“If a book is well written...” | 1/2 Year Book Wrap-Up

Saturday, 16 May 2015

This photo was taken while we were staying in Canberra. . . 
". . .  I always find it too short." 
- Jane Austen
Hello, lovelies :). I hope you're all having a blessed weekend! It's all Autumn sunshine here these days, after a rather long week of rain and flooding. It is so lovely when the sun shines; the blades of grass sparkle with gossamer and the sky is a vivid blue against the tall green eucalyptus and all is golden, icy and beautiful.

(*chuckles* since writing this up last Tuesday we've had an all-round cloudy, windy rainy past two days; hmmm, okay. . . whatever!) 

I am learning how there is so much to rejoice and to be thankful for. So much beauty to take in. Wonder and joy. . . even in tears and trials, our Lord is faithful and powerful. He is always with us, even through the storm. He is worthy of all praise!  Even though some things are tough, like my studies and what not, and sometimes things are just so plain hard--the Valley of Humiliation, as Bunyan would put it-- yet I am deeply happy and thankful at this time. . . He is so good.

One of the things I am loving about this Autumn (and I mean there are many things I don't like during this season. . . the hey fever, unending grey-dappled rainy-days, chilly dampness in the walls, humidity, dust-mited cardigans causing allergies, Geometry. . . ), is that I have been reading some amazing books lately, and enjoying some reading hours throughout free moments in the day!

I was in a bit of a reading-slump earlier this year, with not being totally into the books I was reading, so I was definitely glad to get inspired by some of the recent books I picked up. Let me tell you about them, just a little bit :). 
The books I have so far read this year, minus three other books not in the photo ("A Grief Observed" by C.S. Lewis,  a copy belonging to my Dad; "The Moral Glory of the Lord Jesus Christ" by J.G. Ballet, another lovely little book that my Dad lent me; and "Sense and Sensibility" by Jane Austen which I just finished reading this week.) 
Plenilune" was a chunky book that I started in December of 2014, and quite an intense one to step into the new year with, so I took my time and things got a bit rusty for a while. It was a rich fantasy with vivid characters and beautiful prose but sadly it contained too many moral grey areas for my liking, when it came to violence and magic. Also the way the theme of justice played out in this book disappointed me quite a bit, so I struggled with giving it a positive rating - I will try to come up with a full length review by and by for it though. "The Northern Light" was an interesting, fast-paced vintage read, but rather depressing. 3 stars again. Then I read "God's Tribesman", a school assigned biography for my English course, a reread but I really enjoyed it. I then finished the last few chapters of "The Princess and the Goblin" by George MacDonald which I had started last year - that was a charming tale! It was all in the midst of trudging along through tiny little bits and pieces from Erich Maria Remarque's "All Quiet on the Western Front" and "David Copperfield" by Charles Dickens (both I am still currently reading). 
I will get back into Dickens, I will! ;)
Because listening to "Cinderella" soundtrack while reading. . . or doing anything, is pure, sweet bliss!
I am excited to read the second book in the "Masterpieces" series, "A Sparrow in Terezin" by Kristy Cambron!
But it really started to get exciting after I picked up "The Butterfly and the Violin" by Kristy Cambron. Some books just capture one's attention, hurl one through time to the events and characters of their story and era, and just immerse you in the beauty of the prose. . . this novel was just like that for me! It was fantastic, and I was rather teary-eyed and emotional by the end of the read; also I had that crazy desire to pick up my pen and write--a sure sign of a good book for me ;). "A Cast of Stones" was an enjoyable start to a new medieval Christian fantasy trilogy, - a good dash of adventure to my reading diet! And then there was "Death by Living" by N.D. Wilson, the best dose of spiritual and devotional encouragement I had had in a long while. . . that book! (I will have to tell you about it another day, it was just so good). One of my most recent reads was "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee - that book has been on my shelf for ages and ages, and one Thursday evening I had the desire to watch the film adaption with Gregory Peck; I loved the characters of Scout and Atticus Finch so much, I just had to pick up the book that weekend. I am so glad I did! I whizzed through it, and loved every minute of it. This book has become a favourite, as have Atticus and Scout Finch <3.

Finally, this week I just finished "Sense and Sensibility" :). I was especially excited about reading this particular novel for Jane Austen (I have only "Mansfield Park" left to read for her main novels) as I had recently ordered one of the Vintage Classic editions for S&S, and it had just arrived in the mail! I think Vintage Classics are my favourite editions for literature; I just love their format and covers so much. . .  (excuse the rather obsessive amount of pictures, I just had to gush a little over the beautifulness of this little book!)
“Mrs. Jennings was a widow, with an ample jointure. She had only two daughters, both of whom she had lived to see respectably married, and she had now therefore nothing to do but to marry all the rest of the world.” 
― Jane AustenSense and Sensibility
Look, look! Inside the jacket of the book, it has these lovely zig-zag stripes ;)
“It is not what we think or feel that makes us who we are. It is what we do. Or fail to do...” 
― Jane AustenSense and Sensibility
"Sense and Sensibility" was lovely. . . I love Elinor very much, and Colonal Brandon, and the relationship between Elinor and Marianne, her sister. I really connected with this story, and with its characters, but most especially I loved it because of the nature of the novel, and its focus on the ways in which two sisters view love, life and trials. I loved that! Of Jane Austen, my admiration of her is growing, I think. True, I am not always in the mood to read a book for her, but  I have been finding that when I am, it almost always is during Autumn. I am wondering why. I suppose it has something to do with the subject of her novels, but they generally make me smile at how classic, domestic, and witty they are, in all of Austen's old-fashioned, autumnal charm! 


Well, that is it, dear friends; I am glad I caught up with my reading in the past few weeks, and it has just been wonderful digging into some lovely new gems! "Death by Living", "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Sense and Sensibility" are I think my tops three favourites so far. Also "The Butterfly and the Violin" by Kristy Cambron *sniff sniff* that was such a beautiful book, and a definite favourite too. (You can check out some of my reviews for these books on my Goodreads account here: Sense and Sensibility, Death by Living, To Kill a Mockingbird, A Cast of Stones , The Northern Light)

What have you all been reading lately, and what are some recent favourite reads? I would love to hear all about it in the comments below!

14 sweet note(s):

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird is my favorite book ever! I just finished reading it for the second time the other day. SUCH a deep story with entirely real and true characters. So glad you liked it!!!!

    ~Emma

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  2. I've been reading all over the map lately. I'm currently re-reading The Princess and the Goblin out loud to my daughter, which is super fun. I just finished The House of Many Ways which was a very fun romp, and I fell in love with Charmain, though I think I worry that I'm a bit too much like her for comfort - often getting way too wrapped up in a fictional world. I also just finished "A Dragon's Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans" which was quite entertaining and completely brainless, but fun. I think I'm about to start either Enchanted Glass or Orphan's Song or Centaur Rising next... or I might just dive in and read them all at once... :)

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  3. I love looking at other people's books. I also like your list. I have read some of the same ones, To Kill a Mockingbird and A Cast of Stones being two of the most memorable.

    And now I want to go and read some more, even though that's all I've done this weekend.

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  4. Alright, after reading how much you enjoyed "The Butterfly and the Violin", I now know I need to find a copy and read it myself. I had been intrigued by the synopsis and gorgeous cover on Goodreads. I am glad you loved "To Kill a Mockingbird". I read that book last summer and it is, without question, my favorite read of 2014.

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  5. I'm popping in late, Joy, but I just loved this post about the books you've been reading. :) I've been eyeing A Sparrow in Terezin for some time, and I think I'm going to give it a try. Your Sense and Sensibility is such a fun binding! And the Anon, Sir, Anon bookmark was just lovely. Was that in the package you won from Rachel? I never thought of it before, but I would love to create some bookmarks with favorite quotes.

    And I'm tickled that you enjoyed A Cast of Stones. It's one I love much. Wonderful stack, dear--you have some good, balanced reading there, and it looks like a very profitable 1/2 year!

    I've been sick, so I've read a lot of books in the past few days, which you probably saw on Goodreads. But after 6 days of gulping down fiction as fast as I can, I'm rather worn out, and taking a break with some nonfiction for variety! It has been lovely just to relax and read, though.

    ~Schuyler
    www.ladybibliophile.blogspot.com

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  6. Hello, Emma! Nice to see you on "Fullness of Joy" blog :). I really really enjoyed "To Kill a Mockingbird" :). I also thought the movie with Gregory Peck as Atticus a great adaption. Did you know that a sequel to "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee, "Go Set a Watchman" is coming out in July? It will be quite interesting to see how it will be like.

    Thanks for commenting, Emma!

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  7. @Jenelle, "The Princess and the Goblin" is indeed such a lovely book, and I am sure a wonderful one to read to your kids :D. I've not heard of "The House of Many Ways" before, but I will have to look it up! Your reading pile sounds quite fun and lovely. Thanks for sharing!

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  8. Thank you for your comment, Jack! Funny enough, I love peeking at other people's "currently-reading" piles too - it might be a bit none-of-my- business habit but I learn about new books all the time that way! "A Cast of Stones" was a pretty good old adventure story, wasn't it! I am looking forward to reading the second book "The Hero's Lot" though I am not awfully excited about the end of the trilogy as I heard it is a little bit of a let down. Have you personally read the rest of the series?

    Way to go, enjoying a weekend of reading!

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  9. Aw, I am so glad you enjoyed my reading post, Schuyler (and it is always lovely to have you pop by my blog, late or early, dear!)

    I am currently reading "A Sparrow in Terezin" right now, actually, and am really quite enjoying it! Like Sarah Sundin's novels, there is an element of romance in the stories that is not my favourite aspect of Cambron's writing, but it doesn't overwhelm the whole story and isn't per se a romance novel. Also in the first novel, I wasn't such a fan of the contemporary story-line - it was okay, just not a favourite. But I love the historical aspects of her writing so much, and her style of prose is quite descriptive, fast-paced, almost lyrical and beautiful. Just a little note, "The Butterfly and the Violin" is the first book in the "Hidden Masterpieces" series so I probably recommend that if you're interested to give Cambron a try, you should head to "The Butterfly and the Violin" first, as there is a lot going on in the contemporary part of the second book that has a direct link to the first one. The characters are quite sweet and the themes moving.

    Actually, yes, the "Anon, sir, Anon" bookmark was one of the lovely items that Rachel Heffington sent me in her giveaway Quagmire package. I am quite fond of it :D Hmm, that would be a fun thing to do - I have made little posters before with my favourite book and film quotes, but it would be neat to try and do bookmarks like Rachel Heffington's. She is quite artistic, I must say!

    I really did enjoy "A Cast of Stones", Schuyler; looking forward to digging into the rest of the trilogy with "The Hero's Lot". Goodness, what is in store for dear old Errol?

    I am sorry to hear you've been feeling unwell. Are you better now? Ah, that is one comfort of being unwell, the opportunities to relax and read light books! I think you've done a monumental job with some of the non-fiction books you're reading lately, like Richard III, and A Faerie Queene. Wow!

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  10. @Hanne-col, thank you for your sweet comment :). I hope you really enjoy "The Butterfly and the Violin" by Kristy Cambron when you get around to reading her - her writing is just so beautiful, and her stories are so beautifully sad. And aren't the covers gorgeous? Ah, "To Kill a Mockingbird" is indeed an excellent book. It's a new favourite for me, one of the very few American classic books I have so far enjoyed, aside from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.

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  11. Well, you just convinced me to read The Butterfly and the Violin, Joy. I've seen it floating around the blogosphere a little bit, but I've never actually looked into it. Now I'm really interested, especially because I can't get enough of books that burst at the seams with lyrical prose. I am so glad you enjoyed To Kill a Mockingbird! It's my favorite book, and I am excited to read Go Set a Watchman when it comes out. I never imagined that I would be able to read another book by Harper Lee, so I was unbelievably excited when I heard that Go Set a Watchman was being released. Oh, gosh. Those editions of the Jane Austen novels are gorgeous. I love Jane Austen's books, and I recently finished Mansfield Park. It was a little bit hard to keep track of all those characters and how they related to each other, but that same complexity made the story so much more interesting. Oh, and it was a bit awkward that Jane Austen made me root for Fanny and Edmund. I mean, they're cousins...

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  12. I absolutely ADORE that version of your Jane Austen book!! YAY FOR PRETTY BOOKS. I'm notoriously hopeless when it comes to classics, but I can appreciate how pretty they are, hehe. And I love TKAM. It's one of my all time favourite books...which is why my dog's name is Atticus. ;-)
    I've been reading, oh gosh, EVERYTHING. I've had a pretty good month with a lot of 5-stars and new favourites. Patrick Ness though. <3 I will forever love all his books.

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  13. Ana, thank you for your sweet comment! I am glad when my posts encourage others to look up good books. I definitely hope you enjoy "The Butterfly and the Violin" and "A Sparrow in Terezin" whenever you do pick it up - both are simply lovely, especially if you're fond of historical fiction tales set in WW2 :D. Aren't the covers stunningly beautiful?
    I couldn't help noticing how "To Kill a Mockingbird" was such a favourite for you, through your blog. It will be exciting indeed to to read this new sequel "Go Set a Watchmen"! Mmm, yes, I am quite delighted over my edition of Sense and Sensibility. Ah, I want to read "Mansfield Park" next. . . I have seen different adaptions on screen but none ever really clicked with me, so I want to read the actual book and enjoy the real story. I know what you mean. . . still there isn't anything wrong with cousins marrying! It is a little awkward, though, I agree. (I personally find it uncomfortable when the idea of romance in regards to cousins comes up, just because I think it is most ideal when they treat each other as distant brothers and sisters!) But still, I am okay with rooting for it with Fanny and Edmund (I am familiar with the story btw). Looking forward to reading it and forming my views on the book as a whole.
    Thanks for commenting, Ana :). God bless!

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  14. Cait girl, thank you for your comment! I say "YES" for pretty books too. (Ahem. . . I think I'm mildly obsessed!) I would love to collect all 7 Jane Austen novels in that edition, by and by, when I save up. Classics are hard to get into at first, but they get easier and richer with each book. Often with classics, it's great to watch the film/tv adaptions to "get you into the story". Also, it is good to start with the enjoyable ones. . . like the vintage ones set in the 1900s, and then moving backward: Rosemary Sutcliff, Elizabeth Goudge, A.J. Cronin, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Elizabeth Gaskell or Charlotte Bronte are all great! One AMAZING classic, and fairly easy one to read too would be "North and South" by Elizabeth Gaskell - it is amazing, and my absolute favourite nineteenth century classic ever. The BBC film adaption with Richard Armitage is wonderful and so close to the book too. . . you'll love it, though it is awful sad *sobs*. It has a bittersweet ending, though, so I love it so much. Sometime I might make a list of some of the "Easy" classics to get into. . . they are so worth getting into, Cait, because the stories have SO MUCH GOLD :D Haha, but it's okay, because I love some modern novels too.

    To Kill a Mockingbird is FANTASTIC! And I love how you've named your puppy Atticus. Aww, Atticus is one of my most favourite things about TKAM. That's great that you've been enjoying some good books. I've heard some stuff about Patrick Ness. . . his books sound really intense and emotional, from all accounts of what I've heard. . . ?

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