It seems particularly apt this week.
Yep, it’s Friday again (I know you all really hate Fridays ;)). I try to keep Fridays unscheduled to allow space if inspiration strikes – I’m totally kidding, I am usually over scheduling stuff after the fourth post for the week has been uploaded. I’ve been thinking about books a lot – I haven’t been reading as much as I enjoy and need because life has been so insane the last few months, but I’m slowly getting back on the book train again. I’m currently reading The Brightest Star in the Sky by Marian Keyes and Evening Classes by Maeve Binchy.
All this thinking about books lead me to think about what started this insane reading passion I have. It started pretty early on in my life, somewhere between Enid Blyton and JK Rowling – these ladies are my heroes and they have incomparable talent. So in the spirit of books and childhood and reading, I compiled a list of my favorite books I read as a child. Read, enjoy, and let me know which books you adored!
Enid Blyton: The Secret Seven
Enid Blyton has a descriptive writing style that places her in an elitist class of her own as an author. I’ve read a number of her books, and this series, as well as the Famous Five are wonderful books full of mystery and childhood adventure. I remember a particular trait of Blyton very well – her description of food! Wow, this lady could make me ravenous by describing lunch. The food was always succulent and plentiful, and the characters always had the most amazing adventures before settling down for lunch. The books are also full of adventure – secret passages, saving dogs, climbing through wells, small secretive towns – everything that makes a child want to believe that you can have fun while saving the world!
JK Rowling: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
JK Rowling could really take over this entire post if I let her, because Potter was the very definition of my childhood. During my recent move I found my Potter scrapbook where I had pasted every article, picture or reference regarding these books I could find. It was vaguely embarrassing to page through but I was fangirling nonetheless.
I’ve often mentioned that these books are some of my favorite one’s ever – I’ve never felt that I’ve outgrown them and they are special to read every single time. The Philospher’s Stone takes you through that pity for the life young Harry has at the Dursleys’, the excitement of finding out he is a wizard, the wonder of the first exploration of Hogwarts and the daring courage of an eleven year old boy to stand up against the monster who murdered his parents. The Chamber of Secrets is still full of exploration, Harry learns more of Voldemort’s past and how he was already evil as a student, he learns what his strange snake speaking ability means and that similarity between him and Voldemort and, very importantly, he finds the first Horcrux although he has no idea at the time what it means or even what it is.
The Prisoner of Azkaban brings us a Harry that is quickly approaching his teenage years – he starts noticing girls andhis temper is all over the place. It also introduces us to a fatherlike figure for Harry, Sirius Black and takes you through the unbelievable glory of Harry and the Gryffindor team finally winning the Quidditch cup. It is as excellently written as what comes before and after it, but I really enjoyed this book more than the first two. It carries great significance in the Potter world because if Wormtongue hadn’t escape Voldemort would never have risen again (OR WOULD HE?) and Harry would never have lost Sirius (again, thanks for that, Rowling).
(Do you see how I can make this entire post about Potter if I allow myself?)
RL Stine: Goosebumps
These books terrified the crap out of me as a kid, but I could never stop reading because it is so fantastically written. I especially remember reading one of the novels where a sponge was the villain, and believe it or not, that was pretty creepy to twelve year old Natasha. I also remember the notoriety the writer achieved in school – there was rumors if you properly realigned the letter in his name you would find “satan” written in there – yep, once again, an utterly impossible event that terrified twelve year old Natasha.
The books are pretty fun though, and I found something in the recurring theme that evil can’t be fully eliminated interesting. I can see myself rereading it at some stage, only if it is to see if sponges still terrify me.
Francine Pascal: Sweet Valley High
These books, also a series, epitomized the highest living standard I could ever hope to achieve as a teenager. I mean – TWINS firstly: Imagine how awesome life would be if I had a twin! Then, super-hot boys pining away for you – no girl would deny the need for that one. Jessica’s life as a cheerleader seemed so glamorous and Elizabeth’s cool and calm confidence in her brains and abilities – these two were the combination of everything a teenager would want to be – popular, pretty, smart, confident (I see what you did there, Pascal)
These books were available in our school library and my one friend and I devoured these books. They provided endless entertainment, impossible situations and a perfect setting for teenage fun.
JRR Tolkien, The Lord of The Rings
I first read the LoTR trilogy when I was eleven years old. My dad, recognizing a fellow book junkie, loaned me his battered mammoth copy of the three books. I can’t really remember if I took everything in at that young age, but I read it about three times that year. Eventually it got superglued into my brain and made me the Tolkienista I am today.
I adore this series. I fully agree with people who moan that the books are mostly about walking and take ages to move between scenes, but Tolkien was an exemplary writer for his time. I also applaud the female characters in his novels, although it saddens me that there were no ladies in the fellowship. These books are a large project to undertake and to be perfectly honest I haven’t had the guts in the last few years with life happening and all. However, I do think that it is the right time again, just to see if I can still reach that fanatic reading level the munchkin me was known for!
Edward Stratemeyer/assorted writers: Nancy Drew
The Nancy Drew series is a quite important read for a young girl – the first book was released in 1930 – a time where women were expected to wash dishes and have babies, and Nancy came along and solved mysteries and took care of herself. Yay for feminism!
These books are well written and are intricate reads – there is always something unexpected and nothing is ever quite what it seems. I haven’t read even half of the books available in the series, but the one or two of these I have read were wonderfully done.
Stella Blakemore: Maasdorp
No we get to the more obscure and lesser known books of this post – they are in Afrikaans, so I don’t think the majority of my readers would have heard of them J
Afrikaans literature is surprisingly good for such a small language. I think it is because our language developed quickly and stemmed from a language that was already at the height of its’ existence (Dutch).
The Maasdorp series is extremely old – it was also written in the 1930s. It follows the tale of Kobie Malan and her escapades in the boarding school Maasdorp.
These books are really well written and extremely fun, although I think it must be mentioned that there is something specifically precious about a book that is written in your own language. That, and the midnight feasts and extravagant plans these girls undertake while still excelling at school, provided endless entertainment and addiction as a young girl.
Maritha Snyman/Louise van Niekerk: Reënboogrant
This series is also Afrikaans, but it is much more recent (somewhere in the 1990s). To perfectly sum up these books would be to say that it is a more innocent version of Sweet Valley High (Afrikaans parents are particularly strict and traditional). I loved these books because between the two main characters Shani and Sunette they had kidnappings, suicides, alcoholism, anorexia, holidays to the South-African coast and London, parties, stalkers and numerous other dramas scattered between their friends all in one year. I will still pick up a book in this series if I spot it in a shop. It is so much fun to read!
Well, there you have my list. I’m sure it is not even nearly complete, though I did my best! Drop a comment and let me know which books were your favorites as kids!
Happy Friday! I was watching Gilmore Girls this week where Rory gives her graduation speech, and that, and a conversation with Zoe, prompted me to compile this list today.
I’ve always read that people give speeches that move other people into action, or make them teary eyed and super emotional, but there aren’t many movies or shows that have actors/actresses strong enough to properly convey the emotion in a way that the speech becomes a powerful entity.
However, I’ve managed to come up with five speeches where the words, combined with excellent acting and setting, impressed me beyond belief and nearly made me cry.
Sherlock Holmes’ best man speech at Watson’s wedding
Benedict Cumberbatch is without a doubt the most perfect person to ever play Sherlock Holmes, a high honor since Robert Downey Jnr did a very decent job in the 2009 and 2011 Sherlock Holmes movies.
Sherlock’s Best Man speech starts off delightfully awkward, just like Sherlock himself. As the scene progresses, you start feeling vaguely uncomfortable and pity the bride, groom and guests alike. Then Sherlock stuns the crowd with a moving tribute to Watson’s character, words kinder than anything Sherlock has ever uttered in his life.
It is beyond a doubt one of the best scenes I’ve ever seen in a show. It’s so unexpected and emotional, beautifully spoken in Cumberbatch’s amazing voice, and so appropriate for someone who has gone through and seen what Watson has seen.
Theoden’s speech at the Ride of the Rohirrim
I’ve referenced this scene many, many times as one the greatest scenes of all times. I can’t watch it without having goosebumps or wanting to jump on my own horse(I don’t have a horse) and go fight some Orcs. Bernard Hill did a phenomenal job in his portrayal of Theoden. Theoden has a sad and moving story: he has always felt that he is not worthy to be amongst his great forefathers; he has spent too much time listening to Wormtail’s lies and lost his son on the battlefield. When Gandalf arrives in Rohan, Theoden is a ghost of a man he once was. With Gandalf’s force help, he manages to shake Saruman’s hold on him, acknowledges his power and the loyalty he owes Gondor, and becomes the King he has always been destined to be.
Theodentakes his men through numerous battles and finally rides to the aid of Minas Tirith, under attack from Sauron’s fleet. As his party arrives grossly outnumbered to the orcs, Theoden gives the speech he has been born to give: giving his men courage brutality and death to help their friends.
Aragorn’s speech at the Black Gates
Lord of the Rings is obviously a trilogy with great speeches and epic moments, and this scene also stood out for me: Aragorn taking his small party to the Black Gates to lure Sauron’s eyes away from Mordor, where Sam and Frodo are desperately trying to fulfil their quest.
Rory Gilmore’s graduation speech
Yes, this one might be vastly inferior to those previously mentioned, but I loved the speech Rory gave at her farewell. The entire episode has Rory stressed out and overworked, she is snappy with absolutely everyone, she has just heard that Dean is getting married and that Jesse left Stars Hollow without even saying goodbye or giving an explanation. She’s valedictorian but she’s not even feeling the pride that should accompany it because she has so much on her plate. Lorelai makes her realise what an achievement it is and when it is time for the speech, Rory thanks her grandparents and mother in such a way you can’t help but tear up. I thought it was unbearably sweet and with Luke and Jackson doing the ugly cry gave me a good chuckle. I think I particularly liked this scene because the only problem I’ve ever had with both Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel was that they didn’t really dotears very well.
Kat’s speech/poem in Ten Things I Hate About You
This last spot was a killer to fill. I had some ideas, but wanted the last one, even though it’s fifth on the list, to be worthy to stand with those that came before it. Kat’s interpretation of the poem they’ve been assigned is done so beautifully – she’s hurt because she’s found out Patrick was paid to take her out on dates just so that Bianca could date sleezeball Joey.
What are your favorite speeches? I’m sure I missed/forgot plenty of good ones, so let me know!
Hi there! It’s been ages since I’ve posted a Five Things Friday post – sorry about that. I’ve been crazy busy trying to finish my book challenge, reading enough books for it, posting them before the deadline (which is the end of February and I still have 15 books left!). I decided to kick start the 2014 leg of the five things series by posting five movie deaths that made me shed a tear (or at least gave me some shiny eyes). I’ve never been one to tear up in movies, but there have definitely been a few where I’ve felt incredibly sad when someone died. Enjoy!
Boromir in the Fellowship of the Ring
Through the entire journey from Rivendell, the snow on the Mountains, Moria to the Orc attack, Boromir struggles to fight the lure of the Ring of Power. Eventually the urge becomes too strong and he tries to take the Ring from Frodo. The Orc attack happens then, splitting the party up, but Boromir redeems his honour by dying for the Hobbits.
Boromir’s death scene is one of the most powerful of the movie and perhaps even the entire trilogy. It is about him reclaiming his honour and also about him declaring Aragorn his king.
Satine in Moulin Rouge
It is a Baz Luhrman film where everything feels real. Satine is lying on the floor dying in a beautiful Valentino dress just after declaring her love for Christian. The cast of Spectacular Spectacular are celebrating the success of their show. Satine just falls to the floor and Christian notices.
Jack Dawson in Titanic
Jack Dawson nearly didn’t make it onto the list. This wasn’t Leonardo DiCaprio’s best role, but he did a good job. What really got me wasn’t Jack floating down in the icy ocean; it was Rose’s subsequent actions and will for survival. Letting him go and choosing to live is the most powerful choice she made in the movie, including her decision to leave her wealthy lifestyle behind to be with him. Her courage made me very sad.
Dobby the House elf in Harry Potter the Deathly Hallows
Although much in the movies doesn’t do justice to the books, Dobby’s death was pretty decently done. The entire character was a success from his inclusion in the Chamber of Secrets (although WHY they didn’t include him in the subsequent movies – Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix and the Half-Blood Prince is beyond me because it signifies Dobby’s importance in Harry’s life – his brave death and Harry’s reaction was really well done.
And the one movie where I actually started crying: If Only (2004)
The entire movie you see how Ian Wyndham (Paul Nicholls) finds it easy to forget about his girlfriend Samantha’s (Jennifer Love-Hewitt) existence. Then she dies and Ian gets to turn time back and relive her last day. He knows what will happen, you do, and yet you can’t help but hope she will live. And then she does. Ian dies in her place and she gets to carry on. In that moment you realize that he really loved her incredibly much even though he forgot to show it.
I cried so badly. It is the saddest moment where ion jumps over Samantha to protect her as the car crashes. Her realizing what his strange behavior really meant and that he was reliving the day and choosing to save her.
What movies had great death scenes that made you sad?
Since I am on my 60th book as part of my book challenge, I decided to write down a list of books I am planning to read for the next while. I started the challenge in February, so it will expire in Feb 2014, which I am gobsmacked to say is in four months’ time. I am moving well, and have only forty books left, which means about ten novels a month if you don’t count the remainder of October. It will be a stretch, but with vacation time coming up I am sure I will be able to do this.
Currently – Blood Promise
Once released – The Fiery Heart
The Fellowship of the Ring
The Two Towers
The Lord of the Rings
Francis Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby
The Devil and Miss Prym
Veronica decides to die
Welcome to my newest installment on this blog. Each Friday (or as often as I can) I will post my five favorite things from a specific category. As I am a book junkie (you might have noticed), I am starting off the series with my five favorite authors.
As the author of the infamous Harry Potter saga, JK Rowling is one of the best known authors on the planet today. The series that made her famous is so phenomenal, and I simply cannot comprehend how people don’t like it. The first book I read of the series was Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and I immediately started searching for the rest. I read all of them in a matter of weeks (those that were available at the time) and I have never looked back. Through the years, I traveled with Harry as he grew up, and eventually, lived happily ever after. Each year I read the books through at least once, just to remind myself that magic really does happen.
As my faithful blog readers can confirm, I am constantly reading Nora Roberts. Her romance novels, as well as her crime novels, are in a league of its own in the literary world. There is no scene that is left unperfected, and I have enjoyed her books since I read River’s End, which is a perfect book to be introduced to her. I have to confess, of late I have been shunning her romance novels more and more, but I still enjoy reading most of her material.
I have read most of the books written by Marian. Her novels are shockingly human, and she focuses on flaws in the human psyche, while remaining funny. Of all authors, she truly has the ability to make me cry. My favorite book by her is probably Rachel’s holiday.
Author of the brilliant Lord of the Rings trilogy, I am particularly proud that he was born right here in Bloemfontein, South-Africa. His literature is simply the best. I read the lord of the rings at eleven years old, and have never looked back.
I thought about who to put up as my fifth favorite author, and while many could qualify, I had to mention a writer who had made me love books. I read every book of her I could find as a child, and I think she is one of the main reasons I am still reading today. Her children books are so full of detail. Most specifically, I can remember when I read her books that I would always be hungry after a paragraph, as she described lunch with such detail.
Who qualifies as your favorite author of all time?
Well, hello 🙂 this weekend was pretty nice, although I had a few moments where I wondered about the galling personalities some people have.
Finally read through Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. What a fantastic book – it was so amazing to read it again. It will always be one of my favourite books in the series. I started on the Deathly Hallows, and am wondering what book I will start on when I am finished – maybe some brand new writer I have never read before.
I lost a kilogram! I have never been so happy to see the scale drop down. It has been on my mind how rapid weight loss diets are negatively impacting the way we see a healthy lifestyle. Healthy dieting means losing at most a kg a week, and I, being used to all these wonder diets, had been expecting 3-4 kg’s a week. Do you have any weight loss stories to share? Also, I was supposed to give up coffee from today, but I guess I will start that tomorrow :). Last week I managed to 30 minutes of exercise for three days – a record for the past few months! Keep those fingers crossed that I will do it this week as well.
I watched Lord of the Rings – Return of the King, this weekend. It was as superb as always. I really love those films.
Are so complex. Why do I have to deal with broken relationships (that has long ended) right now? Honestly, I have better things to focus on. The best part this weekend was when someone had the audacity to try to give advice about things they do not understand, or have no experiences in. Meh. Seriously, start dating then I will listen to your opinion, okay.
On the studying front, I didn’t make much progress. I had been working so hard on my last assignment submissions last week that I couldn’t find the energy to start again. I will be studying through the week now.
And lastly, some motivational stuff for a Monday. Enjoy
For explaining exactly how I feel
I’m old Gandalf. I know I don’t look it, but I’m beginning to feel it in my heart. I feel… thin. Sort of stretched, like… butter scraped over too much bread. I need a holiday. A very long holiday. And I don’t expect I shall return. In fact I mean not to. – Bilbo Baggins, Lord of the Rings