Showing posts from 2017

God Bless Us, Every One

I was recently in a theater production of Dickens' A Christmas Carol. And oh, my goodness, it was an amazing experience. I love putting on plays, and I love my dear old high school theater group, and I love the story--and on top of it all, it actually snowed for our last two performances! Dressed in our Christmas costumes, the entire cast stood in the beginnings of a winter wonderland. It was picturesque.

Not surprisingly, then, Dickens' delightful Christmas fairy tale has occupied the forefront of my mind for the past few days.

 There are dozens upon dozens of beautiful things about A Christmas Carol. It's a redemption story, which makes the whole thing wonderful; it's full of colorful characters, including three very memorable ghosts and an even more memorable old Ebeneezer Scrooge; it's overflowing with gorgeous prose, from powerful speeches about social justice to heartwarming descriptions of family dinners. It simply dazzles with gems.

One of the gems in the …

Character Study of Frigga

So, I have this post in the works entitled "Queen Mothers" and was planning on including Frigga in it as one of three featured characters.

But every time I sit down to write a two-paragraph blurb about doesn't work. She's too fascinating. There's too much to say about her, too many aspects of her character I want to touch on, too much potential depth. I just don't have the discipline to keep it to two paragraphs.

Therefore, I am here allowing myself the luxury of an entire post on Frigga.

(And yes. I do realize that this blog is becoming suspiciously peppered with Marvel posts. Maybe "peppered" isn't the right word? Perhaps "infiltrated" would be better? "Flooded?" "Overwhelmed?" "Inundated?" Yes, I think "inundated" is about right...)

Frigga As a Strong Woman The spectacular Kate @ Story and Dark Chocolate recently did a post on the "strong woman" trope, which I dearly lov…

Christmas Carols for Advent

Today was the First Sunday of Advent in the liturgical calendar, everyone! Christmas is drawing nigh! The time is here to begin preparing our hearts for the Infant Savior!

Advent is a really beautiful Church season, rife with memories--the welcome sight of the Advent wreath in the sanctuary, like a tiny preview of Christmas decorations in the church; our family's gallant and futile attempts to see the Jesse Tree devotion through until the end of December (we've come pretty close a time or two!); our equally gallant and frequently futile attempts to prepare a manger for Baby Jesus by putting straws in a box whenever a good deed is done. (Little traditions like that are hard to stick to, guys.)

But in addition to fun and warmth and good cheer, Advent brings a challenge.

Because if you really want to follow the liturgical calendar--and in my family, that's the rule--it means going against the grain.

Growing up, my siblings and I always greeted the onset of Christmas decorat…

The Faith of a Child

Do you remember what it's like to be very, very young? Do you remember the days when life was new and wonderful? Do you remember when truth jumped out at you as something startling and glorious?

I do--at least, I think I do.

I remember being a very little Catholic at my mother's knee, learning my catechism. Some might think basic catechism lessons sound boring--but they held that four-year-old girl spellbound.

Because after all, aren't the most basic truths the most marvelous?

Even at that age I longed for a time machine, and the Catholic Church handed me one: in he Communion of Saints I could befriend heroes from earlier centuries whenever I wanted. Even at that age I had an overactive imagination, and the Faith satisfied my thirst for the fantastic with stories of miracles. Even at that age I loved drama and beauty, heroism and sacrifice, and Christianity nourished that love with tales of saints and martyrs. Best of all, it gave me, in the Eucharist, the chance every y…

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. …