crisis, at a time when the economic recession was in full swing. What compelled you to write about this time period?

 I wanted to explore the themes and situations I spoke about in Question 1: the modern woman as an Austen character and the recession forced many thousands of people into dire financial need, where finding another good job wasn't a guarantee. This left fewer choices and marrying for money was one I wanted to explore.

4. If you were able to have Jane Austen over for dinner, what would you like to ask her? 

 Did she really know a Mr. Darcy? And where can I find him! No, seriously, I would ask her what her writing process was like.

5. What do you hope readers will take away from this book? 

 That as women, we can survive anything that gets thrown at us and find happiness within ourselves.

For more information about the author and her novel:

Follow Kim Izzo on Twitter

Like her Facebook Page

Take a look at her website

Thanks again to Kim Izzo for this interview and to The Savvy Reader (of HarperCollins Canada) for hosting The Jane Austen Marriage Manual blog tour!

You can buy The Jane Austen Marriage Manual online or at your local bookshop near you. Make sure to put this novel as your top five on your Summer Reading List!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Review: The Jane Austen Marriage Manual by Kim Izzo

Know your own happiness. Want for nothing but patience- or give it a more fascinating name: call it Hope.
-Jane Austen

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the words of Jane Austen shall prevail over time. 
It has been over two hundred years since her first book Sense and Sensibility was published. Her popularity has now grown to heights that Jane herself would probably have never imagined, with numerous adaptations ranging from films to comic books. Janeites (devotees of Jane Austen) can go as far as purchasing their very own plush doll of the author! 
More importantly, her ability to capture her characters as real people who struggle through relatable circumstances, give us strength to know that we are not alone in the search to find our own happiness.

Enter The Jane Austen Marriage Manual  by Kim Izzo. Kate Shaw, an acting beauty editor of a fashion magazine, finds her self in a dire situation during the economic recession, as she struggles to juggle her own  financial and emotional crisis with that of her family's. When she is given an opportunity to investigate whether it is possible to follow the footsteps of Austen's protagonists and marry well in this day and age, she takes it.

The assignment turns personal as she resolves to find a wealthy husband whom she can find comfort and security not only for herself, but also for her family. From West Palm Beach, to St. Moritz, to London, she mingles within the high class social scene and soon sets her sights on Scott Madewell, a charming older man who has the wealthy means that Kate is looking for.
Little does she know that along the way, she meets Griffith Saunderson, who works at an estate that is straight out an Austen novel. Now, Kate is caught between the classic case of choosing between money or love: will it be Scott or will it be Griffith?

Being a fan of Jane Austen, I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that Kim Izzo adds a modern twist on Jane's rules. Kate Shaw's wit and intellect makes her a likeable character, alongside other wonderful secondary characters like Emma and Fawn. The decisions she makes are often questionable at times, but due to her current situation, it is realistic enough to understand why.
Engaging and funny, The Jane Austen Marriage Manual  is an essential read for modern day Janeites everywhere. I couldn't put it down at times- it was especially dangerous when I took it on the train with me during my morning commute- I actually missed my stop a couple of times!

After reading The Jane Austen Marriage Manual,  I look forward to reading her other books as well as her future works.

Many thanks to The Savvy Reader for hosting The Jane Austen Marriage Manual blog tour!

The Jane Austen Marriage Manual will be released on May 8th, 2012.
HarperCollins Canada


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