Friday Five: William Blake

Happy Friday! I have been M.I.A. for a week because I went on vacation, and when I got back I was not really in the mindset for blogging, but I’m back now and ready to share some quotes for my friday five!

When I was on vacation, I stopped by this awesome used bookstore, where the books were literally flowing off the shelves–it was magical. Well, I couldn’t leave there without buying something, but I also didn’t want to buy a big book, because this was day 1 of my trip and I didn’t really have room for a big book, so I bough a little pocketbook size book of Selected Poetry of William Blake. Therefore, my friday five will feature five quotes from the wonderful poet, William Blake.

1.

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2.

“The road to excess leads to the palace of wisdom…for we never know what is enough until we know what is more than enough.”

3.

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4.

“Great things are done when men and mountains meet.”

5.

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Friday Five: Alfred Lord Tennyson 

It was Alfred Lord Tennyson’s birthday this week, so I thought I would share some quotes and part of a poem from one of my favorite poets. Enjoy!

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“I hold it true, whatever befall; I feel it, when I sorrow most; ‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”

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“Dreams are true while they last, and do we not live in dreams?”

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Bonus: Part 1 of “The Lady of Shallot”

Friday Five: G.K. Chesterton

I love G.K. Chesterton. I love everything about him. He writes philosophy, theology, mystery, and fiction…basically everything I love. He was an insane genius; he could write one essay and dictate another to his wife simultaneously, which is seriously impressive. He had such a way with words that his quotes are used over and over again, and will live on forever.

1.

“The first use of good literature is that it prevents a man from being merely modern. To be merely modern is to condemn oneself to an ultimate narrowness.”

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“Merely having an open mind is nothing; the object of opening a mind, as of opening a mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.”

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“Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions”

 

Love this man, he never stops spittin’ truth.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Friday Five: Beatrix Potter

Happy Birthday Beatrix Potter!

The lovely woman brought us the unforgettable Peter Rabbit, and continues to be a cornerstone in children’s literature.

Here are five of my favorite Potter quotes in honor of her birthday!

  1. “There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they’ll take you.”

  2. “Thank goodness I was never sent to school; it would have rubbed off some of the originality.”

  3. “If I have done anything, even a little, to help small children enjoy honest, simple pleasures, I have done a bit of good.”

  4. “The place is changed now, and many familiar faces are gone, but the greatest change is myself. I was a child then, I had no idea what the world would be like. I wished to trust myself on the waters and the sea. Everything was romantic in my imagination. The woods were peopled by the mysterious good folk. The Lords and Ladies of the last century walked with me along the overgrown paths, and picked the old fashioned flowers among the box and rose hedges of the garden.”

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Friday Five: Linkin Park

My heart hurts. Yesterday, Chester Bennington, the lead singer of Linkin Park, took his life. I don’t think I’ve ever cried because of a celebrity death, but this one brought me to tears….yes, I’m 26 and crying about a rockstar, but Chester (and Linkin Park) are different than most celebrities.

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This news is devastating, not only for the music world, but for everyone. Chester was known for his humility and his kindness, and for this to happen shows how powerful depression and mental illness can be, and please, if you are struggling, please go talk to someone, because you matter and you are loved.

Chester was rock of Linkin Park. Most of the lyrics were written by him, and I would argue that they are the most poetic lyrics of any rock band ever. They never just rocked for rocking sake, they always had a message and meaning to their songs, which is why so many people connected to them, and their fan base was so strong.

I was a teenager when their first cd, Hybrid Theory, came out, and they have been my favorite band since. Yes, my music tastes have changed like crazy since my early teens, but Linkin Park has always been there. Why? It all goes back to the lyrics and the passion. LP made people feel wanted and important. They took teenage angst and gave it meaning. They gave all the weird, mixed up emotions not only validation, but understanding. I did not have hard teenage years, but like every teenager I felt misunderstood–LP calmed those feelings.

The saddest part about all of this is that Chester’s words changed people, they fixed people, they improved people, they healed people, but for whatever reason, they couldn’t heal him.

Today, I’m just going to share some excerpts from my favorite band. Some will be old, some will be new, all will be amazing.

Rest in Peace, Chester, the world is better because you were in it.

“Leave Out All the Rest”

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“Castle of Glass”

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“Shadow of the Day”

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“Iridescent”

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“Battle Symphony”

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“Runaway”

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“The Messenger”

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“One More Light”

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Friday Five: Summer Reading List

It’s officially Summer!! Let’s get reading!

I have quite a few summer review books to read, but aside from those, there are a few I’m planning to read or listen to on my own. Here are my top 5 most anticipated reads for summer 2017. (summaries via GoodReads).


1.Laurus by Evgenij Vodolazkin

It is the late fifteenth century and a village healer in Russia is powerless to help his beloved as she dies in childbirth, unwed and without having received communion. Devastated and desperate, he sets out on a journey in search of redemption. But this is no ordinary journey: it is one that spans ages and countries, and which brings him face-to-face with a host of unforgettable, eccentric characters and legendary creatures from the strangest medieval bestiaries. Laurus’s travels take him from the Middle Ages to the Plague of 1771, where as a holy fool he displays miraculous healing powers, to the political upheavals of the late-twentieth century. At each transformative stage of his journey he becomes more revered by the church and the people, until he decides, one day, to return to his home village to lead the life of a monastic hermit – not realizing that it is here that he will face his most difficult trial yet.


Laurus is a remarkably rich novel about the eternal themes of love, loss, self-sacrifice and faith, from one of Russia’s most exciting and critically acclaimed novelists.

2. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

The Goldfinch combines vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and suspense, while plumbing with a philosopher’s calm the deepest mysteries of love, identity, and art. It is an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.

3. The Gathering Storm by Sir Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill was not only a statesman and leader of historic proportions, he also possessed substantial literary talents. These two factors combine to make The Gathering Storma unique work. The first volume of Churchill’s memoirs, this selection is broken into two parts. The first, From War to War,consists of Churchill’s critical observations on the settlement of World War I and its place in the causes of the Second World War. The second volume contains letters and memoranda from the British government–of which Churchill was part–as the country plunged unprepared into war. This stands as the best of history: written as it was made, by the man who made it.

4. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

The year is 1327. Franciscans in a wealthy Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, and Brother William of Baskerville arrives to investigate. When his delicate mission is suddenly overshadowed by seven bizarre deaths, Brother William turns detective. His tools are the logic of Aristotle, the theology of Aquinas, the empirical insights of Roger Bacon – all sharpened to a glistening edge by wry humor and a ferocious curiosity. He collects evidence, deciphers secret symbols and coded manuscripts, and digs into the eerie labyrinth of the abbey, where “the most interesting things happen at night.”

5. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman 

Under the streets of London there’s a place most people could never even dream of. A city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, knights in armour and pale girls in black velvet. This is the city of the people who have fallen between the cracks.

Richard Mayhew, a young businessman, is going to find out more than enough about this other London. A single act of kindness catapults him out of his workday existence and into a world that is at once eerily familiar and utterly bizarre. And a strange destiny awaits him down here, beneath his native city: Neverwhere.

 

This isn’t all the books on my summer reading list, and I may not get to all of them, but these five are the one’s that intrigue me the most and I can’t wait to crack them open!

What’s on your reading list this summer?

Friday Five: Stellar Dads in Literature

Happy Father’s Day to all those fathers out there!

Since my own father passed away six years ago, this day is rather bittersweet. Bitter in the fact that I miss him more than ever on days like this, but sweet because I love thinking of all the wonderful qualities he had as a father (I also make it a point to watch his favorite movies, drink Guinness, and eat double fudge brownies, which all help making it sweet). My dad also instilled my love for fiction, especially my love for Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, and the older I get the more I find out that his favorite authors and books are quickly becoming my own as well.

It’s usually difficult to find excellent father’s in literature, but there are a few who stick out to me as exceptional.

1.Jean Valjean, Les Miserables 

 

OK, I may or may not be watching Les Mis while writing this, but regardless Jean ValJean is definitely a badass father figure. First of all, he is initially jailed for taking care of his sister and her children, which shows he is completely selfless when it comes to his family. Secondly, he risks going back to jail or killed to save Cosette, and thirdly, he devotes the rest of his life caring for Cosette and ultimately gives up his life for her continued happiness (oh and saves her boy from getting killed in the barricades)…he’s a badass and needs to be forever praised.

2. Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird

He may be one of the best known father’s in literature, and rightly so. Atticus Finch shows the power of mind and virtue, and he instills in on his children. He leads by example and by word. He is a strict parent, but he answers disobedience with discipline, not anger. He allows his children to make their own discussions, but makes sure they understand the consequences that come with their choices. He really is a powerful father and is a great example on how to raise honorable children.

3. Hans Hubermann, The Book Thief

I sincerely believe that Liesel, the protagonist of The Book Thief, would have lost all hope and joy had it not been for her adoptive father, Hans. He not only taught her to read, which became her favorite activity, but he also showed her more kindness than anyone ever had. In a world full of hatred, he was a shining light, and is a constant source of positive encouragement for Liesel.

4. Matthew Cuthbert, Anne of Green Gables

Similar to Hans Hubermann, Matthew Cuthbert is a source of pure kindness. He is a gentle, quiet soul who, oddly enough, is exactly what the spirited young orphan girl needed when she had no one else to turn to. He takes Anne under his wing and while he never tries to change her, he offers her a stable arm to lean on, something she had never before experienced.

5. Mr. Bennett, Pride and Prejudice 

Does he have a name? I honestly don’t remember. Anyway, he is a great father, especially considering the fact that he only had daughters, and an over-the-top wife…it must have been challenging to be outnumbered all the time! I really feel bad for him ;). He seemed to understand the women in his household more than they understood themselves. He was consistently patient, understanding and is always there to offer sound judgement, all while maintaining a touch of humor in his attitude.

Bonus:

Guido, Life is Beautiful (Original title, La Vita e Bella)

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If you have not watched this movie, you really need to put it at the top of your watch list. It is the most tragically beautiful story of a Jewish family in WWII. The mother and the boy are lovely and charming, but what really makes this story memorable it the father. He is spectacular. I don’t want to spoil it for any of you who haven’t seen it, because you really really should watch it. I weep like a child when I watch it and it never fails to move me.

 

What father’s in literature would go on your list? Happy Friday and again Happy Father’s Day to all you dads!

Friday Five: Short Summer Reads

Summer is almost here!! Now is the time to get those summer reading lists going! I personally like conquering long books in the summer but sometimes you find yourself in a hammock all day and just need something short to read and fully escape into, and so for today’s Friday Five, in going to tell you some of my favorite short summer reads!

1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

While this book is so popular, it really is my ultimate summer read. I love to sit on a porch with a drink and read this book on a hot summer day. I don’t know what it is about the story that brings out the summer in me, maybe it’s the drama, maybe it’s the heat, but I can’t resist reading it at some point during the summer.

2. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

This one would be a great hammock read. It brings you on an adventure, and it does it quickly. Plus, it has the “summer night” feel to it.

3. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

I first read this book in the middle of the summer on a hot train from Spain to Belgium, so I can personally confirm that it does well in heat. It’s a short, very funny book, that will make you want to travel in space.

4. The Alchamist by Paulo Coelho

This is for those who like to think while they relax. This book deals with life questions, and dives into philosophy and theology from time to time. However, it doesn’t dive to far, so it is still an enjoyable quick read for your summer day.

5. The Giver by Lois Lowry

For most of you this would be a re-read (if you went through the U.S. public school system), but it is a good one to re-visit. I remember the first time I reread this book and it was a completely different book then the one I remembered. While it’s not exactly a pleasant book, it is thought provoking and fascinating.

 

What short summer reads do you recommend? I love adding to this list!