Monday, 27 August 2012

I Capture The Castle (Dodie Smith)

Title: I Capture the Castle
Author: Dodie Smith
First Published: 1948
Pages: 352
Source: My own copy
Genre: Young Adult
Goodreads |

Someone really needs to explain this one to me. Wait, before I get ahead of myself let me quickly sum up the book. I Capture The Castle is the journal of Cassandra Mortmain and her life living in poverty in an old crumbling castle, with her very eccentric father who hasn't written a word since his last literary genius, her model stepmother and beautiful sister the book conveys six months of her teenage life. Although no date is given it seems to be set between the two world wars so maybe the 1930s?

Okay so now that part is done this is why an explanation is required from you all. This book is listed in my top 100 challenge which is mainly just a reproduction of the BBC top 100. I thought the book was ok but I'm not sure the justification for a top 100. I found it difficult to really engage with the main character. Also the journal style made all the observations one-sided which made it extremely difficult to feel anything for the other characters. I didn't really buy the love story side of things and the whole thing just seemed to sit at the surface level. This book has been around awhile so I'm sure many of you have read it and have your own opinion so I'd love to hear it.

It is not a bad book, on the contrary I did like it, I just wouldn't have put it in the top of my list. I just wish I could have given this to my 15 year old self. I think she would have really liked it.

Read It - If you're young or like YA

Thursday, 23 August 2012

The Trespass, Barbara Ewing

Title: The Trespass
Author: Barbara Ewing
Publication Date: 2003
Publisher: Time Warner
Pages: 416
Source: My own copy
Genre: Historical Fiction
Goodreads |

Well what can I say, I love Ewing. I have been enchanted by every book of hers I have read so I'm slowly working my way through her entire collection. The Trespass is one of her earlier novels. Set in 1849 it follows Harriet Cooper as she is bundled off to live with her extended family in their country estate while Cholera engulfs London. Far away from her beloved older sister who must remain in London she finds comfort in teaching her youngest cousin and forming friendships with her other cousins especially Edward who is about to embark on an incredible journey.

However Harriet harbours a dark secret, one which will see her follow her cousin Edward to the other side of the world and Britain's new colony New Zealand in order to run away from her past.

Ewing's strong characters always appeal to me and this one was no exception. The Trespass expertly highlights the plight of women in the 1800s as second classed citizens. Unable to vote or have their own money or possessions they are completely owned by their fathers and husbands and have no independence or rights of their own.

This is the story of one women's courage, determination and bravery in a man's world.

Read It

Monday, 20 August 2012

It's Monday. What are you reading? 20 August 2012

It's Monday. What are you Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey to outline what you have been reading and what you plan to read this week.

I'm back!! I had an amazing time in Rarotonga. It is such a beautiful place and it was so nice to have some time off work as I desperately needed it and was on the verge of going crazy. I've been clocking up 70 and 80 hour weeks at work so a holiday was just what the doctor therapist ordered.

I was there for a family wedding so I didn't get as much 'me' time as I would normally, which meant I only got through two of the three books I took with me. I read I Capture The Castle (Dodie Smith) and The Trespass (Barbara Ewing). Both nice easy reads and now I'm back I'll be able to finish off The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (Anne Bronte) which I'm about half way through.

Of course another trip from Auckland to Tauranga meant stopping at my favourite second hand book store in Ngatea. This time I picked up

Night and Day (Virginia Woolf)
Vanity Fair (William Thackeray)
Book of Lost Threads (Tess Evans)
The Jane Austen Book Club (Karen Joy Fowler)
Wild Swans (Jung Chang)

And just so you all get wildly jealous here's a couple of snaps of me reading my books in the sun (hehe see what I did there)

Monday, 6 August 2012

It's Monday. What are you reading? 06 Aug 2012

It's Monday. What are you Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey to outline what you have been reading and what you plan to read this week.

I know I have been a bit quiet recently but it's been with good reason as I have been frantically trying to get my work done so I can go on holiday! Yep two more days and I will be sunning myself in the beautiful island of Rarotonga. My blog will be able to live up to it's name! ;)

I will keep this relatively brief because of that reason. I am currently reading The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (Anne Bronte) but I don't think I'm going to finish it before I head overseas and I don't feel like it's quite the right book to take with me.

Instead I'm looking at taking I Capture The Castle (Dodie Smith) and The Blind Assassin (Margaret Atwood).

What do you think - are they good beach reads? I like a book that I can get lost in and has a bit of depth but does allow me to jump in and out of the story without getting confused as to where I was. Would these two books fit into that category? I'm not sure if Atwood is the best one to take. Interested to know your thoughts.

I also stopped off at my favourite second hand book shop and picked up these titles

A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
Never Let Me Go (Kazuo Ishiguro)
A Suitable Boy (Vikram Seth)
A Widow for One Year (John Irving)

Maybe one of these would be better for my trip? Although I don't think I'm going to attempt to get a brick like A Suitable Boy into a suitcase! What do you think? What should I take on holiday with me?!

Other options for a holiday book include:

The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
Wolf Hall (Hilary Mantel)
The Lacuna (Barbara Kingsolver)

I will be offline for about a week and a half but I promise to upload at least one beach snap for you to get jealous over.