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September 29, 2017

Books read in August & September

"Reading is dreaming with open eyes." - YoYo
Here are some of the books I have finished reading with some bits of my opinion.

01/ The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery
The beginning of 'The Blue Castle' is great but the middle is a bit slow with nothing much happening but wonderful details of Valancy's new life. The ending is a bit quick and maybe a bit too perfect. I had some guesses that turned out correct. I also kind of expected the story to end this way because I just don't see it ending any other way. So even though there are no surprises and everything just seem so conventional and even a bit mild, I still enjoyed reading the book. I just have a few thoughts:

(a) I don't like the way people around Valancy keeps telling her how unpretty she is and that she lacks beauty. That's just, I don't know, kind of being rude isn't it?  Does she really need the reminder all the time?

(b) I still don't like her name – Valancy – but it's definitely better than the nickname her family give her - Doss.

(c) about the ending – SPOILER AHEAD >>> I think a family who dismissed you and thought of you as dead, suddenly accepted you back because you it turned out the man you married is actually a millionaire and not a murderer or criminal, doesn't seem like a family you want back. They don't even apologize for their awful behavior toward Valancy. Like everything is perfectly acceptable as long as you marry someone rich.  >>>SPOILER ENDS 

Favorite Passage:
"You see — I've never had any real life", she said. "I've just — breathed."

02/ Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
Reading Dickens is a bit challenging. I like Dickens writing style most of the time – it's quite elegant and sometimes quite blunt with great details but sometimes I think when I'm reading, I'm being taken through a rather long route just to get to the point. And there are exhausted details that I rather not read but I guess if they aren't there and if the length is not long then it wouldn't be a Dickens' book right?

'Little Dorrit' started in a jail with two characters neither which is Little Dorrit nor Arthur Clennam which I thought is rather disappointing but these two are important characters. I sort of want a better introduction to Little Dorrit because in the scene when she is supposed to be seen by Arthur Clennam, she was there but isn't mentioned until later, like she is an afterthought.

I actually saw the miniseries with Claire Foy & Matthew Macfadyen first before reading the book. I know people often say the book is better but to me, the miniseries is better because the stories are condensed and the extraneous characters are removed and I don't have to spend hours waiting for something to happen.

Favorite Passage:
"It was one of those summer evenings when there is no greater darkness than a long twilight. The vista of street and bridge was plain to see, and the sky was serene and beautiful. People stood and sat at their doors, playing with children and enjoying the evening; numbers were walking for air; the worry of the day had almost worried itself out, and few but themselves were hurried. As they crossed the bridge, the clear steeples of the many churches looked as if they had advanced out of the murk that usually enshrouded them and come much nearer. The smoke that rose into the sky had lost its dingy hue and taken a brightness upon it. The beauties of the sunset had faded from the long light films of cloud that lay at peace in the horizon. From a radiant centre, over the whole length and breadth of the tranquil firmament, great shoots of light streamed among the early stars, like signs of the blessed later covenant of peace and hope that changed the crown of thorns into a glory."

03/ Daddy-Long-Legs and Dear Enemy by Jean Webster
'Daddy-Long-Legs' is a bit of a bit one-sided as the story is told completely in letters by Judy aka Jerusha Abbott to Daddy-long-leg aka Mr. smith. It does starts with a short passage which sets up the reason for the letters. I kind of guessed who Daddy-Long-Legs is just by the introduction of a certain character and Judy got along with that character really well though there really weren't that many to choose from anyway.

'Dear Enemy' is sort of a sequel to 'Daddy-Long-Legs' with the similar letter format. Sallie is Judy's friend and she writes her letters to Judy and various other people. I think there are more happenings in 'Dear Enemy' though it's more of the same but probably with a little bit more drama. We get some bits/news about Judy which is kind of nice. I actually like Sallie a lot better than Judy. There just seems to be more depth to Sallie's character here or perhaps we get more about her feelings than Judy in 'Daddy-Long-Leg.'

'Daddy-Long-Legs' and 'Dear Enemy' are fun to read and both have cute drawings by Webster that adds to the humor.

Favorite Passage:
"I went to bed last night utterly dejected; I thought I was never going to amount to anything, and that you have thrown away your money for nothing. But what do you think? I woke up this morning with a beautiful new plot in my head, and I've been going about all day planning my characters, just as happy as I could be. No one can ever accuse me of being a pessimist! If I had a husband and twelve children swallowed by an earthquake one day, I'd bob up smilingly the next morning and commence to look for another set."
–  'Daddy-Long-Legs'

04/ The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
#1 - The Magician's Nephew
#2 - The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe
#3 - The Horse and His Boy
#4 - Prince Caspian
#5 - The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
#6 - The Silver Chair
#7 - The Last Battle

I read 'The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe' first because I got interested in that book because of the movie which I never saw but I have seen gifs and scenes from the movie that bloggers used in their posts. So I suppose blogging isn't a lost medium like people say because that's pretty much where I find my next read.

Not reading in order didn't make the reading confusing because there are summary of the pervious storylines and the books are self-contained so they can be read in any order.

The writing is very direct and there's no fluff. These are very short books that you can read in one sitting. My favorite of the series 'The horse and his boy' because it doesn't involve the Pevensies children, I don't really like them except for Lucy, I'm sorry to say. Plus the talking horse is named Breehy-hinny-brinny-hoohy-hah or Bree for short and he's a horse that likes to roll on his back.

Ending of the series – SPOILER AHEAD >>> I don't quite sure I like the ending to this series. They all died and get to live in Narnia like a afterlife reward? Sounds a bit too, I don't know, nice? Or perhaps superfluous? And what about Susan & her wanting to be an adult? So Susan lost her imagination and that is why she can't come to Narnia anymore? And what about the fact she is left alone in England with most of her family dead? Are we to ignore that? I could ignore Susan but mostly because I'm not attached to her. I guess I was just a little bit disappointed by the end but it's not a terrible ending.  >>> SPOILER ENDS

Cover notes: I have the paper editions with really nice art but I'm annoyed that the cover for 'The Voyage of the Dawn Treader' has that stupid printed-on sticker about the 'made for movie' announcement. What is the point of a beautiful cover just to have some stupid announcement which I don't care about anyway?

Favorite Passage:
"You don't think, do you," said Bree, "that it might be a thing talking horses never do — a silly, clownish trick I've learned from the dumb ones? It would be dreadful to find, when I get back to Narnia, that I've picked a lot of low, bad habits. What do you think, Shasta? Honestly, now. Don't spare my feelings. Should you think the real, free horses — the talking kind — do roll?"
– 'The Horse and His Boy'

Have you read any good books lately? Leave your recommendations in the comments.


  1. That's funny, Lissa, that you liked "a Horse and his Boy" most of all as it is the one considered most disconnected from the others in a way. In fact, CS Lewis' oldest stepson through his marriage to Joy Davidman, has been actively involved in seeing direction of the newest Narnia movies and while they hoped to do all of them, they decided The Horse/boy one was one to skip!

    It shows what a fast reader you are they you can read a book in one sitting! ha. Mine took weeks per book! My favourite, which I read after finishing all the others (reading according to publishing dates), was "The Magician's Nephew" -- so many thigns in there reminded me of being a boy in London, especially the interc0nnected attics.

    Of course, "the Last Battle" ends as it does as it and all the book are CS Lewis' way of explaining Christianity to children in a fun story way as an analogy with Aslan being Christ, etc. So, teh Last Battle is Armageddon, if you will, and in the end, real life is with God in heaven more than the shadow of life here so one comes to find that Narnia is very much more alive, and closer to creation than London and the rest of Earth in that dimension.

    One of my absolutely fave scenes is the one with the little puddles where they jump from one dimension to another and now we are learning more and more about dimensions, and this was written in the 40's! My 2nd fave book was The Silver Chair which is heavily borrowed upon with the themes in Netflix's "Stranger Thigns" where the "upside down" is referenced.

    I have read Little Dorrit but can't recall anything about it now as its been so long and quite agree with your spoiler about Montgomery's book.

    One more thing on Narnia, did you have the original ink drawings in them by Pauline Baynes? I love them so much! She too was good friend's with with CS Lewis' friend, Tolkein and was ended up illustrating his Lord of the Rings books, also a Christina analogy. both of them were geniuses of their day and both scholared in the ancient classics and mythology, etc, teaching it etc and of course using it from which to draw their stories for its own distinctions. anyway, the versions I have are older copies and I so love the covers from her work. One incredible woman ahead of her years for the mid 20th century.

    1. I guess I'm the odd one out for favoriting 'the horse and his boy'. I just find that story more ineresting and not so much like the rest. too bad it's not being make into a movie but I haven't watch any of the movies anyway, so, it's no big deal to me.

      the narnia's books are very short, so it's easy to finish very fast. my copies have the original Baynes illustations.

      thanks for stopping by, have a lovely day.

  2. You woudl enjoy the Lion Witch Wardrob movie I think and Liam Neeson has the perfect voice for Aslan.

    Hy, Lissa, we miss you over at the picnics! Whilst you may not be social in real life, you are great company as is your art over on our scribble meet ups! :) Hope we see you soon and you get the time to work on some things. I suspect you are busy right now with work, etc.

    1. busy, busy, yes, with work. I just check out the blank theme, I might do that one.

      have a lovely day.

  3. The covers on the Narnia books are pretty amazing. I haven't read them, but I did catch the movies on television and loved them. Hugs...RO

    1. those Narnia covers are wonderful. haven't seen any of the movies yet, maybe I'll check the first one out sometime soon.

      thanks for visiting, have a lovely day.

  4. I think that it is wonderful that you read as much as you do. Thank you for your thoughts on these books.I love your art too. Hope you are well and enjoying autumn.

    1. it sounds a lot but it's actually not very many, I used to read a lot more.

      thanks for visiting, have a lovely day.

  5. What a great list of books! I never read The Blue Castle (though I voraciously read Montgomery books). Sounds like it was one of her more dramatic stories (versus the more every-day lives of country girls growing up like Anne).

    Nice! Reading Dickens isn't easy. His prose is indeed elegant. But I find myself reluctant to read very long, wordy books (classics haha) like I used to as a teen. I do love the mini-series. And I agree with you on show vs book; though books are often better, I can think of a lot of film adaptations that were better than the book becuz they cut through all the completely unneeded and/or unnecessarily drawn out scenes, etc.

    Daddy Long-legs! I haven't read that book since a kid. I didn't even know there was a sequel. I don't think it was the deepest of stories, but sweet.

    The Chronicles of Narnia. Love them. Definitely books that are to the point. I admit that Lucy is probably the easiest Pevensie to like. Haha, the ending. yeah I never got why Susan was written out of the story. Seemed so dark. Lol. However, rumor has it that Lewis planned to write another book for Susan's redemption (but ended up scraping it I guess) so maybe that's why he wrote it like that? Not sure.

    Have a great day!

    1. this is only the third Montgomery book (I count the anne of green gable as one, the other one is Emily Climbs), the blue castle is actually pretty good and I laughed a few times while reading it. I suppose it is more dramatic compare to anne but it really is very much Montgomery's style, well, according to me anyway.

      Dickens' books takes a lot of patience to read, honestly, I think I wouldn't even bother with this book if I hadn't seen the miniseries first.

      I actually like dear enemy better than daddy-long-legs but I agreed that dear enemy is sweet but since we don't really get other people's point of view, it's not quite a complete story, just like daddy-long-legs

      the end of Narnia is kind of strange leaving susan by herself. I don't know if a book on susan would help explain it any better.

      yes, Lucy is the most likable of the bunch, I think she's just the sweetest one of them all.

      thanks for stopping by, have a lovely day.


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