Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Book challenge - Part 3

Here are the next 5 books in the book challenge that #26BooksWithBringingUpBurns set us book bloggers. You can read my first part here and tags 6-10 here.

11. A book you started but never finished - The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
I attempted to read this ages ago but I clearly wasn't in the right mood because I only got a couple of pages in. This time though, I whizzed through it in just a couple of days. A great, really easy-to-read book. I loved it.

The characters involved were all so deliciously human, it was a perfect representation of anyone who we could meet within our real lives. And although I am a highly emotional person so I can't relate to Don's struggles at all; it is written in such a way that you understand his point of view perfectly. Which is the mark of a good writer as you manage to relate to him when normally you would not.

I think the novel does impart a really important message as well. Throughout the book, Don is looking for the perfect woman, and makes a questionnaire to weed out unsuitable people. Yet Rosie, who he eventually admits to himself he is in love with, is just about the exact opposite to all the ideals he originally thought were important. Love comes out of nowhere. It is surprising and unpredictable and you can't try to control it. It just kind of happens. And when it does, there's nothing you can do to stop it. A beautifully reassuring idea.

12. A book with a lion, a witch or a wardrobe - Wicked by Gregory Maguire
This is a book I have been wanting to read for a while, because, as you all should know by now, I am a huge fan of theatre and Wicked is an absolutely brilliant musical. So with this prompt, I finally took the opportunity to read in more detail about the life and times of the Wicked Witch of the West.

And that is precisely what I got - tonnes and tonnes of detail. In this rather hefty 500 page novel, you go through her entire life from the moment she was born, her childhood and college years, right up until her death. And along the way you learn so much about not only her, but her family and friends, the politics of Oz and the geography as she travels to all corners of it.

I thought I knew the story of Wicked but the book was in fact, completely different to the musical. It is a very complicated book so I understand that they had to simplify it, but they changed so much. They got rid of several main characters, changed the relationships of the characters a lot, people died at different points, and the Wizard was portrayed as far far more evil than the Witch is.

To be the honest, I think there was a little bit too much detail within the book as well. And there were points where I was definitely bored. The part which I enjoyed the most was at the last 50 pages or so, where Dorothy came on the scene and I loved the retelling of the events from the Witch's point of view as it seemed like the true one. But it was so well interlinked that you could see how others got mixed up with the timeline of the events and the motives of the characters. It was brilliantly done and Maguire is most definitely a gifted storyteller.
 
13. A book with a female heroine - Bridget Jones' Diary by Helen Fielding
I wasn't a huge fan of the film as I don't really like Renee What's-her-name who plays the title character but I loved the idea of having such a flawed main character and have wanted to read the book for ages.

Bridget Jones really is the ultimate heroine for females. She is flawed and worries about her weight and her job and not having a boyfriend. Basically what every single female in the world worries about. Helen Fielding writes her so so perfectly as she helps friends through troubles, deals with a ridiculously annoying mother. And all the while tries to appear normal so she can ensnare someone of the opposite sex into the relationship.

It made me laugh out loud and Bridget really is such a lovable character who you can relate to so perfectly. It is such an easy read, which was perfect when I was travelling back from the US.
 
14. A book set in the summer - Us by David Nicholls
This book was set in Europe, where the main character Douglas forces his family to go on an interrailing trip throughout the summer prior to his 18 year old son going off to college.

Having absolutely adored One Day, I thought I was going to love this book and had waited for its release for a long time. But I was vaguely disappointed. The main character was intentionally but undeniably dislikeable, and I didn't warm to him at all, throughout the whole story. Making me slightly disinterested in his plight. I didn't particularly care that his wife was leaving him or his son wouldn't talk to him. In fact, I found it rather obvious that they would act like this.

The whole book was rather pointless as well. At the beginning, his wife Connie was going to leave him and he was estranged from his son. By the end, his wife had indeed left him and his son was only marginally closer to him yet still absent from the last part of the novel. Therefore, I felt there was very little direction or progression of character.

Saying that, there were funny moments, and I loved the travel parts of the novel as I had visited many of the places that were written about. The characters were well written, and you really felt as if you knew each of them thoroughly by the end of the novel. However it is not my favourite book by any means.

15. A book of poems - Philip Larkin's Collected Poems
Philip Larkin is quite an extraordinary man. I first came across his poems when he studied him in my final year of university and after that I bought this book of his collected works. I became such a fan.

He has a way of depicting ordinary life in such a sarcastic and tongue in cheek way, he is my favourite poet by far. He really appeals to my humour and I love that he is completely understandable to the average reader, yet you can read into his poems at a much deeper level if you wish.

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