Giants In The Earth by Ole Edvart Rolvaag (a Bookies Review and Oh you will love this!)


In the later 1800’s, Norwegian settlers took to the Great Plains to find for themselves a better life.  Dreams of great farm lands and prosper propelled them forward and Per Hansa, was not an exception.

Per Hansa, his wife, Beret, and their two sons head out into the wide open space hoping to catch up with the group they had started out with and begin to build their dreams.  While Per Hansa almost vibrates with his desire for something to call his own, Beret keeps quiet to her dreams of staying where they were with, with family and friends and all she ever knew of as home.

When they do meet up with the others and stake their land the whole family experiences first hand what it is like to start with nothing.  A house built out of sod, and their cow living under this same sod roof.  The planting of food to eat and to sell and the hope and prayer each season that the crops will prosper and drought, weather or plagues do not take what they have put blood, sweat and tears into.

The land is hard and the life style to match but Per Hansa thrives in the environment of working from before sun up to after sun down.  As other settlers pass through and the native Americans come calling, Per Hansa comes across many situations he was not prepared for…. yet onward he goes, trusting in God and the land.

We read Giants In The Land for our classic read.  Around page 11 I thought I was in trouble… when our author started explaining the sound of the grass I thought “oh oh…. I have over 500 pages of this?”  Yet I settled into the book to get through it, and found that I was enjoying it in no time.

Per Hansa is a go getter.  At times to the point of ripping your hair out, but it seems like everything he tries and touches turns out for the better.  Beret, is another character all together.  Left mainly to tend to the house and the children, the time alone only wears on her.  Although their are other women near by, Beret is far too sheltered within herself to go out and make the relationships she needs to keep her going. 

The real beauty in Giants In The Earth is that the land and the weather is just as much a character as Per Hansa, Beret and the other settlers.  The land and weathers role is a bit one.  It can give, and it can just as quickly take away.  Everything in this environment depends on both.

I flew through this read.  It was so far different from anything I had read and I could imagine what the times had to feel like, make it or break it, you had to keep moving forward day after day.  It is a book that will remain on my shelf to be referred to again.

Bookies thoughts and fun:

We had a blast being able to have our review in an 1851 cabin that is on the property of one of our book club gals.  (Thanks Brenda!).  We dressed the time period and ate the food that they ate:  lefsa, potatoes, cider, stew, goat cheese…  It was a great time.

6 of us dressed up for the occasion. I am the 4th one in from the left. While we tried to remain straight faced, I kept smiling. The more I tried not to smile… the more I smiled.


The cabin. The base is original. Roof and upper floor have been added on.




What a great time!  The Bookies over all rated it a high 3 (almost 4!) out of 5.  Most of us enjoyed the time period and the idea of the early settlers.  A few of us struggled getting into the book and found it too dry.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (A Bookies Review)

Mr. and Mrs. Bennett have a houseful.  Five children, all girls… well, women really, living in a home in Georgia England during the Regency period. 

Of the five, Jane is the oldest and the beautiful one, Elizabeth is the fast tongued smart one, Mary is bookish, Kitty is immature and Lydia… oh Lydia is the wild one.

Mr. Bennett is a pretty well put together man especially considering how over the top his wife, Mrs. Bennett can be.  Set firmly on doing all she can to help her daughters marry and marry well, Mrs. Bennett will stop short of nothing… even to the length of sending Jane by horse to visit Mr. Darcy during a rain storm in hopes that she would become ill and have to stay at his home until she is better. 

Her plan… works to that extent… but not all is she had hoped.  😉

Elizabeth is the one who comes to Jane’s rescue, appalled at her own mothers behavior she nurses Jane back to health,avoiding as much as she can the man who annoys her so much, Mr. Darcy himself. 

What follows is a story that is described as a comedy of sorts, of sisters and men in their lives, and really… Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy.

Maybe... I should watch the movie...

This is my first time reading Pride and Prejudice.  My book club started a tradition many years ago that every October we would read a classic.  Back then, I was not thrilled by the idea, now… I love it.  This gives us all a chance to experience one of the greats… we do not always like them, but they have always been pretty fun to review.

My personal thoughts on the read were I really enjoyed it.  While some in the group struggled with the language, I enjoyed figuring it out as I went.  The words are different than we use them, and it was fun to see words used differently in sentences and while they were a mouthful to read.. they made sense. 

As much as the Bookies loved Mr. Darcy, I was odd man out on this one.  I realized he changes throughout the book… but his snottiness (hoo yeah I said it!)in the beginning especially towards Elizabeth rubbed me wrong and I still wasn’t over it at the close of the read.  I know this is supposed to be one of the great love stories… and I agree it was a good read, I just didn’t really like Darcy.  Yes I know I am in the minority… but remember I do not read romance reads. 😀

I did however really enjoy the book and am so happy to now be able to say I have read Pride and Prejudice!  The Bookies had a good discussion over the book, the era, The Bennett’s, fun with the language, and overall it rated a 3.5 rating out of 5. 

We did dress up as we like to do for our Classic read – hats were requested, but you could go further with the look if you wanted to. 

I wanted to.  😀

Here are a few pics of our evening:

The Bookies in attendance
A little candid pencil shot while we were setting up for the pictures
Kaydi wore her grandmothers wedding dress!

The 2011 WHERE Are You Reading Map has been updated to include Pride and Prejudice

I purchased my copy of Pride and Prejudice at Barnes and Noble

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

jane-eyreSo many books…. so little time.  I swear every time I enter a book store or go to book club I see or hear about yet another book that I would love to read.  The whole time I am making “wish lists” of books that I want to get to… I am very aware of all the amazing books that have been written years before I ever existed – but are words that I so want to soak in.

This book, Jane Eyre, would be one of those books.  I am in awe of the books that are so at large today that were written, as this one was, in the 1800’s.  An added bonus would be the amazing story of the author, Charlotte – who was not the only writer in her family – she was the eldest of the three famous Bornte sisters and lived a short life from 1816 – 1855.  Her sister Emily, worte Wuthering Heights.

Jane Eyre is an extraordinary coming-of-age story featuring one of the most independent and strong-willed female protagonists in all of literature. Poor and plain, Jane Eyre begins life as a lonely orphan in the household of her hateful aunt. Despite the oppression sheendures at home, and the later torture of boarding school, Jane manages to emerge with her spirit and integrity unbroken. She becomes a governess at Thornfield Hall, where she finds herself falling in love with her employer—the dark, impassioned Mr. Rochester. But an explosive secret tears apart their relationship, forcing Jane to face poverty and isolation once again.

So again – in this world of books…. I am trying to squeeze time in for this one and am doing so by applying this book to my gym time:  Eliptical and tread mill.  I started yesterday and read the first 50 pages on the tread mill.  I will write again at the end of the read.


Update July 9, 2009…. I have made my peace with Jane Eyre.  I found this book hard to read, unlike her sisters work in Wuthering Heights.  I think now that I have been reading Pride and Prejudice with Mr. Darcy, it makes my tollerance for Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre even lower.

I have worked on this book off and on for 5 weeks now, granted only at the gym, yet I never could get it to flow for me.  Perhaps this is one that may come off the shelf at another place and time, but as for now… I am done with Charlotte Bronte.