Monday, January 30, 2017

Let's Bust a Recap : Pride & Prejudice

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." 

Thus begins the most well-known and beloved of Jane Austen's work. Now, I know that Pride and Prejudice is not on my official book list this year, but I also seem to remember vowing that Jane Austen would show up on every book list for years to come. So even though I didn't pencil it in on the book list, I had every intention of reading it at some point this year. I guess that point came sooner rather than later. After making it through the first 200 pages or so of John Adams, I decided to take a quick break for the rather silly Bennet family, the proud Mr. Darcy, and the oh-so-lovable Bingley. 

Pride and Prejudice was the second of four novels published anonymously during Jane Austen's lifetime. It was well received and garnered favorable reviews very soon after being released as a three-volume set in 1813. 

If you're not familiar with the novel, well, that's a shame. It centers around Elizabeth Bennet who, throughout the novel, learns the error of making hasty judgments about a person and eventually comes to appreciate the difference between the superficial versus the essential qualities people possess. 

While Elizabeth Bennet herself is not someone I would want to model my life after, her always-seeking-the-best-in-people sister Jane is one of my favorite Austen ladies. And while Mr. Darcy is not a man I'd necessarily want to be married to, I'll always be a little in love with the charming and affable Mr. Bingley. Even though Jane and Bingley's love story is somewhat secondary to Elizabeth and Darcy's in Pride and Prejudice, they are probably my favorite of Austen's couples and, by far, the most perfect for and deserving of each other. 

I know I've hinted on this blog before that Pride and Prejudice may be a bit of a cliché place to start in the world of Jane Austen, but to be perfectly fair and honest, it's her most popular and beloved novel for good reason. It's absolutely wonderful, and I've only ever talked to one person (my brother Oakie) who found fault with it. I've also suggested on this blog that Sense and Sensibility is a good introduction to Austen--and I stand by that suggestion--however, Pride and Prejudice is certainly more manageable for the person who may be a bit intimidated by 200 year old British literature. 

Any way you spin it, I highly recommend reading Pride and Prejudice at least once in your life, and if you're only ever going to read one novel by Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice is the way to go. It pains me to even say that, but I do realize that not everyone out there is going to read all her work just because I said so. I guess she doesn't have to be everyone's favorite. 

Have you read Pride and Prejudice or anything else by Jane Austen? Who is your favorite author of all time? Do you have a favorite Austen novel? Because I absolutely can't decide. Every single one seems to be my favorite while I'm reading it although Sense and Sensibility and Northanger Abbey do tend to stand out from the rest in my mind. Speaking of which, I've noticed a lot of hate towards Northanger Abbey in recent internet discussions I've been a part of, and I just don't get it! What is wrong with people?? I jest, but seriously. Let's end this post before this tangent gets out of hand. Happy Monday, y'all!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

A Word for Wednesday

"But for such footmen as thee and I are, let us never desire to meet with an Enemy, nor vaunt as if we could do better, when we hear of others that they have been foiled, nor be tickled at the thoughts of our own Manhood, for such commonly come by the worst when tried. Witness Peter, of whom I made mention before; he would swagger, ay, he would; he would, as his vain mind prompted him to say, do better, and stand more for his Master than all men; but, who so foiled and run down by these villains as he?"

~from The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan~

Friday, January 20, 2017

Casual Fridays

Good morning, internet! No work for me today so I actually slept till like, 8:30. It was luxurious. And now I'm going to try to crank out a blog post in 10 minutes because this shaggy mess has to go to the vet today. (Haircuts coming Tuesday.)
So let's get to it because now we're down to 5 minutes due to me taking that picture of Major for your visual stimulation. You're welcome.

First up: I have been remiss in not plugging my amazing sister-in-law sooner on the blog. She is a licensed massage therapist, and y'all, her hands are like magic. I went in a couple weeks ago for a massage, and I came out feeling like a brand new, more relaxed version of myself, and I talked to my husband about how I need to go see her at least once every other month from now on. More, if I can swing it. You need to do yourself a favor and contact her ASAP for a massage. Husbands, Valentines Day is coming up and you will get major points if you send your wife to Dakota for a massage. I'm serious. I could wax on and on about how wonderful she is but the clock is ticking here. Call her. Text her. E-mail her. Do whatever you have to do to have her massage you. #worthit

This year is an SSMT year, and I am trying to memorize Psalm 34. For more information about what SSMT is, click here. In 2015, I memorized 1 Corinthians 13 along with a few other verses. The goal is to memorize two verses a month (24 total for the year). The point is to be meditating on your chosen verses as close to constantly as possible and really memorizing them for life. Hence, the manageable rate of one verse every two weeks. The first year I participated, I tried to do more than one verse every two weeks and failed miserably. Anyway, I'm sharing here because 1) if you're interested in joining the challenge, it's not too late! and I would definitely encourage you to do so. You can enter your first verse here and your second verse here. And 2) if you see me at church or around town, ask me to say my verses to you. I'll take all the accountability I can get!

Ok, I was officially out of time 2 minutes ago, but just a couple more things real quick. I discovered this amazing blog a few days ago while google-ing recommendations for a good James Madison biography. If you've been following me long, you might know it's a personal goal of mine to read at least one biography of every U.S. president, and last year, I decided to go in order. Well, the guy who writes this blog has been reading through the presidents for the past 5ish years, but he hasn't just read one bio on each, he's read LOTS. And he reviews them and gives his recommendations for the best ones. And he does this in his spare time as a hobby. He's my new hero. Definitely check out his blog even if you're not interested in reading the presidents. He's inspiring. 

Ok, I really do have to go now. Let me leave you with this photo that my BFF Amy sent me this week. It came up in her Facebook memories, and I love it. Friendship is such a gift. Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A Word for Wednesday

"[Saying and doing] are two things indeed, and are as diverse, as are the Soul and the Body; for as the Body without the Soul is but a dead carcass, so saying, if it be alone, is but a dead carcass also."

~from The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan~

Friday, January 13, 2017

Friday the 13th

It's been exactly 5 years since the best Friday the 13th I've experienced in my life. 
Cody, my darling man, I am more head over heels in love with you today
 than I was this day five years ago. 
After my salvation, you are my most precious gift from God, and I thank Him for giving me you. 
Thank you for asking me to be your wife.
I don't deserve this much happiness. 
I love you forever.
Friday the 13th
January 2012

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A Word for Wednesday

"Therefore, thought I, what God says, is best, though all the men in the world are against it: 
Seeing then that God prefers his religion; seeing God prefers a tender Conscience; 
seeing they that make themselves fools for the Kingdom of Heaven, are wisest; 
and that the poor man that loveth Christ, is richer than the greatest man in the world that hates him; Shame, depart, thou art an Enemy to my Salvation; shall I entertain thee against my Sovereign Lord?"

~from The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan~

Monday, January 9, 2017

Let's Bust a Recap : Peter Pan

Peter Pan. My first read of the new year. And my, what a delightful, charming, jolly book it was to start off with.

According to Wikipedia, "J.M. Barrie first used Peter Pan as a character in a section of The Little White Bird (1902), an adult novel where he appears as a seven-day-old baby in the chapter entitled Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens. Following the success of the 1904 play, Barrie's publishers, Hodder and Stoughton, extracted chapters 13-18 of The Little White Bird and republished them in 1906 under the title Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, with the addition of illustrations by Arthur Rackham. [J.M. Barrie] returned to the character of Peter Pan as the centre of his stage play entitled Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up, which premiered on 27 December 1904 in London. Barrie later adapted and expanded the play's story line as a novel, published in 1911 as Peter and Wendy." Barrie based Peter Pan on his older brother who died before his 14th birthday in an ice skating accident. Barrie himself was a Scottish novelist and playwright most famous for creating Peter Pan. 

I found the history of the novel interesting because when my siblings and I were kids, we had a VHS tape of the stage production of Peter Pan, and we absolutely loved it. I think it's amusing that I saw Peter Pan through this medium before ever reading the novel, and, as it turns out, the stage show actually did come before the book.

I'm sure you're all somewhat acquainted with the story so I won't go into that, but I will say that the novel is just as pleasing and captivating as you might imagine, and I highly recommend it. I wanted to start the year off with a bit of whimsy and that's exactly what I got. Two enthusiastic thumbs up for Peter Pan.

Have you ever read Peter Pan? Have you seen the stage show? What do you think about never growing up?

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Friday, January 6, 2017

Casual Fridays

Christmas Eve ~ 2016
Hello there and a happy 2017 to you! I can hardly believe we've made it into another new year, but as my dad always says, I'll be blinking and then getting out all my Christmas decor again. The old saying is true: the days are long, but the years are short. The longer I live, the shorter the years seem to get. Why is that? 

Anyway, enough introspection, if you're new around here: welcome! That's me with my smokin' hot husband. I blog about books. I decided a couple years ago that it was time to stop collecting all the classics with the intention of reading them "someday" and actually dive in and start reading. Blogging has become a fun hobby for me and a great way to catalogue what I've thought about the books I've read and to save some of the more poignant quotes I've come across as I've read them. 

If you're interested in keeping up with this little blog, there's a box over to your right (if you're viewing on your phone, you'll have to scroll all the way down and hit "Web View" in order to see it) where you can enter your e-mail address to have my posts come directly to your Inbox. 

Moving on, let me tell you something: we have had a veritable windfall of books around here lately. And since (as I just mentioned) that's what this blog is all about, I'm about to inundate you with the details of all our new treasures whether you like it or not. 
Look at all the pretty, pretty books. It's like Christmas! No, actually, it just was Christmas. Hence, the windfall. Let's work our way from left to right, shall we? 

First of all, if you'll take a second to recall this post and this post, you'll find that my husband already went above and beyond with the bookish goodness on my birthday. I decided not to include them in this photo because 1) I've already talked about them on the blog and let's not be repetitive, and 2) I don't know if I could have fit them in the picture anyway. 

Ok, so all the way to the left on the bottom of the first little stack we have The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. This book has been on my Life List for some time, and my awesome mommy-in-law got it for me for my birthday. I did not even think twice about putting it on my book list for this year. On top of The Hiding Place, we have 1984 and Animal Farm both by George Orwell sitting next to Every Thing On It by Shel Silverstein. We picked up these three books in a funky little used book shop we found while wandering the streets of Key West the weekend after my birthday. Next to Shel, we've got some Dr. Seuss books: The Butter Battle Book and Daisy-Head Mayzie. Cody always gets me Dr. Seuss books for Christmas. He's the best. After Dr. Seuss, there's a Debbie Macomber book called Angels at the Table that my Gramma gave me for Christmas. I read my first Debbie Macomber book a couple weeks ago, and the plot was original and interesting so I'm looking forward to seeing what else she has to offer. The next stack are books that Cody and I got for each other for Christmas: Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck, Les Misérables by Victor Hugo, The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas (this one made it on my 2017 book list!), and The Deerslayer by James Fenimore Cooper. I'm definitely looking forward to reading The Deerslayer after I enjoyed The Last of the Mohicans so much. 

For Christmas, my parents gave us each gift cards to Barnes & Noble, and--surprise, surprise--they didn't even last us a week. We hightailed it to a Barnes & Noble and picked up another year's worth of reading material. A gorgeous collectible edition of The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton, Daniel Deronda and Middlemarch both by George Eliot, and Never Go Back and Personal both by Lee Child. Cody's pretty into the Jack Reacher series right now. To top it off, we ordered a beautiful collector's edition of The Iliad and The Odyssey by Homer and a Louisa May Alcott box set of Little Women, Little Men, and Jo's Boys which have not yet arrived. I am extremely disappointed to inform you that neither I nor my husband has been able to find a single copy of Jo's Boys (or Little Men, for that matter) in any bookstore we've been in lately. Which I think is outrageous. But never fear: we have the internet. 

As if all this wasn't way more than enough, I walked into church Wednesday night and there was a table of random odds and ends up for grabs and sitting right on one corner was a stack of four Sisterchicks novels by Robin Jones Gunn. Can you even believe it?! The Sisterchicks series are some of the only books by Robin Jones Gunn that I don't already own and haven't read. I mean, honestly. I don't even know what to do with myself right now. 

Is anyone still with me? Have I gone way overboard? Are you completely blown away that among all these new jewels, only a few made it onto my 2017 book list? I'm pathetic, right? I think it's safe to say that I officially own more books that I haven't read than books I have and ohmygosh I just realized I forgot some. Let's change the subject. 

Link Love

- What Healing Looks Like : Excellent quote from Francis A. Schaeffer.

- Living in a Library : Um, only my dream come true!

- The Grinch, Puppy Dogs, & Thoughts About the Heart : Love these thoughts from Switchfoot's Tim Foreman.

- Punctuality : Yes, yes, yes. Thankful for a dad who not only taught me the importance of being on time, but has always modeled it so well.

- Baby Stella : If there was one of those live feed things on this baby elephant, I would waste waaaaay too much time watching it. So cute!!

And speaking of cute, I can not even handle this adorable photo of my niece. I'll end with this in hopes that you'll forgive me for my endless monologue about all the books.
Have you read any of the books I mentioned? Do you have a collection or hobby that other people get sick of hearing about? This is a safe space. I promise I won't judge. Do the years seem short to you or do they drag?

P.S. Because I just can't help not telling you the books I left out: my dad got me John Adams by David McCullough for my birthday--it's on my book list. We also bought The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald from Barnes & Noble. There. I think that's everything. The end.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

A Word for Wednesday

"For some reason, dying men always ask questions they know the answer to.
Perhaps it's so they can die being right."

~from The Book Thief by Markus Zusak~

Sunday, January 1, 2017

2017 Book List

Happy New Year! 
Time for clean slates and fresh book lists. This is my third year making myself an official book list, and this will be my shortest starting list to date. My goal for this year is 12 books--a book a month. If you've been tracking this little corner of cyberspace since the beginning, you may remember that I only completed 13 books in 2015 which has led me to create a more manageable list for this brand new year. As always, I hope to exceed my official goal, and I do have a secret goal in mind, but you'll never know what it is unless I actually meet it by the end of the year. 

Anyway, let's get this train a-rollin'! Here's my 2017 book list:

John Adams : David McCullough
Surprised By Joy : C.S. Lewis
The Hiding Place : Corrie Ten Boom
Hamlet : Shakespeare
The Taming of the Shrew : Shakespeare
The Three Musketeers : Dumas
Tess of the d'Urbervilles : Thomas Hardy
Agnes Grey : Anne Bronte
Jo's Boys : Louisa May Alcott
Peter Pan : J.M. Barrie
Salty Kisses : Robin Jones Gunn
Sunset Lullaby : Robin Jones Gunn

For any one who may be interested, I also intend to read through the King James Version of the Bible this year. (Hence, the shorter list.) I'm really looking forward to all the books on my list this year. 

Anything special you're planning to read this year? Have you made any New Years resolutions? I'd love to hear about your book lists or goals for the year down in those comments. Happy Reading!