Book Club Picks: A Christmas Carol

I’ve heard of Christmas in July, but Christmas in April?

What?

Oh well!

So I have fallen behind with my posts, but as you know I started a book club last year:

Every month we read a book and I do a little post on the book we read and discussed. What can I say, I just love books.

There is no theme, other than with each month, a different member gets to pick a book, whichever one they want. So at the time it was my turn it was Christmas.

And you know how much I love Christmas

So what better book to read then, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens? My favorite book to read at Christmastime!

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

This won’t be a long post as I talked about it two years ago during my 30-day book challenge (which I never finished. Oops!)

I love this book so much. I’m not sure what else I could add. I love the history of it and how it changed the world by opening peoples’ hearts and creating reforms to help the poor; along with the Bank Holiday act in 1871, making Christmas an official day of rest. 19 years later, every state in America had adopted the same practice.

“I have endeavoured[sic], in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour[sic] with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it.”
Their faithful friend and Servant,
CD. [Charles Dickens]

I love how Dicken’s describes the sins of greed, pride, and selfishness:

“I wear the chain I forged in Life,’ replied the Ghost [Marley]. ‘I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on, of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it…’Or would you know,’ pursued the Ghost, ‘the weight and length of the strong coil you wear yourself? It was full as heavy and as long as this, seven Christmas Eves ago. You have laboured[sic] on it, since. It is a ponderous chain!”

A good warning to a of us.

And how they describe Scrooge’s old boss Fezziwig. Unlike Scrooge, Fezziwig always liked to treat his clerks right; he may have only gave a little, but he understood the true meaning of Christmas. To give.

“He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome: a pleasure or a toil. Say that his power lies in words and looks; in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to add and count ’em up-what then? The happiness he gives, is quite as great, as if it cost a fortune.”

And of course Christmas present:

How he spreads cheer everywhere.

And of course, Christmas-Yet-to-Come:

The redemption of Scrooge and the all-around happiness of the book. Just a fantastic and inspiring story:

“And as Tiny Tim observed,

God Bless Us Every One!”

For more book club picks, go to Book Club Picks: A Common Life, The Wedding Story

For more on A Christmas Carol, go to You Will Be Haunted By Three Spirits: A Christmas Carol

For more Charles Dickens, go to You Know Me So Well

For more Jane Austen Quotes, go to Jane Austen’s Guide to Dating

All I Want for Christmas

Hmm…what do I want for Christmas?

After all what makes the best gift?

I hope you all get everything you desire under the tree

Merry Christmas!

For more Christmas posts, go to Trek the Halls with Bones and Scotty

For more book-filled posts, go to Magic in Books

Hot Humid Days are Reading Days

I don’t know about you all, but it is HOT here.

It has been in the 100s, so not pleasant at all. This being the first day of summer means it will only get worse.

In fact I don’t want to do anything, and I most certainly do not want to do anything outside.

I mean it feels like you are stepping out into an oven. Immediately sweat pours out of every pore.

So what is a girl to do?

Iced Tea

Yep, it is the perfect weather to sit indoors enjoying your air conditioning, iced tea, and a good book.

For more on hot weather, go to Summertime

For more book filled posts, go to Book Club Picks: The Undoing of Saint Silvanus

For more Jane Austen Quotes, go to The Darcy Monologues: Part I, The Regency

 

Book Club Picks: At Home in Mitford

So as you know I started a book club this year:

Every month we read a book and I do a little post on the book we read and discussed.

There is no theme, other than with each month, a different member gets to pick a book, whichever one they want. I went first, the next month was someone choose Sandcastle Kings, and this month another member choose:

At Home in Mitford (The Mitford Years #1) by Jan Karon

This book is set in the fictional town of Mitford, North Carolina. The books center around the Vicar, Father Tim. Father Tim is turning sixty and feels like he should give up on being a minister. He feels as if his life is stagnant, his preaching dry, and that the community would be better off with a new rector. He promises one more year, but if things don’t change, then he will retire.

Hmm…

But soon things start changing in his life. A giant black dog shows up at his home and won’t leave. Barnabas, what he names the dog, is strangely only calmed down if one speaks a bible verse at him.

Then a beautiful woman moves in next door. She is scatterbrained, always in need of assistance, and stirs up feelings in the reverend’s dormant heart.

A painting found in an attic is donated to the church which may be a genuine Vermeer.

His best friends are going to have a baby, even though they are in their fifties; his secretary has started a romance with the mailman, he gets a holds-nothing-back housekeeper, and finds himself suddenly fostering a preteen boy.

Someone breaks into the church repeatedly, stealing nothing but food.

Hmm…

Then Father Tim gets word of a jewelry ring operating in the area with them smuggling them through customs in old antiques. Some of the jewels Father Tim finds hidden in an urn in the church. Could someone in the community be involved?

Miss Sadie is the last remaining member of the oldest and richest family in Mitford. She tells Father Tim the story of the love that got away and reveals a secret that has been hidden for over forty years.

So I really loved this book. I thought the characters were fun and realistic. The town felt like it could be your small town, and the characters, the people you know or interact with.

It was so cute how everyone cared about their town and each other-getting in everyone’s business to help out. It made me want to live there.

The back of the book hints at it being more of a mystery, but while there are elements that are puzzling I wouldn’t classify it as a mystery. Well, whatever it is it was a fun book and easy to love.

For more book club picks, go to Book Club Picks: Sandcastle Kings

I Finally Read Moby-Dick

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

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Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

So reading lists. It feels like they will never end.

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And every time I read a book, it feels as if I add ten more.

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To help keep track of that, I have a Goodreads account and I try and work through it. But then I have another problem:

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Yes, so even though I have too many books that I own and haven’t read; and too many on my to-read list, I keep getting more.

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My shelves are stuffed:

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And I have boxes full of them everywhere:

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So I tried to figure out what book to review, and settled on Moby-Dick. 

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Moby-Dick or The Whale was published by Herman Melville in 1851. At the time it wasn’t received, and by the time of his death the book was out of print and hadn’t generated that much money.

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However, readers are fickle and in the 20th century, the book became so popular it was given the title of one of the Great American Novels. William Faulkner was known to have wished he was the one who wrote it and D. H. Lawrence called it “one of the strangest and most wonderful books in the world”, and “the greatest book of the sea ever written.”

Wow

Wow

I had started The Great Illustrated Classic version when I was much younger, but never finished the book. I had to return it to the library and I’m not sure why I didn’t recheck it out, but I never read, or finished reading it, ever again.

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This book has been on my to-read list since I’ve joined Goodreads, and my friend even gave it to me for my sixteenth birthday, but I had still not read it. Leaving it buried under all the other to-read books.

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But this year I decided to read it!

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So what did I think after all this time?

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I didn’t like it.

OMG gasp

I know, I feel horrible for even uttering those words…

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But it is the truth.

It's how I feel.

It’s how I feel.

So let’s go over what the story is about, and then I will share why I didn’t like it.

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Plot Synopsis:

Ishmael signs up to a whaling ship, having to share his room with a Polynesian harpooner, Queequeg. At first Ishmael is afraid of him, but the two end up becoming extremely good friends.

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The ship they go on is the Pequod, which is led by Captain Ahab. Now Captain Ahab has lost his leg to a mighty white whale, Moby-Dick, and he is incensed with revenge, planning on finding him and killing him on their journeys.

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The ship sails, and while the crew hunt for the whales to bring back their blubber; Ishmael shares his philosophies of whaling, his idea of the British, the different whales they meet, etc. The novel ends in a bitter battle as Ahab finds his prey; but will he be able to destroy it or just himself?

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So Why Didn’t I Like It?

The biggest problem for me is that this novel is a little bit of everything and moves from topic to topic instead of being one concise story. I mean Ishmael’s thoughts seem to wander everywhere as he will switch from the adventure on the whale ship to his thoughts of religion, how the color white is evil, that the British snootily look down on the Americans but need them, etc. This random philosophizing I could definitely do without, especially as there is no segway but a real rattling on.

Blah, blah

Blah, blah

I mean I really enjoyed the adventures in whaling and anything with Captain Ahab, I thought he was a great character, but sadly there wasn’t more of him.

Why not?

Why not?

What also struck me was how hard Melville was trying to make a “great American novel.” We know people from England looked down at America at this time, and you can see how hard Melville is trying to prove that American writers are just on par as the British.

“But where this superioty in the English whalemen does really consist, it would be hard to say, seeing that the Yankees in one day, collectively, kill more whales than all the English, collectively, in ten years.”

Yeah, I don’t think he is just talking about whales, it seems there is a deeper meaning under there…

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So I didn’t really care for it, but at least I finally read it! Now I can cross it off my list and move onto the next item.

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

For the previous post, go to Someone is Killing By Copying Old Murders!: Real Murders

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For more Lemony Snicket quotes, go to I Think I Have Found a Means of Conveyance…An Elephant: Around the World in 80 Days

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Today I choose the Christmas Carol, It Came Upon a Midnight Clear. It was written by Pastor Edmund Sears in 1849. At the time he was depressed and saddened by the war with Mexico and the strife that hung in the air. His friend, Pastor William Parsons Lunt, asked him to write a poem and this was what Sears came up with.

A year later, composer Richard Storrs Willis, wrote the music that the poem goes with.

I choose the version done by Celtic Woman as they are a fantastic group.

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For more Celtic Woman, go to You Will Be Haunted By Three Spirits: A Christmas Carol

For more Christmas Carols, go to Midnight in Austenland

You’re My Best Friend

FavoriteBookReading

Everyone has those books. They are something you read and felt so connected to it has become a part of your soul.

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After all:

BookSurviveAdolescenceloveforlifelibbaBray

Yep:

WithBooksNeverAlone

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For more bookish posts, go to Not a Priority

For more book best friends, go to When I’m Reading

Rainy Days & Rainy Nights

You know what I love?

What?

What?

I LOVE:

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Yes. This is one of my favorite things to do, and as it has finally started raining, this has once again become one of my favorite pastimes.

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After all:

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For more bookish posts, go to When I’m Reading

For more on my love of rain, go to England Dreamin’ On Such a Summer’s Day