Saturday, May 31, 2014

Piggy Peeps Post #1

I have been dismally absent from blogging this week. Why? Well life got in the way in the form of family coming in from out of town so I am glad it did. :) My cousins and aunts and uncle from one side of the family all were at my house so it was tons of fun and laughs. Now they're gone though and I have a little time to post and let y'all know what's going on my life. First off, not all of the family left. I still have two of my cousins here with me. Why? Well starting next week we (my two cousins, my brother and myself) are going to begin working at a pig farm; the boys building farrowing huts and the girls birthing pigs! It's probably going to be a crazy adventure this summer but I'm sure it will be tons of fun as well! We plan on spending our spare time introducing the cousins to Doctor Who so they two can be obsessed fans. ;) Please pray for us all as we make this transition as we won't be living at home but a couple hours away (we'll be home on the weekends) so there is lots to work through before we start next week. I'll try to keep you all updated about our shenanigans this summer as best I can though our internet will be limited to our phone hotspots so I don't know how much I'll be able to blog. However, keep on the lookout for my "Piggy Peeps" posts. :)
Thank you and many blessings to you all. :)

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

My Dream Home

Today I'm linking up with Mama Kat to describe my dream home. This will obviously involve a lot of pictures. :) I'm actually not really sure what my dream home is... I'm kind of attached to three houses currently... my parents home, my house (i.e. my grandparents house) and my other grandparents house. So I guess there are several different elements from each of these houses I like.

From my parents house I love the huge living room. I remember when we first walked into it we asked if it was the ballroom.... true story... we were young!

From my house I pretty much love everything about it except the fact that it isn't actually mine. ;) Honestly I hope someday I can raise my kids there. We'll see though... probably an unrealistic dream but hey we're talking dream house here! The house is very open, which I really like. The dining room, kitchen and living room are all pretty much one room but with some dividers to make them not too much one room. It also has really big windows to let sunlight in which is perfect as you don't often have to turn on lights until dark. The bedrooms, family room, all of it is perfect. :) The only downside is if I have tons of children like I want to, I'll grow out of it fairly quickly as there is only three bedrooms. :(

My other grandparents house I pretty much love everything about too. There is an enclosed porch that I remember spending tons of time playing on when I was young. There is a window seat by some massive windows that would be an amazing reading spot. There are lots of bedrooms and a large kitchen as well, which is really important. It would be pretty amazing to raise my kids there too.

So those are kind of some pointers of what I want in my dream home. Besides that though I also really want a big wrap around porch like this one.

I also want a balcony like the one picture above on the left hand side of the house. 

I also want one of those tower looking rooms. like the one pictured below. 

A spiral staircase would also be super cool... especially with a slide. ;)

Or a book staircase. Have you seen this picture? That would be super cool! 

So those are some of the fun things I would want in my dream house. How about you? What do you want in your dream house? 

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Book Review- Hard Times

I really like this synopsis of Dickens' novel Hard Times from Wikipeida: The novel follows a classical tripartite structure, and the titles of each book are related to Galatians 6:7, "For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." Book I is entitled "Sowing", Book II is entitled "Reaping", and the third is "Garnering."It doesn't exactly explain what happens in the book but it explains the message of the book. 
I really enjoyed reading Hard Times and it is now one of my favorite of Dickens books. I'm thinking though that it might just have hit me at the right time and perhaps if I reread it later in life I won't like it as much but at this moment I really enjoyed it. 
It tells the story of a father who raises his two children to live a life dominated by facts and not fancy. No imagination allowed.  The characters in this book were interesting and to be reflected on as is often in Dickens' novels. The plot was insightful and thought provoking and, to me, a book that to continued surprise me as it went on. It was often sad and while the ending was happy it was rather bittersweet. 
I would recommend this book to all fans of the Classics as one of his shorter but not less deeper works. Enjoy. :)

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Top Ten Books about Friendship

This should be a fun list!

  1. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling- I think some of the greatest books about friendship written in my honest opinion. I'm not an obsessed fan about Harry Potter but there are several great points to them and this is one of them. 
  2. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien- Through thick and thin Frodo and Sam... You know what I mean. There's also Legolas and Gimli. The whole fellowship though is just a great picture of friendship. You know, I might take my above statement about the Harry Potter series back. I'm not sure. 
  3. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery- Bosom friends! 
  4. The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis- I love Bree and Shasta and their fun and crazy friendship. This is my favorite of C.S. Lewis's novels. 
  5. Poroit series by Agatha Christie- Poroit and Captain Hastings are such a fun duo! I also like Poroit and Inspector Japp. :) 
  6. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak- I enjoy the friendships that Liesel has with Rudy and Max. 
  7. Redwall series by Brain Jacques- There are always fun and touching friendships in Jacques's books that I have always enjoyed. 
  8. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen- There are a lot of friendships I enjoy in this novel and they are all familial. Lizzy and her father is one of my favorite relationships/friendships in all of literature. I also love Lizzy and Jane's friendship. 
  9. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen- Fanny and Edmund's friendship is another great relationship and I appreciate that they ended up SPOILER getting married in the end. END SPOILER. The book shows a beautiful transition from friendship to marriage. In my opinion, friendship is a good start to entering into a romantic relationship. 
  10. Emma by Jane Austen- Knightley and Emma's friendship is another relationship that SPOILER resulted in marriage. END SPOILER. It is a lot like a brother-sister friendship, which I love.
What friendships do you enjoy in literature? I would have included more Austen but I don't want to completely override all of my lists with my obsessions so I just included my favorites. ;)
Linking up with The Broke and the Bookish

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Sunday, May 18, 2014

It's Monday and I'm Reading: So much more!

Last Tuesday, praise the Lord, I finished my second semester of nursing school!!!! It was a struggle through the whole semester, which is why I was neglecting my blog so much as I was so busy and trying to prioritize my time. Thankfully though that is done and hopefully I can spend some more time in the blogging world and of course reading. :) So what have I been up to with reading? Actually a fair amount since school has ended. :)

Hard Times by Charles Dickens

During the last couple weeks I was reading Dickens' Hard Times and I finished it early Wednesday morning as a post-finals reward to myself. I enjoyed it a lot and I think it is a new favorite of Dickens for me. Apparently Goodreads doesn't have a synopsis and this is all Wikipedia has but actually I think it sums the novel up really well. 
Wikipedia synopsis: The novel follows a classical tripartite structure, and the titles of each book are related to Galatians 6:7, "For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." Book I is entitled "Sowing", Book II is entitled "Reaping", and the third is "Garnering."

The Rose and the Yew Tree by Mary Westcott

Last Wednesday I read this. It's been awhile since I've had the time to read a whole book in one day so that was a good feeling. :) I wrote a short review of this and others of Mary Westcott's (Agatha Christie's pseudonym) novels last week and here is a link to my review. This novel is interesting, sad and quite good. I would recommend it but be aware that it is not a mystery novel like Christie's other works but it is not, in my opinion a romance novel like the below synopsis from Goodreads would make you think. 
Goodreads Synopsis: Everyone expected Isabella Charteris, beautiful, sheltered and aristocratic, to marry her cousin Rupert when he came back from the War. It would have been such a suitable marriage. How strange then that John Gabriel, an ambitious and ruthless war hero, should appear in her life. For Isabella, the price of love would mean abandoning her dreams of home and happiness forever. For Gabriel, it would destroy his chance of a career and all his ambitions!

Gods and Generals by Jeff Shaara

I started this last Thursday and I am loving it so far! I read Killer Angles when I was in high school and enjoyed it a lot, loving the different perspective it gave me on the War between the States. Gods and Generals so far promises to do the same. 
Goodread Synopsis: In a prequel of sorts to his father Michael Shaara's 1974 epic novel The Killer Angels, Jeff Shaara explores the lives of Generals Lee, Hancock, Jackson and Chamberlain as the pivotal Battle of Gettysburg approaches. 
Shaara captures the disillusionment of both Lee and Hancock early in their careers, Lee's conflict with loyalty, Jackson's overwhelming Christian ethic and Chamberlain's total lack of experience, while illustrating how each compensated for shortcomings and failures when put to the test. 
The perspectives of the four men, particularly concerning the battles at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, make vivid the realities of war.

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

I know, I know! I'm still listening to this. It's not from dislike of it I assure you. I am really enjoying it but it's been hard finding time to listen to it. I'm hoping it doesn't take me too much longer because I am eager to rematch the movie after the fresh perspective of reading (listening) to it. 
Goodreads Synopsis: When her father leaves the Church in a crisis of conscience, Margaret Hale is uprooted from her comfortable home in Hampshire to move with her family to the north of England. Initially repulsed by the ugliness of her new surroundings in the industrial town of Milton, Margaret becomes aware of the poverty and suffering of the local mill workers and develops a passionate sense of social justice. This is intensified by her tempestuous relationship with the mill-owner and self-made man, John Thornton, as their fierce opposition over his treatment of his employees masks a deeper attraction. In North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell skillfully fuses individual feeling with social concern, and in Margaret Hale creates one of the most original heroines of Victorian literature.

So that's what I've been up to with my reading. I've been trying to take care of all of the books that I rashly checked out from the city library a few weeks ago. I've already renewed them twice and I can only do three renewals but thankfully Gods and Generals is the last of those so once I'm done with it, which I expect will be soon, I can get going on the long list of books I checked out from my schools' library before I left as well as a book I borrowed from a friend. The nice thing about the school library is that I can renew it's books indefinitely... especially as I work there. ;) Plus, there were some free book tables downstairs from the library the other day that I scrummaged through and got about ten books from, which made me happy! Some of them I haven't read but I was familiar with the titles so I grabbed them. I was able to get another copy of The Two Towers because you can never have too many copies of Tolkien's books. I was also able to get a copy of Life with Father, which I grew up with watching the movie of and have loved it for years. I'm eager to see if the book is as amazing as the movie. 
Books I got from the library
  • The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens (For the Classics Club)
  • Little Dorritt by Charles Dickens (For the Classics Club and TBR Challenge) 
  • Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (For the Classics Club) 
  • Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte (For the Classics Club)
  • The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (For the Classics Club, nonfiction reading challenge, TBR Challenge)
  • The Princess Bride by William Goldman (For the Classics Club, TBR Challenge)
Books I got free
  • Life with Father by Clarence Day
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  • The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Odyssey by Homer
  • The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  • Madam Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  • Les Miserables by Victor Hugo 
  • The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper 
  • The Death of Ivan Illych by Leo Tolstoy
  • All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
Book I've borrowed
  • The Book of Lost Tales by J.R.R. Tolkien 
Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check out Book Journey, the blog I'm linking up with for this post. 

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Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Book Blogger Test

Katrina from Chased By My Imagination tagged me to answer some questions so here they are!

1) What are your top three book pet hates?

  • Bad language... especially when it is really unnecessary... which is most of the time. 
  • Modern book covers on classic works of literature. 
  • Writing in a book.  

2) Describe your perfect reading spot? My bed normally as I read at night but a cushy couch or chair works also. Comfort, you must understand, is key. :)

3) Tell us three book confessions

  • I always have to finish a book. Always. Thankfully I rarely start a book I wouldn't want to finish. 
  • I rarely read modern books. 
  • If you recommend a book to me... I may not read it. It takes recommendations by people whose judgement I trust on books to make me read their recommendation. I've made two exceptions to that and have been disappointed both times. A lot of you bloggers out there that I follow though I do trust their judgement like the ones listed below. Does that mean we'll enjoy all of the same books? No... but we enjoy a lot of the same books. 
4) When was the last time you cried during a book? As I've mentioned in a past post, the only book I have ever cried over is Bridge to Terabithia and I was very young so don't judge. ;) I just don't tend to get emotional over books... or movies/TV shows for that matter. 

5) How many books are on your bedside table? Just one: Gods and Generals, which by the way is really good so far. I'm also currently listening to the audiobook of North and South on my iPhone, which is on my bedside table so that counts too... right? ;) 

6) What is your favorite snack while reading? I don't eat while reading as I'm always afraid I'll get something on the book. However, I will drink tea while reading or perhaps water.  

7) Name three books you recommend to everyone? 
  • The Bible
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien 
8) Show us a picture of your favorite bookshelf on your bookcase. I'm just showing you my whole bookcase because I'm not sure I have a favorite shelf. I know I don't have tons of books yet but I'm working my way up there! My family has over a thousand so they make up for my lack of books. :)

9) Describe how much books mean to you in just three words? Life, love, happiness. ;)

10) What is your biggest reading secret? I don't know. Sometimes I really slack off with my reading... especially during school. 

Tags (Be sure to post answers to these questions too!)

Smiling Shelves
Jillian's Books
Let's Read
Lost Generation Reader
Caffeinated Life 

Thanks for reading! :)

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Mary Westcott (Agatha Christie) Novels- Book Reviews

I recently read two of of Mary Westcott (Agatha Christie's pseudonym) novels and I read another one in the past so today I bring you a short review of them. The books I read were Absent in the Spring, Giants Bread, and The Rose and the Yew Tree. 

First off, I was again reminded of Agatha Christie's incredible insight into human nature. She is somewhat like Jane Austen in that respect. They are all non-mystery novels so it is interesting to read one of her books not having to focus on the characters as possible murder suspects but instead as characters. I gave all of the books four stars on Goodreads but I really did enjoy them a lot. They are called romance novels generally I think but I didn't really think of them as such. As with Austen's novels, the romance was a plot factor but there was so much else revolving around in the story.

In Absent in the Spring it's about a wife who doesn't realize how her selfishness has controlled her husband and children throughout her life and through a series of circumstances gets a glimpse into what she has done. As another reviewer on Goodreads said, it makes you uncomfortable, causing you to think about your own actions and motives.

In Giants Bread, you are introduced to a young boy whose father is a philander and mother is a doting sentimentalist. Through the story he grows up and falls in love, makes friends and develops a strange love for music.

The Rose and the Yew Tree might be my favorite of the three perhaps because I just finished it. I felt Christie's insight into human nature very profoundly in this one. It follows a crippled middle aged man who watches people come in and out of his room, confiding in him as politics and small-village life play out.

I would recommend all of these to read. They're different then Agatha Christie's typical mystery novels but great in their deep insight into human nature. They'll make you think. :) I actually found that they all worked on my emotions, which takes a lot for a book to do. I felt sorry for many of the characters. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do. :)

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Top Ten Books I almost Put Down but Didn't

I rarely start books that I don't mean to finish. In fact, I don't think I ever have. Before reading a book I normally know enough about it to know if I'll like it and if for someone reason I don't enjoy it as much as I thought I would then I finished it anyways because I don't like leaving things uncompleted. So there are several books that I wanted to put down but didn't because of that. Some of these are books that I read when I was younger back when my Dad made me reading lists. I am so thankful he made me those lists because I read a lot of books I might never have picked up if he hadn't assigned them to me. Most all of those I enjoyed but some of them not so much as is evidence on this list. So here goes!

  1. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy- It's a great book but I just don't like it. I don't like books were, in my opinion, there isn't a single good character. This is one that my Dad had me read. It is a classic and I'm glad I read it just to say I read it but I did not enjoy it. 
  2. The House of Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne- It was just confusing. Probably I read it too fast too but I remember wanting to just get done with it because I didn't like it.
  3. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne- Another book were I just don't like a single character. Both of these Hawthorne books I made the choice to read so I guess I got what I deserved.
  4. Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott- It's long and not like the movie. I hate it when I watch the movie before the book because I never enjoy the book as much. That's rarely happened but this was one of those cases. I mean to re-read it this year and I'll see if I can handle it better then. 
  5. Lorna Doone by by R.D. Blackmoore- Another of the few that I read after watching the movie. It's really long and pretty detailed and honestly I just wanted to get through it as quickly as possible... which was hard to do due to above description. 
  6. The Odyssey by Homer- It is LONG! And hard to read in the format it is written. I read this one for school and oh my if it hadn't been for school I probably never would have finished it. 
  7. The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux- I did want to read it just to see how it compared to the movie but it wasn't fun to read. The story does not appeal to me.
  8. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens- While I do enjoy Dickens' books, this one was spoiled for me by the fact that while I was reading it my family was watching a film version of it and Miss Havisham just CREEPED ME OUT in the movie so I had a hard time enjoying the book. I was younger when this happened by the way! I'm sure if I watched the movie now it wouldn't bother me. So anyways, I remember dragging through this book and not really wanting to read it. Someday maybe I'll reread it to see if I could enjoy it more because that is the only Dickens so far that I haven't liked so I'm sure it was just that movie. 
I know I ended up with eight but that's all I can think of right now and in just a few hours I'll be taking my nursing final so... 

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Monday, May 12, 2014

Classics Club Spin: May 2014 Number Reveal!

Well the die is cast and number spun for the Classics Club spin was number 1! So the book I'll be reading is Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte which was on my list of books I'm dreading. :( Oh well, I'm sure it will be an experience and this is giving me that extra nudge to get it started. Now I just have to find a copy of the book somewhere. :) I have until July 7th to get it done so obviously I'll start it July 6th. ;) Check back with me then to see if I got I finished it and how I liked it!

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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Classics Club Spin: May 2014

I'm going to do my first Classics Club spin! Here are the rules! 

  • Pick twenty books that you’ve got left to read from your Classics Club List.
  • Try to challenge yourself: list five you are dreading/hesitant to read, five you can’t WAIT to read, five you are neutral about, and five free choice (favorite author, rereads, ancients — whatever you choose.)
  • Post that list, numbered 1-20, on your blog by next Monday.
  • Monday morning, we’ll announce a number from 1-20. Go to the list of twenty books you posted, and select the book that corresponds to the number we announce.
  • The challenge is to read that book by July 7, even if it’s an icky one you dread reading! (No fair not listing any scary ones!)
Since I am almost (so close!) out of school I'll have some time soon to read, which I am super excited out. :) So here's my list. 
Book's I'm dreading
1. Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte
2. Shirley by Charlotte Bronte
3. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
4. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
5. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
Book's I'm looking forward to
6. Little Dorritt by Charles Dickens
7. The Princess Bride by William Goldman
8. Arsenic and Old Lace by Joseph Kesselring
9. The Book of Lost Tales by J.R.R. Tolkien
10. Pygmilion by George Bernard Shaw
Books I'm neutral about
11. The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
12. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
13. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
14. Bridge Over the River Kwai by Pierre Boulle
15. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
Free Choice (Shakespeare)
16. As You Like It by William Shakespeare
17. Henry V by William Shakespeare
18. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
19. Hamlet by William Shakesperae
20. The Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

I'll be back on Monday to post which one got chosen! It's pretty crazy right now with finals just next week so I might forget... :( As soon as these icky finals are over hopefully you'll be seeing me post more on the blog. :) 

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Top Ten Book Covers I'd Frame as a Piece of Art

A few weeks ago I did a Five Fridays Favorite very similar to this so I'll be including many of those as well as some others. These are book covers that I would frame as pieces of art. :)

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