Short Video tribute: Duet by Glen Keane (2014)


Last night, I found a posting of this video on Facebook and I fell in love with it. Animation is such a beautiful, complicated art form and this short is no exception. The three minute short depicts the love story of a boy and a girl, whose growth slowly draws them closer and closer together. Glen Keane, since 2013 named a Disney Legend, originally worked on character design and animation on many of the movies from the Disney Renaissance including The Little Mermaid (1989), Aladdin (1992), Beauty and the Beast (1991), Tarzan (1999), and Tangled (2010) and has received the 1992 Annie Award for character animation and the 2007 Winsor McCay Award for lifetime contribution to the field of animation.  I wish that I could post the video on my blog, but I am not a premium member. However, I will leave a link here so that anyone interested can watch it. ——–> LINK


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Books/Series I will Never Forget: 21-40


I am putting these posts up really for myself. I have been neglecting the roots of my love for fiction and stories. Yes I love films, especially great films but it was through books that I really learned what it was like to step away from the world and experience something magical. Each one of these is dear to me for different reasons. Some I read and became afraid. Others I cried for hours, trying to understand the meaning behind the suffering. Some helped lay the foundation for my belief in God. Others simply made me think introspectively and extrospectively. I would invite any to look these over if they so desire. I put in a lot of quotes this time rather than my ramblings. I think the books should speak for themselves don’t you?

Dracamer99Dracula” by Bram Stoker, 1987

“Oh, my dear, if you only knew how strange is the matter regarding which I am here, it is you who would laugh. I have learned not to think little of any one’s belief, no matter how strange it may be. I have tried to keep an open mind, and it is not the ordinary things of life that could close it, but the strange things, the extraordinary things, the things that make one doubt if they be mad or sane.” ― Bram StokerDracula

“There are darknesses in life and there are lights, and you are one of the lights, the light of all lights.” ― Bram StokerDracula

“I am longing to be with you, and by the sea, where we can talk together freely and build our castles in the air.” ― Bram StokerDracula

eastLEast” by Edith Patou, 2005

“It was the difference between walking with a stranger and walking with your heartmate. It was the difference between working for duty and working for love.” ― Edith PattouEast

“They journeyed far and the white bear said, “Are you afraid?” “No,” she replied. “I am not afraid.” ― Edith PattouEast

gilgamesh-delugeEpic of Gilgamesh” by Unknown, 18th century B.C.

“Gilgamesh, where are you hurrying to? You will never find that life for which you are looking. When the gods created man they allotted to him death, but life they retained in their own keeping. As for you, Gilgamesh, fill your belly with good things; day and night, night and day, dance and be merry, feast and rejoice. Let your clothes be fresh, bathe yourself in water, cherish the little child that holds your hand, and make your wife happy in your embrace; for this too is the lot of man.” ― AnonymousThe Epic of Gilgamesh

“Strange things have been spoken, why does your heart speak strangely? The dream was marvellous but the terror was great; we must treasure the dream whatever the terror.” ― N.K. SandarsThe Epic of Gilgamesh

cover6smFrankenstein” by Mary Shelly, 1818

“Learn from me, if not by my precepts, at least by my example, how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge, and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be his world, than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow.” ― Mary ShelleyFrankenstein

“Hateful day when I received life!’ I exclaimed in agony. ‘Accursed creator! Why did you form a monster so hideous that even you turned from me in disgust? God, in pity, made man beautiful and alluring, after his own image; but my form is a filthy type of yours, more horrid even from the very resemlance. Satan had his companions, fellow-devils, to admire and encourage him; but I am solitary and abhorred.” ― Mary ShelleyFrankenstein

“Man,” I cried, “how ignorant art thou in thy pride of wisdom!” ― Mary ShelleyFrankenstein

6153TQJHR0LFrom Far Away” by Kyoko Hikawa, 1993-2003

“Izark:“Don’t go! Don’t leave me! I’m not just being nice! I love you. I mean it. It’s true that because of you I am closer than ever to becoming the sky demon. But remember what Zena said? She said the future is not predetermined. She said we make our own futures. I can change my future even if I don’t know how yet. I just want to protect you. If anything horrible happened to you I couldn’t stand it. I’d rather become a monster than lose you. So stay with my Noriko. Please stay with me.”

[Noriko embraces him]” Of course I will stay with you. No matter what happens to us. I’ll never leave you.”

[Izark collapses onto his knees and weeps]” (Volume 7)

“I decided that the future I see is just a place. A place we can go to. But we can all decide what to think and do when we get to that place. Depending on our choices you can make your own fate.” (Volume 6)

“I’ve always tried to run away from my true self and away from my destiny. But no matter how hard I’ve denied it I am what I am. Why? I’ve hated and feared myself but I’ve also had love for my friends and the beauty of nature. Then I met Noriko and she healed my lonely soul. Why do I feel like this? Where do these feelings come from? Why does a monster have feelings at all? Something is wrong. I am not the sky demon. I am what I am“. (Volume 9)

Fruits_Basket_mangaFruits Basket” by Natsuki Takaya, 1998-2006

“I wish I could have lived my life without making any wrong turns. But that’s impossible. A path like that doesn’t exist. We fail. We trip. We get lost. We make mistakes. And little by little, one step at a time, we push forward. It’s all we can do. On our own two feet.” ― Natsuki TakayaFruits Basket, Volume 21

“Sometimes living can be hard, but it’s only because we’re alive that we can make each other laugh,cry…be happy! In this world, if that’s not a reason for being born in this world…I don’t know what is!” ― Natsuki Takaya

“I want to believe that I’m not wrong. I want to believe that life isn’t full of darkness. Even if storms come to pass, the sun will shine again. No matter how painful and hard the rain may beat down on me.” ― Natsuki Takaya

9781421539843_p0_v1_s260x420Fullmetal Alchemist” by Hiromu Arakawa, 2003-2010

“A lesson without pain is meaningless. That’s because no one can gain without sacrificing something. But by enduring that pain and overcoming it, he shall obtain a powerful, unmatched heart. A fullmetal heart.” ― Hiromu ArakawaFullmetal Alchemist, Vol. 27

Enduring and forgiving are two different things. You must not forgive the cruelty of this world. It’s our duty as human beings to be angry at injustice. But we must also endure it. Because someone must sever this chain of hatred.” ― Hiromu ArakawaFullmetal Alchemist, Vol. 18

“Believe in yourself. Pick a path that you, deep down in your soul, won’t be ashamed of.” ― Hiromu Arakawa

“Father: Why did you not become mine God!?

God: “Because you never believed in yourself. You thought you could make God’s power your own? Don’t make me laugh. You think stealing something powerful makes you great? You’re nothing but a cunning thief. You should have stayed satisfied inside the flask where you belong. All you have ever done is use the strength of others to grab godhood. You haven’t grown at all.

Father: “I wanted to become a perfect being! I wanted to understand God! I wanted to know everything about the world! So, why do you oppose me? Who are you?!

God: “I am what humans call the world, Or the universe or God or truth or all or one. And I am you. . . The truth brings despair to those who dare to reach above their station. This is the end you wished for.” ― Hiromu Arakawa

getting near to babyGetting Near To Baby” Audrey Couloumbus, 2001

“Knowing that time is short is important. Knowing to make the best use of it you can, that’s important. Letting those around you know you love them. Because you never know when you’ll have to say good-bye.” -Getting Near to Baby, Audrey Couloumbus

portada“Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens, 1861

“Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but – I hope – into a better shape.” ― Charles DickensGreat Expectations

“Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts. I was better after I had cried, than before–more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle.” ― Charles DickensGreat Expectations

“In a word, I was too cowardly to do what I knew to be right, as I had been too cowardly to avoid doing what I knew to be wrong.” ― Charles DickensGreat Expectations

“I took her hand in mine, and we went out of the ruined place; and, as the morning mists had risen long ago when I first left the forge, so, the evening mists were rising now, and in all the broad expanse of tranquil light they showed to me, I saw no shadow of another parting from her.”
― Charles DickensGreat Expectations

Book_Hamlet_the_Film_and_the_Play_001.36081215_largeHamlet” by William Shakespeare, 1360

“To die, to sleep – To sleep, perchance to dream – ay, there’s the rub, For in this sleep of death what dreams may come…” ― William ShakespeareHamlet

“There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” ― William ShakespeareHamlet

“My words fly up, my thoughts remain below: Words without thoughts never to heaven go.” ― William ShakespeareHamlet

200811131411282L“Harry Potter Series” by J.K. Rowling, 1997-2007

“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” ― J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” ― J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

“Dumbledore watched her fly away, and as her silvery glow faded he turned back to Snape, and his eyes were full of tears.

“After all this time?”

“Always,” said Snape.” ― J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

“I DON’T CARE!” Harry yelled at them, snatching up a lunascope and throwing it into the fireplace. “I’VE HAD ENOUGH, I’VE SEEN ENOUGH, I WANT OUT, I WANT IT TO END, I DON’T CARE ANYMORE!” “You do care,” said Dumbledore. He had not flinched or made a single move to stop Harry demolishing his office. His expression was calm, almost detached. “You care so much you feel as though you will bleed to death with the pain of it.” ― J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

9780064410342_custom-e57e27a93f1edb37c1d30affd48bb09e03773e2f-s6-c30Howl’s Moving Castle” by Diana Wynne Jones, 1986

“Yes, you are nosy. You’re a dreadfully nosy, horribly bossy, appallingly clean old woman. Control yourself. You’re victimizing us all.” ― Diana Wynne JonesHowl’s Moving Castle

“I feel ill,” [Howl] announced. “I’m going to bed, where I may die.” ― Diana Wynne JonesHowl’s Moving Castle

“By now it was clear that Howl was in a mood to produce green slime any second. Sophie hurriedly put her sewing away. “I’ll make some hot buttered toast,” she said. “Is that all you can do in the face of tragedy??” Howl asked. “Make toast!” ― Diana Wynne JonesHowl’s Moving Castle

“Meanwhile a certain amount of moaning and groaning was coming from upstairs. Sophie kept muttering to the dog and ignored it. A loud, hollow coughing followed, dying away into more moaning. Crashing sneezes followed the coughing, each one rattling the window and all the doors. Sophie found those harder to ignore, but she managed. Poot-pooooot! went a blown nose, like a bassoon in a tunnel. The coughing started again, mingled with moans. Sneezes mixed with the moans and the coughs, and the sounds rose to a crescendo in which Howl seemed to be managing to cough, groan, blow his nose, sneeze, and wail gently all at the same time. The doors rattled, the beams in the ceiling shook, and one of Calcifer’s logs rolled off onto the hearth. “All right, all right, I get the message!” Sophie said, dumping the log back into the grate. “It’ll be green slime next”.” ― Diana Wynne JonesHowl’s Moving Castle

“Nothing is safe from you. If I were to court a girl who lived on an iceberg in the middle of the ocean, sooner or later— probably sooner— I’d look up to see you swooping overhead on a broomstick. In fact, by now I’d be disappointed in you if I didn’t see you.” “Are you off to the iceberg today?” Sophie retorted.” ― Diana Wynne JonesHowl’s Moving Castle

5181XGX20YLI, Coriander” by Sally Gardner, 2005

“Honestly, I had no idea that the heart could cause such trouble and strife. It could be broken and still mend. It could be wounded and still heal. It could be given away still returned, lost and found. It could do all that and still you lived, though according to some, only just.”― Sally Gardner, I, Coriander

I have learned that there is great power in words, no matter how long or short they be.” ― Sally GardnerI, Coriander

51k9q2bEhVLImmortal Rain” by Kaori Ozaka, 1999-2011

“A look of strength. Tears of strength. Who was it that you loved so deeply? So strong…it was earth shattering?” (Volume 1)

“Rain…Is that your name? It’s a good name to have in this world that’s like a dry and cracked oil painting. My grandmother used to say that the clouds hold tears. They take pity on our sadness and cry. Maybe the sky no longer holds these tears.” (Volume 2)

“If there is anything to hold on to it’s life.” (Volume 2)

“Because I love people. The sound of their footsteps. The melody of their voices. I love these hands who care for me. Though eventually everyone disappears.” (Volume 2)

“You told me before right? That God is made of people’s feelings. So believing in God is the same as believing in people. I don’t really understand God myself but I believe in people.” (Volume 3)

61ZXZZ8aQaLIn the Night Garden/ Into the City of Coin and Spice” by Catherynne Valente, 2006/2007

“Never assume that a woman is wicked simply because she is ugly and behaves unfavorably towards you. It is unbecoming behavior for a Prince.”― Catherynne M. Valente, In the Night Garden

“There is always a moment when stories end, a moment when everything is blue and black and silent, and the teller does not want to believe it is over, and the listener does not, and so they both hold their breath and hope fervently as pilgrims that it is not over, that there are more tales to come, more and more, fitted together like a long chain coiled in the hand. They hold their breath; the trees hold theirs, the air and the ice and the wood and the Gate. But no breath can be held forever, and all tales end.”― Catherynne M. Valente, In the Cities of Coin and Spice

“This is my heart—carry it with you. I will dream of you in the dark, and you will taste it in my tea, and feel it in my shoes.”
― Catherynne M. ValenteIn the Cities of Coin and Spice

il_fullxfull.165900756Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte, 1847

“Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! – I have as much soul as you, – and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you!”― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

“We know that God is everywhere; but certainly we feel His presence most when His works are on the grandest scale spread before us; and it is in the unclouded night-sky, where His worlds wheel their silent course, that we read clearest His infinitude, His omnipotence, His omnipresence.”― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

“I will keep the law given by God; sanctioned by man. Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation: they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigour … If at my convenience I might break them, what would be their worth?”
― Charlotte BrontëJane Eyre

9780395561539Jeremy Visick” by David Wiseman,

“It’s all history out there, Clemens. Your history, my history. You and me, boy, not dates and things. You and me. That’s what history is all about. How we came to be here, in the way we are, the clothes we wear.”
― David WisemanJeremy Visick

29Les Miserables” by Victor Hugo, 1862

“You ask me what forces me to speak? a strange thing; my conscience.”
― Victor HugoLes Misérables

“When love has fused and mingled two beings in a sacred and angelic unity, the secret of life has been discovered so far as they are concerned; they are no longer anything more than the two boundaries of the same destiny; they are no longer anything but the two wings of the same spirit. Love, soar.”
― Victor HugoLes Misérables

“Love is the foolishness of men, and the wisdom of God.”
― Victor HugoLes Misérables

“And remember, the truth that once was spoken: To love another person is to see the face of God.”
― Victor HugoLes Misérables

“Nothing discernible to the eye of the spirit is more brilliant or obscure than man; nothing is more formidable, complex, mysterious, and infinite. There is a prospect greater than the sea, and it is the sky; there is a prospect greater than the sky, and it is the human soul.”
― Victor HugoLes Misérables

“…Can human nature be so entirely transformed inside and out? Can man, created by God, be made wicked by man? Can a soul be so completely changed by its destiny, and turn evil when its fate is evil? Can the heart become distorted, contract incurable deformities and incurable infirmities, under the pressure of disproportionate grief, like the spinal column under a low ceiling? Is there not in every human soul a primitive spark, a divine element, incorruptible in this world and immortal in the next, which can be developed by goodness, kindled, lit up, and made to radiate, and which evil can never entirely extinguish.”
― Victor HugoLes Misérables


Leven_Thumps_and_the_Gateway_to_Foo_cover“Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo” by Obert Skye, 2005

“I am what I am because I have made myself so.”
― Obert SkyeLeven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo

“There is no moment more precious than the exact moment they are living. And that exact moment has a lot to do with how future moments play out.”
― Obert SkyeLeven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo

503af6a3_life-of-pi-book-coverLife of Pi” by Yann Martel, 2001

“I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unnerving ease. It begins in your mind, always … so you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don’t, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.”
― Yann MartelLife of Pi

“If you stumble about believability, what are you living for? Love is hard to believe, ask any lover. Life is hard to believe, ask any scientist. God is hard to believe, ask any believer. What is your problem with hard to believe?”
― Yann MartelLife of Pi

“These people fail to realize that it is on the inside that God must be defended, not on the outside. They should direct their anger at themselves. For evil in the open is but evil from within that has been let out. The main battlefield for good is not the open ground of the public arena but the small clearing of each heart.”
― Yann MartelLife of Pi

“If Christ spent an anguished night in prayer, if He burst out from the Cross, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ then surely we are also permitted doubt. But we must move on. To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation.”
― Yann MartelLife of Pi


mans-search-for-meaning-by-viktor-e-frankel1“Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl, 1946

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
― Viktor E. FranklMan’s Search for Meaning

“But there was no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bore witness that a man had the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer.”
― Viktor E. FranklMan’s Search for Meaning

“Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him. By his love he is enabled to see the essential traits and features in the beloved person; and even more, he sees that which is potential in him, which is not yet actualized but yet ought to be actualized. Furthermore, by his love, the loving person enables the beloved person to actualize these potentialities. By making him aware of what he can be and of what he should become, he makes these potentialities come true.”
― Viktor E. FranklMan’s Search for Meaning

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
― Viktor E. FranklMan’s Search for Meaning

“For the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth – that Love is the ultimate and highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love.”
― Viktor E. FranklMan’s Search for Meaning

Books/Series I Will Never Forget: 1-20

This will be one of a series of book lists I will post. I don’t think I have made it clear but I love books. Lately though I have been on a movie kick and haven’t had the brain capacity to read because of my college classes. Today though I want to pay tribute to all the books that have changed my life. I won’t go into vivid detail but each of these books have changed me. I like a good story…. but I love great stories. In my opinion I think all of these stories are great in their own way, even if I hated reading some of them.

100Cupboards-cover“100 Cupboards” N.D. Wilson, 2007

There is something so intriguing about a room with many doors leading to different worlds to me. Perhaps it is the inquisitive side of me that used to run off and explore everything around my house or the one that made up adventure stories about elves and evil trolls. I read it two summers ago on a very hot day and I didn’t leave the coach until I was done.

“You can’t buy history new.”
― N.D. Wilson100 Cupboards

1984-book-cover“1984” by George Orwell, 1949

To be honest, I hated this book when I read it. In fact I STILL hate it. However, I can’t deny that it had a incredible impact on my life and it changed my perspective on everything I thought about people and government. Would I read it again? Perhaps when I am a little older.

“Until they became conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.”
― George Orwell1984


A_Monster_Calls“A Monster Calls” by Patrick Ness, 2011

This is one of the most incredible, life changing stories I have ever read. I finished it within a few hours last Halloween and was blown away by how gorgeously it showed the healing of a little boy . Perhaps because of Lord of the Rings I have thought about what it would be like if a tree were to come to life and speak to us. Oh the stories they could probably tell. The art was engaging and beautiful. This story is in a word POWERFUL.

Because humans are complicated beasts, the monster said. How can a queen be both a good witch and a bad witch? How can a prince be a murderer and a saviour? How can an apothecary be evil-tempered but right-thinking? How can a parson be wrong-thinking but good-hearted? How can invisible men make themselves more lonely by being seen?

“I don’t know,” Connor shrugged, exhausted. “Your stories never made any sense to me.”

The answer is that it does not matter what you think, the monster said, because your mind will contradict itself a hundred times each day. You wanted her to go at the same time you were desperate for me to save her. Your mind will believe comforting lies while also knowing the painful truths that make those lies necessary. And your mind will punish you for believing both.
― Patrick NessA Monster Calls

a-series“A Series of Unfortunate Events” by Lemony Snicket,1999-2006

This series twisted my brain for YEARS. I loved it. I loved the mystery behind it and I loved his quirky sense of humor. Hated the ending though… all its fans with a lick of sense did. This is a must read for all children.

“They didn’t understand it, but like so many unfortunate events in life, just because you don’t understand it doesn’t mean it isn’t so.”
― Lemony SnicketThe Bad Beginning

{F9651E0B-B667-408E-91F5-3B3481702E8F}Img100“A Single Shard” by Linda Sue Park, 2002

I read this book in my fifth grade class. I still remember parts of it, specifically the scene where the food bowl he was given was refilled everyday by the potter’s wife. The loneliness he felt without a real family and the life he was later given thanks to a single shard and a chance… it has stayed with me to this day.

“Why was it that pride and foolishness were so often close companions?”
― Linda Sue ParkA Single Shard

Abarat“Abarat Series” by Clive Barker, 2002-?

This is one of my favorite series. I read it when I was fourteen, at my mother’s recommendation. I love its unique story and the impressive art throughout. I have followed it for almost ten years, though it is painful waiting for all the books to come out. To be clear, I waited up to six or seven years for the third book to come out.

“Witch, do this for me,
Find me a moon
made of longing.
Then cut it sliver thin,
and having cut it,
hang it high
above my beloved’s house,
so that she may look up
and see it,
and seeing it, sigh for me
as I sigh for her,
moon or no moon.”
― Clive Barker

Sabriel_Book_Cover“Abhorsen Series” Garth Nix, 1999-2003

The dark themes that incorporated the use of music with necromancy actually worked well together. I think about this book often, possibly because I have somewhat of a German soul, with my love for dark corners and the monsters that go bump in the night. It showed that there is evil out there but that there are also those who are willing to fight against it.

“Fear and realization of ignorance, strong medicines against stupid pride.”
― Garth NixSabriel

And_Then_There_Were_None_US_First_Edition_Cover_1940“And Then there were None” by Agatha Christie, 1939

Creepy. This story is creepy. But brilliant. I think I actually watched the movie staring Vincent Price first. However, the book is better. How? It is suspense and mystery at its best. I haven’t read her other books, but sometimes I get this craving for creepy dramas done right and I turn to this story.

“Crime is terribly revealing. Try and vary your methods as you will, your tastes, your habits, your attitude of mind, and your soul is revealed by your actions.”
― Agatha ChristieAnd Then There Were None

alice1898“Alice in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll, 1865

I love the concept of Alice in Wonderland. Again, the idea of running off to different worlds is very appealing to me. To be honest I latch on to every remake of the book I can find. I think this story is enchanting in its own way but at the same time it isn’t afraid to latch on to its crazy side.

“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, or you wouldn’t have come here.”
― Lewis CarrollAlice in Wonderland

BraveNewWorld_FirstEdition“Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley, 1931

Again, I read this book and I hated it. However, a few years after I read it in high school I started thinking about it more and more and I realized the messages inside held irreplaceable truths and reflections of the future. Everyone should read this book. Even though it is awful…..

“But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness, I want sin.’

‘In fact,’ said Mustapha Mond, ‘you’re claiming the right to be unhappy.’

‘All right then,’ said the Savage defiantly, ‘I’m claiming the right to be unhappy.’

‘Not to mention the right to grow old and ugly and impotent; the right to have syphilis and cancer; the right to have too little to eat; the right to be lousy; the right to live in constant apprehension of what may happen tomorrow; the right to catch typhoid; the right to be tortured by unspeakable pains of every kind.’ There was a long silence.

‘I claim them all,’ said the Savage at last.

Mustapha Mond shrugged his shoulders. ‘You’re welcome,” he said.”
― Aldous HuxleyBrave New World

canterbury-talesCanterbury Tales” by Geoffrey Chaucer, 14th Century

This is another book that I hated but this time it was for all the wrong reasons. It wasn’t until I went to Europe and I stood outside a church in Chartes, France that I realized the true meaning behind each of the character’s pilgrimage. A lot of people might find it boring but it is actually really engaging and funny.

“Love will not be constrain’d by mastery.
When mast’ry comes, the god of love anon
Beateth his wings, and, farewell, he is gone.
Love is a thing as any spirit free.”
― Geoffrey ChaucerThe Canterbury Tales

Cotfd“Castaways of the Flying Dutchman Series” by Brian Jacques, 2001-2006

I read this series after his Redwall series but in a way I love it more. Almost like the old books by Robert Louis Stevenson with old sea captains and strange encounters I enjoy the idea of the wonderful good the boy and his dog were able to do for those they met and the many historical places they go to near the sea. His writing style actually reminds me of J.R.R. Tolkien.

“Death comes to us all sooner or later. We cannot escape it.”
― Brian Jacques

candide“Candide” by Voltaire, 1759

Ahhhh Candide… I don’t think enough people have read this and understand it. Being a history major I have the wonderful privilege of knowing what all of his jokes and sarcastic remarks mean. If anything, don’t take this book seriously. Satires have a way of telling us the truth very cryptically and sarcastically while still giving the characters time to enjoy tea time in the sun.

“I should like to know which is worse: to be ravished a hundred times by pirates, and have a buttock cut off, and run the gauntlet of the Bulgarians, and be flogged and hanged in an auto-da-fe, and be dissected, and have to row in a galley — in short, to undergo all the miseries we have each of us suffered — or simply to sit here and do nothing?’
That is a hard question,’ said Candide.”
― VoltaireCandide

Charlie bone“Charlie Bone Series” by Jenny Nimmo, 2002-2009

I didn’t want to read this series. I thought it would be a Harry Potter remake. Oh how I was wrong. I actually think I love it more because of the many references to the arts and the strong family morals and themes. Good always wins in the end. I appreciate that.

“He found himself in a room not unlike the shop. All books again, packed tight on shelves or laying in piles on every surface. It was a cozy room, for all that ; it smelled of warm, rich words and very deep thoughts.”
― Jenny NimmoMidnight for Charlie Bone

TheLionWitchWardrobe(1stEd)“Chronicles of Narnia” by CS Lewis, 1950-1956

We come to the same theme again: gallivanting into other worlds and meeting amazing creatures and people. Like Tolkien, C.S. Lewis had a way of incorporating gospel themes into the indescribable world of fantasy. I can help but admire the idea that God would have a love for fantasy, beautiful worlds and imagination.

“It isn’t Narnia, you know,” sobbed Lucy. “It’s you. We shan’t meet you there. And how can we live, never meeting you?”
“But you shall meet me, dear one,” said Aslan.
“Are -are you there too, Sir?” said Edmund.
“I am,” said Aslan. “But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.”
― C.S. LewisThe Voyage of the Dawn Treader

coralinecover“Coraline” by Neil Gailman, 2003

Same theme, except this time what was behind the door was something altogether terrifying and dangerous. It was the other mother who loved her very dearly (don’t you know?). But what I like about this story is that Coraline fought back and won against that evil power. Brings new meaning to monsters in the closet doesn’t it? This time they have sewing needles and steal your soul through games, treats and fun.

“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”
― Neil GaimanCoraline

Louis_Français-Dantès_sur_son_rocher“Count of Monte Cristo” – Alexandre Dumas, 1844

The movie made a few years ago in 2002 doesn’t do this book justice. Revenge always seems to have such a bitter taste but it took a poisonous turn in Dante’s case. So much potential gone to waste over such a long grudge, but then again I have never been locked in such a horrid prison and lost the love of my life for something I never did.

“Hatred is blind; rage carries you away; and he who pours out vengeance runs the risk of tasting a bitter draught.”
― Alexandre DumasThe Count of Monte Cristo

crime-and-punishment-cover“Crime and Punishment” by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, 1866

Haunting. This story is haunting. I didn’t understand why he killed that old woman. In fact it didn’t matter. But he learned the greatest lesson he ever could because he confronted his fears and the great mistakes he made. I don’t remember the details but this story is one of the greatest examples of human suffering and the essence of man’s existence that I have ever read.

“The darker the night, the brighter the stars,
The deeper the grief, the closer is God!”
― Fyodor DostoyevskyCrime and Punishment

bookcoverDon Quixote” by Miguel de Cervantes, 1605-1615

Oh the beauty of adventure and the foolishness of chasing windmills. Don’t we wish we all could do it? Sometimes when I think about this story I wonder about how happy he was chasing his fantasies and I realize he probably was better off then most of us. I love this story because of the raw and exciting  adventure, even though such fantasies were part of his delusion.

Too much sanity may be madness. And maddest of all, to see life as it is and not as it should be.”
― Miguel de Cervantes SaavedraDon Quixote

350px-Dr_Jekyll_and_Mr_Hyde_poster“Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson, 1886

I actually read this story for the first time after I ditched an awful movie my class was watching in the theater. Stevenson had a wonderful taste for horror to be sure and he was a master storyteller. My somewhat German spirit loves this story and its ominous message. I think what horrified me the most was the Jekyll awoke that monster himself because he enjoyed the thrill but such wiles have a way of catching up with you.

“With every day, and from both sides of my intelligence, the moral and the intellectual, I thus drew steadily nearer to the truth, by whose partial discovery I have been doomed to such a dreadful shipwreck: that man is not truly one, but truly two.”
― Robert Louis StevensonL’estrany Cas Del Dr. Jekyll I Mr. Hyde