Try a Chapter Tag

I have decided to do the Try a Chapter today. This challenge if you are unaware consists of reading the first chapter of however many books you wish (I am doing 5) and then comment as to how you think the book will go, your first impressions etc. The 5 books I have chosen are the following.

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens- 4 pages
The Cardturner by Louis Sachar- 2 pages
White Noise by Don Delillo- 2 pages
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini- 5 pages
Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood- 3 pages

Anyway here we go…

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens- 4 pages

I have never read Dickens before, I have watched a Muppets Christmas Carol and Oliver Twist before but I somehow get the impression that the novels are much different after reading this first chapter. The main character in this Chapter is Pip, who is visiting his mother and fathers gravesite as well as his 5 younger brothers as well. Quite a sombre event as he dwells over the 6 tombstones, this however is rudely interrupted by what Pip can only describe as a pirate comes into the picture shouting and threatening Pip not to run away or he will kill him. He then interrogates Pip and asks for a favour he asks for as much food as possible and a file (a file and some wittle’s as he says) he also states that if he doesn’t bring these then the mysterious younger man hiding in the area will not hesitate to disembowel him. Pip then runs home to fetch the items requested.

So quite a violent first chapter, however I did find it quite funny that in order to scare Pip into doing what he wants there is a mysterious little man there to act as the enforcer. This just seems too funny to me and happily unexpected. I do enjoy a book that can make you laugh and so far this has. I do hope Pip doesn’t get killed as he seems to have had a pretty crappy life so far. Fingers Crossed.


The Cardturner by Louis Sachar- 2 pages

A short first chapter and not much really happens. I have read Holes and of course seen the movie and enjoyed those so I am intrigued by this novel. I did have a quick look at the blurb just to try and work out where the story is going and it turns out it is about the card game bridge. I have never played this game and can’t say I have ever been bothered in learning how to play but there is a time to learn everything and hopefully I will be able to gleam the rules by reading this book. The first chapter is about Alton Richards and his ‘favourite uncle’ Lester who was only his favourite Uncle because he was hugely wealthy. His mother has forced him to worm his way into his Uncles good books hoping that he will be looked upon favourably on the event of his death.

A very strange concept and a one I am intrigued to carry on reading. It feels very much like a strange indie movie that you watch and at the end even though you’re a little confused you also come to the conclusion that is a goof film. So for that reason I will be reading further and hope things heat up.


White Noise by Don Delillo- 2 pages

At only 2 pages long it is hard for much of an impact, it has made me intrigued but for the most part a little confused. Everything seemed to be quite chaotic in the first few paragraphs as the scene unfolds with all of the students arriving with their parents to college for the first day of the year. Then all of a sudden the narrator is discussing his job as the Chairman of the department of Hitler studies at the College on the Hill. I can picture him standing in his office looking out over all of the cars pulling up and unloading all of the students belongings into their new dorms over the road. The narrator who is the main character also goes on to confirm that he actually created the idea for Hitler Studies which became a huge success with someone who later died in a ski lift accident in Austria (seems a little coincidental don’t you think?) The final paragraph is a little out of the blue and describes missing pets posters attached to the streetlamp’s around the street.

A strange ending but quite an intriguing concept. Clearly this is going to be quite a serious book due to the topic it is likely to cover. However I can’t help but sense that there may be a bit of humour due to the random snippets of useless information and quirky writing style. I definitely think I will continue to read this and look for to it.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini- 5 pages

After previously reading the Kite Runner I already have high hopes for this one. I loved the Kite Runner and have only heard good things about this one. The first chapter here sheds light onto the main character Mariam, a harami, illegitimate child who lives with Nana her mother in a poor part of a Herat, Mariam doesn’t leave the house and rarely does anything that she has not already been told to do. The first chapter introduces three characters. First of all as already stated is Mariam the main character, it also introduces Nana, Mariams mother and finally Jalil, Mariam’s father who comes to visit. Jalil is a very well connected and wealthy man with three wives and nine legitimate children. He has a huge house with servants, Nana used to be a servant until as Hosseini puts it, her belly swelled up, and then she was thrown out and banished. So this is already clear that these two women Nana and Mariam have been thrown out in order to try and clear Jalil’s conscience and to hide his treachery.

So far I can kind of see where this is going, without having a sneaky peak at the blurb I would say that Mariam is going to be discovered by Jalil’s three wives and all hell is going to break lose. All I can really say is that I am excited to see how it continues as Hosseini is an incredible writer. I can’t wait to continue reading.


Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood- 3 pages

As already know that this is a bit of a thriller I am not that surprised that this chapter didn’t leave much of a clue as to what is going on. It simply try to get your attention in order for you to keep on reading. This is a flashback as the final sentence is ‘This is what I told Dr Jordan’. It states that the main character, name not yet disclosed, is a prisoner, however it doesn’t state whether this is a prison (Jail) or someones house as she gets locked into a cellar. It all is a bit confusing as to whether or not the character is good or bad. A hard chapter to analyse as there isn’t much to go on.

I am looking forward to reading this further as I can only assume it will start to make more and more sense as the novel goes on. I am intrigued enough by Sophie’s recommendation and the first chapter that I will be continuing this also.Maybe not the next thing I pick up bit I will be picking it up again.

Happy Reading

 

Danny

 

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5 Books I am dying to Read

The top 5 Books I am most looking forward to reading this year

I have been challenged to read many books this year and I really hope to complete them all by the end of the year. But which books do I want to read the most?

  1. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

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This is actually one of the books I have been challenged to read this year which is really convenient. I have wanted to read a Dickens for so long and just never gotten round to it. I have already discussed my thoughts on the book but just getting my first Dickens under my belt is really exciting.

  1. The Resurrectionist by James Bradley

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I bought this book shortly after completing my dissertation on Grave-robbing Laws in England and Wales in the 19th Century. I of course am very interested in the subject, as I wouldn’t have written my 15,000-word dissertation on it. I cannot wait to pick this up and see what the idea is behind the novel.

  1. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

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I actually bought this for Sophie as a Christmas Present along with the other shortlisted Man Booker Prize nominees. I read the blurb at this time and thought it was really interesting. I have also only heard good reviews on Instagram and want to see what all of the fuss is about.

  1. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

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Last year I read Hemingway’s the Old Man and the Sea. It since has become one of my favourite books I have ever read. Sophie has read a Farewell to Arms and has only good things to say. Therefore I cannot wait to read more Hemingway and this has to be the next one I pick up.

  1. The Golden Compass by Phillip Pulman

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This again is a recommendation from Sophie as are most of the books we own. Sophie loves Phillips Pulman’s work and has even been to meet him in person when he visited Durham last year. She was so excited and has wanted me to read this for so long. Also not to mentioned I have also been challenged to read this by my sister Christie. It must be good right?

Anyway I am going now so I can go and finish my current read so I can go and start on one of these.

 

Danny

Reading Update

Throughout February we have both started reading again. I give Mervyn Peake credit for this, as it is Titus Groan the first book of ‘The Gormenghast Trilogy’ that I’m currently reading and adoring.

(S)

Thus far in February I have read Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov which you can find my opinion of here, The Lord of the Flies by William Golding  and Deathnote by Takeshi Obata and Tsugumi Ohba.  I recently featured Deathnote in my Top5Wednesdays post. I hope to do a review or perhaps a Movie Adaptation review of The Lord of The Flies soon. I am currently reading Titus Groan as previously mentioned, I have 100 pages left so hope to finish this within the next 24 hours.

This month I would also like to finish reading The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson, a contemporary dystopia that I’m enjoying so far. As previously mentioned in my February TBR post, I would like to get around to reading my first novel by Daphne Du Maurier and my second Steinbeck novel. Other than this fairly optimistic goal I would like to read Greenmantle by John Buchan on recommendation from an Instagram friend. I read the previous novel The 39 Steps last year and am looking forward to the next instalment. I would also like to read a short story from the collection Legoland by Gerard Woodward.

If, on the rare chance I get through these novels, I have some other books high up on my TBR list- Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, Dead Poets Society: A Novel by N.H Kleinbaum and The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides.

(D)

I have most recently finished Tokyo Ghoul 2 by Sui Ishida, I am looking to complete On the Road by Jack Kerouac in the next couple of days and then I will move onto the 5 books I have previously mentioned that I have been challenged to read as well as continuing with the Tokyo Ghoul series.

Annual Reading Challenge meets Judge a Book by its Cover Challenge (Inception)

We did this same Challenge Last year, this challenge is between me and Amy, Sophie’s little sister. Sophie and Christie are also doing the same thing. First of all I will run through my thoughts on each book by judging the cover (I know don’t judge! get it…) I will also read the blurb and pass comment on the same. If you have ready any of these then please do not hesitate to comment you opinions below.

The 5 books Amy challenged me to read this year are:

  1. I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
  2. The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R.Tolkien
  3. The Art of being Normal by Lisa Williamson
  4. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  5. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

So down to my reviews

  1. I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

Front Cover

First of all I will say that last year I was challenged by Christie to read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and absolutely loved it. I am therefore really excited before even reading the first word on the blurb. The front cover shows a blurred yellow Taxi which kind of reminds me of New York. Other than that there is what looks like another vehicle, potentially another cab going much quicker and therefore is even more blurred. I think from just looking at the front cover all I can assume is that this novel is not set in the same era as Zusak’s other book. If I was to go literally then I would say about a man or woman (maybe a cab driver) in New York who is there to deliver a message. This is probably completely wrong but I am writing this off the cover alone.

Blurb

I am not going to write the blurb down here as I am too lazy however I am happy to say I was right with the Taxi Driver, the blurb makes the character seem younger than I was expecting though I don’t really know what I was expecting. The concept of this, sounds kind of like a vigilante revenge story until it reads “Who’s behind Ed’s Message?” This gives the implication that something either happened to Ed to make him into a good person acting for what he deems is right or on a more sinister turn that someone is forcing him to act in the way he is. Obviously either way I will not know until I read but good news is I am quite intrigued by what I have seen so far.

 

  1. The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R.Tolkien

Front Cover

I have already read the Hobbit and seen all 6 movies in the Franchise, there is not much I can really say about this apart from the cover of this edition I have borrowed from Amy is pretty cool. It has the ring with elvish written around the circle and what looks like an eye of which I can only assume is Sauron. Either way I loved the Hobbit and am looking forward to reading this too.

Blurb

Again this is a bit pointless as I know what is going to happen however I am excited to see if the film missed any big parts from the book.

 

  1. The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson

Front Cover

The Front cover here shows a Female silhouette (toilet stickman) ripping off an ‘outsershell’ of a male silhouette (toilet stickman) and standing proud. This gives me the impression that it is about gender identity and namely the transition of a male into a female. I am guessing it is about someones sex change and the story of whether or not this is normal in society. It may be about differing opinions on the issue and other peoples definition of being normal. Either way it is an interesting concept and it is probably not something I would generally pick up myself but that is the whole point of this challenge.

Blurb

The blurb has highlighted that this book is about the struggle of a young man in school who is not gay but rather doesn’t feel as though she was born the correct gender. Obviously this is interesting, it is hard to know whether or not the story is true to real expiriences unless of course Lisa was once Liam and then it would have a different meaning completely. Again I am interested however I wouldn’t have picked this myself.

 

  1. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardogo

Front Cover

This cover is very intriguing. It is is a crow mid flight over cloudy buildings and a phrase “Six Dangerous Outcasts. One Impossible Heist”. I am hopeful that this is going to be like a darker cooler Oceans Eleven. I would be likely to pick something up like this myself and therefore I am quite excited to read. I love books that are quick paced and keep you guessing I feel like this is going to be like that.

Blurb

So my idea of a darker cooler Oceans Eleven is a bit wrong as it sounds more like Lord of the Rings Meets the Italian Job. It has a lot more mythical aspects and creatures and it is more obvious that it is definitely a YA novel than just the cover alone. I am obviously not against YA as some of my favourite reads of last year were YA. I hope it lives up to expectations… I am excited for this but not as much as I am for the final choice.

 

  1. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Front Cover

I know this is a classic and the Clothbound edition which I have borrowed from Amy doesn’t give much away. If I were to say what the book was about from the cover I would say it is about a chandelier salesman or maybe a chandelier hoarder. Either one does not seem likely…

Blurb

After finding the blurb online due to the lack of blurb on the Clothbound Classic I am really excited to read my first Dickens. Thank you Amy! I will be looking to review this as well. I know it is like a crazy famous classic with numerous adaptations. I cannot actually wait for this one and would probably put this at the top of my list.

 

Finally I think I will also do the Try a Chapter Challenge and try and rate the books from the first chapter of each. I will do that shortly. Anyway any questions or comments on Amy’s suggestions then let me know.

 

Danny.