About The Backpack Reader

Rachel is a 20-something reader, writer, backpacker, and travel junky. She has visited 22 countries and lived in four (China, Germany, Australia, and the US). Books and the stories they have to tell have been a part of her identity since before she knew how to read. She blames the adventure stories she grew up with as catalysts for her adventure-seeking ways in adulthood. She currently lives in Michigan where she is always searching for her next adventure. In her spare time Rachel reads (a lot), writes, bikes, hikes, talks, and listens to other people’s life stories. Her favorite genres include fantasy, YA, historical fiction (particularly WWI and II), and 19th century British novel. Some of her favorite books include Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith, and the Seventh Tower series by Garth Nix. More recent favorites: The Shades of Magic trilogy by VE Schwab, The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo, Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys, and The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.

A Definitive Jane Austen Movie Adaptation Chart – Part 1

I admit, I AM one of those people who unashamedly declares Jane Austen as her favorite author. I know it’s cliche, but there is a REASON so many people are such die-hard fans. Austen produced some of the most profound, satirical social commentary of her day, and her understanding of human nature allows readers/viewers to resonate with her works 200 years later.

There are a plethora of Jane Austen movie/TV adaptations, and as a connoisseur of her work, I have waded through almost every single Austen adaptation in existence, all of which I have a lot of emotions about. So here is an abbreviated chart/list of some of the best Austen adaptations I have discovered in my years of searching for the perfect Austen movie. I would love to hear your opinions on the adaptations, if you thought I did not include something that should have been included, or if you just think I’m plain wrong. Continue reading

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

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Stardust by Neil Gaiman
Genre: Fantasy, fairy tale retelling
3.5 stars.

I’ve been on a bit of a Neil Gaiman streak since reading Neverwhere, and I’m still bummed at myself for never reading him before. But I guess that gives me time to thoroughly enjoy his books now.

Tristran Thorn has never felt like he belongs in the village of Wall. When Victoria, the girl he loves, says she will give him whatever he desires if he fetches her the falling star they saw drop to the other side of the stone wall that separates their world from the strange and magical land of Stormhold, Tristran doesn’t hesitate to agree. In order to prove his love, Tristran sets out on the journey of a lifetime, encountering hungry witches, bloodthirsty princes, and air pirates along the way, only to discover that his heritage is not as he thought it was and that maybe Victoria is not who he truly desires at all. Continue reading

Ship of Brides by Jojo Moyes

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Ship of Brides by Jojo Moyes
Genre: Historical fiction
3 stars.

This was such a frustrating mess of positives and negatives that it was difficult to decide between 2.5 and three stars. I eventually went with three stars because, despite all its issues, Ship of Brides was still an enjoyable read. Continue reading

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

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Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
Genre: Fantasy
4.5 stars.

“Richard was sitting in the dark, on a ledge, on the side of a storm drain, wondering what to do, wondering how much further out of his depth he could possibly get. His life so far, he decided, had prepared him perfectly for a job in securities, for shopping at the supermarket, for watching football on the telly on the weekends, for turning on a heater if he got cold. It had magnificently failed to prepare him for a life as an un-person on the roofs and in the sewers of London, for a life in the cold and the wet and the dark.”

This is my first time reading a Neil Gaiman book and all I can say is . . . WHAT IS MY PROBLEM? WHY HAVE I WAITED SO LONG? Continue reading

Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdoch

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Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdoch
Genre: Realistic fiction, YA
4 stars.

Dairy Queen was heart-felt and real, with a protagonist who was both hilarious, humanly flawed, and relatable.

DJ Schwenk is on the cusp of her junior year of high school, but with her dad’s hip injury, her mom’s work schedule, and her older brothers away at college on football scholarships, management of the family dairy farm has fallen solely to her. She finds herself working dawn till dusk to keep the farm afloat. It isn’t until the spoiled, rich brat Brian Nelson, quarter back of her rival town’s football team, is sent to help her work that she begins to question her lot in life and what it is that she truly wants. Continue reading