August Book Haul

We’re now in August and I was recently walking along the high street when I approached a small book shop. I went inside and picked up a few more books that were on sale. This is going to be a small break from my 2017 reading list that I will link below. I will finish Dracula and then begin reading the new books I have bought because they are not as long.

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

This is described on the blurb as an “unconventional ghost story” it was written by an American author, who later acquired British citizenship. He Is a key figure of 19th century literary realism. The book was published in 1898 and is a horror and gothic fiction. It is open to different interpretations.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

This has been on my reading list for a while as I have heard about it for several years and I have seen the film released in 2009 that is based on the book. This is the first book I will have ever read by Oscar Wilde and I am looking forward to reading one of his most popular works. Published in 1890, The picture of Dorian Gray caused outrage in the Victorian era for its portrayal of London life.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I have heard of Harper Lee’s classic novel numerous times and it explores the issues of race and class in the Deep South in the 1930’s. It concerns the prejudice, violence and hypocrisy of a town in Southern America.

The Hobbit by J.R.Tolkien

This is a modern classic and is also the prelude to The Lord of the Rings, the popular fantasy novels. In the blurb it is described as ‘One of the best-loved children’s books of modern times’ and I think it will be similar to Narnia which I really enjoyed. Published in 1937, it is still very popular. I also noticed that there are lots of adaptions for stage, screen, radio and video games.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

This is a modern fantasy novel written in 2011 that was long-listed for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2012. It is a fantasy novel set in Victorian London and is about a fictional circus that only appears at night, and disappears in the daytime. It is slow-moving, but once the story gets underway it could be an interesting read.

 

Links

Ban on reading To Kill a Mockingbird in schools in Virginia

‘To Kill a Mockingbird and Huckleberry Finn banned from Virginia schools for racism’

The reading list for 2017

2017 reading list

Dorian Gray film review

Dorian Gray (2009) film review

 

 

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Why reading is a good hobby

For a while, when asked what my hobbies were, I would answer “reading” and receive a sarcastic “that’s not a real hobby” while rolling their eyes.

Not only is reading books in your spare time fun, it can have additional benefits such as improving your vocabulary and understanding of grammar. For example, where commas go and how to use semi-colons. Regularly reading non-fiction can be useful because you can learn about different cultures from books.

“There is no friend as loyal as a book” -Ernest Hemmingway

There is also a correlation between reading and improving confidence and self-esteem, improving sleep and reducing loneliness. It is also likely that reading non-fiction exercises the imagination and creativity we naturally have. Statistics carried out by The Reading Agency in the UK reveals that ‘In England, 36% of adults don’t read for pleasure, rising to 44% of young people aged 16 to 24.’

People have argued that reading books is unnecessary because of the creation of films based on books that have been written. However, I have seen many television and film adaptions of books and I noticed that parts of the story is often omitted from the film for lack of time. In addition to this, there can be a lack of character development that the author intended. I never usually believe a movie based on a book is ever better than the actual book, they are usually not as good or on equal footing.

So, Dracula will be the next book review and there will be more book reviews to come.

‘Why is reading good for me?’ -bbc iwonder

‘Ebook sales continue to fall as younger generations drive appetite for print’

Reading Facts

Classic Book Reviews

This is a compilation of all of the Classic Books I will be reading this Summer/Autumn. I have already written a review of Frankenstein so that is not pictured above.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (1884)

This is one of the great American novels and has themes of race and identity. The author Mark Twain seemed critical of the racism that existed at the time of the books publishing. It is written from the perspective of a boy named Huckleberry Finn as he goes on lots of adventures in his youth.

Hard Times by Charles Dickens (1854)

This is the 10th novel of Charles Dickens. I am looking forward to reading Hard Times because Charles Dickens books sometimes had critical views of the social and economic conditions in 19th century England.

Dracula by Bram Stoker (1897)

A gothic horror by the Irish author Bram Stoker. He created ‘Count Dracula’ in a story of vampirism and horror fiction. Many books on vampires have been successful since, for example, Twilight based on the vampire myth. This was a landmark vampire novel and I am excited to read it.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813)

This  is a romance novel and is a popular novel in English literature. I do not read many romance novels but I find Pride and Prejudice to be appealing.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (1847)

Emily Brontë was part of the Brontë family and Wuthering Heights was her only novel. This book is a classic in English literature and is part of the period of Romanticism in Europe.

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (1856)

This was the debut novel of French author Gustave Flaubert and he began the artistic movement of literary realism in France. It depicts ordinary circumstances as they are.

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1850)

This is another American classic that is set in the puritan era in 17th century Massachusetts. This is also considered a romance novel and revolves around legalism and sin.

Gullivers’ Travels by Jonathan Swift (1726)

This is the oldest of the novels I have compiled so far and it is a satire on human nature. This one is also by an Irish author.

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Marquez (1967)

This is a modern classic by a Colombian author and is a multi-generational story with a magic realist style. I hope to read more literature from other ethnic authors as part of the next collection of classic books I review.

Review of Everything, Everything 

*No spoilers*

Everything, Everything was the first book written by Nicola Yoon before The Sun Is Also a Star. 

I enjoyed the book very much and read it within a few days as I was busy but found time to read around an hour a day this week. The story had similar themes such as love, exploration and family. 

It had illustrations by the authors husband David Yoon, which were nice because it has been a long time since I read a book with illustrations. I initially thought there were just lots of chapters, but the headings on the pages became more and more frequent. I also liked that the main character Madeline was widely read and had book spoilers to help support what she was saying. 

These were some very memorable quotes that I particularly enjoyed: 

“Life is a gift. Don’t forget to live it”

“A butterfly flaps its wings now and a hurricane forms in the future”

“Me in love would be like being a food critic with no taste buds. It would be like being a colour-blind painter”

“Love is worth everything. Everything”

This book has an interesting perspective on family and it centres around Madeline, the protagonist, who turns 18 at the beginning. As she suffers from SCID she is not allowed to leave the house at all and essentially lives in a bubble.

This book also features an interracial relationship and this is mentioned in the story. Moreover,to a film is now being released of the book fairly soon. I read the version with pictures from the film and the mother character is described as a 3rd generation Japanese woman while Madeline’s father is African-American, however the film has a black woman acting as the mother. I have not yet seen the film so I am not sure whether the father portrayed as Asian but the film has cast Amandla Stenberg as the Madeline, who is not of Asian descent. 

Personally I don’t think that this change matters to the actual story as the father character is just background he is not in the book, he is deceased along with Maddy’s brother.

There was an insight into different family issues such as Domestic violence and it’s effects. However, nothing particularly graphic occurs in the book. 

Above all, it was a moving love story between the two characters Olly and Maddy, with references to Chaos theory, the Butterfly effect and the idea of Change.

Other reviews: 

Book Review of Everything, Everything 

Everything, Everything Review | The Guardian

Film Review of Everything, Everything: the motion picture 

Everything, Everything film review by Variety 
The film trailer and background 

Film Trailer on nicolayoon.com

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley Review

I enjoyed reading Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley, as I found it thought provoking. This is one of the first classic books I’ve written about and I’m glad I started with Frankenstein.

It is a common misunderstanding that the ‘creature’ created in the story is named Frankenstein, however the scientist who created him is actually named Frankenstein. A large part of the book is his flashback. His creation is never given an actual name.

The characters were developed well and they were gradually phased out from the story, so towards the end most of the focus is on the monster and his experience of life and feeling rejected by humans.

“How much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to be greater than nature will allow” – Frankenstein

Personally, I feel that the reader is dissuaded from feeling any sympathy for Frankenstein or the monster, but is encouraged to see God’s creation of humans as superior to humans creations.