Monday, June 29, 2009

New blogs

Two of Gae's daughters - Autumn and Eden - have recently started their own blogs! Please drop by at at their blogs and leave a comment or two. :-)

By the way, if you haven't been to Gae's blog - Cherished Hearts at Home - then you really should have a look. It's delightful!

Current Mood: Relaxed

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Seven Little Australians - a semi-forgotten classic?

I've recently been re-reading Ethel Turner's Australian classic, Seven Little Australians. I had almost forgotten how good it was/is! 

First published in 1894, and set in late-19th-century Sydney, Seven Little Australians recounts the adventures and mishaps of the seven Woolcot children, ranging in age from 16 to 0. Their father, Captain Woolcot, is a stern, authoritarian parent who really doesn't understand his children at all. The step-mother, Esther, is barely 20 and is scarcely any older than the oldest child. The children's mother died several years before the story takes place. 

The seven children get into all sorts of mischief. - This was one of the first childrens books to portray children in a realistic, wholly unsentimental way. 

Seven Little Australians was a bestseller in Australia and overseas when it was first published, and I don't think it's ever been out of print since. However, it doesn't seem to be as widely read now as it was 50 - or 100 - years ago. Amongst homeschooling and/or bookwormish families it remains quite a favourite, but in general, not many children - or adults - seem to be reading it. I don't know, maybe it's just me. . .

From the 1973 TV adaptation of Seven Little Australians

Anyways, if you enjoyed Little Women or Anne of Green Gables, I highly recommend that you give SLA a look. Ethel Turner's writing style is similar to Louisa May Alcott's, only less sentimental. Unlike Alcott, Turner does not deliberately set out to build a moral into each chapter, which is refreshing, in a way.

Ethel Turner wrote two sequels to Seven Little Australians - The Family at Misrule and Little Mother Meg, both of which are very good, and both of which are unfortunately currently out of print.

1973 adaptation

There was a miniseries made of Seven Little Australians in the '70s, which was fairly good, though it deviated from the novel in some points. You can watch a couple of clips from the series here.

Current Mood: Pensive

Friday, June 26, 2009

Internet problems. . .

With our current broadband plan, we get x amount of downloads per month. If we exceed x, our internet connection slows right down. I mean really slow. . . worse than dial-up. . . well, this month we went past x only 3 weeks into June (which, I might add, is almost certainly partly my fault - I've been doing too much stuff online!) - so, for the last few days, our internet has been very slow. It makes constructing blog posts a very tedious business. Oh well. Expect an onslaught of posts in early July. 
Current Mood: Tired

Saturday, June 20, 2009

My top 15 literary heroines

Finally, my long-promised follow-up to my "Top 10 Heroes" post - only this time it's 15, not 10. My list of heroines seemed to balloon to 15 before I knew it, and could easily have extended to 20.



#1: Fanny Price from Jane Austen's Mansfield Park

I can identify more keenly with Fanny than any other Austen heroine. In fact, we're so alike, that when I was reading Mansfield Park I could easily imagine that I was Fanny, if that makes any sense. I'm never going to be an Elizabeth Bennet - I'm far too shy and stupid - but I've always felt a special kinship with Fanny. Sorry, I know that sounds cheesy, but I can't describe it any other way! Unfortunately, there hasn't yet been a really good on-screen Fanny. At least Sylvestra La Touzel's Fanny bears some resemblance to the Fanny of the book, which is more than can be said for Frances O'Connor's or Billie Piper's performances. 

#2: Elizabeth Bennet from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice

Arguably one of literature's most delightful heroines. Intelligent, witty, and very pretty. . . Lizzy would make a wonderful friend. She isn't perfect, but her humanity only adds to her charm. (Ugh! Why does that last sentence sound so trite and prosy?) Keira Knightley isn't necessarily my favourite Lizzy, but in my opinion she looks more like Elizabeth than any of the other on-screen Lizzies, which is why she's in the photo here.

#3: Anne Shirley from L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables series 

You could say that Anne is the Montgomery equivalent of Austen's Elizabeth Bennet. I've read many, many, L.M. Montgomery books, and I love all of her heroines, but I think it's safe to say that Anne is Montgomery's most perenially popular young heroine. Red-headed Anne is romantic, sweet, hot-tempered, and has an almost limitless imagination. A true "kindred spirit". 

#4: Anne Elliot from Jane Austen's Persuasion

The heroine of my favourite Jane Austen novel - Persuasion. Anne Elliot is Austen's most mature heroine - at the ripe old age of 27, she is 6 years older than any of Austen's other heroines. Anne's personality and appearance is very much in line with the tone of the novel Persuasion - subtle, understated, but with an enduring inner beauty that blooms as the story develops.

#5: Molly Gibson from Elizabeth Gaskell's Wives and Daughters

Dear, sweet Molly Gibson! How could anyone not love her? :-) Molly is a beautiful person inside and out. She also has a mind of her own, and is never afraid to voice her opinions. Fortunately for him, Roger Hamley came to his senses and realised what an amazing person she was/is before it was too late.

#6: Elinor Dashwood from Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility

One of the nicest big sisters in literature. Sensible, level-headed and caring, Elinor would be a wonderful sister or friend. I can identify with Elinor on a number of levels - particularly her protective, big-sisterly instincts towards Marianne. I often feel exactly the same way about my own little sisters. Emma Thompson's performance as Elinor is, I feel, the strongest - but Hattie Morahan looks more like Elinor.

#7: Marianne Dashwood from Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility

Both of the two elder Dashwood sisters are here. It was impossible for me to separate them on this list. They pretty much tie for no. 6. I thought that Kate Winslet captured fairly well the sweetness and free-spiritedness of Marianne's character.

#8: Margaret Hale from Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South

One of the strongest, most memorable heroines of Victorian literature. Margaret isn't afraid of flaying Victorian conventions. After leaving her home in South of England, Margaret ends up befriending millworkers in 1850s Manchester, and frequently clashing with mill owner Mr. Thornton. Daniela Denby-Ashe was pretty good as Margaret, though it is the Margaret Hale of Elizabeth Gaskell's book that will forever endure in my imagination.

#9: Amy Dorrit from Charles Dickens' Little Dorrit

The heroine of Charles Dickens' Little Dorrit. Claire Foy's luminous performance as Amy Dorrit in the BBC's recent adaptation was wonderful. Her scenes with Matthew MacFadyen (Mr. Darcy in P&P 2005) were excellent. Technically I probably shouldn't include Amy here, because I haven't read Little Dorrit - I've only seen the tv series. Still, if the Amy of the book is anything like the Amy of the series, she deserves to be on this list.

#10: Edith Adelon from Louisa May Alcott's The Inheritance

As is sometimes the case with Alcott, Edith does come across as a little bit too perfect in the book, but Cari Shayne's Edith in the 1997 adaptation is very sweet and very likeable.

#11: Catherine Morland from Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey

The young, naive, and somewhat gullible heroine of Jane Austen's charming Northanger Abbey. It's difficult not to like Catherine, even though she may not be the wisest, most mature Austen heroine.

#12: Lucy Pevensie from C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia series

Lucy's innocent, childlike faith and wonder is one of the most inspiring elements of the Chronicles of Narnia series. Georgie Henley was only 8 years old when the first Narnia movie was filmed, but she did an awesome job, stealing the show as little Lucy Pevensie.

#13: Josephine March from Louisa May Alcott's Little Women series

The heroine of Louisa May Alcott's semi-autobiographical novel - bookworm, tomboy, and author, Jo. Strictly speaking, Jo is one of four heroines from Little Women - but she is the most human of the four March sisters, and the character with whom the reader usually identifies the most.

#14: Eowyn from J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings

One of the very few major female characters in The Lord of the Rings. Eowyn's spirit and courage was one of my favourite aspects of LOTR when I first read the books. And I adored the romance between Eowyn and Faramir. :-) Miranda Otto's Eowyn isn't quite how I imagined Eowyn to be, but it was still a strong performance.

#15: Jane Eyre from Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre

I feel bad about having Jane Eyre way down at no. 15! Just bear in mind that this list isn't necessarily in any particular order - Jane is last, but not least! Jane Eyre is a passionate, yet outwardly restrained young woman. The book Jane Eyre is an amazing read - the story of a friendless orphan's search for love, family, and fulfillment. Zelah Clarke's (Jane Eyre 1983) and Ruth Wilson's (JE 2006) portrayals of Jane were both very good.

Current Mood: Busy

Happiness is. . .

. . .What you feel when you finish breakfast and brace yourself for the morning's chores and schoolwork and. . . suddenly remember that it's Saturday!

Current Mood: Good

Thursday, June 18, 2009


I haven't been posting much lately (sorry, everyone!) but quite a bit has been happening here recently. We're having a new roof put on our house. . . the workers all turn up every day at about 7:15am and start drilling and hammering away. . . and yesterday we had a big homeschool Medieval Day - click here to see photos of the day on Lynne's blog - then this morning, Daddy and I were talking at a local Anglican church (not our church) about India. In 2007, a team from our church (myself and my dad included) went on a missions trip to India. We had an amazing time - but that's another blog post. . .

Anyway, Daddy had a powerpoint presentation all put together, with loads of India pictures, then this morning, just as we were about to leave, the whole thing crashed. So - no powerpoint presentation! We just talked instead. All things considered, I think it went very well. :-) The building was full of little old ladies - they were all lovely. :-D

And this evening - just 5 minutes ago - I finished making my first-ever pair of socks!! Yay!! *applause* I'm so happy to have them FINISHED! I didn't have any problem knitting them, it was just sewing the toes up that had me completely befuddled. . . I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to graft the two sides together! Finally, this evening, I found a web page that explains in CLEAR, INTELLIGIBLE ENGLISH how to graft the ends together. I'll have to get some photos of my beautiful socks to show you all. :-D

What other news. . . oh yes - my 15-month-old sister is walking - all by herself, without holding onto anything! She's growing up so fast. . . what will I do when she is all grown up, and there are no more babies in the house? :-( I can't remember a time when I didn't have a baby brother or sister to kiss and cuddle and 'mother'.

Must go now. . . hope you're all well!

Current Mood: Lonely

Friday, June 12, 2009

Alex Harris is getting married!

Alex Harris, co-founder of The Rebelution, co-author of Do Hard Things, son of Pastor Gregg Harris, 'little' brother of Josh Harris, etc. etc.  is engaged to be married! I can't believe it! Congratulations to both Alex and his fiancee, Courtney! They make such a cute couple. :-D 

If any of you follow the Rebelution blog or forums or if you know (or maybe I should say know of) Alex through Do Hard Things, be sure to leave a comment at Alex and Brett's blog.

Current Mood: Happy

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The joys [and quirks] of homeschooling

Hmmm, I seem to have been posting a lot of Youtube vids lately. Nonetheless, I just couldn't resist sharing these with you all. . . 

And this third one is possible my favourite.

Some of what was in those videos is of course exaggerated, but there were other bits that I could really identify with. I've been homeschooled my whole life and have always LOVED it. I found certain moments from the above videos to be very poignant - and very funny. :-)

Also, have a look at these Regency Dress Up Doll and Dress Up Hero sites. A most pleasant and agreeable way to waste time online. :P

Must go to bed now. . . 

Current Mood: Tired

EDIT: I realise that, strictly speaking, the third video is non-homeschooling-related. You'll have to excuse me, I was so tired last night when I posted this. I guess my brain wasn't functioning properly. . .

Then again, homeschooling families tend to be large families, and vice versa, so you could argue that Video No.3 is indirectly connected with homeschooling. . . 

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Cast your vote in the Regency World 2009 Awards

 Click here to vote!

Categories include: best actor in a Jane Austen adaptation, best actress, best new adaptation, and - most importantly - Best Ever Mr. Darcy!

Current Mood: Full

Monday, June 8, 2009

Another very funny P&P vid. . .

This is simply hilarious. . . the video quality is pretty bad, and the sound a bit muffled, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. A couple of homeschooled boys have fun performing their interpretation of Pride and Prejudice at the NCFCA homeschool speech competition.

Current Mood: Amused

Saturday, June 6, 2009

New photos from Disney's "The Princess and the Frog" + Hugh Laurie to play Prof. Higgins?

Disney have released photos and a poster for their latest traditionally animated (non-CGI) movie, The Princess and the Frog. Doesn't it look absolutely gorgeous! I can't wait to see it. . . :-) Click here to view gallery on IMdB, or here to go the official movie website.

Remember this post from last year when I said that Daniel Day-Lewis was going to play Professor Higgins opposite Keira Knightley in the 2010 version of My Fair Lady? Well - that rumour has yet to be confirmed. Meanwhile, there's another rumour spreading through cyberspace that Hugh Laurie will play Higgins! Well, well. . . we shall have to wait and see. Other popular choices among fans for the role of Higgins seem to be Colin Firth and Jeremy Northam. Personally I think Hugh would be better fitted for the part. . . but who knows? ;-)

Current Mood: Sleepy

I've started a new blog!

Yes, that's right - I've begun a blog dedicated to all things Narnia. Ribbons of Light has more of a period drama focus, and I didn't want to be cluttering it up with Narnia movie updates. So, I decided to begin a whole new blog. Ribbons will still be my "main" blog, but I'll use my other blog for writing about Narnia.


Current Mood: Weird

Thursday, June 4, 2009

What's your medieval profession?

You Are a Playwright

You are a highly literate wordsmith. You love both reading and writing.

You are also a natural storyteller. You can turn a mediocre anecdote into a riveting tale.

You find people and all aspects of life fascinating. No topic is off limits for you.

In modern times, you would make a good filmmaker or novelist.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Pride & Prejudice soundtrack

I've put together a new P&P playlist. Have a listen! ;-)

Ed Westwick as Heathcliff????

I just checked Wuthering Heights 2010 on IMdB, and guess who has been cast as Heathcliff. . . 


Okay, this is either a brilliant move, or it's just plain terrible - I'm not sure which. This is almost equivalent to casting Zac Efron as Mr. Darcy. . . or Miley Cyrus as Elizabeth Bennet. . . you get my drift? Seriously, if they have to cast a teen heart-throb as Heathcliff, they could at least have picked someone who is actually good-looking. . . like Rob Pattinson. . . :D But Ed Westwick? I'm just not sure about this. . .

However, I'm sure Gemma Arterton (Tess of D'Urbervilles, Elizabeth Bennet in Lost in Austen) will be wonderful as Cathy. It will be interesting to watch as the rest of the cast is unveiled over the next few months. . . 

Current Mood: Shocked