55 Things to do on a Rainy Day

In case you hadn’t gathered it from the title, this post is all about things to occupy your time on a rainy day. Now, the fact that I, a Wisconsinite, am creating such a list at the end of February is a sure sign that something has gone horribly wrong with winter (aka: it has rained far more than it has snowed this month). Seriously, go back to May, spring, I don’t want you here. So, without further angry mutterings, here are 55 things to do on a rainy day.

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Note: This post is set in the romantic world where none of us have jobs or school, so it’s pretty swanky.

  1. Light some candles (with matches).
  2. Sleep in.
  3. Wear sweat pants.
  4. Drink hot chocolate (with whipped cream).
  5. Walk around the house with a blanket draped over your shoulders like it’s a cloak.
  6. Listen to nostalgic music.
  7. Paint.
  8. Wish that it was snowing and not raining.
  9. Open a window and listen to the sound of the rain, and I mean really listen to it. The softness in a gentle drizzle and the cacophony of a downpour.
  10. Read aloud (to yourself or to a family member… or the goldfish).
  11. Snuggle with a pet (not the goldfish).
  12. Make a mind map.
  13. Make a new collection in your bullet journal.
  14. Write in your journal.
  15. Stand (or dance) in the rain without an umbrella and enjoy getting wet and cold and being alive.
  16. Read a book in one sitting.
  17. Read another book.
  18. Write a letter.
  19. Watch a documentary.
  20. Take a bath.
  21. Walk through the wet grass barefoot (you can take a classy umbrella this time and enjoy hearing the raindrops hit the canvas).
  22. Rearrange your bookshelves.
  23. Write a flash fiction.
  24. Call a friend—not text or email. Call. With a phone. And talk. Over the phone.
  25. Think weighty thoughts (very concise, this activity).
  26. Go through old family pictures
  27. Watch family videos.
  28. Clean something (so that you feel productive).
  29. Take a nap (because who really wants to be productive on a rainy day?).
  30. Try your hand at blackout poetry.
  31. Sneak around the house like you’re a secret agent (be sure to use hand signals and bird calls).
  32. Watch a movie that will make you cry (because crying = good somehow).
  33. Pull on the workout shorts, lace up the shoes, and do something that makes you sweat (I was going to do say something that’ll make you sore later, but I thought that might not spur many people on to exercise…).
  34. Set out a container to collect some rainwater. You’ll want something with as wide a mouth as possible so that you can collect as much water as possible.
  35. Grab a shoe, some armor, and a flame thrower and go hunt your household spiders.
  36. Make your day a musical and sing while performing random tasks.
  37. Try some stretches.
  38. Go through your closet and take out the clothes you don’t like much anymore.
  39. Put your jammies on at 3 in the afternoon.
  40. Send a surprise care package to someone.
  41. Give your mailperson some coffee and chocolate.
  42. Find out which Meyer-Briggs type you are.
  43. Cross stitch a constellation.
  44. Make a teacup garden.
  45. Or make teacup candles.
  46. String up white Christmas lights in your room.
  47. Go for a drive.
  48. Have your cat knight you and then make a grand speech about it (this one’s a must).
  49. Talk to God, and I mean talk to Him, not at Him. Don’t just ask for things, tell Him why you love Him and why you’re thankful for rainy days and time to think and time to reflect on Him. Ask Him questions and then be quiet and listen for His answers. If you get silence, open your Bible and see if He answers you there.
  50. Eat peanut butter by the spoonful.
  51. Reorganize your room (and maybe even declutter a little *gasp*).
  52. Learn how to play a new song.
  53. Do a puzzle.
  54. Dress to the nines and go to WalMart.
  55. Bake something mouthwatering.

And that’s all I got for today, kids.

What do you like to do on a rainy day? Will you take any of my (clearly fantastic) ideas? Do you like rain, or would you prefer snow?

~ Rosalie out <3

P.S. – today is my dad’s birthday! So, a shout out to him because he reads every single one of my blog posts to the bitter end and is a huge encouragement to me. :)

Ready: a Sunday story

Typically, I wake like a dragon, slowly and with much groaning and growling and stretching. I mumble hate at my alarm clock; it offends my existence. At some point, I emerge from my pile of blankets and bliss, almost able to form a coherent sentence (but most likely not quite).

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Oh, and look. I’m already running late.

So I’m off to the shower, grouchy if one of my parents has beaten me to our one bathroom (they usually do since they both wake like birds—early, quickly, and far too cheerfully). So then it’s back to my room to dig through the closet to pick out my clothes.

Wore that shirt last week.

I don’t even like that skirt.

Would it be bad to wear all black?

I wonder if I could wear a scarf with that.

These clothes are my favorite clothes. Bright colors. Ruffles. Flowy skirts. Boots and heels. Oh, and some even sparkle.

And I’m getting later by the second. I rip things off their hangers and out of their drawers before practically falling downstairs. It’s a quick shower, filled with mutterings, mental lists of all the things I have to do, and loud singing at random intervals. I only drop the soap on my toes twice before I’m out and wrapping my hair in a thick towel.

Fifteen minutes and counting before I’m supposed to be out the door. Two minutes for throwing some clothes on; five for some quick makeup; nine for looking for my black flats (I’ll probably end up in the nude heels again at this rate); three for dragging a brush through my wet tangles.

And there it is. I’m late. Again. As always.

So then I’m tripping out the door, remembering the notebook, pens, and Bible but probably forgetting something else. Hopefully, my earrings match, but let’s be real here, they probably don’t. My stomach and I grumble because we really wanted that marshmallow cereal for breakfast.

It’s a hasty drive and crooked parking job, but I don’t have time to fix it. Tumble out of the car. Hustle across the parking lot. Straighten skirt. My heels click scuff click on the blacktop as I scurry to the nearest entrance. When I finally plop down at a table, I finally slow down a little;, it’s a good class. I take notes and try to answer questions, relishing the learning, enjoying the existence of my classmates and my teacher, this group of us who come together every week at 9:00 am.  The class lets out ten minutes to 10:00 am, and my fellow students and I scatter, each ticking off all we have to do and all the people we need to talk to before the next hour begins.

It isn’t until I’m sliding into a pew with my parents and sister while we’re told to turn to Hymn #11 that I pause. I’ve known what this day is all about since before I woke. I’ve known what Sunday is about for as long as I can remember. Yet, we haven’t spoken at all today. Well, He might have said a few things, but I was too distracted to hear. And there’s this sudden sense that despite my favorite clothes and hymnal in hand, I am not ready to be in this place of worship. The tang of the organ and the smooth voice of my pastor fall into the background as I sigh.

Somehow, somewhere along the line, I’ve bought into the idea that getting ready for church is only about putting on nice clothes, bringing my Bible, and being on time. In all my angst, I never put thought into what I was doing to ready my soul.

This is the story of most of my Sundays.

The realization hits me at different times. Sometimes it’s as early as the shower. Sometimes it’s in Sunday school. Sometimes it’s during announcements while I’m flipping through my bulletin. It’s always the same, somewhat sinking, sense of regret and distance, and I don’t want it anymore. I don’t want to prepare for a social engagement; I want to get ready to worship.

So that’s all I got today, kids.

I hope you wonderful peeps don’t mind this post; it’s just been on my mind a lot for the last few months, and so I thought I’d share it. What about you? What does your Sunday morning look like? Church? No church? Nice clothes or sweatpants?

 ~ Rosalie out.

A Single’s Guide to Surviving Valentine’s Day

Twas the day before Valentine’s Day, and all the lovebirds were planning. And all the singles were sighing, all too aware of their loneliness, wallowing in self-pity.

*insert long, uncomfortable silence*

Ugh, singles, peeps, don’t be one of those singles.  Now, in order to help us all not be one of those singles, I have compiled a survival guide to Valentine’s Day. This is going to revolutionize your SAD (Single’s Awareness Day). Spoiler alert: sarcasm and gifs.

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Step 1: Comfort food.

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This one is practically a no-brainer. Bury your loneliness in a bag of Dove chocolates or in a carton of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream or a frozen pizza. Or all three (I vote all three). This step is essential. Gluttonous gorging obviously helps stifle those feelings of inadequacy and ugliness. So hop in the car and shoot over to your local Comfort Food Supply and pick up your choice in of scrumptious snacks to drown your sorrows.

Step 2: Netflix.

netflix 2.gifComfort food in hand, settle in for an evening of binge-watching. This is obviously a very constructive use of your Valentine’s night as it numbs you to any sort of feeling. Of course, even better than your favorite TV show is any mildly romantic movie that will remind you of relationship bliss and your own relationship-less misery. When feelings of sadness come, just keep eating those potato chips. This is sound logic, peeps.

Step 3: Solitude.

 

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When you’re feeling lonely it is obviously best to be alone. This = perfect sense. All of your dating/engaged/married friends probably already have plans, and let’s face it, you’re (of course) the only single in your friend group. And even if you did have any single friends, they’d prefer to wallow in their singleness alone. And don’t expect an invite to anything from any of your hitched friends; Valentine’s Day is obviously the only day they can do anything remotely romantic (oops; that might have been shots fired).

Step 4: Facebook/Instagram.

Now that you’ve watched three Nicholas Sparks movies (because they are the epitome of worldly romance) and eaten an entire package of Oreos, it’s time to hit Facebook and Instagram. About this time, everyone who is in a relationship will being posting about their magical, romantic, etc. etc. night with their precious lovey-dovey. This is, of course, the time you want to be on Facebook and Instagram to catch all of their wonderful, sappy, my-bae-is-so-perfect posts. This is good for you because you will feel even more alone. (Warning: this step could prove hazardous to your computer.)

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Pop in another cookie and keep scrolling.

Step 5: Self-examination.

Now that you’re physically exhausted (oh, look, it’s 2 in the morning) and precarious emotionally, it’s time to dig into some good self-examination. Pull out the journal or maybe whip out a mirror and take stock. Obviously, this is the best time to look at yourself and figure out why exactly you have no significant other, why you haven’t found that elusive other half. After you’ve wasted a good hour (at least) loathing yourself….

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… slip off to sleep on a pillow of tears. Congratulations. You’ve survived Valentine’s Day (sort of).

Let’s drop a heart shaped bookend on this post.

How will you be spending your Valentine’s Day? Who here finds this survival guide helpful (correct answer: no one because we’re all well-adjusted adults, right?)?

P.S. – I spent too much time laughing while writing this post, and I hope it brought some chortles to peeps of all different relationship statuses.

P.P.S. – I used “obviously” too many times…. No, just kidding, you can never use that word too many times. Obviously.

Exclusive Excerpt: Martin Hospitality + GIVEAWAY

Today is February 6, and that means that Martin Hospitality by Abigayle Claire was released two days ago, and I’m so jazzed that this book is out in the world, and so that means that today’s post is going to be Martin Hospitality related (in case you didn’t grab that nugget of wisdom from this post’s title).

But, this is more than just a post for me to ramble on about why I’m excited to finally read this book (though, I could do that too). No, today I bring you something more coherent. After conferring with the fabulous Abigayle Claire herself, I have an exclusive excerpt from Martin Hospitality to share with you all because I’m wonderful and get my wonderful followers wonderful things. And there’s also a giveaway.

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But first, the cover and the blurb.

wp-1485012566919.jpgGemma Ebworthy is eighteen, pregnant, and alone. Now that she’s been evicted, she spends the night in a barn, never dreaming that tomorrow could bring kindness of a life-changing magnitude.

The Martins aren’t a typical family—even for rural Kansas. With more kids than can be counted on one hand and a full-time farm, Gemma must make a lot of adjustments to fit in. But despite their many differences, Gemma finds herself drawn to this family and their radical Christian faith.

When Gemma’s past collides with her yet again, she must begin revealing her colorful history. With every detail Gemma concedes, she fears she will lose the Martins’ trust and the stable environment she desires for herself and her unborn child. Just how far can the Martins’ love and God’s forgiveness go?

Now, about the author.

abiclaireAbigayle has been a writer for as long as she can remember, but did not begin seriously pursuing becoming an author until 2015. Since then, she has started a blog and numerous social media accounts, graduated high school as a homeschooler, and participated in the infamous NaNoWriMo. Other than writing, she is also pursuing work as a freelance editor. Writing is her ministry and reading is her pastime. Abigayle lives in Central Texas with her six younger siblings and parents.

Finally, the excerpt.

Note: this excerpt is taken from Chapter 10.

“But even though I never knew my mother, she taught me something.” Gemma fiddled with the button on the chair’s pillow. “Josiah, I never told you this, but I almost aborted Farris. That’s what . . . the father wanted. Then I remembered my mom and she’s the one who stopped me from doing it. I remembered . . . what she had done to me and how it made me feel, and I determined never to do anything to my child that would make him hate me like I hated my mom.” She looked up at him and smiled. “I was going to do better than she did. That’s why. I want to break the single mom stereotype . . . somehow.”

“But you have.”

Gemma gave him a skeptical look.

“I’m serious. You’re amazing, Gemma. You have sacrificed so much to help your baby.”

“Well, if I had been truly selfless, I wouldn’t have had a baby in the first place,” she said quietly.

“Everyone makes mistakes. You have to forgive yourself if you’re ever going to move on.”

“I’ll get over everything that has happened to me, but . . .” She shrugged a shoulder. “I can’t forgive what I did to others.”

Josiah nodded. “Gemma . . . don’t let it defeat you. Guilt can do that.”


And there it is, kids. In case you didn’t order Martin Hospitality on the day that it released, here are all the links you need: Amazon, CreateSpace, and Goodreads. But of course, I’m sure you ordered Martin Hospitality as soon as possible, didn’t you? DIDN’T YOU? If you haven’t, I’ll forgive you now if you hop over to Amazon (or CreateSpace) and get yourself a copy. Or two. Or three. ;)

Oh, yes, and now the giveaway:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Martin Hospitality by Abigayle Claire

Martin Hospitality

by Abigayle Claire

Giveaway ends February 28, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Buy the book, enter the giveaway, and have a fantastic week!

~ Rosalie out.

P.S. – Full disclosure, Abi actually sent me two excerpts to choose from for this post, and so I’m just chilling here chewing on my two little excerpts while you guys only get one. Mwahahahaha!

P.P.S. – So in that last postscript, I tried to make it sound like I’m all calm waiting for Martin Hospitality to arrive. Actually, I’m more like a sleep-deprived gremlin obsessively watching the mailbox. So, yeah, there’s that. #keepingitreal

 

My ReRead Stack (Fiction Edition)

Guess what! It’s Monday. I’m here with another Penprints post to brighten your day (theoretically it’ll brighten your day… but I may just come across as obsessive and annoying, but brightening is the general idea… emphasis on general).

Today’s post is about books, and more specifically, my favorite fiction books. These are the books that I have read and will reread and reread and reread and keep reading them again and again until I die. They’re my absolute favorite fiction books, and so let’s start building this book stack.

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The entire Out of Time series by Nadine Brandes.

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Now, did any of us think that all three of these books wouldn’t be in this stack? I mean, really? For those of you who may not know that I’m obsessed with this series who haven’t heard of the Out of Time series, let me give you the premise: a world where everyone knows the day they will die. Parvin Blackwater is seventeen years old, and she has one year left to live. She realizes that she has wasted her life. So, she decides to do something that will leave a mark on the world, something that she’ll be remembered for. Intense things happen as a result.

I will read this series again and again and again because of the powerful spiritual punch each book packs. The story is exciting and the characters are endearing, but it’s the themes that will keep me reaching for these books when I need to see what it means to grow as a Christian and live like I’ve got nothing to lose.

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine.

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This was one of the first fairytale retellings I ever read, and it is still one of my favorites. It’s about a girl named Ella who was cursed at birth with obedience. Whatever someone tells her to do, she has to do it. Anything she’s commanded to do. “Ella, fetch me some flour from the cupboard.” “Ella, stop eating and give me your food.” “Ella, chop your own hand off.” These are commands Ella could be forced by magic to obey. We follow her through her adolescence as her mother dies and she is forced to be her stepmother’s servant because of this curse.

As you may have guessed, it is a retelling of Cinderella. It’s set in a medieval world with fairies and ogres and elves, and I’ve been enchanted (hehe) with it for nearly as long as I can remember. I adore the setting, and the characters, especially Ella, are so dear to my heart. This take on the Cinderella story is my favorite because Ella is so entirely human, and she isn’t always very nice. But those she loves she loves with everything. I’ve read this book at least eight times; I typically try to read it every year. I also own three copies.

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis.

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This. Book. Okay, it is comprised of a couple dozen letters from a senior demon (Screwtape) to his nephew (Wormwood) who is currently trying to learn the ropes of being a Tempter. I read this for the first time in December of last year, and my mind is still blown by this little book. Since it’s written from the perspective of a demon, everything is flipped on its head. The “Enemy” refers to God, “Our Father Below” refers to Satan, and so forth. Screwtape gives Wormwood advice and insight into the human heart and mind, how easily we allow ourselves to be tossed to and fro in life, getting distracted from the reality of God, being caught up in ourselves, the way we are often so awfully blind to our own sin, how our hearts and minds are constantly trying to return to the flesh, to the old man. It is an incredibly humbling book to read, not only because it is so deep, but because an embarrassingly huge portion of it applies to me. There’s such profound help in this petite book for Christians as we toil along this climbing way. It has helped me better understand myself, the nature of sin, and the holiness of God (if I were to pick only three things). I will be reading it again this year.

Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw.

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I blame my burning fascination for ancient Egypt on this book. Seriously, forget the ancient Greeks and Romans, let’s talk about the Egyptians. Mara is a proud and beautiful slave girl who yearns for freedom in ancient Egypt, under the rule of Queen Hatshepsut. Mara is not like other slaves; she can read and write, as well as speak Babylonian. So, to barter for her freedom, she finds herself playing the dangerous role of double spy for two arch enemies—each of whom supports a contender for the throne of Egypt.

If you’re not geeking out already, you should be. There’s nail-biting intrigue, perilous espionage, swoon-worthy romance, noble hearts, and it’s all set against the backdrop of the Nile. I’ve read this one more times than I can count, and part of it’s because I just love Mara and the story (both are the definition of swanky). But what I love best is how this book calls the reader to think beyond themselves and their desires and agendas. It demands that some things are worth dying for and that the end of yourself is where true greatness lies. Now I have to read it again myself because it’s been a year and a half since I drank in those rich lines last, and I’m overcome with the urge to dramatically whisper: “For Egypt”.

Beauty and The Hero’s Crown by Robin McKinley.

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I put these two together because I read them for the first time back to back. Now, they are set in completely different storyworlds, but both had heavy influence on my childhood. Beauty is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, and it is my favorite retelling of said fairytale to date. It’s much the same as the original tale in many ways, but I love the new depth to Beauty’s character. She’s endearing with a dry wit and deep love for her family (and also she has a giant horse that she raised since she was like thirteen, and so that’s also really cool, just saying). She and the Beast are now old friends of mine, examples of learning to look beyond the surface.

The Hero’s Crown is quite different (except it also has a horse, so there’s that; basically, throw a horse at it, and it’s amazing). It’s about a king’s daughter whose country dislikes her because they thought that her mother was a witch. She grew up being disdained by many, and they gave her no reason to love them. But then she starts killing dragons for them, and things start to change. To me, this story is about refusing to wallow in self-pity, about moving on regardless of what people think or say about you, pursuing something diligently, and serving when it’s not appreciated. And also she slew dragons.

Chalice by Robin McKinley.

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So, another by Robin McKinley because I’ve read all of her books and own most of them now, and there’s only a couple that I don’t love. This book has a very… understated feel in my opinion. It’s a gentle, rolling story about Marisol, a girl who is pulled from her ordinary life to serve as her people’s Chalice, the right hand the Master. It’s a high honor and also an incredible amount of responsibility, especially since the last Master and his Chalice recently died in a fire and the whole countryside is in upheaval. And it doesn’t help that the new Master happens to accidentally burn people when he touches them (yep, you read that right).

This story taught me a lot about change. Change happens, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. However, you can do your best to grow and adapt to new responsibilities, old (dear) relationships fading away, new (unwanted) relationships beginning, and so many other things that come when life changes. And it’s also simply a lovely story. And there are honey bees.

This Present Darkness and Piercing This Darkness by Frank Peretti.

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These books = spiritual warfare. Ashton is just a typical small town. But when a skeptical reporter and a prayerful, hardworking pastor begin to investigate mysterious events, they suddenly find themselves caught up in a New Age plot to enslave the townspeople, and eventually the entire human race. The physical world meets the spiritual realm as the battle rages between forces of good and evil.

These books have incredible insights into spiritual warfare and the roles of angels and demons. It’s especially interesting because it’s told from four main perspectives: the pastor’s, the reporter’s, the commanding demon, and the commanding angel. So, the reader gets to see both sides of the fight. It has greatly impacted my understanding and view on prayer, angels, demons, and our unstoppable God.

The Sherwood Ring by Elizabeth Marie Pope.

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Agh, this book is so enjoyable (and also kind of weird). Here’s a bit of the premise: newly orphaned Peggy Grahame is caught off-guard when she first arrives at her family’s ancestral estate. Her eccentric uncle Enos drives away her only new acquaintance, Pat, a handsome British scholar, then leaves Peggy to fend for herself. The house is full of mysteries (and ghosts), and soon she is told of the unfolding of a centuries-old, Colonial romance against a backdrop of spies and intrigue and of battles plotted and foiled.

Mainly, I love this one because of its ingenuity. See, Peggy is told of this old romance by the ghosts of her Colonial ancestors as they try to help her cope with her father’s recent death by teaching her about their lives (and mistakes). The message is about growing through and past difficult times, and it’s wrapped in a funny, romantic, clever package that I am compelled to read again and again.

Heartless and Starflower by Anne Elisabeth Stengl.

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It’s hard not to have the entire Tales of Goldstone Wood series in this stack, but if I had to pick favorites, it would be these two. I’m going to skip telling you the premise on these two just because this post is getting long and they’re complicated books (that’s Anne Elisabeth Stengl for you, kids. My words cannot suffice.). So I’ll just say a little of why I will reread them so many times.

There isn’t much I can say about Heartless (besides dragons and faeries) without giving too much away, but I will say this: Heartless is one of the most beautiful portrayals of Christ’s love for us that I have ever read. I will read it again because I often need to be shown another picture of Christ’s work on that cross, and I will read it again because I often need to be reminded that there was nothing good about me or any of us to warrant His sacrifice.

Starflower is about being called to serve, at whatever cost, the only King who is worth living and dying for. It’s about the irresistible calling of God, and how He makes ugly things beautiful. It’s about seeing the image of God in every person you meet and loving them because God loves them. So go look up the Tales of Goldstone Wood series because these books are exquisite.

Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne.

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This is the closest thing to a classic on my favorites stack. For those of you haven’t heard of it or read it, it’s about a rich Englishman named Phileas Fogg. Now, Fogg’s rich friends bet that it is impossible to travel around the world in only 80 days, but Fogg is convinced that it can be done, and he believes it so much that he stakes a fortune on it. If he can’t travel all the way around the world in 80 days, he forfeits a fortune. He sets off with his French valet, and the adventure that ensues is thoroughly enjoyable.

The first thing that I must say is that Phileas Fogg is the most unflappable, unperturbed, unexcitable character that I have ever read about. Visibly, he always keeps his cool. Oh, let’s go around the world in 80 days. No biggie. Oh, look, there are some natives dragging some people off to be slaves. That’s nothing. We’ll just rescue them. Ah, I might lose this bet. Nothing to sweat about. I just love how chill this dude is! This one is a little like The Sherwood Ring in that there isn’t a particular message that strikes me, but the story as a whole is simply entertaining and enjoyable.

And those, kids, are my absolute favorite fiction books. What about you? Have you read any of these books? Do you think you’ll read any of these books because I say I love them (the correct answer is yes)? What are your favorite fiction books? Why?

P.S. – these pictures were made possible by my wonderful sister-in-law, Janie, who I dragged outside in the cold (because it’s finally cold again) to hold my books so I could take these pictures. And it was cold, and she’s from the south, and so she was very cold, and her hands were blocks of ice by the time we got inside, and so a huge thank you to her for humoring me. :)

P.P.S. – to those of you who made it to the end of this super long post, congrats. You’re probably one of few.