"The book is a film that takes place in the mind of the reader." ~ Paulo Coelho

Friday, January 31, 2020

Heidi Read-Along: The End!

Hello, friends!

I am here one last time for Seasons of Humility's (run by Amber) Heidi Read-Along!
It has been absolutely delightful to reread this and share my thoughts as well as read everyone else's. Make sure to read Amber's final thoughts HERE as well as checking out Julie's and Carissa's blogs.

Spoiler alert! I will be talking about the ending of the book Heidi, so if you want to be surprised when you read it, don't continue reading this post any more!

Heidi - by Johanna Spyri: Chapters 19-23
Discussion format: your favorite quotes, general impressions, and three questions to answer for each week's reading

Favorite Quotes:

'Then she would run round again to the sunny space in front of the hut, and seating herself on the ground would peer closely into the short grass to see how many little flower cups were open or thinking of opening.'

'"Foresight is a virtue," responded the lady, amused, "and prevents many misfortunes."'

'The old man stood and watched the green slopes under the higher peaks gradually growing brighter with the coming day and the dark shadows lifting from the valley, until at first a rosy light filled its hollows, and then the morning gold flooded every height and depth---the sun had risen.'

'The great snowfield overhead sparkled as if set with thousands and thousands of gold and silver stars.'

General Impressions:

I'm pretty sure that when I read this the first time I thought it was boring and read it quickly to be done with, which is why I don't remember any of it. Now, with all of the books I usually read I didn't find it boring, but really relaxing!

Peter finally learns to read! Heidi at first wouldn't read because of what Peter said so it was neat that it came around and she taught him, though her way made me laugh. It is amusing how she would threaten him that he would have to go to Frankfurt and his reaction is hilarious.

Clara and Grandmamma get to visit! It was very short, but the peek into Alm-Uncle's made a lot of sense. His taking care of Clara makes my heart happy! Just delightful happenings on the mountain ensue.

Peter! I didn't believe it possible that he could be that by naughty breaking the chair. But, Clara learns to walk because of it! I love how Grandmamma put it:
"So you see, Peter, God is able to bring good out of evil for those whom you meant to injure, and you who did the evil were left to suffer the unhappy consequences of it."
And the description of a conscience as a watchman who keeps poking you is so accurate! How we are more punished by that than anything else.

Grandmamma is just so wise all around. I loved her saying this:
"Dear child, let us enjoy all of the beautiful things that we can see, and not think about those that we cannot."
The way she was also so kind and thoughtful to the other grandmother made me happy!

Surprising Grandmamma and Herr Sesemann was so sweet! Ah, happy endings are so inspiring and uplifting. To quote Cinderella (2015), "They are quite my favorite kind."

Discussion Questions:

1. What did you think of Peter's reading lessons and Heidi's teaching methods?

Her threats seemed a little out of character, but as soon as she saw that he was going to do it she comforted him which was sweet. The way he was so into it ("No! I won't go!") cracked me up. I have had to teach people to read (with not a lot of progress), so it was interesting to see the style.

2. Which scene did you find the most beautiful or memorable in these last chapters?

In years to come I will probably remember when Clara gets to see the mountain flowers for the first time by walking. Oh, and the lessons that Peter learned, especially his penny a week for life!

3. If you could step into the pages of the book, what would you be most eager to experience? (A night gazing at the stars from the loft? Waking up to the sound of the wind through the fir trees? Sitting among the flowers and goats on the mountain? Or something else?)

The goats are such a unique part of this book, and while I am known to be doubtful of goats (it's a really long story about how I never used to think that there were goats in a certain place. It's confusing, but just ask my mom and sisters and they will tell you.), I think that it would be neat to experience being with them. Oh, and I love stars, so absolutely that.

A huge thank you to Amber for hosting this! I had a blast.

Thanks to all of you for reading! What do you think of the ending of this book?


Thursday, January 30, 2020

Short Film Review: The Snow Queen (1992)

Hello, everyone!

I'm sorry that I have a lot of posts piling up at the end of the month, but I have so much that I want to talk about this month. As it is January, I want to talk about something wintry! This is a short film and I don't know if it counts as a "movie", but as I'm trying new things in 2020 we'll roll with it!

My guarantee: On ALL of my reviews there are NO spoilers unless I give you warning.

The Snow Queen (1992):
Based on: The Snow Queen - by Hans Christian Andersen.
A little girl named Girda goes on an adventure to find her best friend Kai who has been stolen away by the Snow Queen.
Genre: Fantasy, animated, family.
Length: approx. 26 minutes.
Script: 10, no bad words. It pretty much follows exactly the original story. It is only narrated by Sigourney Weaver and there is no other talking.
Directed by: Marek Buchwald, & Vladlen Barbe.
Written by: Maxine Fisher, Joshua M. Greene, & Marek Buchwald.
Sigourney Weaver as the Narrator.
Animation: 10! Okay, so while sometimes peoples faces look a little strange, this animation is absolutely gorgeous! It is so utterly amazing!
Music: 8, I can't think of this music going with anything else, it fits so perfectly. It definitely makes me think of snow!
Music by: Jason Miles.
Content: 10, nothing bad at all!
Originality: 10! They did cut out some bits, but everything they added is so beautiful and makes me so happy! Everything they did with the raven, the mirror, and the doll fits so well, I was surprised to learn that it wasn't part of the story.
Good For: Fairytale lovers, everyone!
Age Range: Absolutely anyone can watch it! And, I recommend that they do!
Overall Score: 9.5!
Bonus thoughts:
This was my first introduction to this stunning story, and I love it so much. It had been forever since I watched it. The story of how far someone will go for one whom they love is beautiful! There is a sad lack of photos of this (two of these are screenshots), but you can watch it on YouTube, so go do that now!

Why am I reviewing this now? Well, all month Fairy Tale Central has featured The Snow Queen and I thought I should bring my favorite version to light! Check out all of the posts they did HERE.

Thanks for reading! Have any of you seen this? What is your favorite version of The Snow Queen (I'm guessing Frozen?)?


Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Till We Have Faces: Chapters 8-21

Hiya, all!

Time for part two of Olivia's (Meanwhile in Rivendell...) Till We Have Faces Read-Along!
I am combining two discussions in this post because I am a little late and need to catch up. Make sure to read both of Oliva's posts for chapters 8-14 and chapters 15-21.

Spoiler alert! If you haven't read Till We Have Faces don't read any more of this post! I will be talking about all my thoughts on it with no restraint.

Till We Have Faces - by C. S. Lewis: Chapters 8-21
Format: Questions and then thoughts.

Discussion Questions:
Chapters 8-14:

1.  Psyche is described before her "sacrifice" as being painted and costumed beyond recognition.  Do you see any additional Crucifixion parallels in that?  Why might Lewis incorporate any of those sort of parallels into a character who does not seem meant to be a Christ figure?

I'm drawing a blank here. I can't think of any other similarities (though I'm sure there are quite a few). And I don't know the inside of Lewis's brain, haha! Um, any thoughts from any of you?

2.  Bardia claims that "You see [the King] at his worst with women and priests and politic men.  The truth is, he's half afraid of them."  Why would the King be afraid of them?  Does he recognize some strength in them that he knows he does not possess?

I know that sometimes to the people or things that I am most afraid of I can seem rather loud and crazy because I don't want others to know that I am afraid of them, but mostly because I am trying to convince myself that there is nothing to fear. That's what I thought of when Bardia said that, though I wouldn't compare myself to the King in any other way.

3.  Orual feels it is her duty to squelch any flickers of joy after she is separated from her sister and presumes her dead.  The Bible says we are to grieve with those who grieve.  Does this mean it is wrong to take pleasure in anything (for a period of time) after we have suffered a loss?

'The grief was coming back with my strength. So was the Fox's.'
I believe there is a time for that, but then we do need to learn to grow and see the joy in things again. I really liked this bit:
'Now, flung at me like frolic or insolence there came as if it were a voice, no words, but, if you made it into words it would be, "Why should your heart not dance?"'

4.  Psyche suggests that "people are most ashamed of . . . the things they can't help".  Is this true?

I find this to be the exact opposite for me. Things that I can't change I tend to just accept and look at the bright side, but with anything that I can help or it is my fault I feel terrible about.

Chapters 15-21:

1.  When thinking about Psyche as she was before the debacle of the Great Sacrifice, Orual characterizes the time as "when she was still happy, and still mine."  How does this sum up the possessiveness of Orual's love for Psyche?  What does it say about how she views her?

Love is selfless. Orual has only ever been loved by the Fox and Psyche, where she has been abused by others. She doesn't want to let go, which I completely understand and my heart bleds for her.

2.  Lewis describes Orual's reaction to the King's potentially fatal illness in this way:  "The largeness of a world in which he was not . . . the clear light of a sky in which that cloud would no longer hang . . . freedom."  Isn't it extraordinary how the author is able to capture and convey the feelings of an abuse survivor so accurately?

Yes. I tend to feel sorry for characters like the King, but not this time because he just hurt so many people all the time and did terrible things.

3.  In this book, Lewis gives a lot of insight into the realities of life as a soldier.  How much did Lewis's own experience as a WWI veteran influence his writing, both in general and in this book?

I feel like most of Lewis's war experience is pored out through Bardia. War also gives an appreciation of life, and I feel that expressed through his writing.

A Few Ponderings:

The part where Orual convinced Psyche to take the lamp reminded me a lot of the story of Adam and Eve. I don't blame Psyche because Orual was being cruel, but there are a lot of paralells. Psyche was in a sort of paradise and then she couldn't get in again.

The way it is written takes away the suspense. I love stories told in first person, but because it is past tense you know that Orual is going to live through everything because she is writing it.

I am quite surprised where the story is going!

Personal Highlights:
(Please pardon me if my punctuation or spelling is off on these quotes. I'm listening to an audiobook so I don't know how it looks.)

Chapters 8-14:
"It is these chances that nourish the beliefs of barbarians."
"How often, grandfather, have you told me that there is no such thing as chance?"
"You are right, it was an old trick of the tongue."

"And don't look at my face, look at my sword! It isn't my face that's going to fight you."

"And you won't understand the wonder and glory of my adventure unless you listen to the bad part."

"One can't dream things like that because one's never seen things like that."

'"You don't think...possibly not as a mere...hundreth chance there might be things that are real though we can't see them?"
"Certainly I do! Such things as justice, equality, the soul, or musical notes."'

"A good man might be an outlaw and a runaway." (This reminded me of Robin Hood, heehee!)

'"You don't believe in the divine blood of our house." I said.
"Oh yes, of all houses, all men are of divine blood for there is the God in everyman. We are all one."'

Chapters 15-21:
"I've played chess too long to hazard my queen." (Yes! Chess!)

'The memory of his voice and face was kept in one of those rooms of my soul that I didn't likely unlock.'

'I was with book as a woman is with child.' (This is so accurate, because once you have a story idea it is with you constantly!)

Thank you so much to Olivia for hosting! As well as thanks to all of you for reading! What are your thoughts on this?


Sunday, January 26, 2020

Heidi Read-Along: Chapters 9-18

Greetings, everyone!

I am here today continuing my participation in Amber's, who blogs at Seasons of Humility, Heidi Read-Along!
I am combining two week's discussions because I had so much that I wanted to blog about this month that I want to get as much in as possible. Make sure check out Amber's thoughts both HERE (chapters 9-13) and HERE (chapters 14-18).

Spoiler alert! If you have not read the book Heidi then read no further because that is all that I will be talking about in this post!

Heidi - by Johanna Spyri: Chapters 9-18
Discussion format: your favorite quotes, general impressions, and three questions to answer for each week's reading (six for two weeks)

Favorite Quotes:

'She entered into the lives of all the people she read about so that they became like dear friends to her, and it delighted her more and more to be with them.'

'The fresh bright morning sun lay on mountain and valley. The sound of a few early bells rang up from the valley, and the birds were singing their morning song in the fir trees.'

'As the old man at last stood alone with the child, watching their retreating figures, there was a light upon his face as if reflected from some inner sunshine of heart.'

"The happiest of all things is when an old friend comes and greets us as in former times; the heart is comforted with the assurance that some day everything that we have loved will be given back to us."

'The early light of morning lay rosy red upon the mountains, and a fresh breeze rustled through the fir trees and set their ancient branches waving to and fro.'

I realized that we see the same things described again, and again, but I love it every time and always take note of it.

General Impressions:
Chapters 9-13:

We get to meet Herr Sesemann! I always have thought that he is so reasonable and keeps his head when everyone else is panicking. He is so kind to Heidi and the love he shows Clara is so sweet.

We also met the other Grandmamma. This lady has so much wisdom. I was sad to see her leave. I love how she takes care of Heidi and advises her in the best ways, like this:
"Then, dear child, let me tell you what to do: you know that when we are in great trouble, and cannot speak about it to anybody, we must turn to God and pray to Him to help, for He can deliver us from every care that oppresses us."
I also love the use of the story the Prodigal Son! It works so perfectly.

Poor Heidi! She has such a big heart and just misses her home and family so much.

I realized that I haven't said anything about Tinette, but what can I say? She is annoying.

A big part of this section is the "mysterious ghost" that everyone is afraid of. This is not a plot twist or a surprise for me, because for as long as I can remember I have known that this is Heidi. It's just a fact of life in literature. Because I knew what was going on the staff's reactions are pretty comical. Can I say how much I love Herr Sesemann and the doctor? They rock, especially when the doctor helps her when no one else has by prescribing her to go back home in the mountain air to get well again.

Going home! Heidi leaves Herr Sesemann's house accompanied by Sebastian who is called a coward (about the whole ghost section).I think that he was the best choice to bring her home, but I was rather peeved with him because he didn't want to walk all the way up the mountain!

Chapters 14-18:

Even though this is a reread for me, these four chapters are new because I didn't remember them. They are so cute, though! I'm glad that I have picked this up again.

Once again, the Prodigal Son is used beautifully. I love how Heidi shares all that she has learned with her grandfather. It just makes my heart so, so, so, so happy! She also shares her reading with the grandmother, and her joy with the doctor.

Remember what I said about Clara in my last post? How I thought that she was a side character with not a lot of personality? Well, I was wrong. In this section it struck me of how strong (in character) and kind and thoughtful she is. When her father tells her that she can't make the trip because of her health, she doesn't scream, yell, or make a fuss. She holds back her tears of disappointment, but she doesn't complain because she knows that the doctor and her father only wish the best for her.

All of the gifts are so thoughtful! And the doctor coming with them was the perfect touch. This book is so peaceful and happy, I love having it be a part of my days.

Oh, Peter. He is not mischievous, but he is reluctant to do things that he thinks will be hard. I love how both Heidi and the Alm-Uncle encourage him to grow.

Discussion Questions:
Chapters 9-13:

1. What struck you most from the grandmamma's (Frau Sesemann's) interactions with Heidi?

Besides what I mentioned earlier, I love how she convinced Heidi to be willing to learn. Peter has made such a big impression on her, especially his stubbornness, so I was so glad the the grandmamma was able to work around that with this:
"Peter must be a very odd boy then! But listen, Heidi, we must not always go by what Peter says, we must try for ourselves."

2. Do you think Heidi could have learned to thrive in the Sesemann house over time, or do you think she truly needed to go back to the Alm in order to be healthy and happy again?

I don't think she would have gotten any better. I know that whenever I leave home I have the hope of returning, but Rottenmeier took away all of that from Heidi. She is a bright little soul, but she thought that she wasn't going to see the people she loves again, or that she would be too late. I think that she could be happy at the Sesemann house if she really could go back anytime she wanted, but now that she is home she will never leave. Which I get, because my home is my happy place, too.

3. What was your favorite part about Heidi's return home?

All of the reunions! The Grandmother, Peter, and the Alm-Uncle's reactions are so precious and it shows how much she lights up each of their lives!

Chapters 14-18:

1. Which scene in this section made you the most happy when you read it?

I don't think I can pin point an exact spot. Probably when Heidi and her grandfather went to church! Or when she told the doctor that she would go with him back to Frankfurt if it would make him happy.

2. In what way has one of the characters inspired you?

Heidi's faith is so inspiring to me. Her beautiful trust and helping those she loves is amazing.

3. How would you feel about living in the "mansion" in Dörfli where Heidi and her grandfather spend the winter?

It seems like a such a cozy place for the winter! So yes, I would like that.

Thank you to Amber for hosting and thanks to all of you for reading! What do you think of this book?


Thursday, January 23, 2020

Movie Review: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)

Hello, everyone!

It has been a while since I reviewed a mystery, so it is time for another Sherlock Holmes! I saw this movie for the first time just over two years ago and have watched it at least 30 times since. This is a sequel, so check out my review of the first movie HERE.

My guarantee: On ALL of my reviews there are NO spoilers unless I give you warning. This is spoiler free!

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011):
Based on: Sherlock Holmes - by Arthur Conan Doyle.
"It is our last adventure, Watson, I plan to make the most of it."
Sherlock Holmes is trying to convince his best friend John Watson to solve one last case with him. After fighting an assassin who was trying to kill a gypsy, he and Watson follow that same gypsy to France. The learn that her brother might be wrapped up in a plot. What is it, though? Lurking in the shadows is Professor Moriarty who is in control of all of these happenings. Both Holmes and Moriarty are geniuses, but who will win this final game?
"Trust me, I do this for a living."
Genre: Mystery, Action, Adventure.
Length: approx. 129 minutes
Costumes: 7, there are a few times when a character isn't wearing a shirt or any clothing.
Costumes by: Jenny Beavan.
Script: 8, there is some name calling and one or two bad words.
'"Isn't this a bit conspicuous?"
"It's so overt, it's covert."'
Directed by: Guy Ritchie.
Written by: Michele Mulroney & Kieran Mulroney.
Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock Holmes.
Jude Law as Dr. John Watson.
Noomi Rapace as Madam Simza Heron.
Jared Harris as Professor James Moriarty.
Stephen Fry as Mycroft Holmes.
Paul Anderson as Colonel Sebastian Moran.
Kelly Reilly as Mary.
Geraldine James as Mrs. Hudson.
Eddie Marsan as Inspector Lestrade.
Rachel McAdams as Irene Adler.
William Houston as Constable Clark.
Wolf Kahler as Doctor Hoffmanstahl.
Jack Laskey as Carruthers.
Alexandre Carril as Twin.
Victor Carril as Twin.
Thorston Manderlay as Alfred Meinhard.
Afif Ben Badra as Tamas Morato.
Stanley Kaye as Stanley.
Thierry Neuvic as Claude Ravache.
Laurentiu Possa as Rene Heron.
Cinematography: 10, oh, this is so cool! All of the scenes are filmed in such an awesome way, I love it!
Cinematography by: Philippe Rousselot.
Music: 10! I love this score! It is in my top 10 favorites of all time.
Music by: Hans Zimmer.
Quotes: 9, my sister and I quote this movie often!
Watson: '"You seem--"
Holmes: "Excited?"
Watson: "Manic. Verging on--"
Holmes: "Ecstatic?"
Watson: "Psychotic."'
Content: 7, there is quite a bit of action meaning intense fighting scenes with death and killing, pain and torture. With that comes a few scenes with blood. There is also drinking, smoking, and a few suggestive things.
Originality: 10, the mystery is, how does Holmes say it?: "This is so deliciously complicated." I love including chess (because I love that game!) and all of the elements work so well together!
Good For: mystery lovers, Sherlock Holmes fans!
Age Range: Because there are so many intense scenes it is rated PG-13, but it depends on the person. My little sister refuses to watch this because she thought that the first movie Sherlock Holmes (2009) was really scary. I don't mind the action too much, though at times I do wince and look away.
Overall Score: 9!
Bonus thoughts:
Oh, I love this movie! I do think that the first one will always be my favorite, but this is a worthy sequel! The characters are so perfect as well as the actors who play them. The cinematography and music are A+! The twists will make you gasp and you are amazed at the brilliance! I saw the ending of this movie before I saw the beginning (Yeah, I don't know why), but even so, I was stumped by the mystery! It is also hilarious! My sister and I nearly die of laughter at a few parts. This is so awesome, just go watch it after you see the first one.

There you have it! Have any of you seen this? What are your thoughts? And, do you like this one or the first better?

Thanks for reading!


Sunday, January 19, 2020

Movie Review: Driving Miss Daisy (1989)

Hello, everyone!

In honor that tomorrow is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and you might be looking for a movie to watch, I am going to review a Best Picture winning movie from the 1989 Oscars. This is what my family watched last year, and the story is very fitting especially because in one part it features Martin Luther King Jr. giving a speech. Enjoy!

My guarantee: On ALL of my reviews there are NO spoilers unless I give you warning. This is spoiler free!

Driving Miss Daisy (1989):
Based on: Driving Miss Daisy (a play) - by Alfred Uhry.
"Think what you want, I know the truth."
When Mrs. Daisy Werthan has an accident with her car, her son, Boolie, realizes that she is getting too old to drive herself around. She greatly enjoys going on rides so Boolie hires her a chauffeur. Hoke Colburn is grateful to have a job and wants to do everything that he can, but she doesn't trust him. Slowly, a friendship begins to form between Daisy and Hoke through their experiences driving together.
"She's probably gonna throw a fit."
Genre: Drama.
Length: approx. 137 minutes.
Costumes: 8, they fitted the time perfectly.
Costumes by: Elizabeth McBride.
Script: 8, a few bad words and some name calling, but the name calling is shown as bad and wrong.
"That's the silliest thing I've ever heard of in my life! Who cares if the light bulbs are dusted?"
Directed by: Bruce Beresford.
Written by: Alfred Uhry.
Morgan Freeman as Hoke Colburn.
Jessica Tandy as Daisy Werthan. "Are you trying to irritate me in the middle of a nice storm?"
Dan Aykroyd as Boolie Werthan.
Esther Rolle as Idella.
Patti Lupone as Florine Werthan.
William Hall Jr. as Oscar.
Joann Havrilla as Miss McClatchey.
Muriel Moore as Miriam.
Sylvia Kaler as Beulah.
Crystal R. Fox as Katie Bell.
Cinematography: 8. Nice, I like the use of the car mirrors.
Cinematography by: Peter James.
Music: 10! This is quite a familiar tune in my household. It has such a simplicity that I love.
Music by: Hans Zimmer.
Quotes: 8.
'"Momma, you can do anything you want."
"Thank you for your permission."'
Oscars won: 4: Best Picture, Best Actress (Jessica Tandy), Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Makeup.
Content: 8, there is smoking, talk about killings, and things to do with the bathroom. The movie is about racism, and why that is unjust and wrong. We see several instances of prejudice against people and talk about it.
Originality: 8, it is nice to see a quiet movie, and I like the relationship explored between a Jewish lady and an African American chauffeur!
Good For: I think this is an important movie for everyone, but especially for people who have been through seeing the ones that they love age and grow old.
Age Range: This movie is rated PG, and I would agree with that. It does explore some deeper themes that might be hard to grasp for someone really young, but it is really clean.
Overall Score: 8!
Bonus thoughts:
"Some days she's better than others, but who ain't?"
I know that many people think that this movie is sad and confusing, and it is, but for some reason I really liked it. I think most of what contributes to that is that I have experienced a big thing from this, namely, watching people that you know grow old and forget people and things. It is hard, but a fact of life, and all of us have seen it in some way.
This movie reminds me a lot of To Kill A Mockingbird, and while I love that more, this one still has its moments. It shows how sometimes we judge other people and forget that they may be judging us, but the best thing is to not judge at all. My mom told my sisters and I that the message to take away from this movie is:
"Love conquers injustice."

Have any of you seen this movie? Any suggestions for films to watch on Martin Luther King Jr. Day? Thank you for reading!


Saturday, January 18, 2020

Till We Have Faces Read-Along: Chapters 1-7

Hello again, everyone!

This is my first post in the second of the two read-alongs that I am participating it! This one is hosted by the lovely Olivia at Meanwhile in Rivendell... and it is all about Till We Have Faces.
I am a huge C. S. Lewis fan, but that being said I've only read The Chronicles of Narnia and Reflections on the Psalms, so as soon as I saw Olivia announce this I knew that I wanted to be part of it!
Make sure to read Olivia's post about this week's thoughts HERE.

Spoiler alert! I will be giving my thoughts all about the book Till We Have Faces, so if you haven't read it don't continue any further!

Till We Have Faces - by C. S. Lewis: Chapters 1-7
Format: Questions and then thoughts.

Discussion Questions:

1. What do you think of the book's opening line and paragraphs?  Why are they effective?

It really gives me the impression of the narrator being tired with life, and it was very effective to make me wonder how the person got that way!

2. Orual often talks about a "smell of holiness" entering (or contaminating) a space.  How could a character believably recognize holiness in a scent?  Why would Orual be repulsed by it from infancy?

I really liked Olivia's response for this one. To me the smell that Orual is referring to is the sacrifice smell of blood. That would definitely be repulsive to me and I agree with it "contaminating" a place.

3. A major element of the plot is Psyche's beauty.  Orual says, "She made beauty all around her. . . . When she picked up a toad ⎼ she had the strangest and, I thought, unchanciest love for all manner of brutes ⎼ the toad became beautiful."  Is there foreshadowing in this?  Does it remind you at all of the Beauty and the Beast fable?

The most beautiful hearts are those that show love to everything! Psyche is so sweet and caring, I can see that reflecting on the people or things that she interacts with. Oh, I hadn't thought of the Beauty and the Beast connection!

4.  What do you think of the foreshadowing that you have seen so far, in general?  Is it effective or obvious?

Um, I have absolutely no idea of what is going to happen next, so I am still interested! It is keeping me hooked!

5. The practices of the "Great Offering" ritual dictate that the offering be "bound to the Tree," and that "In the Great Offering the victim must be perfect."  Do you see a connection here to the crucifixion of Jesus?  If so, do you think it was intentional on Lewis's part?

See, this is why I love read-alongs, because things are pointed out that I would never have thought of! I do know that C. S. Lewis meant to put a lot of allegories or connections in his books, but I've also read that he didn't mean to and always was impressed with the things people pointed out in his books, so I don't know if this was one of those times or not. But, from my experience with him so far I bet that he meant to do that.

6. Orual struggles to find truth throughout the whole story.  Already, we can see her torn between the "primitive" traditions of her community priest and the rationalism of her Greek tutor.  Though we trust the Fox more, we can sense flaws even in his reasoning.  Where, between the Fox and the Priest, might truth lie?

Truth is sometimes hard to find because everyone thinks that they are right. I feel drawn more to the Fox's explainations, because overall they make more sense to me. I could be wrong, though!

7. Psyche claims (speaking of marriage) that "To leave your home ⎼ to lose you, Maia, and the Fox ⎼ to lose one's maidenhead ⎼ to bear a child ⎼ they are all deaths."  What does this assertion reveal about this culture's sexual politics?

Reading this I thought of Psyche's mother. To leave her home and all of that was certainly caused her death, but even before that she was unhappy. I do admit that this is the one part of the book that is disturbing me a tiny bit, but it is being shown as wrong and harmful.

Personal Highlights:

'He had all sorts of saying to cheer himself up with: "No man can be an exile if he remembers that all the world is one city." and "Everything is as good or bad as our opinion makes it."'

'All she was saying seemed to me so light, so far away from our sorrow.'

'"Not even for you, Psyche, will I pity Redival, whatever the Fox says."
"Would you like to be Redival? What? No? Then she's pitiable."'

"We have made little use of the Fox's teaching if we're to be scared by death"

"And because it was so beautiful, it set me longing, always longing. Somewhere else there must be more of it."

I was thinking about adding some thoughts to each of those, but they speak for themselves.

Thank you to Olivia for hosting! Make sure to check out the conversation, HERE.

Thanks for reading!


Thursday, January 16, 2020

Heidi Read-Along: Chapters 1-8

Hello, everyone!

I am participating in two read-alongs this month and the first one is the Heidi Read-Along hosted by Amber who blogs at Seasons of Humility!
I have done six read-alongs with Amber before, and they are always a good time!! Make sure you check out Amber's thoughts HERE.

Spoiler alert! I will be talking fondly about everything I've read (so far) in the book Heidi so there will be spoilers, therefore don't read this if you haven't read that book!

Heidi - by Johanna Spyri: Chapters 1-8
Discussion format: your favorite quotes, general impressions, and three questions to answer for each week's reading

Favorite Quotes:

'And so the time passed happily on till evening. Then the wind began to roar louder than ever through the old fir trees; Heidi listened with delight to the sound, and it filled her heart so full of gladness that she skipped and danced through the old trees, as if some unheard-of joy had come to her.'

'Outside the moon was struggling with the dark, fast-driving clouds, which at one moment left it clear and shining, and the next swept over it, and all again was dark.'

'The child sat without moving, her eyes taking in the whole scene, and all around was a great stillness, only broken by soft, light puffs of wind that swayed the light bells of the blue flowers, and the shining gold heads of the cistus, and set them nodding merrily on their slender stems.'

'Heidi was never unhappy, for whenever she was she found something to interest or amuse her.'

Johanna Spyri's descriptions are so gorgeous! They are delightful to read.

General Impressions:

This is my second time reading this, and even though I know everything that is happening and going to happen I still am loving it! My family also owns a picture book version which still is longer than most picture books. Whenever my mom read it to my sisters and me before bed, she would stop every time Heidi went to sleep. I have found that some of chapters do that too, so I have liked keeping up the "tradition".

Something that I found interesting is that it seems most people imagine Heidi with blond hair, I think of her that way myself! I thought that because that is what she looked like in the picture book that we had. In the edition that I am reading (see a like picture above) my sisters and I always thought that it was so wrong that she had dark hair. In chapter 8 I stumbled upon Heidi being described as
"...she has short, curly black hair, and black eyes, and wears a brown dress, and does not talk quite like we do."
My edition is actually accurate!

The characters:
Heidi: She is such a dear! She is so sweet and loving. She treats the goats with so much love and care. The best way to describe her is as the Grandmother does:
"What a loving little heart it is, and how merrily she tells her tale!"
It breaks my heart when she cries about not being able to help the Grandmother see again, though it is healed again (my heart) when she gets her grandfather to fix everything for him, and it was so kind of him to do it.

The Alm-Uncle: Everyone in the book is afraid of him, but he is just depressed...and lonely, though he doesn't know it because he wants to be alone all the time. I love reading about him and Heidi together because she is just a ray of sunshine brightening his life. Whenever she just follows him around it is so cute! It is always sad for me to read when Dete takes her away.

Peter: I thought that it was absolutely adorable when the Alm-Uncle called him "General". At times he can be a little sulky, but I think that he is just introverted which I relate to.

Clara: Of all of the characters, she is the one that seems to have the least memorable bits for me. This might change during this reread, but to me she's just kind of... there. I believe that she is nice, but not much besides that. It is funny to me all of the talk about "gaping" during lessons until Heidi came.

Fräulein Rottenmeier: It absolutely cracks me up that "rotten" is in her name. She is so scrict, she needs to liven up a little!

Sebastian: He is probably my favorite. I don't know why, but there we go. I mean, he did save her hat. This line with him is something that I do everyday:
'Sebastian's face became convulsed, he was overcome with inward laughter but knew his place too well to laugh aloud.'

All of Heidi's adventures are so amusing! Everything with the kittens and the boy with the hand organ don't fail to make me laugh.

Discussion Questions:

1. Which character ended up surprising you most in these first eight chapters?

Surprising me? This time around I found the Alm-Uncle and Peter really relatable for their introversion, which surprised me. Also just loving Sebastian as much as I do without knowing why is surprising.

2. Do you think you would enjoy living the way Heidi's grandfather does? What would you like or dislike about that kind of life and home?

As soon as it was winter in the story I thought, "Yep, I could live like this." I don't know if I would enjoy it all the time, but it would be so neat to spend a lot of time like that, taking a break from my usual distractions.

3. Which scene have you found most touching so far? Most amusing?

Most touching: Heidi crying about the Grandmother being blind.
Most amusing: The kittens and Fräulein Rottenmeier's reaction!

Thank you to Amber for hosting this! And thanks to all of you for reading! What do you think of my observations?


Saturday, January 11, 2020

Movie Review: Miss Congeniality (2000)

Aloha, everyone!
(Sorry, I had to say that because it is a reference in this movie).

Time for another movie review! Today I'll be reviewing a very quotable and funny spy movie that you're sure to get a kick out of. Enjoy!

My guarantee: On ALL of my reviews there are NO spoilers unless I give you warning. This is spoiler free!

Miss Congeniality (2000):
Based on: I read that it is based on a true story of someone who went undercover at a pageant.
When there are threats of a bomb at a famous beauty contest and scholarship program, the FBI decide to have an agent undercover as part of it. They have to hire a specialist to teach the agent Gracie Hart, a rough and sloppy tomboyish girl, how to act like a Miss United States contestant. She has to do things that she hates and perform a talent which she claims that she doesn't have all while putting up with the teasing of all of the other agents. At the same time she interacts with the other girls trying to figure out, could any of them be involved in this plot?
"I'm in a dress, I have gel in my hair, I haven't slept all night, I'm starved and I'm armed. Don't mess with me!"
Genre: Action, Comedy.
Length: approx. 109 minutes.
Costumes: 7, imagine what you know about any pageant like this. Those are the costumes. A little low sometimes, but what did you expect?
Script: 7, there are a few bad words.
Directed by: Donald Petrie.
Written by: Marc Lawrence, Katie Ford, & Caryn Lucas.
Sandra Bullock as Gracie Hart.
Michael Caine as Victor Melling.
Benjamin Bratt as Eric Matthews.
Candice Bergen as Kathy Morningside.
William Shatner as Stan Fields.
Heather Burns as Miss Rhode Island Cheryl Frasier.
Ernie Hudson as Harry McDonald.
John DiResta as Agent Clonsky.
Melissa De Sousa as Miss New York Karen Krantz.
Steve Monroe as Frank Tobin.
Deirdre Quinn as Miss Texas Mary Jo Wright.
Wendy Raquel Robinson as Miss California Leslie Davis.
Cinematography: 7, just usual.
Cinematography by: László Kovács.
Music: 7, I like the songs scattered throughout.
Music by: Edward Shearmur.
Notes: One of the things that my family quotes from this all the time is a reference to the movie Midnight Cowboy (1969). I didn't know that until the other day!
"Hey! I'm gliding here!"
Quotes: 9, as I mentioned above, there are a lot of good quotes here! Sometimes my sisters and I will start saying whole scenes.
'"What would be your ideal date?"
"That's a tough one. I'd have to say April 25th. Because it's not too hot, not too cold, all you need is a light jacket!"'
Content: 6, there is crude humor, drinking, and a lot of suggestive things. There is also a character who proclaims to be homosexual, and I'm telling you this as a warning to anyone who is bothered by that. I believe that is only one scene, though.
Originality: 9, a lot of spy stories involve going undercover, but I'm never seen another at a beauty and talent pageant!
Good For: Comedy lovers, fans of the actors.
Age Range: Because of the crude humor and suggestive things this is rated PG-13, but I think I first watched it when I was about 10 and was fine, so it depends on the person.
Overall Score: 7!
Bonus thoughts:
This is a hilarious movie. While there are a few things that I feel "eh" about, it never fails to make me laugh! My favorite parts are all of the interactions between Sandra Bullock and Michael Caine! I actually always think of both of them as "the actors from Miss Congeniality".
Gracie hates that she has to do this. She especially hates the code name that she has "Gracie Lou Freebush" which she made up mocking the contestants. She thinks that it is all fluff and nonsense, but gradually makes friendships with the other girls and realizes what this could mean for someone.

Why did I review this today? I know that none of you were wondering that, but I'm going to tell you anyway. Hamlette at Hamlette's Soliloquy and Quiggy at The Midnite Drive-In are hosting the Beyond Star Trek Blogathon!
The idea of this blogathon is to feature actors who were big in Star Trek in other roles. As I told Hamlette, I'm not much of a "treky" but I thought that this would be fun to do!

For the blogathon:
The Star Trek actor who is in this is William Shatner, who is famous for playing Captain Kirk. I had watched this movie before I saw bits of Star Trek then when I did but I didn't notice any similarities. It wasn't until I was watching Miss Congeniality again with my sister when she pointed out, "Hey, that's Kirk." My response of course was, "Who?" Once she explained I realized that she was correct.
William Shatner plays Stan Fields who is the announcer and host of the pageant. Even when I was watching this the first time I thought that he had a good "announcing" voice.

A big thank you to Quiggy and Hamlette for hosting!
Thanks for reading! Have any of you seen this? Have you seen William Shatner in anything that isn't Star Trek related?



Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Movie Review: La Belle et la Bête [Beauty and the Beast] (1946)


It is time for my first movie review in 2020! Something that I want to do for this year is explore more genres than I usually do. Film noir, science-fiction, horror (I doubt I'll do this one, though), suspense, but the one that I'm looking forward to the most is... foreign films! I've only reviewed American and British movies or series' on this blog, so I'm excited to talk more about these. It's not like I don't watch them, I do, but I just don't talk about them a lot. Expect to see a lot of Studio Ghibli reviews.

But, for today I am starting out with a French film! I watched this for the first time when I was little, but I revisited it in November and want to share my thoughts with all of you now, too! Enjoy!

My guarantee: On ALL of my reviews there are NO spoilers unless I give you warning. This is spoiler free!

La Belle et la Bête [Beauty and the Beast] (1946):
Based on: La Belle et la Bête [Beauty and the Beast] - by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont
All of a man's wealth is lost at sea but when there is news that he has regained it he hurries to the harbor only to find that the little money it was is all used to pay debts. He gets lost coming home and finds himself at a castle in the forest. Taking a rose for one of his daughters he is startled by a creature demanding his life or that of his daughter. When the merchant gets home he is heartbroken and plans to say one last goodbye to his family, but Belle goes in his palace. Her siblings Félicie, Adélaïde, and Ludovic and a friend who wishes to marry Belle, Avenant, are coming up with a plan to make them rich. Meanwhile her father is terribly ill! Will Belle be trapped there forever?
Genre: Drama, Fairytale, Romance, Foreign.
Length: approx. 93 minutes.
Costumes: 10, I mean wow, these are really exquisite. A few times I thought that they were a little over the top, but still really impressive. Warning, rant coming.
Can talk for a minute about the beast? HE IS NOT CGI. That is a real costume, people, that they had to come up with and he had to wear and it was probably a lot of work. The result: AMAZING. Also kind of terrifiying, but so, so, so good. I cannot stress enough how much I appreciate this!
Costumes by: Christian Bérard.
My favorite: The beast!!!!
Script: 9, no bad words. At least I don't think so, I mean, I don't speak French, I just read the subtitles.
Directed by: Jean Cocteau.
Written by: Jean Cocteau.
Jean Marais as La Bête (The Beast) .
Josette Day as Belle.
Michel Auclair as Ludovic.
Jean Marais as Avenant.
Mila Parély as Félicie.
Nane Germon as Adélaïde.
Marcel André as Belle's Father.
Raoul Marco as The Usurer.
Cinematography: 10, this is so cool! Once again, so impressive without CGI! I love black and white movies, and this has the extra neat edition of the floating hands.
Cinematography by: Henri Alekan.
Music: 7, I remember as I was watching it thinking that it went well with it, but I can't remember what it was now.
Music by: Georges Auric.
Quotes: I'm going to say not applicable (N/A) on this one because there might be really great quotes in French that translates differently in English. I really appreciate subtitles!
Content: 8, there are some scary things, blood, and death, but I think that's it. There might be one or two suggestive things.
Originality: 8, there are the elements that we all know, but I liked seeing the new story bits with the glove and key. Also in most versions Belle's siblings are not featured, so it was interesting to see them being such prominent characters. The ending is still kind of confusing to me, but other than that it's good!
Good For: fairytale fans.
Age Range: The story is a beautiful one of getting to know some one's character instead of judging them on what they look like, but that being said the Beast can be scary. I know that I was terrified when I first saw this and had nightmares actually. When I watched it now I was perfectly fine. So I would definitely recommend this, but wait until someone is over 10 maybe. (And this will be different for everyone, but that's a middle number I would say.)
I want to leave what the beast looks like as a surprise, but if you want to check if it would be too scary for someone, you can look at an image HERE.
Overall Score: 8.5!
Bonus thoughts:
As I have pretty much said everywhere, I love the setting, design, and costumes for this movie! So magnificent and real! Oh, and Belle's siblings are the worst, wow.
When I was watching this last time my little sister came in and kept making hilarious comments which I have to put down here.

[First time she sees Avenant]
Sister: Oh, he's handsome!
Me: He is the equivalent to Gaston in the 1991 version.
Sister: I don't believe you!

[La Betê is sad and lonely looking around Belle's room]
Sister: Wow, that blanket is so fuzzy! If he hugs it I'm going to cry.
[La Betê hugs it]
Sister: Aw, that is too cute and sad! *cries*
Doesn't that look so soft!?

Me: Look at this amazing cinematography!
Sister: I don't like black and white movies.
Me: I know you don't (I do), but imagine, this doesn't have CGI! Look at those floating hands! Isn't that cool?
Sister: No, it's just weird and creepy.

That's it from me (and my sister). Have any of you seen this movie? What foreign films or just films in general do you want me to review? Thanks for reading!

"If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, where you stop your story." -Orson Welles