Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Yet another.

I'm sure you've all heard of this one before- at least the first line or two

By Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Laugh, and the world laughs with you;

Weep, and you weep alone.
For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.
Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air.
The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing care.

Rejoice, and men will seek you;
Grieve, and they turn and go.
They want full measure of all your pleasure,
But they do not need your woe.
Feast, and your halls are crowded;
Fast, and the world goes by.
Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
But no man can help you die.

There is room in the halls of pleasure

For a long and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


I love this:

A Dream Within a Dream
By Edgar Allan Poe

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

It's almost Christmas!!! Merry Christmas, everyone!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Fairy Tales Retold

Hello All! Happy December! I can hardly believe that we are just around the corner from bringing in the new year of 2011. Ridiculous. I think I'm getting old.

Anyway, this time around, I read a series of books called the "Fairy Tales Retold Series" by Regina Doman. There really is too much to say about these books. Maybe over time we should discuss each one individually. Anyway, the series consists of five books, set in modern times, that are based off of a traditional fairy tale. They are:

-Shadow of the Bear (based off of Snow White and Rose Red)
-Black as Night (based off of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs)
-Waking Rose (based off of the classic Sleeping Beauty)
-The Midnight Dancers (based off of the 12 Dancing Princesses)
-Alex O'Donnell and the 40 Cyber Thieves (based off of Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves)

The first three books follow the story of sisters Blanche and Rose and their adventures with two mysterious young men who call themselves Bear and Fish. Shadow of the Bear focuses mainly on the beginning of their adventure when they first meet the two young men. Black as Night was centered largely on Blanche, and Waking Rose about Rose. The other two, The Midnight Dancers and Alex O'Donnell focus on characters that are introduced in Waking Rose, but no longer really follow the story of the original four characters.

As for the plot... it's pretty complex. The stories are mystery mixed with fantasy, and I thought it was beautifully done. The characters were very real and relateable, set in modern day New York. There is a great mixture of fascinating elements like criminal activity, mistaken identities, dark pasts, secrets, and mysteries. At the same time it is filled with the fairy tale lover's bliss of love, fantasy and princes and princesses, evil witches and frightening spells. It's hard to explain how that can all fit together without having a serious continuity issue, but somehow, it happens. By the end of the book, you're thinking, "Oh my gosh... that is SO clever! I never would have come up with that!" Also, there are many many references to classic literature that my book loving comrades will appreciate. There is also a strong thread of rich Catholicism throughout all five, which I thought was impressively done because it was not over the top at all, which I appreciated.

Now, some girlfriends of mine recommended this book to me and I was like "Fairy Tales Retold? Yeah. Right. Chick novel, NOT for me or any other guy with any dignity." But, I read it, and I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't entirely "chick" oriented. Much of the story is told from the guys' points of view, and there is enough "real man" stuff in there to keep us interested. While I do think these books are probably most popular for teenage girls, I do admit that guys shouldn't be embarrassed to check them out.

On a precautionary note, however, I do want to point out that there is some "older kid" content in some of the books. Drugs, jail, criminals, violence and messed up people are met and dealt with. Nothing immoral is ever looked upon as a good thing. The author is a pretty staunch Catholic, and on her website has a "Picky Parents" guide to her books, so that you can find out just exactly what kind of stuff is in there. So, if you're younger, maybe have an older sibling or mom or friend read it first for you.\

Here is Miss Doman's website: http://www.fairytalenovels.com/index.cfm

I really encourage you all to read these books; once you start, I promise you WON'T be able to put them down!

Tony D.

Shadow of the Bear - 4/5 Recommended
Black as Night - 4/5 Recommended
Waking Rose - 5/5 Recommended
12 Midnight Dancers - 4/5 Recommended
Alex O'Donnell and the 4- Cyber Thieves - 4/5 Recommended

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Color of Water

by Jame McBride

This is no where near a "classic bookie" type novel. Therefore, I should not be posting on it. However, I wanted to post on SOMETHING, and this is what I've been reading so...yeah. I had to read it for school.
Well, it's "A black man's tribute to his white mother". It's a memoir.

James' mother was a white Jew who became and Christian and married an African-American in the 30s'. She went against every rule she had lived by to marry this good and honorable black man, Dennis McBride. She loved him with her whole heart. She embraced the black community, which she found to be very welcoming and kind. They never judged her. She was happy with them, despite the public rebuke she and her kids had to deal with. She had twelve half-black children, one of which was James.
James spends half his life trying to discover his mother's past, which is something she would like to forget. She finally tells him her remarkable life story, and that's what this book is about. Ruth tells James about her miserable childhood as a Jew who was abused by her father and all she had to endure as a kid. She tells about how God, her husband, and children changed her life. What ensues is a rather heart wrenching story.

A sweet little excerpt....

"Ma, what color is God?"
"God doesn't have a color. God is all colors."
"What do you mean? Is God white or black?"
"God is the color of water."

Or something along those lines... :D Anyway, that was cute.

I didn't love this book. I'd rather be reading the classics. It was good. It was interesting. But I didn't love it.

Recommended #2

You should be at least thirteen to read this book, in my opinion.


~Lady Arwen

Friday, November 12, 2010


Here is the booklist again so that everyone can read up!! I should be posting on "Fairy Tales Re-told" later today or possibly tomorrow. Enjoy! -T

Hello All,

I'm so sorry that it has been so long. But I promise to make a valiant attempt to keep this blog going strong.

Now, I mentioned in a previous post that we are going to try a new method in order to fit our busy lifestyles. Here, I will post a list of books that I will be reviewing- in the order of the list. So, as followers, you will know what's coming up! As time and schedules permit, our other contributors will post on something of their own choice, for some variety.

Lately, I've been really into the fantasy, "this isn't really happening" style of book. So, I think that sort of reflects on the list. :)

Here's the list, and I hope to be posting on the first one within the next week:

-The Last Unicorn, Peter Beagle
-The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien
(finally, right?)
-The Fairy Tales Retold Series, Regina Doman
-Animal Farm, George Orwell
-Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
-Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
-Cyrano de Bergerac, Edmond Rostand
-All Creatures Bright and Beautiful, James Harriot
-Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes
-Come Rack, Come Rope, Robert Hugh Benson
-Pinocchio, Carlo Collodi
-North to Freedom, Anne Holm

Well, that's probably good for now. Happy reading!!


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Hobbit

Hello All,

Let me first begin by apologizing for the serious delay in activity. I have some ideas to maybe enliven things a bit, but renovations are slow.

Now, in lieu of the fact that The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, is being made in to a movie, supposedly coming out in 2012, I think it is probably a very good thing for everyone to read and re-read this tale, just in case the movie is nothing like the book. It will be such a shame if people think that the movie is the same as the book if it really isn't. Perhaps the movie will be exactly like the book, and all will be well. :) Who knows what will happen, but regardless, it is a good book to read, especially if you have read the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and have always wanted to read "that first one that has something to do with the Lord of the Rings!"

If you have read (or seen- I highly recommend read) The Lord of the Rings, then you know how the story ends. The Hobbit follows the beginning of the tale, when Bilbo Baggins first comes in to possession of the ring. This book really is more of an adventure story than the Trilogy because it follows Bilbo as he travels through unknown lands with a band of dwarves, battles with a dragon, finds hidden treasure and becomes a legend in his own time.

If you have read The Lord of the Rings, then you are probably thinking, "Gosh, I don't have enough time to read The Hobbit- the Lord of the Rings took me three months!!" Don't be dismayed. The Hobbit is actually written in a much easier style than the Lord of the Rings, and the plot line is miraculously more simple. I read somewhere that Tolkien had actually written the Hobbit with the intention of children in mind, so, hopefully this book won't take you a few months to down. :D

I highly recommend reading this book because it is fun to know "the beginning" of the Lord of the Rings saga. It is totally not necessary to read it before the Trilogy, but is absolutely worth reading at some point in time. I don't like this book as much as the Trilogy, but it is still very well written and a good adventure story for a rainy day.

I also highly recommend the Lord of the Rings movies, which follow the books pretty well, surprisingly. (I have high hopes for the Hobbit too.) Don't get super super critical though because there are a few things that are wrong. I admit that I like them anyway. Some book lover I am. :)

Thanks for reading! And pass us on.... it feels like DC is dying.


Recommended 4/5

Sunday, September 26, 2010


By William Shakespeare

I read this because I've always truly enjoyed Shakespeare's histories, and I also love Roman history in general. It took me a while to get through this one though...the thing about the histories is that, there is A LOT of dialogue. I really did like it! But it got just a little slow at parts. I felt like Caius Martius (aka Coriolanus) kept repeating himself over and over again. Luckily, though, the language was suprememly amazing, and that made the draggy parts wayyyy more enjoyable!

This play is about a man who is an excellent military leader. He leads the Roman army to a great victory. The common people love him, until the conspiring bad guys, Brutus and Sicinius, cunningly turn them against him. They convince them he is proud and too high and mighty (sounds a lot like Julius Caesar, doesn't it!). In a way this is true; in a way it is not. On one hand, Caius is very condescending towards the plebeians (commoners), but at the same time, he is so humble that he detests all the praise he is getting for being victorious. He's a rather confusing character! Anyway, they eventually get him banished, so he turns against them and amalgamates his powers with...THE ENEMY (the Volscians). At this, Cori's very strong-willed and controlling mother, Volumnia, begs and convinces him to relent. He returns to Rome, a hero. But the Volscians, feeling slighted, assassinate Coriolanus.

It definitely got exciting at times. I delighted in studying the awesome vocabulary!

Recommended 3 / 5

If you're into Shakespeare or Roman history, I would recommended this higher than if you are not.

Next, I am going to read a Mark Twain and post on it! We'll see how long it takes me to finish this time :P
Hope everyone is having a GREAT school year so far!!


Wednesday, September 22, 2010



Love forever,

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Last Unicorn

What a strange book.

This book puzzled me exceedingly on every level. At times, I couldn't decide if it was a children's book or an adult book. And I still don't know what the message or "moral of the story" was. Also, I had a really hard time placing it in a specific era because the language ranged everywhere from Medieval to Modern slang. Peter S. Beagle really wrote something strange here.

But somehow, I liked it.

The story follows a unicorn on her journey to discover if she is the last unicorn in the world. She meets a magician named Schmendrick and a nice lady named Molly who help her. Eventually she gets turned into a human and falls in love. The story does manage to have a climactic ending. At times, the book just does not seem like it could possibly have a "happy ending," yet somehow, it ends on an "upbeat."

Like I said, I'm not quite sure what the moral of the story was, except that all of the characters had moments of self-realization. There is a great display of the typical fantasy story- magic, witches, heroes who slay dragons, unicorns.... It was fun, in that respect. It didn't end like a normal fantasy story though.

Reading this book was very strange because it was boring and interesting at the same time. I always wanted to not sit down and read it, but once I did, I usually couldn't put it down. I don't know why.

As a side note, as a kid, I saw the animated movie of this book which I remember being extremely strange. Now, going back and re-watching the movie, I realized that somehow, they managed to capture the emotion of this book. I was impressed considering it was animation. I wouldn't suggest watching the movie before reading the book though. Read the book and enjoy it for what it is, and then watch the movie. It isn't a hard read at all.

I hope someone else reads this because it would be great to have another opinion!



Recommended 3/5

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Here is the booklist again so that everyone can read up!! I should be posting on "Fairy Tales Re-told" later today or possibly tomorrow. Enjoy! -T

Hello All,

I'm so sorry that it has been so long. But I promise to make a valiant attempt to keep this blog going strong.

Now, I mentioned in a previous post that we are going to try a new method in order to fit our busy lifestyles. Here, I will post a list of books that I will be reviewing- in the order of the list. So, as followers, you will know what's coming up! As time and schedules permit, our other contributors will post on something of their own choice, for some variety.

Lately, I've been really into the fantasy, "this isn't really happening" style of book. So, I think that sort of reflects on the list. :)

Here's the list, and I hope to be posting on the first one within the next week:

-The Last Unicorn, Peter Beagle
-The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien (finally, right?)

-The Fairy Tales Retold Series, Regina Doman
-Animal Farm, George Orwell
-Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
-Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
-Cyrano de Bergerac, Edmond Rostand
-All Creatures Bright and Beautiful, James Harriot
-Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes
-Come Rack, Come Rope, Robert Hugh Benson
-Pinocchio, Carlo Collodi
-North to Freedom, Anne Holm

Well, that's probably good for now. Happy reading!!


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Acting in Shakespeare

by Robert Cohen

This is a book about how to play Shakespeare. It is just fascinating. It covers so much from how to deal with the text (scansion, which is pivotal to reading and acting Shakespeare well, how to tell the story, why Shakespeare used the words he did, and more) to body language and what to do with your voice.

If you do not act Shakespeare or act at all, but you love Shakespeare, you will love this book. It is enthralling to find out all the things Shakespeare was thinking about as he wrote his works and how much actors have to think about it too.

If you are a Shakespeare player, you will really love this book. It is a terrific book to have on hand, as it has so many tips!

I read the "Revised and Expanded Edition." You can't get it at the library, but you can buy it on Amazon!

Recommended #3
Recommended #5 if you are a Shakespeare player!

Lady A

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Re-construction and New Ideas

Hello all,

So, I'm thinking that DC needs an energy boost.

To start, I think everyone should suggest some books they would like to see us review on here. Not that we can do all and everything, but it's worth a shot to maybe gain more interest.

Second, I think we will have a new system where you will know what is coming up to be reviewed by me. Besides the scheduled reviews, Lady A., the Dodge, and Tini will post on whatever, randomly. It's different, but I think we should try it for a while. I think it will be good to have some organization.

Lastly, pass this blog on! Facebook us, email, post it on a website, tell your friends!! We need some vibrant interest and I swear on my honor to keep a tight schedule so there is new stuff often.

Thanks for your time!

Tony and co~

Monday, August 2, 2010

Hey there :)

Yeah...I know. We forgot about the Bronze Bow discussion :/ But before I explain that, I need you to do me a favor.
It's nothing taxing. Fear not.

Simply comment on this post telling me honestly how often you check this blog. I just want to see something.

Please take a sec to do this for me. Many thanks!

Fare you well, fellow geeks.

Lady Arwen

Friday, July 9, 2010

Jane Eyre

by Charlotte Bronte

Jane Eyre. Ahhhh yes. I shall tell you directly, when I began this book, I did not expect to enjoy it. I wasn't really in the mood for a dark and mysterious read. But I read it, because I thought it was about time I read something from the DC book list. Well, it didn't take long for me to become enraptured in the story! I found almost the entire book to be very compelling and wonderfully written. I can only remember two parts I thought were somewhat slow. The rest of the book was delightful. I was under the impression it would be exceedingly difficult to read, but I found it to be easy to understand, yet not in the LEAST unintelligently (Is that a word? It's telling me it isn't...) written. I really enjoyed it- a great deal more than I thought I would.

Jane tells the story. She begins by telling about her miserable childhood. She then moves on to tell about her stay at the Rochester mansion, where most of the story takes place. I won't say anything else. I wouldn't be doing the story justice, and I don't want to give anything away.

I recommend this for ages 13 and up. (I just think older kids would get much more out of it.)

Recommended #5
Most girls consider this a book they should probably read at some point in their lives, and I agree with that.

I've seen two movie movie versions, one of which I really liked, one of which I did not. But look, if you enjoyed the book, don't bother seeing any movie. They will never make a Jane Eyre movie that's as good as the book.

Reminder- The Bronze Bow discussion starts July 24th! Read it! And join us.

Lady A

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Woodward Shakespeare Festival

Greetings again...I just thought of something I should post about again, so when you are finished reading this, you may go back and read the poem I just posted!

For those of you who live in Fresno...

The Woodward Shakespeare Festival is a non-profit company that puts on FREE Shakespeare at Woodward Park! This year, the plays they are performing are The Merchant of Venice and King Lear. I have seen The Merchant of Venice, and it was great! I have heard great things about King Lear coming up as well.

Woodward Shakes has always put on awesome plays. They are an amazing company. PLEASE go enjoy a night under the starts, watching Shakespeare's great works--they are FREE, after all!

Like everyone, they are having serious financial issues. On top of that, right before the opening of The Merchant of Venice, someone stole $3000 worth of cables. AHH!!! This means for the first week or two, the cast of Merchant could not have microphones or enough lighting. They did a great job with dealing with it, but they are in the process of fixing the problem with money they don't have.
It is up to YOU to give donations if you enjoyed the show and want more of them! Even if you cannot give money, if you show up, the more people they count in the audience, the more grants they get, which is good.

@ the 13 Acre area in Woodward Park.
Show starts at 8:00.
$5 to get into the park. (Well, the park isn't free, but the Shakespeare is!)


I have always been a fan of these peeps. This season is looking fantastic! I encourage all of you to get out there and enjoy it!


The Brook

Hi guys. I PROMISE I will post on Jane Eyre soon. I've been trying to juggle a lot of small art projects on top of the big summer activities I am a part of. It's so busy. I am sure everyone is busy. I plan to be more devoted to the blog when fall comes around. We are thinking of making some changes also. So start checking more regularly when that time comes.

Here is a really pretty poem. I like it.

The Brook
by Alfred Lord Tennyson

      COME from haunts of coot and hern,
      I make a sudden sally,
      And sparkle out among the fern,
      To bicker down a valley.

      By thirty hills I hurry down,
      Or slip between the ridges,
      By twenty thorps, a little town,
      And half a hundred bridges.

      Till last by Philip's farm I flow
      To join the brimming river,
      For men may come and men may go,
      But I go on forever.

      I chatter over stony ways,
      In little sharps and trebles,
      I bubble into eddying bays,
      I babble on the pebbles.

      With many a curve my banks I fret
      by many a field and fallow,
      And many a fairy foreland set
      With willow-weed and mallow.

      I chatter, chatter, as I flow
      To join the brimming river,
      For men may comeand men may go,
      But I go on forever.

      I wind about, and in and out,
      with here a blossom sailing,
      And here and there a lusty trout,
      And here and there a grayling,

      And here and there a foamy flake
      Upon me, as I travel
      With many a silver water-break
      Above the golden gravel,

      And draw them all along, and flow
      To join the brimming river,
      For men may come and men may go,
      But I go on forever.

      I steal by lawns and grassy plots,
      I slide by hazel covers;
      I move the sweet forget-me-nots
      That grow for happy lovers.

      I slip, I slide, I gloom, I glance,
      Among my skimming swallows;
      I make the netted sunbeam dance
      Against my sandy shallows.

      I murmur under moon and stars
      In brambly wildernesses;
      I linger by my shingly bars;
      I loiter round my cresses;

      And out again I curve and flow
      To join the brimming river,
      For men may come and men may go,
      But I go on forever.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Bronze Bow - Discussion

Hey Everyone!

I was thinking we should have a discussion on "The Bronze Bow" by Elizabeth George Speare because there has been some interest and just because- because it's a good read! I was thinking we should all read it and have the discussion Saturday, July 24th. I think I'll be around, but I mean, we usually just catch each others comments whenever we get on, so it doesn't really matter. Sound like a plan?? I'll find some discussion questions and post them asap.

~The DC Board.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Bronze Bow

Hello All-

Sorry it's been so long! Today, I decided to post on "The Bronze Bow," by Elizabeth George Speare. I have read this book so many times it's crazy. I haven't actually read it recently, but I know this is a good book.

This book is set in first century Judaea. The lead character, a young man named Daniel Bar Jamin, lives at the same time as Jesus of Nazareth.

Daniel's father was crucified in front of him by the Roman occupiers (as his uncle did not have money to pay the tax) so even at the age of eight, he immediately hates and distrusts the Romans and vows that he will avenge his father's death. His mother dies of grief after her husband's death. Daniel's younger sister, Leah, is traumatized by these events, possessed by demons, and never leaves the house. The children are both taken in by their grandmother, but as she becomes ill and poor over the years, she sells Daniel to Amalek the blacksmith. Daniel escapes his cruel master, running away to the mountains where he meets Rosh, the leader of an outlaw band of rebels,who plan to someday overtake the Romans.

Several years after these events, he meets two old childhood friends: Joel bar Hezron and his twin sister Malthace, who climb the mountain for a holiday. Joel fiercely wants to join Rosh's band, so he promises Rosh that he will be a spy in Capernaum, the city to which he is moving.

One of Rosh's missions has Daniel capturing a slave. The crew names him Samson (a character in the Biblical book of Judges with immense strength and quite a temper) for his brute strength. Samson doesn't talk or understand anything, but he sees Daniel as his master and follows him. One day, Simon the Zealot, Daniel's friend from the village, comes to tell Daniel his grandmother is dying. He returns to his village of Ketzah and sees his grandmother. She passes on and Daniel is left in charge of Leah. Later, Simon tells Daniel he is going to follow Jesus and leaves Daniel in charge of his shop; Daniel and Leah move. At some point a Roman soldier younger than Daniel (a conquered German) befriends Leah after he sees her. Daniel eventually finds out, and goes into a fit of rage. Leah, who had seemed to be in the process of being cured, falls back into fully being possessed by her demons.

That was from Wikipedia- but I don't want to ruin the ending. I like this book so much, I think we should have a discussion on it. What does every one else think?

~Tony D.

5/5 Recommended

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Some Emily Dickenson poems


Emily Dickinson has written so many poems! She is a great writer. Lord Anthony will be posting any time, but here are a few her poems in the meantime.

I've always liked this one - it's only an excerpt:

To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul!


Heaven is what I cannot reach!
The apple on the tree,
Provided it do hopeless hang,
That "heaven" is, to me.

The color on the cruising cloud,
The interdicted ground
Behind the hill, the house behind, --
There Paradise is found!

Well, that is all for now. Have a great weekend, all of you. And remember, you may always invite your friends to follow Darles Chickens too!
Hopefully we'll hear from Lord Dewhurst soon. Also, we are in the process of making some changes on this blog. I have some ideas I need to
talk to the crew about. So stay tuned :)

Lady Arwen

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Mere Christianity aka The Case for Christianity

by C.S. Lewis

Well, helloooo, fellow geeks! How have you all been? I'm glad we've had posts from Dewhurst and Dodge of late, so there is some variety. We should probably get organized again as to who posts when and all that...I'll talk to the DC peeps, and we'll see.

Anyway! This is a great book. Basically, Lewis lays down the chief points of Christianity. I love the style in which he wrote this book. He lays down a principle, then he gives examples of things we can easily understand so we can get it. He repeats himself in different ways so one can grasp the point. I like the way he wrote this far better than the way he wrote the Chronicles of Narnia.

My favorite part of the this book was definitely the first book, specifically chapters 4 and 5. I LOVE the way he spoke of agnosticism. What he said about it is precisely my opinion of it, but he wrote it in such a clear and perfect fashion.
Here's probably my favorite quote in the whole book:

"One reason why many people find Creative Evolution so attractive is that it gives on much of the emotional comfort of believing in a God and none of the less pleasant consequences...All the thrills of religion and none of the cost. Is the Life-Force the greatest achievement of wishful thinking the world has yet seen?"

Those words made me tremendously excited, because I have always thought about it exactly like that! It was thrilling to read words that I so fully agree with and am passionate about. Here are some more quotes I loved:

"God is the only comfort, He is also the supreme terror: the thing we most need and the thing we most want to hide from. He is our only possible ally, and we have made ourselves his enemies."

"In religion as in war and everything else, comfort is the one thing you cannot get by looking for it. If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end: if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth...in the end, despair. Most of us have got over the pre-war wishful thinking about international politics. It is time we did the same about religion."

So I liked when he talked about the meaning of the universe and about whether there is or is not a God in the first place. As the book moved on, I did not get as much of a thrill, but it was still very good.

I actually disagreed with a bit of what he said. (I don't remember what chapter it was.) He acted as if this one point was a fact, but I disagreed. I won't go into the problems I had with it now, but if you want to talk, I definitely will.

Rated #5 - Watch out for the ninjas.

Thanks for reading. I hope you'll read the book.

Lady Arwen

Monday, May 10, 2010

Johnny Tremain

Hello All,

I apologize for the crazy long delay in everything. I'm sure most of us have been busy with finals and what not- so hopefully no one was too bored.

This time, I chose to write about "Johnny Tremain," by Esther Forbes- I have a feeling most of you have heard of it. I have read it more than once! So, because I think everyone should read this book at least once, I pulled up the "Sparknotes" plot overview, which I pasted here. I think it is probably the best description of the book written, because it gives you the plot without ruining anything amazing. Also, it probably describes the book way better than I could! So- enjoy this overview and I hope you are interested enough to read the book!

"Fourteen-year-old Johnny Tremain is the gifted apprentice of Ephraim Lapham, a silversmith in Revolutionary-era Boston. The pious and elderly Mr. Lapham is more interested in preparing his own soul for death than in running his silver shop, so Johnny is the chief breadwinner of the family. Dove and Dusty, Lapham’s other apprentices, are expected to bow to Johnny’s authority, and Mrs. Lapham is determined to have Johnny marry her daughter Cilla. Johnny’s enormous talent and his special status in the Lapham household go to his head, and Johnny often bullies the lazy, insolent Dove, as well as Dusty and the four Lapham daughters. Although Mr. Lapham tries to contain Johnny’s arrogance, Johnny is unwilling to rein in his quick temper or impulsive acts.

The Lapham’s fortune and Johnny’s fame as a silversmith appear to take a turn for the better when the wealthy merchant John Hancock puts in an order for an elaborate silver basin. Mr. Lapham hesitates to take on such a difficult project, but the rash Johnny accepts the job on behalf of his master. That night, Johnny reveals his family secret to Cilla. He is related to Jonathan Lyte, a wealthy Boston merchant. Johnny’s mother revealed his ancestry to him before she died and gave him a silver cup engraved with the Lyte’s coat of arms. She instructed him to steer clear of the Lytes unless he had no other recourse.

Johnny struggles to design the silver basin’s handles, but he is dissatisfied with the result. After consulting Paul Revere, Johnny creates a mold for a perfect set of handles. While he is casting the wax model in silver, Dove deliberately hands him a cracked crucible. Dove’s intention is only to humble Johnny by playing a practical joke on him, but his prank results in a terrible accident that disfigures Johnny’s hand. No longer able to work as a silversmith’s apprentice, Johnny loses his status in the Lapham household. After the burn heals, Mrs. Lapham begins to complain of Johnny’s idleness and the expense of feeding him. She begins negotiating a business partnership with Mr. Tweedie, a silversmith from Baltimore, and forbids Johnny from marrying Cilla. Mr. Lapham urges Johnny to find a new trade, but promises to house him until he finds a new master. During his fruitless search, Johnny drops into Mr. Lorne’s print shop, where a Whig newspaper, the Boston Observer, is published. Mr. Lorne’s enigmatic nephew and apprentice Rab immediately intrigues Johnny. Johnny confides the story of his accident to Rab, and the boy promises Johnny a job delivering newspapers if he fails to find any skilled labor.

Depressed and desperately trying to find a new craft, Johnny finally decides to approach Jonathan Lyte. He produces his silver cup as proof of their kinship, but Lyte accuses Johnny of stealing the valuable heirloom and has the boy arrested. Johnny appeals to Rab for assistance, and Rab not only finds a lawyer to defend him for free but also arranges to have Cilla testify in his favor. After Johnny is cleared of the charges, he tries to sell the cup to Lyte, but Lyte steals it from him. Only then does Johnny approach Lorne to ask for the delivery job.

While delivering newspapers, Johnny becomes well acquainted with the key members in Boston politics and is transformed from an apathetic political bystander into an ardent Whig. The Lornes treat him kindly, as if he were a member of their family. Johnny participates in the Boston Tea Party, and becomes a confidant, small-time Whig spy, and errand boy for all the Whigs of Boston. During this period of Whig scheming, in the months leading up the Revolutionary War, Johnny slowly changes from a selfish, arrogant child into a selfless, idealistic man. Rab’s quiet influence teaches Johnny to control his temper, and the colonial situation provides Johnny with something larger than himself to care about. Johnny also matures through his growing recognition of his feelings for Cilla, who has gone to work as a servant in the Lyte home.

On the eve of war between the colonists and Britain, the Tory Lytes plan to flee to England. Immediately before their departure, Lavinia Lyte approaches Johnny to tell him that she has investigated his claims of kinship and found them to be legitimate. She insists that her father had sincerely believed that Johnny was lying when he accused him, but admits that both father and daughter recognize that Johnny has a right to some of the Lyte property.

Rab is mortally wounded when war breaks out in the battle of Lexington. Johnny is deeply shaken by Rab’s death, but he vows to continue the struggle for the human rights for which Rab sacrificed his life. Doctor Warren, an esteemed rebel leader, examines Johnny’s hand while Rab’s lifeless body lies upstairs. He discovers that the thumb is fused to the palm by nothing but scar tissue, and that Johnny’s handicap can be easily remedied with minor surgery. Although he cannot promise that Johnny will ever be a silversmith again, he assures Johnny that he will soon be able to fire the musket that Rab bequeathed to him before dying. "

My only other comment would be that I thought the book was a little strange in the way the dialogue was formatted- but you get used to it after a while. The sentences are short, which I guess is more realistic, it's just different from the extensive sentences from other books! I hope that makes sense. Anyway, happy reading.


4/5 Recommended

Special thanks to Sparknotes. You are amazing.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Painting of a Forest

Check. It. Out.

This painting is so enchanting and enrapturing, do you not think? Click it for a large view.

You may think this is so random and not about books---but it is! When I saw this, I thought it would be a perfect illustration for so many scenes in books I have read. Here's some DC homework! Tell us what book scene this reminds you of! What book does it bring to mind?

Lady Arwen

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Around the World in 80 Days

Hey People,

I'm incredibly sorry that it has taken so long for me to get around to posting. I know I told Lady A. I would post some time ago, but I have been busy. My apologies. Alright, this time I am writing about Around the World in 80 Days, by Jules Verne. I have read this book about four or five times, and I think it just might be one of the best books I have ever read. That's saying a lot. I know that at an earlier time I wrote a post on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne and surprisingly I didn't like it. But this is very different. The story takes place in London, England in 1872. The story begins with a rich gentleman named Phileas Fogg, who lives a uniform life with no variation and no excitement. The story is seen through the eyes of Mr. Fogg's man servant, Passepartout, who has just come to work for him when Mr. Fogg decides to take up a friend on his bet to travel around the world in 80 days. Passepartout and Mr. Fogg set of on their wild adventure, but for some reason are being followed by an English detective named Mr. Fix. We follow them on their journey around the world and see lots of interesting places and people, such as a lovely young lady named Aouda. I personally think this book is amazing! It is fast paced and surprisingly humorous for the type of book it is. The book is filled with adventure, danger, romance, and the obvious anxiety of traveling around the world in 80 days! So in other words if you like adventure and world travel you should definitely pick up a copy of this book... and even if you don't you should read it anyway. If you have any more questions on the subject let me know because I wrote the post quickly and probably left important things out. Thank you for your patience.

$ The Dodge$

5/5 recommended

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Join me in reading "Mere Christianity"!

I have something exciting to tell y'all! I am reading a brilliant book called "Mere Christianity" or "The Case for Christianity" by C.S. Lewis. So far, I have only read five chapters, but I am simply enthralled. Even though it is not on the book list, I am going to post on it after the Artful Dodger posts on his book. (Unless someone else wants to post. Everyone seems really busy, but let me know when you guys want to post on something; I just keep posting cause no one else is.)
Since I am finding this book to be superior, I have a challenge for you all: read it too! That way, when I post on it, we can have a discussion. If not enough people get it read before my post, perhaps we can have a discussion on it just as we did on Romeo and Juliet. Let me know what you guys want to do!
This book is so good! I hope you all will read it. I'm not suggesting it to get any non-Christian peeps to convert, if there are any on the site. In fact, so far this book is not at all about the Bible, or preachy stuff like that. It is simply analyzing people's beliefs on God or whatever life force they believe in and other things. Lewis is analyzing people's views and arguing for both sides. It's really interesting; that's why I recommend it.
Some tips on how to read this: #1. Do NOT read fast. Read it slowly. Perhaps just take one chapter a day. #2. Re-read. I just re-read chapter two slower than before, and I got a ton out of it. #3. I usually don't agree with how teachers make students read stuff like Shakespeare for the first time and make them analyze and dissect the details so that they student can't enjoy it. But for this book, do analyze it! It's that kind of book. Think about what you read and maybe see if you can apply it to people in your life. I sure can. This way, if you ever get in a conversation with those people, you can defend your faith and beliefs!
Ok, well, I will email Dodge and see when he's planning on posting. Thanks for reading.


Friday, March 19, 2010


Greetings, folks.

I read Pinocchio for the second time a while ago. It was veery interesting to read the first time, having grown up watching the Disney movie version. Well, I don't know what the heck Walt Disney was thinking, because the book is nothing like the movie. He must have had a heck of an imagination; he pretty much changed the whole plot. I don't know about you, but it bothers me when people do that when the book was already terrific....
It's about a little wooden boy made by a dude named Geppetto.(That much the movie got right.) Even before Geppetto carved him, he was making mischief and being impossible to control. He was a real ham. But he always dreamed of becoming a real boy. When he meets a beautiful fairy girl who tells him she will grant his wish if he becomes a well-behaved puppet, Pinocchio is inspired and determined to behave the rest of his life. But Pinocchio has EXTREMELY bad will power. It's so bad, in fact, half way through the book I couldn't even believe it. You see, Pinocchio keeps saying he will be a good puppet, but then he doesn't go through with it. The fairy keeps re-appearing and telling him she will give him another chance, but he just doesn't get it. Just when he's soooo close to getting his wish, he blows it again. It's rather frustrating to read! But it's so funny! It's a very comical story, and it's very, very unique. It is a little scary though; it's a bit bizarre. It has this spooky-ness about it the entire story, and some really weird things happen. It's not exactly the jolly, innocent children's story everyone assumes it is.
It's great thought! My family and I have always loved it. I definitely recommend it.

Rated #4, maybe even #5 (It was a while since I finished it, so I can't remember which I decided on...)

Thanks for reading. I hope you will read this book; it's a real treat.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Two Dead Boys and some other stuff...

Hey people,

First, thanks to all who participated in the discussion! It was great. Thank you for reading the book. If anyone has any suggestions for book discussions, let us know.

I'll post in a few days, but I thought I would post this poem in the meantime. It's really interesting - the author is anonymous, and there a few different variations; because of this, it's not exactly considered "real" poetry. But I love the ironic and bizarre humor of it.
Here's my favorite version:

One fine day in the middle of the night,
Two dead boys got up to fight.
Back to back they faced each other,
Drew their swords and shot each other.

One was blind and the other couldn't see,
So they chose a dummy for a referee.
A blind man came to see fair play,
A dumb man came to shout hooray!

A paralized donkey, passing by,
Kicked the blind man in the eye,
Knocked him through a nine inch wall,
Into a dry ditch and drowned them all.

A deaf policeman, hearing the noise,
Came to arrest the two dead boys.
If you don't believe this lie is true,
Ask the blind man; he saw it too.

Very strange, very funny. Yeah?

I also wanted to re-post what is left of the booklist, just to remind you of what you can be reading. (Most the time we post on these books, but I have posted on other books too.)

Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
The Bronze Bow - Elizabeth G. Speare
Little Britches - Ralf Moody
Johnny Tremain - Esther Forbes
Around the World in 80 Days - Jules Verne
The Spectre Bridegroom - Washington Irving
Two Gentlemen of Verona - William Shakespeare
North to Freedom - Anne Holm
Pinocchio - Carlo Collodi

If you want to know which of these books you should read first (or read at all) please talk to me; some of these books are fantastic, and I'd love to recommend them.

Well, thanks for reading the books and following the blog - please invite your friends to follow too!

Lady Arwen

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Romeo and Juliet disucussion

Here's the start of the discussion - this is going to last a few days. That way everyone can get a chance to participate. Here are the questions again:

1. What effect does the accelerated time scheme have on the play’s development? Is it plausible that a love story of this magnitude could take place so quickly? Does the play seem to take place over as little time as it actually occupies?

2. Compare and contrast the characters of Romeo and Juliet. How do they develop throughout the play? What makes them fall in love with one another?

3. Compare and contrast the characters of Tybalt and Mercutio. Why does Mercutio hate Tybalt?

4. Apart from clashing with Tybalt, what role does Mercutio play in the story? Is he merely a colorful supporting character and brilliant source of comic relief, or does he serve a more serious purpose?

5. How does Shakespeare treat death in Romeo and Juliet? Frame your answer in terms of legal, moral, familial, and personal issues. Bearing these issues in mind, compare the deaths of Romeo and Juliet, Romeo and Mercutio, and Mercutio and Tybalt.

Sorry I couldn't get this going until now. I hope it's not too late.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Happy Birthday Darles' Chickens!


Ok everyone, this month was the month that we founded this blog! To be exact, March 28th, 2009 was the official date.

Fun facts:

1.) Darles' Chickens is Charles Dickens with the first letters reversed.

2.) We've had one official discussion - two, come Saturday.

3.) The Hobbit has been on the booklist since the original booklist.

4.) After two comments, usually they aren't about the book anymore.

5.) In one year, we've managed to have the love/hate relationship of the decade.

6.) 22 of the 47 posts have actually been on books.

7.) The most number of comments was 34, on The Tempest and Out of the Silent Planet. The least was 1, on Fabiola.

8.) We have 19 followers- 3 of which have never commented.

9.) There has been at least one post every month.

10.) "Poetry" has the most tabs with 9,- the next highest number being 5 for "Romance."

Can anyone think of anything else? Thanks to Tini who started this and to everyone else who had kept it alive with comments and posts for the last year! May the next be as good!

~DC Board

P.S. Let me know if the info is wrong. I did the best I could.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Roughing It

Hey people,

This time I read Roughing It by Mark Twain. Now believe me, this was a big surprise for me, but I didn't really like it. I usually like Mark Twain's stuff, but this failed to intrigue me. I was really sad about it too. I had made up my mind that I would probably like it, just because it was Mark Twain, but I was wrong. :(

The story was basically a semi-autobiographical account of Mark Twain's adventures in the Wild West from the years 1861-1867. Sounds alright, right? Wrong. I dunno what was up, but it just seemed really random and disconnected. He spent wayyyyyyyy too long on a stagecoach and felt it was necessary to explain everything. Everything he explained had some connection to the story of course, but was it really necessary? For instance, when traveling through a dreary section of nothingness somewhere in the middle of the United States, he made the comment that it was dangerous robbery territory. Then, he expanded upon the subject and told about a famous outlaw who used to roam the territory and how he wanted revenge in some guy blah blah blah blah blah. You get the point. He spent a whole chapter on it. He expanded upon everything from jackrabbits to Indian outlaws. Did this advance the story? I didn't think so, but maybe I missed the point.

In my opinion, if you would like to try Mark Twain, don't start with this one. Try Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn and The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County or The Prince and the Pauper.

Considering that this book wasn't poorly written, but just rather not my style, I rate it a 3/5.


3/5 recommendation

Saturday, February 27, 2010


Hey guys, sorry if I confused anyone; I just posted that the Romeo and Juliet discussion is today. It is NOT today, but next week!! I was confused and out of sorts, so I am VERY sorry about that. My mistake. Please forgive me.

Hopefully there will be a post before the talk, but if not, I will talk to you all next week.

Thank you for being patient with me :)


Friday, February 19, 2010

Which Cartoon Character Are You?

Hey guys,

I know this is completely irrelevant, but I was bored. It is a test to see which cartoon character you are. Let me know who you are! Have fun!

See ya,


p.s. let me know if it doesn't work

naucon.net | Fun Stuff | Thuy's Fun Tests Collection | Which Cartoon Character Are You?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Romeo and Juliet Discussion

Hello everyone,

Because of the marked intrest in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, it has been decided to have an open discussion about it. In order to allow our followers time to read it, our discussion will begin on Saturday, March 6th. The time- TBA. Maybe we won't restrict it to a specific time, because of possible time differences? While you read, here are some questions to think about:

1. What effect does the accelerated time scheme have on the play’s development? Is it plausible that a love story of this magnitude could take place so quickly? Does the play seem to take place over as little time as it actually occupies?

2. Compare and contrast the characters of Romeo and Juliet. How do they develop throughout the play? What makes them fall in love with one another?

3. Compare and contrast the characters of Tybalt and Mercutio. Why does Mercutio hate Tybalt?

4. Apart from clashing with Tybalt, what role does Mercutio play in the story? Is he merely a colorful supporting character and brilliant source of comic relief, or does he serve a more serious purpose?

5. How does Shakespeare treat death in Romeo and Juliet? Frame your answer in terms of legal, moral, familial, and personal issues. Bearing these issues in mind, compare the deaths of Romeo and Juliet, Romeo and Mercutio, and Mercutio and Tybalt.

So, of course these don't have to be answered by each person individually, but it should hopefully give a direction to our discussion. If you'd like, here is a quiz about Romeo and Juliet that I found. It's a good way to see how much you know!

SparkNotes: Romeo and Juliet: Quiz

Anyway, talk to you all on the 6th!

~DC Team

Sunday, January 31, 2010

All Creatures Great and Small

Hey people,

Gracious it has been a long time since I posted, I apologise for my absence. The book I read this time was All Creatures Great and Small, By James Herriot. It is the true story of a country vet named James Herriot who went to school in the city and then was sent to the Yorkshire Dales to practice his profession. Things are a little bit rough for James at first but he soon falls in love with His partner Siegfried Farnon, Siegfried's crazy brother Tristan, the simple people of the Dales, and the beautiful country around him. It is the story of the troubles that a country vet goes through told in a humorous and entirely relateable fashion. Walking through life in the mind of James, hearing every thought and working through every problem is laugh out loud hysterical. You could call it a documentary, but I prefer to think of it as the life of a poor vet who just can't win. You really have to read them to understand. It is a 4 book series starting with All Creatures Great and Small, then All Things Bright and Beautiful, All things Wise and Wonderful, and finishes with The Lord God Made them All. I just have to say I love them! I don't really like reading about animals, and I don't generally care for documentary type things, but these are different! He is so simple in the way he puts things, I guess you can say he speaks right to the heart of the average Joe. The countryside where he is sounds so beautiful, it makes me want to go to the Dales. Hopefully by know you have all gathered that I highly recommend these books, so please read them and let me know what you think! James Herriot has also written Children's Treasuries which are very good as well, but go for the real thing.
Thanks for listening and happy reading!
$ The Artful Dodge $
5/5 Recommended

Friday, January 22, 2010

Shadow Hawk

Hello all,

Gee, it seems like it has been forever since I posted on something. Well, this time, I read Shadow Hawk by Andre Norton, which was recommended to me by a friend who hated it. Well, I don't know if she hated it, but she didn't really like it either.

Set in Egyptian times, this book follows the adventure of a guy who is the captain of a group of desert scouts. He has no land to call his own, because his evil brother kicked him off of it or something like that. (I skimmed through some of it) :/ The story follows how he rises in the favor of the pharoah, and gradually earns all that he deserves.

That sounds really general, but I'm telling you, that is almost literally all that happened. There are several moments of suspense that either were too short or lasted too long, ruining the whole "suspense" device. Also, several threads of the storyline that started in the beginning were never followed up later, which might have given the story more depth. I guess the best way to put it is that it was boring. Also, it was disappointing because none of the main characters died. That sounds horrid, I know, but seriously, how realistic is it that all of the main characters take part in a battle, and the worst thing that happens is someone got a scratch!? Come on!

One thing that did catch my attention was that the desert scouts were all archers, which definitely produced some cool stuff. I think archery rocks. So yeah, that part of the whole thing was cool. Other than that.... I don't think I'd read it again by choice.

To sum it up, some parts were cool, but as a whole, the book really wasn't that interesting.


1/5 Recommended

Friday, January 8, 2010

Pride and Prejudic - An Eaternal Classic

By Jane Austen

I love this comedic Romance - which, of course, is entirely predictable. Every girl loves Pride and Prejudice. It's just so clever and romantic. Most of you know the story, but let us review anyway, shall we?

Elizabeth Bennet and her sister, Jane, are two very likable gals, despite their unfortunate relations. Elizabeth is witty and smart. She does not believe in marrying for money. Living in the era of Regency, in which you were only respected if you were rich/high in rank, this is not a very popular sort of attitude. She is considered the "odd duck" of the family, being sensible. Jane is also a lovely girl, and she is ready to think the best of everyone around her. When two rich young men come into town, (Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley) everyone immediately falls in love with Bingley, he being agreeable, enjoyable, and all-around very likable. Jane takes particular interest in him. Mr. Darcy, however, is twice as rich as Bingley, and ten times as disagreeable. Basically, everyone hates him and thinks he is proud, especially Elizabeth. No one has an any idea of Mr. Darcy's past, however, which is surprising and interesting. In the end, it turns out he is not so bad after all, and Ms. Elizabeth's opinions about him take a turn in the opposite direction ;)

A lot of you have read and enjoyed this as well as many other of Austen's books. They truly are brilliant.
I highly recommend the OLD BBC movie version of P&P (with Jennifer Ehle and Collin Firth.) I like it much better than the new version, but of course, that is only my opinion.

I rate it...um...#4.

Thank you kindly for reading. I am sorry it took to terribly long.

As always,
Lady Arwen

O Captain! My Captain


by: Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up -- for you the flag is flung -- for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths -- for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head!
It is some dream that on the deck,
You've fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,
The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
But I with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Booklist - 2010

First off - Happy New Year, my fellow DC Geeks! Well, I figured that I would re-post the old booklist, to remind everyone of the books that should be coming up. Nothing is added or changed, because we want to finish this list before we start another. The books will be taken off as they are reviewed. Thanks for your comments and support, and let's hope that 2010 is a great year for Darles' Chickens!

The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
Little Britches - Ralf Moody
The Spectre Bridegroom - Washington Irving
Two Gentlemen of Verona - William Shakespeare
North to Freedom - Anne Holm
Pinocchio - Carlo Collodi

Thanks again!

~The DC Peeps