Monday, June 25, 2012

Top 10 Most Delicious Romance Movies Ever

Top 10 Most Delicious Romance Movies Ever

I am so proud of a good friend of mine who has recently become hooked on Pride and Prejudice after seeing the movie for the first time (she is also currently reading the book). It's sad when one realizes that there are still a lot of women out there who are completely ignorant to the existance of fine theatrical masterpieces such as Pride and Prejudice. Yes, this post could be about books, but I'll save that for another time, and for now address the topic of good theatrical adaptations of books. So, following is a list of 10 movies that I believe every woman should see.



This witty little adaptation of Jane Austens novel of the same name has been around since 1996, and is very dear to my heart. I also suggest the 2009 version, which is of equal or possibly greater deliciousness, and although I haven't read the book, I believe is a more faithful adaptation.

Jane Eyre (2011)
I have never been a devoted Jane Eyre fan, nor of the Bronte sisters particularly, but when I saw the latest adaptation of Charlotte Bronte's classic, I was pleasantly surprised by the level of deliciousness before me.


North & South (2004)

Elizabeth Gaskell's fiction falls between Jane Austen's snide witicism and the the Brontes' hauntingly gripping works, and therefore hits on that part of delicious we find when just the right mix of tragedy and happily ever after is involved. North & South tortures us throughout, until finally restoring our belief in all things good with an ending that lands exactly on perfection, not a single notch above.

Persuasion (1995)

PBS Masterpiece did a newer adaptation of Jane Austen's lesser known final novel, but I do not recommend it to the extent that I reccomend this one. Though not as visually appealing, this version is truer to the book, which rightly portrays the bittersweetness of love lost and love restored. I recommend reading the book as well as watching the movie, as the book adds a depth not possible to capture through cinema alone.

Northanger Abbey
Based upon another lesser known work by Jane Austen, written very early in her carreer. While the story was intended to make fun of the then popular gothic romance genre, we find within this 2007 adaptation a truly sweet romance of its own.

Anne of Green Gables & Anne of Green Gables the Sequel

I don't know if there is anyone who hasn't seen this movie (actually, I do know, I'm just in denial), but if you haven't, do yourself a favor and on the next rainy day sit down with something warm to eat and watch it, then watch the sequel. Then read all the books.

The Scarlet Pimpernel
More action packed than the above recommendations, The Scarlet Pimpernel is a must-see for not just every woman, but every man as well. Everyone I have rocommended it to has liked it.
(We're moving into the top 3 now; that means that if you do not like the movies from this point on you're either dead or may actually be under the influence of mind manipulating badgers from Ursa Major.)

Pride and Prejudice (any version)
I'm sure you've been expecting this one to show up, as it is not only Jane Austen's most brilliant work, but one of the greatest love stories ever penned. Even if people have not seen the movie or read the book, they are at least familiar with the title, and probably the name Mr. Darcy. There is a reason for this, if you watch the movie you'll understand.


Sense and Sensibility

Once upon a time, Jane Austen wrote a novel about three sisters and their mother who suddenly find themselves in reduced circumstances; and the world was never the same again. Then Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant, and Allan Rickman starred in the movie. I have said enough.

Wives and Daughters

Some may be shocked that I have not chosen a Jane Austen film for #1, some may even disagree and insist Pride and Prejudice hold the place of honor, and when they stay up til 2 in the morning making their own neat little list of the top 10 most delicious movies ever (with cool little pictures), they can put it there. As for me, there is no question; Elizabeth Gaskell's Wives and Daughters is the most delicious movie ever created. Watch it, and make everyone you know watch it as well-- not just the wives and daughters, but the husbands and sons, too. You won't be disappointed.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Why Be a Writer?

Recently a dear friend of mine, who is a fellow aspiring writer and a Christian, voiced her perturbations about the writer’s life. While her doubts seemed fleeting, they raise an interesting topic for thought. So, I have decided to confront not only her doubts, but the various reservations I have had over the years as a writer. Who knows? Maybe I’ll learn something. Or at the least, hopefully, I will supply my hoards of stealthy readers (I know you’re out there!) with a few paragraphs worth of quality diversion.

Let’s start with the big question–

Why be a writer?

When it comes down to it, the answer for me is, simply, because I love writing. I don’t remember the date or the time (I usually don’t), but I definitely remember that moment when it clicked; when I went from "I think I want to be a writer", to "I am a writer, and I will do everything in my power to succeed". I have had few such epiphanies in my life, and perhaps that’s why the memory of this one is so tangible. –By the way, did you know that the word "epiphany" actually has religious origins? Epiphany is a holiday celebrated on January 6th to commemorate the coming of the Wise Men to visit the young Jesus, hence a celebration of Jesus Christ being revealed to the Gentiles. (Already knew that, huh? Well, I didn’t. I just looked it up.) Yes, I love writing, I love it enough to miss sleep, meals and showers; to drink cold tea because I've been caught up in a blaze of heavenly inspritation, and stagnant water because I don't want to stop writing to go get fresh.

But is this mad love of writing enough? I may love the taste of certain alcoholic beverages, but should I constantly imbibe? No. This is where you have to examine in a more sober light, ones vocational merits. One of the questions my friend posed was, How does writing further Christ and His kingdom? That’s a good question, so I’m going to try to reason out an answer here.

Tools can generally be used for two purposes– to build up or to tear down. Likewise, we can either use our gifts, skills and passions to encourage people in their faith, or to hinder them.

So, can I glorify God through my writing? I believe I can, if I use my tools rightly. However, we must also be honest with ourselves; I’m not going to over spiritualize and say that being a writer is my divine calling-- my divine calling, as well as the rest of the world’s, is to love the Lord with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength, no matter what I do.

So, how do I love the Lord through my writing? By honoring Him in it. Not every line has to be a sermon, but I am not going to write anything that (a) causes me to disobey His word, or (b) knowingly causes others to stray from His truth. Taking it a step further, I am going to write to encourage others to draw closer to Him.

Writing, as with all the arts, is simply a means of communication, and a powerful one at that, and I believe we’d all do well to take heed to how we communicate in all areas of our life.
I would love for everyone I come into contact with to somehow be a little bit enriched because of something they gleaned from the experience. That may not happen always, and sadly I’m not always careful about my communication, but it’s something I aspire to. I hope that my novels (you know, when they’re published and on all the best seller lists) will inspire people to be somehow better for having read them.

Bottom line– What is a dream worth?

How far am I willing to go to succeed as a writer? In all major decisions in life we’d be wise to sit down and count the cost before making them. Life as a writer has its sacrifices, but I believe you have to establish how far you’re willing to go and what lines you are absolutely not willing to cross. In His historical sermon on the mount Jesus instructs us to store up our treasure in Heaven, not on the earth. If my treasure is in worldly success then I am mislead. I will go as far, as high, as deep, and as wide as I can to become a writer, but I refuse to cross the line if it comes to honoring my Lord or seeking honor for myself, and that’s an attitude I try to maintain in all aspects of life. It’s not always easy, but I try. Another area in which I do not desire to err, is with family. Someday I believe God will bless me with a husband and children, and If my writing in some way became unhealthy for us as a family, then, Adieu, keyboard and pen!

I believe in dreams. If you have a passion and you’re willing to do what it takes to achieve your goals without crossing moral boundaries, then do it, and do it with your might.