5 Types of Love Relationships in Stories

I was trying to think of how many different ways a (romantic) love relationship in a story can be packaged, and what was most commonly seen in stories. Though I know there are more than five approaches (I found a blog post that listed 13, though some overlap with my list), here are five that came to my mind:

1. Young Love

Peeta-and-KatnissThis is an affection that starts when the characters are young, like Peeta was five when he first noticed Katniss,  or like Rudy’s care for Liesel in The Book Thief. I don’t think a real, devoted love can actually start when one is five, but then again, I don’t know what the magic age would be. However, I still find this premise very cute in general.

“Well Peeta, we know, from our days in the cave, that it was love at first sight for you from what, age five?” Caesar says.

“From the moment I laid eyes on her,” says Peeta. (The Hunger Games)

2. Friendship That Turns Into Love

emma&knightleyI also love it when two friends in a story, especially if they’re best friends or childhood friends (again going somewhat with the idea of young love) fall in love. I think a classic example of this is Emma and Knightley in Emma. They’ve known each other for most all their lives, but it takes time for both of them to both fall in love and to realize it.

It darted through her with the speed of an arrow that Mr. Knightley must marry no one but herself! (Emma)

3. Resistant Love

DarcyLizzy

Jane Austen also made this a classic love relationship found in stories with Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice, as well as with Marianne and Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility. I also enjoy this type of story because it creates such great tension. I was going to call this “antagonistic love,” but sometimes you can be friends with someone and still resist the thought of being with them for one reason or another.

“From the very beginning— from the first moment, I may almost say— of my acquaintance with you, your manners, impressing me with the fullest belief of your arrogance, your conceit, and your selfish disdain of the feelings of others, were such as to form the groundwork of disapprobation on which succeeding events have built so immovable a dislike; and I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry.” (Elizabeth, Pride and Prejudice)

4. Insta-Love (AKA Love at First Sight)

Film Review Les Miserables

Generally, this one frustrates me. I guess it may sound hypocritical to like young love stories of Peeta vying for Katniss at five and not love at first sight stories that take place years later, but at least as a child has several years to make up their mind if they actually love the person. So for teens and adults I tend to not find these insta-love situations not realistic or enjoyable, but for some reason I had next to no problem with Marius and Cosette and the 2012 Les Miserables film. Now, I will acknowledge that I have heard that in the book they have more of a relationship, but I have actually not read the book. I did, however, see the 1998 film, which doesn’t include as much of the story as the 2012 film, but somehow better develops Marius and Cosette’s relationship, so maybe that helped me not be as prejudiced towards it. Who knows, maybe it’s because they sing the entire movie and I just accept everything because it was so beautifully done. I can’t think of any good examples from books where I really accepted it. Does anyone else have one?

marius

5. Unrequited Love

jo&laurie

Laurie for Jo, Gale for Katniss, Rudy for Liesel, Harriet for Mr. Elton, Eponine for Marius, the list goes on… these are the stingers, when someone loves somebody and they just don’t love them back. It makes our soul ache, especially when we would have loved to see them as a couple. Or sometimes you know they wouldn’t be a good couple and you’re relieved! But you still probably feel at least a little bad. There are also a couple of great and tragic examples of this from the show Babylon 5 that I really want to share, but I don’t want to spoil the show, so just go watch all five seasons and then we’ll chat about it. Instead, I leave you with a quote from the show…

“All love is unrequited, Stephen. All of it.” (Susan Ivanova, Babylon 5)

What type of love relationships are your favorite to see in stories? What are you tired of seeing? What other love relationship types from stories can you think of?

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Waiting on Wednesday: The Testing

WoWWaiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme from Breaking the Spine, which highlights the releases we are anticipating. (Click on image above for more info.)

Ever since I have gotten back from Atlanta, I have been seeing quite a buzz surrounding The Testing, coming out June 4. And I have to say, it sounds intriguing!

the-testing-joelle-charbonneau

Here’s part of the synopsis, stolen from Goodreads: The Seven Stages War left much of the planet a charred wasteland. The future belongs to the next generation’s chosen few who must rebuild it. But to enter this elite group, candidates must first pass The Testing—their one chance at a college education and a rewarding career. 

Cia Vale is honored to be chosen as a Testing candidate; eager to prove her worthiness as a University student and future leader of the United Commonwealth. But on the eve of her departure, her father’s advice hints at a darker side to her upcoming studies–trust no one.

I really like this idea of a competition to get into a University after a war. In fact, I have written a story that has a somewhat similar concept, though different enough where I don’t feel like it would be considered a copy-cat. But another series! Ack! So much to keep up with!

Still… I just pre-ordered it. The synopsis has me intrigued and so far the reviews seem pretty good! I don’t think I’ve ever pre-ordered a fiction book before (I think the only other book I have pre-ordered was Jon Acuff’s book Start, which I did basically for all the extras I have yet to look at, since I already had the book). While ordering I also finally ordered For Darkness Shows the Stars after talking about reading it and seeing that Amazon is practically giving it away right now (just a little over $7!) along with The Book Thief because… sigh… library issues. Now I know why I only had seven days to read Insurgent; apparently when the library changed their website last year, they hid the checkout time  for book under account settings, so it was automatically set for 7 days. I decided to investigate this AFTER I had to check out The Book Thief twice (due to time and a waiting period before checking it out the second time). And now I’m 4th on a waiting list for it. I’m also 4th on a waiting list for two other books! Ack! But I digress…

What book release are you looking forward to? 

My Top 10 Elements in Dystopia

In my not-forgotten-but-slightly-neglected quest to figure out what works for dystopias for me and what doesn’t, I thought an excellent topic for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday freebie would be the top ten elements I like to see in dystopia stories I have read. This can be the nature of the characters, the plot, the society structure, etc., and it can be from specific stories or in general. Here they are, in no particular order:

1. Sameness of the society

Though I think several dystopias have adapted this idea, but I like the way it is illustrated in The Giver the best. Not only does everyone follow the same progression through life up until they are selected for their job and start to train for those, but they do not exhibit much independent thought because of this environment. The ability has not been taken away or suppressed by drugs, but they have been encouraged through positive reinforcement all their lives to live a certain way, to not question it, and to not want any more. When Jonas learns of the past and colors and things no one else in his town knows about, it challenges his thoughts on the status quo. It’s easy for everyone to be the same, but is it really a life worth living?

2. Separation within the society

capitol-citizens

I think The Hunger Games in particular does an excellent job in showcasing a clear divide between the two main groups of people within the society: The elaborate Capitol and the struggling Districts. Not only do they force the Districts to give up children each year for the annual Hunger Games, which serve as a source of entertainment and gambling for the Capitols, but they subject the winners to their ways for the rest for their lives, so even the winners don’t really win. Some, like Finnick Odair, are even forced into prostitution because of their good looks and charming nature. Whatever the Capitol wants, the Capitol gets, and subjects the Districts to.

The Selection also shows a divide with a caste system and monarchy set in place, though I do not find Cass’ world building quite as detailed or effective as Collins’, but it does have a lot of potential.

3. The “stand-out” among the society

tris-divergent

I think there are several dytopias who have their main character a stand-out. Tris (and others) are Divergents in their society, and cannot be categorized by one faction of their society, which some see as a threat. In The Giver, Jonas stands out because he is the Receiver, he has the ability to receive past memories and see things differently than the rest of his society. In Across the Universe, those who think differently from the norm, like Elder and Harley are considered crazy, when really they are just creative and the others have had their creativity suppressed. It’s an obvious element not just for dystopia, but for any story, but it is an effective one. I believe most all of us have a desire to stand out somewhat, even if it scares us.

4. The “good guys” aren’t as good as they seem

For all the things that drove me crazy about Reached, the conclusion of the Matched trilogy, the strongest element of the story, I thought, was how it was clear that the Resistance, the “good guys” in the story, aren’t as good as they had been romanticized by Cassia and Xander to be. They are willing to sacrifice people and create chaos in the name of their cause; they turn to panic rather than logic or strategy to overthrow the government. Cassia’s world grew more gray in Reached, which I think was a necessity for that series.

It’s also interesting to see in Divergent and Insurgent how among these five factions, one cannot really be labeled “the good guys.” Yes, there are the honest ones, the peaceful ones, the humble ones… But just the same, the factions are not particularly good or particularly bad. It is the individual who is good or bad.

5. A secret rules the society/main character

In either movies or books, I am always fascinated by the notion that everything the main character has believed about their life has been a lie or at least a facade veiling secrets. It happens in Across the Universe, Insurgent, The Giver, Ender’s Game, Cinder, The Maze Runner series, and of course in other stories as well.  It’s funny when you’re on the outside looking in, not understanding why the main character can’t accept that their reality is not actual reality when it seems so obvious to you. Or sometimes, it takes the reader by surprise too. But either way, if I think about it, it would be hard for me to accept too. It’s a “what if” question that certainly makes for a fascinating string of possibilities.

6. Humans as test subjects

The-Maze-Runner-Concept-Art-Copy

The Maze Runner series was not my favorite, but one thing I did find fascinating was what these teens were being put through. First they are forced to live in an environment with a seemingly unsolvable maze (as well as potentially dangerous), and then when they finally escape it, they only face more trials that they forced to go through in the name of science and discovery. Unfortunately, I found the end of the series to be unsatisfying for an explanation as to why all these weird techniques were supposed to help, as well as an unsatisfactory resolution to the characters and their journeys, but the overall concept of using humans as test subjects is certainly fascinating.

7. Revolution

salute

This is also a common theme in dystopia, but I think the way it was built up and ultimately played out in The Hunger Games trilogy is especially fascinating. Katniss plays the rules of the game to a point, but she slowly, and not completely purposefully, starts the destruction of the system from the inside out. She also has a lot of help along the way because even a teenage girl as strong as Katniss can’t take down a whole government herself.

8. Genetic mutation/manipulation

Unfortunately I have not seen too much yet of this yet in the dystopias I have read, and in the ones I have found it in, they have been used in somewhat underwhelming and disappointing ways, but as I have mentioned before, genetic engineering fascinates me. I want to see more!

9. Strong and diverse characters

hg-characters

This, in a nutshell, is what really makes The Hunger Games stand out from other dystopias in my mind. I have never, in any other dystopia series I have read, fallen so in love with so many characters as I have in The Hunger Games. They are so well-rounded, each with such unique personalities, that they just feel so real. Sometimes I think authors get so caught up in their epic story line that they forget to give special treatment for the characters. But plot alone cannot carry a story; we need more epic characters! (Though I will say that The Lunar Chronicles are producing some pretty great characters as well, and I’m looking forward to seeing them develop more and meeting new ones in the last two books!)

10. Post-War

Any story that starts off in the ruins of a previous society marred by war, or even years after war but with lingering aftermath, (Hunger Games, Divergent, Ender’s Game, The Selection, Cinder, etc.) piques my interest. What caused the war often determines how the society is rebuilt afterwards. There is often this notion that society will be better this way than it was before, but many times, as we see, that is not necessarily true.

Books mentioned in this post:

dystopiasWhat about you? What elements interest you in dystopias?

I’m Back!

Hey all, sorry about the uninformative post about being absent for a  few days, but I wanted to let you guys know that I am back to regular posting now. I went off for three days and four nights to see Atlanta with my husband and parents, and we had a good time! I meant to schedule a post or two to go up during my trip and keep up with comments as I could, but it just did not work out that way due to busyness before the trip. Here’s a glimpse of what we did there…

atlantaAnd yes, those are in fact penguins holding hands (fins?)! It was cute, but what was not so cute was the PG-13 humping that followed. In fact, in seemed all the penguins were paired off. Must be mating season… But anyhow, we hit some of the highlights of the city, ate some good food, but I did not really accomplish much reading and definitely not any writing (which has been difficult lately anyway), but during a small portion of the trip there and during most of the trip home I listened to The Prestige by Christopher Priest on my iPhone. It’s my first time listening to a book, and so far it’s going pretty well! I was nervous because I’m not really the best listener in the world, but listening to podcasts has been a big thing for me in my work life for the past year or so,  and I thought it might be time to try out the audio book thing through my library. And so far, I am enjoying The Prestige. It is, in fact, the story which the movie by the same name, directed by Christopher Nolan (my favorite) is based upon. What surprised me about it is that the first three chapters are actually set in modern-day, and then it goes back in time with Alfred Borden’s memoir. But that’s all I will say for now. The narrator is also keeping my interest pretty well, but I am sure the British accent helps!

Hope everyone has a great Memorial Day tomorrow! What are your plans for the weekend?

The Next Few Days

I just wanted to let everyone know I going to be a little MIA for the next few days. Don’t worry, all is well and I will be back soon. I’m still slowly reading through The Book Thief (slowness is due to time, not lack of interest) and have also started listening to my first audiobook, The Prestige by Christopher Priest. It’s interesting so far. So with that, I leave you with a cute cat picture.

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Review: Star Trek Into Darkness

To review this movie without giving away any serious spoilers would be difficult at best. So let me say what I can first…

I laughed and I cried.

This movie is largely about Kirk’s development as a character.

Benedict Cumberbatch gave a stellar performance.

Karl Urban as Dr. McCoy is still my (and my husband’s) favorite character in the reboot universe, as he was in the 2009 movie.

You can enjoy this movie with limited Star Trek exposure (you should probably at least see the 2009 film), but the more Star Trek you have seen, the more you will appreciate the movie. And if you do enjoy J.J. Abrams’ Trek films, you should really go back and watch the original source. It’s not as polished and sometimes it’s hokey, but the heart is there, and you can more fully grasp the meaning of what happened in this film.

And let me warn you, I’m about to get super Star Trek nerdy.

Now for the spoilers! I have whited out the spoilers so you can scroll down to comment without fear if you’re not ready, so highlight the white parts to read if you are ready. (Also, any links you click on will contain spoilers for various series in the Star Trek universe and other movies, so do so at your own risk!)

shallweComparisons to the Original Source

So there was a lot of talk about John Harrison when he was announced as the villain. Even before, it was widely speculated that he was actually Khan, who long-time Trekkies know from The Original Series episode “Space Seed,” and the movie Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan (Wait, this wasn’t Star Trek 2? No it wasn’t! In fact, it’s the 12th Star Trek movie.) Some believed it, some didn’t. Most of the time, I was in the camp who believed he wasn’t. I mean, Benedict Cumberbatch looks nothing like Khan! (Click here for a picture reference) I thought I would be disappointed if he was Khan. But I also wanted to keep an open mind.

When watching the movie, probably about ten minutes in there was a dead giveaway for me that Harrison was either Khan or involved with augments somehow (if you don’t know what augments are, your homework is the aforementioned “Space Seed,” as well as the Star Trek: Enterprise episodes “Borderland,” “Cold Station 12,” and “The Augments), and that was when he told that man that he could save his daughter’s life. Genetic engineering was clearly involved.

I also nearly cheered aloud when Section 31 was mentioned (Your homework to learn more about Section 31 is the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episodes “Inquisition,” “Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges,” “When It Rains…,” “Tacking Into the Wind,” and “Extreme Measures,” as well as Enterprise episodes: “Affliction,” “Divergence,” “Demons,” “Terra Prime.” (Those these episodes will make more sense and mean more if you watch the entire series, so essentially I’m telling you to watch everything. 🙂 )), and am glad that brought it up. I think Section 31 is a great element of the Star Trek universe because it shows a darker underbelly of the Federation and that it’s not perfect (I know Gene Rodenberry is rolling in his grave as I type this, but it’s true). Though I found it odd they didn’t debrief Kirk and crew about how they shouldn’t mention to anyone ever. Hmmm…

Anyways…

I decided to embrace Cumberbatch’s character as Khan while watching the movie. And then when Kirk went into that radiation zone, I once again knew what was going to happen…

Seriously, you need to watch Wrath of Khan.

Kirk was going to die. Spock was going to see him die. It would be the reversal of The Wrath of Khan, where Spock died it Kirk had to watch. And I was stunned that J.J. was actually doing this! Was is a rip-off or an homage? I mean, this is a alternate timeline, so I suppose a lot of it can play out similarly yet different (but don’t get me started on how different the uniforms and interior ship designs are and yet most of the Enterprise crew is the same… I’ve always had a problem believing alternate reality stories. But anyway, tangent over…). But I was crying in the theater, tears rolling down my cheeks, as I watched the scene between Kirk and Spock as Kirk died play out. So I accepted it. (By the way, to see a comparison between the death scenes in this movie and in Wrath of Khan, click here.) I decided I really appreciated most of what J.J. portrayed in this movie with this timeline, borrowing from original elements that Trekkies already know and love.

The Characters

spock&kirkI thought the film did a good job in continuing Kirk and Spock’s relationship as we saw how it was set up in the 2009 film. Though Spock is half human, he generally chooses his Vulcan side, which drives Kirk, who is very much human, crazy, but he also has a lot of respect for Spock. And though Spock doesn’t always show it or even always know if himself, he has a lot of respect for Kirk. I think the death scene was so poignant for me because of how well-developed this relationship was in J.J.’s version of Trek, because when I cried, I cried for these characters, not the original ones. BUT I also think the background I have with the original ones certainly added to the emotional element. And though I still find Spock’s relationship a little unlikely (which was how I felt with the 2009 film), it was nice to get some human moments from Spock that helped lead up to later in the movie (“I choose not to feel…).

harrison-brigHave I mentioned that Benedit Cumberbacth was awesome as John Harrison/Khan? Because WOW, he was. Even if you are a Trekkie and know better than to trust Khan, it was easy to find yourself halfway wonder if there was any way this Khan might be different. But he isn’t! It’s true, he does love his crew like family, but he does not care about anyone at Star Fleet one iota. I find it kind of interesting that Star Fleet and Section 31 actually woke him up to work as an intelligence agent… and when I say interesting I am not sure if I mean that in a good way. It just seems unlikely, since they have banned genetic engineering after all. But who knows. Maybe they were truly desperate. But despite this, I thought he was a good villain, much stronger than Nero from the 2009 movie.

star-trek-into-darkness-karl-urbanAs mentioned before, Karl Urban as McCoy is my favorite of J.J.’s Enterprise crew. He just hits him dead-on without being just like DeForrest Kelley. It’s the perfect blend of new character with old character. I can’t say enough good things.

Star-Trek-Into-Darkness-Worried-ScottySimon Pegg as Scotty would probably be my second favorite. I really enjoyed him in the last movie and this one.

star-trek-into-darkness-alice-eveThe rest of the supporting cast was great as well, though Sulu and Chekov’s air time was pretty limited (as my husband said when we talked about Sulu’s time in the movie: “at least he got to be Captain for a little while.”). Zoe Saldana as Uhura again portrayed her as a strong yet feminine character, and I felt Alice Eve did the same for new character Dr. Carol Marcus (well, new to this film because, you guessed it, Carol Marcus is also in Wrath of Khan). I wish we could have seen more of Marcus in this film, but hopefully we will in the future.

Overall Story

I enjoyed the story overall, and once I accepted the borrowed elements from Star Trek past, I embraced those elements and thought the new twists that were added all worked together nicely for this film. I love how the story opens feeling very much like classic Star Trek with bright colors and an alien planet, and then descends into a darker feel much more reminiscent of series Deep Space Nine and Enterprise. I felt the pacing was mostly on point, though the last maybe ten-ish minutes were a little off in some ways. I’m not unhappy with the ending, but it felt a little strange to have the big climax of Kirk dying, then this chase scene with Khan and Spock, and then have a wrap-up after Kirk is saved and the movie tries to quickly tie things up so much so that we leap forward to a year in the future so we can see a new Enterprise and be all set up for a third movie (or a new TV SHOW!!!! Which I want so badly, but due  to rights issues is not very likely to happen). I did love seeing Khan frozen again, with a hint of a smile on his face, and though before this movie I was not gung-ho for anymore Khan (despite how much I’ve told you to watch The Wrath of Khan I don’t entirely love it the way most Trekkies do), I DO like the concept a lot and I felt this movie did a lot for it, to the point where I would be completely happen to see a return in another movie. Though preferably a TV show. Sigh.

Oh, and I haven’t even mentioned the TRIBBLE! Watch “The Trouble with Tribbles” and “Trials and Tribble-ations” ASAP. You will thank me.

274227064779931434_w6ZLLtWx_cI think I’ve said enough now. So if you saw the movie, what were your thoughts? If you haven’t, what are you waiting for?!

I would give Into Darkness 4/5 stars, or on a 10 star scale, 8 stars.

Want to see what others thought? Check out these reviews too:

http://marveloustales.wordpress.com/2013/05/20/star-trek-into-darkness/

http://booksinthemoonlight.wordpress.com/2013/05/20/star-trek-into-darkness/

http://viewerscommentary.wordpress.com/2013/05/18/theatrical-review-star-trek-into-darkness/

http://houseofgeekery.com/2013/05/10/movie-review-star-trek-into-darkness/

http://42lifeinbetween.wordpress.com/2013/05/16/star-trek-into-darkness-review/

Wednesday Round-Up: Marissa Meyer and TV Shows Galore

Marissa Meyer Blog Post (via Goodreads)

What I liked about this post, “Winter: The Beginning of the End,” is that Meyer talks a little bit about the process of writing and especially finishing out a series. She talks about all the different plot points and relationships and character arcs and all that which is going to have to find a way to wrap up in the end of The Lunar Chronicles. She says she wrote the first draft for Winter in 2011 when she first sold Cinder, because she did want to it to flow well with that story. Now, she has to rework it after having written two more books in-between, to see what still works and what doesn’t quite fit anymore. It made me realize that published authors don’t necessarily have an easy time with their rewriting or editing process (which I have lamented about). I appreciate how much thought she is putting into this, and it probably helps she already has a draft under her belt. Sometimes I find the end of a series disappointing and/or rushed-feeling, so I’m hoping Meyer finds that balance of tying up those loose ends and pacing herself until the last page.

Season Finales

As I have mentioned before, I am fan of the show Castle, and of course we got a cliffhanger for the end of season five! I am surprisingly not feeling too anxious though, I think largely because I have faith in the writers. I think they have the potential to make the end decision interesting and not as black and white as it appears. (*SPOILER* on the Castle Facebook page fans are posed which will she choose, ring or job? I don’t think it’s that simple though. It can be a lot more complex.) But we’ll have to wait and see how it all turns out!

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And if you’re like me, you’ve been wondering when the heck the “mother” of “How I Met Your Mother” was going to show up. (I was starting to think the show should really be called “How Everyone Found Love Except Me”)  And this is from someone who doesn’t watch the show, ever really (I’ve seen just a few episodes, mostly from the first season). Well, for the season 8 finale, which is the second to last season for the show, she is finally revealed – briefly! Even if you’ve only seen a couple episodes, you still might find the clip where she is revealed interesting:

Series Premiere!

I only watch about one or two TV shows at a time, and all I have now is Castle. Well this fall that’s going to change with the premiere of Josh Whedon’s new show, S.H.I.E.L.D., all about the intelligence agents behind The Avengers. And you know the guy I was missing so much in Iron Man 3?

He’s baaaaaack! Yay!

(Side note. My husband asked me, “Do you know why Joss Whedon brought Agent Coulson back?” I ask why and he replies, “So he can kill him again.” I hope not, but he makes a valid point!) At first I was kind of sad to see Coulson was the only familiar face, but was I seriously expecting someone from another show to be on the show, or Samuel L. Jackson to regularly appear? And I think Whedon is great at creating characters, so it’ll be great to meet new ones. And though I liked The Avengers, and Serenity, I think his true strength is in TV (OK, I base this off Firefly only as I have not seen his other shows, but Firefly was great!).

Anything TV related you’re excited about? The  American Idol finale is tomorrow… this is the first time since season six (when I first started watching) that I have not at least kept up with the contestants much at all (I did skipping watching one other season though, when Ellen was judging and Lee won), but apparently it’s a showdown of two girls!

Top Ten Toughies

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is “Top Ten Books Dealing With Tough Subjects.” Well, I’m cheating a little bit. I feel like most books dealing primarily with tough subjects are contemporaries (and sometimes non-fiction), which I don’t really read much of. However, there are, of course, tough moments in every good book, and I wanted to highlight ten quotes borne out of these tough times. Today’s list is in no particular order:

1. The Beekeeper’s Apprentice

The main character, Mary Russell, lost her parents and brother in a car accident that she was also involved in but survived, and it continues to haunt her years later. She finds herself confiding to Sherlock Holmes about how the accident happened (after refusing to talk to anyone about it all this time). When she does, this is their conversation:

Mary: If you’re going to reassure me that it wasn’t my fault and say that I mustn’t feel guilty about it, Holmes, I’d rather you left, because that really would finish us off, truly it would.

Sherlock: No, Russ, I wasn’t about to say that. Give me some credit, I beg you. Of course you killed them, It was not murder, or even manslaughter, but you are certainly guilty of provoking a fatal accident. That will remain on your hands… I hope you realize that guilt is a poor foundation for a life, without other motivations beside it.”

When I read this for the first time, it really struck me. Imagine being so blunt with a person when they feel so much grief and guilt. And though it hurt Mary, it was what she needed to hear to help her heal.

2. A Walk to Remember

This is the only Nicholas Sparks book I’ve read, and from what I understand, they’re all pretty much tear-jerkers like this one. *SPOILER* Landon falls in love with Jamie, who is dying from cancer, and they both learn about unconditional, sacrificial love. And while such a love is amazing, it can also be painful at times, especially when you have to see the person you love so hurt.

“Had it been possible, I would have traded my life for hers. ” – Landon

jamie-walktoremember

3. Finding Alice

I’ve mentioned Finding Alice on here a few time before; it’s the story of a young girl named Alice as she becomes diagnosed with schizophrenia and her journey in dealing with it. As you can imagine, it is tough for her to grapple with.

“But fear is confusing. It tears you in two. Half of you wants to run far, far away, but the other half is paralyzed, frozen, immovable. And the hard part is that you never know which half is going to win.”

4. The Hiding Place

The Hiding Place is the true story of Corrie ten Book, who hid Jews during WWII and was punished by being placed in a concentration camp. She describes the brutality of the camps, and the anger and hatred she felt towards her enemies when she was finally free. And yet, through her faith in God, she was able to forgive the people who hurt her, her friends, and her family.

“Even as the angry vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more? Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him….Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give me your forgiveness….And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives along with the command, the love itself.” 

5. A Grief Observed

I have actually not read A Grief Observed in its entirety, but I have read excerpts from it. It was written by C.S. Lewis after his wife passed away, and this quote about grief has always stuck with me:

 “No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing. At other times it feels like being mildly drunk, or concussed. There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Or perhaps, hard to want to take it in. It is so uninteresting. Yet I want the others to be about me. I dread the moments when the house is empty. If only they would talk to one another and not to me.”

 6. Little Women

* SPOILER* When Jo returns home after receiving the news that her sister Beth is dying, the two have one last conversation that I think is quite touching. Beth has always been the quiet one who would rather stay home and play piano than go off for adventures in Europe or leave to get married like her sisters. And yet, she is not afraid of death. And though Beth and Jo are opposites in many ways, they have a close relationship. Some of Beth’s final words to Jo are:

“I never wanted to go away, and the hard part now is the leaving you all. I’m not afraid, but it seems as if I should be homesick for you even in heaven.”

beth&jo

7. Unbroken

Unbroken is the true story of Louie, a WWII airman whose plane crashed, leaving him stranded in the ocean for weeks, only to be “rescued” by the Japanese and placed in POW camp. When he finally gets to go home years later, not just to America but to the house he grew up in, it’s an emotional moment:

“On an October afternoon, Louie stepped out of an army car and stood on the lawn at 2028 Gramercy Avenue, looking at his parents’ house for the first time in more than three years. ‘This, this little home,’ he said, ‘was worth it all.'”

8. The Book Thief

I just started this book, so I don’t have much to say about it yet, but I found this particular passage a haunting and beautiful description of a goodbye between mother and daughter:

“There was the chaos of goodbye. It was a goodbye that was wet, with the girl’s head buried into the woolly, worn shallows of a mother’s coat.”

9. Mockinjay

*SPOLIER* In the beginning of Mockingjay, after all that Katniss has already been through, and then to be told her home is in ruins, it is undoubtedly a lot to process. How she deals with the grief…

“Some walks you have to take alone.”

10. Ender’s Game

Ender endures a lot in Ender’s Game, from being separated from his family for years and years to enduring the constant emotional, physical, and mental strain of Battle School. After Ender has left school and finally been reunited with his sister, he feels he can never really be happy again.

Ender: We have to go. I’m almost happy here.
Valentine: So stay.
Ender: I’ve lived too long with pain. I won’t know who I am without it.

ender&valentine

Well, that was depressing list. So tell me, is there a “toughie” quote from literature that sticks out to you?

Also, here’s a cute kitty to help us all feel better…

great-catsby

Liebster Award!

I want to thank http://bookpapercut.wordpress.com/ for nominating for this blog award!  The Liebster Award is passed on by bloggers to new blogs worth reading, and the criteria for this is they have 200 followers or less.

lieber-award

Recipients of the Liebster Award must:

  1. List 11 Random Facts about you
  2. Answer the questions that were asked of you (By the blogger that nominated you)
  3. Nominate 11 other blogs for the Liebster Blog Award and Link to their Blogs
  4. Notify the bloggers of their award.
  5. Ask the award winners 11 questions to answer once they accept the award

So here’s the deal, when thinking about blogs to nominate, I went through my own criteria:

  1. In addition to appearing to have less than 200 followers, I thought a “new” blog should also be less than two years old. 
  2. I only wanted to nominate blogs where I have maintained some communication with the blogger, that is, we both follow each other and for most of these, we generally comment on or like one another’s posts fairly frequently.
  3. I also wanted to nominate those that I thought would want to talk about the award and pass it along, but if I nominated you and you do not wish to talk about it, that is totally OK and I will completely understand.

So with all that in mind, and even though I follow more than 11 blogs and more than 11 blogs follow me, I only have 8 nominees instead of 11. Please don’t hurt me! This blog is only in its fourth month, and I am still developing relationships with bloggers. So without further ado, here are my Liebster Award nominees:

http://www.therewerebooksinvolved.com/

http://mysticcooking.wordpress.com/

http://thepagethatbooksbuilt.wordpress.com/

http://annywithawhy.yt/

http://anothernovelread.com/

http://abookishheart.com/

http://coffeecreamnosugar.wordpress.com/

http://trishadm.wordpress.com/

11 Facts about me:

  1. I have lived in four states: Mississippi, Alabama, Texas, and now Tennessee. As of recently, I have lived in TN longer than anywhere else.
  2. I’m pretty good at air hockey.
  3. I am married to my first and only boyfriend ever. This Thursday we will be married for four years and together for nine years.
  4. My husband got me into Star Trek, and I ended up falling completely in love with it. I have seen every episode of every series (including the animated series!) and every movie (except I haven’t seen the new one yet obviously… looking forward to it!).
  5. I write stories, and it is virtually impossible for me to write a whole story, from start to finish, in order. I tend to jump around a lot… but I’m trying to work on this by plotting better.
  6. I spill water frequently.
  7. I am an only child. So is my husband.
  8. I’m 5’1″
  9. I really hate calling people, especially strangers, on the phone. I am slowly doing a little better as I get older, but I still hate it.
  10. I share a birthday with Avril Lavigne and Gwyneth Paltrow (September 27).
  11. I became a Batman fan after watching Batman and Robin. I know it’s a pretty terrible movie but… I still don’t hate it.

Answers to Dani’s 11 questions: 

  1. What are your 3 go-to books when it comes to giving out book recommendations? The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Quitter by Jon Acuff, and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.
  2. Why did you start blogging? My very first blog I started because I liked the idea of having an online journal of sorts. I started this particular blog because I wanted to share with others how stories have impacted my life and connect with others who have been impacted by stories.
  3. Zombies, vampires, or werewolves? Ugh… I’m really not into any of these. I just haven’t gotten into the paranormal genre.
  4. If you could meet any living person in the world, who would you meet? My favorite songwriter from my favorite band, Jon Foreman of Switchfoot, because I want to hear his stories about what inspires his songs and what has made an impact in his life.
  5. What was the last thing you read, watched, and listened too? Read: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer. Watched: An episode of an old TV show called I Spy staring Bill Cosby. Listened: Whatever was on the radio… I don’t remember.
  6. Of the books you have read this year, which is your favorite? Non-fiction: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. Fiction: Cinder by Marissa Meyer.
  7. What is your zodiac sign? (Western/Chinese or both) Libra/Tiger
  8. What is your favorite quote? It’s quite a whopper, from the movie The Two Towers. “It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something… there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo… and it’s worth fighting for.” – Sam in LOTR: The Two Towers
  9. Who would you: marry? befriend? hate? (book characters) 
  10. How long have you been blogging? I have blogged on and off for probably about ten years, but I just started this blog four months ago.
  11. What are your hobbies? Besides reading and blogging: writing, photography, movies.

11 Questions for nominees:

  1. What was your favorite book that you read in 2012?
  2. What book character would you consider naming your child after?
  3. Who would you want to star as you in the movie of your life?
  4. Do you have any pets? If so, what are their names and what are they?
  5. What is your favorite book-to-movie adaptation?
  6. What book would you like to see made into a movie that is not yet?
  7. What is your favorite dessert?
  8. If you go on vacation anywhere tomorrow, all expenses paid, where would you go?
  9. What is the worst book you have read (or tried to read) and what made you dislike it so much?
  10. What book and/or movie character do you relate to most?
  11. What is your favorite TV show of all time?

My Top 10 Light & Fun Movies

EDIT: I accidentally scheduled this post for 6 AM CST on May 9 instead of May 10 as I meant it, and it was not completed. Note that this post was edited to completion in the evening of May 9 a little after 6 PM CST. Thanks and my apologies! 

The Top Ten Tuesday topic posed by The Broke and The Bookish was “Top Ten Books When You Need Something Light & Fun.” Well, apparently I don’t do light and fun much in books because when I tried to think of one book that fit into this category, my mind went blank. But when I started thinking about light and fun movies, it was a lot easier! I tend to spend less time reading something light than I do watching light-hearted movies. I love darker movies too (particularly of the Christopher Nolan variety), but here’s a list of 10 movies that are pick-me-ups for me, with very few serious undertones.

Note: I decided to leave out animated movies, because they would have dominated this list too much. I’ll do a Top 10 Animated Movies list sometime. Also, instead of ordering these, I am just clumping them into categories.

The Chick Flicks

chickflicksOK, so there are a few serious undertones in these movies, but they sure do make you feel light after you finish watching them. While You Were Sleeping and Emma are delightfully fun with quirky characters and friendships that turn into romance. Little Women explores the changes of life and growing up, showing both its trials and joys. And of course, Pride and Prejudice is the classic romance that makes many of us enjoy.

Just Fun and Silly

fun&sillyThese movies are not the best movies ever made, but they’re fun and I do enjoy them each in their own way. I remember when I went to the theater with a group of friends to see Napoleon Dynamite while I was in high school, and I had NO idea what I was getting myself into! Afterwards we all looked at each other and asked, “Was there a plot in there?” (According to a scriptwriting book I own, the answer is yes, it’s just cleverly disguised!) But it’s just funny. Daddy Day Care is just silliness, centered on three men who lose their jobs and decide to try to make ends meet by watching kids. Steve Zahn is particularly hilarious as a Trek enthusiast. And The Mighty Ducks… oh how I love these more than a lady in her mid-twenties should. The plots of the second and third are a little ridiculous when you think about them, but that’s OK. Because you love the Ducks, and you just can’t help but root for them.

A Little Magical

alittlemagical2I  love that these stories are set (mostly) in the real world but have just a touch of magic to make them more light and fun. Enchanted is a brilliant parody of every Disney animated princess movie ever, but still sticks close to its formula (complete with several songs) and make us all fall in love with Giselle and root for her and Robert. Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium is an underrated gem, which features a very uncertain early-twenty being given the task of taking over her boss’ magical toy store. You seriously need to see this one if you haven’t already. August Rush is a beautiful story featuring amazing music that follows a boy looking for parents and looking for music. There’s no real magic involved, but there are definitely some miracles.

What are some of your go-to light, fun movies?