Book Love: Frankenstein Review – A Lack of Love

Hello lovely people!

Although this blog is generally a place for things I love, every so often something will come up that didn’t impress me.  Frankenstein by Mary Shelley was one of those somethings.

I read this as part of my challenge for the Classics Club – Frankenstein was one of the classics that I wanted to read.  To be honest though, I don’t really understand how it ever gained ‘Classic’ status in the first place.  I can only assume that it has to do with the era in which it was first written and read.  It was most likely a new idea at that point, and I do understand how the idea of creating a new life form in a lab can capture the imagination.  What the book lacked was a story to build around the idea – even though the full book is only around 150 pages, very little seemed to happen and I felt like the story could have been made even shorter.  Those 150 pages took me a looong time to get through!

I’m sure everyone knows the basic story of Dr Frankenstein, who creates a ‘monster’ in his lab but then becomes terrified of it.  The parts of the book I did quite enjoy were the creature’s narratives.  I thought he was a good character and I might have quite enjoyed a book about his journey and thoughts, as they were unique and realistic (or as realistic as a fictional man-made life form can be!).  Sadly there was just too much space devoted to Frankenstein and his repetitive and pathetic ramblings.  He was a total wet fish, which I don’t generally enjoy in books unless there is a very good reason for them being there (I hated Othello at A-level for this exact reason), and was absolutely horrible to his own creation.  I wasn’t keen on him.

I don’t want to dwell too long on things I didn’t like, so this has been a bit of a speed review, but suffice it to say that I found this book boring, really struggled to finish it and definitely wouldn’t recommend!  Sorry Mary Shelley.

Please let me know in the comments if I was missing something with Frankenstein!  Is it your favourite book and I’m just under-appreciating it?  I’d love to hear why.

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Book Love: Top 5 Children’s/Young Adult Series

I just finished re-reading Checkmate by Malorie Blackman (from the Noughts and Crosses series) and it reminded me just how much I still love series from my younger years – they just give me all the feelings!  Obviously these books are particularly special for me because I feel like I’ve known the characters for years, but even so I think they’re brilliant.  In a fit of nostalgia, I thought I’d list my favourite book series from my childhood/teenage years, so I hope you enjoy.

5) The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

Surely everyone knows these by now?  They made a film out of the series with Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews and, as ever, got a lot of things wrong.  The books are much better than the films, honest.  The quality does start to tail off a bit towards the end of the series, so I’m not sure I ever read the very latest ones, but the first in particular were funny and relatable, and had a good love story going on that was a bit different from the usual – I still love a good romance, but it’s always best when it’s not the main focus.

4) Confessions of Georgia Nicolson by Louise Rennison

Otherwise known as the ‘Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging’ books (and no I do not accept the adapted title given to the film).  I laughed myself silly at these books when I was a teenager, and probably still would now to be honest.  They were my embarrassing, snorting with uncontrollable laughter on the bus books.  I would need a re-read to do a proper review (not a bad idea actually!), but, in short, these are the diary of teenage Georgia Nicolson, telling us about her bonkers family, friends and school in a hilarious manner.  The comings and goings of her life are occasionally slightly ridiculous, and yet perfectly relatable for a British teenage girl.  From what I remember, they weren’t particularly rude or grownup, just very, very funny.

3) Malory Towers by Enid Blyton

Before Hogwarts, every girl wanted to go to Malory Towers.  These were just lovely boarding-school books that take you back a few decades to years of jolly hockey sticks and french irregular verbs.  In true Enid Blyton style, they’re full of moral lessons, but not so much that you feel lectured and certain characters can do no wrong.  This is a lovely, innocent kids series that I still like to have a quick read of when I’m feeling nostalgic.  Timeless.

2) Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman

Blimey, this is a good story. I wrote a bit of an ode to the first book in the series here when I started my re-read, and I just finished the third one, which still manages to be equally as good.  Have a look at my first review to find out what it’s all about, but I think my favourite thing about this series is the fact that it progresses.  Characters really do grow up and develop, instead of keeping the same traits they have aged 12 at the start of the first book.  I find that the character voice, especially for the teenagers, can be a little off at times, but the story and the character development are absolutely good enough for that not to matter.  I feel like I know these characters inside out and these (along with my number 1) are the books that get me jumping for joy and reaching for the tissues.  Highly recommended for everyone, teenage and up.

1) Harry Potter by JK Rowling

A predictably dull choice, maybe, but I absolutely flipping love Harry Potter.  And I’m not ashamed to say it!  I started reading these books aged 7 and was part of the generation that grew up with Harry, Ron and Hermione.  I’m not sure I can say much that hasn’t already been said – I know some people aren’t keen and think they’re overhyped, but you get that with any bestseller.  I still think JK Rowling is a brilliant writer and is especially brilliant at building up a world for her stories to take place in (this is what I loved about The Causal Vacancy too – mini review here).  I can (and do) read these books over and over again.

So that’s it for my favourites – I’d love to hear yours in the comments!  What series did you love when you were younger?  We can have a reminisce together.  Or if you have kids and know of any great newer series, I’d love to know and I can pass them along to my little brother and sister.  Leave your tips below!

Happy Easter And Some Book Love

Hello lovely people,

Happy Easter!

And welcome to longer days now the clocks have gone forward!

I’m spending this Easter Sunday lounging on the couch and making plans.  I’m sorting out work for my final term at uni, looking forward to light evenings and warmer weather, and planning my spring/summer reading.

I’m a member of the Goodreads “College Students” group, who lead two reading challenges every year – one for spring/summer and one for autumn/winter.  The spring/summer 2013 challenge kicks off tomorrow and runs until August 31st, with 36 different challenges.  It’s really relaxed and fun, and a great way to work through your to-read list without being too structured.  If you’re on Goodreads then you should definitely go and check it out – some of the categories this season are to read a book with an Easter-related cover, and to read something to celebrate ‘Eat an Oreo Day’.

If you fancy a look at my rough plan of books-to-read for this challenge, you can see it here.  As you can see, it’s a work-in-progress, so any suggestions for books I should add would be very welcome!

I especially need suggestions for something by P.G. Wodehouse.  I read a compilation of Wodehouse stories before and said then that I wanted to read some of the original books to get to know the characters more.  There’s one challenge here that is to read a funny/comedic book (June 4th is National Do-Dah Day, or Salute to Silliness), which I thought would be a great opportunity to get back into the Wodehouse!  Any tips on where I should start would be wonderful.

I hope you’re having a wonderfully relaxing long Easter weekend.  Let me know what you’re getting up to, and pretty please leave any book suggestions in the comments!

Book Love: Classics Club Book 1 – Rebecca

You’ll all be thrilled to know, I’m sure, that I did in fact begin my Classics Club challenge last month as planned, but have just now got around to reviewing my first book – Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.  I picked this up from the Oxfam shop and devoured it in under a week (I was working full days at the same time, so that’s more impressive for me than it sounds!).

I adored this book and genuinely couldn’t put it down – it caused a few late nights of midnight reading, which doesn’t often happen for me with grown-up books.  If you want to read a serious book, but aren’t a fan of Dickens-esqe classics, I would completely recommend Rebecca.  It comes across at first a bit of predictable chick-lit but really is anything but.  There are so many themes and literary references underlying the story and I thought the characters were fantastic.

I didn’t know anything about the story before reading it, and I’m really glad of this so don’t want to give anything away.  I’ll just say that I didn’t find the story totally ridiculous, but it definitely didn’t turn out as I expected and for me it was a total page turner.  On a similar note, I read the Virago edition with the same cover as this picture, but Sally Beauman wrote the introduction in my copy.  If you haven’t read Rebecca before, definitely don’t read the introduction first.  I found it really interesting for adding a bit of literary analysis, but it does give a lot of the story away too.

I’m so glad I bought a copy of this book, because it’s definitely going on my re-reads pile.  Even though I know the story now, I still reckon I’ll get a lot out of the second reading, and I’ll probably pick up on loads that I missed before.  There are a lot of layers to this book, but it’s totally possible to enjoy it without delving into all the detail.

A wonderful start to my Classics Club reading, and I’m definitely off to track down some more Du Maurier books now.  Any recommendations?  I’m totally at a loss for where to go next, so any advice in the comments would be much appreciated!

Book Love: Welcome to The Classics Club!

I am now, rather excitingly, a member of The Classics Club.  This is a group of bloggers who all want to read (and of course blog about) more classic literature, and who sign up to read at least 5o classics in a maximum of five years.

Now, an absolutely huge part of my to-read list is made up of classics, so I’m mega-excited to get involved.  I already have a few books on my list ready and waiting for me on my bedside table – just need to finish what I’m reading at the moment first!  I’ve put my start date down as next Friday, which means that my challenge is to have finished 50 books by January 25th 2018.

This might not sound too much, but we have to bear in mind that I’m a pretty slow reader, very easily distracted, with a LOT of contemporary books that I’m desperate to read.  Though for now, at least, 2018 sounds like some kind of weird sci-fi date that I’m not convinced will ever actually arrive!  So the whole challenge isn’t too intimidating so far…

If you fancy a look at my list of planned classics, you can find it here.  This list is of course totally subject to change, so we’ll see how it goes.  I’m genuinely excited to see it start going down, and hopefully learning a lot from it!  Some of my favourite books are classics (To Kill A Mockingbird, Wuthering Heights, Atonement – I reckon that should count as a classic by now), but my general knowledge of them is woeful.  Time to remedy that!

So, wish me luck, and you can get yourself involved here, if that sounds like your cup of tea.  Let me know if you decide to go for it, that way I can keep up with what you’re doing too.  Or if you’re already a classics connaisseur, feel free to pass on any of your recommendations – or books to avoid, for that matter!

Book Love: A Challenge

Heading into the new year, I’m definitely ready to take up some new challenges.  I know that some will definitely come my way whether I like it or not (especially with finishing my degree and starting a job), but on a slightly smaller scale I was thinking of joining the world of reading challenges.  I’ve never tried one before and now seems like a good time, especially with my ever-increasing to-read list!

I came across a challenge on The Book Garden that shouted out to me – it’s the Tea and Books Challenge, inspired by a C.S. Lewis quote: “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me”.  I couldn’t agree more 🙂

I’ve signed up for the first level, Chamomile Lover, which means I have to read two books of more than 650 pages next year.  I’ve had a quick look at my Goodreads list and I’m thinking of going with 11.22.63 by Stephen King and Skippy Dies by Paul Murray, both of which the internet tells me are the right length. Now just to make sure I can get hold of them!

I’ve never read anything by Stephen King, but I’ve seen a couple of reviews recommending this book for SK novices, so fingers crossed it’ll turn out well!  I have quite a few more books that would fit this challenge too, so I’ll see how it goes and maybe even upgrade to the next level – trying not to be too ambitious for now though…

As well as this new reading challenge I’ll be renewing my Goodreads challenge of reading 100 books in 2013 – I only managed 31 in 2012, so I at least have to improve on that!  I still think 100 books is manageable, even after my massive failure this year, because one of my sort-of resolutions will be to build up a proper bedtime reading habit (a bit sad, I know).  I’ve been trying for a while to do this instead of falling asleep watching Youtube videos/reading rubbish on my iPhone, and I’m determined that 2013 will be the year it happens.

Bring on the books!