Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Top Ten Favorite Book Quotes


  Hey Everyone! This week I'm joining in The Broke and the Bookish blog's Top Ten Tuesday Link-up. This week, it is 'Rewind', which meant I could look back into the archives of Top Ten Tuesday and pick any one of them to do. I chose...

Top Ten Favorite Book Quotes

"And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before."
The Last Battle, C.S. Lewis

"I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right."
The Book Thief, Markus Zusak

"Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! I have as much soul as you - and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you."
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte

"I try not to think - it interferes with being nuts."
The Mark of Athena, Rick Riordan

"Have you, in truth, ever seen something so heartbreakingly lovely? What are we to make of a world where stars shine bright in the midst of so much darkness and gloom?"
The Magician's Elephant, Kate DiCamillo

"The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing - to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from - my country, the place where I ought to have been born. Do you think it all meant nothing, all the longing? The longing for home? For indeed it now feels not like going, but like going back."
Till We Have Faces, C.S. Lewis

"Whatever souls are made of, his and mine are the same."
Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte

"We'd been trying to touch the sky from the bottom of the ocean. I realized that if we boosted one another, maybe we'd get a little closer."
Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys

"You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope."
Persuasion, Jane Austen

"I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string."
Anne of Avonlea, L.M. Montgomery

I know I'm missing a lot of great ones, but these are the quotes that came to mind!

What are some of your favorite book quotes?


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Beautiful Things Make Me Sad

  Beautiful things make me sad, sometimes. Sometimes a beautiful view, song, or story makes me want to cry. I never knew why, and I still am not quite sure - but last year I read I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, and there was a section in that book that said this:

“He stood staring into the wood for a minute, then said: "What is it about the English countryside — why is the beauty so much more than visual? Why does it touch one so?"

 He sounded faintly sad. Perhaps he finds beauty saddening — I do myself sometimes. Once when I was quite little I asked father why this was and he explained that it was due to our knowledge of beauty's evanescence, which reminds us that we ourselves shall die. Then he said I was probably too young to understand him; but I understood perfectly.” 

 That quote made me think. Is it true? Is the reason why we find beauty saddening because we know it can't last? The most beautiful sunset only lasts a few minutes before it disappears and is gone forever. The most beautiful, majestic tree will someday fall. The loveliest castle, mansion, or cathedral will someday crumble into ruins. Our own life here on earth is but a fleeting moment. Maybe, when we see something beautiful, we feel that somewhere deep down, and it makes us sad.

  I don't really know why beautiful things makes me sad. But I do think that it's a nice kind of sadness. And I know, as a Christian, that though this life is temporary, there's a life waiting for me where beautiful things and beautiful moments will last forever.

 "So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you."
John 16:22


Monday, February 17, 2014

Mansfield Park // book-to-movie comparison

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen:
book-to-movie comparison

 The Story: Taken from the poverty of her parents' home, Fanny Price is brought up with her rich cousins at Mansfield Park, acutely aware of her humble rank and with only her cousin Edmund as an ally. When Fanny's uncle is absent in Antigua, Mary Crawford and her brother Henry arrive in the neighbourhood, bringing with them London glamour and a reckless taste for flirtation. As her female cousins vie for Henry's attention, and even Edmund falls for Mary's dazzling charms, only Fanny remains doubtful about the Crawfords' influence and finds herself more isolated than ever. (goodreads summary)

  The Book: I recently read this novel, and I completely fell in love with it. At first I didn't think I liked it at all, but by the end I was considering it a new favorite. The characters are so diverse, the plot is interesting, and the writing is wonderful (but of course it is, it's Jane Austen after all!). It's just a great book.
 The Movie: There are several film adaptions, but the one I watched was the 2007 ITV movie that stars Billie Piper and Blake Ritson. Because it's a short movie (and the book is long) the plot had to be simplified, but nothing was changed too much. It wasn't as quality of a film as some of the other Jane Austen adaptations...but then, I'm used to BBC, which in my mind does everything right :) The cast was really good. Overall, I think it's a really cute movie and I really enjoyed it.

 There were some interesting changes in the personalities of some of the characters, so I thought I'd do a bit of a comparison:

Fanny Price

Book Fanny: Book Fanny is a very shy, quiet, and thoughtful girl. Readers of this book often complain that Fanny is boring and unrealistic, and are annoyed that she let's herself get pushed around all the time by everyone. At first, I sort of felt that way myself, but that completely changed by the end. In the course of the novel, Fanny really grows as a character. There's so much to be admired and respected in her character. She has strong principles, and sticks to them no matter what. She's kind to everyone despite how they treat her. She's certainly a different kind of heroine from Elizabeth Bennet or Emma Woodhouse, but I think she's wonderful.

 Movie Fanny: Movie Fanny is quite a bit different from Book Fanny. She's a lot more outgoing and energetic, and she doesn't hide her emotions. She is nowhere near as serious of a person. She says some things that Book Fanny would never dream of being so bold as to say, and she reacts to situations (such as unwanted proposals) in, shall we say, a less tearful way. Despite how different she is, I think she's a lovely character in her own way.

Edmund Bertram

Book Edmund: Book Edmund is a serious, respectable, ambitious young man. He's kind and loyal. Unlike the rest of his family who at first looks down upon Fanny because of her family's poverty, Edmund is a wonderful friend to her from the start. So, in a nutshell, he's a total sweetheart. :)

Movie Edmund: For the most part, Movie Edmund is just like Book Edmund. The creators of the film didn't make him any less respectable or serious. I think Blake Ritson was the perfect pick for this role. He looks and acts just like I imagined Book Edmund to.

Mary Crawford

Book Mary: Mary is a very complicated character to figure out. For the most part she's shallow and foolish and mean, but then at times she almost seems to sincerely care about others. Book Mary befriends Fanny, whether because she genuinely likes her or because it's all a ploy to get Edmund's attention, I'm not sure. A bit of both, perhaps?

Move Mary: Movie Mary is, if anything, even more foolish and shallow. There's less of a confusion here of whether she's nasty or nice - it's pretty obvious from the start. Movie Mary doesn't befriend Fanny like Book Mary does - she ignores her for the most part. I did miss that aspect to the story.

 Henry Crawford

Book Henry: Henry, Henry, Henry. What can be said of him? He's the biggest flirt in Austenian history, to begin with. His favorite hobby is to make girls fall in love with him and then break their hearts. He's heartless and mean. But then, there is somehow something sort of likable about him. I couldn't help but feel sorry for him at times, and he was quite charming...or, hold it, maybe I'm just falling into the trap that all those other poor girls fell into! Wow, he's good.

Movie Henry: Although Movie Henry's character wasn't as developed as his book counterpart was, I think they did a good job with the time they had. He was definitely as heartless and conniving as he should be! Although, what was with his hair? Good sir, have you ever heard of combing your hair?

 So, have you ever read Mansfield Park or watched a film adaptation? I'd love to hear what you thought!


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Write it Real // A Post by Olivia

Olivia is an almost-seventeen-year old Canadian girl who loves tea and hugs and freshly fallen snow. She's talkative, has a flair for the dramatic, and thinks words are the answer to everything. People are her favourite, and when she grows up (if that ever actually happens; she has her doubts) she'd like to be a sign language interpreter.
She keeps a blog down at the cwtch, and she'd be just tickled pink if you'd pop by and say hello.

Words have always been my way out.

For as long as I can remember, I've been running to my bedroom, reaching for my journal in its not-so-secret hiding place beneath my bed, and scribbling my heart onto the page right there on the floor, because I couldn't stand under the weight of things unsaid. I couldn't possibly get to my feet and settle at my desk, or even at my bed, because words were piling up in my throat and against my fingers, pounding inside my temples and my heart and behind my eyes, begging to be set free.

I didn't - I don't - always go to my journals, though. Sometimes it's poetry that tugs at me, or a story idea that begs to be written, and then I work through whatever's bugging me that way, unkinking character flaws as I struggle to figure out what's bothering me IRL.

I've learned a few things this way - when my fingers ached from holding the pencil too tightly, even though I still had pages left to fill, when my eyes were pounding from staring at the computer screen, when my heart hurt because I didn't understand what I was trying to tell myself, not even when the words were staring me in the face.

i) Once you write something, it's real, and

ii) You HAVE to be honest. With your readers, sure, but mostly with yourself.

These are two things you have to understand if you're going to get into writing, no matter what kind of wordplay it is. Whether it's poetry or novels or just a private journal, words have power, and once you put them on the page, there's no going back. You can put black lines through a sentence or erase it until there's a hole in the page, but once you write something down, it's real. That's why, sometimes, when my problem was just a little bit too big, too scary, too utterly intimidating, I wouldn't sprint to my bedroom, or yank my laptop from my desk. I'd pace and think and chew on my lip and maybe pray, but I wouldn't talk about it, and I wouldn't write.
Because I figured out early that to put my problem down on paper was to admit to myself that it was real, that it was something that I had to face, that it had to be fixed, somehow. And a lot of times, it was easier to simply ignore whatever the issue was, hope that it would fix itself, rather than record it forever, when I knew that re-reading it would open the wound again and again.
This applies when you're writing fiction, too. Every word you write, every scene or line of poetry that you take down becomes a part of your project, even if you hit delete right after typing it out. The unsaid words are just as real, just as much a part of your finished work as the visible ones, even if you're the only one who knows they exist.

The second "rule," or "lesson," or "tip," or whatever you want to call it, is...harder. At least for me. Because I can always force myself to write, or not write, or whatever, but sitting down and being completely honest....yi-ikes. See, the thing is, you can write about something that doesn't matter too much to you personally, that isn't right next to your heart, that won't hurt you or rub you the wrong way if people don't understand. But if your subject doesn't matter to you, if you're distanced from it, your readers will be, too.
So, go for it! Write about that issue or situation or feeling that's taking over your life right now. It will be TERRIFYING. It'll scare the pants off you, but that's a good thing, I promise. It means you care...it means your readers will care, too. If you're honest, it will show. Your writing will be real; it will strike a chord with everyone who's ever felt the way you do, and even with those who haven't.

Writing is not easy. It's not a spectator sport, it's not one of those "quick fixes." Writing is hard, and it's brutally honest,  and sometimes it hurts...but it also has incredible power to heal, to encourage both yourself and others, to put out a reassuring few words that say:
"Hey. You're not alone."

Whether writing is something you're interested in, already passionate about, or totally not into, I want to encourage you to pick up your pencil today. Run out to the dollar store and buy yourself a notebook, or just sit down at the computer and open a Word document. Write for a bit, be honest and real and see where it takes you. Don't worry about being good yet, just play around with it for a bit.

I promise you won't regret it.

Olivia, thank you so much for posting! This post is very inspiring to me. 
To my lovely followers, do make sure you check out Olivia's blog, The Cwtch. It's one of my very favorite blogs to read.
- Hannah

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Edinburgh, Scotland // part two

 When I woke up the next morning, I was really excited to head back into the city. There was just so much to see in Edinburgh, and so very little time.

| So, yeah, aren't those cobbled streets and stone buildings to die for? |
| Please don't be fooled by this photo. It looks like a warm summer day, but really it was freezing! |
| The famous Greyfriar's Bobby. |
| Greyfriar's Cemetery is supposed to be the most haunted cemetery in the world. I don't believe in that stuff, but it sure was creepy! |
| What did I tell you? CREEPY. |
| The Ross Fountain in Princes Street Gardens. Photobombed by the Edinburgh Castle. |

Too soon, the day was over and it was time to head to the airport to fly home.

And thus ended our adventure. Edinburgh is an incredible city, and I had so much fun exploring it with my mom and sister.


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Edinburgh, Scotland // part one

 I have a bit of a problem. It's a problem best described as: wanderlust.

                                  (n.) the irresistible, incurable desire to
                                               travel or wander

  As a victim of wanderlust, I of course was ecstatic to hear that I'd be getting the opportunity to spend a weekend in the city of Edinburgh, Scotland with my mom and my sister, Heather. That was all the way back in November, but looking at the photos I took there brings it all fresh to my mind, just as if I was there only a little while ago.

 Let me start off by saying just this: Edinburgh was pretty darn cool.

| Our bus we got on at the airport dropped us off right here, beside the Scott Monument. |
| We then caught a hop-on-hop-off tour bus, that took us all around the city. |
| A telephone box and a police box? I can't handle the Britishness. Also, TARDIS. |
| After the bus tour, we visited the Edinburgh Castle. This is one of the chapels within the castle walls. |
| A view of Edinburgh from the Castle. Plus, epic double rainbow. |

| This is where John Knox lived. |
| After exploring the city for a while, we took a tour of Holyrood Palace. This is where the Queen of England spends her summer months, and it's where so many Kings and Queens have lived in the past (including Mary, Queen of Scotts). Unfortunately I wasn't allowed to take photos inside...but it was beyond amazing in there! You should google it :) This was probably my favorite part of the whole trip. |
| The abbey beside the palace was gorgeous. |

  After an amazing day, it was time to head to our hotel to get some much-needed sleep.

  I'll be posting a second part soon, with what we did on our second (and last) day. Thanks so much for reading...I hope you enjoyed getting a taste of what Edinburgh is like!