Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Book Review- Peer Gynt

For the Author A-Z Challenge I read Henrik Ibsen's play Peer Gynt.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Among the masterpieces of world literature, this great verse drama by Norway's famed playwright humorously yet profoundly explores the virtues, vices, and follies common to all humanity as it follows the roguish life of a charming but arrogant young man. A literary delight since it was first published in 1875.
I'd heard of Peer Gynt many times before (mostly because of the music Grieg wrote for it) but it was something I probably would not have picked up if it hadn't been for the A-Z challenge. It was an interesting book though so overall I don't regret reading it.
What I found the most fascinating about the play was Peer Gynt's comments on God... most of them were totally erroneous but nonetheless thought provoking and interesting.

"It's me, Peer Gunt! Are you listening, Lord? Look after me, Father; let me be spared! Make them turn back! Or lower the gig! Stop their! Oh, let the boxers clog! Please! Don't fuss with the world's affairs! It'll manage itself for awhile. Ha if he's listening! Deaf as usual! That's nice! A God that can't answer prayers."
"How delightful to feel one''s soul upraised. To think nobly is more than to get rich quick. Trust all to Him. He knows just how high He can fill my cup with bitter blight. He does have a fatherly interest in me. But economical.... that He's not!" 
"There's no faith left among men any more. No Christian love, as it's written and taught. Few good deeds, and still less prayer and no respect for the Deity's might. In a storm like this, the Lord God rages. Those beasts should remember they take a chance, but instead, they're openly sacrilegious! But I have no guilt, when I can prove I was there with my money, ready to give and what do I get for it? It's been said: 'A conscience at ease is a downy pillow.' Oh yes, on land that can't be denied; But on board ship, it isn't worth mud to be honest among that rabble below. At sea, you can't be yourself at all. 
"Now that's what I call Christianity! Nothing unpleasant to jar the mind... and the subject... being oneself to the end.... bought out in the pastor's eulogy, has everything in it to recommend." 

Sometimes it was funny as well! Kind of a sardonic tongue in cheek kind of funny and maybe only a kind of humor that I only appreciate? ;)
Passenger- I'd be satisfied if you'd make me a present of your cadaver?
Peer Gynt- "Now this is too much!"
Passenger- Just the body you know! It's important for my research!
Peer Gynt- Will you go!
Passenger- But my dear sir, think how you'll benefit! You'll be opened up and brought to light. I'm investigating the source of dreams, But I'll also go into your joints and seams..."

When about to marry the troll princess
Peer Gynt- I have no tail!
Troll King- We'll get you one. Steward, my Sunday best! Tie it on.
Peer Gynt- Lay off! You think I've lost my mind?
Troll King- You can't court my daughter with a smooth behind!  

Passenger- The souls in funeral urns don't try on weekdays to dress for tragedy.
Peer Gynt- Be off you monster! Get away! I won't die! It's the land for me!
Passenger- You needn't worry in that respect... no one dies halfway through the last act. 

All in all I found it an interesting little play and I'd be kind of interested to see it preformed. It certainly wasn't my favorite but it was enjoyable. If you like this kind of thing I'd say go for it but if not don't bother. :)

Monday, November 23, 2015

It's Monday! Read it!

This week I managed to get lots of reading AND lots of crocheting done!

Finished this week

  • The Fields of Home by Ralph Moody (re-read) 
  • Shaking the Nickel Bush by Ralph Moody
  • Doctor Thorne by Anthony Trollope
  • All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Remarque

Currently Reading

  • Haven't started anything new yet. :) 

Coming Soon

  • The Dry Divide by Ralph Moody
  • Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
  • The Chosen by Chaim Potok (re-read)
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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Top Ten Quotes I Loved from Books I Read this Year

I have not been keeping track of favorite book quotes as well as I did last year but I'll try my best. :) Additionally, I've forgone including quotes from The Valley of Vision even though it had my very favorites because as it was a book of prayers every quote was a huge long prayer so I figured that would be too long for this post. Just go read it yourself and enjoy! ;)
  1. "It's taste might be forgotten, but not the tradition."- Death of a Red Heroine by Qui Xiaolong 
  2. "If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more."- Emma by Jane Austen (re-read)
  3. "I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read on the train."- The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde 
  4. "Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved reading. One does not love to breathe."- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (re-read)
  5. "The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience."- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (re-read)
  6. "Every day is important for us because it is ordained by God. If we are bored with life there is something wrong with our concept of God and His involvement in our daily lives. Even the most dull and tedious days of our lives are ordained by God and ought to be used by us to glorify Him."- Trusting God by Jerry Bridges
  7. "Because God is sovereign he, He is able to answer. Because He is faithful to his promises, He will answer."- Trusting God by Jerry Bridges
  8. "Above all, don't lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love."- The Brother's Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky 
  9. "Of course Lady Arabella could not suckle the young heir herself. Ladies Arabella never can."- Doctor Throne by Anthony Trollope 
  10. "Sometimes heroism is nothing more than patience, curiosity and a refusal to panic"- Peace Like a River by Leif Enger 
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Monday, November 16, 2015

It's Monday! Crochet it!

Yes I'm still tired but I'm working through it. ;) This past week or so my little sister and I have been working hard to crochet in preparation for a Holiday Market that a group of people at my church are doing. We're using this as a marvelous excuse to watch more period dramas since it is far more fun to watch something while crocheting. My little sister makes the most adorable American Girl doll sized dresses and I make everything from christmas tree ornaments to baby hats. It's so much fun! :) Unfortunately this has kind of cut into my reading time but I'm still keeping on track for the most part.

Currently reading

  • Doctor Thorne by Anthony Trollope 

Finished this week

  • Carry on Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham (re-read) 

Coming Soon

  • The Fields of Home by Ralph Moody (re-read)
  • Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
  • All Quiet on the Western Front by Remarque
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Saturday, November 14, 2015

Book Review- A Bear Called Paddington

For the Key Word Reading Challenge, Hard Core Re-Reading challenge and What an Animal Reading Challenge I read Michael Bond's A Bear Called Paddington.
I actually woke up one Sunday morning an hour before I should have or needed to so I grabbed the book and read it in that hour.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Mr. and Mrs. Brown first met Paddington, a most endearing bear from Darkest Peru on a railway platform in London. A sign hanging around his neck said, "Please look after this bear. Thank you" So that is just what they did.From the very first night when he attempted his first bath and ended up nearly flooding the house, Paddington was seldom far from imminent disaster. Jonathan and Judy were delighted with this havoc and even Mr. and Mrs. Brown had to admit that life seemed to be more filled with adventure when there was a bear in the house. 
This is such a fun and imaginative book! I love how the Brown family and really the whole book just excepts that Paddington is a bear with scarcely a hesitation. Paddington's misadventures are classic. His love of marmalade is adorable and original. I don't think you could help but love Paddington. All in all this is such a sweet children's book and definitely one I'll pass on to my children someday.

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Friday, November 13, 2015

Book Review- A Room With a View

For the literary movement challenge, the monthly motif challenge and the Classics Club I read E.M. Forester's novel A Room with a View.
Synopsis from Goodreads: One of E. M. Forster's most celebrated novels, A Room With a View is the story of a young English middle-class girl, Lucy Honeychurch. While vacationing in Italy, Lucy meets and is wooed by two gentlemen, George Emerson and Cecil Vyse. After turning down Cecil Vyse's marriage proposals twice Lucy finally accepts. Upon hearing of the engagement George protests and confesses his true love for Lucy. Lucy is torn between the choice of marrying Cecil, who is a more socially acceptable mate, and George who she knows will bring her true happiness. A Room With a View is a tale of classic human struggles such as the choice between social acceptance or true love.
I'm not sure how I feel about this book and I was torn between four and three stars but I finally decided on the four. I'm going to be honest. I was not terribly take with either George Emerson or Cecil Vyse. I couldn't root for either. You're supposed to root for George Emerson but he seemed so immature to me and I just didn't like him. Cecil was a very interesting character and actually I felt like after Lucy ends up breaking off their engagement that there might be hope for him. He's the character I actually wanted to know more about. I'm not sure how I felt about Lucy herself. I sympathized with her in some areas but she just seemed kind of immature and naive herself. I think though she recognized her naivety at least and wanted to change that. Cousins Charlotte was a complicated character and overall I found her super annoying but I did like how in the end she is willing to help George and Lucy out. I liked Mr. Beeb for the most part but I wish we got to know him better too. The book was too short in my opinion. The book also had it's snide humor and was beautifully written. It did a lot of contrasting as well which was thought provoking.
I'm just not sure how I felt about this book. I think I will watch the movie and maybe that will help me decide. ;)

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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Book Review- Mysterious Island

For the Mount TBR challenge, the Authors A-Z challenge, Chunkster challenge, the Full House reading challenge and the Classics Club I read Jules Verne's classic science fiction novel Mysterious Island.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Five Union prisoners escape from the siege of Richmond in a balloon, are blown off course and crash on an uncharted island. They must learn to rebuild a society for themselves while awaiting rescue.
At it's core Mysterious Island is a castaway story and I have always loved a good castaway story. Add to a good castaway story some science fiction and we're in business! Jules Verne placed some geniuses on that island some of my favorite parts were reading about them making a kiln or glass or other such things you'd think no one would be able to make on a deserted island! If you have a son that loves inventing or wants to be a wilderness survivor this book is for him! They have basically nothing but are yet able to make so much out of that nothing. True they get a little help later on but overall they did so much themselves through dedication and hardwork. Those are both some good lessons to learn from. Their resourcefulness is inspiring! The reintroduction of Captain Nemo from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is intriguing. Overall I thought he had mellowed since we last met him and he seemed to be maybe somewhat sorry for all he had done. It was nice to conclude his story.
Overall I loved this story and it's probably my second favorite of Verne's novels (Around the World in 80 Days is my favorite).

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Book Review- Death of a Red Heroine

Another difficult letter for me in the Author A-Z Challenge was the X. It took some digging to find an author whose last name began with an X. However finally I did. So for the Library Reading challenge and the Author A-Z challenge I read Qui Xiaolong's novel Death of a Red Heroine.
Synopsis from Goodreads: A young “national model worker,” renowned for her adherence to the principles of the Communist Party, turns up dead in a Shanghai canal. As Inspector Chen Cao of the Shanghai Special Cases Bureau struggles to trace the hidden threads of her past, he finds himself challenging the very political forces that have guided his life since birth. Chen must tiptoe around his own superiors if he wants to get to the bottom of this crime, and risk his career—perhaps even his life—if he wants to see justice done.

Overall I liked this book and it would have gotten four stars from me except towards the end it got raunchier so I bumped it down to three stars. I feel like I've had to complain about sex stuff in a lot of books recently! It's what I get for reading more modern novels. :(
The author is a poet and that shows in this novel as he makes the Inspector an amateur poet of sorts and a deep lover of poetry. Poetry ends up getting quoted randomly in it but not distractingly so. The author makes it work.
One of my favorite parts of the book was learning about Chinese culture as I know little about it. The book was written in the 90s so of course Chinese has changed somewhat since then. Ah the 90's. Something that was CONSTANTLY mentioned in this book. There were an incredible number of statements that were basically this "You don't want to have sex before marriage? It's the 90's!" "The man's having an affair? It's the 90's!" Because apparently now that it's the 90s nobody has any morals? They had statements like that enough that it really started to irk me.
I liked the characters but actually the Inspector's subordinate Yu was my favorite character as well as his wife. All of the characters were intriguing though.
Overall when I read this book it felt sadly dystopian. China is a sad, sad country and the control that the government wielded over the people was heart-breaking. I felt Chen's frustration with the government through the whole book and the end, while they solved the mystery, was as unsatisfying to me as it was to Chen. Stupid government.
Overall I liked it but there was just a little too much raunchiness for me towards the end.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Top Ten Book to Movie Adaptations I Still Need to Watch

This week's Top Ten Tuesday theme is the Top Ten Book to Movie /miniseries/TV show Adaptations I Still Need to Watch. There are actually a fair number of those. I keep getting side tracked. :(

  1. Gods and Generals based off of Jeff Shaara's novel same entitled novel AND Gettysburg based off of Michael Shaara's novel Killer Angels (one of my favorite books!)- I'm not sure how I haven't seen these yet as I love the books and basically all the rest of my family has seen them! 
  2. Death Comes to Pemberly based off of the same entitled novel by P.D. James - I've actually seen part of it but never finished it. I was only so-so on the book but I was intrigued to see the movie because Jenna-Louise Coleman (from Doctor Who!) plays Lydia in it! 
  3. The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (TV show) based off of Alexander McCall Smith's same entitled series- I've seen a couple episodes of it and loved it but I never watched the rest of them. :(
  4. The Last of the Mohicans based off of the same entitled book by James Fenimore Cooper- I'm actually not sure what version I want to watch. The Daniel Day-Lewis version is the most famous but that's not the one my Dad owns so I might just watch whichever one he has or I might try and get ahold of the Daniel Day-Lewis version. Not sure yet.
  5. Dombey and Son based off the same entitled book by Charles Dickens- I've been meaning to watch this for a REALLY long time.... ever since I read the book... which was many years ago.
  6. Martin Chuzzlewit based off of the same entitled book by Charles Dickens- I've been meaning to watch this for a long time too... almost as long as Dombey and Son. 
  7. Bleak House based off of the same entitled novel by Charles Dickens- Another I've been meaning to watch for a long time. There's two versions that are considered excellent so I guess that means I'll be watching both. 
  8. Odd Thomas based off of the same entitled novel by Dean Koontz- I really need to get around to watching this! I loved the book and my Dad who's read the book and watched the movie says I'll love the movie too. 
  9. How Green was My Valley based off the same entitled book by Richard Lewellyn- It has Maureen O'Hara who is one of my favorite actresses or else I might not even take the time to watch it as from what I can tell it doesn't fall the book to closely and we all know what books like that do to my blood pressure. ;) 
  10. The Moonstone based off the same entitled book by Wilkie Collins- I love The Moonstone a lot and there's a version that has Keeley Hawes and Greg Wise (and if you don't know who they are you obviously don't watch period dramas) which looks good. There's another version too that's a miniseries. Maybe I'll watch both! 

Making this list renews my longing to watch these movies! I need to get around to it!

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Monday, November 9, 2015

It's Monday! Sleep?

I feel like most of my blog posts anymore talk about how I'm not getting any sleep or getting anything done. Well the reason I feel that way is because they are! So once again I'll comment on my lack of sleep! Oh we'll.... #nightshiftnurseproblems. ;)
In more awesome and exciting news, I'm finally on track with my reading goal on Goodreads. I hated it when it would tell me I was behind. Hopefully I can stay on track for these last two months. :)

Finished this Week

  • A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond (re-read)
  • A Room With a View by E.M. Forester 
  • Peer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen 
  • Death of a Red Heroine by Qui Xiaolong 
  • The Young Carthaginian by G.A. Henry (re-read) (audiobook)

Currently Reading 

  • Doctor Thorne by Anthony Trollope

Coming Soon 

  • The Fields of Home by Ralph Moody (re-read)
  • Carry on Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham (re-read)
  • All Quiet on the Western Front by Remarque 

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