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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