A Couple Blog Tags

My blogging friend Olivia(whose blog, by the way, is really good!) has nominated me for a few tags, so thank you, Olivia!! First, the–

Rules
1.  Thank and link to the blogger/s who nominated you
2.  Answer the 11 questions
3.  Nominate/tag 11 bloggers and ask them 11 questions
Okay, here are the 11 questions and their 11 answers:

Do you have a hero(someone who has inspired you)?

The reformers(Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Knox, etc.) and protestants who risked their lives to glorify God have always stood out to me.

Books touch us all: which book or story has touched you in particular?

Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Narnia(surprise, surprise!). But one I don’t talk about as much which has particularly touched me– The Hiding Place. Everyone should read this book.

What was one of the most ridiculous things you have done in front of a stranger?

Who knows. . . 🙂

Do you have any pastimes or hobbies?

Well besides the obvious reading and writing, I enjoy cross-stitching, music(the playing and listening of) and blogging.

What is a book or movie that you fangirl over excessively?

Pride and Prejudice. I talk about that book too often. : D

What are some of your life’s goals/dreams (say as little or as much as you like…)?

I’d looooove to publish a book someday– that and read Les Miserables which counts as a life goal, because it will probably take a long time. (:

What is something you wished you were better at?

Self-motivation. And science. Science is not my favorite subject.

What character from a book or movie do you love?

Besides the characters I listed in my top ten list, I really like Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables.

What character from a book or movie do you hate?

I honestly can’t help feeling bad for him in some parts, but Uncle Andrew from The Magician’s Nephew is pretty nasty.

Have you ever cried when reading a book?

I realize this may make me look like a cold, heartless bookworm, but the honest answer is no.

Where would your dream vacation be?

Like Olivia wrote, Prince Edward Island or maybe I’d go for New Zealand.

My questions(which I’m trying to keep all book-oriented)–

1. Which was one of the first chapter books you remember reading?

2. Is there a book you’ve read which everybody else seemed to like but you didn’t?

3. Which is the longest book you’ve read?

4. Do you have a favorite quote from a book?

5. Would you rather read a book or write a blog post?

6. How many books(if any?) have you read that are worse than the movie?

7. Which book character do you relate to the best?

8. Do you watch movies based on books you haven’t read yet or do you not really care?

9. Which is the most boring book you’ve ever read(not including textbooks)?

10. Can you read and eat at the same time?

11. Which is your favorite place to read?


And moving on to the 2nd blog tag. . .

Do you have a favorite mug or teacup?
Unless thermos bottles count as mugs, not really.
Are you an adventurous eater?  (Do you try “strange” foods?)
Yes! Sushi is one of my favorites.
What fandoms are you into?
Lots– but I’ll try to keep it to the ones that are actual fandoms and don’t just consist of me.
Lord of the Rings. Chronicles of Narnia. Captain America. Les Mis(though I haven’t seen the movie or read the book, I love some of the songs). Beauty and the Beast.
What famous author/book do you not really care for?
Most of the popular books nowadays I don’t really care for, but particularly Divergent which you can see from one of my earlier posts.  (:
Which obscure author/book are you crazy about?
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. It’s kind of meant for younger kids, but I loved it.
What’s the oldest movie you’ve ever watched?
I honestly don’t know.
What did you have for breakfast today?
Bagels with butter and honey. Yummm.
When did you first see your favorite movie?
I think my favorite movie is Return of the King, which I believe I saw with my Dad a few months after turning 12.
Do you prefer fantasy or sci-fi?
Fantasy!! Though there’s a lot of fantasy out there I don’t care for.
What did you expect your blog to be like when you started it?
I’m not sure exactly. . . I’ve deleted most of my older posts, but originally it was more for posting updates on my life and family.
Has it changed?  If so, how?
Now I use it more for book/movies/writing stuff, which I honestly find more interesting, anyway.

And, as far as nominating goes, I’m nominating anyone who wants to do it. 😀 Thanks for reading!


“Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.”
― Lemony Snicket, from Horseradish

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“Bianca” a Comic Tragedy

I joined a Louisa May Alcott challenge at the beginning of June, and, as my siblings can probably testify, have had my nose stuck in one of her books for much time during the following weeks. I finished my list Thursday with a short play written by Meg and Jo March(the oldest Mach sisters from her book, Little Women).

Louisa May Alcott Reading Challenge ... JUNE 2015

Louisa May Alcott being a young playwright herself(just for some small plays she performed with her family), I’ve developed a theory that these were perhaps penned by her before the concept of Little Women, had been birthed. But that’s just a hypothesis. : ) This book landed in my list for its brevity and my interest in the plays Jo/Meg wrote. I found it in a collection called Comic Tragedies: Written by Jo and Meg and Acted by the Little Women.

It’s difficult to review this story since

1). It’s written by fictional beginner authors and not intended for public performances.

2). It’s quite short.

The story line runs something like this– Bianca feels conflicted by her two lovers and greatly prefers one over the other. Through a series of mistakes, her true lover dies and leaves the others to perish of(more or less) broken hearts.

You could call it weird and overly-sentimental, but, to me, it read like something that had flowed right out of Jo’s pen.

But, all the same, I really did enjoy it and would recommend it to anyone who enjoyed Little Women and would like to take a closer look at the March sisters’ lives. 🙂

Rating: 4 stars

My Recent Life in Gerunds

Some things I’ve been doing lately:

Reading

I usually read three or books at once, an audio book, a book of choice, and a book for school.

~The Story of the World by Susan Wise Bauer

~On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness by Andrew Peterson

~ Billy Budd by Herman Melville and The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

And poetry by A. A. Milne. Love his poetry. 🙂
Watching

~BBC– I began a film version of Hard Times, but it wasn’t very good, so I’m going to try Pride and Prejudice.

Listening(to)

~ Les Miserables 

Pride and Prejudice The music for the newer movie is SO good! I’m quite proud of nearly mastering Mrs. Darcy on the piano.

Pirates of the Carribbean Curry Bean  My little sister is in a local kids’ production of a spin off on Pirates of the Carribbean and the music is still similar to the movies. Imagine my immense delight. : D

Writing 

~ Blog Posts  As you can see.

~ A 30-Day Middle Earth Challenge I found at another blog. Quite fun.

Well, that just about sums it up! What’s been going on in your life?

The Problem with “Divergent” by Veronica Roth

Note: While I will not be writing on Divergent‘s content issues, they do exist, and it is more for these that I wouldn’t recommend the book than the issues I bring up here.

Dystopia- “an imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one.” — New Oxford American Dictionary

And, I also found “totalitarian”, since it was a new word to me:

“of or relating to a system of government that is centralized and dictatorial and requires complete subservience to the state.”

1984. Fahrenheit 451. The Giver. Hunger GamesThe Maze Runner. Divergent. These titles all share a common genre– dystopia. Dystopia is intended to make a political statement, point out where are government is heading, and hint what we should do about it. At least, originally. This is where Divergent fails as a dystopia. Veronica Roth uses the dystopian community Tris and her friends find themselves in as a convenient setting, not to teach anything in and of itself. I did appreciate the reoccurring self-sacrificial themes. The author explored certain topics and made a point in her writing, but left the focus pointing at fears and Tris’s love for Four more than anything else.

The Giver, written by Lois Lowry in 1993, and my favorite dystopia novel, sits on the spectrum’s opposite end. Lois Lowry delves deeply into memories and emotions, while perhaps forgetting to develop elements we’d find in her other novels. All the same, after finishing both, Lois Lowry has taught me far more than Divergent ever will. 


What are your thoughts? Have you read The Giver and did you like it?

A New Blog Post Plan~Why I Write #1

Hello, everyone! How is your Wednesday going? My brilliant(;D) new idea is to post a reason for “Why I Write” or “Why I Read” weekly every Wednesday. This week’s post will be on writing, next week’s on reading, the next’s on writing, and so on and so forth.

And, of course, I’m referring to all types of writing, whether jotting down random sentences for an ill-planned novel, journaling, blogging, whatever.


#1- Writing Helps me to Read More Closely

Recently, I’ve been bothered by how often “and” shows up in my sentences for the purpose of avoiding extra sentences(to quote Strunk and White, “Omit needless words!”).

My solution? I paid closer attention to the word structure in Llyod Alexander’s The Castle of Llyr and here’s an example of my findings–

“Setting the golden sphere on the ground, Taran strode to the rock face and sought to raise hiself by grasping the slight ripples of stone, but the wall was too sheer, his hands slipped, clutched vainly for support, and fell back before he had been able to climb his own height. Gurgi, too, attempted to scale the smooth surface. For all his agility, he did little better than Taran and sunk down, puffing and moaning.” –Llyod Alexander, emphasis added

That is a detail I never would have noticed otherwise. Nearly anyone who’s tried fictional writing has heard the tip, “To write well, you must read.” (read well = write well) But, isn’t it also true- “Write well to read well”?

Have you ever experienced this? I’d love to hear from you– do you have any suggestions for future Wednesday posts?


“I like good strong words that mean something…” –Louisa May Alcott

A Long-Expected Movie: A Review of the Hobbit Trilogy

So, I finally got around to re-watching it. Here’s what was running through my head, and please excuse the length. 🙂

Elements of the Film Which Didn’t Bother Me

Legolas’ presence

Bringing Legolas into the film held potential. We know from LotR, Legolas is the Elf King’s son, so it stands to reason he’d be there and witness or even potentially assist in the dwarves’ capture. In the Hobbit, The Elf King is almost presented as a villain, and his son(in LotR) a hero. This clash raises questions: Would Legolas approve of the dwarves’ captivity? Would he feel any guilt later toward Gloin’s son-Gimli? All that to say, I wasn’t opposed to Legolas in the Desolation of Smaug at. It was with Tauriel they went wrong. Without Tauriel, Legolas never would’ve ventured to Laketown and without Kili, she probably wouldn’t have, either(a detail I’ll discuss later). Without Tauriel, he would’ve stayed happily in Mirkwood where he belonged.

Trilogy

Some people held second thoughts on Peter Jackson’s motives for stretching the movie into thirds rather than keeping it whole. Maybe he did do it for the money, but does that really matter? It just means more room to include all the good parts from the book, right? Except, not. Instead, the extra film time was filled with completely made up scenes.

Lord of the Rings Characters who weren’t in The Hobbit(book), but still showed up in the movie

Galadriel. Saruman. Lobelia(if only briefly). Frodo. Bilbo(the older). Legolas. I didn’t mind so long as they didn’t awkwardly disrupt the main plot movie, or change the Middle Earth history Tolkien created. Unfortunately, some did both.

Problems I Did Have with the Series

Tauriel and Kili’s Relationship– We don’t need romance to enjoy a story(which is why there wasn’t any in the book!), particularly between a dwarf and an elf. Quite unrealistic, actually.

The excessive orc appearances– Just because the orcs proved popular villains from Lord of the Rings doesn’t mean they have to show up in each Hobbit movie.

Disturbing Middle Earth’s History

The pale orc was a great bad guy and all that, but technically he died long before the dwarves’ quest.

The absence of funny scenes…and addition of others

The parts Peter Jackson cut out where…

  • Gandalf adds dwarves in twos as he speaks to Beorn.
  • Gandalf keeps the trolls up till dawn by imitating their voices/arguing with them.
  • Bombour falls unconscious for much of the Mirkwood journey, and can only think of food once he wakes.

 And I could go on… Now, it’s not that the funny bits they added weren’t funny, it’s just that the time could’ve been used to include the pieces from the book which I thought funnier anyways.

Alfred

Was he really necessary to the movie??

My Favorite Elements

  • Richard Armitage’s acting as Thorin who falls progressively deeper into his gold-obsession.
  • The music. Howard Shore is incredible. The Desolation of Smaug was a bit of a disappointment(in more ways than one!), but the soundtrack for The Battle of Five Armies and A Long Expected was awesome.
  • The scenery. *adds visiting New Zealand to bucket list* 😀
  • Martin Freeman as Bilbo. He’s absolutely perfect for that role.
  • “The Last Goodbye” it’s so, so, sad, beautiful, and a good way to include Billy Boyd without giving him an acting role and thus again changing the book. 🙂 I always liked his song from RotK.

  • The bittersweetness. Even the winter colors seem bittersweet somehow…

Well, I better cut off this review now before it grows any longer. Thanks for bearing with my ramblings! I’m still taking in the fact that this is goodbye to Peter Jackson’s Tolkien movies. No more countdowns, midnight showings(;D) or trailers. But there’s always re-watchings, movie marathons, and extended editions, right?

Rating: 3 stars

What are your thoughts?? How would you rate the trilogy?


“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”-Dr. Seuss        An oddly appropriate quote. (:

Best 5 Fictional Villains

Villains are examples of where people and characters diverge. In real life, we like the bad guys and shudder over the bad guys. But, in literature, we love the villains for being so bad. We appreciate them for their nastiness. So, here they are, and in no particular order.

Count Olaf  

from A Series of Unfortunate Events

I’m not sure how he slid into the list, but I like him, somehow, he’s sneaky like that. (: Only one eyebrow sits above his eyes, he’s the master of disguises, former VFD member(if I remember correctly), and quite the bad guy. Together with Esme, they could do nearly anything. Well, except outsmart the Baudelaires, that is.

Saruman

from Lord of the Rings

Tolkien develops the White Wizard better than Sauron, though in the end Sauron is Middle Earth’s main, strongest villain. I’ve always wondered why that is. Anyone know?

“His speech was smooth as butter,
yet war was in his heart;
his words were softer than oil,
yet they were drawn swords.”  -Psalm 55:21, ESV

Doesn’t this verse fit Saruman perfectly?  

 Jadis(a.k.a. the White Witch) 

from The Chronicles of Narnia

My favorite appearance of hers is in The Magician’s Nephew. 

Loki

from various Marvel movies

His sarcasm, origin(Norse mythology; also where we got the names of our days from), and costumes are quite awesome. I haven’t seen him in the Thor movies, but I’ve heard good things. 🙂

The Wicked Stepmother

from 2015 Cinderella 

As a huge member of the LotR fandom, watching Cate Blanchett(Galadriel!) play a unlikable, thoroughly evil character hurt. But I got over that. I loved watching the newer movie dive deeper into a character after the original story and cartoon had barley scratched its surface.


“Every villain is a hero in his own mind.”- Tom Hiddleston, actor for Loki

So, those are mine, who are your favorites?