Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Book Club Borrowings

My friends and I run a book club with a twist. Rather than all reading the same book and talking about it, every month we get together and each bring a book we have read and are willing to share with the group. After everyone has reviewed their books they all go into the pile and we take turns borrowing the books we would love to read. The next time we bring back the books we have borrowed and review them for the next person to borrow and bring a new book to add to the pile. It is a great way to share books among friends and to try books that you might not normally pick up off the shelf.

The AlchemistThis month I have borrowed two new books from book club. The Alchemist is the story of an Andalusian shepherd boy who travels from his homeland in Spain to North Africa in search of the Pyramids, meeting a variety of spiritual messengers on the way.

Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a TimeAnd Three Cups of Tea follows Greg Mortenson as he returns to the Pakistan village that helped him recover from a failed attempt at a K2 climb in order to build a school for their community. There has been a huge media storm recently because of the expose by 60 minutes claiming that large parts of this book were made up and that there have been mismanagement of the charity funds but I still want to read it.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

It's Monday. What are you reading?

This is a book meme by Sheila at Book Journey

I have been following a few blogs on this meme for a couple of weeks now and it blows me away the amount of books people read in a week! Most of you guys are machines! I'm lucky if I get through one book a week but as this is not a race I've decided to take part in this meme anyway. I may be a Tortoise but who doesn't love that story! :)

So last week I finished reading Farewell to the East End by Jennifer Worth

Farewell To The East End - The Last Days of the East End Midwives

And this week I have started reading The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

The Shadow of the Wind

Monday, 27 June 2011

Next book in my 100 book challenge is...

...The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. Listed at number 87 on my 100 book challenge I actually found this one on my bookshelf. What a lucky find.

And in honour of my new book selection for the 100 book challenge I am dedicating a meme to it. Thursday Theme is hosted by readingbetweenpages and this week the theme is Male Person. So here is my little dedication.

Theme Thursdays

The Shadow of the Wind'Daniel, you mustn't tell anyone what you're about to see today,' my father warned. 'Not even your friend Tomás. No one.'
'Not even Mummy?'
My father sighed, hiding behind the sad smile that followed him like a shadow all through his life.
'Of course you can tell her,' he answered, heavyhearted. 'We keep no secrets from her. You can tell her everything.'
Shortly after the Civil War, an outbreak of cholera had taken my mother away. We buried her in Montjuic on my fourth birthday. The only thing I can recall is that it rained all day and all night, and that when I asked my father whether heaven was crying, he couldn't bring himself to reply.
Excerpt from The Shadow of the Wind, Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop

The Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word!

This weeks question:

“When did you realize reading was your passion and a truly important part of your life?”

To be perfectly honest I'm not sure. I have been reading and loving books for as long as I can remember. According to my parents I was a very quiet child who preferred to sit in my room with my books and my puzzles. Books have always been a part of my life and a true pleasure.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Farewell to the East End (Jennifer Worth)

Skip It

Farewell To The East End - The Last Days of the East End Midwives

The third and final book in the series by Jennifer Worth which takes you into London's East End in the 1950s when Jennifer worked there as a young midwife. I thoroughly enjoyed the first two books; Call The Midwife and Shadows of the Workhouse and was eager to complete the series with this book.

Unfortunately I found this book not nearly as good as the first two. This book seemed to be simply an amalgamation of all the little stories that didn't make it into the first two books, resulting in it jumping around a lot and many of the stories seemed out of place.

There was only one story that really stuck with me out of this book and to be honest I wish she had simply included that story in one of the first books along with the summary of what happened to all the other midwives and nuns later in life and kept it to two books that were a bit longer in content. If you haven't read the first two yet than I highly recommend you do, they are brilliant. If you have read the first two you may decide to read this one anyway just for a bit of closure but you won't miss much if you decide not to.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Morgans Run (Colleen McCullough)

Read It

Spanning nearly 20 years from 1775 to 1793, Morgan's Run explores the life of Richard Morgan, an Englishman and the son of a tavern owner in Bristol who finds himself convicted of a crime and assigned for transportation. Due to the uprising in America, Britain was no longer able to off-load their convicts and a growing problem needed a solution. The greatest of all human experiments was born; the transportation of thousands of convicts to a place so remote that Captain Cook was the only European to have ever set foot there. Australia.

Shipped off for a year long journey in conditions no better than slave ships, Richard Morgan found himself in the first fleet to colonise this new world and to either survive or die.

This book is a wonderful historical saga that sees Richard Morgan turn from a quiet calm family man into a powerful and resourceful leader of convicts.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book although it didn't truly grip me until they had landed in Australia which was later in the story than I would have expected. Being able to get an insight into what the convicts had to deal with due to lack of thought by a government on the other side of the world was fascinating. I also enjoyed that the book moved between the penal colonies in Port Jackson (later to be known as Sydney) and Norfolk Island. At 890 pages this is an epic book so great for the historical fiction lovers like me.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop
Hosted by Jennifer at Crazy for Books.

This weeks question is:

"How many books are currently in your To-Be-Read (TBR) pile?"
Actually a really timely question. Now that I have decided to take on a 100 book challenge I have exactly 86 books in my TBR pile. This of course doesn't actually count a number of other as yet unread books sitting on my bookshelf but at least this is an exact number ;)

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!