Peter and the Starcatchers and By Darkness Hid

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0982104952/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0982104952&linkCode=as2&tag=genandquispi-20&linkId=5TCVCM45HUHID3I7

 

By Darkness Hid by Jill Williamson

This book really surprised me.  Typically, when you say something is “Christian Fantasy” I expect a sever lack of creativity,  poor storytelling, and unconvincing and convenient conversions.  To my great joy,  this book was creative,  had a great story,  a little grit, and great fantasy.  I will admit to a few times struggling to keep up with the characters but it didn’t stop me from reading.  I will also admit to finding the girl Sparrow a bit unconvincing at the end. I felt like my chain was being a bit yanked by her. But, I was still very invested in all the characters. I wasn’t bored by the politics. I’m intrigued by the world and the hero is a real hero. Well done. I can’t wait to start book two!
Parental Warning: a few adult issues meaning she deals with such things as evil kings trying to take a mistress and the reality of being a girl dressed like a boy and needing to use the bathroom. Nothing inappropriate happens but they are dealt with…meaning I think most teens would be fine with this book. It’s clean, just honest. A nice combination.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/078684907X/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=078684907X&linkCode=as2&tag=genandquispi-20&linkId=TDEOZW54GKHSIDXN

 

Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Berry
This brilliant, silly, moving, clever retelling of the story of Peter Pan needs to move to the top of your reading list. I laughed. I cried.
This is the story of how Peter became Peter Pan, Hook became Hook, the Lost Boys became the Lost Boys, and Tinker Bell Tinker Bell. I have always been slightly inamoured by the fairy tale of Peter Pan and this version only makes me love it more.
My only warning is that reading it can cause a strong case of adventure longing and possible excessive use of imagination. The audio version is delightful. This is a story that anyone of any age can enjoy and would be perfect for family reading time. I can’t suggest this story strongly enough. It was perfectly wonderful.

November Book and Movie Thoughts

 

I’m going to share a few thoughts on the books and movies I’ve enjoyed this last month. Due to some down time in my husband’s teaching schedule, he had some time to play video games, which means I had time to read.

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Blood Price and Blood Trail by Tanya Huff: I did not enjoy these two books as much as The Silvered, which was excellent. Huff is fun to read and I stay engaged in her books, but I get tired of the belief that sleeping around doesn’t affect your soul, and it had a now standard vampire-love-triangle. The two clever points that gave me a fit of giggles was the vampire who writes romance novels and is good at it, and the werewolf colony mistaken for a nudist family. Very funny. These are what I would consider a weekend read: they didn’t really grow me or feed my soul, but they were entertaining. One point, as a writer, drove me up the wall. She could not stay in her character’s Point of View and constantly switched in mid-paragraph leaving me scrambling to figure out who was thinking about whom.

Rated: R

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1495266699/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1495266699&linkCode=as2&tag=genandquispi-20&linkId=QQVJDMJNC7KL5ILT

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie: I have loved Peter Pan from afar for most of my life. I loved the Disney cartoon, the short-lived TV cartoon, and Hook. I always felt like my own childhood slipped too quickly through my fingers giving me a strong emotional connection with always being a child and never growing up. The book was beautiful, sweet, tragic, scary, and melancholy. It truly captured the magic of being a child and the edge of selfishness children have. Barrie never painted Peter Pan as safe, for he is much too self-focused to be safe. This is a book I plan on enjoying again!

Rated: G (Just don’t read about Barrie’s life in general. You have been warned.)

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0374530637/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0374530637&linkCode=as2&tag=genandquispi-20&linkId=UHJ5VK7NVZBXMUXG

Wise Blood by Flannery O’Conner: I’m going to admit that this is the type of book that’s lost on me—too intellectual. It’s supposed to be a spiritual comic, but I never laughed once and found it disturbing. My Dad asked me if I thought it more King or Koontz, and by far King. Koontz always has a happy ending. Because of the cleverness of O’Conner, I had to go read some articles about the point of the story which did help. I recommend reading them before you read the book. You do need to know she is a Roman Catholic and she considers the ending redemptive, which creeps me out even more. It was a good read, just not enjoyable.

Rated: R

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0875525210/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0875525210&linkCode=as2&tag=genandquispi-20&linkId=VUK2TF4D7P2SZ7WK

The Shorter Catechism for Study Classes, Vol. 1 by G.I. Williamson: A very easy to read, straight-forward explanation of the questions and answers in the Catechism. It is Presbyterian, so Baptist will need to do a little bit of filtering. The short article presentation is useful for personal or family study.

Rated: G

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0060515236/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0060515236&linkCode=as2&tag=genandquispi-20&linkId=T35PIUDMKL3HGWRQ

Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman: This is a collection of short stories from the mind of Neil Gaiman. All of them are clever and interesting, though I did find that he tended to be less ‘clean’ in his short stories than he is in his full-length novel. He had one very disturbing story dealing with the problem of Susan not returning to Narnia. It was so awful. I almost wished I hadn’t read it, but after giving it some thought, I realized that Susan doesn’t ring true to many people. For me, it’s that once a king or queen in Narnia, always a king or queen in Narnia. For Gaiman, as a non-Christian, it’s Aslan and the White Witch trapping the children so they could eat them. It’s always interesting to get a peek at what an unbeliever thinks about something Christian. I just wish it’d been a cleaner peek.

Rated: R

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0802406203/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0802406203&linkCode=as2&tag=genandquispi-20&linkId=LKOEGZTPR33YJIGJ

Fierce Women by Kimberly Wagner: One of the best books I’ve read for women, Fierce Women is about a woman who destroyed her marriage. The Lord broke her down and showed her she was unsubmissive and fierce in a bad way. This is a must read for any woman on how to be a soft warrior. It is very pointed. Wagner doesn’t pull any punches. A strong woman can tear their husband down, or use their strength to build him up. This is an honest, real, and helpful book. Wagner doesn’t only give a list of things strong women do that are wrong, she shows how we can exchange those traits with the fruit of the Spirit.

Rated: PG-13

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0882643495/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0882643495&linkCode=as2&tag=genandquispi-20&linkId=PW72MJULY7K7PKKC

The Pastor’s Wife by Sabina Wurmbrand: What a book! While I don’t agree doctrinally with everything in this book, it was still an amazing story about Christ preserving and using his people in the worst of circumstances. This would be a great book to read in high school while studying the rise of communism. She is honest about how full of lies that form of government becomes when it gains a foothold. Through all their trials in Romania, they kept waiting for America to come rescue them, while most Americans didn’t know anything about what was going on. It made me wish we had gone and rescued them, but then I remember that it is about how Christ is moving, not the might of this nation.

Rated: PG-13

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005LAIHY0/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B005LAIHY0&linkCode=as2&tag=genandquispi-20&linkId=CJ4TCHSUD3DC6T6I

Prometheus: We finally got around to watching this movie. It was good, but not great. They had never obviously watched an Alien movie because they kept doing stupid things. It made me want to watch Aliens again, which I did. The God element—searching for their creature without losing faith in God—makes for interesting dinner conversation.

Rated: R

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000JNN0SM/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B000JNN0SM&linkCode=as2&tag=genandquispi-20&linkId=2FBAFQAVA6Z6G45D

Terminator 1 & 2: I had an exhausted day and needed a break, so I plugged in these two old favorites and wasn’t disappointed. Other than a few cheesy 80’s elements, these are still great movies. The story is clever and unique, the characters are great—yes, I love Sarah Conner. When I watch them, I see the effect they’ve had on my storytelling over the years. I think this might be where I got my love of generational stories.

Rated: R

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004RE29PO/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B004RE29PO&linkCode=as2&tag=genandquispi-20&linkId=SAN3JL53F7UYAKSF

Aliens: This is one of my top favorite cheesy action flicks. I have happy and silly family memories wrapped around it and have seen it more times than I can count. What struck me this watching was how great Ripley and Hicks are. Ripley is a strong women but not unfeminine. Her strength isn’t forced by surrounding her with weak and stupid men. They didn’t have to down play the men in the movie to make Ripley seem stronger. I love that. I love that Ripley and Hicks can stand shoulder to shoulder. I love that it is her maternal instinct that gives her the power she needs to take out the aliens. Great flick.

Rated: R

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CFA222M/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00CFA222M&linkCode=as2&tag=genandquispi-20&linkId=2N4XT7DWKVXXNARN

Jack the Giant Slayer: This movie was surprisingly cute, fun, and enjoyable. It’s along the same lines as many fantasy movies which graced the silver screen in the 80’s and 90’s like The Neverending Story and Krul. We both enjoyed it very much. A great kid’s movie and family movie. I did love the part when the Princess says being a princess is such a useless thing, and Jack reminds her that she has the chance and power to change the world. This is perfect for helping your daughters see that being a woman isn’t a useless thing: the hand that rocks the cradles rules the world.

Rated: PG-13 (I think this rating is for some epic deaths by giants and squashings.)

 

Lots of good books and movies here with a few duds thrown in on the side. I hope it’s been helpful. Feel free to ask any questions about the ratings. Have you read, watched, or played any of these? What did you think?

A Thousand Words is Worth One Picture: Cruise

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I didn’t anticipate the sheer giddiness that overcame me when we put out to sea in August on our first cruise. I had spent the last four weeks trying to make sure everything was packed just right, passports came through, evening wear was not super wrinkled, that I had enough motion sickness blockers to cover me the whole week, and all the other planning that goes into a cruise the first time. When those giant engines roared to life and the ship put out to sea, I laughed. I laughed for joy.

Hearing the words ‘International Maritime Law’, seeing dolphins and flying fish, and finally, finally sailing out past all that is mankind to only ocean awoke a part of my childhood I had long forgotten. Memories of Peter Pan’s ship, the Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Horatio Hornblower, and the Pirates of the Caribbean, and other books and movies where they sailed the seven seas in search of treasure flooded me as the wind hit my face tasting of salt. I wanted to sing “Yo ho, yo ho, a pirates life for me.” I wanted to sail by the stars in Her Royal British Navy. I wanted to re-live childhood dreams.

I only then realized how much time me and my siblings spent reading and watching movies about the days of sailing around the world in clipper ships. I only then realized that while I had always loved the ocean from the shore, I had never loved the ocean on the ocean. It is truly something that grips you and never let’s go.

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We’ve all seen pictures of the open ocean, or the moon gleaming on the water, but a picture can’t tell you about the open feeling of only sky and sea. Nothing as far as the eye can see but sky and sea. It can’t tell you about sailing through storms. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing north, east, west, or south. Turn in a circle and only sky and sea. Weight lifts from the shoulders, burdens seem small in the beauty of open ocean. Mixed with this beauty, akin to seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time, is the tiny drop of horror. You look around and nothing. On a cruise ship filled with enough food to feed a small nation the horror of emptiness lies remote, buried. But, a well-read home-schooler remembers tales of ships lost at sea. All that water and not one drop of it safe to drink boggles the mind. The beauty mixed with just a drop of fear draws you to stare out into the empty space. And it’s not just the lack of food and water, it’s the life below the surface.

Dolphins raced through the waves created by our massive ship, flying fish, tiny and almost impossible to see, flew out across the ocean, and sea gulls called in our wake, but you look for the shadows under the waves. Imaginations can run wild when you know an unexplored world lives below what you can see. This is what is captivating about the open ocean. Beauty and fear.

While we were on the cruise, there was a super moon. It shone out across the water pulling along a bright golden tail and lighting up the ship. It looked like a cheesy ocean post card and I kept waiting for a dolphin to leap through the moonbeams. We watched the moon until our eyes were heavy with sleep and bed called in an inescapable lullaby.

The sun rose over blue oceans turning clouds pink and lavender. What a glorious way to wake up. Sleeping on a ship was some of the best sleep I’ve ever had. The gentle rocking, the sense of nothing, the going on forever lulls you down into the depths of unconscious dreaming.

Formal night delighted me with finery and laughter. Movies from the twenties came to mind and I half expected Hercule Poirot come around a corner with his perfect mustache.

In a picture, you see the open ocean, you see the blue water with hints of purple and bits of green, but you don’t really see the open ocean. You don’t see how your eye instinctively looks to the horizon, that far distant line of blue meeting blue. You don’t see how the ocean is the perfect shade of denim with just enough dark wash and just enough light. At the corner of your eye dances the sparkle of the sunshine slipping across the top of little waves. Above, the sky is a very clear blue with a strong white under tone too strong to be a baby blue. It is a true and real sky blue broken by a wisp or poof of cloud here and there.

The voices of the other guest sound out, excited children call out to each other, breaking through the soft, muffled woosh of the ship cutting through the water. A gentle sway reminds you you’re not on solid ground and the smell of coffee delivered to your door reminds you you’re on vacation.

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I could dedicate a whole other article to the storms we sailed through. They were spectacular. After one we almost missed due to dinner, we saw the most beautiful sunset I’ve ever seen. The rain trailed from blue clouds like beards off an old man’s face. The sun turned the sea and sky pink, orange, orange, and pink. A double rainbow arched across the blue expanse.

The sea is a dangerous thing and someday I’ll return to her again.

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This article is dedicated to my Husband, the Coles and the Garricks. It was wonderful to spend so much time with all y'all!

This article is dedicated to my Husband, the Coles and the Garricks. It was wonderful to spend so much time with all y’all!

Quote of the Weekend

“While she slept she had a dream. She dreamt that the Neverland had come too near and that a strange boy had broken through from it. He did not alarm her, for she though she had seen him before in the faces of many women who have no children. Perhaps he is to be found in the faces of some mothers also. But in her dreams he had rent the film that obscures the Neverland, and she saw Wendy and John and Michael peeping through the gap.”

-Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie

(My husband got me this book for Christmas almost two years ago and I’m just now sitting down to read it. What a beautiful, delightful little book. I love the overall sad tone mixed in with childlike adventure.)

 

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Quote of the Weekend

“What child unable to sleep on a warm summer night hasn’t thought he saw Peter Pan’s sailing ship in the sky? I will teach you to see that ship.”

– Robert Cotroneo, When a Child on a Summer Morning

(I found this quote in Ink Heart.  She had beautiful quotes at the beginning of each chapter.  I have always had a fascination with Peter Pan that grew out of the movie Hook.  There were many times as a child that I felt like childhood was slipping away from me and I still had so much more that I wanted to do – like have a horse or go on an adventure.  This is what happens when you let your kids read.;-) )