Age Of Reason | Thomas Paine

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I got this one from Neil deGrasse Tysons 8 recommended books for smart people or something. (It’s on project Gutenberg, so you can read it for free! Legally!) I wass expecting a lot of stuffy, difficult to read text. When I realised that he was talking about christianity and the bible, I figured he was going to be flushing the whole book down the toilet, you know/

I was wrong on both accounts. His words are like honey, they’re smooth and free flowing and so, so amazingly easy to read. And since his father was a quaker, he didn’t touch actual christians and went after the bible only. With real, actual logic and evidence found only in the bible. It felt like analysis from the inside, rather than someone who was never going to respect the text.

He logically goes through the old and new testaments like an English teacher with a red pen. He uses logic and (duh) reason to refute the bible while still supplying adequate reason for a belief in God.

This came at a perfect time in my life as I am thinking about how I can apply my beliefs in God to my beliefs in science and let them get along. He also raises a lot of concerns about the bible that I have had myself, so it was really nice to be able to see it written down.

Get Reading. Get Travelling.

Ash

The Chronicles of Narnia |C.S. Lewis

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Narnia holds a special place in my heart (or my wardrobe as the case may be lololololololololol) my earliest memory of it is probably my older sister reading it to be before bed. And doing the voices. I have very few memories of my parents reading it to me. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that they did, I just don’t remember it) Even now my sister can talk about Narnia all day if you let her. And it was her birthday on Wednesday, so Happy Birthday Marley!
Here’s what happens to Narnia when you try to take the christian out of Narnia: It becomes a shell. you take the nut out and all you have are a few pistachio kernels that when you line up make lines. And then, because you need something to serve to the guests, you smoosh some cream in there and that’s your main. The problem being that cream in a pistachio kernel isn’t much to eat. It’s not good for you and it certainly isn’t as filling as actual pistachios. Do you see where I’m going with this analogy?

Now, I don’t know why Disney decided to come at the book with a hatchet, but what they did was take the very obvious Christian message out of a series of books that it literally meant to be about it. That’s like if someone decided to make a bible movie but didn’t want it to be too “christian-y” that’s how hard you failed Disney.

I’m not going to list everything wrong with the movies as nobody got time for that. and it would be a waste of space as the films are already made and the people who are going to be influenced by them already have been. I hear that the silver chair is being produced as a reboot (although why we really needed it is anyone’s guess) but The Silver Chair is my favourite. So I just hope they don’t ruin it.

Get Reading. Get Travelling.

Ash

Anne of Green Gables | L.M. Montgomerry

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The Book

Anne (with an “e”) has always been a daydreamer. In the orphanage, or any of the numerous foster homes she’s lived in. And now she has a chance to do better. When Matthew brings her home from the train station, his sister Marilla is definitely surprised. Particularly since he was supposed to be bringing home a boy. Going to school and coming home without getting into shenanigans is hard for Anne, after all, Day Dreamers were made for adventures.  Featuring: an “off-with-the-fairies” Protagonist, friendship, absolutely no romance, and an awesome webseries accompaniment.

The Good Bits

– covers several years, so all her adventures aren’t happening one after the other like a bad dream. We see Anne grow and learn more than serialised year per book.

– It ends in a friendship, not a romance (more on this later)

– It makes me think of Green Gables Fables. Which is an awesome webseries. I would maybe even say the last great Golden Age LIW.

The Not-So-Good Bits

– it doesn’t age so well. I definitely feel too old to read this book. There are some books, like Harry Potter, for instance that you can read regardless of age. Anne is not one of them.

– I felt it was too episodic. It would work for a magazine serial, it works less well in a book

Thoughts from the Back Cover | Difference Sex friendships in fiction.

One thing Montgomerry does do is tell their readers that  “hey, you can be friends with that boy down the road”you don’t have to be confined to your gender for friendships. The whole “can men and women just be friends” thing has ruined the idea that they can. It tells us that everything is leading up to being romantically involved with someone who you have many interactions who just happens to be a different sex. Anne subverts expectations because they actually are friends, and that’s what I love about it.

Plus if you have them be friends, then you can have the friends-to-lovers troupe. And I love me a good troupe.

Get Reading. Get Travelling.

Ash

 

 

 

 

The Great Gatsby | F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Curtesy of Redbubble

The Book

The story is told by Nick Carraway, but it’s by no means his tale. We are quickly introduced to Carraway’s neighbour Jay Gatsby and the mysteries that surround him. He throws large and magnificent parties for anyone who happens to turn up and soon cajoles Carraway into helping him (Gatsby) reconnect with long lost love, the beautiful (and married) Daisy Buchanan.

The Good Bits

– Gatsby

Spoiler alert: Gatsby isn’t exactly who he says he is. Or at least, his past is not exactly as easy as he makes out. He surrounds himself with mystery so people aren’t surprised when stories are wrong, which is just cleaver. He seems determined to keep up the facade despite literally coming into contact with someone who knows more of his backstory. That’s bravery.

– The Format

It’s not too often you come across a story told by one person about another in first person. I’ve always been interested in telling stories in new ways. And looking at a story not from the “chosen one’s” perspective, but from the friends perspective. Those stories aren’t told as much and they’ve always spoke to me.

 

The Not-So-Good Bits

– Gatsby Parties

Despite liking the character, and this could be some more personal bias, I didn’t like the parties he threw. He seemed to determined to throw as much stuff in between himself and everyone else so they wouldn’t notice that he was hollow, his past tucked away in a box far away. While I love the idea of reinvention, I definitely don’t think it should come at the cost of emptiness.

Thoughts From the Back Cover | Reinvention

Reinventing yourself is a good way to be the person that you want to be. It doesn’t have to be as extreme as Gatsby’s, but if you want to be kinder, then make the effort to, and after a while, it won’t be so hard. I’ve recently started making the effort to be a cleaner person, and to clean  the house un asked, and I can tell you, it’s hard, but I know that it’s going to pay off. When I finally live alone (or without my parents) I know that being a clean person is going to make my life a whole lot easier. It works with everything.

If you want to learn an instrument, then set aside the time each day and force yourself to do it. If you want to be fit or healthy force yourself to have self control and do it. I know it’s not always easy. I know, I’m still struggling, but in the spirit of reinvention, let me tell you, it’s possible. You can be the person you want to be, you can achieve your dream (American or otherwise) you just have to be the person to do it.

Get Reading. Get Travelling.

Ash

Pride & Prejudice | Jane Austen

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The Book

Elizabeth Bennet is second eldest daughter in a family with five daughters and no sons in the regency era. All her mother seems to do is plot about how to get them all married and all her father seems to do is sit in his library. What does he do? No one knows! Elizabeth meets Darcy and things could not go worse. To Elizabeth, Darcy is stuffy and rude, refusing to dance with anyone the whole night. But then the youngest, Lydia gets into some trouble. Elizabeth meets Darcy and things could not go better.

The Good Bits

– Elizabeth

She’s young, witty and reads, what more could you want in a protagonist? She throws words around so well you might think she gets paid for it, countering any and all of Darcy’s comments with ease. Despite the times, Elizabeth continues to stick to her guns and not marry the first – or even second – guy who proposes to her, no matter how much he might admire and love her. We see her progress and put aside her first impressions of people in favour of who they show her to be.

– Darcy

It has to be said, Darcy is a pretty nice love interest. Although I can say this, any one who actually likes him in the first half on the novel should maybe reevaluate, he is after all, incredibly rude and judgemental. One might even say Prejudiced.

– The plot

For such a romance heavy novel, it’s refreshing that the climax doesn’t actually revolve around Darcy and Elizabeth. Instead it centres on a family whose youngest has just run off with a man with no intention of getting married (shock horror!)

-Mrs Bennet

She may be a caricature and completely annoying, but goodness isn’t she a marvel!

The Not-So-Good-Bits

– Darcy

As great as he is, the more you start to think about it, the more you realise that Darcy has no character development. He loves Elizabeth, so he’s nice to her. His we don’t actually see his opinion change of anyone other than Elizabeth. Sure he saves Lydia, but come on, that was for his own sister Georgiana and also Elizabeth. He didn’t do it out of some hero complex or anything.

-Mary and Kitty

In terms of filler characters, these two are almost as bad as Bingly’s second sister. Yeah. Caroline has a sister. The only two reason these two were in the book at all is because 3 sisters didn’t seem enough to put a strain on the household. Productions have done great things with their characters (I’m looking at you Briana Cuoco and Rosie of House Wiles) but I wish they had more purpose.

-The Text

If you’re not really into it – and this is something you can’t help at all – the actual text can get a bit stuffy and hard to read. I found it very difficult to read it the first time I had to read it for school. The The Lizzie Bennet Diaries came out and now it’s a lot easier to read. I guess I understand the plot and the characters a whole lot better now. It’s definitely not something that should put you off reading this book. It’s great, I think everyone should read it, but I’m just saying. It can be hard.

 

Thoughts From the Back Cover| “Date a Girl who Reads”

I want to talk about a scene in the novel, you can read the heading about so maybe you know. It’s Chapter 8. The Accomplished Woman one. The one that pits women against each other.

It has relevance now because we still do it. “I’m not like other girls.” “I’m not a barbie” “slut” Basically Taylor Swifts “You belong with me.” All of these statements pit women against each other and stop us from uniting against a common threat.

Who cares if you read and don’t wear make up if that’s what you like to do. Who cares if she does? It doesn’t tell the world that you’re more comfortable in your skin than she is, she could just love the way that make up makes her feel. You can’t know, so you can’t judge.

Barbie may have some problems. But I’ll tell you what. Barbie’s slogan is be what you want to be. She’s been to the moon, she’s been a Doctor, in the military, she’s even been the bloody president. So yeah, maybe she’s a barbie, but I’ll tell you what, Barbie went to the moon.

Mark 3:25 had it best in my opinion: “If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.” We need to be united and we can’t be if we’re attacking ourselves first.

 

I would recommend watching this video (and then everything else she’s put out) because this video came out before I wrote this post and it’s so, very good.

 

Get Reading. Get Travelling.

Ash