Monday, September 29, 2014

The Janeite Tag

 Question: How on earth could I possibly pass up a Jane Austen tag?
 Answer: I couldn't.

 First of all, thank you very much to the lovely Elizabeth Anne for tagging me! (you guys should totally go check out her blog. It's awesome!)

The first rule of the tag is that I have to quickly tell you how I was first introduced to all thing Jane Austen, and to give one fun Austen-related fact about myself.

My Introduction to Jane Austen: I don't remember a time when I didn't know about Jane Austen. I think it was my grandma who first introduced my family to the BBC adaptations, and I grew up watching them. I started reading the books about two years ago, and I love those, too. And let's see...a fun fact is that I got to see two of the houses that were used as filming locations in Pride and Prejudice (2005) this summer!


1995 or 2005 Pride and Prejudice?
 It is a truth universally acknowledged that the majority of broken friendships occur as a result of questions such as these. :) I do think that they are both very good, and I do think that the 2005 version is superior in some respects (namely the soundtrack, cinematography, and casting for Mr. Bingley).


BUT...I'm very loyal to the 1995 version. I just enjoy watching it so much more. I love the cast and the classic BBC feel. Plus, Colin Firth.

If you could meet one Jane Austen character, who would it be, and why?
Mr. Darcy. Because he's Mr. Darcy.

Favorite Jane Austen quote?
"You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope...I have loved none but you."
*sigh* That one's from Persuasion. (Captain Wentworth is so poetic.)

How many of Jane Austen's novels have you read?
Five. I still need to read Northanger Abbey!

Would you rather go to a Christmas party with Emma Woodhouse or visit the sea shore with Anne Elliot?
A Christmas party with Emma! But Mr. Elton is not invited.

Have you ever been to England?
Yeah and it was horrible.
 (lol jk it was fabulous)

Would you rather spend two hours listening to Mrs. Bates ramble or with Mrs. Bennet complaining about her poor nerves?
I don't think I could stand having to listen to Mrs. Bennet's complaints. Mrs. Bates may say some very dull things indeed, but at least she's not a big meanie.

I'm going to kind of break the original rules here (hope that's okay, Elizabeth!) and just say that if anyone would like to do this tag, consider yourself tagged to answer these questions! Or you could even answer them down in the comments. Why not start up a 1995 vs. 2005 P&P debate, too? :)


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Remember to Remember

“The world is not in your books and maps. It’s out there.”

Dear Myself,

Remember how blessed you are to be able to call one of the most beautiful places in the world your home. Remember that you live in the country, surrounded by trees and fields and bogs. Remember that it's autumn, and the leaves are falling and the world is changing color.

Some days, you spend all your time indoors. You're working on this or that, and you hardly even stop to look out your window. You start to forget. But don't.

Because you might not always live in Ireland in the country in autumn.

love, Hannah

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Like That, Read This

 I'm sure you other bookworms have had this experience:

 You just finished a really good book. It was amazing! You'd never read anything like it! But now, you need more books just like it. What do you do? I mean, what do you do after you read all the sequels and all the other books by the author? After you go through the Goodreads lists and scan Amazon's "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought"? What do you do then?

 I don't know. I just don't know. It's the bookworm's eternal struggle.

 But I do know that it's very helpful to get ideas from other readers. So I decided to take a couple books that I've read and loved, and match them up with other favorites that I thought were similar. There's only a few, but who knows? Maybe I'll help some poor, frantic bookworm somewhere out there in the universe. (if so, you're welcome, but now you owe me brownies and a box of books)

 If you liked Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, you probably like books about unique (and previously homeschooled) young people who go to school for the first time and are treated like complete freaks. You probably also like minimalist covers and pretty shades of blue. In that case, read Wonder by R. J. Palacio. It's gooood.


 If you liked The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak, you probably enjoy crying yourself to sleep. You probably also like historical fiction set during the 1940s. Please go read Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys.


 If you liked The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley, you must have a thing for adventure and brilliant world-building. You probably appreciate sarcasm, a dash of magic, and political intrigue. So why not read The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner?


 If you read and enjoyed Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, then you probably like your sci-fi a bit on the dark side. You like it to tackle tough moral issues as well as being fast-paced and exciting. Words like "aliens", "future", and "mentally scarred young children" strike your interest. Read The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, and you (hopefully) won't regret it.


  If you liked The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale, then you have a thing for beautifully written fairytale retellings. You like reading about far off places, daring sword fights, magic spells, and princes in disguise (get the reference). In that case, you should give East (also called North Child) by Edith Pattou a try.

 So, what do ya think? Agree or disagree with the books I matched together? Maybe I'll bake brownies for you in exchange for some of your own "like that, read this" recommendations.


Friday, September 19, 2014

We Give a Forty Pound Tip // UK, Part 6

  Now we come to the last day of my UK trip. Technically, we were there for another full day, plus the day of traveling home - but this is the last day where we went sightseeing. The other days were full of getting lost trying to find the Downton Abbey house (it was closed when we did find it) and packing and cleaning the holiday home. Just comparatively boring stuff.

  On the sixth day of our trip we went to Oxford.

  It was the best.

 First, we headed for "The Eagle and Child" for lunch. Do you know what this place is? DO YOU? It's the pub where C.S Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and their friends met for their Inklings club.

Not only was there the cool-factor of it being a favorite spot of two of my favorite authors, it also was just the cutest place ever and the food was delish.

After lunch, we found the place where our walking tour was to start. Our tour guide arrived as well as a bunch of other people who were taking the tour. The tour guide took us to a bunch of different colleges (the "colleges" all being part of Oxford University, obvs), all the while telling us all about the history of the University and about all the bizarre things that go on there.

One of the Bizarre Things I Heard from our Tour Guide:
- The university has pet tortoises that they race yearly, a tradition that has been going on for years. One of the colleges had a tortoise for over 40 years, named Rosa. Their beloved Rosa always won the races. Eventually, the other colleges couldn't stand it any longer. One day Rosa disappeared (supposedly kidnapped by another college) and was never seen again.

| The architecture in this town is cray |
| This beautiful thing is Radcliffe's Camera. It's a library. GOOD GOLLY. |
| Ewwww so ugly am I right. |
| Look! Young chaps dressed in fancy white outfits playing cricket in the well-trimmed green! What is this, Downton Abbey? ||

 We heard about a lot of smart, distinguished people. Hearing about all those geniuses who changed the world really starts to get to you. At first you're like, oh yay, this is cool. Smart people!

But then it hits you how very dumb and insignificant you are and you just feel like:

 It's weird.

| Evidence of another Oxford tradition. Trashing fellow students with confetti, feathers, flour etc. after their last exam. |

 See that random patch of unpaved cobblestone up there? That's really special. I don't know if you guys know this, but one of my favorite things in the whole world is learning about church history. And especially church history involving the Reformation. So seeing that spot up there, where Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley were martyred, was pretty amazing.

"Play the man, Master Ridley; we shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out."



Anyway, one more cool thing to see. The last cool thing of this post, and the last cool thing of my trip.

And that, of course, was seeing C. S. Lewis' home.

 And at that moment it all became too much for me and I just collapsed from seeing too many cool things.

 When I woke up from my feels-overload-coma I was back at home in Ireland scrolling pinterest and worrying about my rich tea biscuits falling into my tea and wondering if that England thing really did happen. ME? GO TO ENGLAND? NO, THAT CAN'T BE. WHO TOOK THESE PICTURES?

Anywho. That's the end of my trip. Hope you liked reading about it.



Friday, September 12, 2014

See ya, Álainn.

 Hey hey hey! It's me. Hannah from what-used-to-belainn. 

 So, you know what are unquestionably confusing and maybe a little irritating? Blog name changes. But do you know what are unquestionably necessary sometimes? Blog name changes.

This is my third name change. It would be awesome if it were my last, but don't count on it. I'm sooo changeable.

Some of you may not have been around to remember it, but my blog started off as "IrishGirl". I called it that because I was a total American Girl fan and my blog was primarily about that. Even after the American Girl days were over, I kept the name because "Hey! I'm still Irish (well, kinda) and I'm a girl, so why not!". But it was kinda lame so I changed it to Álainn a while ago.

 I liked Álainn because it was a) an Irish word, so it still was a nod towards where I live and b) it meant "lovely" or "beautiful", which are words I love and use an awful lot.

 But it's time for Álainn to go as well, because a) It has a confusing pronunciation (apparently you're supposed to say "a-lish"? I know, I never called it that either) and b) The fada (the thing above the first A) is annoying. I have to copy and paste it from google every time I need to type it. Lame-sauce. Also, I feel like I've outgrown it. I needed something new and exciting.

 The title "The Daisy Tree" seems to fit better than the other two ever did. It's from a Robert Louis Stevenson poem, about someone dreaming about being in a fairy land where the daisies are like trees.

When at home alone I sit
And am very tired of it,
I have just to shut my eyes
To go sailing through the skies-
To go sailing far away
To the pleasant Land of Play;
To the fairy land afar
Where the Little People are;
Where the clover-tops are trees,
And the rain-pools are the seas,
And the leaves, like little ships,
Sail about on tiny trips;
And above the Daisy tree
     Through the grasses,
High o'erhead the Bumble Bee
     Hums and passes.

So. Welcome to The Daisy Tree.


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Pooh's Bread & Butter Pudding // Fictional Feasts

Christopher Robin said, "What do you like doing best in the world Pooh?"...
And Pooh, when he had thought it all out, said, "What I like best in the whole world is Me and Piglet going to see You, and You saying, 'What about a little something?' and Me saying, 'Well, I wouldn't mind a little something, should you, Piglet,' and it being a hummy sort of day outside, and birds singing."

  (A "hummy" sort of day. Oh, how I love Pooh Bear.)

  At a quaint little curio shop in the village of Goring-on-Thames we found The Pooh Cook Book by Katie Stewart. It's the cutest little thing, and the recipes in it are so simple and British and definitely Pooh-ish.

 Yesterday, I decided to make something I'd never made before: Bread and Butter Pudding.

"...And we must all bring Provisions."
"Bring what?"
"Things to eat."
"Oh!" said Pooh happily. "I thought you said Provisions."

“It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?” 

 It was delicious! At the risk of sounding too much like Nigella Lawson, I'd say this is the ultimate comfort food. It's so sweet and warm and rainsin-y. Perfect for a rainy autumn day.

 Ever tried Bread and Butter Pudding before? What's your favorite rainy day dessert?

Previous Fictional Feasts:
Bilbo's Afternoon Tea
A Redwall Picnic
Camp Half-Blood Favorites