30books30days: Books 11-20

I started the month well having read 10 books in the first 10 days, unlike my previous attempt at this challenge my early success did not effect my enthusiasm. After finishing The Ghastling Book No 6 I decided to finish The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer by reading its final instalment, Winter. The Lunar Chronicles is a series of YA novels each a sci-fi retelling of a different classic fairytale. Winter is a retelling of Snow White, as suggested by the cover. Its predecessors are retellings of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel. The characters from each novel overlap as they share the same supernatural world, Winter is my favourite character in the Lunar universe and I wasn’t disappointed in the series ending. Despite being over 800 pages long the action packed finalé was a really quick, easy read.



I then decided to pick up another classic, my first Children’s classic of the month, Heidi by Johanna Spyri. I was inspired to read at least one children’s novel as part of the #readkidslit movement lead by WordsofaReader on Youtube. I grew up watching the 1995 adaptation of Heidi directed by Toshiyuki Hiruma and Takashi Masunaga, a movie that I adore, therefore I had very high expectations of Spyri’s classic novel. While I was not disappointed I do agree with the common criticism that the novel is, at times, sickly sweet. Nevertheless I believe this novel is under appreciated, with its heroine too often being overshadowed by Montgomery’s Anne. Personally, I prefer Heidi’s protagonist and found the setting of this novel far more captivating.



Heidi was followed by my most disappointing read of the month, The Last Tycoon by F. Scott Fitzgerald. This is Fitzgerald’s only unfinished novel as he passed away before its completion. As he is in fact one of my favourite authors, I have previously read and loved each of his completed novels, from my favourite to least favourite these are: This Side of Paradise, The Great Gatsby, The Beautiful and Damned and Tender is the Night.  The Last Tycoon did not live up to any of these novels, as can be expected! However I feel it would be wrong to give any other criticism to the novel so will say no more on the matter.



Having read a couple of classics back to back, I then reached for Tokyo Ghoul Volume 8 by Sui Ishida. I enjoyed this instalment more than the last and am looking forward to completing the now finished series.



As I am borrowing the instalments for both Tokyo Ghoul and Naoki Urasawa’s Monster from my sisters I quickly picked up Volume 3 of Monster as my 15th book of the month. I enjoyed this volume as much as the previous two and wanted to immediately pick up the next instalment. This series differs from Tokyo Ghoul as it is less gory and more suspenseful, there is also fewer main characters. However I compare them I am definitely enjoying reading both series alongside each other.



After having read two fast-paced manga volumes I did not want to dive into another classic or binge read some of the non-fiction books I have been savouring. As a result I found myself picking up a contemporary children’s novel; A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. I first read Ness last year including More Than This and The Rest of Us Just Live Here which fast became one of my favourite YA novels. Both of the novels I have previously read have been incredibly unique which drew me to pick up my third of his works, A Monster Calls. I would now happily work my way through his bibliography as I thoroughly enjoyed this novel reading it in only a couple of hours. Surprisingly I cried only once while reading this novel as early on as page 29! This will surely become a modern classic. I also recommend the movie adaptation which varies slightly from the novel but is equally as brilliant.



I then finished my first Non-Fiction book of the month: Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly which chronicles the lives and achievements of many black women who contributed to NASA research and the American Space Race and whose work has previously been overlooked in history books and documentaries. This book is not only well-written but extremely effecting, it made me care deeply for each of the ‘main characters’ including the most commonly known Katherine JohnsonDorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson,  as well as many others. I have yet to see the Oscar-nominated adaptation though I assume it is these women who are portrayed here (by Janelle Monáe, Taraji P. Henson and Octavia Spencer) on the cover of the book and the centre of the film. The highlight of the book is the successful launch of John Glenn into orbit, though it is not his personal achievement that has you, the reader, cheering. I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in Space.



Having read two novels by some of my favourite writers, Fitzgerald and Ness, I decided to continue the trend by reading my second Murakami novel. One of my reading goals for 2017 was to read more novels by newly discovered authors, I met this challenge with A Monster Calls and my next pick, Haruki Murakami’s South of the Border, West of the Sun. I read Norwegian Wood in 2015 which became one of my favourite novels of all time (of which there are currently 23.) As a result I have been eager to read more of Murakami’s fiction. I found this novel however, rather dull. My main issue was with Murakami’s narrator who, though you are not supposed to like, I found completely unbearable.  I did not care for any of the characters and saw no sign of character development, subsequently I will not be in a hurry to pick up any more Murakami novels in the near future.



I moved back to manga afterwards as I suspected the following volumes of Monster to be far more enjoyable and found them to be reliably so, I have gave every Volume so far five stars.   I have therefore read 20 books so far throughout this challenge and hope my success continues!




I hope you’re having a good reading month and as always,

Wish me luck!




Adaptation Wishlist Book Tag

This tag was created by the wonderful SheMightBeMonica. As you all know we are both huge fans of adaptations- in particular movie adaptations therefore we were drawn to this tag and its unique concept. There are five categories for adaptations and we will both attempt to give an answer for each one.

First up is movie adaptations; what book do we want to see on the big screen?

D: I would like to see a modern movie adaptation Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. If I could choose the cast I would like to see Ryan Gosling as the lead. I believe this is a novel that would benefit from the technological advancements of today.

S: I would like to see Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones, I like what are to me similar movies Dangerous Minds and Coach Carter and believe this kind of tale works well on screen. For a more unique movie I would like to see The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson because the characters are very real and Leo Denton is one of my favourite fictional characters of recent times and the world needs to meet him.


What book would we like to be adapted into a TV show?

D: I think Never Look Away by Linwood Barclay would be well suited to TV. Especially due to the fact his works are connected therefore there could be different series based on different novels.

S: I would also like to see The Darren Shan Saga as a (obviously well-adapted) tv series. I would also enjoy TV series based on Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses series and Patrick Ness’s The Rest of Us Just Live Here.


Interestingly the next category is what book would we like to see as a cartoon?

D: My selection is The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken as I think it would be difficult to master the special effects needed for a movie adaptation.

S: I would like to see Dr Seuss’s works as modern cartoons. I also think a children’s cartoon of The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer would be great as fairytales never grow old.


What would we like to see adapted into a comic book or graphic novel?

D: I would like to see a Graphic novel adaptation of Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events due to it’s dark nature and memorable quips.

S: I’d like to see Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente as a Graphic Novel as the novel is full of imagery. I also think The Martian by Andy Weir would work well as a comic due to its wit and humour and I would like to read a science fiction comic.


The next category is book to play. Which novel do we think would translate well on stage?

D: Murakami’s Norwegian Wood is the novel that I believe is best suited to the stage. I think it would be appropriate due to the dialogue and subject matter.

S: To be honest I don’t know enough as I’d like to about plays which may be reflected in my choices. I hope to not only watch and read more of them this year but learn more about plays too. For this category I seemed unable to choose just one novel. As I mentioned I would like to see more plays and here is a list of a few I would like to see… Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald as it is differs from his other works, at least in my opinion and the relationships between characters would make an interesting drama. I would also like to see Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle stop Café by Fannie Flagg on stage and believe the plot to be if anything more fitting to the stage. I can picture the setting now. Deathnote by Tsugumi Ohba would also be absolutely incredible to see on stage. If they have been adapted in this form before then please let me know in the comments. Finally, my last wish is for Nella Larsen’s Passing to be shown in theaters, I loved this novella when I read it for University and believe the characters and plot would shine on stage.


The final category is musical…

D: I think Kerouac’s On The Road should be adapted into a jazz fuelled musical.

S: For some reason my gut is telling me The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald although this is one of my favourite novels and while it could be terrible, it has the potential to be great. Other options popping into my head are Heidi by Johanna Spyri, The Lord of the Flies by William Golding and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.


We tag: TeaPartiesatAnteiku and TheGingerBlogster

Norwegian Wood Review

I was very excited to start this modern classic, primarily due to Sophie’s recommendation and the response I got from the Instagram community intrigued me further. The initial impression of the book made me happy, it took me back to reading This Side of Paradise and Amory’s life and of Holden from the Catcher in the Rye. It would be unfair to compare this to those novels of course and therefore I will only (try to) explain the reasons why the three texts resonated with me.

Norwegian Wood is definitely the darkest of the three novels. Even so I ‘wood’ definitely recommend this book to anyone; it is a tale of love and loss. Toru has a very difficult time, the losses he suffers and the pain he feels is very much understandable given the circumstances. As to whether you think Toru is truly happy at the end, I feel that the reader must make their own decision in that regard. After becoming quite attached to Toru and his personality I would like to think he has found happiness now.

Without speaking too much of the plot I will try and explain what it is about, I don’t want to leak any spoilers for those who have not yet read, so I apologise if I ruin any part for you. The story is set in Japan, Tokyo mostly, there are few characters in the novel however those present are very well rounded and very much likeable for their individNorwegian Wood.JPGual traits. The main character is Toru Watanabe who is considered a bit of an outcast, his reasoning for this is his love of European literature, in particularly F Scott Fitzgerald which sets him apart from the others in the dorm he shares. It would be a cruel misrepresentation to say that Toru has a nice happy tale to tell, his story is somewhat depressing and at times made me reflect on my own situation and how great I have got it. I however think I would be friends with Toru, a lover of Fitzgerald and a loner, similar to myself in many ways, though I am much cooler (obviously).

There are a few love interests for Toru, some meaningless however three relationships which would definitely be given an ‘it’s complicated’ status on Facebook. The friends and lovers, both past and present, have a massive impact on Toru’s morale though his love toward them differs in different ways. The story is his tale of his first two years of University in Tokyo and the people he meets along the way. After a tragic incident in his hometown takes the life of his best friend he decides to leave and clear his head by leading a new life in Tokyo away from the previous memories until his best friend’s girlfriend, Naoko, follows him unknowingly and they meet out of pure coincidence. They then find comfort in each other’s intellect and decide to meet up as a kind of counselling for both of them, though his love for Naoko changes. He doesn’t see her as his best friend’s ex-girlfriend but as a comfortable partner and his heart goes out to her.

When however she abandons him he feels lost and finds the love of another girl, Midori, who brings out the more adventurous and fun side of Toru as well as the downs. He really likes Midori but cannot bring himself to forget Naoko and the difficulty for him is what he should do, what is morally right and what he feels he should do.

His best friend at University, Nagasawa, gives him an outlet to forget though his actions usually come back to hit him hardest, in his heart. Nagasawa is definitely the most annoying character and for me the hardest to relate to. He doesn’t seem to care about who he hurts and who gets in his way though he is refreshingly relaxing compared to the other more uptight and worrisome characters in the book.

I realise I have not really discussed why I felt that this novel reminded me of This Side of Paradise and The Catcher in the Rye but I think it is hard to explain if you haven’t read it, at one point Toru is accused of talking like Holden which had crossed my mind but Toru is a much more likable character though.

I feel like I may be rambling a little bit so I will depart on this, when I finished this book I was upset, not crying but upset. I was also happy for Toru, I wanted him to be happy after everything that happens to him but I could help feeling sorry for him, being the same age as him and comparing my happy life to his is upsetting. There are few books that make me feel the way I did when reading this and I would read again in a heartbeat.

I am happy that I enjoyed this so much as Sophie recommended it to me and after I told her I didn’t like ‘We’re all Completely beside Ourselves’ by Karen Joy Fowler and though she accepted it she was confused and tried to make me see her side but I wasn’t having any of it. At least now we both have this in common.