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January 2016

You never forget your first Austen

Today is the 203rd anniversary of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice being published. In honor of this book birthday I wanted to share the story of my first copy of the book.

  
I bought this at a library book sale when I was in elementary school, but I don’t think I actually read it until I was 12. At that age, I was too young to appreciate (or understand) what was happening. It wasn’t until later, after a few rereadings and maybe a little heartbreak on my own part, that I really started loving the book. It’s a testament to her work that every time I read her books I take something different away from it depending on what my life is like at that point. 

An interesting aspect of my copy is the careful handwritten notes throughout. As a used book it came to me much loved. I once looked up the previous owner (she had written her full-name and I couldn’t resist) and found out she was a involved in a lot of local organizations. I often wondered if she read the book for a class or for fun, and if she found her Darcy.

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Meet Bazine

It’s about time.

As someone who obsessed over the Star Wars Expanded Universe (now called “Legends” by people who aren’t as bitter as I am), I was devastated when I learned it would no longer be canon. Long before we got Padme and Rey, we had Mara Jade.

Why did so many of us cling to our blind devotion to the dark Jedi turned Skywalker wife? Because before Rey, we only really had Leia or Padme to look to for female presence in the Star Wars universe. Leia does a lot of great diplomatic work and Padme has good intentions, but Mara Jade was a BAMF. She overcame a crazy past, always held her own against the scoundrels of the galaxy and still managed to come out kind of ok.

In the newest movie we got Rey, who shows great promise at being this trilogy’s ass-kicking heroine. But we also get Bazine Netal.

Who?

Bazine is one of the many characters we meet in Maz Kanata’s palace.

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There she is, right before she goes and reports she’s sighted BB-8. Wait. She’s a villain? Well…

She’s more of a mercenary for hire. So she isn’t always on what we’d see as the “good side,” but Mara Jade wasn’t a “good guy” all the time either, and she’s still a great character.

I recently read “The Perfect Weapon,” an all-too-short story about Bazine. I won’t ruin the story itself, because it’s really short and well worth your time to read, but I will highlight my favorite things about this character.

  1. She has a past: We learn that she was an orphan raised in combat school, which explains why she’s an expert at espionage. After that there are allusions to Bazine learning in other schools and teaching herself a lot. She also appreciates learning new things from folks around her.
  2. She doesn’t put up with men who underestimate her because she’s a woman: In the short, one character greets her with “Kloda didn’t say you were a woman.” As if that somehow made her less able to teach this youngin’ a thing or two. She quickly puts him in his place.
  3. Fashion with purpose: In the film we see her dressed rather vividly, and her outfits are described in detail in the story, but everything about her dress is carefully planned out. She can camouflage herself to suit her needs and still conceal a multitude of weapons. At one point we learn exactly why her heels are so high, and a man who had “once chided her for her taste in footwear” is silenced.

I dearly hope we get more about this character because she seems really well-developed and there aren’t enough lady characters to appreciate right now.

Book Review: What Would Lizzy Bennet Do?

Source: Book Review: What Would Lizzy Bennet Do?

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