Second Try

Second Try

Two years ago, I attempted to participate in NaBloPoMo but failed. I decided to give it a try again this month. The theme for the month is ‘FICTION’, however I will not necessarily put up a post around this theme every single day and I’m definitely not working on a fictional story.

To start of with the writing prompt for today is “What is your favourite book?” I had to think for a bit because I have read some great books and there are certain books that I have probably read over and over again and still get drawn in to the story every single time.

One of my favourites is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I haven’t read this book in the last 2-3 years and really think it’s time to read it again. It’s a book that revolves around the Bennet family; which consists of the parents and 5 daughters. Mr Bennet’s entire estate is to be inherited by a distant cousin Mr Collins (a  pompous clergyman), hence it is Mrs Bennet’s sole purpose/obsession to ensure her daughters (Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty and Lydia) are married off to a wealthy man.

It’s a book full of romance and humour here and there. It is an excellent piece of literature and one feels the emotions of the characters. You feel Jane’s heartache when she is disappointed by Mr Bingley and you can understand why Elizabeth (and almost everyone) comes to the conclusion that Mr Darcy is proud and agreeable. As the story unfolds you discover Mr Darcy’s motives for his previous actions and also see the his true nature and tenderness, this leads to Liz dropping her prejudices against him based on her first impressions of him. Mr Darcy also drops his prejudices against social standing and status/wealth and learns from Elizabeth to judge people based on their character.

The book has been adapted into several plays, movies and miniseries. I have seen the BBC 1995 television version in which Colin Firth starred as Mr Darcy, caught a bit of the miniseries Lost in Austen; which was about a modern-day woman who suddenly swapped lives with Elizabeth Bennet, it was a hilarious adaptation. Another funny adaptation is Bollywood’s Bride and Prejudice.  That was a good one.

From the Wikipedia article for the book I can see that there have been several literary adaptations of the book and I find this very interesting. A lot of times when I read a book and get to the happy ending and I want to know how the characters actually lived together after finding love and getting married. Every single time I read the end of Pride and Prejudice I’ve always wondered what life was like for Elizabeth and Mr Darcy after their wedding.

That’s it; one of my all time favourites, Pride and Prejudice.

The Last Sin Eater by Francine Rivers

The Last Sin Eater by Francine Rivers

The Last Sin Eater is a great thought provoking book that I enjoyed reading. It does start off a bit slow and I almost set it down after a while but then the story really gets going full of intrigue and suspense. It has great discussion questions at the back which would be ideal conversation starters for a book club.

The book is set in the mountains and narrated by Cadi Forbes. In the initial chapter Cadi’s grandmother dies and this brings to light the burial ritual that involves the Sin Eater. The Sin Eater comes to the graveyard before the burial and eats a meal of bread and wine set out by the family and says a few words. The belief was that this took away the sins of the departed, thus giving them rest in the afterlife.

Cadi is a young girl filled with guilt as a result of events later revealed in the book that caused the breakdown of her relationship with her mother. She begins a quest to find the Sin Eater so he can take away her sins before she dies, so she can live happily. She is joined by Fagan Kai of the Kai family who have somehow had their patriarch as an influential figure and leader of sorts in the community. Elda Kendric, now the oldest woman alive reveals snippets of information that shed more light on how the Sin Eater came to be and where he lives now (away from the rest of the community). Cadi receives frequent guidance and encouragement from her mysterious friend Lilybet, who is never seen by anyone else.

Their belief in the Sin Eater is challenged by Cadi’s discovery that the ritual does not make her feel better and the coming of The Stranger who bears the news of the gospel. There is fear as The Kai forbids anyone from speaking to The Stranger. As the story progresses there is a revelation of the secrets long hidden. A lot of the revelations showed how many of the original settlers feared one man so much that they did not dare to speak up against his orders. It got me thinking how standing up for the truth today can save much hurt and pain in the future.

The major themes that stood out to me were:

  • Traditions: their gripping effects on people.
  • Courage: the two young ones sought out the Sin Eater and listened to the gospel and got baptised by The Stranger, defying The Kai’s orders and threats. Daring to stand up for the truth and sharing the gospel.
  • Salvation: Freedom from guilt and sins.
  • Rebirth: A second chance in life for The Sin Eater after his salvation.

This book is highly recommended.