Thursday, 29 March 2012

Dewey's 24hr Read-A-Thon

Yep, I worked it out and I will be able to take part this time. I have a bit of time in between assessments and since life can't be just about study I have decided to sign up. For those of you are unaware it's a non-stop reading event for a 24hr period. Starts on the 21st April and ends on the 22nd. Each time zone has its own starting time so that we all start at the same time. Here in the UK it's 12pm. There are usually lots of prompts and people cheering you on. You can even become one of the cheerleaders. There is also no pressure to take part for the full 24 hours. I know I napped briefly last year. If you want to know more about it head over to the blog here.

Last year I said that if I managed it I would try to get some sponsorship next time. Basically I thought it would be a good event to raise money for a charity. So I have signed up to raise money for Crohn's and Colitis UK. Crohn's is an incurable disease which effects the entire digestive system. It can be quite debilitating for sufferers. I picked this one because a friend of mine is a sufferer so I know (as much as any outsider can know) what the condition can do to people. Sadly though it doesn't get much limelight and with raised funds there is hope that a cure might eventually be found.

So I now have a page on the Just Giving site should anyone, very kindly, wish to donate anything. Even the littlest amount would be appreciated. I still plan to enjoy this event and I promise I won't go on anymore about the charity in detail (although I am sure I will put in a wee reminder with a link).
Also on facebook.

I will open my twitter account for that weekend too as I interacted with quite a few people taking part that way last time. It really is good fun. Part of that of course is choosing the books. Anyone else planning on taking part? Decided what you are going to read yet?

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

D'Artagnan leaves his home town for Paris where he hopes to prove himself as one of the Kings famous Musketeers. He has almost nothing but an odd looking horse, a few coins and a letter of recommendation. However, along the way the letter goes missing and he clashes with a man he soon comes to think of as his genius enemy. On reaching Paris he is a little disheartened to discover he must prove himself before he can become a Musketeer. He soon makes friends in the form of Porthos, Aramis and Athos. Together they help defend the Queen from the evil plots of the Cardinal.

This small paragraph doesn't actually do justice to what this book contains. The book is long but the chapters are short and it's just one adventure after another. One reason why it took me so long to read.

Here is the main reason - d'Artagnan! He is young, impetuous, eager, easy to work up and well (again) just young. He requires a lot of energy just to read. He's like one of those puppies that are cute and fun but sometimes you just need a little time out. Which is why I was constantly reminded of this;

Does anyone remember the cartoon Dogtanian? Dogtanian was played by a puppy (or close to a puppy compared to the others) and now I can actually see how apt that was. Basically, whilst he was good fun he was also hard work.

Once I got to the half way point though things seemed to change. D'Artagnan himself seemed to grow up a little. It wasn't obvious until near the end that the events of the book actually occur over a few years (not obvious to me anyway). I don't think I can pinpoint the exact moment when that seemed to happen. Possibly during the war with France but certainly at the end of the book d'Artagnan was no longer a boy. It actually made the ending a little sad in a way. In fact I wasn't expecting to feel quite so sad when I got to the end of the book. It certainly felt like the end of an era and not just with d'Artagnan. For this reason I think I don't just see it as a tale of adventure but a coming of age story too.

I read this as part of the Classics Challenge hosted by Katherine of November Autumn. You can see my answer to this months prompt here and you can read what others have been reading for it here.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Top Ten Tuesday - Books I'd Play Hooky With (otherwise known as skiving)

Noticed TTT had a new logo and as I liked it thought I would use it. This is a weekly book meme over at The Broke and The Bookish. This weeks list is books we would play hooky with. If you are Scottish that's either sciving or taking a sicky. Anyways, I went with mainly chunksters. I have a fair few on my tbr pile and sciving might be the only way to get through them (not that I would do that). Very few of them are re-reads. I've started off with the re-reads otherwise they aren't in any particular order.

1. The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck. I would love to go back and read this again. Actually I would love to go on a Steinbeck kick and re-read all the ones I have so far. Have fond memories of this one although East of Eden is my favourite.

2. The Pern series - Anne McCaffrey. After she sadly passed away I meant to go back and revisit them. I loved these books. Would like to read them all over again or even just one or two of my favourites.

3. The Women of the Otherworld series - Kelley Armstrong. This series is ending soon and whilst the last few haven't been that great I would like to revisit the earlier ones.

4. London - Edward Rutherfurd. After reading New York by the same author I have been dying to read others by him. I have this one in my pile but it's a beast at 1328 pages. I want the time to just enjoy it too.

5. A Feast For Crows - George R. R. Martin. Plus the next one two which I also have sitting there. It's a good series and I don't want to leave it too long in case I forget anything.

6. Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume1. Another beast of a book but not one that I would want to read all at once.

7. A Suitable Boy - Vikrim Seth. A chunky one but the truth is I have been putting off reading this book because the edition I have (the one above) is just so pretty. Too pretty to unwrap from it cellophane cover. I know defeats the purpose. If I can justify buying myself another, less pretty, edition I would want some time to just enjoy it.

8. The Crimson Petal and the White - Michel Faber. I have been wanting to read more historical fiction and this seems ideal.

9. The Dreaming Void - Peter F. Hamilton. One of my favourite sci fi authors but he writes such huge books and there are three of these bad boys in this series.

10. Villette - Charlotte Bronte. Thought I would end with a classic. I am actually going to read this in the next few months (sciving or not). Looking forward to it too.

What books would you like to take some time off for?

Classics Challenge - March Prompt

I am a little behind on my challenge reads just now. Mainly because the classics one took me almost a month to read. I have never taken so long to read a book. It was a good one though so despite how it sounds I don't actually begrudge the time. As a result I am also a bit late with this prompt. I just managed to complete it within the month.

This challenge was set up by Katherine of November's Autumn. This months questions are about setting. You can see what others have posted here. In case you don't know I was reading The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas. I'll post a review of the book tomorrow hopefully.

I think it's safe to say that anyone who has heard of this book knows that it is set in Paris and the book describes it well (well enough for someone who has never been there). There are some obvious buildings I could choose for setting such as the famous Louvre Palace or the Bastille. However, the building that really set the book for me was the home of M. de TrĂ©ville. He is the Captain of the famed Musketeers and it is at his home that d'Artanagn met his soon to be friends. It sets the scene and feeling of the book well. The Musketeers are clearly a close group and they all spend a lot of their time hanging around the Captain's home (when they aren't getting themselves into bother). The home was described only to show how the Musketeers spent their time whilst waiting  for the Captain. One scene particularly stands out and that was three Musketeers fencing on the stairway as d'Artagnan tried to make his way past.

I got this image from a travel blog but it doesn't actually say what the building is (just that it's a typical French Mansion). I actually imagined the building to be a little longer than this and that it was surrounded by other buildings. Picture Musketeers standing around the steps and possibly even calling out from some of the windows. It was a great place for the setting as it brought d'Artagnan together with his friends. It also gave the reader an idea of what the Musketeers are like in general. It was also brought in again and again as the Musketeers regularly went to M. de TrĂ©ville for advice.

It would depend on how the setting was changed if it would have an effect on the story. Possibly if it was set in a pokey little office it would change the atmosphere of the book. It would also change the meeting of D'Artagnan, Porthos, Athos and Aramis (although Aramis is only mentioned in that first visit and d'Artagnan meets him after he leaves). In that case it would change greatly. Plus, it would take away that view of rich and luxurious Paris.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What are you reading? This is a meme organised by Sheila of Book Journey. It's a way for us book bloggers to share what we have been reading.

I missed out again last week. Mainly because my essay writing is eating into my reading and blogging time. I am still reading but just going a lot more slowly than I normally would. Main thing is that I'm still enjoying it though.

Last two weeks I read;

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne. I read this as part of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen challenge. The truth is that I was glad of the excuse to read it. I read 80 days last year and loved it. This one turned out to be another great adventure story (plus this vintage edition came with 3D glasses for its amazing cover).

The Black Angel by John Connolly. This is the fifth book in the Charlie Parker series. I did enjoy it but it wasn't as good as the rest of them. Thankfully a friend warned me and I have to say she was right. I have heard that it is just a small blip in an otherwise great series. So it hasn't put me off reading the rest and it was still a good read.

 The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas. I read this as part of the classics month. I will do the prompt post for that later today (which is about place this time). Yes, I have actually finished reading it. Probably the longest time I have ever spent on a book. It was worth it though. A great adventure story.

Just now I am reading;

Eleanor of Aquitaine by Alison Weir. I am reading this for the mixing it up challenge under the history category. I was looking forward to it but Weir doesn't right with the passion that Helen Castor did when writing about her in She-Wolves. I have only just started mind you so that might change.

Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway. It's a rather large hardback so I am reading it at home. I am only 20 pages in and I am actually already sorry that I can't carry it about with me so that I can read it at any odd moment.

Next I plan to read;

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. This is for the league of extraordinary gentlemen challenge. It's actually a re-read for me and a good one. Will be nice to read this again. I loved it so much the first time. Plus look at how good a job Vintage did with the cover. The Huckleberry Finn edition matches it which is also in my tbr pile.

So what have you been reading this week? Any unexpected favourites? Or did any of you finish a long slog like me?

The Black Angel - John Connolly.

Louis' aunt is worried about her daughter, Alice. Alice is an addict and a prostitute but Martha has a touch of the sight and just knows that something has happened to her. She doesn't like to but she has no choice but to ask Louis for help. Alice is blood to him and he will do everything that he can to rescue or avenge her. Charlie Parker feels he has to help even if it does mean that his relationship with Rachel is further damaged. It seems that two men have abducted her. There is something strange about those men though. They aren't after Alice but after a legend. Parker must track them down to save other women and possibly himself.

The one thing I like about the Charlie Parker novels is that they aren't just crime but they have a touch of the supernatural. Sometimes Parker's dead wife and child will make an appearance which is a hint to him that he has to help someone. They made an appearance again in this one but for different reasons. Which is fine but there was more supernatural occurrences in this book and I felt that it went just a little too far. Men who believe that they are the immortal souls of fallen angels are hunting down the twin of one angel before they can devastate the world. Now, most of the characters in the book believed that these men were lunatics obsessed by an old legend. Parker on the other hand believed them and there were passages in the book which indicated that we were also meant to believe that it was real. It was just a little too much for me even though I do like my supernatural. For that reason it wasn't my favourite Parker novel.

Another aspect of the book has put me on the fence. In a very short space of time Parker's relationship with Rachel isn't working even though they have just had a child. She doesn't want to fear for his life and she knows that he can't give up his job saving people. It felt a little sudden to me. At the same time though Rachel wasn't really pulling her weight in these tales. In the first few books she used her job as a psychologist to help profile serial killers. She hasn't done that for a while though. Instead she stays at home and worries about Parker and her own safety. Perhaps, if the relationship ends, this will free up Parker somewhat.

If you take out the supernatural it's still a good read. The person who turned out to be the leader was completely unexpected although I wasn't really trying to work that part out (I wouldn't have worked it out if I had anyway). I was warned by friends that this was the weaker book in the series which makes me hope that the next one will be better. I still enjoyed it though. I was just mildly disappointed despite the warning.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea - Jules Verne

A creature has been terrorizing the sea. Larger than any other Whale it has been spotted all over the Earths oceans and has even been responsible of damaging one ship. Professor Aronnax is an expert in all things natural and so he is asked to go on a hunting expedition along with his servant and whaling expert. Aronnax jumps at the chance but it soon becomes clear that this creature is in fact a submarine captained by the mysterious Captain Nemo. Aronnax and two others become prisoners of Captain Nemo for fear that they will reveal his secret. Whilst under his key they see a great many wonders and travel to areas once unexplored by man.

First of all apologies for this late review. I read this over a week ago but essays have gotten in the way of my blogging (and my reading). Secondly, how amazing is this cover. This is now probably one of my favourites by vintage. Not only does it look amazing but it comes with 3D glasses. Yep, the cover is in 3D. If I had remembered to take part in the top ten favourite covers a few weeks ago this would have been at the top of the list.

As for the book I did enjoy it. I was looking forward to it because I had loved 80 days so much. Just like that this is another great adventure story. Possibly not in the same league but still a good one. With twenty thousand leagues the tension is in the fact that Aronnax and friends are captives (although very well looked after). They also manage to get themselves into one or two scrapes whilst exploring. The visit to the South Pole was probably the more tense as they battled ice. It was very different from 80 days though in that it was so descriptive of all the wonders seen. The only thing it did better I think. The only thing that I was disappointed in wasn't the fault of the book but the blurb at the back. It described a visit to Atlantis but that didn't happen. I was looking forward to it.

Since I was reading this for a challenge I was paying close attention to one character in particular, Captain Nemo. Whilst he is a main character he wasn't actually the narrator. We learn very little about the mysterious Captain other than the small pieces Aronnax manages to get out of him. He is a man who is fed up with life, or at least with humans and they way we treat each other. He is taking himself outside of society which has hurt him and plans to spend the rest of his days exploring the Seas. He contradicts himself a little though in that he wants to help the underdog. He just doesn't want anyone to know that he is doing it. Despite holding Aronnax and the others captive and some of his actions at the end I did actually like Nemo.

This was read for the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Challenge hosted by Hanna of Booking In Heels. You can see posts by others here. As I said Captain Nemo was the character for this one. I don't remember him much in the film other than he was one of the quieter characters which fits in with Verne's original portrayal of him.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Top Ten Tuesday - Dystopian

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme from the Broke and The Bookish. It's a fun prompt for listing books. In this week we get to pick a genre and list our top ten books. I've chosen dystopian. Although I have a funny feeling I have done this before. It's been a while since I have taken part in this. I actually meant to take part in last weeks top ten book covers but forgot.

1. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley. This was the first book that introduced me to dystopian and I have loved it since. In this society people are cloned and from that their lives are determined. Happiness is mandatory. Sex and drugs are used to encourage this.

2. Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury. My second introduction. A world where thinking is done for the people and as a result books are banned. The fire brigade in this society is there to burn any books.

3. 1984 - George Orwell. Anyone who loved dystopian is going to have read this. Probably one of the most famous. Big Brother is watching your every move to ensure you to not stray from their way of thinking.

4. A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess. The streets are ruled by gangs of violent teens. This is seen through the eyes of one teen, Alex. I was surprised by how much I loved this one. Couldn't put it down.

5. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood.  I love Atwood and love all her writing styles. In this one women are forced to have children for the rich and powerful. Those who can't have a darker future.

6. We - Yevgeny Zamyatin. Where ever citizen has a number rather than a name. Their homes are made of glass so they can't be hidden and they walk in step with each other. To have any emotion is against the rules of the state. I enjoyed it although it was a little slow going.

7. The Chrysalids - John Wyndham. After a world changing event society has returned to a feudal state with the population practicing fundamentalist religion. Anyone who is different is a blasphemer and their life is in danger. So when children began developing gifts of mental abilities they have to hide it in order to save their lives. I love John Wyndham. He truly had a talent for sci fi.

8. The Book of Dave - Will Self. A society and religion that revolves around the ravings of a long dead, London, cab driver. The most unusual of all my favourite dystopian reads.

9. Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro. Humans are bred entirely for their organs. Probably the one that disturbed me the most and one of the most moving.

10. Shades of Grey - Jasper Fforde. Place in society is determined by where you can see in the colour spectrum. Grey being the lowest and purple being the highest. I loved this book and the use of colour in it. For example the colour green is used as a drug.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

This is a book meme by Sheila of Book Journey. A great way for everyone to share their reading week. I did actually manage to finish a book this wee. In fact two whole books.

This week I read;

Ghost Town by Rachel Caine. The 9th book in the Morganville series. The plot is a little bit on the ridiculous side but I am still enjoying them.

The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham. I read this is my choice for the sci fi challenge. I absolutely loved it. A slow burner which was appropriate to the story. Love classic sci fi.

Just now I am reading;

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne. I am reading this for the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen challenge. The character this time is Captain Nimo. I'm about half way through and loving it although not quite as good as Around the World in 80 Days.

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas. I know, I am still reading this. I have decided just to pick it up when the mood takes me as I can't seem to force myself. That's not to say I'm not enjoying it, I am. It's just one that I am plodding along with. I did manage to read quite a bit more of it this week than the previous week. I would say I am about 1/3 of the way through.

Next I plan to read;

Eleanor of Aquitaine by Alison Weir. This is for the Mixing it up challenge under the history category. Looking forward to this as I have been wanting to read more on this historical character since reading She-Wolves.

What are you reading this week? Any of you have a chunkster on the go like me and reading other books in between?

The Kraken Wakes - John Wyndham

Michael and Phyllis Watson both work for the E.B.C as script writers. Whilst on their honeymoon they notice red globes streaking across the sky before entering the sea. Before long reports of these red globes are appearing from all over the world and they seem to disappear into the deepest parts of the Oceans. Mike and Phyllis become chief reporters of the phenomena and are soon collating a record of all strange occurances. They become part of a team investigating just what has entered the Oceans depths. Not long after the reports of red globe activity have stopped new reports of other activity takes its place. That of large ships going missing with very few survivors. The question becomes just what is living down in the deeps and will it pose further threats? One scientist believes that whatever is down there won't tolerate the presence of man for long.

I love John Wyndham. Reading this has made me realise just how much I have missed his books. This one was a rather slow start and the book is set over several years. The slowness of the narration/action is deliberate though as the events are meant to occur over a long period of time. It allows us to build on concern and fear before any action does take place. Plus when the action does occur the slow start makes it all the better. You feel the horror of what the narrator is feeling.

For such a short novel it's amazing just how much it does fit in over the span of  years (probably a decade or so). In such cases you would find that the depth of the characters would suffer as a result but this isn't the case. Instead we get a real sense of who Mike and Phyllis are. We feel sympathy for them and I liked them both as a couple and individually. Wyndham was also able to add in how the events affected them so that they didn't just become narrators but a part of events. I also like the fact that Phyllis was a strong female character. I give a big cheer for that considering the book was published in the early 50's. A time when there was a strong belief that the woman's place is in the kitchen. Not for Phyllis. Her place was working beside her husband and in some cases off on her own. She had as much strength and talent as her husband if not more.

Speaking of the 50's, that was of course the time of the cold war and this fear was added into the plot of the book. Many speculated that Russia was to blame for the events that were taking place rather than the ridiculous possibility of invasion. Russia in turn kept silent for the most part. It was a nice touch I thought.

My favourite Wyndham is still The Midwitch Cuckoo's but I still give this one top marks. I was immediately sucked into the story and my attention was held right through to the end. Another great classic sci fi.

I read this as part of the Sci Fi 2012 challenge hosted by Ellie of Curiosity Killed the Bookworm. This was my choice rather than the group choice which is Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. If you want to read what others read the posts are linked here.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Ghost Town - Rachel Caine (Book 9)

Life for Claire has reached a level of normalcy. As normal as she can considering she is living in a town ruled by vampires. Her parents have finally accepted her living with Shane, Eve and Michael. Things are going great with Shane. She's no longer afraid of Monica. Plus she is enjoying her work with Myrnin even if he is crazy and wants to put her brain in a jar. The town itself is uneasy and the relationship between vampire and human is volatile. So volatile that there are even factions among the vampires. The towns only hope is for Claire and Myrnin to fix the machine that keeps everything peaceful. However there is something wrong with it. Vampires are going crazy and humans are forgetting who they are. It's up to Claire to set it right before she forgets her life too.

If you haven't read any of these books then it's probably best that you don't read this review. This one is book 9 and it will be hard to review it without spoiling something.

It's been quite a while since I read one of these and it was nice to go back to. The stories aren't as strong as what they were in the beginning though. If anything the plot line has gotten a little crazy and has done so for the last few books. A machine that controls the town that originally contained the brain of a vampire. It's a bit hard to take and yet I keep reading. I love the ridiculous story lines and yet Caine doesn't make them seem so ridiculous.

The relationship between Claire and her friends is a little annoying now. All sugar and sweet. Even when they all don't remember each other that sweetness is still there. It's not them that I read them for. I read them for Myrnin. The epitome of the crazy scientist with a huge dose of vampire thrown in. Completely unpredictable. At one moment he is a sweet, almost child-like, old man who loves to wear vampire bunny slippers. The next he is one scary vampire who forgets the people around him. I love him and I hope that any future books contain lots of him.

The book starts with Claire finding a history book about the life of the founder, Amilie. I thought this was going to be a major plot line as we were reminded of the book several times. Instead it had very little importance and Claire used facts from it to prove to Amilie she was who she said she was. I hate it when books do that. Unless the book comes up in another story it was really pointless and Claire could have used other facts. Which didn't work anyway. It also wasn't explained how Amilie managed to regain her memory when everyone couldn't

Anyways, despite my criticism I still enjoyed it. I will probably go on to read the next one but there is no telling when that will be.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

This is a book meme by Sheila from Book Journey where we all share what we have been reading and what we plan on reading next.

Last week I read;

The Book of Dave by Will Self. A fantastically original dystopian. I highly recommend this.

Just now I am reading:

The Three Musketeers by Alenadre Dumas. I am reading this for the classics challenge. Loving it but I'm not that far into it.

Ghost Town by Rachel Caine. I decided to read a lighter book at the same time. This is one of the few YA that survived my cull. Not the best of the series but it is a light, entertaining read.

Next I plan to read;

The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham. I plan on reading this for the sci fi challenge. Not sure if I will get onto it this week but it will be my next book. Since reading Dreamcatcher this is now the oldest book on my tbr pile. Been a long time since I read a Wyndham so looking forward to it.

What have you been reading?

Saturday, 3 March 2012

The Book Of Dave - Will Self

Dave is a London cab driver who suffers from depression. When his wife leaves him for another man and takes his son with her his mental health spirals. He alternates between moments of rage and complete depression. In one of his rages he writes a book and in it he suggests an alternative way to live. A world where dads have equal time with their sons and the mummies know their place all mixed in with his views on cabbing. Years later in an England that has clearly been devastated by some kind of flooding this world has come into existence. Daves book was found and it becomes the way in which everyone lives. A world where the Driver is the priest and the cabbing Knowledge is the word of Dave. To speak against Dave is blasphemy and the punishment is a horrible death.

This is probably one of the most original dystopian books I have ever read. Such a fantastic idea, a whole world where the cab driver word is law and there is a whole religion based round it. The priests, called Drivers, even wear mirrors on their forehead so that they can see all that is behind them. I think that is one of the things that I loved about this book, it's originality.

I have to confess though that it did take some time for me to get into it. The book is written in chapters which alternate between present day and the future. Present day is easier to read but the future is written mainly in a dialect which mixes cockney and text. There is a glossary at the back but it doesn't cover everything. It's mainly for words that have been changed to fit in with the view of the cab driver. So it doesn't help all that much. As a result I did read two other books in between. This book really needs time devoted to it and I didn't have that when I first picked it up. I do worry though that anyone from outside the UK might have problems reading it. It would be a shame if that were the case because it really is a fantastic book.

Dave himself isn't the most likeable of characters. We aren't really meant to like him. He has natural obsessive tendencies. It started with cabbing and ended with his son to the extent that he wrote this book. He comes across as a bit of a slob and when seen through the eyes of his wife a little repulsive. He also has fits of rage which can end in violence. Not a man you could easily admire. Yet I felt so sorry for him. Clearly he had mental health issues for a long time and the health system failed him. Hi wife, whilst didn't deserve his treatment, was really the one who ruined his life. Mind you, if it hadn't been her it probably would have been something else. So whilst I didn't like him I felt so bad for him and hoped that he would get it together in the end.

As for the future world. It was certainly fascinating. I wouldn't say there was any particular character that I liked or disliked from that future. I must admit that I looked out more for the changes that were affected by Dave.

If you like a dystopian then I imagine you will like this. This one is certainly now high up on my list of favourites within that genre. Or if you just want to try something a little bit different then it's worth giving it a go.

Friday, 2 March 2012

February Overview/ Month Ahead

This has been a quieter month for me in terms of reading. I did predict it would be. Still a lot of books that I enjoyed. Plus I am almost half way to my goal for this year. Still considering upping that. Here's my list;

1. The Bell - Iris Murdoch
2. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? - Philip K. Dick
3. The Woods - Harlan Coben
4. Dracula - Bram Stoker
5. Dreamcatcher - Stephen King
6. Fatal Voyage - Kathy Reichs
7. Grave Secrets - Kathy Reichs
8. The Book of Dave - Will Self.

Choosing my favourite from this list is actually quite difficult. I am going to go with The Book of Dave though. It was probably the most unusual out of the lot (I've still to review it). My least favourite is easy - The Woods by Harlan Coben. I had so many problems with it and didn't particularly like the main character.

Challenge Overview

 For the classics challenge I read The Bell by Iris Murdoch. First time I have read any of her books and it certainly won't be the last. I absolutely loved it and loved her well rounded characters. Which was great since the prompt for February was character. I did mine on the first character to appear in the book which you can read here if you are interested. Next up for this challenge is The Three Muskateers by Alexander Dumas. I haven't had a chance to read much of it yet but I am liking it so far.
 Dracula by Bram stoker was the book I read for this challenge in February. This was the first of the re-reads from this list. I love Dracula. I was looking forward to reading it again and I enjoyed re-discovering all the things I loved about it the first time round. I highly recommend it. Next up is Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea by Jules Verne. I am looking forward to it as I read Around the World In 80 Days last year and very much enjoyed it. It was a great adventure story. Plus my edition has a fantastic cover.
 February's group choice was Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick. I decided to read this rather than one of my own choosing because I have been meaning to read it for a long time. It is probably the Best Philip K. Dick book I have ever read. Was great just reading a classic sci fi for a change. The book choice for this month is Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. I LOVE Atwood but I am going to give it a miss. I want to read some of my back log and so I am going to read The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham. Love that author too.
I didn't read anything for this in February as I had already read the biography choice in January. This months category is history which I have always enjoyed. Still going with authors I have never read before to try and get out of my comfort zone. Not that hard with the history category. I have picked Eleanor of Aquitaine by Alison Weir. I have been wanting to read a biography on her since reading She Wolves last year. Mind you if I really wanted to go out of my comfort zone I should have maybe stayed away from the royals.

That's it for my plans for this month. I hope to read Nick Harkaway's new book and the last of 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. We'll see though as The Three Muskateers is a bit of a chunkster and history books usually take me a little longer to read.

How was February for you? Any favourite books discovered?