Autumn: the Season of Book Reading

Hi everyone

So autumn is well and truly here, I can currently hear fireworks from a neighbouring house so of course it must be October (it appears to be a competition in my area as to who can get in there first!). I don’t know what it is about the nights drawing in and the temperature dropping but it seems to make the book loving nation instantly want to curl up on the sofa with a good book. I certainly realised last June why students usually have the summer off; I found it impossible to study whilst the sun was shining outside, I won’t be making that mistake again. Right now though it seems there is nothing better to do than make myself comfortable and study literature to my heart’s content (well that’s what I tell myself!).

Anyway the point of my random rambling is that I feel much more inclined to not only study 16th and 17th century plays, but to also read a book from the BBC’s Top 100 list. The library has provided once again, and the first book available is Donna Tartt’s The Secret History. I’m going to make a start on this book at the weekend, it’s quite hefty at 660 pages though so it might take a while, especially with an impending assignment on John Webster’s play The Duchess of Malfi, which is actually really good (I wasn’t as keen on Othello), to be started. I know nothing about The Secret History, which is refreshing and I’m looking forward to delving into a new author and storyline, let’s hope it’s as intriguing as the title!

I’ll update you on my initial thoughts and impressions of the book soon so stay tuned…



So another year begins…

Hi everyone

Yes I am still alive, well just about after studying a degree full time whilst working a 40 hour week. I have had a busy year, achieving high marks in my first year courses, attempting to write assignments on my iPad as my laptop committed suicide and reading only one book, Hard Times by Charles Dickens. You don’t want to know what I thought of that one. The year has flown by, and now I’m about to embark on my third degree module which thankfully is all about the books. And the plays, can’t forget Shakespeare.

So as I settle down for the long winter nights with my iPad and Othello for company, I can’t help but think about what it was like in the good ole’ days when I used to read for fun and write about it for fun. Although remembering the hell that was Jack Kerouac, it wasn’t always so fun. So in an attempt to keep my sanity I’m going to try to read some books that aren’t on my reading list, and let you lovely people know what I thought of them. You know, continue what I originally set out to do nearly 4 years ago and hopefully not give up after 2 weeks. I seem to have gotten the discipline thing down now (she says as she purposefully ignores Othello next to her), although I will always be a procrastinator, it’s in my blood. I may even treat you all to reviews on the books I am forced to read as well, wouldn’t that be fun?

So the first order of business is what to read from the list? Now I think I should ease myself in gently, perhaps not a 700+ page book straight away. So on that basis, I’ll skip Bleak House, Ullysses and Woman in White for now which leaves the following to choose from:

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding

Matilda by Roald Dahl

Night Watch by Terry Pratchett

Which do you think I should go for? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

It feels good to be back!


Happy New Year Book Lovers!

Hi everyone

I know it is a bit late into January to wish you all a happy new year but it has just dawned on me that as it is a new year, there’s nothing stopping me from starting a fresh with my book challenge. Well I say nothing stopping me, obviously my inability to actually commit to this blog will probably hold me back. At the moment though I’m feeling a bit more enthusiastic so you never know, maybe 2015 will go well for me blog wise.

Last year I started this blog off with a 30 day book challenge but loss of internet (twice) and a trip to Asia led to me giving up on that, so I will try to finish off the questions that I had remaining in the next month or so. The answers probably won’t be any different to a year ago as I think I may have only read one book in the last year. I know, its shocking! I partly blame Netflix for providing too much on-hand entertainment making it unnecessary to occupy my mind with a book. But as I’m now a student working towards my BA (Hons) in English Literature and Creative Writing I have to start reading books again soon whether I want to or not, so I thought rekindling my book challenge would be a good idea.

So first up on the list is Bleak House by Charles Dickens. I’ve previously seen a tv adaptation so I don’t know what I’ll make of the 945 page book already having a vague idea of the storyline. I did consider easing myself into this challenge with a nice short book but they’re all pretty long in the section of the list I’ve reached so I didn’t have a choice. At some point I need to go back and finish Anna Karenina and Gormenghast, hopefully without having to start from the beginning again with both of them, but for now I think I’ll work my way through some new stories and see where I get to. If I can get through Bleak House, Ulysses and The Woman in White, I’ll treat myself with Bridget Jones’s Diary. Maybe that is the key to success, a reward system?

Hopefully you will hear from me soon!


It Never Rains, It Pours

Hi everyone

As the title suggests, get ready for a deluge of posts from me over the next few weeks. I have already written a few of my “Challenge” posts, although I’m finding it hard to think of books for some of the days at the moment, all I keep thinking about is films! I might have to just start another blog to cover the 30 Day Film Challenge, although my lack of writing on this blog this year would not bode well for a new one. One reason I’m finding this 30 Day Challenge hard is that I don’t want to keep going on about the same books for each answer, this would be boring for you guys to read and it would hardly make it a challenge for me. Also I do intend to eventually finish my 100 books challenge and so I would like to avoid as much as possible any books that I have read that I will be reading again so as not to repeat myself, or worse, contradict myself on what I have previously praised the book for. However I can’t completely avoid the list so I will try to be succinct as possible for any of these books for this challenge so that I will still have something to say at a later date. Anyway, hope you all enjoy my forthcoming posts 🙂


30 Day Book Challenge

Hi everyone!

I hope you are all geared up for Christmas and aren’t feeling too bah humbug.  One of my favourite blogs, The Other Watson, has decided to blog each day for the next 30 days covering a range of literary based questions and I thought that this was such a good idea that I would give it a go as well.  Like me, he is also nearing his two year anniversary for his blog and is celebrating by completing his 30 day book challenge again.  With nearly 10,000 views to my blog in the last two years I thought I should actually blog a bit more as do enjoy it when I’m not forcing myself to read Russian books.  Speaking of which, Anna Karenina still hasn’t been returned to the library and I am determined to read it by the end of the year.  I have quite a bit of time off over Christmas and with not much else to do I am going to persevere and finish my review (once I have finished the book!).  So hopefully you should all have a bit more to read in the next few weeks.

Merry Christmas


Procrastination strikes again

Hi everyone

So I finally went to the library yesterday and collected Anna Karenina. It only took me a week and a half to drive the short distance to my local library; I get the feeling I’m already dragging my heels with it. A friend of mine has lent me The Horse Whisperer as well, and I was just thinking that maybe I should read that first as I don’t want to hold onto her copy for ages when I realised that I have started procrastinating about this book again. I procrastinate about everything so it’s not a surprise but I hadn’t realised that I had already lost my renewed determination for finishing this book. So I need to set myself a time limit. Looking through the book I think I need to start from about page 740, which means I have just over 200 hundred pages to go. It doesn’t sound like much but I think it will feel just as long as the first 700 pages. So to counteract my procrastinating I have promised myself that I won’t let this hang over me anymore and that by this time next I will have published my review. Hopefully I will succeed in this, my first challenge since returning to this book list. Wish me luck!

P.s. I promise to stop going on about this book as well (it’s part of the procrastinating)!

Two Words: Anna Karenina

Hi Everyone

I just wanted to say that it has been pretty much a year since I had a bit of a breakdown and ultimately stopped my reading challenge. I didn’t intentionally stop, I just couldn’t carry on and this was the case with many things in my life at the time. And even though this challenge really had nothing to do with how I was feeling then I still think of Anna Karenina as the book that broke me. I was approximately 800 pages in and I could see where the story was going and all of a sudden I couldn’t understand why I was doing it, why I was reading any of these books. Which was surprising to me after months of forcing myself to read On The Road and not giving up then that I would then give up with a much more interesting book.

As I have said, it’s now a year on and I have made a decision. Anna Karenina is waiting for me at my local library for me to collect so I am going to read it again. I’m not going to drive myself crazy by starting from the beginning though, I will try to start from where I left off. I’ve had the review sat in my drafts all this time and it will be a relief to finally publish.

So to Anna Karenina: I will prove that I am not so breakable after all.

The year I lost the will to read

Hi everyone

So it is now 2013 and I felt it was time to update you all on the last 3 months. I’m not sure exactly what happened, but I got to the end of September and found I could no longer read. I had lost the passion and joy that reading brought me and I couldn’t even bring myself to open a book. The only thing that still appealed to me was reading all of your lovely blogs, but some days I couldn’t even do that. For over 2 months I didn’t read, then when I decided to try to start reading again with a favourite author of mine, Marian Keys, I didn’t get the same feeling of being gripped and drawn in to the story that I usually get, especially with her books. Which in turn made me feel really disappointed. I’m not sure if I was disappointed in the book or myself but I’m worried that I’ve lost the will to read and that I won’t get it back.

I’ve just received the Hunger Games trilogy which I’ve heard good things about (again, lovely blogs), but I’m worried I’m not in the right frame of mind and that what could be a great book(s) will be twisted in to a dull melodrama in my head. This is probably the most I’ve written in a while as well, I’ve not felt the need; I think that lack of reading is probably the cause.

I’m not sure where to go from here, I feel I should just face the problem head on but I’ve already been disappointed with The Mystery of Mercy Close and I don’t want that to become a pattern. I will try again with more books but the question is should I choose one from the list or go off list again? Has anyone else ever experienced this?


Time flies when you’re (not) having fun

Hi everyone

This is beginning to feel like a monthly blog at best without the key ingredient of book reviews.  I’ve been very slack in the last few months, mainly due to loads of stuff going on outside of my book life but I have been reading as much as I can.  I’m two book reviews behind (still) and about 100 pages away from finishing Anna Karenina.  It is a very long book; there’s a story in there somewhere but it’s hard to keep going.  I’ll try to finish it this week as well as finishing off my reviews.  After that there is one of the other huge books to choose from which doesn’t really motivate me to finish AK.  I need to get over my little huge book hump then I might feel more inclined to read the rest of the book list.  One of my colleagues has taken it upon himself to try to be my book personal trainer as he can see I’m loosing motivation; I’m not sure his efforts are currently working but it’s nice when someone has faith that you can do it.  I think I need to start sitting myself some goals to achieve with some stricter time limits.  Here it goes:

Goal no 1: Finish and publish book review for God of Small Things (I’ve already written most of it! I’m so lazy, I swear)

Goal no 2: Start, finish and publish review for The Twits (it’s the shortest book on the challenge, how hard can it be to write a review?!)

Goal no 3: Finish last 100 pages of Anna Karenina (I’ve seen the film and know how it ends, does that count?)

Goal no 4: Choose my next book from the following:

                    Bleak House by Charles Dickens

                    Ulysses by James Joyce

                    The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

All goals to be completed by next Sunday.

This reads more like a homework diary now!  Can anyone recommend any of these three books for me to start next?  I need something a bit more thrilling to bring me out of my AK lull.  Which one would be best?  Let me know via the comments section.