Monday, June 30, 2008

Austen Heroines to become Shakespearan Princesses

Plus, of course, the girl from King Kong.

Interesting trio. So what is this about?

Keira Knightley, Gwenneth Paltrow and Naomi Watts will be joining Anthony Hopkins in a new version of Shakespeare's play "King Lear".

Now I must say that I'm looking forwards to this. It's got good talent- and King Lear is a wonderful, though slightly disturbing play. I just hope that they don't mess up the story by adding a bunch of sex and then go graphic on the eye-gouging and battles and earn it an R-rating...

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Fairy Tale Novel Fan Art

Being more or less confined to bed with illness today, I found myself with time to do some decent graphic designing. It has been a long time since I've done any graphics inspired by Regina Doman's books, and I certainly haven't made anything that could really be called "good."

So with that in mind I whipped up three signatures- one above and two linked below:

Rose playing the violin- description

"Do I look like a dangerous character?"

Then I spent well over an hour- possibly two, carefully crafting together differant pictures into this desktop wallpaper of Blanche Brier, with text from Black as Night.

Rose, however, is the more popular of the sisters, and after several clamors over at the forum, I played around with the coloring and came up with a Rose Brier version of the wallpaper, with text from Waking Rose.

I am really falling in love with graphic designing. I've always loved color and design and since I'm happy to spend hours at a computer, this seems to be a good outlet for that (besides costuming, of course).

Feel free to borrow any of these- although I'd like credit if you use them on another website. And I'd love to know if you end up using a would be nice to know that all that time is actually benefiting someone. ;)

100 books

The Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they've printed. (Gasp of horror from me)

The Rules:

1) Look at the list and put one * by those you have read.
2) Put a % by those you intend to read.
3) Put two ** by the books you LOVE.
4) Put # by the books you HATE.
5) Post.

**1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
**2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
**3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
**4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
*5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
**6 The Bible
*7 Wuthering Heights
8 1984 - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
# (I've started this twice and have not been able to finished it. Yuck) 10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
**11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
*(not all of them)14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
**15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
**16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
%20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
%21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
% 22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
*%(meaning I started and intend to finish someday)23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
%24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
%28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
*30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
**33 Chronicles of Narnia- CS Lewis
**34 Emma - Jane Austen
*35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
**36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis (How can Narnia and LWW be separate?)
%37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
*40 Winnie the pooh - AA Milne
%41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
**45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
**46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
*54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
**57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
%58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
**65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
# (No, I haven't read the whole thing)70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
*71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
%72 Dracula - Bram Stoker (How does Dracula get on this list, but not Frankenstein?)
*73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
(apparently the movie is maybe I'll read this someday)79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
**81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
*87 Charlotte's Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
**89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
*(some of it. We studied it in Brit Lit. Rather interesting)91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad % (both of my parents were in this in high school, so I feel as though I should read it at some point)92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
**94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
*97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
%98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
*99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
*%(which means that I read an abridged version)100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

So my total is around 32...mmm...better than average, although I wish it was higher... oh well, you can't blame me that a lot of the newer novels aren't really worth reading anyhow.

Friday, June 27, 2008

A bit of something amazing

I wish I had gotten a picture of the lake this afternoon.

It had already rained once and we decided to go out tubing again. The sky was still cloudy, but there were patches of blue and the air was warm.

We took the boat out and went skimming across the glassy water...what a delightful feeling to watch the clear green waves whoosh beneath you!

Then, across the lake it was as though a curtain of mist had fallen over the trees. I stared at it for a minute, wondering if it was fog. But the air on our side of the lake was still so clear that I realized that it must be a sheet of rain.

I have never seen such a sight. Either it is raining- or it is not. Yet here we sat in clear dry air and on the opposite shore we could see the blinding storm. Over the next five minutes as we drove into shore I watched that line of rain drive across the lake. It caught us by the heels as we dived under a pavillion for shelter.

God's creation is amazing. And water is one of my favorite parts.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Quick Updates

I feel as though I should do a quite *update* post to assure you all that I have not vanished from the face of the earth...

This weekend we celebrated my grandparent's 50th wedding anniversary. It was a very special time for all of us- especially seeing them renew their vows. I love them so much!

I also got to spend quite a bit of time with my out of state cousins- including the baby. I've never seen a baby go after books the way that one does! (I didn't even know that a 10-month-old could recognize what a book was!)

Meanwhile I'm smack in the middle of my summer project- costuming a local production of "Beauty and the Beast." It is going to be fabulous! If you've never seen this performed on stage, I strongly urge you to keep your eyes open for a nearby production! The added songs and dialogue are wonderful- and really add depth to the show and characters (especially the Beast). At some point here, after I get back from vacation (no idea if I'll have internet there or not!) I hope to do at least one blog post about the deeper themes of this story.

Finally, if you haven't heard already, Narniaweb has announced the casting of EUSTACE CLARENCE SCRUBB for Walden/Disney's next installment in the Narnia series, "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader." The young actor, Will Poutler (sp?) was last seen in the film "Son of Rambow" which I am looking forwards to watching eventually. It looks very intriguing!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

What Dawn Treader *could* be (but shouldn't!)

My good friend and forum "sister" Lady Rose wrote this hilarious take on a teaser trailer for VotDT. Basically, it's a "what if" on what would happen if Disney decided to combine VotDT and POTC....

(I am reposting this here with her permission)

Jerry Bruckheimr logo, followed by Walt Disney and Walden Media.

Eerie music.

Caspian, Lucy, Edmund and Eustace stare upwards as they sail into blackness.


Caspian spreads out a map.

Caspian: We are looking for the seven lords banished by my uncle Miraz.
Eustace: Why? Why can’t we look for something worthwhile? Like England?


Edmund: Where were they sent?
Caspian: They were sent out to sea. Westward. They never returned.
Eustace: And now we have to search the whole ocean?


Reep: Why not keep sailing, all the way to Aslan’s country? To world’s end?
Eustace: Because it’s too far… and the world is round!


Sound of sword being drawn. Edmund, Reepicheep and Lucy stare upwards.

Lucy: Who are you?

A Pirate looks down from where he is standing on a mast Music pauses.


Jack sighs and rolls his eyes.

Jack: Captain! Captain Jack Sparrow!


Music changes to more adventurous theme.

Jack: So, do you have a heading for this venture?
Caspian: No, I don’t.

Jack waves something.

Jack: Then if you’ll allow me to take the wheel…

Pushes Caspian out of the way.

Jack: I think I have something that can help.

Shows Jack’s compass.

Jack: I am now in charge of this ship.
Caspian: Oh are you?
Jack: I’ve got the wheel, the compass, the directions… and I shall now transform the crew into a measly bunch of pirates. You’ve got no control. Savvy?


Slavers tying up hands.

Caspian: I am the king of Narnia!
Edmund: So was I!
Lucy: I’m the queen!
Jack: I’m not with them.


Sea Monster curving over ship. All looking up nervously.

Jack: You don’t tie up people to masts, do you?
Lucy: Of course not! Why?
Jack: Just wondering.

Jack v.o. Do you have the courage and fortitude…

Swords clash as Caspian and crew fight off the slavers.

Jack v.o. …to follow orders…

Eustace sneaking water from near empty barrel.

Jack v.o. … and stay true in the face of danger…

Sailors fall to ground or run away in fright as dragon swoops over.

Shows Jack and Reepicheep sitting at a table..

Jack: And almost certain death?
Reepicheep: Are you calling me a coward?

*quick succession of scenes*

Lucy looks into book

Jack runs down beach with invisible Dufflepuds hopping after him

Edmund’s boot turns to gold

Doors open to reveal a lost lord

Ramandu’s daughter smiles at Jack

Aslan turns from a lamb to a lion

Eustace sees dragon

Seagull flying out of the darkness

Reepicheep sailing in boat up the wall of water at the end of the world

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Pirates of the Dawn Treader

Reep and Jack talking while sitting at a table.

Jack: You don’t want to go there mate. End of the world? Terrifying. Huge wall of water going straight down,
Reep: It does not, it goes up!
Jack: Down!
Reep: Up!

Coming to Theaters June 2010.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Into the Wild

Fairy tales seem to be quite popular these days.

Just a few days ago, Regina Doman linked to Sarah Beth Durst's blog- specifically to a post about the obscure fairy-tale, "Snow White and Rose Red." Durst has done hilarious commentaries on several obscure fairy-tales and I read through several of them with great amusement.

Then I realized (feeling rather silly as I did so) that Durst herself was an author, and that the book on the side of her blog was actually her own creation. Intrigued, I looked it up the next time I was at the library. And, of course, I read it pretty much in one sitting.

"Into the Wild" is the story of young Julie, a girl guarding a dangerous secret. Under her bed is a leafy growth known as: "the Wild." Years ago the Wild held all the fairy-tale characters captive, forcing them to relieve their stories over and over again, with no ability to change the outcome. Each time a story ended, they lost all of their previous memories.

However, by some unrevealed secret, Julie's mother Zel, (AKA- Rapenzel) and the other characters managed to escape this puppet-like existance and are now living incognito in the small town of Northboro MA. They are safe as long as the Wild remains contained under Julie's bed.

But, of course, the Wild does NOT remain contained. Someone drops a wish into the Wishing Well of Julie's grandmother and before the next day is over, all the characters (and a good many ordinary citizens of Northboro) have been ensnared once more in the never ending cycle of Fairy-Tales.

It is up to Julie- and her "brother" Boots (Puss in Boots, that is) to save their family and themselves from the Wild.

I heartily enjoyed this book. It is full of originality and humor- and reasonably appropriete for the intended audience. (There's a description of a kiss that pre-teens will probably find rather gross, but that's the intention of the passage).

Readers, both young and old will enjoy this unusual adventure. And fairytale savvy people will be tickled pink when they recognize the many referances to obscure fairytales.

So if you like fairytales...don't hesitate to pick this one up!

New Graphic Art

Photobucket Album
Stargazer avatar

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I've been tagged!

Well- I've been tagged! (And Delaney, this is my first time too! Thanks!)

Link to the person that tagged you, post the rules somewhere in your meme, answer the questions, tag six people in your post, let the tagees know they’ve been chosen by leaving a comment on their blog, let the tagger know your entry is posted.

Who’s your all-time favorite author and why?
Ouch. I always find this a terrible question to answer. *sigh* I usually go with a three way split between Lewis-Tolkien-Austen. Although if I had to choose I'd probably have to pick C.S. Lewis.

Who was your first favorite author and why?
Okay...C.S. Lewis was also a very early favorite. However I would have to say that one of my first favorites was probably the author of the Boxcar Children- or else the Mandie Books. I devoured those when I was young. (No, I wouldn't consider either of those to be favorites now. The Mandie books especially are just poorly written)

Who is your newest favorite author?
Regina Doman. Her books are amazing- and so true. More than any other books they really represent who I am and what I like to read.

If someone asked you who your favorite authors were right now, which authors would first pop out of your mouth?
Besides those named above, I would also mention: Bodie and Brock Thoene, Liz Curtis Higgs, Robin McKinley, Alexandre Dumas, and...welll....any combination of the authors listed on the right of this screen!

Now I'm going to tag Paul, Clare, Josh, Isaac, and Maantikvah if she has time before she leaves. (I know that's only five, but Delaney already tagged Grace and Lady Rose.)

Monday, June 9, 2008

A Word of Welcome...

Some of my fellow bloggers make a habit of kindly welcoming their friends to the blogosphere when the said friends begin a blog...I thought this was a lovely thing to do, and since I've got two new bloggers to welcome, I thought I'd go ahead and do a welcome post!

First of all, I would like to welcome a very old friend of mine to the world of blogging. He is a very deep and thoughtful young man and I know his posts will be well worth reading! You can find his blog over at Josh's Thoughts. Welcome Josh!

(And while I'm at it, I should also say that his older sister posts as Maantikvah and is equally worth reading, although since she is shortly leaving for European travels, I'm not certain how much we shall hear from her. Also, please stop over and say hello to their younger brother, Isaac, at his blog.)

Secondly I would like to extend a welcome to Grace, a charming young lady from the Fairy Tale Novel Forum, and fellow member of the forum Walk to Lothlorian. (I believe, in the extended forum family of *adoptions* she's my niece...) Her blog can be found here. Welcome Grace!

Best of wishes to both of you on your new blogs! I look forwards to reading them!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Little Women is here...

"Four sisters keep hope alive in the uncertain days of the American Civil War."

The adventures of the four March sisters begin on Christmas, 1862, when they befriend their next door neighbor, mischievous Theodore Laurence. Theatrical presentations, snowball fights, and culinary battles are all in a days work for the youngsters. However, set against the backdrop of the American Civil War, it doesn’t take long for love, death and heartbreak to turn the “little girls” into “Little Women.”

Based on the classic novel by Louisa May Alcott, Northern Lights Productions presents the story of proper Meg, quiet Beth, “elegant” Amy, and the feisty, aspiring author, Jo. Produced entirely by teens, it is a heartwarming story that the whole family can enjoy.

It's here. After two and a half years of toil, laughter and tears, our third feature length presentation has been released to DVD. With a runtime of just over 50 minutes, it includes director's commentary and a short but hilarious blooper reel.

When I first visited the house that was to become the home of the March family, I never dreamed that two years later I would be speaking (in a formal gown!) at the premiere of the film. And I would never have dreamed that it would take a full nine months after that for the DVD to be released!

But it's finally here. I think it's been well worth the wait.

(Note to friends- I've made it my policy not to put faces on my blog, but the ones in this picture are so small, old and blurry that I've made an exception for this post.)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Virtual Sacra Cor's 6 month anniversary...

Over on the Fairy Tale Novel Forum, Lady Rose pointed out that it is just about six months since we started the very popular "virtual order of Knights and Ladies of the Sacra Cor."

The Sacra Cor is one of the dorms of the fictional Mercy College, the main setting of Regina Doman's book "Waking Rose." The guys who inhabit it are a hilarious mixture of knights, ninjas, chivalry and random craziness. In honor of this amazing group we fans created our own online version of the order.

In true Sacra Cor tradion, we have covered everything from Chivalry to Piracy, with trebuchets, Jane Austen, and the exact location of the Midwest thrown in.

In honor of this anniversary, Lady Rose typed up a list of all the topics we've covered, and I'm posting them here of an example of the fun we have over on the forum...

the traditional roles of men and women
armour/weaponschivalry/manhoodSacra Cor guys
The Rebelution
Ladies uplifting Knights
Elvish names
Maidens wielding swords/self defense
Lecturing at Mass (reading the readings)
guns vs. swords
Master Xavier vs Rob in fist fight
The wisdom of wearing cloaks while sword fighting
modern weapons
Women leaders
What should boys work on?
Dream husbands
Good qualities in a lady
difference between boys and girls
getting boys on the forum
Master Xavier's infamous boyfriend suggestion
getting married at a young age
Braveheart/El Cid/Gladiator
Pirates of the Caribbean (Will IS NOT a pirate!)
Orlando Bloom
Misspelling Tolkiens name
Japanese movies
Chivalry in Jane Austen
Emma (different movie versions)
The Scarlet Pimpernel
Smeagol impersonations
conspirecy theories (Operation Cupcake!)
Doing Hard Things
Sacra Cor Group/our own Mercy Collage
frilly shirts
Paul Xaviers's fiancees/dying his hair
Prince Caspian
taking things lightly or seriously
ILCHC/meeting Regina Doman
Having a fan get together
Accents or non-accents
What is the Midwest?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Midnight Dancers

Well, Regina has given me permission to write this up right away, so I'll come back and do reviews of the other books later!)

Why live in the light, when the night seems so irresistible?

This is the question that "The Midnight Dancers" both asks and answers. The pull of the night lures twelve sisters out of their home of strict rules and dress codes into a tantalizing world of dancing, moonlight, and dashing "princes." But people are not always what they seem, and danger lurks in the darkness, waiting for one wrong step...

In her latest book Regina Doman retells the beloved fairy-tale "The Twelve Dancing Princesses." Only instead of princesses, we are introduced to the twelve daughters of Robert and Sally Durham. The Durhams, unlike previous heroines (who were all Catholic), belong to an extremely conservative Protestant church. The restrictions and limitations leave the girls with little to do and much to wish for. And the eldest daughter, Rachel, decides to make their wishes come true.

When the girls discover a secret passageway in their bedroom, they realize that they can slip out of the house at night without their parents knowledge. Quickly, swimming gives way to boating- and since the Durhams have no boats of their own, they must enlist the help of their guy friends. Of course this adds a whole new layer of forbiddenness to their midnight excursions.

Twelve girls cannot dance the night away without being tired, nor can they contain a secret without their parents guessing that something is amiss. The concerned parents try everything they can think of to discover the secret but without success. At last, Mr. Durham enlists the help of a young friend from his military days.

Enter Paul Fester. Fans of the previous Fairy-Tale novels will recognize Paul from Waking Rose as one of ninja/knights belonging to the Sacra Cor. Paul is a honest, straight forwards young man- not the kind of person that the girls would include on their nighttime adventures. So Paul must find another way to follow them.

However a big part of this story is the trust between parent and child. And Paul wants the girls to tell their father themselves. He begins to win over the younger girls by involving them in his juggling act which they greatly enjoy. Rachel, however, remains suspicious and hostile towards him and as the eldest, she is the one that must decide to reveal the secret. This, of course is the last thing that she wants to do...

Like the other fairy tale novels, this story brilliantly combines the familiar of the everyday with the enchantment of extraordinary happenings. Unlike the other books, however, there is more depth and less mystery, which makes a story that is more thought-provoking, though no less engaging.

What Paul understands is that the girls flee to the darkness because they have not been introduced to the beauty of the light. The restrictions of their parents (and church) have left them with little to occupy their time. Their reading material is severely limited- and Rachel, who is quite adept with her needle, would love to be a fashion designer, but knows her father would never let her. Without things to interest them and occupy their time in an engaging way, the girls become bored and turn to other, more dangerous things for amusement.

There is a lot to ponder in this. At what point does adherence to biblical standards become legalism? What are the dangers of legalism? Why is it good to have activities and hobbies besides simply work and exercise?

The other area that Regina explores is beauty. With her extreme conservative teaching, Rachel has been taught to believe that feminine beauty can be sinful. Paul must teach her to understand that it is not her beauty that is a sin, but rather the way men have been taught to perceive women.

It is a daring book. To show the problems of anyone's way of life is a risky thing- and yet, it can often be a very necessary thing. As someone who has interacted quite a bit with this world of extreme conservatism (and I would call myself conservative), I can see the truth that Regina is trying to tell.

It is also important to note that this is not a book written against Protestants. It is a book that examines a certain way of life - but it could be true for any group of extreme conservatisim. Paul is a Catholic, and he talks a bit about his faith with the girls, but he never tries to convert them. He answers their questions, but respects their fears. I felt this was an extremely insightful and respectful portrayal of the miscommunications that often occur between Protestants and Catholics and I very much respect Regina for being so careful.

This book, though lacking some of the action of the earlier novels, should be in no way counted as inferior. In fact, about halfway through reading it, I stopped and said to myself "this is brilliant." The problem with books today is that many authors don't seem to be able to combine an intriguing storyline with ideas to ponder without turning it into a sermon or coming off as cliché. "The Midnight Dancers", however, is both light and depth, adventure and wisdom. The story doesn't stop when the ideas enter- the ideas propel the story.

And there is action. The climax is just as dangerous and intense as the earlier novels. In fact, it is somewhat darker and I would slightly caution younger readers. This book- both because of the intellectual depth and the nature of the climax will appeal most to young adults and is best suited for that audience. (Although I think parents will enjoy it greatly as well!)