30 day book challenge; day 28, the last book you read

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Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

I posted about this fairly recently and I DO keep meaning to do another post on it, which I’m hoping to get done tonight. It’s one of the greatest romances of all time and I absolutely loved it. I’m really getting into the Gothic and this book helped me see another side to it- it’s not all monsters and ghosts. It also kept me guessing- the mystery surrounding Thornfield was enthralling and I kept wondering if Jane and Mr. Rochester were going to get together (even though I’m not his biggest fan, as I’ve already mentioned). This is a great book for anyone, even if you’re not that much of a fan of the classics.

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30 day book challenge; day 27, favourite fiction book

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The Help by Kathryn Stockett

I was going to choose One Day by David Nicholls, but I’ve posted about that before and I suddenly remembered Kathryn Stockett’s The Help which I liked just as much- if not more. I read The Help after my friend recommended to me and I was so glad I did. This book completely absorbed me and it was incredibly difficult to put down. I couldn’t wait to get home from school every night just so I could read some more! It tells a very touching and realistic story of three women who dare to speak out in a town where reputation and ‘racial etiquette’ mean everything. I felt that Stockett captured the microcosmic feel of a small town perfectly and portrayed the difficulties faced by its three main protagonists. I found it interesting that Skeeter also struggles to cross this boundaries, since she is restricted hugely by her position in ‘polite society’ and her every move is scrutinised by her so-called friends (a feeling with which I myself am familiar!). This book also gave me an insight into the complex relations between African American servants and the families that they serve and it made me realise that although things were often unequal, there was also sometimes a great deal of affection from both sides- affection that was often complicated by matters of race. This is the great thing about literature- it helps us understand the world and its complexity and diversity. For that reason, I would definitely recommend The Help!

Have YOU read ‘The Help’? What did you think? I’d love it if you let me know!

30 day book challenge; day 25, favourite book that you read in school

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The Go-Between by L.P. Hartley

I studied this book last year in comparison with Ian McEwan’s Atonement, and whilst I disliked the former (though I hugely enjoyed studying it), I loved The Go-Between. It’s the story of one boy who becomes a messenger between a beautiful, upper-class young woman, Marian, and Ted Burgess, the farmer. Unbeknownst to Leo when he begins carrying the messages, the two are having a passionate affair, despite Marian’s engagement to a Viscount. The affair is filtered through Leo’s innocence and whilst he doesn’t understand the adult world which he is trying to inhabit, we do. Eventually Leo becomes traumatised by something that he witnesses and becomes a passionless adult, leading  a “life of facts”.

What I loved about this book was that, although very little happened, it was an absolute pleasure to read. Leo’s description of the ‘Golden Age’- sunny afternoons, leisurely picnics and cricket matches- is wonderful and creates a feeling of nostalgia and yearning for childhood. One bubbles along with Leo and his wonderful summer at the Maudsleys’, but constantly aware that the whole thing is balanced on a knife edge and it’s soon about to tip….

Which is YOUR favourite book that you’ve studied? I’d love it if you dropped me a comment to let me know!

30 day book challenge; day 24, book that contains your favourite scene

really struggled with today’s task. How am I supposed to pick one scene as my favourite, even within my favourite book? It’s impossible, just impossible. Plus, this is technically yesterday’s task but I’m rather behind… I don’t want to spend to long on this as I’m dying to do a post about Jane Eyre, but here goes…

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Dracula by Bram Stoker

Okay, so perhaps this isn’t my all-time favourite scene but it’s definitely one of them. For some reason I just love the moment when Mina and Van Helsing rise from behind the rock and point their weapons at Dracula and the gypsies, perhaps just due to the fact that it’s such a strong display of solidarity. I also really admire Mina’s strength (as I have discussed in previous posts) so perhaps it’s also partly that…

Which book contains YOUR favourite scene, and why do you love it so much? I’d love it if you let me know in a comment!

30 day book challenge; day twenty, a book you’ve purchased but never read

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Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf 

I bought this book just under a year ago, under the impression I was going to study it for my AS-level English Literature. I did intend to read it but never got round to it and then what my friends told me about it really put me off! I do mean to read it as it’s famed for being a very experimental work, since Woolf uses a stream-of-consciousness narration which I find intriguing. However, I haven’t get gotten around to it but I’m planning to read it over the summer- it’s on my ever-growing list! 

30 day book challenge; day 19, the raunchiest book you’ve read

Chosen (a House of Night novel) by P.C. and Kristen Cast

This was quite a difficult one as I haven’t really read any fantastically raunchy books. Lady Chatterly’s Lover and Fifty Shades of Grey are still on my to-read list and whilst Lolita was a definite contender, I’ve already used that for day nine. I’ve read lots of books with sex scenes but never anything that could be considered even close to an erotic novel and none of them have had masses and masses of sex. However I did remember that the House of Night series, which I was a big fan of a few years ago, did deal with sexuality and there was a lot of sex in the books. Chosen was probably the raunchiest, as this is the book where Zoey’s triple-boyfriend problems come to light and it’s one of the main themes in the book. She drinks from Heath and has dry sex with him on a bench, has her breasts fondled by Erik Night (whilst she drinks his blood) and makes out with and eventually has sex with (and drinks from) Loren Blake. The act of drinking blood is meant to be incredibly erotic and there’s a lot of it in the book! Zoey’s almost daily sexual activities mean that this book is actually pretty raunchy (and pretty hard to put down).

30 day book challenge; day 18, the book that you’re most embarrassed to say you like

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The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

Before I start, I would like to say that this is actually a fantastic book. It’s addictive, it’s a fun story and it’s easy to read. It’s fantastic especially for younger teenage girls and Cabot has a great writing style. However, it’s quite embarrassing to admit that The Princess Diaries (which chronicles the life of a fourteen year old girl) is one of your favourite books. It’s not exactly high-brow literature, it’s very girly and the Disney film makes it seem even cheesier than it already is. Still, I’d recommend it and I love it anyway!

Which books do YOU secretly love? Let me know in a comment!

30 day book challenge; day 17, the shortest book you’ve read

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Animal Farm by George Orwell

This may not actually be the shortest book I have ever read, as it’s hard to keep track. Obviously the books I read as a child were shorter but this must be one of the shortest adult novels on my bookshelf. Arthur Miller’s The Crucible it shorter but that’s a play so I wasn’t sure if it would count. Anyway, Animal Farm is a brilliant allegorical novel and I really recommend it!

(Sorry for the rushed post, I’m busy busy busy today!)

30 day book challenge; day 16, the longest book you’ve read

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Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.

This book is truly epic. It may be 1011 pages long but it certainly doesn’t feel like that- yes, it does capture ten years of Scarlett O’Hara’s life but it is also incredibly absorbing and you won’t want it to end. It depicts the extent to which war can change a nation and also a person. Scarlett starts off as shallow, selfish and manipulative but by the end of the book she is incredibly hardened, but also (in my opinion) a much more likeable character. You can’t fail to respect her strength and the way in which she works tirelessly to provide for her family. At the start of the book she was a largely unlikeable teenage girl but by the end of the book she is a flawed yet very admirable character. This book really is about change and its length doesn’t feel excessive, so don’t let it put you off!

What’s the longest book YOU’ve read? Let me know in a comment!

30 day book challenge; day 15, the first ‘chapter book’ you remember reading as a child

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The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark 
by Jill Tomlinson

I know for a fact that this is the first ‘chapter book’ I read as a child. I was in the first term of year two, aged seven and very excited to be put onto ‘free reading’. My friend, who was the first in our class to make the transition, read the book and because he read it, I wanted to read it. I was enthralled. This is the first book that really made me love reading. I liked the Biff and Chip books and reading them with my mum was fun, but I was desperate to get onto free reading and do it on my own. I remember feeling extremely grown up and proud of myself as I put the book into my book bag, but soon I realised that reading wasn’t about being a grown up. I was hooked by the story of Plop, the owl who was afraid of the dark, and his animal (and human) friends who helped him overcome his fear. This book really made an impression on me and I’ll always remember it for being the first that I truly loved.