Ringing In The New Year Book Tag

Ringing In The New Year Book Tag

New year, new book tag. I found this on tinyobsessions.wordpress.com and I thought it was appropriate, given it’s January. I’ve chosen my favourite questions to answer.

1. What was the best book or series you read in 2016?

I’d say my favourite book was something by Gillian Flynn. Despite really enjoying Gone Girl, I read Sharp Objects more times – at least two or three times last year.

2. What authors have you recently found and would like to read more of in 2017?

I’ve got 3 authors to choose from: Stephen King, Agatha Christie, and C.S. Lewis. I read some of their books the first time this year and I really enjoyed them. If you have a favourite book by this author, please leave a comment with it below and I can add your recommendations to my TBR!

3. What is your most anticipated book-to-film adaptation?

I don’t really know what is coming out this year, apart from Trainspotting 2. I think I’d like to see some more good period dramas on the BBC. They really help me read and understand classics better.

4. What are the top 5 books on your 2017 TBR?

I have far too many books on my TBR to pick a top 5! I’d say Finders Keepers and End of Watch, the sequels to Mr Mercedes by Stephen King. I also want to read some more Dystopian books, so I’d like to read The Man In The High Castle by Philip K. Dick.

5. How many books do you hope to read in 2017? 

I worked out that in 2016, I read about 70 books which is absolutely crazy. I’d like to hit the same number again this year, or maybe beat it – perhaps I’ll aim to read 80 books?

6. Do you have any book or blogging themed resolutions?

A blogging resolution would be that I’ve considered doing some more creative writing. I’d also like to be able to read more for leisure, or at least get the balance right between reading for my studies and reading for myself.

Happy New Year! (Is it too late to still be saying that?)

Please ‘Like’ if you enjoyed this little book tag; what would your answers to these questions be?

– Judith

Film Review: 12 Days of Blogmas Day #9: The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

Film Review: 12 Days of Blogmas Day #9: The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

We’re creeping ever closer towards Christmas, but unfortunately this blog post isn’t Christmas-themed (sorry)!

As I’ve already mentioned before, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is a classic children’s story and film people enjoy watching at Christmas. However, I already wrote a film review of it here back in March, so instead I thought I’d watch and review its sequel instead.

  • Title:The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
  • Director:Andrew Adamson
  • Released:2008

I remember seeing Prince Caspian in the cinema when it came out. It is about the four Pevensie children, who return to Narnia to help Prince Caspian (played by Ben Barnes) in his struggle with for the throne against his corrupt uncle, King Miraz (played by Sergio Castellitto).

I think Prince Caspian is a good sequel; I liked the fact the actors were older because it gives the characters more maturity and allows the director to explore darker themes, in a similar way to the Harry Potter films. Of course, The Philosopher’s Stone and The Chamber of Secrets were good films, but by The Prisoner of Azkaban, there was more development, a higher sense of threat and you knew the characters could be tested more – which makes for a more interesting experience as an older viewer.

In addition, I found it easier to engage with all four main characters: Lucy Pevensie (Georgie Henley), Edmund Pevensie (Skandar Keynes), Susan Pevensie (Anna Popplewell) and Peter Pevensie (William Moseley) because they’ve all grown up, whereas in the first film, I always preferred Peter and Susan, as opposed to the more childish Edmund and Lucy.

I particularly appreciated the growth of Edmund’s character; he steps up and makes careful decisions, learning from his previous mistakes in Narnia, highlighting the change from his weedy and foolish character from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

However, I’m not sure how I feel about the eponymous Prince Caspian – despite the film being titled after him, it still felt like Prince Caspian was still more about the Pevensies, and Prince Caspian was just a “tag along”. Although, I did like the suggestion that he and Susan liked each other, and the competitive rivalry created between Peter and Caspian – this added for comic relief in more serious moments of battles and politics. Eddie Izzard’s Reepicheep also added humour.

Of course, it wouldn’t be The Chronicles of Narnia without Aslan, and Liam Neeson reprises the role to bestow more wisdom on the children. I also love the theme music – you know something great is going to happen when the score begins to play.

When I talked about The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, I discussed some Christian themes from the first film, so it seems only fitting to do that here too. What struck me was Lucy’s fervent faith in Aslan (symbolising a Christian’s belief in God), even when some of her siblings begin to doubt and follow their own ways. This is developed further by The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010), as it is just Edmund and Lucy who travel to Narnia because Susan and Peter have become “too old” for the world of Narnia. Maybe I’ll write a review of Dawn Treader one day…

I recommend both The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and Prince Caspian as good family-friendly films, great for watching at Christmas time. This is a lengthier review than my first Narnia blog post, but I really enjoyed writing it.

If you liked reading this post, please click ‘Like’ and ‘Follow’ my blog for more posts. Stay tuned for Blogmas Day 10 tomorrow!

– Judith

12 Days of Blogmas 2016 Day #5: Festive Book Quotes

12 Days of Blogmas 2016 Day #5: Festive Book Quotes

Welcome back to Blogmas! Today I’ve been reading up on some lovely Christmas-themed quotes from well-known books I’ve read to share with you.

1. Marcus Zusak, The Book Thief 

“It was the beginning of the greatest Christmas ever. Little food. No presents. But there was a snowman in their basement.”

When I first read The Book Thief, Zusak’s beautiful descriptions struck me; I think he writes in a very poetic way, which is unusual given that some of his characters are illiterate, and of course this quote is no exception.

2. C.S. Lewis, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

“Always winter and never Christmas.”

This quote has quite sad undertone. It highlight’s Narnia’s cold, harsh landscapes under the reign of The White Queen that lack the joy, light and warmth of Christmas. It’s a relief, then, when Father Christmas finally arrives, giving gifts to the Pevensie children – followed by an even greater joy when Aslan returns.

3. The Bible, Luke Chapter 2: 10-11

“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”

This is a quote from The Bible, from the Gospel of Luke. This part of Luke’s account tells us of the Birth of Jesus, the son of God. I think it is important to remember that Christmas is still a religious celebration for Christians around the world – this can be easy to forget in the midst of present-buying, food shopping and cheesy Christmas jumpers – and has a great deal of meaning. Christmas spreads a message of love, peace, joy and light – things I think we all need at the minute, given what’s going in our world.

I hope you enjoyed this little Blogmas post; please click ‘Like’ and don’t forget to ‘Follow’ ReadandReview2016 for more blog posts.

If you want to read more Christmas-themed book quotes, I encourage you read this article from Barnes and Noble, from last year, – it greatly amused me: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/10-great-literary-quotes-to-add-to-this-years-christmas-card/

Thanks for reading!

– Judith

3 Day Quote Challenge [2] Day #3

3 Day Quote Challenge [2] Day #3

Welcome back! This is the final day of my 3 Day Quote Challenge.

You can read my quote choices from Day 1 and Day 2, respectively. All three quotes are from The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis.

Here is my final quote:

‘You would like to know how I behave when I am experiencing pain, not writing books about it… But what is the good of telling you about my feelings? You know them already: they are the same as yours.’ 

Have you ever read something so powerful that it feels like it’s kicked you in the gut? That “wow, this speaks directly to me” reaction? It’s difficult to put into words, but that instinctive, gut, kick in the stomach, “pow” feeling was exactly what I got when I read this passage.

For me, C.S. Lewis was talking directly to me. He emphasises that no matter how different we all think we are, we are all still human, we all still feel emotion – whether it’s pain or joy. No matter how many different stories of people’s lives and suffering we read of, we will always be able to relate in some way. And somehow, that makes the ideas of feeling pain, feeling sadness or just plain scared… a little less scary.

 – Judith

3 Day Quote Challenge [2] Day #2

3 Day Quote Challenge [2] Day #2

Welcome to Day 2 of my 3 Day Quote Challenge! You can read the quote from Day 1 here.

As I said yesterday, I will be picking three quotes from the same book, The Problem of Pain, by C.S. Lewis, reading and reflecting on helpful ways Christian can think about suffering.*

*I’m also really enjoying Be Still My Soul by Nancy Guthrie, a collection of edited sermons and passages to help Christians through suffering.

Without further ado, here is the quote I’ve chosen for today:

‘God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains; it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.’

This powerful imagery from C.S. Lewis highlights the comforting and loving omnipresence of God. Lewis stresses how God is not only there for us in times of happiness, but in times of sadness too, which I think is a really encouraging reminder.

Thank you for reading the second post in this little series. Tomorrow I’ll post the last of my three quotes. If you have any thoughts, questions or responses, please leave them in the comments below. Thanks!

– Judith

3 Day Quote Challenge [2] Day #1

3 Day Quote Challenge [2] Day #1

This is Day 1 of the return of the 3 Day Quote Challenge!

As November draws to a close, I thought this would be a nice, easy little series of blog posts to do before the hectic countdown to Christmas begins.

The last time I did this challenge, I picked three quotes from three different books. This time however, I’ve picked three quotes from the same book because this allows me to digest and reflect on what I’m currently reading, and it’s a particularly quotable book anyway.

I’ve chosen C.S. Lewis’ The Problem of Pain because as Christian who’s gone through some hard times lately, I really wanted to read a Christian’s perspective on suffering*, and I’ve never read any C.S. Lewis’ works, other than The Chronicles of Narnia.

*I’m also really enjoying Be Still My Soul by Nancy Guthrie, a collection of edited sermons and passages to help Christians through suffering.

I thought I’d share these quotes with you whether you’re religious or not, simply because I don’t feel like I talk very much about my faith very much, and I never want to feel like I’m in a situation where I’m not “allowed” to mention it – it’s my blog, after all!

Here is my first quote:

‘Whether we like it or not, God intends to give us what we need, not what we want’

This is a simple, yet important reminder, that God is not just a “Spiritual Santa Clause” for Christians. We can’t expect to have everything that we want in life because not all of those things will be good for us in the long run, even if at the time we think they’ll be beneficial.

I hope you enjoyed this little post, and come back to read Day 2 and Day 3 of my 3 Day Quote Challenge. If you have any thoughts, questions or responses, please leave them in the comments below. Thanks!

– Judith

Happy Birthday: Her Majesty the Queen Turns 90

Happy Birthday: Her Majesty the Queen Turns 90

If you’re British like me, or have a particular regard for the United Kingdom, you may well feel a wave of patriotism today as we celebrate the 90th (official) birthday of Her Majesty the Queen, Queen Elizabeth II.

Street parties and all other sorts of festivities have been taking place to mark this special day. As ReadandReview2016 is a book-themed blog that promotes reading, I decided to mark this day in a book-themed way.

So, to celebrate all the excitement around the Royal Family today, I thought I would discuss my 5 favourite fictional queens in literature. If you have different thoughts to me, please share them below – I welcome fresh opinions!

  1. The Evil Queen from Snow-White and the Seven Dwarfs by Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm

‘She was beautiful woman, but proud and haughty, and she could not bear that anyone else should surpass her beauty.’

Snow White is one of my favourite fairy-tales (pst it inspired me to write my short story: White Winter Mist) and I really like the character of the beautiful, but evil, Queen. The lengths she goes to in order to secure her own position by Snow White’s death are truly gruesome. In literature, I think I much prefer evil queens to nice ones.

  1. Lady Macbeth from Macbeth by William Shakespeare

‘the cruel ministers of this dead butcher and his fiend-like queen’

Although Lady Macbeth is rarely referred to as Queen, when her husband Macbeth is crowned King of Scotland, she inherits royal status. Despite her murderous ideas, and she calls on evil spirits to assist her plans, I like the powerful role of Lady Macbeth. She supports her husband throughout the play and takes charge, when he falters, and is another fabulous example of an evil queen.

  1. Queen Medusa from Greek Mythology

Medusa was the Queen of the Gorgons who was hideously ugly and had hundreds of hissing snakes for hair. She was dangerous to encounter because she could turn mere mortals into stone with just one look. I remember hearing this story when I was younger, and finding it so frightening! You can read the story of Medusa here: http://www.greekmythology.com/Myths/Creatures/Medusa/medusa.html

  1. The Queen of Hearts from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

‘Off with their heads!’  

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a much more child-friendly children’s story than Snow White and so the antagonist here is much tamer. I always found the Queen of Hearts quite ridiculous, due to her shrieks and demands for beheading whenever she feels it necessary, and I particularly enjoyed Miranda Richardson’s interpretation of this in the NBC TV adaptation, Alice in Wonderland.

  1. The White Witch / Queen Jadis from The Chronicles of Narnia Series by C.S. Lewis

‘Her teeth were bared, her eyes shone like fire, and her long hair streamed out behind her like a comet’s tail.’

Another evil queen! Queen Jadis or, as she is more commonly known as, The White Witch is an abominable lady who curses Narnia to an eternal winter and seeks to cause cruelty and misery wherever she goes. In a similar way to the Queen of Hearts, I found her somewhat ridiculous in the first book, The Magician’s Nephew, but I like her recurring presence in the other stories.

Thankfully, Queen Elizabeth is nothing like these atrocious queens, but I hope you enjoyed reading this post nonetheless.

That’s all for now!

– Judith