Wednesday, December 31, 2008

God Bless Us Everyone

(I have a busy week next week, so I'm posting this just a couple of days early, but discussions will be open until the 10th as usual.)
So what did you think of A Christmas Carol?

I must admit that this short of a book was perfect for my Decemeber. The plan of reading it to my kids however, turned into reading them the Childrens', Great Illustrated Classic, edition. It was too much for the little ones. They all loved it, however, and I enjoyed watching them laugh at the changes Scrooge went thru in the end.

If I'm being perfectly honest, I find Dickens to be a little overly descriptive. When it speaks of the Ghost of Christmas Present surrounded by food, I could have just been told that there was turkey and drinks and lots of fruit. I don't need to know how golden the skin was and the exact discription of how it smelled. I found myself more skimming over those parts than reading them.

I was actually surprised at how little Tiny Tim was mentioned. He was definitely a part of the story, but it seems to me like the movies always put more emphasis on him.

I loved the book though. It was a perfect addition to my Christmas reads. I love the change in Scrooge, the Spirit of Christmas, and the message that it's never too late to change.

I hope that all of you had a WONDERFUL holiday season!!! Please leave your thoughts on A Christmas Carol and take time to vote for February's book on the side bar. I hope you enjoy The Scarlet Letter this month.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Sounds of Christmas

Every Christmas Eve, my family reads the Nativity story out of the Bible. But I also love to read lots of other Christmas related stories through out the month. (Plus we always watch a few favorite movies, that it just wouldn't be Christmas without.)

So for this months "in between" question I thought I'd ask, What other Christmas stories are you reading this month? What Christmas story is your favorite?

I think mine is definitely the poem The Night Before Christmas
It's just a classic, it's a must read, to the kids, every year. Although, I'm very excited to introduce a few new ones this year, since my children are getting old enough, like A Christmas Carol. I read The Best Christmas Pageant Ever to my two oldest for the first time this year, and they loved it. I've never heard them laugh so hard. The only problem was my 11 year old boy thought I'd lost my mind when I started crying in the last chapter.

So,how about you?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

To Fill You In

Thank you to all who voted for January's book.

Nathaniel Hawthorne's, The Scarlet Letter, won the vote and will be the book selection for Jan.

I hope you have all had a chance to get started on A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. The discussion will be here on Jan. 5th, and I will be on time, this time.

Also, I just remembered that when the book club started, Mrs. Brooke had a monthly give-away.
Due to our family budget, the fact that this is a monthly deal and my proximity to book stores, I will be giving a $5 Barnes and Noble gift card to the winner. (I am looking into email-able certificates from different locations, but for now, I will have to snail mail the real deal.)

I forgot to do it last month. So I decided to do both last months and this months at the same time. For the Nov discussion on Oct.'s Book Pride and Prejudice I had my children pick a number. They chose 2. The second commenter that month was Sharon from KY.

For this months discussion on Nov.'s book, Jane Eyre I played eeny-meeny- minney, mo between the two who commented and again the winner is Sharon from KY.

So congratulations Sharon! If you will email me (shimmywith4[at]yahoo[dot]com) with your address, I will send you a $10 Barnes and Noble gift card. ($5 for each month)

This month's in between question will be up on Dec. 15th. Until then, "Happy Reading!"

Sunday, December 7, 2008

What I learned from Jane

I don't know about you but I really enjoyed Jane Eyre.

First if all I must admit that it started totally different than I expected. All I had ever heard about Jane Eyre was that it was a good book and that Jane and Mr. Rochester was someone's favorite couple. So I almost expected another Pride and Prejudice type of book. So when it started off with Jane as a child, and a severely mistreated on at that, I was immediately sucked in. I wanted to know how she would over come these hardships.

I thought that school was the answer to those questions when it was first mentioned. Then she got to school and I found one more thing that she would have to overcome.

I fell in love with Helen and I think that she deserves to be Sainted.

I was very impressed with how Charlotte wrote in a way that you understood why Jane felt the way she did. When she had been a short time at Thornfield and was feeling bored and like there was so much more to the world. I remember thinking that I would just be happy to not be at Lowood anymore. When she started wanting to leave I thought, "Oh, be careful what you wish for." But I understood how Gateshead and Lowood, were all she had known and she wanted to see more.

I also like how she was so comfortable with Mr. Rochester when he mistreated her. I thought it was true to the character of Jane.

I liked the mystery part of the book. I've always liked mysteries but not the blood and gore kind, which seems to be all that is put out anymore. So I was dying to know why Mrs. Poole was allowed to stay. And why Mrs. Fairfax wasn't happy about Jane's and Mr. Rochester's engagement.

I was very upset with Mrs. Fairfax telling her to act differently. I thought THAT would cause wedding problems.

When the wedding day arrived, my heart broke when the wedding was interrupted. I couldn't believe that it was all being taken away from her. I wanted to scream at the book. "It's not fair, she survived such a rotten childhood! Where is her happy ending?"

I was amazed at her composure. She had never asked questions about Mrs. Poole or Mr. Mason, she just followed along. She treated her cousins and Aunts so civilly when she went back there and then, when her world crashed down around her, she kept her cool and listened to him. I could not have done that. I'd have lost it.

I also ached with her in her decision to leave. I knew she had to, I knew I would have to if it were me. But I would have wanted to stay as much as she did.

I instantly feel in love with the people of Moors Head. Especially the caring sisters. I liked how she took on Morton School and I loved how blunt and open she could be with Mr. Rivers. St. John never totally won over my feeling though and when he asked her to marry him I was incredibly angry. When she actually considered it I worried and when she said,"No." cheered. Yes, I literally squealed "Yeah!"

When she found Mr. Rochester after finding out about Thornfield I couldn't have been happier. I truly thought that he needed a happily ever after as much as she did. And I was so excited that they did get it, but in the right way. Patience is a virtue for a reason I guess.

This is definitely up there on my list of favorites now. I really did love it, especially the religious tone of the book.

As soon as I finished it I remembered how Mrs. Brooke had said she had hated it in High School and I thought, "I probably wouldn't have liked it as much then either." It definitely is a book that I think you like better as an adult. As a kid without many life experiences, I think I wouldn't have forgiven Edward for lying. I would have been upset that she was once again thrown into terrible experiences that she had nothing to do with. But as an adult, I understood that life is full of things we have no control over, except how we handle them. I admired her strength and I revealed in her ability to move on. And even though Mr. Rochester had been disfigured, I still saw it as a "happily ever after" ending, and appreciated the unconditional love even more. It's amazing how much you change over the course of your life isn't it.

(You all have my apologies for being late posting this month. The holiday preparations got away from me a bit. I have copy and pasted Sharon's comments from Jane Eyre in the comments, since she did it on time a couple of days ago.)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Good Ole Nathaniel

Next year's time period is 1850- Present. So naturally I started at the beginning. And when I was looking for books written or about 1850 one name kept coming up over, and over and over again... Nathaniel Hawthorne. So I decided to dedicate the month of Jan to him. So go to the side bar and vote for which Nathaniel, novel, you want to read.

Don't forget our discussion for Jane Eyre starts on Dec. 5th.