Saturday, February 16, 2013

Literary Heroines Blog Party

Miss Kellie from Accordion to Kellie is hosting her annual Literary Heroine Blog Party and Giveaway (here)
I think I may have participated last year although I don't know if I kept that post. Anyway, here are the questions she posted and my answers to said questions.

~ The Questions ~

Introduce yourself! Divulge your life's vision, likes, dislikes, aspirations, or something completely random!

I am a 22 year old college student who loves to live in fictional worlds. Currently, I am also sleepy.


What, to you, forms the essence of a true heroine? 

Someone who is honest with herself and others and sees her faults and changes accordingly. Someone who knows her own mind and values and sticks to them. 

Oh, and she cannot be annoying...Emm, ahem.


Share (up to) four heroines of literature that you most admire and relate to. 

Hermione Granger-she is brilliant, patiently loves unrequited for a while, and is loyal.

Margaret Hale-she maintains her dignity around the obnoxious Mrs. Thornton and irritating Mr. Thornton (I do like him, but he IS irritating sometimes I like to like those I dislike).

Lucy Snowe-she endures so much loneliness and neglect, yet she neither whines nor allows herself to be beaten down, she is also rather funny.

Anne Shirley-she is elegant and imaginative and intelligent and funny.


Five of your favorite historical novels? 

I will choose to take this as period drama novels. It really depends on what I have read/thought about most recently or my mood. Today I will say North and South, Little Women, Wives and Daughers, Much Ado About Nothing, and Keeper of the Bees. Yeah, random and only four, well my brain was put on the spot.


Out of those five books who is your favorite main character and why? 

I will go with Benedict although I am sure he would make me bawl my eyes out in real life. Why? He is funny and marries Beatrix after all. And Kenneth Branaugh is brilliant as him, btw.


Out of those five books who is your favorite secondary character and why? 

And I picked books with few or no significant secondary characters. I will be contrary and pick a least favorite main character: Cynthia Kirkpatrick. I hate her. And I actually know people who sympathize with her and try to excuse her.


If you were to plan out your dream vacation, where would you travel to - and what would you plan to do there? 

I would go to Scotland and visit the Highlands, see the heather, visit castles, and stay in the mountains for a while. Oh, and buy yarn and listen to people speak Gaelic.


What is your favorite time period and culture to read about? 

I will pick all my favorite thanks. Too many absolute favorite questions with which this sleepy person must deal. Said favorites are: Roman Britain, Regency and Georgian Britain, Civil War U. S., Victorian/Edwardian Canada, and modern times with a fantastical twist. Somebody please name all those novels. Thanks.


You have been invited to perform at the local charity concert. Singing, comedy, recitation - what is your act comprised of? 

I would recite something-probably something funny.


If you were to attend a party where each guest was to portray a heroine of literature, who would you select to represent? 

Hermione or Beatrix or Meg or, or


What are your sentiments on the subject of chocolate? 

I have met girls who do not love chocolate; I am not sure that they are real people. Chocolate has a hierarchy and it is thus: Dark and Milk with fillings, Milk and White.


Favorite author(s)? 

Louisa May Alcott, R.J. Anderson, Jane Austen, Bronte sisters (there are three btw although I am not sure I would list Anne as a fav), Frances Burney, Elizabeth Gaskell, L.M. Montgomery, J.K. Rowling, Gene Stratton-Porter, Rosemary Sutcliff, N.D. Wilson.


Besides essentials, what would you take on a visiting voyage to a foreign land? 

A really fancy gown/dress and glamorous shoes on the fairy chance that I would have somewhere to wear them. Um, in the real world I would bring a ton of craft stuff plus my journal, but I rather consider all those things essential.


In which century were most of the books you read written? 

I really don't know-I would think the 20th, but I have read quite a few from both the 19th and the 21st as well.


In your opinion, the ultimate hero in literature is… 

All my favorite heroes leave my mind...
Harry Potter, no, I am perfectly serious. 


Describe your ideal dwelling place. 

A ivy and rose covered castle/cottage hidden high in the mountains, thousands of miles from civilization, situated in a sylvan vale. It will have wondrous gardens filled with roses and foxglove and ferns and forget-me-nots and every other romantic flower and have a true evergreen maze.

Inside everything will be gleaming dark wood, silver and gold, silk and velvet, porcelain and glass.


Sum up your fashion style in a short sentence. 

I will go with my ideal fashion style-romantic and faerytale.


Have you ever wanted to change a character’s name? 

Yes, why does there have to be about four names including surnames in Wuthering Heights? I am sure there are other times I have not cared for names, but I cannot think of any currently.


In your opinion, the most dastardly villain of all literature is... 

Why cannot I think of any?
I hate rakes-why cannot I think of a good one? 
I will go with Sauron because I am brain dead. He is not actually a villain-rather pure evil, but whatever. I can think of more jerks than villains.


Three favorite Non-fiction books? 

Um, this displays my character better than my hat description....eep

Color Me Beautiful
The Green Beauty Guide
The Jane Austen Handbook


Your duties met for the day, how would you choose to spend a carefree summer afternoon? 

Lets pretend that I am a good accomplished young woman and say embroidery and reading and watching period drama movies. I am afraid it really would be wasting time on the computer and watching modern and lame T.V. and getting cranky or spending my soul away on clothes.


Create a verbal sketch of your dream hat - in such a way as will best portray your true character. 

A little silk sailorish type hat with a birdcage veil, nothing too ostentatious, but very me. Maybe with a handmade silk flower and hints of crystals.


Share the most significant event(s) that have marked your life in the past year. 

I am attending college on campus. I was home schooled and then obtained my Associate's Degree online. Enough said.


Disclaimer. Please do not take favorites (excepting questions allowing lists) in an absolutely literal sense. It really depends on what I am reading/thinking/watching/feeling at the time :D

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Christmas Part Four

          Okay, final Christmas post. Yes, I do know it is February, but I have been rather busier than usual since I have seven classes this semester. After our family Christmas we went to my grandparents...in our pajamas and robes since many of us received new pajamas.


                   All of us girls were given snowmen decorations and a little jewelry box.



My next youngest sister and I both received lovely jackets.



          I knitted this eternity scarf for my grandmother-it is lovely if I do say so myself; I want one now :P I was still working on it up until a few minutes until we left for their house. Genius planning, I know.


          A few days after Christmas we visited some friends, and I received these gifts. I had to reread this book, the first of the trio (after I read the third installment which just came out). The first one is by far my favorite.




          So, that wraps up my rather uneventful Christmas. I wasn't worth much in December; I cannot remember what exactly I did with all that time, and I certainly did not go out much. Hopefully next December I will be a little more festive.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Villette


Villette was my final Brontë novel and the first of my Classics Club reads. I will try to write a review without spilling any secrets. 

Here are the dull basics: the heroine is an English gentlewoman whose fortunes have been so reduced that she must teach in France for a living. Whilst living in France she encounters various interesting new acquaintances and is reacquainted with some persons from her old, more prosperous, happy life. As with the other Brontë novels, the novel’s settings and characters are few and the plot focuses more on emotions than actions/movements and other external things. 

This story is not great or adventurous rather it is sweet and gentleforgive my limited descriptive words. If you were expecting and wishing for grandeur in plot or emotion along the lines of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, you will be disappointed.

I will admit, I did think in the beginning that it dragged, but it most certainly grew on me exceedingly, and I ended up thinking that it ended too soon. I thought that it would be my least favorite of the Brontë novels, but it might just be one of my favorites. Besides the slowness I have one other quibble although it is more to do with my lack of culture, than true error in the novel. The novel is set in France, and there are several exchanges in French that probably would lose shades of meaning if translated into English. I believe there were some lines of French in Jane Eyre, but in Villette the French is much more extensive. I want to learn French and go back and reread this novel to see what I missed. Young ladies of proper education (ahem, accomplished young ladies) of this period knew French, so these inclusions are not oddities.

I love “homey” stories, but I think this one deserves a little more prestige than a “homey” storyit is more intricate than it first appears. I don’t mean intricate in plot; the plot is quite simple. The emotions are the intricate part. I love stories that lack passionate descriptions of emotions—I find that often such descriptions ring shallow, but I prefer the novels where the emotions are repressed, as it were, under the words, and you have to be sensitive to hear them throb, but when you do, you know that they are deep. That is the kind of depth that is in this novel, well, it is in Shirley as well. I think Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights have this kind as well as the more overt kind although in those the overt emotion does not ring shallow.

I would reread Villette again, but I wish the ending was a bit longer. I felt that the best part was cut off from me—the door of the perfect happiness in the story shut in my face.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sweet Cornbread

          I am neither a cook nor a baker, but I want to be able to serve a decent meal. I think that if I master one dish at a time it will be easier to develop a decent set of skills. When I tasted this cornbread at a friend's, I asked for the recipe, and I was determined to make it myself because it was simple enough. Weeks later I got around to doing this. I intend to add this to my Pinterest portfolio board which is supposed to encourage me in crafts and skills...unfortunately I only have a few finished projects on it, as I am better at starting a bunch of things than finishing one. Currently I have a great many things started and in various stages.



          Anyway, here is the recipe. The original called for Bisquick so I had to look up a substitute, hence the odd butter amount.

The oven temperature is 350 degrees and the time is about 30" although I think mine could have stood 5" longer.

2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp soda
1 T baking powder
4 heaping tablespoons cornmeal (my heaps were so large is was probably more like 8 tablespoons)
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 to 2 2/3 sticks of butter melted
2 cups milk
2 eggs

Mix the dry then the liquids and pour into a greased 9x13" pan. I think this would make a nice mix; I prepared the dry ingredients last evening which took all of 5-10." I added the liquids this morning, and it took about 5." I would love to have a bunch of homemade mixes on hand whenever I have my own place.