Quote of the Day

Since it’s St. Paddy’s Day, and also since you don’t get much more Irish than Gerald O’Hara in Gone With the Wind:

“Do you stand there, Scarlett O’Hara, and tell me that Tara–that land–doesn’t amount to anything?…Land is the only thing in the world that amounts to anything,” he shouted, his thick, short arms making wide gestures of indignation,” for ’tis the only thing in this world that lasts, and don’t you be forgetting it! ‘Tis the only thing worth working for, worth fighting for — worth dying for.”

“Oh, Pa,” she said disgustedly, “you talk like an Irishman!”

“Have I ever been ashamed of it? No, ’tis proud I am. And don’t be forgetting that you are half Irish, Miss! And to anyone with a drop of Irish blood in them the land they live on is like their mother.”

My Bonnie

Don’t get me wrong–I love all my children equally, even if in different ways. They are all very unique and special and lovable. That being said, Ladybug has a special charm in her personality that always reminds me of a quote from Gone With the Wind:

But Bonnie had the combined charm of Scarlett and Rhett at their best and she was the small opening wedge Rhett drove into the wall of Atlanta’s coldness.

This could have been written about Ladybug. She, more than any of the other children, seems to have inherited her mother and father’s best qualities, and uses them to her advantage. Maybe it just comes from being the youngest; I don’t know. But I’ve watched the way she charms *everyone* from her brothers and sister, to her grandparents, to people at church, to perfect strangers.

Her grandpa noted when she was still small and suffering from stranger anxiety that when she got a little older, she’d be the kind of person that could enter a roomful of strangers, and walk out an hour later leaving a roomful of friends, and he was totally right. She just has a way about her that makes her charm obvious, and I think in the future, it will lead to her having people flock to be around her.

My Favorite Things–Books

I own a lot of books. A whole lot. And my taste in books is pretty varied. I will admit that most of what I read is Christian fiction (primarily Biblical), but I also have a lot of other genres on the shelf. I thought I’d share a list of my very favorite titles from my bookshelves, in case anyone is looking for some new summer reading.

Anything by Francine Rivers, but my favorite two are And the Shofar Blew and The Atonement Child

The Lowlands of Scotland series by Liz Curtis Higgs (the second book, Fair is the Rose, is one of the most heart-wrenching tales I’ve ever read!)

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

And, the authorized sequel, Scarlett, by Alexandra Ripley

A Skeleton in God’s Closet by Paul Maier

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster (a favorite from my childhood that I still pick up from time to time!)

The Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls (I’m enjoying sharing these with my children.)

Me, Myself, and Bob by Phil Vischer

Katharina Von Bora by Rudolf Markwald and Marilynn Morris Markwald

The Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella (embarrassing to admit, yes, but I do enjoy some chick lit from time to time.)

Sisters, Ink by Rebecca Seitz (combining my two favorite hobbies, reading and scrapbooking, and actually doing a good with both!)

Dress Your Best by Stacy London and Clinton Kelly (what can I say? I loved What Not to Wear back when we had cable)

Magdalene by Angela Elwell Hunt

The Grandma’s Attic series by Arleta Richardson (more books from my childhood that I can’t put down)

Captivating by John Eldredge (I think all daddies of daughters should be required to read this!)

Right from the Start by Shirley K. Morenthaler

Antiques by Sharon Gillenwater (her other Texas books are also good, but this one is my favorite)

Women of the Bible by Ann Spangler (this is supposed to be a daily devotional, but when I first got it, I sat down and read the whole thing straight through. Not sure the theology is always 100%, but it’s really interesting.)

The Millennium trilogy by Judith Reeves-Stevens and Garfield Reeves-Stevens (When I was reading these books, I felt like I was watching a Star Trek: Deep Space Nine movie. Extremely well done, keeping the characters true to themselves.)

Haddasah: One Night with the King by Tommy Tenney

The Potluck Club series by Linda Evans Shepherd and Eva Marie Everson

Book Review: “Rhett Butler’s People”

Let me preface this by saying that my normal rating system doesn’t really apply here. I am a huge fan of Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone with the Wind,” both book and movie, as well as a fan of the sequel, “Scarlett,” by Alexandra Ripley (book only, the miniseries was awful!), so I knew that I would be buying the second prequel/sequel (“Rhett Butler’s People” by Donald McCaig) no matter what. So, the day it came out, I packed up the children and went to Borders, with my Borders Rewards coupon in hand (40% off! woo hoo!) and bought the book for better or for worse. So, when I give it a rating, just ignore the parts about whether or not I’d buy it, get it from the library again, etc., because no matter the actual content, I knew I needed the book to sit on my shelf with “Gone with the Wind” and “Scarlett.”

Anyway, it’s obviously been a while since I read it. I think it came out last November-ish, and I read it that week, so my memory is a little fuzzy on specifics, but I remember enough of it to know what I didn’t like about it.

The idea for this book was really cool–a look at a young Rhett Butler pre-“Gone with the Wind,” and then a continuation of his story through the same time period occupied by “Gone with the Wind.” It was also written by someone who is supposed to be an excellent historical, Civil War era author (although I had not previously read anything by him–I’m more of a John Jakes, “North and South” trilogy kind of gal), so I was very excited to get started.

On it’s own, I suppose this would be a pretty good book. It’s an interesting story, and I liked reading more about one man’s view of Rhett Butler’s history, motivations, etc. I had two problems with the book, however, and the first one is a biggie. I can’t stand how there was no continuity between this book and “Scarlett.” Now, I understand that “Scarlett” wasn’t written by Mitchell, and I know a lot of people are highly critical of the first sequel to “Gone with the Wind.” That being said, the estate of Mitchell did approve both books, and I just don’t get why they would allow two books to stand as “sequels” to a classic like “Gone with the Wind” when they don’t share many, if any, commonalities.

Both books are good at staying true to “Gone with the Wind,” but anything that is not specifically mentioned in that book is apparently fair game. Names of extended family members are different between Scarlett and Rhett Butler’s People, and some family member exist only in one book or the other (particularly Rhett’s siblings). It is my opinion that because “Scarlett” was written first, McCaig should have been held to upholding the characters that were introduced in that story (it could be that I am just biased because I liked “Scarlett” almost as much as the original, and felt that Ripley really understood the characters, and wrote a sequel in keeping with how the characters would actually act). The estate should have been firm in that there must be continuity between the two stories; otherwise, there is no way they can both stand as sequels.

The other thing that really bothered me was McCaig’s portrayal of Melanie Wilkes. In his book, she was more cynical–she was suspicious of Scarlett; aware of her and Ashley’s relationship, and almost devious in her endeavors to keep her sister-in-law and husband apart. This is nothing like the Melanie we come to know and love in “Gone with the Wind”: a woman who could not even conceive of dishonor in the people she loved, a woman who had been so sheltered that she was unaware of evil in her world. McCaig did a disservice to the original by writing such a poor character portrayal, and of a main character no less!

This book gets three stars from me, even though I did buy it. It was an OK story; I had no problem finishing it. Had it been the same book, about different characters, it might have even gotten a four star rating. I enjoyed the setting, and I do love Civil War era anything, so in that respect, it was a good book for me. As it is, I’m guessing I’m not going to add it to my traditional summer reading rotation, where I read “Scarlett” and “Gone with the Wind” every year (and in that order for some odd reason–what can I say? I’m weird that way!), but it does look nice on the shelf next to the other two books. And who knows, in a few years, I may come back to it and give it another chance.