Top Ten Most Frustrating Characters Ever

Happy Tuesday and Happy Kansas Day! Today, I’m participating in Top Ten Tuesday, which is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

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The theme for today is “Top Ten Most Frustrating Characters Ever.” I’m not sure if these are really the “most frustrating characters ever”, but they are characters that bothered me for various reasons. In most of these cases I didn’t even dislike the character, but was frustrated by lack of character development. In other cases I think I was supposed to be bothered by the character. Regardless of the reasons, the top ten (that I could think of this morning) are shown below.

Top Ten Most Frustrating Characters Ever:

1. Fanny Price from Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Fanny is one of my least favorite Austen heroines. I didn’t dislike her, but I did find her lack of inaction frustrating. She’s polite, proper, and passive to a fault. As opposed to many of Austen’s other heriones (Emma, Elizabeth etc), Fanny lets things just happen to her and doesn’t take any action in response.

2. Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins

Don’t hate me, but this one had to make the list. Yes, yes I know Katniss is strong and a survivor. Yes I know she had to overcome many things, and succeeded despite all the odds. But she is also one of the most emotionally dead characters I have ever read. There were so many times I wanted to know what Katniss was thinking or feeling–other than the somewhat perfunctory emotions given to her. She’s a great character for sure, but I think she’d be a much stronger (and more complete) character if she were given more emotional intelligence.

3. Dexter Mayhew from One Day by David Nicholls

Generally I had a love/hate relationship with this novel–especially this character. You get the feeling early on that Dex could do great things if he wanted to but he doesn’t. It’s also clear that he is in love with Emma, is blind to it, and generally takes her and her friendship for granted. He does redeem himself by the end of the novel but boy is it painful getting to that resolution.

4. Amelia Sedley from Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray

It’s not that I disliked Amelia, but she did frustrate me. Mostly because she doesn’t do ANYTHING. She lets people treat her badly and does little to change her situation.

5. Raskolnikov from Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

There are many times throughout this long and heavy book where you really want to like Raskolnikov–he gives his money to a destitute family and tries to help out other friends  in need. But then there is the fact that he committed a heinous crime and is trying to get away with it. I realize he is supposed to be a study in contradictions,  but for most of the book he frustrated me because he was constantly fighting his “better angels.” I got the sense he didn’t really want to do the awful things he does, but he does them anyway.

6. Javert from Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

Ah Javert. He is so devoted to his job that he is blinded to his own desires and  instincts. He was frustrating to me because it seemed as though he really wanted to let Jean Valjean off the hook several times throughout the book, but his sense of duty compels him to keep searching and persecuting.

7. Pretty much any character from Wuthering Heights from Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

I really wanted to like this book. I really, really did. But I just couldn’t. I couldn’t connect with any of the characters or make myself really care what happened to them. I was sort of having a rough semester when I read this book, so maybe I should give it (and the characters) another try.

8. Bella Swan from The Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer

I feel like little to no explanation is needed for this one.

9. Ashley Wilkes from Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

He served honorably in the Civil War. That’s about the best that I think can be said for Ashley. He had an awesome and devoted wife whom he could never really be unfaithful to but not really faithful to either. He also toyed with Scarlet’s affections–seriously man just tell her no! Although on the surface he appears to be the perfect southern gentleman, I think he is one of the weaker characters in the novel.

10. Carmen Lowell from The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Series by Ann Brashares

It’s not that I disliked Carmen, but she was by far my least favorite of the four friends. I just could never connect with her–even though I did a lot of theater growing up (which was her passion). She has a big heart and always wants the best for her friends, but I thought she was sort of self-absorbed. And really dense when it came to her personal life–especially men.

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What are some of the most frustrating characters to you?

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Easy Pad Thai

Last Friday was a REALLY long day for me. I had to travel to a nearby national laboratory to take measurements, which is a 78 mile round trip. So on an average weather day it’s a long day, but when it is snowing it is even longer and more stressful (when you are the driver). The usual 1-1.25 hour drive in the morning took 2.5 hours…so to be honest I was ready to call it quits before we even really started. Nevertheless I stuck it out…mainly (i.e. only) because I was escorting collaborators around.

During the many hours that ensued, I read emails and a few papers. I tried to be productive but quickly got hungry and bored. I didn’t have any samples to measure nor were the samples being measured related to any of my projects. By mid afternoon I had a massive craving for some kind of noodle dish. I settled on Pad Thai, and eagerly began scanning the interwebs for recipes. I quickly got discouraged because many of the recipes called for things I didn’t have on hand at home, or in some cases had never heard of (i.e. Tamarind). The last thing I wanted to do was go grocery shopping for obscure ingredients on a snowy Friday night. Then I found this recipe, and I immediately knew it was the one. I didn’t have every ingredient it called for, but enough to probably make something edible. I made it as soon as I got home, and devoured it almost as quickly. I will definitely make this again, but as I note below will probably use less lime juice.

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Easy Pad Thai

From: About.com Vegetarian Food

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Please forgive the awkwardly placed fork. I was so ravenous I barely had the presence of mind to take a picture.

Ingredients:

1 pound Asian-style rice noodles (I used half a pound)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup lime juice
2 tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp hot sauce
1/4 cup sugar
1 block tofu, diced (I did not include this)
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 cup bean sprouts (I did not include this)
1/4 cup chopped or crushed peanuts (optional)
4 green onions (scallions), sliced (I did not include this either)

Instructions:

Cook noodles according to package instructions.

Whisk together the soy sauce, peanut butter, lime juice, hot sauce and sugar.

In a large wok or skillet, sautee the tofu, onion and garlic in sesame oil for a minute or two, stirring frequently. Allow to cook for another minute or two.

Add the cooked noodles and the peanut butter and soy sauce mixture. Stir well, and allow sauce to thicken as it cooks for about 3 minutes. Top with peanuts, bean sprouts and green onions and serve hot.

Notes:

1) Next time I make this I will use less lime juice–maybe 1/4 cup instead of 1/2 cup.

2) As you can see in the picture I included carrot in my rendition. Although not traditionally found in Pad Thai dishes, I enjoyed the crunch of the carrot amidst the soft noodles.

3) I was too lazy to add any meat, but I think it would go great in this dish if desired.

Thursday Thoughts 13.0

Happy Thursday friends! It’s time for another round of my Thursday Thoughts. I haven’t been doing a great job of keeping my blog updated, but as I begin to establish normal routines after the craziness of quals/the holidays I hope to get better at it!

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[1]

Nail Art of two weeks ago:

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Base/Top Coat: Sally Hansen Flawless

Nail Polish: Sally Hansen Midnight in New York

Glitter Polish: Milani Jewel Fix in Gold

Nail Art of this week:

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Base/Top Coat: Sally Hansen Flawless

Nail Polish: Revlon Dreamer

Gold Sponge Coat: Essie Good as Gold

[2]

Last night I attended the Northwestern Basketball game and watched as they took down #12 ranked Minnesota! It was a good game, but it wasn’t particularly well attended…

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This picture was taken right before the singing of the National Anthem, and more people did show up after that. Nevertheless the Wildcats battled  on and beat the Golden Gophers 55-48!

[3]

Every year I have some sort of exercise goal. I wouldn’t call it a New Years Resolution per say…but I usually set some challenge for myself that I mostly stick to. This year my goal is to reach 1000 miles of cardio, which will generally consist of running, walking, and biking. To reach this goal I will have to complete about 84 miles of cardio a month. I joined The Daily Mile to help me track my progress, and thus far have logged about 68 miles. Luckily I still have another week to get in the last 16 miles!

[4]

I’m slowly working at updating the many menus and pages of my blog. They are a bit outdated and I have a lot of ideas for updates and improvements. Now I just need to find the time and the motivation to do it!

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Chicken Enchilada Soup in the Slow Cooker

Anyone who knows me well knows I LOVE soup. I eat it year-round regardless of the temperature outside, but when it’s really cold out (like the 4 degrees Fahrenheit that it is currently) I eat it nearly everyday…which means I cook a lot of soup. So be prepared for an onslaught of soup recipes in the coming weeks. Today I am sharing a recipe for chicken enchilada soup that I  found on the Real Mom Kitchen blog. I love chicken enchilada soup, and I love this recipe because it is so delicious and so easy…just throw it all in the crock pot and come back a few hours later!

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Chicken Enchilada Soup in the Slow Cooker

From: Real Mom Kitchen

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Ingredients:

1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes

1 10-ounce package frozen whole kernel corn

½ cup chopped onion

½ cup chopped yellow, green, or red bell pepper

1 10-ounce can enchilada sauce

1 10.75-ounce can condensed cream of chicken soup

1½ cups milk

1 cup shredded Pepper jack cheese

2 chicken breasts

Instructions:

In a 3½ to 5 quart slow cooker, combine drained beans, tomatoes, corn, onion, and bell pepper. Place 2 chicken breasts on top of mixture.

In a large bowl, whisk together enchilada sauce and soup. Gradually whisk in milk until smooth. Pour sauce mixture over ingredients in cooker.Cover; cook on low heat for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours. Remove chicken and cut or shred into bite sized pieces. Add chicken back into soup. Top with pepper jack cheese and serve. Can also be topped with avocado, sour cream, or crushed tortilla chips.

Notes:

This soup is delicious! I have made it twice this winter already!

Top Ten Books Bookish Goals for 2013

Happy Tuesday! It’s been quite awhile since I participated in this meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, but it’s still one of my favorites!

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The theme for today is “Top Ten Bookish Goals for 2013.” Some of these goals were outlined in my 2013 Reading Challenges post, but there are some other bookish things I would like to accomplish that weren’t listed in that post. So without further ado…

Top Ten Bookish Goals for 2013:

1. Read 52 books

I made great strides in my reading goals last year by reading 45 books, but I’d like to up that number this year.

2. Try to complete the 6 reading challenges I signed up for

I like to finish what I start. We’ll see if I can get all these done.

3. Read a classic/more serious book that is > 500 pages

After reading both Vanity Fair and War and Peace in 2011, I shied away from large, serious novels in 2012. I’m staring at a few on my shelves that I’d like to get to this year–namely Middlemarch (George Eliot), The Name of the Rose (Umberto Eco), or 1Q84 (Haruki Murakami)

4. Get caught up on my reviews

Whew! I am massively behind on my book reviews! I have drafts for books going all the way back to mid 2012…I’d really like to finally get these posted!

5. Select and read a few books on a whim

I can get pretty caught up in trying to complete reading challenges. Whether it is the above mentioned 2013 reading challenges or the BBC list I’ve been working my way through for a few years, I don’t have too many of those “oh this looks interesting, I’m going to drop all my other reading plans and read this right now” moments. I get much joy out of these discoveries and diversions, and often my favorite books of the year come from these detours (i.e. This Life is In Your Hands from 2012).

6. Read More Nonfiction

Frequently I find I learn more and gain a better perspective about my life and the world around me by reading non-fiction (especially biographies and memoirs), yet I don’t read nearly as much non-fiction as I do fiction. So this year, in an effort to even out the playing field, I signed myself up for a non-fiction challenge.

7. Read/Finish/Consider Starting a Series

I don’t remember why now, but I got really annoyed at the plethora of series books in 2011. I think at the time I felt like the series books I was reading were an attempt by the author and the publisher to squeeze out maximum profits from a mediocre story. In 2012, the only series I read was The Hunger Games, and it was a disappointing and somewhat underwhelming experience (note: I DID like The Hunger Games series. I just didn’t like it as much as I thought I would. So please don’t hate me.). Needless to say, I have been a bit “meh” about starting or finishing a series since then. I know there are a lot of great series out there (and a few I want to finish up), so I’ll at least think about it tackling one this year. Maybe.

8. Read an e-book

This goal probably sounds silly to 99% of you out there, but I have to admit I’m a bit of an e-book hater. One of the great joys of the reading experience for me is physically being in contact with the book–touching the pages, looking at the cover etc. However, last year I started listening to audiobooks and LOVED it. Since I received an iPad for Christmas, I figure it’s high time I see what all the e-book fuss is about. Who knows…maybe I could be an e-book zealot by this time next year. I doubt it…but you never know.

9. Get caught up on books I want to read that have been/are being turned into movies

There is a whole list of books I own/want to read that have been or are being turned into movies. Included in this list: The Help, Water for Elephants, Cloud Atlas, and Life of Pi.

10. Get More Involved in the Book Blogging Community

One of the main reasons I started blogging was to meet and learn from other people who read a lot. I’m still in my first year of blogging, but I’d like to do better at reaching out to and interacting with the Book Blogging community.

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What are your bookish goals for 2013?