The Lizzie Bennet Diaries


Near the end of winter break, when I was still concussed and thus largely immobile, my friend Amelia, who shares my love of all things Pride and Prejudice (although I give her all praise for having read much more Austen than I; I couldn’t get past the head trauma scene in Persuasion), told me to look into The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

Created in part by the Vlogbrothers’ Hank Green, the LBDs are a series of videos, posted weekly, in which real actors play out the story of Pride and Prejudice.  Although the general arc of the original plot is preserved, the videos are set in 2013.  Thus, Lizzie Bennet is a graduate student in communications.  Mr. Wickham is a swim coach.  The Bennets live in California. You see what I mean.

Here’s the link to the tumblr site, and, because I’m convinced that it will only take one video for you to become as hooked as I am, below is the first installment.

Stay warm!


Author Plug: Markus Zusak

Dear Friends,

Short one tonight, because I have to wake up in four hours for work, but I just want to tell you that if you haven’t read anything by Markus Zusak, you should get on that immediately.  Although his books are marketed for young adults, do not be fooled.  They are poignant, they are powerful, they are for everyone.  I suggest reading I Am the Messenger first, and then The Book Thief.  The latter, especially, is one of the best books I’ve ever ever read.  If I could have written any book in the wide world of literary history, I would choose that one.  I actually ache inside because his writing is so beautiful.

I know you’ll love it.  I know you’ll love them both.

Best, Holly

Warning Letter

Dear Friends,

I know that Friday night is coming.  I know that it’s the day after Thanksgiving, and that having gorged yourself on cranberries still in their can-like form, turkey smothered in gravy and abutted by mounds of stuffing and potatoes, and a few rolls thatjustbalanced on the edge of your plate, you’ll be lethargic.

I know that you’ll wake up on Friday morning still woozy from that last “sliver” of pie.  And yet, and yet, you will still trek to Target before the sun is up, if only to elbow your hair stylist’s elderly mother out of the way, that you might claim the last Nikon.

I know that Friday night, after sandwiches bulging with leftovers, you will seek entertainment.  Something light, something out of the house (away from the dishes), something the entire family can enjoy.

But friends, I implore you: do not go see Breaking Dawn Part 2.  If you do, you will laugh at first, then you will furrow your eyebrows in dubious mockery, and then you will be overwhelmed by waves of revulsion and worry for the future of popular filmmaking.  You will find yourself snatching your neighbor’s Milkduds to throw at the screen. You will sob the entire way home, because how can any movie that people pay to see be that bad?

Trust me.  I’m still emotionally shattered from my own viewing last night.

Wishing you happy Thanksgiving travels,


Out of Commission

Dear Friends,

I’ve done something to my back.  It’s been sore for weeks now, and this evening I reached down to retrieve my GRE study book from a chair, and something along my lower spinal cord twinged.  It felt as I imagine electrocution would feel.  And since then, about three hours now, I’ve been largely unable to walk.  Bending over is impossible.  It hurts so badly that I had to psych myself up for about five minutes before I got up off my bed to fetch my computer to write this post.

Sorry to complain, but I don’t know what else to talk about, I guess.  The weather was lovely today.  I learned, while working the Social Science Office job, that our psychology department actually has quite extensive research facilities, including an entirely soundproof room for sleep studies.  I believe I’ve found the location for my next nap.  I watched Thor while icing my back.  Pretty good.  Pretty darn good.  I mean, I’m aware that I probably just like it because it’s based in Norse mythology, and because I took a class on Icelandic Sagas freshman year, and because I liked that class.  I’ve been on a bit of a superhero kick lately, between Spiderman and The Avengers and Thor.  And while I still stand by my previous post on the matter, it is interesting to watch the movies, and to develop (as many others, I am sure, have done) a formula of sorts for the genre.

Anyway, I’m going for the ibuprofen again.

Talk to you tomorrow,


A Letter

Dear Friends,

This is tough for me to write.  For weeks my life (and my blog) has been nothing but campaign.  My academics have slid, I have hardly seen my friends, and I don’t even remember what it’s like to get more than six hours of sleep a night.  But I’ve loved every minute of it.  I’ve loved walking around campus with purpose.  I’ve loved looking critically at the way things run to see how they can run better.  I’ve loved meeting new people, shaking hands, and discussing ideas.  I’ve loved debating, I’ve loved strategizing, I’ve loved staying up until 2 am just to chalk the campus.  I’ve hated seeing my face on posters, but that’s a different story.

To lose, after all of the above, is slightly heartbreaking.  It’s hard to realize that although you tried everything you could think of, worked as hard as you possibly could, you still weren’t quite good enough.  It’s hard to hear people say that you clearly wanted it the most.  It’s hard to hear people say that anyway, you ran a good campaign.  It’s hard to look at professors and friends and acquaintances and know that they’re wondering just how bad you feel.  It’s hard to remember losing the student council presidency in eighth grade, and to think that maybe, just maybe, you’ve never been destined for this kind of leadership.

But then maybe you go out to Old Number One.  You have a Fat Tire with the winning team and the other losing team.  You talk about the crazy shit (sorry, Mom) that went down on all sides.  You admire each others’ platforms.  You toast liberally, feeling so very lucky to have run (and lost) against such stand-up guys.  You realize that even though it can’t be you, it can still be great.

And then you walk home, watch the wind turbines spinning, blurry, in the distance.  You think about the secretary position you’ll be applying for in the morning.  And then the night expands again, bulging against the Morris limits.  It’s a beautiful evening, you’re twenty-one, and you just lost a vice presidential race.  But tomorrow, you’re certain, will be something different.

All the best,