6 May 2012

Our Challenge: Books 4-14

I've been reading steadily for the reading challenge my friend and I set ourselves for this year. We're now nearly four months in and a third of the way through. I should now be on my 18th book, I'm on my 16th, and a week ago it seemed to be an impossible task. However bring on the brilliance that is waking early and reading short books and I find myself having read 5 books in a week, something I can't remember doing ever!

It seemed to be about time I summarised and collected the links for all these books into one place. If you're interested in seeing my full thoughts, my friends thoughts or donating some money to the charity we're raising for click on the links.

Book 4: Austerlitz- W.G.Sebald

This book was better than I'd been expecting but still wasn't to my taste. I didn't hate it, but nor could I truly unravel a plot from it. If asked whether someone should read it I think I'd probably say don't bother. 

Book 5: The Riddle of the Sands - Erskine Childers

This book has a very slow first hundred pages but it quickly picks up the pace after that. Once it got moving it was a good adventure story in the true 'for boys' style which predominantly dates from the 19 30's 40's and 50's. The worst thing belonging to this book was a heavy emphasis on sailing terms, something I found it hard to understand.

Book 6: Hideous Kinky - Esther Freud

This book was a quick and easy read. Largely without plot, although there's a vague thread of growing up too young. It was worth reading.

Book 7: The Blind Assassin - Margaret Atwood

This was a very good if very long book. I was captivated and would definitely recommend it. It's full of well developed characters with massive flaws. It develops gradually but reels you in from the very first line. 

Book 8: Tom Jones - Henry Fielding

Tom Jones is both long and dull. Not a book to undertake unless you have a lot of time on your hands and some serious self hatred. It talked in circles and drew out the tiniest plot points for a long as possible. 

Book 9: Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency - Douglas Adams

This was funny. Hilarious in fact. If you've ever read any of Adam's other novels you'll know what you're heading for in advance. It was easy to read, a delight in fact.

Book 10: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Ken Kesey

A brutal look into the mental institutions of the 50's and 60's. It was a good novel well written and it evoked a true empathy for many of the characters. When one of the characters kills another, rather than feeling anger you feel the same sort of sympathy you feel for lenny and George in Of Mice and Men. Definitely deserving of the label modern Classic.

Book 11: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day - Winifred Watson

Once again a light-hearted book that ensnared your attention and demanded your respect. No real plot but a glimpse of surprise, wonderment and learning to live again.

Book 12: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime - Mark Haddon

This book is most probably unique in the world of Literature. I've never before read a book from the perspective of someone with any degree of autism, and not only did it offer a unique perspective it did it well. It easily demonstrates the trauma which can be induced when the natural order of things is changed about. Incidentally I love the cover, it's one of the best I've ever seen, although nothing like the ones I normally like.

Book 13: The End of the Affair - Graham Greene

This book was so well written I was heavily emotionally invested by the end, this may or may not be to your taste but I love it when an author can do that to me. I love to feel something for the characters. I love to feel they're my friends. This did this. By the end of the book, and it's not long, I knew certainly the main character reasonably well. It's worth whatever you're willing to spend on it.

Book 14: Disgrace - J.M.Coetzee

This book was well written but at the same time a bit disturbing. It made use of foreshadowing. The main character committed acts only slightly better than those which were acted against his daughter. It opens a gateway to a new place, but it isn't one I'd want to travel often.

Remember if you want to read my full reviews or any of my friends you need to click on the links to take you over to the relevant post. If you want to donate anything then head on over to our shared blog and there's a link which will take you to our donations page.


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