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Book Club: December

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The snow is currently falling outside my window, and with the Alaskan mountains as the backdrop it is hard to tear away from the beautiful sight of the remote rugged terrain of Alaska. For the month of December I wanted to keep up the theme from last month of going back in time, and with this novel we will be heading back in time to 1946, when the second world war was ending, and a new beginning emerged.

 

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows takes us back in time to 1946 in London, where a young author named Juliet Ashton is looking for a new subject to write about. While she is searching for a new subject to write about she comes across a letter that sparks her imagination, and even inspires her next book. The letter she had found is from a man that is from the island Guernsey, the man had found Juliet’s name inside of another book that was written by Charles Lamb, and wanted to speak with her.
As Juliet and her new correspondents continue writing to one another, Juliet begins to learn about their society, a society that is eccentric and worldly. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was found at the spur-of-the-moment, when they were discovered after breaking curfew, the society had become an alibi for all of those who were in the group. Juliet continues to learn more and more about the group and each of the members, and she even gets to know them a little more personally when she asks them to list their favorite books, and even their opinions about the German’s who had occupied the land around them. After learning so much about them, Juliet sets off for an adventure, sailing over to Guernsey, and what she finds outs will change her entire life forever.

This book is truly one of the most unique books that I have read in a long time, and to be able to read this with the current backdrop that is my current town, it makes the novel even more fascinating and captivating.

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Book Club: September

Welcome to the fall of 2017 everyone! For the month of September, since it is the beginning of fall, and Halloween is next month, I chose a book that is a fantastic book to curl up with on a cool September day, it is Nora Roberts’ book Dark Witch.

Dark Witch follows a young woman named Iona Sheehan who looks for acceptance, love, and devotion; this stems from having parents who are portrayed as being indifferent. Even though she has not been able to find that from her parents, her maternal grandmother showed her where she can find the acceptance, devotion, and love she seeks in nature and even in old legends that reside in her ancestor’s homeland, Ireland. Iona sets off to Ireland, and there she meets her cousins Branna and Connor, who take her into their home and into their lives. Iona ends up landing a job at a local stable, where she ends up meeting the owner, a man by the name of Boyle McGrath. He is everything that makes her weak in the knees, a cowboy, pirate, and wild tribal horseman.
Iona realizes that here in Ireland she can make a life for herself, however, an ancient evil sets upon Iona’s family tree, descending upon her and her cousins. Setting in motion, Iona and her family must fight to defeat the evil.

This book is truly amazing, and it certainly is a great book to curl up with while you are enjoying your hot drink and taking in the Autumn breeze that pelts against your house.

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Book Club: June

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As a book dragon (I divulge books like a dragon and rather enjoy them), I thoroughly enjoy a novel that is both fiction and historic, to me those novels will take me back to a simpler time that I have always wished for. And the Medici’s Daughter is one of those novels, a novel that will transport you back in time and lets you see through the eyes of Marguerite, daughter of Catherine de Medici, and sister to the future king Francis.

The time is 1564 in the winter, Princess Margot (Marguerite) has been summoned to the court in France, where one word from your mouth could cause travesty to you and your family. Being the daughter of Catherine de Medici, who is highly intimidating and such a powerful player of the courts during the time of a religious war, Princess Margot must learned the game just as well to please her family. Margot being the obedient daughter has accepted her role as a marriage pawn, even though she is in love with Duc de Guise, and agrees to marry Henri of Navarre, a man who is over zealous and wishes to seal a truce between the two countries. However, this promised marriage is all but a mirage concocted by her mother. On the day of her wedding, after the bloodshed has occurred, Princess Margot must choose between her family and soul.

Sophie Perinot has truly done it again with this novel of Princess Marguerite, and quite honestly there is nothing this author cannot do. Run to the nearest place where they sell books, and pick up your copy of this wonderful and colorful novel, it is truly a great way to kick off the summer time.

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The Books That Shape You

The books we read shape us into the beings that we are, if you don’t believe that then look at your bookshelf and see which genre out rules the rest, then dive deep into your mind and heart, you will see that those books shaped you in ways you had not realized.

For myself, I read just about anything and so the list of books that I have read is completely all over the page from classic to fantasy to psychological thrillers. Even though I cannot pick a favorite book, I tend to find my self lean towards the classics, such as A Room With a View, Sense and Sensibility, The Raven, Moby Dick; 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea to name a few. Those books helped shaped into the person that I’ve become.

Recently, I read an article that was titled, “What Your Favorite Book Genre Says About Your Personality”, and I was intrigued. Being so intrigued, I began to read what this person had thought about each genre and how it developed a person’s personality. And when I read the first one, classic, I was smiling so big that I was surprised how accurate this person had pinpointed my personality from just focusing on my favorite book genre. Here is what the article said about classics, ” You have and will reread just about every classic there is. Jane Austen and Sylvia Plath, Ernest Hemingway and John Steinbeck — this is the crew that will always be your favorite writers. You were the kid in high school who actually read all of the mandatory books and enjoyed them. You prefer getting to know one person deeply, rather than knowing a couple people on the surface. You tend to cherish the simplicities in everyday life more than anything else.” 100% that is me in a small paragraph when it comes to pinpointing me with a book genre. I was excited to read the books that my teachers had assigned for us to read, in fact, I got in trouble for reading the entire book ( we were only supposed to read two chapters), and was unable to say anything about the book, because I might’ve spoiled it for the rest of the class. I didn’t mind, it just meant that I could read a different book while they were discussing the chapter that they were on.

The article continues to go on and list other genres such as fantasy, horror, and romance. What is your favorite book genre? Do you have more than one? Classics is my number one, then fantasy. And the description for the both of them definitely suits me.

Follow this link and read the original article about book genres and personalities.

https://www.bustle.com/articles/109117-what-your-favorite-book-genre-says-about-your-personality

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What ‘Anne of Green Gables’ Taught me about Love and Relationships

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Ever since I was a little child I always had a book in my hand, I would take that book with me everywhere I went and read it while other kids were socializing with one another, don’t get me wrong, I would jump in mud puddles and play in the dirt just like any other child, I just preferred books more. The books I read as a child helped shape me to become the woman that I am today, and I am grateful for it. Most of the books were of romance, you know the old fashioned romance novels that still grace the bookshelves around the world, but are now in the back due to the recent BDSM novels 5o Shades of Grey taking the limelight.

Anne of Green Gables series is a perfect example of one of the romance-coming of age novels that I grew up reading as a child, and during the time that I had discovered about love, friendships, relationships, and learning about myself as well by reading these novels. And oh what a ride it was at such a young age to learn about that. And now, as a woman in my mid-20’s, I can look back on those novels when I need some reminding about what it is that I learned about love and relationships.

                                          Find someone who challenges you:

When it comes to academics, and some sports, I can get pretty competitive, that is just who I am by nature. However, I, just like everyone else, feel like I have to dumb myself down to just stroke a guys ego, but just like Anne Shirley, I will have none of that. At first Anne tries to best Gilbert, who is also very competitive, but in reality this whole competitive streak in the both of them, it just makes them both better, not only for themselves, but for each other.

Forget about your ideal suitor/dream person:

Just like everyone else out there, we all are attracted to specific types of people. For Anne, her ideal person was “tall and distinguished looking, with melancholy, inscrutable eyes and a melting, sympathetic voice”. That description is nowhere near Gilbert Blythe, even though he is her soul mate and one true love. For myself, my ideal person was, tall, rugged, tattooed, with soulful eyes and a deep, penetrating voice. I’m not saying you should settle, by heavens, no. Just remember, that your soul mate will look different from your ideal suitor, and that is okay. In the words of Anne Shirley, “I don’t want sunbursts or marble halls, I just want you.” Keep that in mind when you have finally met your soulmate/twinflame.

Relationship with your own bosom friend (best friend):

Everyone has a best friend (s), the one that we can go to for anything, and know that they will be your support system, while at the same time, make you stay grounded. Anne Shirley’s best friend is Diana Barry, whom she refers to “bosom friend”, they are inseparable and their friendships stays strong throughout the remainder of their lives. Having your very own best friend is one of the best feelings in the world, because you have found someone who understands your quirks, and loves spending time with you.

Letting Yourself Be Rescued:

For many modern women, they do not want to be rescued by a prince/princess on a shining horse, it is basically against everything that the modern woman stands for. But if you are like Anne Shirley, holding onto the bottom of the bridge in The Lake of Shining Waters, and your rival comes along wanting to help you get out….take it. There is nothing wrong with being saved once in a while.

Don’t be afraid to feel all of the emotions:

Being an emotional person is nothing to be afraid of, in fact, I am highly emotional, and perfectly okay with that. Because I feel for everything around me and in me. Anne’s emotions are well read between the lines, and to see the things she finds joy in and see how much Gilbert had hurt her, is truly remarkable. Because she is a human, she is allowed to feel these emotions.

Never take shit from boys:

When Anne arrives to the school on her first day, Gilbert is taken by her and wants to get her attention, so what does he do? He calls her “carrots” and pulls on her braids. And Anne’s response, she got up, cursed him, took a slate and smashed it over Gilbert’s head. It is humorous when you first read it, and still hilarious when you read it again, or even when you watch it happen when Megan Follows (as Anne Shirley) busts the slate over Jonathan Crombie’s (as Gilbert Blythe) head.

The first meeting:

The moment Gilbert Blythe lays eyes on Anne Shirley, he is smitten, as if it were truly love at first sight. But then his obnoxious behavior turns Anne away for some time, and he tries to get her attention again. Love at first sight is something that pretty much everyone dreams of, and I will admit that I have always been fascinated with the thought of love at first sight. For myself, I have never actually experienced it, but I don’t let that get me down. The first meeting can be over the top like Anne’s and Gilbert’s, or it can be something that you have only read or seen in movies, or even just by a chance encounter.

Sometimes it’s best to apologize:

Anne realizes that her actions against Gilbert were uncalled for, and that is when she gives him the sweetest and dearest apology ever to be written: “What a stubborn little goose I was…”, finally opening up that door that led to a beautiful friendship and romance.

 

Lucy Maud Montgomery, the author of the Anne of Green Gables series, created the characters of Anne and Gilbert to show the entire world about true romance and show that even Anne goes through the entire cycle of emotions as she learns her place in the world, in herself, and as a wonderful yet spunky daughter, friend, wife, and mother. Not only that, but Lucy Maud Montgomery created a man (Gilbert) that millions of women (and some men) had fallen for, and I was one of those women who had fallen for Gilbert Blythe. And if Mrs. Montgomery were here, I would give her a hug and thank her for creating such beautiful novels that I could relate to.

 

 

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On My Bookshelf

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If you have been following me for any period of time, you have begun to notice that I am what you would call a bookworm, however I refer to myself as a book dragon (I divulge the books and sear them into my memory). Give me a cup of good tea, comfy lounge pants and shirt, a comfortable place to sit in, and a pile of books, and right there you have my ideal heaven. My bookshelf is filled to brim with books, and it spills out onto the floor and in boxes. One might say that I have way too many books, however, I beg to differ. You can never have too many books in my opinion.

                                                                    MOST BELOVED :

                                                    (The books that I always have near)

  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. The ultimate spiritual book that I can refer to when I am having those moments of feeling lost.
  • Jane Austen: Complete Novel Series. These novels are a great stress reliever, and for me, when I am overly stressed, I turn to Jane Austen with a cup of tea and something to eat.
  • All things Edgar Allan Poe. This man has shaped me in so many ways, especially with my writing skills. No matter what time of the year it is, I always turn to Poe and enjoy his poems and short stories. Gothic Romance are the type of books that I can always turn to when my mind wishes to dive into a world of mystery.
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne. Jules Verne has always been high on my list of people that I enjoy reading all the time. In fact, for me, I cannot and will not put down any of his novels for they contain sea monsters, the ocean, and the world in general. He uses so many symbolic references in his novels, and in this novel, there are so many that you will try to decipher them the entire way through. Although I will say this, I could never really choose a favorite author or book, however if I were to choose, this book would be number one.
  • When the Moon is Low by Nadia Hashimi. To describe why I love this book and hold it near and dear to me would be impossible. The way Nadia writes her stories is truly breathtaking, and with this novel, you cannot put it down, and if you have to you will ultimately fighting back the tears of not knowing of what is about to happen to the main character Fereiba.
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo. The original story, not the Disney-fied version, is truly more captivating and more relatable in many ways. And with this novel always being a beloved novel to me, I can truly see through the eyes of Quasimodo and Esmeralda at the same time, and feel what they feel. Victor Hugo is one of the classic authors that cannot and will not be ignored, for his story is engrained into the minds of those who have read his novels.
  • Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll. “I’m late, I’m late for a very important date!” This childhood story of mine has always been close to my heart, and as I had gotten older, that was when I realized the references were to being high as a kite, quite honestly it doesn’t bother me at all. Alice in Wonderland is one of the most influential stories of all time when it comes to giving books to our children, and when my mom introduced the book to me at a very young age, I was so thrilled, that I started the book right away.
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare. I am going to be honest, I love all of Shakespeare’s works from Romeo and Juliet all the way to The Tempest. However, A Midsummer Night’s Dream has always been my number one favorite out of all of his works due to the fact that she shows love comes in all forms, and shows the mystical side of the mind. Shakespeare truly captivated my mind from an early age, and even though I remember more lines from Romeo and Juliet, the lines of Puck will always be seared into the back of my mind.

                                                                      Present Company:

                                                    (What I am currently reading and thinking about)

  •  The Beauty of Humanity Movement by Camilla Gibb. This story is about a girl in search of her father who was last seen in Vietnam, and wishes to figure out the fate of his demise. For the relationship between her and her father had become estranged when he became separated from the girl’s mother. This story is extremely touching and it will certainly tug at the heart strings.
  • The Things We Cherished by Pam Jenoff. The story follows a woman by the name of Charlotte Gold, whose ex-fiancé comes back into her life and seeks help from her and the company she works for. The novel takes place during the time of Nazi Germany and follows the web of stories and lies that follow the characters. Quite honestly, this is a fantastic story and highly recommend it to everyone.
  • Once we were Brothers by Ronald Balson.  This is currently on my to be read pile. Not only that, I think that Mr. Balson is a fantastic author, so to have this book in my pile, I am absolutely thrilled and can’t wait to read soon.
  • All Things Beautiful and Bright by James Herriot. I have read other books by Mr. Herriot and to see that he has a book out that I haven’t read makes me a little sad, so I grabbed a copy and it is now waiting ever so patiently to be read.
  • Claude and Camille: A Novel of Monet by Stephanie Cowell. Lets be honest here, who wouldn’t want to read a novel about one of the world’s most famous painters? I would in a heartbeat. Currently this lovely novel is in my novel to be read. And once I have begun to read it, I know that I will be sucked into the story and will not want to be taken out.

Now these are not all of the books that I contain, trust me, these are just the ones that I hold dear to my heart and ones that I cannot wait to dive into and explore the other worlds that are lurking between the black and white lines of the pages of these novels.

So, what is on your bookshelf? What are your most beloved novels? What the novels that are on your to be read list?

Photo Credit: Dree Harper