Tag Archives: Book Club Forum

The Ambassadors – Henry James

22 Oct

Challenges – BCF October Reading Circle
1001 Books You Must Read

Synopsis – Concerned that her son Chad may have become involved with a woman of dubious reputation, the formidable Mrs Newsome sends her ‘ambassador’ Strether from Massachusetts to Paris to extricate him. Strether’s mission, however, is gradually undermined as he falls under the spell of the city and finds Chad refined rather than corrupted by its influence and that of his charming companion, the comtesse de Vionnet. As the summer wears on, Mrs Newsome comes to the conclusion that she must send another envoy to Paris to confront the errant Chad, and a Strether whose view of the world has changed profoundly. James’s favourite novel and one of the greatest of his late works, The Ambassadors is a subtle and often witty exploration of different American responses to a European environment.

My Thoughts – I was so looking forward to reading this book, having not read many classics, but unfortunatly i just didnt like it. The language really really really put me off! I actually couldnt understand a lot of it and Henry James seemed to have a way of using far to many words say a simple thing. Maybe this was just me not being able to understand it, but it made the book very difficult to understand. I was reading sentences over and over again, and this really slowed down my reading and enjoyment of the book.
I’m hoping not all classic books are like this as I’d love to be able to read more of them!

Rating – 2/5

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


The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman

31 May

Challenges – June Reading Circle
1001 Childrens Books you must read

Synopsis – Winner of the Newbery Medal When a baby escapes a murderer intent on killing the entire family, who would have thought it would find safety and security in the local graveyard? Brought up by the resident ghosts, ghouls and spectres, Bod has an eccentric childhood learning about life from the dead. But for Bod there is also the danger of the murderer still looking for him – after all, he is the last remaining member of the family. A stunningly original novel deftly constructed over eight chapters, featuring every second year of Bod’s life, from babyhood to adolescence. Will Bod survive to be a man?

My Thoughts – I picked this one up for the reading circle this month and i really loved it! It has all the good markings of a good childrens/young adult story. A ‘hero’ who is a young boy, something a bit out of this world, this time ghosts, and also a bad guy. I picked this book up and couldnt put it down. The illustations in my book were beautiful too. i havent read anything else by this author and i definitaly will read more now! Cant wait to start discussing this further!

Rating – 4/5

The Screwtape Letters – CS Lewis

10 Mar

Challenges – March Reading Circle
Ultimate teen guide book challenge

Synopsis – This is a series of letters from Screwtape, a devil high in the Infernal Civil Service, to his nephew Wormwood, a junior colleague engaged in his first mission on Earth trying to secure the damnation of a young man who has just become a Christian. Although the young man initially looks to be a willing victim, he changes his ways and is “lost” to the young devil.

My thoughts – i really enjoyed this book. i thought that i would find some of the ideas difficult to get because i had heard that the book was quite christian orientated. However the ideas of christianity were easy to understand, and i didnt find it too preachy either.
I Would recommend this book to anyone, as it is quite short and made me think about a different take on religion.

Rating 4/5

Flowers For Algernon – Daniel Keyes

29 Jan

Challenges – BCF February Reading Circle
Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge

Synopsis – Charlie Gordon, IQ 68, is a floor sweeper, and the gentle butt of everyone’s jokes, until an experiment in the enhancement of human intelligence turns him into a genius. But then Algernon, the mouse whose triumphal experimental tranformation preceded his, fades and dies, and Charlie has to face the possibility that his salvation was only temporary.

My thoughts – I dont want to go into too much detail until the february reading circle but i really enjoyed this book. It actually made me cry at the end! i thought it was a fantastic read and would highly recommend it. More thoughts to come in the february reading circle 😀

Rating – 4/5

WWW Wednesdays (26th Jan 2011)

26 Jan

WWW Wednesdays is a weekly meme held over on Should Be Reading. To play along just answer the following questions 😀

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading Four Play by Fiona Walker. I’ve actually been reading this for a week, my reading mojo having gone a bit AWOL 😦 I’m enjoying this book a bit more now, to start with the amount of characters in it was overwhelming and i still cannot understand how some of them fit in with each other. Hopefully i will get this finished in the next couple of days.


What did you recently finish reading?

Only the one book in a week 😦 This was Isobel’s Wedding By Sheila O’Flanagan. I really did not like this book. For me the ending really really ruined it. It seemed to against everything Isobel wanted in the book and was justifying. Unfortunatly i think this book has contributed to my loss of mojo.



What do you think you will read next?

The next book I’m going to read is Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. This is for the February reading Circle over on the Book Club Forum which ive wanted to take part in for a while and its also on some of my reading challenge lists.

Week in Review 16th Jan 2011

16 Jan

Its time for my weekly round up of reading activities 😀


This Week i took part in four memes, Musing Mondays, Its Monday what are are Reading?, WWW Wednesdays and Booking Through Thursdays. I really enjoy taking part in these. I think for the moment i will limit it to these four as i dont want to be overwelmed by them.

Books Read

This week i have read two books, 31 Dream Street, Lisa Jewell, which i ended up really liking and also Falling for you – Jill Mansell, which i loved. I need to stop judging a book by its first few pages. I have started Isobels Wedding – Shelia O Flannagan, but i think this will be the only book i read this week because its quite long, 600 pages. I reviewed both books both here on my blog and also on the BCF.

Books Brought This Week

This week i have brought three books, none of which have arrived yet but all the books i have brought are for challenges or reading circles.

1 – The Ultimate Teen Guide Book – As im taking part in this challenge i thought i had better have this book!

2 – Flowers For Algernon – This book is the choice for the February Reading Circle on the BCF. I have wanted to get involved in this challenge for a while so this is the first time i will be doing it. It is also a book for the Rory Challenge and the Ultimate Teen Guide Book Challenge.

3 – Everything is Illuminated – There are several of us over on the BCF that are taking part in the Rory Challenge and have decided in february that we will all read Everything is illuminated. This obviously counts towards my Rory Challenge, but also the 1001 Books you must read Challenge.

Books I Have Heard About This Week

I have been reading lots of blogs this week and have found quite a few books to had to my wishlist.

1 – The Fry Chronicles – Stephen Fry

2 – Small Town Sinners – Melissa Walker

3 – Anna and the French Kiss – Stephanie Perkins

4 – Slam – Nick Hornby

5 – The Night Watch – Sarah Waters.