Ragnarok Review

Guys, I'm so unreasonably proud of myself.

I saw a movie in theaters.

That never happens.

And, partly because I'm so excited and partly because I'd be squealing about this anyway in my monthly books-and-movies report, I'm going to make a post out of it.

You're welcome.

My expectations going into this movie: I was a bit of a nervous wreck before seeing it, actually. I wanted to like it, oh, desperately so. But I doubted Marvel's ability to make another Thor movie worthy of the first two. Call me a cynic. I am one, when it comes to Hollywood. I'd just seen a slew of Marvel movies rife with gunfights and explosions, and feared this one would be yet another too violent for my taste. I'd heard that Ragnarok was supposed to be extremely funny, and feared the attempts at humor would either be crude and vulgar or simply so overdone as to kill the heart of the story. I'd noticed a marked absence of both Jane and Darcy in all the previews, and feared that …

The Different Kinds of Sad

Disclaimer: All images in this post come from Pinterest.

Writers like to arouse emotion in their readers. They want their readers to feel, and feel deeply.

So it shouldn't come as any surprise that writers like to make people cry, often with character deaths.

But when it comes to writing sorrow, there are several different kinds of sorrow to choose from. Not all tears are alike; "sad" covers a wide range of feelings, from pensiveness to grief to bitterness.

When I think about the different kinds of sorrow, I tend to categorize them into three broad groups: the beautiful, the painful, and the depressing.

The Beautiful

This type of sorrow is bittersweet - and, sometimes, more sweet than better. Readers might cry, and cry copiously; but overall they understand why the author did what they did, and wouldn't have it any other way.

So, what makes a sad scene beautiful? Let's look at some examples of (what I think are) beautiful deaths. There will be major spoilers, just…

October's Fiction

So, I thought two books in September was sad.

Unless my memory fails me, I only read two books in October.

What's happening to me, guys?

Image credits go to Pinterest.

And Then There Were None

This was the first Agatha Christie novel I'd ever read. Originally I wanted to read Murder on the Orient Express, but I could not find it in my library and thus it remains on my TBR. 
Anywho. This was an enjoyable, fast-paced read which kept me delightfully absorbed for a day or two. I would say I loved it except for one little detail: the ending. The ending, you see, depressed me.
Of course, I knew from the beginning that a murder mystery entitled "And Then There Were None" would probably not end on a very cheerful note. However. I was also expecting a climactic twist so stunning that it would shock all the depression out of me. I was very much looking forward to the sense of supreme surprise which made G. K. Chesterton so fond of detective stories. But for some reason, the twi…

Define "Favorite Character"

So, I can't be the only bookworm who groans at the question "Who's your favorite character?"

Seriously. Picking a favorite character is as hard as picking a favorite book. Sometimes harder.

And you know what they say about picking a favorite book:

(Oh--by the by, all images in this post were snagged from Pinterest.)
But back to characters.When my family and I were watching the old TV show Battlestar Galactica, I had a debate with myself every time someone asked my favorite character. (It's an obscure show, but it'll work for example's sake.)
I could have chosen Apollo, the protagonist, because he's steady-going and kind and brave.
But then, he's a little boring. His rakish sidekick Starbuck, on the other hand, is utterly amusing--but I can't have him as my favorite character, because he's a shameless flirt!
I might grudgingly admit I can see why he's such a successful one, but it's below my dignity to fall for his charms myself. …

Let's Forget Ourselves

While reading a vocation pamphlet recently, I came across the following quote:

"Youth is the period of forgetfulness of self to the point of folly. It is not done out of selfishness, but from heroism."

About the author of these words, I know nothing. Whether he was young or old, hopeful or cynical, saint or sinner, I cannot tell you. He is a stranger to me.

But his words...his words strike deeply into my soul with the ring of truth. They are beautiful. They resonate with me in such a way that I have put them up in my writing space, where I can see them daily.

Yet these words hurt me.

Their truth stings, their beauty almost depresses me.


Because these words are a ringing challenge--a challenge I have failed to live up to.

For I am young, and it is my duty as a young person to throw myself away in some radical act of love--marriage or a religious vocation. I know this, and yet I tremble. I draw back from the brink of sacrifice. I hesitate. "Someday I will give myself…

September's Sad Number of Books and Surprising Number of Movies

September was not a productive reading month, my dear ones. Nor, for that matter, was it a productive writing or blogging month. As a matter of fact it was quite taken over by slicers and meats and cheeses and fried rotisserie chicken. In consequence, I only have two books to squeal to you about today.
However, they are both very good books. I'm not sorry they were the two September held.

This awesome history book was split into two parts: "The Physical Conquest of Mexico" and "The Spiritual Conquest of Mexico." The former featured my favorite conquistador Hernan Cortez, and the latter featured one of my favorite Marian miracles--and showed how the two were linked. I'd heard both stories before--the conquest is always in the background of any portrayal of Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe, and in Catholic history text books Juan Diego is always mentioned as a sort of fitting conclusion to the story of the Spaniards' expeditions in Spain. But never u…

Bilbo Baggins and the Beatitudes

September 22 is Bilbo and Frodo's birthday! Happy birthday, my dear hobbits!

To celebrate, I'm posting an essay I wrote earlier this year. It placed third in the Third Annual Tolkien/Lewis Celebration essay contest, hosted by Aquinas College in spring 2017.  Here it is!

Bilbo Baggins and the Beatitudes
C. S. Lewis is quoted as saying, "No story is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally—and often far more—worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond." Our modern world would do well to remember this quote. Glancing into the juvenile section of the library or  flipping through the kids' channels on television will reveal a plethora of entertainment which an adult could never consider truly entertaining. It would be a mistake to think that this is an entirely modern issue—there have been bad children's stories throughout history; our idea of "old-fashioned books" usually translates to "the classics," books that have survived…