The Great Depths of the Ocean are Entirely Unknown to Us: Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

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

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Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

This is one of my top favorite books.

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I started reading this book the same way I started reading all the classics, The Great Illustrated Classics collection at my local library.

And this is one of my all-time favorite stories. Just like Doc Brown

Doc Brown: So do I. “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”, my absolute favorite.

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As I mentioned before I love Jules Verne. I’ve read almost everything by him.

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My favorite thing about this novel is everything they see and all the adventures they go on.

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Another amazing thing was how Verne was so ahead of his time. In his novel Captain Nemo has electric lights on his submarine, it wasn’t until more than thirty years that was possible. He just had all these ideas or improvements that inspired people to create and copy them.

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This book also has some solid math and science, based on current inventions of the time and what was known. It is just a fantastic book!

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The book takes place in 1866. All the countries are agog as something seems to be destroying ships. Something…or some monster!

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They call in the top people to launch an expedition to destroy whatever it is that is doing this to them. One of the people called in is Professor Pierre Aronnax, a marine biologist. He believes that the creature is something from the very depths of the oceans, as it would need incredible strength to survive that and destroy the ships the way it does.

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Maybe a giant sea monster or narwhale?

He takes along his valet, Conseil, and the two meet and become good friends with Canadian Whaler, Ned Land, as they sail the sea searching for the creature.

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They eventually find the creature, which rips apart the ships set after it. The only crew members to survive are Professor Aronnax, Conseil, and Ned. They try to find something to grab onto and drift on, when they grasp the monster and discover it is not a sea creature after all…

Say What

It is a super advanced submarine.

OMG gasp

They are taken inside and saved by the captain, Captain Nemo. He decides to let them live because he greatly appreciates the intellect and things that Professor Aronnax has written.

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But they are forced to remain on the ship forevermore, as they can not be returned to the surface. Saved but not free.

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Conseil enjoys being underwater at first, but begins to wish for home. Ned has never liked being under the water, and from the beginning has been trying to figure out a way to escape their imprisonment. The only one who is thrilled with this arrangement is Professor Aronnax, as being a marine biologist this is the opportunity of a lifetime to learn about what really happens in the deep blue.

What is under the water?

What is under the water?

They travel 20,000 leagues around the world; being the firsts to look upon Antarctica (as it wasn’t officially visited until 1911), battle a squad of sperm whales, visit shipwrecks, walk along the ocean floor, witness all kinds of marine life, fight off cannibal islanders, and are attacked by a giant squid in one of the most harrowing battles in literature.

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As they journey they discover that their Captain has a lot of bitterness and rage; attacking ships because of an old pain.

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For one who is so stone faced and set in his ways, will they ever be able to convince him to set them free? Or will they be stuck under the sea forever?

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Yep just one fantastic read you need to check out for yourself.

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No matter how many times I read this book it is still one wild ride! What can I say?

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

For the previous post, go to I’d Spent Some Time As a Kid Wishing My Name Were Ashley or Katherine, if Only Because It Would Have Made Life Simpler, But My Mom Liked to Tell Me That My Name Was a Litmus Test: Along for the Ride

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For more on 20000 Leagues Under the Sea, go to Heaven on Earth

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

For more ocean adventures, go to I Finally Read Moby-Dick

For more marine biologists, go to  You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat: Jaws (1975)

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Today’s pick is Carol of the Bells. This song was composed by Mykola Leontovych, and written by Peter J. Wilhousky in 1914.

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For more Christmas Carols, go to Maybe Christmas, He Thought, Doesn’t Come from a Store. Maybe Christmas…Perhaps…Means a Little Bit More: How the Grinch Stole Christmas

I’d Spent Some Time As a Kid Wishing My Name Were Ashley or Katherine, if Only Because It Would Have Made Life Simpler, But My Mom Liked to Tell Me That My Name Was a Litmus Test: Along for the Ride

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

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Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

So I know I discussed this book back when I talked about being a fan of Sarah Dessen, but I am bringing it back as it contains one of my names. Yes, one of these characters has my first, middle, or last name. Which one? I’m not saying.

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Another reason why I picked this book was because the main character, Auden, took a long time to like her name. She is named after the poet W. H. Auden, and not only do most not know who she is named after, it isn’t really a girl’s name. I know what it is like to not like your name, but at least she was named after a poet; my namesake created lots of teasing growing up. And her name means “old friend”, mine is not pretty.

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I started reading Sarah Dessen back in middle school. This was the last book I read while in my teendom, and I think it is one of her best books and the last truly great one. I didn’t really care for Whatever Happened to Good-bye or The Moon and More, and didn’t even bother to read the next one she came out with. I don’t know if I am too old or if her work isn’t as good as it used to be.

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So Auden West never had a real childhood. Her parents are professors, and her brother Hollis (meaning holly tree) had colic as a baby.

Not good

After him, they expected Auden to be a mini adult, no longer wanting to be “parents”. Hollis had fun and charmed his way through life, going abroad and mooching off his family as he continues to play.

Favorite Lydia Bennet

Auden had to be the serious child: no fun, no play, nothing but academics. This caused her to grow to be a little anti-social as she just couldn’t relate to others.

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She also moved around a lot as no school was seen as right for her parents. This caused her to also make no real connections, as how can you become friends when you are only there for a second.

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 Auden also has insomnia.

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After Hollis left, things got ugly in the house. Her mom came and won awards, great articles, a chair, etc; while her husband went down. They never liked fighting around Auden, so they would wait until she went to sleep. Auden stopped going to sleep, hoping that would keep them from fighting.

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This worked for a while, but eventually they just started fighting again.

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They divorced, her father remarried, and immediately got his new wife pregnant. Auden feels replaced in one life and nothing in her mother’s who spends all her time working or with her graduate students.

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Mostly Auden spends all her free time at an all night diner and reads, drinking coffee.

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Or booth in this case.

She will be heading off to a top college in the summer and has been studying the classes her mother picked out for her.

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Her stepmother, Heidi (meaning noble and kind), recently had their baby, Thisbe (meaning lover of Pyramus) Caroline West, and invites Auden to come out to the beach where they live and spend time there this summer. Heidi always invites Auden and Auden always makes an excuse…

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but this time things change. She just can’t stand another summer of not living.

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Auden decides to take up Heidi’s offer and heads out to the beach in hopes to spend time with her dad and not sure what will happen.

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What she finds is nothing she would have expected. The perfectly coiffed Heidi is a mess, the baby always cries from colic, and while she loves her dad, his selfishness makes her not like him most of the time as all he can do is focus on is his book.

Men?

Men

Auden is asked out by a local boy and heads down to a beach party, a huge mistake as he was a total jerk.

jerk

Auden still has issues sleeping, so she spends her time driving, at a horrible diner, or reading at home. But Thisbe won’t stop crying, so one night she ends up taking her to the boardwalk, walking her up and down.

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There she sees a boy on his bike, doing all kinds of jumps and such, hypnotized by his movements. He spots her watching and approaches her, looking at the baby. Auden explains that it has been a long night, and he agrees with aren’t they all.

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Auden ends up helping Heidi out when there isn’t enough money to cover the UPS delivery at her shop, Clementine’s. The main girl is Maggie (meaning pearl) who turns out to be the girlfriend of the guy she hooked up with the night before.

big mistake

Maggie and her friends are upset when they realize that Auden is the girl, but they do come to the conclusion that Auden didn’t know anything, and that Maggie is better off without her loser boyfriend who is cheating on her.

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Things are not very happy in the new West family. Auden’s father and Heidi are fighting constantly, just trade a few words out and it is like living back with mom and dad.

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They are supposed to be having a family dinner, but that is a wash. Thisbe starts crying and Auden takes her out of there. As she is trying to get her to stop she is approached by the same boy from the other night, and he is able to calm the baby.

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Heidi knows him, and introduces him to Auden. He is Eli (most common meaning, my God is Yahweh), who has a younger brother, Jake (supplanter). That Jake was the same guy that was dating Maggie and messing with Auden. Of all the people to mess with.

Just My Luck!

Just My Luck!

Later that night Auden overhears Heidi and her father arguing. Heidi wants him to help her out more around the house, while her father thinks that Auden should just do free babysitting.

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Hurt that Heidi defends her while her father wants to use her, Auden needs something to do and spots Heidi’s accounts she was trying to balance. Auden stays up all night using her anger to work out the issue.

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Heidi is amazed at Auden’s work and instantly offers her a job working the books. Her father tries a power play chastising Heidi for using Auden, but as Auden heard their conversation the night before, she becomes angry and takes the employment, even though it means working with the girl who’s boyfriend she was with.

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Auden grows to really like working at the store. She doesn’t spend a lot of time with Maggie or her friends (the other workers), so that that isn’t as awkward as she thought it would be. One night she becomes bored and heads over to the skate park where everyone hangs out.

Say What

There she runs into Eli, who asks her about riding a bike. Auden is concrete that she knows how to ride a bike, but does she really? She didn’t really have a childhood.

Thinking Hmm

One day her mother visits and just rips on everything; Heidi, her dad, the clothes Auden is wearing, the store, the beach, the restaurants, etc. When Auden defends Heidi as not being a ditz but a pretty astute businesswoman, her mother is rather cruel to Auden, putting her in her dumb category because she no longer is in one hundred percent agreement with her.

ouch Hermione

After work, Auden still hurt, goes off to get a coffee from the nearby shop. Maggie goes after her as she knows what it is like having a difficult mother. She sits with Auden and just helps by being there.

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She ends up going out with the girls, not really expecting anything but just wanting some company.

Girls night!

Girls night!

They head to the Gas/Gro where they pick up some snacks, just in case. After all you never know what the night will hold.

Chocolate makes everything better

Afterwards they head to a party at Belissa’s (lovely one) house, the daughter of the local bakers. They send Auden to get beers, but as she has never partied before she cannot get the keg to work.

I don't know what to do

Eli comes up behind her and tries to help her out. They joke around having fun, but Maggie quickly comes in and tries to get her Auden of there.

Run Away

Before they can get free they run into Belissa and almost get their butts kicked as she is Eli’s ex, yet still thinks they are together. Auden has never dealt with angry exes so she doesn’t have the sane reaction.

Them's fighting words!

Them’s fighting words!

The girls interrogate her about Eli, when they started hanging out, and Auden shares that they talked ever since she saw him on his bike.

OMG gasp

The girls are shocked and reveal Eli’s sad backstory.

Eli and Abel (breath) were the very best of friends, doing everything together. They did competitive biking and were extremely good, so good they had sponsors and everything. Eli was given a scholarship for it to the University and deferred to keep riding. Then one day they were coming back from a competition and the two were in an accident. A drunk driver went through a four way stop and Abel was killed.

After that Eli gave up everything and doesn’t do much as he is grieving.

aw cry

Maggie takes Auden back to the shop, and Auden grabs a coffee before she decides to head out. But then she changes her mind as she sees a light on in the bike shop and takes a chance.

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Eli is there and realizes they told her everything. He tells her he used to like hanging out with her because she never felt sorry for him or gave him a pity look.

Stop stop it now!

Auden bypasses that and says she is angry because he left her alone to fight his ex. As Eli doesn’t like to sleep either, they end up spending the night together as they visit the laundromat/coffee shop, the Park Mart warehouse store, etc.

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Eli discover that therre are a lot of of things she missed out on her childhood and decides they need to go on a quest to help her. Food fights, “high school” parties, delivering newspapers, going to a club, kickball, etc.

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Auden finds herself finally allowing her to open up to another person, something she hasn’t been able to do since the dissolution of her parents’ marriage.

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But will this work out or just be a summer romance? Will Auden finally let someone into her heart, or become too afraid she lets it go?

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I loved this book so much!

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First of all Maggie is such an amazing character. She shows how you don’t have to label yourself but be whatever you want. Sporty? Pretty? Intelligent? You can be it all.

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She’s fun, sweet, and the best friend you could ever have.

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And Eli. Eli has gone through so much and is such a strong character. He teaches Auden it is okay to grow up and still have childish parts to her, no matter how old you are.

He makes her Rice Krispie treats when she is sad and crying.

How sweet!

How sweet!

When she freaks out and tries to break it off, he just takes it and when she overcomes her commitment-phobia, he is there waiting.

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He is smart, talented, compassionate, sweet, adorable- and I wish he was real as he is just perfect.

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December 2014

The only flaw I would say this book has is that Eli never really deals with his grief, but buries it in another relationship which is not the right way to do. After working with grieving people, Dessen didn’t quite handle that issue correctly.

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But the rest of the book was fantastic and it is something I read over and over again.

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Now each Sarah Dessen novel connects to all the others, and I’ve listed said connections with Along for the Ride, AFTR.

That Summer:
Haven’s family spends a whole summer at a beach just like Auden does.

Someone Like You:
In Someone Like You, Scarlett and Haley went to Jackson High. Auden went there for a while in AFTR.

Keeping the Moon
Auden goes to visit her Dad and Stepmom in Colby. In Keeping the Moon, Colby is where Colie visited for the entire summer.
Auden eats at Last Chance where Colie worked at in Keeping the Moon.
The cashier that takes Auden’s order at Last Chance is a dark haired girl with a lip ring. Colie is dark-haired girl with a lip ring.
Heidi, Auden’s stepmom, two best friends are Morgan and Isabelle. Morgan and Isabelle are Colie’s next door neighbors in Keeping the Moon.
Auden passes a women with long hair in an orange jumpsuit on a bicycle. This is Mira, Colie’s aunt.

Dreamland:
Caitlin went to Jackson High. Auden goes to Jackson High for a bit in AFTR.
Rogerson Biscoe goes to Perkins Day. Auden goes to Perkins Day for a bit as well.
In Dreamland, Caitlan’s Dad,Boo, and Stewart teach at U. That is the same university where Auden mom teaches as well.
Cass starts reading about Buddhism. In AFTR, Auden is reading about it too.

This Lullaby:
Auden’s mom teaches at the U, the same university where Lissa is going to college.

The Truth About Forever:
Macy went to Jackson High. Auden went there for a while in AFTR.
Macy’s ex-boyfriend Jason Talbot was supposed to be Auden’s date for the prom, but he cancels last minute. He is also her date in the prom boardwalk party Heidi throws, but cancels last minute once again.
Macy and Wes are always going to World of Waffles. In AFTR, that is where Maggie, Leah, and Esther go when Esther’s car breaks down.
Jason’s parents are professors just like Auden’s parents.

Just Listen:
Annabelle went to Jackson High. Auden went there for a while inAFTR.
Will Cash, Sophie’s boyfriend, the guy who rapes Annabelle goes to Perkins Day. Auden goes to Perkins Day for a bit in AFTR.
A girl named Esther emcees the poetry and other readings at the coffee shop, Jump Java. Whitney goes her to read her memoir. In Along for the Ride, Auden’s friend Esther, loves to go to coffee shops to hear readings.

Lock and Key:
Ruby dates Nate Cross. Auden talks about awkwardly flirting with him in AFTR
Ruby’s brother-in-law created the website Ume.com. In AFTR Auden goes on it.
Ruby went to Jackson High for a while. Auden went there for a while in AFTR
Ruby goes to Perkins Day. Auden goes to Perkins Day for a bit in AFTR.
Ruby wears a necklace with a key on it. Harriet makes a ton of these to sell at her kiosk in the mall. In AFTR, Heidi sells the necklaces at her shop Clementine’s.
Ruby, Gervais, and Nate attend U. Cora and Jamie used to go to U. Auden’s mom is a professor at U.
Ruby applies for Defriese but doesn’t get in. Auden and Maggie attend Defriese.

Whatever Happened to Goodbye:
McLean is named after a Defriese University coach; she used to live in Tyler, the town Defriese University is located; and her stepdad is the Defriese University basketball coach. Auden and Maggie go to Defriese University.
Auden and Eli shop at Park Mart. So does Mclean
Guy next door to McLean goes to U; McLean herself attends U. Auden’s mother is a professor at U.
McLean goes to Jackson High like Auden did before she transferred.
Peter bought McLean’s mom a house in Colby. Colby is where Auden spends the summer with her dad and stepmom.
Jason is the chef at Luna Blue. Jason is Jason Talbot, the guy who stood Auden up twice.
Heidi is friends with McLean’s mom. She comes by with Thisbe and a bathing suit from Clementine’s.

The Moon and More:
Auden’s friend Esther film’s Clyde, Ivy, & Emmaline’s party.
Emmaline goes to parties at the Tip. The Tip was were Auden had her embarrassing “hook up”.
Clyde hangs out with Emmaline. Clyde met Auden when she was on her “quest”. He made pie for her too in his laundromat.
Both stories take place in Colby.
Emmaline knows Wallace, who is friends with Auden.
Emmaline is a Gas/Gro fiend, just like Auden & friends.
Emmaline goes to Abe’s Bike, named for Eli’s friend and owned by Clyde.
They talk about Weymor college, where Auden’s dad teaches at.
Emmaline gets an ad for Tallyho, Luke cheats on her there, and they have the art show after party there. Tallyho was the club where Maggie, Esther, and Leah would go.
Emmaline knows Maggie and Auden.
Emmaline’s friend Daisy works for Heidi, Auden’s stepmother, at her shop, Clemetine’s.
Auden goes to visit her Dad and Stepmom in Colby. Emmaline lives in Colby.
Auden eats at Last Chance so does Emmaline.
Auden mom teaches at U. Emmaline will be attending in the fall.
Daisy & Emmaline win best dressed at the Beach Bash. Heidi throws the Beach Bash every year.
Heidi is friends with Emmaline’s mom, Emily.
Auden and Eli shop at Park Mart. So does Emmaline.
Adam and Wallace live down in the beach shacks. Wallace used to live in GULL’S CRY which is where Theo lives after he gets kicked out.

Liveinbooks

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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 Maybe Christmas, He Thought, Doesn’t Come from a Store. Maybe Christmas…Perhaps…Means a Little Bit More: How the Grinch Stole Christmas

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For more on Along for the Ride, go to The Strange Case of a Fangirl and Her Fandoms

For more on Sarah Dessen, go to I’m the Happiest Girl on Prince Edward Island: Anne of Green Gables

For more on Anthony Trollope, go to Words to Live By

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So as this takes place on the beach I though none other than the perfect beach, Christmas Carol…the perfect California beach Christmas Carol. Little Saint Nick by The Beach Boys.

Yes growing up a Californian, The Beach Boys are a group that whatever part you are from, you just grow up loving.

It was written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love. Wilson said the idea came to him while on a date, he broke it off early, and rushed home to finish working on it. The song released in 1963.

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For more Christmas Carols, go to I Finally Read Moby-Dick

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 Quest: Choose a book in which the characters go on a Quest

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 Weather 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 a 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

Come With Me and You’ll Be in a World of Pure Imagination: Happy 100th Birthday Roald Dahl

So today marks the 100th Birthday of Roald Dahl.

Yay!

Yay!

He was such a big part of my childhood. I mean…how do I explain?

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I mean Matilda was the anthem for kids everywhere who loved to read a lot, and were misunderstood by others

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Then there was the wonderful magic and adventure of Charlie & the Chocolate Factory. I mean who didn’t want to visit Wonka’s and get a glimpse at all the wonder inside?

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

And you might think it weird that I did a pic from the film, but Roald Dahl actually wrote the script for most of it. The parts were rewritten later as the director thought that it was too much like the book, but the heart of the piece is him.

The sequel, Charlie & the Great Glass Elevator wasn’t as good as The Chocolate Factory, but still extremely fun. They go into outer space, save astronauts, and have to fight Vermicious Knids.

Space Mountain

The B.F.G. was such a great book about finding a family, as orphan and outcast Sophie finds a kindred soul in the runt of the litter and always picked on, B.F.G. (Big Friendly Giant).

Family

In James & the Giant Peach; dreamer James finds himself the owner of a gigantic peach and sets off to New York City with a crew of insects that range from a spider, to a grasshopper, to a centipede, and more. They have to fight countless obstacles and outwit his cruel aunts.

Adventure

In Fantastic Mr. Fox, a hardworking father tries to care for his family and the forest creatures; all the while trying to outwit the farmers of their wares.

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Sometimes he’s “got this” and other times he really doesn’t.

In George’s Marvelous Medicine, George is constantly tired of his grandmother’s abusive remarks. So he cooks her up a “special medicine” to release his anger, one that she actually drinks! It causes her to grow 20 times her size! Will George be able to change her back? And will he be able to remake the recipe to be sold?

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Boy: Tales of Childhood is a memoir and a great read. Dahl sure was a little scallion when he was growing up. These tales are extremely entertaining, especially the rat story.

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Happy Birthday Dahl and thank you for all the wonderful memories and moments you gave me.

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Such an amazing imagination was an inspiration to us all.

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Read a Dahl book today!

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For more on Roald Dahl, go to A Book Only a Reader Could Write

For more book-filled posts, go to It’s Always Tea Time

It’s Always Tea Time

So a while back we had a tea party at our church for an event.

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Different people were given a table, in which we could make our theme whatever we wanted. I was given a table and my theme was books! After all:

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Anyways, I just realized I forgot to post the pics from it. So I thought I would now.

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My centerpiece was a collection of nice hardcover classics stacked on top of each other, with a hollowed book on top that a tree branch came out of. Clipped to the tree was tea bags for each person to choose from.

I then chose six of my favorite classic books in which the characters have tea time or talk about tea. With each table setting I tried to embody the book.

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Setting 1: Mansfield Park by Jane Austen, 1814

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So for the first setting I made sure to pair it with a very simple cup, as Fanny is not only a poorer relation, but she is a girl who likes simple things over the grandiose and showy. I laid out a copy of the book cover in front of the table setting, and then had this quote on the table.

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Then the cutlery:

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I put a white bow because Fanny would be the type to have a simple adornment like that, instead of extensive work on her dress.

I also added the gold cross as that is a huge part of the scheming by Maria Crawford to get Henry and Fanny matched up. When Fanny asks to borrow a chain for the gold cross her brother gave her, Maria sneakily gives her one that Henry gave her; so when Henry sees it he thinks that Fanny has decided to embrace his attentions, (i.e. gave him the green light).

For more on Mansfield Park, go to A World of Teas

For more Jane Austen, go to Free, for Lack of a Better Word, is Good

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Setting 2: Emma by Jane Austen, 1815

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The second setting I choose Emma. For this I had a gold and cream cup and saucer; the fanciest one I could find as Emma was rich and from an old family. She would have the finer things.

I laid out the book cover and this quote from the novel:

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For Emma’s cutlery I wanted something a bit showier and fancier. I made a hair clip out of a red flower and gold fan charm. I thought this would encompass the character of Emma.

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For more on Emma, go to Baby Jane Austen

For more Jane Austen Quotes, go to I Can’t Pretend, I Have to Be

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Setting 3: The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, 1859

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This was the table setting I choose for myself as I figured I would probably be the only one at the tea party who has read this book. And I was right. I don’t know why people don’t read Wilkie Collins anymore. This one of my favorite mysteries, as our main character comes upon a woman in white who holds a warning, leading him down a very twisted path. As the story continues, different characters become the voice of the book, until we reach the conclusion and discover who this woman in white is and what she is trying to stop.

I set up a copy of the book cover, and in front of it had my absolute favorite tea quote:

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Seriously, if you aren’t here I am starting without you.

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Anyways, the silverware:

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This was the first one I put together going with a magnifying glass as this was a mystery, and adding a cameo afterwards. I thought it would be a great symbol of the time, along with the white silhouette of a women being reminiscent of the woman in white.

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Setting 4: Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, 1865

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The fourth setting was an Alice in Wonderland theme. The cup I choose for this was one designed to be a rose, while the saucer a leaf. This was to symbolize the Garden that Alice has a not so fun time in.

I set up a copy of the book cover, and in front of it had this quote:

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Then I designed the napkins thusly:

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The watch of course for the White Rabbit who is always running late, and the creamer for the Mad Hatter and March Hare’s obsession with tea and their endless tea party.

For more on Alice in Wonderland, go to Disney Lesson

For more on Lewis Carroll, go to Can’t Go Back 

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Setting 5: Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie, 1911

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Second to last we had Peter Pan. The cup I choose for this one had strawberries on it, and I choose it because I thought it was something that Wendy would have liked.

I laid out the book cover and this quote:

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For the setting I went with something a little more basic, a red feather. This feather was supposed to be the feather Peter wears in his hat.

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For more on Peter Pan, go to My Teaddiction (Tea Addiction)

For more on J. M. Barrie, go to Fan-do or Fan-don’t. There is No Fan-try

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Setting 6: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis, 1950

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For the last setting I went a little more modern than the others. This one’s tea cup had a winter scene as the world of Narnia is stuck in a cycle of :

Always winter but never Christmas”

I laid the book cover and this quote:

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This quote is from Mrs. Beaver, but for cutlery design I went with Mr. Tumnus and Lucy’s tea time. I had two tiny tea cups tied to symbolize their tea for two.

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For more on The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, go to Simply Fantastic

For more on C. S. Lewis, go to Going on a Treasure Hunt

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For more on my love of tea, go to My Trip to Teavana

For more book-filled posts, go to A Book Only a Reader Could Write

A World of Teas

Recently I was given a collection of five teas; A World of Teas by Tea forté. 

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As I was about to try them out, I started thinking, which books would best suit the teas? After all nothing goes together better than a good book and a delicious tea.

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You guys ready?

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Tea #1: Bombay Chai from Bombay, India

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This tea was spicy with layers of taste. The first thing that popped in my head was the scene from Sense & Sensibility (1995) when Colonel Brandon says the air is full of spices. This made me think that this book was the perfect pairing.

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Its range of spices and many layers make it just like Colonel Brandon.

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At first glance an average soldier, but as you read you see there are many parts to him. Plus it seemed as if it would be something he would drink after his time abroad.

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

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Tea #2 Moroccan Mint from Morocco

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This tea was refreshing and cool, but also predictable. This was a familiar taste with no real surprises, however that didn’t make it any less enjoyable. For that reason, I choose Death on Demand by Carolyn G. Hart.

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Death on Demand is the beginning of the series and follows amateur private detective and mystery bookstore owner, Annie Laurence, as she tries to figure out which of the many possible suspects killed an annoying, blackmailing, author. She is racing against the clock as if she cannot find the real killer, she will end up being thrown in jail!

While at times it may be predictable the character and stories always leave me coming back for more.

For more on Death on Demand, go to It’s Fantastico!
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Tea #3 African Solstice from South Africa

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So this one started off good, lots of flavor and taste; but then I had the rooibos. I don’t like rooibos, as for me it has a weird aftertaste that I just don’t agree with. Once those came in, this tea was lost on me. The book I thought would be the best pairing is Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

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Things Fall Apart is the story of Nigerian Okonkwo, an Ibo leader. The book chronicles his life, family culture, and ambitions. An accident causes things to derail for Okonkwo, and he is sent away. While he regroups and plans how to re-achieve his prior success, the British arrive with their influence and missionaries changing the structure of the villages. Will Okonkwo be able to adapt? Or will he fall under the British wheel of “progress”?

Like this African tea, I really enjoyed about two-thirds of the novel. The rooiboss of the the novel, for me, was the ending. I thought it built up perfectly, but ended way to soon, with enough falling action. It is like when you bake a cake and open the oven too soon, causing the cake to fall. That’s how the ending of this book and tea were to me, too soon.

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Tea #4: Sencha from Japan

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This tea at first seems simple and plain, but as you drink it you realize there is a whole lot more going on, and it has an incredible flavor. I finished this tea off first of all the others in the collection.

This actually made me think of two books. The first being Mansfield Park:

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At first glance Mansfield Park seems simple and a lot say it is boring. Fanny is a placid girl, often being the tool of others instead of going after what she wants. However, as you continue reading you see that Fanny has a lot more to her character than meets the eye. She is often passive as she is grateful for being pulled out of a bad situation; but when one tries to force her to do something she really does not want to (marriage to Mr. Crawford, a first class rake) she becomes a will of iron and will not be bent. She completely encompasses the old Japanese proverb of being bamboo, willing to bend with the wind but not break.

The second being Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

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Now I don’t want to spend too much time on this book as I am planning on reviewing it in the winter as part of my 30 Day challenge.

However, Hale is a master crafter as she takes the simple fairy tale of Maid Maleen and turns it into this incredible adventure full of bravery, romance, and supernatural elements.

For more on Mansfield Park, go to Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t Lose: Superbowl 50

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Tea #5 Estate Darjeeling from Darjeeling, India.

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I’ve had other Darjeeling but didn’t like them, I thought they were too sweet and didn’t care for them. However, this one was fantastic! It was an amazing surprise.

Originally I thought I would pair this with Emma, but instead I think two other books would be better:

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When I first had read the Jane Austen novels, I had heard of all of them (and seen film adaptions) except these two. Not only had I never heard of Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, it appears most fans of Jane Austen also don’t really know much about them. Why is that?

Anyways, when I first read them I was so surprised with how amazingly great they are that they knocked my list of favorites all about. Perfect match with a surprisingly fantastic tea.

For more on Northanger Abbey, go to The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen
For more on Persuasion, go to Captain Wentworth’s Diary

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After all:

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For more on tea, go to My Trip to Teavana

For more book-filled posts, go to Post Approved

Post Approved

So I was reading through my Emily Post’s Etiquette, the 14th Edition on gift giving.

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I was going to a baby dedication and wanted to see of we are supposed to bring a gift or not. I mean I didn’t want to be rude.

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So I read it, and yes I was supposed to. But then I continued reading the rest of the gift giving as it talked about weddings, anniversaries, baby showers, birthday parties, etc. As I read I noticed that Post kept mentioning one item as a suitable gift. And what was that gift?

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A BOOK!

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Yes, she says that a book is an acceptable gift for any occasion.

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So there everyone! I have been Post approved. My idea of a book as a perfect gift is spot on.

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So that is what everyone will be getting for their gifts. After all:

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For more on how books make the best gifts, go to Crazy Book Lady

For more book-filled posts, go to What Are Your Priorities?

What Are Your Priorities

Books are the most important things out there.

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I mean seriously, they rank high on my priority list.

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I mean they are some of the most important things out there:

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After all:

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For more of my love of books, go to Not a Priority

For more book-filled posts, go to I Must Stay Strong

Harlem Tea Room Baking Powder Scones

We’ve talked about books, we’ve talked about tea, now it is time for something to pair with the two: a scone.

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Mysterious Eats

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Thoughts Before Cooking:

So I was going to make scones for a tea party and pulled out this recipe I had clipped from an old O- the Oprah magazine.

The magazine article is about Patrice Clayton opening up a tearoom in Harlem. This article must be really old though because the website hasn’t been updated since the mid 2000s and on Yelp it appears that it has closed down. 😦 That’s too bad.

The article gives three versions of the recipe: Baking Powder Scones, Cheddar-Thyme Scones, and Raisin Scones. I only had the ingredients for the Baking Powder one, but I will test out the others and post when I do.

This recipe is designed to go with clotted cream and strawberry jam.

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Ingredients:

  • 8 Tbsps (1 Stick) of Cold, Unsalted Butter, Cut into Small Pieces, Plus Extra for Baking Sheets
  • 3.5 Cups of All-Purpose Flour, Plus Extra for…

View original post 211 more words

Things I Want

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Numbers 3, 4 & 7; not really. But everything else is spot on, especially number 12

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For more book-filled posts, go to What Separates the Real Fans from the Fakes