April TBR Challenge: 30 books in 30 days

After watching a Beyond the Pages video about her current reading challenge, to read 30 books in 30 days, I have decided to also partake. This post will be a list of books that I hope to read this month. At the end of each week I will be doing a wrap up of my reading, I am hoping to stick exactly to the schedule below. Wish me luck!

Days 1-7

7544945 9781626923027 51dhqi5bufl-_sy344_bo1204203200_

image1-5 298230 MV5BMTY5MTI1MzE5Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjQzNjEzOTE@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_

413SBMCqzXL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_

Days 8-14

51X97afF44L._SX308_BO1,204,203,200_ 9780099549246 HO00004134

61ctwxzsuzl-_sx327_bo1204203200_ 17199504 orlando264

 

Days 15-21

41Nmn1CQ0SL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_ 4ab1a7514f66c0eaf244c57966f01fc4 9780143128625

41qFEkUCprL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_ 98afc6aea4dca3d1acbae3206dee4eea Othello

513mk+V3LQL._SX315_BO1,204,203,200_

 

Days 22-30

9781447288671legoland 15-doctor-faustus8666582-_uy448_ss448_51xaxk5utcl-_sx312_bo1204203200_ 51whajzeh7l-_sy344_bo1204203200_ 9780099593584

61MvIVaurSL 81gudkysk8l 56034

 

Sophie

Monthly Reading Goals: March, April, May

To help myself stay organised with my reading and my upcoming blog posts I have created a monthly plan. I will be uploading two book reviews a month, minimum. This month I’m already hoping to write a review on Du Maurier’s Rebecca. As it is my year of Classics I am hoping that by the end of the year I will have at least twelve full reviews of different Classic novels as well as various mini reviews.

 

This month I am dedicating my time to the books I have picked up from my library. I have previously posted a haul and have since then read two books and two graphic novels and today exchanged them for another two books and two graphic novels that I had requested. I will be posting my TBR for the Borrowathon next week which is a readathon running from the 19th-26th of March I will be taking part in. Along with the other books I mentioned in our March TBR I have enough to read a book a day for the rest of the month, which I am hoping to accomplish.

 

During April I will be dedicating my time to the works of Shakespeare. I would like to read five tragedies and five comedies. Please leave your recommendations! My favourites as of yet are Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo and Juliet. I have also read and enjoyed Much Ado About Nothing, The Winter’s Tale and Richard III. In addition I am hoping to watch many tv/film adaptations of his plays and perhaps some retellings. I am beyond excited to read more Shakespeare plays as I have owned his Complete Works for quite some time.

 

In May I will be making a start on the books I have been given for our Annual Reading Challenge along with Classic novels that are constantly recommended to me.

 

But for now, my next blog post will be a post dedicated to my 10 favourites, the theme for which this week is Young Adult novels.

 

Sophie

March TBR

(S) I hope to read all the books in my library haul which you can find here. I also hope to finish reading the short story collection Legoland by Gerard Woodward and The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson. Also, if time allows I would like to finish reading classic crime novel Greenmantle by John Buchan, I read the first novel of this series The Thirty-Nine Steps last year and I really enjoyed it, its sequel has came very highly recommended to me.

9781447288671legoland   81gudkysk8l  51x97aff44l-_sx308_bo1204203200_

 

(D)

515ck8mcxl

The Art of being Normal by Lisa Williamson

David Piper has always been an outsider. His parents think he’s gay. The school bully thinks he’s a freak. Only his two best friends know the real truth – David wants to be a girl.

I have been challenged to read this and so far it is a quick easy read. I cannot comment too much as I am only on page 18 but I hope to complete as soon as possible.

 

Volume_03

Tokyo Ghoul 3 by Sui Ishida

I have already finished books 1 and 2 in the series and would like to continue. So far the animation is brilliant and the story is captivating, it is also a nice break from the normal prose.

screen-shot-2017-03-03-at-00-00-36

I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

Another one I have been challenged to read by Amy (my sister) for this years challenge. As I have previously discussed this one is very intriguing. I have already read the Book Thief and loved it, hopefully this will be as good.

Screen Shot 2017-03-03 at 00.06.48.png

The Austere Academy by Lemony Snicket

Not much needed for discussion. I have recently reviewed the first four in the series along with the new Netflix Series. I am simply eager to find out what happens next.

 

We’ll keep you posted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Library Haul

Today I joined my local library and went a little bit crazy. I ended up carrying 17 books all the way home, only four fit in my bag so it turned out to be quite the work-out as some of the books are quite heavy. I went looking primarily for Graphic Novels, unfortunately I only left with three as the others I had read before or the first volume was missing.

I left with 13 fiction novels, one non-fiction and, of course, three graphic novels.

The three graphic novels I picked up are:

51HviKcsdkL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and illustrated by Fabio Celoni and Mirka Adolfo. I class Hosseini’s novel as one of my favourite books therefore I’m excited to see how well it’s adapted.

15195

I then picked up The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman which “memorialises Spiegelman’s father’s experience of the Holocaust- it follows his story frame by frame from youth to marriage in pre-war Poland to imprisonment in Auschwitz” (Independent) This graphic novel was a winner of the Pulitzer Prize and I am so excited to read it. The illustrations are in black and white and it is very reminiscent of classic comic-strip style.

13327769-_uy200_

The final graphic novel I checked out is Y: The Last Man which has a huge fan base. It was made by Brian K Vaughan, Pia Guerra and José Marzán, Jr. Inside it is much more colourful than its title page but I’m excited to form my own opinion on this series. I believe this one is about a plague.

Onto the novels I picked up…

I have a deep love and respect for any novel that can make people laugh and have heard that this novel is exceptionally funny…

51twjifJlEL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

I don’t believe I’ve read a Muriel Spark novel before and as I would like to read more literature from my home land this year I am highly anticipating this one.

 

9780241968185.jpg

Another extremely popular novel I picked up was Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey which is a thriller narrated by a character with a mental illness. The concept alone is intriguing and I have heard that it is a very quick and easy read, as one would expect a thriller to be.

 

71dz090dGHL.jpg

I have a follower on Instagram who enjoyed both Elizabeth is Missing and The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer which I also picked up so I assume if you like one you’ll like the other. This is also a thriller or psychological drama and is supposed to be best read in one sitting. Challenge accepted.

 

9780099549246.jpg

Sebastian Faulks is a novelist I believe I read for the first time last year. I have read Birdsong and A Possible Life and thoroughly enjoyed both. To be honest I picked this one up purely because I want to read more of his work. The blurb does not give too much away but it will go through various time periods I think trying to tell a family history though I am unsure. I’m hoping I will enjoy it as much as Birdsong.

 

8666582._UY448_SS448_.jpg

Similarly, I have also read Lloyd Jones before and have always meant to pick up another of his novels. I read Mister Pip years ago and I enjoyed it so I was pleased to find Hand Me Down World hidden in the shelves. Again, the blurb is crazy and leads me baffled so I guess I’m going into this one blind.

 

51xaXK5uTcL._SX312_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

In contrast, I have also read a novel by Kazuo Ishiguro and, as you may know from my Unpopular Opinions Book Tag post, I found it bland and predictable. However I never rule out an author until I have read at least two of their novels. Picking up this book from the library allows me to give Ishiguro’s writing another chance and means that even if I don’t enjoy it at least I didn’t pay for it. Are you a fan of Ishiguro? and if so what is your favourite novel? Is there anyone who loves him but didn’t enjoy Never Let Me Go?

 

My next selection is also Japanese Literature and is Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami. She is one of Japan’s most popular and contemporary novelists and I have wanted to read this book for such a long time! so excited I finally have a copy! This novel is about Tsukiko who finds herself sitting next to her former high school teacher. Over the coming months they share food and drink sake, and as the seasons pass they come to develop a hesitant intimacy which tilts awkwardly and poignantly towards love. I want to read a novel of each genre this year and this sounds like the perfect choice for romance.

51dHQI5BUFL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

 

The next novel I picked up was winner of The Orange Prize for Fiction 2011. Its author Téa Obreht was born in the former Yugoslavia and was raised in Belgrade. The novel is of course The Tiger’s Wife.  I will insert the blurb as I think it’s enchanting. I have high hopes for this one.

51P8aH9UJIL._SX325_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

My grandfather never refers to the tiger’s wife by name. His arm is around me and my feet are on the handrail, and my grandfather might say ‘I once knew a girl who loved tigers so much she became one herself.’ Because I am little, and my love for tigers comes directly from him, I believe he is talking about me, offering me a fairy tale in which I can imagine myself- and will, for years and years.

 

Now for the only non-fiction novel I picked up. In all honesty it is my least anticipated read because I do not know anything about the author, Caitlin Moran. Also the two quotes on the book cover are from Nigella Lawson and Jonathan Ross and I unfortunately trust neither. However it is highly recommended on social media and is supposed to be very witty.

how-to-be-a-woman

Back to the fiction…

I also carried home Five Star Billionaire by Tash Aw. I have only just now remembered how I know the author’s name….I have been challenged to read another of his novels this year! (see Annual Reading Challenge) This novel was long listed for the Man Booker in 2013 and is set in Shanghai and centres on five newcomers who hope to make their fortunes and find their way in the big city.

51wHAJzEh7L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

 

Now for a 613 page novel which did not make it easy for me to carry all of these books home…

51K3Dti7TpL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

This book is also very well known and I believe largely well liked. I would also prefer to go into this one blind.What intrigued me about The Bone Clocks was that I have heard from people who have read it that it is difficult to place into a single genre, and while that might be said of all novels I remain interested.

 

Up next is the 2014 winner of the Man Booker Prize and I now realise this blog post is also an unintentional pop quiz. It is of course Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North which I have actually been told not to read because it is so bad. However in a really odd way it is this strong opinion of Flanagan’s novel that makes me want to read it. So if I don’t enjoy this novel then really I can only blame myself…

9780099593584.jpg

 

And finally the last two novels I picked up are The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead which I am sure you have seen all over bookstagram and booktube lately. And The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon which I believe is a fantasy/sci-fi series written of course by a female author.

61ctwxzsuzl-_sx327_bo1204203200_ 17199504.jpg

 

Obviously I don’t know how many of these books I will get to but at the moment my intention is to read all of them…

Wish me luck!
Sophie

 

 

Annual Reading Challenge

This year we are once more taking part in the annual reading challenge. We started doing this challenge last year and really enjoyed it. This year two people close to me have each chose five books for me to read during 2017. I will go through each set of recommended reads starting from least to most anticipated.

The first set of books are as follows:

1. The Grown Up by Gillian Flynn

518fgo8wyl-_sx312_bo1204203200_

I read Gone Girl a couple of years ago and I really disliked it so this one is not top of my list but the point of this reading challenge is to read books that you wouldn’t normally pick up or haven’t got around to reading. This one is definitely one I wouldn’t pick up. Although I do like to read at least two works by an author before I pass judgement.  The GrownUp is about:

A Young woman making a living faking it as a cut price psychic (with some illegal soft-core sex work on the side.) She makes a decent wage mostly by telling people what they want to hear. But then she meets Susan Burke.

Susan moved to the city one year ago with her husband and 15 year-old stepson Miles. They live in a Victorian house called Carterhook Manor. Susan has become convinced that some malevolent spirit is inhabiting their home. The young woman doesn’t believe in exorcism or the supernatural. However when she enters the house for  the first time, she begins to feel it too, as if the very house is watching her, waiting, biding its time…. 

 

2. Still Alice by Lisa Genova

CJTyA23UwAAJs1Q.jpg

This one I’m looking forward to although I would probably never get around to buying it myself as there is just so many books higher on my list. I will most definitely watch the movie after reading the novel. I am a little apprehensive about the issues touched upon in the novel, more specifically Early-Onset Alzheimer’s as it will be difficult to read about. This also makes me dubious about the quality of the novel as it is a very challenging subject to write about in fiction. Blurb…

Alice is just fifty when she finds herself in a downward spiral, increasingly disoriented and forgetful. A university professor, wife and mother of three, she has books to write, places to see, grandchildren to meet. But now a tragic diagnosis early-onset Alzeimer’s disease is set to change her life- and her relationship with her family and the world- forever. 

Losing her yesterdays, living for each day, her short-term memory is hanging by a frayed thread. But she is still Alice.

3. Angelfall by Susan Ee

15863832

I am intrigued by this novel about an angel apocalypse. A rare hardly-talked-about YA dystopia. I have little to go on with this one so here is the blurb…

It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen year old sister, Penryn, will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-straved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels’ stronghold in SanFrancisco where Penryn will risk everything to rescue her sister, and Raffe will put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

4. Sophie’s Choice by William Styron

9780099470441-uk.jpg

Another book with its own movie, so its safe to say I’m excited for this one. It’s also the only classic novel recommended to me this year. As I’m hoping to read more classics this year than ever before therefore I am grateful for this recommendation. Sophie’s Choice is a very famous story though I am not aware of any of the details so I am still expecting a few surprises.

Stingo, an inexperienced twenty-year-old Southerner, takes us back to the summer of 1947 and a boarding house in a leafy Brooklyn suburb. There he meets Nathan, a fiery Jewish intellectual; and Sophie, a beautiful and fragile Polish Catholic. Sting is drawn into the heart of their passionate and destructive relationship as witness, confidant and supplicant. Ultimately, he arrives at the dark core of Sophie’s past: her memories of pre-war Poland, the concentration camp and-  the essence of her terrible secret- her choice.

5. Map of the Invisible World by Tash Aw

516nnjiqfl-_sx326_bo1204203200_

I am really looking forward to this novel. Interestingly, four of the five authors recommended to me here I’ve never read before. I am expecting another emotional novel and simply can’t wait for this one:

In the hustle and bustle of sixties Indonesia, two orphaned brothers are adopted by very different families: Johan, by a wealthy Malaysian couple living in Kuala Lumpur, and Adam, by a Dutch painter, Karl, from a simple coastal town in Indonesia. As they grow up, Adam often wonders about his older brother, while Johan is wracked with guilt at the memory of leaving him.

In Indonesia itself, the shadow of colonialism is causing civil unrest; and foreigners are treated with increasing hostility, especially the Dutch. When Karl is arrested, Adam vows to do everything he can to find him.

This extraordinary tale perfectly captures the turmoil of a country teetering on the brink of war; and the experiences of the two young men in an exotic yet turbulent and often frightening world.

The second set of recommended reads are:

1. Half Bad by Sally Green

51s7-i5ronl-_sy344_bo1204203200_

Out of this selection of recommended reads Half Bad is my least anticipated novel. Simply because, yet again, I do not know much about it and have not heard many reviews. Also, I have only just noticed that the red pattern on the book is actually a face, I thought it was blood/smoke before but that’s a whole other story, I am really not observant. Blurb…

Sixteen-year-old Nathan lives in a cage: beaten, shackled, trained to kill. In a modern-day England where two warring factions of witches live amongst humans, Nathan is an abomination, the illegitimate son of the world’s most terrifying and violent witch, Marcus. Nathan’s only hope for survival is to escape his captors, track down Marcus, and receive the three gifts that will bring him into his own magical powers—before it’s too late. But how can Nathan find his father when there is no one safe to trust, not even family, not even the girl he loves?

Half Bad is an international sensation and the start of a brilliant trilogy: a gripping tale of alienation and the indomitable will to survive.

2. Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater

515zf1ffu4l-_sx324_bo1204203200_

Similarly to the Gillian Flynn novel I have previously read a novel I did not enjoy by Maggie Stiefvater. I read Lament a couple of years ago and was not a fan. However my sister is a big fan of Stiefvater and I am more than willing to give Sinner a fair chance. This is a companion novel to the Shiver, Linger and Forever Trilogy. I have taken the blurb from Goodreads and am not expecting to be blown away, I am going into it with an open mind nevertheless…

found.
Cole St. Clair has come to California for one reason: to get Isabel Culpeper back. She fled from his damaged, drained life, and damaged and drained it even more. He doesn’t just want her. He needs her.

lost.
Isabel is trying to build herself a life in Los Angeles. It’s not really working. She can play the game as well as all the other fakes…but what’s the point? What is there to win?

sinner.
Cole and Isabel share a past that never seemed to have a future. They have the power to save each other and the power to tear each other apart. The only thing for certain is that they cannot let go. 

3. Monster by Naoki Urasawa

5176eiz3eyl-_sy344_bo1204203200_

As previously mentioned I started reading Manga last year and I am eager to read more. I have heard that the Monster series is like Deathnote minus the supernatural elements. I’ve yet to find out for myself but it’s fair to say this is a highly anticipated read! Blurb…

Everyone faces uncertainty at some point in their lives. Even a brilliant surgeon like Kenzo Tenma is no exception. But there’s no way for him to know that his decision to stop chasing professional success and instead concentrate on his oath to save peoples’ lives will result in the birth of an abomination. The questions of good and evil now take on a terrifyingly real dimension.

Years later, in Germany during the tumultuous post-reunification period, middle-aged childless couples are being killed one after another.
The serial killer’s identity is known.
The reasons why he kills are not.
Dr. Tenma sets out on a journey to find the killer’s twin sister, who may hold some clues to solving the enigma of the “Monster.”

4. Rumi

51ycc0veaxl-_sy344_bo1204203200_

I have also been challenged to read poetry! I couldn’t be happier with this choice especially because I have not read Rumi (Other than a few lines) before. I will without a doubt be writing a posted dedicated to Rumi’s poetry.

5. Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe

15-doctor-faustus

Marlowe is a familiar figure to me due to my English degree and I’m really really excited to read another play this year. Every time someone recommends a play to me I read it, unfortunately, this rarely happens. Hopefully that will change and hopefully I will be recommending this play to people soon. The blurb (as it’s a play) is short but attention-grabbing…

One of the glories of Elizabethan drama: Marlowe’s powerful retelling of the story of the learned German doctor who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for knowledge and power.

Have you read any of the novels/poetry or the play mentioned above? If so, what did you think?

Sophie

 

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.

[Non-Spoiler] Review: Try A Chapter

I remember first seeing this craze last year and initially ruling it out. However, due to the longevity of my reading slump (caused by the aforementioned disappointing novels) I believe this will help me regain my motivation to read. As I am dedicating this year to mainly Classic Literature I have appropriately chosen five Classic novels. I will provide only a brief summary of my personal thoughts and findings in each Chapter One in order to prevent any (perhaps even accidental) spoilers.

To begin this challenge I read Chapter One of Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s novel The Shadow of The Wind. I chose this novel due to my desire to read more of my owned Penguin Drop Caps edition. Here is how it went…

The Shadow of The Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón: Chapter One

I was immediately intrigued by the title of Zafón’s opening Chapter: ‘The Cemetery of Forgotten Books’ which at this time of my life could be in reference to my bookshelf that looms over me as I read. While it becomes immediately apparent that the author is using very conventional plot tropes and some clichés within their language use can be found, such as the ‘deafening silence’ described on page 3, there are already a few (impressively subtle) touching moments. It already seems harsh to judge a book or an author based off of one chapter as there is a theatrical template of mystery and tragedy (etc) in order to draw readers in and therefore one expects to find conventional plot tropes, at least to a certain extent, within a novel’s opening pages. However, if I am blunt about my experience reading The Shadow of The Wind’s opening chapter, I am personally unsure whether I will enjoy this novel.

My primary concern is that the plot is already an interesting premise, yet the book has a total of 511 pages and has very small text. From the first chapter alone it appears as though the novel could not possibly be this long. What I mean by this is that I personally find the basis of the plot more of a discussion topic or literary essay than a fictional novel. I am unsure if the premise is worth 511 pages. In my opinion, again bear in mind this is from one chapter, I see this story being more appropriate for the big screen. This is because the plot is centered around reading and a love of books which first of all seems to me like an unsettlingly easy premise for a novel but also comes across as a little boring. The main audience of Classic Literature are, of course, bibliophiles and are therefore people who have already discovered the magical world of literature Zafón depicts in ‘The Cemetery of Forgotten Books.’ Furthermore the descriptions of settings and characters are lost due to the story building, this would translate better on screen which I would like to see as this was without a doubt one of the redeeming qualities of Chapter One.

 

I then selected classic Irish novel Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift. I selected this novel as I believed, before reading the opening chapter, that this was a Children’s novel. I am hoping to incorporate children’s classics to this year’s reading list. I have previously seen the Rob Letterman movie starring Jack Black based on Swift’s novel which was the extent of my knowledge of this particular classic. I am hoping this novel is as witty as I expect it to be. My copy of this novel is a Roads Classic Edition gifted to me by The Ginger Blogster.

 

Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift: Chapter One

Ok so this was an unexpected surprise. I am unsure how I could have spent my life without the knowledge that this is not a children’s novel but a Satire! My edition of Swift’s magnum opus begins with a letter from Captain Gulliver to his cousin Sympson relating to the published account of, unsurprisingly, Gulliver’s travels. Immediately the language was vastly different from what I expected and I instantly knew this novel was more than I had believed it to be. I am thoroughly excited to continue reading this novel despite the fact its opening chapter does not give too much away. It is already witty, or perhaps snarky, despite being political therefore it is easy and quick to read. In all honesty my main interest in this novel is that it is obviously not at all what I was expecting. However there is an apparent quirkiness from the narrator and author that is apparent from the very first  page and I cannot help but find that impressive. From the first chapter I believe that this should indeed be a novel and if that isn’t something of wonder I’m not sure what is. I have high hopes and would like to read more of Swift’s work once I finish this novel.

 

My third choice is one of Penguin’s Modern Classics therefore I look forward to seeing a difference in writing from my last choice. My third selection is also political, described as being “a stunning fictionalization of a political drama that tore the United States apart.” That novel is of course…

 

The Book of Daniel by E.L Doctorow: Chapter One 

Fun (yet ultimately useless as almost all fun facts are) Fact: I have oddly chosen two out of three books so far that have a main character named Daniel. Praise number one is the quote selection that prefaces this novel including a bible verse as well as Whitman and Ginsberg extracts. The novel is split into four books, Book One is titled ‘Memorial Day.’ From the opening page I believe Doctorow’s writing style to be unique. Unlike Zafón’s novel I do not find the opening chapter expected or clichéd, I find it simultaneously charming and gritty. Chapter One I have assumed due to the layout of the novel is a mere five pages and yet it has peaked my interest. In those five pages it touches on relationships, family life, sex, politics and national identity. The opening chapter has left me eager to read more, from the first five pages I believe it will be a book of substance and character.

 

And now onto my fourth choice, another Penguin Drop Caps edition, another never before read author and a novel I have been meaning to read for a long time…

 

The Lord of the Flies by William Golding: Chapter One

Chapter One is titled ‘The Sound of the Shell’ and is 30 pages long! In the opening chapter, in the midst of a World War, a group of boys are stranded on a deserted island.They immediately begin to play adult and start their own society. Everything about the opening chapter is unsettling, the bonding over bullying, the feeling of alienation and there is almost a stabbing towards the end. Therefore violence is very much foreshadowed in the opening chapter. The writing style is very simplistic perhaps due to the fact all of the characters are young boys. Overall I thought the opening chapter was just ok. For some reason I feel as though I know the full story, just through what I have read so far and what I believe will happen. I have surprisingly had no spoilers and would still like to read it to the end despite being underwhelmed by its opening chapter.

 

The last book I have chosen for this challenge is the novel I know least about but was strangely finding myself most attracted to, yet again the author is new to me and the book is…

 

The Dear Green Place by Archie Hind: Chapter One

I love the opening line of Hind’s novel which is “In every city you find these neighbourhoods.” The opening chapter is 13 pages long and centres around who I assume to be the main character, Mat Craig, a writer who considers his upbringing and the change Glasgow has gone through from small town to big city and is soaked in history. The first chapter briefly touches upon community, poverty and survival. What draws me to this novel is the knowledge that its author knew it would not make enough money to support him but decided to write it anyway. Despite this fact it received several prizes almost instantaneously on its publication. I have not read enough novels based in my home country and this novel seems to me to hold its own integrity. I also have a habit of loving literature from the 1960’s. I am eager to read more about Hind’s aspiring writer Mat Craig and his views on his land and culture.

 

image1-2

 

In conclusion I actually really enjoyed this challenge, and would recommend it,

Happy reading!

 

Sophie