Sunday, June 29, 2014

Classics Club: Anne of the Island

My cover. Anne's hair is a
 horrible shade of red!
If you read my review of Anne of Avonlea, you probably got a very dismal impression of it. However, it was a good book!! But I had read it before, and it took me way too long to read. Anne of the Island is another story!! I had never read it before, and I finished it in a week!!

In Anne of the Island, Anne goes to college at Redmond. She gets proposed to many, many times!! *rolls eyes/laughs* And, she realizes her true feelings for Gilbert Blythe. (That shouldn't be a spoiler, cause it was coming for a loooong time!) Anyway, to clear the air, let me share the two negatives about this book.

1. Really, really fast-paced. The book barely covers Redmond!!! It's mostly about her friends and her living at Patty's Place and summer in Avonlea!! It feels a wee bit rushed!
2. The nature descriptions. I went into this in my Anne of Avonlea review, but really!! Gilbert is declaring his love for Anne, but every few sentences, a paragraph about the view is inserted!!! And, I was trying to rush through the end of the book because I was almost done, and it was late.
A charming cover

Moving on to the positives!

Anne! She has grown up so much, and is so much more lovable than in Anne of Green Gables!!! *dodges imaginary rocks* However, she still has a tendency to philosophize, some of which is optimistic and good. The other bit is a little overbearing. As I said before, kinda like Marmee in Little Women. *dodges more imaginary rocks*

Gilbert!! Yeah, I liked him a LOT more in this book. Here is a chart/tableish thing explaining my feelings about him.

Feelings about Gilbert:
Anne of Green Gables - Overrated (except for the part at the end when they talk at the gate!)
Anne of Avonlea - Good friends with Anne. Still meh.
Anne of the Island- Oh my word!!! Gilbert!!!!! Anne, marry him!!! You're a dunce!!!! For Pete's Sake!!!! Gilbert!!!!!

Yeah. I got a little bit carried away :D However, I can't picture him!!! I like how he looks in the above cover though! He is not very handsome in the movie, I think!! *dodges imaginary boulders*

Davy! I love Davy so much!! He asks the most wonderful questions!! "I want to know!!!"

There were a lot of proposals in this book!! Some of which were funny!! But I don't want to spoil them for you!! I think there were six?!? Comment below if I miscounted ;)

Finally, Anne and Gilbert as a couple. I think this is the best love story I have ever read! But it's not a love story!! Only one other literary couple has made me feel the way Anne and Gilbert do! Kit and Nat from the Witch of Blackbird Pond (highly recommend this book BTW)

All in all, I greatly enjoyed this book!!! You should read it, even if you don't like Anne in Anne of Green Gables
No, I don't like how he looks, but hey it's a cute picture!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Poison in a Muddy River, or How World War 1 Started

So today's the hundredth anniversary of World War I! Although World War II interests me more, I greatly enjoy the story of how World War I started. So, without further ado, how World War I started, according to my history teacher:

Disclaimer: I should probably look this up to see if it's for real, but I really enjoyed my teacher's version of this story! You can look it up and comment any discrepancies :)

The archduke and his wife. Great mustache :D
So most people know that a Serbian "youth" shot Archduke Ferdinand of Austria, but did you know that there were at least two guys?? (I think there were three, but I don't remember what the other one did.)The open car was going down a street when one guy threw a grenade at it!!! One problem, it bounced off the back of the car. But, the guy didn't know that!! So he drank poison to kill himself so that the officials couldn't. Then, he threw himself into the river to drown so that his body couldn't be recovered.

A few problems: First, he didn't drink enough poison! He only drank enough to get sick, not to die!! Second, the river was only a few feet deep and very muddy. So this "would-be assassin" ended up sitting in the middle of a shallow, muddy river being very, very sick!!! (I find this hilarious :D)

Anyhoo, the car turned to get away from the bomb and later that day, stopped at a sandwich shop. The second guy was sitting inside. He saw the car and went out and shot the Archduke and his pregnant wife. The rest, as they say, is history.

{I did look this up, just to check some major facts, and did you know that June 28 was the Archduke's wedding anniversary?!}

This story ends sadly, but I think the middle part is really interesting!

Are you interested in World War I?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Classics Club: Anne of Avonlea

This isn't my version. Mine was a Walmart one. See my post on Anne of Green Gables
Meh. At this point in the series I have a love/hate relationship with Lucy Maud Montgomery. It's probably because I've read this book a few times also. And, I kinda got bored of it near the end. That's not say that this was not a good book. It was. But, meh.

First, the things I disliked. LMM has lots of descriptions that some people like but personally I find boring. I like descriptions of people, animals, and houses, just not nature. And she seemed to get sentimental/moral a wee bit too much. Kinda like Louisa May Alcott when Marmee talks. But not as bad. (Ok, I've just offended lots of people, but the comment box is waiting ;)

Now the things I liked. I really appreciated Anne's stories about her pupils! I teach JR Church at my church and yes, kids say the weirdest things!!! I also like that Anne is maturing and not talking as much. Davy!!! I want to know!!! Yeah, Davy is awesome!

Ok this review was short and horribly written, but this book took me too long to read; therefore, I think I got tired of it :( But I do recommend it!!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Stoicness, Epicness, Muddiness, and other -nesses

Well, I was at camp last week, which therefore explains my lack of presence on the blogosphere! God really spoke to my heart through the preaching. Camp was awesome!!! Here are some things I learned:

Taking a stoic picture is really, really hard!
Our cabin picture. We were Sacremento!!! Matt, the tall guy, told us to be stoic :|
Those bunny ears tho :,D
I am third from the left :D
Running up a huge hill in high altitude makes you think you are gonna die!

Scattegories is a REALLY fun game!

So is Rummicub!

Spaghetti is a fun game, but really, really awkward with people you've only known for 24 hours!

Playing in the mud is fun!

Getting rinsed off by a fire hose with cold water is not!

Cleaning a muddy shower is hard!!

The song "Kill the Whales!"

Decorating your cabin with ASU shirts is a great way to get the highest cabin clean up score of the week!

Get in the middle of the tube in Steal the Bacon!

Beasley is a great last name!! (Guy on the top of the picture)

 It's fun to call people Navajo and Abe instead of Tyler and Steve! (The bottom right guys :)
All the staff
Again stolen from Instagram
To add In The Bathroom to the end of fortune cookies

It's fun to yell "Ayyyyyy!" with your brother cabin!

Orange soda and chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream don't mix!

Getting hit in the nose with a big ball really, really hurts!
Big Ball Basketball

Throwing flour bombs is fun!!

So is hitting people with noodles!

French accents make food taste better!

The camp verse record is 135. A record which I plan to break next year!!!

If you get a prisoner and the flag in Capture the Flag, take the prisoner to jail, or the flag doesn't count :(

Epic music makes everything more fun!

9 Square in the Air is still the best ball game evahhh

Yeah, I learned all these things and more!! But, I must stop sometime. So I conclude with the most epic picture of camp:
The EPIC selfie!!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Classics Club: A Tale of Two Cities

My borrowed beautiful version
This book was amazing! I didn't think I liked Dickens much after reading Great Expectations a few years ago. I don't remember much about that book except that it didn't leave me particularly excited like The Count of Monte Cristo, which I read a few weeks later. But, the classics buff that I am, I had to read A Tale of Two Cities. And now, I am to Dickens what Janeites are to Austen (Charlsens? Dickensians?  I'll go with Dickensians). This book is amazing! Sure, it doesn't have the scope of other Dickens novels (or so I've been told), but who cares???  The plot is lovely, suspense-filled, and too complicated to get into here. (Plus, most people already know it) The characters are memorable. And the writing.... words cannot describe how Dickens masters the English language!! His writing made me want to shout and laugh gleefully!! So pardon my preliminary speeches, but without further ado, a gushing review of A TALE OF TWO CITIES that may or may not have spoilers ;)

Because I said I was going to ;)
I was hooked on this book by the end of the first very long sentence. As I have stated previously and probably will say again, Dickens is the master of the English language! I don't think I've read another author that makes me feel about words the way he does. His sentences are exquisite! The quotes, although rather long to remember, are beautiful. Here are some gems:

“A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other.”  (I have thought about this so many times!)

“A day wasted on others is not wasted on one's self.” 

It was remembered afterwards that when he bent down and touched her face with his lips, he murmured some words. The child, who was nearest to him, told them afterwards, and told her grandchildren when she was a handsome old lady, that she heard him say, "A life you love.”  *sobs hysterically*

“Liberty, equality, fraternity, or death; - the last, much the easiest to bestow, O Guillotine!”  (my weird sense of humor laughed at this, sorry )

“Perhaps second-hand cares, like second-hand clothes, come easily off and on.” 

Anyway, even if you don't like Dickens, you have to agree that he uses words wonderfully!

Another thing I like is the humor. Now the introduction in my version said that there was not much humor, but I thought there was. Kind of sarcastic, dry stuff that makes you do that sniff thing.

I do this. A lot.

I loved the characters, but you probably already know about those, so let me just mention a few particulars.

First Sydney Carton. How can you not love the man!! He shouldn't be lovable, but he is!! The seamstress!!!

Also Lucie. I love her!! Sure she faints, but wouldn't you faint if you found out your dead father was alive and/or that your husband is sentenced to death?!? She has this quiet strength as she tries to be brave for Charles.

Lorry. "Business, business" This business guy is awesome!! He's a great friend of business that is always helping the Manette/Darnay clan with their business matters. 

The Defarges. Honestly, I didn't know if I was supposed to like the Defarges in the beginning. Dickens seems to be getting your sympathies toward the revolutionaries, and hey, a knitted code is cool! But in the end, she turns into a real villainess! Her husband seems to have a kind heart, so I kinda feel bad for him :( BTW Madame Defarge's death!! Tell me I'm not the only one who didn't see that coming!!

A scarf with text from AToTC!!!

Finally, the ending. I didn't cry (I don't usually), but I did find it heart wrenching. I loved how Dickens kept using John 11:25-26: "Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me though he were dead, yet shall he live and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die." I don't know if Dickens was a Christian, but he sure sounds like one! I also like the parallel between Christ's sacrifice and Sydney's. It only makes Sydney's sacrifice nobler!

All in all, I loved this book. Seriously, you should read it. I loved it so much that I had to buy my own copy! (I also loved it so much that this blog post took forever to write and is probably not coherent what-so-ever! Sorry.) But seriously, you should read this book!

This meme doesn't really fit, but hey Jack Kelly!!! *cough* I mean Laurie!!!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Husband and Wives, erm Wives and Daughters

Sorry about the title, inside joke :D

Anyhoo, I watched Wives and Daughters last week. It was 5 hours, so it took me about 4 days, but it was great. Sometimes, I didn't want to watch it because it was a leeeetle bit boring, but once I started, I was hooked. (It probably didn't help that I was dying to watch Macgyver either ;) I haven't seen a period drama in a few years *gasp* yes, I know (Macgyver is better BTW :D ), but this was a good one.

Probably favorite dress!
Molly Gibson is fast becoming my favorite heroine, but I need to read the book to cement that! She is patient, loving, and loyal, but she is also not afraid to speak her mind. She was rather ugly as a child, but grew into a beautiful young lady. The town gossips really annoyed me. I just can't find those people  enjoyable. And Miss Phoebe and her sister saying that they loved Molly, really? You left a party without a seven year old that you brought, really?!?

I like this bonnet/apron/dress!
And Roger, I think he is my favorite hero, but I need to read the book to find out! At the beginning, I knew that Osborne wouldn't work out because of his name. I mean what kind of couple would Molly and Osborne be?

So glad he shaved his beard!!
I love Molly and Roger together! I would ship it too, but since they are already together, I don't know if that's allowed :D Their love story is so sweet. They start in brother and sister relationship which is really sweet because they're good friends.

This was hilarious!!! And how she kept mentioning it "Well, he gave me a wasps' nest." :D
And then Molly realizes she loves him, but sweet girl that she is, doesn't tell Cynthia. Finally, Roger realizes that he loves her, and after mutual misunderstandings, this happens.

Probably best engagement I've seen!
The beautiful engagement in the rain. Although Molly did sound weird because she kept saying yes with a most peculiar expression on her face. Also it was slightly amusing because they couldn't touch each other, so they just stared across that space. But the watcher was saved from some kissing scenes and it was sweeter that way.

You can never have too many pictures of this scene!!

I did like Molly's father, I just thought he made a few bad decisions (like his wife, not telling his daughter he was remarrying, little things like that ;) He was very loving and protective of Molly though.

I like this dress
Moving on, I didn't really like Hyacinth Claire Gibson or Cynthia, not that I think she's a villain, I just didn't like her. It was interesting how Hyacinth kept saying that she was unselfish as all she can think about is marrying her daughters off (like another poor, nervous lady you know). When Osborne dies, all she can think of is that she is glad he did not marry because he wouldn't be the heir!!! Ugh!!!

Nothing to do with Mrs. Gibson or Cynthia, but somebody PLEASE bring back capes and cloaks!!
Osborne is okay, but he still should have told his dad about his wife!!! The squire is very nice, just a little too rash and hard on his sons, I think. I love this line!
I am so using this!!! 
All in all, I loved this movie. I can't wait to read the book!!

As the movie ends, so ends this post.

Monday, June 9, 2014


Yes! I finally figured out how to get blog buttons!!! So here they are! Also, they will be on my Blog Button page. Feel free to use as many as you like!

A to Z
This one's kinda blurry. Sorry :(

A to Z
Molly Gibson is the best!!

A to Z
Just because Macgyver

A to Z
One of my favorite movies with Dick Van Dyke

A to Z
The lovely Dick van Dyke show!

Coming Soon:
A Tale of Two Cities review
Wives and Daughters miniseries review
The Best Roller Coasters I've Ridden/To Be Ridden List (is that correct English?)

P.S. I won't be on here very much in the coming 2 weeks because of vacations and camp, however there may be some surprises!!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Classics Club: Carry On, Mr. Bowditch

Let's see we went to the bookstore on Monday, and its Wednesday night. I've read in two days the book I've been waiting over a third of my life to read. Yes, probably since I was around 9, I've wanted to read this book. I read a chapter of it in an anthology someplace, and it grabbed me. I had to read this book. For some reason or another (I don't know why I didn't get it from the library), I've never read it until now. And I had to add it to my Classics Club list, which is steadily growing ;)

This is a biography, but it reads like a story. This wasn't the best book I have ever read, but it did not disappoint me.  My copy had kinda older type, kinda like a copy of Johnny Tremain I've read. It gave the book character. Also there were two page illustrations scattered throughout, that looked like woodcuts. These were a nice touch!

One of the illustrations
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch tells the life story of Nathaniel Bowditch, a man who taught himself navigation and ended up writing the "Sailor's Bible." Nat Bowditch is a hero who should be talked about more in American history. He exemplifies the American dream: Through hard work, you can do anything you want. 
Nathaniel Bowditch

Nat didn't have an easy life. The book opens with him trying to get his family some "good luck." He had to leave school around aged twelve to become indentured. But Nat, though he was "sailing by the ash breeze" never became "becalmed." (Sailing by the ash breeze refers to when sailors had to row when the wind stopped, hard work) He taught himself lots of navigation, astronomy, math, and even 3 languages. {I loved the process he used to learn a new language. (its my inner polyglot ;) He learned the languages using a grammar book, a dictionary, and a New Testament! He would open to John 1:1 which he had memorized, and could figure out some words! I tried this with Russian, and it worked, even though I already knew some words ;) } 

I greatly enjoyed the story, but the writing sometimes didn't seem coherent at times. For instance, START LONG SPOILER the night Nat proposes to Elizabeth. He is invited to what he thinks is an engagement party for her. It is a husking party and he finds a red ear of corn, signifying that he has to kiss a girl. He kisses Elizabeth, at first in jest, but then tells her he loves her. Next thing you know, they're engaged. I was thinking "Wait, did I miss something? What about that other guy? They're suddenly engaged?!?" END LONG SPOILER Several parts of the book were like this. 

A ship called the "Nathaniel Bowditch"
I greatly enjoyed the parts that taught you stuff about navigation and ships, what drew me to the book at first. (I love books that teach you stuff while you read!) However, I probably should read those parts again because I was eating this book up super fast and I'm not the greatest at understanding math. I also like how Nat wrote everything in notebooks, something I'm considering doing.

There were several lessons and concepts from this book that I will hopefully remember. One of my favorites is what Elizabeth tells Nat once when he gets mad at her: "I'm like the chair you stumble over in the dark.  It isn't the chair's fault, but you kick it anyhow. -- Your brain.  It's too fast.  So you stumble on other people's dumbness.  And--you want to kick something.  Even if people are dumb, they aren't chairs, are they?"  This is a concept I probably will not forget as my brain is fast, and I tend to get impatient! (Nat gets mad and roars a lot)

"It did things to a man to find out he had a brain" Another concept I realized is the power of knowledge. Nat teaches the crews on his ships about navigation and math. This teaching changes the roughest ones into good men! When you realize that you can learn, it really helps you better yourself!
The Nathaniel Bowditch House
Overall, this book was wonderful! It was probably sweetened by my anticipation! I would recommend this book to everybody, but not everyone may like it as it has lots of math. It is an inspirational story about the value of "sailing by the ash breeze."

At the end, Nat's wife asks, "Was it awfully hard?" Nat answers, "Rough weather sometimes. But I'll say this for it - I was never becalmed!"

I don't know who Harry Golden is, but I like the quote ;)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

On an epistolary note...

Dear Barnes and Nobles,
1) Why do you play opera one minute, O Holy Night the next, and then some Hispanic song??
2) Must you have $30 books?
3) 30 page introductions in the Barnes and Noble edition classics are not necessary
4) 1 book by Elizabeth Gaskell in the whole store, seriously?
5) I do love you, though sometimes you are expensive

Dear Signet and Bantam Classics,
Thank you for being cheap, paperback, smelling like an old book (though Signet smells kinda musty), and having introductions of a somewhat reasonable length (or none at all). I wish most of my books were made by you. But I haven't seen any Gaskells, really?

Dear Netflix, 
Thanks for Macgyver, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Wives and Daughters, and other cool shows, but you could put Singin in the Rain on streaming, ya know.

Dear Elizabeth Gaskell,
I've heard so much about you. I read the first paragraph of your book and I can tell we will be great friends, once I can get my hands on you!

Dear Carry On, Mr. Bowditch,
I've been looking forward to you for a long time. About eight years, actually. I can't wait to begin Nat's story!

Dear Camp,
I can't wait for you to get here!! Two weeks!!

Dear Charles Dickens,
I'm sorry I found Great Expectations so-so. You are the master of the English language. The way you use words makes me want to shout/laugh gleefully!! I love A Tale of Two Cities!! (Reader be warned of an impending gushing review)

Dear Short Blog Post,
Well that escalated quickly!

So did this GIF

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Bucket List of Languages

Privyet! Menya zovut Ashley! Translation: Hello! My name is Ashley! That was Russian by the way. (Of course, Russian isn't written with English letters. However, you couldn't pronounce it if I wrote it in Cyrillic.) Don't believe me? Привет, меня зовут Эшли. There, if you can read this (without Google Translate ahem, Rachel, ahem) please comment below so that we can have a nice Russian conversation!

I really want to be a polyglot, basically, someone who knows a bunch of languages. The strange thing is I don't want to travel that much. I guess I just want to be able to say whatever I want in whatever language I want and understand others who do speak it. I think it would be cool, like an inside joke with myself. Here is my list of languages that I really want to learn (in no particular order because I'm horrid at ranking things):

1. Russian (currently learning) - I wanted to learn Russian because my aunt and uncle are missionaries to Russia. It's a great language!!

2. Spanish (probably taking next year) - I live in Phoenix. Lots of people speak Spanish. 'Nuf said. ($$)

3. Arabic - this is a language that might benefit me in the future  ($$)

4. French - the (used-to-be) international language. I guess some languages you just have to learn.

5. Chinese - more people speak it than any other language ($$)

6. German - I basically just want to yell at people in German

8. Dutch - I've had a fancy for this language since I read Hans Brinker

9. Navajo - three words Navajo. Code. Talkers.

10. Hebrew - I'm a pastor's daughter and I hear a lot (a lot) about Hebrew ;)

11. Greek - I would love to read the New Testament in the original Greek

12. Polish - basically another Eastern European language that would be fun

13. Japanese - this is getting popular

14. Gaelic - this language has always intrigued me

15. Ethiopian - I've been reading Kisses from Katie (great book, BTW)

16. Swahili - the have-to-learn language of Africa, in my opinion

17. Tamil - since reading The Mysterious Benedict Society this language has interested me

18. Esperantu - this language was made by a guy in the 1800s to be everybody's second language (look it up, it's cool)

Obviously, I probably won't begin to learn, much less master most of these languages. But I can dream ;) Do you speak any other languages? Which ones do you want to learn?