Saturday, January 9, 2010

best things of 2009 part 2

This post is dedicated to books and movies, my favorite that I read and saw for the first time this year.

Well, if you look at the cover art and read the title you'll see why I read this book. I must say it had a good story going for it too. It was full of stunning gowns, well rounded characters, and unexpected twists that I was enraptured the whole time. But I must say that the main thing I appreciated about it was how clean it was, the girls had standards and the men were honorable, (at least the ones that were supposed to be) I just hate it when main characters, the ones who are supposed to be the good guys, have no morals or anything! Major pet peeve. Anyway, this book was wonderful. :)

"I think that all things exist together and their destinies are tied up together, like a great book of stories that weave and pass and thread through one another, making the most astonishing tale anyone could dream up"
~Cybele's Secret

This is the sequel to Wildwood Dancing, and it's wonderful too.

As soon as I finished this book I got out my sketch book and began to draw costume ideas. Honestly, I'm surprised it took me this long to actually read it me being such a big fan of fairy tales, and I'd already read three of Shannon Hale's other books. The Goose Girl is basically an expansion of the Bothers Grimm version, she didn't change anything at all but just expanded the story and brought it to life, which if you ask me is the best way to do it.

"If we don't tell strange stories, we something strange happens we won't believe it"
~The Goose Girl

"If voices had colour, hers would have been a rainbow. It made words live. Whatever she said became a breathing entity, not a mere verbal statement or utterance. Felix and I were too young to understand or analyze the impression it made upon us; but we instantly felt at her greeting that it was a good morning- a surpassingly good morning- the very best morning that had ever happened in this most excellent of worlds." ~The Story Girl

I know I've already posted this quote before, I can't think of a better way to describe this book. L. M. Montgomery and The Story Girl both sweep you off into their flawless stories and descriptions bringing you to believe it is a "most excellent of worlds."

Perfect, perfect, perfect. This book is a realistic fairytale, it's about growing up, about realizing that every person is complex and confusing, about being alone and strange to the rest of humanity. Cassandra's life reminded me so much of my own sometimes, not her predicaments, but her underlying story, about longing for love, but never quite finding it. I need to read this again.

This was one best classics I read this year, (the worst was Moby Dick, which I thought was just stupid) I think my favorite thing about this book, aside from it's descriptions, is the way it's written. It doesn't follow any chronological order, which gives the idea that it's a collection of stories that your mother is telling you, about how she grew up and how her parents met, and while it takes place in the poverty of Brooklyn at the turn of the century it make that life seem beautiful. Perhaps it's the stark truth that it shows, or maybe it's the fact that life is beautiful anywhere, as long as it is growing. Either way, this book is a diamond in a coal mine.

The Mysterious Benedict Society is such a fun book, I'm reading it's sequel right now. In someways it reminds me of the Series of Unfortunate Events, but also of Andrew Clemens (an amazing children's author) and something else that I can't remember right now. It's about these four children who are chosen but undergoing a bunch of strange tests, they then are sent on a mission to in essence, save the world. Typical? Sounds like it, but it's actually quite original, I laughed out loud several time. Please read it, I promise you'll fall in love with these kids.

I've decided not to say anything about this book because Katherine and I are going to read it and do reviews on our blog! I read it this time last year and have been itching to open it back up again. Please read along with us if you wish, it should be a lot of fun.

The Crucible is actually a play, but so amazing. I was crying so hard at certain parts, I can only imagine what it would be like to see it performed. It tells the story of the Salem Witch Trials, or part that involved the seven or so girls who claimed to be torchered by demons in order to condemn the women who got in their way. I would encourage everyone to read it, it will open your eyes and another bonus is since it's a play you can read it in two hours without a problem.

Wow. That is the best reaction I can give to both of Jonathan Safran Foer's books, I think Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is my favorite of the two, but looking back I can never be sure. It's about a nine year old boy who lost his father in 9/11, and he's trying to deal with lots of different things. I'm not sure what else to say, it's amazing how the author gets into the head of this little boy and stays there the entire time.

Everything is Illuminated is full of amazing thoughts, I'm all of you have read this quote from it, but I think it's one
that needs to be read again and again.

"But more than that, no unloving words were ever spoken, and everything was held up as another small piece of proof that it can be this way, it doesn't have to be that way; if there is not love in the world, we will make a new world, and we will give it heavy walls, and we will furnish it with soft red interiors, from the inside out, and give it a knocker that resonates like a diamond falling to a jeweler's felt so that we should never hear it. Love me because love doesn't exist, and I have tried everything that does."
I don't think I need to say anything more.

And The Chosen. This is probably the best book I read all year, which means a lot seeing all of the good things that I read. It's beautifully written story about the friendship between two Jewish boys in America during WW2, and basically how it saved them. It is so powerful, I read one other book by Chaim Potok last year, I Am Asher Lev, and just found and read the sequel to The Chosen, Which is The Promise, that one I think will speak to me more in a few years. I hope that wasn't too hard to follow, as you might be able to tell I've gotten very interested into books that deal with the human mind this year. And I must say I'm looking forward to any physiology classes I might take in college. Please look at this post I did for The Chosen last April Here, It's my favorite post from the first half of the year.
Books I forgot when I was first putting this together: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, and The Cup of the World (can't remember the author off the top of my head right now)
The Best movies
The Edge of Love
I think I liked this movie mostly for the beautiful setting it had, and I was so relieved it ended okay.

It Happened One Night
Really sweet and funny. The best 30's movie I've seen.
Ballet Shoes
Sweet, Pretty, and lovely setting once again.

The Dead Poet's Society

Well, this movie was just incredible and impacting, after I watched it I immediately went back and watched certain parts over again. It is amazing.

Movies with Honorable Mention: Fairy tale: a true story, and Secret of Rhone Inish

I hope you enjoy this, I need to now do something else with my day, but I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

LOVE, Clara

PS: If you have any questions about these books or movies just ask me! I'd love to be able to answer them if I can.


magnoliaamber said...


Honestly, I cannot understand why so many dear bloggers could spend so much time to read?

This is amazing and thank you, I think the books you have picked up must be the kind of book I would like to read...

anji-jane said...

I love your book choices and the way you write about them with passion... in particular I Capture the Castle (which I am re reading right now) & The Goose Girl which are 2 of my all time favourites. Really enjoyed your post, thanks. x

Katherine said...

Aaargh, you're making my book list even longer! I must have at least 20 books on it already.

sara said...

oh!i love so much of what's on this list!i haven't read a few of those books though-i'll hop to it! :)

Tia said...

Thank you for this list, it is full of interesting variety. I have been wanting to read I Capture the Castle and The Mysterious Benedict Society for a long time.

I also wanted to see The Dead Poet's Society. Now I shall definitely have to watch it, considering your good review. :)

Melee said...

I've never read "The Goose Girl" by Shannon Hale, but I just read another book by her, "Princess Academy"! It was good so maybe I should look into "The Goose Girl" as well! Actually all the books you posted look wonderful.
So much literature, so little time! =D

I love "It Happened One Night"! It definitely influenced the way I hitchhike. ;)

Tabitha Bird said...

I will have to go read some of those books. shamefully I have read none of them. Beautiful post Clara. Happy New Year!

Renee said...

They all look wonderful sweet girl.

Renee xoxo