Sunday, November 29, 2015

'Happy Birthday' to my favorite author ~ C. S. Lewis Week

Well, today is the last day of Abigail's C. S. Lewis Week, and it also happens to be the birthday of Jack himself.  (I didn't actually know that, so thanks for the info, Abby! :D)

I thought perhaps I'd attempt a "commemorative post" for the last day/his birthday.  We shall see how it goes;)

C. S. Lewis is my favorite author.  Have I announced that before?  Probably, I just don't remember it.  Well, now you all know (just in case the title didn't clue you in).  Lewis is my favorite, and not just because of Narnia.  I LOVE Narnia, especially the first movie and the books The Magician's Nephew and The Horse and His Boy, but sometimes I think that people judge Lewis's "depth" solely off the Chronicles, and that just MAKES ME MAD.  (I know, I know, I said all this yesterday.  Just stay with me.)

Y'see, I've encountered this a couple times:  people compare Lewis to Tolkien, which I don't think is fair or legitimate in the least.  Because Middle-earth is darker and more epic in proportion to Narnia, people not only think that the Chronicles aren't deep, but they also think that Lewis's writing is more shallow than Tolkien's.

Ahem.  I am civil when this happens, truly, I am ;)

Outwardly I typically just smile or ask if the other person has read much of his other works than Narnia.

Inside I think 'Seriously, READ THE OTHER BOOKS.'  The Chronicles of Narnia are an excellent series of books.  They're amazing.  But they're not all Lewis wrote.  I love Narnia, but I hate it when people see Lewis as only the creator of Narnia, and don't credit him with the stunning other works he produced.  (Though, seriously.  'The creator of Narnia' is an epic title for anybody.)

So.  Yeah.  There's my little rant about misunderstanding and misjudging Lewis;)  Narnia is epic, and so is LotR.  I love them both very, very much.  (Especially LotR.)  Their respective authors need be in no paltry competition.  

Okay *takes deep breath*  Moving on.  

So far--and I plan to lengthen this list greatly--these are the books I've read that were written by Jack (in no particular order).

~ The Problem of Pain 
~ Mere Christianity
~ The Chronicles of Narnia (7 books)
~ The Screwtape Letters
~ Out of the Silent Planet
~ Till We Have Faces

Huh.  That doesn't look like very much typed out.  Oh, well ;)  I hope to read ALL of his works one day, but it'll probably take a while.  For now, how about talking about the ones I have read?

You all know my opinions on Till We Have Faces ;)  It is my favorite of his books, and I can't stress enough how good it is.  The story is gripping the whole way through, but then you get to the latter chapters, and the booklover practically swoons with delight.  IT'S JUST STUNNING.  It's heartrending, uplifting, brutal (in a way), and sympathetic.  Just go read it.  Please.

The Screwtape Letters and Out of the Silent Planet are probably my least favorite of the ones I've read :-P  Don't get me wrong, they're good, but just not my favorites.  OotSP is very well-written, but not my favorite genre (though I do plan to finish the trilogy), and TSL is…well, TSL ;)  It's a bit, um…dark.  It's a very good book, and it should be read, because it definitely is eye-opening, but it's not one that I'd rush to read again.  Ya feel me?

The Problem of Pain is excellent.  It's a bit "over my head" in certain parts ;-P  but it's really good.  Lewis has this incredible knack for taking ideas that everyone has had, and putting them into words in a clear, concise, yet beautiful way.  Can I get an 'amen'?!  He deals with controversial issues, such as free will and the existence of pain and suffering, and it's very good.  He doesn't so much come to a final conclusion as he simply presents the facts, and different arguments to try to make sense of them in a rational way.  I think he does it pretty well, personally ;) 

Mere Christianity is WONDERFUL.  I think it was the first non-Narnia book of his I read, and it is SUCH a good book.  If I were to try to collect quotes from that book, I'd end up with the entire book in my quote collection.  (I do actually have very meaty paragraphs from it in different collections, hehe.)  He encapsulates the reality of a Christian life, and some of his points have been really helpful for me, such as how feeling devoted to God is quite a different thing from being devoted to God.  I need to re-read this again, actually…

And then, of course, there are the Chronicles.  *sniffles*  These are just…*blissful sigh*  They're nostalgic and comforting and convicting and just plain awesome.  They're written for children, but they're beneficial for any age.  Plus, did I mention that they're just plain FUNNY?  The man had a gift for humor.  Lasaraleen = point made. 

There you are!  Jack, thank you.  Thank you for your faithfulness, for your honesty, for your versatility, for your sensitivity, for Narnia, for your teaching, and for your fiction infused with the light of the Lord.  

You're my favorite.  Happy birthday!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

The C. S. Lewis Tag ~ C. S. Lewis Week

Here I am to answer the questions Abigail put together for Lewis Week (hey, better late than never, right?)!

I apologize (ish) in advance for the superfluity of Narnia pictures, particularly those pertaining to "The Call." ;)

1. How did you hear about C. S. Lewis?

I can't remember not hearing about him, if you know what I mean.  I grew up on the older (and yes, fairly stereotyped as pretty bad) BBC movies, of which I do really like The Silver Chair, but which, other than that, I can do without.  And then I read the Narnia books, of course, and stuff kind of happened from there;) 

2. What was the first of his books that you read?
The first?  Hmm…probably The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

3. Which one of his book(s) is your favorite?
He's my favorite author!  How can you ask me to pick a favorite??  Actually, it's okay.  Um…I think Till We Have Faces wins.  Mere Christianity, The Magician's Nephew, and The Horse and His Boy are really close, but TWHF is just stunning.

4. Describe what you feel when you read his books.
Deep questions, these…I guess one thing I really appreciate about his works is his ability to convey different emotions with the different genres he writes.  In Mere Christianity or The Problem of Pain, I get "aha" moments--you know, when you read something that describes what you've been trying to grasp for ages but have never been able to formulate into an intelligent thought.  In The Chronicles of Narnia, I feel many things:  nostalgia, safety, happiness, laughter, etc.  And in Till We Have Faces I feel human.  I feel the human follies, the human glories, and the sublimity of the supernatural touching the human with love.  (You really need to read TWHF if you haven't.  Have I stressed that enough?  Seriously, IT IS AMAZING.  And definitely stick it out until the end, because that is when he ties everything together so shockingly and beautifully.)


5. How have you been touched or impacted by his works?
See above;)  Mere Christianity, among other things, touched me in how he explains that we will not always "feel" close to God, and that's okay.  We need only to act on His Word and as if we adored Him, and eventually we will.

6. What would you say to anyone who hasn't read any of his books?
Well, I think I'd say, don't base your judgment of him as an author off the Narnia books.  Now, before you pelt those rotten tomatoes at me, I don't mean that the Chronicles aren't spectacular--they are.  They're brilliant, touching, funny, beautiful books.  BUT I think that sometimes, people read only the Narnia books and think that is always his style, and I think that sometimes people judge him unfairly by them and think that they are "as 'deep' as he gets."  (And even if that were true, they're plenty deep, if you dig beneath the surface.)  

7. If you could write a letter to Jack, thanking him, or asking him questions, what would it be? (show us as your answer.)
Oh, yikes!  I wouldn't know where to start!  But I'll try.

Dear Mr. Lewis,
     I just wanted to thank you so much for what you've done.  By simply using the gifts God gave you, you impacted more lives than you will ever know and drew so many countless people closer to the Creator.  By always being candid, warmhearted, recognizing those the world would overlook, and being willing to write unpopular things, you've touched me deeply and I thank you and our Savior for it.  
     Oh, and by the way:  did you by any chance draw your inspiration for The Lady of the Green Kirtle from Bernlak's wife in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight?  Just wondering :)  
     Thank you again so much--
                                                                  a friend in Christ

Monday, November 23, 2015

In which I ramble about various book couples I ardently adore

Since you all were so kind as to give my television couples post a wonderfully warm reception, here I am with my suggested book-ship post! :)  The same caveats apply:  these are by no means all the couples I ship from books, and I must admit that most of the ships I'll list here actually sunk, but no matter.  Hope you enjoy!  I tried to pick those couples that were not totally obvious or that I didn't know from the beginning would end up together (case in point, there are no LotR ships in this post).  Let's get started, shall we?

Be aware:  spoilers, of course, follow;)

Julie Wallace and Graham Gillin (I think that was his last name?)
From:  Julie by Catherine Marshall

I was disappointed that Julie did not end up with Graham at the close of Julie.  (Of course, I was a bit disappointed in that whole book, but that is nothing to the purpose.)  I think the relationship between Julie and Graham had the most depth to it out of all Julie's (manifold) beaux.  It had a bit of a rocky start, but at least they actually got to know one another.  At least their relationship was founded on a little bit more than infatuation.  

Is this not like the cutest picture ever?! 

Digory Kirk and Polly Plummer
From:  The Magician's Nephew by C. S. Lewis

I really wish Digory and Polly had become a thing.  They're just so priceless together :D  They had their quarrels and their differences, but in the end they were always a sweet duo who understood each other and were the best of friends, standing by one another through thick and thin.  I think theirs would have been a happy relationship, had it ever evolved.  

Jordan Baker and Nick Carroway
From:  The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Literally the only compelling, potentially healthy relationship in the book.  Of course it falls apart.

Shasta/Cor and Aravis
From:  The Horse and His Boy by C. S. Lewis

YES!  Called it! :D

Shasta (or Cor, whichever you personally prefer) and Aravis make me sooo happy.  I was listening to Alex Jenning's recording of THaHB recently, and THEY ARE JUST THE BEST.  When he goes back to fight the lion…and then when he returns from the battle and they're acting really awkward around each other…and then how he describes their relationship:  "when they grew up, they got married, so as to go on doing it more conveniently."  

These two just make me HAPPY.  (You said that already, m'dear.)  :) :) :)

Yes, yes, I know it's not technically what happened.

Una Meredith and Walter Blythe
From:  Rilla of Ingleside by L. M. Montgomery

"Una shook hands quietly, looking at him with wistful, sorrowful, dark-blue eyes.  But then Una's eyes had always been wistful.  Walter bent his handsome black head in its khaki cap and kissed her with the warm, comradely kiss of a brother.  He had never kissed her before, and for a fleeting moment Una's face betrayed her, if anyone had noticed.  But nobody did…"  


Naomi, you understand.  Words fail.  

Tom Shaw and Polly Milton
From:  An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott

I've only read this once, something I need to remedy, but I remember really liking their relationship.  Warm fuzzies, and all that :D

Neela and The Guy (I can't remember his name, but the soldier guy she hides)
From:  Neela:  Victory Song by Chitra Bannerjee Divakaruni

This is one of those Girls of Many Lands books--you know, the subset of American Girl?  If any of you have read it, you probably know who I'm talking about.  Anyway, I always really wished that Neela and whats-his-name had ended up together.  I "wrote" fan fiction plots and acted them out with my Neela doll and one of my brother's GI Joes.  I was that committed;)  

Bardia and Orual
From:  Till We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis

That is, I WOULD ship these two, wholeheartedly, but for the fact that Bardia is married *scowls at his ill judgement*  I can choose to believe, however, that Bardia was not married when he first met Orual.  (It probably says he is in the book, though.)  

But honestly.  THE PAIN.  I know the whole impossibility of a relationship between the two of them contributes to the drama and emotionalism of the story, but I think Bardia could have/should have seen past Orual's "ugliness".  Wouldn't they be a good couple?  Wouldn't they?!  

Rebecca Randall and Adam Ladd
From:  Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin

I'm not a pedophile, I promise!  The idea is suggested in the latter portion of the book, after all.  Do they actually become a couple in any of the sequels?  Anybody know?  

I couldn't find a SINGLE PICTURE OF THEM FROM THE BOOKS.  This is making me very upset.

Andres Montoya/Papá and Tía Dolores
From:  the Josefina books by Valerie Tripp

I remember being SO happy when these two became engaged at the end of Changes for Josefina.  So much joy :D  Really, though, are they not an awesome couple, those of you who have read the books?  Totes adorbs :)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Till We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis {review} ~ C. S. Lewis Week

GUYS.  So my friend Abigail is hosting a C. S. Lewis party (mayhap you've noticed the button on my sidebar?) this week, November 22-29, the latter date happening to be the beloved author's birthday!

I got very excited when I heard about it, because, hello, Lewis.  I don't know how much I'll be able to participate in the party post-wise, but I at least wanted to contribute this--very short--review of (probably) my favorite Lewis book:  Till We Have Faces.

(Originally posted on Goodreads; I've made minor adjustments.)

This book is the one that solidified Lewis's place as my favorite author. (Mere Christianity started the process, though.) What blew me away was the utter complexity of his writing (and also his impressive flexibility and aptitude in being able to change his style for his various books). The first time I read it, I didn't know "where he was going with it," so to speak, and when I reached the end I was floored by the power in his pen.

Harnessing all the desperate, raging impotency in the human outcry against injustice to the self, Lewis makes me feel with Orual even her most irrational and base emotions, and then leads her to one of the most powerful and earthshaking climaxes--revelation from "the gods."

Lewis was skillful enough to make his Christian theme very subtle, but still very noticeable. He never once mentions the Christian God by name, but the ending chapters (which are sheer joy to the book-lover's soul) make it unequivocally clear that all along he has been painting a tale on a mirror, to show us where we, even dedicated Christians, have all felt a complaint against our God.

Aside from the stunning theological inflection of the book, the story itself is compelling. One feels for Orual in the midst of her unlovable-ness, wishes her happiness and peace, mourns with her every time they are taken away, and rejoices when at least she realizes:

"How can they meet us face to face till we have faces?"

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Christmas Music Tag (Part 1)

Recently, I've been privileged to get to know Cordy.  I'm so glad we met!  Her blog is delightful and a lovely addition to the blogosphere:)

And guess what?!  She's started this three-part tag all about Christmas music, and she tagged me!

Well.  You know me;)

If I understand this correctly, each installment of the tag will have a different theme:  Ice Skating, Santa Claus, and Jesus' Birth (are those the right ones?).  Anyway, today's is ice skating, but this basically just means newer Christmas songs--as in, non-traditional, non-hymn songs.  Since Cordy has allowed us to interpret it that way, that's how I'm gonna do it;)  (And I'm going to steal her idea of including pretty ice skating pictures.)

1.)  Link back to the person who tagged you
2.)  List up to five holiday songs that meet the current category (for today, 'ice skating')
3.)  Tag up to five other bloggers and let them know that you have done so

My answers (all two of them)

I technically first heard this song on Taylor Swift's Christmas album, but she says "My God" in that one instead of the "Well" that Brooke White uses, so I'm going with Brooke White for obvious reasons;)

I really like Francesca Battistelli's Christmas album--well, most of it, that is.  Some of it I'm not crazy about, but overall it's really fun and beautiful by turns.  She'll likely be featured a lot in my answers;)  

I hope those videos worked; I haven't actually tested them out myself :-P  

Thanks for the tag, Cordy!  Sorry that my answers weren't exactly bountiful;)  

I tag

Anyone and everyone!:) 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Why I Love…{Lady Marian}

I may step on a few toes in this post.  Just be prepared;)

SO.  If you've been following my blog for any length of time, you probably know that I am a rather fanatical lover of the BBC show Robin Hood.  I've reviewed all three seasons, I'm in the process of driving my mother crazy by pestering her about watching it with me, and few other stories get me quite as emotionally "stirred up" as RH.  (To which anyone who knows me really well will scoff.)

I love the storyline, the different twists on the original legends, and I love the characters.

Marian, especially, is one of my favorites out of them all.

I know Marian irritates some people, and I understand that (partially), but I really love this gal, so I wanted to share the reasons why with you all!:)

One of the chief complaints I think people have with Lucy Griffith's portrayal of Marian is that they think she's this hugely politically correct character, a deference to the feministic community, and that's probably supported by certain lines and elements, such as the "embroidery" that recurs a couple times in the first season.  Personally, I don't think of Marian as this mega-revolutionary feminist chick.  Is she independent?  Sure.  Does she take on roles that her society would not have given her?  Sure.  But I don't think she's ultra "I can do it all my own way, and who needs guys, they just mess everything up." She gets frustrated with the men in her life--though, really, can you blame her??--but she doesn't invalidate them.

Marian isn't afraid to be a woman.  She isn't afraid to have a woman's feelings or to nurture more feminine talents.  She even scolds Robin for not being more sympathetic, remember?

And, if I'm being totally real with you guys…I don't really mind if the BBC was trying to make her a P.C. feminist.  Frankly, most of the Marian portrayals that I have seen/heard about are damsels in distress.  And while I'm not totally ruling them out…seriously?  Is that the only place for the lovely companion of Robin Hood?;)

Marian doesn't conform to the role in which her society has placed her.  She is fiercely patriotic and feels the desperation of those around her.  She refuses to accept the status quo and fights to change it, to bring about a better England, a better life for those less fortunate.  

And yes, she's a "warrior" and she trains herself to be an apt fighter with the sword and with the bow (and with epic hairpin-daggers, as the case may be).  That doesn't mean that her character was only portrayed that way in order to carry a "feministic agenda".  

So, remember the scene pictured at the bottom righthand corner?  After she attempts to kill
Vaisey and he's going off about it to Guy, and then Guy looks at her like "What did you do"
and she looks back with that half-guilty expression--it amuses me a bit too much :D

The other main issue, at least that I've heard, is that Marian isn't always strictly truthful with Guy *ahem*.  

…Yeah.  This is legitimate.  It could be argued that Marian led Guy on, that she toyed with his feelings, and that she manipulated him like crazy.  Now, granted, she does lead him on sometimes.  She does deceive him.  And she does ultimately break his heart (and I gotta say, I'm not laying any sort of blame on her in that scene--because JUST NO--but she could have timed that "true confession" just a wee bit better).  

But consider the circumstances!  Marian is in an extremely delicate position throughout the entirety of the show.  She is very strongly opposed to Vaisey, and to Guy's participation in his wicked plots, but she knows she will not be any help to anyone in England if she openly defies the authority of the Sheriff.  She would forthrightly be executed, y'know, and then where would those she helped be?  (To say nothing of Robin.)  She is walking a tightrope the whole time, and it requires great presence of mind.  She is caught and punished more than once, too, if you'll remember--and would we have her blatantly reveal her involvement with Robin's movement?  Robin and the gang are working for England, and Marian is supporting that effort as much as she can within her sphere of influence.  She uses her good standing with Guy to others' advantage, certainly, but I don't think she ever acts selfishly. 

I believe that Marian does care for Guy…as a person.  I believe she is intensely interested in his moral evolution--she does her best to make him a better man.  She sees good where there is none…*sob*  And she DOES ultimately make Guy a better man.  (It takes a rather extreme "push"--*glares at Guy*--but it does happen in the end.)

I'd go so far as to say that Marian loves Guy--not as she loves Robin, never as she loves Robin, but she cares for him very deeply as a friend, and I believe her face when he decides to make the heroic choice in that one episode in S2 reveals just how important his growth is to her.  

So, there it is.  I love Marian.  She is a freedom fighter, and I look up to her, frankly.  I hope that if I were to be placed in her position, I would act half as wisely and well as she does.  

Friday, November 13, 2015

Penelope (2007)

Is this not like the coolest movie poster everrrrr?
"You see many stories where the woman says, 'We love you, guys, no matter what you look like,' so I wanted a story where it was giving the women the same."
        ~ Leslie Caveny, writer for Penelope

Christina Ricci stars as Penelope, a lonely heiress who has spent her entire life trying to break a strange family curse that left her with the nose of a pig.  When she meets a charming aristocrat, James McAvoy, who seems to see beyond her physical appearance, Penelope begins to learn that loving herself is more important than breaking the curse.

(I did not write the above summary; it came from the back of the DVD, and I excluded the parentheses where they tell you the other movies in which the actors have acted.  I didn't feel like coming up with an introduction, so I decided to plagiarize.  Usually works;D)

I don't know how my family first came by this movie, but I'm glad we did!  It's a lovely, sweet story (plus it's hilarious), and I really like it.

So, as the aforementioned summary mentions, Penelope is the story of a young woman who had the misfortune to be on the receiving end of a family curse, and as a result, she has had to live with the nose of a pig for all of her twenty-five years.

One of the makers of this movie remarked that they did not want the nose/snout to be overly grotesque…or really, grotesque at all.  (Unless you're Edward, and then you think that she belongs in a cage, but you won't get that joke unless you've watched the movie.)  It looks almost normal--it's completely feasible for people to grow accustomed to it.  It shouldn't interfere with her relationships, yet it does.  It would be delightful to say that everyone were completely accepting of the unique feature, but then there would be no story;)  (Got the reference?  Got it?!)

See?  Not bad at all.

I like Penelope.  Y'see, I have a birthmark on my cheek.  It doesn't sound like a big deal, and really, it's not, but it's a slightly largish dark, hairy thing on my face, and thus, as an adolescent girl, I've had my share of insecurities about it.  So it's cool to have a movie heroine with which to relate--a beautiful, totally lovable movie heroine--who also has a "peculiarity" about her face:)

Penelope has put up with all the planning and the matchmaking for seven years, but she's very understandably beginning to get fed up with it all.  "For seven years, I've been watching them run.  Do you have any idea how that makes me feel?  Do you?"  


…Enter James McAvoy in the form of Max Campion (or is he?!).

I just made you want to watch this movie, didn't I?

Johnny is this affable, rambunctious gambler who is, we get the feeling, dead broke but irrepressibly optimistic about life. Of course, he's chasing the wrong things, trying to fill the void within him, and she must bring him back to true life, dah-dee-dah, it's lovely but we all know it.

However, their relationship has certain…mishaps, shall we say;)  

(Okay.  I'm being seriously distracted by that gif.  THE GRIN.  The grin is a little adorable, you gotta admit.)

Penelope must marry a "blueblood" in order for the curse to be reversed, and Johnny's hiding a secret that impedes their burgeoning romance (several, in fact).  "It's all quite entertaining," and I encourage you to go watch it, but I shan't say anything more than that about the plot due to spoilers and such.

The supporting cast of characters are priceless. I loves them:D  Lemon, Edward, Jessica, Wanda, Annie, Jack…they're just all delightful.  The lines in this movie, though!

"I'm done dating crazy, you know?  Done.  Unless it's meant to be, right?"
~ ~ ~
"I only look stupid."
~ ~ ~ 
"Edward…"  "What?"  "Don't--lick Max."  "Soorry."
~ ~ ~
"Sweet, loving angel of all things merciful!"

I think Lemon and Wanda are my favorite secondaries, character-wise, but I really like Edward, too, I admit it.  He's just funny:  "Fangs?  There are no fangs, Edward."  "Huh.  Well, she must just suck them back into her skull…or something."  

A lot of neat actors and actresses play in it, by the way.  Like, Edward is played by Simon Woods…or Curlytop Bingley…or A New Young Doctor…whichever you prefer;)  (Oh, and Guppy from Bleak House makes an appearance too, if that's any incentive.)  

Does anybody else ship Annie and Jack-the-bartender?  I do.  

I really like Lemon.  Did I mention that?  Yeah, I think I did...

The cinematography makes me happy.  (Experienced connoisseur that I am.  Ha.)  It's edited so that certain scenes look like sultriness, newspaper-rooms and deserted bars (probably because newspaper-rooms and deserted bars are the settings for some parts) and others look like a Disney fairytale.  

It's so savory.  The music is delectable, the dialogue is great, the storyline is original, the characters are awesome, and it's family-friendly!  (It's got the Dove Family Approved and Heartland Truly Moving Picture awards stamped on the case and everything.)  

ALSO.  PENELOPE'S ROOM.  Can I have it?!  Pretty please?!

Go watch it!  As I said, it's family-friendly; I really can't think of any content.  Jessica's clothing dips a bit, I guess…there's kissing that might get a bit intense depending on your Views on such things…there's a small amount of swearing…I really think that's it.  The whole curse thing is a bit weird, but not overly so.  And you get past that pretty quick.  

It's also hilarious, like I mentioned earlier.  When she's walking in the park and the joggers come up behind her?  When Edward and Lemon are answering the advertisement phones?  The "You Are My Sunshine" part?!?!  It's just awesome:D  

It's a fantasy, it's a satire, it's a romance, it's a comedy, it's irresistibly eccentric.  It's quirky and zany and nonsensical and feel-good and emotional and lovely.  

(The second-to-last scene in Johnny's apartment makes me happy.  It's so GOOD :D)

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Bluebirds' Memory Nest

I don't know why it's taken me so long to get around to this!  My friend Erudessa put together a new blog meme known as the Memory Nest, and she kindly asked me if I'd be interested in getting it going! Needless to say, I was;)

Here's what's what (taken from her blog via Emma's post, because apparently I can't find Erudessa's original post):

Instead of having to answer questions or tell random facts about yourself {like a normal tag} you make up random nonsense that starts with:
'When I grow up and have my own house' And then list a random fact. It can be true example: 'When I grow up and have my own house, I am going to learn to play the Violin', or serious, 'When I grow up and have my own house, I want and Old English Garden with a sun dial' or complete nonsense like, 'When I grow up and have my own house, I am going to make a different chocolate dessert everyday.'
Instead of an 'awards tag' it's a Memory Nest. We are helping each other build a nest made out of Memories. And instead of 'tagging' a certain number of people that have to answer questions, you 'peck' ONE other person. One thing, is that this can last as long as our imaginations hold out because we can come up with the most ridiculous things and never say the same thing (I know that you eventually run out of random facts about yourself when answering tags) but as long as we have imaginations this can go on and on!!


1.)  Thank the person that 'pecked' you.  (Thank you, Erudessa!)
2.)  List five things that start with "when I grow up and have my own house..." (they can be true, or utterly ridiculous, whatever you feel like writing :-)).
3.)'Peck' one other person and let them know you have done so.

When I grow up and have my own house, I am seriously considering saving up enough money to buy one of these refrigerators.

When I grow up and have my own house, I want part of it to be covered with wisteria.

And this is totes how it'll look.

When I grow up and have my own house, I won't keep any meat in it.

When I grow up and have my own house, can I have a movie-sized library?

When I grow up and have my own house, I want it to be a sort of haven, so I hope I can achieve the perfect blend of rustic, floral, calming simplicity :)

I peck Naomi!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Inkling Explorations {November}

Here I am to share my selection for Heidi's November edition of Inkling Explorations!  The theme for this month:

~ a giving of thanks in prose or poetry ~

And my choice comes from The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien!  (Natalie, DON'T READ THIS!  If you don't already know what happens in RotK, that is, and don't wish to know.)

…Is Natalie/whoever else doesn't want LotR spoilers gone?

Okay, then.  We can proceed;)

This passage comes after the Ring has been cast into the fires of Orodruin, and Sam and Frodo awake to find themselves rescued and in the camp of Aragorn in…Ithilien, I think.  Sam is disoriented at first, but at being reunited with Gandalf, all the toils and sorrows of his heavy journey begin to fall away, and his out-gushing of relief and exhilaration reach a robust crescendo throughout the whole latter part of the chapter.  It's all joyous and exuberant and wonderful, but for the sake of brevity I must limit it to this.  

Full memory flooded back, and Sam cried aloud:  "It wasn't a dream!  Then where are we?"

And a voice spoke softly behind him:  "In the land of Ithilien, and in the keeping of the King; and he awaits you."  With that Gandalf stood before him, robed in white, his beard now gleaming like pure snow in the twinkling of the leafy sunlight. "Well, Master Samwise, how do you feel?" he said.

But Sam lay back, and stared with open mouth, and for a moment, between bewilderment and great joy, he could not answer. At last he gasped:  "Gandalf!  I thought you were dead!  But then I thought I was dead myself.  Is everything sad going to come untrue?  What's happened to the world?"

"A great Shadow has departed," said Gandalf, and then he laughed, and the sound was like music, or like water in a parched land; and as he listened the thought came to Sam that he had not heard laughter, the pure sound of merriment, for days upon days without count.  It fell upon his ears like the echo of all the joys he had ever known.  But he himself burst into tears.  Then, as a sweet rain will pass down a wind of spring and the sun will shine out the clearer, his tears ceased, and his laughter welled up, and laughing he sprang from his bed.

"How do I feel?" he cried.  "Well, I don't know how to say it.  I feel, I feel"--and he waved his arms in the air--"I feel like spring after winter, and sun on the leaves; and like trumpets and harps and all the songs I have ever heard!"

Friday, November 6, 2015

The Bookshelf Project 1.0

I did it!  I finished…the first shelf.  Approximately…oh, well, I guess it was only about a month after I posted the initial Bookshelf Project low-down.  It felt longer; I'm not a very fast reader;)  AND, I now rather want to join Lois's 12 Month Classics Challenge for 2016, and if it's going to take me an average of a month per shelf, I need to get down to business to defeat the Huns hasten (because a queen never rushes, she hastens).

Let's do this, shall we?  (I'm afraid this will be one of those parenthetical, gif-filled, link-overdosed posts that might be irritating to certain constitutions.  Abject apologies and all that.)

But anyway.  Thoughts on the first shelf!  (Just so you know, I add new novels to the Bookshelf Project as I get them, so several have been added since September.)

Those I finished:

A Lantern in Her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich.  This one was really good.  I know you've been hearing that a lot in the blogosphere recently, but there's a reason;)  5 out of 5 stars (see my Goodreads review here).  

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton.  AMAZING!  I plan on re-reading it shortly, and annotating this time.  5 out of 5 stars (see my blog review here).

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen.  This is one of those books that makes me smile placidly.  It doesn't really stir up a great deal of any specific emotion in me, but it was very enjoyable and very Austenite (well, duh).  Jane Austen certainly knew her satire, that's for sure!  But what I really liked was that this was a gentle parody.  It was very entertaining and very deftly and expertly written.  The thing is, uh…I didn't like it as much as the movie.  Which is fine, but I guess I went into it expecting to be as in love with book-Henry as I am with movie-Tilney, and that wasn't the case.  Certain bloggie buddies--ahem, you know who you are;)--pointed out to me that book-Tilney has a bit of an…um…superior manner of speaking with Catherine, and that did come out the more I read the novel.  It didn't bother me too much, but I was sliiiiiiightly disappointed.  I think that might be an INFJ/INTJ thing, though.  So overall, I just didn't like it as much of the movie.  It was an excellent book, but I'd just rather watch the movie;)  4 out of 5 stars.

Smith of Wooton Major/Farmer Giles of Ham by J. R. R. Tolkien.  Well, it was really cool to read a Tolkien not related to LotR (not, of course, that that's ever necessary ;)), and I did enjoy the stories!  They weren't stupendous or anything, but I don't think they were intended to be, so that's all right.  4 out of 5 stars (see my Goodreads review here).  

Pygmalion/My Fair Lady by George Bernard Shaw/Alan Jay Lerner.  I loved it:)  As you all know, 'Enry 'Iggins is one of my favorite musical theatre characters, and it was really cool to delve deeper into his character in Pygmalion.  And MFL was MFL, of course.  You can't beat that;)  I give them both 5 out of 5 stars.

Those I didn't finish:

You guys are going to be SO MAD at me XD

The Turn of the Road by Eugenia Brooks Frothingham.  I didn't really know anything about this book when I started it, and I didn't stop it due to inappropriate-ness or anything like that.  It's just that it was…well, odd.  It was almost like a very weird conglomeration of Jane Eyre and Gone with the Wind, and not in a good way.  The characters were pretty dislikable, and the plot was basically a soap opera, so eventually I, with the advice of me dear mummy, decided to pass;)

The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle.  *cringes*  I know, I know!  I'm a terrible person!  I don't even really have an explanation as to why I didn't finish it.  I just…didn't.  I will eventually, of course!  I'm not all bad!

Castaways of the Flying Dutchman by Brian Jacques.  I picked this book up because HELLO, REDWALL!, but it wasn't my kind of story.  There was nothing wrong with it, but I'm not really into time travel in stories (part of the reason I haven't started Doctor Who yet).  So…yep.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.  I'm sure it's a wonderful book, but I don't think now's the right time for me to read it, if that makes any sense (which it probably doesn't, unless you've somehow managed to get into my funny little noggin).  

The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.    Yeeeeeaaaaaah.  P'raps I'm not smart enough :P  No, really, I wasn't really minding what I read, but then it hit a disturbing part, no biggie, but I decided to postpone my reading.  One of the reasons is that I've realized that I need books that will relatively quickly "grab me" for my leisure reading, since I don't have a lot of time due to school and other commitments.  You know how it is.  

There you have it!  Hope it wasn't too boring of a post;D

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

In which I ramble about various television couples I ardently adore

Well, I'm baaaaaack!  Did you miss me? ;)  (I guess I kind of already announced that I was back in my answers to the Jane Austen tag, but we shan't quibble.)

I've been wanting to do a "TV ship appreciation" kind of post for a while now, so here I am!  There are so many couples from so many TV shows that I just love to pieces, so I'm going to unleash all my feels on you all now.  You have been warned;)  Some of these ships sailed and the two became a couple, some are still airing as series, so it's still up in the air, and some of these ships sunk, but I love them all:)

Oh, and I won't be mentioned all the couples I ship from all the TV shows I like--just the ones that have really been burning in my mind recently (that's an odd way of putting that…).  Hence the lack of certain couples, such as Sookie/Jackson, Rumple/Belle, Chummy/Peter, Guy/Meg, Alfie/Minnie, etc:)

Alec Hardison and Parker (does Parker have a last name??)
From:  Leverage

These twoooo <3  Initially, I actually shipped Parker with Elliot.  I thought they would make a better match, and I'm still very sympathetic to the Elliot/Parker community;D  BUT.  I changed my mind.

Parker and Hardison are just…*sigh*  They're just sweet.  The fact that it takes awhile for their relationship to change from friendship to beaux is nice.  I love how Hardison understands Parker's eccentricities and how deep down she's really very vulnerable; how he protects her; how he does try to "ground" her sometimes.  And conversely, Parker also opens his mind to the more zany side of life and gets him out of his comfort zone, utilizing such tools as literally pushing him off buildings;)

Emma Swan and Killian Jones
From:  Once Upon a Time

Absolutely, without a doubt the BEST SHIP FROM ONCE.  (An argument can be made for Rumbelle, though.)  THEY'RE JUST AWESOME.  I love Neal to death, too, but I think his and Emma's relationship is/should be more of very close friends than romantic interests.  *SPOILERS*  That doesn't mean, though, that I didn't feel it keenly when Neal died and said, "Go find Tallahassee…even if it's not with me."  Did anybody else cry?!?! *END OF SPOILERS*  The last number of episodes in the fourth season were especially feelsy for Captain Swan fans--"Don't you know, Swan?  It's you."--"The worst thing was that I never told him I loved him, not once." 

…Okay, I'm going to stop bombarding you with emotional quotes.  

I like them, suffice it to say;)

Dr. Whale and Ruby
From:  Once Upon a Time

Oh, I'm the only one who ships these two?  Tell that to the makers of all the edits on Google!  HA!  

No, seriously, the scene in that picture I used is what made me ship them, and I STILL THINK THEY SHOULD BE A THING.  But neither Ruby nor Whale have been in the spotlight in Storybrooke of late, so I've well nigh given up hope.  Ah, well.  They will always be one of the best ships that never sailed, if events so turn out.

See, they're so perfectly matched.  Both know what it's like to feel like a monster, both have guilt and regret over things in their pasts, and both eventually come to stability and a sort of peace with it.  How can you watch that episode and not think they should be a couple?!

Sherlock Holmes and Molly Hooper
From:  Sherlock

Sherlolly (can we talk about how adorable that name is?!) is the ship that has been on my mind the most, recently (except perhaps for Rarian), and consequently this will probably be the one I talk about the most in this post, so prepare thyself.  

I'm just now (as in, since this past summer) getting into the Sherlock fandom--previously, I didn't watch the episodes because they scared me too much.  Now, they still freak the heck out of me, but I watch them anyway;)  I've watched all of the episodes except for "The Hound of the Baskervilles" as of now, I believe, and I don't have any plans to watch HotB, so for all intents and purposes, I'm caught up!  (Mayhap I'll write a review of them one of these days…hmm…that's a tantalizing idea...)  

The utter perfection of these two as a couple just makes me feel like squealing whenever I think about them for too long.  You see, Sherlock, as we all know, is really an abominable human being who also happens to be irritatingly irresistible.  You can't just not love Sherlock, deep down, especially because for all his awful characteristics, in the end, he will do anything for those he loves.  And Molly, while she's obviously twitter-pated with him in the first season, knows how to handle him.  She's been hurt and repulsed by him countless times, yet she loves him quietly and selflessly in spite of him and in spite of herself.  And, as a friend and I were just discussing recently, though Molly is in all respects an "ordinary" person (aren't ordinary people adorable?;D)--unless they come up with another "big shocker reveal" and it turns out that she's actually a criminal mastermind, like the creators of this show apparently like to have happen--she is not a doormat.  She tells Sherlock off when he needs it, such as when she comes in to the Christmas party and he is his usual jerky self, she doesn't just stand there and take it.  She speaks up for herself and tells him some hard truths.  She does that again in the last episode of the third season ("How dare you throw away the beautiful gifts you were born with!").  I JUST LOVE HER.

You died.  You know you did.

THIS SCEEEEEEEENE ASLDMGPHAKSLASDKGJASDGFL!  Her little jump when he startles her, and then the dialogue, and his eeeeyyyyyyeeeees and he loves her so much and THEY ARE A THING, OKAY?!  I don't care if they haven't been "canonized" or whatever the expression is.  They must and will become a couple.  Did you watch that scene after his Big Return when they're talking about her engagement (which was so not even legit, in my opinion) and his line, "The one person he thought didn't matter at all to me was the one person who mattered the most." and how he kissed her cheek?  Did you?  THIS SHIP MUST SAIL.  

*breathes deeply*  Okay.  I am calm.  

Sybil Crawley and Tom Branson
From:  Downton Abbey

'Nuff said.

[Before you get too excited, Emma and Naomi, I have to tell you that I don't watch Downton anymore (we became thoroughly fed up with how many deaths there were).  BUT, when I did, Sybil and Branson were without a doubt THE best evah, and you both understand why I must now writhe on the floor in agony over the PAIN.  (Not literally, of course.  That'd just be taking it a bit too far.)]

Dr. Turner and Sister Bernadette/Sheila
From:  Call the Midwife

Phew, BBC knows how to take it out of you emotionally.  (Can I get an amen?!)  

I liked these two, especially because the show didn't take their relationship inappropriate places, if you know what I mean.  I was convinced that "something" would happen between them while she was still a nun, and that would have been just plain wrong.  BUT, the makers handled this plot element deftly, and I was satisfied and appreciative of how everything worked out.  

They're just too darling, no?:)

Robin Hood and Lady Marian
From:  Robin Hood

SQUUUUUUEEEEEEEE!  I know these possibly shouldn't even count as a ship, since we all know that Robin will/should end up with Marian due to the fact that we all know how the Robin Hood stories go, but I'm including them anyway because I just love them to bitsy bits.  

I like the expansion and interpretation of their relationship in this show, and though it will rip your heart out mercilessly and leave you reduced to desolate ashes make you sad at certain parts *ahem*, in the end, it's gorgeous, and JUST WOW.  

I don't even know what else to say about these two.  Words fail, and whatnot.  Oh, but gals, I tell you, there's nothing better for a long car ride than when you're listening to your iPod, and a song that has nothing whatever to do with Rarian comes on, but it's just so amazingly applicable, and you start visualizing a music video in your mind.  T'is soooo stimulating and enjoyable.  The two that happened for me this past trip were "Already Gone" by Kelly Clarkson (it would make for a really sad but really good music video) and "I Won't Say (I'm in Love)" from the animated movie Hercules.  IWS would make one of THE MOST ADORABLE videos everrrrr, and it would be a consolation after AG;)

This collage has too much Kate and too little Allan.  But I still like it.

Kate and Allan-a-Dale
From:  Robin Hood

*glares furiously at Kate*  I don't think I can forgive her.  SHE DIDN'T EVEN SHOW A HINT OF EMOTION WHEN…oh, what's the use.  What's done is done, and what never happened can't happen now.  

ButseriouslywhattheheckImeanthatsceneinRufus'housealonewasenoughto…sigh.  Kate, you're an idiot.  Robin, you're an idiot for encouraging her, and John?!  What the heck were you doing?!  You call that advice?!  

I think I've ranted about this enough.  I should stop.  

Luke Danes and Lorelai Gilmore
From:  Gilmore Girls

They're just the cutest love-hate relationship you're ever going to find.  They drive each other nuts and yet they couldn't live without each other.  Hearts <3

Cutest couple, but apparently edit-makers don't agree.
Lane Kim and Zack
From:  Gilmore Girls

These two are probably my favorite of the Gilmore Girls couples, even though I haven't watched the episodes when they officially become a thing.  Oh, but I did watch their wedding episode, and OHHH THE CUTENESS!  And I've selected scenes on YouTube:)

"I got it at the pawn shop.  It belonged to an elk or a deer or something."  :D :D :D

What are some of your favorite television couples?  
What say you all to a similar post, but concerning book couples?