Beautiful Books

I just finished The Fellowship of the Ring today and I’ve got to say… spectacular. It’s a masterpiece of a book that somehow combines a compelling plot, interesting characters, and amazing world-building into one book. It’s a phenomenal beginning to what I hope will be a phenomenal trilogy (i’m pretty sure it will be).

It has got me thinking about books and how much I love them.

“When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes.” – Erasmus

I have read a fair amount of books in my sixteen years of living, some of them have been good and some have been bad. Here are a few of the good ones:

  • The Penderwicks series by Jeanne Birdsall
  • Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery
  • Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling
  • North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
  • The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • The Railway Children and The Enchanted Castle by E. Nesbit
  • Moon Over Manifest and Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool
  • The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • Larklight series by Philip Reeve
  • Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson
  • Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier
  • Destiny, Rewritten by Kathryn Fitzmaurice
  • Nancy and Plum by Betty MacDonald

These books are both new and old favorites. I would recommend any and all of them wholeheartedly. 🙂

I also have books that I wish to read in the near future. To name a few:

  • Redwall series by Brian Jacques
  • The Two Towers and The Return of the King by J.R.R Tolkein
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  • The History of Middle Earth (All 12 or so parts) by J.R.R Tolkein

What books are your favorites? Do you have any suggestions for me? I’d love to talk about your own love of books, so please leave a comment!

Claire 

 

Good Movies

Day 14: Post your favorite movies that you never get tired watching

1. The Bee Movie

An old childhood favorite. I cannot remember the first time I watched it. It was a funny movie when I was younger, but it’s hilarious now.

2. The Chronicles of Narnia

These are the movies that have been with me my entire life. 🙂 I remember watching them when I was younger, not understanding what was being said because of the accents. When I watch them again, understanding so much more, I realize how good they are. 

3. Pride and Prejudice (2005)

Everything about this movie is lovely, from the classic story to the beautiful soundtrack. I never get tired of watching it. Ever. 

 

Journal:

No internet is easy now. I hardly think about it. The days have been long and filled with school lately. The only thing that breaks them up is the book I’m reading. The Fellowship of the Ring. The first book in the Lord of the Ring series. 🙂 I love it.

Blessings in my Life

Day 11: Write about five blessings in your life

1. My quickly shifting moods

This part of me doesn’t always seem like a blessing, because it has been the cause of my general confusion of how I really feel. Yet, this constant change of moods is a blessing, because it helps me to move on. I can never stay sad for too long, because my mood is nearly always lifted when I wake up in the morning and remember that the world is beautiful.

2. Books

I have read so many books and they have taught me so much. They are a definite blessing in my life. I don’t know what I’d do without them.

3. Writing

I love knowing what I plan on doing for the rest of my life, but this blessing goes beyond that. Whether or not I make any money on writing I will always love it. I love writing because it’s my passion. I don’t love it because it might make me rich or famous, or because it has dozens of money-making careers connected with it.

4. Family

My family has taught me all about life, happiness, and love. However, my family is also a blessing because of the support they give to me without me even realizing it half the time. Family is such an important part of my life, because they love me unconditionally and act like it as well.

5. Friends

What would I do without those friends in my life that have stretched me beyond what I thought was possible, stuck by me in all of my tween angst, and love me for who I am?

6. Learning

Learning was my second love (just behind reading), and I don’t think I’ve ever stopped loving it since I began. School is structured, but because I’m home schooled I get to structure it however I want (for the most part). I don’t just mean school though, I mean all kinds of learning. I’ve been learning a great bit lately, about life and growing up. I’ve been learning what it means to think for myself, convey my ideas and beliefs in a coherent way, and appreciate everything that God has blessed me with. 🙂

What If…

Day 11: Something you always think “what if…” about

What if all those magical worlds in books and movies really existed? What if you could travel to all of them and have grand adventures? I’ve always wanted to travel to the worlds encased in the books I read. I want to meet the characters, become their best friend, and have them take me along in their adventures.

Journal:

Short post today. I’m very tired, but I’m going to read. It was colder today. I can feel autumn coming along, which I am happy about. Summer has lasted far too long and I’m ready to get a move on. 🙂

Coloring Books – Enchanted Forest

Well, this post is well overdue! It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Sorry. Summer is a busy time when schedules seem to disappear. Don’t worry, because when school starts in a few weeks I’ll be following a schedule again and writing on this blog will become regular again.

Last Sunday, I bought a coloring book. It’s called Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest and Coloring Book by Joanna Basford.

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I knew when I bought it that I was going to love it, and I do. It’s the perfect thing to do while listening to music, audiobooks, and TV. My sister’s both have coloring books as well and I wanted one for a long while. When I discovered the Enchanted Forest coloring book I knew it was the book for me. I bought it along with some coloring pencils and as soon as it arrived I started working on it.

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Those are the pages that I’ve finished so far. Coloring this past week has relaxed me and given me something to work on while listening to a book. I’m very happy with my purchase and I can’t wait to color more pages. 😀

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NMC Day 5: Missing Music/Random

I am both missing and hating music right now. I hate it because I have really stupid songs stuck in my head, but I miss it because I really want to listen to some Relient K right now!

I have been in a really good mood this week and I don’t know why. There is something uplifting about my little world lately. I’ve been able to tune out the outside world for a while and just remember that life is still beautiful. I know I can’t do it forever, but sometimes it’s good to remember that life isn’t all about the terrible things that happen.

I am happy because:

  1. My coloring book (hahaha, I know) comes tomorrow!!!
  2. I finished Coronation Summer
  3. I get to have tea in the morning like a proper English girl!
  4. Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street is a great show!

P.S – I planned a good post for today, but nothing was working right and 1) I had a long day and 2) It’s getting late. 🙂

Reading: NMC Day 2

By the way, NMC stands for No Music Challenge. I just wanted to make that clear. 🙂

Reading. Reading. Reading. I love reading. Right now I’m in the middle of a good book called Coronation Summer by Angela Thirkell. It’s set in the late 1830s when Victoria became the Queen of England and is about two friends who travel to London for the festivities. It’s also a love story about how the two girls meet their husbands during the trip. 🙂 I am thoroughly enjoying it!

I love reading and I always have. I love reading books that captivate my attention and heart, and take me on a journey that I can’t pull myself away from. Those are the best kinds of books to me. The ones that won’t let me go. I have found many such books like that in my life, but one of the most captivating books I have ever read is called Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marrillier. I read it while I was at Disney World two years ago. I just brought it for some light reading and because I must always bring a book with me wherever I go. Anyways, I ended up devouring that book. I couldn’t put it down. I read it everywhere; while waiting in line, while eating meals, while on the bus, and at the hotel room. I couldn’t stop reading it.

These past few days have been beautiful days full of happy things, but the thing I have enjoyed the most is sitting on my deck and reading. It takes me back to when reading was all I did. ever. Those were good days and I hope to bring them back, at least somewhat.

Some of my favorite books:

  • The Penderwicks series by Jeanne Birdsall
  • Anne of the Island by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool
  • Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

Please, share some of your favorite books!

Why I’m Still Working on School

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It’s July 8. The sun is shining down on my neighborhood full of kids that are busy enjoying their break from school. Well, not every kid is done with school. Hi there! It’s me, Claire, and while the rest of the country is on vacation I’m still working on school. I’m still working on my massive Omnibus IV, three subjects in one book (theology, history, and literature).

I’d be lying if I said I was excited to be doing school in July, but I would also be lying if I told you I wasn’t. It’s a strange thing, but yes, I still enjoy doing school this late in the year. Not all the time, but most of the time I still enjoy it. I enjoy getting up early to work on my latest essay or to read a few chapters of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. I love the books I’ve been getting to read, as well as the excuse to sit on the porch and read all day.

Of course, it truly isn’t all fun and games. It’s hard work focusing on school when everyone else is watching Star Wars and Zootopia, or spending a restful afternoon just drawing. Sometimes I want to quit, and sometimes I do, but most of the time I keep going. I fight through the distractions and find that not quitting is ten times more satisfying than quitting. There are times when I take breaks, but only after I’ve worked hard and accomplished a lot, or when I know that I need a break.

Now, school isn’t the only thing I’ve been doing lately. I’ve been reading for fun a lot. Right now I’m reading Farmer Boy and Coronation Summer (Angela Thirkell). Yesterday I started a puzzle. I love puzzles! There’s something so satisfying about fitting all the pieces together. 🙂 I have also been watching the original Star Wars trilogy and yesterday I watched The Phantom Menace, which was not as bad as I expected it to be. I mean, yeah, the acting wasn’t great and there were some cheesy jokes that I rolled my eyes at, but it wasn’t half bad. I can’t wait to watch Attack of the Clones. 

Happy Summer!

~Claire 

Little House On the Prairie – Review

Little House on the Prairie is one of those books that I have loved throughout my childhood. I’ve read through the series a few times and every time I do I find myself loving it more. There is something so sweet and timeless about this book that make it a classic.

Things I Love About This Book:

  1. The beauty in the simple things – I love how every, little treat is made precious in the eyes of young Laura and Mary. It really teaches you to appreciate what you have and notice the simple things.
  2. The descriptions of pioneer life – I love how this book neither completely idealizes pioneer living, but it doesn’t paint it in a completely awful light. It encompasses that perfect balance of showing the hardships and displaying what an awesome experience it must of been to be a pioneer.
  3. The Lessons – Let’s all admit it, some books are way too heavy-handed with their morals. A good book is not one that is constantly shoving the moral in your face. A good books is one that displays the morals in a way that is natural and subtle. This book is on the line for me. Sometimes the lessons are a little heavy-handed, but then they’re not. I don’t exactly know how to describe it. I think, within the context of the book, that the lessons are perfect for where they are, and the style of writing throughout the book. The lessons fit perfectly.

 

What I Don’t Love:

  1. The explaining in awkward places – Sometimes there is too much description in this book. I love all of the descriptions, but sometimes it feels more like a history book than a novel and it breaks up the flow of the plot.

I love this book and I probably always will. It’s sweet and has influenced me in my love of history. I give this book five stars, of course. 😉

Pioneer Quest

I’ve been thinking a lot about the pioneers over the past week. We’ve been watching a fun show called Pioneet Quest: A Year in the Real West. 

It’s a show all about two couples living like pioneers for a year in Canada. It’s such a fun show. It made me miss something that I’ve never had. :/ I loved to watch them struggle with the things that pioneers had to struggle with. It’s good to know that this kind of life is still actually possible. We haven’t grown too soft to be able to survive like those pioneers did centuries ago. I love to see how these “modern” pioneers cope with being isolated from the 21st century for a year and doing the work of a pioneer as well.

Watching the show has made me want to dive right back into all those books that made me excited about pioneer living when I was younger. I read so many books about the pioneer life and the wild west that I feel like I know everything it and yet I am always learning more.

The first books I read about the pioneers were the Little House on the Prairie books. It was through the pages of these books that I first fell in love with the pioneers and their stories. One of my favorite things about the Little House books was how everything was laid out in such detail. I learned so much through the detailed descriptions of making cheese and building a log house. I love the books because of their optimism and idealism. Laura Wilder makes the pioneer life seem like such a dream.

When I got a little older I started reading the Dear America books (a series of fiction books that are written in diary form about different eras in history). I used to read all of the ones that were set in the old west and pioneering days and devour them. These books were definitely more… gritty, I guess. As gritty as books written for pre-teens can be. 🙂 They were just a more realistic look at pioneering life. They showed all of the hardships, the heartaches, and the inconveniences of pioneering. While reading these books, I realized just how hard this lifestyle would have been and my admiration for these hardworking people grew even bigger.

These resources are just a few of the ways that I have learned about the west and settlers and pioneers over the years. 🙂 I absolutely love this time period. There is something so inspiring about these settlers who worked so hard and sometimes didn’t get anything in return. If you like history at all, than I would encourage you to check out some of these resources about pioneers. I have grown up with these books and they still make me wish I could travel back in time and live out my days on the homestead. 😀