Friday, 20 December 2013

Review: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

I thought that as it is nearly a week since my last post, and just four days until Christmas, it is definately time for another review. I have been reading avidly for a few weeks now, but even so my enjoyment of this classic was rather rudely interrupted by tests. In true-to-form style I came round to reading this children's classic in a backwards manner. I was given a beautiful, old copy of Good Wives a couple of years ago and read it before any of the preceding series. I had enjoyed it, and so in my search for classics that I simply must read, I bought and read this lovely Children's Vintage Classics print. Most Booktuber's whom I have seen talk about this book have the Penguin Thread's edition. Whilst it looks nice, I much prefer the illustrations on the front of this one. The story is beautiful if whimsical. It's a tale of the coming of age of four sister's, and also one steeped deeply in Victorian morality. The March sister's lives are heavily based on the author's own life in Massachusetts, and the personal touch stands out. What is amazing is that this 145-year-old story is still around, and I can see why. It says something about it's time, the emotion of the era. For that alone I recommend it.

Carpe Diem xx

Sunday, 15 December 2013

The Kite Runner book review

In yet another bid to catch up on the modern classics that I feel I should probably have read by now, last week I finished The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. Published ten years ago in 2003, it became an international bestseller and can claim to be a modern classic. As usually happens when attempting to read books with such hype, I thought that I wouldn't enjoy it and wouldn't find it readable. I was proved wrong once again. Hosseini's work was infinitely readable and I breezed through it in a few days. It is a beautiful story of friendship between two boys, Amir and Hassan, and father-son relationships, set between Afghanistan and Pakistan during the Taliban takeover. The story has harrowing moments but the clear message set out in wonderful prose is one of triumph and love. It would be wrong to call such a serious book escapist, but it's tale and setting definitely did that for me.

Carpe Diem xx

Friday, 13 December 2013

Life of Pi book review

Firstly, I have to put my hands up and admit something. I didn't pick up Life of Pi because I wanted to. I didn't continue reading until the last solemn word because I enjoyed it. I read Life of Pi because I thought I should. It was written by Yann Martel and published in 2001, twelve whole years ago. It won a prestigious Man Booker Prize a year later. It was catapulted to the lofty heights of 'modern classic', and subsequently turned into a feature film in 2012. And so you might think that with this mind set that I didn't enjoy it. I hated it. I got nothing from reading this book apart from being able to add it to a list of 'modern classics I have read'. But that is far from the truth. This is one of the simplest stories you have ever read. Piscine Molitor Patel is stranded on a raft in the middle of the ocean for months. With a tiger. Through the tool of first person narrative, themes of growth through adversity, life as a story, and what it means to be human, are interwoven. In this way this fiction book touches on one of the biggest lessons that I learnt during my anthropology degree, more than any other; that reality is the roaming narrative that we each write for ourselves and continually evolve. We create our own meaning. We define our own lives. And that is why I am grateful for this book. Barack Obama was too.

Carpe Diem xx

Friday, 6 December 2013

The Great 2014 Reading Challenge and Updates

First of all, hello and welcome after what's been a week or so since my last post. This is related to my first update, which is that due to other commitments I will be blogging less regularly that usual. I hope to update the blog every 1-2 weeks so please bare with me! Secondly, I have recently read Life of Pi, A Christmas Carol, and the latest installment in the Bridget Jones saga, Mad About The Boy. So stay tuned for updates and reviews on all of those. Thirdly, I am here to introduce the 2014 Reading Challenge, or my own personal Year of Reading. In the past month or so I have become much more into reading, and in particular challenging myself to read modern classics that I wouldn't otherwise read. My knowledge in this area is decidedly lacking and so this is my attempt to rectify the situation. So here is my challenge. To read as many books on this list as possible, including at least 12 modern classics (that's one a month). Feel free to join me!

1) The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
2) The Restaurant At The End of The Universe - Douglas Adams
3) Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
4) The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
5) The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
6) Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis de Bernieres
7) The Time Traveller's Wife
8) Atonement
9) 1984 - George Orwell
10) I Capture The Castle - Dodie Smith
11) To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee
12) Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
13) Life of Pi - Yann Martel (READ)
14) A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens (READ)
15) Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
16) The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

I have partly been inspired by the Rory Gilmore (of Gilmore Girls) Reading Challenge. If you wish to read about it here is a link to a list of books mentioned and read during the show:

Carpe Diem xx