Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Literary Heroine Blog Party -- 2015

The Literary Heroine Blog Party is always a bright spot in February for me. February is my least-favorite month, but I definitely look forward to this party! I always meet charming people and discover some new blogs I want to follow. If you want to participate too, just visit Kellie Falconer's blog, Accordion to Kellie. There's always a marvelous give-away associated with this party, and this year she's giving away a handmade tulle skirt from her Etsy shop, which she sells for a tidy sum.

I'm going to try to answer the questions differently from previous years, when I can think up something new to say :-)

Here we go:

1.  Introduce yourself! Divulge your life's vision, likes, dislikes, aspirations, or something completely random!

As you know, I'm Hamlette. I'm 34, I'm a writer, I've been married for almost 13 years, and I'm a stay-at-home, homeschooling mommy. My son "Sam" is seven, my daughter "Sarah" will be 5 this weekend, and my younger daughter "Tootie" is very 3. I love to write, read, watch movies, blog, bake, crochet, sew, and daydream.

2.  What, to you, forms the essence of a true heroine?

A true heroine helps others. She does not turn away from those in need, but kindly assists other people however she can. She strives to understand others and herself. If she finds she has been wrong or misguided, she learns from her mistakes and becomes a better person, rather than stubbornly going on as before.

3.  Share (up to) four heroines of literature that you most admire and relate to.

I'm trying to be different from my answers in 2013 and 2014, so I'm going to choose these four:

Dorothea Brooke from Middlemarch by George Eliot.  She's sensible, intelligent, and so warm-hearted.  She wants to help everyone around her, and generally manages to.

Thursday Next in Jasper Fforde's wacky series that's named after her.  Self-sufficient, intelligent, and manages to keep her head in some very peculiar situations.

Turtle Wexler in The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin.  Determined and intelligent (sensing a theme here?), she solves a mystery that baffles many grownups and learns a lot about human nature in the process.

Jerusha Abbot in Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster.  A new favorite!  She's quirky and fun-loving, curious and yes, intelligent, and an aspiring author.

4.  Five of your favorite historical novels?

I'm again going to assume that "historical novel" means novels set in a time prior to our present day. So to choose five I didn't mention previously, I'll say: Persuasion by Jane Austen, An Antic Disposition by Alan Gordon, Homer Price by Robert McCloskey, Shadows over Stonewycke by Michael Phillips and Judith Pella, and The Virginian by Owen Wister.

5.  Out of those five books, who is your favorite major character and why?

Anne Elliot from Persuasion by Jane Austen. I think a lot of readers kind of shake their heads at Anne Elliot -- that silly girl who persuaded herself to give up True Love. But whatever you may think of Lady Russell, she was basically Anne's adoptive mother, and Anne obeyed the Commandment to honor your father and mother when she broke off her engagement with Frederick Wentworth. Significantly, that's the only Commandment that has a promise attached to it: "it will be well with you, and you will live long on the earth." And sure enough, Anne's obedience is eventually rewarded.

6.  Out of those five books, who is your favorite secondary character and why?

Admiral and Mrs. Croft from Persuasion.  I can't talk about one without the other!  They're a devoted married couple, and truly enjoy each others' company.  They're also clear-sighted and open-hearted, and altogether make me smile every time they appear on the page.

7.  If you were to plan out your dream vacation, where would you travel to - and what would you plan to do there?

This year, I pick going to New Zealand and seeing all the places where Peter Jackson's Middle Earth movies were filmed. The Shire, the Green Dragon, and anywhere else we could get to!

8.  What is your favorite time period and culture to read about?

I love the WWII era, all the various cultures involved. Some of my favorite books that take place during that time include The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, Shadows over Stonewycke by Michael Phillips and Judith Pella, A Memory Between Us by Sarah Sundin, and Catch-22 by Joseph Heller.

9.  You have been invited to perform at the local charity concert. Singing, comedy, recitation - what is your act comprised of?

I think I'll help with scenery and costumes this year, and let others have the spotlight.

10.  If you were to attend a party where each guest was to portray a heroine of literature, who would you select to represent?

I chose Anne of Green Gables and Jane Eyre before, so since I'm on a Robin Hood kick right now, I'll say Maid Marian, and my hubby can go as Robin.

11.  Favorite author(s)?

Raymond Chandler, Laurie R. King, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jasper Fforde, Alexandre Dumas, Robert Louis Stevenson, Jane Austen, J. R. R. Tolkien, Thor Heyerdahl...

12.  In which century were most of the books you read written?


13.  In your opinion, the ultimate hero in literature is…

Helpful, nice, and practical. You want one specific person?  I'll go with Captain Frederick Wentworth from Persuasion this year, since I'm currently rereading it.

14.  In your opinion, the most dastardly villain of all literature is...

I think I'll go with Sauron again, from The Lord of the Rings.  He just wants to smash and wreck and break everything.  Bad, naughty, evil Sauron.

15.  Describe your ideal dwelling place.

Our house, Tir Asleen.  I could happily live in this house for the rest of my life.  Lots of room for books and my piano.  Plenty of space to spread out big, messy projects.  Enough floors that I can go off by myself once in a while and find a teensy bit of solitude to recharge or calm down or simply BE, even if it's just for 3 minutes.

16.  Sum up your fashion style in a short sentence.

If it's not comfortable, I won't wear it.

17.  Three favorite Non-fiction books?

Again, trying to be different from the previous to years, so I'll go with Hamlet:  Poetry Unlimited by Harold Bloom, A Jane Austen Education by William Deresiewicz, and The Key:  How to Write D**n Good Fiction Using the Power of Myth by James N. Frey.  I unreservedly recommend all three.

18.  Your duties met for the day, how would you choose to spend a carefree summer afternoon?

Writing in solitude.

19.  Create a verbal sketch of your dream hat - in such a way as will best portray your true character.

A cowboy hat of indistinct color, well-worn and sweat-stained, that fits like I've worn it for years.  Something a bit like this, which John Wayne wore in The Comancheros (1961).

20.  Share the most significant event(s) that have marked your life in the past year.

Had my gall bladder out in September, which was very unexpected.  Other than that, nothing big has really happened :-)  I like uneventful years!

22.  Share the Bible passage(s) that have been most inspiring to you recently.

"Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me." Psalm 50:15.


  1. Thor Heyerdahl? You don't hear that very often for favorite author, but cool. It's been ages since I've read anything by him, but I do have Kon-Tiki sitting around on my Kindle...

    1. Oh my goodness, I love the way he can spin a yarn, can make mundane details glow, and get me to understand history and cultures different from my own.

  2. Loved your answers, Hamlette! Oh same here, February is my least favourite month. Well, it definitely used to be - now I don't mind as much, though. :-)

    Haha, that made me laugh when you wrote that 'Tootie' (cute pen-name, haha) is 'very three.' My little brother Joseph is also very three - I understood what you meant immediately and it just randomly made me laugh. :-)

    I LOOOVE JERUSHA. She's sooo awesome. (Yes, I know you knew that already, haha.)

    Anne is amazingly kind and patient. She's so good.

    Oh so you're one of those 'comfy-fashion' people. I know quite a lot of those. I like to sacrifice a little though, for the sake of dressing-up. :-) But yup, comfortable-ness is important, I agree.

    Oh, I like your ideal afternoon a lot. Writing in solitude. Yeah, that'll never tire.

    I like uneventful years too! (Well, define 'events'! For me watching Pride and Prejudice is an 'event'.)

    ~ Naomi

    1. There are 'events' and 'Events,' hee. Friday evenings are an event, cuz that's when I get to curl up on the couch next to my husband and watch a movie with him :-)

      Ahh, three-year-olds. You never know what to expect from one moment to the next, do you?

  3. Ah, yes! # 18. It's so wonderful. BTW, is your writing fictional? Mine is journaling - so its personal. : )

    1. You know, Blogger needs to have an edit button b/c I'm never going to review it before I hit that publish button. I mean "it's."

    2. Hee, yeah, I often smack my head in frustration over not being able to fix some goof in a comment.

      My writing is both fictional and personal. I've been keeping a journal regularly since I was 14, and I've been seriously pursuing the art of writing fiction since about then too.

  4. I recognize some of the books or authors you mentioned but not all. I will have to look them up!

    When I gave my answers I couldn't think of any very detestable villains but Sauron was a fitting choice! Too bad I did not think of him.

    1. I hope you find some new books/authors to enjoy :-)

      Sauron is definitely one of the worst, huh?

  5. Ha, Thursday Next, good pick. She´s truly a hero, how she can navigate all the weird adventures she´s dropped into!

    I would love to go to NZ and see all the LOTR and Hobbit sights. It´s just soooo far away...

    1. And I still haven't read the last TWO Thursday Next books! Shame on me. I do have a copy of "First Among Sequels," but... I need more time. Sigh.

  6. Interesting read! :) Though I didn't use her for anything this year, I definitely like Anne Elliot also. :)

  7. Nice answers! And your house sounds like a dream! Since my husband's still in school, we're just living where we can right now. Needless to say, I have a lot of books in totes in the basement. Someday I can bring them back to the light of day!

    1. Thanks! This really is my dream house. And we lived in tiny apartments for the first 10 years of our marriage so that one day we could afford a house :-) So like you, I spent a long time with most of my books in plastic totes. I have to admit, though, that even though I now have a house with room for 6 full-size book cases and several half-size ones... I still have six or seven totes of books in the basement. They're all my Junior Fiction and YA novels, though, that my kids aren't old enough for yet.

  8. Yay! I crochet too!
    Anne Elliot is one of my favorite Austen heroines.
    WW2 is awesome!
    Robin Hood and Maid Marian!! Yes! I love the Disney version, but Errol Flynn is amazing too!
    "If it's not comfortable, I won't wear it." Bahahaha yes!!!
    Loved reading your answers!

    1. I love crocheting! It's so useful and relaxing, isn't it?

      Errol Flynn is a great Robin Hood. So is Richard Todd :-)

  9. I love the Crofts as well. :) They're so sweet, fun and obviously devoted to each other.

    1. Austen portrays very few happy marriages, but the ones she does have are not just happy, but Very Happy :-)

  10. Yes yes! We have such similar tastes it is almost creepy! I forgot about the Crofts while writing my post, but I think they may be my very favorite sidekicks too.

    1. Hee. Isn't it fun finding someone with similar tastes? This party is great for that :-)

  11. Hamlette,
    Daddy-Long-Legs is a super cute story! Have you ever seen the silent version with Mary Pickford? A crazy funny movie, which I actually did a review of on High Noon!

    I have never been especially interested in visiting NZ, not having seen LOTR :) Or perhaps I should say as uninterested as someone who desperately wants to see the entire world can be! However, I have been hearing so much of it of late that I think I have been bitten by the NZ bug. :)

    "Helpful, nice, and practical" - Hero perfection indeed!

    And what you said about what you wear having to be comfortable - I like being "stylish" (as in what I think is stylish. :)) a great deal, but lately I have been realizing how important it is to be comfortably stylish!

    1. Nope, I haven't seen that version of DLL, or the Fred Astaire either.

      I never cared about NZ until the LOTR movies, so I understand. I've always wanted to visit Australia, though, so I figure if we ever went to NZ, we'd stop in Australia too :-)

      When I was younger, I often wore things that weren't comfortable just because I thought they were cool or whatever, but as I moved into my 20s I started ditching those in favor of things that feel good. Not that I've ever been very interested in fashion, lol.

  12. I LOVE The Virginian! (even when I get annoyed sometimes ;)). And I need to read Middlemarch....and The Key: How to Write D**n Good Fiction Using the Power of Myth looks like another Must Read.

    And I keep forgetting to ask.... Have you seen the Robin Hood tv show with Richard Green yet? I think some of your little people would probably like it and it's a great family watch.

    1. I am determined to watch that show this year. Determined, I tell you! But nope, haven't yet. Since this is my Year with Robin Hood, this is definitely the time to try it.

      I'll be talking more about "The Key" in response to something you sent me yesterday. It's really quite awesome.

  13. I am a nanny, and I must say I understand completely what you mean when you say "very three!"

    I really like what you had to say about Anne Eliot. Back in highschool I was part of a Jane Austen book club (yes, I was homeschooled, lol), and there was definitely discussion about that very thing - did Anne choose right? I completely agree without, in spite of the fact that I couldn't relate much to her at the time. Perhaps I should try again. :)

    1. Hee. Yes, three-year-olds are something else, aren't there?

      I was homeschooled too! But I never belonged to a book club. Have your read the "Mother-Daughter Book Club" books by Heather Vogel Frederick? I'd love to start something like that for my kids when they're a bit older.

      Anne Elliot is older and more mature than any of Austen's other heroines, and I think that's part of why she appeals to me so much, even though I first read Persuasion in my late teens. It's nice and short, so by all means, try it again!

    2. I haven't read them yet, but I have heard of them. In fact, someone just recommended them to me last night. I'm looking forward to finding and trying them. My mom ran our book club, and it wasn't very big, but still fun. We did Jane Austen one year, and Shakespeare the next.

      I related to Fanny Price and Marianne Dashwood myself (quite the combination, I know.) It is short, and I did just receive a new copy for Christmas, so I might as well add it to my list!

    3. After Anne Elliot, I relate to Elinor Dashwood the most, and then Catherine Morland. Isn't it cool how everyone can find at least one Austen heroine to relate to, and sometimes more than one? And if you see yourself in both Fanny and Marianne, which parts do you relate to each? Are you both steady and passionate? Quiet and full of feeling? I can see several ways those two could mix.

    4. I completely agree - Austen wrote such wonderfully developed characters that there is something for everyone. I can see Anne and Elinor mixing easily. They both are masters at controlling their emotions in public. And yes, in fact, both examples you listed are quite true to my personality, lol.

  14. Enjoyed your answers.
    Laughed out loud at your fashion style description - so true.
    I've grown to love Anne Elliot a lot, she's one of those characters you really have to get to know before you realise how wonderful they are.

    1. Thanks! I'm glad you were amused. And yes, dear Anne Elliot -- I'm in the middle of a long blog post about Persuasion right now.

  15. Ah yes! Admiral and Mrs. Croft are so awesome. I love them too. I really need to get around to rereading that one again! Also Captain Wentworth for the win! He and his letter, they just make my heart melt. :)

    I thought about mentioning Sauron, but as I haven't technically read the books, I didn't feel like that was a fair answer. But yes! He's very dastardly, at least in the movies.

    1. I feel like Sauron is almost a cop-out, because he's barely a character, but I couldn't think of anyone else this year, so there he is.

  16. Oh! And as always, Anne Elliot is wonderful. I relate to so many things about her.

  17. Hello Hamlette! I'm so very pleased to meet you! Let me thank you for your sweet comment on my blog - apologies for taking so long to issues *sighs*!
    I am going to be reading Persausion now - I really loved the BBC film and thought Anne a splendid character!
    Lots of love!

    1. No worries! I'm not keeping score :-) But I'm happy you stopped by!

      I hope you enjoy Persuasion! I just finished it this weekend, and I love it more with each re-read. Definitely my favorite Jane Austen novel. I liked the BBC version (2007), but the book is better!

  18. I like the idea of visiting New Zealand, too! Yes to that!

    1. Wouldn't that be fun? My husband wants to do that too, so you never know -- it could happen :-) Maybe for our 25th wedding anniversary or something! That's only 12 years away...


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