Luke 2:1-14 NKJV
Christ Born of Mary
1 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. 6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Glory in the Highest
8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 “ Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
Watch a good old fashioned classic like "It's a Wonderful Life", "The Bishop's Wife", "Going My Way", "The Bells of Saint Mary's", "White Christmas", "A Charlie Brown Christmas"... (the list can go on and on)
Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a blessed night!
One of my lifelong dreams is coming true tomorrow. I get to teach an art history and technique class! My lovely and talented cousin, Elle is allowing me to visit her 1'st grade class to teach about Katsushika Hokusai, art concepts, terms, techniques and we'll even do two ink paintings with some Kanji.
I'm so incredibly excited! In a few months time, their shool is going to have an art show to sell the kid's paintings. Just my niche, and just what I love doing!
I almost dove over the tiny desk and hugged the little old lady, (then after a second thought, I worried it might get me escorted out by some sort of library police...) In the end, I restrained myself, paid the lady and danced out like a madwoman. Thank you Friends of the Library Bookstore, I promise I’ll take care of my new [old] book.
Ambitious girl that I am, I have decided on new reading lists. Yes, I meant to pluralize that, I have 4 separate lists. Some I’ve read, some I’ve meant to read, some I’ve never heard of until I went searching. I don’t expect anyone to sit there and read my new reading lists; it’s more for my benefit. When I go to a used bookstore, it helps to pull out a copy of the list so I can figure out what I still need to buy, thus, my current posting. Also, I’ve decided not to read these in any specific order (mainly because some of these will be difficult to find), and if anyone gives me a book that’s not on these lists, you’re out of luck, I won’t read it.
As a side note, I went to Camelot Books this afternoon and I was blissfully happy there. I’m serious; it’s my favorite store on earth. I love the smell of the books, the workers are incredibly friendly and knowledgeable not to mention the thousands and thousands of books floor to ceiling!
Novels by The Bronte Sisters
¨ Jane Eyre
¨ The Professor
¨ Wuthering Heights
¨ Agnes Grey
¨ The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
Novels by Elizabeth Gaskell
¨ Mary Barton
¨ North and South
¨ Sylvia’s Lovers
¨ Wives and Daughters
¨ The Moorland Cottage
¨ Mr. Harrison’s Confessions
¨ The Old Nurse’s Story
¨ Lizzie Leigh
¨ My Lady Ludlow
¨ Round the Sofa
¨ Lois the Witch
¨ A Dark Night’s Work
¨ Cousin Phillis
Novels by George Eliot
¨ Adam Bede
¨ The Mill On the Floss
¨ Silas Marner
¨ Felix Holt, The Radical
¨ Daniel Deronda
Must Read British/Scottish/Irish Literature
¨ The Dream of the Rood
¨ The Canterbury Tales – Geoffrey Chaucer
¨ Utopia – Thomas More
¨ The Faerie Queene – Edmund Spencer
¨ The Spanish Tragedy – Thomas Kyd
¨ Doctor Faustus – Christopher Marlowe
¨ Sonnets – William Shakespeare
¨ A Midsummer Night’s Dream – William Shakespeare
¨ Hamlet – William Shakespeare
¨ Poems & Sonnets – John Donne
¨ To His Coy Mistress – Andrew Marvell
¨ The Mower Against Gardens – Andrew Marvell
¨ Volpone – Ben Johnson
¨ Paradise Lost – John Milton
¨ The Way of The World – William Congreve
¨ Robinson Crusoe – Daniel Defoe
¨ Moll Flanders – Daniel Defoe
¨ Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Swift
¨ Pamela Virtue Rewarded – Samuel Richardson
¨ Joseph Andrews – Henry Fielding
¨ The Castle of Otranto – Horace Walpole
¨ The Expedition of Humphrey Clinker – Tobias Smollett
¨ Poems – Robert Burns
¨ Songs of Innocence and of Experience – William Blake
¨ Castle Rackrent – Maria Edgeworth
¨ Lyrical Ballads – William Wordsworth
¨ Poems – Samuel Taylor Coleridge
¨ Don Juan – Lord Byron
¨ Poems – Lord Byron
¨ Odes – John Keats
¨ Poems - Percy Bysshe Shelley
¨ Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
¨ Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
¨ Poems – Alfred, Lord Tennyson
¨ Poems – Robert Browning
¨ Poems – Elizabeth Barrett Browning
¨ The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson
¨ The Importance of Being Earnest – Oscar Wilde
¨ Tess of the d’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
¨ The Portrait of A Lady – Henry James
¨ Poems – William Butler Yeats
¨ Howards End – Edward Morgan Forster
¨ Sons and Lovers – David Herbert Lawrence
¨ Ulysses – James Joyce
At the other end of the spectrum, Mercy and Charity are absurd, flighty characters who add much humor to the novel (though Merry comes around by the end of the story). Although it is often considered Dickens’ least popular novel, it’s still a thoroughly wonderful story line full of classic Dickens characters.
Oh I love this novel so much! As always, I adore the hero and heroine of the story, Amy Dorrit (aka Little Dorrit) and Arthur Clennam. But the spectacular main story of Amy and Arthur is quite fittingly twisted among numerous subplots all of which are equally interesting. Naturally the villains are villainous indeed, Rigaud, Jeremiah Flintwinch even Mrs. Clennam along with Amy’s own family at times (with the exception of Edward). One of my favorite minor characters is the hysterical Flora Finching mainly because she’s such a good hearted character mixed with an insane amount of ridiculousness. There are mysteries, triumphs, heartbreaks and excitement abounding in this novel and it’s not merely a love story look deeper and you’ll find an impressive social commentary on Victorian society.
This novel especially leads me to wonder how on earth Charles Dickens knew how to write people so well, each of his characters is well developed and believable… The man was truly masterful. Little Dorrit only took me 4 days, though I’d have gladly sat for a few hours and read it in one day! Apparently the BBC adaptation is really something great, although I love Andrew Davies' adaptation of Bleak House... I hate his version of Pride and Prejudice with a deep passion… So I’ll reserve judgment until I see it.
***I hereby issue a profound apology to Mr. Andrew Davies. By some terrible mistake, I mixed up two VERY DIFFERENT versions of Pride and Prejudice. I adore Andrew Davies' version, it's splendid (in fact I've watched it so many times, my DVD skips in certain places)! The version I deplore would be the shoddy Keira Knightley version. Two very different adaptations. I am contrite and most sincerely sorry. To prove my trust in Mr. Davies, I will now go and buy a copy of Little Dorrit***
So, here I sit simply trying to accept the fact that I finished a novel I purposely avoided for so many years… And resigning myself to the fact that there is no ending to this splendidly mysterious beginning of a novel. It is fitting, I suppose, that Charles Dickens left the world with one unfinished novel… He’s left us wanting more. My mind is reeling with tons of possibilities of how the story of Edwin Drood was going to end… Oh how sad not to know the actual ending that was planned!
I guess I’ll go read my next novel now, that’ll be my comfort.
I do love John Harmon’s devotion to the mercenary Bella and his beloved Mr. and Mrs. Boffin, I love Mr. Boffin’s antics, Mrs. Boffin’s good natured love of those around her, Eugene’s slightly silly personality and Lizzie’s strength. As an added bonus, Jenny Wren is a fantastic character who adds sweetness and humor to the story. Mr. Riah, is certainly one of the best and most lovable characters (a sharp contrast to Fagin of Oliver twist) and serves as a balancing character to Jenny’s slight strangeness.
By the way, I read this in less than a week. Not quite 6 days. I love you, Charles Dickens.
Here's the thing... I don't like modern day books. Ooh I know I just lumped a vast amount of literature together and flippantly said "I don't like them" but the truth is: I'm a classics kind of girl, and I don't like today's writing styles. Maybe I need to force myself to read some modern day books? No, I've noticed that with the present day stories, they're almost always based on my beloved classics, so not only am I familiar with the contents of the story, I'm disappointed when it's not even near as good as the originals.
I still shudder to think of the Danielle Steel novel a loved one asked me to read last Christmas. It took me about a day and I was miserable. I sped through the painfully cheap version of Jane Austen's masterful Pride & Prejudice and ended up supremely embarrassed that I'd just read a few hundred pages of that stuff. Never again.
Here's hoping everyone will stop giving me books I "just have to read" because "I'll love it"... If indeed, I find a modern day novel that I enjoy half as much as my familiar old classics (and let's be honest, there are hundreds upon hundreds of classics I can still discover), I will happily recant my firm beliefs. As it stands, I'm content sticking with what I love!
My favorite components of Bleak House (in no particular order):
*Mr Bucket the witty and brilliant inspector
*Esther’s narratives, those parts of the novel that humanize the story
*George (I imagine if he were a real person, I’d be in love with him)
*Mr Guppy reminiscent of Mr. Collins in P&P though perhaps a little less sycophantic on the whole
*The triangle between Mr. Jarndyce, Allan Woodcourt and Esther is fascinating and strangely sweet
This may be a very short post on such a wonderfully long novel, but my words are incapable of doing Bleak House justice. I adore this novel, that's all there is to it.
I’ve always had a fear of being too much like everyone else, yet I never enjoyed standing out too much, I never really fit in perfectly and although I have many dear friends who make me feel loved, I’m still a square peg in a world of round pegs. Hmm, how to overcome the dilemma? Forget what people think of you, “Be yourself, after all, there’s only one you” (from one of my favorite childhood books, Babar).
I realized something, I may not fit in with everyone else I know, but that doesn’t make me less. I may look different, but it’s my heart and my soul that truly define me. My ‘packaging’ may not be exactly how I would wish it, but I’m me, and that’s enough. While looking for a reason why I am the way I am, I found myself to be someone I didn’t expect. I’m a Rockabilly, born in the wrong decade, but living with a look and a set of rules that I still value highly. Always be a lady; don’t settle for anything less than a gentleman; listen to the music you like, not the modern day garbage; you don’t have to dress “sexy” to be alluring and never travel without sufficient amounts of: black eyeliner, red lipstick and bobby pins.
So go on, be yourself, be fabulous and don’t let yourself get caught up trying to fit in.
Finished February 25, 2010
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way. . ."
I wonder if when Charles Dickens penned those immortal words he knew what an impact his novel would have on millions throughout the years… I’ll never understand why people dislike this splendid novel. It baffles me. I suppose maybe it’s that old “I-have-to-read-this-for-school-therefore-it-must-suck” syndrome… The first time I read this was in junior high, I’ve read it a couple of times since then (always of my own will) I think this may have been one of the novels that secured my passion for history (not that this is an historical document by any means) simply that Dickens showed that the things we read about in history text books were far more than a present day historian’s analysis… Maybe things didn’t happen this way with the diabolical Defarges, poor Dr. Manette, and the heroic Sydney Carton, but it still takes you out of that little box that boring textbooks tend to put you in. It personifies events like the French Revolution and gives one room to imagine the enormous impact it had on the world.
If you read it before and disliked it, try it again, maybe you’ll see the soul of this story, unlike when it was assigned for literature in high school. Although thoroughly Dickensian in its main content, it certainly doesn’t end like most of his stories do, but it’s a thoroughly beautiful novel.
*See if you can get through the scene when Sydney whispers “A life you love…” without crying, I never have.*
Finished February 18, 2010
This one always takes a lot out of me to read, I suppose because of how much hardship goes on throughout the story. It’s a novel of strong imagery without being too flowery and it contains one of Dickens’ most terrifying villains (Daniel Quilp). To do it justice, I’ll merely include Dickens’ own words.
“The town was glad with morning light; places that had shown ugly and distrustful all night long, now wore a smile; and sparkling sunbeams dancing on chamber windows, and twinkling through blind and curtain before sleepers’ eyes, shed light even into dreams, and chased away the shadows of the night.”
“It’s like a book to me,” he said- the only book I ever learned to read; and many an old story it tells me. It’s music, for I should know its voice among a thousand, and there are other voices in its roar. It has its pictures too. You don’t know how many strange faces and different scenes I trace in the red-hot coals. It’s my memory, that fire, and shows me all my life.”
“But as they drew nearer the ruined walls, the moon rose in all her gentle glory, and, from their venerable age, garlanded with ivy, moss, and waving grass, the chid looked back upon the sleeping town,deep in the valley’s shade: and on the far-off river with its winding track of light: and on the distant hills; and as she did so, she clasped the hand she held, less firmly, and bursting into tears, fell upon the old man’s neck.”
1. I had a S.A.D. party which turned out sorta... well, sad
2. Pastor Bob, Pastor Rob, Jeremy, Chris, Brandon, Kellen & Steve played a perfectly amazing cover version of the Turtles' "Happy Together" for their S.O.s at church today
3. My brother bought me a bouquet of flowers which is the highlight of my year thus far
In honor of the end of this holiday, I leave you with the lyrics to a song that sums up my entire love life:
Love you didn't do right by me
You planned a romance that just hadn't a chance and I'm through
Love you didn't do right by me
I'm back on the shelf and I'm blaming myself but it's you
My one love affair didn't get anywhere from the start
To send me a Joe who had winter and snow in his heart wasn't smart.
Love You didn't do right by me
As they say in the song...you done me wrong
My one love affair didn't get anywhere from the start
To send me a Joe who had winter and snow in his heart wasn't smart.
Oh Love You didn't do right by me
As they say in the song...you done me wrong
Yes Mr. Love, you done me wrong
Nothin' says "love" like a little Hyde.
Coketown. A fictitious manufacturing town given its life and breath in Dickens’ 10th novel. Everything about this story screams of the injustice and bitterness which pervaded Victorian England. Partly a social commentary, partly a personal history, partly allegorical… Dickens showed what comes of society when all people care about are “facts, facts, facts”: moral decline, loss of love and hope, and the corruption of people’s souls.
How interesting that the industrial Coketown not only turns out too much smoke and not enough compassion, it also serves as the setting where the no-nonsense Mr. Gradgrind “manufactures” Louisa and Tom (among other children). The former becomes a beautiful but emotionally repressed woman and the latter a “whelp” who cares only for himself. Despite the fact that there are a great many characters worth noting, Louisa and Tom always make the greatest impression on me. One of Dickens’ early descriptions of Louisa seems to encompass a great deal of my personality especially in one respect: her devotedness to her brother.
Dickens viciously attacks the industries that caused so much misery to millions of people (including himself), but out of this violent passion, comes a simply brilliant piece of literature. Many readers consider Hard Times the uncharacteristic “black sheep” of his major novels, because it was mainly written to raise sales of the “Household Words” periodical… However, don’t judge the book by those feeble arguments, look close and behold the sharp wit of a true master.
This novel never ceases to affect me deeply. I think in order to get a firm grasp on the gravity of this story; one should certainly read John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress, seeing as it bears a few similarities (and its name The Parish Boy’s Progress alludes to Bunyan’s own novel). True to it’s predecessor (Pilgrim’s Progress), it’s a story that really highlights mere religion versus the true love of God. The quote from Nancy when she meets with Rose towards the end is heartbreakingly true: “Why ar’n’t those who claim to be God’s own folks as gentle and as kind to us poor wretches as you…?” Dickens poses a simple question that rings as true today as it did in his day, why can’t Christians (myself included) show the love God would have us show to everyone? I wish I knew.
In Fagin’s final scene I am always brought to tears reading Oliver’s sincere plea to allow him to lead the criminal into a prayer. This young character also shows what Dickens deemed to be a true quality of a Christian, one who not only forgives those who’ve done them wrong, but who wants to share God’s love with them in life’s bleakest moments. Far from being a story full of sunshine and laughs (though there are some very humorous parts), Dickens second novel is dramatic and sometimes gruesome, but fascinating nonetheless.
First thing’s first, a rant. I wanted to attach an illustration (one of the original drawings by Hablot K. Browne a.k.a. “Phiz”) to this blog so I type ‘David Copperfield’ into an image search engine. What do I find? Nothing but pictures of some dark haired man with a cape… Turns out this "David Copperfield" is a modern day magician. -For simplicity’s sake, I’ll refer to him as David Kotkin, his birth name.
Here I perhaps show my naïveté, but I’ll admit until this day I’d never heard of him (Kotkin) however; I find he’s praised as this century’s preeminent magician. How is he so well known and yet this masterful novel is nowhere to be found?! I even found the trivia question: “Did you know David Copperfield took his name from a novel?” What’s happening to the world? Okay… I know it’s probably silly and trivial but I adore David Copperfield and am properly shocked.
As I had mentioned in an earlier blog, Mr. Peggoty and Ham are by far two of my favorite characters. They each embody all that is noble and faithful in men, both as fathers and lovers. Mr. (Daniel) Peggoty is a man who is wholeheartedly devoted to his family, no matter how quirky or troublesome they turn out (quite like my own dad). And then there’s Ham, sweet Ham Peggoty. His love of Little Em’ly and every person he comes across is splendid. Okay, so I’ve never ever met a man anywhere near this great literary character but he is one who epitomizes my perfect dream man. If you want to know my type, you can find him in this superb novel. There’s not much else I can say other than to leave you with one of my favorite quotes, by Ham of course.
“I loved her- and I love the mem’ry of her- too deep- to be able to lead her to believe of my own self as I’m a happy man. I could only be happy- by forgetting of her- and I’m afeerd I couldn’t hardly bear as she should be told I done that. But if you, being so full of learning, Mas’r Davy, could think of anything to say as might bring her to believe I wasn’t greatly hurt; still loving of her, and mourning for her- anything as might bring her to believe as I was not tired of my life, and yet was hoping fur to see her without blame where the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest- anything as would ease her sorrowful mind, and yet not make her think as I could ever marry, or as ‘twas possible that any one could ever be to me what she was- I should ask of you to say that- with my prayers for her- that was so dear.”
But I digress. I finished this book on January 18, 2010 and I think it affected me just as much as it did the first time I read it, perhaps even more so in some points. Now I understand something in a different light, after having lived in the world and experienced heartbreak… the entire Bardell vs. Pickwick case strikes me as a tragically comedic piece. Evidence of Dickens’ genius is his ability to make a potentially serious scene like a breach of promise case a rather humorous glimpse into human nature. What I had never noticed before was the fact that it all sprung from a misunderstanding between an average, lonely woman and the somewhat naïve Pickwick. How easily we women can bestow our affections on men when we think they’re giving us even the slightest attention, and how bitter is the embarrassment and anger that follows these mistakes! At any rate, Mr. Pickwick in true Pickwickian form learns from this entire ordeal and emerges a wiser [if not slightly jaded] man.
Dickens’ signature specialties: strong characters, outlandish circumstances and happy endings abound in this novel. Read it.
Made up of both light and dark.
Not beautiful, or even pretty, I’m just me.
An artistic soul,
And a collector of memories, quotes and eras.
A lover of times past, decades I never lived through.
Poetic and literal.
Purveyor of a love that has often been taken for granted.
A dreamer, with a touch of cynicism which shouldn’t be mine to bear.
A painter, a dancer and a reader of novels.
Like sea glass, tossed on the shore, made softer through circumstances.
Never comfortable in large crowds,
Once in love, I bloomed, only to be tossed aside.
Now solitude is my favorite companion.
Often misunderstood, but when looked at without prejudice; perfectly understood.
A kaleidoscopic being, with a million facets,
And so many things I’ve yet to discover about myself.