Summer Reading Challenge: The Final List

Here it is, the final list that I am attempting read this summer. I plan on finishing all of these books by the 23rd September 2019!

Good as gold:- The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling

The Book is better:- The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Short and Sweet:- The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

On the bandwagon:- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Attwood

Actually want to read:- Jaws by Peter Benchley

Not from around here:- Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

In a friend zone:- The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell

What of format:- Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

New Voices:- The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

Past Love:- Matilda by Roald Dahl

Armchair Traveler:- A Room with a View by E. M. Forster

 

Happy Reading!

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Summer Reading Challenge: Armchair Traveler

FINAL CHOICE TIME!

Yes! I have finally come to the end of deciding my final summer reading challenge list.

This final prompt is Armchair Traveler: Read a book set in a destination you want to visit.

To decide this, I first chose three of the destinations I most want to visit.

First on the list is:

Russia

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The Brothers Karamasov is a murder mystery, a courtroom drama, and an exploration of erotic rivalry in a series of triangular love affairs involving the “wicked and sentimental” Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov and his three sons―the impulsive and sensual Dmitri; the coldly rational Ivan; and the healthy, red-cheeked young novice Alyosha. Through the gripping events of their story, Dostoevsky portrays the whole of Russian life, is social and spiritual striving, in what was both the golden age and a tragic turning point in Russian culture.

This award-winning translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky remains true to the verbal
inventiveness of Dostoevsky’s prose, preserving the multiple voices, the humor, and the surprising modernity of the original. It is an achievement worthy of Dostoevsky’s last and greatest novel.

I absolutely love Russian literature and this has been on my TBR list for a very long time.

 

Italy

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“But you do,” he went on, not waiting for contradiction. “You love the boy body and soul, plainly, directly, as he loves you, and no other word expresses it …”

Lucy has her rigid, middle-class life mapped out for her, until she visits Florence with her uptight cousin Charlotte, and finds her neatly ordered existence thrown off balance. Her eyes are opened by the unconventional characters she meets at the Pension Bertolini: flamboyant romantic novelist Eleanor Lavish, the Cockney Signora, curious Mr Emerson and, most of all, his passionate son George.

Lucy finds herself torn between the intensity of life in Italy and the repressed morals of Edwardian England, personified in her terminally dull fiancé Cecil Vyse. Will she ever learn to follow her own heart?

This isn’t on my TBR list currently but even if I do not choose it for the challenge I will add it to the TBR list.

 

Egypt

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The tranquillity of a cruise along the Nile is shattered by the discovery that Linnet Ridgeway has been shot through the head. She was young, stylish and beautiful, a girl who had everything – until she lost her life. Hercule Poirot recalls an earlier outburst by a fellow passenger: ‘I’d like to put my dear little pistol against her head and just press the trigger.’ Yet in this exotic setting, nothing is ever quite what it seems…

 

I would love to go for a trip on the Nile and see Egypt. 

 

 

 

Choices, choices I’m not entirely sure what I will choose.

Any advice would be most welcome.

Happy reading

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Summer Reading Challenge: New Voices

The list so far:-

Good as gold:- The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling

The Book is better:- The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Short and sweet:- The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

On the bandwagon:- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Attwood

Actually want to read:- Jaws by Peter Benchley

Not from around here:- Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

In a friend zone:- The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell

Wheel of format:- Twelfth Night

 

The next prompt is New Voices:- Read a debut novel.

I’m rather excited about this prompt as it hopefully means I discover a new author.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

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Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar. Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…

 

 

This has been sat on my bookshelf for a very long time and it would be good to read. 

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

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Esther Greenwood is brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under—maybe for the last time. In her acclaimed and enduring masterwork, Sylvia Plath brilliantly draws the reader into Esther’s breakdown with such intensity that her insanity becomes palpably real, even rational—as accessible an experience as going to the movies. A deep penetration into the darkest and most harrowing corners of the human psyche, The Bell Jar is an extraordinary accomplishment and a haunting American classic.

 

 

 

Another book that has been on my TBR list for a very long time.

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

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Compared favorably to the works of Faulkner and Dickens, Arundhati Roy’s debut novel is a modern classic that has been read and loved worldwide. Equal parts powerful family saga, forbidden love story, and piercing political drama, it is the story of an affluent Indian family forever changed by one fateful day in 1969. The seven-year-old twins Estha and Rahel see their world shaken irrevokably by the arrival of their beautiful young cousin, Sophie. It is an event that will lead to an illicit liaison and tragedies accidental and intentional, exposing “big things [that] lurk unsaid” in a country drifting dangerously toward unrest. Lush, lyrical, and unnerving, The God of Small Things is an award-winning landmark that started for its author an esteemed career of fiction and political commentary that continues unabated.

A completely new one for me that I do not own but would happily buy and read.

 

So those are my three options to choose from. I really want to read all three so it will be a hard choice. Any advice will be a big help.

Happy Reading

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Summer Reading Challenge: In the friend zone.

I am very behind on this list so far but tomorrow I will start reading the books I have already decided on.

The List so far:-

Good as Gold:- The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling

The Book is Better:- The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Short and Sweet:- The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

On the Bandwagon:- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Attwood

Actually Want to Read:- Jaws by Peter Benchley

Not from around here:- Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

 

The next prompt for the list is In the friend zone: Read a book that a friend has recommended.

So as usual I have a few options to consider. The first contender is a book recommended to me by my husband.

The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell

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When newly widowed Elsie is sent to see out her pregnancy at her late husband’s crumbling country estate, The Bridge, what greets her is far from the life of wealth and privilege she was expecting . . .

When Elsie married handsome young heir Rupert Bainbridge, she believed she was destined for a life of luxury. But with her husband dead just weeks after their marriage, her new servants resentful, and the local villagers actively hostile, Elsie has only her husband’s awkward cousin for company. Or so she thinks. Inside her new home lies a locked door, beyond which is a painted wooden figure–a silent companion–that bears a striking resemblance to Elsie herself. The residents of The Bridge are terrified of the figure, but Elsie tries to shrug this off as simple superstition–that is, until she notices the figure’s eyes following her.

A Victorian ghost story that evokes a most unsettling kind of fear, this is a tale that creeps its way through the consciousness in ways you least expect–much like the silent companions themselves.

 

The next book was recommended to me by my best friend Charlotte.

Tom Brown’s Schooldays by Thomas Hughes

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One of the classics of English children’s literature, and one of the earliest books written specifically for boys, this novel’s steady popularity has given it an influence well beyond the upper middle-class world that it describes. It tells a story central to an understanding of Victorian life, but its freshness helps to distinguish it from the narrow schoolboy adventures that it later inspired. The book includes an introduction and notes by Andrew Sanders.

 

 

 

 

The final option was recommended to me by a friend and a student.

Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

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Pulitzer Prize winner and American master Anne Tyler brings us an inspired, witty and irresistible contemporary take on one of Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies.

Kate Battista feels stuck. How did she end up running house and home for her eccentric scientist father and uppity, pretty younger sister Bunny? Plus, she’s always in trouble at work – her pre-school charges adore her, but their parents don’t always appreciate her unusual opinions and forthright manner.

Dr. Battista has other problems. After years out in the academic wilderness, he is on the verge of a breakthrough. His research could help millions. There’s only one problem: his brilliant young lab assistant, Pyotr, is about to be deported. And without Pyotr, all would be lost.

When Dr. Battista cooks up an outrageous plan that will enable Pyotr to stay in the country, he’s relying – as usual – on Kate to help him. Kate is furious: this time he’s really asking too much. But will she be able to resist the two men’s touchingly ludicrous campaign to bring her around?

 

So these are the options, if you have any thoughts or recommendations please drop me a comment.

Happy reading!

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Summer Reading Challenge: Not From Around Here

Another instalment of the Summer Reading Challenge. I am slowly getting a list assembled and I am really looking forward to reading all these new books over the summer.

The List so far:-

Good as Gold:- The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling

The Book is Better:- The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Short and Sweet:- The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

On the Bandwagon:- The handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Attwood

Actually Want to Read:- Jaws by Peter Benchley

 

The next prompt is Not from around here:- Read a book set in a different culture from your own. This one I must admit I am rather struggling with but I have tried to come up with a few ideas.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

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Mariam is only fifteen when she is sent to Kabul to marry Rasheed. Nearly two decades later, a friendship grows between Mariam and a local teenager, Laila, as strong as the ties between mother and daughter. When the Taliban take over, life becomes a desperate struggle against starvation, brutality and fear. Yet love can move a person to act in unexpected ways, and lead them to overcome the most daunting obstacles with a startling heroism.

 

 

 

 

 

A strong contender as I do enjoy the work of Khaled Hosseini.

 

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

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A literary sensation and runaway bestseller, this brilliant debut novel presents with seamless authenticity and exquisite lyricism the true confessions of one of Japan’s most celebrated geisha.

In Memoirs of a Geisha, we enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girl’s virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion. It is a unique and triumphant work of fiction – at once romantic, erotic, suspenseful – and completely unforgettable.

 

 

A returner to the line up as this has already been on the list of possibles. Maybe it is a sign to definitely read the book.

 

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

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The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it — from garden seeds to Scripture — is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family’s tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.

 

 

 

This has been highly recommended to me by several family members so I do believe I should give it a read.

 

I’m sticking with just the three options. If anybody has any recommendations please drop me a message.

Happy reading.

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Summer Reading Challenge: Actually Want to Read

Well everyone, will this rain ever stop?

All I want to do this gloomy Saturday is curl up with a mug of tea and a good book, however the house work has been calling. But I have taken a break to work out another book to read for the Summer Reading Challenge.

This prompt is: Actually want to read: read a book that has been on your Want To Read Shelf for more than a year. 

My Want to Read shelf on Goodreads started in 2012 so there are rather a lot of books to choose from.

I have decided to pick one from each year and choose from there.

2012: The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas

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In the dark recesses of the Bastille, a young prisoner known only as Phillipe has spent eight years of his short life. When Aramis, posing as his confessor, bribes his way into the prison, the truth about the man’s identity is brought to light. It is a secret which, if revealed, could bring down the King of France, Louis XIV, whose corrupt rule is destroying the well-being of his country.

The ensuing jailbreak and the consequent struggle for power brings the musketeers into swashbuckling action, taking us back to the days of chivalry and making The Man in the Iron Mask one of the most enthralling historical romances in literature.

I love Dumas so would be very happy to read this book over the summer, but it is very weighty and maybe be a bit on the long side for a summer read.

2013: The King’s Curse by Philippa Gregory

15849910The final novel in the Cousins’ War series, the basis for the critically acclaimed Starz miniseries, The White Queen, by #1 New York Times bestselling author and “the queen of royal fiction” (USA TODAY) Philippa Gregory tells the fascinating story of Margaret Pole, cousin to the “White Princess,” Elizabeth of York, and lady-in-waiting to Katherine of Aragon.

Regarded as yet another threat to the volatile King Henry VII’s claim to the throne, Margaret Pole, cousin to Elizabeth of York (known as the White Princess) and daughter of George, Duke of Clarence, is married off to a steady and kind Lancaster supporter—Sir Richard Pole. For his loyalty, Sir Richard is entrusted with the governorship of Wales, but Margaret’s contented daily life is changed forever with the arrival of Arthur, the young Prince of Wales, and his beautiful bride, Katherine of Aragon. Margaret soon becomes a trusted advisor and friend to the honeymooning couple, hiding her own royal connections in service to the Tudors.

After the sudden death of Prince Arthur, Katherine leaves for London a widow, and fulfills her deathbed promise to her husband by marrying his brother, Henry VIII. Margaret’s world is turned upside down by the surprising summons to court, where she becomes the chief lady-in-waiting to Queen Katherine. But this charmed life of the wealthiest and “holiest” woman in England lasts only until the rise of Anne Boleyn, and the dramatic deterioration of the Tudor court. Margaret has to choose whether her allegiance is to the increasingly tyrannical king, or to her beloved queen; to the religion she loves or the theology which serves the new masters. Caught between the old world and the new, Margaret Pole has to find her own way as she carries the knowledge of an old curse on all the Tudors.

One of the rare Gregory novels I have not read, a definite contender.

2014: Jaws by Peter Benchley

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Smashing together, they crush bones and flesh and organs into jelly.

The jaws of a giant killer shark that terrorizes a small holiday resort on Long Island.

Private feuds, lusts and jealousies take second place to a relentless duel, almost unbearable in its suspense and danger…

 

 

 

 

What a good book to read on the beach? I must admit I do want to go snorkeling whilst away, but this might make me change my mind.

2015: The King’s Sister by Anne O’Brien

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1382. Daughter of John of Gaunt, sister to the future King Henry IV, Elizabeth of Lancaster has learned the shrewd tricks of the court from England’s most powerful men. In a time of political turmoil, allegiance to family is everything. A Plantagenet princess should never defy her father’s wishes. Yet headstrong Elizabeth refuses to bow to the fate of a strategic marriage. Rejecting her duty, Elizabeth weds the charming and ruthlessly ambitious Sir John Holland: Duke of Exeter, half-brother to King Richard II and the one man she has always wanted. But defiance can come at a price. 1399. Elizabeth’s brother Henry has seized the throne. Her husband, confident to the usurped Richard, masterminds a secret plot against the new King. Trapped in a dangerous web, Elizabeth must make a choice. Defy the King and betray her family. Or condemn her husband and send him to his death. Sister. Wife. Traitor. She holds the fate of England in her hands.

I have owned this book for a very long time. I met the author and had it signed when I bought it. Anne O’Brien was taking part in a book day at Berrington Hall a National Trust property and she was a lovely lady who I had a very long chat with.

2016: While you were Sleeping by Kathryn Croft

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Yesterday your life was perfect. Today you’ll find out that was all a lie.

Tara Logan adores her perfect little family: husband, Noah, and two children, teenager Rosie and eleven-year-old Spencer.

But her happiness is shattered when she wakes up one morning in her neighbour’s bed, with no memory of how she got there or what happened between them. And worse – he has been stabbed to death.

Convinced she didn’t kill Lee and scared of losing everything she cares about, Tara flees home and stays silent, holding her breath as the investigation grips the neighbourhood.

But as her daughter spirals out of control, and her husband becomes increasingly distant, Tara starts to wonder if someone in her life knows what really happened that night. When the police turn their questions towards her, Tara realises she has to find out.

But what will it take to uncover the real story, and can she survive the truth?

This has been sat on my Kindle for far too long and needs to be read.

2017: Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty

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Yvonne Carmichael has worked hard to achieve the life she always wanted: a high-flying career in genetics, a beautiful home, a good relationship with her husband and their two grown-up children.

Then one day she meets a stranger at the Houses of Parliament and, on impulse, begins a passionate affair with him – a decision that will put everything she values at risk.

At first she believes she can keep the relationship separate from the rest of her life, but she can’t control what happens next. All of her careful plans spiral into greater deceit and, eventually, a life-changing act of violence.

Apple Tree Yard is a psychological thriller about one woman’s adultery and an insightful examination of the values we live by and the choices we make, from an acclaimed writer at the height of her powers.

This book has been sat on my bookshelf for way too long and another strong contender.

2018: Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

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At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist.

But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of worse.

Stolen from the shadow of the noose, Nona is sought by powerful enemies, and for good reason. Despite the security and isolation of the convent her secret and violent past will find her out. Beneath a dying sun that shines upon a crumbling empire, Nona Grey must come to terms with her demons and learn to become a deadly assassin if she is to survive…

I won this book on a Goodreads giveaway at the beginning of 2018 and it has been sat on my TBR shelf ever since. Really like the sound of the storyline and was very pleased to win the book.

 

So that is my list to choose from, I will have a good think and see what I come up with. If anybody has any advice about the books it would be gratefully received.

The List so Far:-

Good as Gold:- The Casual Vacancy by J.K Rowling

The Book is Better: – The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Short and Sweet:- The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

On the Bandwagon:- The Handmaid’s Tale

 

Happy reading!

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Summer Reading Challenge: On the Bandwagon

Hello my fellow Book Dragons!

I am currently sat here listening to the rain, waiting for the BT engineer to come and fix our internet, as the BT engineer who was working in our road yesterday very kindly gave us somebody else’s phone line and we lost our lovely fibre broadband. Thankfully, I can use all my lovely phone data to blog with.

Summer is fast approaching and I still haven’t planned my reading list for the challenge. The challenge will start on the 21st June and finish on 23rd September 2019, also if by any chance I finish the beginner list early I will try and do some of the expert level reading prompts.

The chosen books so far:-

Good as Gold:- The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling

The Book is Better:- The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Short and Sweet:- The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

 

Just another 9 books to choose!

This prompt, On the Bandwagon, is to read one of the ‘most read’ books right now on Goodreads.

I have been having a look at the list and have chosen two likely targets that appeal to me.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

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Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now…

 

This has been on my TBR pile for a very long time and to honest is a very strong contender.

The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

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Tonight, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed… again.

It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed.

But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden – one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party – can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot.

The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath…

Another strong contender that has been on my TBR pile for way too long. This is going to be hard choice I feel.

 

To be honest looking at the list these are the only two that jump out at me, the others I have either read or just do not fancy reading. Hopefully only having two to choose from will make the choice easier. I am really starting to look forward to this challenge, I just hope I can stay on track and complete it.

Please let me know your thoughts on the two books and help me decide.

Happy reading.

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