Tag Archives: 501 must read books

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

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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

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

Grimm’s Fairy Stories – Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

27 Mar

Started – 21/3/12

Finished – 23/3/12

Format – Kindle e-book

 

Challenges – Rory Gilmore Challenge (Rapunzel, Snow White and Red Rose)

1001 Childrens Books You Must Read)

501 Must Read Books

 

Synopsis – The Brothers Grimm rediscovered a host of fairy tales. Together with their well-known tales of “Rapunzel”, “The Goose Girl”, “Sleeping Beauty”, “Hansel and Gretel” there are darker tales which deserve to be better known. This is a collection of their tales.


My Thoughts – This was one of the many kindle books that i downloaded on the first day of me having my kindle. Its one of those classic books that has always been on my list of books that i want to read but have never got around to reading them all.

 

I really enjoyed this collection of short stories. Although i read most of them in one sitting, it is definitely a book that could be dipped in and out of. I could actually see myself reading these stories aloud at bedtime to my younger cousins.

 

Some of these stories i was familiar with and some i wasnt. Stories like Snow White and Cinderella i was familiar with, due to watching the Disney films when i was a lot younger. However there were some new to me stories like Bearskin and The Three Brothers. I was hoping that all of the stories were contained in the edition, but unfortunately not. I will be keeping my eyes open for more of the stories.

 

Now, although i enjoyed the book i did find some of the stories a little disturbing for a younger child to read nowadays, as all fairy stories at this time all seem to have happy ending and live happily ever after. For example, Little Red Riding Hood. Where at the end she is gobbled up and dies in this story, maybe nowadays that would be upsetting for a child.

 

I did find some themes reoccurring throughout the stories. The handsome prince, the poor princess, the wicked stepmother, the ugly step sisters, the youngest sibling is always the good one etc. Now i liked all these and thought that these were good parts of the fairy stories.

 

I also thought that these books were very easy to read considering they were written over 200 years ago. I know that i didnt read these in the original language, German, and that they had been made to be easier to read, but i still had concerns that i wouldnt be able to read them very well.

 

This book is really good, well worth a read if you havent already read this.  Plus i would say good for bedtime stories for older children

 

Rating – 4.5/5

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd – Agatha Christie

8 Nov

Challenges – BCF November Reading Circle
1001 Books to Read
501 Must Read Books

Synopsis – Roger Ackroyd knew too much. He knew that the woman he loved had poisoned her brutal first husband. He suspected also that someone had been blackmailing her. Now, tragically, came the news that she had taken her own life with a drug overdose. But the evening post brought Roger one last fatal scrap of information. Unfortunately, before he could finish the letter, he was stabbed to death!

My Thoughts – I read this book as part of the November reading circle on the BCF. I was a little apprehensive to start with as my nan is a huge fan of Agatha Christie and i didnt know if it was my type of book. Well, this just goes to show how much you shouldnt judge a book before you read it. I enjoyed this book so much, Agatha Christie has now gone into my top author list!

The story centres on Dr Sheppard who discovers a murder has taken place, when it looks like the wrong person is going to get the blame, Poirot is asked to investigate the crime. I had heard of Poirot before, mainly due to the television series, so i had a bit of an idea of how to picture him.

The book had so many twists and turns to it. I couldnt keep up on who was the suspected murderer, and when i did have a guess, i got it totally and utterly wrong. I couldnt help but try to work out the clues in my head as i went along, but I’m not ashamed to say i got it wrong most of the time. I think this enhnaced my enjoyment of the book a lot more!

I was so shocked by the twist at the end. i actually had to read it several times just to make sure that i had read it correctly. i would say that it was the best twist that i have read in a book for a long time.

This was my first Agatha Christie book and i really want to read more of them. A brilliant book recommended for crime/thriller fans faithful and also to those new to it.

Rating – 5/5

Challenges Update!

23 Aug

Ok, so I’m a reading challenge-aholic! Their is just something about seeing a list of recommended reading books, and with me, it seems to be the longer the list the better!

I did want to update my challenges back in June, do a kind of six months update, but i forgot!  This year i wanted to read 10 books per challenge, books could overlap challenges, just to make a dent in some of these challenges!

Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge This is a reading challenge to read every book that is mentioned in the TV show, Gilmore Girls. This was the opening to my reading challenge addiction. I like this challenge because their are lots of different books with many different genres on this challenge.

 

 

This year I have read 8 Rory books, so i might be able to achieve my target for this challenge. The Books i have read are as follows

1 – Flowers for Algernon – Daniel Keyes
2 – Everything is Illuminated – Jonathan Safran Foer
3 – The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
4 – Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire
5 – The Group – Mary McCarthy
6 – The Fellowship Of The Ring: Lord Of The Ring – Book 1 by J.R.R. Tolkien
7 – The Return of the King: Lord Of The Rings – Book 3 by J.R.R.Tolkien
8 – Reading Lolita in Tehran – Azar Nafisi

I also have another 11 on my TBR pile!

BBC Top 200 Books – this challenge is to read the top 200 books as voted by veiwers and listeners of the BBC. On this challenge their are many well known books so i had already read a few before undertaking this challenge!

I have only managed 4 books on this challenge this year, but have another 10 on my TBR pile!

1- Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
2- The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
3- The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkein
4- The Day Of The Triffids, John Wyndham

1001 books to read

I have cut the end of the wording off this challenge as i think its slightly morbid! This is more of a background challenge for me as i think its very difficult to activly read 1001 books! i have managed five books this year, with another 13 on my tbr pile!

1- Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
2- Everything is Illuminated – Jonathan Safran Foer
3- The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien
4- The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R. Tolkien
5- The Day Of The Triffids, John Wyndham

1001 Childrens Books You Must Read – this is the sister challenge to the other 1001 challenge that i am taking part in. This is a good challenge, however their are a fair few picture books on this challenge to read!

I have read 4 books this year with another 7 on my TBR Pile.

1- The boy in the striped pyjamas – John Boyne
2- The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman
3- The hobbit—J.R. Tolkein
4- The Fellowship of the ring-J.R.R. Tolkein

The Ultimate Teen Book Guide Challenge. This is a challenge based on good books for teens, and i have to say this is my favourite challenge! Also, this challenge has alot of series books to read too, so its going to keep me busy for a long time!

I have only read 6 books, but have another 20 books on my TBR Pile!

 

1 – The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
2 – The Screwtape Letters – C.S. Lewis
3 – The Boy in the Striped Pajamas ~ John Boyne
4 – The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
5 – The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy- J.R.R Tolkien
6 – Day of the Triffids – John Wyndham

501 Must Read Books

This is another challenge that has an accompaning book! This is a bit different to the other challenges as its parts are spilt down into genres like travel writing and memoirs.

I have read 4 this year with another 8 on my TBR pile

1)The Group – Mary McCarthy
2)The Fellowship of the Ring – J.R.R. Tolkien
3)Day of the Triffids – John Wyndham
4)Reading Lolita in Tehran – Azar Nafisi

The New Classics Challenge This was a challenge that i found only a couple of months ago so im quite behind on this. these are books that have been published in the last 30 years and could be considered new classics. I have only read one book with one on my TBR Pile

1)The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold

Reading Lolita in Tehran – Azar Nafisi

2 Aug


Challenges – August Reading Circle 2011
Rory Gilmore Challenge
501 Must Read Books

Synopsis – For two years before she left Iran in 1997, Azar Nafisi gathered seven young women at her house every Thursday morning to read and discuss forbidden works of Western literature. They were all former students whom she had taught at university. Some came from conservative and religious families, others were progressive and secular; several had spent time in jail. Shy and uncomfortable at first, they soon began to open up and speak more freely, not only about the novels they were reading but also about themselves, their dreams and disappointments. Their stories intertwined with those they were reading – “Pride and Prejudice”, “Washington Square”, “Daisy Miller” and “Lolita” – their Lolita, as they imagined her in Tehran. Nafisi’s account flashes back to the early days of the revolution when she first started teaching at the University of Tehran amid the swirl of protests and demonstrations. In those frenetic days, the students took control of the university, expelled faculty members and purged the curriculum. Azar Nafisi’s luminous tale offers a portrait of the Iran-Iraq war viewed from Tehran and gives us a glimpse, from the inside, of women’s lives in revolutionary Iran.

My Thoughts – I was a little but apprehensive about reading this book as i thought i might not understand it or be able to get into it, but it is possibly the best book i have read this year. It is a true story, with the main plot being on the author and her life in Iran. The main thing that fascinated me was the cultural differences between life here in England and life for women in Iran. For example, women could be put in prison and even killed for simply wearing nail varnish. This is also shocking considering this story was written in 1997, nearly fifteen years ago. In the modern world, it is shocking to think that this can still happen.
The book bases its plot around several classic western books, like Austen and Gatsby. Unfortunalty, i had not read any of the books mentioned, but i have several on my wishlist, and even more now i have read this book.
This book is amazing. It is a must read book that really highlights the plight of women in Iran. Before reading this book i was very ignorant to their cause, but now i would love to read more books like this one.

Rating – 5/5