Tag Archive: The Subtle Knife

July Wrap-Up and August Plans

You may have noticed I’ve been a bit quiet this last week or so – not posting/reading/replying much and I think that’s fair.  I have been watching the Olympics non-stop – it is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see a home games and I am making the most of it.  We are off ourselves on Friday and I will try and get a post up to describe what we’re going to see!

I have had a good reading month in July, I think.  Considering I was camping for a week at the start with my friends (didn’t get chance to read) and have been pretty busy so 4 books is great!

Here’s what I read in July 2012:

The Subtle Knife – Philip Pullman

The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons

This is great as I aim to read at least three books every month.  This was one more than I read in June.  Also, my target of at least one classic every month was fulfilled in May by To Kill a Mockingbird AND Cold Comfort Farm!”

Challenge Progress in May 2012:

The Classics Club :  6/60 books read  (To Kill a MockingbirdCold Comfort Farm)

The Victorian Challenge 2012:  3/6 books read  (None this month)

The Literary Classics Reading Challenge: 3/15 (To Kill a MockingbirdCold Comfort Farm)

Really good progress in The Classics Club and The Literary Classics, just need to stay on top of The Victorian Challenge over the next few months.

Currently In Progress:

At the moment I am slowly making my way through The Crow Road by Iain Banks, which I can’t say I am enjoying, but I am not very far in – too early to say I definitely don’t like it!

August Plans:

Books: The next three books on my TBR shelf are The Girl who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest, The Da Vinci Code and Dracula. These are all pretty big and so is The Crow Road so I doubt I will get through them all.

Challenges:  Dracula is the only one of these which will count for challenges – all 3 actually so maybe I should prioritise that one…

Hopefully you are all enjoying some downtime in August, be it by enjoying the Olympics by not 🙂

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.

Title: The Subtle Knife

Author: Philip Pullman

Date Finished: 11/07/12

Re-Read? : Second time read

Challenges? : No

Overall: 5/5 – absolutely fantastic

This is another re-read for me – I really do like re-reading! (You can read some of my thoughts about it in this post) and I am so glad I have read this again.  The His Dark Materials series was another childhood favourite of mine, and I especially enjoyed listening to the trilogy on audiobook.  I wasn’t sure whether the magic would still be there for me, after a few years, but since I re-read Northern Lights (the first in the trilogy) back in December 2011, I have been itching to get on with the others – they were just as gripping as ever.

I feel like even though I have heard the story countless times, and I know what’s going to happen, there is still something new I can take from the books, which is great.  The joy of re-reading.

The plot is great and quite intricate for a children’s/young adult book.  I love the way we are introduced to a couple of new worlds but not all at once and the way that the characters we all love manage to find their way back into the story pretty quickly.

The characters are completely brilliant and (although the plot is amazing) the reason I gave this book 5/5.  They are all just so iconic.  Lyra and Will are the perfect pair and completely unforgettable, but the supporting characters like Mrs Coutler, Serafina Pekkala, Lee Scoresby, Grumman and all the rest are all superb as well.  You know the characters are great when you can remember all about them after not reading a page of the trilogy for years!

I also like the way Pullman writes and I find it so easy to read – I flew through this book.  There are no grammatical errors either, which is always good!  I love the way Pullman weaves in bits of made up language and sayings etc from the different worlds (although I don’t really get how they all can converse in English..).

The settings are very well depicted and you can really feel yourself there.  I would seriously recommend this book to adults as well as teenagers/children, because there is more to the series than meets the eye – the whole book is quite damning of Christianity and the Catholic church in general and poses quite a few questions about religion.  Some Christians have said this writing is sacrilegious but I found that it strengthened my faith, as obviously there are gross exaggerations and it is a work of fiction!  

Whatever your religious standpoint, this series is great and in my opinion really worth a read.  I can’t wait to read The Amber Spyglass (the final instalment) but I will try and keep it back until I really can’t hold on any longer – I will appreciate it all the more that way!

June Wrap-Up and July Plans

There has not been much action on my blog this week as I have been super busy – I finally finished my exams on Wednesday; had induction days for sixth form on Thursday and Friday; a party on Friday evening; concert rehearsals on Saturday and then concert and then post-concert meal on Saturday evening; special church service Sunday morning and then packing for camping.  Yes, I am tired.  Yes, I am going camping on Monday… in England …wish me luck!

I have read an average amount in June, I think.  It has been hard to find time to read when everything has been so hectic and I hope I will have a bit more time in July.

Here’s what I read in June 2012:

Great Expectations – Charles Dickens 

Submarine – Joe Dunthorne

Mockingjay – Suzanne Collins (post to follow asap.)

This is good as I aim to read at least three books every month.  This was the same number of books as I read in May.  Also, my target of at least one classic every month was fulfilled in May by Great Expectations, which I really enjoyed.

Challenge Progress in May 2012:

The Classics Club :  4/60 books read  (Great Expectations)

The Victorian Challenge 2012:  3/6 books read  (Great Expectations)

The Literary Classics Reading Challenge: 1/15 (Great Expectations)

As you can see, I killed 3 challenge-birds with one stone, which is often going to be the case, as I am involved in 3 classics-based challenges.

Currently In Progress:

During camping, I am planning to read The Subtle Knife, which is a re-read of an old favourite for me.  Also, if I have time I will read The Time Traveler’s Wife but I don’t know what sort of reading time I will get – there are 25+ of us going camping!!

June Plans:

Books:  the next three books on my TBR shelf are The Timetraveler’s Wife; To Kill A Mockingbird and The Crow Road.  As I have already said, I don’t know how much time I will spend reading this month, but hopefully I can make a start on some of these titles.

Challenges:  To Kill A Mockingbird will count towards The Classics Club and The Literary Classics so that’s good..also considering it’s my favourite book, I think I will enjoy July a lot!

I hope you have all had a productive June and are going to enjoy some down time in July; you deserve it!

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?