Escaping books!

The books are trying to make an escape! Just found this in the bin in my bedroom…😳  The absolute horror on my face could not be descriAmber Walsh's photo.bed. While myself and Mr. Pound had a love/hate relationship during my time spent as a postmodern student in third year at university I would still rather that this quite expensive edition which has my frustrated underlining and notes etched inside did not end up in the refuse if I can help it! There was a stack of poetry books next to my bedroom bin waiting for our first day back at school – I like to show students that poetry, drama and novels exist in forms outside of their textbooks to bring life and variety to the introductory (and sometime proceeding classes – look at me! You’d swear I’d been teaching for years!) – However I think it may be time to add that stack of books back into the book shelf for safe keeping!

Book Haul #1

While I have a more than a shelf full of books that need to be read, not to mentionImage the books for the next term of college…I may have picked up a few new books today. I stumbled across a 3 for 2 offer that I just couldn’t say no too and picked up a couple YA novels that I’ve heard a lot about but just past me by over the last year.

#1 How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

Click link for Goodreads description

Click link for Goodreads description

This was first published in 2004 but I didn’t hear about  it until the movie promotions started last year. I wasn’t even aware that it was an adaptation until I stumbled across the book today. It sounds really intriguing. It’s told from the point of view of Elizabeth, who moves to England just before a mysterious war breaks out. We’re given very little details about the nature of this war other than it changed their way of life in some way that isn’t really elaborated upon. The synopsis does end by saying that “Mostly everything changed because of Edmond” which leads me to safely assume there’s a love interest somewhere in these pages which will be a nice change. I don’t read enough YA anymore in general so I’m excited to pick this one up, though it might have to be later in the month with all the college craziness that will descend on my head by Monday. O_o

#2 Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Click link for Goodreads description

Click link for Goodreads description

This is one that I feel I have heard of in the past in YouTube videos etc but never in great detail. It was written in the late 70s and despite the fact that my copy doesn’t really have a great synopsis, Goodreads tells me that it’s a dystopian in which Earth has taken to breeding groups of child genius’ from which they choose the most elite to be trained in militaristic schools for the sole purpose of finding the perfect soldiers to fight against an alien threat. I don’t have much more information on this which makes me even more excited to read it; I like going into a book without knowing too many details.

#3 Divergent by Veronica Roth

Click link for Goodreads description

Click link for Goodreads description

I don’t even know if this needs too much introduction. I’ve heard this name so much in the last year or so that I think it’s blasphemous that I haven’t managed to pick up a copy. I got the new cover with gold writing on a black background, which I love and it gives it a Hunger Games feel, though I have no doubt that it’s pretty different. I know, I know, never judge a book by it’s cover but let’s face it we all like pretty covers for our shelves. Once again this is a dystopian. I know the new craze is dystopian but I feel I haven’t actually read a lot of it myself which makes the fact that I picked up three dystopian books in a row quite strange for me.

Ok that’s it from me… I’m reading the complete works of Austen at the moment for a seminar I’m starting on Tuesday so I don’t know if I’ll get many reveiws posted this month but I will post and I might even get the urge to review one of the Austen novels, who knows? 🙂

Hi 2014

It’s 2014! Not that this will have escaped anyone’s notice 🙂 and given that it is a new year I find myself surprisingly inspired to get proactive again about the things that I’m most passionate about. Now taking that the most neglected endeavor in my life to date is probably this blog (wasted piano lessons as a child ranks a close second!), you would think that books probably ain’t one of those things, but sadly they are; which makes the lack of posting on this blog even worse. So my resolution is not to blog regularly this year, but it is to blog. One of the worst things a person can do is to ignore their own urge to create something and I’ve been guilty of that where this blog is concerned. I do often get inspired to write something or think of witty (witty to me anyway) or interesting things to say about a passage or book that I’m reading. Even more often I’d love somewhere to write all the ideas and thoughts about the material I study in college (I’m taking English) that are largely disregarded because they just don’t contribute to the overall direction that the lecturer is taking the module/course. So in the next few days I’m going to post a TBR list for 2014 or at least a partial one (since I don’t like the idea of being completely tied down) to the blog and create a corresponding self on Goodreads. I have set a challenge of reading 40 books this year on that website; it’s not a lot when I look at some other goals that people have set themselves ranging into the hundreds but it’s doable for me since most of the books I read need to be analysed extensively for college (not to mention I take a joint degree in history as well) so there you have it. I have a feeling that I will exceed this goal just because I read 36 books last year (according to Goodreads) and that was while living and working in New York for three months and ploughing through the Game of Thrones series, neither of which were conducive to flying through books (though the commute into Manhattan was pretty handy for getting some reading done I have to say). Anyway Happy New Year to those who catch this post hope you have great years ahead!

The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers

books

Click picture to view at Goodreads

Why I have it: Technically I read this for college but I thought as the first book I read in 2013 (I’m still not used to the change in year…) and a pretty good book in it’s own right, it deserved to be the first book to be reviewed for the blogs relaunch of sorts.

Main review:

The Member of the Wedding is a character driven novel centred around 12 year old Frankie Addams. It follows the development of Frankie’s naïve often absurd adolescent mind as she fantasises about her brother’s upcoming wedding. It is this wedding which appears to hold Frankie’s fragile psyche together. She immerses herself in its preparations in an effort to run from the fact that she does not feel as if she belong anywhere. She takes the adolescent cliché of, “Nobody understands me” to new, often shocking, heights. While Frankie should be an entirely unlikable character with her often cruel heedless remarks and quite selfish acts, an audience can feel sympathy for her plight. It is possible that the appeal of the novel and the sympathy we can feel for Frankie, grows with how much we are willing to examine ourselves while reading it. This is because in Frankie lies a little bit of everyone, an insecurity that is inbuilt in our society driven species; a desperate need to feel as if we belong.

The plot of ‘The member of the wedding’ is not entirely important. It is what we learn as we explore what it is to belong and the consequences of isolation that make this book worth reading. It is a compelling read in that it has the capacity to set up a mirror to its audience and show in an unapologetically, the fragility of the human psyche and the necessity for social interaction. While reading a novel with an uncertain, undefined, main character such as Frankie is often uncomfortable even off-putting it is the same element that draws you back to this book. In crafting her McCullers succeeded in creating a deeply turbulent protagonist (antagonist? It’s that kind of novel…) whose complexity rewards rereading.

Rating: 4/5 (though to fully deserve this rating I’d have to read it again with a more critical and appreciative eye)

What I’m reading now: I’m reading a lot of books for college at the moment but I’m also quickly learning the necessity  to keep reading for pleasure. So with that in mind I’ve made a list of books that having been lying around my house for years begging to be read and I’m going to read them in 2013. There are way more than the 26 that made the list but with college work set to increase,  I know I can at least get these read and reviewed. At the moment I’ve just finished The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and expect to have it reviewed soon and am browsing the shelves for my next adventure…:D

My English Course Reading list is OUT!!!!!

Ok, so before I get ahead of myself, I technically I haven’t been accepted into college yet. The stressful experience of waiting for that acceptance letter will continue until the 20th of August. But I threw an e-mail off to the wonderful people at the school of english in the college I hope to attend anyway, asking beggging to be notified as soon as the reading list was published…and it’s arrived!! YAY!!

In first year English we take a general compulsory course and then specialise in year 2 and 3. For Drama we’re studying

  • The Bald Prima Donna – EugeneIonesco
  • Look Back in Anger – John Osbourne
  • The Caretaker – Harold Pinter
  • Romeo and Juliet – William Shakespeare

Scarily I haven’t read any of these, actually I haven’t heard of most of them (except obviously Shakespeare :P). I look forward to the challenge. I do wish we were doing a different Shakespeare play as while I haven’t read Romeo and Juliet, those I’ve spoken to don’t rate it as one of his greatest works. But then again it is Shakespeare, so I can’t imagine it’s going to be anything but a pleasure to explore in greater detail.

For Fiction we’re studying

  • The Picture of Dorian Gray – OscarWilde
  • Dubliners – James Joyce
  • Vilette – Charlotte Bronte
  • The Member of the Wedding – Carson McCullers

This group fairs a little better as I’ve either heard of or read all but McCullers’ The Member of the Wedding. I read The Picture of Dorian Gray a couple of months ago and adored it. I was in the middle of exams at the time so no doubt a lot of the messages and symbolism most likely went unnoticed but I loved what I did manage to catch and look forward to going through it with a fine tooth comb. 😛 I’m actually reading Dubliners at the moment. It’s…strange…but I’ll hold off further judgement until I get into it properly (after I finish Inheritance :().

There’s also a poetry class but I won’t know exactly what we’ll be studying until I get started. Last but not least WE’RE STUDYING OLD AND MIDDLE ENGLISH! Ok maybe, possibly, I shouldn’t be so excited to study this. I know more than one person has given me a funny look when I’ve mentioned that I can’t wait to study it but I can’t. My old English teacher did a little with us in a class before Christmas and myself and a friend of mine were absolutely hooked! (not that I’ve actually attempted to learn anymore but in my defence I was studying for other exams) I’m not great with languages, but still find them fascinating. I was even tempted to take a latin module in 1st year of college but thought better of it. I can’t wait to learn how English as we know it evolved through the ages from that in The Canterbury tales to Shakespearean to what we consider English today. We’re studying Beowulf and I’ve already been told to get the translation as fast as possible so I’ll definitely do that.

All in all I’m really excited to get started, if not a little apprehensive as well. I’m also going to be taking classes in Psychology, Archaeology and History in my 1st year. I hope to then continue on to get a History and English degree. I’ve loved the college I’ve applied to for years, ever since I visited it on an open day. I fell in love with the old stone buildings and the character that it exudes. What can I say it appealed to the historian in me. Fingers crossed I get that acceptance letter in the post.

If anyone has actually read any of the above, drop me a line. *Goes to hunt down copies of the aboves*

P.S I will most likely miss my weekly review on Monday as my Debs/prom is tomorrow and I won’t get a chance to finish anything by Monday, unless there’s a miracle (or it rains). I’ll hopefully get something posted by mid-week though my exam results are also being realeased Wednesday followed by that all important college acceptance letter so I’m not sure when I’ll next be online.

Au revoir!