Thursday, 16 June 2011

100 Book Challenge - Past Reads

In my last post I mentioned that for my 100 book challenge I have already read a selection of the books (14 in total). The following is the collection of books that I have already read along with a small review on each.

Anne of Green Gables, LM Montgomery

Anne of Green Gables (Modern Library Classics)I didn't leave many childrens' books in my list but I did leave Anne of Green Gables as it is such a classic and one of my all time favourite childrens' books. Interesting fact however is that I actually only read this book for the first time last year. Now I have no idea why I never read this as a young girl but when my friend found out she was stunned, as this is her absolute favourite from childhood. So I thankfully borrowed her copy and I absolutely loved it. Anne is such a like-able character; vivacious, mischievous and full of adventure. If you have never read this book (whether young or old) then do!

Harry Potter Collection, JK Rowling

Harry Potter Paperback Box Set (Books 1-7)Another in the young audience genre that I left on my list simply because Harry Potter is great at any age. Everyone has their own favourite too which is why I simply put the entire collection on my list rather than just one book. Prisoner of Azkaban is my personal favourite as I loved the backstory of Harry's father and his group of friends and what they got up to. It was a really suspenseful read. My least favourites were actually the last two books as I found them too dense with large periods where little happens. But you really just need to read them all and decide for yourself.

Life of Pi, Yann Martel

Life of PiFew books have the power to really stick with me for weeks, months or years afterwards. Why? Simply because there are so many great books out there that I'm usually reading another one soon enough. But Life of Pi was a distinct exception. I found myself mulling over this book for months after I had read it. I found myself on the Internet into the wee hours of the morning in the weeks after reading it trying to find meanings and others interpretations. I hardly ever do that! And now even years after reading the book I am still spell-bound by it. Life of Pi is easily one of my top 5 books of all time. If this wonderful book has somehow passed you by then find it now! Buy it, borrow it, swap it. However you do it, get your hands on this awesome little book!

Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov

LolitaOh Lolita, you disturbing little book you. I really wanted to enjoy this book but I simply couldn't. It felt far too voyeuristic to peak into the mind of this man who had an unhealthy relationship with a 12 year old girl. It certainly is worth the read if only for the great subject matter it makes in discussions with others who have read it. But read with a strong will.

Memoirs of a Geisha, Arthur Golden

Memoirs of a GeishaThis is a wonderful book and perfect for others like me who love to delve into other cultures and countries. How Arthur Golden was able to so effortlessly tap into the mind of  Japanese women is beyond me. A truly remarkable book.

Perfume, Patrick Suskind

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer. Patrick SskindI only read Perfume very recently and although overly descriptive and difficult to get into the culmination of the story is too intriguing to ignore. See my full review.

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

Pride And PrejudiceI read Pride and Prejudice quite a few years ago and of course it is a classic and most people who want to read it, have read it. I will be perfectly honest with you all and say that I do struggle with the writing styles of authors like Jane Austen, it can be difficult to wrap your head around the older prose. However do persevere as the end result is worth it.

Rebecca, Daphne de Maurier

RebeccaAnother book I didn't encounter until recent years, Rebecca is one of my all time favourites and a must read for everybody. First published in 1938 it is surprisingly easy to read and instantly relateable. The main character meets a wealthy Englishman and after marrying she goes to live at his estate, Manderley. Things start to turn hostile as she becomes haunted (in many senses of the word) by the previous Mrs. de Winter, an elegant and highly respected woman whose death is shrouded in mystery. Extraordinarily you never learn the name of the main character, just one of the many intriguing details to this rather dark and psychological tale. Don't let this cover from Amazon fool you. This is not a romance chick-lit book. It is a deep and chilling book that will no doubt keep you spellbound.

Romeo & Juliet, William Shakespeare

Romeo and JulietI'm sure almost everybody has studied a Shakespeare classic at some point in school however have any of you actually read an entire play from start to finish? I read Romeo & Juliet quite a few years back. To be perfectly honest if I hadn't studied many aspects of it and had reference books around to help translate the language I would have really struggled. I'm sorry but I just don't intrinsically understand Shakespeare. I wish I did, but there you go, brutal honesty. But in saying that, I'm glad I did read the entire thing, but I still don't know how I will fare with the other Shakespeare play in my 100 book list - Hamlet.

The Clan of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel

The Clan of the Cave Bear (Earth's Children, Book One)One of the few historical fiction novel collections to appear on this list, it obviously has a big following. And I am one of them! I love historical fiction and the fact that this story is set around 35,000 years ago makes this series truly unique. Pair that with an outstanding writing style and you're in for a great read. I will admit this isn't everyones cup of tea and there are many who might think this should not be in a top 100 book list but as I am an historical fiction fiend I am quite happy to include this in my challenge list. Oh and by the way I have not read the latest installment (The Shelters of Stone (Earth's Children, Book Five)) - terrible I know - but don't worry I will get there (and will blog about it too). Unfortunately the reviews don't look promising. But I will reserve judgement till I have read it.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, Mark Haddon

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TimeA very unique book narrated by an autistic boy who discovers his neighbours dog impaled on a garden fork. After first being accused of the crime he begins to attempt to solve the mystery himself. A completely unique approach to story telling with fantastic details, such as all the chapter numbers are prime numbers. Well worth it as a quick weekend read if you want something a bit different.


The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold

The Lovely BonesAfter all it's hype it is hard to imagine anyone who hasn't read The Lovely Bones. I liked it. But it simply didn't jump into my favourites list. Not sure why, maybe it was over-hyped for me. Sadly this can happen. But it is a great book and well worth the read.

The Pillars of The Earth, Ken Follett

The Pillars of the EarthAnother one I only read recently and another book in the historical novel genre.  Really enjoyed it. Definitely one of my favourite historical novels. Well written, extraordinary characters that really stay with you. Some will struggle with the amount of cathedral construction detail but I didn't mind it. Found it quite fascinating. He obviously did an incredible amount of research for this. Yes that is the book to the left. It must have been made into a movie or tv series. I haven't seen it. I really hate when they use movie/tv posters for the book cover. If I wanted the movie I would have gone to the video store. Sorry bit of a side note there :)

The Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger

The Time Traveler's WifeYet another book which may have sadly been over-hyped for me. I liked it yes. But I didn't love it. I wonder how many gasps I just got? My book club had the same reaction. Everyone LOVED it except me. Ah well.... who knows. And I have to say I am quite a romantic at heart but I think there were a couple of things in here that just didn't work for me which frustratingly I can't mention here as it would be a bit of a spoiler so I'm just going to say unfortunately the practical side of my brain won over the romantic side of my brain for this one. But considering the thousands of people who loved it, definitely read it if you haven't yet and make up your own mind.

14 in total read. 86 to go!