Tag Archives: bbc top 200 books

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

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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

BBC Top 200 Books Challenge Wrap up 2011

30 Dec

This is my first year of taking part in this challenge properly. This challenge is good because so many of the books are well known, and i have a lot on the list that i have already read. I orginally thought that this was only a 100 book challenge, but found out this year that there are actually 200 on the list. oh well, more books are always good!

Books Read in 2011

1- Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden This book is fantastic. One of my favourite reads of the year. I thought i wouldnt enjoy it, but it was fantastic. This book has opened me up to reading about other cultures.
2- The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien This was the first time i had read this book, but this was another fabulous read.
3- The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkein As i read this book in the three separate books, i would ideally like to say i read it as three! wow what a trilogy, i need to go back and re-read this because i dont think it all sunk in properly.
4- The Day Of The Triffids, John Wyndham This was another good read, i really enjoyed the genre of this book and i want to read more.
5- A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving As a contrast, i didnt really like this book, i just couldnt get into it, at all.

I only managed 5 books this year, which is actually a bit disapointing. I must do better next year.

Random Stats

Percentage Complete – 16%

Books on TBR at the end of 2011 – 19

Books on Wishlist – 16

Target for 2012 – 10

A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving

19 Oct

Challenges – Wordshakers online book club
BBC Top 200 Books
1001 Books You Must Read
Ultimate Teen Book Guide Challenge
The New Classics Challenge

Synopsis – ‘If you care about something you have to protect it. If you’re lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it.’

Eleven-year-old Owen Meany, playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire, hits a foul ball and kills his best friend’s mother. Owen doesn’t believe in accidents; he believes he is God’s instrument. What happens to Owen after that 1953 foul ball is both extraordinary and terrifying.

My Thoughts – i was originaly really looking forward to reading the book as it sounded so good and was on so many booklists! Well it must be good then! But unfortunatly, it just wasnt a book for me. I didnt like how it jumped backwards and forwards in the narrators life, i was interested in the childhood side, but towards the end i was actually skipping his adult life parts, i also found it confusing with the timeline. Also, my main bugbear with the book i had was everytime Owen Meany spoke, it was in capitals. I really struggle to read in capitals I’m not sure if it is just me or weather it bothers other people but this really really really put me off!

The book was interesting at the begining, I was overwelmed that a friendship could survive an event, even make it stronger. The book deals with all sorts, love, hate, death, life, war, politics, real life events and lots of others.

This book does make you think, and maybe i would have enjoyed it more at a different time, but if you can handle a heavy book, then this is for you.

Rating – 2/5

 

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

The Day of the Triffids – John Wyndham

3 Jul

 

Challenges – BCF July Reading Circle
BBC Top 200 Books
Ultimate Teen Book Guide Challenge
501 Must Read Books

Synopsis – The triffids are a monstrous species of stinging plant; they walk, they talk, they dominate the world. The narrator of this novel wakes up in hospital to find that, by missing the end of the world, he has survived to witness a new world. But the new world that awaits him is fantastic and horrific.

My Thoughts – This is not a genre of book that i usually read, but i have to say i really enjoyed it. The idea that this sort of thing could happen does scare me a little bit, but i didnt find the triffids actually scary! I found the book itself was easy to read and its a relitivly short story, but there is an awful lot of story crammed in. I liked the search for Josella and how bill never gave up looking for her. I found it interesting as i thought i would reflect how the human population would react. This was my first ‘world ending/changing’ book but i will definitaly read more! This is a really good book and i highly recommend reading it if you havent already!

Rating 4/5