Posts Tagged With: books

The enemy’s gate is down — my thoughts on Ender’s Game

image via Pinterest

Up until a couple years ago, my exposure to science fiction had been limited to Star Trek, Star Wars, and a couple other films.  Although I’m an avid reader, reading sci-fi had never really appealed to me.  Most of the covers on the books were enough to make me gag.  But then my dad read the book Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card and recommended it to me.  Always ready for a good book (and knowing my dad’s good taste), I read it and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.  I soon read it through a second time.  Not long later I was flying through the parallel book, Ender’s Shadow, and was again floored by the depth of the story.  Wasn’t this a science fiction novel?  I have since read 8 of the 14 sequels, prequels, and parallel books, and have thoroughly enjoyed every one of them.  (Some more than others, yes.  But they’ve all been good.)  There’s not many series I can say that for.

So today, I wanted to share with you a bit about why I like this book so much — and why you should go read it. 😉


Ender’s Game takes place in the (not-too-distant) future.  Earth has twice been invaded by aliens and now the International Fleet is searching for the next commander of Earth’s starships in preparation for the imminent third invasion.  Promising children are brought to Battle School where they are trained to become future soldiers, leaders, and commanders.  One of the primary methods of training within the Battle School is the battle room, an arena where opposing armies of students compete for the highest rankings in the school by playing a sort of high-tech laser tag game in zero G.  One of the students is six year old Ender Wiggin.  The book follows his journey through Battle School and the personal journey he must take as well.

Ender’s Game is not your typical science fiction book.  I would even venture to say that it’s not true sci-fi.  It’s more like a well-written novel set in a science fiction realm.  Instead of being bombarded by a multitude of overly-dramatic space battles, a host of grotesque aliens, and mere entertainment value, the plot line revolves around strategy, tactical plans, and the thought processes of military leaders and brilliant children.

“Fiction, because it is not about somebody who actually lived in the real world, always has the possibility of being about oneself.”

 Orson Scott Card

One of the most fascinating aspects of this book is that it’s written almost entirely from the children’s point of view.  Card created a multitude of incredibly brilliant, yet very real, children who all have their own unique of view of Battle School, the teachers, and the challenges they face both in their training and in their relationships with other students.  Each of their strengths, weaknesses, backgrounds, sorrows, and motives are explored in Ender’s Game, and many characters are fleshed out even more in the sequels.

I’m excited to see the film next week.  From what I’ve seen of the trailers, movie spots, concept art, etc., it looks like they’ve done a fairly good job adapting the story line to film.  It is, however, a combination of both Ender’s Game and its parallel book Ender’s Shadow (also a really good read).  I’m going to try and see it in IMAX.  I have a feeling that will be a pretty incredible way to see the battle room.

So, go read the book and let me know what you think.  And if you’ve already read it, I’d like to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

*Disclaimer: While I do enjoy and recommend Ender’s Game, it does have bit of language and mature content. Personally, I’d say they’re appropriate for upper-teens but everyone’s filter is a bit different. 😉   Please read at your own discretion.

Categories: Review, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

She Tagged Me!

My dear friend and fellow blogger, Victoria of Hope Writer has tagged me!  Thank you for tagging me, Victoria!  Several of your questions made me think long and hard.  Enjoy!

If you could learn a new language, what would it be?

If this is the instant, “I know kung-fu” kind of learning, I think I’d pick Chinese.  But if I actually have to learn it… maybe Spanish.  That would be pretty practical.

Which three books are your top favorites of all time?

Aie, yie, yie… let me think.  That’s really hard.  Ok, here we go.

The Reb and the Redcoats ~ Constance Savery

The Chronicles of Narnia ~ C.S. Lewis (Yes, I know it’s a series.  I can’t pick just one.)

The Keeper of the Bees ~ Gene Stratton-Porter

What is your favorite line/quote from one of those three books?

 “One word. All you’ve been saying is quite right, I shouldn’t wonder. I’m a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won’t deny any of what you said. But there’s one thing more to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things – trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that’s a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We’re just babies making up a game, if you’re right. But four babies playing a game can make a playworld which licks your real world hollow. That’s why I’m going to stand by the play-world. I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia. So, thanking you kindly for our supper, if these two gentlemen and the young lady are ready, we’re leaving your court at once and setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking for Overland. Not that our lives will be very long, I should think; but that’s a small loss if the world’s as dull a place as you say.”
Puddleglum, in The Silver Chair

Which three movies are your top favorites of all time?

My goodness, just three?  *sigh*  Well, here’s three of my favorite movies of all time. 😉

National Treasure has been a favorite for many years.  The Revolutionary war, (or, as I like to call it, the War for American Independence.  😀  ) is my favorite period in American history, so the historical aspects of the film made it even more of a winner for me.

Monsters, Inc. definitely makes the list.  It’s my favorite Pixar film, hands down.  My sister and I quote it constantly.

I grew up watching Calamity Jane.  This western musical starring Doris Day is so much fun and watching it brings back so many memories.  We have nearly all the songs memorized.

What is your favorite line from one of those movies?

What is the nationality/ies your family comes from? (i.e. Scotch, Russian, etc)

Mostly Scottish on my dad’s side, Irish and a bit of Cherokee on my mom’s.

What are some of your favorite phrases, exclamations, or sayings?

Oh… that’s a hard one.  I tend to say “Oh dear” a good bit.  Don’t know if that’s my favorite.  I love some of the British sayings.  “Jolly good” is always fun to say. 😉

Who are five of your “best friends” (favorite characters) in literature?

Uncas (Last of the Mohicans)

Little Sister (Laddie)

Reb (The Reb and the Redcoats)

Puddleglum (The Silver Chair)

Victoria Gracen (The Obsession of Victoria Gracen)

What is a movie that you love that people would probably totally not associate with your personality?

Star Trek: The Next Generation (TV show and movies).  I’m particular that it be the Next Generation.  Captain Jean-Luc Picard beats Captain James T. Kirk of the original series, hands down.  No question. 😉

Which historical figure do you look forward to visiting with the most  in heaven?

C.S. Lewis

I’d have to go with C.S. Lewis.  Because of his writings, I think we’d have a lot to talk about.

Categories: randomness, tag | Tags: , , | 7 Comments

The Legacy of Baroness Orczy

This past week, I was able to share a movie with my dear friend, Maribeth.  Together, we sat upstairs and laughed and giggled while watching the old movie, Pimpernel Smith.  This film meant a lot to us for several reasons — it was a conjunction of an inspiring historical figure, a  favorite novel, and an unintentional legacy left by a baroness.  Together, these three seemingly unconnected bits made an extraordinary impact on the world.

Six years ago, Maribeth introduced me to an often-overlooked historical figure, Raoul Wallenberg.  Through his work with the War Refugees Board at the Swiss embassy in Budapest, Hungary,  Wallenberg was able to save the lives of thousands of Hungarian Jews during the last year of WWII.

A couple years later, I returned the favor and introduced Maribeth to a fabulous book which quickly became one of our favorites: The Scarlet Pimpernel.  I’m not going to spoil the plot in case you haven’t read the book yet (you should!), but I will tell you this.  The Scarlet Pimpernel is a historical fiction/adventure/romance/mystery novel set during the French Reign of Terror.  It is the story of a mysterious person known only as The Scarlet Pimpernel who saves French aristocrats from the guillotine.  Meanwhile, the French are desperately trying to find the Scarlet Pimpernel and stop his successful rescues.

Baroness Emma Magdolna Rozália Mária Jozefa Borbála “Emmuska” Orczy de Orczi was born in Hungary in 1865.  Her family moved to England when she was 15.  She later married Englishman Montague MacLean Barstow.  Baroness Orczy is best known for her book, The Scarlet Pimpernel.

Now to tie all these bits of stories together.  The Scarlet Pimpernel was made into several films, most notably the 1934 film starring Leslie Howard.  Then, in 1941, Howard starred in a modernized remake set during the current WWII called Pimpernel Smith.  In it, the superficially boring Professor Smith rescues people from concentration camps and Nazis arrests. The film reached Sweden in 1942, but was soon banned by the Swedish Census Board who feared that it would jeopardize the country’s neutrality.  But one man was able to see the show with his half-sister at a private screening.  On the way home, this Swiss told his sister “I want to do exactly what he [Prof. Smith] did.” (Linnéa, Sharon. Raoul Wallenberg: the man who stopped death. Philadelphia and Jerusalem: The Jewish Publication Society, 1993.)

Raoul Wallenberg arrived in Budapest with a mission — a mission inspired by Pimpernel Smith.  From July 9, 1944 through January 17th, 1945, Raoul worked tirelessly to save the thousands of Jews left in Budapest from SS Lt. Col. Adolf Eichmann’s systematic extermination.

“In all, 120,000 Jews of Budapest survived the “final solution”. They were the only substantial Jewish community left in Europe. At least 100,000 of these people owed their lives directly to Raoul Wallenberg.”  (

Raoul Wallenberg saved thousands of Hungarian Jews because he was inspired by the film Pimpernel Smith, which is based off the novel The Scarlet Pimpernel which was written by Baroness Orczy — a Hungarian.  Isn’t that just AMAZING?

The Baroness Emmuska Orczy and Raoul Wallenberg

The Lord used a baroness, a 319 page book, an actor of Jewish Hungarian decent (I’m not joking!), and a Swiss architect to save thousands of lives during the dark days of WWII.  I don’t know if Baroness Orczy knew the legacy she had left through her books when she died in 1947, but for us Scarlet Pimpernel fans, knowing the far-reaching effects of the story makes it even better.

(As a side note for SP fans, you might want to check out Orczy’s novel Pimpernel and Rosemary set during the Nazi occupation of  Hungary during WWI.   Pretty cool huh?  You can read the summary and the entire book here.)

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 10 Comments

I’ve been tagged!

LouisianaPatriette of Formidable Courage has tagged me!  Below are her questions and my answers.

Seven Personal Queries

Describe yourself in one sentence.

I am first a servant and daughter to my Heavenly Father — I am also a proud Texan, a lover of all things tiny and detailed, a musician, a big sister, a cat lover,  a crafter, an avid reader and book collector, a Ron Paul supporter, a backyard chicken enthusiast, a Revolutionary War buff, a member of The Bluestocking Society, and a bosom friend to a couple of wonderful girls.  🙂

Your duties met for the day, how would you choose to spend a carefree summer afternoon?

I would spend the afternoon creating something and reading, then spend the evening at an English Country dance.

Are you compulsively clean or comfortably messy?

I keep things comfortably messy until it starts bothering me, then I start cleaning.  🙂

Chocolate or vanilla?

I’ll usually go for chocolate.

Do you have a special little weakness…that you just can’t live without, and that gives you much happiness when obtained?

Not that I can think of…

Who is your favorite singer?

Just one?!?  Agh… can I go with a group? (*presumes she can*)  I would have to say Rescue.  They are an Christian acapella group out of Portland Organ.  Rescue is  the best acapella group I have ever heard.  Hands down.  You can listen to samples of their music here: Rescue music samples.  My favorites are Beautiful, Before the Throne of God Above, and Darkest Hour.

What are your opinions on the subject of poetry?

I did not have much of an appreciation for poetry until two years ago.  I took a British Literature class and much of what we studied was poetry.  We read, studied, picked apart, and even wrote some poems that year.  That class developed my appreciation of poetry.  Maybe one day I will post one of my attempts…

Seven Queries on the Subject of Books and Movies

Name three favorite fiction books, and three favorite nonfiction books.


      • The Pathfinder – James Fennimore Cooper
      • The Chronicles of Narnia ~ C.S. Lewis
      • The Keeper of the Bees ~ Gene Stratton-Porter


      • Rocket Boys (aka October Sky) – Homer Hickam Jr. *
      • Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory – Ben Macintyre
      • The Great Escape – Paul Brickhill*

*FYI, my wonderful Daddy went through and edited the books marked with an asterisk before I read them.  Really good books but… there were some things that didn’t need to be there.

What’s the next book on your to-read list?

Most likely Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung

Name the worst book you’ve ever read, and the worst movie you’ve ever seen.

No particular book is coming to mind — usually if a book is just awful, I won’t finish reading it.

One of the worse movies I watched was Rio.  That was a total waste of time.

Name your top five favorite characters EVER (book or movie).

Don’t know if these are my top five favorites, but they are some of my favorite characters nonetheless.  So, in no particular order:

    • Randel Everett Baltimore (The Reb and the Redcoats)
    • Sir Percy Blakeney (The Scarlet Pimpernel)
    • Miss Victoria Gracen (The Obsession of Victoria Gracen)
    • Puddleglum (The Silver Chair)
    • Little Sister (Laddie)

Name your top five worst villains whom you DESPISE with your whole heart (book or movie).

    • Magua (The Last of the Mohicans)
    • Mother Gothel (Tangled)
    • Agent Smith (The Matrix)
    • Chauvelin (The Scarlet Pimpernel)
    • Randal (Monsters Inc.)

Your favorite movie costume.

I’ve always loved Susan’s archery dress and cape in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

What is your favorite movie soundtrack?

Either How to Train Your Dragon by John Powell or The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by Harry Gregson-Williams

Categories: randomness, tag | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

One of my favorite days of the year…

For three glorious days in March the local university holds the biggest used book sale I have ever seen.  For us, it’s an annual family holiday — my Dad even takes off from work.  We arrive on the first day before the book bazaar opens at nine am.  The REALLY serious people get there at 6 and wait in line for three hours.

As soon as the doors open, there is a mad rush for everyone’s favorite table.  I always make a beeline for the “Hidden Treasures” table where I’ve found many of lovely antique books over the years.  One of my best finds?  Lord Tony’s Wife (a sequel to The Scarlet Pimpernel) that was published in 1917!  And this year, I found a beautiful little book of poetry that was printed in 1857.

This year’s treasure?  A complete hardback set of The Chronicles of Narnia, published by Macmillan — the first American publisher.  These books are no longer printed, and to find an entire set in such good condition was amazing.  I won’t tell you how much I paid for them… it will only make you jealous.  🙂

After unloading my stack of books, I have to reorganize my entire bookshelf in order to accommodate the new arrivals.  For several years, this meant moving up a shelf (i.e. making the next highest shelf a book shelf instead of a display shelf).  Last year, I moved all my informational books to the highest shelf that I can only reach by standing on my tiptoes.  So this year, while I was VERY excited about going to the book bazaar, I wasn’t relishing the idea of having a stack of books in my room until I can find another bookshelf.  But thankfully, after a teensy bit of rearranging, and the removal of two small boxes made enough room for this year’s additions.  *Yippee!*

But… now I’m chock full.  Oh well, I’ll cross that bridge next March.  🙂

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: | Leave a comment

Blog at