November 8, 2014

P&P95Forever Club Giveaway

Anybody who's interested in a P&P/Jane Austen themed-giveaway, hop on over and see us at the Club! :)

October 10, 2014

So I did a thing...

"Surprizes are foolish things. The pleasure is not enhanced, and the inconvenience is often considerable."
~Emma, chapter 8 (volume II)

Well, then.  Which of our important nothings shall we tell you first?

Yes, we.
What might that imply?

We must, of course, contradict the statement above (though it DOES come from our favorite literary hero), because in this case a surprise was a very agreeable thing indeed.

Well, my friends, as you may have gathered, Amy and Melody are once again together in real life.  Only this time Amy didn't know it was going to happen.


I have no idea how I pulled that off.

Well, actually I DO-- verrrrrry carefully and much planning was involved-- but I'm surprised it actually worked.  (So in a way it was a surprise for us both :P)

You see, my parents had a vacation last week and they were going to visit my oldest sister, who lives in a state that is, shall we say, a lot closer to Amy's than mine is.  So I wanted to visit her at the same time, and then I thought, wait, she won't be EXPECTING me to be the next one to visit her... OOOHHHHHHHH.


Long story short, on Saturday afternoon I was standing in her kitchen when she came home from an Outing.  Her mamma and two youngest siblings kindly came and collected me from the airport while everyone else was gone.

Now, Amy, tell us what you thought. :D

I should note that the first, extremely rude, words out of my mouth were, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?" but I promise I didn't say it like THAT.  It was more of a squeal-sort-of-crying kind of thing.  And of course I was in total shock.  Haha.  Which was, I believe, the general idea.  It didn't quite seem real at first to just walk into my house and find my best friend standing there grinning at me.  We did one of those big squashing hugs.  :D

Melody and my mamma had kept this a secret ever since July (though Melody's Personal Plots and Plans and Machinations had been going on since February) and I still can't fathom quite how they did it, but at any rate, I was surprised.  :D  My other siblings didn't know until the day before and the day itself, so they weren't able to spoil the surprise for me, and Mr. Knightley wasn't there to make snarky remarks about it being inconvenient, so all in all it was eminently satisfactory.  ;)

You guys (er, girls) should have SEEN her FACE.  It was quite a fun sight to behold.  It all went so fast though, and then it was OVER.  Well, not exactly, because she was in different stages of shock for basically the rest of the evening. Heehee. :D  And oddly enough, it was quite surreal to see HER again, after hanging out in her house for five hours before she got home.  (That, let me tell you, was AGONY.) 

The best of it, though, is that she is not here for just a short pop-in, as I originally thought, but for nearly eleven days-- though six of those are already gone by, sad to say. :(  She will be here until the 15th, and we intend to use every minute to its fullest extent, and that you may tie to.   We've already had quite a bit of fun traipsing about hither and yon and going on adventures without any grown-ups, and naturally have staid up late each night watching movies and giggling and talking of Deep Dark Secrets.  

And of course we simply had to write a blog post and tell you all about it.  :)

That was, of course, the condensed version, so if y'all have any questions for me about planning the surprise or for Amy about receiving the surprise, feel free to ask.  

Cosette, we don't know what else to say, so we shall make no more sound and instead shut up and leave you with a nice quote.

“Our friendship has roots as deep as if we’d known each other for a lifetime…”
–Cherry Jones

October 3, 2014

The Gift of Friendship

God never loved me in so sweet a way before.
'Tis he alone who can such blessings send.
And when His love would new expressions find,
He brought thee to me and He said—"Behold a friend."

Friendship is a wonderful thing, isn't it?  The more I go about life, the more I realize just what a difference it can make to have good friends to see you through each different phase.

I haven't actually come here to ramble about friendship itself though-- my intention is to ramble about one particular friendship.  Which I know, I've talked about before... I have a special place in my heart for each of my friends, but one has a profound connection to blogging that makes it more natural to ramble here.

“There is one friend in the life of each of us who seems not a separate person, however dear and beloved, but an expansion, an interpretation, of one’s self, the very meaning of one’s soul.” 
–Edith Wharton

And it has to do with the date, too. Today, as you may have observed by glancing at your calendar or cell phone or something, is October 3rd.  It was three years ago on this very day that my best friend entered my life.  Of course, she wasn't my best friend yet, and I could have absolutely no idea that what would follow would be a friendship to compete with and finally exceed that of Anne and Diana, which I'd always looked up to with admiration as an improbability at best, if not impossible.  I may have imagined a friendship I could compare with them and other fictional friends in books and movies-- but I never, ever imagined I'd have one that I'd look at and feel that the superiority was completely obvious.

But don't worry, we still compare ourselves to them. ;)

I know, I know, you've heard it before.  I've rambled on and on about how wonderful Amy is and how much her friendship means to me.  So before we proceed, two things.  1) You don't have to read this.  If it's too much sap for you, I won't be offended if you toddle off to do something else.  2) It HAS been a while since I've written a good, sappy post on this subject.  In fact, I didn't even do one on our last visit.  I don't think that was even mentioned on my blog, actually, due to our lovely April 1st idea, haha.  (See here and here.) So anyways-- a new one is due. ;)

So, as I said, it's been three whole, entire years.  I distinctly remember the afternoon it happened, too; sitting in the dining room on our laptop, and seeing that I had a new follower (my 40th, in point of fact), and also a blog comment from the new follower.  I clicked on her blog and found out it had only just been made and was immensely pleased by the blog, her profile, her music playlist, her first post, that I declared in my comment that she looked like a girl after my own heart.

I didn't have the smallest idea just how true that was going to be.

But as time went on, I became increasingly excited.  Our thoughts and tastes aligned in so many areas, it was almost crazy and unbelievable.  I felt this profound connection with her, like I'd just found a part of myself that I never knew was missing, and it felt like in our hearts, we already knew each other.

 Under the pretense of some blogging project we started emailing in November, then in December we were emailing steadily (as I tried to make myself start thinking of her as "Amy" instead of "Miss Dashwood") and it has never stopped since then.  By February, we'd get worried if we didn't hear from each other every day without a known reason.  By mid-March, we decided that, despite the fact that our communication only spanned about four/five-ish months, we were best friends.  This wasn't anything we tried to explain to anybody else, because we knew they couldn't understand.  We both understood, though... and that's what mattered.

Even though all along I had a feeling that ours would be a lasting friendship and not one that would reach a high point and then fade, as I have seen happen, I told myself I couldn't count on it because that would be a bit irrational.

Any doubts, however disagreeable I found them, did prove to be unfounded.  Our friendship has not faded in the least, nor become less exciting, because there's always some new thing to attain.  That's one thing I truly doubted.  I feared we would hit a point where we just wouldn't find each other and our friendship as thrilling anymore.

Certainly, we're more accustomed to it now.  However, that doesn't mean that when we have the same ideas and say the same things we don't get excited and giggle and feel happy inside.  Just because we've talked about the special bond we have so much doesn't mean there's no more to be said on the subject-- and besides, neither of us mind rehashing things.  If something's worth saying once, it's worth saying twice.  Or thrice.  Or more. :P  And there's always, always something new to look forward to.

And October 3rd, more recently dubbed "Tween Day," is something we look forward to every year.  (Note: we call each other Tween, not because we consider ourselves to be juvenile, but because it was a nickname two best friends in a book we like called each other, before the modern use of "tween" was invented. Haha.)  Because it gives us the opportunity to do be as cheesy and sentimental and reminiscing as we like.

I have to say, during this third year, I think we've cracked into a level that we hadn't attained before.  But part of that is because a lot of... stuff has happened, between now and this time last year.  This includes a few, ehm, rocky areas.  Which cut rather deeper than anything had so far.

But you know what?  We always pull through terrifically.  There are points where we just needed to have a good Explaining Session about how exactly we were feeling on a bunch of matters, get everything out in the open, piece it back together, and begin afresh.

Why am I saying this?  Well, because I don't want to brag about our friendship as if it's all happy sunshine and flowers, as if we each are a model of perfection in every way.  Since we aren't, things inevitably happen.

It's just that that doesn't make me value our friendship any less.  Possibly more, because you don't always know how strong something is unless it's tested.  (I will say though that we've never had anything that could be called a classic "fight". Heehee.)  And acing a test feels good.

And I now know that we really are better off for those things happening. We're wiser, for one thing, and are figuring out how to handle different things.  Also, it has added to our understanding of each other-- when two people are a lot alike, you see, it takes effort to deal with the areas in which they aren't alike; how these things should be treated and how to empathize without feeling the same-- and I honestly believe we're all the closer for it.

But I'm standing (er, sitting) here today and marveling at that.  It's a mystery to me how my dear Twinnie could see me in my worst moods and at my most obnoxious moments,  find out how terribly oversensitive I can be far too often, and how much maintenance I seem to require, yet she likes me as much as ever and here we still are, no worse for the wear.

Um what.


This last year has also been comprised of way more happy and special moments, of course. Duh. :D

.I really don't know what I'd do without my Mousie.  The last few years have brought about so many changes and Life Things happening that I cannot imagine going through without Amy to stay by my side and offer virtual hugs and encouragement.  There's nothing like being able to tell somebody all about your problem (or triumph!) and know that they actually care.  And that they'll understand.

Now that I've talked about all the things that I'm grateful for, do I have a right to complain a little? I hope so, because it's comin'.


Seriously, what is UP with the ginormous size of the United States?  We don't need all this space.  Can it shrink? :P

Because being together in real life really is all it's hyped up to be.  Doing special things together, doing everyday and otherwise-boring things together... everything is fun in its way.  I'm more myself when I'm with her, somehow.  And there's so much going on in each other's lives that it would be nice to share and not just hear about.  And today-- it would be awfully nice to be together.

But I'm glad that we're so good at long-distance communication, anyways.  (Well, we have to be.  Otherwise we wouldn't be where we are today.)  I think it's actually a great foundation for a friendship-- I think people can get to know each other on a much deeper level, more quickly, than if they meet in person.

“There is a magic in long-distance friendships. They let you relate to other human beings in a way that goes beyond being physically together and is often more profound.” 
–Diana Cortes

So now I'm back to what I'm grateful for, haha.  (But trust me, we bemoan the distance and how it forces us to have visits sparingly often enough between ourselves. Ha.)  So here I shall end this post as y'all are probably either yawning or feeling cheesy-ed out.

P.S. In a way, we owe our friendship to Jane Austen-- and that's a very lovely thing. :)

September 27, 2014

The Janeite Tag - My Answers

My dear blogging friend Miss Jane Bennet (of Classic Ramblings) has invented a tag where the crazy Janeites can do their favorite thing: talk about all things Jane Austen.  For no particular reason, just as a form of entertainment.

I find this rather nice because although I enjoy filling out tags from various blogging events, I sometimes feel that I don't have time to participate fully and shouldn't really fill out the tag if I'm not going to do anything else.

...rambling there.

Anyways, moving on. :D

Zee Rules:
~Thank and link back to the person who tagged you.
~Tell how you were introduced to Jane Austen and share one fun fact about your Janeite life (this fun fact can be anywhere from "I stayed up all night reading Emma," to "I visited Chawton and met Anna Chancellor.").
~Answer the tagger's questions.
~Write seven questions of your own.
~Tag as few as one or as many as seven other Janeites and let them know you've tagged them.

All-righty.  I've told the story multiple times on this blog, I think, so I should try to be brief.  Though I had heard vaguely of Jane Austen before, it was really one of those names that float around in my mind without really having a place to belong, until one of my sisters introduced me to the 1995 adaptation of Sense and Sensibility, which we watched during one of our just-the-two-of-us girls' night thingies that we used to have when she actually lived nearby, sniff. (Um, anyways.)  After that it all happened in a blur.  I wanted more and more, items with "Jane Austen" printed somewhere on the cover were checked out from the library with alarming frequency, I talked the subject to death with anybody who would listen (especially if they could at all empathize), in early 2011 I started this blog, and today I am as you see me.  I've been a Janeite for about five years now (wow...) depending on when I really started being a Janeite... and I'm not sure how to figure that out but it was sometime in 2009. ;)

Fun fact about my Janeite life... ummmm, for my sixteenth birthday I had a Jane Austen party which was very fun indeed.  Looking back on it, I was something of an amateur Janeite at the time and I rather wish I'd have done it when I Knew More, but it really was very lovely.

And now for Miss Jane's questions...

~Do you have a favorite Austen couple?  If so, what do you think their married life would be like?

Emma and Mr. Knightley are my favorite.  I love the romance of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, but somehow the former speaks to me more.  I love how their friendship is such a huge factor in their relationship-- and I like to imagine their married life as being constant enjoyment of each other's company and conversation and just being cute together.  Because they're awfully good at that.  And him calling her "my Emma" with frequency.  For some reason that always melts my heart. :D  And her only calling him George when she feels like being a Tease, haha.

~Who is your favorite minor character, in any of Miss Austen's books?
ARGH I DON'T KNOW.  That question is too hard.  Ummm... I really like Mrs. Gardiner from P&P, actually, although I'm not sure she's my favorite.

~List 3-7 of your favorite Austen quotes.

Three to seven-- good call there.  Thank you for not saying one. ;)

1. “The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.” ~Mr. Tilney, Northanger Abbey

2. "The more I know of the world, the more I am convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love. I require so much!" ~Marianne Dashwood, Sense & Sensibility

3. "If I am a wild Beast I cannot help it. It is not my own fault." ~Jane Austen

4. "Ah! There is nothing like staying at home, for real comfort." ~Mrs. Elton, Emma

5. "I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of anything than of a book!" ~Caroline Bingley, P&P

6. "For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn?" ~Mr. Bennet, Pride & Prejudice

7. "I am not at all in a humour for writing; I must write on till I am." ~Jane Austen

~How many JA books do you own?

P&P - 2 copies
S&S - 1 copy
Emma - 1 copy
Mansfield Park - 2 copies
Northanger Abbey - 1 copy
Persuasion - 1 copy
Complete JA - 1 copy

(The above list excludes a couple of duplicates I have lying around waiting to be presents for some lucky person(s) at some point. :P)

And those are just the books BY Jane Austen, not anything to do with JA... so I hope I answered it appropriately.

~What Austen character do you think you're most like?

In a lot of ways I really am an awful lot like Marianne Dashwood.  It's just that I'm not usually as drastic as her about things, haha, and some of her theories of romance I don't quite agree with.  I believe, for instance, in knowing the person you intend to marry for a good long time before doing so, and that you won't just know with a flash of lightning that they're for you and that you're going to be happy-ever-after with them.  Also, I don't condemn all second loves-- although I have a fondness for the whole Only Person For Me thing.  And of course, I believe a woman of seven and twenty is absolutely capable of feeling and inspiring affection. :D

I can be a bit like Catherine Morland with my bookishness although again, I don't really get carried away... I feel somewhat like Fanny Price at times when I am in Company... on the other hand, I have been likened to Elizabeth Bennet before by at least one person who knows me very well. ;)

~Have you read the Juvenilia?
Some of it. One day I will have read all, heehee.

~Favorite movie/TV adaptation of an Austen novel?

Pride and Prejudice (1995).  Accuracy combined with being engaging it's the best, hands-down.  I also reeeeeally like Emma 2009 though and I can't just go away without mentioning that. ;)

My nominees:
Amy (are you even doing tags anymore? Oh, well, you can answer stuff in a comment if not. ;) )
Miss Laurie
Miss Elizabeth Bennet
Naomi Bennet
Evie Brandon

Also, I accordingly tag Miss Jane Bennet and Sophie to answer the following questions in a comment. :)

My Questions:
~What are the top three Jane Austen sites you long to visit?
~Have you ever been to a Jane Austen meeting, book club or anything of the sort?
~What's the very first question to come to your head that you would want to ask Jane Austen if you could see her alive?  (No cheating!)
~Heehee... okay. How would you react if you were talking to a young man rather close to your own age and he announced that he was a fan of Jane Austen? ;)
~So pretend that all the Jane Austen adaptations made up to this point, are actually being filmed presently, and you have the option to be an extra in one of them.  Which would you select, and what scene would you choose to be in?
~Take one (non-hero/heroine) character from a Jane Austen novel and switch him/her with another one from a different story.  Who are they and what do you think would be the consequences?
~You're at a ball which is comprised of twelve dances.  As they are done two at a time, you will be able to dance with six of Jane Austen's gentlemen.  Three of them are desirable, three of them you do not like at all.  You get to pick.  Which six are on your list?  (They'll still be the ones to ask you, of course. They will magically know to do so, I guess.)

Allll right! :D Have fun!

August 18, 2014

Help! The Historical Fiction genre is suffocating me!

That ought to get your attention. Haha.

Well, folks, it's like this.  I always used to consider myself to be a fan of historical fiction, until I tried reading more of the stuff that's come out in the last decade or so, and found myself getting more and more fed up with the whole genre.  (Before, you see, I read children's books, which were better in some ways.)

But here's the other thing.  I really love the IDEA of historical fiction.  I like to read about eras gone by, and if it can't be actual classics, it has to be set in a long-ago time period.  And there's tons of it out there-- it's hard for me to believe that none of it would be suited to my tastes.  I mean, this one's great.   But I had 'inside knowledge' that led me to that, haha.

As hardly any of you probably know, I've been working at a library for the last two months.  (I know-- swellissimus, right? :D I've really been enjoying it. Boooooks.)  I'm what they call a "page", and my #1 task is shelving the books.  And keeping them organized on the shelves.  Which takes work when there is a perpetual stream of people messing it up.

Um, anyways.
Not actually a book cover,
but it looks like it could be.

The point is, I see an awful lot of books on an almost everyday basis.  And I see tons of goooorgeous book covers.  (Also some really cheesy ones that just scream "corny story going on here!")  But, in the same way that you cannot judge a book by its cover when you don't like the cover, you can't judge a book by its lovely, appealing cover, either, because it might end up being blehhhhh.  Some of them also come with an intriguing synopsis, as well-- but those also often end up being blehhhhhh.

Nothing works.

And when I'm talking about historical fiction here, I mainly mean the romance-based Christian or "inspirational" ones. Because those seem to dominate the genre.  The historical fiction books I see that aren't Christian, I doubt because who knows what content they may have.

But the books being Christian, as I have found out, does not mean I am going to approve of the content.  Sadly enough.

Wow, I'm taking forever to get to the point.  The point is, I want your recommendations... IF you can think of any books that don't have any of the things I keep finding that are incessantly annoying.

What are those things?
Here is a list.  I'm good at lists.

  • Descriptions of and references to physical attraction.  (This is the Reigning Annoyance for me, so I'm listing it first.)  To the extent that I am uncomfortable reading this because it seems inappropriate. First of all, I don't want to be filling my mind with that, and secondly, these characters are usually not married (to each other, that is-- obviously it would be even worse if they were to somebody else, ha), and more often than not aren't even engaged or courting or whatever. Ugh.  Basically, I don't want the guy in the story to be thinking at us about the girl's looks concerning anything below the nose.  Let's just say that. :P If anything else is mentioned, it must be sparingly.  And on the other side, if I read one more description about a girl admiring a man's muscles? My head will explode. And THEN my blog posts will cease altogether. ;)   Anyways... even if it didn't make me roll my eyes and/or squirm and/or stop reading the book entirely, I would still hate the shallowness of it.  So many of the books seem to have the main characters be first attracted to each other in some kind of physical way and that's how the whole story seems to go.  In my opinion, Romantic Interest should begin by attraction to their character or personality, general manners, etc... and the rest will follow-- and doesn't need to be described.  Thinking someone is handsome/pretty is not quite the same thing, but it also shouldn't be the basis of romantic interest.
  • Speaking of the guy's thoughts-- I really prefer it if there is no Male Main Character Narrative in the story.  A lot of this is because of the issue listed above, so if that's not applicable, I might not mind this too much.  Still, a lot of the way guys think tends to annoy me (sometimes it's even worse if a woman is writing it, oddly enough), and unless I'm particularly fond of the hero, I'm probably not going to care about his point of view, or would rather leave it up to my own imagination.  (Plus, the constant switching of narratives gets old.) 
  • Characters kissing before there is any understanding between them, or doing it like every time they see each other.  (My preference in general is the wedding or even after-wedding kiss being the first, which I think is really sweet, but I'm not going to not read a book because they don't follow that.  However, I hate the Random "accidental" kissing.  Um.)  Also, I don't want any kissing to be too descriptive.  Eww.  Details are not necessary.  This kind of fits in with the first matter on the list. 
  • Wife-hunters and husband-catchers.  These people annoy me in real life, so I certainly don't want to be reading about them.  That is, those who seem to view marriage as the ultimate goal of life, or at least think they need to be married, and sort of view every unattached person of the opposite gender that they come in contact with in terms of possible spouse-material.
  • In general, girls who are boy-crazy.  Eww.
  • Also guys who are girl-crazy.  Eww. :P
  • When the main guy character is pretty much a jerk and the heroine dislikes him but the guy keeps pursuing her anyways, probably obnoxiously, but somehow they end up together in the end. Especially if, while the heroine dislikes him, she apparently is secretly attracted to him the whole time.  Um what.  (If you think this sounds like P&P you are wrong on so many levels and should probably not be reading this blog. Haha.)  
  • Anything either set in Texas or with a Texan as a main character, or the book being written by a Texas author.  No offense to anybody living in that state, but it seems like every book I've tried that apply to one of those cases have been full of the stuff I can't stand.
  • Actually, not a huge fan of the western storylines-- but I'm willing to bend on that one if it really is a good story.  (After all, I would probably be considered as living in the west myself.  But I've really never been a fan of the western-y stuff, so in that way maybe I'm an insult to my side of the U.S. :P  Well, the Oregon Trail is fun.  But cowboys and the like... nope.) 
  • In general, the book must be clean-- free of often-repeated or more-than-mild swear words, and if there are Adult-ish Topics they must be dealt with Discreetly.  If you can actually find a non-Christian book that meets those requirements, by all means recommend it, as long as it's accurately old-fashioned with old-fashioned principles and they aren't trying to insert Modern Stuff and pretend it was all the same back then.
  • The whole story must not be overwhelmingly Romance.  It can have romance in it, but there has to be other stuff going on with the plot to keep me interested.
  • Nothing too soap-opera-y, please.

So.  Can it actually be POSSIBLE that there is some historical fiction out there to meet those guidelines?  I'm giving it one last chance. *narrows eyes dramatically*  (By the way, anything 1950's or earlier will qualify.  Personally, if it takes place before the 18th century, I probably won't be too interested, though.)

And in case it is any help to you, here are some things I have a fondness for:
~The Edwardian era 
~References to Classic Literature are sprinkled throughout 
~Storylines that have a focus on close female friendship 

And here are things that bore me:
~You get the picture
~Too many French names that are hard to keep track of, haha

Okay, sooo... I'm anxious to see if anybody can come up with anything. ;)  (Note: it doesn't have to have been published recently.  For instance, maybe Christy is so good because it was written back in 1967.)

Oh!  One last thing-- recommendations for Christmas books and why you like them, one-two-three-go.  (I'd like to have some new ones this year, and I might as well get some Choices lined up ahead of time.  It can be for children or adults, old setting or new setting, as long as it's a good story and feels Christmassy, and of course is free of inappropriateness.)

July 20, 2014

JA Book Giveaway and Screencap Website

First of all, the lovely Miss Laurie is hosting a giveaway of various Jane Austen-themed books, so do go check that out!

And when I have one announcement to make I often think of another I've been meaning to do... you all should also check out this website, it has period drama screencaps and links to other ones, all in one place. :)  Some of the links to Grande-Caps site won't work but that's because said site is undergoing a change of domain right now and the person who runs Period Drama Screencap Source will correct the links as soon as she can. 

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