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Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

28 Apr

Started – 19/4/13

Finished – 25/4/13

Format – Kindle e-book

 

Challenges – Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge

BBC Top 200 Books

1001 Books You Must Read

Ultimate Teen Book Guide Challenge

501 Must Read Books

World Book Night 2012 Challenge

 

SynopsisWuthering Heights is a wild, passionate story of the intense and almost demonic love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, a foundling adopted by Catherine’s father. After Mr Earnshaw’s death, Heathcliff is bullied and humiliated by Catherine’s brother Hindley and wrongly believing that his love for Catherine is not reciprocated, leaves Wuthering Heights, only to return years later as a wealthy and polished man. He proceeds to exact a terrible revenge for his former miseries.

The action of the story is chaotic and unremittingly violent, but the accomplished handling of a complex structure, the evocative descriptions of the lonely moorland setting and the poetic grandeur of vision combine to make this unique novel a masterpiece of English literature.

My Thoughts – I downloaded this book when I first got my Kindle as there are a lot of classics out there that I havent read and as it was free i didnt really have a lot to loose. I seem to have a rather love/hate relationship with the classics i either really love them and get sucked into them or i hate them and cant get into the story or understand them. Happily this was a book that I absolutely loved and got really into the story.

This book tells the story of Catherine and Heathcliff who have grown up together and social class is really the main factor in the reason that there relationship doesnt get going. They both end up marrying other people and Heathcliff ends up vowing revenge on Catherines new husband.

At the start of the book you see how the story ends up and as its told through the eyes of someone else the story is revealed all the way through the book. I did enjoy the story told in this way and it added to the mystery of the book and how the characters ended up in the way that they did.

I found this book very east to get into and i really understood the language too. Another good point for me was there is not an extensive list of characters which made this book a lot easier to read.

I do wish i had read this in the middle of the winter though as i think it would have added to the atmosphere of the book.

This book is very good and it had also made me make my mind up to try more classics as this was a book that i very much enjoyed.

Rating – 4.5/5

Wolf Hall – Hillary Mantel

19 Apr

Started – 30/3/13

Finished – 19/4/13

Format – Hardback Book

Challenges – World Book Night 2012 Longlist

Synopsis –  ‘Lock Cromwell in a deep dungeon in the morning,’ says Thomas More, ‘and when you come back that night he’ll be sitting on a plush cushion eating larks’ tongues, and all the gaolers will owe him money.’ England, the 1520s. Henry VIII is on the throne, but has no heir. Cardinal Wolsey is his chief advisor, charged with securing the divorce the pope refuses to grant. Into this atmosphere of distrust and need comes Thomas Cromwell, first as Wolsey’s clerk, and later his successor.

Cromwell is a wholly original man: the son of a brutal blacksmith, a political genius, a briber, a charmer, a bully, a man with a delicate and deadly expertise in manipulating people and events. Ruthless in pursuit of his own interests, he is as ambitious in his wider politics as he is for himself. His reforming agenda is carried out in the grip of a self-interested parliament and a king who fluctuates between romantic passions and murderous rages.

My Thoughts – This book was picked for the April reading circle choice and its also a book that I have wanted to read for quite a while.

This book tells the story of Thomas Cromwell and his relationship to King Henry VIII, his divorce from Katherine and his next marriage to Anne. Now when i first picked this book up i was a little put off by its size. My copy was around 650 pages and hardback so at first sight it was quite a book to read.

I did have a problem remembering who was who as there is a lot of characters in the book and i did have to keep on refering back to the list of characters at the front of the book.

However i did enjoy the story of the book and got really into it. I thought it was a good representation of the time period explaining the plague and how many people died during that time. I also thought that Anne was represented quite harshly and made out to be quite nasty and I’m not too sure if she was actually like that.

I would like to read the second book in the series at some point. I’m not going to rush out and buy it but its a book i would like to read some day.

Rating – 3/5

Life of Pi – Yann Martel

5 Mar

Started – 16/2/13

Finished – 4/3/13

Format – Paperback Book

 

Challenges – Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge

1001 Books You Must Read

Ultimate Teen Book Guide Reading Challenge

501 Must Read Books

World Book Night Reading Challenge

 

Synopsis – One boy, one boat, one tiger …After the tragic sinking of a cargo ship, a solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the wild, blue Pacific. The only survivors from the wreck are a sixteen year-old boy named Pi, a hyena, a zebra (with a broken leg), a female orang-utan and a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger. The scene is set for one of the most extraordinary and best-loved works of fiction in recent years.

 

My Thoughts – I brought this book back in 2010 way before the movie was out and I wanted to read this as it was such a high profile book. Now I did really enjoy the story especially the ending part where Pi spoke to the officals and the whole story became clear.

This book is about Pi Patel who lives in a zoo in India. I really enjoyed his descriptions of the zoo and the animals especially. His family decide to move away to Canada and sell the zoo and some of the animals. The ship that they are travelling on sinks and Pi is a survivor along with a few animals who are injured, this includes the Begal Tiger, Richard Parker.

He is adrift from everyone for months and lives with the tiger in a small space. The only part i didnt really understand was when they found an island, i didnt really understand the significance of that.

This book is quite religious too, three different religions howevr i didnt find that this was too heavy or forced upon the reader.

I do want to see the film but I’m not sure if this will live up to such a good book. I really enjoyed the story and i can see why its on so many reading challenge lists.

Rating – 4/5

Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell

12 Sep

Started – 31/7/12

Finished – 9/9/12

Format – Paperback book

 

Challenges – Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge

BBC Top 200 Books

1001 Books You Must Read

Ultimate Teen Book Guide Challenge

World Book Night 2012 Long List

Synopsis – Tomorrow is another day… Set against the dramatic backdrop of the American Civil War, Margaret Mitchell’s magnificent historical epic is an unforgettable tale of love and loss, of a nation mortally divided and a people forever changed. Above all, it is the story of beautiful, ruthless Scarlett O’Hara and the dashing soldier of fortune, Rhett Butler.

My Thoughts – I’ve had this book on my shelf for a long time and to be honest i was getting a little bit put off my the sheer size of the book. its over 1000 pages long and to be honest this did put me off a little bit. However, i didnt need to have worried i absolutly loved this book and i really wish i had read it sooner.

This epic book centres on Scarlett O’Hara and her life. At the start of the book she is a very self centred person and all she wants to do is attend lots of parties and find a husband and lead as many boys on as possible too. Its at a part she meets Rhett Butler and these too dont really mix very well. In fact the end up really disliking each other.

Then the unthinkable happens, civil war breaks out in America and all the men go off to fight leaving all the women behind. This is the chance for Scarlett and her friends to have to do lots of things like working in a hospital and treating the wounded soldiers. Once the civil war is over with the reconstruction takes place and its here that Scarlett’s character really starts to appear.

To be honest i didnt really like Scarlett, I really tried to but her treatment of people, espeically Frank. I thought that this was so sad what she did, i do understand the reasons behind it, to save Tara, but she ruined her sisters happiness at this. Scarlett could have had a brilliant life but instead she was so preoccupied with Ashley that she didnt realise how badly that she was treating everybody.

I did find the treatment of the black people in the book so shocking. I know that this is what happened during this time period but reading about it was so shocking and i just dont know how people could have been treated in that way by others.

I also thought that this book was so much more than the romance story that it is billed as. I found it so sad with the ammount of death in the book and there were so many twists and turns that sometimes i couldnt believe how much was happening. At the end of the book i did shed a tear as Melanie was such a nice person and i just didnt think she deserved anything that happened to her.

The only thing that did put me off slightly was the begining was very complicated with all the characters being introduced and this did at one point make me think that it wasnt the book for me. This was nessassery for the book to be introduced and once i got a hundred pages in i didnt really look back.

I loved this book its not often that i say that and i was so shocked at how much i loved this and how quickly i got into it. An amazing book!

Rating – 5/5

Dracula – Bram Stoker

8 Aug

Started – 14/7/12

Finished – 5/8/12

Format – Kindle e-book

 

Challenges –  BBC Top 200 Books

1001 Books To Read

Ultimate Teen Book Guide Challenge

501 Must Read Books

World Book Night 2012 List

 

Synopsis – ‘The door is shut, and the chains rattle; there is a grinding of the key in the lock; I hear the creaking of lock and bolt…I shall not remain alone with them. I may find a way from this dreadful place, away from this cursed spot, from this cursed land, where the devil and his children still walk with earthly feet!’

 

Young lawyer Jonathan Harker travels to Transylvania on business for a mysterious Count. Months later in England, beautiful Lucy Westenra falls ill and dies, inexplicably, as if from a severe loss of blood. Lucy’s friends, including Jonathan’s fiancée Mina and the intrepid doctor Van Helsing, must begin a desperate battle against a powerful, ancient evil, in Bram Stoker’s definitive gothic tale.

My Thoughts – Dracula must be one of those books that everyone is familar with, even if they have not read the story. I downloaded this onto my kindle the day i got it, as there were so many classic books that i just hadnt read.

The book takes the form of diary entries, letters and other simular writings between the main characters in the story. For me, I really liked this and i felt that it helped the story. There was nothing left out and at times it was easy to forget the format of the book as so much detail was gained.

The book starts with Jonathan Harker who travels out to visit Count Dracula in his castle and to arrange him moving over to England. It is here that we get the first encounter with Dracula himself, and as apperances go he does seem quite normal in the begining. However, towards the end of this part of the book Draculas colours are reveiled. One scene really scared me, him crawling down a wall, and this is the first time that a book has scared me, however it was scary in a good way.

We are also introduced to the other main characters, Mina, Lucy, John Quincy and Arthur. These are the main characters that the letters and the diary entries come from. There was also lots of changes in the narrator and i liked how quickly this changed and how good it was to get a difference of opinion at times. The other character is Dr Van Helsing, who i didnt know was actually a character from Dracula. This was a nice surprise for me. To start with i was a little unsure as to how all the characters would fit together, but once they did it all made sense.

What eventually happens to Lucy, and i dont want to say if others havent read it, really did affect me in a way. I desparatley didnt want it to happen, but i can see why it did for the sake of the book. This enabled the latter part of the book to pan out and have an introduction to it.

The final part of the book was good, the hunt for Dracula and what to do with him once they caught him. I liked the journey and also all the parts with Mina. This for me made the book so brilliant. However i did think that the ending was a little bit quick and id have liked to read more and more.

I think the best part of this book is that Dracula isnt actually in it all that much. Its the creepyness of where could he be, what would happen next and the general threat of him. I also liked his character he was so clever and almost seemed one step ahead of everyone else.

On the surface this is a long classic book, something that i will admit puts me off a book. However i got really into this book and for a person that isnt always at one with the classics that is something. And its also long, but once i got into the story i just couldnt stop reading, i was sorry when it ended. This book is fantastic, one that everyone should read, if they havent already!

Rating – 5/5

I Capture the Castle – Dodie Smith

8 May

Started – 26/4/12

Finished – 7/5/12

Format – Paperback Book

Challenges – BCF May Reading Circle

BBC Top 200 Books

1001 Childrens Books You Must Read

Ultimate Teen Book Guide Challenge

World Book Night 2012 Longlist Challenge

Synopsis – ‘I write this sitting in the kitchen sink’ is the first line of this timeless, witty and enchanting novel about growing up. Cassandra Mortmain lives with her bohemian and impoverished family in a crumbling castle in the middle of nowhere. Her journal records her life with her beautiful, bored sister, Rose, her fadingly glamorous stepmother, Topaz, her little brother Thomas and her eccentric novelist father who suffers from a financially crippling writer’s block. However, all their lives are turned upside down when the American heirs to the castle arrive and Cassandra finds herself falling in love for the first time…

My Thoughts – This book was the choice for the May reading circle on the BCF. This book was on my list of books that I’ve always wanted to read but never got around to. I’m so glad that i have finally read this book.

This book is about a seventeen year old girl called Cassandra who lives in a castle with her father, step-mother, brother and sister. Also Stephen lives their too, the son of their former maid. Her father once wrote a novel that was very well known and because of this they were quite rich, but sadly he has not been able to write anything else since. Her step mother Topaz used to be a model in London, but stays in the castle now that hard times have fallen. Her Brother Thomas is a typical boy, still in school. Her sister Rose is a typical older sister, but all she wants to do is find a rich man and fall in love, and in that order too. Now Stephen. He is hopelessly in love with Cassandra, but sadly the feeling is not reciprocated.

The castle that they live in is owned by two American brothers, who visit the castle unexpectedly one night, and this visit paves the way for life changing events. The rich brothers want to help the family in as many ways as possible.

I found Roses attitude towards love quite difficult to get around. All she wanted to do was find a rich man to marry, and while this could have been considered normal at the time the book is set, nowadays it does seem a bit silly. I didnt see what would end up happening to her in the end coming and i really thought that this made the book.

I also enjoyed the fathers struggle with trying to find the words to write a second book. At times, he seems to be loosing his mind, but in the end Cassandra and Thomas manage to hatch a plan to force him to write a book again.

I did find the parts with Stephen in it so upsetting in times. He was totally and utterly in love with Cassandra and it seemed that he would never love anyone else like that. Also, when he left the castle to go to London and said he would never come back. I just found that so sad.

Now Cassandra. I loved her. I loved her innocence, but at the same time i loved how grown up she was. I loved seeing the world through her eyes.

This book is fantastic, and I’m not just saying that. Its one of my favourite books of all time now and i will be definitaly be revisiting this book.

Rating – 5/5

World Book Night 2012 Longlist Challenge – 2011 Wrap Up

6 Jan

This challenge i only came across in the last month of last year so i havent actually read any books for this yet so i cant actually say that i have read any books for it yet.

Random Stats

Percentage Complete -14%

Books on TBR -12

Books on Wishlist – 26

Target for next year – 10