Monday, April 30, 2012

Book Review: Catching Fire

Title: Catching Fire
Author: Suzanne Collins
Rating: 4/5
Summary: (I have decided not to do a summary for the second book, because I was given the advice, while I was reading the first book, not to read the summaries of the other books because it would give away the story)
        Here is my review of the first book The Hunger Games.

I have to say that this book was harder to follow the plot line. It seemed to have different plots going on. Which I can understand since it was laying the ground work for the 3rd book. I have also noticed that some(not all) trilogies have somewhat weird plots in the second book. Not all, just some.

I know I went on and on in my review of the first book so I will try to keep this one shorter. :)

I really like how these books show how fighting, with weapons, and killing people is not something easy to live with. It does not show it as something glorious. It also deals with the difficulties of fame. A definite positive thing about this book was that it helped me to understand addicts. I don't think it is right, I just understand them better now I think, and I have more of a desire to help them. I hope that makes sense. I would like to point out that this is one of those things that sparks a family discussion.

It is hard to stop reading this book. I would definitely say start it when you plan of having a lot of free time. There are a lot of cliff hangers like in the first book.  I would like to warn anyone who reads this book that they will want to have the third book on hand to start.

The book has a lot of power play in it. Everyone is trying to stay one top, you get to see how other people are exploited for the big peoples own agenda. Katniss is also dealing with the aftermath of the last book. I think that is what really struck me. So few things deal with what goes on after you have done something, and this book did. That is what impressed me most.

May the odds ever be in your favor!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Helen Keller

Helen Keller is one of my heroes. I have always admired her ever since I was 9, when I read a biography of her. I was fascinated with her story. It moved me very much. Later I listened to an audio book of her autobiography The Story of my Life. The whole idea of being blind and deaf was horrifying to me. To not be able to see or hear was unthinkable for me, unlivable even. Yet there was Helen Keller who over came that. Her story moves me, even now it can bring tears to my eyes. She overcame her difficulties, and even excelled. It amazes me.

Along with Helen comes Anne Sullivan, who made it possible for Helen to be who she was, one cannot talk about Helen without mentioning Anne Sullivan, Helen's mentor, teacher, and interpreter.

In her Biography Helen talks about how she could not see or hear, how this effected her education, and the way she thought. Because she could not not hear words or see them, she had not words to use to think. She had no way to express her self or make her self understood. She had her own limited sign language, but as she got older and what went on in her head became more complicated, she needed more to communicate. But she had no way of communicating to the outside world. She was on an isolated island where she could not reach others and they could not reach her. I cannot imagine how difficult that must be, how hard. I would be horrifying I do not know how I could live, without being able to communicate to others! I would probably become as frustrated and angry as she did.

But then came Anne Sullivan, and Helen's life changed forever. It must have been so hard for Anne, trying to reach Helen and yet unable to reach her. There must have been days when she wanted to give up, but she didn't.

The moments when Helen first put together W A T E R as with the liquid flower through her hands must have been truly amazing. For Helen the world was now opened up, and where there was once darkness now there was light. She could now tell others what was going on in her head. The realization that there was more out there than she could possibly know, that she could reach the outside. It is truly overwhelming to think about.

I have often wondered if Helen Keller understood that verse "those who have walked in darkness have seen a great light." Or she at least would have understood it more deeply than some having walked in darkness herself.

Every time I read her story or think about it I am always struck with it. It continues to amaze me in new ways each time. There are few stories in the world as amazing as hers.

Helen Keller quotes:

"Although the world is full of suffering, is is also full of overcoming it."

"As selfishness and complaint pervert the mind, so love with its joy clears and sharpens the vision."

"Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light."

"It is wonderful to climb the liquid mountains of the sky. Behind me and before me is God and I have no fears."

"Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood."

"I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble."

"Literature is my Utopia. Here I am not disenfranchised. No barrier of the senses shuts me out from the sweet, gracious discourses of my book friends. They talk to me without embarrassment or awkwardness."

"Love is like a beautiful flower which I may not touch, but whose fragrance makes the garden a place of delight just the same."


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

CD Review: The Wind that Shakes the Barley

CD: The Wind that Shakes The Barley
Artist: Loreena McKennitt
Released: 2010
As most of my followers know by now I am an ardent fan of Loreena McKennitt. :) She is by far my favorite artist I did do a very long fan post over here with a lot of information about her in it.

In the Wind that Shakes the Barley Loreena goes back to her roots. It reaches back to much a similar style to that of Elemental and Parallel Dream.

As I roved Out: This song can get very easily stuck in your head. It is a bouncy happy song, with a story to it. It is a  a little difficult to understand what she is saying too. I would look for the lyrics. The story is one that is um... quite interesting, I would take away a moral from it. Otherwise a very enjoyable song.
On a Bright May Morning: This is one of my favorites. It is sad song and one with a story to learn from. It is a sad romantic tale. The last stanza is my favorite. One interesting thing though is that some other artist called this song as I roved out, but all the other artist who have songs titled as I roved out have the story that is like the one above. Strange?
Brian Boru's March: This is one of my favorite instrumental songs. It makes me think of fall, I love the happy melody and the variety of instruments used. It is a lovely arrangement of the song.
Down By the Sally Gardens: Just to say I think this song is way over done. I almost seems that if you are going to be in the Celtic Genre you have to do this song. There are so many versions. I like it is just that is is every where. I like it and it is a lovely version. The story and the moral is also a good one too. (I have linked to a live version for this song. I think it is wonderful live, and Loreena always sounds better live :)
The Star of the County Down: This is such a fun bouncy song, and I enjoy is very much! It is my happy song. I love the instruments used in it as well. I also love the story the song tells.
The Wind That Shakes the Barley: I love this song. The cello is amazing! The words are so lovely, the poeticness of the lyrics is one the best parts. Loreena's voice is perfect for the song. It is a definite favorite! (sorry I cannot find a link to listen to the song :( )
The Death of Queen Jane: I think this is my least favorite. I don't know why, you would think I would like it since I believe it is about Jane Seymour, who married Henry VIII. It is Tudor, and I love to read about the Tudors. It is sad, and the music is lovely, and Loreena has done a marvelous job with it!
The Emigration Tunes: Loreena wrote this song. It is a mournful sounding song. I enjoy the instruments used. I would not that it is an instrumental song.
The Parting Glass: I love this song! The sad melody, the strings, the words, her soft voice. It is beautiful! I think is is my most favorite song, tied with The Wind that Shakes the Barley,on the whole album. I like this version better than other versions I have heard since the sad sound fits more with the mood, rather than some of the happier versions I have heard.

Overall I love this album. It has wonderful, beautiful, lovely music that ranges from happy to sad. I would recommend this to anyone who is into Irish/Celtic music. Loreena McKennitt  is a must have for your music collection.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Shakespeare Hokey Pokey

The Hokey Pokey Shakespeare style, the Reduced Shakespeare Company put this together. :) 


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Book Review: The Lightning Thief

Title: The Lightning Thief
Author: Rick Riordan
Rating: 5/5
Summary: "Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school...again. And that's the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy's Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he has angered a few of them. Zeus's master lightning blot has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect. 
        Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus's stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves."
                                             (I got this from the back of the book)

I first heard about Percy Jackson in my online biology class, at first I thought it was some weird Harry Potter thing. Then a year latter I am at the library and I see The Lightning Thief and think "why not half my class was crazy over it. If I don't like it I will stop reading it." So I checked it out. I read it and I really really REALLY liked it. I told my sisters they had to read it and they did, they read it and really really REALLY liked it. I will admit that I was intrigued by the whole idea that the Greek Gods where real and still around. I thought it was a brilliant basis for a story, so brilliant that I am surprised no one had thought of it before.

The story was a fascinating. It was hard to put the book down. I really enjoyed Percy's humors telling of the story. Rick Riordan is a talented writer, though I will admit that after having read some of his other works, he does improve as he writes more. But this is a great debut novel and I really enjoyed it.

Having read this book(and the rest of the series) has greatly increased my knowledge of Greek mythology. Sister #2 is really great at researching things, and she did quite a bit for Greek mythology to see how much of what Rick Riordan was putting in his books was true. I have always enjoyed the stories from Greek mythology and Percy Jackson has brought them to life for me. I am one who is all for bringing history to life. It is why I love historical fiction. Greek mythology is part of history.

So one thing that would make some one uncomfortable is the gods part. I did read some were thought that if that was taken out it would kind of mess up the story and plot line, since they are a big part of the book. Actually kind of at the center of the story.

I found it interesting how Rick Riordan has a kid who is dyslexic and ADHD the hero of the story. I was really pleased about that. The way the family life worked was is interesting too. How much Percy loved his mom was great to see in the book, he didn't say anything rude about her, yeah there were thing about his mom that annoyed him, but we all get annoyed with other people it is normal,parents or not. We live with them, that does not mean we can be rude though. I liked how Riordan handled Percy's relationship with his father. I don't know how to describe it, I just liked it.

Overall I would recommend this book to anyone. It is a great easy read, and lots of fun. There are times when you will want to laugh out loud, not many books make me giggle out loud. :)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Christ is Risen!!

Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling down death by death
And upon those in the tombs bestowing life!

Here is the song in Greek, it is one of my favorite versions! It was a wonderful day with sunshine. :) 

Christ is risen!!!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Just a little something :)

Just some things that I have seen, and could not resist sharing with all of you! Enjoy! :) 

It is always a good idea to take your brain with you. :) 

This is so true! 

I love this quote from Albert Einstein!!


Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Triumphant Entry

The son of God enters Jerusalem, riding on a colt the foal of an ass.

To day the priests were bright green vestments. This feast day is odd because it is between Lent and Holy Week. Tonight we will go the Bridegroom matins. I am very excited for Holy Week and Pascha! :)


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Lazarus Saturday

Rejoice rejoice oh Bethany 
On this day God came to thee
God came to thee
And in Him the dead are made alive 
As is right for He is the life
He is the life
He is the life
And in Him the dead are made alive
As is right for He is the life

PS. We now have hot water and a sink that works!!! :) 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Water hot dependent

So.... what has been going on in my life? Let me see. The dishwasher is not working (it hasn't actually for a while), The kitchen sink faucet has sprung a leak, so we can't even wash dishes by hand in the kitchen, and now it would appear that the hot water boiler it not working since it is gushing out brown water when it is set on the hot side. The cold water does work though, so at least we can drink.

One thing that this has taught me is how much I take for granted running hot water, and dishwashers. I did not realise how much I depend on hot water.

So now we are waiting for the repair man.