Tag Archive: David Copperfield


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 🙂

Title: Great Expectations

Author: Charles Dickens

Date Finished: 22/06/12

Re-Read? : Second time read

Challenges? : Yes – Victorian Challenge 2012 & The Classics Club & The Literary Classics

Overall: 4/5 – rather good

I knew I needed to re-read Great Expectations at some point, because I was too young to really appreciate/understand it the first time I read it, a few years ago.  Basically, I think I got the fundamentals – the basic story and who the characters were, but I remember it being a struggle to read and now I know I was just that bit too young.

Also, the edition I read a few years ago was an old Penguin paperback I found in a second hand book shop with lots of writing in, as the previous owner had obviously studied it at school.  Now, I am someone who needs books to be “nice”.  Note, I don’t say “new” because there is nothing wrong with reading a second (or third or fourth) hand book; but I have real issues with broken books, print that is too small and many other things that make reading harder than in needs to be.  Therefore I thought I would treat myself to a nice new copy, and this was just the time that the Penguin English Library was launched.  What a coincidence – one of their first books was Great Expectations, so that was that!  You can see how lovely it looks.

So I was all prepared to read.

The plot in Great Expectations is something I thought I essentially ‘got’ from my first read of this book.  However, I was wrong.  There were so many twists and turns that I had completely missed the first time and even though I assumed I got the basic story, I didn’t really get that either!

I was really impressed by the story Dickens tells in this books – before, I thought it was a good idea but it was just another ‘hard-done-by boy grows up to be good with disappointments’ but it was so much more than that.  Especially in the second half of the third volume, I could not stop reading.

The characters are another thing I presumed I understood already.  Sadly, no – I was wrong again!  Yes, I remembered Pip, Miss Havisham, Estella and Joe, but I had completely missed Herbert, Biddy, Orlick and many more.  The characterisation was perfection, as I have come to expect from Dickens, and again all these characters are completely unique.  It is truly amazing to think that one person thought up all these different people and got them absolutely spot on – you can see and hear them all right in front of you.

Of course the prose is flawless and the setting, especially the marshes, is completely unique.  The reasons for me concluding with a 4/5 and not a 5/5 are twofold.  Basically, I compared how I felt about reading other similar(ish) books that I really loved, such as Jane Eyre and David Copperfield and I realised that this didn’t spark my reading in the same way.  Until the last 100 pages, I was going quite slowly (for me) and didn’t have the drive to plough on with the story.  Secondly, I didn’t warm to the characters as much as I did with David Copperfield.  I understand that this is obviously a less ‘nice’ book and that there are many unpleasant characters, but I didn’t feel the motivation to read all about the minor characters in Great Expectations as I did in David Copperfield.  No-one rivalled Peggotty/Betsey/Mr Dick.

So overall I really did enjoy Great Expectations, especially towards the end.  Also, it completely proves my case for re-reading.  You can get so so so much more out of a book the second or third or fourth time you read it.  I had missed so much the first time round.  Re-reading lets you experience more because you can see beyond the major plot and characters – you get to really appreciate the author’s skill and craftsmanship.  So yeah, everyone should re-read!

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!

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 I’d Play Hooky With’, meaning your top ten books you would skip school or work for.  There are many days when I think I’d rather stay at home and read my book than go to school, but I’ve picked 10 for the moment.

1. Harry Potter – J.K. Rowling.  The Harry Potter books are those ones which you can just sit down and read for hours without noticing how the time flies, perfect for a devouring a book in a day.

2. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë.  The reason I picked Jane Eyre is simply because I can just imagine curling up with this book on a cold Wintry day and reading for hours.

3. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams.  If you are feeling down or stressed or upset, then there is nothing better than diving into the hilarious and witty HHGTTG, which is one of the most feel-good series I have ever come across.

4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson.  This series is enthralling and the first book is the most gripping of the three.  I couldn’t put it down both times I read it, so it’s a good one for a couple of hours on non-stop reading on a day off.

5. The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins.  I haven’t read these books yet (I am starting tonight actually, as Wuthering Heights is a bit heavy and my sister is nagging me non-stop) but from what I hear, many people find them ‘unputdownable, which suggests they would be good for a day off too.

6. David Copperfield – Charles Dickens.  The reason I picked David Copperfield, is because it is one of those classics that you really have to get into, and what better way to get into a more laborious book, than when you’ve got hours to spare during the day?

7. Romeo and Juliet – William Shakespeare.  I am talking about all of Shakespeare’s plays here (I only picked Romeo and Juliet as I am reading that one next) when I say that they are quite short which means they are great for playing hooky with because you would probably be able to finish one in a day, which is always really rewarding.

8. The Number 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency – Alexander McCall Smith.  Another feel-good series that can pick you up and transport you to somewhere completely different (Botswana in this case) and make you forget about the pressures and stresses in your daily life.

9. To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee.  As many of you know, this is one of my all time favourite books (so maybe I am biased) but I do think it has severe readability and is one of those books that is a real pleasure to read.

10. Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens.  I remember reading this Dickens last Christmas and really enjoying it, but I think that was because I could spend a couple of hours every day reading it, so I highly recommend playing hooky with this one.

Yes, I am starting The Hunger Games tonight, as I am nearly halfway through Wuthering Heights and finding it quite hard going and I fancy a bit of easier reading.  I will let you know what I think of both books in due course.

Title: David Copperfield

Author: Charles Dickens

Date Finished: 09/03/12

Re-read? : Fist time read

Challenges? Yes – Victorian Challenge 2012 & The Classics Club

Overall: 5/5 – absolutely fantastic

Wow!  It is Charles Dickens’ bicentenary this year and there has been a lot of hype due to modern BBC adaptations of Great Expectations and The Mystery of Edwin Drood, along with various programmes about all aspects of Dickens’ life.  Although Great Expectations was great when I read it a few years ago (and I plan to re-read it very soon), it has nothing on David Copperfield.  The depth of detail in the plot and the characters is exquisite!

The aspect of the plot I loved the most was the way there were so many different stories going on.  Instead of just one main storyline, Dickens creates several key plots all interweaving with each other and the characters.  Also, the way the book traverses David’s life from pretty much beginning to end was enjoyable for me – it felt as though you went through many different volumes as David grew older and older.  I guess this isn’t a far cry from how it was originally published – in groups of a few chapters at a time.

One of the best things about this novel, in my opinion, was that David was certainly not perfect.  He was treated so cruelly by the Murdstones that I immediately sympathised with him, and throughout the story he seems to be trying his best to do the right thing.  This is an echo of Oliver in Oliver Twist, but David is much more ‘real’ than Oliver, I feel.  Where Oliver is almost saintly, David still makes mistakes, especially the way he holds Steerforth in firm reverence despite Agnes’ warnings and how he marries silly little Dora when Agnes is obviously (to us) his perfect match.
The characters of David Copperfield include some of my all-time favourites: Betsey Trotwood with her idiosyncrasies and strong opinions made me laugh out loud at some points.  Also, Mr Dick brought some light relief and I don’t know who couldn’t admire faithful old Peggotty for her steadfast loyalty and compassion.
Some characters did annoy me, such as Dora who was so irritating and silly and Emily who seemed quite unrealistic to me.

Of course, the prose Dickens uses is flawless; I felt as though every word and every sentence from Chapter 1 to Chapter 64 was chosen with precision and care.  It is not often that you read a book as flawlessly written as this.

To wrap-up, I am extremely proud of myself – I have never read anything this long or challenging before, at what’s more I absolutely loved it.  I can tell it will be one of those books that I will continue to read and re-read throughout my life without ever growing tired of.

Image

I have just passed the 900 page mark in my 1200 page copy of David Copperfield by Charles Dickens.  I am experiencing a slight lull in the grip of the plot – I am not as compelled to power through chapter after chapter as I was through much of the first half of the book, but this just may be due to severe tiredness and work overload on my part.

I know Dickens is renowned for his stunning characterisation and this is probably the aspect of David Copperfield I love most.  I find myself instantly sympathising, empathising, opposing, despising or whatever emotion Dickens is trying to instil in us from the first line of description or speech on or from each character. They are all unique and I think this is key to my love of this novel so far (although I do have to say that Dora is really annoying me at this point – am I hard hearted and intolerant??!)

Ideally, I would love to finish this book by next weekend but I am not sure how much work I will be getting (exam season is on the way 😦 ) but hopefully if I don’t finish I’ll be nearly there.  Coming up next I expect to read some more modern lighter stuff before enjoying some Bronte around the Easter Holidays.

Oh, and if you haven’t read this book then do! It is (so far) unforgettable and a pleasure to read.