Sunday, August 31, 2014

It's Monday (And September)... What are you reading?

This week was my last week of the Beat the Heat readathon so I tried to keep up with my reading with that as well as prepare for my first test of the semester. I'm not sure that was the best idea but...


  • Bridge on the River Kwai by Pierre Boulle
I enjoyed this book a lot. Before I started it I thought it would be pretty boring but oh my it wasn't! It kept me entertained the whole way through and I almost read it in one day. There is a movie of it too that I know I watched a long time ago but I don't recall that I hear is quite good also. I look forward to watching it sometime soon. 

Currently Reading

  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
  • Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
  • The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
Peter Pan and Harry Poter and the Order of the Phoenix are re-reads, though Peter Pan I haven't read in many years and I scarcely recalled. I am really liking this re-read though. It is a very British book. :) 

Coming Soon 

  • The Book of Lost Tales Part II by J.R.R. Tolkien
I read the first part back at the beginning of July and enjoyed it but then didn't get around to reading the second part and I'd like to get it done so I can return them to their rightful owner (i.e. not me). 

Checked out from the library 

  • Christianity and Liberalism by J. Gresham Machen
  • Christian Love by Hugh Binning
  • The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes
  • The Rare Christian Jewel of Christian Contentment
I asked my brother to pick me out some books from the church library by dead authors as one of my reading challenges is to read books by dead Christian authors. So he ended up loading me up with these four books, which all but the first one are by Puritans so they're quite dead. ;)

Book Reviews Posted this Week

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Book (Play) Review- As You Like It

This was one of the hardest Shakespeares I've listened to to follow along to as I wasn't as familiar with the story line. However I enjoyed it and I'm hoping to watch a film version soon to fill in all of my holes. :)
Here's the synopsis from Goodreads: As You Like It is a pastoral comedy by William Shakespeare believed to have been written in 1599 or early 1600 and first published in the First Folio, 1623. The play's first performance is uncertain, though a performance at Wilton House in 1603 has been suggested as a possibility. As You Like It follows its heroine Rosalind as she flees persecution in her uncle's court, accompanied by her cousin Celia and Touchstone the court jester, to find safety and, eventually, love, in the Forest of Arden. Historically, critical response has varied, with some critics finding the work of lesser quality than other Shakespearean works and some finding the play a work of great merit.
The play features one of Shakespeare's most famous and oft-quoted speeches, "All the world's a stage", and is the origin of the phrase "too much of a good thing". The play remains a favourite among audiences and has been adapted for radio, film, and musical theatre.
As You Like It is a fun romantic comedy with not lots of depth but plenty of laughs. Mistaken identities and love sick hearts are the theme in this play with a touch of power struggle to round it out. There's really not much more to it. I'd recommend read or listen to it and hopefully you'll enjoy it as much as I did. :)

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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Book Review: The Rape of Nanking

For my nonfiction reading challenge I read The Rape of Nanking. It's a book I've seen on the bookshelf for many years alongside many other thick historical books and I really never knew what it was about. I had decided though to take on some thick history books and I asked my dad for suggestions and that was one of the ones he recommended.
Side note... there are a ton of really thick history books on that bookshelf and I have the feeling my Dad's read them all. I doubt I will ever be able to surpass him in reading. Maybe... someday.
Actually though, The Rape of Nanking isn't too thick and was probably the skinniest on the shelf. There are plenty of thicker ones. It did live up to my dad's recommendation though and I found it to be an exceptional piece of historical literature.
Here's the synopsis from Goodreads: In December 1937, the Japanese army invaded the ancient city of Nanking, systematically raping, torturing, and murdering more than 300,000 Chinese civilians. This book tells the story from three perspectives: of the Japanese soldiers who performed it, of the Chinese civilians who endured it, and of a group of Europeans and Americans who refused to abandon the city and were able to create a safety zone that saved many.
Reading it reminded me of when I read Foxe's Book of Martyrs back in the eighth grade. The horrors that happened in Nanking were quite akin to those in the aforementioned book. It was well written and kept me engaged. I went through the book quickly, maybe helped along by the fact that I was sick, so there wasn't really anything else to do (I guess except cough and blow my nose). ;) The history was fascinating and heartbreaking. It was sad to see that so many of the perpetrators of the horrors were never punished for their crimes. When I read this book I was reminded once again of the depravity of man.
A great book for the history lover and the non-history lover. Highly recommend! 

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Friday, August 29, 2014

Book Review: World War 1

I love history but when it comes down to it my weakest area is anything past the American War for Independece though I do like the War between the States as well. The point is, World War 1, World War 2, and the surrounding wars just aren't something I ever knew much about. So reading Richard J. Maybury's book about it really opened up my eyes to what really was going on with World War 1. To be clear, what is depicted in this book is not the traditional outlook on the war. 
This books is written in a form of letters from "Uncle Eric" to his nephew explaining to him the origins of World War 1 and how it affects us today. So yes, it is meant for someone younger than me to be reading, but I still found it interesting and not too young. 

"Uncle Eric" begins by talking about the ten deadly idea that lead to war. 
1. The Pax Romana (The belief that we can create the Roman Peace, which never really existed.) 
2. Fascism (Unification of everyone under a single government that does whatever is necessary, no limits.)
3. Love of Political Power (War is the most exciting tool of power seekers.)
4. Global Protection (The belief that a government has the duty or right to protect its citizens no matter where they choose to go or what risk they choose to take.)
5. Interests (Do not even try to figure this one out, leaders have gone to war for centuries in the "interest" of their holdings or people, but nobody has ever legally defined interests...) 
6. Cost Externalization (Big business using the global protection stance of a government to cover protection costs.)
7. Manifest Destiny (Because we think that God has given us that charge.)
8. The White Man's Burden or Anglo-Saxonism (America knows what is best, we can decide, even for others.) 
9. Alliances (Safety in numbers can mean that we have to fight somebody else's war.) 
10. The Glory of War (We need heroes, it is a very real reason...)
He also delved back to our founding fathers and George Washington's statement that we should never get into other countries' wars and how getting into the Spanish American War led up to getting into the World Wars. It is a little difficult to explain as it is very complex but I would highly recommend that you read this book to help you understand more of our history as it is making a very real impact on America's current situation in the middle east. It definitely challenged my beliefs and made me rethink a lot of things I had previously supposed about the wars. I'm hoping to read his book about World War II sometime soon to see his opinion on it. 

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Book Review: Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

I went into reading Diary of a Young Girl knowing virtually nothing about the storyline except that it followed a Jewish girl while she was in hiding during World War II. Also I knew that it was incredibly famous and highly popular. So I guess I might say I was let down a little. Not to say I didn't enjoy it and think it was a good book, but in my opinion it is way over hyped. 
Here's the synopsis from Goodreads: Discovered in the attic in which she spent the last years of her life, Anne Frank's remarkable diary has since become a world classic—a powerful reminder of the horrors of war and an eloquent testament to the human spirit.In 1942, with Nazis occupying Holland, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding. For the next two years, until their whereabouts were betrayed to the Gestapo, they and another family lived cloistered in the "Secret Annexe" of an old office building. Cut off from the outside world, they faced hunger, boredom, the constant cruelties of living in confined quarters, and the ever-present threat of discovery and death.In her diary Anne Frank recorded vivid impressions of her experiences during this period. By turns thoughtful, moving, and amusing, her account offers a fascinating commentary on human courage and frailty and a compelling self-portrait of a sensitive and spirited young woman whose promise was tragically cut short.
It's kind of hard to explain my contentions with this book but I'll try my best. First off, the whole time I was reading it I felt just a little awkward. It is a diary, I understand, but I guess it is almost just too personal for me. In all actuality, I'm a little surprised her father had it published. The parts I found especially awkward and even unnecessary were her thoughts on sexuality and especially her conversations with Peter, the young man she liked, about sexuality. I'm still just really shocked she talked about stuff like that to him.
Another aspect I disliked about the book was how cruel she was to her mother, and at times other members of her family. We have a very one sided view of what happened but Anne justifies her dislike, pretty much hatred, of her mother over and over again, which I find sad and disturbing. While, no, I don't always agree with what her mother say or does, I cannot imagine justifying Anne's feelings. It seems that we are suppose to make an allowance for Anne many times because she is in a stressful situation but I believe only so much allowance can be made.
What I did like about the book was the perspective of what families who were in hiding had to go through. I found that so fascinating to see them living day to day, making things work that seemed impossible.
Would I call this book inspiring? Maybe. Would I call it historically interesting? Yes. Would I recommend it? Sure. But read it discerningly, not giving into the hype surrounding it but looking at it with a more perceptive eye.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Book Review- The Wind in the Willows

For my re-reading challenge I completed Kenneth Graham's The Wind in the Willows. I don't remember anything about reading it when I was younger, I just know that I did. Growing up I watched a film version of it that my grandparents had a lot, and now that I've re-read the book I'd like to watch it again. As far as I recall, it followed along with the book really quite well.
Re-reading through it though, I was captivated by how well written it was, drawing you into the world of these fantastical woodland creatures and their lives. It strongly reminded me of Thornton Burgess's books that I read a lot growing up.
The Wind in the Willows follows the story of Mole, a simple hole dweller who one day gets fed up with his spring cleaning and takes off through the woods to look for something different. He then means Ratty, a water rat, who shows him the joys of the river. They have many adventures together, including several run ins with Toad, a egotistical, petulant and wealthy woodland creature. This story tells a lot about friendship, selfishness and money.
Even though this time I was reading it later in life at an age that the book was not geared toward, I still found it fun and quite insightful. I would recommend it to all ages as a refreshing and relaxing read. :)
P.S. There are a lot of film versions of The Wind in the Willows. The one I watched growing up was the 1995 version.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Top Ten Books I Really Want to Read but Don't Own yet

I rarely buy books unless they're old favorites and I'm buying it at a library book sale or something along those lines for a great price. Normally I just get books from the library. A lot of the books I want to read though my family normally has. We have over a thousand books at my house (no kidding!) that my Dad has collected from various library book sales and our annual family Christmas gift of a box of books. Normally, therefore, I'm not at a loss for books but there are the handful that we don't own that I have to scrounge up at the library. I've found interlibrary loan very helpful. :)
So this list actually is the top ten books I really want to read but I haven't gotten ahold of a copy yet from the library.
  1. Armadale by Wilkie Collins
  2. No Name by Wilkie Collins
  3. Arsenic and Old Lace by Joseph Kesselring
  4. The Mark of Zorro by Johnston McCulley
  5. The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope
  6. Can You Forgive Her by Anthony Trollope
  7. Mary Poppins in Cherry Tree Lane by P.L. Travers
  8. Mary Poppins and the House Next Door by P.L. Travers
  9. The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions
  10. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
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Monday, August 25, 2014

Bout of Books: Wrap Up

Bout of BooksLast week was Bout of Books and I got a nice hunk of reading done during it! It was my goal to complete five books that week but I completed only four but I think that was still pretty good considering it was my first week of school. I read for a total of 7 ½ hours last week.
I read Val Mcdermid's modern version of Northanger Abbey, which was okay but not at all great. You can read my thoughts about it on Goodreads here.
I also completed re-reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
After long last I finished reading Dickens' Our Mutual Friend (read my review here) and listening to Shakespeare's Hamlet. 
I think I did a decent job overall for my first Bout of Books and I'm looking forward to my next one!
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Book (Play) Review: Henry V

One of my favorite Shakespeares but probably mostly because I really like the Kenneth Branaugh movie. The opening chorus though is one of my favorites and I also really Henry V's St. Crispin's Day speech. Those have been my favorites for a long time, even before I watched or read it. I'm just going to share these here now so you can impart in my love for them. :)

St. Crispin's Day Speech

Westmorland- O that we now had here     But one ten thousand of those men in England     That do no work to-day!  
Henry V- What's he that wishes so?     My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin;     If we are mark'd to die, we are enow     To do our country loss; and if to live,     The fewer men, the greater share of honour.     God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.     By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,     Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;     It yearns me not if men my garments wear;     Such outward things dwell not in my desires.     But if it be a sin to covet honour,     I am the most offending soul alive.     No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.     God's peace! I would not lose so great an honour     As one man more methinks would share from me     For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!     Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,     That he which hath no stomach to this fight,     Let him depart; his passport shall be made,     And crowns for convoy put into his purse;     We would not die in that man's company     That fears his fellowship to die with us.     This day is call'd the feast of Crispian.     He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,     Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd,     And rouse him at the name of Crispian.     He that shall live this day, and see old age,     Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,     And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian.'     Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,     And say 'These wounds I had on Crispian's day.'     Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,     But he'll remember, with advantages,     What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,     Familiar in his mouth as household words-     Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,     Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-     Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb'red.     This story shall the good man teach his son;     And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,     From this day to the ending of the world,     But we in it shall be remembered-     We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;     For he to-day that sheds his blood with me     Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,     This day shall gentle his condition;     And gentlemen in England now-a-bed     Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,     And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks     That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

Henry V Chorus 

O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend 
The brightest heaven of invention, 
A kingdom for a stage, princes to act 
And monarchs to behold the swelling scene! 
Then should the warlike Harry, like himself, 
Assume the port of Mars; and at his heels, 
Leash'd in like hounds, should famine, sword and fire 
Crouch for employment. But pardon, and gentles all, 
The flat unraised spirits that have dared 
On this unworthy scaffold to bring forth 
So great an object: can this cockpit hold 
The vasty fields of France? or may we cram 
Within this wooden O the very casques 
That did affright the air at Agincourt? 
O, pardon! since a crooked figure may 
Attest in little place a million; 
And let us, ciphers to this great accompt, 
On your imaginary forces work. 
Suppose within the girdle of these walls 
Are now confined two mighty monarchies, 
Whose high upreared and abutting fronts 
The perilous narrow ocean parts asunder: 
Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts; 
Into a thousand parts divide on man, 
And make imaginary puissance; 
Think when we talk of horses, that you see them 
Printing their proud hoofs i' the receiving earth; 
For 'tis your thoughts that now must deck our kings, 
Carry them here and there; jumping o'er times, 
Turning the accomplishment of many years 
Into an hour-glass: for the which supply, 
Admit me Chorus to this history; 
Who prologue-like your humble patience pray, 
Gently to hear, kindly to judge, our play.

See how amazing those are! Obviously these should be enough for you to want to go read Henry V right now. Or you could do an audiobook like I did. I always like listening to Shakespeare on audiobook. I know I've mentioned that here before but I really think that is a preferable way to "read" Shakespeare. There's not really anymore raptures I have available for Henry V!  Just read/listen to it! 

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Bout of Books: Day 6

Yesterday I finished re-reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and then started Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The fifth has always been one of my very favorites so I'm looking forward to an enjoyable re-read.

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Book Review- Lord of the Flies

One of the newer classics that I finally got around to reading. I think I am probably the only person left in the world that didn't know how it ended. ;) However, by the time I got to the end of the book I wasn't surprised that's how it turned out.
Here's the synopsis from Goodreads: William Golding's compelling story about a group of very ordinary small boys marooned on a coral island has become a modern classic. At 1st, it seems as though it's all going to be great fun; but the fun before long becomes furious & life on the island turns into a nightmare of panic & death. As ordinary standards of behavior collapse, the whole world the boys know collapses with them—the world of cricket & homework & adventure stories—& another world is revealed beneath, primitive & terrible. Lord of the Flies remains as provocative today as when it was 1st published in 1954, igniting passionate debate with its startling, brutal portrait of human nature. Though critically acclaimed, it was largely ignored upon its initial publication. Yet soon it became a cult favorite among both students ^ literary critics who compared it to J.D. Salinger'sThe Catcher in the Rye in its influence on modern thought & literature. Labeled a parable, an allegory, a myth, a morality tale, a parody, a political treatise, even a vision of the apocalypse, Lord of the Flies has established itself as a classic.
As my Dad said, Lord of the Flies effectively shows the doctrine of total depravity in a very sad and real way. I was kept engaged throughout the book, continually being shocked and intrigued into reading more. I don't like to tell more without giving everything away as maybe I'm not the only person in the world who hasn't read it. ;) However, I would highly encourage you to read it and I think you will find it a thought provoking book.
After reading it, I mentioned to my cousin that I thought there could be parallels drawn between it and The Hunger Games (though to be fair I haven't read The Hunger Games) and he informed me that many people have already drawn that parallel. Well I didn't know that! I'm just so ingenious as to come up with idea myself. ;) However, that is food for thought. I think when reading any book, even if it is just a novel meant to entertain, we need to look at it deeply and realize what exactly we are taking in from it.

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Bout of Books: Day 5

Yesterday I finished Our Mutual Friend! It was a great read and you can read my review here. I also read a little on Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. All in all a good day.
Today is going to be better though because (drum roll) DOCTOR WHO STARTS UP AGAIN TODAY!!!!! :)))) Just a little excited. ;)

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Book Review- Our Mutual Friend

Our Mutual Friend was another great read by Dickens for me this summer. It was incredibly long (probably the longest of all of his books) but still quite a good read. If you're familiar with Dickens you'll know how he tends to have many side stories and tons and tons of characters and Our Mutual Friend was no stranger to this trend and indeed it probably had the most side stories and characters of all of his novels. It was actually Dickens' last completed novel.
Here is the synopsis from Goodreads: A satiric masterpiece about the allure and peril of money, Our Mutual Friend revolves around the inheritance of a dust-heap where the rich throw their trash. When the body of John Harmon, the dust-heap’s expected heir, is found in the Thames, fortunes change hands surprisingly, raising to new heights “Noddy” Boffin, a low-born but kindly clerk who becomes “the Golden Dustman.” Charles Dickens’s last complete novel, Our Mutual Friend encompasses the great themes of his earlier works: the pretensions of the nouveaux riches, the ingenuousness of the aspiring poor, and the unfailing power of wealth to corrupt all who crave it. With its flavorful cast of characters and numerous subplots, Our Mutual Friend is one of Dickens’s most complex—and satisfying—novels.
Writing this review is a little hard as there are a lot of little twists and turns in this novel (and a big twist at the end!) and I don't like to give spoilers. I really liked the characters, especially Bella Wilfer. How the book looked at power and money was intriguing and well done. Though there were tons and tons of side characters, they all had an interesting story and it was cleverly crafted how they all were connected. All in all I enjoyed it, though it was sometimes tediously long.... then again that's Dickens. ;)
I hear there is a good miniseries of Our Mutual Friend that I'm going to try and watch soon. I'm excited to see the characters come to life.

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Bout of Books: Day 4

Bout of BooksYesterday I read about an hour on Our Mutual Friend and about thirty minutes on Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Not tons of time I know but today I had a math assessment for nursing so I wanted to make sure I was ready for that. Hopefully this afternoon and evening I'll have more time.
Tomorrow I'm not so sure how much reading I'll get done because as we all know DOCTOR WHO STARTS UP AGAIN TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!! I'm just a little bit excited. ;)
Be sure to be keeping up with my progress on the Beat the Heat Readathon here.

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Thoughtful Third Thursday #2

Amanda and I
I did one of the Thoughtful Third Thursdays a while back but then got really busy. Now I'm still busy but I've tricked myself into believing I'm not so you're going to get a post. Thoughtful Third Thursday is hosted by Selah at Bibliophile's Style
The rules are as follows: Every third Thursday of the month, create a blog post where you state what you’re currently reading (novel, non-fiction, short story, magazine, blog, manga, etc.), include a quote and/or a synopsis, and an outfit that you feel corresponds to your chosen quote.
eBeth and I
Right now I'm re-reading the Harry Potter series and I'm on The Goblet of FireHere is a quote from The Goblet of Fire that talks about friendship, which I think the Harry Potter books have a lot to do with. “We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.” 
Anna and I
So I decided to include some pictures of me with my best friends eBeth, Amanda and Anna. :) Photo credit: Anna Jean Photography
 Now from these pictures you'd get the impression that I only have a normal friendship with eBeth but let me tell to not be deceived. Behind our smiles we are crafting diabolic plans that will blow your mind once we've figured them out ourselves. ;) That's kind of how it is in Harry Potter though right? They have their crazy moments but then there are those moments where they're smiling and looking all normal but they're really planning their next escapade.
I've had a lot of fun with these three throughout the years and I'm looking to so many more years of fun with them as we grow up and (try to) mature.
Deep thought all of a sudden.... it's a good thing they all watch Doctor Who or I'm not sure I could continue to be friends with them. ;)

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Bout of Books: Day 3

Bout of BooksYesterday I did an hour of reading on Dickens' Our Mutual Friend and that was it. It was a pretty busy day for me between school and then spending some time with my brother and friend before school catches up with me. That's it though. Hopefully today will be better. :)

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Bout of Books: Day 2

Bout of BooksYesterday was my first day of school for the semester so reading wasn't exactly on the front lines in my mind. I know, I know.... reading is more important than school! I guess I was just confused about priorities. ;)
So all I got done yesterday was (re)reading about an hour and a half in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. However, that's better than nothing!
Do you want to hear a little about how school is going? I knew you'd be interested!
I'm really liking my teachers so far. One of them is definitely about the best teacher I've ever had. He makes me laugh so hard! I know I shouldn't rate teachers off of how much they make me laugh but I do. Other than that though he is a really effective teacher and I really feel like I learned a lot even though I wasn't totally focused.
Hope everyone else's school is kicking off as well as mine and I hope y'all are reading more than me. ;)
P.S. Keep up with my progress in the Beat the Heat Readathon here.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Bout of Books Day 1

Bout of BooksYesterday was my first day of bout of books and I aced it by starting and finishing one book. It was Val Mcdurmond's modern retelling of Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey. You can read my review of it here on Goodreads but frankly I thought it was badly done.
I also started re-reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, to go along with me re-reading marathon of the Harry Potter series. I probably got a good four hours or more of reading done yesterday!
Sure I should probably have been preparing for my first day of school (which was today!) but I preferred to leave my panic till the last minute. ;)

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Top Ten Books that People have been telling me I must read

The theme this week for Top Ten Tuesday is "top ten books that people have been telling me I must read". I've included eight books people tell me I must read for the first time and two that people tell me I should re-read.

Books people have been telling me I must read

  1. Hunger Games by Susanna Collins: Everyone feels the need to tell me that I MUST read it... random people.
  2. Divergent by Veronica Roth: Again, everyone tells me I should read it. To be clear, I am not into YA dystopian. I'm sure you enjoy it and I have heard good things about both of these books and I'm sure they have many good points but they're not for me. 
  3. Wuthering Heights- Eventually I'm going to read it... I promise. 
  4. Peralandra by C.S. Lewis
  5. That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis- I read the first of C.S. Lewis's space trilogy and never got around to reading the rest. Not that I didn't like Out of the Silent Planet but life just got in the way. 
  6. The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers- People tell me to read it and I tell myself to read it. I'm thinking it will be on my Christmas list this year so hopefully next year I'll be reading it. 
  7. The Giver by Lois Lowry- I did actually mean to read it before the movie came out but obviously I failed at that. :( 
  8. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell- Very popular in the book blogging community. 

Books people have been telling me I must RE-read

  1. The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss- I read it a long time ago when I was younger and I just wasn't terribly taken by it. It was so different from the movie that I have always loved that it was hard to like the book. However, my two older siblings insist that it is an amazing book and that while the book and film are different they are both great in their own way. So I am going to try and re-read it. 
  2. The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien- I found it enjoyable enough last year when I read it for the first time but my brother informs me I have to LOVE it and that I just need to re-read it. We'll see. 

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

It's Monday: Back to School and Reading

Today is the first day of the a new school year for me. Thankfully though, my classes don't start until tomorrow so today I just work and stress out about the impending start of another semester. It's kind of scary to think that come this May I'll be graduating from nursing school and (granted I pass the NCLEX) be able to work as a nurse. Not to scare you into thinking I'll be a bad nurse and you should never be sick or injured within a state of where I work, I'm just nervous about actually working as a nurse. However, that's a year away so I think I should stop worrying about it and read for right now!

Read this Week

I finished The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank this week.  Additionally, I have been speeding through yet another re-read of the Harry Potter series and I'm through the first three, having just finished demolishing the third. I zipped through it Sunday using every spare second to read it. I'm going to outdo my Re-reading challenge this year it looks like. That is sort of unfortunate it though as that means I won't have any motivation to re-read the other books that I was interested in/should be re-reading.

Currently Reading

I'm still ploughing through Dickens' Our Mutual Friend, which I am enjoying but is quite long so it is taking me awhile to read. I am also still listening to an audiobook of Hamlet, and I have one act to go.

Reading Soon

Hopefully this week I'll read H.G. Wells' book The Time Machine, which was my selection from the most recent Classics Club spin.

Favorite blog posts this week (that you should really check out)

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Friday, August 15, 2014

My Ultimate List of Favorite Movies (Plus my Dad's)

After making my top five list of movies for Five Friday Favorites I was accosted by all that I had forgotten this that and the other movies. Needless to say a more complete list is needed of my my favorite movies. My Dad, who is a movie expert (in his opinion and I suppose in mine as well) insisted on giving his top list too. Our lists are pretty similar but we differ on some points. However both of our lists  are similar in that the 1995 miniseries of Pride and Prejudice is our favorite movie. Besides that though, accept for Casablanca definitely being my Dad's second favorite movie, the movies are in no particular order.

These are movies that I would recommend pretty much without reserve. The only movies that I can think of with anything questionable sex wise in them are Groundhog Day, The Gods Must be Crazy and Serenity, and those would also be questionable language wise as well as Signs and Conspiracy Theory, and for violence Serenity, Conspiracy Theory, and Signs, but I would always recommend that you look at the content advisory on IMDB before watching a movie as everyones standards are different. As you can see, modern movies tend to more questionable. :) So here are the ultimate lists of my father and I. :)

My Top Twenty

  1. Pride and Prejudice (1995 Miniseries) 
  2. Mclintock
  3. Charade
  4. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
  5. Singing in the Rain
  6. National Treasure
  7. The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982)
  8. The Court Jester
  9. My Man Godfrey
  10. Star Wars: A New Hope
  11. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
  12. Arsenic and Old Lace
  13. The Major and the Minor
  14. You Can't Take it With You
  15. The Princess Bride
  16. The Incredibles
  17. Casablanca
  18. The Gods Must be Crazy
  19. The Shop Around the Corner
  20. Life with Father

My Dad's Top Twenty

  1. Pride and Prejudice (1995 Miniseries)
  2. Casablanca
  3. Rear Window
  4. Charade
  5. The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby by the Royal Shakespeare Theater
  6. The Incredibles
  7. To Kill a Mockingbird
  8. The Court Jester
  9. It Happened One Night
  10. Stalag 17
  11. The Quiet Man
  12. The Gods Must be Crazy
  13. Life with Father
  14. The Mark of Zorro
  15. Mary Poppins
  16. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
  17. My Man Godfrey
  18. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
  19. All About Eve
  20. Sense and Sensibility (1995) 

My Honorable Mentions

Bringing up Baby
The Ex-Mrs. Bradford
Rear Window
The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickelby by the Royal Shakespeare Theater
To Kill a Mockingbird
Stalag 17
The Quiet Man
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
The Avengers
The Mark of Zorro
The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
All About Eve
Sense and Sensibility (1995)
A Night at the Opera
Witness for the Prosecution
My Fair Lady
Groundhog Day
Anne of Greengables (1985)
On Moonlight Bay
By the Light of the Silvery Moon
The Parent Trap (1961)
That Darn Cat
The Lady Vanishes
Rachel and the Stranger
Temple Grandin
The Man Who Came to Dinner
Gunga Din
Dial M for Murder
It's a Wonderful Life
Much Ado About Nothing (1993)
Little Dorrit (2008)
Wait Until Dark

My Dad's Honorable Mentions

Bringing up Baby
A Night at the Opera
You Can't Take it With You
Witness for the Prosection
The Shop Around the Corner
Singing in the Rain
Searching for Bobby Fisher
Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
On Moonlight Bay
By the Light of the Silvery Moon
My Fair Lady
The Lives of a Bengal Lancer
Ivanhoe (1982)
It's a Wonderful Life
Gold Rush
City Lights
David Copperfield (1935) 
The Lady Vanishes
Anne of Green Gables (1985) 
Groundhog Day
The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982)
The Princess Bride
The Man Who Came to Dinner
I Remember Mama
Conspiracy Theory
The General (1927) 
The Fiddler on the Roof
The Ex-Mrs. Bradford
Dial M for Murder
Beau Geste
Gunga Din
Rachel and the Stranger
Star Wars: A New Hope
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
The Avengers
Arsenic and Old Lace
Temple Grandin

Needless to say making these lists inspired a longing in both my Dad and I to watch these movies and my Dad has now declared that he is going to have a movie watching marathon now. :) If you want a more complete list with ratings and a quick synopsis my Dad actually has a master list so contact me if you're interested. :) For right now... just watch these movies! 

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Five Friday Favorites: Five Favorite Films

It's been awhile since I've done five Friday favorites but since I'm back and at it blogging I'm excited to do it again. :) Five Friday Favorites is hosted by Amanda at Book Badger. The theme this week is five favorite movies and thank goodness I was just talking with my cousin about this the other week or I don't know if I could have come up with these on the spot like this. To start off, hands down my favorite film is the 1995 miniseries of Pride and Prejudice but I have been informed by people that it is not a movie but a miniseries so it doesn't count. Whatever! Therefore, without further ado, here are my five favorite films (not miniseries) in no particular order (and I really hope I didn't miss something obvious). :)

  1. Charade- Considered the most Hitchcock like non-Hitchcock, Charade is a hilarious, fast paced mystery film starring Cary Grant and Audery Hepburn. 
  2. National Treasure- An action adventure movie which I do not recommend you learn your history from but is tons of fun. It stars Nicolas Cage and Diane Kruger searching for a hidden treasure while being thwarted by the villain played by Sean Bean. 
  3. Mclintock- A western film with one of my favorite duos John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara married and at each others throats. :) 
  4. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers- My favorite musical starring Jane Powell and Howard Keel that draws from the Roman legend of the Sabine women. 
  5. Singing in the Rain- My second favorite musical about when films turned from silent to talkies starring Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O'Conner. 
Honorable Mentions
  1. Arsenic and Old Lace- A hilarious dark comedy with Cary Grant and Priscilla Lane
  2. The Lord of the Rings films- If you're not familiar with these films I'd be surprised. Based off of the epic fantasy trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien and starring a lot of people but the first that come to my mind are Ian Mckellen, Viggo Mortenson, John Rhys-Davies, Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Orlando Bloom and Sean Bean.
  3. The Avengers- Again, if you're not familiar with this film, I'd be surprised. Probably my favorite superhero film with lots of fun lines, a solid plot and good action scenes. Stars, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlette Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston and Mark Ruffalo. 
  4. Star Wars: A New Hope- The classic science fiction film starring Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford. 
  5. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back- The sequel to the classic science fiction film starring Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisehr and Harrison Ford. 
Just as I mostly read older books, I mostly watch older movies, though there are many newer movies I enjoy. These movies are some of the most quoted in my household and I pretty much never would grow tired of watching them over and over again. :) In fact, whenever someone suggests we watch a movie, almost 100% of the time I say "Let's watch National Treasure!" I'm a sucker for that movie. :) Everyone one of these, except The Lord of the Rings I suppose, is a comedy and has made me laugh countless times. Try them out! I promise you that you'll laugh at least once. ;) 
So what are your favorite films?

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Book Review- Little Dorrit

Little Dorrit just about my favorite of Dickens novels and I am shocked it is not more popular and as talked about as others of his works. To bring you up to speed with a little of what goes in the book here is the synopsis off of Goodreads. 
When Arthur Clenham returns to England after many years abroad, he takes a kindly interest in Amy Dorrit (Little Dorritt), his mother's seamstress, & in the affairs of Amy's father, William Dorrit, a man of shabby grandeur, long imprisoned for debt in the Marshalsea. As Arthur soon discovers, the dark shadow of the prison stretches far beyond its walls to affect the lives of many, from the kindly Mr Pancks, the reluctant rent-collector of Bleeding Heart Yard, & the tipsily garrulous Flora Finching, to Merdle, an unscrupulous financier, & the bureaucratic Barnacles in the Circumlocution Office. A masterly evocation of the state & psychology of imprisonment, Little Dorrit is one of the supreme works of Dickens's maturity.

All of the characters have a great amount of depth in the story. I fell in love with Arthur and Little Dorritt and ground my teeth at Mr. Dorritt, his children and Mrs. Clenham. The story touched me and humored me at the same time. All in all it had everything that I want in a book. While it was long, as Dickens books often are, I was kept engaged throughout. Amy reminded me a lot of Fanny Price from Jane Austen's Mansfield Park. I have always loved Fanny for her sweetness, patience and kindness and I love Amy for the same reasons. Arthur stuck with me as someone who always was trying to do the right thing by people and continued to love and visit his mother even though she rejected him countless times. The circumlocution office made me laugh several times and sometimes it humorously but sadly reminded me of my job at the pig farm. :)

I watched the 2008 BBC miniseries soon after reading the novel and I enjoyed it a lot as well. It differed but a little from the book and only once where it annoyed me. All in all it is a great adaptation and I would highly recommend it. It effectively brought to life the characters much as I imagined them and also showed me aspects of their personalities that I had missed in reading the novel. 

Little Dorrit was one of the easiest of Dickens' novels to read actually so if you're looking for one to start out with I'd highly recommend it. 

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Beat the Heat Readathon

I must be in a super reading mood because I'm signing up for another Readathon! This is the "Beat the Heat" readathon that is hosted by Novel Heartbeat and Phantasmic Reads

Here are the rules for the readathon. 
  • The readathon runs from August 11th at 12:01 AM to August 31st at 11:59 PM.
  • There will be four mini challenges  - a cover guessing challenge, a book blending challenge, an unscramble challenge, and a book guessing challenge. They will start on different dates and the challenges will only be open for a week, so be sure to check the challenge schedule (right below this section).
  • Feel free to tweet about it with us and start a discussion! Use hashtag #BtHReadathon when tweeting.
  • There will be a grand prize drawing that will go live on August 31st and stay open until September 7th. This should allow you enough time to do a wrap up post if you choose to.
  • Remember, to participate in the grand prize giveaway, you MUST be signed up for the readathon. Readathon signups will stay open until August 24th. Sign up HERE or HERE.
  • Some sort of progress post will be required for the grand prize giveaway. You can add your progress to your sign-up post if you made one, or make a new post. (You’re welcome to use the format in this post!)
  • All challenges are optional, but there will be bonus entries for participating in them in the final giveaway. Feel free to participate in as many (or as few) as you’d like. The main goal of Beat the Heat is to READ and enjoy yourself!

My Goals

I hope to read ten books during this readathon. I have a goal of five books for my Bout of Books readathon so that leaves five books for the remaining two weeks. :) 

My Progress

Week 1

Monday 8/11
Currently reading:
Time spent reading today:
Books completed today: 
Tuesday 8/12
Currently reading: Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone, Our Mutual Friend, Hamlet
Time spent reading today: Approx. 3hr
Books completed today: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Wednesday 8/13
Currently reading: Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone, Our Mutual Friend, Hamlet
Time spent reading today: Approx. 1 ½ hr
Books completed today: none
Thursday 8/14
Currently reading: Our Mutual Friend, Hamlet, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Time spent reading today: 1 1/2 hr
Books completed today: Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone
Friday 8/15
Currently reading: Our Mutual Friend, Hamlet, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Time spent reading today: 1 hr
Books completed today: none
Saturday 8/16
Currently reading: Our Mutual Friend, Hamlet
Time spent reading today: 1 ½ hr
Books completed today: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Sunday 8/17
Currently reading: Our Mutual Friend, Hamlet
Time spent reading today: 3 hr
Books completed today: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban 

Week 1 summary

Total time spent reading this week: 11 ½ hr
Books I completed this week: The Diary of a Young Girl, Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban 

Week 2

Monday 8/18
Currently reading: Our Mutual Friend, Hamlet, Harry Potter and the Gobblet of Fire
Time spent reading today: 4hr
Books completed today: Northanger Abbey by Val Mcdurmond
Tuesday 8/19
Currently reading: Our Mutual Friend, Hamlet, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Time spent reading today: 1 ½ hr
Books completed today: none
Wednesday 8/20
Currently reading: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Hamlet, Our Mutual Friend
Time spent reading today: 1hr
Books completed today: none
Thursday 8/21
Currently reading: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Hamlet, Our Mutual Friend
Time spent reading today: 1 ½ hr
Books completed today: none
Friday 8/22
Currently reading: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Hamlet
Time spent reading today: 1 ½ hr
Books completed today: Our Mutual Friend
Saturday 8/23
Currently reading: Hamlet, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Time spent reading today: 1 hr and 20 min
Books completed today: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Sunday 8/24
Currently reading: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Time spent reading today: 40 min
Books completed today: Hamlet

Week 2 summary

Total time spent reading this week: 7 1/2
Books I completed this week: Hamlet, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Our Mutual Friend, Northanger Abbey

Week 3

Monday 8/25
Currently reading: The Bridge on the River Kwai, Peter Pan, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Time spent reading today: 1hr
Books completed today: none
Tuesday 8/26
Currently reading: The Bridge on the River Kwai, Peter Pan, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Time spent reading today: 1hr
Books completed today: none
Wednesday 8/27
Currently reading: Peter Pan, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Time spent reading today: 1 hr
Books completed today: The Bridge on the River Kwai
Thursday 8/28
Currently reading: Peter Pan, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Time spent reading today: 2 hr
Books completed today: none
Friday 8/29
Currently reading: Peter Pan, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Time spent reading today: 1hr
Books completed today: none
Saturday 8/30
Currently reading: Peter Pan, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Time spent reading today: 1 hr
Books completed today:
Sunday 8/31
Currently reading: Peter Pan, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, The Time Machine
Time spent reading today: 1hr
Books completed today: none

Week 3 summary

Total time spent reading this week: 8hr 
Books I completed this week: The Bridge on the River Kwai

Final Summary 

Total Time Spent Reading: 27hr
All Books Completed: The Bridge on the River Kwai, Hamlet, Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Our Mutual Friend, Northanger Abbey, The Diary of a Young Girl

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