emmaloui.se

The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid. - Jane Austen

100 Book Challenge? – It Definitely Was!

Posted on

Well I set my self a lofty total of 100 books in 2012, which turned out to be a little too high. I made it to 67, but I’m still quite happy with that. I started off the year with the best intentions and I managed to keep up until about June. And then Cameron moved back from Huddersfield and I was round at his house or going out more often, and the books kind of stopped flowing (I only read one book in July). I managed to pick it up again a bit later in the year but it wasn’t enough.

I’ve really enjoyed it though, I’ve tried a lot of books this year that I would never have thought to read thanks to recommendations from awesome people, sci-fi and fantasy are two genres that I’ve never really read before but will definitely be trying again.

I saw this ‘Best of Books 2012’ survey on one of the book blogs I read, so I’ve pinched it for my challenge review.

Best Book You Read In 2012? (You can break it down by genre if you want)
I think this comes down to two. For pure magicallity and captivation, I’d pick The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. It was completely different to anything I’d ever read, but the story of little Faina was both mesmerizing and heartbreaking at the same time. In terms of hard-hitting plots and something that stuck in my head for long after I finished reading, I’d pick When She Woke by Hillary Jordan. The plot wasn’t easy to read, but extremely well written and brilliantly thought provoking.

Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen would definitely qualify for this. It was the first book I read this year and didn’t really set the tone right for the other 99 books I planned to read. Since I’ve read it I’ve heard a lot about Franzen and how good he is supposed to be, but I found this book way too long and I just couldn’t get any connection to the characters. I’d had high hopes for the book but it left me feeling very disappointed.

Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012?
This would definitely be Century Rain by Alastair Reynolds. I was leant this book with the assurance that it was really good, but I’d never read any sci-fi before and I had no idea what to expect. But it was amazing, fast paced and full of nail biting moments that kept me gripped until the end. I’ll definitely be reading more Reynolds this year.

Book you recommended to people most in 2012?
This would probably be The Hunger Games (I, II and III). I loved it when I read it and a few people I know have also read it and enjoyed it too, including my dad who usually reads sci-fi and crime books, but loved how easy to read the trilogy was.

Best series you discovered in 2012?
This would probably be The Hunger Games too. I loved it when I read it, and the only other series I have read this year were by Charlaine Harris (Lily Bard and Aurora Teagarden), which were less enthralling that I expected.

Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?
I’ve discovered so many new authors this year that it’s hard to pick just a few, but I would probably say Kristin Cashore, Vanessa Diffenbaugh, S.J. Watson and Hillary Jordan.

Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
There’s two books that I would pick for this. Century Rain by Alastair Reynolds and Graceling by Kristin Cashore. Both new genres, but both completely amazing and left me definitely wanting to read more sci-fi and fantasy.

Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?
This was definitely When She Woke by Hillary Jordan. The plot was so shocking and so different from what I’ve read before, but also so heart-wrenching that I just couldn’t put it down once I’d started reading.

Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year
Considering the length of my ‘to-be-read’ list, I don’t think I’ll be re-reading any books next year. Not because I don’t want to, but because I’ve got so many more books waiting for me!

Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?
If we’re talking about favourite appearance of a book, I’d say either The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, with it’s lovely black-edged pages and beautiful artwork, or When She Woke by Hillary Jordan with it’s striking picture of a girl staring at you, combined with the bright red-edged pages.

Most memorable character in 2012?
This would have to be Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit, although this is probably combined with the fact that the film has just come out too. But I loved that I got to know the character before I saw the film, whereas I’ve already got a fairly good picture of The Lord of the Rings, so when I read it earlier it won’t be my own creation.

Most beautifully written book read in 2012?
Definitely The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey, absolutely enchanting.

Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012?
This is a hard one. I’d say it was probably The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom. It made me think a lot about the impact you can have on other people with even the smallest actions.

Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read?
Definitely A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I’ve really got no idea why I’ve never read this before but it was great to finally read it.

Favourite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2012?
This would definitely be from The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom: “Learn this from me. Holding anger is a poison. It eats you from inside. We think that hating is a weapon that attacks the person who harmed us. But hatred is a curved blade. And the harm we do, we do to ourselves.

Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012?
The Longest books was Century Rain by Alistair Reynolds at 640 pages. The shortest was A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens at 104 pages.

Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It?
Not much really springs to mind for this question, but I did have to talk to my friend straight away at the end of Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, because it didn’t end how I expected it to!

Favourite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).
This would definitely be the relationship between Victoria and Grant in The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh.

Favourite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously
Definitely Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris – one of my favourite authors and the latest book in the Sookie Stackhouse (True Blood) series did not disappoint.

Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else?
Two books: Century Rain by Alastair Reynolds and The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom.

So that’s my 2012 reading challenge over, not quite as successfully as I hoped but I’ve discovered some amazing new authors and tried books that I never would have dreamed of trying. Next year, I’m not going to aim for a specific number, but I do have in mind a lot of books that I want to read. Some longer ones that I couldn’t read this year (like LOTR and Anna Karenina), and some classics that I want to try, like Little Women etc. I’ve got a list of the top 200 books as voted by BBC readers. The list was voted in 2003, but it contains a lot of books that I do want to try, so my aim is to fill up this list a bit. I’ve read 49 from the list so far, so lets see how far I can get!

If you had a reading challenge last year, or you’ve set yourself one this year, let me know in the comments below!

Review: Jonathan Franzen – The Corrections

Posted on

photo-14So this book was the first of my 100 book challenge, and it took a lot longer than it should to read it, serves me right for picking such a long book to start off with! I need to read one book every 3.5 days on average, but here we are on the 6th January, and I’ve only just finished it.

It took me a long time to get into this book, and I found it really hard to keep up at some points. The book jumped around a lot between the present time and the past, with no indication that the time had changed. I found myself a lot of times having to go back a couple of pages to make sure that I hadn’t missed something obvious.

My favourite books are the ones where I feel connected to the characters, but I just didn’t get any kind of connections to the characters, except Alfred and Enid, who were just such a lovely couple that you couldn’t help but feel sympathy for them and their situation.

As well as jumping forward and backward through time, there was also a lot of switching between characters, so at times it was hard to get a good flow from the story. Most of the book seemed to be about the back story for each of the characters, and about halfway through the book, it suddenly switched to a set of people that hadn’t been mentioned for the last 300 pages. I found it quite strange that it switched so suddenly without an explanation, although it did all became clearer later.

The ending of the book really disappointed me. After the copious amount of detail in the rest of the book, the ending seemed very rushed, and I was left with a feeling like after I read the last Harry Potter book – it felt like the last chapter was added on as an afterthought. The book was already at over 600 pages, so I don’t think it would have harmed to just add a little more detail.

All in all, I would say the book was okay, but definitely not one of my favourites, and probably not one that I will read again for a while.

2-5

Now Reading: Jonathan Franzen – The Corrections

Posted on

photo-14This is another of the books that I got for Christmas – part of a set of two by Jonathan Franzen. The descriptions of them on The Book People looked really good, so I’m really glad my brother bought them for Christmas. The book was the winner of the National Book Award and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and came with this quote on the back:

“A novel of outstanding sympathy, wit, moral intelligence and pathos, a family saga told with stylistic brio and psychological and political insight. No British novelist is currently writing at this pitch”.

That’s quite a lot to live up to, but it does look very interesting. It’s a long book, at more than 600 pages, so there’s no chance I’ll finish it before the new year, so I guess that this will count as the first book in my 100 book reading challenge. Let’s start as we mean to go on!

Now Reading: Maria Àngels Anglada – The Auschwitz Violin

Posted on

I got a few books for Christmas this year:

  • The Auschwitz Violin by Maria Àngels Anglada
  • Room by Emma Donaghue
  • Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
  • The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
  • The Lily Bard series by Charlaine Harris

photo-11It was a tough choice to decide which to read first, so I’ve decided to read them in the order I opened them. First up is The Auschwitz Violin by Maria Àngels Anglada, which Cameron bought for me. I love reading books about the war; two of my favourite books are World War Two (The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and The Diary of Anne Frank). I’ve got two days off, then it’s back to work for 3 days and then a 3 day weekend, so I’ve got plenty of time to get through a couple of books.

Now it’s time to take a look at the January Sale email from The Book People. I had the catalogue through the door a couple of days ago, and there were some really good deals in there.

I think someone needs to confiscate my credit card…