Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Portrait of Emily Price, by Katherine Reay

Friday we went gallivanting and got back at a scandalously late hour, so Saturday was clearly a day for curling up with a book. The book of choice was a nice, easy read: A Portrait of Emily Price, by Katherine Reay. I'd encountered Katherine's bookish references inserted into modern settings through Dear Mr. Knightley. On this second acquaintance with her writing, A Portrait of Emily Price was full of beautiful references to family and food.

The Book (official book description)
Art restorer Emily Price has never encountered anything she can’t fix—until she meets Ben, an Italian chef, who seems just right. When Emily follows Ben home to Italy, she learns that his family, however, is another matter . . .

Emily Price—fix-it girl extraordinaire and would-be artist—finds herself in Atlanta, repairing objects damaged in a house fire. As she works to restore the home and dreams of one family, she strives to keep the pieces of her own life in perfect order and secure her own happy ending—a gallery show of her own. There is no time for distractions, especially not the ultimate distraction of falling in love.

But Chef Benito Vassallo’s relentless pursuit proves hard to resist. Visiting from Italy, Ben works to reconnect with his brother and breathe new life into his aunt and uncle’s faded restaurant, Piccolo. And soon after their first meeting, he works to win Emily as well—inviting her into his world and into his heart.

Emily astonishes everyone when she accepts Ben’s proposal and follows him home. Upon landing in Rome, she is enchanted with Italy. But instead of allowing the land, culture and people to transform her, Emily imposes her will upon everyone and everything around her, alienating Ben’s tightly knit family. Only Ben’s father, Lucio, gives Emily the understanding she needs to lay down her guard. Soon, Emily’s life and art begin to blossom, and Italy’s beauty and rhythm take hold of her spirit.

Yet when she unearths long-buried family secrets, Emily wonders if she really fits into Ben’s world. Will the joys of Italy become just a memory, or will Emily share in the freedom and grace that her life with Ben has shown her are possible?

My Thoughts 
The tactile aesthetic in this book was simply wonderful. I loved the way Reay gave Ben and Emily both a calling that they loved to pursue with their hands: with Ben and his Italian heritage, it's the family restaurant--the chop of a knife on a cutting board, the making of pasta dough, the perfect seasoning, the artisan coffee and bread. They savor what I love to savor: good food, good tastes, good feelings. And they show the gift that such small things are by how deeply they savor them. I would love to smell their kitchen, go truffle hunting, and feel the soft pasta dough in my hands. 

Emily is wonderful too with her art restoration. She can take brushes and oils and 3-D printers and transform pieces of art through meticulous, loving labor. She can hang art, frame it, and take an interest in the creative work of others. I felt like I got a mini-art education in a totally fun and non-obtrusive way throughout the story. 

The Italian setting is beautiful as well, with the field of sunflowers and the small town churches and gathering places. It makes you feel as if you want to say and call it home. 

The relationships left me with some things I did like and things I didn't: Emily and Ben kiss a lot, and when her sister Amy shows up, Emily's worried that Ben will find her sister more physically attractive. Realistic with who they were, yes, but sometimes I struggle with the amount and intensity. It's more than I want to think about, and it took an edge off the enjoyment. 

Here's what I did like: Katherine Reay did a wonderful job at having her main character believe in a personal lie and learn in a very beautiful, grace-filled, non-obtrusive way. Emily is a fixer. She can't bear to see things broken. I thought her sister was irresponsible because I was reading Emily's point of view, until I realized along with Emily that her sister was fine. Emily needed to back off and realize her sister was now a grown-up. Emily discovers other people's personalities, too: especially her mother-in-law's. Unpeeling Donita's complex layers of family love, pride in her generational pasta talent, open grief, and hidden pain, turned her from misperceived villain to human. As Emily shifts in understanding, we shift too. And underneath everyone, Ben's loyal, faithful commitment to his family's heritage, and his warm love for Emily give the story much charm. 

One thing that still leaves me with an unpleasant aftertaste when I read this is the lack of spiritual understanding on the part of the characters. I love quietly-stated religious themes, but here they are almost too quiet for my liking. I'm forced to conclude that either some of her Christian characters marry non-Christians, or neither Ben nor Emily is a Christian. I think neither of them are believers in this book, which out of the two options, would be my preferred choice. I don't need a buttoned-up journey, but I did want to see more spiritual seeking on their part other than a brief reference. Otherwise the beauty they love and experience is only a temporary one. I'm left to wonder what happens, and if either or both of them ever accept Christ.

Overall, though, I would recommend A Portrait of Emily Price both for its five-senses aesthetic and for its themes of family heritage and coming to understand people's complex layers. If you're struggling to feel empathy towards someone, or want to learn how to savor art and food as incredible gifts of God, this book will give you a good place to start contemplating.

I recieved a review copy of this book from BookLook bloggers. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Of Frodo Baggins, Temptation, and Community

Last week I was reading an article on depression*, which contained examples of fictional characters that have depression. Surprisingly enough, one of the characters the article highlighted was Frodo Baggins. I never thought about Frodo having depression in the traditional sense, and I'm not sure he does. (did, schuyler, did. frodo isn't around anymore) But still, it gave me some things to think about with reference to Frodo. 

Fair warning that this is an opinion piece, and I'm making it sound pretty and convincing on purpose.

Some people say Frodo is a weak character. That always makes me see red, but understanding that there are different opinions in the world, and this isn't worth taking a bullet for, I'll just write an article instead. 

I think Frodo's character dramatizes what it is like to go through severe temptation and mental distress. Just like the ring came to him without him asking for it, sometimes we are placed in situations that are very challenging that we didn't ask for. We're simply called to be faithful with them. Frodo stumbles now and again, but overall he knows what he needs to do and he keeps his goal fixed before his mind: to take the ring to Mordor. 

But the longer he journeys, and the more power the Ring gains, the more he struggles. He has to face physical weakness as well as mental fear and temptation. Those three things together can send anyone staggering. And I don't think Frodo struggles in an unsympathetic way. However messy or despairing he grows, he still manages to understand the right choice, even though sometimes it's after he despairs and has to have a friend point him in the right direction. That is very honest reality for any human being. 

Perhaps the perception is that he should have been strong enough never to despair in the first place. Perhaps in a perfect world that would be the case. But the fact that even in despair, he allows voices of truth to continue to guide him, speaks for the inner character that has supported him to this point. He gets up and keeps going. He doesn't put on the ring. He's horrified and weak and afraid, but he keeps taking one day, one stage, one step at a time. And that is the grace in our weakness. We will always deal with weakness until the day our obedience is perfected. But God gives us grace to obey even when our emotions don't line up. 

And that brings us to Sam. Samwise Gamgee is often held up as a better, "stronger" character that could have done better than Frodo did. Sam wouldn't have put on the ring. Sam wasn't as emotional. Three things come to mind in that regards. 

Firstly, Samwise Gamgee may have had a different temperament than Frodo. I'm going off the movies here since it's been a while since I've read Fellowship, but I suspect that Sam was a naturally happy and simple-hearted person, while Frodo was more inclined (though not a depressed person in general) to be melancholic, with the tendency to obsess once he put on the Ring. One is not stronger than the other. They are simply different, and they have to deal with and find balance for those natural tendencies. 

Secondly, Sam cannot be compared in strength to Frodo simply because Sam did not have Frodo's same burden. He didn't have the sense of heaviness, the oppression of evil, the constant temptation of putting the ring on his finger, tearing at his mind and weakening his body at the same time. If he had been under the same temptation, or perhaps under a different temptation which was just as horrible to him as the Ring was to Frodo, he may have needed the same amount of help and encouragement. 

Thirdly, even though Sam wasn't carrying the Ring, he had an equal and legitimate burden of his own. Supporting someone who is carrying a heavy burden is in itself a heavy burden to carry. Sam was supporting some undergoing temptation and anxiety, and that in itself shows what a strong hobbit he was, that he was able to help cheer and think for Frodo. People with anxiety struggle with very basic things like eating and drinking and getting up in the morning and getting enough sleep. The fact that Sam was there to help with these basic things got them as far along on their journey as they made it. Frodo would never have been able to care for the Ring and for himself the entire time. 

Frodo and Sam were called to different burdens. Both had to be strong in different ways. I think that this story beautifully expresses the community that we are often called to as believers. Sometimes a particular Christian is given a burden that makes them feel weak for a time, even though they must choose to be faithful in carrying it. For them, it is important to seek out community to help strengthen and keep them accountable. Their community is given the burden to help them, and that burden is just as great. Each task requires strength. 

Frodo and Sam could not trade burdens. It is fruitless to argue who would have been stronger, because that's not what it was about. They were called to be faithful with the role that was assigned to them. But I think the community and the support the fellowship gave to Frodo and to each other is a beautiful picture of bearing each other's burdens. 

And that fulfills the law of Christ.

*Articles referenced: (not all article content is endorsed.) 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Why Ministry Leaders Need to Keep in Touch With the Fiction Market

My mom shared an article about Jen Hatmaker a few weeks ago, a Christian womens' author who recently came out in a pro-homosexual comment. Or so I understand. In the article, it was recommended that pastors keep in touch with women's authors who are influencing a large portion of their congregation, not just theology written by men.

After all, the lives of families in their church would be affected by women's books.

It made me think a little further--about how ministry leaders (of which I am one, in a small way) should also keep in touch with the fiction side of things--because that's preaching messages loud and strong to another large portion of their audience. And in some ways, it's the easiest genre to slip in and preach mindsets without people realizing it.

For instance:

-Did you know that right now, Harry Potter seems to be finding a resurgence among homeschool and conservative evangelicals? Agree or disagree, do you know why it's happening? What would that mean to you as a ministry leader?
-Do you know anything about Hamiliton, the musical that's taken the world by storm since early 2016?
-Are you familiar with the names Beverly Lewis, Karen Kingsbury, George R.R. Martin, or Veronica Roth?
-Have you ever picked up a Hallmark film, or known what's on the market?
-Are you familiar with Marvel movies? Have you watched the new Cinderella? Does the name Fantastic Beasts ring a bell with you?
What's your girl's group picking up in Sherlock? How about Downton Abbey? Rogue One? Game of Thrones?
-Did you know that steampunk, sci-fi, and fantasy are top genres in YA circles? (Think Red Rising and Cress.)

I'm not bashing any names on that list. I like some of the things on there, and some of them I would have strong cautions watching anyone consume. But my question is, are you familiar with them? Have you heard of them?

And if so, why not?

Why not? 

This is the mental food that's entering the wellspring of life of the next generation. And from that life, good or bad, they will pour into the lives of others.

Most Christian fiction is purchased by women in the retired age bracket. Of that fiction, romance is the highest seller. These are the "older women" who are mentoring the "younger women" in your group. What are they being fed with that they are passing on? Are you happy with these romance books? Are they matching the picture of covenant marriage and love that you are trying to teach your audience? If not, which warring picture is going to win?

Disinterest in, contempt for, or mindless consumption of fiction does a disservice to God's people. Spiritual mentors and teachers need to know how fiction is being used in today's culture to preach authority, God's worship, self-worship, morality, and love. Fiction does that loud and clear in the guise of characters, actors, and situations. It is far from neutral.

As a fiction lover, I'd love to offer some recommendations for exploring this huge aspect of our culture. You don't have to be versed in culture to preach the Word of God, and I wouldn't want to see ministry leaders distracted and obsessed with being culturally relevant. But it is worthwhile to know the influences in your group's life that are either reinforcing or undermining your message. It's also worthwhile to be informed about the battle for the mind that is being fought in the fiction camp.

First of all, as a ministry leader, you'll find people trust and listen easier if you come from the perspective that fiction has value. They'll know you have their best interests at heart, and that you want to see them glorify God through the stories that speak to them. This will go a long way towards breaking down the prejudice divide that exists between both camps.

Second, it also helps to know that you can't critique fiction from a nonfiction perspective. It's like a different language. Fiction has its own rules, and own ways of teaching that in some cases is purposely and entirely opposite of nonfiction. Where nonfiction teaches through facts, bullet lists, and clear teaching, fiction teaches through imagery, allegory, and sometimes characters who make opposite choices.

For example, just because a character is evil doesn't mean the audience thinks they're worthy of imitation. It wouldn't be necessary to warn them against that character's behavior unless it's a main character your audience loves that they should not be loving. It's better instead to look overall at the worldview of the authors, stories, and movies they are enjoying, cautioning or reinforcing as you see need.

1. Learn the fiction language. 
In the case of your fiction loving part of the audience, they'll know if you know what you're talking about. It's worthwhile learning how fiction works. A couple of helpful ways to do that are to read fiction blogs and to talk to strong Christians you know who love fiction. They can educate you really well in how to thoughtfully critique literature. Then exhort your audience to think through what they read, loving what God loves and hating what he hates. They need that exhortation.

2. Find fiction-savvy people who can keep you updated on trends. 
Teenage girls on Twitter are your friend. You don't have to talk to them about fiction, just follow them and listen as they talk about it. Every movie and book trend will show up in your stream. You'll pick up a lot about what they're learning, and can judge from there how it's affecting them, and if that effect is good. A couple other worthwhile ways to stay connected are to run over the bestseller list in the Christian fiction category on occasion and find out what's hot and why. You could also get a Goodreads account and friend people to see what they're reading and what they want to read. Or you could ask a good friend to email you fiction updates periodically and give you a brief run-down of what's going on.

3. Get a Spotify account to test out music trends.
You betcha I looked up Hamilton after everyone was talking about it. I wanted to know what was going on. After the third swear word in the first song, I decided it wasn't for me, except for Burn (no swearing), which I used as fodder for an emotionally intense scene in my book (it served its purpose, and I don't listen to it on a regular basis.) Spotify is invaluable for the musicals, music groups, and songs people are loving. Again, you don't have to know all of them. But if everyone is talking about something, it may be worthwhile to look it up and respond accordingly.

Fiction has too often been considered mindless entertainment for people after they come home from work. I'm passionate about thinking through literature in a dominion-minded way. And I would love to see that thinking reinforced in the church as we take captive everything to the glory of God. While ministry leaders have to be careful to make God's Word their primary focus, I believe it is also vital and fruitful to stay in touch with the fiction culture so that ministry leaders can guide their group in thinking through this key subject in a God-glorifying way.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

My Lady Bibliophile's 5th Birthday!

We are 5 today.

*spins around in a swirl of gold and sparkles*

This was the year we passed 500 blog posts. We did link-ups. We laughed. Reviewed books from all over the place. Beta read. Helped with book releases. Added even more to the TBR pile. Knocked a bit off the TBR pile. Tried to be a little less dignified on occasion. Managed to be just as dignified as usual.

Five years ago, almost to the day, I launched that first post on the internet and joined the blogosphere. It was after I graduated highschool, just a couple of weeks after, I think. My dad had two requests when I started: that I have a purpose and that I maintain consistency. That bedrock vision has driven the blog ever since, and I'm thankful for his original request, which now gives me a portfolio of writing and a habit of self-discipline to work off of.

You rarely start a blog looking 5 years down the road at where you'll be--but I figured there was enough to talk about to get me quite a ways. Now, in 2017, there's still just as much material ahead we haven't covered. And over 5 years, I think I've grown from a visionary 17 year old to a still visionary but more mature twenty-something. I don't regret the journey. It takes time to grow and learn, and I still have a lot more growing and maturing to do.

(i know your age schuyler, 5+17 is easy math.) 

This blog has been a gift from God to me, unfolding year after year after year after year after year after year. I'm so, so happy. Grateful for all the gifts that make up the epic whole. I know how to read. I have a reading mother who introduced me to so many wonderful books. I have a laptop and good internet I can post with. I have time to do this. Companies will send me books to review, and I have the resources to buy some books for myself. I'm grateful for God's Word to measure books against, and a sound mind to think through issues and themes and characters.

I'm grateful for all of you. Every comment, every suggestion and kind word, every retweet. Without you all, this blog would not be half so fun. Because it's really when you can have a conversation around books that the books have meaning.

I hope to organize a giveaway soon to celebrate 5 years of bookishness. In the meantime, I'll post some goals we're steerings towards in 2017.

Bookish Themes for 2017 
For housekeeping items, I put this on the goals last year and didn't get it done, so I'm going to try again for a blog redesign. We needs it, precious. I also plan to update the book review and articles pages. I want to get them in ship-shape for resources again. I'll probably be taking a week off sometime this quarter to focus on that latter goal.

Last year's theme was Big Books--and we tackled some big ones, from Dickens to Tolkien to Metaxas, to Ben-Hur. It was glorious to knock those off the TBR. This year is going to be a little different. Ever since I've started the blog, I've been wanting to re-read and review some of my childhood favorites, from Frances Hodgson Burnett to Walter Farley. This year I'm going to intentionally read some of those. We'll also have a lot of review books and classics just like usual, though, so don't flee. The blog isn't changing.

I'm also planning a Persuasion read-along in celebration of the 200th anniversary of its publication. I do hope you'll join me for some classic Jane Austen fun!

But best of all, in celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, I hope to read some Reformation themed books and post reviews on the blog to mark the occasion. This is a big year. I don't want it to go by without intentionally making time to remember what God did at that time in history. I hope you'll join me for the adventure, and if you have any Reformation-themed titles to suggest, please tell me!

It's going to be exciting, friends. I'm looking forward to reading, thinking, laughing, and wondering with you. Thanks be to God for his incredible faithfulness and lavish gifts.

I do hope you'll join me for virtual cupcakes. :)

Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 Reading List

What are we doing?


What are we reading?


I'm reading all the books right now. A medieval mystery, an 1800s historical fiction, a super intense fantasy, a book on Christian art, and a book on ditching writing rules. It feels awesome, a regular literary feast of Christmastide.

I love posts this time of year. They're traditional, so I know exactly what I'm going to do. Today's post is the official Lady Bibliophile 2016 Book List. Thanks to Goodreads asking me about several titles, I found that I actually did get over 40 done.


That makes me so happy. I didn't think that was going to happen.

So pull up a cup of tea and let's chat together.

(list made in not exactly regular orderish.) 

1. The Bells of Paradise, Suzannah Rowntree
2. Lost Lake House, Elisabeth Grace Foley
3. Creating Character Arcs, K.M. Weiland
4. To Get to You, Joanne Bischof
5. Now We Are Six, A. A. Milne
6. The Sparrow Found A House, Jason McIntire
7. Grace Triumphant, Alicia A. Willis
8. Light of the Last, Chuck Black
9. Our Mutual Friend, Charles Dickens
10. Fierce Convictions, Karen Swallow Prior
11. Steal Like An Artist, Austin Kleon
12. Miracles, Eric Metaxas
13. The High Deeds of Finn MacCool, Rosemary Sutcliff
14. The Inheritance, Michael Phillips
15. Flight School, Jason McIntire
16. The Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling
17. Visual Theology, Tim Challies and Josh Byers
18. Dear Mr. Knightley, Katherine Reay
19. When We Were Very Young, A. A. Milne
20. Ben-Hur, Lew Wallace
21. What is the Gospel? Greg Gilbert
22. A Cast of Stones, Patrick Carr
23. The Bridezilla of Christ, Ted Kluck and Ronnie Martin
24. Tintin (vol 5), by Herge
25. A Sparrow in Terezin, Kristy Cambron
26. 20 Things We'd Tell Our Twentysomething Selves
27. Hood, Stephen Lawhead
28. Kidnapped, Robert Louis Stevenson
29. Tintin (vol 6), by Herge
30. Go Teen Writers, Stephanie Morrill and Jill Williamson
31. Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, by Eric Metaxas
32. Uninvited, Lysa TerKeurst
33. Gilead, Marilynne Robinson
34. A Time to Die, Nadine Brandes
35. The Ringmaster's Wife, Kristy Cambron
36. The Prisoner of Zenda, Anthony Hope
37. Face to Face, Jayme Hull
38. The Broken Way, Ann Voskamp
39. The Heiress of Winterwood, Sarah E. Ladd
40. Anne of the Island, L.M. Montgomery
41. Anne of Windy Poplars, L.M. Montgomery

13 nonfiction--that's one for every month, plus an extra. And 28 fiction from a variety of ages, countries, authors, and genres. That sounds about like Schuyler. It was a great year for building up the mental compost.

As for next year's goals, that's all on Tuesday, when we celebrate 5 years of Lady Bibliophile and roll out plans for 2017. Please do join us for lots of cupcakes and bookish chat.

Have an awesome New Year, folkies. God is good, and he's taking good care of us. I know this year has been a challenging one for a lot of folks. I was reminded yesterday of the verse in Nehemiah 8:9 during this holiday season. While it's a slightly different situational context, I think the main thought can apply to life now. It's easy to get sucked into fear and sadness, but I'm going to try to set aside these last two days of 2016 for a time of joyful feasting on the riches of God's love and grace.

May your 2017 be full of bookish delights, and the joy of the wisdom and knowledge of the Lord our God.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Best of 2016

It's been a year for the books.

oh schuyler i knew you'd say that

I never know quite what I'm going to find when I start recapping the blog. Will I find a good year? A flat year? One with not much interesting content, and not much going on? I feel like 2015 was a year that really knocked the ball out of the park as far as wrestling with things and thinking through deep subjects. 2016, was, perhaps, a year of a different sort. Learning to think on my feet. Planning blog posts I could get done in between work and lesson planning and Bible studies. It was a year, not of personal cleverness, but of sustaining grace. And even if I feel like I didn't get quite as much energy as I wanted to tackle a blog redesign and knock out a long book list, God allowed me to accomplish several excellent things that I had been hoping to do.

2016 was the year of big books. I knocked off Ben-Hur and Bonhoeffer, as well as Our Mutual Friend, 3 books I was really hoping to read. I finished reading Return of the King for the second time and tried out a fantastic variety of new authors (Stephen Lawhead, Lysa TerKeurst, Nadine Brandes)  as well as some new books from beloved favorites (Suzannah Rowntree and Elisabeth Grace Foley). I helped out with book releases and beta read for friends. We also did the first link-ups and had a new feature of once a month guest voices.

2016 has been a thriving year of growth and new horizons. So spend a happy morning clicking links, and please tell me what YOUR favorite memories are from My Lady Bibliophile this year!

Favorite Articles From 2016
The level of nostalgia this year has reached an unprecedented height. I'm so glad, without really planning to do so, that I was able to write down some memories about reading and my own personal testimony on paper. It is wonderful to have official records of childhood memories.

The Shining Company and the Ethics of War 
Open Letters to Various Bookish Characters 
My Writing Process: The Backstory 
My Good Friday Story
Why Reading Boundaries Are a Good Thing (written when the internet was awash with hashtags to make certain characters gay)
Top 9 Fictional Dishes to Try (because I actually am a foodie)
A Walk Down Memory Lane (our library days growing up)
In Which Jaeryn Graham Has a Birthday 
Drawing on Your Inner Gold 

Guest Articles From 2016
Bibliophile Tabletalk--Elizabeth Newsom 
6 Ways to Encourage the Creative Process In Writing--Emily Hayse
From the Dark to the Dawn: Book Review--Carrie-Grace 
On Poetry and How Amazing It Is--Victoria Marinov
Why Modern Readers Should Care About History--Jordan Jachim 
Bibliophile Tabletalk--Katherine Forster 
Fairytale Interview--Suzannah Rowntree 

Favorite Book Reviews From 2016
Light of the Last, by Chuck Black
Fierce Convictions, by Hannah More
The Sparrow Series, Jason McIntyre
Poetry by A. A. Milne
To Get to You, Joanne Bischof 
20 Things We'd Tell Our Twentysomething Selves, Peter and Kelli Worrall
Tintin Comics, by Herge
Gilead, Marilynne Robinson
Uninvited, Lysa TerKeurst
The Broken Way, Ann Voskamp

Nonfiction of the Year

20 Things We'd Tell Our Twentysomething Selves

Written with deep heart and practical encouragement, this book tackles a lot of things twentysomethings feel lost and need help with. If you're in your twenties and wish you had a source of wise counsel, this book offers more than ideology--it offers desperately needed practical suggestions founded on good ideology. By Peter and Kelli Worrall.

Fiction of the Year


One of the most enjoyable reads of 2016, I deeply savored this adventurous experience. It's a novel I've revisited many times, and still one of my favorites. If you haven't read Kidnapped yet, make 2017 the year to do it. By Robert Louis Stevenson.

Author of the Year

Ann Voskamp

A woman who writes with heart, grace, and desperately needed honesty, Ann Voskamp's new book The Broken Way, cemented my liking for her thoughtful work. She writes with the beauty and anguish of the vulnerable, wrapping her thoughts in a poetic celebration of everyday life. The author that lingers in my heart after a year that makes me feel both pain and gratitude.

Blessings, my friends. It is with a heart full of gratitude that I think about books and Jesus and all of you. What are your favorite books from this year? Or the best memories you've had so far with reading or writing? I'd love to know!

Friday, December 23, 2016

2016 Character Awards #Booktag

(thanks to Cait from PaperFury for this amazing 2016 wrap-up tag.) 

Tintin, because ya know, I'm always getting secret clues and traveling to worldwide locations like money is no object. 

Ha. ahahahahaha. ahem. 

Actually, two right now. In reading Anne of Windy Poplars, I find Anne extremely relatable at this time in my life. She and I are about the same age in that book, and the way she describes things in her letters, deeply enjoys people's various stories, and tries to navigate life are all very much the way I see things. 

Also Davie Balfour. I've always found him so terribly relatable in his outlook and personality, in spite of zero parallel between our life circumstances. 

I was going to say SNOWY because how could you not, but then I realized that I've read several animal books this year. 

But seriously. Snowy. He is PRECIOUS. Go read Tintin immediately. 

Ugh. How to choose between Finn MacCool's band, Drew Carter, or Erroll Stone.  THIS IS NOT GOOD, FOLKS. 

However, lingering in my memory are two fellows--Fiachna and Innsa, the sons of Finn MacCool. Their stand in The Hostel of the Quicken Trees makes my heart ache with glory. 

Oh, ow. Saul from To Get To You. He's a really fun guy, and it's cool to see the dad in the story have a friend instead of the kid.  

Rudolf Rassendyll, from Prisoner of Zenda. I was expecting a fun little swashbuckler, but didn't expect my heart to be completely captured by his brave, honest courage. He's a hero worthy of accolades. 

I don't remember any good sass, which is a pity because I love a little bit. OH. I know. Max and Ruby in Death Be Not Proud, by Suzannah Rowntree (part of the ONCE fairytale collection). They had lovely sass. 

Best anti-hero would be Erroll Stone, hands down. Or Jack Boughton from Gilead

No one in books, really. It should have been Messala from Ben-Hur, but I didn't find him quite as dark as the radio show. So I'll go with Colin Campbell from Kidnapped because I'm a staunch Scottish lassie. 

I think I read three YA books this year, and none of them had bad parents? Is this a new record? 

Drew's mom and stepdad from Light of the Last. Their son goes into one of the most dangerous jobs in America, and is always showing up in jail or on a run for his life, and does this bother them? 

here honey, you can spend the night. totally not freaking out here. 

Looks at all the ships to choose from and decides to go down with the ships rather than choose. 

BUT if I had to choose...

Bella and John were such fun in Our Mutual Friend, I can't wait to see more of Parvin and Solomon, and Anne and Gilbert will always have my allegiance. 

Drew Carter. He's got angels turned out in full force to look after him. 

There were a couple, but we will not mention them. 

Abdullah from Tintin. Takes royal to a whole new level. 

I just--don't know? There was one, but that would be spoilers, so no names. 




Professor Calculus. Because seriously, who else? 

Jude, for his tune chip and for his other fascinating abilities, which we will not talk about because spoilers. I loved him very much. (A Time to Die


me me me 

But seriously, Kaja, in A Sparrow in Terezin. She needs it way more than I do, in a serious and heartwrenching kind of way.

Riley Kane, from To Get To You. I would totally love another novella about him and his new family dynamic. He seems to be on an upward trajectory after working really hard to get there, and I really enjoyed his character arc. 

Stay tuned next week for the 2016 blog wrapup and this year's reading list--which is longer than I thought, because Goodreads hasn't been counting everything. 

Merry Christmas, my fellow bibliophiles! May your weekend be bright with joy and worship. 
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