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Author Archives: booklearner

About booklearner

booklearner is a Christian, aspiring voice over artist, and author of the blog "booklearned: Life with Books." She also volunteers as a narrator for Librivox.org under the name 'thestorygirl.'

Random Books from Vacation!

You didn’t think I could go on vacation without hitting every library book sale and thrift store I could within a certain radius did you?  Most of these were found during an 11 day ‘business trip on vacation’ (oxymoron).  But book buying is always pleasurable, and these will be finding a place of their own on my shelves.  If I had any more shelves…

 

 

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Posted by on October 1, 2017 in Book Shopping

 

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~Quote for September 2, 2017~

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2017 in Quotes

 

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Little Luxuries?

There is something that annoys me no end. It occurs when I or another book-lover start to talk about books and the person we are conversing with makes some high-handed comment that goes something like this: “I wish I had the luxury of time to read!” This seems to me to be an insult-in-disguise, as if I must be wasting my time if I’m caught reading a book, especially a novel of all things.

If you dig further, you’ll probably find the comment is made out of insecurity. Perhaps I came off sounding too intellectual and they felt inferior.  I hope not, but it could be the case.  Or maybe they used to love to read, but seriously haven’t the time or (more likely) the priority to read and so they feel guilty.

Whatever the case, I am trying to learn to not take it personally. But I started thinking about the whole thing of books and luxuries.  In the area of the world that I live in, we (me included) take books for granted.  We have access to libraries, bookstores, used book sales, interlibrary loan systems, and book selling websites.  School, college, kindles…  Books are even pitched by the hundreds by thrift stores that do not know what to do with all of the ones they receive as donations.  However, in other parts of the world, to own just one book is a pleasure that many people don’t have.  Even being able to read is a luxury and could change a whole family’s life forever if just one child could learn.

Time to read is a luxury as well. I am realizing this as my life changes.  When I was a homeschooled teenager, I read all day for school and then read some more afterwards for ‘fun’.  I’m finding I can’t read as many books in a year as I used to.  Other basic things like cleaning, working, grocery shopping, sleeping, taking time for spiritual growth, etc. take precedence.  However, I have learned to rearrange some things and that has been helping lately.  I’ve found that when I set parameters around certain time-wasters [ie, pinterest!], I can then set reading as a higher priority.

Although I wouldn’t consider reading as essential to life as meal-preparing for example, it vies as a close level category. Why?  Because reading affects quality of life.  When we read, we are open to learning.  When we can learn and grow, we can stretch beyond what was previously possible.  I don’t mean that a person will ‘get rich quick’ if they are able to read.  But the quality of one’s mind and decisions stemming from that will be greatly different than someone who chooses to remain un-self-schooled.  Reading and learning go hand in hand.

I notice this effect in the community in which I live. I don’t abide in a particularly affluent neighborhood.  Along with living here comes stereotypical opinions from others.  It is true, a lot of my neighbors are generally unread, unskilled, and spend their time choosing to engage in unrefined activities.  However, there are a few folks here I’ve come to know who are different in that they are principled, learned (by choice), and their lives have more order and structure.  They may not have a lot of money, yet their quality of life is elevated because of their values (usually honoring God falls into place here), and their determination to be open to learning in the world around them.  Perhaps what is the most mind-blowing is that both of these sets of people have access to a perfectly good library within possible walking distance!

The luxury of time to read? Time may be a luxury depending on what season of life you are in but if one has available access to books, reading should not be a luxury, rather it should be an appreciated necessity!

PS- Many utilize the more trending medium of audiobooks to get more ‘reading’ into their busy schedule.  This is perfectly acceptable, as it still incorporates the power of story and learning into one’s life.  I use the term ‘reading’ in this article to include ‘listening’ as well.

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Book Review: “The Prisoner of Zenda,” by Anthony Hope

2636473Genre: classic; adventure

Plot Summary: [from goodreads:] “Anthony Hope’s swashbuckling romance transports his English gentleman hero, Rudolf Rassendyll, from a comfortable life in London to fast-moving adventures in Ruritania, a mythical land steeped in political intrigue. Rassendyll bears a striking resemblance to Rudolf Elphberg who is about to be crowned King of Ruritania. When the rival to the throne, Black Michael of Strelsau, attempts to seize power by imprisoning Elphberg in the Castle of Zenda, Rassendyll is obliged to impersonate the King to uphold the rightful sovereignty and ensure political stability.”

My Book Review: This story became an immediate favorite years ago when I first saw the old 1952 film version (starring Stewart Granger and Deborah Kerr) when I was 15 years old.  I was staying at my grandpa’s and watched it over and over.  There was something about the swashbuckling adventure full of danger, intrigue, cloak and dagger, and romance that really had me at hello.  In fact, I believe it was one of the first titles I ever entered into my To-Read notebook that I wanted to make sure I read the novel of someday.  It’s been years for me to get around to it, and I was a little bit afraid that the book would let me down in comparison.

This book is not terribly long or hard to get through. I found that the movie version I loved from the first followed the plot pretty well, except for maybe some scenes removed to make for better film-length comprehension.  The book was exciting and fun to read, though I probably would have enjoyed it a little more had I read it first before the movie.  Some parts, such as the Granger-Kerr chemistry is better than the book.  But it’s a great adventure in a vintagey, old-fashioned sort of way.  I’m always in the mood for impersonation stories, intrigue, and suspense.  And I think the tale’s a bit of a classic in that a hard, bittersweet decision is made at the end that leaves you sighing and wishing…  Sort of like Casablanca.

If this sounds like a story you would enjoy diving into, just know that it is actually the second in the Ruritania Trilogy.  I’ve read the first book The Heart of Princess Osra (see book review here), but the two novels are more standalone than anything.  In fact, The Prisoner… is much more of an interesting read than the first.  I will be reading the third in the series, Rupert of Hentzau at some point in time, and I understand that particular one is a better connected sequel to PoZ.

So grab this book if you want an escape to the mountains of the fictional country of Ruritania, where old castle walls, heraldry, and swordfights await you!

“This is movie magic at its mightiest!…” Ha, ha! 😀

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2017 in Book Reviews

 

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How Biblical is the Fantasy Genre?

Someone recently approached my mom and asked her if she liked fantasy.  Sure, she said; some of it.

What constitutes fantasy that is good as opposed to fantasy that is bad?  Is there a difference?  Is there something about it that should make one hesitant from a Christian perspective, or are they all just good fiction stories?  As Christians, we may sometimes be reserved when approaching the fantasy genre because different reasons.  Too much unreality may not be beneficial, or maybe the magical elements are of a corrupting influence.  Then, I have known other Christians who seem to practice no discernment, and devour anything because none of it is true so what’s the problem?

I first discovered author Gene Edward Veith while helping out in the church library.  I still have yet to read his books, but a growing number of his titles are on my TBR list.  I stumbled upon this article written by him, entitled Good Fantasy & Bad Fantasy.  I thought it was an excellent piece that approached the subject in an well-rounded way.  Though perhaps written a few years ago, it’s content is still classic for today’s audience as well.

What are your thoughts on the fantasy genre?

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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More Random Books Finds this Summer

Posting again before I build up too high a stack!  These books were got at library book sales during the month of July.

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2017 in Book Shopping

 

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Non-Fiction I’m Liking (Summer 2017)

If you’re still looking forward to taking your summer vacation and searching for inspiration in a non-fiction read, consider one of these as your beach companion!:

“At Home with Madame Chic: Becoming a Connoisseur of Daily Life,” by Jennifer L. Scott~ Wanting a little more French elegance in your everyday life? The second of Jennifer L. Scott’s non-fiction trilogy (so far) was a memorable read for me a couple of years ago.  Of course I wanted to read this after having read her first book, Lessons from Madame Chic.  I so enjoyed reading about creative ways to establish a lively routine at home.  Conversational in style, Jennifer feels like a trusted friend and I also am a devoted follower of her blog and youtube videos.  I really can’t think of anything to nitpick about it and I’m hankering after Book #3 (Polish Your Poise with Madame Chic)!  This book is perfect for stay-at-home mamas, but not relegated only to that stereotype.  All of us can benefit from living more consciously and happily when we’re at home.

“The Creative Habit”: Learn It and Use it For Life,” by Twyla Tharp~ Speaking of creativity, anyone who claims or aspires to be any type of artist will heartily enjoy this book, written by a NYC dance choreographer. At first I was going to pass on by this, but after taking a closer look I realized it had contained within it lots of encouragement for achieving my dreams of becoming a VO artist.  I’m only on Chapter 5 and I’ve already taken pages of notes and there are even interesting exercises for discovering how you are hardwired creatively.  I was afraid that perhaps the content would be too over my head, but I found it to be easy reading and am having a hard time putting it down.  Having a block and don’t know how or if you should continue forward?  I think you will find the author quite reassuring with a lot of good advice.  This book is a must-read for you!

 
 

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