How to Book Nerd: A Tutorial

 

Step One: Buy the books

All of them. Whatever your wallet is willing to give up is to be handed over to the book distributors in exchange for their precious merchandise. You must not miss out on any opportunity to admire their beautiful hardcovers or run your fingers over the perfectly floppy paperbacks. And if you possibly can, buy them.

This is, of course, not a mandatory step in your journey to booknerdom. Benjamin Franklin was as obliging as to invent a thing we now call the “library,” where you can borrow books without angering your bank account. If you’re at all inclined and able, though, this is a highly recommended step.

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Step Two: Read the books

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Unlike the last, this step is absolutely necessary to the aspiring book nerd. Though it may seem intimidating, the art is really quite upfront: buy books, read them.

If you find yourself daunted by books that are thicker than your hand is tall, then you could try something less intensive. Start small (Doctor Seuss is always there for you, you know.)

Step Three: Cry over the book

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There are many different strains of the book nerd, and depending on the type you’re aiming to become, this step may or may not be imperative.

The following are the types which require the “crying over the book” step:

The Fangirl – Everything is just so sad AND OH MY GOODNESS THE FEELS.

The Introspect – Everything just had such an impact on your inner, personal life; it hits you right and you just have to let yourself get a little bit teary-eyed over it.

The Crier – Rather self-explanatory; it’s happy, you cry. It’s sad, you cry. It’s embarrassing, you cry. It’s kind of in between, you cry.

If you find yourself leaning toward any of the above book nerd strains (and don’t feel the need to restrict yourself to just one), then you had better make sure you cry over the book.

Generally, crying is a natural action, but you may have to work yourself up to it at first.

Some beginners have found reading books like Lassie and Where the Red Fern Grows to be beneficial.

Step Four: Tell Everyone You Know About the Book

In order to complete your quest for booknerdom, you must have a certain desire, a certain drive to shove your favorite book into the hands of every human possessing two eyes (Though even one eye is fine too.) One way to convince people to pick up your much-adored book is to scream at them on social media.

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NOTE: If you fall into the Fangirl category, it is perfectly acceptable to use all caps when recommending books on the internet. Whether or not is actually convinces people to read the book has not yet been determined, but it definitely makes you appear very passionate.

Did you find this tutorial helpful? Do you have any other steps or helpful tricks to becoming a thorough book nerd?

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BLOGIVERSARY?

Well, that crept up on me.

I’ve been blogging here on The Elliot Countenance for an entire year now. Wow. In this last 365 days a lot has changed. I’ve changed. Not only in my bookish ways, but also simply as a human (I guess that happens to people, doesn’t it?)

Well, I thought I’d go through some memory-riddled thoughts and flashbacks to when my little blog was just newly born, and even before that. Way back to when it was a freshly conceived idea and simply prattle about it.

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Que impromptu song:

Blogiversary

To be sung to the tune of “The Bare Necessities”

It’s our BLOGIVERSARY,

our blogging blogiversay

*awkwardly fades out because I forget how to tune goes after that*

I’ve always been of the opinion that songs are the best way to begin things.

Moving on.

When did it happen?

Long before I decided to start The Elliot Countenance, I was itching to talk to people. About books, about writing, about words. Just about stuff. I have quite a few bookish people as friends, and I love all of them to death, but very few are really what I would classify as book nerds.

(And by that I mean that they do tire of my fangirling over The Scarlet Pimpernel.)

 Thus, I decided that this blog needed to be a thing. A place where I could deflect my excitement and thoughts and feelings from my sadly overburdened family members. (I will now publicly apologize to my little sister for making her listen to me ramble multiple times about Cinder. I hope I did more good than damage.)

What’s new?

Like I said before, so many things have changed. Some of them have been good, others took some adjusting to, but here’s a list of the ones more directly related to The Elliot Countenance:

  • I have a Bookstagram!
  • The header; I changed it forever ago, but it still isn’t the original.
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The old and the new
  • Books. I now own exactly 230 books.
  • Taste. This has only changed slightly. I started reading a teeny bit of YA 🙂

 

Where did the name come from?

There were two steps to coming up with my blog name:

First, I read Persuasion by Jane Austen. And I watched all of the movie adaptations. And I listened to the audiobook. And I read blogs about period adaptations.

And then I saw this picture on Pinterest and thought, YES THIS IS IT.

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What are my plans for the future?

I’ve really failed lately at consistency; I think that has been the most difficult thing for me.  Sometimes, deciding between reading and blogging about what I’m reading is too difficult of a decision to make. I do have a bunch of ideas about what I’d like to do, though, so I think that I’ll be taking a fun direction in the near future!

Now, I’d just like to say how grateful I am for you guys who take time out of your lives to read what my brain decides to spew out in front of you, and all of your comments bring grins to my face. So, thank you.

I hope that in these next days or months or years I have left to write here, I’ll be able to encourage you to think. Not just for thinking’s sake, but so that whether you’re eating or drinking or whatever you’re doing, you can do all to the glory of God.

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Book Review: Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan

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Synopsis

Esperanza thought she’d always live with her family on their ranch in Mexico-she’d always have fancy dresses, a beautiful home, and servants. But a sudden tragedy forces Esperanza and Mama to flee to California during the Great Depression, and to settle in a camp for Mexican farm workers. Esperanza isn’t ready for the hard labor, financial struggles, or lack of acceptance she now faces. When their new life is threatened, Esperanza must find a way to rise above her difficult circumstances-Mama’s life, and her own, depend on it. (via Goodreads)

 

Plot

 

When tragedy smacks Esperanza Ortoga’s family, she and her mama are forced to flee to America, hoping to build new lives for themselves in 1920’s California.

HOWEVER.

Work is harder than Esperanza thought, and when Mama is taken seriously ill, Esperanza has to learn what it means to achieve the American Dream. By herself. She’s nearly driven to desperation because of the obstacles placed in the way of those who have immigrated to America. Always backed by her loyal childhood friend, Miguel (who, can I just say… is wonderful. Can I get him as a big brother or something?), Esperanza has to make tough choices and figure out what sacrifice is.

 

Characters

 

So, you can probably guess by now, the main character is Esperanza Ortoga, and oh dear. She was so wonderfully crafted. Enthusiastic, loving, and loyal, yet given to prejudice and snobbery. I will say, there were times when I was seriously irritated with her. But most good characters do make bad decisions and rub you the wrong way at times, so that’s a good thing, I think. Her character goes through some major development throughout the story, which was lovely to see.

 

Then there’s Miguel. He’s the Samwise Gamgee, the loyal puppy of the book. Filled with wise remarks but rarely a sharp word, Miguel is, well, he’s my favorite.

 

The other characters in the story come in all personalities imaginable. Mama, strong and ladylike. Hortensia and Alfonso, Miguel’s parents, giving and considerate, yet never allowing themselves to be tread upon. And Abuelita. The one who smells of face powder and peppermint. She is filled from head to toe with proverbial sayings, and yet she shows such bravery and patience.

 

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Lets face it: the best kinds of books are the ones that make you think, but don’t think for you.

Nobody goes into a story looking for a sermon, and when that’s what the book turns out to be, well, it’s highly annoying. One of my favorite things about Esperanza Rising is that it did make me think. It gave me questions, and yet it didn’t shout the answers in my face. They were subtle, intricately woven into the story.

 

Another thing I enjoyed about this novel is the way it deals with social/political issues. I don’t know why, but I genuinely enjoy a book that can weave political thought and historical issues nicely into the story. This one dealt with things like labor unions, racism, and all of the other issues you might expect (or maybe even not expect!) from an American Dream story set in the early stages of the Depression.

 

Also, I loved the way the themes and analogies were so fundamental to the entire story. Repeatedly, they were emphasized, but not in any kind of pushy or irritating way.

 

 

Dislikes

In the beginning, I did have a problem with the entire analogy of the phoenix (and maybe it’s just a subject I’m a bit sensitive to) but basically, there is this whole theme of the bird that brought itself into existence out of its own ashes. Of course, after I thought about it a while, I did see how perfectly that it relates to the story. Esperanza has to build herself a new life in a new land, and because of racial prejudices other influences, she’s basically there doing it by herself against the odds. So in this case, I do think that it was well used. And that’s my one dislike… that really wasn’t a dislike after all!

 

My Rating:

Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan

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4.5/5 stars – I loved it!

Currently Reading: Breaking Stalin’s Nose by Eugene Yelchin

Recently Finished: Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

 

January-April Reads

You know, some people are good at consistently posting on their blogs, and others can do other cool things. Like balancing the light switch between the ‘on’ and ‘off’ labels. I leave it to you to determine which category I fall into…

 

NOW, TO TELL YOU ABOUT THE BOOKS.

Wrapup

 

For me, this year has been extremely productive as far as reading goes. My mom and I started up a challenge with some friends in an attempt to read 52 books in 2016. So I’ve been rather motivated. Another helpful thing is that the majority of the books I’ve read in the last four months have been amazing. Like, forever favorites kind of amazing.

Now, here is the chronological list of books I’ve read since January.

 

 

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#1: Freedom by Kevin Swanson

5/5 stars

This is one of those books that I want to go around slapping in peoples’ faces, like, “READ THIS.”

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# 2: Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

4/5 stars

As a story, I truly enjoyed it. It’s entertaining, heart wrenching, and beautifully written. Understandably a classic.

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#3: Idelette: a novel based on the life of Madame John Calvin by Edna Gerstner

3/5 stars

I enjoyed this immensely, though probably more before I found out that it’s hardly based on fact at all…

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#4: The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom

5/5 stars

This is a beautiful story that I’m sure I will be reading for years to come.

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#5: Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss

5/5 stars

This was given and recommended to me by a friend last year, and when I finally read it, I understood why. It’s packed with incidents where I found myself thinking, “Oh man… that’s me!” I highly recommend it to any Christian girl.

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#6: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

4/5 stars

I definitely enjoyed this book. It’s fast-paced, lively, and is kind of an intense mashup of dystopian and fantasy.

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#7: Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte

4/5 stars

I will admit, this one flows exactly the way you hope it will… and I loved it.

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#8: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

4.5/5 stars

I read this for my American Literature class, and oh dear. There are so many elements to this book that impacted me and that I still find myself thinking about.

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#9: Gifted Hands: the Ben Carson story by Ben Carson

4/5 stars

Motivating and interesting.

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#10: 100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson

5/5 stars

Loved it. Those are all of the words I can muster to describe my enthusiasm for this one.

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#11: It’s like this, Cat by Emily Cheney Neville

3/5 stars

I definitely enjoyed this story. It gave me the same vibes as The Outsiders did, which is strange, since this one is a kids books. Anyway, yeah. It was good.

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#12: A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L’Engle

4/5 stars

The sequel to A Wrinkle in Time was definitely good, though I don’t think I loved it as much as the first book. It’s lovely, but in it’s own way.

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#13: Dandelion Fire by N.D. Wilson

5/5 stars

First off, I’m in love with this title. Secondly, it’s very rare that a sequel is better than the original book. This is one of those rare finds. It’s as if Wilson stood on his amazingness set up in 100 Cupboards and just built this one up from there.

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#14: Old Man and the Sea by Earnest Hemingway

1/5 stars

Bleh. And that’s a lot coming from me, the girl who adores classics.

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#15: Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

4/5 stars

Definitely enjoyable.

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#16: The Giver by Lois Lowry

5/5 stars

Amazing, thought-provoking, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact, I read it in one evening, which is very rare for me.

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#17: Hostage Lands by Douglas Bond

4/5 stars

Lets face it: most Christian authors stink. To my surprise (and embarrassment), Douglas Bond is not one of those authors.

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#18: The Chestnut King by N.D. Wilson

5/5 stars

Another lovely Nate Wilson book. When I finished it, I couldn’t stop grinning for twenty minutes straight…

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#19: Restoring America: one county at a time by Joel McDurmon

5/5 stars

Another slap-people-in-the-face kind of book, Restoring America takes Biblical principles of liberty, discusses how they have been lost in our country, and gives practical ways to help regain them. I loved every minute of it. If you enjoy politics and history, I would highly recommend this one!

Currently reading: Esperanza Rising

Just finished: Restoring America

What is your favorite book you’ve read in 2016? (Or favorites. Because I understand. That’s basically an impossible question.)

Top Ten Quotes from Literature

Well, hello everybody!

 

Since I moved, I’ve spent the last few weeks tossing out boxes, working on my skills in conversation (Homeschooler problems, guys. Or introvert problems? Introverted homeschooler problems.), and swimming. Because the south is hot.  Anyhow, in an attempt at decorating, I’ve been searching for and collecting quotes to turn into wall art. Like this:

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(No, I didn’t make this particular one… 🙂

I wanted to share some of the winsomeness and wonder of these quotes with you, so here are my Top Ten Quotes from Literature.

 

1. “Books do not age as you or I do, they will speak on to generations we will never see.”

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2. Friendship… is born at the moment when one man says to another “What? You too! I thought I was the only one.” – C.S. Lewis

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3. “If we had no winter, spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.” – Anne Bradstreet

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4. “Sometimes standing against evil is more important than defeating it. The greatest heroes stand because it is right to do so, not because they believe they will walk away with their lives. Such selfless courage is a victory in itself.” – N.D. Wilson

 

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5. “Most of us know what we should expect to find in a dragon’s lair, but, as I said before, Eustace had read all the wrong books. They had a lot to say about exports and imports and governments and drains, but they were weak on dragons.” -C.S. Lewis

 

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6. Laughter is sunshine. It chases winter from the human face.” -Victor Hugo

 

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7.  “I was quiet, but I was not blind.” – Jane Austen

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8. (My personal favorite)”It takes faith, and courage, and love, and prayer, and work, and a little singing to keep up your spirits, but we’re going to do it!” – Bess Streeter Aldrich, A Lantern in Her Hand

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9. “Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.” -E.B. White

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10. “Post tenebras lux!” [after darkness, light!”] -John Calvin

Lux

 

 

 

 

Currently reading: The Chestnut King by N.D. Wilson

Just finished: Hostage Lands by Douglas Bond

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Photos via: Pinterest

20 Bookish Facts about Me

 

Woohoo! I’m back!

Originally, this post was going to be called “25 Bookish Facts About Me” but I ran out of brain power and gave up at twenty (close enough, right?)

So now, I’d be absolutely delighted- entirely thrilled- fully elated to present to you… twenty bookish facts about yours truly.

 

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1. I have a love of buying books that borders on unhealthy.

You want to give me a birthday present? Awesome! Give me a copy of your favorite book. Also, book money, bookshelves, bookish accessories… all are welcome.

 

2. I spent three years reading classics nonstop. 

Yep, from the ages of 12-15 I read only one or two books written within the last 50 years. Other than that, I had a good ol’ time with the classics.

 

3. BookTube? Yes, please!

So, if you weren’t already aware, there’s this group of people on YouTube, who make videos about books. Not only books, though, but other bookish stuff too. I don’t even read the same books as most booktubers, but it’s still fun to watch their reactions and all that jazz.

 

4. My favorite book I have read so far in 2016 is either 100 Cupboards or Dandelion Fire by N.D. Wilson

 

5. I’ve never read a long-ish book in one sitting.

If I read more than a couple of hours at a time, my legs cramp and I start feeling really restless, even if I love the book. So, finishing a book is usually a two day experience for me.

 

6. Despite my love of classics, I’ve never read all of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

I feel like this is a terrible crime, but it’s true. It might be due to the fact that I have both the 1995 and 1980 versions  of the movie nearly memorized…. “Mr. Bennet, you have no compassion on my poor nerves!”

 

7. My “Pretty Bookshelf” is currently color coded…

Or, it was before I had to remove all of my beloveds to the contraption called a “moving van.”

 

8. I have a love for really old books.

 

9. It kills me a little bit to pay full price for just about anything. Even books.

Which is why I’m a huge used book lover.

 

10. I’ve never read The Hunger Games.

Or Harry Potter, or Divergent, or The Maze Runner… and I don’t exactly have plans to read them anytime soon. (Don’t hate me, please.)

 

11. I recently bought the most beautiful copy of Jane Eyre I’ve ever seen.

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And can I just say, it was six dollars. Six dollars! Thank you, HPB. I am eternally grateful.

 

12. I didn’t start collecting books until sometime last year.

Though I’ve just graduated to my second bookshelf (woot woot!).

 

13. I’m usually fine with letting people borrow my books.

Because if you ruin it, I only paid a dollar fifty for it anyway!

 

14. The weirdest book I’ve ever read is probably The Future Door by Jason Lethcoe.

Seriously. It even out-weirded Perelandra by C.S. Lewis. (Also, I don’t mean to ruin this for you, but have you noticed that Lethcoe sounds like you’re exclaiming ‘Let’s go’ with a lisp?…)

 

15. The longest book I have ever read is The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien.

And the runner up is (I think) Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell.

 

16. My most read novel of all time is The Horse and his Boy by C.S. Lewis

 

17. In the last year I have read Northanger Abbey three times. 

Does anybody consider that unhealthy? Because really, it’s an amazing book.

 

18. The only book that I have ever had the urge to reread as soon as I finished it was The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy.

I didn’t, though, because it was 1:30 in the morning.

 

19. I’m currently 25% done with my reading challenge.

My goal is to read 52 books this year. I’m on book 14.

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20. I can hardly stand when the covers of books in a series don’t match…

Like when I ordered Merlin’s Shadow, only to discover that it was actually an ARC and didn’t match the rest of the trilogy… It still bothers me.

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What are some weird, bookish facts about you? Can you even remotely relate to my bookish nonsense? Let me know in the comments!

The Wonderful Book Tag

First off, lots of thanks to Shai Ireland from Thinking About… for tagging me!

Here are the Rules:

-Answer the 10 questions

-Tag some folks

-Have fun!

 

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What are your top two favorite books?

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It’s really funny how every time someone asks me this question I suddenly feel as if I’ve never read a book before in my life. After some major deliberation and Goodreads searching, though, I figure I’ll mix it up a bit and go with The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy and 100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson.

 

What are your top two favorite series?

Hands down the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Chronicles of Narnia.

 

Who is your favorite fictional character?

This question is torturous, but I think I’m going to say Henry Tilney from Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey. He’s the best.

 

If any one of your favorite books could be made into a movie, which one would you want it to be?

Hold it, hold it. We’re assuming that it will be perfectly casted, portrayed, and made into a word-for-word adaptation of the book, right? Right.

That being said, 100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson.

 

What is your favorite genre to read?

I can’t choose only one. I just can’t. My favorites are Fantasy and Historical Fiction.

 

Do you have a favorite author?

J.R.R. Tolkien.

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Is there a book that you can hardly wait to come out?

Nope, not that I can think of.

 

What was one of your favorite childhood books?

When I was six, my first grade teacher was friends with Jan Brett, so she flooded my class with Jan’s new releases. Hedgie Loves to Read was my favorite, and I treasured my copy, even though it was missing pages somewhere in the middle of the story.

 

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What was one of you favorite books when you were late elementary to middle school age?

In my last post I mentioned Emily’s Runaway Imagination as being a favorite of mine, but another one was The Bungalow Mystery by Carolyne Keene. I read so many Nancy Drew mysteries it’s a little bit frightening.

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What is your favorite book of the Bible?

Romans. Definitely Romans.

Now, for the tagging.

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I tag :

Zac Tyson from Of Bleeding Pens and Pages (I just now discovered his blog, and it’s wonderful.)

Katie Grace from A Writer’s Faith. (Also just found her blog, and it’s equally wonderful.)

Tell me your answers and what you thought about mine in the comments! I’d love to hear about it.

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