Thursday, June 25, 2015

Fullness of Joy Literary Celebration Tag

Today is a celebration day! Joy C has a blog birthday this week over at Fullness of Joy, with a fun tag and a truly amazing giveaway. I'm joining in the tag, and by all means, please post your answers as well! And don't forget to check out that giveaway! It ends in 16 hours, and you won't want to miss it.

Congratulations, dear Joy, and thank-you for your cheerful, generous inspiration in your little corner of the web. :) I always love to visit your blog, and feel right at home there.

1. What is your favourite "happy" sort of book? (a book that either has joy/happiness as a major theme, or a book that gives you a happy, cozy feeling inside). 
Great Expectations (Charles Dickens), The Fisherman's Lady (George MacDonald), and Winnie-the-Pooh. Also any L.M. Montgomery book, or Ellis Peters Cadfael mystery. (Note that aside from Pooh and Montgomery, the books are not cosy in themselves. They just inspire my personal coziness.) 
2. Did you ever have, in your childhood/youth, a certain book that launched you into a serious love of reading which made it something bigger than a mere hobby in your life?
It might have been Robert Louis Stevenson and the Little House books--they stick out as the most memorable books of my childhood, and gave me a thirst for adventure and a love for quiet character development. 
3. What is one overhyped novel that people nowadays term as a "classic" that you really didn't like as much as everyone else? What made you dislike it so much?
You know,  I can't think of any. But if you want to have fun, read this hilarious collection of Amazon reviews on classic literature. (Hey, hold on! Finish this post first!) 
4. What makes you motivated to blog, and what is your favourite aspect of the blogging experience throughout the years you've been writing?
You know what it really boils down to? I'm a stubborn lass, and hate giving up a goal once I've begun. That is sometimes a virtue. It is sometimes a vice. And it is only by the grace of God that I've maintained a regular blogging schedule. 
5. What are 4 works of literature that you are particularly looking forward to reading in the near future?
Peter Pan, To Kill a Mockingbird, Johnny Tremain, and Heartless
6. What are some of your favourite non-fiction books?
I was thinking about non-fiction books the other day, and realized that, while I read fiction books multiple times, I only read non-fiction books once. Strange, but true. Recently I enjoyed Paul Murray Kendall's Warwick the Kingmaker and Richard the Third. Jessica Thompson's Answering Your Kids' Toughest Questions was also wonderful. 
7.  What are some of your favourite time-periods to read about?
Pretty much anything in the latter 1800s, a bit of medieval, a bit of American Revolution, and early 1900s. I'm on the lookout for good stories in the 21st century. 
8. Is there a special book that influenced you to do something new in your life, or changed you in a profound way?
The books I have read are like the roots that support and nourish a tree. As time goes, they grow bigger and more twisted, until, short of cutting that tree down, you couldn't remove it from the ground. The same is true of the books I have read. They have all shaped me. I have absorbed each one of them and layered it into my mind, until it's a compost of ideas and people and teachings that I could never separate into their individual parts again. 
9. Do you have a favourite contemporary fictional novel?
Jan Karon's At Home in Mitford. Rich stories, endearing characters. Everyone should read this book. 
10. Persuasion is a very autumnal book, and many authors and poets have beautifully described and romanticised that season, which leads to the question: why is autumn so often idealised, and does it hold that certain magic and charm to you? What is your favourite season?
It means dying and nostalgia, something that humans are very, very much in tune to. Dying dreams, dying childhood. Humans are tuned to remember better days, probably in part because they remember that something was lost, and someday they will get it back again. They are looking for Faerie, as Tolkien would have it.

It definitely holds that charm for me--sweaters and books and a glorious rebellion of falling leaves. But I find things about all seasons charming, so I can't pick a favorite. 
11. There are many novels set during the era of the French Revolution, especially books written in previous generations by authors such as Charles Dickens, Alexandre Dumas, Victor Hugo, and Baroness Orczy. Which, if any, are your favourites?
Eldorado, by Baroness Orczy, was smashing. Gives me chills every time. And The Elusive Pimpernel, when Sir Percy holds the candlesticks aloft--be still, my beating heart. 
Sorry. Never used that expression before. 
12. What excites you the most about literature and its influence in culture, and how it effects the way people think and act?
Literature shapes the affections, trains the mind, and bolsters the courage of the next generation. I wrote my thoughts about the importance of stories here. 
13. Is it ever a struggle to reconcile reading fiction/entertainment with the struggles of reality, and to place the importance of fiction within one's daily Christian life and walk with the Lord?
Considering that I spend a hefty amount of time writing and planning fiction novels, that is my real, daily work. I don't struggle with it, because one has to apply the same character and discipline to working with fiction as one does to any other job. You have to get up in the morning, get the book written, field critiques without melting, apply revisions, and continue to hone the vision, all the while striving to learn what would improve your craft. That is not for the faint of heart. And it is only my relationship with the Lord that keeps me cool, dedicated, zealous, and honest--because, at the end of the day, I want him to be pleased and glorified. 
14. Would you rather you lived in the countryside of England during WW2, or in the
American Prairie during the 1800s, or during the Neoplonic Wars in Europe? (basically favourite historical era/setting to live)
I'm reading about the prairie in Laura Ingalls Wilder's Pioneer Girl this week. While it was often frightening and full of hard work, I love the way they carved out a life for themselves. I might want to at least visit that time. In the end, I am most happy with the time in which I live, in which we are more medically and scientifically advanced. It's easier to keep in touch with people. 
15. What is your favourite Jane Austen novel? Do you have a favourite film or tv adaption?
I have always loved Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey, but I suppose my favorite TV adaptation would be Ramola Garai's Emma. 
16. Describe your ideal reading nook! 
My bed. I have a scandalous amount of pillows (my secret) and a cozy bedside reading light. My family members will come in and put the blinds up to get me some sunshine while I read obliviously...
17. Is there a particular book that is quite underrated and yet you think is undeservedly so and should be read by everyone? 
Charles Dickens' Martin Chuzzlewit. I sometimes hear of people watching the miniseries, but the book's satire of American culture is much, much funnier.  
18. Do you have a favourite Parable that the Lord Jesus told? What inspires and encourages you the most about it?
It's not a parable, persay. But Jesus' allegory of the sheep and the shepherd in John has always comforted me. When I read it, I feel like a timid lamb being picked up and held close by the Shepherd. 
19. Name a book you've reread more than twice. 
Many favorite books I have read 7 times or more. Freckles, Prester John, and Jane of Lantern Hill come to mind. 
20. The main character in one of the giveaway books (Until that Distant Day) is a superb cook. How fond are you of cooking/baking and homemaking in general? 
I have good success with both cooking and baking, rarely encountering a disaster or something that tastes bad. When I get in the kitchen, I am dead serious. No jokes. Just snap to and get the meal on the table. (Unless I'm with friends, in which case I'm much more jolly.) Cooking is my favorite. I also love cleaning and organizing, and have taken on the scary jobs of scrubbing out the bathroom and keeping the fridge up to date. 
21. What is a book you're intimidated to read but really want to read in the near future?
I have two intimidating books under my bed. The Faerie Queene, and Tolkien's Unfinished Tales. They are not really progressing at present. But hope is the balm of my procrastinating soul. 
22. What 3 novels (or series of novels) would you like to see adapted to film or television?
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch, any Gene Stratton-Porter book, and The Hidden Hand, by EDEN Southworth. All epic and worthy of the silver screen. 
23. What would be the first thing you would like to say to/ask your favourite author if you had the opportunity of speaking intimately with them for ten minutes?
What was the one passion that kept your writing spark alive all this time? And if you could tell me one piece of advice that will last me my whole career, what would it be? 
25. Favourite quote by your favourite author?
What torment is this? I will simply share a quote that stirs the glory in me:
And Finn turned about and saw them all round him, closing in with spears raised to strike; and he knew that the end was come. He let his spear that could not face five ways at once drop to his feet and stood straight and unmoving as a pillar stone...And the five spears made five great wounds that put out the light of the sun. ~The High Deeds of Finn MacCool, by Rosemary Sutcliff
26. What is your greatest wish/purpose in picking up your own pen and writing?
I wrote it down in a computer document very eloquently and passionately. I cannot find the document. My purpose is to glorify the Lord by technical excellence in fiction and to give readers characters to love that will be vivid friends to them. 


  1. Aww, you are such a lovely friend, Schuyler! Thank you so much for your sweet participation in my blog's birthday event, it was simply lovely. Thank you for being such a beautiful friend to me, and always such a wonderful encouragement! I enjoyed reading your responses to this tag - it made me smile quite a few times, I just love hearing all about your favourite books and what your perspective is on so many of those works of literature.

    I loved what you had to say about being stubbornly persistent in blogging - I love your tenacity and determination to keep blogging for others, even when you feel low about, and sharing with an ordered schedule as well - it's something that I really admire in your blogging, and wish to become better at in years to come, as I finish school, etc.

    I am looking forward to your reading "To Kill a Mockingbird" and seeing your perspective on this book; I really loved it thoroughly, and while there *were* some things that were not my favourite about the story, on the whole I thought it was a beautiful, deep story, with rich and very moving characters!

    Ooh, just a little warning about "Heartless" by Anne Elisabeth Stengl, while it is quite important to read this book first in the series, and to read "The Tales of Goldstone Wood" in order, I have to say "Heartless" is by no means my favourite of Stengl's novels, and there were some things that I personally disliked about the allegory. However, this series just takes off from "Veiled Rose" and becomes better and better with each passing book, and is SO worth reading ^_^.

    I was watching Ramola Garai's Emma with my mum this past, and it was so much fun ^_^. "Northanger Abbey" is one of my favourite Austen novels as well, but I really need to read "Mansfield Park" now (my last unread Jane Austen novel).

    Haha, I love your reading nook - sounds so cosy! Do you sleep with that many pillows as well?

    I have seen the miniseries adaption of "Martin Chuzzlewit" actually, and loved it! I want to read the book very much now, actually.

    What?! Yay, I am glad you're still chugging a long "Unfinished Tales", that means I can still catch up with you and read it soon :D.

    Oh, Schuyler, why did you share this quote by Rosemary Sutcliff? *sobs* That is so beautiful and painful. Ach! I need more Sutcliff stories in my life, and for the stuff you've shared, "The Deeds of Finn MacCool" sound worthy of reading indeed.

    Lots of love, prayers and hugs, dear! <3

  2. Dear Joy,
    Your comment wrapped me in love and friendship like a fuzzy blanket and a hot cup of cocoa. Truly, it was just what I needed that morning. "If a man's gift is encouraging, let him encourage" (or woman, as the case may be. ;) You have that gift, and I have been the blessed recipient many times.

    I always enjoy your tags. The questions are so fun to answer, and make me think as well. You will be happy to know that I found To Kill a Mockingbird at our annual Independence Day book sale this morning. I'm happy to finally have my own copy.

    So glad you've seen the Ramola Garai Emma! I love that one. One of the most beautiful Austen adaptations. And you will love Mansfield Park.

    I sleep with two pillows. ;D A little known fact, which you never know when it will come in handy....

    Warm hugs, m'dear!



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