Curious Wren Blog Launch Party Tag

Annie Hawthorne, a wonderful fellow reader, writer and Christian is starting a blog called the Curious Wren, and it’s sure to be a place of whimsy and encouragement. To celebrate, Annie has held a weeklong celebration with interviews on other blogs, a giveaway, and a tag, which I will be doing today. I hope you enjoy my answers, and when you’re done reading, be sure to go check out Annie’s blog.

1. What was the last book you read, and would you recommend it? Just yesterday I finished Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, and I would definitely recommend it. Jane is a strong heroine and her determination to find her own way in the world really struck me. Besides that, the story has a chilling and mysterious atmosphere and it’s intriguing to see the mystery of Thornfield Hall unfold before you. Oh, and that ending. For a while I thought that the book would end lamely, but the ending was absolutely perfect. I can’t say much for fear of spoiling the book, but it was just such a beautiful ending.

2. Describe the perfect reading spot. I’d say I have several perfect reading spots. One is of course my bedroom. I love to curl up and read on my bed with a cup of hot chocolate and a mess of fluffy pillows and blankets surrounding me. The only thing I have to be careful about is not falling asleep while I read. This, unfortunately, happens a lot. The second perfect reading spot would be at a tiny quiet table in the middle of a huge library in the middle of a huge city. To be surrounded by walls and walls of books in the one silent space in a bustling city sounds so beautiful. And for my third spot, I’d love to read up in a treehouse on a sunny spring day when all the birds are chirping and the air smells sweet and perfume-y. Yes, I’m that weird person that loves both the city and the countryside.

3. Favorite book beverage? Tea? Coffee? Hot chocolate? Tears of your readers? Hot chocolate! Hot chocolate! Hot chocolate! I am a huge proponent of hot chocolate. It’s in my bio, for Pete’s sake. Water’s good too, because, you know, survival and all that. Oh, and I do like the occasional cup of black tea with milk and honey or honey and lemon. I’ve basically never had coffee. Tears are a bit too salty for my taste, but hey, if my readers cry over my stories I must be doing something right, so I suppose I don’t mind them.

4. Share favorite quotes from four books.

“The only thing I’m afraid of about this country is that its government will someday become so monstrous that the smallest person in it will be trampled underfoot, and then it wouldn’t be worth living in.” ~ Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” ~ The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

“It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is done by keeping things out.” ~ The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

“Incredible. It is just incredible that you can notice something like that when your face is so cold you can’t feel it anymore, and you know perfectly well you are surrounded by death, and the only way to stay alive is to endure the howling wind and hold your course. And still the sky is beautiful.” ~ Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

5. What is your most loved fantasy read? Dystopia? Contemporary? Sci-fi? Classic? Since this is a horribly cruel question, I have decided to break the rules and list more than one favorite for some of these. Sorry, not sorry.

For fantasy, I really love The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, and Starflower by Anne Elisabeth Stengl.

I don’t read much dystopian fiction, but I really enjoyed A Time to Die by Nadine Brandes.

I don’t read a lot of YA contemporary, but there are many MG contemporaries that I love. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson, The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate and Flora and Ulysses by Kate Dicamillo are all exceptionally beautiful.

When it comes to sci-fi, anything written by Ray Bradbury is haunting and beautiful, but I’d say that I really like The Illustrated Man.

I have so many beloved classics so instead I’ll name authors instead of individual books. I love the works of J.R.R. Tokien, C.S. Lewis, Harper Lee, Ray Bradbury, Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte…I just love a lot of classics, okay?

6. List three authors you’ve collected the most books from. Well, we have tons of Charles Dickens books at my house, as both my dad and I love his books. I also have a million and one books by Laura Ingalls Wilder because when I was little I obsessed over prairie books of all kinds and especially those written by Wilder. I had a serious problem, but at least it was a good problem! We also have quite a few books by J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, and I’m not sure which one we have more from.

7. What are your thoughts on magic in literature? I’d rather not read books with magic, but that doesn’t mean that I avoid it entirely. The place where I most tolerate magic is in allegorical fantasy books like those of Tolkien, Lewis and Stengl. In these books, magic is often used only by those evil characters who deal with witchcraft and get their magic from deadly, Satanic sources, are clearly shown as bad. Sometimes, as in the case of Gandalf, magic is used by a good character, but it is clear that the magic came from a creator character and not from an occult source, which I am fine with. Another thing I am fine with is light magical realism or light fairytale magic of the kind that you might find in MG. Too me, things like magic ice cream and magically talking flowers are less about magic and more about the wild imagination of a child, and I appreciate the beauty of that.

8. What types of book covers capture your imagination most strongly? Feel free to include images. There are way too many book covers that I love to include images, but I love artsy covers with bold colors and equally bold stories encased within.

9. Mention the first book character that comes to mind. Elaborate on this. The first character that came to mind for me was Laura Ingalls Wilder. Maybe I’m being nostalgic or sentimental of late, but I can’t help but think sweetly back on my elementary school self that loved reading about the prairie so much that she wore a bonnet and played pioneers everyday during recess at school.

10. Do you lend out your books? Or is that the equivalent to giving away your babies? Nope. No one really asks me for my books anyway because most of the books I own are classics and I don’t know a lot of people besides my dad that like to read classics.

Thanks for reading and do be sure to go check out Annie’s blog.

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38 thoughts on “Curious Wren Blog Launch Party Tag

  1. I like to read classics sometimes but I mostly read published-in the-last-five-years YA. Magic in books doesn’t really bother me, because I almost always read fiction, and I don’t think my beliefs and the Bible need to affect my perception of that. I love Laura Ingalls Wilder (my childhood) Hmm, the last book I read was All the Light We Cannot See, thanks to your reccomendation on goodreads and now I’m reading Go Set a Watchman and the Dream Thieves.

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    1. I read modern YA books all the time, but classics, even though they are usually pretty slow paced, always seem to resonate with me so much more. There’s nothing wrong with reading modern YA, though. Yes, Laura Ingalls Wilder was so my childhood, too. That and Nancy Drew. I was obsessed, I tell you. All the Light We Cannot See and Go Set a Watchman were both books that I loved so much!

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  2. This is a really cool tag! I’ll have to check out Annie’s blog, and see about doing this. It looks like fun. 🙂

    Ooh, I would love to have read as many classics as you! I enjoy them a lot, but they just take so long to get through. Plus I also really enjoy YA & MG books and there are just so many that I could finish in a day or two… *sigh* But it is a goal of mine to read more classics… this year, for sure, I’ll be reading The Hiding Place and To Kill A Mockingbird, which I’m super excited for.

    I also love what you said about magic: “To me, things like magic ice cream and magically talking flowers are less about magic and more about the wild imagination of a child, and I appreciate the beauty of that.” I agree 100%. I’m not a fan of magic for the same reasons as you… (thus why I don’t read books like Harry Potter, etc.) and I have to draw a line somewhere. But I still like children’s books with a dash of “magic ice cream.” 🙂

    Love the post! Sorry for the long comments haha!

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    1. I’d love to read your posts if you end up doing the tag!

      I feel your pain there with classics. They take me a long time to read as well and the plots usually are pretty slow-paced. There are so many modern YA and MG books that I love, but classics always seem to please me because they resonate with me so deeply. I love The Hiding Place and To Kill a Mockingbird. Both are such powerful books, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy them.

      Yay, I’m glad you agree! I agree that you really do have to draw the line somewhere, and to me, that line is far away from a lot of the innocent “magic” in children’s books. By the way, I was referencing A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd when I was talking about magic ice cream. I want to taste Blackberry sunrise so badly!

      Thanks, and I love the long comments!

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  3. Oh yes I saw this blog launch and I’m so excited to see Annie’s posts! Lovely tag here — bedroom is the best reading spot, especially for textbooks since you can read and fall asleep in one go, yay XD I didn’t even think Terabithia was contemporary because it was just so MAGICAL but yeah, now that we think about it, it IS. Great book, that one. I am kind of deeply in love with magic in books, though.

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  4. “Water’s good too, because, you know, survival and all that.” Oh, Ana. It is so wonderful to know that, as ever, you have your priorities in order. 😉

    In slightly unrelated news – I am so with you on favourite reading spaces. Have you by chance visited the New York Public Library? I wrote a post on it while you were away at camp, and truly, it is the epitome of a quiet, peaceful space in the centre of an ever-moving city. Do give it a try, if you are ever fortunate enough to visit – I promise you will adore it. ❤

    I'm off to visit Annie's blog now and to wish her a happy blog launch; how very exciting that is!

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    1. Yup. Priorities. Survival’s kind of important, you know?

      No, I’ve never been to the NYPL, but I actually had your post about it in mind when I was writing my answer and I would love to visit it someday. It looks like such a quiet, thoughtful place.

      I love it when a new blog bursts into being!

      Also, thanks so much for tagging me! This is the push I need to share a snippet of my writing on the blog.

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  5. Jane Eyre! I do love that book. A love story and a mystery and such a good sense of atmosphere. I also love the fact that you’ve got quite a few classic books in this post. Classic books are awesome. Annie’s blog is so awesome, and her blog tag’s fun too. I probably won’t end up joining in, but I’ve been enjoying reading other people’s posts.

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  6. Jane Eyre ❤ ❤ I read the book when I was in the 8th grade, and I was the only 8th grader back then who ever read the book. Everyone in my class was like, "YOU READ SUCH DEEP AND HARD BOOKS." Haha 😛 Jane Eyre is a deep and hard book, but when you analyze the story, some of its aspects are really great and intriguing that it makes such a great story! Also, I love the feminism stuff in the book haha. Great answers, Ana! 😀

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    1. I think when I first started reading Jane Eyre I didn’t understand why everyone seemed to love it, but now I understand why. That ending was so amazing. I just can’t get over it. Classics can be really hard to read, but they are so worth it, as I’m sure you can see from Jane Eyre. I’m glad you liked it just as much as I did.

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  7. I actually just finished my first Ray Bradbury book–From the Dust Returned, which was pretty good. I’ve got to admit that his style isn’t quite for me, but you can’t deny that he’s a great author.
    Hot chocolate is the BEST. So is tea 🙂 And I’ve always loved the idea of reading outside in a tree, though the only time I tried it, it was pretty uncomfortable. Still, tree houses are the best.

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    1. I’ve never read From the Dust Returned, but I’ll probably get to it eventually. I actually love his writing style so much. When I had to read one of his books for school in 7th grade I was doubtful because his stories are really creepy, but I completely fell in love with his writing. I can’t wait for it to be all snowy. That makes hot chocolate taste a million times better! Yea, I’ve never read in a tree, but it’s a dream. I have to do it one day to cross it off my bucket list.

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  8. Ooh, hot chocolate is definitely good. Jane Eyre is probably the only classic I like, so I’m glad you liked it even if you tend to like classics in general. And if you don’t lend out books, then at least you always know where they are! My best friend and I lend our books to one another often, though, so I’m afraid I don’t have the same experience. Thanks for sharing your reading life with us, Ana!

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    1. It is! I really need to expand my hot chocolate horizons, though. I of course have had classic a million times, but I’ve also tried peppermint hot chocolate and caramel hot chocolate and I’m sure there are a bunch of other exotic flavors out there just waiting for me to try them. Jane Eyre is a classic that a LOT of people seem to like, which is surprising to me since it starts out pretty slow. I guess it just goes to show that today’s readers can be patient with books even if the ending isn’t really fast paced.

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  9. I really really need to finish Jane Eyre. I started it so many long years ago and never managed to finish it. I don’t even know why because I actually really enjoyed this book. How come you don’t like magic in books? I loooove it! 99.99% of my reads are fantasy. I do enjoy classics and other genre as well though.

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  10. I love all of your answers! I wanted to tell you how much Im enjoying your blog! I think it’s awesome your a runner…my brother is in cross country and my whole family has turned into a running family…enjoying your blog so much!

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    1. Running is AMAZING! It’s so great that your brother being in cross country turned your whole family into runners! Cross country and track are both fun but, *whispers* cross country is better *coughs*. Ahem. Thanks so much for commenting, Morgan. I’ve been late on replying back to comments but I appreciate every one of them.

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  11. Love this post and your answers to this tag very much, Ana!

    I especially appreciated your thoughts on the magic-question. Hear, hear! 😀

    I love Laura Ingalls Wilder and her Little House books! I read them all when I was about twelve and there was a phase when I was really obsessed with the TV show as well. I’ve still quite a sentimental liking of it! 🙂

    A little question – I noticed you shared a quote for Elizabeth Wein’s novel “Rose Under Fire” – is that a good book, along with its companion novel, “Code Name Verity”? I’ve been intrigued by it for a while now, and heard good stuff about it!

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  12. I shall definitely go check out Annie’s new blog after this! 😀 And ohhhh, you don’t love magic? I LOVE AND ADORE MAGIC. Like all the kinds. As long as it’s done well and there are a lots of rules. I hate undefined magic where they can just get themselves out of any problem with a click of the fingers. It kills character development, I think. *nods* Oh oh hot chocolate is LIFE.

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  13. Ohhh I am a sucker for some hot chocolate. And Jane Eyre, oh my goodness. Such a wonderful book. I really need to check out Annie’s blog further. 🙂

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  14. OH. JUST YES. Alllll the reading spots. I find it totally unfair that we can’t love BOTH the city and the countryside, I mean, pshhh to all the people who want to make me choose. #rebel

    Ohmygod your quote choices are fab. I love all those books! I like magic, but if it has limits. Not like, oh I’m hungry, so let me snap my finger and taadaa! Buffet! Oh, I’m dying, let me just wave my hand and save us from destruction. I WANT THE CHARACTER TO SUFFER. Because I’m, a charming li’l soul.

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  15. Oh my gosh YES YES YES to that Rose Under Fire quote. Man, I feel like rereading those books, but I’m sure it’d kill me in the process because those books are just so emotionally draining. Great questions and answers!

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