Book Club Picks: O Pioneers!

So as you all know I started a book club last year. I have fallen behind with my posts, but I was catching up. ¬†I am only one behind now. ūüôā

Yay!

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. The next one was my turn and I picked one of my favorites:

O Pioneers! by Willa Cather

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!)

Oh, well

I love this book so much. I’m not sure what else I could add. The other day I did a post on how sad it is that Jane Austen’s¬†Northanger Abbey is so ignored when it is such a good book-and I feel the same way about this one. This is such an amazing novel! But is so ignored by people, why?

Why? Why do they treat you this way?

So the book is just under 200 pages and divided into five parts. The first part talks of the Swedish immigrants, the Bergsons, who moved to Nebraska for a better life. They find it not as they hope and after many struggles finally seem to be eking out a living. But then! The patriarch of the family, John,  is dying and decides to leave the control of everything to his daughter Alexandra.

What?

Yes, he doesn’t care about anything but what is good for the family. And he knows the only one who will keep things going right is Alexandra and she should be in charge, even though she is female.

“It was Alexandra who read the papers and followed the markets, and who learned by the mistakes of their neighbors. It was Alexandra who could always tell about what it cost to fatten each steer, and who could guess the weight of a hog before it went on the scales closer than John Bergson himself. Lou and Oscar were industrious, but he could never teach them to use their heads about their work.” pg. 15

While everything prospers for them, others aren’t doing well and selling the land to move on to “greener pastures.” One of which is the man Alexandra is in love with. He knows he isn’t a farmer and doesn’t want to use her, but wants to be her equal.

“I’ll write as long as I live…And I’ll be working for you as much as for myself, Alexandra. I want to do something you’ll like and be proud of. I’m a fool here, but I know I can do something!” pg. 34

It is so sad as you want them to be together!

It doesn’t matter to Alexandra, she doesn’t care! She loves him and wants to spend her life with him whether he has everything or nothing.

I talk about this all the time that husband calls it “the book you love”. He’ll say “I know, its like the book you love” or “you are like that girl in the book you love”, or “it’s like that book you love” etc.

Or years.

Poor Alexandra

[To Carl’s retreating form]¬†Since you have been here, ten years now, I have never really been lonely.” pg 35

The second section of the novel it has been sixteen years since the death of John Bergson, now being 1899. In the years that have passed much has changed. The Bergsons have thrived under Alexandra’s leadership and are very wealthy. In fact Alexandra was able to send her youngest brother, Emil off to college.

Wow

Poor Alexandra is alone still pining for her love. He comes back for a visit but still has nothing so he feels he can’t marry her.

Noooo!

I think Carl and Alexandra are just the cutest couple. Carl is so sweet to her and pretty much understands her (except for the having to prove himself thing because she does not care) and doesn’t find any measure of her odd or not right.

“I wonder whether¬†I should ever be able to tell you all that I was thinking up there. It’s a strange thing, Alexandra; I find it easy to be frank with you about everything under the sun-except yourself!’

‘You are afraid of hurting my feelings, perhaps.’ Alexandra looked at him thoughtfully.

‘No, I’m afraid it would give you a shock. You’ve seen yourself for so long in the dull minds of the people around you, that if I were to tell you how you seem to me, it would startle you. But you must see that you astonish me.” pg. 83

Why can’t you stay Carl?!!! Why leave her alone?!!

“What a hopeless position you are in, Alexandra!’ [Carl] exclaimed feverishly. ‘It is your fate to be always surrounded by little men. And I am no better than the rest. I am too little to face the criticism of even such men as Lou and Oscar. Yes, I am going away; to-morrow. I cannot even ask you to give me a promise until I have something to offer you. I thought, perhaps, I could do that; but I find I can’t.’

‘What good comes of offering people things they don’t need?’ Alexandra asked sadly. ‘I don’t need money. But I have needed you for a great many years. I wonder why I have been permitted to prosper, if only to take my friends away from me.

‘I don’t deceive myself,’ Carl said frankly. ‘I know that I am going away on my own account. I must make the usual effort. I must have something to show for myself. To take what you would give me, I should have to be a very large man or a very small one, and I am only in the middle class.’

Alexandra sighed. ‘I have a feeling that if you go away, you will not come back. Something will happen to one of us, or to both. People have to snatch at happiness when they can in this world. It is always easier to lose than to find.” pg. 114-115

Emil ends up going to Mexico. He loves their neighbor, Marie, but she is already married and he wants to stay away. Him leaving makes Alexandra more alone than ever-she has no one.

 

The rest of the book is just as good and sad. You need to read it for yourself. You’ll love it just like my book club did.

Alexandra is the best character. She has extreme intelligence but also enjoys doing housework, baking, and as beautiful as she is brainy. She kind, caring, compassionate, and doesn’t live her life following the rules and dictates of other people.

“Don’t come to me again telling me what people say. Let people go on talking as they like, and we will go on living as we think best. ” pg. 60

For more book club picks, go to Book Club Picks: This Present Darkness

For more on O Pioneers, go to People Have to Snatch at Happiness When They Can in This World. It is Always Easier to Lose Than to Find: O Pioneers!

Advertisements

Book Club Picks: The Secret Of Chimneys

So remember when I said I started a book club?

Well the first book we choose to read was The Secret of Chimneys by Agatha Christie.

I love this book, but sadly very few have ever heard of it, let alone read it.

So when I brought out three suggestions for us to choose from-The Westing Game, The Looking Glass Wars, and The Secret of Chimneys I was ecstatic they choose Chimneys as it would finally give me people to talk about it with!

As I already reviewed it in December, as part of my 30 day challenge, I will only give a quick review here.

Anthony Cade is working in Africa when he happens among his old friend Jimmy McGrath. Jimmy has been hired to deliver a manuscript in London, and has some letters he wants to return to a woman who was blackmailed, but can’t do either as he has a mining deal set up. Anthony goes in his place and discovers that everyone from Parliament, to rebels,¬†nationalists called the Red Hand, and more are after that script. It appears he really got himself stuck in the middle of a serious mire.

What have I gotten myself into?

He prepares to return the letters to a Mrs. Virginia Revel, to stop her blackmailing, but they get stolen and he sets out to try and help her.

Just another thing to get involved with.

Meanwhile, politician George Lomax is worried that some old secrets, especially those of a missing jewel, will come to light with the publication of the memoirs. He enlists the Lord Caterham to use the stately home of Chimneys as a place to secure an oil deal, and weasel the memoirs out of McGrath. He also engages the assistance of his beautiful, charming, cousin-Mrs. Virginia Revel, a widow.

As Virginia prepares from the weekend, she is blackmailed by a waiter who has letters with her signature, but ones she did not write. Weird.

She agrees to meet with the blackmailer again, only to find him dead in her house.

Not sure what to do, she asks a veteran she spotted on the sidewalk selling tracts to help her. He checks out the scene; deduces that someone is trying to keep her from Chimneys for some nefarious reason, recognizes the blackmailer as the thief of the letter, and helps remove the body. Who is this man? Why, Anthony Cade.

Virginia heads on to Chimneys to help smooth things over with McGrath and Prince Michael, the one brokering the oil deal.

That night, Anthony follows a note he found in the dead waiter’s pocket and heads to Chimneys. Exactly at the time specified he hears a shot. Who has been murdered? Who in the house is the murderer? Will they find the missing jewels? And who is this Anthony Cade?

So I don’t want to give the whole book away as you should really read it yourself. Instead I am going to go over our discussion, but there will be some spoilers.

**Spoiler Warning**

So the book contains 5 different plots

  1. The Memoirs of Count Stylpitch
    1. Everyone is afraid of what they might say and reveal to the world. All are after it to publish, surppress, discover, etc.
  2. The Blackmail of Virginia Revel
    1. Anthony is given letters written to a lover by a “Virginia Revel”. He hopes to return them, but they are stolen by a waiter who tries to use them to blackmail her.
    2. But in the end, it turns out that they are not really written by Virginia Revel at all, but someone is using her name.
  3. Vying for the Throne
    1. After the King and Queen of Herzoslovakia were assassinated, this left an empty hole on the throne. Prince Michael is a cousin to the deceased King and wants to become next to rule, but there is his cousin Nicholas who has a stronger tie and is in America who is also after the throne.
    2. But is his cousin really alive, or is this an impostor? And what about the revolutionaries who want no king?
  4. Missing Jewels
    1. Before Lord Caterham’s brother died, he had all the responsibilities of the land and parliament. He used to bring all kinds of officials to his home, Chimneys, and the King and Queen of¬†Herzoslovakia stayed there, the Queen hiding the crown jewels that she stole somewhere on the property. They have been looking for them for years, but now hopefully Count Stiplych’s memiors will give them great clues to find the hiding place.
  5. Murder of Prince Michael
    1. Michael is shot in the night, but whodunit? With a household full of people there are plenty of suspects.

Something Agatha Christie always likes to stress in her books is how we never know people we meet, only what they tell us about them. When you meet someone for the first time and they tell you their history, you take it as is, never questioning them, but in reality they could be anyone. This is stressed in this book as well as their are numerous multiple identities. While all present themselves as something, a few characters hide who they really are:

  • Two characters are¬†actually a prince
  • One is ¬†a thief
  • One is a Pinkerton agent
  • One is an actress

Virginia is an amazing woman. She is living in the 1920s, but she does what she wants, refuses marriage for single life, assists in hunting down the murderer, is intelligent, capable, collected etc. She’s nobody’s fool.

“Why?’

‘I beg your pardon?’

‘I said why? You don’t boom the real English gentlewoman with every stray Canadian who sets foot upon our shores. What is the deep idea, George? To put it ¬†vulgarly, what do¬†you get out of it?’

‘I cannot see that that concerns you, Virginia.’

‘I couldn’t possibly go out for an evening and fascinate, unless I knew all the whys and wherefores.”

Virginia is a strong character who us not afraid to be feminine as well. I just love her.

And then Anthony Cade. Anthony is amazing. You just can’t help liking the man.

For more on¬†The Secret of Chimneys,¬†go to¬†There Wouldn’t Be Any Difficulty in Finding a King: The Secret of Chimneys

For more Agatha Christie, go to With a Little Luck of the Irish: 17 More Irish Heroes

For more on my book club, go to I Started a Book Club

For more mysteries, go to Someone is Killing By Copying Old Murders!: Real Murders

People Have to Snatch at Happiness When They Can in This World. It is Always Easier to Lose Than to Find: O Pioneers!

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

51uv30jvl

O Pioneers! (Great Plains Trilogy #1) by Willa Cather

I was first introduced to the work of Willa Cather when one summer I was trying to read through a list of classics provided by Barnes and Noble. (The same list that lead me to read Uncle Tom’s Cabin.)¬†Of course I never finished it:

6notenoughtimetoreadeverythingIwant

However, two of the book I read during that time were My Antonia and O Pioneers!. I read O Pioneers! second, not knowing it was the first book and while I enjoyed My Antonia I loved O Pioneers! more.

ReadBookCarryWithYou

And it makes me really upset that no one knows about this book.

Say What

I KNOW! It is a fantastic book but no one knows about it. It is hard to even purchase as I wanted to buy a copy for my friend, but amazon didn’t have it or Barnes & Nobles. Crazy! So why is this book fantastic? Let’s take a look.

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

So the book is just under 200 pages and divided into three parts.

PART I: THE WILD LAND

The story takes place in Nebraska, the Bergsons are a Swedish family of six who immigrated to America for a better life, but found the prairie not as promised. The father, John, went into serious debt, but was finally able to pay it off. He owns six hundred and forty acres of the original homestead, and three hundred and twenty acres given to him by his brother when he pulled out. Just as it seemed he might be able to tame the land, he becomes ill and at age 46, is going to die.

Why?

Why?

For weeks he has been thinking what to do next, when he decides that everything must be left to his daughter Alexandra to control.

Whattheheck

This book was published in 1913, but takes place in 1883. And even though he has two sons who come before Alexandra he recognizes in her his own spirit. While his sons Lou and Oscar are hardworking they just don’t have the business acumen.

“It was Alexandra who read the papers and followed the markets, and who learned by the mistakes of their neighbors. It was Alexandra who could always tell about what it cost to fatten each steer, and who could guess the weight of a hog before it went on the scales closer than John Bergson himself. Lou and Oscar were industrious, but he could never teach them to use their heads about their work.” pg. 15

On his deathbed, John calls all the kids together and makes them promise to keep the land and listen to Alexandra, there will be no quarreling. When each wishes to marry they can divide the land, but until then they must follow Alexandra.

Wecandoit

Even though the boys do not like being put under their sister, they agree to their father’s wishes.

Mehsleepyhollownotimportant

Six months later, the Bergsons invite their friend and neighbor¬†Carl Linstrum to visit “Crazy” Ivar. Lou and Oscar make fun of him,

I'm crazy

He’s¬†crazy

But Alexandra values his advice and knowledge of animals.

Topthorn War HOrse

Ivar suffers from some kind of mental affliction, one not stated as most likely at that time they had no name for it. Sometimes he spouts wisdom, other days nonsense. He likes to live as far away from people as he can. While he suffers from these eccentricities his knowledge of animals is without competition. He has a pond where all kinds of birds come to visit, as they know he will not shoot them, as he has an aversion to guns.

Now one of the reasons this book is so good is the character of Alexandra. While others see the craziness of Ivan and brush him off, she listens to his advice and follows it, it turning out very well. What a person looks like, or acts like doesn’t matter to her; she values their hard work, their wisdom, and their heart. And she doesn’t care what others think of her.

value:Worth

After their father’s death, the Bergsons clan did¬†well.

Double double yay

But then the drought came, an with it three years of nothing but failure.

1Star-Wars-Luke-NOOO-Not-my-father

It is at this time we see a divided family as to what to do next. Many people have left the “promises” of the prairie to follow the “promises” of St. Louis, Chicago, San Francisco, Alaska, etc.

Good-bye

Good-bye

Carl Limstrom comes to tell Alexandra that his family is leaving to St. Louis. This is heartbreaking, as Alexandra and him have fallen in love. Alexandra doesn’t want him to go, but Carl won’t have him and his family be a drag on their finances, after all, Carl is no farmer. But Carl promises that he won’t forget her but will work hard for¬†her.

“I’ll write as long as I live…And I’ll be working for you as much as for myself, Alexandra. I want to do something you’ll like and be proud of. I’m a fool here, but I know I can do something!” pg. 34

you deserve better

This is the first part of what makes this book so sad. Alexandra doesn’t care about that Carl, she just wants you! But Alexandra understands how you feel and how you¬†don’t want to¬†enter a marriage being a drain on your wife, you want to be equal.

And even though you really want Carl to stay with Alexandra, you respect him for not wanting to use her inheritance and enter the relationship having her take care of him. He knows Alexandra is the greatest thing in the world and wants to show her he is worthy of her love.

Fredrick Wentworth

But poor Alexandra

[To Carl’s retreating form]¬†Since you have been here, ten years now, I have never really been lonely.” pg 35

HeartbreakBuffy the Vampire slayer heartbroken Sad

The boys are worried about what will happen next with the sweet potatoes seeming to be the only thing really living on. They want to sell out and move to the cities, where opportunity really is. Or trade their land for the river as that land is much better than the kind they have.

We need to get out of here

We need to get out of here

Alexandra of course doesn’t go on feelings, whispers, or what others tell her to do. She thinks on it long and hard, researching into what would be the best decision.

Thinking Hmm

She and her younger brother Emil travel to the river to examine the land. After reviewing everything and thinking on it; she decides that the thing to do is to mortgage their land with the bank and buy up as much land as they can. The boys of course are skeptical of this plan. Six more years of working off a loan? And what if the land prices don’t soar, what if the drought continues on, what if, what if?

smalmindslashoutnotunderstand

But Alexandra sees the way to go:

“The men in town who are buying up other people’s land don’t try to farm it. They are the men to watch, in a new country. Let’s try to do it like the shrewd ones and not like the stupid fellows.” pg. 43

The boys know this will be going against all the others and they don’t want to be viewed by others¬†as crazy.

But Alexandra is certain, and they follow her. Alexandra is pleased as she watches the land knowing that the future is stirring.

sleepyhollowadventuresofIchabodumbrellasmellflowerkatrina

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

PART II: NEIGHBORING FIELDS

It has been sixteen years since the death of John Bergson, now being 1899. In the years that have passed, his wife has passed on as well. The land is producing much, telephone wires zig zag the prairie, and the area is thickly populated as more have arrived to stake their home there too.

Emil has achieved Alexandra’s dream and gone on to attending the university and doing well in sports. He is tall, handsome, charming and all the girls in the area wish for a moment with him, as brief as it could be.

swoon dreamy

But he isn’t interested in any of them.

uh-no-gifuhno

Their old friend Marie Tovesky, now Mrs. Shabata, a Bohemian, has moved back to the prairie she used to visit as a young girl now a neighbor to the Bergsons.

And how are the Bergson’s doing? Any one could tell you that they have the richest farm on the Divide, and that was all due to the woman farmer, Alexandra.

Alexandra

Alexandra, that is.

One of the things I like about Alexandra is that Cather created a character that is intelligent, strategical, yet still feminine. With today’s modern works it always feels like an either/or situation. Either they are pretty or smart. They are intelligent and masculine or an airhead and feminine. Alexandra has extreme intelligence but also enjoys doing housework, baking, and as beautiful as she is brainy.

Psmartorprettyeitherorsarahdessenmorethanthat

The older brothers are married and have their own sections of land as they began families, but Alexandra has the most of land and wealth. Emil comes back and forth between Alexandra’s home and school; and there is one more addition.

Carl and her married!!!

Carl and her married!!!

No not Carl.

Oh darn!

Oh darn!

He is still out trying to make his fortune. No, when Ivar lost his land, Alexandra opened her home to him. Such a compassionate person, not caring what others think of him or her for having him live in the home; all that matters that there is a soul in need.

bekindBeright

Ivar comes to Alexandra one day, afraid that people will send him to the asylum for being different, but Alexandra doesn’t care. She knows what it is like to be talked about because you do things differently.

“Don’t come to me again telling me what people say. Let people go on talking as they like, and we will go on living as we think best. ” pg. 60

A lot has changed in the sixteen years with modernity. A lot of the old ways of living and being are no longer accepted. In the family, Oscar’s wife will not allow any Swedish to be spoken in the house, so when they visit the relatives only English can be spoken.

Tom-Hanks-Saying-Really

Alexandra has not married, her heart still pining after the only one who ever truly understood her, but enjoys being an aunt and looking after her brother’s children. But as she is the wealthiest of the whole clan, she often becomes caught in a game between her scheming brothers and sister-in-laws, as they all desire different things.

One day she is with her nieces in the flower garden when a tall, handsome stranger comes on the prairie. It is Carl!

Carl and her married!!!

Carl is on his way to Seattle and then to Alaska to go gold prospecting. He stopped by¬†to say hi and Alexandra is thrilled as she has missed him so much. The brothers aren’t as they are worried that instead of a gold prospector he might be a gold digger and after Alexandra’s wealth.

money money money

Carl admits that he had hoped to present himself as better, worthy of Alexandra, but he has nothing.

“You see…measured by your standards I’m a failure. I couldn’t buy even¬†one of your cornfields. I’ve enjoyed a great many things, but I’ve nothing to show for it all.” pg. 77

That doesn’t matter to Alexandra of course, but Carl must prove himself.

I think Carl and Alexandra are just the cutest couple. Carl is so sweet to her and pretty much understands her (except for the having to prove himself thing because she does not care) and doesn’t find any measure of her odd or not right.

“I wonder whether¬†I should ever be able to tell you all that I was thinking up there. It’s a strange thing, Alexandra; I find it easy to be frank with you about everything under the sun-except yourself!’

‘You are afraid of hurting my feelings, perhaps.’ Alexandra looked at him thoughtfully.

‘No, I’m afraid it would give you a shock. You’ve seen yourself for so long in the dull minds of the people around you, that if I were to tell you how you seem to me, it would startle you. But you must see that you astonish me.” pg. 83

How sweet!

How sweet!

Carl and Alexandra are just perfect:

WeClickPerfectPerson

I want them to get together!!!!!

Twocharacterstogettogether

Carl and Alexandra go to Marie’s and spend time with her being interrupted by her husband. No two people could be more horribly matched. ¬†Marie is light and fun, while her husband Frank is jealous, depressing, and unfriendly.

uh-no-gifuhno

They meet when Marie was at¬†school and she thought Frank¬†was¬†handsome, brooding, and romantic. Her father did not want them to marry, and nothing makes two people “fall in love” faster than when they are forbidden to.

Not good

Not good

She was sent to a convent, but as soon as she turned¬†18 left it and married Frank. Her father bought them the farm and they’ve been unhappy ever since. Marie realized¬†that the Frank she thought she loved was one that was not real, but created in her mind.

rebeccaitwasallalie

Emil and Marie spend lots of time together, as he often helps out with the farm, taking care of things that Frank is too lazy to. But that friendship must end. Emil can’t pretend anymore. He is in love with Marie and wants to be with her, but of course she is married.

Darcy P&P OMG Can't Even

Carl and Emil head off to a Catholic fair, where Emil runs into his newly married friend, Am√©d√©√©. While they are gone the brothers come to talk to Alexandra about Carl. They wanted¬†Alexandra’s land to be willed to their children when she dies, but Alexandra will not be bullied and will do what she wants with her land.

I don't think so

You have to read what they try and use to talk her out of it. They tell her things like she’s just a woman, she didn’t really do the work “even though she had the ideas”, the property always belongs too the men, she is too old at 40 to think of marrying, Carl is four years younger than her too young.

Those guys

Those guys

But Alexandra holds her ground. She tells them that she owns her land and, she was the driving force that created their wealth, and they can stuff it or go to their lawyers but nothing will come of it.

MysteryMenDon'tMessWithMe

Alexandra tries to talk to Emil about it, but he is too heartsick he begs her to send home far away, to Mexico.

gossipgirlcan'tstandhappycouplesy

She agrees and is sad that no one really understands her. She has no one, Marie and Carl being her only friends.

The_Wolf_Man_4Crying sad

Meanwhile Lou and Oscar go to talk to Carl and convince him he is worthless.

“What a hopeless position you are in, Alexandra!’ [Carl] exclaimed feverishly. ‘It is your fate to be always surrounded by little men. And I am no better than the rest. I am too little to face the criticism of even such men as Lou and Oscar. Yes, I am going away; to-morrow. I cannot even ask you to give me a promise until I have something to offer you. I thought, perhaps, I could do that; but I find I can’t.’

‘What good comes of offering people things they don’t need?’ Alexandra asked sadly. ‘I don’t need money. But I have needed you for a great many years. I wonder why I have been permitted to prosper, if only to take my friends away from me.

‘I don’t deceive myself,’ Carl said frankly. ‘I know that I am going away on my own account. I must make the usual effort. I must have something to show for myself. To take what you would give me, I should have to be a very large man or a very small one, and I am only in the middle class.’

Alexandra sighed. ‘I have a feeling that if you go away, you will not come back. Something will happen to one of us, or to both. People have to snatch at happiness when they can in this world. It is always easier to lose than to find.” pg. 114-115

In one day she loses all the men she cares about.

right in the feels broken heart

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

PART III: WINTER MEMORIES

Winter never feels as cold as when you no longer have those you care about. No longer will Alexandra see Oscar or Lou because of how they treated Carl. She gets letters from Emil and Carl, but it is not the same as having them near.

The_Wolf_Man_4Crying sad

Mrs. Lee, Lou’s mother-in-law and one of the old timers, loves to visit Alexandra where she can follow in the old ways of living and not be judged. Even though the brothers are no longer welcome,¬†Alexandra still opens her home to the rest of the relatives.

Alexandra brings Emil’s letter for Marie to read, never knowing what interest lies in Marie’s light and happy heart. Marie also gifts¬†Alexandra with a scarf she made for Emil. Little does Alexandra know how Marie really feels on the inside.

HeartbreakBuffy the Vampire slayer heartbroken Sad

Marie’s life has grown exceedingly unhappy. She realizes that she and Frank are not suited for each other at all. She becomes more and more unhappy and folds into herself.

weather-winter-snow-alone-girl-hold-umbrella-image

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

PART IV: THE WHITE MULBERRY TREE

Emil has returned from Mexico at last, and just in time for a big carnival at the Catholic church. Emil runs into his old friend Amédéé, now a father. All the girls flutter around Emil, and when he gives one of his turquoise stones to auctioned it starts an even greater flummox.

minemineminepocahontas

Marie is just as crazy about Emil, but he smartly keeps his distance from her.

spockstartrekidon'tknowokayiguesmovingongo

Frank is angry as he is jealous and wants someone to blame for Marie not caring for him any longer. But the only one who drove the wedge was him and his cruel nature.

yellangrybeastbeautyandthebeast

When the lights go out, every girl is kissed by their sweetheart and Emil does the one thing he has wished for so long, kisses Marie.

OMG gasp

Emil is heartsick ¬†and finally asks Marie what has been on his mind for so long, why would you marry Frank? Marie tells him she loved him. Frank was the same now as then, but as a young girl she saw him differently. And now she pays for her heedlessness, stubbornness, and naivety. ¬†She begs Emil to leave as she doesn’t want them to sin and she can’t go.

TimingWrong

Emil is preparing to leave for Omaha to train as a lawyer, then going on to Ann Arbor, Michigan. Before he departs, he stops by to see his friend Amédéé. Amédéé. is in awful pain, completely sick with appendicitis. The doctor tries to take care of him, but it is to late, Amédéé is gone.

1Star-Wars-Luke-NOOO-Not-my-father

Emil stays on for the service and is to set off, but goes back to Marie’s to get one thing of hers to hold on to. When he gets there he discovers her lying in the grass.

Frank comes home and sees Emil’s horse in the barn. He then goes into the field and hears something. As he comes closer he sees two figures in the field and shoots. And then streaks off.

1Star-Wars-Luke-NOOO-Not-my-father

Ivar finds¬†Emil’s mare the next morning all worn out and not taken care of. He knows Emil would never do anything like that unless he was hurt or injured. He goes next door to get help and finds the bodies.

The_Wolf_Man_4Crying sad

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

PART V: ALEXANDRA

Alexandra has become so sick with grief she cannot do anything without being instructed. Her boy, her best friend…gone.

HeartbreakBuffy the Vampire slayer heartbroken Sad

She feels horrible for always throwing them together, never thinking what would happen. She feels so cold and alone.

what-not-to-say-to-broken-hearted-girl-3what went wrong holiday

Alexandra goes to see Frank Shabata, but feels no anger at him. Only pity.

Strange Sad Have My Pity Toy Story

But one bright spot arrives, as soon as Carl gets Alexandra’s note on the death he hurries over.

He isn’t as important as he would have wished, but he does have a good buisness starting in the West. The two plan to marry, going West but eventually returning home to the prairie. At last, Alexandra will no longer be alone. A bittersweet ending

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

I love this book but it is sooo sad. Just full of feelings:

CantWork_emotions

But I love it anyway and read it over and over.

bookhumor

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

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¬†Le Fant√īme de l‚ÄôOp√©ra

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

For more on Sarah Dessen, 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

For more on An Affair to Remember, go to Anything Can Happen: An Affair to Remember (1957)

christmas-flowers-banner

For the Christmas Carol I choose Silent Night otherwise known in Bohemian as Tichá noc. This song was written in 1816 by Father Joseph Mohr when he was visiting Mariapfarr, Austria.

Two years later, Father Mohr approaches Franz Xaver Gruber, a schoolmaster and organist, and asked him to set it to music. Together they performed it during Christmas Eve’s mass.

In 1859, Pastor John Freeman Young translated the song from German to English. Since then the song has been translated into over 140 different languages.

I chose the version by Celtic Woman as I really enjoy that group.

christmas-flowers-banner

For more on Celtic Woman, go to I Finally Read Moby-Dick

For more Christmas Carols, go to Each Illustration is a Little Story. If You Watch Them, In a Few Minutes They Tell You a Tale: The Illustrated Man

A Book Only a Reader Could Write

So I wanted to publish this post yesterday, but my computer and I weren’t on the best speaking terms. We have since resolved that issue.

fliptablesangrysurprised

And the computer has since then come along to my way of thinking. So sorry if I’m a day behind, but better late than never!

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

Some books you read and you just know that there was no way this book could ever exist unless the author grew up as a huge fan of reading.

ImReading

Such as Matilda by Roald Dahl. Only someone who grew up reading could create a character that gave a voice to all us bibliophiles out there.

read-i-love-matilda

Or Ray Bradbury’s¬†Fahrenheit¬†451.¬†Only someone who truly loved to read could create the most dismal future, a time when books are outlawed and destroyed. The book is full of glimpses into what might actually happen, unless we take the time to read and value the thoughts and creations found between the pages.

raybradburybooksburnstopreading

Well The Neverending Story, by Michael Ende, is definitely one of those books.

neverending_story

The book was first published in 1979 and then translated into English in 1983. As this is it anniversary, thankfully pointed out by Google, I thought it deserved no less than a post by me.

indiana_jonesoh_yesyeah

The story was such a big part of my childhood, with book and film.

loveitSupernatural

So the book begins with young Bastian Balthazar Bux; a shy, awkward, introvert:

introvert

Who has been grieving over the loss of his mother and feels disconnected from his father.

Aw, man.

Aw.

He doesn’t really have any friends and is bullied at school. The one thing that Bastian does have is his books.

nofriendas_loyalasbook

With their help he is able to escape reality:

escaperealityreadbooks

And here is reason number one why this book is awesome and proof, author Ende must have been a reader; he just understands us so well. I mean even today I still like to escape my reality with a good book:

wanttoreadbooksignoreproblem

Anyways, so Bastian is being chased by bullies when he runs into a bookstore owned by Carl Conrad Coreander. While hiding out, he spots the book The Neverending Story.

neverending_story

Bastian just has to have the book, but the ornery shop owner doesn’t seem interested in the idea of selling, and such a book that would be far too expensive. So Bastian does something he has never done before, he steals it.

OMG gasp

He runs up to school, deciding to hide away in the attic, reading the story and being thrust into the world of Fantastica (Fantasia in the film).

LeavehertoHeavenReading

Fantastica is falling apart. The dark nothing is destroying it, piece by piece until it will fade away and there will be nothing left. Only one thing can save them; the childlike empress has chosen Atreyu, a native of the plains, to search throughout Fantastica to discover what can be done. As Bastian reads, he becomes more and more involved with the characters. So wrapped up in the book he stays throughout all his periods, in the cold, all the while starving.

Or class. Or lunch. Or anything!

Or class. Or lunch. Or anything!

But that’s silly. They aren’t real people.

Notrealfictionalbookreading

But yet, the characters do seem real. And it almost seems as if they know he exists and is part of the journey with them.

whatdoyouthinkTwilightzoneRealmartianpleasestandup

When Atreyu is traveling he hears what the salvation of Fantastica is:

Born of the Word, the children of man,

Or humans, as they’re sometimes called,

Have had the gift of giving names

Ever since the worlds began,

In every age it’s they who gave

The Childlike Empress life,

For wondrous new names have the power to save.

But now for many and many a day,

No human has visited Fantastica,

For they no longer know the way.

They have forgotten how real we are,

They don’t believe in us anymore.

Oh, if only one child of man would come,

Oh, then at last the thing would be done.”

But where to find such a human child?

paris-whenitsizzlesaudreyhmmHepburn

Atreyu continues on his journeys, getting help from Falkor, the luck dragon.

One of the best parts of the book, at least I think so, is when Atreyu faces Gmork, the werewolf. Gmork has become an agent of the Nothing, trying to destroy Fantastica and along with it the human world. Without Fantastica, the world is filled with lies instead of truth, despair instead of hope, destruction instead of creation; pretty much containing nothing.

I love this part as it shows why stories and books are so important. They help us create, they give us hope, dreams, ideas, etc. We need stories, we need hope, we need it as much as we need life.

book _wayneedairrichardmarek

And we need to start reading at a young age; so we can have the foundations to fight against all the darkness we will face as we grew older.

fairytalesfightdragonsdefeat

So Atreyu returns to the Empress, defeated. He has no way to stop the nothing. He has failed.

1Star-Wars-Luke-NOOO-Not-my-father

But the empress is not upset at all. In fact, she says that Atreyu has fulfilled his mission. He has brought a human child here through all his adventures. And she is talking about Bastian!

Mal_huh Whoa Wow what

The reader has been called into the story? And not just called, but the hero! How cool is that! And how awesome if that could happen. Can you just imagine if the characters started talking to you in the middle of your favorite story?

So cool, I want it to be true.

So cool, I want it to be true.

This is my favorite part of the book, the second half isn’t as strong (in my opinion) as the first half. But still one great book.

ReadBookCarryWithYou

The movie was just as amazing. Now they did make changes, but I thought it kept the soul and heart of the book. I used to watch it over and over.

watch movie over and over

Even now I cannot think or say the words¬†“Neverending Story”¬†without singing them like in the film’s song.

I recently showed the film to my niece and realized I am not only like Bastian, but¬†Coreander. Yes, I have the soul of an old curmudgeon who doesn’t like the youth’s fascination with technology rather than books.

bookbetterthanTV

The rest of the story is just as beautiful, fascinating, adventurous, and powerful. And don’t forget the end of the film when the childlike Empress is talking right to you. ¬†Shivers run up and down my spine, it is so good.

Creepy!

I mean I feel like she is talking right to me!

OMG gasp

The other¬†movies I didn’t really enjoy, but that first one was a true winner.

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

So there you have it. One amazing book that I am glad existed to become a part of my childhood, in both print and on the screen.

bookbaggage

And you can bet your boots I will most definitely be checking out the film Sunday when they rerelease it in theaters. Don’t worry childlike Empress, Fantastic/Fantasia will always exist as long as I am alive!

StepasiderealityBook

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

For more on The Neverending Story, go to The Neverending Story

For more anniversary posts, go to Here’s to Another Year

For more book-filled posts, go to A World of Teas

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

For more Roald Dahl, go to We Shall Rule the World!

For more Ray Bradbury, go to Baby Jane Austen

For more Ernest Hemingway, go to Fiction or Reality? I Choose Fiction

For more Markus Zusak, go to Portrait of a Fangirl

For more Richard Marek, go to Crazy Book Lady

Portrait of a Fangirl

doc-electrocuted-obacktothefuture

Yes our Life of a Fangirl posts are back!

tumblr_static_keep-calm-and-join-fandoms

Sorry to have taken so long to finish these posts. It just seemed as if every time I tried to something came up, and then I had to stop for Horrorfest, the holidays came up, etc.

But here we are with another fandom post!

hearts banner

Journey

journey-dsb-re

What can I say about this band other than the fact that they are AWESOME!!!!

ThinkLikeBandTooMuchFamilyGuy

Their songs are amazing, the vocals fantastic, the music incredible, and the lyrics are just out of this world.

Lyrics2ndvoice&Guitar

I don’t know how they do it, but every song just connects to you as a listener.

MusicMakesaDifference

Every time I hear a song, I just get so excited and crank up the volume as I sing at the top of my lungs.

favsong

If I had to choose my five favorite Journey songs, which is a practically impossible feat, I would choose…….

musicattack_of_the_50_foot_woman_10_by_farzelgaart-d4uipbf

Don’t Stop Believin’ (you all saw that one coming),¬†Any Way You Want It,¬†Separate¬†Ways Worlds Apart, Wheel in the Sky, and¬†I’ll Be Alright Without You.

Journey

For more on Journey, go to Any Way You Want It

hearts banner

Michael J. Fox

BacktothefutureMartyMcflyrocknrollguitarsolo

I just love Michael J. Fox. He is one of my all-time favorite actors.

wouldhavehisbabieslovehim

Oh yes, Michael J. Fox you can do no wrong with me. I love you and everything you have ever been in. Even when you wore horrible shirts in that film that made zero sense, High School U.S.A.; and the camp one, Poison Ivy.

Now you all know my favorite is Back to the Future, one of the best films ever and the best starring him.

back to the future

No one can beat the amazingnest he bring to the role of Marty McFly. It just wouldn’t be as cool without him.

And of course he isn’t a one hit wonder, I love everything else he has been in: Doc Hollywood, The Secret of My Success, Greedy, For Love or Money, Homeward Bound I & II,¬†¬†The Frighteners, Atlantis, Teen Wolf,¬†I could go on but should stop now.

swoon dreamy

Besides his films he is an amazing writer. I’ve read all his ¬†books and his style is so fresh and reads like a conversation. When you read his words he is so humble, caring, and completely honest. I enjoy his books as much as I love his films. I just love him.

For more on Michael J. Fox, go to The Future is NOW!: Happy Back to the Future Day

hearts banner

The Riyria Revelations

RiyriaRevelationsHadrianRoyce

I was first introduced to this series on a giveaway on Goodreads. Like once a month I’ll go through and just enter to win free books. Often times, by the time they have picked a winner and are sending out the books, I’ve completely forgotten about it and am surprised to receive a package.

princess-leia-i-dont-know-what-youre-talking-about

One day I checked the mail and found a package for me. When I opened it up I saw that it was Theft of Swords the first volume in the Riyria Revelations by Michael J. Sullivan. I had totally forgotten ever entering any giveaway and was completely unsure as to what this book was.

whatdoyouthinkTwilightzoneRealmartianpleasestandup

I looked it up on Goodreads and thought it sounded interesting so I decided to give it a read. I was unprepared for what I found.

OMG gasp

I LOVED IT!!!!! I started reading a few pages which quickly grew into the first book. I would have continued completing the second, but had homework.

DayRuinedbyRespnsibility

As I worked on it, all I could do was think about what was going to happen next. I quickly finished my work and went back to the book, reading long into the night.

SleepDumb

I finshed it, but then I needed the next book.

waitingforbookinseriesNosleepNeedanswers

Unfortunately I had to wait as my library didn’t have it, but a sister library did. It was agony! I just had to find out what happened and I needed to now!

I'mwaitingPrincessBride

What made it even worse was that I knew NOBODY who liked it, making me suffer alone.

BookWithNoFandom

Eventually the next book came in and was just as good as the first. I had to experience the same trauma waiting for the third volume, but it was worth it. Unfortunately, it was over too soon.

SadBookEnded

I still kept it around as I didn’t want it to be over.

ReadBookCarryWithYou

So Volume 1: Theft of Swords contains the first two books.

Book 1: The Crown Conspiracy

Hadrian Blackwater and Royce Melbourn are thieves for hire. Hadrian is tall, broad shouldered, and a skilled swordsman; being an ex-solider and mercenary. Royce is althletic and wiry, once belonging to a gang of thieves his skills are quietly stalking, safe-cracking, etc. The two were introduced and while orginally disagreeable with each other, they became great teammates and best friends. Hardian has a strong moral code and sense of justice, while Royce is cautious and more of a planner. The two balance each other well.

One day they are hired to steal a sword, and when they go to retrieve it; they find themselves as scapegoats for the the murder of the King! His son and now king, Alric, locks them up, soon to be hanged. Unbeknownst to him, his sister Arista, sorcerer in training, frees them and has them join her in her quest to free a long ago locked up wizard. They set out on the quest, along with ateempting to find out who really set them up and what was their ulterior motives.

Book 2: Avempartha

A young, innocent, farm girl, Thrace; travels to find Hadrian and Royce to get their help. In her hometown there is a monster attacking, the only thing that can stop it being a sword. As the two are caught up in the schemes of the freed wizard Esrahaddon; Royce finds himself trying to enter an Elven tower, while Hadrian tries to rally the town folk to stop the beast. Things become more complicated as it appears there is a contest to detsroy the beast; the victor being the fulfillment of an age old prophecy and ruler of the world.

The second volume contains books 3-4, Volume II: Rise of the Empire

Book 3: Nyphron Rising

The traumatized and completely shell shocked Thrace has been crowned the fulfiller of the prophecy. People are backing her, which causes King Alric¬†and his sister Arista to go to War. Arista once again hires the thieves, who discover that the only way they can emerge victorious is to discover the truth of Hadrian’s past.

Book 4: The Emerald Storm

Hadrian has discovered the mission he was born for and sets out to discover the true heir of Novron. His quest takes him onto a ship, setting out to find Merrick Mauris. Even though Royce hates going on ships, he joins him on the quest, for their “final trip”. As they sail out, they discover much more about the people they know and what the ulterior plans are, more than they ever expected.

The third volume contains books 5-6, Volume III: The Heir of Novron

Book 5: Wintertide

The New Empire, with the puppet empress Thrace, has decided to hold a victory celebration. The prepare to execute Degan Gault, leader of the rebels; along with the Witch of Melengar, Arista. After the execution, they prepare to marry Thrace off and later kill her. Unfortunate for them, Hadrian and Royce have returned to save Arista and the true Heir, preparing help place him on the throne.

Book 6: Percepliquis

This is it, the end. The thieves have decided to head out to the ancient ruins of Percepliquis, in order to gain the tools needed for the true Heir and to restore them to the throne. They are accompanied by a mass of friends from their previous adventures. But what happens next is a shock to all; and when the true heir is revealed will these characters be able to survive what happens next and pick up their lives after their adventures?

NOtaPriority

These books were just so amazing. Not only do you have such fantastic and incredible adventures, but two extremely hot, loyal, and awesome men.

fallinloveBookBFliterryboyfriend

I highly recommend to it all. Check it out!

hearts banner

Sabrina the Teenage Witch

I grew up reading the comic in the Archie Comics magazine. This grew to the animated TV show and then of course the live action TV show that I absolutely loved.

Sabrina Spellman is a sixteen-year-old half witch living with her witch aunts and their cat Salem, a warlock banished into animal form.

Sabrina the teenage witch

Every episode lasted a half hour and involved Sabrina getting into some type of shenanigans because of her powers and later trying to solve them.

The show was great until she went to college. They lost the funny characters and she was too mature and grounded in her magic.

Besides the amazing comedy, this show had one of the best pairings.

sabrinawitchloveanswer

Harvey and Sabrina forever. Harvey was just a regular guy; football quarterback, car mechanic, etc. But when he got with Sabrina, he’d find himself caught up in the craziness of her magic. Being turned into a silent film mountie, having to save her from a troll, turned into a frog, etc.

Through it all he just rolled with it and was always there for Sabrina. Love them.

Most of the episodes are on Youtube, and all are on Amazon Instant Watch. You should definitely give it a look.

For more on Sabrina the Teenage Witch, go to A River of Candy Corn Runs Through It: Sabrina the Teenage Witch (1997)

hearts banner

LifeasaFangirl

hearts banner

For the previous post, go to¬†It’s A Fan World After All

And Stay tuned for part 18

hearts banner

For more book-filled posts, go to Folio Fatigue