Sunday, November 16, 2008

In the Spirit of Thankfulness

********** TIME'S UP! *************
In the spirit of thankfulness (for you, my blog readers) and in honor of the fact that I finally posted my Forty Favorite Fiction book list, I decided to give away some of my favorite books. I've ended up with duplicate copies of a few for one reason or another. Surely a handful of my readers might enjoy receiving a book (or four) in the mail. No?

Three lucky winners will receive a vintage copy of The Little French Girl by Anne Douglas Sedgwick.

This obscure book, published in 1924, found its way into my top ten for some inexplicable reason. It is not a children's book. It does not have an adventurous plot. It deals with some mature content (though beautifully, in my humble opinion).

Alix, the French girl, is fifteen or sixteen when she is sent away from her home and mother in France to live in the English countryside with a family she has never before met. Removed from everything she has known and loved and thrust into a new life, Alix becomes her own person, full of observations and reflections of that around her.

As she awakens to adulthood, Alix is left with a blind spot. She cannot see her mother in any other context than that of an adoring daughter. Her new-found friend and kindred spirit, Giles, gently helps her come to terms with the truth about her mother.

The Little French Girl is beautifully written, introspective, and filled with picturesque descriptions of characters and sights in both France and England. I may be the only person who loves this book (or possibly has even heard of it, for that matter), but there you have it--one of my all-time favorite novels.

(If anyone has read, or happens to read this book in the near future, could you please let me know what you think of it? I'd love to hear/read another review!)

For the grand give-away, one winner will receive The Little French Girl by Anne Douglas Sedgwick (vintage copy), From Jest to Earnest by E. P. Roe (vintage copy), A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, and North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell.

To enter, leave a comment on this post and share a book title (or two, or three) from your top ten favorites.

Make sure you include your email address or a link to your blog so that I may contact you if you win! This contest will end on Friday, November 21st (midnight, Pacific time) and I will announce the winner some time on Monday, November 24th.

I leave you with a small taste of The Little French Girl:

pg 5

They were kind women; but very ugly. Like jugs. All the people that she had seen since landing on this day of grey and purple flesh-tones had made her think of the earthenware jugs that old Marthe used to range along her upper shelves in the little dark shop that stood on the turn of the road leading down from the chateau to the village. Their eyes were joyless yet untragic. Their clothes expressed no enterprise. She did not think that they could feel ecstasy, ever, or despair.

pg 11

But it was as if, from the earliest age, she had had, as it were, to be happy round the corner. One's heart was there, aching, if one looked at it; and one tiptoed away cautiously...

pg 50

"She is like someone in a tower." So she tried to fix her feeling.

"Even in a tower one may oneself be insignificant," said Maman, and to this Alix had replied: "Not if one is the tower oneself."

pg 65

He had a tall head and a meditative eye; but there was something of the sheep in his appearance, too. If he had had the close curled wig, that went with his type he would, Alix thought, have looked very like a silent, dignified sheep that may, in the meadow, as it looks at you, emit once or twice a formal baa.

pg 238

"You think of yourself as very strong" he said suddenly..."You think you can do as you like with life. You're not afraid of life; and that's rather splendid of you--if I may say so. But it's never occurred to you to be afraid of yourself. And the time might come, you know, when you'd be carried away, too."


Beth@Pages of Our Life said...

Count me in! I would love to have those on my shelf.

A few favorite historical fiction authors would be...
1. Eugenia Price (Early GA History)
2. Linda Chakin (The Silk Road)

Hope I win and Thanks even if I don't.

Jennifer said...

Ooo... I'm in!


Anne said...

Sounds like a really good book!

Many of my favorites are on your 40 list, but my all-time favorite is Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss. It's past time for me to read it again.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm I already recommended
1) Cry the Beloved Country - Alan Paton and
2) Morgan's Run - Colleen McCullough
on your other post....but let me see if I can think of another.

How about something completely different...non-fiction.
Left to Tell by Immaculee Ilibagiza.
I read it this year. The story of a woman who survived the Rwandan genocide while hiding in a bathroom for over 90 days with several (forget how many)other women. A true story of survival and faith...heart stopping and horrific, but redemptive. Reminded me of The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom (if you haven't read that one, consider it highly recommended too)

Whitney said...

Oh, I'd have to say Cry, the Beloved Country. It's the most beatiful book I can think of. Ever. Oh, and My Name Is Asher Lev (ok, the two most beautiful books). :-)

Anonymous said...

I would love to receive books in the mail. I would list many of the same books you did. I have never heard of The Little French Girl and now I'm intrigued. I would add Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler.

Jilly said...

If you haven't read it yet, Crime and Punishment is amazing if you find a good translation. I read it in a week or so while I was traveling, so I got to read it in big chunks.

Also, Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card is a really interesting, rivetting read. It is the adult sequel to Ender's Game. It is about what happens when humans discover another alien race, and how their lack of seeing them as people with their own story and culture leads to tradgedy and then healing.

Anonymous said...

oh, heidi--books are the best kind of giveaway!

my top ten list (or forty faves) tend to change often, but right now I'd say my top two are:

1. The Last Sin Eater by Francine Rivers (or Redeeming Love)

2. Ruth (Gaskell)

have a GREAT week-
your books are in the mail to you today!
jodi (in fl---but soon to pa!)

Wendy said...

thanks for the give-a-way!
many of my favorites are on your list.

Kelly G. said...

I have just started to actually read a lot of the classics that I "read" in high school. I can't believe what I was missing. My favorite so far has to be Little Woman (and the books that followed). However, I recently reread My Friend Flicka and loved it as much as I did as a child. Can I skip homeschool today and just read?

Melissa said...

This is my first time to comment on your blog, but I have been subscribed for several months now. I discovered Elizabeth Gaskell just last year and have been reading every e-text I can find on the internet. Also on my top ten list would be Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte.

Lisa said...

Giving away books?? That is my favorite thing! A few of my favorite books are:

1. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

2. Hercule Poirot mysteries (any) by Agatha Christie

3. Anne of Green Gables by E. Montgomery

Thanks for the giveaway, even if I don't win!

Skeller said...

ooooh! Count me in! I consider us to be literary kindred spirits...

A couple suggestions...
A recent read, a modern book, some mature content, but each sentence is just beautifully crafted:
Child of My Heart by Alice McDermott

Joy in the Morning by Betty Smith (same author as A Tree Grows in Brooklyn)

Davita's Harp by Chaim Potok

Anonymous said...

From Tera: Ooo! gotta get in on this one :) I love Anne of Green Gables for childish sentimental reasons. Also, we are into Lamplighter Publishing right now (all historical fiction, and a christian company) so Teddy's Buttons in on my list. Also, the Chronicles of Narnia -CS Lewis of course.

non fiction: I loved No Compromise, autobiography of Keith Green. And most recently...Don't Make Me Count to Three! -Ginger Plowman. That one was an awesome parenting book written for MOMS from a biblical perspective...if I could afford to, I'd buy a copy for every mom friend I know!!! ~Tera

Jennifer said...

--Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier) began my love affair with reading as an adult.

--The Bartimaeus Trilogy (Jonathan Stroud) is really a young adult series, but the Bartimaeus character is a hilarious read!

--Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian faith (Rob Bell) is very thought provoking and challenging book.

Erin Neiner said...

What a wonderful blog you have! I linked over from Beth Stamper's blog (college friend of mine) and I have been enjoying your visual feast here! I am also a mom of boys (2) and starting the treck of I will be back to look through your old posts!! I LOVE your home, esp. your fall display! I also just bought the same "nest" tin that you have hanging on one of your cork boards in your bedroom. OH, AND PLEASE ENTER ME INTO YOUR GIVEAWAY!!! I haven't read these 3. My dad teaches English and I love scoping out new classics. My all-time favorite is Louisa May Alcott, for sure. Even some of her not-so-famous titles I cherish. But I particularly love finding old copies!! THANKS. I'll be back!!! :)

Jen Rouse said...

Yay for book giveaways! I have never heard of "The Little French Girl" but it sounds intriguing. I always have a horrible time deciding on a "favorite" book, because there are so many that I love for different reasons and different moods. Here are a few great ones, though:

1. "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" by Betty Smith.

2. "All Creatures Great and Small" (and subsequent books) by James Herriot.

3. Pretty much anything C.S. Lewis ever wrote: The Chronicles of Narnia, the Space Trilogy, Mere Christianity, and more...

Jackie said...

I would love to read "The Little French Girl". I love old classics and one of my favorites is "Heidi" by Johanna Spyri. I had an old copy as a child but it was lost when I moved out to college. I enjoy a wide range of books, but the classics are my favorites.
Thanks for your fun posts.

Anonymous said...

Oops, I forgot to include my email address with my post above. ~Tera

Lisa said...

Oh, Heidi, what a great giveaway! I've been reading some of your suggestions (on your Amazon list) and am thoroughly enjoying them. I'm reading The Dean's Watch now, and The Silver Chalice was just picked up from the library.

Topping my favorite book list is Watership Down. It was a beautiful story. Another memorable book was She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb. There's some mature content in the second one, but it's still an entrancing read.

Holly said...

Now I'm intrigued, and I'll have to find a copy of that book even if my name isn't drawn. Thank you for the recommendation!

You've really got me thinking about my all time favorite books. The jury is still out, but I know for certain that Little Women and Pride and Prejudice will make the final list.

Barb said...

Ohh, fun - is this you first give-away?
Favorite fiction....we;re reading Count of Monte Cristo right now and enjoying that immensely - having fun with all the accents.
But for favorite I'm going to go with Narnia - good for adults and children - rich with truths for all ages.

Sarah Rose said...

Some of my favorites, surely already listed here...
- Anne of Green Gables
- Pride and Prejudice
- The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Leisure time for fiction is pretty slim right now, but reading about all of these books is making me want to take a library trip!

Aja Jenise said...

OOH! OOH!! Let me get in on this fun... how about...

Well... I have to say (1) Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, but now that that is out of the way I would include (2) The Peacegiver, (3) the historical fiction series Work & the Glory, (4) As a Man Thinketh by James Allen and (5) Viktor Frankl's book Man's Search for Meaning.

OHHH!! And (6) C.S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters!!

Aja Shoup

Anonymous said...

To choose just a few favorites is harder than it sounds:

1. Redeeming Love -- Francine Rivers

2. Count of Monte Cristo -- Dumas

3. The Giver -- Lois Lowry

That's what I get off the top of my head

-- Sierra

amybee said...

All quiet on the western front
From the mixed-up files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
All of a kind family series
Charlotte's Web

Anonymous said...

Oh! We love old books! I'd like to enter. :)

Favorite books:

- Till We have Faces
- Jane Eyre
- Wide Wide World
- House of Love
- A Tale of Two Cities
- My Antonia

Of course my lists could go on and on, but those are my top few right now. Thanks!

Meagan said...

What a wonderful give-away!

Some of my favorite books are:

"A Voice in the Wind" by Francine Rivers (and the sequel "An Echo in the Darkness". "Redeeming Love" is also great!)

"Pilgrim's Progress" by John Bunyan (this is one of the few books I have read more than once)

"To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee

"Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott

"Anne of Green Gables" by L.M. Montgomery

Tabitha said...

What a fantastic giveaway! nothing like good literature!
Hmmm, my top ten, wow. Here's two.
1. The Girl With the Pearl Earring
2. Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

Jack said...

That is my kind of book! Thanks for the opportunity.

Jon and Ashley Bradberry said...

Awesome top 40 and equally awesome give-away! I would love to be in the draw for these beauties... I'm sorry I haven't had the pleasure of reading the Little French girl yet, but maybe soon???

our little acorns said...

What fun!

Three of my favorites from childhood that I still reread are Cheaper By The Dozen, Belles On Their Toes and Where The Red Fern Grows. My copies are so weathered that they are missing front covers... and the red fern pages are all tear-stained. Now THOSE are good books!

kleahey said...

Hmmmm, let's see.
In no particular order:
Crime and Punishment
In Praise of the Stepmother
I Sailed with Magellan

carole said...

Yes, please enter me!
A few of my favorites?
Specific titles:
Little Women
The Count of Monte Cristo
The Hawk and The Dove
Favorite Authors:
Alexander McCall Smith
C.S. Lewis
Dorothy Sayers

Anonymous said...

Heidi! I can't believe that I am leaving a comment for someone I have never met in real life. I have been enjoying your blog and have been inspired by you in my homeschooling endeavors.

I grew up in Russia, so some of my must reads are Russian classics: Tolstoy's "War and Peace", Dostoevskiy's "Crime and Punishment", Turgenev's stories.

A couple of books besides "Pilgrim's Progress" that have really influenced me in my life as a Christian are "Stepping Heavenward" by Elizabeth Prentiss and Foxe's Book of Martyrs.

Well, this wasn't as scary as I thought. Maybe I will start leaving more comments on here!

K said...

Sounds interesting... Some favorites: A Moveable Feast (Hemingway), The Custom of the Country (Wharton), Gone-Away Lake (Elizabeth Enright - juvenile).

Anonymous said...

OOHHH...Pick me, pick me. Just stopped by the evening and hoping I made the cut off. I have a terrible time choosing favorite books...right now I'm reading "A Christmas Carol" by Dickens with my daughter and we're both enjoying it. Thanks for doing a fun give-away!

Jenny said...

What a great giveaway!! I would love to add these books to my reading list as I haven't read any of them.

A few of my favorite books. I would have to choose Little Women, To Kill a Mockingbird and V.C. Andrews Flowers in the Attic series from many, many years ago ;)

:) Jenny in Maine