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.
Thoughts?
Here's a couple questions to ponder on.

  • When Emma evaluates her confusion about Mr. Elton and Harriet, she concludes that Elton was partly responsible. Why? Is this fair to Elton? 
  • 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? 
  • Do you agree with Mr. Knightley that if Frank Churchill wanted to come visit his father he would? 
  • 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? 
  • We were introduced to some new characters in these last couple chapters, what are your opinions on them? 
  • Has your views on previously introduced characters changed at all? If so how? 
  • 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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    Friday, July 31, 2015

    Book Reviews- The Chronicles of Prydain

    One of my very favorite fantasy series growing up. This was a re-read of the series for me. My sister and I actually re-read them at the same time so it was fun to compare notes. Since she had more time to read she got done before I did. :(

    The Book of Three

    Synopsis from Goodreads: Taran wanted to be a hero, and looking after a pig wasn't exactly heroic, even though Hen Wen was an oracular pig. But the day that Hen Wen vanished, Taran was led into an enchanting and perilous world. With his band of followers, he confronted the Horned King and his terrible Cauldron-Born. These were the forces of evil, and only Hen Wen knew the secret of keeping the kingdom of Prydain safe from them. But who would find her first?
    This book felt more immature for me this time... maybe because I'm older? It was still quite enjoyable. Taran as the wannabe hero is so adorable... I think we have all been like him at some point in our lives. And I LOVE Eilowny! :) 

    The Black Cauldron

    Synopsis from Goodreads: Taran, the Assistant Pig-Keeper, and his friends are led into a mortal struggle with Arwn and his deathless warriors. Taran must wrest the black cauldron from them, for it is the cauldron that gives them their evil strength. But can he withstand the three enchantresses, who are determined to turn him and his companions into toads? Taran has not foreseen the awful price he will have to pay in his defence of Prydain.
    I wanted to slap Elidyre the whole time I was reading this book! Besides that enjoyable but still feeling slightly immature.

    The Castle of Llyr

    Synopsis from Goodreads: Princess Eilonwy hates to leave her friend Taran, Assistant Pig-Keeper, and her beloved home, Caer Dallben. Why does she have to go to the Isle of Mona to train as a proper lady when she's already a princess? But Eilonwy soon faces much more than the ordeal of becoming a dignified young maiden, for she possesses magical powers sought by the evil enchantress Queen Achren. When Eilonwy is put under a deep spell, Taran and his companions set out on a dangerous quest to rescue her. Yet how can a lowly Assistant Pig-Keeper hope to stand against the most evil enchantress in all of Prydain?
    I feel here the characters start maturing more. Taran deciding to watch after Prince Rhun was a mature decision that he stuck to despite the trials it gave him. I liked seeing Prince Rhun mature through the story too. 

    Taran Wanderer

    Synopsis from Goodreads: Taran is an Assistant Pig-Keeper no longer; her has become a hero. Now he dreams of winning the hand of the Princess Eilonwy. Eager to find his origins, Taran sets off with the faithful Gurgi on a quest across the marvelous land of Prydain. Their journey takes them to the three witches in the Marshes of Morva, through the many realms of Prydain, and finally to the mystical Mirror of Llunet, which may hold a truth about Taran's identity that he cannot bear to face. In the course of his travels, Taran will learn much about his world and the good and bad people in it, but will also discover much about himself. After many hard lessons, Taran learns the secret of the Mirror Llunet and of the past--and finds not an ending but a beginning. 
    I'll admit that growing up this was my least favorite but my brother always said it was his favorite. Now this time around reading it I see why. Taran has developed into a man and also has realized that he has developed feelings for Eilowny. He matures so much in this book and I love it! I always felt Taran was a little too childish for me but in this one, and of course as I previously mentioned in the Castle of Llyr he starts to act like a man and not like a boy. The only downside to this one is that Eilowny isn't in it!

    The High King

    Synopsis from Goodreads: When the sword of Dyrnwyn, the most powerful weapon inthe kingdom of Prydain, falls into the hands of Arawn-Death-Lord, Taran, Assistant Pig-Keeper, and Prince Gwydion raise an army to march against Arawn's terrible cohorts. After a winter expedition filled with danger, Taran's army arrives at Mount Dragon, Arawn's stronghold. There, in a thrilling confrontation with Arawn and the evil enchantress Achren, Taran is forced to make the most crucial decision of his life. 
    The final novel in the series and the one to win the Newberry award! This is probably the best! Everyone is grown up and the stakes are higher than ever. This is also the saddest. Characters are dying left and right, reminding us in a way that are characters are no longer children and they are facing the harsh realities of life. Naturally Taran and Eilowny get married and live happily after. :) 


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    Thursday, July 30, 2015

    Book (Play) Review- Pygmalion

    For the literary movement challenge, the mount TBR challenge, the monthly motif challenge and the Classics Club I read Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion.
    Synopsis from Wikipedia: Professor of phonetics Henry Higgins makes a bet that he can train a bedraggled Cockney flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, to pass for a duchess at an ambassador's garden party by teaching her to assume a veneer of gentility, the most important element of which, he believes, is impeccable speech. The play is a sharp lampoon of the rigid British class system of the day and a commentary on women's independence.
    I grew up watching My Fair Lady, the musical adaptation of Pygmalion so I was pretty familiar with the story. I've also seen a black and white film version with Leslie Howard as Henry Higgins that I recall being pretty good. It's actually incredible how close the two are. There were several direct quotes in the film even in the music! One thing I noted that Henry Higgins was (if this is possible) meaner to Eliza than he is in My Fair Lady. Now let me say here I actually find Henry Higgins absolutely hilarious and I love him but I think in real life he would drive me crazy! He treats Eliza like she is a hobby, a pastime, an amusement. Colonel Pickering does that somewhat as well but not as badly as Higgins. I just feel that while they do that in the movie, it's much more obvious in the book.
    There's a strong statement in there for Eliza's independence, which is actually well done I think. The Monthly Motif theme for this month is a character who stands up for something they believe in and I think Eliza really stands up for herself in this story.
    At the end, she actually ends up marrying Freddy! That disappointed me! I'm not sure she should marry Henry Higgins but I don't think she should marry Freddy! However, from what it tells of their marriage I do think it turned out well and they learned from each other.

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    Wednesday, July 29, 2015

    Book Review- Go Set a Watchman

    This is a difficult review to write. I love To Kill a Mockingbird and it's one of my favorite books of all time. Going into Go Set a Watchman I had to remind myself that it wasn't going to be as good and thankfully I think that thought stuck so I was able to enjoy it as it was.
    Synopsis from Goodreads: Maycomb, Alabama. Twenty-six-year-old Jean Louise Finch--"Scout"--returns home from New York City to visit her aging father, Atticus. Set against the backdrop of the civil rights tensions and political turmoil that were transforming the South, Jean Louise's homecoming turns bittersweet when she learns disturbing truths about her close-knit family, the town and the people dearest to her. Memories from her childhood flood back, and her values and assumptions are thrown into doubt. Featuring many of the iconic characters from To Kill a MockingbirdGo Set a Watchman perfectly captures a young woman, and a world, in a painful yet necessary transition out of the illusions of the past--a journey that can be guided only by one's conscience. 
    Spoilers ahead! 
    In this review what I'm mostly going to address are the claims that Atticus is racist in Go Set a Watchman. I can kind of see that point but only kind of. Basically, there was a movement for a second reconstruction and knowing how horribly the first one went, Atticus was against it. He wasn't being racist or against black people getting their rights so much as he was against the horrors of what the last reconstruction was and didn't want it to happen again. I don't know if there was a right way to do the reconstruction but what they did the first time didn't work and it looked as if they were trying the same methods for the second one. I'm going to grant here that I'm not the greatest on my War Between the States and reconstruction history but I have striven to learn what I can.
    So I agree with Atticus for the most part and I agree with Scout, who's shocked by Atticus's views, for the most part too. I would say that for the reconstruction to be successful it would probably have to be at a much slower rate. It was a very complicated situation. Please understand I'm not racist in the least.
    Now characters. The main ones made it back for the most part. Atticus, Scout, her aunt Alexandra and uncle Jack. Jem died a few years ago (ahhhhhh!!!!!!). Dill is only briefly mentioned. :( Scout has a boyfriend Hank that she's been friends with since childhood but I don't honestly remember if he's in TKM or not. The Tom Robinson case is only briefly mentioned and then it's to say that it was a case that Atticus won! So obviously Harper Lee decided to go for a change in TKM and the editors decided not to change the manuscript with GSW. Also, Bo is never mentioned at all. :( Uncle Jack is one of my favorite characters and in GSW when he says the War wasn't about slavery it was about states rights I wanted to cheer! :) Thank you Uncle Jack! There's many sweet flashback scenes with Scout growing up. Some of them made me laugh so hard... especially the one where she thought she was pregnant. :) I'm not sure Scout ever truly did grow up... something that is alluded to at several points in GSW. In so many ways I sympathize with her though. I never did want to grow up and I still find myself at this awkward point of being a "grown up" but not quite wanting to be yet.
    I only read this book two days ago so these are kind of my gut reactions. I also read it in just under two hours. I'm kind of proud of that. :) However, because of that I probably missed bits here and there.
    So all in all I liked Go Set a Watchman but it was no To Kill a Mockingbird. :)

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    Monday, July 27, 2015

    Top Ten Characters Who are Fellow Book Nerds

    This week's theme for Top Ten Tuesday is Top Ten Characters Who are Fellow Book Nerds. I could only think of five but I'm sure there's some obvious ones I'm missing. :(
    1. Elizabeth Bennet 
    2. Catherine Morland
    3. Anne Shirley 
    4. Jo March 
    5. Hermione Granger

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    Emma- Week 3 (Chapters 11-15)

    How's the read-along going for everyone? I hope you are all still enjoying it!
    This past week we read chapters 11-15 and they contain some pretty humiliating scenes for Emma! I think we can all agree though that she kind of deserved it. Poor Harriet, though, did not.
    What are your thoughts so far?
    Did anyone else notice that Elton's interest in Emma is especially obvious when Harriet isn't around?
    Here's some discussion questions to ponder on.
    1. What kind of man is John Knightley? How wife? What kind of marriage do they have? 
    2. Compare and contrast the two Knightley brothers. 
    3. Compare and contrast the two Woodhouse sisters. 
    4. What is your first impression of Frank Churchill that you get from people's conversation about him.
    5. How is Mr. Elton's character revealed through his conversation with Emma? 
    Comment with your thoughts! :)

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    Monday, July 20, 2015

    Emma- Week 2 (Chapters 6-10)

    First things first.... I got a few comments from people last week that they were itching to read further. If enough of you are feeling like that I can up the reading from five chapters a week to maybe ten chapters or another number? What do you guys think?

    So discussion time! I LOVED the discussion that we got going last week. If you missed out on it be sure to take a look at it HERE.

    Here are this week's discussion questions and if you have further thoughts let them flow! Once again I'm stealing questions from Peter Leithart's marvelous book Miniatures and Morals: The Christian Novels of Jane Austen.
    1. What kind of man is Mr. Woodhouse?
    2. What is the real evil of Emma's condition? What effects has this on her? How is she an egoist?
    3. What are the qualities necessary to provide moral guidance? How does Emma show that she lacks these qualities in her dealings with Harriet?
    4. How does Mr. Knightley display these qualities?
    5. Explain how different characters use or abuse manners?
    6. Examine several of Mr. Elton's speeches. How would you characterize his speech? What does this reveal about him?
    And a continuation of last week's question.... 
    • What's your current opinion of the characters? Emma? Mr. Knightley? Harriet? Mr. Elton? Mr. Woodhouse? Ect.? Has it changed from your initial opinion? 

    I know a lot of you are aware of what's going to happen in the next couple chapters but for the sake of those who don't keep spoilers to a minimum. It's times like these that I wish we had read a couple chapters more! 

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    Tuesday, July 14, 2015

    Last Ten Books that Came into my Possession

    I love getting books from here and there so this will be a fun list to make! :)
    Recently I got some more Dickens used off of Amazon as a little present to myself for becoming a nurse. I have almost all of his books now.
    1. Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens
    2. Hard Time by Charles Dickens
    3. Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
    4. Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens
    5. Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens
    6. Friday the Rabbi Slep Late by Harry Kemelman
    7. Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian 
    8. Waverley by Sir Walter Scott
    9. The Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery
    10. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier 



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