I’m not sure I could come up with something novel to say about the process– after all, people have been shaping loaves for centuries. My first thought was to share something poetic; I could wax on about the smell of yeast…the warmth of dough under my hands…the irresistible, velvety softness of flour.
Christa Parrish, author of Stones for Bread, manages much better than I to write a love story to the staple of human history. Tucked here and there between the pages of her book are instructions to make your first sourdough starter and recipes for Dark Chocolate Pain au Levain and Brioche Sticky Buns, among others. Regularly scattered throughout are tidbits on bread throughout the ages as well as musings on its Scriptural importance. Bread is woven throughout Scripture–in its stories and used symbolically– more than I think I realized before or thought about.
As for the fiction Christa pens, I admit: I have mixed feelings. While the tale of a bakery owner still healing from the scars of a tragic childhood resonated emotionally, I found myself a bit conflicted over some of the messages and meaning in the book. Ultimately I couldn’t resolve my differing thoughts about the novel clearly enough to feel as if I could give it a proper rating, or a fair review. Still, I thought it was worth mentioning, and if you read it I’d be interested in hearing your opinion of it.
Also…bringing up this book makes for the perfect excuse to share a favorite bread recipe, am I right?! While nothing overly complicated or fancy, I’ve really enjoyed this recipe for Garlic and Herb dinner rolls. I don’t have a KitchenAid, so I just knead them by hand for 15-20 minutes, and they always seem to turn out really well. I also speed up the rise time by turning on the oven briefly, then turning it off and putting the dough inside the warm oven. Follow the link above if you’d like to take a peek at these rolls and the rest of It’s Always Autumn’s website. Otherwise, enjoy the rest of your week– reading, or baking, or doing whatever God has for you to do. ❤
Around the book-blogging community I’ve seen something called Dream Casting. Oh, don’t worry– it’s not some sort of pagan bedtime ritual! If you haven’t heard of it before, it’s casting in the sense of choosing someone for an acting role. Basically, you take a novel or other work you would really like to see translated to film, and then pick actors you think would suit the parts. One benefit is that you get to see how other people imagine the characters would be fleshed out (literally) and if you haven’t read the book, you get a snapshot of the dramatis personae (and no, I didn’t know what dramatis personae were either, until I looked the phrase up today!)
I think it would be a lot of fun to try this out on my recently reviewed favorite, Hidden Among the Stars by Melanie Dobson. Let’s get started:
Hidden is a dual timeline story, so I think I’ll begin with the WWII era characters. First up: Annika Knopf.
This was probably the easiest casting choice I made; actress Sophie Nelisse suits my vision of an innocent, good-hearted Annika perfectly. She might be just a bit too old now, since she’s 19, whereas Annika is supposed to be around 16, but I think it would be pretty easy to make Nelisse look a little younger.”Aging down” older actresses has certainly happened before. Miss Nelisse was a phenomenal actress in The Book Thief, another WWII story, and has proven she could easily handle the emotional and touching moments in Annika’s life.
Next up, Luzia Weiss!
It was much more difficult for me to find someone I liked for the part of this elegant, musically gifted Jew. Also a tad bit old for the role, I settled on Odeya Rush (who is currently 22.) In truth, Luzia was more of a delicate and young Natalie Portman in my mind… but obviously Natalie Portman is way past playing this character at 38 (maybe she could be Luzia’s emotionally distraught mom?)
Odeya is an Israeli-American actress, and I didn’t even know that until I looked her up recently after remembering her performance in The Giver. Moving along to the male protagonists:
Max Dornbach is the all-around good guy. Faithful, altruistic, and brave (plus he likes animals!), it’s not hard to figure out why Annika is crazy about him. Levi Miller is 17 and I think came across as instantly likable in A Wrinkle in Time last year… so I’d enjoy seeing if he is up to the task of portraying a more mature role and a wider range of emotions as Max. Max is described as having hazel eyes, but I don’t think that’s especially critical to his character.
Lastly, rounding out the menfolk, is Hermann.
Hermann Stadler is the quietly noble and “ordinary” handyman. Eventually he ends up the groundskeeper of Schloss Schwansee, the lakeside castle setting of most of the story. I took a lot of liberties choosing Tom Holland for this part, and truthfully I would still be open to other ideas. After all, Tom is not blonde (dye work?), tall, or stocky. That said, I think he has a very relatable, kind, and humble appearance, and that’s what I really wanted for Hermann. I actually haven’t seen Holland’s Spider-Man movies, but I’m sure he’d draw lots of obsessive fan-girls to the theater, so that’s great, right?! (haha) Of course, my first pick wasn’t really an option:
Wow, this post is getting long! Zipping forward to modern day–>
Callie Randall is a 30 year old children’s book lover who owns and runs the Magic Balloon Bookshop with her sister. There’s a sense of sadness about her, but the stripey socks she wears to read to the neighborhood kids suggests to me that she has a slightly quirky side too. Callie isn’t particularly fond of traveling, and seems fairly content spending her free time with her nephews and the rest of her family. I can’t say I’ve seen Saoirse Ronan in anything other than City of Ember, but she seems quite talented, and she’s since been nominated for three academy awards.
Lastly, for Professor Josh Nemeth, I chose another Josh– Josh Dallas.
Of course, I could have just gone with Ryan Gosling, but I’ve never been a fan… sorry. Josh Dallas did a fine job as a father and true love in Once Upon a Time, and he looks very professor-y in glasses (so there, Ryan!)
Well, what do you think of my choices? If you haven’t read the book, does this dream cast make you want to? Which character/actor choices surprise you the most? Would you watch the movie? Thanks for visiting the blog and hope you had a little fun with me today!
The long sweep of beach that fronted the village was my favorite place. During those first days on the island, it became the spot I headed for with my Bible every morning after breakfast, the place I went when I needed five minutes alone. A row of tall coconut trees growing on the fringe of the jungle curved out over the sand like a one-armed embrace, and if you looked back from the beach you could see how the village had settled neatly into the bowl of the valley, as if hundreds of frail toy houses had tumbled down the surrounding hills and come to rest together at the bottom.
I’m wrapped up in the beginning of My Hands Came Away Red by Lisa McKay, and so far I’m feeling optimistic! I have a distance to go before I can say whether this will earn four stars, but here’s a glimpse inside:
“I would like to go to Bible college,” Mani whispered, as if sharing a secret too precious to say out loud. He looked out over the water, unclenched his fist, and let the handful of sand he’d been clutching dribble out.
“My teachers at school know about a Bible college in Bandung. Can you imagine? Three years just to study the Bible and learn about God?” He sounded awed.
Without context I’m not sure if you’ll be affected by this passage the way I was; “Mani” is a young man on a remote island of Indonesia. His father is a pastor there, and the protagonist of the book, Cori, is part of a mission trip to help them build a church.
I’ve reread this paragraph a couple times, touched. While I’ve never been to a Bible college, I’ve had 23 years to study the Bible and learn about God. Easy, convenient access to countless resources, sermons, Godly counsel and all the time I needed to apply myself. Even so, how many times have I been in awe of these gifts? I may catch my breath a little tonight when I open up the New Testament or reach for the (free) commentary I checked out from the library.
But one child, looking up, saw farther and deeper and wider than the others. He saw the glittering bursts and showers but he saw fireflies too, and stars, all of them sparks of hope flung upward like prayers into the night. For in one quiet, unexpected moment, he had looked beyond the stars and caught a glimpse of God.
Cravings usually go hand-in-hand with food, but as I was writing this review back in April I found myself craving something a little bigger: summertime. Summertime colors; the creek bubbling to life again; my porch-style swing—oh, how I missed reading and swaying on that swing on a hot day. Where I live it’s a long wait for summertime. Continue reading “Full Review, Sutter’s Cross”→