Saturday, April 30, 2016

Bout of Books- May 2016

My favorite read-a-thon is here!
Bout of Books
Here's the rundown on what Bout of Books is all about.
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 9th and runs through Sunday, May 15th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 16 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team
I'm hoping to get a few books read during the read-a-thon, though I don't know which ones yet. What I'm currently reading and what I'm wanted to read next always seems to be changing so who knows where I'll be when May 9th comes!

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Friday, April 29, 2016

Book Review- Mr. Midshipman Hornblower

Mr. Midshipman Hornblower (Hornblower Saga: Chronological Order, #1)For the Mount TBR pile challenge, the 12 Month Classics Challenge and the Classics Club I read C.S. Forester's novel Mr. Midshipman Hornblower.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Here we meet Horatio Hornblower, a young man of 17, in this Volume #1 of what becomes the 11 volume set about the career of this British Naval officer fighting against Napoleon and his tyranny of Europe as an inexperienced midshipman in January 1794. Bullied and forced into a duel, he takes an even chance. And then he has many more chances to show his skills and ingenuities - from sailing a ship full of wetted and swelling rice to imprisonment and saving the lives of shipwrecked sailors. And along the way, he fights galleys, feeds cattle, stays out of the way of the guillotine, and makes friends with a Duchess. Here Hornblower becomes a man and develops the strength of character which will make him a hero to his men, and to all England.
I watched the Horatio Hornblower TV series several years ago and really enjoyed it and finally now I'm getting around to reading the books. So far I've just read this first one but I hope to read the rest eventually.
While reading it I really related to Hornblower. His first experiences running a ship and then feeling like he failed felt like my first experiences as a nurse. Eventually we both gained confidence and skills necessary to survive our unfamiliar environments and they became familiar to us.
I was surprised at how fast paced the book was. Many "classic adventure novels" I've read haven't been as fast paced as I wanted them to be but this one pleasantly surprised me. The nautical terms didn't bog me down, though, through my previous reading, I have become familiar with some of them. There was also a historical aspect, which I always enjoy.
Overall I enjoyed it and I will probably hand it to my brothers in the future.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Infinity Dreams Tag

Erudessa at The Flowering Vales tagged me in the Infinity Dreams Tag. Thank you Erudessa! If you don't read her blog remedy that now! Like me, she is a Tolkien lover. :)

Rules

1. Thank the blogger who tagged you.
2. Tell us 11 facts about yourself.
3. Answer the 11 questions given to you.
4. Tag 11 bloggers and give them 11 new questions to answer.

Random Facts
1. I have about twenty boxes of tea and I'm always randomly buying more but actually rarely drink it, not because I don't love it but I just get too lazy to take the time to brew a cup of tea.
2. The scrubs I wear for work are green.... not by my choice obviously. It's the standard color for everyone's scrubs. :(
3. I have an obsession with buying pretty notebooks that I always start to fill (aka I write on two pages) but never finish.
4. I love buying bows to put in my hair. Hair bows are not just for little girls!
5. I dream of naming my children after Tolkien characters. Actually, not just Tolkien characters but other random names from Tolkien. For example my new favorites are Shire Elizabeth and DĂșnedain James. Pray my future husband has more discretion with naming children than I do. ;)
6. If I have music to listen to I can be motivated to do just about anything... even clean my room.
7. I've found that randomly quoting movies and books is always appropriate. Especially if no one knows what you're talking about.
8. The other day I bought a lot of yarn from a store that was closing so all of the year was on clearance. I didn't need the yarn but that didn't stop me from buying it. It was on sale guys!
9. I talk to myself a lot. Don't judge! Sometimes it's the only intelligent conversation I have all day! ;)
10. I have a dark sense of humor.... it comes with the nursing profession.
11. I am horribly allergic to poison ivy. :(

Questions
1. What is your earliest memory of reading, or being read to? I honestly can't remember a time when I didn't read. My first real memory of reading only because it was such a big endeavor was reading LOTR at about six years old.
2. Why did you choose to start a blog? I wanted to be a writer.
3. Since this is the Infinity Dreams Tag, what is your biggest dream, no matter how out there it may seem? To be a wife and mother.
4. Favorite subject in school? (If you in school still. If not, what WAS your favorite subject?) Literature.... which eventually stopped counting as a school subject as that was all I did. ;) History after that though.
5. Where would you live in the world, if you could live anywhere? When it comes down to it probably America but I wouldn't mind living in England, Scotland or Ireland for at least a little while.
6. How would you describe your personal style? Classic.
7. Who has inspired you? It can be anyone, past, present, fictional, or no. Lady Jane Grey
8. Do you prefer open plains, and sparkling beaches, or rugged mountains and wild forests? Rugged mountains and wild forests! Country girl here. :)
9. If you could meet one celebrity, who would you choose? I'm not a fan of really any celebrity.
10. Favorite Disney princess? (Or Disney character if you don't prefer princesses.) Belle!
11. Favorite quote? Last time I was asked for a favorite quote on the blog I used a Jane Austen quote. This time I'll use a Tolkien one from Fellowship of the Ring.
“Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.”
Thank you Erudessa! That was fun! :)

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Book Review- The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert

The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: An English Professor's Journey Into Christian FaithFor the non-fiction reading challenge and the Mount TBR pile reading challenge I'll be reviewing Rosaria Champagne Butterfield's book The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Rosaria, by the standards of many, was living a very good life. She had a tenured position at a large university in a field for which she cared deeply. She owned two homes with her partner, in which they provided hospitality to students and activists that were looking to make a difference in the world. There, her partner rehabilitated abandoned and abused dogs. In the community, Rosaria was involved in volunteer work. At the university, she was a respected advisor of students and her department’s curriculum. And then, in her late 30s, Rosaria encountered something that turned her world upside down—the idea that Christianity, a religion that she had regarded as problematic and sometimes downright damaging, might be right about who God was, an idea that flew in the face of the people and causes that she most loved. What follows is a story of what she describes as a “train wreck” at the hand of the supernatural. These are her secret thoughts about those events, written as only a reflective English professor could.
I've been meaning to read this book for a couple years now and thankfully I've finally gotten around to it. I've got to say first off this is one of the best books I have ever read. It surprised me by not being just about homosexuality but also about marriage, adoption and what it is like to be a Christian. It's one of those books I think every Christian should read but definitely one that I wouldn't just hand to my teenager.  It's mature but not unnecessarily so. It's very real. After reading it you feel like you know Rosaria. She lays out her life, the ups and downs the struggles she went through. Struggles I think anyone can relate to. That's what makes this book so amazing. You may not be a recovering lesbian but you can relate to the struggles Rosaria goes through and learn. Sin is sin.

There's so much to say about this book but really the bottom line is to read it. I'll just close with a few of my favorite quotes.
"I think that too many young Christians fornicators plan that marriage will redeem their sin. Too many young Christians masturbators will redeem their patterns. Too many young Christian internet pornographers think that having legitimate sex will take away the desire to have illicit sex. They're wrong. And the marriages that result from this line of thinking are dangerous places. I know, I told my audience why over 50% of Christian marriages end in divorce; because Christians act as though marriage redeems sin. Marriage does not redeem sin. Only Jesus himself can do that." 
"How do we put Christ at the center? By intentionally holding all things captive to Christ, each moment of each day. By never daring to do anteing without fervent prayer, seeking the Lord's wisdom, counsel, blessing and life-sustaining breath. I learned during those years that the idea that one is ever too busy to pray is delusion of the most dangerous variety." 
"Rahab the Harlot, Mary Magdalene. We love those women between the pages of our Bible, but we don't want to sit at the Lord's Table with them-with people like me-drinking from the a common cup. That's the real ringer: the common cup- that is, our common origin in depravity. We are only righteous in Christ and in Him alone. But that's a hard pill to swallow, especially if you give yourself kudos for good choices." 

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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books that Will Make You Laugh

The theme for this week's Top Ten Tuesday is ten books that will make you laugh. I love to laugh so this should be a piece of cake. ;)
These are in no particular order.
  1. The Martian by Andy Weir
  2. Leave it to Psmith or The Golf Omnibus by P.G. Wodehouse- Really any book by Wodehouse is guaranteed laughs. 
  3. Pride and Prejudice and Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen- Most all of Austen's novels will make me laugh at some point but especially those two. 
  4. The Pushcart War by Jean Merrill
  5. Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare
  6. On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness by Andrew Peterson 
  7. The Best Things in Life: A Contemporary Socrates Looks at Power, Pleasure, Truth and the Good Life by Peter Kreeft
  8. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain 
  9. Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll 
  10. The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde 
  11. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
  12. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson 
I did some serious cutting down of this list to try and make it ten (it used to be about twenty) but I simply couldn't cut it down anymore. These are the books that just about guarantee me a laugh every time I read them. 


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Monday, April 18, 2016

It's Monday! Relaxing

This week was a little bit of a step back to relax. Work wasn't too crazy, I have my taxes done (so I can stop worrying about those) and I've been able to relax and read. Now my main focus is how many books I can buy with my tax return. ;)

Finished this Past Week

  • Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin- I'm finally done! This one is so good and it's a definite must read for any Christian. 
  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking- Some things I already knew but still it was a fascinating book about introverts and beneficial to read. 
  • The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien (re-read) (audiobook)- Amazing as always. :) 

Currently Reading

  • Mr. Midshipman Hornblower by C.S. Forester 
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare (audiobook)
  • The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens 

Coming Soon

  • Through Gates of Splendor by Elizabeth Elliot
  • Total Truth by Nancy Pierce 
  • The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien (re-read) (audiobook)

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Friday, April 15, 2016

Book Review- Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House Series

For the Hard Core Re-Reading Challenge I re-rad Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House series.
It's very hard to review a series I've read and re-read so many times but here are a few thoughts on my love for this adorable series.

Little House in the Big Woods

The nostalgia that came with re-reading this was incredible! I love their little house, Charlotte, pa's stories, butchering the pig, making syrup, pa's fiddle playing, just everything! It's such a cozy book that makes me feel good inside. My favorite scene, for reasons I just don't know why, is Mary and Laura sitting in the attic surrounded by the vegetables, sitting on pumpkin, playing with their dolls.


Little House on the Prairie

This one takes place in Kansas so bonus there. ;) It's cool to see pa building the house. How him and ma work together is so beautiful. I love their marriage. They're different but they learn to work together and compromise. It makes me so sad that they have to leave the house because they were just slightly off with the boundaries.

Farmer Boy 

This was never one of my favorites and I actually almost considered skipping it with this re-read. However, I didn't and I'm glad of that. It was really enjoyable and it reminded me a lot of Ralph Moody's Little Britches series that I re-read last year except those are grittier and more realistic. I feel like the Wilders have it pretty well but they do work hard for it. It's amazing how diligently the whole family works. There's no excuse making. They work because they know they have to. And the food in this one! Yum! Don't read it when you're already hungry. Just saying.

On the Banks of Plum Creek

This always made me want to live in a dugout... that and there was a dugout down the road from our house. It sounds so cool! This is maybe my least favorite of the series but I still like it a lot. It's just rather depressing how hard they work and still fail. I'm surprised they stayed there so long. This one also spans a lot of years, which I never quite realized before.

By the Shores of Silver Lake

I feel in this one that Laura is really starting to grow up. They finally settle down for good. I love the people that they are surrounded by. The Boasts are the best! Also we get our first mention of Almanzo! 

The Long Winter

In this one I feel like we get to know Carrie a lot more. You really see Laura and Carrie's friendship blossom. It makes me think of my little sister and I. I told her that and she said she didn't mind as she liked Carrie. So I get to be Laura. ;) Anyways.... focus! You really get to see Almanzo shine in this one and start to fall in love with him already. Cap is awesome too though and their willingness to go out and get the wheat is just so perfect! Real men get wheat! That should be a T-shirt! ;)

Little Town on the Prairie

So yeah... Almanzo and Laura start courting in this one. :) Not that Laura really realizes it! Get with it Laura! ;) You see a lot of how hard Laura is working in her school too and her dedication to her studies and to her sister Mary. It's really inspiring how hard she works because she wants to teach so she can earn money to send her sister to school. I also love all of the things the town gets together. It's so much fun and the relationships built there are great. I feel like you get to know the people in DeSmet better than any most of the other people Laura writes about. Maybe because she was older than and she remembered them better and she lived with them longer as well. I've always loved Mary Powers, Ida and all of the others. Nellie aggravates me and sorry Eliza Jane, you were okay as a kid but you're really annoying as an adult! 

These Happy Golden Years

This is my favorite of the series and always has been. Almanzo and Laura are so stinking cute! I forgot how resistant Laura was to the whole idea of courting Almanzo at first. Thank goodness she comes around! When I read it this time though I realized how much the horses were a factor in their relationship. ;) Reading it, I feel like Laura just kind of drifted into falling in love with him. She was in the middle of it before she knew she had began. And Almanzo! He's adorable how persistent he is and how sweet and kind he is. Even when Laura tells him he's not interested he still drives to get her every week! Ah! I just love those two and I love this book! :)

Overall I just couldn't recommend this series more. It's beautifully cozy and lovely. They're perfect to read aloud as well. They're the kind of books that will endure for many more years to come. 


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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Top Ten Books Every Christian Should Read

The theme for this week's Top Ten Tuesday is Top Ten Books Every X Should Read. I decided to replace that X with Christian.


So these are my top ten books every Christian should read. These are in no particular order and taking the Bible for granted here goes.

  1. The Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin- No I haven't quite finished it yet but I will stand by it and say it is one of the most comprehensive and well written books about Christianity available. The actual original version is two huge volumes each the size of LOTR so I would recommend reading an abridged version. I started reading the huge volumes and changed my mind eventually and switched to an abridged version, which was a good decision in my mind though I don't normally recommend abridged books. 
  2. The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer- I read this three or so years ago. It is a really excellent book and I loved how straightforward Tozer was in it. He says it like it is, pushing you on in the pursuit of God. Beautifully written. 
  3. Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul- A book that made a huge impact in my life at the time. R.C. Sproul is excellent about explaining complicated theology succinctly and this book was no exception. 
  4. The Valley of Vision by various Puritans- I read this last year and it is the most beautiful book of prayers. Each one challenged me in my faith and pushed me to ponder God's Word and to worship Him. This is an absolute must read! 
  5. The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield- I just finished it last week but I know that I will re-read it over and over again in the future. It's about homosexuality, yes, but it's also about so much more: marriage, adoption, and what it means to be a Christian. This was a book that really challenged me to think about my faith, what it means to me and how I can grow in it. 
  6. The Westminster Confession of Faith- Sort of like Calvin's Institutes in how comprehensive it is and actually I think maybe more comprehensive. I think I preferred the Institutes though. 
  7. Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts by Jerry Bridges- A book about trusting God simply put. One of the best theological books I've read and very meaningful to me as trusting God is definitely something that I've had to struggle with when I my uncle passed away to cancer, or when my Grandma had her stroke or when both of my Grandpas passed away. Trusting God is crucial to a Christina's walk. If you can't trust God... who can you trust? 
  8. Christian Love by Hugh Binning- A little book recommend to me by my brother that overturned what I thought about love and how I should be carrying it out. It may have been written by a Puritan hundreds of years ago but it is absolutely relevant in this present day. 
  9. What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality by Kevin DeYoung- I read this one this year as well and loved it. It's concise and full of Biblical wisdom. In this present day I think it is so important that Christians can answer this question and this book does a great job. 
  10. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis- When I read this several years ago it scared me. The realness scared me. At that point in my life Satan started to scare me and I realized the realness of sin and the constant temptation we are under and that every day, every moment Satan is trying to pry us away from God. This book made me want to cling closer to God but it also made me more aware of the temptations that I face every day. 
There are so many theology books I want to read in the future... My list just for the ones I want to get to this year is already long. I'm sure this list will change in the future as I read more books but for now these are the top ten books I think are must reads for Christians. 


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Monday, April 11, 2016

It's Monday! Sleepless

Just when I thought I was getting used to the night shift and being able to get my sleep in this week messed with my sleep majorly. I had two sleepless nights that weren't meant to be sleepless (aka I wasn't working them) and then three straight nights of work. It was rough. Hopefully this next week won't be quite so messed up.
Sleepless nights did leave me lots of time for reading though so that wasn't all bad.
This made me laugh. I honestly was trying to get to sleep though! 

Finished this Past Week

  • The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield- An absolutely amazing book. Hopefully I'll have a review out soon. All I'll say for now is that it is one of the best books I've ever read. 
  • Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder (re-read)
  • These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder (re-read)- Oh my goodness I will never get tired of Almanzo and Laura's adorable courtship. I have probably re-read this one the most of the series. 

Currently Reading

  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
  • The Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin (abridged) 
  • The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien (re-read) (audiobook)
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare (audiobook)
  • The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens

Coming Soon

I want to read some more non-fiction soon but I would like to finish up Calvin's Institues (almost done!) before starting another hefty theology book so for now I'm going to try some lighter ones.
  • Mr. Midshipman Hornblower by C.S. Forster
  • Through Gates of Splendor by Elizabeth Elliot  

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Friday, April 8, 2016

2016 Period Drama Film Challenge March Tag Questions

It's time for the March tag questions for the 2016 Period Drama Film Challenge! 



1. What period dramas did you view in March?

Lark Rise to Candleford (I finished it up in March but I've been watching it for a couple months), Rebecca (1979), The Age of Innocence (1993), Chocolat and Brooklyn. The last two I don't have reviews up for yet.

2. What is your favorite period drama soundtrack? 

Right now Far From the Madding Crowd (2015). I listen to it on repeat all of the time! It's so gorgeous!

3. If you could attend a ball in a Jane Austen story what would be the color of your ballgown and who would you dance with? 

Blue I think. Or maybe teal? I'd obviously dance with Henry Tilney.

4. Do you prefer watching period dramas by yourself or with friends/family? Why? 

I like watching them with my little sister a lot because that is what we do the most but if I can watch them with the whole family even better. The commentary is always hilarious (though granted I provide most of the commentary).

5. What period dramas are you looking forward to viewing in April 2016? 

This is basically a recycle of last month's list but omitting the ones I watched in March. 
  • Testament of Youth
  • Death Comes to Pemberly
  • Little Women (1994)
  • Gods and Generals and Gettysburg 
  • Lorna Doone (2000)
  • Cranford and Return to Cranford 
  • Cinderella (2015) 
  • The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickelby  (1982)
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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Book Review- The Hobbit

For the Audiobook challenge and the Hard Core Re-Reading Challenge I read (aka listened to) J.R.R. Tolkien's novel The Hobbit. If you read my blog you'll know I'm a huge Tolkien fan. Normally I re-read LOTR a lot but this year before re-reading LOTR I decided to read The Hobbit first. I'm so glad I did as it was a great experience and I've come to love The Hobbit as much has I do LOTR though it is quite different in many ways.
Synopsis from Goodreads: In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.
Written for J.R.R. Tolkien’s own children, The Hobbit met with instant critical acclaim when it was first published in 1937. Now recognized as a timeless classic, this introduction to the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, the wizard Gandalf, Gollum, and the spectacular world of Middle-earth recounts of the adventures of a reluctant hero, a powerful and dangerous ring, and the cruel dragon Smaug the Magnificent.
This books makes me feel cozy and at home. First you meet Bilbo, the beloved homebody living in his wonderful hole in the ground. :) Then comes Gandalf to stir things up. Gandalf in The Hobbit is kind of different then he is in LOTR. He seems more silly. More lighthearted for sure. You see him utilizing his magic more often in The Hobbit but somehow he doesn't seem quite as powerful in The Hobbit as he does in LOTR. This time reading it I really came to notice how Tolkien does not stray away from flawed characters. However flawed the "good" characters are though they are still good and honorable. Take Thorin for example. A very complicated character that we love but has a lot of issues (coughdragonsicknesscough). ;)

When reading The Hobbit it feels so much smaller than the LOTR but you also feel how much potential there is with the world that Tolkien has created in it and of course that is drawn out in LOTR and Tolkien's other Middle Earth works. It all started with The Hobbit though. The Hobbit is different from Tolkien's other Middle Earth stories like LOTR and The Silmarillion in that it is a children's story (though obviously adults enjoy it too). The whole tone is much lighter though actually I noticed this time reading it that there are definitely some darker undertones.

A small note on the movies. I know I reviewed the first one when it came out and never reviewed any of the others. That's not because I didn't see them I was just too frustrated. Re-reading The Hobbit now reminds me how much they messed up in the movies and makes me even more unhappy. I liked the first one for the most part (though it certainly messed up aspects as well), as it really seemed to get the spirit of the book. After the first movie though the movies seemed to lose the feel of The Hobbit. Don't even get me started on Tauriel. Just don't.

I'm not really sure what else I can say about this book. I loved it. Simply and truly. Tolkien is always a favorite with me and re-reading this just solidified that feeling. If you want to try out some Tolkien but are intimidated by the size of LOTR definitely pick up The Hobbit. It really opens you up to the experience, drawing you into Tolkien's beautiful writing and imagery as well as delightful sense of humor.

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Movie Review- The Age of Innocence

For the 2016 Period Drama Challenge I'll be reviewing the film The Age of Innocence.
I just reviewed the book recently so you probably have that fresh in your mind.
Synopsis from IMDB: Society scion Newland Archer is engaged to May Welland, but his well-ordered life is upset when he meets May's unconventional cousin, the Countess Olenska. At first, Newland becomes a defender of the Countess, whose separation from her abusive husband makes her a social outcast in the restrictive high society of late-19th Century New York, but he finds in her a companion spirit and they fall in love.
That synopsis doesn't quite catch the whole story but that's the gist of it. For more go look at my review of the book and really for my thoughts on the storyline go look at my review of the book as it seems rather silly to say here what I already said when reviewing the book. Book review is HERE.

Casting

I really enjoyed the casting of the film and I think it was perfectly done.
Daniel Day-Lewis plays Newland Archer. I know he's a famous actor but I've actually never seen him in a film before so it was interesting to experience that for the first time. I also liked that they had Newland narrating the story at portions which I thought worked well as so much of the story is introspective.
Winona Ryder Ryder plays May Welland. I was a little bit familiar with her as she plays Jo in the 1994 Little Women but it's been a long time since I've seen that. She does a spot on job of portraying May who is really a more complicated character then you at first realize. Her look of innocence is wow and I think she adds even a little more depth to May's character.
Michelle Pfeiffer portrays Countess Ellen Olenska. I didn't think I'd seen anything with her in it then I remembered she's in Ladyhawk. I didn't really have a clear idea of how I pictured the Countess Olenska and I still don't but I don't quite feel like Michelle Pfeiffer is quite how I see her. Don't get me wrong. I liked her in it and I thought she did a great job but somehow I felt like there was something not quite right there. Maybe it was just in the writing or maybe I'm just being picky.

Screenplay

This movie is quite accurate to the book and I was really pleasantly surprised. I feel like it made it slightly more sensual than the book but all things considered I'm grateful it was as clean as it was (more on that later). There were some things I felt like were kind of off but I really can't place them... like my problem with Michelle Pfeiffer as Countess Olenska. It must just be a Lois thing. ;)

Costumes

Gorgeous! For the most part I loved all of the dresses. Countess Olenska's I wasn't as crazy about but she had a different fashion obviously indicative of how she was influenced by her time in Europe. Mae tends to wear lots of white whereas the Countess wears a wide variety of colors. 


One of the few times the Countess wears white.



Objectionable Content

As you can tell by the synopsis the story deals with some deeper topics such as fidelity in marriage. While Newland and the Countess never do anything per say, they definitely engage in some rather passionate and sensual kissing and while not having a sexual affair they have an emotional affair. 

Overall I thought it was a good adaptation of the story and if you're a fan of the book you'll probably enjoy it. :) 

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Monday, April 4, 2016

It's Monday!

It's been a delightful week as I've spent most of reading time re-reading the Little House series. :) They're so sweet. :) So actually not a day after complaining about how upset I was that The Fellowship of the Ring was currently unavailable in audiobook form it became available so my whining was rather pointless. I'm so excited to be listening to it now though it's obviously going to take me a long time to finish it. :) It will be good for me to slow down and take my time with it as normally I speed through it in my re-reads. Listening to it on audiobook will give me time to savor it and look at it in a different light.

Currently Reading 

  • The Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin (abridged)
  • Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder (re-read)
  • The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens 
  • The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien (re-read) (audiobook)
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare (audiobook)

Finished this Past Week

  • By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder (re-read)
  • The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder (re-read)

Coming Soon

  • The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert
  • These Happy Golden Years

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Friday, April 1, 2016

Book Review- Madame Bovary

Madame BovaryFor the Shelf Love challenge, Mount TBR pile challenge, Back to the Classics Challenge and the Classics Club (and more specifically this last Classics Club spin) I read Gustave Flaubert's novel Madame Bovary.
Synopsis from Goodreads: As a provocative tale of passion and complacency, ideals and self-delusions, Madame Bovary (1857) remains a milestone in European fiction. In telling his story of Emma Bovary a farmer's daughter who, with girlhood dreams fuelled by sensational novels, marries a provincial doctor Flaubert inaugurated a literary mode that would be called Realism. But so exacting were Flaubert's standards of authenticity that his portrayal of the breakdown of Emma's marriage, and the frankness with which he treats her adulterous liaisons, scandalized many of his contemporaries. Yet to others, the mix of painful introspection, emotional blindness, and cynical self-seeking that distinguishes his characters made the novel instantly recognizable as a work of genius. It is a novel fixed upon the idea of romance of the need for Romance in the face of day-to-day banalities. It is a theme that is ironic insofar as the exquisite clarity of Flaubert s prose serves to hauntingly underline the futility of the heroine's ultimate tragedy.
This was a very interesting book. I didn't know too much about it before going into it except the synopsis. My first disclaimer is that while it deals with the very mature topic of adultery/infidelity it never ever describes these actions. That's the nice thing about reading a classic. They show that you can deal with dark and mature themes without describing them. As you can see in the synopsis though, it still managed to scandalize in it's time period and it ended up being banned.
I think this book is more interesting to read now than it might have been in it's time period. I feel like I see more people like Emma Bovary now than I do in the time period for which it was written. Emma is entirely selfish. She's caught up in herself and making herself happy but what you realize as the book goes on is that she really doesn't know what will make her happy and furthermore she is never going to be happy! Emma Bovary almost struck me as Bipolar as her moods went all over the place. For a month she'd try to be pious and a good mother and the next month she'd be neglecting her household and snap at her husband all the time. That was how her moods went: up and down all the time. She was so incredibly needy in her relationships and really in her whole life. She thought the world revolved around her.  She gave everything she had to her relationships instead of to her husband and child and in the end it ruined her, her husband and finally her daughter as well. I think that is one of the points Flaubert is trying to make in this book. Emma Bovary's sins didn't just affect her.
I found this book to be an intriguing read and not quite what I expected. I'm not sure if I"ll ever read it again but I think I will always remember it.

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