Monday, January 30, 2012

January Book: North and South

My book for January was North and South by Elizabeth Gaskill. My plan is to document my thoughts on each of the books on my book list mostly to help me but hopefully to benefit those out there who are interested.

It is extremely rare to discover a movie that is better than the book it is based on.  I am still unsure whether this is the case with North and South. It probably doesn't help that I saw the movie first (and loved it) before I ever read the book. Needless to say as I was reading the descriptions of Margaret Hale and Mr. Thornton I could not escape the images already deeply rooted in my mind from the BBC drama. The book definitely offers a deeper look into the thoughts of each character. Most of the time that is what makes the book so much more gripping than the movie but in this case it almost served to eliminate the mysterious persona of Mr. Thornton that is captured so well in the movie.
The only weakness I saw in the book was the fact that Mr. Thornton seemed to have thoughts that did not seem necessarily male. I've never lived in a man's mind but it seems that no matter how much a man is in love with a woman he is usually able to focus on his work and not obsess about her lovely eyes or delicate mouth or things along those lines.  The strength of a man is his ability to compartmentalize and focus on one thing at a time (something not as easy for a woman). In this I felt the author was unable to really portray the differences between how a man handles love and a woman.
Margaret, on the other hand, was mostly clueless as to her effect on the opposite gender and often found herself in very awkward situations.  These situations were mostly believable but at times I found myself wondering if she really could be that unaware of what other people might be thinking.
However, the strengths of the book are many. It has some Charles Dickens elements which I enjoyed very much. The setting is fascinating and it is hard to put it down once you are gripped by the story.  There are intricacies that are so often lost in today's novel. As I was nearing the end I found myself wanting to story to continue indefinitely. I am eager to watch the BBC drama again now that I have read the book and would highly recommend both.

Friday, January 27, 2012

If you build it...

I'm not sure what is worse-getting a root canal (I've never had one so it's hard to know) or trying to rebuild lego sets that have been absorbed into a huge container of lego pieces. Last Saturday we decided to humor the boys and torture ourselves by trying to reconstruct some of the sets that they have been given over the past few years. Needless to say after an entire afternoon of digging, sorting, straining, and all but running out the door screaming we were able to assemble one small pizza shop and part of the trailer that goes to Christopher's Mack truck.  Although we would NEVER do it I can sympathize with those who have decided to glue their lego sets together in order to prevent them from coming appart ever again. (As a side note I never knew people did this until my husband met a lady who was selling the lego castle on craigslist. We snatched it up only to discover upon closer investigation that almost the entire castle had been super-glued together. It went immediately in the trash and we learned our lesson.)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


I don't know why it is but ever since vacation ended (I guess technically that would have been this morning) I have found myself walking around in a fog. I have no motivation to get back into the routine of every day life and find myself grasping for the last few shreds of holiday relaxation. This is unusual because usually I am dying to get back into my normal routine.
One thing I have managed to accomplish is my book list for next year. As I mentioned before there will no longer be a book club to motivate me so I have taken it upon myself to motivate myself. In order to provide variety in what we were reading our book club followed the pattern of Fiction, Nonfiction, Biography. I have changed that a bit and am loosely following the pattern of Fiction, Spiritual/theological, and Biography or Nonfiction. So here is the list I have formulated so far although this might be subject to change. As I was searching for the final books to add to my list I came across several more I would like to read so we'll see.

January- North and South by Elizabeth Gaskill  (F)

February-The Reason for God by Timothy Kellar (thanks to my friends jo's recommendation)  (S)

March- Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology by Eric Brende  (B)

April- Precious Bane by Mary Webb  (F)

May- The Escondido Theology by Dr. John Frame  (S)

June- The Greater Journey by David Mccullough  (B)

July- The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde  (F)

August- Bonhoffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas  (S and B)

September- Playstation Nation by Olivia and Kurt Bruner (breaking the cycle and going for NF here)

October- A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (F)

November- Politics Reformed by Glenn A. Moots  (S)

December- The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James (I might change this to some of the Flannery O'Conners short stories and I would also like to add John Donne's poetry in the mix throughout the year)  (F)

The point of all this is that I haven't read any of these so please don't think that by putting them on the blog that I absolutely love these books. I am still striving to motivate myself to read things that I don't normally gravitate to (hence the books that have anything to do with politics :-) I would love to hear more recommendations from you readers out there on books you enjoy or think I should add to my list.