Tag Archive: Macbeth


October Wrap-Up and November Plans

Wow it is actually ridiculous how quickly these months are going by; how is it November already?  Anyway October was good fun for me – we had our school charity RAG week and a sixth form social (I think I am still recovering even now!) and this week’s holiday was definitely needed.

October was a pretty good reading month for me considering how poor September was!

Here’s what I read in October 2012:

Fermat’s Last Theorem – Simon Singh

The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest – Stieg Larsson

Macbeth – William Shakespeare

This is good as I aim to read at least three books every month.  This is 2 more than I read in September!  It’s also a good variety as it’s one non fiction, one fiction and one classic.  Also, my target of at least one classic every month was fulfilled in October by Macbeth.

Challenge Progress in October 2012:

The Classics Club :  8/60 books read  (Macbeth)

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

The Literary Classics Reading Challenge: 6/15 (Macbeth)

Need to read Middlemarch and Villette for The Victorian Challenge but I doubt I will manage both – Middlemarch beat me when I tried at the beginning of September.

Currently In Progress:

Currently in progress is Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, which I thought would be a bit of a struggle but so far I am really enjoying it and keeping on top if it.  Also I am reading E=mc² by David Bodanis as my current science book; his prose is not quite as good as Simon Singh’s so far.

November Plans:

Books: The next three books on my TBR shelf are The Visible World by Mark Slouka, Middlemarch still and Villette by Charlotte Brontë!  Cloud Atlas is pretty big and I am reading two books at the moment so I can’t see myself getting much past The Visible World after them.

Challenges:  If I do get round to Middlemarch or Villette, they would both count towards all 3 challenges.

September was such a dismal reading month for me that I didn’t even bother with a monthly wrap-up so I am glad that I am out of my reading rut.  I am just cautious of pushing myself back into it by forcing Middlemarch upon myself again.  It just seems too big and obscure (I don’t know anything about it and people don’t seem to talk about Eliot as much as say Dickens or Austen) for my life at the moment – maybe it will be something I adore but only if I get time to appreciate it properly; a holiday read next year?  Who knows but I don’t want to completely discard it yet as so many people love it.  Don’t judge a book by its cover size?

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Macbeth – William Shakespeare

Title: Macbeth

Author: William Shakespeare

Date Finished: 30/10/12

Re-Read? : Second time read

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

Overall: 4/5 – rather good

Ah it feels so nice to be reading Shakespeare again.  Before this I had only read one play – Much Ado About Nothing (which I love) – last January and before that, I had only studied Macbeth at school in 2010.  I enjoyed Macbeth even more than when we read it in school and I can’t wait to get onto my next Shakespeare.

On my Classics Club list, there are (currently) 11 Shakespeare plays.  This is probably going to change soon as I am reshuffle my list after I have read 12 books (20% of the list) to reflect new books I have acquired/heard about since I came up with the original list.  But anyway, I am still looking forward to my next Shakespeare, which will probably be Romeo and Juliet.

The plot in Macbeth is definitely interesting.  The way events happen that you really don’t expect is sometimes spooky and often shocking.  Despite the fact that I studied it a couple of years ago, I still couldn’t remember more than the basic storyline, so it was good to see what was happening alongside the main events.  I think the trickery of the witches is very clever, especially the way their prophecies seem so ridiculous that Macbeth will always be safe but they come true in a very unexpected and sneaky way.

The characters were what I focussed on when I studied Macbeth, especially Lady Macbeth herself.  I wrote an essay titled ‘Lady Macbeth – “Fiend-like Queen”, how far do you agree?‘.  All my little highlightings and annotations are still in my copy which was nice and reminded me of some of the quotes I used.  Aside from Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, Duncan and Macduff, the characters in Macbeth aren’t particularly memorable and I sometimes got confused between all the lords/generals/noblemen etc.  However, Shakespeare’s plays were meant to be performed so maybe I wouldn’t have got confused if I were watching it.

The setting in old Scotland is miserable and dreary, as intended and all the castles and battles just add to the quite ferocious nature of the story – there is so much murder involved.  Shakespeare’s language was not actually too difficult for me, which I found quite surprising, as many people struggle with it and I know when I have been to see Shakespeare I sometimes lose the meaning whilst trying to understand the words, if you know what I mean.  This was no problem so that’s encouraging and means I will read more Shakespeare in the future.  I have just ordered a copy of Richard III because I am going to see it next year.  I am also going to see Two Gentlemen of Verona which should be great.

Overall I would recommend Macbeth as a good Shakespeare to start out with as it’s not too complex or long but is a great story nevertheless.  I would definitely go and see it in the theatre if it was on near me.  A secure 4/5 but I can’t I see myself reading it for a third time for quite a while.

Title: Fermat’s Last Theorem

Author: Simon Singh

Date Finished: 21/10/12

Re-Read? : First time read

Challenges? : No

Overall: 5/5 – absolutely brilliant

This is the first major science book I have read and I really enjoyed it.  Now that I’ve started my a-levels and have started to think about university, a broad knowledge of the subjects that interest me is becoming expected.  This means (for me) reading around maths and chemistry and this book is almost mandatory for anyone interested in maths to read.  Indeed, I read somewhere ‘you would stand out only by not reading this book’!

However, do not be fooled…you do not need any mathematical background to enjoy this book.  Obviously if maths is abhorrent to you, it may not be the best story to go for, but anyone who has basic levels of mathematics won’t struggle at all, as anything complex (such as elliptic curves or modular forms!) is either explained very clearly so ‘normal’ people can understand, available in an appendix at the end for ‘mathsy’ people (a-level ish standard) to have a look at, or just ignored completely, as we don’t need to be able to comprehend the mathematics to understand the story.

The length of the book was perfect – enough to be a decent read but nothing was laboured over and at the end I felt like I had a really solid overview of the history of Fermat’s Last Theorem and also of number theory in general.  There were interesting chapters on ancient mathematicians such as Pythagoras and some of the attempted proofs of the theorem that I had no idea about.  It is even more compelling to read because you know everything is true!

Singh’s prose is exemplary: he tells a brilliant story and makes complex mathematical concepts easy to understand.  He is very skilled.  It is often the case that authors may possess one of these two important traits and brilliant stories are ruined by confusing calculations or very well-explained concepts are immersed in an awfully dull story.  Singh manages to be the best of both worlds. I will be reading another of his books, Big Bang, soon and I have already ordered another, The Code Book.  If you are interested in some not-too-heavy sciencey-reading, then Simon Singh is definitely a really good place to start.

I don’t think I will re-read this book particularly soon, despite enjoying it so much as there is not the same ‘re-experience’ of characters and a deep plot that you get with a novel.  Next up for normal reading is Macbeth by Shakespeare and I think after that I might start my next science book, E=mc² by David Bodanis.  I have still got The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest by Stieg Larsson on the go as well, and I am really enjoying that too.

August Wrap-Up and September Plans

Hello everyone…I can’t believe it’s September! 2012 seems to be flying by.  I like September because starting back at school is quite exciting and it’s my birthday!  Also, the Autumnal weather is a  favourite of mine.  Anyway, in August I really enjoyed the Olympics, a holiday to Majorca and brilliant results.  It has been great but I am ready to go back to school and have some structure returned to my life!

August was a great reading month for me, but not quite as good as last year…there was just too much going on!

Here’s what I read in August 2012:

The Crow Road – Iain Banks

The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown

Harry Potter à L’École des Sorciers – J.K. Rowling

Dracula – Bram Stoker

This is great as I aim to read at least three books every month.  This was the same number as I read in July.  Also, my target of at least one classic every month was fulfilled in August by Dracula.

Challenge Progress in August 2012:

The Classics Club :  7/60 books read  (Dracula)

The Victorian Challenge 2012:  4/6 books read  (Dracula)

The Literary Classics Reading Challenge: 4/15 (Dracula)

Really good progress in all the challenges this year.

Currently In Progress:

Currently in progress (as of yesterday) is Middlemarch by George Eliot.  I read one page late last night and then put it down as I was exhausted…I just hope this isn’t an indication of how I will respond to all 800+ pages of it!

September Plans:

Books: The next three books on my TBR shelf are The Girl who Kicked the Hornets’ NestMacbeth, and Cloud Atlas.  Middlemarch is so vast that I very much doubt I read anything else this month…and maybe next too!

Challenges:  Middlemarch will count for all 3 and Macbeth will count for 2 challenges.

Just though I would mention that it has been 6 months since I started blogging!  That is shocking – I still feel very much like a newbie and I would just like to say thank you to all subscribers/readers/commenters for your insight, support and welcome; you have all made book-blogging a very enjoyable experience for me, which is what I hoped for when I started out back at the start of March.  Thank you all 🙂