I Found this Blank Book of Stitched Together Pages…I’ll Record the Details of Our Confinement: Book of a Thousand Days

Day 4) D is for Diary: Choose a novel or memoir in Diary form

Now I’ve never really been a diary person, whether writing or reading. In fact I had a diary when I was younger and on every page the only thing I wrote was “I wish I had a cat,” then going on to descrobe what I wanted the cat to look like and then ending every entry with “I hope my sister doesn’t find my diary and read it.”

So diaries, yeah were not all that interesting to me. I thought that I never did anything worth writing down or when I was older couldn’t find the right words to express what I was feeling or thinking. And the same goes for reading diaries. A lot of times I found them hard to get into. The only ones I really cared for were the Dear America or the Royal Diary book series; but even that only went so far. And besides, I only read them as I really liked history.

So I started to think what book to use when I suddenly remembered a book in a diary I just loved:

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Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

I was first introduced to Shannon Hale when I stumbled onto her junior/young adult fiction book, The Princess Academy in the stacks at my local library years ago. I thought it was so good that I decided to read her other books as well (and purchase my own copy of the book, plus two for young ladies I know). I liked The Goose Girl, thought Austenland had some great parts to it (will be reviewing soon), but really fell in love with Midnight in Austenland and Book of a Thousand Days.

So Book of a Thousand Days is based on the fairy tale “Maid Maleen” by the Brothers Grimm. The story is that of “true bride”; one bride is false while the other was the one who was truly promised to the prince to be married, having to do tasks or try to prove her claim. Now while her work is based on this, the story is just so phenomenal. I don’t know how such a small tale could inspire her to create this amazing book.

but that’s enough going on with how great the book is, let’s get into the story!

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Don't fall.

Part I: The Tower

So the story takes place in a world not unlike ours but really has no exactly recognizable Earthly location or time period.

The place is the Eight Realms, of which lords and ladies rule. Between the Norther Wastelands and the Southern desert we have Veras Blessing, Carthen’s Prayer, Pride of Nibus, Goda’s Second Gift, Thoughts of Under, Titor’s Garden, Song for Evela, and Beloved of Ris. All realms are named after the different gods and goddess in the pantheon the people worship.

In the middle of the realms is the Sacred Mountain and the Steppes, the place our main character comes from , but not exactly where the tale begins. As this is a diary format, we begin in the middle and have to stop to go back to the beginning.

So the book begins with Day 1; Dashti and Lady Saren are  being shut up in a tower for seven years.

What

What

I know, immediately you find yourself sucked in. What? Why?

Lady Saren’s father is bricking them in and has placed guards outside to make sure the girls to not leave. He has decides that this is the right punishment for Saren’s disobedeience. He has left enough food in there to last seven years (hopefully), upon a the correct date they will be allowed out once again.

Lady Saren’s fatger is the ruler of Titon’s Garden and has turned an old lookout tower into their prison. Lady Saren just spends her time crying, shrieking, and always saying she is hungry. Dashti is Saren’s maid and after the last few years of harsh living on the Steppes she is amazed and grateful for the bounty that has been given to them, although saddened at losing the sky.

There is so much food in the tower, more than Dashti has ever seen in her life, with milk delivered everyday by the guards, and tons of parchment so Dashti can write her story.

On Day 11 we are given the story of their predicament. Dashti was raised as a Mucker on the Steppes. Muckers are herders who live with the sheep, yaks, etc in harsh muddy and rocky conditions. Her father died when she was a baby and her brothers abondaned the family when she was eight. She and her mother did all they could the next seven years to survive; earning eough for food mostly by trying to farm a plot of land and through the healing songs they sing.

After her mother died, Dashti came to the city to try and find work, being unable to survive without a clan in the Steppes. She was taken to be trained as a lady’a maid where she learned reading, writing, sums, etc. The day she graduates from this training, and takes the oath of servaitude,  she goes to Lady’s Saren’s to be her maud and fins gerseld being taken along om this tower punishment. Lady Saren’s father wishes her to marry the Lord Khaser, ruler of Thoughts of Under, and was furious to find out that she had bethrothed herself to Khn Tegus of Sonf for Evela. Wanting to crush his daughter’s will he decides to imprison her in the tower.

Dsahti tries to help her mistress, but none of the songs help. Everyday Saren ;ives in mortal fer of Lord Khaser? But why?

One day Khan Tegus comes to see them. Dashti tries to get Saren to talk to him, but she refuses as she is too frightened. She sends Dashi in her plce as it tuens out not only have the two not seen each other since they were much yunger, but have only conversed in letters. He’s never jeard jer voice really, so he won’t recignize Dashti as an imposter. They communicate through the flap they recieve their milk in, but the way it is makes it impossible top be seen.

Dashti has no idea how gentry speak to each other as she has grown up on the Steppes, but just is herself. Never feeling special as she was born with red splotches along the side of her face and arm, nonetheless she has a beautiful and kind spirit; and fun nature which harmonizes with Tegus perfectly.

He wants to rescue the women but knows that if he did it would bring a war between the two,   and he’d rather not fight Saren’s father and brother. Instead, Khan Tegus stays for several days and speaks to Dashti at night when the guards are asleep.  Their relationship os so adorable I just love it. Ship has been loaded and has sailed.

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Both characters love to laugh, and as Tegus loves Dashti’s laugh he continues to try and bring it.

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Dashti can hear in Tegus’ voice that he has an ol wound that ails him and sings him a mucker song. No one knows wghy, tbut this songs have a way of creating relief in others, creatiing a balm of deep healing for their wound pr worry. Of course it doesn’y worl for everyone as you have tp both be open to the ucker singing to you and be open about what your true wound is, whether itgoes deeper than just a physichal injury.

Khn Tegus must return home, although he is extremely reluctant to do so, as he wants to not only stay but free his love, which as you can guess is rapidly becoming Dashti over the true Lady Saren. He must go, but before he leaves, he gives Dashti a kitten; and in return Dashti gives him her shirt.

As they days go on, the girls talk about menories and history to amuse themselves. Dashti remebers when a shaman stayed with them once, and how he had he power to shapeshift into a fox, while Saren counters with telling Dashti that once the realms were united under one Khan, who’s seat f power was Song for Evela. But now all are broken up with individual rulers, Khan Tegus beong called Khan is a continuance of title from those days. This opens up Dashti’s mind as so little education into histor is given on the Steppes.

The days pass with very little happening, until Day 158. lord Khaser comes and threatens the girls; his voice and demeanor being truly terrifying. Here is an incredibly scary villian, one of the most frightening, sadistic, and ccruel.

On day 223 Lord Khaser returns. When Saren once again refuses to marry him he throws fiery chips. The girls have to run and try to put them out before they are cooked.

Lord Khaser tells them that Saren mist agree to marry him now and leave with his troops or will have towait out her six years in the tower. Instead of answering, Saren dumps her chamber pot out the flap and right into Lord Khaser’s face.

But thei laughter is shirt-lived as that night th guards are attacked by…something. It doesn’t sound like a battle but aliving nghtmare. When something tries toattavk them, a wolf like creature, My Lord the cat jumps out to save thegirls and isn’t seen again.

With the cat gone the rats come back and try ti get their food. No guards for help they need to stretch theirfood as much as they can. Not to mention the biggest rat of all, Lady Saren is trying to eat everything she can.

Dashti does all she can but Saren is completed set on the fact that they won’t make it much longer. Now being stuck in a tower with someone you may die with, means that you reveal all kinds of things about yourself. And here Hale is fantastic in creating these two complex and real characters. Dashti: humble, kind, serving, helpful, with a thirst for knowledge and a foundation of common sense. Saren on the pother hand has been constantly belittled by her father, told she is an emptyflower pot, had her dreams scoffed at, and told her only lot in life is to marry gentry and create more gentry.

Day 928 Men come to the tower. The guards were killed but Saren’s family never sent anyonw, strangeky. The men come and talk about a beautiful lady in a tower, trying to get in their and get her. As they go around the tower trying to break in, Dashti  has rgw knife and is prepared to fight for her life and Lady Saren’s.

The men don’t make it in, but Dashti decides with the food supply dwindling from heat, rats, and saren; they need to get out. She decides they need to find a way out checking the cellar for where the rats come in. Dashti finds a hole and decides i attaxck it with everything she has unti they can finally get out.

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Part 2: The Adventure Thereafter

So the two don;t leave rght away. Saren has always been of a “delicate nature” and suffered from abuses of her family. Now being taken out iofvthe tower she freaks out that they ar going to be burnt up by the sun. It is a slow process but Dashti helps get the tower addled part of her healed as they set out.

But they find greater disappointment in the world. Everything has been destroyed, bured, and knocked down.

The only thing they find is a yak, which Dashti names Mucker. The threehead out to Song for Evela to appeal to Khan Tegus for help.

After what seems kike endless days of emptiness they end up finding other people on tje putskirts of Song for Evela. The tell the the news of Lord Khaser who has wiped out Titor’s Garden and is currently making war with Goda’s Second Gift.

Dashti tries to get Saren to go to Khan Tegus, but nothing will convince her. Finally Dashti is so tired and all she can think is her love for the yak who helped them survive. Instead of trading the yak, or tying to procure employment; she gifts the yak to Khan Tegus. As they turn to leave, they find themselves hired. And now they work in the kitchen palace not to far from the Khan that holds Dashti’s heart.

The other girls in the kitchen don’t like Saren, now called Sar. She doesn’t know what she is doing and moves very slow. One girl is thirteen, Gal, and is from Goda’s Second Gift. She was sent out before Lord Khaser came and has no clue what has happened to her parents or whether tey are alive. Qacha is the other kitchen girl, a mucker like Dashti, who had managed to escape Khaser with her father.

Life in the castle is tiring, but Dashti is used to hard work. She tries time ans trime again to get Sarwn ro go to the Khan, but she refuses. One day, Dashti has a free afternoon and goes out to see a traveling show. She hears the story of the skinwalkers who offer their spirits to become shapeshifters. Before they can gain the ability to transform and have the characteristics of the beast; they must kill a close relation, the more they love them the more powerful they are. After that story she leaves to see Mucker in the stable.

One day Dashti just happens to see Khan Tegus and seeing his handsome face brings back al the memories of what they spent toether and cuses her to fall in love all over again. Dashti wonders of he thinks of her, or Lady Saren really, but then she gets the shock of her lifetime: Khan Tegus is to wed Lady Vachir, ruler of Beloved if Ris in order to crete strong allies against Lord Khaser.

To make things even worse, Lord Khaser has defeated Goda’s Second Gift and will be comin for Song of Evela before long.

One day the housekeeper of the palace calls for a mucker girl to hekp the Khan who is feelong bad. All the girls want Dashti to go as her talent is better than others as she melds the different healing songs together to heal throughout the body and soul.

She is afraid to go to him, as he might recigbize her voice or the songs; but he doesn’t. Sdly.

She gets called again and does the ealing song but recognizes the hurt isn’t in his leg like he said ibt there is another paon in his body. At first Khan Tegus refuses this additoinal help, but calls her once again. She sings another song for healinh anf surprises the Khan with her ability to read and write.

Before you know it she is move up from the kitchen ans gas ger own room! She contiues to work for Khan tegus,, scribin away and content.

One day she is ccalled to help heal the Khan’a best friend. He’s been badly wounded by an assasin and the sgaman attendigng says there us nothing else to be done. At first Dashti gives up she is no real healer, shaman; but when Khan Tegus calls her again, she does all she can to help him.

Dashti uses the songs to help hisfriend, and his soud returns to his body, out of the dager zone. The two then tal with Tegus grantingherthe useof his untitled name.

Dashti gets the biggest surprise of her lie when My Lord the cat returns to them! Lady Saren growsmore and more unhappy, making Dashti tired and annoyed. But then Saren asks Dashti to kill her. All the pain Khaser has caused is bunfled upinside her, as she feels guilty that she is to blame. Dashti does the only thing she can do, give the cat to Lady Saren.

While the Khan has left days ago to fight and there is no news on that accord Saren has done much beter. Having someone to love her unconditionally and not be cruel to her has really changed her demeanor.

But then bad news comes. Lady Vachir returns with her ladies and so does Khan Tegus, severely wounded. Dashti wants to help hi, but the shaman’s try to get rid of her. Dashti won’t give up ancontinues. After days of singing, the Khan is finally better.

While Dashti and Tegus continue to enjoy each other’s company. But bad news looms. Lady Vachir does not like Dashti and tris to discredit her, and Lord Khaser has arrived.

As they try to figgure out what ti do, Dashti remembers some strange things Saren said about Khaser being a beast. She goes to see her and try to get the story out about him. When Saren was twelve she and her father visited Lord Khaser/ One night he calls her saying that her father needed her ans ttakes off his clothes, being naked before her. In the moonliht he change from man to wolf man.

Film Title: The Wolfman Claw

Dashti goes to the war council an it turns out that Lord Khaser is trying to make a deal. He will kill 100 villargers unless they give him Lady Saren or Khan Tegus. As they try and figure out what to do, Dashti speaks up. Months ago Saren made Dashti promise tp tell Khan she was Saren, to protect her. Dashti refused, but as she swore the oath and bekieves it to be the only way to save her Khan, shecontinues.

Dashti says she is Lady Saren, and has been going by her maid’s namr.At first they are confused, but as she knows all hat transpired, she must ve who she says she is. Tegus is estastic that Dashyi is his true bride.

She is given a grand room, and Saren tro be her maid; but Saren wants to go back to the kitchen where she feels safw and useful. Dashti, on the other hand, has to figure out what to do about Khaser. She has revealed to them his transformation powers, but how can they usse that to stop him. Besdies Khaser has seen Saren and knows she isn’t her.

Thay night Dashti ets an idea. Sge goes to Batu who doesn;t want to help her, but as Dashti won’t give up he quickly finds himself with no choice in the matter.

Dashti goes out to battle, naked and barefoot so that  Khaser knows she is a woman with no weapon.  Khaser thiks it is a trick, but then is covinced that she is all she says. Dashti tells him she will ding a song of submission, but instead sings the song of the wolf.

Khaser then transforms in front of everyone.

The wolf goes to attack Dashti, breaking her leg when he punces on her; but before he could attack more one of his men shoots an arrow at him. The wolf heads to his men and starts attack, ripping out the throats of two men. Soon everyone attacks him, and the wolf is killed, falling on Dashti and crushing her once again. Khaser’s right hand man trues ti continue the battle, but without their wolf warrior all is over for now.

After all that excitement there is the question who will marry Khan Tegus. Lady Vachir is the bethrothed, and has the right to have killed any that would come between. However, if the chiefs decide that Saren’s bethrothel was first, then she will get ti wed him. Only problem with that, all think Dashti is Saren. Very big mess.

The chief’s choose Saren and Tegus sets the wedding for nine days hencem after all they’e been betrithed for five years. Dashti calls Saren and tries to fix this tangled web, but Saren refuses to tell the truth. Dashti cannot wed him in another’s name. She leaves a note and this diary and decides to flee.

Dashti stops at the kitchen to explain to the girls and  Saren why she must leave. Lady Vaxhir has been watching and listening and found out the lie, preparing to kill Dashti. Before that happens, Saren comes bringing Tegus. Dashti is thrown in a cell while they prepare to figure out what the truth is in the mess.

Tegus goes to see her but feels lost. Everything with Dashti seems right, yet she isn’t Saren and it seems Vachir’s claim is right, she should die. Dashti gives him her diar and prepares for her end.

Then comes the trial. The chief’s use all the entries in which Dashti complained about Saren and talked about her love for Tegus. They use it to prove Vachir’s right to kill her, but then Tegus speaks up.

He reads all the times she didn’t want to be Saren but did as was commanded. And reads how she destroyed Khaser. He also brings up the mucker way of doing things, such as offering a animal and itbeing recieved by another family then they become part of that family. When she offered the yak and Tegus accepted, Dashti, under Mucker law, became part of Tegus’ family.

That is not enough for Vachir, but then Tegus pulls out his secret weapon; Saren. Saren defends Dashti, calling her a sister and being powerful in her presence and defense. Tegus leads the way, and they find her innocent.

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Vachir is unhappy, leaving as quicklyt as she can. Tegus and Saren are to be wed, but Saren passes her bethrothel on to her sister, Dashti.

The two are married and live happily ever after.

I loved this book as Dashti is an amazing character. All she can see is she is worthless because of her red splotches and will never be fit to marry anyone, never have true love. She is blinded by her physical featiures but we see the amazing strong, phenomenal person she is. She is intellogent, able to care for herself and others, a good cook, brave, kind, compassionate, etc. The best person,  amazing. But how often do we too have the same issue where we can’t saee how amazing we are, instead only looking at our flaws or measuring our worth based on what our outside looks like instead of our hearts.

I just adore this book and the relationship between all the characcters. I read it again anf again. I just can’t get enough if it.

OW

(M 2014)

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Go Tell it on the Mountain

Harvest Pumpkin Scones

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So this recipe comes from my sister blog MysteriousEats.wordpress.com. Typically I just reblog her posts onto my site, but I noticed that they don’t look the best and kind of come out weird looking. So instead I decided that I would just copy and paste her post onto my site. Here we go.

Ready for scones & tea.

Ready for scones & tea.

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So we were having a tea at church and I needed a scone to go with our food. I had already decided on a savory (will be posting soon), but needed a sweet scone.

I started scouring the internet when I came upon this recipe on The King Arthur Flour website. Everything I have made from them has been fantastic so I thought I would give it a try.

 

Ingredients:

  • 2-3/4 Cups of King Arthur Unbleached Flour or Regular Flour
  • 1/3 Cup of Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon of Baking Powder
  • 3/4 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 3/4 Teaspoon of Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Ground Ginger
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Ground Allspice
  • 1/2 Cup of Cold Butter
  • 1-2 Cups of Chocolate Chips
  • 2/3 Cup of Canned Pumpkin
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • Cinnamon sugar (1 Tablespoon of Cinnamon and 1 Tablespoon of granulated sugar), for topping
  • Milk

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl; whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and the spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, & allspice).
  2. Work in the butter until the mix is unevenly crumbly; it’s ok for some larger chunks of butter to remain unincorporated.
  3. Stir in the Chocolate Chips.
  4. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the pumpkin and eggs till smooth.
  5. Add the pumpkin/egg mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until all is moistened and holding together.
  6. Line a baking sheet with parchment; if you don’t have any use the sheet without parchment,but don’t grease it. Instead sprinkle a bit of flour on the parchment.
  7. Scrape the dough onto the floured parchment or pan and divide it in half.
  8. Round each half into a 6″ circle, about 3/4 an inch thick.
  9. Brush each circle with milk and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture.
  10. Using a knife, cut each circle into size wedges.
  11. Carefully pull the wedges away from the center to separate them just a bit, about 1/2 inch space between them.
  12. Place the scones in the freezer for 30 degrees uncovered. While the scones are chilling, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  13. Back the scones 22-25 mins or until golden brown and toothpick inserted into a center of one comes out clean. The edges should be baked through.
  14. Remove from the oven and serve warm.

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THOUGHTS AFTER BAKING:

I loved them! They were perfect!

I love it

 

They were just so delicious everyone ate them right away and wanted more.

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I cannot recommend more strongly that you should definitely make them.

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For more scone recipes, go to Lemon Scones

For more on Peter Pan, go to It’s Always Tea Time  

And for weekly recipe reviews, go to Mysterious Eats

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 I wasn’t really planning on including this in my Christmas countdown, but hey a post is a post so it needs a song to go with it.

So I had never heard this song before until the other when I was driving to work. At first I was like what is this? Who is Dominick the donkey?

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But then as I listened, it quickly grew on me. So much that I actually listened to it later at home and decided to include it in our countdown. After all, donkey’s need love too.

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So this song is called Dominick the Donkey and was written in 1960 by Ray Allen, Sam Saltzberg and Wandra Merrell. It was recorded by Lou Monte and is about a donkey that Santa owns, used to help deliver presents to children in Italy as reindeer cannot climb the mountains.

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For more Christmas donkeys, go to the 25 Films of Christmas

Your Cases Have Indeed Been of the Greatest Interest to Me: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Day 3) C is for Childhood: Choose a book you used to check out repeatedly when you were a child.

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So there are lots of books I used to read over and over again as a child. The ones I remember reading the most were The Chronicles of Narnia and the children’s version of The Phantom of the Opera. 

But there is another book(s) that I used to read over and over, Sherlock Holmes.

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I used to read the Great Illustrated Classics and that introduced me to the character Sherlock Holmes and I read every short story there about him written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

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(March 2014)

 

I even read stories based on him, like the Sherlock Holmes Solo Mysteries, which was like Choose Your Own Adventure and was a giant fan of Basil of Baker Street.

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I thought Sherlock Holmes was so cool and wanted to be like him.

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The only thing I didn’t read were the novels, I guess because my library didn’t have those available in children’s form. I actually didn’t read those until I was an adult.

It was funny because I remember one day we were traveling somewhere and were listening to Sherlock Holmes on tape; and I was the only one in the car who had read the three mysteries before hearing them. It was weird as a child to think I knew something my parents didn’t.

In fact out of all the stories I remember the most, they are from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, so I choose that collection over any other.

So I will only pick three the stories that had the biggest impact on me were A Scandal in Bohemia, The Man With the Twisted Lip, The Adventure of the Copper Beeches, and The Adventure of the Lion’s Man (from The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes).

Spoilers

A Scandal in Bohemia

So many have probably read this story, seen the Sherlock version (which I hated), or heard of it.

Bohemian Prince comes to Sherlock, first in disguise but of course Sherlock sees through that, to ask for his help. He is to be married, but before the engagement had sent letters and a photograph with the beautifu Irene Adler. He has tried to get it back through begging, payment, bribery, theft, etc; but nothing has netted it.

Sherlock does some recon on her and ends up being the witness at her wedding! This strange turn of events doesn’t prepare Sherlock for how things will turn out for him. He continues on his plan, dressing up as a minister and having Watson create a fuss about fire in order to determine the secre hiding place of the photo. He sees it as she goes to protect it; and thinks the case finished preparing to return the next morning before she leaves.

On the way home he is greeted by a young boy, onehe does not know but that isn’t very odd, after all he is a known figure. The next day the three men set out to retrive the painting, and find Irene gone.

She lefy a note explainging that she thought there was something suspicious, dressed up as a boy to research, and figured out the plan of Sherlock Holmes; besting him by leaving that night. She leaves the picture behind, as married she no longer needs it; forever going down inhistory as the one who bested the greatest detective, and becoming the woman.

In The Man With the Twisted Lip a wife is worried for her missing husband and calls upon Sherlock Holmes to help her. She was walking down the street wjen her husband was at work and looked up and saw him in the window above an opium den! She rushes up there as quick ass she can but no husband, only a disgusting, dirty man.

She calls the police and as they inestigate they discover his clothes in the river, but no body or blood. They believe him to have killed her husband but they can’t figure out what happened. Sherlock is rather puzzled and looks into the history of the man, but there is little to be found. He moved there and maes good money.

Sherlock believes the husband has been killed, but then a letter turns up in his handwriting with his signet ring. Sherlock is stuck until he goes to the bathroom and solves it by looking at a bar of soap.

He goes to the jail where they are holding the barnacle and force hi to clean up, revealing he is the husband.

It turned out he was a reporter and went undercover to write a story about beggars. He was a great actor and did so well at doing nothng, making more money than being the reporter. He continues hoping to be never found out and was surprised to find his wife; reacting quickly and not thinking of his actions. Sherlock makes him stop the begging as it is against the law, and the case os solved.

Ever sine I read that every time I see peopl beg the story comes back tome. Made more money begging tha working. Didn’t even need tp beg, a fake, could this person be one too? It just shocked me at hoe much he was able to make begging.

Adventure of the Lion’s Man is an amazing story. A man is killed with no witnesses, no weapon, no nothing to determine what caused the death, only his last words of Lion’s mane. I won’t reveal this one;s emd as it istoo good.

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Away in a manger

Why Everyone Should Read Gone With the Wind

B is for Best-Selling Novel

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Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

When it came to look for a Best-Seller to put on the list I decided to start first with 1916, as that book would be celebrating its 100th anniversary.

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But I didn’t see any I was a very big fan of so I went to 1926. Nothing there as well.

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I decided I would then check 1936 and if I couldn’t find a book I was a fan of I would try 1896, then 1886, then 1876, and then go back to 1946 and on and on until I finally found something.

However, I stopped at 1936 with Gone With the Wind.

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Gone With the Wind was published in 1936 and at time sold 176,000 copies. It was a best seller in 1936 and 1937, winning the Pulitzer Prize in 1937, and by 1938 sold a million copies. In 1939 the film came out and the book sold two million copies.

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My first introduction to Gone With the Wind was when I first watched the film when a friend and I were going through AFI’s list of the best films. We made it to #15 before we became too busy and haven’t finished doing it since.

Oh well.

Oh well.

Anyways, I watched it and thought the movie was really good. The cinematography was absolutely stunning, it was full of good quotes, and Clark Gable was just amazing as Rhett Butler (funny thing is Margaret Mitchell didn’t want him as she thought he wasn’t handsome enough to be Rhett).

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I didn’t care for Scarlett as I thought she was a…

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And thought she was just horrible, not Vivian Leigh’s performance but her.

Then three years later, as it was on my reading list, I decided to read it, borrowing my mother’s copy. And when I read it I was amazed at how it was a truly fantastic book!

Mal_huh Whoa Wow what

And I believe that everyone should read it at least once.

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So the book is a huge epic! It follows the Irish O’Hara clan from the father’s immigration into the new world and settling in the South, the radical changes from the Antebellum period, to the Civil War, and the Reconstruction era.  At the heart of all this chaos is the story of the beautiful, ruthless Scarlett ‘O’ Hara and the dashing soldier of fortune, Rhett Butler.

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So let’s list off why one should read this book:

A) Shows How the Irish were Viewed in America

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So we start off with Gerald O’Hara, head of the clan. Back in Ireland he was a part of a Catholic Emancipation group, like the Ribbonmen or such and ends up having to flee because of his political activities. He comes to America and isn’t always treated very nicely, as the Irish weren’t. Often they were made fun off, not allowed in certain areas, and thought to be taking over jobs. He starts working in his brother’s store but what he really wants is land, the very land that was denied him back in Ireland as no Catholic Irish could ever own anything.

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He eventually wins a plantation in a poker game and spends a long time building it up and having it be one of the richest ones in the area. He then decides to marry, but while these Southern families enjoy his wealth and propsperity; none could ever think of marrying their daughter to an Irish immigrant who’s family is unknown. The only thing for him to do is try to find a woman somewhere else, as he returns to his brother for help in finding a bride.

Yes, most don’t realize this but the wealthy South wanted to be like the old manors of Europe. Be the master of the land with pure bloodlines of other wealthy families, not bringing any low class in, and very racist against any that weren’t established in their group. This kind of racism against the Irish and Catholics went much farther than the South and was seen all over the country. Many times Irishmen and women had the lowest class jobs, found it hard to get land and keep it, and found themselves competing against African Americans who would work for lower wages (in the North). While Gerald O’Hara does extremely well, a lot of Irish weren’t able to ever reach that, especially in the South at this time.

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B) Scarlet O’Hara

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Scarlett is a Southern women in the Antebellum period and has very little schooling. All that is expected of her is to marry well and have plenty of children. But Scarlet has always felt different and out of touch with the time she lives in.

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She is extremely intelligent and has great business acumen. In fact it is often remarked that if her brain had been born into a boy she would have been able to go far.

Scarlet doesn’t have life easy either. With the Civil War she finds herself becoming a nurse, a midwife, and eventually has to take on the plantation or risk starvation. Because of those experiences it makes her hard, as with the book we see how she is constantly worried if things will turn out alright, if they can make it, or if they will be back to starvation; everyone looking at her to take care of everything.

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That is an incredible burden to be laid on a teenager (as she is about 17 or 18), let alone one who’s education was “how to look her prettiest”. She becomes tough because if she doesn’t, none of them will survive.

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When the home is attacked, she defends it shooting the deserter and protecting the home and people.

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Now she does steal her sister’s boyfriend, so she has faults, but she does it because she has foresight none of the others do. He has a hardware store, but when Scarlet takes over she also creates a lumber mill, triples the money, and is able to provide for everyone. Even though she accomplishes all this everyone still tells her she isn’t being a lady, running businesses and doing better than her husband. They try to convince her to stop, but she keeps on doing it. Using her “ladies mind” which contains a powerful way with numbers.

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She continues to be this strong, forceful woman throughout the rest of the novel; even though she does make a lot of bad personal decisions. Still, for a woman in the 1800s to have her own business, earn her own money, choose who she will marry (several times), is pretty awesome! She is a powerhouse of a character.

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C) Not as Racist as People Think

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People had slaves and if a book mentions it, that is not racist. In fact in this book the slaves aren’t really shown to be stupid, slow, or other clichés; except Lettie who is mentally disabled (something we understand more now than we did then). There is the house slave who didn’t want to work in the fields, but being a house slave was seen as better than an outdoor slave and slaves on the inside often treated the field slaves as being lower class.

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In fact this book isn’t racist to African Americans, but points out racism and hypocrisy that African Americans faced from those who were trying to free them. It is often remarked that while the North wanted the Southern slaves to be free, that did not mean they actually wanted to work with those freed slaves or have them near. There were plenty of racist people living in the North fighting for African American rights, but if they were near an African American they would still treat them cruelly. Mitchell points this out when the new Republicans brought in by Reconstruction say they would never have an African American nanny their children as they have “diseases” and “uncouth ways”. In fact they would much rather ship over an Irish immigrant than ever let their child be touched by someone black.

What jerks

What jerks

Many say that Mitchell started this “Mamie” stereotype  creating a myth that all Africans were pleased with being slaves; which Mitchell does not do. Like The Help, which by the way everyone loved and praised, she shows that because the nannies lived in the house and raised the children they sometimes became like family. It didn’t happen with everyone, but in this case Mamie was a mother to Scarlet more than her own mother.

Also people are all different and have their own views, even if they live in the same area. Mitchell presents a look at the many ways people regarded slavery; indifferent as Scarlet, necessary as Mr. O’Hara; and how some treat African Americans rudely, cruelly, or like family.

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D) The Person You Love are Not Always True

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Scarlet is in love with Ashley Wilkes, but they could never marry as her blood (Irish) is too inferior for the Wilkes family. He is to marry none other than his cousin, but instead of flat out saying that to Scarlett, Ashley likes how this beautiful woman who everyone wants loves him and leads Scarlett on, trying to make sure her “flames of love kept burning” because it made him feel good. He was such a jerk and a coward! I mean we’ve all had guys like that who say “they would make the commitment”, but their life isn’t quite together yet. They haven’t reached their plans. And then when you try to move on, they always snag you back, bemoaning that if only things were different; trying to get you to wait for them.

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They get their poisonious hook into you and keep you.

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My friend was in the snare of a guy like Ashley for three years. He would go on about how they couldn’t be together, she deserved someone better; but as soon as she started to move on or see other people he would pop in about how much he cared about her. Constantly stringing her along in this cycle.

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Thankfully she finally realized it or she would have been like Scarlett constantly pining after something she thought she needed when the real prize laid before her. It is horrible, and this book really teaches you the errors of being stuck on someones hook.

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E) Stop Looking to the Past

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Like most people, Scarlett gets stuck in the past. All she can do is think of Ashley and wish of Ashley.

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How many of us have had a broken heart and instead of realizing how that person wasn’t right and deciding to move on, we cling to the past dreaming, wishing hoping. How many of us waste our time like Scarlett?

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Scarlett was so consumed with her dreams and thoughts of the past that she was blind to the person who really loved her, that if she had only let her dream of Ashley die and stop mooning about him she would have seen how much better Rhett was for her.

moveon

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F) Never Be afraid to Say How You Feel

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Everyone talks about Scarlett’s blindness and how she was unable to see what she has but you know who was a real coward? Rhett! Rhett never told her he loved her until the very end. Maybe if he had not been so afraid to admit his real feelings and told her the truth about how he felt instead of distancing himself for the fear of her breaking his heart or lording over him, then they might have had a chance at true happiness.

Yes it can be hard to be vulnerable, or share your heart with others. Things can go very wrong of the person doesn’t care. But they can go just as bad of you say nothing and let the person you love pass you on by.

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G) Hold On to Tomorrow

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As Little orphan Annie says, “So you got to hang on ’til tomorrow, come what may!” Even after all she’s been through, Scarlett has an optimism that seems to go against everything else about her. She has faith that in tomorrow things can change. Life is hard now but in the flip of a dime it could turn out better. This kind of optimism we should instill in our life as well. Anything could happen tomorrow, don’t give up as things can get better.

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To start the 30 day challenge from the beginning, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451

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For more on Gone With the Wind, go to At the End of the Rainbow: 17 More Irish Heroes

For more on Margaret Mitchell, go to I Will Survive

For more Ayn Rand quotes, go to The Power is Yours

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Today’s carol is O Little Town of Bethlehem. Phillip Brooks visited Bethlehem in 1865 and three years later wrote the poem, asking his organist Lewis Redner to write the music.

“As Christmas of 1868 approached, Mr. Brooks told me that he had written a simple little carol for the Christmas Sunday-school service, and he asked me to write the tune to it. The simple music was written in great haste and under great pressure. We were to practice it on the following Sunday. Mr. Brooks came to me on Friday, and said, ‘Redner, have you ground out that music yet to “O Little Town of Bethlehem”? I replied, ‘No,’ but that he should have it by Sunday. On the Saturday night previous my brain was all confused about the tune. I thought more about my Sunday-school lesson than I did about the music. But I was roused from sleep late in the night hearing an angel-strain whispering in my ear, and seizing a piece of music paper I jotted down the treble of the tune as we now have it, and on Sunday morning before going to church I filled in the harmony. Neither Mr. Brooks nor I ever thought the carol or the music to it would live beyond that Christmas of 1868.”

Amazing. Now it is famous and such a part of the festive year.

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For more Christmas carols, go to We Wish You A Merry Christmas

It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451

Day 1) A is for Apocalyptical: Choose a book with an apocalyptic theme

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Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451 is one of my absolute favorite books. I first was introduced to it at the age of 10, when I came across my parents watching the German film. I didn’t quite understand it, so my mom gave me the book to read. Since then I read it at least once a year.

Or 10th, 50th, 100th....

Or 10th, 50th, 100th….

Every time I read this book it shocks me with how accurate it is in portraying the culture of today. I was amazed at that age, but this most recent time when I read the book, it really struck me with exactly how spot on it is.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow what

The book was published in 1953, and is set in a Dystopian future. No year is given, although it is done after 1960. In this future reading is outlawed

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Books are an illegal substance,

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and the firemen’s job is to burn the offensive material.

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I don’t know about you all, but a world without books sounds like a catastrophic end of the world to me. After all:

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Guy Montag has always lived life the way culture dictates; has a good paying job, married, no kids as they are bothersome and their are already too many, multiple wall screens to stream TV, etc.

Sound familiar?

Sound familiar?

But then one night everything changes. He meets the daughter of his new next door neighbor, Clarisse, who doesn’t like firemen.

“And you must be-…the fireman.’ Her voice trailed off.

‘How oddly you say that.’

‘I’d- I’d have known it with my eyes shut,’ she said, slowly.

‘What- the smell of kerosene? My wife always complains,’ he laughed. ‘You never wash it off completely.’

No you don’t,’ she said, in awe.” [pg. 4]

She starts talking about all kinds of things, like how firemen at one time didn’t burn things but helped stop fires. She even questions whether he ever reads the books he burns.

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Clarisse is completely counter to the culture of the day and a throwback to the past.

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 For instance, she doesn’t like this obsession with everything has to be in a hurry, driving all is blur with no one taking the time to look, examine, or have have patience. In fact her uncle was jailed for driving 40 mi/hrs, as it was far too “slow”.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow what

Clarisse also likes to go out for walks and and look at the sky, stars, or moon. Something else everyone finds as weird or odd.

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This reminds me so much of our culture today. Everything needs to be instant-instant news, fast food, all TV shows, etc. No patience, no waiting. My niece and I were watching a show on Netflix, and she asked me why they would have these moments where they pause, go to black, and then do a review of what we already seen. I actually had to explain that they used to show these episodes on TV, and there would be commercials in-between. Because you might get people who just tuned in and didn’t see the beginning, and were unable to see the beginning (unless they purchased it on VHS or DVD, they would repeat it for them. And then I had to explain that streaming is something new, prior to it you had to  wait a week for the next episode; and when the season ended you had to wait 6 months to a year for the next season.

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Now here is a child who has grown up on the world of streaming and the internet and never, ever experienced having to wait for something.

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Just like in this.

Anyways, when Montag returns home he finds his wife, Mildred, almost dead, having sucked down a lot of pills. He calls the hospital and they don’t even bother sending an ambulance. So many people these days are trying to kill themselves and end their life with pills, they have a machine like a black snake to pump the stomach.

The next day, Mildred doesn’t remember anything about what happened that night, and all she cares about is her “family” a TV show she follows.

Ringu Watch TV

There are all kinds of people suffering in the world or “real issues” that need to be talked about, but are all glossed over by entertainment. All people care about is the TV screens, wanting this giant Wall to Wall circuit. And the shows they watch have no real themes or content to them. Just mindless chatter.

When I reread this, it made me think of the reality shows we have that are just the same thing again and again, no real changes or real content. Keeping Up with the Kardashians for example. Or the endless dating shows looking for love like Flav O FlavMy Fair Brady, etc. Or The X Factor, The Voice, American Idol, etc, And people care more about these shows then real things.

We are strange people.

We are strange people.

Then Montag runs into Clarisse.  She talks to him, really talks just about anything and everything. Because she isn’t “normal” they force her to o to a psychiatrist.

“They want to know what I do with all my time. I tell them that sometimes I just sit and think.” [pg. 20]

In fact that is something she and her family like to do, just sit around and talk no devices, go out and walk just talking. In this world conversation is dead, no one really talks anymore. Sound familiar?

“He laughed.

She glanced quickly over. ‘Why are you laughing?’

‘I don’t know.’ He started to laugh again and stopped. ‘Why?’

‘You laugh when I haven’t been funny and you answer right off. You never stop to think what I’ve asked you.” [pg. 6]

It gets him thinking, and thinking is dangerous in a dystopian world.

“He felt his body divide itself into a hotness and a coldness, a softness and a hardness, a trembling and a not trembling, the two halves grinding upon the other.” [pg. 21]

Clarrise is a great character because she represents a type of person that is fading out. The one who is still holding on to the values of the past. A type of person who wants to think for herself instead of being spoonfeed an idea from the Internet, government, or teachers.

“I’m antisocial, they say. I don’t mix. It’s so strange. I’m very social indeed. It all depends on what you mean by social, doesn’t it? Social to me means talking to you about things like this…But I don’t think it is social to get a bunch of people together and then not let them talk, do you?…We never ask questions…they just run the answers at you, bing, bing, bing…It’s a lot of funnels and a lot of water poured down the spout and out the bottom, and them telling us it’s wine when it’s not.” [pg. 27]

The other thing I love about Clarrise os that she is so easily relatable, at least to me she is. She is disconnected to her generation because she doesn’t have the same values as they do she is more old fashioned, and because of that she is an 80 year old in a 17 year old’s body. I know exactly how that feels. I love reading, creating things by hand, having things until they wear out, not getting the newest stuff. That’s how I been my whole life which makes it hard to find others who value the same thing. I mean I read Emily Post.

“You sound so old.’

‘Sometimes I’m ancient.” [pg. 27]

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Clarrise hates this world of blandness and nothingness.

“People don’t talk about anything.’

‘Oh, they must!’

‘No, not anything. They name a lot of cars or clothes or swimming pools mostly and say how swell! But they all say the same things and nobody says anything different from anyone else.” [pg. 28]

Clarisse opens Montag’s mind up to the way the world is and how it should be, and before he knows it, she and her whole family are gone.

You question in a dystopian world and you are gone.

You question in a dystopian world and you are gone.

He asks Captain Beatty if it is true that fireman used to stop fires instead of creating them.

Not good

Not good

The rest if the firemen are uneasy, but Captain Beatty knows it is natural for at one pint a fireman to question things. He shows him the history of the firemen and when they were first established.

“Established, 1790, to burn English-influenced books in the Colonies. First Fireman: Benjamin Franklin.

Rules

  1. Answer the alarm quickly.
  2. Start the fire swiftly.
  3. Burn everything.
  4. Report back to the firehouse immediately.
  5. Stand alert for other Alarms.

Before anything else can be done, an alarm sounds and the group heads out. They reach the place and apprehend a women, demanding to know where her contraband is. She won’t tell them but quotes Hugh Latimer.

“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.”

The fireman don’t understand this, but Hugh Latimer was executed for his protestantism, under the ruling of catholic Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth’s older sister. He was burned alive for his beliefs, which is foreshadowing as to what is to come.

Not good

They find the books and are going to burn them like they always do, except this night is different. This woman, Mrs. Blake, stands their silently judging them.

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Montag begins burning everything, but instead of just being things, they feel more alive, like killing animals.

I don't like it 11

They burn everything, ready to decimate the building, but Mrs. Blake won’t leave. She refuses to give up her books. The fireman leave, ready to let her die; but Montag tries to help her. She refuses as she holds in her hand a match.

Not good

Not good

Willing to die for her beliefs.

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I think that is why I love this book so much, the fact that it truly explains a connection people have not just to the book but to the author’s thoughts and ideas. Destroying a book is more than destroying a physical object, it is trying to kill the person who created it.

“It’s not just the woman that died…Last night I thought about all that kerosene I’ve used in the past ten years. And I thought about books. And for the first time I realized that a man was behind each one of the books. A man had to think them up. A man had to take a long time to put them down on paper. And I’d never even thought that thought before…It took some man a lifetime maybe to put some of his thoughts down, looking around at the world and life and then I come along in two minutes and boom! it’s all over.” [pg. 49]

Montag returns home after the horror with a secret:

“His hands had been infected, and soon it would be his arms. He could feel the poison working up his wrists and into the elbows and his shoulders, and then the jump-over from shoulder blade to shoulder blade like a spark leaping a gap. His hands were ravenous. And his eyes were beginning to feel hunger, as if they must look at something, anything, everything…He balanced in space with the book in his sweating cold fingers.” [pg. 38]

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Montag realizes how empty his life is, he married his wife ten years ago, but can’t fathom why. He doesn’t love her and she doesn’t love him. They don’t talk, they spend no time together, and all she does is watch TV or listen to her device with her little seashell headphones that go in her ears practically disappearing from view. Both people are empty, full of nothingness. There is countless walls between them through the TV shows she watches and she is more connected to those fake creations on the screen than her own husband.

All Mildred does is watch TV, yet even that is so empty that you if ask questions what is it even about Mildred doesn’t know. Mildred doesn’t know anything. It’s like she is on drugs, the way her memory and mind is so foggy.

She is like a zombie.

She is like a zombie.

The next day Montag is sick, not physically but mentally, and philosophically. The death of the woman has troubled him dearly and he can’t understand it.

“You weren’t there, you didn’t see,’ he said. There must be something in books, things we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing.” [pg. 48]

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Mildred doesn’t understand it and think that Montag is crazy for taking the death of a stupid radical this way. He should focus on work, on making more money, so they can get more things and TVs and such.

“Let me alone,’ said Mildred. ‘I didn’t do anything.’

‘Let you alone! That’s all very well, but how can I leave myself alone? We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long has it been since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?” [pg. 49]

Then Beatty shows up as Montag has been missing from work. He figured it out that Montag has been questioning the world they live in. So he gives them the spiel he gives out to bring those on the edge back to reality.

“Once, books appealed to a few people, here, there, everywhere. They could afford to be different. The world was roomy. But then the world got full of eyes and elbows and mouths…Films and radios, magazines, books leveled down to a sort of paste pudding norm…in the twentieth century, speed up your camera. Books cut shorter. Condensations. Digests. Tabloids…Classics cut to fit fifteen-minute radio shows, then cut again to fill a two minute book column, winding up at last as a ten- or twelve line dictionary resume…

Speed up the film, Montag, quick. Click, Pic, Look, Eye, Now, Flick, Here, There, Swift, Pace, Up, Down, In, Out, Why, How, Who, What, Where, Eh? Uh! Bang! Smack! Wallop, Bing, Bong, Boom!…Whirl a man’s mind around so fast under the pumping hands of publishers, exploiters, broadcasters, that the centrifuge flings off all unnecessary, time-wasting thought.

…philosophies, histories, languages dropped, English and spelling gradually gradually neglected, finally almost completely ignored. Life is immediate, the job counts, pleasure lies all about after work. Why learn anything save pressing buttons, pulling switches, fitting nuts and bolts?” [pgs 51-53]

Life today. Now this part here really gets me with how PC you have to be 24/7, the littlest infraction and you are out.

“Now let’s take up the minorities in our civilization, shall we? Bigger the population, the more minorities. Don’t step on the toes of the dog-lovers, doctors, lawyers, merchants, chiefs, Mormons, Baptists, Unitarians, second-generation Chinese, Swedes, Italians, Germans, Texans, Brooklynites, Irishmen, people from Oregon or Mexico…The bigger your market, Montag, the less you handle controversy, remember that! All the minor minor minorities with their navels to be kept clean.

Authors, full of evil thoughts, lock up your typewriters. They did. Magazines became a nice blend of vanilla tapioca…But the public, knowing what it wanted, spinning happily, let the comic books survive, And the dimensional sex magazines of course.

There you have it, Montag. It didn’t come from the Government down. There was no dictum, no declaration, no censorship, to start with, no! Technology, mass exploitation, and minority pressure carried the trick…Today, thanks to them, you can stay happy all the time…

With school turning out more runners, jumpers, racers, tinkerers, grabbers, snatchers, fliers, and swimmers instead of examiners, critics, knowers, and imaginative creators, the word ‘intellectual’, of course became the swear word it deserved to be…

We must all be alike. Not everyone was born free and equal, as the Constitution says, but everyone made equal. Each man in the image of every other; then all are happy, for there are no mountains to make them cower, judge themselves against…”

Horrifying, yet that is the world we live in. You don’ like it, they destroy it; and that is happening now. A book about George Washington’s slave, who liked him because she saved his life from an assassination plot, making him a birthday cake was pulled because it isn’t p.c. Uncle Tom’s Cabin? No longer read because it is “cruel to blacks”, when it wasn’t. People don’t even read the book, but destroy it because it might hurt someone’s feelings. The remake of Red Dawn? Last minute had to be rewritten as it might hurt China’s feelings.

Captain Beatty lets them know they got rid of the girl as she was too crazy and out there.

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Life’s better bland, nothing to worry about, pleasant life, no problems, no nothing.

He tells Montag it is okay to check out a book, just one, as there is nothing in there. He’ll read it and burn it afterward.

After Beatty left, Montag is furious, but instead of taking something to make him happy, he has 20 books hidden in the house. He has decided to read them, sharing them with Mildred.

Montag goes to see Professor Faber, a man he ran into before. Faber used to work at a liberal arts college, but they closed it down as it was no longer important. He wants to know how to understand the books, to learn and Faber is the only one he has left.

Faber tells him we need three things in life:

“Number one: Do you know why books such as these are so important? Because they have quality…This book has pores…You’d find life under the glass, streaming past infinite profusion…The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies.” [pg. 79]

And the second? Leisure. Now Montag brings up that we have plenty of leisure, but he means actual time set aside to read, not bombarded with all types of  things.

“You can’t argue with a four-wall televisor. Why? The televisor is ‘real.’ It is immediate, it has dimension. It tells you what to think and blasts it in. It must be right. It seems so right. It rushes you on so quickly to its own conclusions your mind hasn’t time to protest, ‘What nonsense!’

‘…You can shut [books], say ‘Hold on a moment.’ You play God to it. But who has ever torn himself away from the claw that encloses you when you drop a seed in a TV parlor? It grows you any shape it wishes! It is an environment as real as the world. It becomes and is the truth. Books can be beaten down with reason. But with all my knowledge and skepticism, I have never been able to argue with a one-hundred-piece-symphony orchestra, full color, three dimensions…” [pg. 80]

And thirdly the ability to carry out the actions learned from it.

Montag thinks they can change the world by planting books on all the firemen, to bring them down. But Faber knows it won’t help, it isn’t the fireman that created this rule but the public who wanted people to stop reading.

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That’s right, we did when we stopped reading.

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Montag is afraid to go out as Beatty might mix him up again. Faber gives him these devices so he can put it in his ear so that he can hear Faber. That night he goes home and sees that Mildred is having a party.

Montag is horrified by these women. One just marries, divorces, marries, divorces, no emotions whatsoever. The other has kids who are in school constantly, and never sees them as she doesn’t care. They discuss politics. voting for people based on how they look and their names, rather than what they actually say or want to do.

Montag reads to them but they don’t understand. They’ve been too distorted with TV and the culture with no substance.

Captain Beatty knows that Montag has been reading and plays with him, using the books he clings to to rebut his arguments. They leave as they have a call, and it turns out that it is Montag’s house

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Mildred put in the alarm and she is heartbroken. But what saddens her the most? Losing her TV family

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Yes, not her husband, home, etc.

Montag is forced to destroy his own home, and afterwards destroys the firemen. After all, his whole life he has been taught, you have a problem, burn it.

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He has now become a fugitive and runs. Not knowing where, but just continuing to run.

After running, he plants the books in other firemen’s houses. Montag stops to see Faber, finds out the Hound (the firemen’s robotic assassin) is after them, and continues to take off. Never knowing where he is to go next, but running.

He runs into the country until the end of the all known. He stops when he reaches an area with men siting near a campfire and TV set. They give him a potion to change his perspiration, but it is’t really necessary. The Hound needs to find someone, as after all this is TV, the people need the answer.

They find some poor sop who looks like Montag and kill him to save face.

These men are former professors , intellectuals, etc; who have been running from the law. Each one has taken in a new life, the life of a book. These books are locked away in an area they can never be taken from. The mind.

Eventually the hope is to one day reenter society and bring the books they have been passing orally to the world.

“Do you really think they will listen then?’

‘If not then we’ll just have to wait…you can’t make people listen. They have to come around in their own time…” [pg. 146]

And what book does Montag choose to be? Ecclesiastes.

Besides this fantastic story, we have the amazing language and the great way it was written. Take the beginning:

“It was a pleasure to burn.

It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed. With the brass nozzle in his fists, with this great python spitting its venomous kerosene upon the world, the blood pounded in his hands were the hands of some amazing conductor playing all the symphonies of blazing and burning to bring down the tatters and charcoal ruins of history. With his symbolic helmut numbered 451 on his stolid head, and his eyes all orange flame with the thought of what came next, he flicked the igniter and the house jumped up in a gorging fire that burned the evening sky red and yellow and black. He strode in a swarm of fireflies. He wanted above all, like the old joke to shove a marshmallow on a stick in the furnace, while the flapping pigeon-winged books died on the porch lawn of the house. While the books went up in sparkling whirls and blew away on a wind turned dark with burning.” [pgs. 1-2]

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This book is only 158 pages, barely any pages, but there is so much power is in that. Amazing amounts of power. I just love this book.

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Remember:

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Turn your TV, computer, cell phone, and any other device you have off for a while and pick up a book instead.

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To read more 30 Day challenges go to 30 Day Challenge: All About Me!

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For more on Fahrenheit 451, go to It’s A Fan World After All

For more Ray Bradbury, go to Baby Jane Austen

For more Dystopian futures, go to Remember, Remember The 5th of November

For more on being old-fashioned, go to Not a Hipster, But an O.F.

For more Cassandra Clare, go to Drug of Choice

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So last year I posted a Christmas Carol every day in December and I really enjoyed it. I had so much fun picking out the songs, I decided to bring it back.

So with everything going on in the world, and the way people have been acting: I think we need a little Christmas in our lives. So I choose that song.

We Need a Little Christmas is from the musical Mame based on the novel Aunt Mame. In the story Mame gains guardianship of her nephew and starts to raise him. At this point in the musical, Mame has lost everything in the stock market crash of 1929. With everything practically gone, she decides to have Christmas early as she doesn’t know what will happen.

Of course that isn’t the end of the play as Mame has many more interesting antics. However, this song is great and just the right thing to put us in the mood.

This version is sung by Angela Lansbury, from the first musical cast of Aunt Mame.

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For more Christmas Carols, go to We Wish You A Merry Christmas

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For more on Angela Lansbury, go to Because I Am Mad, I Hate You. Because I Am Mad, I Have Betrayed You: Gaslight (1944)

30 Day Challenge: Literature Loves

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Yes it is that time of the year, our new tradition of a 30 Day Challenge. As I am a book lover and just can’t get enough books, I decided this year we will cover that love.

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As any book lover knows, it is difficult to choose a favorite book.

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So this will either fit the category of the book challenge, or will be a book I love. I’m hoping to meld both, but I know that won’t happen for every one of them.  I also ran into a few issues finding 30, so I had to get a tad creative.

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I am also going to skip the Jane Austen novels as I always talk about them on this blog. I’m going to try and do books I haven’t mentioned already, but no promises on that.

I can't help it.

I can’t help it.

Now every time I try to do something in December, it tends to fail. I just get toooo busy.

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But this year I am really going to try.

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So here we go!

30 Day Challenge:

Day 1) A is for Apocalyptical: Choose a book with an Apocalyptic theme

Day 2) B is for Best: Choose a Best-Selling novel

Day 3) C is for Childhood: Choose a book you used to read over and over again when you were a Child.

Day 4) D is for Diary: Choose a novel or memoir in Diary form

Day 5) E is for Elephant: Choose a book with a Elephant on the cover

Day 6) F is for Free: Choose a book you got for Free

Day 7) G is for Ghost: Choose a Ghost story

Day 8) H is for Happily Ever After: Choose a novel that is a retelling of a fairy tale

Day 9) I is for Island: Choose a book that takes place on an Island

Day 10) J is for Jane Austen: Choose a book based on, a sequel to, or a retelling of one of Jane Austen’s works

Day 11) K is for Killer: Choose a book with a murderer

Day 12) L is for List: Choose a book from your to-read List

Day 13) M is for Merry Christmas: Since this 30 Day Challenge is being done in December, let’s pick a favorite book that captures the merry Christmas spirit.

Day 14) N is for Name: Choose a book with a character that shares your first or last Name

Day 15) O is for Ocean: Choose a book that takes place on or in the Ocean

Day 16) P is for Politics: Choose a book that is Political

Day 17) Q is for Queen: Choose a book who’s main character is a Queen

Day 18) R is for Remake: Choose a book that is a Retelling of a classic

Day 19) S is for Short Stories: Choose a collection of Short Stories

Day 20) T is for Translated: Choose a book that was Translated from one language to English

Day 21): U is for Unhappy: Choose a book with an Unhappy ending

Day 22) V is for Vanished: Choose a book with a missing person

Day 23) W is for Weather: Choose a book where the season plays a major role

Day 24) X is for X: Choose a book whose author has an X in their name

Day 25) Y is for Young: Choose a junior or Young adult book

Day 26) Z is for Zombie: Choose a Zombie retelling of a classic novel

Day 27) One, Two, Buckle My Shoe: Shoes symbolize wealth. Choose a novel that involves wealth or fashion

Day 28) Three, Four, Shut the Door: Doors symbolize new beginnings. Choose a novel where s character has to start over

Day 29) Five, Six, Pick Up Sticks: Sticks symbolize power, strength, or judicial decisions. Choose a book that revolves around a powerful ruler or ruling.

Day 30) Seven, Eight, Lay Them Straight: Straight means upright. Choose a book with a moral or strong moral character

Additional one to keep the Symmetry

Day 31) Nine, TenA Big Fat Hen: Hens symbolize motherhood. Choose a book that revolves around a family or strong motherly character.

Have Card will Travel

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For more 30 Day challenges check out 30 Day Challenge: All About Me! and 30 Day Challenge: Disney Edition

For more book loving posts, go to Sadly I’m a Stalker

The Bend and Snap

Pride and prejudice

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The bend and snap works every time!

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For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to Is Love at the Thanksgiving Parade Really Just Pride & Prejudice?

For more from theotherausten.tumblr.com, go to What’s Your Favorite Scary Movie?: Scream (1996)

Is Love at the Thanksgiving Parade Really Just Pride & Prejudice?

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So first of all, Happy Thanksgiving!

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So I was watching this film as I like Hallmark and it is a Thanksgiving film, perfect for the day, but then it got me thinking…it reminded me of something…

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And then it hit me over the head!

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It reminded me of a certain Jane Austen story:

Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet (1940)

Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet (1940)

But is this film really a modern take on Pride & Prejudice? Or is it just borrowing some elements of it? Let’s take a look!

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The Story:

Emily Jones, (E for Elizabeth?), is the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade coordinator. She loves her job and vintage things; choosing to shop and thrift stores and live her life appreciating the past. She is currently engaged to a marine biologist, who is full of himself and doesn’t appreciate Emily but wants to change her into something, “better.”

That guy!

That guy!

Emily has a best friend, Donna, who helps her with finding her vintage clothing and offers her advice. Emily’s life is going great until she gets the ultimate slap in the face; the city has hired an efficiency consultant, Henry William(Will as in FitzWILLIAM Darcy?), to cut costs in the parade.

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Immediately Emily doesn’t like him. Not only is he trying to destroy her favorite thing in the world, but he is wealthy, arrogant, insensitive, impossible, and hates the past as he believes modernity is the way to go. Henry thinks Emily is stubborn, impractical, prejudiced, and doesn’t understand her doggedness about holding onto the parade or her. But they are stuck together.

Henry Williams: We don’t have to like each other, but we do have to work together.

As they start working together, Henry discovers that he misjudged Emily and starts to understand and appreciate her views; changing more and more with each encounter as he opens himself up to care about the heart of the matters, rather than the money. 

Emily starts to fall for him, but her pride and prejudices still keep her from realizing that he is right for her, and her fiancé, Brian, is all wrong. But when Henry decides to change nothing at all, saving the parade for her; Emily realizes she completely misjudged him in every way, and goes after him and in the end they are together.

Double double yay

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So the storyline has quite a few similarities; the bare bones are the same. But what about the characters?

Elizabeth/Emily

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So we are going to start with Emily. Emily was born from a middle class family and has worked hard in her job to make it the best she can as she has a strong sentimental connection to it and the city. She isn’t like other people often being “out of time”, as she loves vintage and retro things of the past.

Elizabeth Bennet is born from a middle/upper class; not wealthy like Darcy or Anne Elliot or Emma Woodhouse, but her family does well. She, like Emily, isn’t always connected to the people of the day as she has her own way of doing things. She prefers walks to riding in a carriage, books to games of whist, etc.

Emily’s pride is hurt when she finds out that the city is going to not only going to try to remove something from her parade to make it cheaper, but also that they would pick an outsider to come in and make those changes. She immediately becomes prejudiced against Henry, no matter what others say about him.

Elizabeth’s pride is hurt when Darcy insults her beauty, and after that becomes prejudiced against him. When George Wickham enters her life, she knows barely anything about him but is willing to believe his testimony against Darcy, rather than Bingley who she has begun to know, as she wants a reason to dislike him even more.

Emily is dating Brian who doesn’t really care for her but who he wants her to be. Elizabeth is interested in George Wickham, who also doesn’t care for her as much as using her as an avenue to spread slander against Darcy and hopefully introduce her to a wealthy woman.

Emily decides the best way to get Henry to save the parade is to show him every facet. As they spend time together; Henry opens up a lot and the two become friends and start falling for each other. However, Emily doesn’t realize how Henry is the perfect one for him until she meets the foster care directors that took care of him when he was younger and when he decides to change nothing, but save the parade for her.

Elizabeth and Darcy don’t share the same type of closeness as the social constraints of the day don’t allow them the same kind of time together. But through the time they do spend and conversations they have, Darcy falls for Elizabeth. Elizabeth doesn’t find herself falling for Darcy until she reads his letter of explanation, hears from his servants about how they feel about him, and when he saves her family and finds her sister.

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Fitzwilliam Darcy/Henry Williams

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Henry Williams grew up in foster care and worked hard his whole life to achieve wealth. Along the way he closed himself off to others, not interested in developing relationships, but chasing after the dollar and making decisions primarily on logical and cool reasoning, rather than emotions.

Fitzwilliam Darcy had a life of privilege, but his responsibilities of being the only son, inheriting and caring for the land, and becoming a guardian for his sister made him focus more on decisions that made sense, rather than emotional.

At first Henry cannot stand Emily as he doesn’t understand her or like the things she likes and the way she dresses (it is strange to him that someone could love wearing used clothing). As they continue working together, he starts to like the way she acts, the things she does, and her.

Mr. Darcy at first isn’t interested in Elizabeth and he really isn’t interested in befriending anybody but being closed off. However, once they spend time together; he starts to like her conversation, her interests, and her.

In the end Henry lets down his facade and barriers allowing Emily in and trying to show her his real self He also decides that his love for Emily is more important and keeps the parade exactly the same. Not only does he save the parade she loves, but saves the actual parade by filling in for their missing Santa.

Darcy does everything he can to try and change Elizabeth’s opinion of him after hearing her objections. He opens his home to her and her family, and tries to show her who he really is under the cold drawn facade. But the thing that really proves to her his care is that he goes to see the people he vowed to never see again, pays a man he never vowed to never give money to again, and saves Lydia and the Bennet family reputation; all for Elizabeth.

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Conclusion?

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Well this isn’t a direct and true adaption of the novel, I do believe that with the large similarities and the core of the characters; while not perfect…it is a modern Pride & Prejudice. And did I like it?

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Yes. Whether you watch it as a modern version of Pride & Prejudice, as a cute Thanksgiving film, or a feel good Hallmark film; I thought it was cute and fun.

I like it!

I like it!

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So that’s our post for today. I thought it would be the perfect Thanksgiving and Jane Austen fusion. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, however you spent it. And don’t forget the pie!

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For more Thanksgiving posts, go to You’ve Got to Accentuate the Positive

For more Pride & Prejudice film adaptations, go to A Murder Has Been Committed on Your Property: Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode One (2013)

For more Pride & Prejudice, go to Candy Girls

For more modern retellings of Jane Austen, go to The Dashwood Sisters Tell All: A Modern Day Novel of Jane Austen

For more Jane Austen Quotes, go to Lemon Scones

For more bible verses, go to I’d Lay Down My Life for You: Pocahontas (1995)

Candy Girls

I don’t know about you all, but I have been eating a lot of Halloween candy, in fact too much.

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But as I continued to eat, it made me think…what if the Jane Austen heroines lived in today’s world? What kind of candy would they eat?

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So I thought on it, and this is what I came up with.

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Elinor is the eldest of the Dashwood sisters and when her father dies, causing them to lose everything to entailment and have to live on less money, she rakes control in searching for a new home. After the move when it is clear that her mother is still sick with grief and her two younger sisters lack the age and temperament for such matters, Elinor takes over running the house and trying to work out a way for them to live on their budget. As Elinor is the champion of saving and surviving, I think that if she were to purchase a sweet she would try to make it something that is cheap and easy to share. Therefore a Kit Kat seemed the most likely choice for her. Kit Kats are easy on the wallet and designed to be evenly split between four, the exact number of Elinor’s family.

For more on Elinor Dashwood, go to To Edward or Not to Edward?

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To me I see Marianne as a Chocolate Truffle. We know how romantic she is, so of course she is going to not only want chocolate, but something more than the average fare. Being raised rich, a truffle is something she would be used to eating, and then when their finances change, she would still be able to eat a few cheaper ones, every now and then.

I can just see her and Colonel Brandon and her reading poetry and eating truffles after they are married.

For more on Marianne Dashwood, go to The Dashwood Sisters Tell All: A Modern Day Novel of Jane Austen

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NOw contrary to the 2005 version of Pride & Prejudice, the Bennets are not poor. They are lower than Darcy as his Aunt is in line for the throne (a LOT of people have to die first but still), Emma Woodhouse, and Anne Elliot (prior to her father losing so much money). They are slightly under the Dashwoods, so they are pretty well off. Not super rich, but doing well. Therefore I think that Elizabeth would pick something in between. Not super rich, but a little more high class than something you can buy at the corner drugstore.

Therefore I think that she would pick the See’s Lollipops. See’s candy isn’t super expensive, but not something you can find just anywhere, sometimes you have to travel a bit to get it. Plus as she is a walker, I see her with a lollipop as she can eat it and go.

For more on Elizabeth Bennet, go to The Ugly Truth

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Now Fanny we all know was born into a large, less fortunate family. She is sent to live with her Aunt and Uncle, the Bertrams; and abused by her other Aunt Norris. Mr. Bertram isn’t really in her life as he is always having to go away on business or not interested in child rearing; Mrs. Bertram is also not really checked in. So the person who raises her is Aunt Norris who never wants her to forget she is poor; giving her extra work, never allowing her to do things with the other kids, playing the two eldest sisters off of her and encouraging their bullying. So if I had to pick a candy, the only one I think Aunt Norris would allow her to have would be mints or gum. Both are extremely cheap and what she would think as suitable for her poorer relation.

I think out of anything she would only buy Orbit as it doesn’t last long and falls apart the more you chew it. But just like Fanny’s personality and actions have her end with a better life than her cousins, chewing gum rather than eating other candy would give her a better smile and oral hygiene.

For more on Fanny Price, go to Waiter, There’s Some Disney in My Jane Austen

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Emma is the richest out of all the Austen heroines. She doesn’t worry about money, she has one of the highest places in their local society; so what would be the perfect candy for her? Only one thing came to mind, GodivaGodiva is one of the most expensive chocolatiers and just perfect for someone like Emma who is used to having the best. The only issue she would face would be whether or not her hypochondriac father would allow her to eat it, or his fear of illness taking her away  would make him not want it in the house. Otherwise, Godiva would be Emma’s go to.

For more on Emma Woodhouse, go to The Austen Series: Amanda

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As a child Catherine was very active in sports, climbing trees, running, etc; a tomboy. In that stage I see her as a bubblegum chewer (like Bazooka), however as she grows older her taste change to reading, especially Gothic, Romantic fiction. With that new take, I don’t see her as a gum chewer, but having moved on to something that pairs better with her reading, chocolate covered strawberries. Not only are these romantic, but something that will fit within Catherine’s budget as they are not too expensive, as her family isn’t super wealthy, especially if you make them yourself. Yes the perfect pair to Catherine and all the harrowing tales she loves to read.

For more on Catherine Morland, go to Storybook Ending: Northanger Abbey (2007)

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Like Elinor, when Anne realizes how her father and sister are just blowing through their money, she begins to economize. And that is why when I think of what candy she would buy and eat, I think of Ghiradelli. While Ghiradelli isn’t the most expensive chocolate out there, it is classier than Hershey’s or Snickers; yet at the same time is cheap enough that it is something Anne would be willing to spend her money to snack on. It is that perfect blend that fits this once rich girl. Anne also strikes me as a dark chocolate and sea salt type of girl, of which Ghiradelli can provide.

For more on Anne Elliot, go to A Letter of Love: Persuasion (2007)

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For more Austen mashups, go to Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t Lose: Superbowl 50

For more Sense and Sensibility, go to A World of Teas

For more Pride & Prejudice, go to Meet Cute: Darcy & Elizabeth Style

For more Mansfield Park, go to It’s Always Tea Time

For more Emma, go to Baby Jane Austen

For more on Northanger Abbey, go to The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen

For more on Persuasion, go to Captain Wentworth’s Diary

For more Austen posts, go to A Murder Has Been Committed on Your Property: Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode One (2013)

For more Candy posts, go to Candy, Candy, Candy!