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January 2019 Word List

I am going to try something new.  I don’t know how this will go or if I will keep it up, but I thought I’d share a fun reading habit I’ve been doing lately.

As recently mentioned, I tried a couple reading groups on goodreads to sort of spice up my reading life.  The first one (The Seasonal Reading Challenge, in case you’re interested) contained challenges where you had to find books that fit into certain categories, like genres, page totals, book cover art, and titles or author’s names that spell out certain words.  This would probably appeal to folks who don’t know what to read next or who want to expand their reading comfort zones.  I did not make it very long in this group mainly because of my strict adherence to my own lists.  The second group also has rigid rules but they do have one particular challenge I’m liking: word scavenger hunts!

Every month (and other alternative timelines), they provide new scavenger lists of up to 50 words to look for while reading whatever you choose to read (for example, the current list includes the word “bells”).  If I come across that word while reading, I mark it down.  It’s fun to see how many I can find by the end of the month.  This works well if you have more than one book going at a time like me, or read very fast.  I do it along with another person I know and we compare lists to see who found the most words.

I have found that one of the benefits of practicing these scavenger hunts is that I pay much more attention to the particular words I read.  In addition to the monthly lists, I also participate in a long-term Color Word list and am enjoying the wonderful descriptions I come across.

My findings don’t qualify to enter in the group forum because they have a few more rules than I care to follow, so I will just log it in my own post here.  But for those interested, the goodreads group is called “The Lost Challenges”.  There are far more reading games than just hunting for words and they may appeal to you more.  Are there any reading challenges you’re enjoying in this new year?

1. Bean ~ I am really a stickler on this, and it is not just because I am trained as a bean counter and like all the boxes checked.  [The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success]
2. Bears
3. Beef ~ For those readers who are old enough, think of the Wendy’s commercial from the eighties in which the elderly ladies asked “Where’s the beef?” as they looked at a tiny hamburger patty dwarfed by a massive bun.  [TPFfLS]
4. Big ~ Walking out into the rain as though it were not there, she moved through the downpour with a monumental and unhurried measure, her big head lifted.  [Gormenghast]
5. Boys ~ Yet for all that, Titus was conscious of always being watched: of a discrepancy in the attitude of the officials and even at times of the boys.  [G…]
6. Bulls ~ Of a sudden the dusk, knocking as it were a certain hollow note to which their sweet ribs echoed, they were in the air– a group of herons, their necks arched back, their ample and rounded wings rising and falling in leisurely flight: and then another and then another: and then a night heron with a ghastly and hair-raising croak, more terrible than the unearthly booming note of a pair of bitterns, who soaring and spiralling upwards and through the clouds to great heights above Gormenghast, boomed like bulls as they ascended.  [G…]
7. City ~ The arrow flies continuously around the city at breakneck speed without landing on a specific target.  [Rhythms of Rest]
8. Cloud ~ Lost in the flying clouds the craggy summits of Gormenghast were wild with straining hair– the hanks of the drenched rock-weed.  [G…]
9. Comedy ~ In tragedy and comedy and satire and farce– in anything that is worthy of the stage,– conflict is at the root.  [Respect for Acting]
10. Court ~ His hunched shoulders, his pallor, his dark-red eyes had never encouraged intimacy even supposing he had ever courted it.  [G…]
11. Crown ~ Now he was climbing a slope of reddish sandstone; now he was skirting a rock-face whose crown overhung its base and whose extensive surface was knuckly with the clay nests of innumerable martins; now the walnut-covered slopes from where, each evening, with hideous regularity a horde of owls set sail on bloody missions.  [G…]
12. Cubs
13. Deep ~ “I would like to show you what I have found, away to the south, your Ladyship, where the granite domes are elbow-deep in moss.” [G…]
14. Dibs
15. Dish ~ And then one day, while drying the dishes, of all things, God stripped away my greatest illusion.  [RofR]
16. Fields ~ But, dark as was the day, it had no power to suppress the craving which had been mounting for weeks– the craving to ride and ride when the rest of the world lay in bed: to drink the spring air in giant gulps as his horse galloped beneath him over the April fields, beyond the Outer Dwellings.  [G…]
17. Food ~ A mingling of wet, scrubbed floors, unaired rooms, and food for a hundred people always steaming on the stove.  [Dear Enemy]
18. Fountain ~ An impromptu theatrical gathering of young children splash in the nearby fountain, hiking their pants above their knees until it becomes a nuisance.  [RofR]
19. Friendly ~ But there was nothing on fire except the tobacco in his pipe and as he lay supine, the white wreaths billowing from his wide, muscular and lipless mouth (rather like the mouth of a huge and friendly lizard), he evinced so brutal a disregard for his own and other people’s windpipes as made one wonder how this man could share the selfsame world with hyacinths and damsels.  [G…]
20. Gate
21. Grow ~ And so, at her funeral, the majority of the mourners were gathered there, to pay their respects to the memory not so much of Mrs. Slagg, as to the legend which the tiny creature had, all unwittingly, allowed to grow about her.  [G…]
22. Gym Shoes
23. Hotdog
24. Jewels ~ Their peurile ambition and vanity– and their only too obvious longing to assume, one day, the roles in which they were always seeing themselves, the roles of ladies, great and splendid, bedecked with jewels, precluded any such idea as suicide.  [G…]
25. Lake ~ It is seven years since he watched from the attic window the procession far below him wind back from Gormenghast lake, where Titus had come into his Earldom, but nothing has happened to him during the long years apart from the annual arrival of fresh works to be added to the coloured carvings in the long room.  [G…]
26. Lincoln
27. Loop  ~ Steerpike uncoiled himself of the rope and looped it over a nail in the wall.  [G…]
28. Mother-in-Law  ~ It’s the third week of Advent, and my mother-in-law, Geri, left Phoenix and is flying on windwings heading east.  [RofR]
29. Museum ~ Instead of wandering through a museum or sightseeing somewhere different, I lose myself in watching people give themselves permission to playfully rest.  [RofR]
30. Navy ~ One boy wades unabashedly in his underwear and a striped navy sweater.  [RofR]
31. Park ~ From a park bench, beneath a canopy of ancient trees with long tendrils swaying from Spanish moss, I hear the distant sound of an ambulance siren and birds chirping in the various “dialects”.  [RofR]
32. Pier
33. Pioneer
34. Pizza ~ We cook every night except Fridays when we eat pizza (and it’s amazing), and we don’t really do processed snack food.  [Slow]
35. Pop ~ Now consider that you are surrounded by cracked and peeling walls and ceilings, have wrinkled pop posters pasted to the walls, walk on bare floorboards, and sit on a rickety stool at an oilcloth-covered table in front of a lumpy burlap-covered studio couch, drinking beer from a can to the accompaniment of the Beatles and a leaky faucet, while you look out of the streaked window at a fire escape against a blackened brick wall.  [RforA]
36. Props
37. Ribbon ~ Their curls bounce beneath felt hats trimmed in dark satin ribbon  [RofR]
38. Sears
39. Second ~ (Bought them second-hand from Doctor Brice in the village, who is putting in, for the gratification of his own patients, white enamel and nickel-plate.)  [DE]
40. Shore  ~ From the high-rise hotel, I stare over the vastness of sky meeting water and wonder over what God is planning for us beyond the horizon, on the shores of England.  [RofR]
41. Shoulders ~ It was more like the shadow of a young man, a shadow with high shoulders, that moved across whiteness, than an actual body moving in space.  [G…]
42. Slider
43. Sports
44. Style ~ What she lacked was the power to combine and make a harmony out of the various parts that, though exquisite in themselves, bore no relationship either in style, period, grain, colour or fabric to one another.  [G…]
45. Taste ~ But he tasted the sharp fruits of the quick bridle-wrench which had freed him from the ostler.  [G…]
46. Tower ~ It played with sere flags, dodged through arches, spiralled with impish whistles up hollow towers and chimneys until, diving down a saw-toothed fissure in a pentagonal roof, it found itself surrounded by stern portraits– a hundred sepia faces cracked with spiders’ webs; found itself being drawn towards a grid in the stone floor and, giving way it sang its way past seven storeys and was, all at once, in a hall of dove-grey light and was clasping Titus in a noose of air.  [G…]
47. Town ~ “I am so glad you were able tos pend a little time with our ladies while you were in town.” [RofR]
48. Washroom
49. Wet ~ The face was wet.  [G…]
50. Windy

 

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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Book Review: “The Man from Sing Sing,” by E. Phillips Oppenheim

Genre: vintage classic

Plot Summary: Reuben Argels is a man with a past behind him and a future ahead of him.  Having been a part of Moran Chamber’s syndicate in America, he turned traitor and was largely responsible for putting that man in prison.  But there is no living the straight and narrow for Argel.  He promptly benefits from his treason and moves on to greener grass, this time to the financial fields of England.  But maybe his old enemy isn’t behind bars like Argels thinks.  And Chambers has many friends who are willing to exact revenge for the man who did him wrong.  What will become of Reuben Argels?  And is Violet– the sweet, sensible woman so ready to help him– really who she says she is?

My Book Review: Continuing making my way through the works of Oppenheim

To be honest, I prefer other EPO novels to this novel of crime syndicate members. The plot sounds intriguing enough, but I got lost among all the stock exchange jargon (dated, and foreign to me).  It did, as EPO stories go, keep me guessing as to the motives behind certain characters.  But it was hard to find sympathy for the main character, Reuben, since he was neither a goodie or a baddie.  He professes a love for Chamber’s lover Ambouyna (a name I still have no idea how to pronounce), but yet pursues Miss Violet Withers on the side.  In fact, while admitting to her that he doesn’t love her, he asks if she would fill in for him since he can’t have whom he really wants?  Sure, that’s the way to win any girl’s heart!

Actually, Violet Withers was my favorite character from the book. She easily balances a personality of modesty and mystery.  I loved a couple of quotes surrounding her sensibility:

“Lots of girls do things they don’t want to because they have to. I’m not one of them…. If I get to like you well enough, I shall certainly allow you to call me by my Christian name, and possibly to kiss me occasionally. If I don’t, I shan’t. Believe me,… I am much more worth kissing because I have such queer ideas.”

SPOILER ALERT: It’s painful to watch Argels slowly being dragged to the bottom all the way to the end of the book.  He’s sent over the edge, but at the last minute is saved by his enemy of all people– on purpose.  And then they shake hands and a check is written and all is honkey dorey.  I don’t know.  It just didn’t fit together right at the end.  There’s all this build up of suspense because of the hatred of these two enemies, neither of which you particularly want to side with, but then suddenly it all disappears and Chambers has a change of heart for no reason.  It just didn’t make sense and the story fell flat on its face for me. END OF SPOILER.

So if you like the idea of characters existing in a glamorous world of the 1930’s, full of crime and blackmail, you might have your next favorite novel (which you can read for free here). But if you’re more plot-oriented (like me), you might want to skip past this one.

If you liked this book, I also recommend:

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2018 in Book Reviews

 

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~Quote for 08/05/2018~

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2018 in Quotes

 

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~Quote for 6/17/2018~

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2018 in Quotes

 

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~Quote for 4/10/2018~

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2018 in Quotes

 

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~Quote for 02.18.2018~

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2018 in Quotes

 

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Movie Review: “The Little Prince”

ec4e725b6d1c1d6faf94e3a956f7a7e4Based on the book by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

Version: 2015; starring Jeff Bridges, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, James Franco

Genre: children’s; animation

Plot Summary: [from IMDb:] “A little girl lives in a very grown-up world with her mother, who tries to prepare her for it. Her neighbor, the Aviator, introduces the girl to an extraordinary world where anything is possible, the world of the Little Prince.”

My Review: Disclaimer*: I have not read the original book, so this review will not by comparing it to that novel.  Only as a story in and of itself, totally unrelated to the book.  

Growing up, my mom had two copies of the French classic “The Little Prince.” One was in French (and incomprehensible to me), the other in English. Neither interested me very much.  The pictures looked bland and too unbelievable.  I was sure I wouldn’t enjoy the story.

Not too long ago I saw that Netflix had made an animated version of the book and I didn’t mind sitting down to spend an evening that way. I was mildly curious.  I was not prepared to be blown away.

I think I was drawn into it from the first notes of music. The art, the plot, the script were beautifully done.  The old phonograph playing was enough to melt my heart alone!  I was nearly crying by the end of it.  And now I want to read the book very much.  It isn’t often that film versions inspire me to read the book, but when they do…  🙂

This movie is actually told in two stories. One is of a little girl who is expected to live a life where childhood is forgotten.  She unexpectedly meets her next door neighbor, an eccentric old man (and self-proclaimed ‘hoarder’) who used to be an aviator once upon a time.  He begins to woo her friendship by telling her the story of the Little Prince he met in another world long ago.  The story of the Little Prince and his rose is told through stop-motion animation, and I loved every bit about it!  I enjoyed it even more for it’s nuances, and thought-provoking lines about life that are hidden like gems throughout where you have to mine them to interpret the meaning for yourself.  Wonderful!

5dc9afdfecd8144ffddd97bd0c8b18e9There are many who abhor this film because they say it takes too many liberties with the book. Apparently the story of the little girl trying to live the expected life of an adult is not in the original.  Since I’ve never read it, I don’t even know if the part of the Little Prince is told faithfully.  But I know I loved the film and that it has inspired me to pick up a book I never knew I needed to read before.  I would say that is the effect of a well-told, don’t you?

One of my favorite lines comes from the Aviator consoling the little girl when she tells him she doesn’t want to grow up. He responds, “Growing up isn’t the problem– forgetting is.”  I wish someone had been able to tell me that when I was a kid and afraid of graduating to adulthood.  This wisdom makes a world of difference because it is true!  I have found that becoming a true adult is really only becoming the person you were meant to be, which includes the parts of childhood that are good and pure and young in heart.  Idealistically, the aim is to shed the ‘juvenile’ ways we used to think and act.  Juvenility is to be differentiated from being childlike in that it is immature, selfish, and narrow-minded.  (1 Cor. 13:11)  Childhood, on the other hand is essentially joy, wonder, and innocence.

1631c1a78f3a24aa2c2690874535b559I have met older adults, even Christians in their 60’s, behave like juveniles. I have met adults who have completely forgotten what is childhood, instead exuding joylessness, hyper-practicality, and busyness.  But I have also met other adults who have retained their openness to life, wonder at the world, and quest to learn and grow- the mark of a true ‘child at heart.’  That is what God means for us to be, I think.  And for us believers, we are all to be trusting children in relation to Him.

And He said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 18:3)

I do have a qualm about the movie’s plotline, and that is although it is an indie flick, it does not escape the usual Hollywood storyarc of children being better-knowing than their parents (or more often single parent): rebelling against the ‘status quo’, and teaching the parents they do not know what is best for their kids. See an excellent article on this topic here.

But the voices (esp. Jeff Bridges’ for the Aviator) were great!  Bridges has a voice that has aged well, resulting in a friendly, comforting effect.  I also loved the Fox, voiced by James Franco.  So adorable!

I recommend this glimmering, luminous movie for family viewing, young and old alike. If you approach it being prepared that it’s more loosely based on the book, I think you’ll enjoy it.

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2017 in Movie Reviews

 

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