"It was the sweetest, most mysterious-looking place any one could imagine. Satiny poppies of all tints danced in the breeze by the score, gaily defyin"It was the sweetest, most mysterious-looking place any one could imagine. Satiny poppies of all tints danced in the breeze by the score, gaily defying flowers which had lived in the garden for years and which might be confessed seemed rather to wonder how such new people had got there. And the roses--the roses! Rising out of the grass, tangled round the sun-dial, wreathing the tree trunks and hanging from their branches, climbing up the walls and spreading over them with long garlands falling in cascades--they came alive day by day, hour by hour. Fair fresh leaves, and buds--and buds--tiny at first but swelling and working Magic until they burst and unfurled into cups of scent delicately spilling themselves over their brims and filling the garden air."
Bratty and spoiled Mary Lennox is orphaned when her parents fall victim to a cholera outbreak in India. As a result, Mary becomes the ward of an uncle in England she has never met. As she hesitantly tries to carve a new life for herself at imposing and secluded Misselthwaite Manor, Mary befriends a high-spirited boy named Dickon and investigates a secret garden on the Manor grounds. "Might I have a bit of earth?"
She also discovers a sickly young cousin, Colin, who has been shut away in a hidden Manor room. Together Mary and Dickon help Colin blossom, and in the process Mary finds her identity and melts the heart of her emotionally distant uncle.
The characters involved are all very different and unique in their own way. Even though this story took place in the early 1900's, the characters can still be related to in this day and age. Their actions and attitudes resemble the same type of people around today such as the little girl Mary's stubbornness, gardener Ben Weatherstaff's crabbiness, the country boy Dickin's whole-heartiness, the lady's maid Martha's warmth, Susan Sowerby's maternal love or the uncle's coldness. A most unforgettable character for me in all of children's literature is the character of Dickon--I believe there is none as perfect as him--as we follow him with his "creatures" trotting along or when he converses with Mary (not quite as contrary) or Colin (the young rajah) in his broad Yorkshire.
This have been one of the most memorable books I've read growing up--a book made up of shimmering adventure of magic and adventure. This book combines gentle "magic", that is, the spiritual side of things, and a fairy tale story of two neglected children who are healed by the help of that "magic"; some good simple people, and a tragedy greater than themselves. Their coming out of their selfish ways into greater health and wisdom is a lesson for everybody. Reading it gives you a taste for the greater things to come in literature.
Title The Secret Garden Author Frances Hodgson Burnett Reviewed By Purplycookie...more
Originally published in 1903, Yei Theodora Ozaki's translation of Sadanami Sanjin's collection of Japanese fairy tales has been the introduction of maOriginally published in 1903, Yei Theodora Ozaki's translation of Sadanami Sanjin's collection of Japanese fairy tales has been the introduction of many a young child into the legends and fables of old Japan across the years.
Many of the stories here are familiar with anyone even slightly interested in Japanese folklore. "Momotaro, or the Story of the Son of a Peach, "The Story of Urashima Taro, the Fisher Lad", "Kintaro the Golden Boy" and "The Ogre of Rashomon". Along with these, there are rarer tales that one doesn't usually see in other Japanese fairy tale collection, such as: "The Stones of Five Colors and the Empress Jokwa", "The Sagacious Monkey and the Boar" and "How and Old Man Lost his Wren".
As I understand it, this is a somewhat liberal translation; accuracy to the source material has obviously been sacrificed to a certain extent for the sake of accessibility. Interestingly, words that would not be translated today are translated here for the sake of the Western audience ("samurai," for example, is translated "knight"). Many of these stories are not concise--they tend to meander--and some end rather abruptly. Without substantial familiarity with the original material, it's difficult to determine how much of this is the stories themselves and how much is Ozaki's doing, but I suspect the latter is more responsible.
These stories are, nevertheless, mostly quite enjoyable, and the differences and similarities with Western fairy tales are particularly interesting. (Wicked stepmothers, apparently, are a source of plot conflict the world over.)
Title Japanese Fairy Tales Author Yei Theodora Ozaki Reviewed By Purplycookie...more
As Athens prepares for the wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta, Egeus is demanding that his daughter Hermia marry the man he's chosen for her, Demetrius.As Athens prepares for the wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta, Egeus is demanding that his daughter Hermia marry the man he's chosen for her, Demetrius. Her only other options are death or the nunnery.
Since she's in love with a young man named Lysander, Hermia refuses, and the two of them plot to escape Athens and marry elsewhere. But Helena, a girl who has been kicked to the curb by Demetrius, tips him off about their plans; he chases Hermia and Lysander into the woods, with Helena following him all the way.
But on this same night, the fairy king Oberon and his queen Titania are feuding over a little Indian boy. Oberon decides to use a magical "love juice" from a flower to cause some trouble for Titania by making her fall in love with some random weaver named Nick Bottom (whom his henchman Puck has turned into a donkey-headed man). He also decides to have Puck iron out the four lovers' romantic troubles with the same potion. But of course, hijinks ensue.
Shakespeare seems to know how to make a tangled mess of everyone's lives very well. It amazes me his power to make that seem funny at times and then seem incredibly sad at others.
This particular play, "A Midsummer Night's Dream" is perhaps the my most loved comedy or even work of Shakespeare. It addresses romance, faithfulness, human hearts, honest intentions, mischievous intentions, the interaction of the other world of fairies interacting with humans, comedy a plenty, and in the end a happy ending.
"A Doll's House" is the story of Nora Helmer who has secretly borrowed a large sum of money to help her husband recover from a serious illness. Nora w"A Doll's House" is the story of Nora Helmer who has secretly borrowed a large sum of money to help her husband recover from a serious illness. Nora who has borrowed this money by forging her father's signature soon discovers the value of the relationship she has with her husband, Torvald, when he becomes the director of the bank that employs the man, Nils Krogstad, who has lent the money to Nora. When it is discovered that Nils has committed a forgery himself, Nils threatens to reveal Nora's secret to her husband if she does not convince Torvald to allow Nils to keep his position at the bank.
The play raises questions about female self-sacrifice in a male-dominated world. Nora is a "wife and child" to Torvald Helmer, and nothing more. She is his doll, a plaything on display to the world, of little intellectual value and even less utility in his life. Thus it is logical for Helmer to act so shockingly upon his discovery that Nora has managed financial affairs (typically a family responsibility reserved for the patriarch) without so much as his consent or knowledge.
Nora was constantly belittled by Helmer and had never been given the chance to grow up. She had been treated like a doll in a doll's house, first by her father and then by her husband, who she had been passed on to. Although it seems trivial, even the mere fact that she was forbidden to eat macaroons is significant. People may well say that a woman's first responsibility is to her family, and children especially, I think that it is ultimately to herself.
Nora closing the door at the end of the play is very significant--she is closing the door on that part of her life. Torvald realized what he had done in the end, but by that time it was far too late for anything to be changed.
Title A Doll's House Author Henrik Ibsen Reviewed By Purplycookie...more
"Anne's House of Dreams (Anne of Green Gables, #5)" is the fifth book in L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables series. The book begins with Anne and"Anne's House of Dreams (Anne of Green Gables, #5)" is the fifth book in L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables series. The book begins with Anne and Gilbert's wedding at Green Gables, and chronicles the first few years of their lives together through happiness and hardship.
Despite the fact that Anne and Gilbert finally seem to get their happy ending in Anne's "House of Dreams" (for it was exactly the house of her dreams complete with trees she so dearly loved and a brook nearby), some of the magic of the earlier books is lost in this novel. The one thing that remains wonderful about this series is Montgomery's wonderful style of writing.
I consider this book to be the last book of the "Anne" series, since the following books in the series are mainly concentrated in her children, and Anne is just a minor character. Even though they are very charming, and each one has his or her "Anne-ish" side, they are not Anne, I feel as though this is a farewell to Anne. I like this book because in it, Anne has managed to maintain her "magic"--she might not make as many mistakes while cooking or baking, and might not lose her temper at a passing neighbor, and her hair is not as red as it used to be but she is still the same Anne in spirit--passionate, romantic. With her quick eye for romance, she manages to attract the people who would easily supply her with an abundance of it in many forms--both tragic and comic.
The only thing I didn't like about this book is that by moving away from Avonlea, we lose many of the characters we had grown to love through the years--Marilla, Diana, and many other acquaintances, and of course - Green Gables itself..
But for the most part, it met my expectations. You've got to remember that it had some pretty high standards that it's predecessors had set to live up to.
"A Visit from St. Nicholas", also known as "The Night Before Christmas" and "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" from its first line, is a poem first pu"A Visit from St. Nicholas", also known as "The Night Before Christmas" and "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" from its first line, is a poem first published anonymously in 1823 and generally attributed to Clement Clarke Moore, although the claim has also been made that it was written by Henry Livingston, Jr.
The poem, is largely responsible for the conception of Santa Claus from the mid-nineteenth century to today, including his physical appearance, the night of his visit, his mode of transportation, the number and names of his reindeer, as well as the tradition that he brings toys to children. Prior to the poem, American ideas about St. Nicholas and other Christmastide visitors varied considerably. The poem has influenced ideas about St. Nicholas and Santa Claus from the United States to the rest of the English-speaking world and beyond.
This short poem if translated into prose tells us the following: On Christmas Eve night, while his wife and children sleep, a man awakens to noises outside his house. Looking out the window, he sees St. Nicholas in an air-borne sleigh pulled by eight reindeer. After landing his sleigh on the roof, the saint enters the house through the chimney, carrying a sack of toys with him. The man watches Nicholas filling the children's stockings hanging by the fire, and laughs to himself. They share a conspiratorial moment before the saint bounds up the chimney again. As he flies away, Saint Nicholas wishes everyone a "Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night."
This begins in a somewhat light hearted manner than what you'd expect, and is indeed quite funny, but ends with one of the most powerfully affecting lThis begins in a somewhat light hearted manner than what you'd expect, and is indeed quite funny, but ends with one of the most powerfully affecting love meditations ever. It is written in the style of a diary kept by the first woman in the Judeao-Christian creation myth; Eve.
This one, being from the female perspective, is a little more introspective and emotional, but nonetheless still humorous when comparing how the two genders completely misinterpret each others actions and can witness the same event and come up with two different versions of what happened. Yet despite these seemingly irreconcilable differences, the two still come to love and depend on each other.
It's a classic story; both humorous and thought-provoking, it recreates the famous scene with surprising plausibility and is very enjoyable.
A very short collection of even shorter fables cobbled up together with no unifying theme it seems. It mostly consisted of animal fables with accompanA very short collection of even shorter fables cobbled up together with no unifying theme it seems. It mostly consisted of animal fables with accompanying morals mentioned at the end and even this does not seem to sometimes match the story which preceded it.
First published in 1908, this collection of children's stories and poems was written by the English novelist and poet Dinah Maria Craik (born Mulock aFirst published in 1908, this collection of children's stories and poems was written by the English novelist and poet Dinah Maria Craik (born Mulock and often credited as Miss Mulock or Mrs Craik). This audio book consisted of 6 parts but I had to skip part 3 since the reader's accent quite takes away my enjoyment of the story.
Herein, brownie who lives in the cellar and who's presence is acknowledged by the household. He is given his daily dish of milk, loves to play with the "little people" as he refers to the children and can be quite vengeful when vexed whether by people or animals. That said, this may not be the best bedtime stories to be read to impressionable young children.
Adventures of a Brownie consists of: Brownie and the Cook Brownie and the Cherry Tree Brownie in the Farmyard Brownie's Ride Brownie on the Ice Brownie and the Clothes
Miss Civilization, a one act comedy, tells the story of a young woman who matches wits with three burglars attempting to rob her house. Unfortunately,Miss Civilization, a one act comedy, tells the story of a young woman who matches wits with three burglars attempting to rob her house. Unfortunately, the scenes which unfolded does not really seem plausible given the situation.
The same basic heartwarming story as "A Little Princess" with fewer details and some character changes. There is no Becky, Capt. Crewe's friend is oldThe same basic heartwarming story as "A Little Princess" with fewer details and some character changes. There is no Becky, Capt. Crewe's friend is old and fat, plus there were different interactions with neighbor families. There are contradictions; first Sara cries for several days after her father leaves and a few pages later, it says that Sara never cries.
Quite interesting to see the author's storyline in another version.
Quite enjoyable even in its audio book format wherein Sallie has been asked by her college buddy, the Judy Abbott of Daddy Long-Legs, to run the JohnQuite enjoyable even in its audio book format wherein Sallie has been asked by her college buddy, the Judy Abbott of Daddy Long-Legs, to run the John Grier Home, the orphanage Judy was raised in. A cheerful and unabashed socialite waiting for her Congressman boyfriend to propose, Sallie takes on the job on a temporary basis. Armed with her sense of humor and her firm brightness, along with her maid and her Chow doggie, she gets her heart stolen by the 100 sad-eyed charges.
The book is modeled after ”Daddy Long-Legs”, so it is entirely composed of Sallie's stick-figure-illustrated letters to Judy, Gordon (the boyfriend), and the Home's prickly visiting doctor, whose letters are soon addressed "Dear Enemy" (it is from her salutations to him in letters that the title of the book derives). Unfortunately, the copy that I read which was from Project Gutenberg didn’t contain these fascinating drawings. Oh, I would so love to get my hands on a copy of this book!
Sallie’s letters catalogue her daily adventures with the sweet, colorful kids, a series of cooks and farmers, sexist trustees, and grumpy neighbors. In all of this, there sparkles a strong feminine spirit, blithe optimism, and clear-headed compassion. The letters read so naturally and sure, Sallie's charm radiates whether she is amusing us with a story of orphan mischief or seriously discussing the consequences of hereditary alcoholism. The pace of the novel also clips along due to the relative shortness of the epistolary style. You only read what the main character is writing out to particular people, but not what they send in return. Never read a book in that form and I really enjoyed it. You follow what it's like to be a young girl in the turn of the century and, in this book, what it's like to be the superintendent of an orphanage.
This is not a cutesy portrayal of orphans, but an amazingly honest look at the serious, even tragic price kids can pay for their parents'--and society's--shortcomings. If you want a quality story for girls, Sallie's self-confidence, independence, and intelligent optimism make her a top-notch role model.
While it is true that some outdated concepts are presented in the book, but I think it's important to note that Jean Webster seems to question most of those concepts. The characters ultimately seek love over "suitability" and what's right over what's appropriate. Even the concept of eugenics is repeatedly questioned by the main character, who doesn't quite believe the hype but is willing to let a man of science "educate" her. Yes, the book is dated (as was its predecessor, to some extent), but the story and characters it contains are timeless.
”Daddy Long-Legs” is vanilla, sweet and smooth. ”Dear Enemy” is more like mint chocolate chip, refreshing with nuggets of warmth, laughter, bitter-sweetness. You will be enchanted by the fiery-haired Sallie McBride and her orphans.
Quite enjoyable in its audio book format wherein Jerusha Abbott has grown up in the John Grier Home for orphans. As the oldest, she is in charge of thQuite enjoyable in its audio book format wherein Jerusha Abbott has grown up in the John Grier Home for orphans. As the oldest, she is in charge of the younger children. An anonymous benefactor on the Board, "Mr. Smith," decides to send her to college, as long as she writes to him faithfully detailing her education. Originally published in 1912, Jean Webster's coming-of-age tale continues to be relevant to young women today. While some experiences and circumstances are dated, the emotions and life situations of Judy are timeless. Judy is an outspoken woman in a time when women didn't even have the right to vote; she is a socialist, a reformer, and an author.
Through a series of letters Jerusha writes to "Daddy-Long-Legs," a relationship filled with affection and respect develops, even though she is the only correspondent throughout the years. She calls him "Daddy-Long-Legs" because she saw his tall shadow as he left the building. The writing is entertaining, intelligent and always realistic. That is exactly how a person in their late teens to early twenties writes and it is so refreshing to read an author who knows what she is talking about on the subject.
Although the narrative unfolds slowly, the language is sophisticated, highly descriptive, and witty. This tale will appeal to listeners who revel in rich, detailed imagery to present a character wholly believable and likable.
Here are a couple of quotes from the book that I loved:
"Half of the time I don't know what they're talking about; their jokes seem to relate to a past that everyone but me has shared. I'm a foreigner in the world and I don't understand the language." This is the realization of Judy upon stumbling into the college world and leaving her orphan home behind.
"It isn't the big troubles in life that require character. Anybody can rise to a crisis and face a crushing tragedy with courage, but to meet the petty hazards of the day with a laugh--I really think that requires spirit."
"It's different with me than with other girls. They can take things naturally from people. They have fathers and brothers and aunts and uncles; but I can't pretend to be on such relations with anyone. I like to pretend that you belong to me, just to play with the idea, but of course I know you don't. I'm alone, really--with my back to the wall fighting the world--and I get sort of gaspy when I think about it."
"I'm going to enjoy every second, and I'm going to know I'm enjoying it while I'm enjoying it. Most people don't live; they just race. They are trying to reach some goal far away on the horizon, and in the heat of the going they get so breathless and panting that they lose sight of the beautiful, tranquil country they are passing through; and then the first thing they know, they are old and worn out, and it doesn't make any difference whether they've reached the goal or not."
The ending is marvelous with a great little twist. I think this book is great for girls 8-80 years old and am sorry I did not read it sooner.
Title Daddy-Long-Legs Author Jean Webster Reviewed By Purplycookie...more
"Anne of the Island (Anne of Green Gables, #3)" takes us away from Avonlea to Kingsport, where Anne is attending Redmond College. This new setting doe"Anne of the Island (Anne of Green Gables, #3)" takes us away from Avonlea to Kingsport, where Anne is attending Redmond College. This new setting doesn't mean that we miss out on Green Gables altogether, as Anne does return home for vactions, but it does give one a sense of moving on. Never again will Anne be a child living under Marilla's roof--she is an adult, and in this book she is beginning to break away from Green Gables in preparation for the next chapter in her life. Many of the events in this book shape Anne for the rest of her life, and it is an important book for those wishing to read the whole series.
Anne of the Island is no less wonderful than the books preceeding it or following it. Like all the books, it has a blend of humour and poignancy; joy and sorrow. The key drawcards of the Anne books are the characters. The cast includes all kinds of interesting guests including the wonderful Miss Patty and Maria with their china dogs, Miss Ada and her cushions, Mrs Skinner and her romance ("Jog along, black mare") and the list goes on. Best of all, our old friends are back - Anne, Gilbert, Pricilla, Diana, Davy and Dora, Marilla and Mrs Lynde, Charlie Sloane, and all those we knew and loved in earlier books. There are also some fabulous new additions to the circle of friends - Stella, Aunt Jimsie and the irrepressible Philippa Gordon.
Meanwhile, after a thousand romantic dreams and enduring both Diana Barry's wedding and the rejection of Gilbert Blythe's proposal (her second actually), Anne finally meets her Prince Charming, Royal Gardner. He is handsome and rich, in short, everything that Anne ever dreamed that she wanted in a husband. Then comes the fateful moment when Roy proposes and Anne opens her lips to say her faithful yes. But this is but a false dawn in Anne's life and there is a fateful Book of Revelation that Anne has to endure before love takes up the glass of time. Even though I knew how the end of Anne of the Island would turn out, I still waited in suspense 'til the very last page.
There is romanticism and then there is that which is romantic and Montgomery shows the difference. There is a reason that this character and these books are enduring classics of (supposedly) juvenile literature.
It's written beautifully, and I found myself trying to speak as flowery as Anne but could never pull it off.
In "Anne of Avonlea (Anne of Green Gables, #2)", the second story of the Anne series, we become reacquainted with Anne and her friends, and we are intIn "Anne of Avonlea (Anne of Green Gables, #2)", the second story of the Anne series, we become reacquainted with Anne and her friends, and we are introduced to many fascinating new characters who either make her feel like tearing her hair out or enrich her life. The book's title is fitting, as Anne is no longer simply "of Green Gables" as she was in the previous book, but now takes her place among the "important" people (and the "grown up" people) of Avonlea society, as its only schoolteacher. She is also a founding member of the A.V.I.S. (the Avonlea Village Improvement Society), which tries to improve (with questionable results) the Avonlea landscape.
After her foster father's sudden death, 16-year old red-haired orphan Anne Shirley gives up a college scholarship to stay with her ailing foster mother Marilla on their farm in the village of Avonlea on Prince Edward Island. Thanks to the unexpected generosity of childhood rival Gilbert Blythe, Anne gets the job of teacher at Avonlea's one-room school. The imaginative and enthusiastic Anne is determined to make the best of her situation. Armed with a teaching certificate, she takes on the challenge of inspiring young minds and finds education runs both ways. In between teaching and grading papers, she will begin to experiment with her own writing. When Marilla adopts the orphaned young twins of a distant cousin, Anne willingly adds child care to her responsibilities.
Although she is now sixteen and a fully fledged schoolmarm, she still displays the irrepressible knack for getting into scrapes that she had as a child, which include falling through a roof, dying her nose a ghastly colour, losing her temper with the irascible Mr Harrison, her next door neighbour, and sowing the first seeds of love with Gilbert Blythe.
We witness Anne maturing slightly, even though she still cannot avoid getting into a number of her familiar scrapes, as only Anne can -- some of which include selling her neighbor's cow (having mistaken it for her own), or getting stuck in a broken duck house roof while peeping into a pantry window.
It's full of the same quirks that have caused the movie to be one of the most anticipated this year. Like when he is 20 (and looks 50), Fitzgerald telIt's full of the same quirks that have caused the movie to be one of the most anticipated this year. Like when he is 20 (and looks 50), Fitzgerald tells us he is often mistaken for his father, and when he is 50 (and looks 20), he is often mistaken for his son. Nearly every aspect of his life is told with such mirror bookends, like how his May-December marriage (his wife was 20 and attracted to a man who looked 50) ended up becoming a December-May romance that caused the townsfolk to wonder what a young man was doing with such an old lady.
Aside from being a journey through life backwards, the short story tells of how bonds that are meant to be sacred and holy (such as family, parenthood, and marriage) are shattered when abnormalities are thrown in. From his birth, Benjamin is resented for his condition, and the ridicule never lets up. His wife believes him selfish and unwilling to change a condition he cannot control. His own son will not let him address him as such, but rather wants Benjamin to be the son to improve his standing socially.
Longer than a short story, shorter than a novella, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" was destined to be lost to everyone except the most ardent F. Scott Fitzgerald fans until Hollywood rescued it and turned it into a film.
From what I have seen of the movie, the film and story differ greatly. Even though Benjamin marries in the story, I don't think his wife (a minor character) occupies the same niche as the Cate Blanchett character in the film. Plus, in the original story, Benjamin is born a fully grown, mentally developed 70-year-old and dies an infant, both physically and mentally. This is the fundamental split between the two versions of the story. The movie depicts an infant with the features and physical ailments of an old man who has the mind of an infant. The Benjamin of the silver screen grows young physically, but old mentally.