Tag Archive: Austen


February Wrap-Up & March Plans

Well February is always a month that goes quickly, as obviously there are only 28 days, and this year that was the case too.  I had an absolutely amazing week in Uganda – I truly fell in love with Africa and with Uganda especially.  The music, the scenery and above all the people just made it the best week of my life.  I won’t bore you with loads of details but basically, my Dad set up a link with his school to a school near Masindi about 6/7 years ago and this year he went back with me, my sister, two students from his school and two teachers.  We saw all the amazing developments the link has made possible for the school in Uganda and we were hosted magnificently well.  We spent the second last day on a river cruise along the Nile to Victoria Falls, which was obviously mind-blowing.  We even saw elephants in the wild!
Unfortunately, while I was in Uganda there was such intermittent power and basically no alone time, so I barely read at all.  Since I came back, I managed to read a bit but my time was taken up with mounds of coursework!

Here’s what I read in February 2013:

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

Richard III – William Shakespeare

I know this is a bit rubbish as I aim to read at least three books every month.  This is fewer books than I read in January, but I do think I had good excuses!  My aim of 1200 pages a month was not fulfilled as I read only 637 pages.
I definitely did not keep up my 30 minutes reading a day, although I did read at least for a few minutes every day, even in Uganda when it was like midnight and I knew I had to get up at about 6!
I did take Big Bang with me to Uganda, but I have not read at least one science book every two months so I need to read 2 between March and April ideally!
I definitely fulfilled my at least one classic a month target as both the books I read were classics!
Lastly, I try to stay an active blogger and this was definitely a fail for February – I haven’t been that good at posting or commenting, but I hope I will improve in March.

I am not too disappointed as I did read 2 books and The Host (which I am reading now) is very long anyway.

Challenge Progress in February 2013:

The Classics Club :  12/60 books read  (2 this month: Pride and Prejudice and Richard III )

I reviewed my Classics Club list and have added a few alternatives as I am now a year into my list – details here!

I hope there may be some new challenges in 2013 that fit in with my reading plans for this year; if not maybe I will create my own!

Currently In Progress:

At the moment, I am rereading The Host and actually really enjoying it (I know it may not seem like my kind of book, but it’s actually really good!) I was hoping to finish it in February, then at the beginning of March but it is very long and may take a bit longer than anticipated!

March Plans:

Books: The next three books on my TBR shelf are Big Bang – Simon Singh, Le Petit Nicholas and 1984.  I need to read Big Bang and I would love to get to 1984 and Le Petit Nicholas as well, but this may not be possible!

Challenges:  If I do get to 1984, then it will count towards the classics club.

I really hope to find some more reading time in March – hopefully the Easter holidays will give me a few more hours in the day to play with…but with uni open days and exams looming, it may get worse before it gets better!!

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Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

pride-and-prejudiceTitle: Pride and Prejudice

Author: Jane Austen

Date Finished: 21/02/13

Re-Read? : First time read

Challenges? : Yes – The Literary Classics & The Classics Club

Overall: 4/5 – rather good

Surprisingly, I didn’t actually love this book, even though I kind of assumed that I would with it being so many people’s number 1 classic.  I have a feeling that this may have been down to the fact that I took way to long reading it, as my life got very busy before my trip to Uganda (which was absolutely incredible by the way).

The plot was a strong point for me, but only really towards the end of the book – I didn’t feel particularly gripped early on and everything seemed a bit silly.  Again, I think this is due to me only being able to read a few pages every night and just not getting into the story.  The last third of the book was much better and I did actually want to read on, even if I couldn’t.  Up until then, I would have probably only given it 3/5!

The characters are (obviously) very ‘Austen’, and for me, that means a bit over-exaggerated.  I do prefer characters to at least have some realistic attributes but it seems with Austen that they are all almost one-traited.  For example, Jane is known as being very kind and always looking for the best in people, so she has to be almost naïve and gullible throughout the story, which is just totally unrealistic.  Almost all the characters got on my nerves at least once during the book and I didn’t really sympathise or empathise with any of them, but I think this would change with a re-read.

The setting and language are very nice if you have time for appreciating them, but a few pages a day meant that I wasn’t getting very far because of the complex language and sometimes extensive description.  However, this is just a fault of my reading style and not of the writing itself.  Again, with a re-read I would expect to appreciate the language and setting a lot more.

Overall, I didn’t dislike the book at all, but compared to the expectations that come with being top of so many lists and the favourite of so many bloggers, I think it’s fair to say I was slightly disappointed.  However, it is going on the re-read list now and I am still looking forward to my next Austen for The Classics Club.  I am not sure what this will be yet, as I don’t actually have one on my TBR shelf but I am inclined to save Sense and Sensibility and go for Mansfield Park next.

January Wrap-Up & February Plans

I say this every month without fail, but January 2013 has flown by!  It was Christmas and suddenly it’s now February!  Well anyway, January was quite a busy month for me, as I had 5 exams which (mostly) went well thank goodness…I get the results in March!  Also, there was all sorts of crazy weather including a large dumping of snow which shut school…except I had to go in anyway for an exam! :O  I’m sure February will prove to be just as crazy and busy, as I am off to Uganda for 8 days next Sunday!  It is going to be an amazing and eye-opening experience for definite but also a 9 hour plane journey seems like prime reading time!

Here’s what I read in January 2013:

Villette – Charlotte Brontë

The House of Silk – Anthony Horowitz

The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien

This is good as I aim to read at least three books every month.  This is more than I read in December, which is good.  My aim of 1200 pages a month was fulfilled as I read 1340 pages.
For the first 3 weeks of January I had no problems keeping up my 30 minutes reading a day, despite my exams, but as soon as I started Pride and Prejudice, I couldn’t maintain this – I just can’t really get into it!
I need to read a science book next month to keep up with my target of at least one science book every two months.
I definitely fulfilled my at least one classic a month target as I read two – The Hobbit and Villette.
Lastly, I try to stay an active blogger and I have worked on this – commenting more and when not commenting still reading posts.  I also came across quite a few new blogs due to The Classics Club Readathon.

So as you can see, I have met pretty much all of my targets for January 2013, so hopefully I can keep it up in February.

Challenge Progress in January 2013:

The Classics Club :  10/60 books read  (2 this month: Villette & The Hobbit )

The Literary Classics Reading Challenge: 6/15 (Villette) (This challenge has been discontinued but it does no harm to keep track anyway!)

I have some more classics to add to my Classics Club list and I really need to do this before Uganda – I hope I have time!

Currently In Progress:

At the moment, I am reading Pride and Prejudice but it is taking me FOR EVER!  I think this is because I haven’t really had the time to dedicate to it that it deserves and the days have just slipped by.  I am really hoping to finish it before Uganda.

February Plans:

Books: The next three books on my TBR shelf are Middlemarch still, Richard III and Le Petit Nicholas.  I am leaving Middlemarch, but I am taking Richard III, The Host and Big Bang (Simon Singh) to Uganda with me so I have some varied reading.

Challenges:  When I do my Classics Club review, Richard III will count towards that and the next classic I plan for after that will probably be 1984 (a re-read).

Yes my reading has been a bit sparse over the last week or so, but the rest of January was really good for me, especially as I loved The Hobbit so much.  I hope you all discover some new favourites in February like I did in January. 🙂

2012 Wrap-Up & 2013 Plans

Well what an amazing year 2012 has been, both in terms of reading and non-reading.  Back in January and February, I was inspired to start my own book blog and I officially began in March 2012.  Since then, I have (pretty much) kept this blog going even when I was very busy/not reading much, which I am proud of.  I enjoyed holidays to Vienna, Majorca and of course the amazing Olympics.  There was the French Open, Wimbledon, Euro 2012 along with the US Open which was definitely my favourite sporting event (aside from the Olympics) as Andy Murray finally won and Laura Robson exploded onto the professional women’s tennis scene.  My exams and all the hard work really paid off when I got my results at the end of August and I have embraced sixth form life since I began in September as well.  The Classics Club started and has grown massively and the book-blogosphere has continued to expand.

What a load of great things; 2013 has a lot to live up to!

I have several reading goals for 2013:

  • 1: Better my 2012 books total.  I read 34 books in 2012 so that means I need to read at least 3 books a month to better it.  Ideally I would like to read 4 books a month, but that is not always possible, especially as many of the books I read are quite long and take me a while!
  • 2: Better my 2012 pages total.  I read 14070 pages in 2012 so that means I need to read an average of 1173 pages a month to better.  Maybe I should aim for at least 1200 pages a month to make it a nice round easy target…
  • 3: Spend at least 30 minutes a day reading.  Now this may seem quite a small amount, but during busy school time 30 minutes is very long!  I want this to be 30 straight minutes with no checking the internet, watching TV etc at the same time.
  • 4: Keep up my science reading.  I get some science magazines through school, which I don’t blog about, but I have decided to try and read at least 1 science book every 2 months.  Hopefully this target won’t be that hard to meet.
  • 5: Keep up my classics reading.  I have been pretty good this year about sticking to this (8 classics in 10 months) but I want to make sure I still read at least one classic every month, even though I know this can be hard with classics being so long and taking much longer than ‘normal’ books to read.  Also, I need to do a Classics Club review very soon where I add some more titles to my list!
  • 5: Stay an active blogger.  By this I mean post about almost every book I read; continue to read other blogs; participate in challenges and events; reply to comments and comment myself.  My main blogging goal however is to read some new blogs, as there are so many people signed up to The Classics Club now and I very rarely end up reading posts by people I don’t know!

I hope you agree with my goals (feel free to suggest more or prompt if you feel I am not fulfilling them)!  I will probably look back over them as I do my monthly wrap-ups and hopefully I will find that I am sticking to them.

Classics Club Readathon January 2013

The next thing I need to talk about is the first Classics Club Readathon which is taking place this weekend.  For us in the UK it is actually from 1.00 pm on Saturday to 1.00 pm on Sunday, but I am probably going to be reading on off all weekend as much as possible, as I am pretty busy with revision and other things at the moment!  I really hope you can join us, as a whole load of bloggers all reading together at the same time is a pretty amazing experience.  It’s times like these that we have to appreciate the internet and the international connections it allows us to make!

I think I will still chug away with Villette for the readathon, as I never really enjoy having more than one book on the go at once!  I have been reading Villette since mid-December and I am about 2/3 of the way through.  I would really like to get as much read as possible before I go back to school on Monday!
After Villette, I have planned The Hobbit, The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz and Pride and Prejudice for January.  I feel this may be slightly ambitious if I don’t rush through all of these, but I can still hope!  In December I only read 2 books and no classics, so I need to up my game if I am to stick to all my new goals!

I really hope you all have a great 2013 that is full of books and reading and feel free to link up your yearly wrap-up or 2013 goals posts in the comments here, as I would love to see what you have got planned, especially if you are reading this and you don’t think I have come across your blog yet!

End of Year Book Survey: 2012

Book Survey 2012Jamie is hosting the End of Year Book Survey again and I thought I would have a go this year, as it seemed a good way of reflecting on all the amazing books I have read in 2012.  My own quick wrap-up and goals for next year will follow shortly, I expect, but for now….


Best In Books 2012

1. Best Book You Read In 2012? 

I read several books in 2012 that I awarded 5/5 to but my absolute best book of 2012 has to be To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.   Yes, it was a re-read, but it is my favourite book of all time and was amazing this year as well!

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

I read The Great Gatsby back in January before I started book blogging and was expecting great things from it – so many people study it, I thought it must be really good.  However, I couldn’t get into it and I was relieved that it was so short!  I did put it on my re-read list though, as I assume I missed something.

 3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012? 

I was very surprised (in a good way) with Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell: I didn’t know what to expect from this book but it was so amazingly intricate and imaginative that it quickly became a firm favourite of mine.

 4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?

I am going to split this one: the book I recommended most to book bloggers, I think is a tie between To Kill a Mockingbird and Cloud Atlas.  Secondly, the book I recommended most to non-bookish people was The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, as I thought them a great series for non-readers to enjoy reading with.

 5. Best series you discovered in 2012?

I didn’t really discover many new series, which is a shame; 2012 seems to be a year where I read a lot more standalones and classics compared to normal where I really enjoy reading series.  I hope in 2013 I will read more of the series I have already started over the past few years.
I did discover The Hunger Games for the first time and also I enjoyed re-reading Stieg Larsson’s The Girl who Played with Fire and The Girl who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest.

 6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?

Well, I could ramble on this one!  I definitely enjoyed my first Jane Austen (Emma) and my first Stella Gibbons (Cold Comfort Farm).  I also discovered that I love Simon Singh‘s way of writing about maths/science too when I read Fermat’s Last Theorem in October.

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

I wouldn’t say this is out of my comfort zone, but in 2012 I did start reading science/maths novels for the firs time so I guess that counts (again Singh’s Fermat’s Last Theorem and E=mc² by David Bodanis).  Also I read my first books in French – Harry Potter 1 and Fantastic Mr Fox, which was totally new but great.

 8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?

I could say either book 1 0r 2 but I will go for book 2: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins – I just couldn’t put it down at all.

 9. Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year:

I try not to re-read books within 18 months of their first reading so here are the 2012 books that I put straight on my re-read list: The Great Gatsby, David Copperfield, Wuthering Heights, To Kill a Mockingbird, Dracula, Cloud Atlas.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?

Well a lot of the books I read had really nice covers but here are my favourites:

Emma

Great Expectations

Fermat-Last-Theorem

11. Most memorable character in 2012? 

I think this would have to be Lisbeth Salander from Larsson’s books; who is more unique and interesting than Lisbeth?

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?

I think I would go with David Copperfield by Charles Dickens for this – amazing writing by Dickens.  (My second choice would be Great Expectations anyway, so good on you Charles!)

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012? 

I will say To Kill a Mockingbird again, as I just loved it and liked all the characters and felt as though I really knew them. 

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read? 

This is one is definitely The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown: everyone went crazy about this book a couple of years ago, so when I saw it in a charity shop in summer 2011 I bought it…then it took me until summer 2012 to read it!  Although, I do quite like the tradition I seem to have developed of Dan Brown as summer reading…

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2012? 

“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read.  One does not love breathing.”  16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012?”    Scout Finch – To Kill a Mockingbird

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.  Until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”     Atticus Finch – To Kill a Mockingbird

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012?

The longest was David Copperfield at a whopping 1263 pages!! The shortest was Fatastique Maître Renard at only 118 pages.  Numerically, my average book length was about 400 pages, which is pretty good, I think.

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!

There were definitely lots of gruesome and upsetting scenes in The Kite Runner, which was the first book I read this year (before I started book blogging).

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).

I think that the relationship between Clare and Henry in The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger is very unique and also very touching and changes and develops throughout the book.

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously

The Kalahari Typing School For Men by Alexander McCall Smith was definitely the highlight of January 2012: I adore those books and I am very sad that I haven’t read one since then (I have all the way up to book 10 on my TBR shelf, they just haven’t come around yet).  Watch out for lots more of AMcCS in 2013!

20. Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:

Lots of the classics I’ve read this year have been due to various bloggers and lists on websites, but there are some books that I was bought by my friends: And This is True by Emily Mackie, The Shadow of the Wind by Carol Ruiz Zafón, Submarine by Joe Dunthorne and The Crow Road by Iain Banks.

 Book Blogging/Reading Life in 2012

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2012?

Well, I only started book blogging this year so any book blogs are new to me!  I love them all and I am going to try and be a bit more proactive and discover some more in 2013.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2012? 

Oh um maybe my review of Great Expectations where I rave about re-reading as well.

3. Best discussion you had on your blog?

Some of my non-bookish posts had lots of discussions – notably my posts about my exams, results and holidays; I think it’s important to share other parts of our lives too.

4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else’s blog?

I can remember discussing why books in translation or books in other languages aren’t as popular over at Amanda’s blog.

5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

I don’t think there are many book blogger events in England?  And probably none outside of London so I haven’t been to any, however The Classics Club is definitely a main feature of the book blogging world that I am proud to be a member of.

6. Best moment of book blogging in 2012?

For me, it would have to be the 1st March 2012 – the day I wrote my first post on adamsbibliomania!

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

My most popular posts by views are often those that people come across when searching on the internet, for example The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon.  My most popular post in terms of comments and activity was my original sign-up to The Classics Club.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

Actually my Reading Habits post didn’t seem to get read much…maybe it was a bit text-dense or something.

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

Definitely the new Penguin English Library books this year – very addictive and attractive!

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I wanted to read a classic a month after signing up to The Classics Club in March and in 10 months I have read 8.  That’s not too bad and it’s only November and December that I didn’t manage.

Looking Ahead…

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2012 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2013?

Oh so many!  But I am halfway through Villette so I am determined to finish that in 2013.  Also I really need to read The Hobbit.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2013?

I’m really looking forward to loads of books in 2013: Pride and Prejudice, more AMcCS…

3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2013?

I really just want to improve – so that means do better than last year!  Who knows if this is a possibility or not with my heavier workload in sixth form etc but I think 35 books in the year is a good target to have 🙂

Yes, I realise that it is already the 9th of December (how did this happen?!) but I have only just now had time to wrap up for November!  Of course, I am very busy at the moment and will only get busier, but nevertheless, I read 3 books in November.

Here’s what I read in November 2012:

E = mc² – David Bodanis

Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell

The Visible World – Mark Slouka

This is good as I aim to read at least three books every month.  This is the same name number as I read in October.  It is a bit of a mix with a science book, an absolute favourite and a let down!  However, my target of at least one classic every month was not fulfilled in November.

Challenge Progress in November 2012:

The Classics Club :  8/60 books read  (None this month)

The Victorian Challenge 2012:  4/6 books read  (None this month)

The Literary Classics Reading Challenge: 6/15 (None this month)

Still need to read Middlemarch and Villette for The Victorian Challenge but I think Villette alone will be enough of a challenge!

Currently In Progress:

Currently in progress is The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams, which technically I haven’t read before, but I have listened to all of the radio series countless times so it is kind of a re-read I guess. I also have lots of science magazines on the go.

December Plans:

Books: The next three books on my TBR shelf are Middlemarch still, Villette by Charlotte Brontë and The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz.  I have already mentioned I am leaving Middlemarch until I can focus on it, but I do hope to get to Villette.  I did want to read Pride and Prejudice this Christmas as well…this may become an early January read.

Challenges:  If I do get round to Villette, it would both count towards all 3 challenges.  Pride and Prejudice would count towards two (not Victorian) and I hope to read at least one of these two books.

I am actually reading every day, but when you are busy it is hard to read more than a few pages – you don’t have time for more!  I am really hoping that I can do my usual balancing of revision and reading in the Christmas holidays this year, as I have exams (again) in January.

Every week, The Broke and The Bookish poses a category for book bloggers to post their ‘Top Ten’ in that week’

This week is a free week for us to decide on a category for ourselves.  I saw that Jillian had picked the top 10 books she was looking forward to reading from The Classics Club and I thought this was a great idea, so I have ‘borrowed’ it!

For my full Classics Club list and details about the challenge, click here.

  1. Villette – Charlotte Brontë:  I am most looking forward to this because everything I’ve heard about it suggests I will love it – I loved Jane Eyre, really enjoyed Wuthering Heights and people have said it’s ‘full of French’ which is a language that I love!
  2. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens:  I have been looking forward to re-reading this for a long time, as I didn’t really get it the first time (I was too young).  On top of that, I bought a stunning edition the other day (a new Penguin English Library edition!) so I can’t wait to get into it.
  3. To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee:  This is (possibly) my favourite book of all time so I can’t wait to read it again and see if I enjoy it even more (or maybe less).
  4. King Lear – William Shakespeare:  I saw this play at the Tobacco Factory Theatre in Bristol in February and it was absolutely amazing.  I really loved reading Much Ado About Nothing, so I am anticipating my next dose of Shakespeare.
  5.  The Moonstone – Wilkie Collins:  I don’t seem to have read a negative word about Collins recently and it’s so exciting to get into a new author – especially if there is a great mystery to look forward to!
  6. Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons:  Again, I am going by recommendation – I have heard this book is hilarious.  It is not too long, hopefully not too hard to read and I have a feeling it will be a pleasure to read.
  7. Middlemarch – George Eliot:  I am just as scared of reading this mammoth volume as I am excited!  It is so long I might have to stagger reading it through the summer, although I did plan to do that with David Copperfield and loved it so much I just powered through!  I am excited about getting into a new author and considering it is number 1 on Daily Telegraph’s list of ‘100 novels everyone should read’, I have great expectations for it (see what I did there?!).
  8. Nicholas Nickleby – Charles Dickens :  As I’ve already mentioned, I loved David Copperfield so can’t wait to get stuck into another massive Dickens!  This one is meant to be quite funny too (I think?) so I should enjoy it.
  9. Suite Française – Irène Némirovsky:  This book is all about Nazi occupied France and I think I’ll find it really interesting.  Also, I bought a lovely edition (Vintage 21) in Vienna so it looks amazing on my shelf!
  10. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen:   I recently read Emma and really enjoyed it, so I am looking forward to getting stuck into some more Austen – I have bought Pride and Prejudice and plan to read it next Christmastime.  Also, I will finally be able to say I have read this iconic book!

April Wrap-Up and May Plans

So it is the end of my second month of book blogging, and I am still going.  To be honest, I haven’t read as much in April as a) I did in March b) as I would’ve liked to.  This is, as I’m sure many of you are aware, because my exams start in TWO WEEKS TIME! SCARY!  So as you can guess, I have been doing lots of work and revision and less reading.  I have 19 exams by the way ( 😦 ) and they stretch from mid-May all the way to the end of June!  Well, escapism in the form of reading will certainly be on the cards for me.

Here’s what I read in April 2012:

Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – Mark Haddon

Emma – Jane Austen

This is good as I aim to read at least three books every month (and these were all great books).  I read slightly less in terms of numbers of books than in April but not massively.  Also, my target of at least one classic every month was fulfilled in April by Wuthering Heights AND Emma!

Challenge Progress in April 2012:

The Classics Club :  3/60 books read  (Wuthering Heights – Emily BrontëEmma – Jane Austen)

The Victorian Challenge 2012:  1/6 books read  (Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë)

This is great as Wuthering Heights counted for both challenges I am involved with and I tacked my first Austen too (there are quite a few on my Classics Club list.  I am on target for both challenges as I only need to read a Victorian every 2 months and a classic every month to complete these challenges on time.

Currently In Progress:

The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafón:  I am not very far into this book yet, but from the first few chapters, it seems as though this is definitely a book for me: a good mystery, a foreign setting, a focus on books…what more could I want?!

I still have Harry Potter À L’École Des Sorciers – J.K. Rowling, Living French and The Languages Book by my bed, for whenever I feel like a bit of languages reading.  I take Harry Potter À L’École Des Sorciers with me for any chance I get to read in school (not very likely with upcoming exams) and I dip into the other two for about a chapter once a week.  It is nice to read something completely different now and again.

May Plans:

Books:  the next three books on my TBR shelf are Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins, The Girl who Played with Fire – Stieg Larsson and The Subtle Knife – Philip Pullman.  I am not too sure about how long I will take with The Shadow of the Wind, with all my other commitments, but I should finish Catching Fire and maybe The Girl who Played with Fire too.

Challenges:  in regards to challenges, I don’t have any books planned for April that will count for The Victorian Challenge 2012, and none for The Classics Club either!  This isn’t that great but I am well on track for both so it is not really a big deal.  Great Expectations is next up for both challenges, but I am currently deciding which edition to buy…the new Penguin English Library editions are very appealing, I have to say.  You can access the paper for The Classics Club here.

How is everyone else getting on with The Classics Club and have you got any favourite editions of Great Expectations to recommend?

Emma – Jane Austen

Title: Emma

Author: Jane Austen

Date Finished: 29/04/12

Re-Read? : First time read

Challenges? : Yes – The Classics Club

Overall: 4/5 – rather good

I feel like it to me a very long time to read Emma – I can barely remember starting it.  I think this is because a) it did take me quite a long time to read  b) so much has been going on in my life recently, there hasn’t been much room for anything else  c) I read it whilst on holiday in Vienna and that seems like a very long time ago.

Anyway, this book was definitely a pleasant introduction to Jane Austen for me.  It wasn’t as hard to read as I feared it may have been, but was certainly not something that I could just speed through.  Although there was not a Dickensian amount of description, it certainly didn’t have the fast moving plot-line that induces you to steam through the pages.

I was really really impressed by the plot of Emma.  I honestly thought that it would be a bunch of snobs waltzing around talking about marriage and money and not a lot else.   While this is certainly true to an extent, the depth of feeling and unpredictability of  the storyline were a pleasant surprise.  Although I did suspect that Emma would end up with Mr. Knightly from about chapter 4, it was intriguing to see how long it actually took her to realise that.  The various twists and turns were always surprising to me and I feel compelled to read other Jane Austen novels in the future.

In terms of characters, I was also impressed.  There were quite a few similar characters and at the start of the book I did feel slightly confused and overwhelmed as to who was who, who was married to whom and what everyone was like.  However, as the story progressed I had no trouble remembering who every was and there were some characters who vividly stood out.  Jane Fairfax was intriguing, Mr. Woodhouse slightly irritating, Mrs Elton insufferable (as Emma might say) and many others who I don’t think I’ll forget in a hurry.

The prose, as would be expected of an accepted classic, was superb and (for me) surprisingly readable for a text written two hundred years ago.  It is always a pleasure, I find, to read a book by someone who, like Austen, Dickens, the Brontës etc, writes impeccable prose – you never frown at a badly worded or badly structured sentence, and I just love the old and proper English that they all use.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading Emma and although I took it at a leisurely pace (nice way of saying ‘slowly’) it did have me interested.  I couldn’t really award 5/5, as I wasn’t exactly gripped and occasionally just had no desire to read it – too much like hard work to read the language sometimes.

But yes, it has made me please I chose so many Jane Austens for my Classics Club list – I will be on the look out for some nice copies of Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion, ideally to read around Christmas of this year – it seems like an Austeny season to me!

Every week, The Broke and The Bookish poses a category for book bloggers to post their ‘Top Ten’ in that week’s category.

This week the category is ‘Top Ten Books on Spring TBR List’ with the guidance basically to list the books you are most looking forward to reading this Spring.  Since I am participating in The Classics Club and The Victorian Challenge 2012 this year, I hope to make a significant dent in these lists this Spring so there are quite a few classics on today’s list.

For me, the year is divided equally into its four seasons: June, July & August are Summer; September, October & November are Autumn; December, January & February are Winter; leaving March, April & May as Spring.  I don’t know why I have always though of seasons this way, maybe it’s to do with how school is structured, by for today’s list, I am focussing on books I am really looking forward to reading in the remainder of March, April and May.

Oh, and these are not in order – that would be much too difficult!

 

1. Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë.  I am so looking forward to this book and I am reading it next after I’ve finished And This Is True.  I really loved Jane Eyre, which was my first Brontë, and even though I’ve had good advice from Caro that the Brontës were all very  different, I just can’t wait to get back to 19th Century rural England.  Also, Wuthering Heights count for The Classics Club AND The Victorian Challenge so I am killing multiple birds with one book-shaped stone!

 

2. The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafón.  I got given this book for my birthday last September by a friend who had heard it was good.  My friend went on to buy his own copy and read it before I could (my book backlog is rather ridiculous) and has said that it was absolutely amazing.  With that kind of recommendation I am expecting great things from this book and am looking forward to sinking into Barcelona!

 

3. The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins.  Well there is certainly a lot of hype surrounding this series at the moment – I had a free period in the library on Monday and of the roughly 15 people in there, three people were reading (one being me) and the other two were both reading one of The Hunger Games books.  With the film coming out in 3 days time, no wonder people are going crazy.  My sister borrowed the first book from her friend and read it in one weekend, which is quite unusual for her, and we are both eagerly awaiting the delivery of our own copies of the trilogy! I just can’t wait to find out what is all the fuss about?!

 

4. Emma – Jane Austen.  I haven’t read any Austen before (shocking, I know!) and so I am really excited about getting into this, my first.  I chose Emma because my music teacher said that this was her favourite Austen so it seemed as good a place to start as any.  I don’t really know anything of the story and nothing about the characters, so it should be really fun to read a book without any previous knowledge (something quite rare for me).  It has been on my TBR shelf for a good six months or so, and has finally worked its way to near the top and it also counts for The Classics Club, so all in all I think it deserves to be read now!

 

5. The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown.  I have already read Digital Fortress and Angels and Demons by Dan Brown and I enjoyed them both (solid 4 / 5).  However, this seems to be the novel that took the world by storm so I am looking forward to reading it.  I read Angels and Demons (the preceding novel to The Da Vinci Code) whilst on holiday last summer, so it seems right that this one might tie in nicely with my holiday to Vienna this Easter, although that means getting through a couple of other books pretty quickly!

 

6. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens.  This is a re-read for me – I read it in 2010 but I think I missed something as I found it hard to get into and nothing special.  To be fair it was my first Dickens and I was quite young, so now that I am more experienced with Dickens (I’ve read Hard Times, Oliver Twist and David Copperfield since then) I am hoping to enjoy this much more the second time around.  I enjoyed the BBC adaptation at Christmas and I am intrigued to see if the new film that is being made will bring something new to a story well known by so many.  Another bonus is that it will also count towards The Classics Club and The Victorian Challenge!

 

7. The Girl Who Played with Fire – Stieg Larsson.  This is another re-read.  I absolutely loved the Millennium Trilogy when I read them for the first time back in summer 2010 and I have already re-read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo last December and loved it again!  Insanely gripping plots – I can’t put these books down so I am really looking forward to reading the second instalment of Lisbeth’s life again.  If you haven’t read these books yet then I seriously seriously recommend them – such vivid characters and instantly captivating plots!

 

8. Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell.  I really don’t know much about this book, aside from the fact that it has several different plots (?).  It was recommended to me by the conductor of the regional wind ensemble I play during the holidays as one of the other ensembles he conducts played a piece of music composed to accompany it and he said it was a great read.  If anyone has read this, I would love to know what you thought of it!  I have put it on this list as I know nothing about the book or the author and that is scary but also exciting!

 

9. The Subtle Knife – Philip Pullman. I really loved the His Dark Materials books when I first read them due to the inventive plot, great characters and the way they deal with serious questions.  I re-read Northern Lights in December and really enjoyed it again, so I am looking forward to getting into the second in the trilogy, The Subtle Knife, a lot.  It is quite a short and easy to read book so I am hoping to polish it off relatively quickly!

 

10. To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee.  This is (probably) my favourite book ever!  For my GCSE in English Literature we had to study this book as our novel and it was so great for me – I loved reading it and learning all the quotes was a pleasure!  This book says so much and says it so well, it a must read for everyone!  I think this will be the 3rd time I have actually read it through as a book, but I have listened to the audiobook many times and when I was studying for English I just kept it around and dipped in and out, reading whichever bit was relevant to the area I was revising.  If you have not read this book you must buy it and read it now!!  On top of all that, it counts towards The Classics Club too – what’s not to love?