Friday, February 27, 2015

Book Review- Of Mice and Men

For the monthly key word reading challenge, the back to the classics challenge, banned books challenge, mount TBR challenge, alphabet soup challenge, TBR pile challenge, what an animal challenge, new author challenge, full house challenge and for the the classics club I read John Steinbeck's novella Of Mice and Men.
Synopsis from Goodreads: The tragic story of the complex bond between two migrant laborers in Central California. They are George Milton and Lennie Small, itinerant ranch hands who dream of one day owning a small farm. George acts as a father figure to Lennie, who is a very large, simple-minded man, calming him and helping to rein in his immense physical strength.
This is honestly an extremely odd book. As you can see above, it has been banned before and I'm not surprised. There's a lot of bad language in it and the themes are very dark.
I didn't really like it and I've gone back and forth between two and three stars on Goodreads. I do think there are some good aspects to it though, it gets you to think and would probably be great for discussion.
What I found touching about the story is George's dedication to Lennie. He knows he's really the only person who understands Lennie and will watch after him so he does despite all of the trials it gives him. What he does at the end (if you've read it you know) shocked me just a little. I get why he did it but I still don't think it was the right thing to do.
In the first chapter (I think it was the first) you get some sense of how Lennie can be manipulative when he keeps saying that he's too much trouble and he should leave George so George will be free. I don't feel like that was really further expounded on but it made me wonder how much exactly Lennie really is aware of things and maybe if he is more aware than he let's on?
Anyways, overall it was an interesting book but something I will most likely never re-read.

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

TBR Tag

I saw this fun tag over at Bibliophile's Style and I thought I'd participate in it too! :)

  1. How do you keep track of your TBR pile? For the last three years or so I've been really utilizing Goodreads but before that I would always make myself lists or my Dad would make me lists. Honestly, I can't get away from the list thing. I still make myself yearly lists (partially spurred on by the reading challenges I'm participating in) and my Dad still suggests books to me. :)
  2. Is your TBR list mostly print or eBook? Just in the last couple years I've been listening to a lot more audiobooks and even read a few eBooks but mostly (I'd say 90% of the time) I read books in print. Recently, though, I have been immensely enjoying Barbara Caruso's narration of the Anne of Green Gables series.
  3. How do you determine which book from your TBR list to read next? It's mostly mood reading but it depends on the reading challenges I'm signed up for as well.
  4. A book that's been on your TBR list the longest? Probably the last three books of Ralph Moody's Little Britches series. I read all but the last three years and years ago and I've never finished the series. This year though I've got them on my list to finish. 
  5. A book you recently added to your TBR list? Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee. 
  6. A book only our TBR strictly because of it's cover? I don't add books to my TBR list based on their cover. 
  7. A book on your TBR list that you never plan on reading? With how long my TBR list is there probably will be books I never end up reading but I hope not! There are probably some series I'll never get finished just because there's so many of them like the Odd Thomas books, the Ender's Game books, and the Dune books. Besides that, I'm not sure. Probably any more modern books I'll put off longer and may never get to. 
  8. An unpublished book on your TBR list that you are excited for? I'd have to agree with Selah on this one. I'm pretty excited for and intrigued by Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman. 
  9. A book on your TBR list that basically everyone has read except you? The Golem and the Jinni by Helen Wecker. I'm intrigued to read this. 
  10. A book on your TBR list that everyone recommends to you? Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. Everyone raves about this book so good thing I'm planning on reading it this year. 
  11. A book no your TBR list that you're dying to read? Probably Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier or Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. 
  12. How many books are on your Goodreads TBR shelf? Currently: 275. But it's always growing. :) I'm not always keeping up with adding books to my TBR shelf like I should be (insert face of shame here) but I try my best. With starting the 1000 Book List Project, there are a whole bunch more books I need to add to the list that I haven't yet. Someday, when I have more time (lol) I will. ;)
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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Top Ten Favorite Heroines from Literature

For Broke and Bookish's Top Ten Tuesday meme, this week's theme is my Top Ten Favorite Heroiens from literature. Choosing favorites is always hard but here goes in no particular order. :)
  1. Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  2. Fanny Price from Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
  3. Anne Elliot from Persuasion by Jane Austen
  4. Elinor Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
  5. Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
  6. Amy Dorrit from Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
  7. Lady Jane Grey from Coronation of Glory by Deborah Meroff- Kind of cheating because she is a real historical figure that I admire but there's a book about her so there! 
  8. Molly Gipson from Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
  9. Precious Ramotswe from The No. One Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
  10. Luna Lovegood from The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling- I know she isn't exactly the heroine of the story but I actually kind of prefer her to Hermione. 
You may notice a Jane Austen theme here and I do not apologize. ;) She is my favorite author. :)
P.S. If you haven't already be sure to check out my newest project: The 1000 Book List!

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Sunday, February 22, 2015

It's Monday! Another test and a lot of stress

Stress has been devouring my life for the last couple weeks preparing for another test. Last Wednesday I had it and I am less than happy with the results. I know I kind of deserved them... I could have studied more, but I'm still very frustrated. However, clinicals have been going well and in the past two weeks I've gotten in three IVs as opposed to the last three semesters of getting in zero IVs. :) Score in my book. :)
As for reading, it took second place to school so not so good. I did finish Wuthering Heights after my test and wrote a disjointed review which is linked below. I also decided that as I can't find Watership Down to go ahead and read Of Mice and Men this month for my Monthly Key Word reading challenge. However, I'll have to hurry up with that decision because we're almost done with the month! Can you believe March is just around the corner? Thankfully it's a very short book. :)
Also, I'm excited to get a new project up and running. The 1000 Book List Project is something my Dad started with me as a child and now something that I'm going to try and continue as an adult. Be sure to check it out HERE.
Speaking of books... what's up with reading this week?

Finished this week

  • The Valley of Vision
  • Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery (re-read) (audiobook)- Getting close to being done! 

Coming Soon

  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Book Reviews this week


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Literary Heroine Blog Party 2015

Kellie from According to Kellie is hosting the Literary Heroine Blog Party and Givewaway and I'm joining in on the fun!
Here's some fun questions that we get to answer! :)
~ The Questions ~
  1. Introduce yourself! Divulge your life's vision, likes, dislikes, aspirations, or something completely random! Well my name is Lois and I'm one of seven children that grew up in the land of Kansas. I was homeschooled through high school and I'm now in my final semester of nursing school. My life's vision is to glorify God in all I do and aspire to hopefully be a wife and mother. I like reading, crocheting, tea, Jane Austen, J.R.R. Tolkien and Doctor Who. I dislike Rose Tyler, the 2005 film version of Pride and Prejudice, excessive romance and not getting enough sleep. 
  2. What, to you, forms the essence of a true heroine? Me... obviously. ;) Just kidding. I wish. Elizabeth Bennet for me forms the essence of a true heroine. She's witty, smart and kind but she still has faults. 
  3. Share (up to) four heroines of literature that you most admire and relate to. Well obviously Elizabeth Bennet as aforementioned so I won't count her here. Admire: Fanny Price, Anne Elliot, and Molly Gipson. Relate to: Catherine Morland and Anne Shirley. So I know that was five but I'm a rebel child! ;)
  4. Five of your favorite historical novels? There are some novels I don't consider historical novels that I know others do and it's just a personal preference. Basically my rule is that if a book is written about the same time period in which it is being written I don't consider it a historical novel. Coronation of Glory by Deborah Meroff is my absolute favorite and if you haven't read it you should! Besides that I always enjoy G.A. Henry's historical novels, especially In the Reign of Terror, St. Batholomew's Eve and Coronet of Horse. Additionally I like The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare and To Kill a Mockinbird by Harper Lee. 
  5. Out of those five books who is your favorite major character and why? Lady Jane Grey without a doubt. Read the book people! 
  6. Out of those five books who is your favorite secondary character and why? My mind is blanking on secondary characters. :(
  7. If you were to plan out your dream vacation, where would you travel to - and what would you plan to do there? England, Scotland and Ireland. I would visit all of the historical sites and traverse the countrysides! Duh! 
  8. What is your favorite time period and culture to read about? 18th century. 
  9. You have been invited to perform at the local charity concert. Singing, comedy, recitation, tap dancing… what is your act comprised of? Recitation. Trust me, you don't want me singing. ;)
  10. If you were to attend a party where each guest was to portray a heroine of literature, who would you select to represent? Well I would secretly wish I could be Elizabeth Bennet but know I could never represent her with justice so I'd resort to being Miss Bates because then I know I could talk as much as I want and it would be fine because everyone would expect that of my character. ;) Just kidding.... again. :) I would go as Catherine Morland because I would feel quite natural in that role. 
  11. Favorite author(s)? Jane Austen and J.R.R. Tolkien
  12. In which century were most of the books you read written? It's hard to tell on my Goodreads stats page but I think it is the 19th century but the 18th century is right behind it. 
  13. In your opinion, the ultimate hero in all literature is… Well my favorite (not necessarily the best), heroes are Mr. Knightley (from Austen's Emma) and Mr. Tilney (from Austen's Northanger Abbey). 
  14. In your opinion, the most dastardly villain of all literature is... Can we do villainess? Cause my choice is Dolores Umbridge from Harry Potter. I do not like that woman. In fact, I dislike her more than Voldemort. Other dastardly villains though are Uriah Heap, Henry Crawford, Mr. Wickham, Mr. Willoughby and Grendel. 
  15. Describe your ideal dwelling place. A charming cottage in the countryside. 
  16. Sum up your fashion style in a short sentence. I try to be a somewhat fashionable while still being modest. :)
  17. Three favorite Non-fiction books? Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul, The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer, Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther by Roland Bainton. Honorable mentions: Christianity and Liberalism and Miniatures and Morals: The Christian Novels of Jane Austen. 
  18. Your duties met for the day, how would you choose to spend a carefree summer afternoon? Well if I wasn't terribly allergic to poison ivy I would go down to the woods/river area on the family property but as I am I would probably read, catch up with a TV show or if the kids were up for it, go swimming. 
  19. Create a verbal sketch of your dream hat - in such a way as will best portray your true character. All I can think of is the hat that Anne Shirley makes up in Anne of Green Gables to wear to church. It was a nice brimmed hat when she left Green Gables but by the time it got to church it was adorned with a crazy assortment of flowers. That's me... I've got all the crazy on the outside but there's a sensible interior. :) 
  20. Share the most significant event(s) that have marked your life in the past year. It was a hard year last year actually. My Grandpa on one side passed away in the spring and then my other Grandpa passed away in December. Those have made a huge impact on me and how I think about life and death. They've also mad me irrationally emotional at odd moments. ;) I also worked at a pig farm this last summer that will always be a very special memory in my mind. 
  21. Share the Bible passage(s) that have been most inspiring to you recently. Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.- Philippians 4:6-7
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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Book Review- The Bridge to Terabithia

Spoken of as the only book that's every made me cry, The Bridge to Terabithia was a re-read for me this year and went toward's the newberry challenge, hard core re-reading challenge.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Jesse Aarons' greatest ambition is to be the fastest runner in his grade. He's been practicing all summer and can't wait to see his classmates' faces when he beats them all. But on the first day of school, a new girl boldly crosses over to the boys' side and outruns everyone.That's not a very promising beginning for a friendship, but Jesse and Leslie Burke become inseparable. Together they create Terabithia, a magical kingdom in the woods where the two of them reign as king and queen, and their imaginations set the only limits.
First off, I didn't cry this time... for the record. Secondly, spoiler alert!
I love the imagination aspect of this book and the friendship that developed between Jesse and Leslie. As someone who really struggles with having a guy-girl friendship I can really appreciate that Jesse and Leslie were able to have a perfectly fine friendship.
This story is a little odd, and a little simple but interestingly enough works. It's not a great story by any means, but it is a story that talks about life and death through the eyes of children in a compelling way. There's not much I can say about it that hasn't been said before. However, I will add on a closing note that the reason it made me cry as a child when I first read it was because I was so shocked that Leslie died. I had never read a book where a main character died and I remember re-reading the lines over and over again in disbelief. Do I think it's bad that she died? No! I think it really worked with the story and made sense. I think it's kind of dumb that it was banned from school libraries because while yeah it made me sad at the time it did't traumatize me. If children don't understand that bad things happen and people die then they're not going to get very far in life. I think this story actually does a good job with that aspect and could be good for children to read for that very reason. The theology isn't perfect in the book on that level by any means but the essentials are there. As I said, it's a simple and not great book, but it works.
That's kind of a long "closing note" but I hope you get my drift. :)

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Friday, February 20, 2015

Book Review- Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte goes towards my Back to the Classics challenge, the Classics Club, mount TBR challenge, TBR pile challenge, Read England challenge, Author's A-Z challenge, new author challenge, women's challenge, Full House challenge and the Alphabet soup reading challenge.
For some years I've put off reading this book due to the negative reviews given of it by my best friend and my mother. I'm writing here to say that they were not wrong in the least.
Goodreads synopsis: When Catherine and Heathcliff’s childhood friendship grows into something so much more, what ensues is one of the greatest love stories of all time. Even as fate conspires against them and passion consumes them, nothing can keep Catherine and Heathcliff apart. Not even death… for their forbidden love is unlike any other.
I have mixed views on this novel. First off, Emily Bronte's writing is incredible, I won't deny. She kept me hooked through the entire book no matter how much I hated it. Her characters were definitely one of a kind as was her story. However, they were both entirely unlikable.
Let's start with Heathcliff. Overcome with hatred and a want for vengeance after being mistreated as a child by the Earnshaw family he attempts to ruin everyone's lives to get revenge. He's also madly in love with his Catherine Earnshaw, who he was raised with and who is also madly in love with him. However, Catherine marries her neighbor Edgar Linton after Heathcliff runs away. Catherine, is a spoiled, petulant, willful, awful, awful person! I'll say this much, Heathcliff and Catherine deserve each other. So Heathcliff pops back up some time later at the Linton's house and flirts with Catherine until Linton is just a little understandably ticked off and they have a big fight. To get back at Linton for marrying the love of his life, Heathcliff actually elopes with Linton's sister Isabella, who loves him then but later learns his true tempestuous nature. Catherine goes madder (if that's possible) after losing Heathcliff and gets very ill. She then gives birth to a child after a short secret meeting with Heathcliff where they declare their eternal love yet hatred for each other for ruining each other's life with their mad love. This is seriously a melodramatic story. Catherine dies giving birth to a daughter who is also named Catherine (which is a little confusing) but she is nicknamed Cathy (that's what I'll call her here for clarity's sake). Later, Isabella runs away from Heathcliff after being totally through with his mistreatment of her and gives birth to a son in London. At this point in the story I hated all of the characters except Catherine's husband Linton, who was an okay chap compared to the rest of them.
The second part of the story focuses on they descendants. So add to the story Cathy (Linton and Catherine's daughter), Heathcliff Jr. (Heathcliff and Isabella Linton's son) and also Hareton (Catherine's deceased brother's son who has been raised by Heathcliff). Isabella (Linton's sister who married Heathcliff then ran away) dies and her son is supposed to go to Linton but Heathcliff hears of this and claims the child to Lintons' chagrin. Heathcliff Jr. is a sickly, spoiled and petulant child. He's not exactly bad just really annoying and bratty. Cathy is not like her mother but she is fairly spoiled but with a deep love for her father that keeps her more on the straight and narrow throughout her life. Hareton has had the misfortune to be raised by Heathcliff so has had no education and has been mistreated as have all who have come in contact with Heathcliff. He comes across as unkind and ignorant but through the story he begins to improve. Cathy, against her father's knowledge keeps up a correspondence of love letters with Heathcliff Jr., which unknown to her are proctored by Heathcliff himself, who want them to marry so he can get her father's property. With Linton on his death bed, Heathcliff lures Cathy to his house where he forces her to marry Heathcliff Jr., who is also incredibly sickly. So Linton dies and a few days later so does Heathcliff Jr. and Heathcliff gets all of Cathy's father's properties. She continues to live in her father-in-law's house after her husband's death taunting him and hating him. After disliking Hareton at first, she begins to realize he's the only friend she is going to get in the house and after some time they begin to fall in love. This doesn't make Heathcliff too happy but at the moment he's pretty stuck on going out too the moors and acting really oddly. It is hinted in the story that he sees Catherine's ghost. He dies in his sleep leaving Cathy and Hareton to be happy and marry, finally free of the looming cloud of Heathcliff.
So I skipped a lot of details of the story but that's the main gist of it. For being a horribly depressing book that just keeps getting sadder and weirder as it goes on, I think the ending gives you some hope. I'm not really sure who in their right mind would think Heathcliff and Catherine's "romance" is a great love story but it's a view that's out there and it blows my mind. They were both insane. Everything they did was selfish and driven by hatred (well that's mostly Heathcliff). Even their "love" was selfish and absolutely dysfunctional. In fact, dysfunctional is a great word to describe the whole book.
So my feelings about this book, as I said at the beginning, are hard to explain. Despite the crazy plot line and characters, the writing has emotional and gripping. It's a gothic romance and I think I don't like them. However, I think I could possibly re-read this book in the future. So yeah, I have a love hate relationship with this book. :(

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Related Problems

Today for Top Ten Tuesday the theme is book related problems. First off... problems? I don't have problems! I just have eccentricities. ;)

  1. I like to check out books from the library that I'll "read soon" and just keep renewing them and not returning them... for a long time. Once I had books checked out for a year before I returned them! Thankfully I work at my library so I don't get in trouble.
  2. I read too fast. Seriously. That's why I re-read so much... cause I don't remember what I read the first time! Especially when I'm at the end of the book and I'm excited to find out what happens in the end or on the other hand when I can't wait to get done with a book because I'm tired of reading it... that doesn't happen often though. 
  3. I take forever to read books.... Now you may think that contradicts the above point but it really doesn't. When I'm actually physically reading the books I read too fast, but actually getting around to reading them can take awhile for me. Especially with Dickens but you can't exactly blame ME for that. ;)
  4. I wear out books. I'm not sure how it happens because I've always been a very careful person when it comes to handling books but somehow they always end up with bent or torn pages, coffee spilt on them or a worn spine by the time I'm through with them. 
  5. I take pictures of quotes I like. You've probably seen this on a few of my book reviews. To remember parts of the book I liked, I'll snap a quick picture on my phone so I can keep track of them. Normally I'll type them out when I write the book review but sometimes I'm lazy and I just use the picture. I think it would be really neat (and more organized) to have a notebook of literary quotes that I would write these out in but that may take some years before I become that organized and want to that the extra effort. ;) 
So in the end I only could think up five but that just goes to show that I obviously don't have many problems. ;)

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