Reading Challenge for 2014

I have decided to give myself a bit of a reading challenge in 2014 and read some historical fiction rather than my usual crime fiction.

2014hf1That is not to say that crime fiction won’t be getting read too, along with other genres.

The reading challenge is being hosted by Historical Tapestry and I have signed up for 2014. You should see some reviews for historical fiction in 2014, along with my other reads.

I think I will start with The Mesmerist by Barbara Ewing.  I have created a page where you will be able to find the book posts after I have read each book.  I have set myself the challenge of 25 historical fiction books this year.

There was no sweet taste to Sweet Tooth.

I have read many Ian McEwan books but if you are someone who hasn’t read him before I would suggest that you don’t start with this one as it would disappoint you. I have enjoyed his other books but this one was a bit of a let down. I had expected it to be as interesting as previous books but I felt that it got a bit bogged down in parts. Having said that it was still worth the read.

Sweet tooth

From the jacket:

Britain, 1972. Serena Frome, the beautiful daughter of an Anglican bishop, finds herself being groomed for the intelligence services in her final year at Cambridge. The cultural cold war continues and the country is being torn apart by industrial unrest and terrorism. Serena is sent on a “secret mission” which brings her into the literary world of Tome Haley, a promising young writer. First she loves his stories, then she begins to love the man, Can she maintain the fiction of her undercover life? To answer this question, Serena must abandon the first rule of espionage. . . . Trust no one.

The blurb on the jacket makes it sound far more exciting than it actually is. Not one I would rush out to buy. You can find some reviews here.

A classic I hadn’t read since my teen years.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. My elder daughter asked me recently if I had seen the movie Jane Eyre in which Judi Dench plays a role.

Judi Dench

I admitted that I hadn’t but it got me thinking what role would Judy Dench be playing. I had to admit to myself that I had only a vague memory of the story line and I needed to re read the novel. I downloaded a version from Gutenberg to read on the train to Melbourne but realised after about 1000 pages on my phone that I much prefer to read from a hard copy so I bought myself a $5 copy and set about it.

jane eyre

I am so glad I did. It was a revelation. I had completely forgotten how beautiful the language is and I had to resort to the dictionary on a few occasions to check the meanings of some of the words which are very rarely used in today’s novels.

From the cover:

As an orphan, Jane’s childhood is not an easy one but her independence and strength of character keep her going through the miseries inflicted by cruel relatives and a brutal school. However, her biggest challenge is yet to come. Taking a job as a governess in a house full of secrets, for a passionate man she grows more and more attracted to, ultimately forces Jane to call on all her resources in order to hold on to her beliefs

A wonderful story that you should revisit if it is a long time since you last read it or one you should read if you have not already done so.

jane-eyre

Here is a trailer from the movie.

You can find a post comparing the book to the movie here.

I will now need to hire the DVD and watch the movie.

A book I ought to have read many years ago but somehow I never did.

I am no fan of science fiction but over the years I have read and enjoyed a few science fiction books eg.  1984, Brave New World, Enders Game, Under the Skin, The Year of the Flood, The Handmaid’s Tale, etc. My husband enjoys science fiction and occasionally I will read one of the books he has read but I don’t deliberately go out to buy a science fiction book or borrow one from the library.

fhlg

I can’t remember what prompted me to borrow this book from the library but I think I must have been reading something about the Pulitzer Prize and this book was mentioned as having won the 2007 Special Citation Pulitzer Prize. The book was first published in 1954.

I loved this book and if you have already read it, it is probably worth going back and reading it again. And for those of you like me, who haven’t read the book, I suggest you find a copy.

Sometimes I think I have lived under a log as I had no idea that Fahrenheit 451 was the temperature at which book paper burns.
From the book cover:

Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to burn books, which are forbidden, being the source of all discord and unhappiness. Even so, Montag is unhappy: there is discord in his marriage. Are books hidden in his house? The Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department, armed with a lethal hypodermic, escorted by helicopters, is ready to track down those dissidents who defy society to preserve and read books.
The classic novel of a post-literate future. Fahrenheit 451 stand alongside Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World as a prophetic account of Western civilisation’s enslavement by the media, drugs and conformity.

Bradbury’s powerful and poetic prose combines with uncanny insight into the potential of technology to create a classic of twentieth century literature which over fifty years from first publication, still has the power to dazzle and shock.

What amazed me is how well the ideas expressed in this book have withstood the test of time. Our society is even more lost in television, blogs, social networks, and all other manners of distraction, not to mention the cult of celebrities. This is a science fiction book that I would certainly recommend, particularly to those of you who are non-science fiction readers.

Welcome to Margaret Atwood Day!

Welcome to Margaret Atwood Day!.

I have always enjoyed Margaret Atwood’s books so I thought it fitting to share this link with you today.  The link provides many other great links related to Margaret Atwood.

I have three favourite Atwood books: the Handmaid’s Tale,

handmaid

Alias Grace

aliasgand The Year of the Flood.

flood

Oh, how could I forget the Blind Assassin!

blind

I think probably all her books are favourites of mine but those are just a few.

Have you read any of her books or poems and do you have a favourite?

There is an excellent review at the Guardian of her most recent release MaddAddam which is the final in her trilogy, Oryx and Crake and the Year of the Flood being parts one and two.  I haven’t read this yet but am looking forward to doing so.

March is over and have I read any of the books I have always meant to read?

march blogpostThis delightful library poster from days gone by was one I couldn’t resist.  I have to confess that in March I didn’t read any of the books I have always meant to read but I did go to a movie version of Anna Karenina instead.  I guess that doesn’t really count and I will have to read the book eventually.

Are there any books that you have always meant to read and haven’t got around to reading yet?

Here are some of mine.

War and Peace

Anna Karenina

Gulliver’s Travels

Rob Roy

Madame Bovary

Les Miserables

The Thirty -nine steps

Bonjour Tristesse

The list is a great deal longer but those are just a few.