Tag Archive: Challenge


Hello everyone, I feel as though I haven’t done a weekly wrap up in ages!  So much has been going on recently.

It seems like years ago that I finished my exams (it’s only been a couple of weeks) and then there was sixth form induction, which was good and reassured me that I have picked the best subjects for me (French, Chemistry, Maths, Further Maths and Physics).  Then I went camping with my friends in Bude, Cornwall last week which was very eventful but great fun and really worth all the rain and mud (British summer is literally non-existent at the moment).  Then there were the Wimbledon finals which were bittersweet to watch – Murray lost but they all played very well and the matches were very exciting.
This week I have been trying to relax as much as possible, although I have been into school a lot due to my maths A2 lessons carrying on.  Also, it was the school concert on Wednesday evening in which I played the clarinet with the orchestra and my jazz group and also sang in the chamber choir; that was great.

Yesterday I had my first actually completely free day in a very long time, so I took myself off to Bristol to do some [well-earned] book shopping!  I returned with three new Penguin English Library titles – The Moonstone, Gulliver’s Travels and The Warden, to go with the two I already own – Great Expectations and The Mill on the Floss.  I ADORE this series of books…as you can probably tell.

Luckily I have been able to get some good reading done this week! 😀  I finished The Subtle Knife earlier this week – my post is here – and now I am onto The Time Traveler’s Wife, which I am enjoying so far.

The Literary Classics Reading Challenge Friday Progress:

I feel as though I have been doing pretty well in this challenge – I signed up at the very end of May with my 15 books and so far I have read one – Great Expectations which I greatly enjoyed.  I have been on a slight classics break since then because I fancied reading some completely different stuff but I am ready to go back to the classics soon so up next is To Kill A Mockingbird, a re-read of my all-time-favourite book! I can’t wait!

After To Kill A Mockingbird, my aim is to read at least 5 more classics from my list – hopefully more, but I think Middlemarch will take me a looong time!  Good luck to everyone else participating in this challenge – it is great to read your thoughts on the classics.

If anyone else wants to know more  about this challenge click here for all the information.

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

This week the category is ‘Top Ten Books on your Summer TBR list‘ and even though I’m very busy (3 exams tomorrow), seeing as I haven’t posted in a while, I thought I would have a go at this topic.

I LOVE summer reading!  It is (for me) the best time of year to read lots of books – I usually get through a fair amount when I go on holiday, but also when I’m off school at home in the summer too.

Here are (some) of the books I am really looking forward to reading this summer (not in order):

    1. The Timetraveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger:  I haven’t read this kind of book in a while, so it will be nice to have some easier reading (compared with the classics) and my sister really enjoyed the film (I refused to watch until after the book) and said it was a great story, so that’s encouraging.
    2. To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee:  Yes, I know it is on practically every TTT post I write, but it is (probably) my favourite book ever, so why should I not be really excited about re-reading it?  Again!
    3. The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest – Stieg Larsson:  I am re-reading the Millennium Trilogy this year (I have already read TGWTDT and TGWPWF) and hugely enjoyed both of them again, so I can’t wait for the epic final instalment to this unique series.
    4. Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons:  I talked about this on my TTT for The Classics Club post as well, and as I said then, it is meant to be very funny and light-hearted so will be very nice to settle down with in the garden in the sun (well maybe the sun).
    5. The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown:  Even though Brown’s books are ridiculously unrealistic, they do make your heart pound.  I read Angels and Demons last August so it seems right to read The Da Vinci Code this summer.
    6. Middlemarch – George Eliot:  Another Classics Club read and a scary one.  I am looking forward to the challenge, because so many people sing Eliot’s praises, I really want to give her a try, even if Middlemarch is scarily long!
    7. Fantastique Maitre Renard – Roald Dahl:  Well, even though I am currently in the middle of German and Latin exams (I finished my French exams a few weeks ago) I am still looking forward to reading my next French children’s book!
    8. Mockingjay – Suzzane Collins:  The Hunger Games Trilogy has had me completely hooked; you can read my thoughs on book 1 here and book 2 here.  I just know that I will power through this volume too and to be quite honest, I cannot wait!
    9. Villette – Charlotte Brontë:  we are getting a long way down my TBR shelf now, but you never know – I might have a very voracious summer!  I loved Jane Eyre and am seriously craving some more Brontë right now!
    10. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – Douglas Adams: I ADORE this series and the radio episodes are perfection (I have all 5 series on CD – thanks Dad!) and I thought it is only fair if I read the books soon as well.

Are any of these books on your summer TBR lists too?

May Wrap-Up and June Plans

Three months book blogging and I am still going strong.  I am really grateful to everyone who has followed/reads my blog and I hope you feel like it’s a two way connection and that I am just as interested in your posts as you are in mine, because believe me I am! 🙂

May has been a very hectic month for me: earlier on, I had my Last Day and Prom which were great and then the exams kicked in…which were not so great.  (You can catch with my exam progress in my Friday Quick Wrap-Up posts.)  But in terms of reading, it has been quite a good month and I am very pleased with what I have achieved.

Here’s what I read in May 2012:

The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins

The Girl Who Played With Fire – Stieg Larsson

This is good as I aim to read at least three books every month (and I really enjoyed these books).  This was the same number of books as I read in April.  Also, my target of at least one classic every month was not officially fulfilled in May, a I haven’t read any classics, but I read two in April so it works out fine anyway.

Challenge Progress in May 2012:

The Classics Club :  3/60 books read  (None this month)

The Victorian Challenge 2012:  2/6 books read  (None this month)

This isn’t amazing but doesn’t really matter, as 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.

In other challenge news, I have recently signed up to Ali’s Literary Classics Reading Challenge, which ties in very nicely with the other challenges I am participating in.  Here is my sign up post

Currently In Progress:

Great Expectations: I am re-reading this as I don’t think I understood it enough to enjoy it when I struggled through it a few years ago, and so far (about 20% through) that is proving to be right – I don’t seem to remember anything except the basic story.

I still have Harry Potter À L’École Des Sorciers – J.K. Rowling, Living French, The Languages Book and Italian For You by my bed, for languages reading, but with my Latin and German GCSEs not complete, this is quite a rarity at the moment (I don’t want to get my languages muddled).  Yes, I am going to teach myself basic Italian grammar and vocabulary over the summer and hopefully enter for a GCSE in it before I leave school – I just think it’s a great language!

June Plans:

Books:  the next three books on my TBR shelf are Submarine – Joe Dunthorne, The Subtle Knife – Philip Pullman and The Time-Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger.  Great Expectations may take me a while, although I do have a week’s break this week so (even though levels of revision are high) I should get some reading time.  Therefore, I will probably get round to Submarine and The Subtle Knife, at least.

Challenges:  Great Expectations will count for all three of the challenges I am involved in – The Classics Club, The Victorian Challenge 2012 and The Literary Classics Reading Challenge, which is great.

I hope you’re all looking forward to some (hopefully) warm weather this month and can take some time out to relax with a good book!

The Literary Classics Reading Challenge

Here are the challenge details:http://alident.org

  • Choose how many classics you want to read in a year
  • List them on your blog
  • Link up here
  • Check in, win prizes, enjoy your reading!

These are my books for this challenge:

  1. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens (Finished 22/06/12)
  2. To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee (Finished 20/07/12)
  3. Dracula – Bram Stoker (Finished 25/08/12)
  4. Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons (Finished 26/07/12)
  5. Middlemarch – George Eliot
  6. Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier (Finished 27/06/13)
  7. Romeo and Juliet – William Shakespeare
  8. Villette – Charlotte Bronte (Finished 06/01/13)
  9. The Hound of the Baskervilles – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Finished 27/03/13)
  10. Suite Française – Irène Némirovsky
  11. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen (Finished 21/03/13)
  12. 1984 – George Orwell (Finished 28/05/13)
  13. The Mill on the Floss – George Eliot
  14. Macbeth – William Shakespeare (Finished 30/10/12)
  15. Catch-22 – Joseph Heller

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?

March Wrap-Up and April Plans

March has been quite a good month in terms of reading for me, as I got quite a lot of reading done despite having lots of schoolwork and other commitments.  Also, as I started this blog on March 1st, I have completed my first month of book blogging!  I have to say I am really enjoying the structure and discussion blogging has brought to my reading and most of all how brilliant is has been to get to know other bloggers from all over the world.  I have felt really welcomed by you all so thank you very much!

Here’s what I read in March 2012:

David Copperfield – Charles Dickens

The Understudy – David Nicholls

And This Is True – Emily Mackie

The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

This is good as I aim to read at least three books every month (and I really really enjoyed David Copperfield and The Hunger Games).  Much better than February where I technically didn’t finish anything as I was reading David Copperfield all month!  Also, my target of at least one classic every month was fulfilled in March by David Copperfield.

Challenge Progress in March 2012:

The Classics Club :  1/60 books read  (David Copperfield – Charles Dickens)

The Victorian Challenge 2012:  1/6 books read  (David Copperfield – Charles Dickens)

This is also quite a good show as one book counted for both the challenges that I’m involved in and it is one of the longest in both.  I am on target for both 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:

Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë:  Despite a somewhat shaky start, this book has definitely picked up for me; whilst it is still rather miserable, I feel like I am beginning to understand the book more.  Also, I am intrigued as to what will happen next (I am just over halfway through).

Also, I still have Harry Potter À L’École Des Sorciers – J.K. Rowling by my bed, but I am just dipping into that one now and again for half a page or so, as I am going to Vienna next week so now would not be the best time for practising French!  I usually read this at school anyway, so with it being the holidays, I don’t foresee much progress with this book.

April Plans:

Books:  the next three books on my TBR shelf are The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time – Mark Haddon, Emma – Jane Austen and The Shadow Of The Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafón.  I hope I will be able to at least start all three of these in April, but that does depend on how quickly I finish Wuthering Heights and how well I can balance reading with revision for my summer exams.

Challenges:  in regards to challenges, I don’t have any books planned for April that will count for The Victorian Challenge 2012, but Emma will count for The Classics Club, which is exciting.  I am so impressed by Jillian’s hard work with The Classics Club and how she has even set up a paper for it too!  We are all very grateful for all her efforts!

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?

 

The Classics Club

Jilian is hosting a long-term challenge called The Classics Club (see here for more information) and I am excited to announce my participation!

 

The idea is to unite all bloggers who are passionate about classics and make reading and discussing classics easier and more fun.  Every participant has to list at least 50 books at their blog, set a date to finish them all by and blog about them as they go.

 

Here are the basic details:

  • choose 50+ classics
  • list them at your blog
  • choose a reading completion goal date up to five years in the future and note that date on your classics list of 50+ titles
  • write about each title on your list as you finish reading it, and link it to your main list

 

You can access my list of 60 classics here. I have decided to read 60 classics in 5 years (which averages at 1 every month).   I am really excited to get going and a huge thanks to Jilian for organising such a brilliant challenge.

Victorian Challenge 2012

I am very excited about participating in my first reading challenge – the Victorian Challenge 2012 hosted by Laura’s Reviews

These are the rules:

Challenge Details

1. The Victorian Challenge 2012 will run from January 1st to December 31st, 2012. You can post a review before this date if you wish.

2. You can read a book, watch a movie, or listen to an audiobook, anything Victorian related that you would like. Reading, watching, or listening to a favorite Victorian related item again for the second, third, or more time is also allowed. You can also share items with other challenges.

3. The goal will be to read, watch, listen, to 2 to 6 (or beyond) anything Victorian items.

Although I do intend to watch the modern films of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, my main aim for this challenge is to tackle some Victorian literature.

These are the books I plan to read:

1. David Copperfield – Charles Dickens (Finished 09/03/12)

2. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte (Finished 04/04/12)

3. Dracula – Bram Stoker (Finished 25/08/12)

4. Middlemarch – George Eliot

5. Villette – Charlotte Bronte

6. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens (Finished 22/06/12)

I think this list touches on some of the key Victorian authors and will be challenging but feasible and I can’t wait to finish David Copperfield so I can cross the first book off my list.