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: 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: My Book Haul

As promised, I bring you more details of my book-buying mini-splurge last week.  Apologies for the delay – I had the most minor internet problem possible, which still somehow made WordPress decide not to work.20130116-214143.jpg

So, my books.  They came from Oxfam Emporium on Oldham Street in Manchester, just off Piccadilly Gardens.  I buy almost all my general fiction books from charity shops at the moment – they usually have a more-than-wide-enough choice to keep me going for a while, they’re loads cheaper than buying new, and you’re helping charity.  Surely there’s no better way?  If you happen to be in the Manchester area, this Oxfam in particular has a good range of books, and I always have to rein myself in when I go to browse in there!

This time I did pretty well, I managed to keep it down to five books at £2.99 each (it was originally four, but as I left the till I spotted The Jaguar Smile, which has been on my to-read list for years).

  1. The Jaguar Smile: A Nicaraguan Journey by Salman Rushdie has, as I say, been a book I’ve wanted to read for years, and I’m already halfway through it.  It’s non-fiction, about the author’s trip to Nicaragua while the revolutionary Sandinista’s were democratically running the country and were being unfairly attacked by Ronald Reagan as a result of Cold War politics.  I totally realise that this is probably not everyone’s cup of tea (!), but it’s something I’ve been studying at uni and is a subject I find totally fascinating.  It’s probably also a good introduction to Rushdie for me, since I stand half a chance of knowing what he’s writing about!  So far, needless to say, I am loving it.
  2. On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan.  Atonement (review here) is one of my favourite books, as well as the first book I read after starting my blog, and I’ve enjoyed a couple of Ian McEwan’s other books, so this seemed like a pretty good bet.  No idea what it’s about, more info to come!
  3. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier.  I remember exactly when I first heard of this book.  Someone very enthusiastically recommended it to me in my high school library when I was in sixth form, and I immediately thought, “Ooh I must take that out and read it, it sounds good”.  Five years later, I’ve finally got my hands on a copy!  This is also now on my list for The Classics Club, so it’s very high on my upcoming list.
  4. Regeneration by Pat Barker was a book I’d never heard of before I bought it, but was recommended by the friend I went shopping with (who knows me very well after ten years, and whose opinion I completely trust).  It’s about the First World War.  It’s supposed to be good.  That’s all I know.
  5. The Color Purple by Alice Walker.  Another book on my list for The Classics Club.  Also recommended by previously mentioned friend.  Looking forward to reading it.  Enough said.

So that’s it – yet more books for the shelf.  And all old, previously read and loved books.  I can’t wait.  Anyone read any of them?  Any other recommendations – of books or charity shops?  Is anyone else a charity shop lover?  Drop me a comment if you feel like it and let me know.