Thursday, July 31, 2014

30 Day Book Challenge! The Grand Finale

Thus we come to the final day of the "30 Day Book Challenge" (in quotations, of course. because.)! It has been quite fun for me to review old favorites and hear of yours - thanks for bearing with my obsession. :)

Our final four questions for today are (drum roll, please):

Day 27: What is your favorite genre?
I'm not a great fan of science fiction, self-help, or how-to books. Oh, or vampire stories. Aside from these genres, I pretty much like 'em all. Historical fiction, fairy tales, Christian philosophy/theology - these are probably my top three.

Day 28: What is the first book you can remember reading on your own?
Elsie's Holiday at Roselands. The memory of reading this book is distinctly etched in my mind. I was laying on the sofa, having hurt my ankle, and reading of little Elsie, hurting her ankle, and was suddenly filled with a warm and fuzzy kinship for the similar plights in which we two found ourselves. I remember noticing the cover of the book - the first time I really took the time to notice the cover since I had begun to read in earnest - and thinking it would always be special to me. It is. :)

Day 29: Who is an author you wish was more well-known?
This is another "all of them" question for me. True, Dickens and Austen are well-known, but in name only, and because of the movie adaptation of the their books rather than because people really know them. Most people today are all over the story of Pride and Prejudice, but few know of what I am talking if I bemoan Jane Austen's infuriating tendency toward microscopic denouements. Oliver is known everywhere as a book descrying the plight of a little orphan boy, but nods of understanding are rare when I mention Dickens' elaborate descriptions and similes. Even the well-known authors are unknown.

But if I were to quit soliloquizing, I would say, practically, G.K. Chesterton, Elias Boudinot, Anthony Esolen, and Rosemary Sutcliff. In that order. It would also be cool if people knew who Stratford Caldecott is, but as I have yet to actually read his books, I feel slightly unqualified to mention him.

Yes, that was more than one author. Congrats to the mathematicians who caught that.

Day 30: Which book are you reading right now?
Image result for our mutual friend
Speaking of Dickens...Our Mutual Friend is at my bedside right now. Although I have already watched the movie (whoops), this delightful tale is living up to every expectation in all the complex layers of Dickens settings and characters. It's going to be a favorite, I know already.

And that, my dear friends, wraps up our 30 Day Book Challenge! Thank you so much for coming along for the ride. Do comment and tell me your answers to these questions, if you care to share! I would especially be interested in knowing your favorite unknown authors!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

30 Day Book Challenge! Catching Up...

Well, this didn't quite shape up correctly toward the end, did it? I began so that my 30th day would be the last day of July...and by Jove I'll finish tomorrow. Meaning, of course, that I'm about to answer four of my daily questions right now, and an identical number tomorrow. Nothing like making deadlines by the skin of your teeth!

Day 23: What is a book you once hated, but now love? Why?
I have no answer for this question, and I blame it entirely upon the fact that I am terribly stubborn. I do not think I have ever, ever given a second chance to a book I disliked. There are a few that come to mind that I think I may like a bit better if they were given a another read-through...well, there is one, at least. But with so many good books in the world, I have never had the time to have my mind changed on the "bad" ones. Boring answer, I'm afraid.

Day 24: What is your favorite series?
As any self-respecting Lewis fan would answer: Narnia! Not only for the great imagination of the stories, or the heart-resonating analogies, or the way Lewis has of describing the indescribable, but also for the memories of all the years dad read the series to us - over and over until the paperbacks fell to pieces - at the dinner table, screeching for Lasaraleene's lines or pausing to allow us to contemplate a truth.

Day 25: What is the nerdiest book you've ever read?
I don't read science fiction (besides, of course, C.S.Lewis' space trilogy - but that was still not really in the "nerd" category), I've never read a "how-to" book, and even nerdy subjects in my sphere (analyzing chord progressions, music theory, etc) have always been learned verbally or kinesthetically, not by reading. 

Given these considerations, I would say, simply, that I've never read a nerdy book. 

...and then, I think about all the times I begin to describe almost any book I'm reading (barring fictional books) to someone who unsuspectingly asks, "What book is that?" Almost without fail (I can count the exceptions on one hand), the eyes glaze over, an impatient wiggle of hand or foot commences, and as my voice slowly fades away with their attention, they inform me, "that's a bit too deep for me," or "I can't really focus in books like that," or "I just read fiction."

Given these considerations, I would say, simply, that all I read is nerdy books.

Day 26: What is your favorite kind of nonfiction book?
Ahhh, what a fitting follow-up question. I love books that make you think...that analyze and identify ideologies, philosophies, and mentalities - where people stand, and how they arrived at their conclusions. Would you call that Christian philosophy? But I don't think it could be limited to just one genre like that...

Would love to hear your answers to any and all of these questions! :)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

30 Day Book Challenge! Days 21-22: Disturbing

Day 21: What is the most disturbing book you've ever read?

It was many years ago that I began this book. I cannot remember which friend lent it to me, but I was old enough that my parents did not think a "children's book" on World War II was a bad thing for me to read. As awful as it is, everyone needs to know that history. Jacob's Rescue is about a Jewish boy, Jacob, living with a Polish family in Poland during World War II. I never finished it. While it was quite the well-written story, it was simply too well-told for the younger me. At one point in the book, the oldest son of the family with which Jacob is staying darts outside and is promptly shot by a Nazi hiding on the roof. When the author describes, through young Jacob's eyes, the father gathering the blood-soaked dead body of his son in his arms and weeping inconsolably, I almost threw up (and, as a matter of fact, did a short time later). The only other time I have been so disturbed was several years later, reading another WWII historical fiction about the concentration camps. Words cannot describe what a dark, evil history that is...

Day 22: What is a book you once loved, but don't anymore (and why)?
I am trying to think of books over which I went crazy, only to discover once I had calmed down that they weren't quite as amazing as I had previously thought. I suppose the first several books of the Thoroughbred series could apply here...

Up through about book 7ish, I still like these books, in general. When I was younger, I positively devoured them, loving the story of a girl with her horse, racing the Triple Crown, etc. Reading back over them a few years later, I discovered all sorts of things in the books which I hadn't even noticed before. Some attitudes were suddenly more defiant, there were more flirtatious, boyfriend-girlfriend relationships (mostly as you progressed into the later series) - and I had not even noticed them! That said, I still have the first 7 tucked away in my childhood-books-box; while they were not as good as I had thought the first time through, they are, still, the story of a girl amongst horses, and I like them. :)

What about you? What disturbing books should I avoid? Is there a book that you were crazy about, only to discover later you didn't care for it so much?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

30 Day Book Challenge! Days 19-20: Birthdays and More...

Do you what today is?? On this very day, 9 years ago, mum was at the hospital, mid-surgery, and Megan and Madeline- our very own M&Ms - were making their entrance into the world! Of course, we celebrated in proper twin-style: pizza, brownie-cheesecake-layer-cake, and way too many giggles!

The dresses from yours truly :)
 Please note the slightly befuddled faces in the next two pictures...

The Twinkles' bedroom has been, heretofore, a mess. When they were wee ones, they didn't want to have separate beds, so they have had only one mattress in the bunk bed for years...but as young ladies of 9, they have outgrown the share-a-bed idea. Hence, a birthday present from mum & dad that was confusedly received in small packages of plastic shapes, wires, and metal clips...

Happy birthday to the Twinkles!!


Oh yes, and I have those book challenge questions today, too, don't I?

Day 19: What is a book that you think is woefully underrated?
Easy answer. Little Dorrit, That Hideous Strength, The Ordinary Princess, The Princess and the Goblin, The Princess and Curdie, The Eagle of the Ninth, The Twelfth Imam, Wuthering Heights...I'm trying to make a point here. Pretty much all the books I like are woefully underrated.

Day 20: What is the environment in which you most enjoy reading?
Anywhere both quiet and pretty. Usually, this is my room. My first choice is always to read out of doors, but...the "quiet" factor is often compromised by wee siblings who also love the beautiful outside. :) I like to be comfortable, to not dread looking up while considering a part I just read (which if the room is awfully messy, etc, is the case), and to not be tempted to listen in on other conversations while I'm reading.

Where do you like to read?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

30 Day Book Challenge! Days 17-18: High Expectations

Happy Tuesday!! Yes, I've missed several days here in blogland - things have just been too busy and fun around here! On Saturday, we had a graduation ceremony for Rachel, followed by a triple-graduate-pie-social-party for Rachel (graduating from high school), Emily (graduating with her AA), and Ben (graduating with his BA). Saturday morning saw Rachel and I in the kitchen, getting some serious baking done (Rachel did most of it...I think we made 13 pies! Yes. There were leftovers for breakfast).

Hence, between preparation, parties and recovery (is there a better word I could have used to have some alliteration in there?), I fell behind. Get ready for 2 questions a day! :D

Day 17: What is a book you want to like, but can't get into? Why?
Hmmm...I suppose I shall say The Age of Revelation, by Elias Boudinot. It's not that I want to like it (I do like it!), but rather that I had a hard time getting into it for reasons previously mentioned: because I was trying to read it late at night, and the language and subject matter did not lend itself to such a reading. Still on my to-read list, though!!

Day 18: Which book do you consider to be excessively overrated?

I'm rather afraid of becoming redundant here from last time I did the challenge, but I shall seek to be more fair and give an opinion on a book that I have actually read. The problem is, I usually am the one who gets excited about books most people don't care to read, so I'm slightly unqualified to label one as "overrated." Or maybe the problem is simply that I don't read books I deem to be overrated. On second thoughts, I will just wait for the opinions of to share your thoughts on the most overrated book?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

30 Day Book Challenge! Day 16: Never-Ever

This shall be possibly the shortest post I've ever written.

Day 16: What is a book you've never read and have no intention of ever reading?

The Twilight series. Any of them. Even though/especially because they take place in Forks, Washington (although that really has nothing to do with my objections).

The End.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

30 Day Book Challenge! Days 14-15: So Many Books

No, I am not planning for this skip-a-day-double-post thing to become a habit. However, I am having heaps of fun with our beautiful SUMMER!! I know it is really and truly here because (1) my friend and I enjoyed 80 degrees and sunshine at the river yesterday...

 ...and (2) last night we had grilled pizza. Grilled. Pizza. Pretty much my favorite summer food evah. I literally (hmmm...this is an embarrassing piece of information to send out into the world wide web) drooled taking my first bite. It was gross. The drool, that is - but the pizza was to die for.

JT, or "Red" in the blogging world, was our pizza-crust-connoisseur, and has documented more pictures of this delectableness on his blog, The Case of the Red-Head JT. Just in case you too wish to drool.

But enough with the excuses of sunshine and food, and on to our book questions!!

Day 14: What is a book you regret not having read sooner?
This is, I have decided, an impossible question. Hasn't every book you've ever read been finished with the feeling of "I should have read that sooner?" Which story have you fallen in love with and thought, "Well, I'm glad I didn't read that last year"? Which thought-provoking page have you turned and thought "I am so glad I read this...but if I'd read it yesterday, I would have regretted it"? Really? Which book do I regret not having read sooner? Every. Single. One of them.

Day 15: What is a book on your "to read" list?
There are so-so-so many. It's no exaggeration to say I have at least my next 50 books planned out...and those are just ones that are top-priority. The next book on my list (after the present one I'm reading) is Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. I have tried to read this book so many times...checked it out from the library twice. Had to return it before finishing twice. Bought it once, got half-way through again and then left it in an airport. Bought it again, will read it all the way through this time...although I may have to purpose not to let it leave my room until I finish it!

What's the next book on your reading list?

Monday, July 14, 2014

30 Day Book Challenge! Days 12-13: Playing Favorites

{photo credit}

Good Monday morning to you all! I will be answering two of the questions today, to make up for skipping Sunday posts. The first question is the most fun. ;)

Day 12: Who are your favorite authors?

Firstly, I have to say that I an so relieved this question isn't "Who is your single, solitary, favorite author of all time?" Secondly, I have to wonder, then, who to include and who to leave out. If I've only read one book by the author, does that qualify me to say he is one of my favorite authors? Or is it simply that I just really like that particular book? Practically speaking, there are very few authors I've met through books that I don't do I know if they're my favorites? Maybe I'm just enjoying the moment of indecision too much. Maybe I should move on and just answer the question.

- C.S. Lewis
- Charles Dickens
- G.K. Chesterton
- Rosemary Sutcliff (one of the authoresses of whom I've only read one book - but she is a fabulous writer!)
- John Milton
- Joel Rosenberg
- Baroness Emma Orczy name just a few. :)

{photo credit}

Day 13: What is your favorite book from childhood?

Put simply: I. Don't. Know. 
There is not a book that stands out above the rest as one I love the most through childhood.

The Elsie Dinsmore series was dear to my heart.
So were the Tintin books, honestly.
Peter Pan was a favorite from the time I read it - but that wasn't until "later" (about 13 or 14).
Black Beauty - in fact, any and all horse books - was an obsession for a while.
Perhaps the book I loved as a child and still love the most is The Princess and the Goblin.

In short - there are too many to count! :)

Now it's your turn! Tell me, please, your favorite authors so they can become mine, too! And tell me your favorite book from childhood so I can read it!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

30 Day Book Challenge! Day 11: Stay Home from the Movies

Day 11: Name two absolutely awful adaptations of books.

1. Hans Brinker

I've talked about this before, so no need to rehash. Simply, though, don't watch it!

2. Prince Caspian

This movie was just so disappointing in so many ways. Added story lines, detracted story lines, characters acting distinctly out of character (what in the world happened to Peter??) - I cannot even force myself to watch it anymore (except I do have to come in and meet Reepicheep each time; he was the best).

What books do you consider to be completely disrespected by their movies?

30 Day Book Challenge! Day 10: Off to the Movies!

I love the northwest. I really do think it's one of the prettiest places on earth. Driving home this evening, I could not help but pull over to snap a snippet of our vivid sunset sky...

They say a picture's worth a thousand words, so there are two thousand detailing how beautiful this corner of the world is. And since we're speaking of pictures vs words...

Day 10: Name five absolutely great film adaptations of books.

Today's challenge is certainly...well, challenging. I'm not sure I know of 5 whole movies that didn't let their books down, but we'll fudge a little here, and stretch a little there, and I'm sure you'll forgive me if I make a poor judgement call. Who can name five??

1. Pride and Prejudice
Our life holds few distinctions, but I think we may safely boast that here is an exemplary book-turned-movie.

2. Felicity
Especially for combining 7 books, I thought American Girl did a wonderful job transposing the sweet story of colonial girl, Felicity, into a movie.

3. Tintin
While I would at times contend as to whether comic books count as proper "books," my need to reach a listing of five in this post tips the argument in favor of the comics. Tintin was wonderfully done. While again combining several "books" into one story, the movie stayed so true to the characters that one really felt as though she was meeting them right off the page.

...and here's where it all begins to get rather sticky. Having been cursed with extreme picky-ness, I'm just not sure I know of other movies that I would call "absolutely great" adaptations. BBC has done fairy well with Dickens, so I suppose (although, of necessity, so much was left out that it's rather hard for me to acknowledge) that Bleak House could qualify for this list...
That is to say, the actors all portrayed their booklical characters wonderfully, with the exception of Mr. Tulkinghorn who was made quite a bit more sinister for the screenplay. (Nevertheless, he played his part well.)

5. And now I am in trouble. Master and Commander, as I've mentioned before, is much better as a movie than as a book. However, that renders it rather a poor adaptation. I could say the Hobbit movies are wonderful, but I have it on good authority from people who have actually read the book that they are not anywhere near as good as the book. (I like them because they spare me the trouble of reading the books, as I am overwhelmed at the thought of having to read the book, all the background books, figure out all the languages, etc...I simply can't spare that kind of reading time!).

Thus, number 5 is for you, readers! What is a book you think was fabulously transformed for the screen?

Friday, July 11, 2014

30 Day Book Challenge! Day 9: Quotes Day 2!

My travels have finally brought me back to where I began, and I am home! Home where a pretty pink wall needs quotes painted and pictures hung upon it. Home where I have at least 3 sewing/knitting projects that need to be done by the end of the month. Home where I have the fair, a studio recital, a wedding, and a family vacation to prepare for and enjoy. Home where my bro will obligingly jog alongside an I-haven't-run-for-two-months-and-I'm-dying me.

It's good to be home.

But that's not why we're here, is it? You asked for it, so I'm going to give you Death By Quotes this evening! Today's question:

Day 9: What are your favorite quotes from books?

So, *ahem*, short answer(s):

9781595553225"Our age trivializes words and personhood because many assume that impersonal, physical energy is the ultimate reality....The fact is, our words do describe and encapsulate invisible laws that govern unknown galaxies. Words help us plan successful trips to outer space. Our unique gift of language enables us to create culture. Words create. Word (information) is life because the Bible says that God created the universe with his words." 

- The Book That Made Your World, Vishal Mangalwadi


The Shadow of the Bear: a fairy tale retold"Have you ever felt that there was something going on in life that not everyone was aware of?" Rose asked, turning her mug around in her hands. "As though there's a story going on that everyone is a part of, but not everybody knows about? Maybe 'story' isn't the right word - a sort of drama, a battlebetween what's peripheral and what's really important. As though the people you meet aren't just their plain, prosaic selves, but are actually princes and princesses, gods and goddesses, fairies, gypsies, shepherds, all sorts of fantastic creatures who've chosen to hide their real shape for some reason or another. Or have forgotten who they really are. Have you ever thought of that?"

-The Shadow of the Bear, Regina Doman


" is that of an unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any other satisfaction. I call it Joy, which...must be sharply distinguished from Happiness and from Pleasure. Joy (in my sense) has indeed one characteristic, and one only, in common with them; the fact that anyone who has experienced it will want it again."

- Surprised by Joy, C.S. Lewis


Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton (Amazon)"Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that he has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore."

-Orthodoxy, G.K. Chesterton


"Beyond compare the Son of God was seen
Most glorious; in him all his Father shone
Substantially expressed; and in his face
Divine compassion visibly appeared,
Love without end, and without measure grace;"

- Paradise Lost, John Milton


"The writer of the Age of Reason, may think it harsh to be charged with falsehood in every page of his work; but it would ill become an advocate for the Gospel, not to declare it boldly, and would be doing great injustice to the cause of truth, when the everlasting interests of his fellow men are at stake..." {emphasis mine}

- The Age of Revelation, Elias Boudinot


"The 'Old-Fashioned Girl' is not intended as a perfect model, but as a possible improvement on the Girl of the Period, who seems sorrowfully ignorant or ashamed of the good old fashions which make women truly beautiful and honored, and, through her, render home what it should be - a happy place, where parents and children, brothers and sisters, learn to love and know and help one another."

- Preface of An Old-Fashioned Girl, Louisa May Alcott


"We must, then, kill the imagination. The ideal, of course, would be to cease having children, but that might have some adverse effect upon long-range economic prosperity, besides threatening certain industries with extinction - the manufacturers of tasteless clothing, for instance, and importers of refined sugar...
...The sky suggests the vastness of creation and the smallness of man's ambition...the best we can do is to prevent the child from stopping to notice that efficient advancement in mental management called the billboard. 
...The itch to be what is called "important" functions as a billboard, as does the itch to be "doing something productive" or to be playing a video game or to be sitting in front of a television. Fill the visual field with neon lights. Smog is useful, too: I mean both the fumes that come from millions of automobiles, and the smoky darkness of lust. A child that has been blared at and distracted all his life will never be able to do the brave nothing of beholding the sky. He will not be able to ask, with the Psalmist,

When I consider the heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;
What is man that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, than thou visitest him?

He will find the psalm itself too dull. He will want to change the channel."

- Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child, Anthony Esolen (I really wish I could quote this whole book...)


Oh dear...I could go on forever. However, considering that it is nearly midnight, I shall cease for the present. Share some of your favorite quotes from books with me, and if I come across another that I can't believe I left out, I shall add it to the comments as well!