Monday, 31 October 2011

Pride, Prejudice and WBN 2012!

I've loved reading Pride and Prejudice again so many years after the first time. I'd completely forgotten how much I enjoy it. Mr Bennet is by far my favourite character for his one liners, dry sarcasm and mostly for his quiet tolerance of a busy-body wife. I must be a bit of a romanic at heart as I still swoon over Mr. Darcy and shed a tear or two when the stiff upper lip finally drops to admit his feelings. It's a real pleasure re-visiting some of these classics, and I'm thinking it might be appropriate to start Dracula next with it being Halloween. I was served by a zombie in tesco the other day. And contrary to what horror films would have you believe it actually brightened my day a bit, he was a very amiable chap and quite smiley for the undead...
The other thing that's really brightened my day is getting my application in for WBN 2012! Loving the list again this year, and it's already added a few titles to my ever growing list of things I need to read (this challenge may actually carry me through to my 40s at this rate). I've chosen Touching the Void as my number one - nice surprise to see that one on the list! It's one of the books that I recommend to people time and time again, so if I manage to get chosen again as a giver (and it's with my first choice) I'll love giving that one out. If you haven't read it yet, I really recommend you do. It's incredible. It's basically an account of a climbing accident and the subsequent experiences of those involved - all true and all almost unbelievable. If you're anything like me you'll get to the end feeling somewhat blown away and also seeing that human limits are actually way beyond what we think when it comes to the crunch. I can't say I ever warmed to Joe, the guy whose story it is, but I certainly have a huge amount of respect and admiration for him.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Northern Lights

Having seen the film but never read the book, I've been wanting to get my teeth into the first part of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy for a while. And I'm definitely not disappointed! I've caught myself checking for people's daemons walking next to them a few times. It seems most people in our world have canine daemons...
I never thought of myself as a fan of fantasy, but it's impossible not to get drawn into Northern Lights and start believing the magic. Such brilliant escapism and fast paced action all the way through. If I weren't so keen to get through a few more books on the list I'd be straight out to buy book two, but discipline is the key to getting some more ticked off the top 100.
I'm really enjoying this so far, but it's tough finding time to read so much. I always considered reading something of a guilty pleasure; an hour before going to sleep or indulgence when you're on holiday. Incorporating more reading into everyday life has actually changed my habits quite a lot. The trouble is you can't just have a book 'on in the background' while you're cooking or cleaning. Reading demands time and concentration and I think I'm running short on both a lot of the time! I wonder if audio books would be cheating...

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Broken eyes

It's been a tough week for my poor little eyes with twelve hours a day staring a computer screen now that the busy season is in full swing at work. Thank goodness that The Book Thief was such an amazing read. The thought of picking up a book at the end of the day to drag my tired eyes over more words could have been enough to make me pack the whole thing in if I hadn't been so engrossed in what was in store next for Liesel. Definitely added that one to my favourites of all time list. I had no idea it was possible to make a tragic and blunt story of a little girl in Nazi Germany into an 'easy read'. I'd catch myself smiling over the brilliantly subtle humour and then be a bit shocked at myself for being able to smile while reading about the desperate situation of a family hiding a Jew in the basement. Within a page I'd be in tears again (people on my bus definitely starting to think there's something odd about me). It's been a while since I've read a book that made me question my own reactions, perceptions, perspective. Very satisfying to reach the end of a novel and feel you've changed because of it. Only very slightly, but a little adjustment in the way you see the world. That's how I feel after reading The Book Thief. I'll be recommending it to everyone I know.