Goodreads Summer Reading Challenge: Update 3

Hello my fellow Book Dragons!

Well as I’m accelerating towards my deadline of 21st September it is looking less and less likely that I will complete the challenge in the time limit. However, I do intend on finishing all the books on the list this year because it will make my TBR list smaller as they have been sat on the list for a very long time. If I had not been so distracted by other books I might have got further.

So here is the list so far. As usual the crossed out books are also links to the reviews.

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

The Book is Better:- The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

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

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

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 by William Shakespeare

Past love:- Matilda by Roald Dahl

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

 

Anyway, I will keep trying to get a few more ticked off before the deadline.

Happy reading.

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Down the TBR Hole #13

Down the TBR Hole was the brain child of Lost In A Story. The idea is to reduce the length of your Goodreads TBR.

How it works:

  • Go to your Goodreads want to read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added
  • Take the first 5 or 10 books.
  • Read the synopses of the books.
  • Decide: keep it or should it go

 

It’s that time again, lets see if I can shrink this TBR list down. The list is currently at 472.

1. Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell

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Set in English society before the 1832 Reform Bill, Wives and Daughters centres on the story of youthful Molly Gibson, brought up from childhood by her father. When he remarries, a new step-sister enters Molly’s quiet life – loveable, but worldly and troubling, Cynthia. The narrative traces the development of the two girls into womanhood within the gossiping and watchful society of Hollingford.

 

 

 

My aim is to one day read all of Elizabeth Gaskell’s books so this will stay on the list.

KEEP

 

2. The Complete Poems of Emily Jane Bronte

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In 1846 a small book entitled Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell appeared on the British literary scene. The three pseudonymous poets, the Bronte sisters, went on to unprecedented success with such novels as Wuthering Heights, Agnes Grey, and Jane Eyre, all published in the following year. As children, these English sisters had begun writing poems and stories about an imaginary country named Gondal, yet they never sought to publish any of their work until Charlotte’s discovery of Emily’s more mature poems in the autumn of 1845, Charlotte later recalled: “I accidentally lighted on a MS. volume of verse in my sister Emily’s handwriting… I looked it over, and something more than surprise seized me – a deep conviction that these were not common effusions, nor at all like the poetry women generally write. I thought them condensed and terse, vigorous and genuine. To my ear they had also a peculiar musicwild, melancholy, and elevating.” The renowned Hatfield edition of The Complete Poems of Emily Jane Bronte includes the poetry that captivated Charlotte Bronte a century and a half ago, a body of work that continues to resonate today. This incomparable volume includes Emily’s verse from Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell as well as 200 works collected from various manuscript sources after her death in 1848. Some were edited and preserved by Charlotte and Arthur Bell Nichols; still others were discovered years later by Bronte scholars. Originally released in 1923, Hatfield’s collection was the result of a remarkable attempt over twenty years to isolate Emily’s poems from her sisters’ and to achieve chronological order. Accompanied by an interpretive preface on “The Gondal Story” byMiss Fannie E. Ratchford, author of The Brontes Web of Childhood, this edition is the definitive collection of Emily Bronte’s poetical works. In 1846 a small book entitled Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell appeared on the British literary scene. The three pseudonymous poets, the Bronte sisters, went on to unprecedented success with such novels as Wuthering Heights, Agnes Grey, and Jane Eyre, all published in the following year. As children, these English sisters had begun writing poems and stories about an imaginary country named Gondal, yet they never sought to publish any of their work until Charlotte’s discovery of Emily’s more mature poems in the autumn of 1845, Charlotte later recalled: “I accidentally lighted on a MS. volume of verse in my sister Emily’s handwriting… I looked it over, and something more than surprise seized me – a deep conviction that these were not common effusions, nor at all like the poetry women generally write. I thought them condensed and terse, vigorous and genuine. To my ear they had also a peculiar musicwild, melancholy, and elevating.” The renowned Hatfield edition of The Complete Poems of Emily Jane Bronte includes the poetry that captivated Charlotte Bronte a century and a half ago, a body of work that continues to resonate today. This incomparable volume includes Emily’s verse from Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell as well as 200 works collected from various manuscript sources after her death in 1848. Some were edited and preserved by Charlotte and Arthur Bell Nichols; still others were discovered years later by Bronte scholars. Originally released in 1923, Hatfield’s collection was the result of a remarkable attempt over twenty years to isolate Emily’s poems from her sisters’ and to achieve chronological order. Accompanied by an interpretive preface on “The Gondal Story” byMiss Fannie E. Ratchford, author of The Brontes Web of Childhood, this edition is the definitive collection of Emily Bronte’s poetical works.

This is a tricky one because although I love the novels of the Bronte sisters I really have not got on well with their poetry, especially Emilys’. I’m not sure why but I struggle with her poems and do not enjoy them, so for now I think I will take this off the list.

GO

 

3. Life of St Columba by Adomnan of Iona 

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Founding father of the famous monastery on the island of Iona, a site of pilgrimage ever since his death in 597, St Columba was born into one of the ruling families in Ireland at a time of immense expansion for the Irish Church. This account of his life, written by Adomnán – the ninth abbot of Iona, and a distant relative of St Columba – describes his travels from Ireland to Scotland and his mission in the cause of Celtic Christianity there. Written 100 years after St Columba’s death, it draws on written and oral traditions to depict a wise abbot among his monks, who like Christ was capable of turning water into wine, controlling sea-storms and raising the dead. An engaging account of one of the central figures in the ‘Age of Saints’, this is a major work of early Irish and Scottish history.

I love Iona and the history and I have actually read certain parts of this book but not all of the book. I will keep this on the list as I would like to read it all.

KEEP

 

4. The Idiot by Fydor Dostoevsky

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Returning to Russia from a sanitarium in Switzerland, the Christ-like epileptic Prince Myshkin finds himself enmeshed in a tangle of love, torn between two women—the notorious kept woman Nastasya and the pure Aglaia—both involved, in turn, with the corrupt, money-hungry Ganya. In the end, Myshkin’s honesty, goodness, and integrity are shown to be unequal to the moral emptiness of those around him. In her revision of the Garnett translation, Anna Brailovsky has corrected inaccuracies wrought by Garnett’s drastic anglicization of the novel, restoring as much as possible the syntactical structure of the original story.

 

 

I love Russian literature so this just has to stay.

KEEP

 

5. Life after Life by Kate Atkinson

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What if you could live again and again, until you got it right?

On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in a variety of ways, while the young century marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war.

Does Ursula’s apparently infinite number of lives give her the power to save the world from its inevitable destiny? And if she can – will she?

I’m not sure why I added this book because I do not remember anything about it but after reading the blurb I will take it off the list. I really do not like books that have characters with endless lives, or books that repeat one period of time over and over again until the loop is broken.

GO

Just 5 books today but 2 books off the list and down to 470. If you have read any of these books and would like to drop me a comment please do.

Happy Reading

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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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