Monday, 26 April 2010

My Thoughts: Morvern Callar by Alan Warner

I'm going to start this with an apology, this post will be a shambles as I have no idea how to review this book!
Morvern Callar is a 21 year old, stuck in a dead end job, in a dead end town, with a dead boyfriend on her hands. After discovering the suicide of her boyfriend rather than reporting the incident to the police Morvern parties the nights away. Eventually hiding her boyfriends body in the attic she sneaks into his bank account using his cash for a 18-30s holiday for her and a friend and then also gets his novel published in her name.
It doesn't sound great and certainly didn't sound like my type of book but I loved it. Morvern was a strange creature, but alluring all the same. You somehow seep into her world, while wanting to be as distant from its bleakness as you possibly can be.

All I can say is read it! Thats my 10th 1001 book so far this year - probably about the only reading challenge I'm managing to keep up with!

Sunday, 25 April 2010

The Sunday Salon: The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

I've avoided Sherlock Holmes my whole life, the books seemed like something I wouldn't enjoy. Then during my teacher training a rather boring teacher who I had to shadow (he wouldn't let me teach his classes like I was supposed to) read to the kids some of the Sherlock Holmes stories, and boy did he kill them! Earlier in the year I went and saw the new Sherlock Holmes movie and loved it, so braved picking up one of the books.

The Hound of the Baskervilles starts with a mysterious 'death' on Dartmoor; a gorgeously barren piece of wilderness, with wild ponies, sheeps and fog that can descend and leave you lost in a matter of hours. With a heavy inheritance up for grab and a mythical hound in the families history Shelock Holmes picks up the scent of foul play and sends Watson off to investigate.

I enjoyed the story, it was an easy comfort read, and I'll be checking out some of the other novels in the near future.

Monday, 19 April 2010

My Thoughts: Inner Circle by T.C Boyle

Inner Circle was a strange read, with a strange subject. John Milk, a 'sex researcher' sits down on the day of Professor Kinsley's, the founder of the Sex Institute, funeral and starts writing about the time that he knew him. Milk covers everything from the first lecture that he attended of the Professor, to their research, personal life and sex life, and it is all so finely intwinned its like a trap.
Milk was an typically innocent student on the day he first saw the professor lecture on the subjet of sex and offered himself up for an interview about his sex life (fairly minimal, as a student in the 1930s). Soon after the professor offers him a job and he soon finds himself living his life through the research he does. The researchers want to bring to the public knowlegde and statistics about sex in order to make it a less taboo subject. They interview, study and watch people and believe that sex in simply a chemical reaction. They believe this so strongly that Milk is soon sleeping with both the professor and his wife, and when he gets married his wife is quickly expected to accept and participate in an open relationship.
This novel was a strange one, at times I wanted to scream at John Milk as he was manipulated by the professor he adored, as was everyone else around him. The story was good, the scenarios strange and in one or two places not to my liking.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

The Sunday Salon: Carry a poem

Way up in Edinburgh, Scotland they have been given the title 'City of Literature', a recognition of the literature which is created from this base. They hold many events over the year to celebrate, spread and encourage the love of literature.
Carry a poem is a campaign to get people reading poetry. They have given away a free booklet packed with people's stories about the poems that they carry around with them and their reasons for it. Some of these poems are memorised, some tucked away on a piece of paper in their wallet, some tatooed onto them and some listened to on an ipod.
I recieved this book as a bookring (it will travel from reader to reader), and it was a great little read. I didn't like all the poems - to much Robert Burns for me! But there were several which were touching and a few that I will jot down before this leaves me. Each member of the bookring also sends along a few lines of their favourite poem with the book so the little collection grows. I chose to copy out one of my favourite poems 'In a Station of the Metro' by Ezra Pound.

What poem would you chose to include?

Recieving this book in the post reminds me that I'm supposed to be reading poetry for the Clover, Bee and Reverie challenge, I'm not sure why I find poetry so difficult to make into a reading habit. Both poetry and non-fiction I enjoy as I'm reading but a novel will always get picked up before a poem. I'm going to dig out a few poetry books and try and get back into the swing of things again - one day it may become a natural impulse.

Do you read poetry? If not why not?

And I'll just leave you with a reading by Simon Armitage one of the poets who I have only a year left of teaching. His poems always resonate with the kids as their often (in our selection) about the struggle between the parent child relationship, and they sit fantastically next to Carol Ann Duffy.

At the back of this book are some links poetry lovers might like to discover, The Scottish Poetry Library, and The Reading Rooms it has poems, podcasts and much more to discover. Also the Poetry Foundation website looks fab and jam packed.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

My Thoughts: Flight by Sherman Alexie

Sorry for the doouble post today, I won't be around tomorrow and already know what I want to write about Saturday and Sunday.

Last year I listened to The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian and loved it, I've seen lots of people on the blogosphere reading Alexie recently which reminded me that I had meant to check out more of his stuff. So off I went to the library catelogue and managed to grab an audiobook and a collection of short stories (hopefully I'll get to read those next week).
Flight was a great audiobook, as it was only 4 hours long so could be listened to easily in the space of a week. The story of Flight is so different from anything I've read before. Zits is an orphaned part-Indian-part-Irish teenager. Since his father aandoned him at birth and his mother died of breast cancer he has been in and out of foster homes and sheltered accomodation. Having been abused, neglected and ignored he gives up on life never giving any home he is placed in a chance. An alchoholic and drug taker at just 15 years old he is in constant trouble with the police.
It is at the point of an arrest that his life changes. Meeting Justice, a fellow teen, in a police cell Zits finally feels that he has a friend and belongs somewhere. Justice, clever with words and packed full of knowledge, convinces him to hold up a bank. As Zits walks into the bank and holds up the gun he suddenly spins out of this world, he time travels through various points in the past changing his view of himself and others.
This was a great YA read, a search for identity and a home, but it is filled with bad (and I mean bad) language which makes me wonder what age it would be aimed at. In one sense I could see my 13 year olds at school reading it, but then I'm not sure how many parents would approve of the language. Saying that many of them listen to rap and watch 18 movies so maybe I'm just showing y teacherly side :)

My Thoughts: Ash by Malinda Lo

My final review of my 24 hour read-a-thon. Ash was the final read of the read-a-thon and it was perfect for this, as it was fast paced, a light read and had a nice clear big text.

Ash is a retelling of the Cinderella story, with a fairy twist. The novel starts with Ash at the burial of her mother: a lover of fairy tales, a follower of mythical beings and rituals. Living here she is surrounded by people with mythical beliefs, rituals and spells, yet she is quickly moved away from this world when her sceptical father marries a new woman.
As with the fairytale, as soon as her father dies Ash becomes the servant of the family. She escapes one night finding a magical path which leads her to her mothers grave, she begs a magical man to take her to her mother, he refuses and takes her back home. Night after night she escapes into the coutryside around her meeting other mythical creatures but always returning home to a life of drudgery.
The twist in the fairytale comes when Ash meets the Kings hunter, a fiesty woman who steals her days to teach her how to ride and hunt. The story then follows the normal lines of the fairytale but with a deviation from the traditional ending.

I love the English cover shown above, but think the US cover is absolutely gorgeous (below).

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

My Thoughts: The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein

There is one thing you need to understand about this book early on, the title is a deception. Gertrude Stein used this book to write an autobioraphy of herself as seen through someone elses eye. Strange, huh?
This autobiography is principly based in France, where the American Stein spent most of her adult life. She mingles with artists, writers, poets and other people of importance and nearly every page has 3 or 4 name drops. For the most part she hangs around in Picasso's artelier where other artists visit in the evening, exchanging news, gossip and work. She also buys up a lot of art and talks about the books she has written.
I found this book a strange one to get into, it often seemed like a list of events and meetings, with very few feelings or descriptions thrown into the mix. Once we arrived at the war period in the book things had picked up and it was a it more exciting but in general I found I was indiffernt to much of what she had written.
Having wrote my dissertation on T.S Eliot's 'The Wasteland' and cubism/futurism and the way that they mirrored the collapsing society of the time (Industrialism, the death of God, Darwinism, the move away from the extended family, tinned food, the media, photography etc) I was familiar with the names of a lot of the lesser known artists and could picture some of the art that she brought or viewed. If this hadn't been the case I think I would have struggled more. I was put off her even more (I disliked her from the moment she declared that she and Picasso where two of the only geniuses/genui(sp?) of the period) when she slated T.S Eliot and the fell out with Ezra Pound, two of my favourite poets of that time.
I'm including this for the Women Unbound challenge, because although I disliked her her strength of character, her sense of equality and power as a woman in her circles makes her a feminist of her time.

My Thoughts: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I've been reading about this book for ages in the blogging world, and finally got aroung to reading it during the 24 hour read-a-thon (I came across 4 other bloggers reading this for the read-a-thon as well).

The Hunger Games is set in a dystopian world consisting of 13 states, a long time in the past the states all went to war and misery and destruction fled through the area. The states all now exist seperately, each one varying in wealth, living conditions and the field of work. Once a year the states are joined when the Hunger Games start. The Hunger Games selects 2 teenagers from each state to battle it out - till only one is left alive - for glory. In the richer states the teenagers are trained and glamourised in their pursuit of being in the Games, whereas in the poorer areas being selected for the Games is seen as a path to death.

Our heroine is of course from the poorer regions, so we're fighting for the under-dog, something us English love. She, and her male partner should fight against each other, after all only one can survive, but as with any novel of this type their lives are entwined.

The ending shone out to me as soon as the selections for the Games had been completed, but like many books and films it is the getting to the end that is the exciting bit. I enjoyed this book a lot, the pace was good, the characters interesting and the Games kept throwing in the unexpected. It wasn't brilliantly written, but like Twilight great writing wasn't what was needed as the plot took over. I've reserved the next book in the triology from the library as I'm only allowed to buy one book between now and my Cambodian trip (Monster's of Men by Patrick Ness). I'm going to have to start taking the book buying ban seriously as I not only have the whole holiday to Cambodia and Vietnam to pay for but also spending money for school trips to New York and China early next year, plus whatever next years 5 week holiday is (poss Australia or Sri Lanka).

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

My Thoughts: Tales from Firozsha Baag by Rohinton Mistry

This is my third Rohinton Mistry read and I loved them all so far, yes they're certainly not cheery but they're are so well written and constructed that you can appreciate the beauty of the situations.
This is a much shorter output than some of his other work. Tales from Firozsha Baag is actually a collection of short stories all based on the lives of people livng in an apartment block. Unlike with most short story collections I read this one straight through as their was so many links that the stories blended together in a good way.
The stories, based in India, feature many elements you find in lots of Indian stories - families struggling together, neighbourly jealousy, the story tellers, parents aspirations for their children and children migrating and forgetting their families. But he does it really well. Despite being short stories based on different families each character and situation quickly came to life.
A great read, especially if you want an introduction to this fantastic author.

Monday, 12 April 2010

My Thoughts: Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

I first discovered Margaret Atwood when I was 17. I had to read A Handmaid's Tale for my A Levels along with 4 other pieces of protest literature (The Colour Purple, 1984, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest), it was this course which changed my degree choice from Law (I wanted to be a Legal Secretary specialising in family law) to English Literature, I can't imagine how my like would have turned out! As soon as read The Handmaid's Tale I went out and brought a stack of Margaret Atwood books which I've gradually read over the (12 -ouch!) years, I still have The Robber Bride to go.

Alias Grace is a fictionalised novel based on a real murderess Grace Marks, she was widely famous in Canada in the early 19th century being charged with 2 counts of murder at just 16. Alias Grace is a mismatch of narratives and writing regarding this women and those she came into contact with. The main proportion of the story are Grace's story to her Doctor, Dr Jordan. Claiming to be unable to recount the murders she details her life from him, from the journey from Canada to England, the methods of bleaching clothes and the details of her acquintances downfalls - she is certainly an unreliable narrator. Being shown her wondering what to tell Dr Jordan and how to phrase her story allows us to feel, but also know, that we are in the same position as he is, we are being fed a story - which elements are true or not we shall not discover.

The novel is also interspersed with Dr Jordan's complicated life, his desires for every woman he see's, his correspondence with his pushy mother, his friends and work collegues. As well as newspaper cuttings, quotations from Grace Marks' biographer, pshycoanalysists and poets who wrote about her.

Threaded throughout the story are refernced to patchwork quilts and their various patterns, especially those ones which turned one way show one image but looked at from a different viewpoint show a whole new picture. That is what this story is like, as a reader we sometimes feel she is guilty as sin, sometimes we believe her spiritual version of the murders and at other points her coyness leads us to believe she is just an innocent caught up in a crime. Well worth a read.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Read-a-thon Hour 24 and I'm finished

Time spent reading: 14 hour and 25 mins
Pages Read: 1174
Books Completed: Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (I had started this previous to the read-a-thon), Tales from Firozsha Bagg by Rohinton Mistry, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Ash by Malinda Lo.

As the final hour of the read-a-thon begins I have finished my final book, Ash, a retelling of the Cinderella story. Rather than start a new book I've decided to go and cheer on some of the other readers. I'll be back at some point this evening with a Sunday Salon. Each of the books I finished was great and each will be getting its own review which I'll be writing up in the days to come.

The End of Event Meme:
1. Which hour was most daunting for you?
Randomly the first couple of hours when I was feeling really restless.
2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
Ash by Malinda Lo and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Both great reads, nice sized font and well paced, exactly what's required for a long reading spell.
3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
It didn't seem to be advertised as much this year, I din't see the buzz surrounding it that I have on previous years - although that maybe because I don't use twitter, I get the feeling from the blogs I visited that that was the place to be.
4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
As of the other years that I have participated the updates on the blogs are always great as they keep you linked to the rest of the community.
5. How many books did you read?
I read 3 full books and finished another one.
6. What were the names of the books you read?
See the top of my post.
7. Which book did you enjoy most?
Probably The Hunger Games, which was great as I brought it ages ago and kept putting it off so I could read it for the read-a-thon
8. Which did you enjoy least?
9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? Not a cheerleader this year, I did this last time and had problems opening some of the blogs, this may just be my computer it is old and well used.
10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?

I'm very likely to participate again, I think again I would just be a reader but this time I will check out more bloggers who are participating and add them to my google reader. A lot of the blogs I read who have participated in the past weren't involved this year so I didn't have many posts to comment on.
I'm looking forward to getting outside for a while as today is another beautifully warm and sunny day.

Read-a-thon Hour 20: Another Book Read

Time spent reading: 11 hour and 15 mins
Pages Read: 883
Books Completed: Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (I had started this previous to the read-a-thon), Tales from Firozsha Bagg by Rohinton Mistry, The Hunger Games
Current Book: Not sure what to go for next '~'?

With hour 20 about to begin I'm off for a bath so I can feel more alive. Just finished The Hunger Games, an amazing read certainly one I'll be recommending in the future. I now want the second one, but may have to wait for a copy from the library as I'm on a book buying ban - I have a 5 week holiday to save for!

It seems awfully quiet around here, the people I follow on Google Reader who normally participate aren't joining in this time and there haven't been any cheerleading visits in ages in this part of town :(

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Read-a-thon: Back and playing

It's twenty past five in the morning here, my alarm went off at half four but as I hadn't managed to fall into more than a slumber it took a while for me to get out of bed. I've read for the last 20mins while my computer has messed around with random messages and had to be rebooted - every read-a-thon it goes strange!
I'll quickly be checking Google Reader, sending a few messages then I'm back reading again.

Read-a-thon Hour 12: Off to bed

Time spent reading: 8 hour and 40 mins
Pages Read: 630
Books Completed: Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (I had started this previous to the read-a-thon), Tales from Firozsha Bagg by Rohinton Mistry
Current Book: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, 251 pages in and loving it

This year I decided to try a different method, rather than stay up till I'm completely shattered I'm going to bed now as I'm tired and its about the time I'd normally go to sleep. I'm setting my alarm for half four, giving me four hours sleep. Hopefully I'll then be able to read to the end.
Just hoping I'm not going to dream that I'm part of The Hunger Games!
Night x

Read-a-thon Hour 8

Time spent reading: 5 hour and 35 mins
Pages Read: 379
Books Completed: Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (I had started this previous to the read-a-thon), Tales from Firozsha Bagg by Rohinton Mistry

Current Book: About to start The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Listening to: Starsailor and Toykyo Police Club

Another 1001 book ticked off of the list - Tales from Firozsha Baag, a mix of intertwined stories from the lives of people all living in one appartment block. As I'm reading easily at the moment I'm rushing straight back into it, and delving into The Hunger Games which I've been savouring for this read-a-thon.

Read-a-thon Hour 6 and I have my mojo back

Time spent reading: 3 hour and 17 mins
Pages Read: 217
Books Completed: Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (I had started this previous to the read-a-thon)
Current Book: Tales from Firozsha Bagg by Rohinton Mistry
Listening to: Nothing at the moment

Escaping to my bedroom certainly hepled, I can't believe how few hours I have managed so far when these should be the early hours!
Anyway I'm now back on track and loving my current read. I had an early dinner - tuna pasta salad, Yum :):) And I now ready to get stuck back into the rest of this book, hopefully it'll be finished in the next few hours.

Anyone else have any blips?

Read-a-thon Hour 4 (I'm already restless)

Pages read since last post: 28!

Arrgghhh... restlessness has set in, I'm always like this when I finish a book and start a new one immediately.
This is a quick post to enter Bart's minichallenge then the computer is going to get ignored for a while and I'm off up o my bedroom away from distractions to get started on my new book: Tales from Firozsha Baag.

Walking on Glass, The Water Babies, Legends of the Fall.

Read-a-long Hour 3: Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

Time spent reading: 1 hour and 45 mins
Pages Read: 104
Books Completed: Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (I had started this previous to the read-a-thon)
Listening to: Thunder, Lightning, Strkie by The Go Team

Having preiously started Alias Grace I knew that I wanted it fiished efore I started any new books for the read-a-long. I loved this book which reminded me that I should read more of the Margaret Atwoods on my bookshelf. I'll be reviewing this properly in the next couple of days. Another 1001 book knocked off the list.

And my quick, off the top of my head answers for Bobby's mini challenge
Favorite Female Character in a book: Jane Eyre every time
Favorite Male Character in a book: Henry, from The Time Travellers Wife - I'd marry him in a flash.
Favorite Side Kick in a book: Hmmmm.....can I have sidekicks? Hermione and Ron
Favorite Couple in a Book: Henry and Clare (TTW)
Favorite Book Series: Harry Potter
Favorite Author: Neil Gaiman, Sarah Waters, Margaret Atwood...the list goes on
Favorite Book Cover: The Red Tree by Shaun Tan
Favorite Book of 2009: The Knife of Never Letting Go and The Ask and the Answer, both by Patrick Ness

Read-a-thon: Hour 1 Meme

Just a quick post to say that I'm off and started, a queue in the supermarket and the fact that we started an hour earlier than I thought meant i was sitting down just in time to start.
Over at read-a-thon head quarters they have put up their first meme of the day, here are my answers:
Where are you reading from today?
My couch at the moment, I may go up and lie on my bed to get the last few hours of the sushine - my front room is always dark and chilly as its overlooked by trees.

3 facts about me …
an avid reader, wannabe scrapbooker and people watcher.

How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours?
7 plus one to get finished, they are all listed on my earlier post.

Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)?
Not in particular, to read for as long as possible. I'm not cheerleading this time, but have picked a handful of bloggers to cheer along instead, this way the updates are on my google reader and take less of my reading time up.

If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, Any advice for people doing this for the first time?
This is my third time so not really a vetran, the main thing is to enjoy yourself, have good backround music and a good selection of shortish books. Oh, and even if your someone who never gives up on a book, if you're not feeling a book today set it down and pick up another, even if its not from your alloted pile.
Good luck everyone xxx

24 Hour Read-a-Thon: The all important pile

I meant to have a nice lie in this morning, I didn't go to bed till late so it shouldn't have been hard but I was wide awake at 7 and ready to go. Unfortunately the read-a-thon doesn't start till 2 here. I just have to pop to the supermarket - a 5 minute walk - and then I'll be pretty much ready to go and good hour and a half early. I think I'll probably just get started a bit early as I never make the full 24hours (a good 4 hour sleep is needed) and because Alias Grace is screaming out to be finished.
Other than Alias Grace* (less than a 100 pages to go) I'll have this pile to tackle:
Tales from Firozsha Baag, Rohinto Mistry*
The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heavan, Sherman Alexie
Coraline and Other Stories, Neil Gaiman (its the other stories that I'm interested in as I've read Coraline a few times).
An Illiad, Allessandro Baricco
Ash, Malinda Lo
Black Juice, Margo Lanagan
The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins*

The ones with the stars beside them are the ones I particularly would like to get read and finished. The others would be a bonus, as they are all books which are from the library, are part of a bookring or a book I'm giving away on bookcrossing.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Starting a reading journal.....will it last?

In a random act of madness last week I purchased Postcards from Penguin: 100 book covers in one box, quite what I was planning on doing with it I don't know. It finally arrived Wednesday, I had a quick look through and then wondered why I had bought them. Don't get me wrong they are interesting to look through, but the type of thing which sits on a shelf and gets dusty, never getting looked at again.
As I'm never going to post them out to people - that would ruin the set! I've decided to use them to make a reading journal. I've always loved the idea of a reading journal, something that in later years I can go back to and browse through, but never quite known where to start. The postcard format limits me to a small size, and I'll be able to test out my journalling writing that I need to perfect for scrap booking.
I'm starting tomorrow with the 24 hour read-a-thon, I'll post a picture of what I wrote when the whole thing is finished.

Do you have a seperate reading journal, or a place to jot down your reading other than your blog?

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

It's Tuesday...Where are you?

It's Tuesday...Where are you? is held each week here by Raidergirl3.

Physically this week I'm at my Mum's house in Suffolk. Offically here to surport my sister for the week through her pregnancy problems - mainly male related! But also to get looked after whilst I tackle the stacks of coursework marking which I need to tackle. I'm taking a break at the moment to create a rivision booklet (I'll always opt for the more creative element of teaching over the boring marking side of it).
My sister is coming up in a few hours and if her back pains have subsided we're all of to sob at Blind Side (I cried at the trailer so not sure how I'll cope!).

In my reading I'm both in France and Canada. In France I am trailing around after Gertrude Stein and her brother at the moment. They are busy buying up bits of art - mainly Cezanne and Matisse at the moment. We have been to Pablo Picasso's atillier, joined Matisse and his wife for dinner and trailed around many famous Cubist paintings with our friends the artists of these paintings. (Gertrude Steins, The Autobiography of Alice B. Tolkas)
So far I'm getting on okay with this book, which is a disguised autobiography of Gertrude Stein, although it does grate on me everytime she declares herself a genius - she's obviously not intelligent in ways of getting the reader to like and admire a character.

I'm also in Canada in the 18th century. Accused murderess Grace Marks flits between playing maid to the wife of the owner of the prison; she sews and knits for the lady whilst being an object of fascination, to being exaimined by our other main character. Dr Jordan is a psychologist seeking a new method of understanding prisoners in the hope of opening his own establishment. His story is told through a third person narrative and also a series of letters between him and his family and friends. I'm waiting to find out if Grace Marks is guilty of the crime or an innocent bystander (I'm going for all out guilty and the perpetrator - she seems capable).

Where are you in your reading travels?
Have you read either of these books? Do you have any questions for me about them?

Monday, 5 April 2010

1% Well Read Challenge

The 1001 list (which has very quickly broardened to the 1294 list - they add and take away books every couple of years) has been a personal challenge for the last few years. No, I don't expect to complete it. And no, I don't think every book on it is great. But its a good way to think about what I've read, what I mean to read, and to discover books and authors I have never heard of.
So far of the 1294 books, I've read 205 (15.99%), I own a further 8.35% of the books and I have 0.55% of the books coming to me soon in the form of a bookring, (I'm not normally a geek but with this list I am).
The 1% Well Read challenge requires me to have read 13 of the books of this mamouth list by this time next year - I'll probably be trying to triple that at least. So this challenge is more about reading other people's reviews to get ideas of which books to select next - from my TBR pile or the library.
Below is a potential pool, although it is widely subject to change at any moment:
Movern Callar by Alan Warner (READ)
The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Alias Grace, Atwood (READ)
The Autobiography of Alice B.Toklas, Stein (READ)
If on a Winter's Night a Traveller, Calvino (READ)
The Lord of the Rings, Tolkein (Current Read)
Blonde, Oates
Small Island, Levy
Great Apes, Self
Wild Swans, Chang
Senor Vivo and the Coca Lord, de Bernieres
The Leopard, Lampedusa
A Town Like Alice, Shute
All Quiet on the Western Front, Marque
The Radeztky March, Roth

Sunday, 4 April 2010

The Sunday Salon: Le Dossier: How to Survive the English by Sarah Long

A lazy Easter weekend, I've recamped to my Mum's for this first week of half term, so so far I've watched more TV in the last 24 hours than I've seen in the 2 weeks previously, I've scoffed biscuits, pizza and chocolate. That doesn't even mention that Sunday lunch which I had at the pub my sister manages (which was gorgeous).
The rest of the day will be spent lazing around the house, with Alias Grace and The Autobiography of Alice B. Tolks. As of tomorrow I'm on a 5 hour a day marking schedule until the mountain of coursework is marked.

I finished yesterday Le Dossier: How to Survive the English. This book was a small independently published book at first, but soon was translated to English with comic effect. Hortense de Monplaisir is a Parisian housewife brought over to live in London by her husbands career. She criticises and views every aspect of the English life, from our eating habits, body shapes to our manners. The book revealed some truths - we love cheap clothes shops so we can look like the celebrities and still afford to change our looks as often as them, we spend far more money and time on our homes than anything else, and treat children and pets with equal priviledge. But the book also shows up a sharp contrast with our European neighbours - she can't understand that we queue politely and uncomplainingly, that stop at traffic lights and follow speed limits and that we say sorry if someone bumps into us. This was a funny read, something light and comic. If your Englsih and don't mind being criticised this is worth a read.