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Posts Tagged ‘books’

Several months ago, in a fit of boredom, or perhaps inspiration, I googled “random holidays.” I found a website dedicated to such things and I put one or two (or 50) dates into my phone of holidays that I found interesting. Because, you know, maybe I wanted to do themed Instagram photos (that was a real thought in my brain). But, also because the celebration of everyday and arbitrary is my favorite bit of magic.

 I’ve gone a few months without much acknowledgement of these holidays, but today I noticed it was “Make up Your Own Holiday.” Day. I looked and my phone and said, “Ok, I’ll do that,” and Book Character Crush Day was born. Then I added an International to make it seem more legitimate and International Book Character Crush Day was born.

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International Book Character Crush Day is a day to honor the crème de la crème of book characters – the ones that make you swoon, the ones that make you want to be best friends. Whoever it is that makes you feel all the feels. The ones that you think about and talk about for the rest of your live long days.

I won’t be talking about Mr. Darcy. He’s great. I have actually fallen in love with every man I have ever seen play Mr. Darcy, and I tell you this so you will know that my love is deep, but Mr. Darcy is not my first Book Love.

Shiloh Irons is.

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Who is Shiloh Irons? He is a 6’4’’ blond nurse circa early 1880s. Orphaned as a baby, raised by three German sisters, boxer and Confederate soldier – until an injury brought him to a field hospital where he found a natural talent as a nurse. In the first book, he comes along side our independent and smart heroine Cheney Duvall (who is a DOCTOR) as her nurse and I think that basically makes him a feminist.

I cannot possibly see how you are not also already in love with Shiloh Irons, so I will say this. This eight book series that features Shiloh is the Cheney Duvall, MD series by Gilbert and Lynn Morris, and they are my most reread books of all time. I hold them dear to my heart and have for many, many, many years. I know they are slightly ridiculous (is there a way to make Christian Historical Fiction not at least slightly ridiculous?) but these books and their characters taught me about love and friendship and God and family and, in their own strange way, feminism.

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So, even though my older sister mercilessly made fun of me for these books, I’ll share them proudly. Because like so many things that seem so little and insignificant, they are actually running through my veins like oxygen changing my blood from blue to red and most of all keeping me alive.

The real conclusion to this is that we are all real lucky they have never made a film version of any of these novels because, if my reaction to Mr. Darcy is any indication, I would surely be stalking the man who played Shiloh Irons.

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This weekend I watch The Lizzie Bennet Diaries for the second time. My sisters and I squealed and laughed and I had to once again try to calm my Darcy fangirl down. But, that, of course is to be expected.

It is always interesting to experience an adaptation of a story that you love, and I find that it seems to be a nearly constant event in popular cinema these days (book adaptations and sequels, my friends, the way of Hollywood). 

I may stand in the minority here, but I love adaptations. When it comes to the beloved story of the illuminable Ms. Elizabeth Bennet and the brooding before it was cool to brood Mr. Darcy, I love them all. Well, most of them. I have a thing about the 1995 miniseries with Colin Firth that almost everyone in the world (save Jess) disagrees with me on, but then again, that’s the very reason I am writing this post.

See, the problem I have with the miniseries, is the one surefire way for me to dislike an adaptation – especially a book to film adaptation. The purpose of an adaptation, should be, to enhance the story, to treat the story as a living, breathing thing, that transported to a new medium, or a new setting, or a new whatever the adaptation does, it would transform, in some ways.

This is why I don’t care if a movie leaves out a scene. Or makes a character a little bit different. Because movies tell stories in such a different way than books do. If you adapt a book to a movie, then, certain aspects of the book, which worked to tell the story so well, will simply fall apart on screen. The reverse is just as true. After all, what may take 10 pages to describe in a book, can sometimes be shown in a movie in 30 seconds. But, that inner dialogue that carries the book – well, that will have to change on film. This is the beautiful thing about the different mediums of art.

Of course, there are awful adaptations, which I think, occur one of two ways. By trying to be so faithful to the original that they don’t use the tools of their own medium. Sort, of that whole idea of following the letter of the law, but not the spirit. And then, those that abandon the heart of the original.

I say this to say, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is simply a brilliant adaptation. Clever. True to the heart of the book, as well as, exploring new aspects of it. So, excuse me, while I go watch it again. 

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To continue on with the lists I’m making out the wazoo this time of year – to the books. Since I’m in Grad school, I don’t get to read a whole lot for fun, but when I get to, I read them voraciously. So, here they are.

1. Divergent and Insurgent by Veronica Roth. Both because they are a part of a trilogy and because I read them so quickly, I can’t always remember where one ended and one began. Still, this book is YA gold. THG left an empty void in my heart this year, and this more than filled it. I can’t wait for the final installment!

2. Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis by Lauren Winner. Dr. Lauren F. Winner is one of my she-roes. I re-read Girl Meets God every year and recommend it as often as I can. She hasn’t had a book out in a few years, so I was excited about reading her again. This is about the aftermath of her divorce in regards to her faith. It’s a quiet sort of book, but still has the intelligent, profound, poetic wisdom that she always has.

3. Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin. These books are epic. I have taken a long break before settling back into book 4 because of the intensity of book 3. Also, they are books I can’t multi-task read with, so that limits the times I can commit to 1000 page books. If you don’t want to devote to the prolific series, then I highly recommend the HBO show. The books have great character development, though they can drag at times (I guess having 150 characters requires a lot of set up).

4. Columbine by Dave Cullen. A journalistic and detailed account of the Columbine shooting. Interesting and devastating.

5. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. This was a book I had to read for my 21st Century class. It is a tricky novel – it jumps around from characters and time and point of view and never really connects in the way that you want it to (oh and one chapter is in Power Point), but Egan pulls it off. Certainly not for everyone, but incredibly fascinating.

6. Along the Watchtower by Constance Squires. Another book from 21st Century lit. This book is snap shots from an army brat coming of age. It’s poetic and full of rebellion, rock n’ roll, and complicated families – like all good books, right?

7. 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker. Jen is hilarious and honest. This book is her 7 month fast and contemplation about excess. I laughed. I cried. I cringed. And it made me think a lot about what it means to live simply in America.

8. 9 Stories by J. D. Salinger. I adored Catcher in the Rye but hadn’t read many of Salinger’s short stories. What can I say? He’s brilliant.

9. MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche. This was a quick read, but informative and thoughtful. Bertsche was hilarious at times commenting on finding friendship like first dates and it definitely touches a note to that strange post-college, professional life, making new friends conundrum.

10. Beloved by Toni Morrison. Another book I read for class (Southern Women’s Writers). A lot of people have said a lot of things about Beloved and Morrison,  and I’ll just add to the chorus. She is a brilliant, brave, and wise woman.

11. Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. One of the books on writing. Short, easy paragraphs. Full of gems. A must for writers.

12. Why is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling. This book made me want Mindy as a new best friend. She is hilarious. Witty. This book can easily be devoured in an afternoon. The book is like a long conversation with your best friend.

Looking forward to in 2013: Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist, Detergent by Veronica Roth, and reading all of Jane Austen novels.

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