Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Let's talk about The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, A Retelling by Peter Ackroyd


I have wanted to read The Canterbury Tales for years. The fact that next year I will be staying a night in Canterbury lit a fire under me to really want to get it read before then. 
However, I was told that I should read a translation of it first. The original is written in Middle English and therefore a lot harder to understand. 
I did a little research on the different translations and read one that was recommended by quite a few sources. It is a retelling by Peter Ackroyd. 
Peter Ackroyd is a renowned critic, historian, and biographer. He chose to translate the poetry to prose. 
One of the examples he gave in the introduction of the book is this: 
In the original work where it says, 

My Konnyng is so wayk, O blisful Queene,
For to declare they grete worthynesse,
That I ne may the weighte nat susteene;
But as a child of twelf month oold, or lesse, 
That kan unnethes any word expresse, 
Right so fare I, and therfore I yow preye, 
Gydeth my song that I shal of yow seye. 

He translated it to: 

My learning and knowledge are so weak, holy Virgin, that I cannot express your mercy or your love. your light is too bright for me to bear. I come to you as an infant, scarcely able to speak. Form my broken words uttered in praise of you. Guide my song. 

Definitely very different. 

The Canterbury Tales follow a group of pilgrims on their way to Canterbury. They take part in a storytelling competition along their way. They are all very different from many varied walks of life. 
It was not what I was expecting. 
Many of the tales are actually quite raunchy. 
I didn't know that going in so it surprised me but by the end I was used to it. 
There were many times reading it that I laughed out loud and a few times where I was quite bored and wishing for a certain tale to get over with. 
My very favorite tale happened to be the first one, A Knight's Tale. 
It told the story of two knights, brothers or cousins ( I was never certain which they were), in love with one woman. 
It was a great story and I was fully immersed and entertained by it. 
One of my favorite lines from the entire book was this, 

"And we all know that an hour's cold can suck out seven years of heat."

Overall, I enjoyed reading these and I will definitely be picking up the original at some point so that I can try my hand at the middle english text. I think now that I know the stories it will be easier to know what is going on as I read and there is a part of me that feels bad that I read a translation. 
But I wouldn't recommend it to everyone based on the content of some of the stories and language. 
Use your judgement before going into this. There is a lot of sexual language and what I can only compare in modern terms to Adam Sandler movie type humor.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Let's talk about: Jean at BookishThoughts

I have another YouTube recommendation for you today. 
I recently started watching Jean at Bookishthoughts and she has quickly become another favorite of mine to watch for book recommendations and fun bookish videos. 





Jean is adorable. She is a lot of fun to watch because she is very natural and down to earth and has an awesome Scottish accent. She actually reminds me a TON of Karen Gillan (Amy Pond on Doctor Who). 
On Twitter her description of herself is this:

 "Part time youtuber. Full time student. Wannabe scholar. Imaginary dragon. Lifetime nerd."

My favorite thing about watching her is that she is quite different from a lot of the booktubers her age that I watch. Her videos tend to have very different kinds of books than a lot of the other videos. 
She studies ancient Greek and Latin literature and so she has reviews for books in those genres that you really don't get anywhere else. At the same time, she loves Fantasy so there is a lot of that thrown in there as well. 
She was one of the booktubers chosen to be a reader for the Man Booker prize this year as well.  


Her videos are intelligent and fun and she really seems like someone you could just hang out and talk to for hours about books. 

Here are a few examples of her videos:

Underhyped Readathon To be Read:


An introduction to Ancient Poetry: 


Monday, September 28, 2015

October


It's almost October. 
That means 
HALLOWEEN!

The entire month of October will be spent exploring Halloween!
I will be talking about Halloween themed movies, television, costumes, books, people, etc. 
I am really excited to share some of my favorite things!
 
 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Let's talk about: The Shepherd's Life by James Rebanks




When I heard about this book, The Shepherd's Life by James Rebanks, I really didn't know if I would enjoy it or if I would find it boring. 
James Rebanks is a shepherd. 
I didn't know much about shepherding and really only got this from the library for the insight it might give me about the Lake District since I will be visiting there next year. Most of what I know about the Lake District is what I have read from authors and poets such as Beatrix Potter and William Wordsworth. I thought it would be interesting to get a different perspective of this area. 

“It is a curious thing to slowly discover that your landscape is loved by other people. It is even more curious, and a little unsettling, when you discover by stages that you as a native are not really part of the story and meaning they attach to that place.”

I had no idea how much I would end up loving this book. 
James Rebanks started a Twitter account. And it took off. His account, Herdwick Shepherd has over 69,000 followers. This led to the creation of this book. 
 The Shepherd's Life is his memoir of growing up in the the Lake District of England in the 1980's and 1990's farming the land and raising Herdwick sheep as his father had before him, and so on. 
As I read I had to constantly remind myself that this man is close to my own age and was growing up at the same time I was because his life was so different from what I have ever experienced. It seems so timeless. In many places it seemed like it could have been telling me about the early 1900's. 

The beginning of the book first detailed a little background into the author and his family and home. 
He spoke of the school that he was forced to go to and how they treated the farm children that didn't seem to want anything better out of life than this life that the educators from other parts of the countries deemed so simple and backward.
 
"This crappy, mean, broken-down school took five years of my life. I’d be mad, but for the fact that it taught me more about who I was than anything else I have ever done. It also made me think that modern life is rubbish for so many people. How few choices it gives them. How it lays out in front of them a future that bores most of them so much they can’t wait to get smashed out of their heads each weekend. How little most people are believed in, and how much it asks of so many people for so little in return.” 

He has broken the book into four parts: Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring.
Each part tells about the daily life of a shepherd during that time of year as well as giving background information of his years growing up. 
He began to read books voraciously as a young teen which led to the thirst for knowledge that would eventually lead him to Oxford. 
It seemed that many people felt that once he left the farm to study at Oxford he would never go back to the farming life, but he did. 
I loved the way the book was broken up into seasons and I really loved his writing style. 

“And then we do it all again, just as our forefathers did before us. It is a farming pattern, fundamentally unchanged from many centuries ago. It has changed in scale (as farms have amalgamated to survive, so there are fewer us of ) but not in its basic content. You could bring a Viking man to stand on our fell with me and he would understand what we were doing and the basic pattern of our farming year. The timing of each task varies depending on the different valleys and farms. Things are driven by the seasons and necessity, but not our will." (p. 32)”

 This book is not one that is meant to be rushed through but it is still a quick read. I would sit down to read "just a few pages" before bed and would realize, what seemed like mere minutes later, that I had read 50. I learned so much about shepherds and their way of life from this book. 
I found that when I was reading Far From the Madding Crowd last week that my experience with the book was made richer by the fact that I had read this one first, because of the insight into shepherding that it had given me. 
I highly recommend this book.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Let's talk about: Cadbury Dairy Milk buttons


A few months ago we picked up these Dairy Milk buttons at London Market to try. 
The girls loved the packaging and were a little disappointed when they opened the bags and found that they weren't chocolate animals but just the buttons used for eyes in the picture. 
I knew that was what they were but I guess I didn't think to mention it. Haha. 

They liked them but they weren't their favorite. 
They are very sweet, a little too sweet. 
Basically it felt like if you took a few chocolate chips and had them flattened and put into this shape and ate them by themselves. 
I won't be buying them again. There are too many other treats that taste better and are more unique. 

 
In other news: 

I sent off  the package of items from London Market to our giveaway winner Donna last week and she posted a picture last Friday. If you want to see what she got, check it out here.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Let's talk about: Keira Knightley



 Keira Christina Knightley was born on March 26, 1985 in Richmond, a suburb of London. 
Her parents were both in the entertainment business. Her father, Will Knightley, was an actor. Her mother, Sharman Macdonald, was an actress turned playwright. 
Keira asked for her own agent when she was three years old. 
When she was six she finally got that agent and her first role on television as "Little Girl" in Screen One: Royal Celebration in 1993. 

She didn't have any formal training and continued to act because she loved it. 
She went to a regular school nearby and didn't have a plan for when she left. 
At a young age, they discovered that Keira had severe difficulties when reading and writing. She wasn't formally diagnosed with dyslexia but it was felt that she was dealing with a form of it. 
She worked really hard, with the help of her family, until she was able to overcome her problem by her early teen years. 



She continued to land roles in various television shows and some films. 
The first time she really made a name for herself was when she played Natalie Portman's decoy "Padme" in Star Wars: Episode 1- The Phantom Menace in 1999. 
Her role as the decoy was kept a secret before the movie's release so that the surprise would not be spoiled. The similarity between Keira and Natalie Portman was so great that during filming, their moms couldn't even tell them apart once they were in makeup.  

"The problem for me was that by being in the film the magic was broken. I loved the first Star Wars film and my mum was really into it too, that's why I took the part. But the Force wasn't there when we were filming it, and they didn't have real light sabres, which annoyed me."


At this point she began to get offers for much bigger roles and had to start turning some things down so that she could focus on one project at a time along with her schoolwork. 
In 1999 she appeared in Oliver Twist and traveled to Romania where she did her first title role playing Robin Hood's daughter Gwyn in Walt Disney's Princess of Thieves. 
Her roles continued from there. 
In 2001 she sat her final school exams and then started her A- levels at Esher College studying Classics, English Literature, and Political History.
In 2002 she filmed Bend It Like Beckham which was a huge success. 
 She then landed the lead role of Larisa Feodorovna Guishar in Doctor Zhivago.
It was filmed in Slovakia throughout the spring of 2002 and forced her to leave her studies and pursue acting full time. 
She followed this with Love Actually and then landed an audition for Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. 
She almost missed out on Pirates. Auditions were being held in London but she was stuck in heavy traffic. She then had to be added on to the very end of the auditions list and just made it in time to audition. It was filmed after Love Actually but released before it and was the first film to make people really pay attention and wonder who this "new" face was.





Her career took off from there. 
One planned film was cancelled which led to a great opportunity. 
She spent the year instead visiting Ethiopia on behalf of the Comic Relief Charity and then spending the summer filming Pride and Prejudice. 
In October 2004, she received the Hollywood Film Award for Best female Breakthrough Actor.
In 2005 she received her first Golden Globe nomination for Pride and Prejudice, and soon after came her first Academy Award nomination. 
Her career was definitely on the rise. 
She won Best Actress for Atonement in 2007.


On May 4, 2013 Keira married her boyfriend of 2 years, James Righton, in a private ceremony near Marseilles. In May 2015, she gave birth to their first child, a daughter named Edie Righton. 





Keira continues to take on new and different roles and prove that she is a great actress. 

My favorite Keira movies are: 

#1: The Pirates of the Caribbean films




I really enjoy these films, especially the first one. 
I thought she did a really good job in this role.

#2: Love Actually 




This should come as no surprise to anyone who has read this blog. 
It's a movie that I love. Her story, while not one of my favorites in the film, is sweet and I like her in it. 

#3: Pride and Prejudice




I love Keira as Elizabeth Bennett. I think she really felt genuine in the character and brought a lot of fun and life to her. I go back and forth between this and the 1995 adaptation because there are things in each adaptation that I like better than the other. While I love the Elizabeth in the 1995 version, I think I like Keira's even better.

*Do you have a favorite Keira Knightley role? 



Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Final Day of the Read-a-Thon

We did it! 
We got through the week long Read-a-thon!
Remember, just because the Read-a-thon is over doesn't mean you need to stop reading!

As you will remember, my 'to be read' pile last week looked like this: 





Yesterday I was able to get a little bit of reading done. 
We finally had a stormy day and I took advantage of that for about an hour while both girls were in school. I hung out in my room listening to the rain fall while I read more of Lark Rise. 
However, I did not finish it... or even come close. 
I won't abandon it. I will finish it! But I won't post a review of it for a few months probably because I have a few other books to talk about over the next few months. (that I have already read and have plans to read over the next few weeks!)

I stated last week that I would feel like it was a really successful Read-a-Thon if I was able to get through the first three books. So I am definitely counting this as a success. 
I loved having a reason to choose my book over a television show over the last week. It was really good to be able to push myself a little to get through a book that normally might have taken me longer to read. I really enjoyed my time reading this past week. I hope you guys did as well. 

Now, a week later, my to be read pile leftovers are: 




I hope to finish both of these books this year still. 

My favorite book of the Read-a-Thon was definitely The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte. It has made me so excited to visit the Bronte parsonage now that I have read works by all three sisters. And I plan on buying my own copy of it (I read one from the library) when I am there next Spring. 
I also plan on checking out her other book. 
I am so glad that during this time I have read 3+ books written entirely by authors that are new to me. 
I had never read an Anne Bronte, Thomas Hardy, Carrie Hope Fletcher (obviously since this was her first and just came out), or Flora Thompson before. It is really fun to branch out and read something by someone that you have never read before. 
I really want to do more of this over the next year and discover a lot of authors that I have heard about but never read. 

I hope you enjoyed reading about what I read this week. I hope that those of you who read along this week have enjoyed your time reading. I plan on making Read-a-Thon's a bi-yearly event on the blog so stay tuned for another one next spring!

*What were you able to read this week?
*If you read more than one book, which was your favorite?
*Who are your favorite British authors and books? 
*Have you read any of the books I read? 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Read-a-thon, Day 7

Yesterday I began the first book in the Lark Rise to Candleford trilogy (this copy has all three in it), Lark Rise. 
I really love the way this book looks. I love the painting on the cover. 
The Lark Rise to Candleford television show is one of my favorites so I have been looking forward to reading this book for such a long time. 


It is semi-autobiographical and I believe that the character of Laura is based on Flora herself. I am not 100% sure on this though so I will have to do some more research about that. 
One of the other things I love about this book so far are the inside illustrations. 
Most of the chapters have a drawing at the heading that has something to do with that chapter. 


So far this book doesn't seem to have a plot or storyline necessarily as much as it is just thoughts/memories about the people and hamlet of Lark Rise. 
I didn't get very far yesterday. I am only a few chapters in, but I am enjoying it so far. 
Flora's writing style is really nice and I enjoy the descriptions of the area and the people. 

One of my favorite descriptions so far was of the end house. The End house is where Laura lives with her family. 

" Looking at the hamlet from a distance, one house would have been seen, a little apart, and turning its back on its neighbors as though about to run away into the fields."

I am excited to read some more of this today. I doubt I will finish it during this last day of the read-a-thon but I am excited to have got this far this week!

*Did you do any reading yesterday? 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Read-a-thon Days 4-6

Friday I was able to get a bit more reading done on Far From the Madding Crowd
I still didn't get to as much reading as I wanted that day but I was able to get to about the halfway point of the book. 
I took my daughter's to the park after school and took that time to do some reading while they played. 
 

Saturday I was able to spend almost the whole day reading and in so doing was able to reach my goal of finishing this book! 
I really enjoyed it. 
There were some parts that were a little harder to get through, a few descriptions that went on a little too long, a few conversations of the locals that caused me to zone out while reading...
but for the most part I really loved Thomas Hardy's descriptions and ideas. 

In chapter 17 ("Boldwood in meditation: a visit"), I loved when he was describing Mr. Boldwood's home. 

"His house stood recessed from the road, and the stables, which are to a farm what a fireplace is to a house, were behind, their lower portions being lost amid bushes of laurel."

After reading the book, I feel that they did a really good job on the recent film adaptation. It was very close to the book and the things that were changed, to me, enhanced the story. 

I will definitely read more Hardy. 

Sunday I tackled All I know Now by Carrie Hope Fletcher.


I loved the inscription at the beginning. 


"This book is for those who said I'd never get anywhere in life and those who never doubted for a second that I would. Without either of you, I wouldn't be here."

This story was a collection of stories from Carrie's pre-teenage and teen aged years. 
She is still in her early twenties so it is really aimed for those kids that are still struggling through those years. 
I would venture to say that the best audience for this book is 13-17 years old. 
It was broken up into sections with each section broke up into chapters. 
For example, the first part or "Act 1" as she calls it, is titled, "How to Make Friends Without Vomiting on Their Shoes.. and other school stories."

We read about the way she was bullied and how she dealt with it, how she wish she would have dealt with it, and the things that she has learned from those experiences. She also was very candid about the things that she did wrong. The mistakes she made, the times she wasn't as kind as she should have been, the ways that she wished she would have appreciated her parents, etc. 
It was a fun and quick read. She is a talented budding writer and I will be interested in reading the work of fiction she is working on now. 
However, I don't think this was as good for pre-teen aged girls as say the American Girl books about growing up. It is not a masterpiece or a piece of work that I would recommend that everyone read or gift to young women. 
As a mother I found that there were things in her youth that I wouldn't want my daughters to do or that in our family we wouldn't necessarily encourage until they are older, but I think it is very realistic to what teenagers are going through in today's world. 
 I think Carrie is a good role model. 
She believes in being positive and kindness, and I think that is lacking in a lot of role models for young women these days. 
With my daughter's I do plan on letting them read this when they get to be about 14. And we can discuss it as they read it. 
As I read, whenever I thought that something might not exactly be appropriate for a young teen, I then thought back to when I was 13-15 years old and realized that I would have loved this book then.
She does a really good job of coming across as a big sister or friend trying to help the younger girls find their way. 

*Did you get any reading done over the weekend?
 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Read-a-thon Day 2 and 3

Sorry I didn't get a post up yesterday. It ended up being a very busy day. 
Wednesday I was able to read a lot, just like I thought I would be able to. 
Having Maddy home sick definitely made it an easy day to read. 
I loved the The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.
I was able to finish the book Wednesday night before bed! 
 

I think that most people know that the book is written in three parts. Two are told from the perspective of Gilbert. One part in the middle is written by Helen. I preferred the section written by Helen so I was a little disappointed when it went back to Gilbert's point of view but I understood why that had to happen and I still enjoyed it very much. 
I really liked this book from beginning to end and I am so glad I have finally read it!
I can't wait to visit the Bronte family parsonage next year in England. 

I didn't start my next book until yesterday. 
While I was blow drying my hair yesterday morning (any time can be a time to read!) I began the first chapter of Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy.


We had a really busy morning but I was able to finish the first chapter before taking Maddy to school. 
I really loved the first chapter. 
It will be interesting to read this because of seeing the movie first. 
I have noticed already that it is in my head as I am reading. 
I could see Matthias Schoenaerts in my mind as it was describing Farmer Oak.


I love his writing style so far. It is very descriptive and beautiful. 
I read a few passages from this chapter to Doug to show him how beautiful it was. 
However, I think it will take longer to read than the last book. 
The rest of yesterday was a fail for reading. 

I have been having a weird feeling in my ear/left side of face for a week so after dropping Maddy off at school I went into the Instacare just to get it looked at. The doctor said there was a lot of fluid in there but it wasn't infected so that is why it feels weird but not painful. 
He gave me a prescription for Prednisone for the next few days. 
Then I went grocery shopping and to pick up the prescription. 
It took so long that by the time I was done I had to be back at the school to pick up my daughters and didn't have time to even read in the car. 
We brought groceries home to put away and then went right back out to run some errands I needed to run with them and to go to the post office to mail a certain package to Donna!
By the time we got home it was dinner time. 
I figured that I would spend the evening reading but I just didn't feel like it. So I watched some dumb television instead and then went to bed as I was feeling quite tired. 
Unfortunately I could not sleep. I think it is a side effect of the medication but I don't even know if I slept at all. I think I may have had an hour or two. I thought about getting up to read in the middle of the night but I couldn't concentrate on the words. I was too tired to read and just couldn't fall asleep. Ugh. 
So yesterday I read one chapter. One. Not the best read-a-thon day ever. 
But today is a new day and since I was able to get all of the errands done yesterday I am hoping that I can spend at least a couple of hours reading today. 
My goal for the weekend is to finish this book. 
I am really hoping I can be in the third one by Sunday but we shall see!

*How is your week going?

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Read-a-Thon Day One


Yesterday didn't go quite as I had planned it but I was still able to start The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and get about halfway through. 
The morning started out really well. I was able to read for about an hour before getting lunch ready for Madeline and taking her to Kindergarten. 
I had some errands to run whilst she was in school (it is only half day so she is there for a little over two hours) so I was doing that. 
My phone died while I was out. 
As soon as I was about done with everything I needed to do and going to take the last of her time at school to read, I checked my phone and saw that I had missed calls from the school and my parents. 
Madeline had become sick while at school and was in the office waiting to get picked up. 
I felt so bad. My parents were about to drive the 45 minutes up here to get her (They are SO wonderful.) but luckily I got to the messages in time to save them the drive. I was so sorry that the one day my phone died, it was the day I was needed.
I checked out both girls so that I wouldn't have to take Maddy out again... it was close enough to Abi getting out that this made sense. 
Anyway, what should have been a really relaxing afternoon of reading was unfortunately filled with all of this and then making sure she was well. 
Thank goodness she did not become sick again and has been improving steadily.
As soon as she was settled into a restful spot in her room, quietly playing and Abigail was doing her homework, I got dinner in the crock pot and settled down to read again. 
I was able to get in at least an hour. 
After dinner we got Madeline to sleep and then Abigail hung out in my with me and we each read (she is re-reading the Harry Potter series to herself now)  and that is when I got the bulk of my reading done. 

I am really enjoying this book so far. Like I said, I am about halfway in. 
There was one passage so far that I really related to. 


As an introvert, I am not good at and do not enjoy small talk. It is so hard for me to keep it going so I am always worried I come across as aloof or snobbish. But if someone gets me talking about something I am interested in it is hard to shut me up. In the chapter "A Snake In The Grass", Helen says, " I was wearied to death with small-talk- nothing wears me out like that. I cannot imagine how they can go on as they do."
And in her next sentence, "Is it that they think it a duty to be continually talking and so never pause to think, but fill up with aimless trifles and vain repetitions, when subjects of real interest fail to present themselves?- or do they really take pleasure in such discourse?"
I loved this because it is how I feel a lot. Large gatherings of people I don't know well or don't share many interests with wear me out.
I love silence. I love being alone. And so far that has made it very easy to relate to the character of Helen, as she seems this way too. 
I also really like Anne's writing. Classics are not always a quick read for me and I don't always get into them nor connected to the characters as quickly as I have with this one so I am hoping that this continues. 
 
Today I won't be leaving the house. With Madeline recuperating I may end up having more time to read today than I thought I would. So my goal is to finish this book today!
 
*What are you reading? 
*Were you able to read yesterday? 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Read-a-Thon Day One: My Hopeful To Be Read Pile


I have a very ambitious To Be Read pile for this week. 
I am pretty sure I won't be able to get through this pile but I plan on making quite the dent in it. 

Today I will be starting The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte. 
I am so excited to read this book. I have it out on loan from the library, which is one of the reasons I am reading it first. I have never read anything from Anne Bronte. I am fascinated by the Bronte family and the talent that filled the family. I am a fan of Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre by her sisters so I am looking forward to seeing how I will enjoy Anne's writing. 

The next book I hope to read this week is Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy. 
Thomas Hardy is also a new author for me. I have wanted to read his work for a while but it wasn't until seeing the movie adaptation of this book last spring that I went out and bought the book. 
I really enjoyed the film so I am hoping that I will enjoy the book and his writing as well. 

After two classics I am going to switch to something light. 
My next read will be All I know Now by Carrie Hope Fletcher. 
She is my favorite YouTuber and the one that is kind of responsible for me becoming obsessed with watching YouTube and all that is has to offer nowadays. It is a book aimed toward young adults about dealing with growing up, but I have read a lot of reviews from moms that said there were things in it that helped them as well as giving them some good ideas whilst raising their own daughters. 
As a mother of two daughters, one of which is rapidly approaching her teenage years, I wanted to read it and see if it is something that would be appropriate and helpful for her as she gets older. 

If I get through those three books this week I will consider it a successful read-a-thon. 
If I still have time I will start Lark Rise To Candleford by Flora Thompson. 
This edition is actually a trilogy (Lark Rise, Over to Candleford, and Candleford Green) put into one book so it is quite hefty and ambitious for the tail end of a read-a-thon. I have owned this book for a few years and have yet to read it so I am really hoping I can at least start it.
I love the television series that was based on these books and can't wait to read them to see how close the show is to the book. 

My last book in the pile is Jane Austen's Letters collected and edited by Deirdre Le Faye. 
I honestly don't think I will make it to this book but it is one that has been sitting on my shelf for so long I wanted to add it to the pile just in case. It is a collection of letters written by Jane Austen and sent to a variety of different people. It should be pretty interesting. 

Today I have cleaned my house first thing and since one little is off at school and the other is playing outside, I plan on starting the first book as soon as I am done with this post. 
Happy Reading!
 
*If you are planning on reading this week, let me know in the comments what books you hope to tackle!

Monday, September 7, 2015

100th Post Giveaway Winner!

We have picked the winner! 
I wrote down the first letter of each of the participants names on a paper for each of your entries. 
Then cut them up and put them in a bowl this morning. 


Madeline was my helper and pulled out a slip of paper.



It is hard to see in this picture... but here she is showing me the paper she picked. 


And the winner is: 



Donna: you can email me with your address and I will get a fun package off to you in the next week!
Congratulations!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Let's talk about: Deathly Hallows, part Two


As you all know we have been reading and watching Harry Potter all summer long. 
We recently finished them and were able to watch both Deathly Hallows movies. 
I was pretty excited to watch Deathly Hallows part 2 with Abi and Maddy for the first time. It is always fun to see what their reaction is to seeing the books on screen. 


*Spoilers*

I think this movie is done so well. 
Our trio of heroes continue to fulfill their quest. 
We follow them on their journey, finally ending at Hogwarts. 

My favorite parts of this movie are finally seeing the smaller characters that don't always get as much respect/attention rising to their potential. 
Especially Neville. 





I love how he is finally given the chance to shine and really do something important. 
I have always loved his character and I just love his story arc. 

Of course, this movie has a whole lot of heartbreak as well. 
We know, going into it that we are going to have to watch some of our beloved characters die. 




More tears were shed. I can say there was a bit of snuggling during the end of the movie because it is hard to watch your "friends" die on film. 

The main thing I can say about this film is that they have , through the years, compiled such an amazing cast. They have filled these movies with the settings and characters from our imaginations in such a wonderful way that it is so hard to see it end. 
I could continue to read about and watch Harry Potter forever. Really. If J.K Rowling wanted to keep writing books about this world for the rest of her life and they wanted to keep making the movies of them (as long as they were as good or better than these ones) I would happily continue to support them. 

Just like in the book, one of my favorite parts of the movie is when we finally see Snape's memories and find out more about his story. 

 His is such a tragic love story. 


His last moments with Lily remind me of this: 
 


I love the ending of the book and I am so glad they kept the movie so similar. 
I think it is so appropriate to end the movie with the three that have stuck by each other and been there since the start. 


 
I will conclude this with two videos that I love. 
Some people have put together some videos on YouTube with scenes from the movie and some really powerful songs. Watching these gives me all the feels (and goosebumps) so I wanted to share them with you on here in case you haven't seen them before. 

First my favorite... it always makes me tear up. 
Set to Adele singing "Sky Fall"
 

And then there is this one set to Imagine Dragons "Bleeding Out". 
 


And finally, the original trailer for the movie: 


*What are your thoughts on Deathly Hallows, part two?
*Were there any things they left out that you wished had been in the film? Or parts you didn't like? 
*What are your favorite scenes?
 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Let's talk about: Richard Armitage



Richard Crispin Armitage was born August 22, 1971 in Leicester, Leicestershire, England. 

"I've always been creative- as a kid growing up in Leicester, I liked painting and playing a few musical instruments. I started playing guitar in primary school, took up the cello when I was 11, then ditched that for the flute which I never really enjoyed. I've still got the cello in my wardrobe." 

He attended Pattison College in Coventry and then studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. 
His first role was a small one in This Year's Love in 1999. He went on to appear in television shows and a few movies. In 2004 he landed the lead role of John Thornton in North & South
 

From there he landed many movie and television spots. He has also appeared on stage many times and was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company for 18 months. 

I haven't seen a lot of his work. I have just started watching the BBC's Robin Hood so I am anxious to see how he does as the villain there. Other than that my exposure to Richard has been North & South, The Hobbit, and Captain America: The First Avenger.
However, I also read that he appeared as an unnamed Naboo fighter pilot in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. 

"I'd never been in front of the camera before. It was like being punched in the face, trial by fire... I was shocked, appalled, scared- and then excited."

My favorite role so far has been his portrayel of Thorin in The Hobbit. 
I loved the book and wondered at first how he would do. I felt like he really became Thorin. He gave the character so much emotion. I think he turned out to be the perfect choice.


Richard has aquaphobia ( fear of water, specifically of drowning). When he was very young his stroller fell into a neighbor's pond and his fear is believed to have come from that incident. 
However he has not let the fear stop him from being in the water. 
For Cold Feet he took a water aerobics class, swam at least 50 laps per day preparing for his role in Captain America playing Heinz Kruger, and was submerged in a well for a long time while shooting Robin Hood.


Richard can dance and sing. He has said that he would love to do a musical. 

"I think I've got an odd face. I always wanted to look like somebody else." 

Say What?


*What is your favorite Richard Armitage role?



Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Announcement: British Read-a-thon!


I am planning on doing something really fun next week. 
I want to invite any of you that would like to join me in this event. 
You don't have to go anywhere. You don't have to dress up. In fact, nice cozy clothes are the best attire. 
You don't need to buy anything. The cost is free. All you need is a pile of books you already own or that you have borrowed from the library, a cozy place to sit, and perhaps some creature comforts such as a blanket and a mug of hot cocoa (or whatever drink makes you happy!). 
It is finally September. And to me, September means Fall. 
It may not officially be Fall yet. It may not have cooled off outside. But the leaves of the trees are beginning to turn and there is a certain feeling in the air that promises of sweaters and cozy socks and my favorite time of year.


To celebrate our arrival into September I am planning on having a Read-a-thon!
Do you remember the read-a-thon days at school?
They were my absolute favorite. You would get to take your blanket and pillow and sometimes a stuffed animal to school. You would have some fun treat. And you would read all day. Or at least a few hours. It was heaven. 
With the demands of life I knew that I wouldn't really be able to devote an entire day to just reading. Because of this I decided to do a read-a-thon similar to some that I have seen on YouTube. A week long read-a-thon. 
Starting next Tuesday, September 8th I will be hosting a Scones and Crackers British themed read-a-thon!
It will go through the next Tuesday, September 16th. 
On the first Tuesday I will be posting my hopeful 'To Be Read' pile. 
Each day I will post about what I was actually able to read the day before. And maybe there will be some challenges/ questions/ tags. 
Because this is a week long read-a-thon you don't have to devote one full day (although you can if you are able!). You can take some time each day during that week to make a point to sit down and read or grab every second of free time you have throughout the day to get some reading done. 





All of the books I read during this time will have a British theme. They will either be written by a British author or take place in the United Kingdom. 
I hope that some of you will be able to join in on this journey and share in the comments each day what you are reading. 
It should be a lot of fun and a really good way to get those British books off of your 'To Be Read' shelf and finally make a dent in them!
Again, I will start this with my 'To Be Read' post next Tuesday!
Here's hoping for some rainy, cool weather next week!
 
 
Let me know if you think you will participate!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

It's Raining Men

Last night I was going to watch some more of Poldark to write about today. 
And then I went on to PBS to watch it... and it said it was no longer available to watch online. 
That was disappointing. Hopefully I will find it on another source. 

In the place of the post I was planning, here is a little something to hopefully bring a smile to your face: