Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A Word for Wednesday

"There's magic in the words 'silk' and 'lace,' isn't there?" said Aunt Jamesina. "The very sound of them makes me feel like skipping off to a dance. And yellow silk. It makes one think of a dress of sunshine. I always wanted a yellow silk dress, but first my mother and then my husband wouldn't hear of it. The very first thing I'm going to do when I get to heaven is to get a yellow silk dress."

~Aunt Jamesina in Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery~

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

A Word for Wednesday

"Anne walked home very slowly in the moonlight. The evening had changed something for her. 
Life held a different meaning, a deeper purpose. 
On the surface it would go on just the same; but the deeps had beens stirred. 
It must not be with her as with poor butterfly Ruby. 
When she came to the end of one life 
it must not be to face the next with the shrinking terror of something wholly different—something for which accustomed thought and ideal and aspiration had unfitted her. 
The little things of life, sweet and excellent in their place, must not be the things lived for; 
the highest must be sought and followed; 
the life of heaven must be begun here on earth."

~from Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery~

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

A Word for Wednesday

"Everything is changing—or going to change," said Diana sadly. "I have a feeling that things will never be the same again, Anne."

"We have come to a parting of the ways, I suppose," said Anne thoughtfully. "We had to come to it. Do you think, Diana, that being grown-up is really as nice as we used to imagine it would be when we were children?"

"I don't know—there are some nice things about it," answered Diana, again caressing her ring with that little smile which always had the effect of making Anne feel suddenly left out and inexperienced. "But there are so many puzzling things, too. Sometimes I feel as if being grown-up just frightened me—and then I would give anything to be a little girl again."

"I suppose we'll get used to being grown-up in time," said Anne cheerfully. "There won't be so many unexpected things about it by and by—though, after all, I fancy it's the unexpected things that give spice to life."

~Anne Shirley & Diana Barry in Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery~

Monday, April 2, 2018

Let's Bust a Recap : The Wizard of Oz

Oh sad, sad day. The slippers were not really ruby red, y'all. They were silver. I feel so disillusioned. Did everyone know? Have you all been shielding me from this disappointment my whole life? Oh Hollywood, you fickle friend. Why must you take such wild liberties with classic children's literature? My husband tried to give me some lame excuse about silver shoes not having the same effect on the bigscreen with the groundbreaking technicolor advances of the time, but I'm just not okay with this, you guys. The shoes were SILVER.

My whole childhood has been a lie. Reagan, did you know??

Anyway, let me try to reel in the melodrama long enough to recap The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. This beloved children's novel was written by L. Frank Baum and illustrated by W. W. Denslow, and it was first published in 1900. (Also, completely random fun fact: I had to double-check myself with century timelines because I use century tags in my recaps, in case you hadn't noticed. The new century doesn't begin until the first year of the new millennium. i.e. The 19th Century was from 1801-1900; the 20th Century was from 1901-2000, et cetera et cetera. Get it? Too off the point? Right: back to the recap.) My particular edition of this classic was published in 2013 by Barnes & Noble and includes the charming original illustrations by W. W. Denslow. Except for the misleading RUBY RED SLIPPERS on the cover of the book (no, I will never get over it), it is one of the sweetest books you ever did see. (This was one of the pretty Barnes & Noble classics my hubby gave me on my birthday in 2016.) The novel is one of the best-known in all of American literature, and the Library of Congress has even declared it "America's greatest and best-loved homegrown fairytale". After (finally) having read it for myself, I would wholeheartedly agree. I loved it.

Baum's intention with The Wizard of Oz was to write an updated fairytale avoiding the traditional stereotypical characters you'd find in the fairytales of Grimm or Anderson (like genies and dwarfs) and removing the association of violence and moral teachings. He also intentionally omitted any emphasis on romance believing that romantic love was uninteresting and largely incomprehensible for children. His introduction to The Wizard of Oz (which, to be honest, was a little off-putting for me) is often cited as the beginnings of the sanitization of children's stories. However, as I read I came to realize that while he did do away with a harsh moral lesson, he did so without actually doing away with all morals.

I'm sorry if you've somehow never seen the 1939 film adaptation of The Wizard of Oz starring Judy Garland as Dorothy, but I cannot possibly write this recap without referencing it. My brother wore it out when we were little (to the point that the rest of us got pretty sick of Oz for a while), and I was pretty much holding the book up in comparison to it throughout my reading of it. I have to say, I will always love that movie and it mostly did a good job of maintaining the integrity of the book....

....except for those ruby red slippers, y'all. *sob* (Are you so over this? Too bad. We will never be done with it.)

Obviously, as is the case with nearly every book/movie adaptation comparison, the book is more fully developed and provides more background than the movie can. Elements of the book that I dearly loved which the movie excluded were the Good Witch of the North's kiss of protection, the field mice who helped save the Cowardly Lion from the poppies, the REAL story of the flying monkeys, and the dainty china country.

I also loved how the Power of Good was always stronger than the Power of Evil and that loyalty was portrayed as a natural and unquestionable byproduct of friendship. It never even occurred to the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and Cowardly Lion not to stick with Dorothy until she could find her way back to Kansas, even after their deepest desires were granted them and they each became rulers of their own kingdoms. They stayed with their little friend until her wish was fulfilled as well, even risking danger and their kingdoms to do it.

And my favorite character of all? Toto. Hands down. I will always fall in love with a faithful little dog, and Toto won my heart from the very beginning. He was the linchpin, y'all.

To sum it up, I absolutely loved The Wizard of Oz and would unreservedly recommend it. It was the charming book for children I wanted A Wrinkle in Time to be at the beginning of the year. If you've never read it, you're missing out.

Have you ever read The Wizard of Oz or any of L. Frank Baum's other books on Oz? (He ended up writing 13 sequels!) Do you love the movie? Are any of you as upset as I am about those dang slippers?! 

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

A Word for Wednesday

"As the woman in the Bible who had suffered from hemorrhages during twelve long years, 
I too, longed to touch this Jesus, all the while trembling, 
not from apprehension that He would reject me, 
but that I would find Him as I feared He was. 
As Zacchaeus, I wanted to climb a tree so that I might see Him better, 
but at the same time, I feared He would turn His illuminated face towards me, 
and that He would call me by name. 
Such was the delicious fear that the Person of Jesus awakened in me." 

~Dr. Jamel Attar~

Monday, March 26, 2018

Let's Bust a Recap : The Masterpiece

Well. I've read yet another book that was not on my 2018 book list. But you know what: I finished a presidential biography this month and I'm plugging away pretty steadily at Anna Karenina and I have completed 6 whole books from my original list so who cares? Of course I'm going to ditch my list when one of my favorite authors publishes a brand new book. I'm just proud of myself for even holding out long enough to finish J.Mad while this gem was sitting on my shelf waiting for me. So there. 

That being said, let's talk about Francine Rivers' newest book The Masterpiece which was just published last month. In this novel, we meet Roman Velasco and Grace Moore: two people who couldn't be more different from one another....or so we think. Velasco is a troubled artist, and Grace is a young, single mom trying to get her life together enough to raise her son. Throughout the book, we get glimpses into their childhoods and learn about the events that brought them to where they are today. This story deals with abandonment, loss, anger, redemption, and the power that God has over the darkness. 

I loved it.

Francine Rivers was inducted into the Romance Writers' of America Hall of Fame in 1997 so let's not kid ourselves: I knew where the story was heading. But that didn't make it any less of a pleasure to read. I couldn't put this novel down until I was done with it, and I finished the almost 500 page story in less than 3 days (I mean, I still had to cook dinner and do my job, you guys, I'm not a wizard). I especially appreciated how Rivers dealt with a very difficult and unpopular subject: Hell. She did not shy away from the very real existence of a place of eternal damnation and even included a note in the book making a point to say that although God's love is real, so is His holiness and righteousness. Believing in or talking about Hell is certainly not in vogue in our believe-your-own-truth and everybody-goes-to-Heaven society. But God is just and if you reject Him, you will spend eternity separated from Him. 

I would definitely recommend this book, as I would all Francine Rivers' books. I've yet to read one that didn't suck me in. (Though if we're being completely honest, the Sons of Encouragement series rank last and The Atonement Child and the Mark of the Lion series are my favs.) While these books are certainly Christian and I personally don't think Francine Rivers crosses any lines in her writing, her books deal with some tough subjects and are most definitely written for adults so if you happen to be younger than 18 and reading this post, maybe check with your mom before reading one. I know I started reading Rivers' novels in high school, but I suppose not every parent would want their kids reading this until they reached a certain age. 

Two thumbs up, all the stars, and whatever other positive rating indications I can give to The Masterpiece. Can't wait for your next book, Ms. Francine!

Have you read anything by Francine Rivers? What is your favorite book by her? Least favorite? The only title I haven't read by her is her non-fiction devotional entitled Earth Psalms. Have any of you read that one? What did you think of it?

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

A Word for Wednesday

"But, Anne, a broken heart in real life isn't half as dreadful as it is in books. It's a good deal like a bad tooth...though you won't think that a very romantic simile. It takes spells of aching and gives you a sleepless night now and then, but between times it lets you enjoy life and dreams and echoes and peanut candy as if there were nothing the matter with it."

~Miss Lavendar Lewis in Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery~