Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Post I Don't Want to Write

I've felt this post coming on for the last few months actually. My blog has been horribly neglected and my reading has not fared much better. Without meaning to I've made both of them a chore. Especially for the last couple years I've assigned goals and challenges to myself for both blogging and reading. Those aren't necessarily bad but over time I've become more and more obsessed with keeping to deadlines and goals and I'm just not enjoying blogging or reading. I'm behind with my Goodreads yearly reading goal right now not to mention my other challenges and it's stressing me out way more than it should. The sad thing is that I'm more upset I'm not at my goal and not the fact that I've kind of given up reading. Reading is something I've enjoyed as long as I can remember and I'm ruining it for myself by assigning too much structure to it.
I'm not good at doing things by halves so I think to free myself up from this I'm deciding to just let go. If I happen to achieve my Goodreads goal or complete all of my challenges fine, but that's not what I'm reading for. I read for enjoyment or to better myself not because it's another task to complete.

There's another half to why my reading and blogging has been slacking recently though. I've let other things take priority that really shouldn't: Facebook, watching TV shows, ect. While those things aren't bad in it of themselves I've let them take precedence in my life a lot more than they should.

And then there's yet another half (yes I know that's three halves... just shhh!). This half isn't bad in fact I think it's good. I've developed a lot more of a social life in recent months. I actually do things with people now. ;) This has been really good for me as I've never had many friends and it's been great for me to develop good friendships. Most weeks now I have something every evening that I'm not working. This has left me with little free time and what free time I do have I've been filling with the aforementioned second half.

So what does this mean for my blog moving forward? Honestly I'm still not quite sure yet. I might blog I might not. Know though that I'm still reading y'alls blogs and trying to keep up as best I can. Also know that if I didn't reply to your comment I still read it. I can't help it.... I get emailed every time you do. I do appreciate everyone's comments so much and I really should reply more often then I do. I love blogging and I love reading and I'm not leaving either of them behind anytime soon. For now I'm just trying to free myself from the obligations I've imposed on myself with regards to them.
Thank you for your patience in reading this post and don't be a stranger! ;)

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Monday, July 18, 2016

It's Monday! Struggling

While I've been keeping up with my audiobook during my work commute my actual reading has been a real struggle to keep up with. This summer has been surprisingly busy for me plus I can't stop watching Castle! At this point I just need to hurry up and finish it and then not start a new show as obviously it's distracting me way too much.

Currently Reading

  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (re-read)
  • Waverley by Sir Walter Scott
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker (audiobook) 
  • The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens

Coming Soon

  • The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis (re-read)
  • Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes 
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Friday, July 15, 2016

Book Review- The Sovereignty of God

For the Non-Fiction reading challenge I read Arthur W. Pink's book The Sovereignty of God.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Arthur W. Pink (1886-1952) explores the rich biblical doctrine of God's sovereignty in creation, redemption, and providence. The God of the Bible is in control of all things. This book is invaluable, as Pink also deals with objections to the doctrine of God's sovereignty and apparent conflicts of the doctrine with the responsibility of man.
This was an absolutely incredible book dealing with a complex but essential doctrine. Just reviewing this book makes me feel like I'm opening up a can of worms and a theological debate. However, this book was so well written and so beneficial to me that I can't not sit her and review and recommend it. I read The Sovereignty of God not longer after reading John Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion and it really flowed well to go from one to the other as they really built on each other. God's sovereignty is a belief I've always held to but understanding it and it's implications is something that oftentimes confounds me so it was beneficial to read this in depth but readable book that rested strongly on scripture and freely quoted from the bible. I can't wait to read more of Arthur W. Pink's books!

There were simply too many great quotes to include them all but here are a few.
“To argue that God is “trying His best” to save all mankind, but that the majority of men will not let Him save them, is to insist that the will of the Creator is impotent, and that the will of the creature is omnipotent.”

“Nothing in all the vast universe can come to pass otherwise than God has eternally purposed. Here is a foundation of faith. Here is a resting place for the intellect. Here is an anchor for the soul, both sure and steadfast. It is not blind fate, unbridled evil, man or Devil, but the Lord Almighty who is ruling the world, ruling it according to His own good pleasure and for His own eternal glory.”

“Here is a fundamental difference between the man of faith and the man of unbelief. The unbeliever is 'of the world', judges everything by worldly standards, views life from the standpoint of time and sense, and weighs everything in the balances of his own carnal making. But the man of faith brings in God, looks at everything from His standpoint, estimates values by spiritual standards, and views life in the light of eternity. Doing this, he receives whatever comes as from the hand of God. Doing this, his heart is calm in the midst of the storm. Doing this, he rejoices in hope of the glory of God.”

“But now the question arises, Why has God demanded of man that which he is incapable of performing? The first answer is, Because God refuses to lower His standard to the level of our sinful infirmities.”

“To say that God is sovereign is to declare that He is the Almighty, the Possessor of all power in heaven and earth, so that none can defeat His counsels, thwart His purpose, or resist His will (Ps. 115:3). To say that God is sovereign is to declare that He is "The Governor among the nations" (Ps. 22:28), setting up kingdoms, overthrowing empires, and determining the course of dynasties as pleaseth Him best. To say that God is sovereign is to declare that He is the "Only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords" (1 Tim. 6:15). Such is the God of the Bible. How different is the God of the Bible from the God of modern Christendom! The conception of Deity which prevails most widely today, even among those who profess to give heed to the Scriptures, is a miserable caricature, a blasphemous travesty of the Truth. The God of the twentieth century is a helpless, effeminate being who commands the respect of no really thoughtful man. The God of the popular mind is the creation of a maudlin sentimentality. The God of many a present-day pulpit is an object of pity rather than of awe-inspiring reverence.[1]”

“To say that Christ is unable to win to Himself those who are unwilling, is to deny that all power in heaven and earth is His. To say that Christ cannot put forth His power without destroying man’s responsibility is a begging of the question here raised, for He has put forth His power and made willing those who have come to Him, and if He did this without destroying their responsibility, why “cannot” He do so with others? If He is able to win the heart of one sinner to Himself, why not that of another? To say, as is usually said, the others will not let Him, is to impeach His sufficiency. It is a question of His will. If the Lord Jesus has decreed, desired, purposed the salvation of all mankind, then the entire human race will be saved, or, otherwise, He lacks the power to make good His intentions; and in such a case it could never be said, “He shall see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied” (Isa 53:11). The issue raised involves the deity of the Saviour, for a defeated Saviour cannot be God.”
I think those of the Reformed Christian faith would find this the most beneficial but I would still recommend it for all.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Book Review- All the King's Men

For the Mount TBR Pile challenge, Back to the Classics challenge, 12 Month Classics challenge, Shelf Love challenge and the Classics Club I read Robert Penn Warren's book All the King's Men.
All the King's MenSynopsis from Goodreads: More than just a classic political novel, Warren’s tale of power and corruption in the Depression-era South is a sustained meditation on the unforeseen consequences of every human act, the vexing connectedness of all people and the possibility—it’s not much of one—of goodness in a sinful world. Willie Stark, Warren’s lightly disguised version of Huey Long, the onetime Louisiana strongman/governor, begins as a genuine tribune of the people and ends as a murderous populist demagogue. Jack Burden is his press agent, who carries out the boss’s orders, first without objection, then in the face of his own increasingly troubled conscience. And the politics? For Warren, that’s simply the arena most likely to prove that man is a fallen creature. Which it does.
This was an absolutely fascinating book. At the beginning I felt like it was a little slow but as it went on I was entirely captivated by it. I kept turning the pages to find out what was going to happen. None of the characters were really good, which normally turns me off from a book. They were all intriguing though. Their character and motivations keep the story rolling. The politics were messy, as politics often are. As Warren said, politics really does show off man's moral depravity.
Overall I enjoyed this book though it was not my normal cup of tea.


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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Book Review- The Little White Horse

The Little White Horse
For the Hard Core Re-Reading Challenge I re-read Elizabeth Goudge's children's novel The Little White Horse.
Synopsis from Goodreads: When orphaned young Maria Merryweather arrives at Moonacre Manor, she feels as if she’s entered Paradise. Her new guardian, her uncle Sir Benjamin, is kind and funny; the Manor itself feels like home right away; and every person and animal she meets is like an old friend. But there is something incredibly sad beneath all of this beauty and comfort—a tragedy that happened years ago, shadowing Moonacre Manor and the town around it—and Maria is determined to learn about it, change it, and give her own life story a happy ending. But what can one solitary girl do?A new-fashioned story that is as wonderful as the best fairy tales.
I remember this book only slightly from my childhood and by slightly I mean I remembered there was a white horse so actually not really at all. It was exciting though to experience it like it was the first time. The characters are charming and the writing was beautifully whimsical. I think lovers of C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia would enjoy this book as it's a similar writing style.
Read or not? Read!

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Monday, July 11, 2016

It's Monday! Back?

I know I haven't posted in about two weeks. Life has been busy and honestly I've scarcely been on my computer (except to watch Castle of course). I'm going to (try to) take a break from Castle for right now though so I can focus on reading and getting some of those book reviews sitting in my drafts folder finished. I have gotten a little reading done but nearly like I'm supposed to be reading.

I did have a crazy adventure while I was gone though. This past week when I went contra dancing as usual we had a horrible rain storm, the parking lot flooded and a whole bunch of us got flooded in. Thankfully nobody's car was damaged as we were all able to move our cars to high enough ground. We weren't able to get out though for a long time and not everybody got out until the middle of the night, while many of the people that did get out of there had to catch rides and leave their car there until the morning when the parking lot had dried up. It was kind of cool but also kind of scary at the same time. It made me miss when I was a kid and my parents dealt with all of those things but now I was the adult and I had to make sure I took care of my little siblings and ensured that they were safe. The teamwork was incredible though and so many of the guys were watching out for us ladies and helping us. Gentlemen still do exist!

Anyways.... books. :)

Currently Reading

  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (re-read)- I think I'm still caught up with the read-a-long. I got ahead so slowed down on reading it but since I've been so unplugged from the blogging world I'm not sure where I am with it now. 
  • Waverley by Sir Walter Scott- This one just isn't capturing me like Ivanhoe did so it's been slow reading. 
  • The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens- Unfortunately behind with this read-a-long. 

Finished Recently 

  • The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien (re-read) (audiobook)- I finally finished my re-read/listen of this trilogy! It was amazing and listening to them made this re-read unique and I felt I noticed more than I have in the past. I can't wait to review them! 
  • The Magician's Nephew and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (re-reads)- It was fun to re-read these two and I can't wait to get to the rest of the series. 

Coming Soon

  • Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes 
  • The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis (re-read)

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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Miniseries Review- Doctor Thorne


After reading the book last year, I was excited to find out that a miniseries adaptation was soon to come out. So having now watched it, I'll be reviewing it for the 2016 Period Drama Film Challenge.
Synopsis from IMDB: The life of penniless Mary Thorne, who grows up with her Uncle, Dr Thorne, and her relationship with the family at nearby Greshamsbury Park estate.
The story of Doctor Thorne is no Pride and Prejudice so one can't expect a Pride and Prejudice when they watch the miniseries. However, you can sit down and enjoy a charming period drama. The story is uncomplicated. Humor, love, wealth, social status and a little mystery.
The plot was somewhat simplified from the book and I did feel like the miniseries could have used an extra episode but overall I thought it was laid out well. The casting was lovely and I enjoyed all of the performances. The were only a couple cast members with which I was familiar. One was Tom Hollander who plays Doctor Thorne. I knew him from the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice where he plays Mr. Collins. The other was Janine Duvitski who plays Lady Scatcherd. I knew her from Little Dorrit where she plays Mrs. Meagles. The costumes were beautiful though the flowers in the hair were a little different then to what I was accustomed. The scenery was gorgeous as well.
Here are a few shots from the film to illustrate its beauty.

I loved Tom Hollander as Doctor Thorne. He put a lot of depth into
the character and showed his thoughtfulness and kindness beautifully 

One of my favorite dresses and while I wasn't
a fan of the bonnet at first I've grown to love it.

Some of the beautiful scenery from the film. 

A sample of the flowers in the hair. I felt so bad for Augusta! 
More flowers in the hair. 

Another favorite dress. 

Overall this was a delightful film and if you love period dramas be sure to add this to your list.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Movie Review- Love and Friendship

For the 2016 Period Drama Film Challenge and because as an avid Jane Austen enthusiast I consider it my duty to, I will be reviewing the film Love and Friendship.
Synopsis from IMDB: Lady Susan Vernon takes up temporary residence at her in-laws' estate and, while there, is determined to be a matchmaker for her daughter Frederica -- and herself too, naturally.
Love and Friendship is based off of Jane Austen's epistolary novella Lady Susan but actually uses the title from a novel she wrote as a juvenile.

The film kept pretty closely to the book with a few minor deviations that I do not think detracted from the story and some of them were rather humorous. Since Austen's actual story was written in the form of letters, most of the dialogue was not hers as she really didn't have any. The screenwriter though did an excellent job, I thought, with dialogue and it had me laughing several times. The main character being less than reputable is quite a contrast to Austen's other works, so one has to reconcile themselves to that. I think though there are plenty of reputable characters in the story to make up for Lady Susan. My mother commented that she felt that Lady Susan was like Becky Sharpe of Vanity Fair, which I would somewhat agree with. Lady Susan is a far more sophisticated Becky Sharpe and I feel that Jane Austen wrote a nicer, as in more polite, novel than Vanity Fair was. It's interesting to contrast though. I did feel like they made Lord Vernon too dense, which annoyed me. Also, in the book, Reginald de Courcy breaks it off himself with Lady Susan as he truly sees through her.  However, in the film she breaks it off with him in the pretense of him accusing her falsely and not wanting to be in a relationship where trust was no paramount. With breaking it off with him though she planned to use that to make herself look innocent and hopefully get back together with him, which in the end she does not do. I just felt like it made Reginald seem more gullible then he really was. That all made me think of Edmund Bertram and Mary Crawford in Mansfield Park and I think there are some parallels to draw there as well, though Mary Crawford with all of her faults was not as immoral as Lady Susan. Besides those couple instances the slight deviation were not irksome, at least to me.

There were a few actors I was familiar with. Kate Beckinsale, who plays Lady Susan herself, is Emma in the 1996 version of Emma. Stephen Fry, who has a minor role as Mr. Johnson, is well known to us as Jeeves from Jeeves and Wooster. Jemma Redgrave, who plays Lady de Courcy, I know from Doctor Who where she plays Kate Stewart.

When it comes to the appropriateness of the film as far as anything shown it was entirely appropriate. However, Lady Susan is basically a loose woman. She's conniving and manipulative. She uses her talents as a flirt and her knowledge of men to get what she wants in life. Therefore there are those themes throughout the film.

The fashion was lovely. I preferred Lady Susan's gowns overall. Here's a few samples. :)





This is my favorite! 
Overall I enjoyed Love and Friendship and thought it was a delightful addition to anyone's collection of Jane Austen films.

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Sunday, June 19, 2016

It's Monday! Joy!

I'm still majorly slacking on blogging right now but I am trying to keep up with reading. I started watching the TV show Castle recently and I'm already on the third season, which goes to show how obsessed I am with watching it. Needless to say my time is a little consumed with that instead of reading. Nathan Fillion is SO HILARIOUS though!!!
I have really been enjoying life recently though. My brother and sister-in-law found out they are having a girl, which is what I was rooting for. I'm now even more excitedly working on the christening gown for the sweet baby girl. The break from work while I was on the mission trip was refreshing and I was able to go back with renewed energy. Life is good. :)

Currently Reading

  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (re-read)
  • The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien (re-read)
  • Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens 

Finished this Past Week

  • Hornblower and the Atropos by C.S. Forester 
  • The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum 

Coming Soon

  • Waverley by Sir Walter Scott
  • Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes 

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Monday, June 13, 2016

It's Monday! Behind

I made it back from Nebraska on Saturday. It was an incredible trip and one hard to summarize. Hopefully I'll have a full recap of it some post soon. On that point, I know I've been terribly lax with posting recently and even reading for that matter as of late. I'm going to try and spend more time on writing some blog posts soon so hopefully that will be remedied. Reading is just slower right now and I'm okay with that. I don't want to push myself to read too much or else I won't be enjoying it and reading is enjoyment for myself and I don't want to spoil that.

Currently Reading

  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (re-read)- I kept up with the read-along while I was in Nebraska and now that I'm back hopefully I can be more involved in the discussions. 
  • Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum
  • Hornblower and the Atropos by C.S. Forester
  • The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien

Finished this Week

  • none

Coming Soon

  • Waverley by Sir Walter Scott
  • Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes- My Classics Club spin pick! 

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