31 August 2011

Movie Review: Anne of Green Gables (1985)

Mm-hmm, you guessed correctly! 'Tis time for another movie review, and not surprisingly, another adaption. Sorry, ladies--I'm a bookworm through and through, even when it comes to the films I love. :)

Anne of Green Gables (1985)
*Directed by Kevin Sullivan and starring Megan Follows*
Description from PluggedIn.com

An orphan since infancy, the disarmingly precocious Anne arrives on-screen as a 12-year-old with fiery red hair (which she views as her own personal trial) and a tongue that never rests (which others see as their trial). To compensate for being passed over--and around--her whole life, she has fixed on a simple plan: Look for the best in everything. And if there isn't anything good, imagine it, then work to make it reality.

Placed in the home of elderly siblings Marilla and Matthew, Anne, for the first time in her life, receives unconditional love. And with that love comes instruction and discipline. Lessons learned include respect for elders, submission, forgiveness and godliness. Marilla even models the value of prayer and a consistent walk with God, stating, "God does not want you for a fair-weather friend."

As Anne grows and matures into an elegant young lady, she forges a cherished friendship with a neighbor girl, works hard to succeed at her academic ventures, learns that wealth doesn't ensure happiness and masters responsibility (on one occasion her thoughtfulness and presence of mind save the life of her friend's baby sister).


My Thoughts: This is an amazing film. It follows the original story by L.M. Montgomery closely without being boring or excessively long. We watched it as a family yet again last week, and Daddy watched it with us for the first time. It was such an enjoyable experience watching it together, and I remembered once more everything I love about this movie, the main one being the fact that Megan Follows practically is Anne. Her portrayal is so perfect, and she really makes the film feel delightfully authentic, as if I was watching the book play across the screen. Diana Barry was slightly off for me, but I've grown accustomed to the "movie Diana" and it doesn't bother me anymore like it did the first time I watched the film. Altogether, I declare Anne of Green Gables to be a wonderful treat for everyone, especially those who love the original stories, i.e. myself. :)


Pros: Memorable characters. Christian faith. Wonderful dialogue. A plot with lots of little twists and turns. Absolutely beautiful scenery and music. This movie has it all. 


Cons: Not much inappropriate language that I can think of (Anne calls one character a "devil," but only in teasing). It is rather long, but that makes it much more enjoyable because it gives the viewer the chance to really get to know the characters. There is a bit of rude language in the beginning from Mrs. Hammond, but not really anything about which to be concerned. Anne speaks of "not caring for God" in one scene, but 'tis when she does not yet know who He is--her outlook changes before the end of the movie.

~Memorable Quotes~

Aunt Josephine: "Make a little room in your plans for romance again, Anne, girl. All the degrees and scholarships in the world can't make up for the lack of it."

Mrs. Cadbury: "Tell me what you know about yourself."
Anne Shirley: "Well, it really isn't worth telling, Mrs. Cadbury... but if you let me tell you what I imagine about myself you'd find it a lot more interesting."

Anne Shirley: "And I promise I'll never do it again. That's the one good thing about me. I never do the same wrong thing twice."

Anne Shirley: "Wilt thou give me a lock of thy jet-black tresses?"
Diana Barry: "But I don't have any black dresses." 
Anne Shirley: "Your hair."
Diana Barry: "All right."

Anne Shirley: [after saying her prayers] "Did I do alright?"
Marilla Cuthbert: "Yes, if you were addressing a business letter to the catalogue store."


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

So, any thoughts you'd care to share relating to my movie reviews? Should I do more or just stick to reviewing books?

17 August 2011

Happy Sweet Sixteen, Brianna!


I know I already posted once today, but this was too special to let pass without some mentioning. :)


Miss Brianna Wachter from By the Way is celebrating her sixteenth birthday today! This sweet girl is so smart and kind-hearted, as well as being an amazing graphic designer. Throughout the almost two years that I've "known" her, I have been overwhelmed with her spiritual maturity and wisdom, despite her tender years. Her blog is the perfect mix of wittiness, photos, and seriousness. I'm sure she'd love some birthday wishes, so head on over to BTW and shower dear Näna with love! Mrs. Wachter also wrote a very touching post about the birthday girl on her blog, which you can read here. 

Oh, and one last thing (I couldn't resist :P)...

MusicPlaylistView Profile

Love you, Brianna! ♥

Book Review: The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis {rewrite}

Welcome, one and all, to the first of many rewritten book reviews! I decided I might as well start with one of my favorite collection of books of all time: The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. To quote Shakespeare in his epic play, Henry V, "Shall we about it?"

The Magicians Nephew (Book 1 in TCoN series)
By C.S. Lewis
*Summary taken from the back of the book

NARNIA... where the woods are thick and cool, where Talking Beasts are called to life... a new world where the adventure begins.

Digory and Polly meet and become friends one cold, wet summer in London. Their lives burst into adventure when Digory's Uncle Andrew, who thinks he's a magician, sends them hurtling to... somewhere else. They find their way to Narnia, newborn from the Lion's song, and encounter the evil sorceress Jadis before they finally return home.

My Thoughts: Anyone who knows me well can tell you how much I love when I am given the history behind characters. This book is well beloved by me because it helps me connect the dots from the rest of the books in the series, mainly The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. You learn why the wardrobe in  the second book has the power to carry the Pevensies to Narnia; you learn why the Professor does not seem startled by Lucy's "make-believe." It gives reason behind every happening, of which I am particularly fond. I also found it beautiful how Aslan sang Narnia into existence. What a beautiful representation of our Lord's creation! Before Aslan's song has begun, there is darkness--nothingness. The place in which Digory, Polly, and several other characters find themselves is devoid of almost anything... except the Lion. And as he makes Narnia and brings light into the empty spaces, Polly and Digory are filled with this beautiful, delicious feeling. "And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness." ~Genesis 1:3-4~

Pros: This book is a wonderful allegory of Creation. C.S. Lewis is a brilliant author, and he has a wonderful way with words. Children adore the characters and story, while adults can find hints and allegories relating to the Gospel threaded into the tale. And as for reading the books in order, I can honestly say that 'tis up to the reader. I read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe first (a month before the popular film came out, Daddy read a chapter aloud each night before we went to bed). Then I read Prince Caspian, since it also dealt with the Pevensies and it made more SENSE that way. Then I read The Magician's Nephew, then finished books #3, #5, #6, and #7. I loved read TMN after I had read books #2 and #4 because I had that delightful moment of, "Oh, I see...!" However, if you were to read the books in the order they are normally sold nowadays, you would probably understand TLtWaTW better... but you'd miss the wonderful thrill of realization. It's your choice. 

Cons: Digory's Uncle Andrew practices "magic." Although he pretends to be a magician and causes more harm than good with his magic rings, he is really a very silly and foolish old man and doesn't know as much about magic as he thinks. He also has a perpetuity to drink alcohol and swear at times. The witch Jadis is very evil and behaves in a despicable way; however, her behavior is frowned upon and thought to be very wrong by everyone but Uncle Andrew. Aunt Letty refers to Jadis as a "shameless hussy."

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
I recommend this book for ages 10+ due to some violence and swearing (not much, just something for which to look out).

A Bit O' Reading For the Day:
"...I cannot tell that to [Uncle Andrew], and I cannot comfort him either; he has made himself unable to hear my voice. If I spoke to him, he would hear only growlings and roarings. Oh Adam's sons, how cleverly you defend yourselves against all that might do you good!" ~The Magician's Nephew, chapter 14

15 August 2011

Rewritten book reviews.

Throughout the nearly two years that Living on Literary Lane has been a member of the blogworld, I have reviewed almost thirty different books, most of them excellent reads. However, as is expected, my reviewing style improved over time. When I first started LOLL (then called Lizzy's Library, as some of you may remember), I wasn't exactly sure how to write a book review. Therefore, when reviewing several books those first few months, I put in details that were irrelevant and left out extremely necessary notes. I also included an entire synopsis of the book, including the end (!!). I hope that the quality of my book reviews is now not nearly as erroneous as it once was, and I know I am still learning.

All that to say, there were several books (i.e. Pride and Prejudice, Little Women, The Chronicles of Narnia) that I did a terrible job of reviewing*. Really. I'm almost embarrased to look back and read them, because they really are awful. More like a mismash of thoughts and feelings than an adequate book review. I know I can't rewrite ALL my book reviews (first of all, that would be way too time-consuming!), but since these books happen to be some of my favorites I am going to do so. The purpose behind this is so that none of my readers, old or new, are under the incorrect impression that the thoughts I expressed in those old book reviews are thoughts and ideas that I still hold. In a way, they are... but there's so much more to those books than what I said!

So, you can be expecting a rewritten book review for the following books to be posted on LOLL in the near future:

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (all seven books, to be reviewed individually)
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Regular book reviews for the following books will also be posted soon**, as my schedule allows:

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder (all nine books, to be reviewed individually)
The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright
A Life of Faith: Elsie Dinsmore by Martha Finley/Mission City Press (all eight books, to be reviewed individually)
A Life of Faith: Millie Keith by Martha Finley/Mission City Press (all eight books, to be reviewed individually)
A Life of Faith: Violet Travilla by Martha Finley/Mission City Press (all eight books, to be reviewed individually)
A Life of Faith: Kathleen McKenzie by Tracy Leninger Craven (all four books, to be reviwed individually)

Have a lovely and productive Monday, dear ladies!


P.S. I published this post on my almost-nonexistent photography blog a while back, and I would appreciate it so much if you stopped by and read it. Thanks!

*And yes, I know you're all dying now to read {and laugh} over my old book reviews. I must warn you, though: read at your own peril. Thank you.


**Both lists are rather long, and my time on the computer is limited. Also, other important matters may come up that I need to post about as well. All that to say, it may be some time before I get to ALL the books on my list. Thank you for your patience. 

12 August 2011

A Poem For the Day: East Coker by T.S. Eliot



So here I am, in the middle way, having had twenty years—
Twenty years largely wasted, the years of l'entre deux guerres
Trying to use words, and every attempt
Is a wholly new start, and a different kind of failure
Because one has only learnt to get the better of words
For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which
One is no longer disposed to say it. And so each venture
Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate
With shabby equipment always deteriorating
In the general mess of imprecision of feeling,
Undisciplined squads of emotion. And what there is to conquer
By strength and submission, has already been discovered
Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope
To emulate—but there is no competition—
There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions
That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.

~Excerpt from T.S. Eliot's East Coker (for full poem, click here.)

10 August 2011

Oh, hello, friend! Would you care for some tea?

There are few things I love in the world so much as a good cup of tea. Worries and fears seem to seep away as I listen to the pleasant bubbling in the kettle and spoon some golden honey into the bottom of a flowered teacup. As I pause to sip the delicious liquid, I am completely and wholly content... that is, as content as we sinful humans can be. :P


"Tea is a cup of life." ~Author Unknown

tea |tē|


noun
a hot drink made by infusing the dried, crushed leaves of the tea plantin boiling water.


Now, since I like to be extremely thorough, I have chosen to include a very brief history of tea, to give this post a little background. There is a legend that a Chinese emperor first discovered tea in 2737 B.C. when tea leaves blew into his cup of hot water--this tale is not fact and we cannot be sure if this is really how the delicate beverage originated. No matter how it came into existence, though, we do know that tea has been enjoyed by many in the East for thousands of years, while those of us in the West have only been drinking it less than five centuries. 


"There is a great deal of poetry and fine sentiment in a chest of tea." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

In 1589, the Europeans were first exposed to tea when a Venetian author suggested it to be the reason behind the Asians' lengthy lives. After that, tea slowly began seeping its way into the Western culture, starting with the Dutch, who brought back green tea from the East in 1610. In 1662, it is stated that tea-drinking became so chic (due to the fact that the queen was a tea-drinker) that it replaced ale as the most popular beverage. Although it was rumored that black tea was enjoyed in the colonies, it wasn't until the year 1690 that tea was first publicly sold in a shop in Massachusetts. And of course, who can forget the famous "Boston Tea Party" in 1773 when American men--dressed as Indians--raided the British ships and dumped chests of tea into the harbour, all in protest against the British tax on tea. In 1840, it is told that the Duchess of Bedford introduced the British custom of afternoon tea, which has remained a tradition ever since. 


"There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea." ~Bernard-Paul Heroux

There is a common misunderstanding among Americans that "high tea" means a fancy afternoon tea. This is untrue. Afternoon tea (also called "low tea") takes place late in the afternoon. High tea, however, is taken around supper time and a much heavier meal accompanies it. The rules of British etiquette when it comes to tea-drinking are very specific. Here is something I found on a website about what is and what isn't considered proper:



"In order for one not to spill the hot liquid onto oneself, the proper way to hold the vessel of a cup with no handle is to place one’s thumb at the six o'clock position and one’s index and middle fingers at the twelve o'clock position, while gently raising one’s pinkie up for balance.

"Tea cups with a handle are held by placing one’s fingers to the front and back of the handle with one’s pinkie up again allows balance. Pinkie up does mean straight up in the air, but slightly tilted. It is not an affectation, but a graceful way to avoid spills. Never loop your fingers through the handle, nor grasp the vessel bowl with the palm of your hand.


Do not stir your tea, with your tea spoon, in sweeping circular motions. Place your tea spoon at the six o'clock position and softly fold the liquid towards the twelve o'clock position two or three times. Never leave your tea spoon in your tea cup. When not in use, place your tea spoon on the right side of the tea saucer. Never wave or hold your tea cup in the air. When not in use, place the tea cup back in the tea saucer. If you are at a buffet tea hold the tea saucer in your lap with your left hand and hold the tea cup in your right hand. When not in use, place the tea cup back in the tea saucer and hold in your lap.  The only time a saucer is raised together with the teacup is when one is at a standing reception.

Milk is served with tea, not cream. Cream is too heavy and masks the taste of the tea. Although some pour their milk in the cup first, it is probably better to pour the milk in the tea after it is in the cup in order to get the correct amount.


When serving lemon with tea, lemon slices are preferable, not wedges. Either provide a small fork or lemon fork for your guests, or have the tea server can neatly place a slice in the tea  cup after the tea has been poured. Be sure never to add lemon with milk since the lemon's citric acid will cause the proteins in the milk to curdle.


And now we come to the all-important question: loose-leaf tea or tea in a bag. My mother and father much prefer the loose leaf tea, and I will admit that it tastes more authentic. We can only purchase it a few times a year, because it is very expensive (we buy from Teavana). As for myself, I am quite content with a cup of Irish Breakfast (my favorite!) or Lady Grey tea. I also enjoy African Roibos, which a friend of ours introduced to us, and Vanilla Chai. While the tea in a bag is very simple to prepare (boil hot water, add the tea bag for your prefered amount of time, and add sugar and milk to taste), loose leaf tea is not quite so easy.  We purchase it in cans, on which there are instructions for how to brew the specific type of tea. There is a special metal tea bag in which the tea leaves are placed, and this is put in the teapot to brew for the requited amount of time. When finished, you pour your tea into a teacup, add milk/sugar/honey, and enjoy!



"We had a kettle; we let it leak: Our not repairing made it worse. We haven't had any tea for a week... The bottom is out of the Universe." ~Rudyard Kipling

I would be very blind if I were to end this post without making mention of something vastly important--tea parties. For if there is one thing that can improve teatime, 'tis a lovely friend with whom to share it. We have a very charming book called Let's Have a Tea Party! by Emilie Barnes (yes, I did have to include a book in this post :P), and it lists many creative and fun suggestions for how to plan your very own tea party. From a garden tea party to a Little Women-themed gathering, this book includes everything: even down to invitations, a suggested menu, and decorations. I loved pouring over it for hours when I was younger--is it any surprise to you that the Little Women and elegant British tea party ideas were my favorites? 


There are many other things I could include, such as delicious treats that go well with tea, but I suppose that will have to wait for another time lest this post turn into a novel. :) 

Happy tea-making, ladies! 

"You can't get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me." ~C.S. Lewis 

07 August 2011

Sunday Blessings

{painting by John William Waterhouse}

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,

Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount, I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I'll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.

Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;
How His kindness yet pursues me
Mortal tongue can never tell,
Clothed in flesh, till death shall loose me
I cannot proclaim it well.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.

~"Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" by Robert Robinson~

I pray that you all have a blessed and restful Lord's Day, ladies!

“Samuel took a stone and…named it Ebenezer, saying ‘Thus far has the Lord helped us.’ ” ~1 Samuel 7:12~
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