Monday, August 31, 2015

Emma- - Week 8 (Chapters 36-40)

We are nearing the end people! It's been exciting to do this read-along. When we are finished we will have a week of giveaways, movie reviews and character analysis.  I have the movie reviews (thanks Heidi!), I'll be hosting some giveaways (though If you to host one you definitely can!) however if you want to write a character analysis or anything else let me know!
With these chapters we get the return of Frank, more Mrs. Elton and finally the ball! It's not an Austen novel without a ball. ;)
I personally am starting to see a change in Emma. She is resisting being a matchmaker for Harriet and is actually giving Harriet some good advice. I think Harriet is also maturing.
So questions!

  • Are you beginning to see developments in character? 
  • How did Mr. Elton show his character in declining to dance with Harriet? 
  • How does Mrs. Elton show her character in everything she says? 

And just cause I love this line here it is. "Brother and Sister? No!" :)

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Friday, August 28, 2015

Book Review- Jo's Boys

For the audiobook challenge, women's challenge, hard core re-reading challenge and monthly key word challenge I read (aka listened to) Louisa May Alcott's novel Jo's Boys.
Better known for her novels "Little Women" and "Little Men," Louisa May Alcott continued the story of her feisty protagonist Jo in this final novel chronicling the adventures and misadventures of the March family. Entertaining, surprising, and overall a joy to read, "Jo's Boys" is nevertheless shaded by a bittersweet tone, for with it Alcott brought her wonderful series to an end. Beginning ten years after "Little Men," "Jo's Boys" revisits Plumfield, the New England school still presided over by Jo and her husband, Professor Bhaer. Jo's boys -- including rebellious Dan, sailor Emil, and promising musicain Nat -- are grown; Jo herself remains at the center of this tale, holding her boys fast through shipwreck and storm, disappointment... and even murder.Popular for more than a century, the series that began with "Little Women" continues to hold universal appeal with its powerful and affectionate depiction of family -- the safe haven where the prodigal can always return, adversity is never met alone, and our dreams of being cherished, no matter what our flaws, come true.
This novel was a nice conclusion to the story that began with Little Women. It still contained some of the qualms I had with Little Men (see them HERE) but it was still enjoyable. I saw another's review of it and it called it preachy.... I guess I would have hesitated to use that word myself but I think they're probably right. I'd say Jo's Boys and Little Men maybe more so but Little Women is as well. Now, to be clear I'm a Christian and strongly so, but I still don't like my books to be preachy.
Overall though it was great to see everyone getting married and having adventures. Dan's fate was sad but to be honest I can only see him as a bachelor.... I'm not sure I see him married. I know a lot of people are upset with Amy for not letting him marrying Bess but I don't think that's exactly fair. First off, Dan never even asked. Secondly, we don't even know if Bess was interested in him in that way. Thirdly, I think let's be fair to Amy and realize that in real life, we probably would have second thoughts about our daughter marrying an ex-convict. Granted he's matured and changed but even I would want to give it some time. Those are just my thoughts.
I was actually more upset with Meg for not wanting Daisy to marry Nat. I also felt like they changed Nat in this book. In Little Men he was supposed to be a protege fiddler and a good young boy who as I recall never really has any major problems. In Jo's Boys they make him out to be an average fiddler and an okay boy that really doesn't show too much promise but well enough. So I just thought all of that was dumb. However they ended up together in the end so I can't complain too much.
Everyone else's marriages made me happy though.
Josie was interesting to read about and I liked to see how she grew up throughout the book. She scarcely made an appearance in Little Men so she was relatively new to the series.
Jo's writing career made me laugh. Only Jo. :) Jo is just always my favorite character. Jo is Jo. :)

Overall with this re-read of the Little Women series I fear I became a little disillusioned with this series. Yes I still enjoy it but it's just not great as I remember it growing up. Too idealistic, too preachy and too childish. What makes the series for me and probably always will is Jo. :)

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Book Review- That Hideous Strength

For the monthly motif challenge, mount TBR challenge, alphabet soup challenge, 42 challenge and author a-z challenge I read C.S. Lewis's last novel in his space trilogy, That Hideous Strength. It took me a long time to finally finish this trilogy! I started it several years ago when I read Out of the Silent Planet at my aunts. I then re-read it with a book club. A year later I read Perelandra and now finally a year after that I have finished That Hideous Strength!
Synopsis from Goodreads: The third novel in the science-fiction trilogy by C.S. Lewis. This final story is set on Earth, and tells of a terrifying conspiracy against humanity. The story surrounds Mark and Jane Studdock, a newly married couple. Mark is a Sociologist who is enticed to join an organisation called N.I.C.E. which aims to control all human life. His wife, meanwhile, has bizarre prophetic dreams about a decapitated scientist, Alcasan. As Mark is drawn inextricably into the sinister organisation, he discovers the truth of his wife's dreams when he meets the literal head of Alcasan which is being kept alive by infusions of blood. Jane seeks help concerning her dreams at a community called St Anne's, where she meets their leader -- Dr Ransom (the main character of the previous two titles in the trilogy). The story ends in a final spectacular scene at the N.I.C.E. headquarters where Merlin appears to confront the powers of Hell.
I liked That Hideous Strength a lot but it was incredibly weird... let's be honest though... the whole trilogy was. If you've read Frank Peretti's This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness it reminded me of them a lot. It was slower at the beginning but picked up as it went on. Putting science fiction and Merlin in the same room was a weird mix but Lewis made it work. In my opinion Lewis wrote the space trilogy for an older audience than the Chronicles of Narnia and That Hideous Strength is especially written for an older audience. There are subtle sexual themes throughout it that probably would go over children's heads. For example, one of the members of N.I.C.E., the Fairy, is lesbian.
I liked the main characters... the couple Mark and Jane. Oftentimes I would get frustrated with Mark being so dense and not getting that N.I.C.E. was a bad organization but I liked watching his metamorphosis throughout the novel. Jane wised up a lot faster than Mark but she still had a lot to learn. Ransom, the main character from the previous two novels doesn't make an appearance until halfway through the novel. Merlin in modern day was humorous. The other secondary characters worked well.
At the end it was interesting to see as Mark and Jane confronted difficulties and though they did not profess Christianity, turn to God in these times, realizing that He was their only hope. In the end, they stuck to those realizations.
Overall I enjoyed That Hideous Strength and would recommend it wholeheartedly (once you've read the previous two of course). Have you read it? What are your thoughts on it?

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Beat the Heat Readathon Progress- 2015

This is where I'm going to keep track of my progress for the Beat the Head Readathon. I'll update it as I go along. My reading times are fairly approximate as  I don't keep track of that normally.


Monday 8/24

Currently reading: A Child's History of England, Peter Duck (re-read), Emma (re-read), Jo's Boys (re-read) (audiobook)

Time spent reading today: 30 minutes reading, 30 minutes listening to an audiobook

Books completed today: none

Tuesday 8/25

Currently reading: A Child's History of England, Peter Duck (re-read), Emma (re-read)

Time spent reading today: 1 hr reading, 1 hr listening to audiobook

Books completed today: Jo's Boys (re-read) (audiobook)

Wednesday 8/26

Currently reading: A Child's History of England, Emma (re-read), Winter Holiday (re-read)

Time spent reading today: 3 hr and 30 min.

Books completed today: Peter Duck (re-read)

Thursday 8/27

Currently reading: A Child's History of England, Emma (re-read), The Wisdom of Father Brown (audiobook), Winter Holiday (re-read)

Time spent reading today: 30 min listening

Books completed today: none

Friday 8/28

Currently reading: A Child's History of England, Emma (re-read), The Wisdom of Father Brown (audiobook), Winter Holiday (re-read)

Time spent reading today: 1 hr

Books completed today: none

Saturday 8/29

Currently reading: A Child's History of England, Emma (re-read), The Wisdom of Father Brown (audiobook), Winter Holiday (re-read)

Time spent reading today: 1 hr

Books completed today: none

Sunday 8/30

Currently reading:

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Week 1 Summary:

Total time spent reading this week:

Books I completed this week:


Monday 8/31

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Tuesday 9/1

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Wednesday 9/2

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Thursday 9/3

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Friday 9/4

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Saturday 9/5

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Sunday 9/6

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Week 2 Summary:

Total time spent reading this week:

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Total time spent reading:

All books completed:

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Book Review- Germinal

For the literary movement challenge, library reading challenge, author A-Z and the classics club I read Emile Zola's novel Germinal. This was my first Emile Zola book so I really didn't know what to expect going into it.
Synopsis from Goodreads: The thirteenth novel in Émile Zola’s great Rougon-Macquart sequence, Germinal expresses outrage at the exploitation of the many by the few, but also shows humanity’s capacity for compassion and hope.Etienne Lantier, an unemployed railway worker, is a clever but uneducated young man with a dangerous temper. Forced to take a back-breaking job at Le Voreux mine when he cannot get other work, he discovers that his fellow miners are ill, hungry, and in debt, unable to feed and clothe their families. When conditions in the mining community deteriorate even further, Lantier finds himself leading a strike that could mean starvation or salvation for all.
I have very mixed feelings about this book. It is gritty... super gritty. It's also sexually crude. Not graphically like I'm sure novels are nowadays it's just crass. I don't appreciate that. It jus talked about sex way too much for my comfort level. Zola is trying to make a point with the crudities and the grittiness but I still don't like it.
A lot of the themes I saw in this book really showed through towards the end.
First there are the miners. Dirty poor and just dirty in general. They labor and break their backs for a pittance. They are half starving most of the time, sick, have to share beds and are freezing. For enjoyment they drink and have sex... with everybody... seriously. They crave what their masters have.

Then there is the owner of the mines.  He is a man with all the money all the food the nice house and really essentially everything the miners are striving for. However, he is unhappy. His wife has been unfaithful to him multiple times and most recently with their own nephew (GROSS!!!!). He craves to have sex with a wife who is faithful to him. He craves what the miners have.
So as you can see here, Emile Zola is pointing out that both groups desperately want something they think will make them happy but each has what the other wants and with it they still aren't happy.

This brings us to the strike. Now I'm going to be honest with you. I don't like strikes... I think for the most part strikes are stupid. When it comes to strikes I prefer North and South's outlook on them as it shows both sides in a positive and negative light. The strike held together fairly well at the beginning but at the end it went so south that if there was the end of the world it would have reached it. It was brutal, mad, disgusting and out of control.

The characters were all interesting but entirely immoral. In fact the book was basically void of God. When he was mentioned it was to say that he obviously didn't care about them (the miners). Lantier was better than some but in the end he degraded to the same level. Catherine I felt sorry for throughout the novel. She made a lot of bad choices but she was also forced into a lot of bad situations. I rooted for Catherine and Lantier to get together throughout the novel... not in the way I knew they would end up getting together but actually getting married. With the way book was though I knew that wouldn't happen.

I do think Zola is a very good writer and he kept me intrigued the whole time. I read the book essentially in two days because I was so interested to see what happened.

Overall I found the book very interesting but it is not something I would hand my child. It's interesting I was asking my cousin if she had read any of Zola's novels a couple months ago and she said no, but from what she'd heard his books were alongs the lines of "Chaucer, Rabelais and Balzac" (Music Man) and sexually inappropriate and innocent me was all like "no that couldn't be!" She was right. It got a three stars from me on Goodreads. I don't see myself reading anymore of Zola's works but in retrospect I'm glad I read this one.

Are you a fan of Zola? What are your thoughts on his books?

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Top Ten Books That Would Be On My Syllabus If I Taught Classics 101

Today's theme for Top Ten Tuesday is top ten books that would be on my syllabus if I taught X 101. I went with classics because.... duh... this is Lois. ;) Some of these are my favorites others of these I like but they're not my absolute favorite though I think they should be included because they are great literature. I tried to include a mixture of more modern classics and classic classics.
I also included a secondary list. Because if I had this class I would give them extra credit for reading the secondary reading list. Now I really want to teach this class!

  1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  2. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  3. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
  4. Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (I prefer it to Tom Sawyer)
  5. Macbeth by William Shakespeare
  6. Beowulf by Unknown
  7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  8. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  9. 1984 or Animal Farm by George Orwell
  10. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Secondary Reading
  1. Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
  2. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  3. Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
  4. Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
  5. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
  6. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  7. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  8. Emma by Jane Austen
  9. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  10. Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
There are obviously a LOT of great classics so of course I missed some good ones. Even though I've read so many classics there are so many I still have yet to read so just because your favorite isn't on here doesn't mean it doesn't deserve to be! Frankenstein, 1984, Animal Farm, David Copperfield, Great Expectations and Anna Karenina are not my favorites but I can appreciate them and I think they are very interesting books to look at and study.
Any you would add?

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Monday, August 24, 2015

Bout of Books August 2015 Wrap Up and Beat the Heat Readathon Kick Off

Today marks the end of Bout of Books and the beginning of the Beat the Heart Readathon!
For Bout of Books I read:

  • Germinal (It's entirety)
  • Jo's Boys (seven chapters) (audiobook) (re-read)
  • Peter Duck (six chapters) (re-read)
  • Emma (five chapters) (re-read)
Yeah.... I re-read a lot! 

For Beat the Heat so far I've read:
  • Jo's Boys (1 chapter) (audiobook) (re-read)
  • A Child's History of England by Charles Dickens (three chapters)

I'm loving that these readathons are encouraging me to read more and hopefully I'll continue to keep up with it after the readathons are done. :)

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Emma- Week 7 (Chapters 31-35)

This week's reading of Emma brought us the introduction of Mrs. Elton! Also I noticed we are over halfway through the book (I'm sure we were last week too but I wasn't paying attention... obviously). Frank Churchill does not make an appearance in these few chapters but he is promised back soon. Emma also struggles with herself on whether or not she is actually in love with him.
One of the most interesting aspects of these chapters I found was Mrs. Elton's interest in Jane. While Emma feels pity for Jane for being inflicted with Mrs. Elton, as Mr. Knightley said, Emma herself was never really there for Jane. It was good to see that Emma took that rebuke to heart but obviously she still has a long way to go.
Something my mother always pointed out to me was that Mrs. Elton's acted as a foil to Emma's character. Mrs. Elton was the evil version of Emma in a sense and since she was so bad we are more gracious to Emma. Thoughts to ponder on.
  • What techniques does Austen use to ensure that we remain sympathetic to Emma?
  • What kind of woman is Mrs. Elton?
  • How do you think Frank's absence is affecting Emma? 
Feel free to comment with your thoughts (Even if you aren't participating in the read-along)! :)

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Bout of Books Challenge- Scavenger Hunt

The Bout of Books challenge for today is a Scavenger Hunt hosted by The Book Monsters.

  1. A book that begins with B- Bleak House by Charles Dickens
  2. A book you're reading for Bout of Books- Germinal by Charles Dickens
  3. Blue Book(s)- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  4. Book from your favorite genre- The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (Fantasy)
  5. A Book on your TBR shelf- Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

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Bout of Books August 2015- Day 1 Progress

All of my posts are coming out late today. Sorry! I'm working tonight (sad life of a night shift nurse) so I was sleeping most of today so I wouldn't be tired tonight.
Bout of BooksSo here's a little update on my progress so far with Bout of Books.

I read.....

  • Germinal by Emile Zola- Over half of it actually! 

I listened to...

  • Jo's Boys by Louisa May Alcott- One chapter 
All of my siblings were starting school yesterday so I was kind of at a loss as to what to do as this whole summer I've been spending time with them but now they were all busy. The worst is that since they're all homeschooled I see them around the house but we can't hang out together because they're working on school! However in the evening we were able to a game of Settlers of Catan and I won so that kind of made up for it. ;)
Are you participating in Bout of Books? How are you doing? 

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Top Ten Auto-buy Authors

The theme for this week's top ten Tuesday is your top ten auto-buy authors. So you all know I read mostly classic works so most of these authors aren't putting out books anymore. I'm just going to list the ones that I don't already own all of their works (which is why Jane Austen isn't on the list). For those not familiar with some of these authors, I have put in parentheses one of their more famous works.

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien (Lord of the Rings)
  2. Charles Dickens (David Copperfield) 
  3. Agatha Christie (Murder on the Orient Express)
  4. C.S. Lewis (The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe) 
  5. Louisa May Alcott (Little Women)
  6. Lucy Maud Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables)
  7. Emmuska Orczy (The Scarlet Pimpernel) 
  8. G.A. Henty (In the Reign of Terror)
  9. Brian Jacques (Redwall)
  10. P.G. Wodehouse (The Code of the Woosters)
With these authors I would have no hesitation in buying their novels. They are tried and true authors who have never let me down. :)

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Monday, August 17, 2015

Bout of Books! Fictional World Travel

Today starts the Bout of Books! Between Library Shelves is hosting a Fictional World Travel. Check out her blog to see the rules and participate yourself!
The books that are pictured are all from different foreign countries (foreign to me that is).

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom- Netherlands
The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare- Italy
The Samurai's Tale by Erik Christian Haugaard- Japan
Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens- England 
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith- Botswana
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens- France

When finding books for this challenge I realized I have a lot of books that take place in England! It was fun though to find the different countries represented on my book shelf. :)

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Emma- Week 6 (Chapters 26-30)

So I realized somehow I listed and read six chapters for last week's discussion post... accidentally including chapter 26 when it should have been part of today's discussion post! Oh well! I have us back on track now though. Right now you should be done with chapter 30.
Here are some questions to ponder on.
  1. What speculations does the gift of a piano to Jane Fairfax provoke?
  2. Why does Mrs. Weston suspect that Jane and Knightley are moving toward engagement? Why is Emma resistant to this idea? 
  3. What is your current opinion of Frank Churchill? Has it changed from last week? 
  4. Harriet is shown to be easily persuaded by Emma. Do you think she has a real will of her own at this point in the book? How do you think she made decisions before she met Emma? 


So when I was reading it this time I noticed that it was actually more obvious then I remembered it being that in the scene when Frank has to go back to his Aunt Churchill and he comes to say goodbye to Emma that he is going to tell her he is engaged to Jane Fairfax. He's talking about visiting the Bates right before he says it and the transition he makes really does sound like it actually. Of course it was understandable for Emma to think he was going to propose to her. Let's be honest here, it's not like Frank was making it obvious that he and Jane were engaged.... in fact the opposite and he was making it look like he was interested in Emma so you can't blame Emma for thinking he was going to propose to her. However, in retrospect looking at his speech you can see how he was leading up to telling her about him and Jane. Anyways... random thoughts. :)


Share your thoughts!

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Book Review- The Valley of Vision

So I realized last week that though I finished The Valley of Vision a couple months ago I never actually wrote a review of it! So here we go!
Synopsis from Goodreads: The strength of Puritan character and life lay in prayer and meditation. In this practice the spirit of prayer was regarded as of first importance and the best form of prayer, for living prayer is the characteristic of genuine spirituality. Yet prayer is also vocal and may therefore on occasions be written. Consequently in the Puritan tradition there are many written prayers and meditations which constitute an important corpus of inspiring devotional literature. Too often ex tempore prayer lacks variety, order and definiteness. The reason for this lies partly in a neglect of due preparation. It is here that the care and scriptural thoroughness which others found necessary in their approach to God may be of help. This book has been prepared not to 'supply' prayers but to prompt and encourage the Christian as he treads the path on which others have gone before.
The Valley of Vision is a beautiful collection of Puritan prayers. Now Puritans get an unfairly ascribed bad rap nowadays so please don't let that turn you off! This book is one of the greatest books I've ever read. It held beautifully true to scripture and sacrilegious as this sounds sometimes when I read it I felt like I was reading scripture!
There were so many good quotes (aka prayers) so I can't include them all here but I'll include some of my very favorites.

"Let me find thy light in my darkness, 
thy life in my death,
thy joy in my sorrow, 
thy grace in my sin
thy riches in my poverty, 
thy glory in my valley." 

"Let thy unexampled love constrain me into holy obedience, and render my duty my delight. 
If others deem my faith folly, my meekness infirmity, my zeal madness, my hope delusion, my actions hypocrisy, may I rejoice to suffer for thy name." 

"I am guilty, but pardoned,
lost, but saved,
wandering, but found,
sinning but cleansed."

"How little have I illustrated my principles and improved my privileges!
How seldom I served my generation!
How often have I injured and not recommended my Redeemer."  

“Work in me more profound and abiding repentance; 
Give me the fullness of godly grief, that trembles and fears, yet ever trust and loves, which is ever powerful, and ever confident; 
Grant through the tears of repentance I may see more clearly the brightness and glories of the saving cross.” 

“​Oh God, it is amazing that men can talk so much about man's creaturely power and goodness, when, if thou didst not hold us back every moment, we should be devils incar​​nate.” 

“I fall short of thy glory every day by spending hours unprofitably, by thinking that the things I do are good, when they are not done to thy end, nor spring from the rules of thy Word.

So many great quotes and not enough space! You should read this! I would say few books have really changed my life... the Bible being the main one.... but this one would definitely be on that list.
I can't recommend it more highly.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Top Ten Authors I've Read the Most Books From

This week's them is the top ten authors I've read he most books from. Now we already did one of the top ten authors we own the books of and these lists will be pretty similar. Looking back at that list though I see I owned a lot less books then. I thankfully have Goodreads to tell me the answers to this list though there are books (mostly ones I read as a child) that still haven't gotten put on Goodreads.
  1. Agatha Christie- According to Goodreads I've read 69 of her books... I'm not sure if that number is totally accurate... I think I've read more than that. I've read almost all of her books. 
  2. P.G.Wodehouse- According to Goodreads I've read 43 of his books... that number is probably pretty accurate. 
  3. Thornton Burgess- A favorite author growing up. According to Goodreads I've read 38 of his books. 
  4. Brian Jacques- According to Goodreads I've read 28 of his books. I'm pretty sure I've read all of his books. 
  5. G.A. Henty- According to Goodreads I've read 21 of his books. I think though I've read more. 
  6. C.S. Lewis- According to Goodreads I've read 14 of his books.
  7. Charles Dickens- According to Goodreads I've read 14 of his books.
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien- According to Goodreads I've read 13 of his books. 
  9. Arthur Ransome- According to Goodreads I've read 12 of his books. 
  10. L.M. Montgomery- According to Goodreads I've read 12 of her books. 

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Monday, August 10, 2015

Emma- Week 5 (Chapters 21-26)

We're now on our fifth week of the Emma Read-along! I'm really enjoying reading it more this time. Emma has always been my least favorite of Austen's novels, though of course I still do like it. I feel though that with this read-along I am paying more attention and taking the time to look at themes I haven't seen before in previous readings of Emma.

When reading Miss Bates' speeches does anyone else just here her voice in your head saying it super, super fast and all in one breath? I do!

Once again this week I'm complaining about Emma's pride! Her plan to refuse the Cole's invitation for the dinner party because they needed to be taught a lesson that her family was so far above them that they shouldn't have the audacity to ask them was so snobbish! I'm glad she ended up going.

Okay I have non-spoiler discussion questions and spoiler discussion questions because there's a lot to look at if you've already read it and know what's going on and then also if you haven't and don't. So when you comment and answer just make sure you say spoiler before answering the question.

Non-Spoiler questions

    • So we finally have met Frank Churchill! First impressions?
    • What does Emma think of Churchill? What does Knightley think? Account for their different interpretations. 
    • Who do you think sent Jane Fairfax her piano? 
    • Compare and contrast Mr. Elton and Emma Woodhouse? Now first off you may think that's a weird comparison but when I think about I find that so many things that Emma mentally accuses him of she is guilty of as well! Just food for thought. 

    SPOILER questions

    • Is anyone else just freshly reminded how much of a jerk Frank is to Jane?
    • Also, to top it off, Frank is showing obvious attention to Emma.... what do you think Frank is even thinking? 

    Please comment with your thoughts and as always even if you're not doing the read-along feel free to join in on the discussion! 

    Also, weird random fact that I found out but did you know that Joan Aiken (author of many children's books but notably my favorite The Wolves of Willoughby Chase) wrote a book about Jane Fairfax entitled Jane Fairfax? It sounds kind of interesting. I might have to look into it. 

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    Thursday, August 6, 2015

    Read-a-thon sign ups! Beat the Heat and the Re-Read-a-thon

    Today I'm signing up for the Beat the Heat read-a-thon and the Re-read-a-thon! Both sound like they will be a lot of fun. I did the Beat the Heat one last year and enjoyed it and a re-read-a-thon is always okay with me as I re-read a LOT! Be sure to check them out if you're interested. :)

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    Wednesday, August 5, 2015

    Book Review- Little Men

    For the audiobook challenge, women's challenge and hard core re-reading challenge I re-read Louisa May Alcott's novel Little Men.

    I know a lot of people like this one better than Little Women but I am not one of them. To be honest, I thought I would... but I didn't. It's still good though. :) Now of course this was a re-read but it's been awhile since I first read it so in a lot of ways it was like reading it for the first time.
    My main complaint with the novel was that it took a very childlike view of God, Christianity and life. If you're just kind and love someone enough eventually they will love you too. That's not how life works and that's not a Christian view either. Feel free to argue with me about that.
    Besides that though I did like it. :)
    I enjoyed that it was about a bunch of boys, being a tomboy myself. That was a lot of fun and their antics were hilarious.
    I guess I kind of forgot that Meg's husband died but that was horribly sad!
    So overall enjoyable with minor qualms. :)
    Fun fact... I guess there are film versions of Little Men.... a fact I was not aware of but I guess I probably never looked. However, from what I can tell from IMDB none of them are that great. However, if anyone has seen as decent version let me know because I'd be interested to watch one.

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    Monday, August 3, 2015

    Emma- Week 4 (Chapters 16-20) (Also Austen in August!)

    I'm sorry this post is coming out later today than I normally have them out. I just started working night shift this past weekend so I haven't really been functioning normally since then. :(

    A little FYI, but over at Roof Beam Reader there is an Austen in August event going on. Since we are all reading Emma right now I thought I'd just let you all know in case you want to join in. There's giveaways and other fun stuff as well. :)

    So we are now on chapters 16-20 of Emma. Emma goes through a lot of musing in the first chapter as to Mr. Elton's proposal. I think Emma feels properly mortified at what she had done to Harriet. I noted this time that at the same time as Emma is degrading Mr. Elton for being proud she is being incredibly proud!

    We also got to hear Miss Bates for the first time so far in the novel. I didn't realize she didn't actually speak until this late in the book though she's been mentioned before. Of course we also are introduced to Jane as well.
    Here's a couple questions to ponder on.

  1. When Emma evaluates her confusion about Mr. Elton and Harriet, she concludes that Elton was partly responsible. Why? Is this fair to Elton? 
  2. Why do you think Emma doesn't want to be friends with Jane yet wants to be friends with Harriet when according to her normally proud standards, Jane would be the person she would be friends with? 
  3. Do you agree with Mr. Knightley that if Frank Churchill wanted to come visit his father he would? 
  4. Frank Churchill is a character we have not met yet but has been talked of much. What is your opinion of him from what you've heard? 
  5. We were introduced to some new characters in these last couple chapters, what are your opinions on them? 
  6. Has your views on previously introduced characters changed at all? If so how? 
  7. Please comment with your thoughts. As always, even if you're not a part of the read-along feel free to comment with your thoughts! If you are not already a part of this read-along but want to join in you're welcome as well. We're not that far in so there's plenty of time to catch up! I'm really enjoying this read-along and there's so much that I've missed before that has become obvious this time around. :)

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    Bout of Books- August 2015

    There's another Bout of Books coming up! Maybe it will be the kick in the pants I need to get more reading done. ;)
    Bout of Books
    Here's a little information about what the Bout of Books is.
    The Bout of Books is a week long read-a-thon that  begins 12:01 a.m. Monday, August 17th and runs through Sunday, August 23rd. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways and a grand prize, but they are all completely optional. For more information be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog
    I'm not sure what all I'll have finished by the time I get to the Bout of Books so I'm not sure what I'll work on reading during it. Here's a rough idea though.
    • Peter Duck by Arthur Ransom (re-read)
    • That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis
    • Germinal by Emile Zola 
    • Jo's Boys by Louisa May Alcott (re-read) (audiobook) 
    Happy Reading! 

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    Saturday, August 1, 2015

    Birthday Month Reading Challenge- August

    August.... the month where you poor unfortunate souls have to go back to school but I don't cause I'm done! Not that I'm rubbing it in your face or anything. ;)
    Here's a list of authors with an August birthday! A more complete list is available HERE.
    • Ray Bradbury
    • Suzanne Collins
    • Orscon Scott Card
    • Danielle Steel
    • Herman Mellvile
    • David Baldacci
    • James Baldwin
    • Garrison Keillor
    • William Goldman
    • Theodore Dresiser
    • E. Nesbit
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