2019 #AtoZChallenge – My Literary BFF Hermoine Granger #HarryPotter

MY LITERARY BFF

HERMOINE GRANGER

Throughout the month of April, you can catch up on my posts for this year’s challenge as well as all my alphabet offerings from previous years on my Blogging from A to Z page HERE.

When I read a great novel or a series of novels, sometimes I wish I could step into the book and join the world experienced by the characters. I just know that if I were there, I’d feel at home and contribute positively to the plot. I think it is those characters that keep me returning to works by the same author and even read those same novels over and over again.  For this year’s challenge, I plan to visit those characters we all know and love.  Those characters that we want to step off the page because we know that if they did, we’d be best friends forever.  Today, please meet Hermoine Granger.

Hermoine Granger from the Harry Potter series of novels by J.K. Rowling as obtained from the website Pottermore https://www.pottermore.com/explore-the-story/hermione-granger

 

Like billions of others from around the world, I found that you do not need to be a youth to have read and loved the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.  Since 1998, the characters from J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world have taken on the novel reading world and we, myself included, have gladly been swept up in its phenomenon.  September of last year marked the 20th Anniversary of this wonderful series of novels.  Among the characters that we know so well is one that transforms from a bookish muggle-born girl to one of Gryffindor’s bravest.  Whether you know her from the novels or from the seven blockbuster films, you want to be her friend.

Let’s get to know Hermoine Granger.  Put away your mobile phones class, we’re going to have a pop quiz.  I can see Hermoine smiling just from those words.

1. What is Hermoine’s middle name?

2. What materials were used in her wand?

3. Which house in Hogwarts School and Witchcraft and Wizardry was Hermoine sorted into?

4. What profession do her parents have?

5. When it comes to having a social conscience, who or what does Hermoine support?

(Check your work with the answers at the bottom of the post).

I think Hermoine’s dialog or said by others about her can also define her.

“I’ve learned all the course books by heart of course. I just hope it will be enough— I’m Hermione Granger, by the way, who are you?” – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (book)

“I hope you’re pleased with yourselves. We could have been all killed — or worse, expelled.” – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (book)

“Books! And cleverness! There are more important things — friendship and bravery.” – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (book)

“At least no one on the Gryffindor team had to buy their way in. They got in on pure talent.”- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (book)

“Fear of a name only increases fear of the thing itself.” – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (book)

Ron: “That was the best Defense Against the Dark Arts lesson we’ve ever had, wasn’t it?”
Hermione: “[Lupin] seems like a very good teacher. But I wish I could have had a turn with the boggart –”
Ron: “What would it have been for you? A piece of homework that only got nine out of ten?”- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (book)

Professor Lupin: “You’re the cleverest witch of your age I’ve ever met, Hermione.” – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (book)

“Excuse me, I don’t like people just because they’re handsome!” – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (book)

“Just because it’s taken you three years to notice, Ron, doesn’t mean no one else has spotted I’m a girl!” – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (book)

“Not spew; It’s S-P-E-W. Stands for the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare.” – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (book)

“Aren’t you ever going to read Hogwarts, A History?”
“What’s the point?” said Ron. “You know it by heart, we can just ask you.” – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (book)

“Just because you’ve got the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn’t mean we all have,” said Hermione nastily, picking up her quill again. – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (book)

“Luck can only get you so far.” – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (book)

“No, Harry, you listen,” said Hermione. “We’re coming with you. That was decided months ago – years, really.”- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (book).

Answers to the pop quiz: (1) Jean; (2) Dragon heartstring core, ten and three-quarter inches, vine wood; (3) Gryffindor; (4) dentists; (5) house elves’ rights

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2019 #AtoZChallenge – My Literary BFF Atticus and Scout Finch

MY LITERARY BFF

ATTICUS AND SCOUT FINCH

Throughout the month of April, you can catch up on my posts for this year’s challenge as well as all my alphabet offerings from previous years on my Blogging from A to Z page HERE.

When I read a great novel or a series of novels, sometimes I wish I could step into the book and join the world experienced by the characters. I just know that if I were there, I’d feel at home and contribute positively to the plot. I think it is those characters that keep me returning to works by the same author and even read those same novels over and over again.  For this year’s challenge, I plan to visit those characters we all know and love.  Those characters that we want to step off the page because we know that if they did, we’d be best friends forever.  Today, please meet Atticus and Scout Finch.

When I was in high school, I had not yet become an avid reader.  I rarely picked up a book and required reading for school was tedious.  I sometimes turned to the cliff notes to get me through the requirements and of course that is never really the best solution.  For some reason after days of procrastinating my reading of To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee I decided to open the cover an begin one day after school.  Needless to say I couldn’t put it down once I started.  I read all through the night because it was the most compelling story this teenager had ever experienced.  There are many interesting characters in this novel but at the forefront are the narrator, Jean Louise “Scout” Finch and her father, Atticus.

the most 10 influential characters from our favorite books scout finch quotes

Scout Finch -We meet Scout when she is five-years old.  At the beginning of the story, she is innocent.  She has not experience any evil that is out in the world.  She is happy spending the day with her brother Jem and their friend staying next door, Dill.  Scout is unusually intelligent and learns to read before beginning school.  Under terms of her social identity, she is unusual for being a tomboy in the prim and proper Southern world where they reside.  She is also the product of her father’s influence.  Scout is Scout because of the way Atticus  raised her. He has nurtured her mind, conscience, and individuality without bogging her down in fussy social hypocrisies and notions of propriety. While most girls in Scout’s position would be wearing dresses and learning manners, Scout, thanks to Atticus’s hands-off parenting style, wears overalls and learns to climb trees with Jem and Dill. Her upbringing also has made her not always able to grasp social niceties.

Scout starts out as an innocent but as the novel progresses, Scout has her first contact with evil in the form of racial prejudice.  How will Scout be changed by the experience?  Will she emerge from it with her conscience and optimism intact or will she be forever bruised by the experience.  Luckily under her father’s guidance and wisdom, Scout learns that although humanity has a great capacity for evil, it also has a great capacity for good. The story unfolds in a very short period and although Scout is still a child at the end of the book, Scout’s perspective on life develops from that of an innocent child into that of a near grown-up.

Atticus Finch –  He is Scout and Jem’s father, a lawyer descended from an old local family and a man generally respected by his town Maycomb where he and his children reside.  Atticus is a widower with a dry sense of humor.  He lives by a code and has instilled in his children his strong sense of morality and justice. With his strongly held convictions, wisdom, and empathy, Atticus functions as the novel’s moral backbone.

Back in December there was an article on CNN about the five parenting lessons learned from To Kill A Mockingbird.  These five lesson are a big part of the character, Atticus Finch. Source: https://www.cnn.com/2015/07/14/health/parenting-advice-to-kill-a-mockingbird/index.html

Lesson 1: Live your values

Atticus lives by a code: let your conscience be your guide. As a lawyer, he takes on a case that everyone says he shouldn’t.  He chooses to defend Tom Robinson, a black man falsely accused of raping a white woman. In response to Scout’s comment that most people in the town think it’s wrong to defend the accused man, Atticus explains that “they’re entitled to full respect for their opinions. But before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.” If he didn’t take the case, Atticus tells Scout, “I could never ask you to mind me again.”

Lesson 2: Listen to both sides of every story

Unsurprisingly for a lawyer, Atticus tries to look at any given situation from both sides. When Scout gets in trouble on her first day at school for already knowing how to read (thanks to Atticus), he suggest Scout look at it from the teacher’s point of view and how it could be disruptive to her lessons.  He even displays his ideals in his dealing with the story’s antagonous, Bob Ewell.  He tells his outraged son Jem, “See if you can stand in Bob Ewell’s shoes a minute. I destroyed his last shred of credibility at that trial, if he had any to begin with. The man had to have some kind of comeback, his kind always does…He had to take it out on somebody and I’d rather it be me than that houseful of children.”

Lesson 3: Keep calm in a crisis

Perhaps most enviable in Atticus’s parenting (and hardest to achieve in reality) is the quality that the adult Scout describes as an “infinite capacity for calming turbulent seas.” There is almost nothing that ruffles Atticus’ feathers.  When Bob Ewell curses at him, threatens his life and spits in his face, Atticus’ only reaction is “I wish Bob Ewell wouldn’t chew tobacco.” A rabid dog lumbers down their street and Atticus calmly but efficiently shoots it dead (to his children’s amazement as he has never boasted about his marksmanship). Repeatedly in the novel Atticus reassures the children in such difficult moments that “it’s not time to worry.” And yet, an appropriate time to panic never seems to arrive.

Lesson 4: Have faith in your children

One of the most difficult dances of parenting is knowing when to give your children the right answers and when to trust their own ability to find them. Jem and Scout are at a good age to test these waters and Atticus seeks out opportunities for them to exercise their own judgment. He also trusts them with the truth. “When a child asks you something, answer him, for goodness’ sake,” Atticus tells his brother. “Children are children, but they can spot an evasion quicker than adults.” When Scout asks him what “rape” means, Atticus gives her a dry but accurate legal definition and she is satisfied.

Lesson 5: You don’t have to be tough to be brave

Atticus shows this in the smallest of ways, such as with the family’s ornery old neighbor, Mrs. Dubose, who makes a habit of taunting Jem and Scout when they walk by her house. “Just hold your head high and be a gentleman,” Atticus advises Jem. “Whatever she says to you, it’s your job not to let her make you mad.” True to form, Atticus disarms Mrs. Dubose with smiles and compliments, leading Scout to marvel, “it was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived.”
This wasn’t the first time I’ve written about To Kill A Mockingbird:

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2019 #AtoZChallenge – My Literary BFF Eve Dallas

MY LITERARY BFF

EVE DALLAS

Throughout the month of April, you can catch up on my posts for this year’s challenge as well as all my alphabet offerings from previous years on my Blogging from A to Z page HERE.

When I read a great novel or a series of novels, sometimes I wish I could step into the book and join the world experienced by the characters. I just know that if I were there, I’d feel at home and contribute positively to the plot. I think it is those characters that keep me returning to works by the same author and even read those same novels over and over again.  For this year’s challenge, I plan to visit those characters we all know and love.  Those characters that we want to step off the page because we know that if they did, we’d be best friends forever.  Today, please meet Eve Dallas.

The series of novels by J.D. Robb,”In Death”

I have been a long time fan of the author, Nora Roberts.  I think I’ve read everything she has written and there are hundreds.  Among her novels is a series that she writes under a different name, J.D. Robb.  These novels all have a common theme in the titles, “In Death”.  For example Naked Death published is 1995 and roughly two novels a year through Vendetta in Death schedule for release in September of this year.  Yes, the titles sound repetitive but oh what a cast of chacters the authors gives us.  In this futuristic series, police lieutenant Eve Dallas and her tycoon husband, Roarke head a group of interconnected people that I would love to call my friends. The series is set in mid-21st century New York City and, occasionally, off-Earth. The books are primarily police procedurals with a focus on the romantic relationship between Eve and her husband.  The appeal of these novels doesn’t stop with Eve and her husband.  The rest of the continuing characters such as Officer Peabody and Captain Ryan Feeney have you knowing that if you are found dead in the world that is mid twenty-first century New York City, the homecide division of the NYPSD won’t rest until your murderer is brought to justice.  Oh and your murder will be bizaar.

Here is her backstory. Source:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_Death_characters#Eve_Dallas

Eve Dallas is the main character of the In Death novels. Eve was found in an alley in Dallas, Texas. She was estimated to be eight years old. She had a broken arm, was covered in old blood, and had no memory. Unable to remember anything at all, her social worker named her and put Eve into a foster home, the beginning of Eve’s life in the system. After reaching the age of majority, she has a big desire to move to New York City where she hopes to become a police officer. The dates of all her promotions are not specific, but it is mentioned that she became a detective, second grade in early 2051, and eventually, by the start of the series, is lieutenant in the Homicide squad.

Throughout the series, her memories return, mostly through a series of nightmares, revealing a history of incestual rape and patricide with her father, Richard Troy. It is revealed that he was raising her to prostitute her to child molesters. Her mother, Stella, was a prostitute and a drug addict and was occasionally beaten and raped by Troy, but hated her daughter. Eve finds out more about Stella in book 34, New York to Dallas.

It was implied that since Eve had lost her memory, she had forgotten her name, as well, but it is eventually revealed in Reunion in Death that the reason Eve cannot remember her name is because her parents never gave her one. The fact that no one in Dallas could track down her ID indicates one of two things: that either Homeland Security interfered and deleted her data, or that her parents never had her registered in the first place. For all intents and purposes, Eve did not exist in any records before she was eight years old.

After her relationship and subsequent marriage to Roarke, Eve is a much happier and, to some extent, calmer person; she is more willing to work with and depend on other people. They celebrate their one-year anniversary in Reunion in Death, in July 2059. Eve’s relationship with Roarke is central to the series and her character. Eve’s official residence is 222 Central Park West, New York, N.Y., with Roarke.

Interested in the other characters, here is a good place to start https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_Death_characters.  Interested in the list of novels with short descriptions of each?  There are lots of different cites such as Goodreads but the following is the first that came up when I Googled. https://www.fictiondb.com/author/jd-robb~naked-in-death~30936~b.htm

Here is a short video about the series

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2019 #AtoZChallenge – My Literary BFF Maise Dobbs

MY LITERARY BFF

MAISIE DOBBS

Throughout the month of April, you can catch up on my posts for this year’s challenge as well as all my alphabet offerings from previous years on my Blogging from A to Z page HERE.

When I read a great novel or a series of novels, sometimes I wish I could step into the book and join the world experienced by the characters. I just know that if I were there, I’d feel at home and contribute positively to the plot. I think it is those characters that keep me returning to works by the same author and even read those same novels over and over again.  For this year’s challenge, I plan to visit those characters we all know and love.  Those characters that we want to step off the page because we know that if they did, we’d be best friends forever.  Today, please meet Maisie Dobbs.

Maisie Dobbs Series

My literary friendship with Maise Dobbs is is new.  Having recently discovered the series by Jacqueline Winspear, I was blown away at how much I liked this character.  She is best described on the author’s website.

Maisie Dobbs, Psychologist and Investigator, began her working life at the age of thirteen as a servant in a Belgravia mansion, only to be discovered reading in the library by her employer, Lady Rowan Compton. Fearing dismissal, Maisie is shocked when she discovers that her thirst for education is to be supported by Lady Rowan and a family friend, Dr. Maurice Blanche. But The Great War intervenes in Maisie’s plans, and soon after commencement of her studies at Girton College, Cambridge, Maisie enlists for nursing service overseas.  Years later, in 1929, having apprenticed to the renowned Maurice Blanche, a man revered for his work with Scotland Yard, Maisie sets up her own business. Her first assignment, a seemingly tedious inquiry involving a case of suspected infidelity, takes her not only on the trail of a killer, but back to the war she had tried so hard to forget.

I fell in love with Maisie Dobbs with the first novel published in 2003 and I am working my way through the remaining fifteen novels by Jacqueline Winspears that continue Maisie’s story.

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2019 #AtoZChallenge – My Literary BFF Charlotte

MY LITERARY BFF

CHARLOTTE

Throughout the month of April, you can catch up on my posts for this year’s challenge as well as all my alphabet offerings from previous years on my Blogging from A to Z page HERE.

When I read a great novel or a series of novels, sometimes I wish I could step into the book and join the world experienced by the characters. I just know that if I were there, I’d feel at home and contribute positively to the plot. I think it is those characters that keep me returning to works by the same author and even read those same novels over and over again.  For this year’s challenge, I plan to visit those characters we all know and love.  Those characters that we want to step off the page because we know that if they did, we’d be best friends forever.  Today, please meet Charlotte.

Image credit: Garth Williams.

I don’t reside in a barnyard so I am not likely to be best friends with a spider; however if I did have that life, Charlotte would be great to have in my corner.  As spiders go, she is the definition of a friend having your back unlike these spiders from novels.

As we navigate life, we bring to the table our talents to achieve success and hopefully to help others.  Everyone has different talents so not everyone can be the hero but hopefully we share what we can in whatever way possible for some good.  This is how I define Charlotte in E. B. Whites famous children’s story, Charlotte’s Web.   Your friend, this pig, Wilbur is destined for the slaughterhouse.  What can she, a lowly spider do.  Apparently more than anyone could have ever imagined.  Though the book has received some criticism for introducing death to children, I like to think that the story has greater meaning in helping others and not wasting your talents.

Charlotte’s Web, E.B. White

Here is a synopsis of the full story from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlotte%27s_Web

After a little girl named Fern Arable pleads for the life of the runt of a litter of piglets, one spring morning, her father gives her the pig to nurture, and she names him Wilbur. She treats him as a pet, but a month later, no longer small, Wilbur is sold to Fern’s uncle, Homer Zuckerman. In Zuckerman’s barnyard Wilbur yearns for companionship but is snubbed by the other animals. He is befriended by a barn spider named Charlotte, whose web sits in a doorway overlooking Wilbur’s enclosure. When Wilbur discovers that he is being raised for slaughter, she promises to hatch a plan guaranteed to spare his life. Fern often sits on a stool, listening to the animals’ conversation, but over the course of the story, as she starts to mature, she begins to find other interests.

As the summer passes, Charlotte ponders the question of how to save Wilbur. At last, she comes up with a plan, which she proceeds to implement. Reasoning that Zuckerman would not kill a famous pig, Charlotte weaves words or short phrases in praise of Wilbur into her web, making the barn, and pig, a tourist attraction, with the web believed to be a miracle. At the county fair, to which he is accompanied by Charlotte and the rat Templeton, Wilbur fails to win the blue ribbon, but is awarded a special prize by the judges. Charlotte, by then dying as barn spiders do in the fall, hears the presentation over the public address system and knows that the prize means Zuckerman will cherish Wilbur for as long as the pig lives, and will never slaughter him for his meat. She does not return to the farm with Wilbur and Templeton, remaining at the fairgrounds to die, but allows Wilbur to take with him her egg sac, from which her children will hatch in the spring.

Wilbur waits out the winter, a winter he would not have survived but for Charlotte. Delighted when the tiny spiders hatch, he is devastated when most leave the barn. Three remain to take up residence in Charlotte’s old doorway. Pleased at finding new friends, Wilbur names one of them Nellie, while the remaining two name themselves Joy and Aranea. Further generations of spiders keep him company in subsequent years.

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2019 #AtoZChallenge – My Literary BFF Elizabeth Bennet

MY LITERARY BFF

ELIZABETH BENNET

Throughout the month of April, you can catch up on my posts for this year’s challenge as well as all my alphabet offerings from previous years on my Blogging from A to Z page HERE.

When I read a great novel or a series of novels, sometimes I wish I could step into the book and join the world experienced by the characters. I just know that if I were there, I’d feel at home and contribute positively to the plot. I think it is those characters that keep me returning to works by the same author and even read those same novels over and over again.  For this year’s challenge, I plan to visit those characters we all know and love.  Those characters that we want to step off the page because we know that if they did, we’d be best friends forever.  Today, please meet Elizabeth Bennet.

Now the world of Elizabeth Bennet is not really appealing to me.  Yes in the end, she finds her true love in Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy but it is the fact that a good marriage was the best that a woman could hope for, that I find unacceptable by today’s standards.  Luckily, Elizabeth doesn’t have to live 2019, she lived 1813 so when it comes to women navigating life in the nineteenth century, Elizabeth Bennet rises to the top.  Elizabeth is regarded as the most admirable and endearing of Austen’s heroines and I have to agree.  She certainly is my favorite.  Austen herself described Elizabeth as “as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print.”

By C. E. Brock – Scans from the book at Pemberley.com, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9404731

Elizabeth is the second eldest of the five Bennet sisters of the Longbourn estate, situated near the fictional market village of Meryton in Hertfordshire, England. Having reached the age of 20 years old, Elizabeth is described as an intelligent young woman with a lively, playful disposition. Early in the novel she is depicted as being personally proud of her wit and her accuracy in judging the social behaviour and intentions of others.

Imagine a father in nineteenth century England having to marry off five daughters.  Quite a task.  With no son to inherit, his estate is entailed upon the male line leaving his wife and daughters with no place to live should he die.  This situation has his wife, the over the top character, Mrs. Bennet quite mad with activities in the marriage market.  She is eager to have her daughters paraded in the path of wealthy men.  It is this inappropriate behavior by her mother and some of her sisters that embarrasses Elizabeth.  Such failure in propriety could lead to a failure to find good marriages.

Elizabeth is the direct opposit of her mother and is portrayed as her father’s favorite.  This is likely because she is intelligent and does not act silly like her younger sisters. Within her neighborhood, Elizabeth is considered a beauty hence we are drawn to her as she navigates the marriage market that she knows she must partake.  These activities bring her in contact with persons new to Meryton, Mr. Bingley who is renting a nearby estate, and his friend, Mr. Darcy.  The very wealthy Mr. Darcy is drawn to Elizabeth but of course he must not follow through because she and her family are to be looked down upon from his lofty place in society.  Never in my opinion was there a better name for a novel.  Pride and Prejudice is what envelopes these two characters destined to be together.  When the plot is resolved and each can put aside their pride and prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy become, in my opinion, the greatest lovers in literary history.


 

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2019 #AtoZChallenge – My Literary BFF Anne Shirley

MY LITERARY BFF

ANNE SHIRLEY

Throughout the month of April, you can catch up on my posts for this year’s challenge as well as all my alphabet offerings from previous years on my Blogging from A to Z page HERE.

When I read a great novel or a series of novels, sometimes I wish I could step into the book and join the world experienced by the characters. I just know that if I were there, I’d feel at home and contribute positively to the plot. I think it is those characters that keep me returning to works by the same author and even read those same novels over and over again.  For this year’s challenge, I plan to visit those characters we all know and love.  Those characters that we want to step off the page becuase we know that if they did, we’d be best friends forever.  It is April 1st, so please meet Anne Shirley.

Whether you were introduced to her from the pages of the 1908 novel by Lucy Maud Montgomery, met her on television’s Wonderworks through that spectacular adaptation or from one of the numorous other productions occurring since 1919, you know one of the most recognizable characters from children’s literature.  Yes, I am writing about the unforgettable Anne Shirley otherwise known as Anne of Green Gables.

When I was a young girl, I had not been introducd to Anne of Green Gables so had not experienced this character in my youth.  As a young adult, I found Anne on television in the multipart series on Wonderworks.  Through this experience, she has become one of my literary BFFs.  What is it about orphans and literature? Throughout history, alone in the world, these children have found themselves in the pages that we read and have made their mark.  Cinderella, Harry Potter, Mowgli and Peter Pan to name a few.  Counted among them is our girl Anne or Anne with an E.

Orphaned when she was just a few months old, Anne Shirley spent her first eleven years living with persons that were not relatives and being treated like a servant.  Through a mistake, Anne came to live with siblings, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert at a place named Green Gables on Prince Edward Island (PEI).  The mistake was that they wanted a boy to help with the farm and got Anne instead.

Did a character and her life ever make you want to book a trip. Whenever I’ve had a trip somewhere in Northeastern United States, I always try to see if a trip to Prince Edward Island could be planned as part of the vacation.  Some day I’ll get there.


Anyway back to Anne.  The child of school teachers, Anne Shirley was a girl gifted with high intelligence and a very active imagination.  It was that intelligance and imagination that put her in some precarious situations.  Through Lucy Maud Montgomery’s story we meet a girl that has made PEI her home and truly become a part of the Cuthbert family.  So important to the landscape of PEI, Matthew and Marilla could never send this mistake back so Anne made life a little more colorful in the quiet village and for the aging siblings.  I recommend introducing your children to Anne of Green Gables but if you have not experienced her yourself, I highly recommend Wonderworks, Anne of Green Gables (1985) with actress Megan Follows in the title role.


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The Great and Powerful Theme Reveal 2019 #AtoZChallenge – My Literary BFF

MY LITERARY BFF

Although I have not been blogging on a regular basis recently, I know that I need to keep my hands in. Why not continue my participation in the A to Z Challenge which I have joined since 2014.  All those years of alphabet offerings can be read HERE.

The theme reveal began on March 18th but better late than never.  When you read a great novel or a series of novels, did you ever feel like you wanted to step into the book and infiltrate the world experienced by the characters. Do you just know that if you were there, you’d feel at home and contribute positively to the plot. I think it is those characters that keep us returning to works by the same author and even read those same novels over and over again.  For this year’s challenge, I plan to write about those character with whom I just know I’d be best friends forever.  April is almost here, so here is to a successful challenge.

Collage obtained from Armchair BEA Character Chatter Top: Anne from Anne of Green Gables, Robin Hood from various, Kvothe from The Name of the Wind, Froi from Froi of the Exiles, June and Day from Legend
Second: Han from The Demon King, Hermione from Harry Potter, Cricket Bell from Lola and the Boy Next Door, Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice, Sydney Carton from A Tale of Two Cities
Third: Gilbert from Anne of Green Gables, Tristan from various, Shallan from The Way of Kings, Mr. Thornton from North and South, Perrin from The Wheel of Time
Fourth: Gale from The Hunger Games, Jo from Little Women, Roar from Under the Never Sky, Leisel from The Book Thief, Kaladin from The Way of Kings
Bottom: Katniss from The Hunger Games, Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, Ed Kennedy from I Am the Messenger, Samwise from Lord of the Rings, Aria from Under the Never Sky

 

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2018 The Year We #CutTheCord On Cable Television

With the arrival of the new year, it is a time for reflections.  Many people write about their professional and family accomplishments and most people will have one or more to highlight.  I too have different accomplishments that I could write about but I’ve decided to write about a milestone in our family’s entertainment.

First, this isn’t about getting completely out from under the thumb of the various large cable television corporations.  With my husband needing internet in his home office and our overall need for it for streaming services, we need high-speed internet and that usually means one of the big providers.  This is about dropping them for everything else.

Second, cutting the cord has some upfront costs associated with the process.  These costs, for the most part, are one-time costs that will eventually pay for themselves but cutting the cord isn’t cost-free.

At the beginning of 2018, our monthly bill from our cable provider was about $222 for what they call the Triple Play and Digital Preferred.  What this means is that we had internet, cable television, and cable telephone.  This price was a bundled package providing a discount of $36.  We had dropped the premium channels previously when the most recent broadcast season of Game of Thrones was finished, we found that for the most part we only watched two programs on HBO and very little on any of the other premium channels.

Yes, there are many cable television channels that had programs that we watched but more and more we turned to streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.  The holdout for us was that cable television gave us broadcast television.  What would we do without local news and our favorite network television shows and with busy lives, don’t even think about taking away the DVR. So we trudged along paying that enormous monthly fee.  Just like burning our money.

In the summer, I began reading articles about streaming packages that could possibly give us local channels and many of the cable channels that are included in the cable television that we currently have but for less monthly.  I started making charts comparing Playstation Vue, Hulu, and Youtube which were some of the few providers of such services.  This lead me to articles on “cord-cutting” websites.  Finally, my husband and I circled back to the idea that those streaming packages are just another disguised cable bill.

Looking at cord-cutting websites such as Antenna Web, we began thinking about getting an HD antenna for broadcast television.  Talk about a brain explosion.  It all seemed very complex and the idea of an antenna installed on our roof made me think I was entering the Twilight Zone in a world of the 1960 or 1970s.

This 1963 issue of Radio-Electronics magazine would have the copyright renewed in 1991. Online page scans of the Catalog of Copyright Entries, published by the US Copyright Office can be found here. Search of the Renewals for Periodicals for 1990, 1991, and 1992 show no renewal entries for Radio-Electronics. Therefore the copyright was not renewed and it is in the public domain.

In the end, we decided to try an indoor antenna.  There are so many to choose from and you have to know the broadcast zones that you are trying to receive.  We lucked out with the one we bought on Amazon but I am not sure we really knew what we were doing.  I guess we figured we could just return it if it didn’t work.  We weren’t dropping the cable until we had it all functioning.

ClearStream 2V Indoor/Outdoor HDTV Antenna with Mount and 30ft Cable – 60 Mile Range

Yes, that is our antenna.  If we had it in our living room, it would make a good conversation piece for guests but it is out of the way in my husband’s home office on the second floor (higher is better).  It doesn’t take up much space.  We purchased long cables in order to use the antenna for the televisions on both floors but started out just hooking up the television on the second floor which was closer.  With the television remote, we set the service to “Antenna”, ran a channel update and with our fingers crossed started going through the channels.  You would be amazed at how clear the picture broadcasts.  For many of the channels, I thought it was more clear than cable.  We discovered that one of the needed broadcast channels had very bad reception so we tried changing the direction of the antenna.  This resolved the distortion without affecting other channels.

The next thing that needed to be resolved before we cut the cord was DVR.  With shows broadcasting at the same time or when we can’t be home, a DVR was something that we became dependent on and didn’t want to give up.  Again there are several options for this but some require a monthly fee which we didn’t want.  Our televisions are not Smart TVs so some type of device is needed for streaming.  We currently use an Amazon Fire Stick but also have older Roku devices and blueray players with streaming capability.  With having the Amazon Fire Stick, we decided to purchase Amazon’s DVR, the Fire TV Recast.  I am so glad we did.  The two devices play nice together.  When we went with antenna, we thought we’d be constantly using the television remote to switch from “antenna” for broadcast tv to the Fire Stick for streaming but having the Recast eliminated that cumbersome process by putting DVR on the Fire Stick menu. That menu option takes us to the live broadcast channels and the DVR functions.  Do you remember I mentioned buying long cables to connect the antenna to the television on two floors.  With the Recast, we don’t need them.  The Recast is connected by cable to the antenna but the televisions are connected to the Recast by wifi.

Amazon-Fire-TV-Recast-with-Fire-TV-Stick-4K-and-Remote

With everything set with television entertainment, we dropped the television portion of our service but still had the telephone.  We haven’t seriously used a home telephone line for a few years due to having cellphones but the cable telephone had been part of a package and my husband used it as his work line.  When we dropped the television from cable, the monthly cost of the telephone increased since it was no longer part of a triple play package.  At $45 a month, it had to go.  Voiceover IP was the answer and we chose Ooma.  For this part, it has only been a few weeks but so far it is working well.

As a family, we are getting used to the reduction in television channels.  Without the large monthly bill for a bunch of channels we don’t use, we now have options.  With streaming services, we maintain a base of Netflix and Amazon Prime but pick and choose others as we feel fit.  I recently picked up Britbox and after a month or two I decided to drop it and pick up Acorn TV instead.  We have the freedom of no long contracts.  After dropping the telephone portion of our cable bill, our monthly bill for internet and related fees is $114.  We cut it just about in half, not bad.

Happy Birthday U.S. Navy 243 Years Strong