Category: For Fun

Top Ten Tuesday – Best TV/Film Adaptations of Books

I’ve decided to take part in another Top Ten Tuesday based on how popular my last post was. If anyone wants to check that out, here is the link – Top Ten Tuesday: Most Disappointing Books.
It’s fair to say that we, each and every one of us, have our own preferences when it comes to books, films and TV. In making my assessment of my Top Ten, I will obviously be taking into account how much I enjoyed the TV or film version of the book. Not only that, I think it is also important to recognise how alike the adaptation (because let’s not forget – it is just that) is to the book. As much as I appreciate everyone has their own spin on stories – deviating too far is just a pet hate for me.
So… let’s get started!
 

10 – The Maze Runner – James Dashner

The Maze Runner
This is one example of the few occasions in which I watched the film before I read the book. I’m glad I did, otherwise, I would have gotten sick of Thomas’ whining all the time. This book is at the bottom of the list because the film ending was a bit different to that in the book. They still got to the same “place” if you like, but went about it in a different way.
 

9 – The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

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I have added this to the list, and I am going to make a little confession. This isn’t based on ALL the films – I still have the third instalment to watch. It’s been sat on my TV box for months. Four, in fact. I checked. Whoops! Anyway, these films, as far as my recollection goes, are pretty accurate to the books.
 

8 – Of Mice & Men – John Steinbeck

OM&M cover
I love this book! I first read it in school as part of an assignment. I think it is the first book I actually enjoyed studying!! It grew on me more than anything – I didn’t take to it straight away. I’m glad I did though… who doesn’t love Lennie? I watched almost all the film during English class and it took everything I had not to cry at the end. I’m a self-confessed wimp.
 

7 – Harry Potter (Series) – J K Rowling


The Harry Potter films definitely capture the essence of the books, and I am happy I grew up with them. Again, I will admit here I am yet to watch the last film. What child doesn’t wish to be swept away to a new world of learning and magic? If you have to go to school, why shouldn’t it be fun? These are books I am absolutely going to be re-reading in the future!
 

6 – A Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid's Tale
This TV series was shown on Channel 4 and I thought it was a great way to bring this classic to the mass market. There were a number of discrepancies between the book and the series though; some of the biggest being alterations in the timeframe and some “modifications” to make some of the characters more culturally relevant today. One example being that Ofglen (the first) is a lesbian and as a punishment for inspiring rebellion, has to watch her barren partner hanged. This never happened in the book – it was published in the 1980’s after all. They were different times.
 

5 – A Game of Thrones – George R R Martin


OHMYGOD this series!!!  Like a vast number of people, I love it!! Having read the series twice (and I could probably fit it in again before The Winds of Winter – just saying), I have noticed a number of discrepancies. A quick search on the internet will bring you any number of theories and in equal measure, a number of inconsistencies! Given I am taking these into account, this is knocked off the top spot.
 

4 – The Lord of the Rings – J R R Tolkien


I’m new to the party on Lord of the Rings. I should have read the books and watched the films sooner! As far as I could tell, I didn’t pick up any discrepancies… not that I’ve gone to the effort to look either. I read the books first and I wasn’t disappointed with the films.
 

3 – The Last Kingdom – Bernard Cornwell


I don’t know how many people have heard about this series, but if you love historical fiction, please, please, please… watch it (and read it)!! Alexander Dreymon portrays our protagonist fantastically. The TV series has covered the first four books so far, and if what I have seen is accurate, we are looking at another year’s wait for the next one. So not only do I have to wait for GoT, I have to wait for this too… *grumble grumble*. All I am aware of is the presence of a character in the TV series that isn’t in the book. That’s literally it – if I have missed something though… please tell me.
I’ve only included the books I have read so far, but there are ten in all.
 

2 – War & Peace – Leo Tolstoy

War & Peace
I am grateful I watched the BBC’s adaptation of War & Peace before I even attempted the book. Had I not, I would have had no chance of reading it. Given the length and complexity of the book, I would actually say that MAYBE my understanding of what happened in the book was picked up from the show. Did anyone else watch this? What are your thoughts on the series compared to the book?
 

1 – The Green Mile – Stephen King

Green Mile
I feel I talk about this book a lot, and I have had a number of conversations with my Dad in particular about how alike the book and the film are. The only thing I am thankful for is that we don’t get to see Delacroix as described after his electrocution. The book made me feel sick… never mind actually having to see it!
 
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So that makes up my Top Ten!!
There are so many books in my “Read” pile that I wish there were either TV programmes or films for!
Do you agree with my choices? What is your favourite book/film/tv series combinations? Are there any books you want to be put on screen? I really want to hear from you about it!
Rebecca mono

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Disappointing Books

Hi!! I hope everyone is having a wonderful Tuesday so far!
Today I wanted to do something a little different – it’s another meme frequenting the world of blogging and I’m excited to dive in!! Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish for the purpose of sharing lists about a variety of book-related topics.
Personally, I feel like I spend a lot of time talking about books I love and enjoy, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! After all, I am not intentionally going to pick up a book I know I am not going to like.
That being said, sometimes with the best will in the world, we cannot love everything. Books that other people rave about, or books you think you will really enjoy just don’t always cut the mustard. (This is a really bizarre expression, but I love it!) These books are the feature of today’s post, so let’s get to it!
I’m writing the list in reverse order, so I’m starting with the least offensive books:-
 

10. American Gods – Neil Gaiman

American Gods
I think I’ll get some hate on this one. It is not that I didn’t like it. I did. I DID, OKAY?! I just didn’t love it… and I really thought (hoped) I would. This is a book that has been talked about a lot this year and perhaps the hype got my hopes up. It’s an okay read – and I would probably pick it up again (as has been recommended to me)… but not yet.
 

9. Eric – Terry Pratchett

Eric
Again, this is a book in which I enjoyed certain parts of, but not all. Towards the end of the book, Rincewind and Eric have to make their way through Hell back to the Discworld. I particularly loved this part as Hell was basically run like an office, with memos, policy statements and torture by boredom instead of the traditional variety of physical methods. Working in an office for 35 hours a week, I saw the humour in this, but not much else. It isn’t a bad book, but not one of Pratchett’s finest in my humble opinion.
 

8. Moving Pictures – Terry Pratchett

Moving Pictures
It’s bad enough having one Pratchett book on here, never mind two!!
I just found this one to be really slow. At school I studied a lot of theatre so this parody of the magic of Hollywood should have been right up my street. Sad to say, I found it a bit dull.
 

7. The Inheritance Cycle series – Christopher Paolini


 
I started this series whilst studying my A-Levels, and I have fond memories of reading Eragon whilst on break duty, supervising the kids in the younger years.
I think by the time I came to read Eldest I had outgrown the series – I found it a little bit childish and ultimately, I have given up on it. If I had read it sooner I probably would have enjoyed it.
 

6. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
My dad would absolutely hate me if I knew this was on my list of most disappointing books. I don’t mind the film so much, but I find it really silly. It’s not supposed to be a book you take seriously, sure. I just didn’t enjoy it all that much.
 

5. The Great Iron War Series – Dean Wilson


 
I started this series this year. I also DNF’d it this year. The foundations of the series are good – I love the base plot and the motivations of the characters. What I dislike about the books is how repetitive and unrealistic they are.
“Well damn, the enemy broke my super expensive submarine. Good job I kept an arsenal of weapons and a barrage balloon on standby… you know, just in case.”
Right. Sounds legit, no?

4. The Books of Pellinor – Alison Croggon


I really enjoyed three-quarters of this series. Guess which one let me down.
The Singing, of course. The build-up to this huge battle between “The Chosen One” and the darkness begins early on and you know what? By the time the battle actually came Alison must have realised she only had about 12 pages left in her, rushed the ending very badly, and for me, the whole series just fell flat on its face. I was so disappointed, as this had so much promise.

3. Magician’s Guild – Trudi Canavan

Magician's Guild
Now we are getting to the really bad books. This was a DNF pretty much straight away as I couldn’t get into it. There isn’t much more to it than that.
 

2. The Knife of Never Letting Go – Patrick Ness

The Knife of Never Letting Go
The idea of a world in which you can read minds sounds both fantastic and scary right?! I thought so too, but this was also a DNF straight away. I seem to recall I thought it came across a bit childish, but I attempted this years and years and years ago and truth be told, I’ve erased the painful memory of trying to read this from my mind.
 

1. The Darkness that Comes Before – Scott Bakker

The Darkness that Comes Before
What makes this book the worst on my list is that by every right, I should have enjoyed it. I felt so strongly that I should, I ended up forcing myself to read it and that was a mistake. I’ve even attempted a re-read years later and I cannot get into it. I don’t like the main character; I find the fantasy world confusing… the list goes on. It doesn’t get any better. I can honestly say that whilst I am sure someone out there loves it… I don’t. It gets the top prize for being the worst book I ever read.
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So that makes up my list of the Top Ten Most Disappointing Books!!
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The important thing to remember is that everybody has different tastes and we are all entitled to our opinions. I’m basically saying don’t hate on me for any of my choices, pretty please?
Have you read any of these books? Do you agree with me?
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The Book Blogger Test

Good morning everyone on this wonderful Friday!! (It’s nearly the weekend – yippee!!)
Not long ago I was having a read through the blogs I follow and I came across the Book Blogger Test. Whilst the post didn’t nominate anybody, it left it open to anyone who opted to do it. I saw this post on  snowlyramble’s blog and ask you all to go and check it out – I loved her answers to this test and I think you should all go and take a look if you don’t follow her already!!
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Rules

1. Thank the person who nominated you and add a link to their blog.
2. Answer the ten questions asked on this post
3. Nominate at least five people to do it also
4. Let your nominees know you nominated them
 

Three Book Pet Hates

  1. Cracked spines – need I say any more? I try to read books as carefully as possible so as not to damage them!
  2. Much in line with point 1, bending the pages and making them all dog-eared is a crime against books.
  3. Book endings that are extremely disappointing – so a few years ago I invested time into the Books of Pellinor series and I loved it… except the ending. I’m sorry, it was atrocious. As with a lot of fantasy, there is a lot of build-up to the end sequence. Then it just fell flat on its face. It was a real let down and I detest investing time into a series that just doesn’t deliver.

 

Perfect Reading Spot

The perfect reading spot has to be at home, sat in my front room with my feet up under a blanket. A cup of tea is also compulsory. Preferably I’d have a personal, shirtless waiter at my beck and call… but we can’t have it all.
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Source: Giphy

 

Three Book Confessions

  1. I imagine a lot of bibliophiles feel the same – I find I relate a lot more to book characters than I do people. I read to get AWAY from people…
  2. When mum and dad moved house last year I borrowed some books (at least 10) from dad. I still haven’t read a single one. Sorry dad, you’re probably not going to get them back unless you ask.
  3. Whilst I acknowledge that new books are amazing, they smell great (if they did a room spray in new book fragrance, I would genuinely buy it) I find it EASIER to read on Kindle – NOTE I DID NOT SAY BETTER PLEASE DON’T BE OFFENDED!!! Ahem.

 

Last Time I Cried Reading

It has to be when I read The Green Mile. Anyone who follows my blog will have seen more than one impassioned blog post about the book. It’s pretty much my favourite book ever. If you want to read my thoughts about it, here are a couple of my posts about it:-
Special Post – My favourite books!
The Green Mile – Stephen King
 

Number of Books on my Bedside Table

I’m actually quite good for this at the moment – I have one IN my bedside table but none sat on top. I think the book within is one of dad’s as well…
 

Favourite Reading Snack

I am not picky. Anything sugary or even savoury is good for me. Basically, I like food – I won’t turn my nose up at anything.
 

Three Books I Recommend

  1. If you have never read Tolkien, you have not lived. Technically its three books, but I recommend Lord of the Rings to anyone and everyone.
  2. To Kill A Mockingbird – it is a difficult thing to comprehend that the very judicial system designed to be fair and just can be corrupted. It is a worse thing to know that your peers will rule against you despite all evidence pointing the other way because of the colour of your skin. The best way to learn is from our mistakes.
  3. George R R Martin’s books. All of them. Right now.

 

Picture of my Favourite Book Shelf

This is my only bookshelf – which is already an upgrade. I needed something bigger without taking up too much space, and I am not ashamed.

 

How Much Books Mean (in three words)

A lot… duhhh…
 

Biggest Reading Secret

Books are means of enjoyment or pleasure; they can be a break from reality. They can teach you more about what used to be a reality, or they can explore the realms of “never going to happen in a million years” – but that doesn’t matter.
For me, my mind is my temple. It’s my space and anything goes. Well, almost. It’s an escapism from the bills and the job and all of life’s little annoyances – and believe me there are plenty. I love to learn and every day is a school day. If I can be introduced to new ideas or different perspectives through books, without interruption then I am broadening my horizons.
Whilst I try to read books with an open mind – there are just some genres I won’t even touch because I am 99% sure I won’t like them. I hope to change that – but it’s something I need to work on.
 
Okay, so I am not going to name individuals to do this test in case you have been nominated already. If not and you’d love to take part… then TAG. You’re in the club. Let me know if you opt to do this tag so I can read what you have to say!!
Thanks for reading and much love, as always

Milestone: 100 Followers 

It’s astounding to me that it was only six weeks ago I posted to celebrate reaching 50 followers in four months. Last night, I reached the 100 milestone!
Since April I have learned a lot about blogging and I hope to pick up a lot more from all you wonderful people.
As a little celebration, I am going to be posting an extra review on Saturday, of Dunstan by Conn Iggulden. This is OF COURSE totally unrelated to be fact that I need to catch up so as not to get behind… 😂😂
Seriously though, a last little thing from me…

Thank you to all my followers and to all the blogs out there that give me inspiration 😊 Here is to the next milestone!
Yours and eternally grateful,

Top 5 Inspirational Quotes by Terry Pratchett

So… WordPress very kindly informed me that my last post published this morning, Down the TBR Hole #5 was my fiftieth blog post! Hasn’t that gone pretty fast?!
I decided, in order to celebrate the occasion, I wanted to share with you my top 5 quotes by one of my favourite authors. To be honest, it isn’t just his ability to put pen to paper and write hilariously witty novels, all the while administering a good kick in the teeth to social issues like racism, sexism and corruption that I love. It was his attitude to life I admire.
Some of you may not know about Terry’s background.
At primary school he was told he would never amount to anything and as a teenager he left school with no qualifications. It must have been difficult to make your way through life with nothing to testify your ability. You certainly couldn’t do it now.
Whilst he had taken an interest in writing from a young age, he worked in a library before he started up in journalism. It was through his journalism role that he handed over his manuscript of The Carpet People to Peter Bander van Duren, which became his first published novel.
The point I am making is this. Terry was a grafter. He was by no means defined as (though I dispute) intellectually exceptional and he had far less of an education than the vast majority of people, but did he let that stop him? No. His determination is what inspires me. Just because he didn’t have an education, it doesn’t mean he didn’t know his shit. Here are just a select few of the things he had to say about life:-
Terry Pratchett insanityTerry Pratchett knowledge and ignoranceTerry Pratchett Light & DarkTerry Pratchett Open Mind QuoteTerry Pratchett Wisdom quote
These are just a select few of my favourite quotes – and there are plenty of them. Punch it into Google (other search engines are available) if you don’t believe me.
If we can all adopt a little of Pratchett’s attitude, I think the world will go a long way. Wouldn’t you agree?
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Special Post – My favourite books!

Hi everyone!!
At the time you are reading this I am probably running into as many shops as physically possible, dragging my mum in tow, before our shopping trip has to come to an inevitable end. *sigh* Admittedly, I’ll probably be just as knackered too!
In my absence I didn’t want to see you disappointed, so I have prepared a post featuring two of my favourite books/series – the first being my favourite book out of the selection I have read this year so far and secondly, my favourite series of all-time. Let’s get started!!
 

Favourite Book of the Year

When I decided this was the kind of post I was going to be writing I knew exactly which book I was going to be featuring in this section.
I love books that tackle major issues in society and challenge our views, be that past or present. Whilst today I would LIKE to think there is far less discrimination going on than in the 1930’s, truthfully that’s not the case. Instead of hatred being aimed at individuals based on race, today religious discrimination is huge. I don’t condone it at all. I can understand why people might come to the conclusion that all individuals of a minority group behave in the same way as a select few that do end up on the news, having committed awful acts or crimes, but if you do this, you are wrong.
We should not tar 99% of the population of the minority group with the same brush as the 1% of individuals who take the views of their religion to the extreme. That isn’t fair. If you stop to take a look you will find that that remaining 99% are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. Seriously.
Let’s think of it another way and use another common misconception to bring this a little closer to home. British holiday makers are often accused of being drunken troublemakers. I have absolutely no doubt that in holiday resorts a large percentage of the drunk and disorderly individuals arrested are British. Yep. That’s not to say ALL British are drunks. I can count on one hand the number of times I have had a drink this year, and if I had to have a finger cut off for the number of hangovers I have had, I would still have all of them.
Now I’ve gotten that little rant over with, I can tell you which book it is that has really made me feel so passionately about this.
Green Mile
Yes folks, it’s The Green Mile by Stephen King. If anyone is interested in reading my review of this book, it can be found here.
 

Favourite Book(s) – All-time

So, having thought about this I truthfully cannot pin this down to one book, but rather a series. It’s probably a predictable answer as well, but it’s the truth!!
My favourite series of all time has to be the A Song of Ice and Fire series, better known as A Game of Thrones by George R R Martin!

Whilst I have other books that I have rated five stars over the years, this is the only series I have gone back to read again in it’s entirety (as much as possible anyway). I found it amazing that upon reading the first book again, it’s actually quite easy to understand. Thankfully, the plot building and diverging happens gradually so as not to throw you into the deep end of a pit of sharks… not immediately at least!
I don’t know what else I can add other than that series is amazing (and I’m obviously not the only one to think so!) and that I can’t wait for the next book.
No really, I can’t. Not only that, we are potentially having to wait until 2019 for the final season to air on TV?! I’m going to have to find another TV or book series as a crutch to keep me going until then!!
What is your favourite book or series? Do you agree with me, or do you have another?
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The Diary

When I started this blog, it was with the intention of getting myself into a routine of sitting down and to write. It didn’t overly matter what – it was the setting aside time that was the goal.
We all lead very busy, fast paced lives. I work thirty five hours a week, or doing the nine to five, as it is called. I also live by myself, so inevitably all those wonderful household jobs we love fall on me to do. Not only that, there’s people to see and things to do, so how do we find the time to manage everything?
On top of everything else, I initially set myself the task of twenty books this year. This is a goal I had never reached before. Circumstances meant I wasn’t spending much time at home in January; between going to work and visiting a close relative in hospital, my life was hectic. It was the reading habit I developed during this period that helped me knock my reading target out of the park. I had very little free time but I made the most of it. I needed something to relax and help me wind down at night to get to sleep. Reading served both purposes.
It was in April when I decided to start a blog. I wanted to take the plunge to write and I wanted to challenge myself further in terms of reading, so naturally my thoughts wandered to the idea of a book blog. There are many books blogs out there and I love to browse them myself in any free minutes I get. It was hardly an original idea, but the best way to inspire myself to write is by doing it about something I know and love.
I am pleased with how well I have taken to blogging as well as managing my extra reading; over the past few weeks I have really gotten to grips with it. I regularly post three times a week, on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. No longer am I depending on having read books so I can write a review post. I have been inspired by the many other book blogs out there to write book related content as well as reviews and that makes it easier to post consistently.
I am the type of person that needs organisation in order to see something come together, and that is how I have managed to pick my blog up and get it into shape. Yes folks… I got myself a diary. I was fortunate enough to decide to get one a few weeks before the start of school term, so I have an ACADEMIC for a full year instead of a few months! My projects are running January to December in my head so I’ll have to make the switch at some point though.
So this is what my diary looks like this week, for anybody interested.
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As well as the practicality of a structured diary, I love the use of colour, so I use different colours depending on the task:-

  • Yellow – books I have started
  • Green – books I have completed
  • Pink – Blog related taks
  • Orange – Other writing related taks

In the back of the diary I also have a full list of the books I have read this year, and it looks like this:-

When I said I loved colour, I really wasn’t kidding.
I have fallen in love with the idea of bullet journals, but at the moment I don’t think I could juggle creating this as well as the reading and writing. Perhaps this is something to consider further down the line.
What I do know is this – the blog has helped my reading. Looking at that list above I can tell when I started the blog as the books I choose to read become for diverse. Yes, I still read a lot of Pratchett and other series that I have started, but they are more spread out and I try a few different books in-between.
The diary, since I started it has in turn been a great help to my blog. On the 22nd August, four months on from starting the blog (or thereabouts) I hit the milestone of fifty followers – I know that because I popped that little achievement in the diary!! I know I’m hardly a high flyer on the follower count, but I’m still pleased all the same. At that point I began posting regularly as opposed to sporadically and in just over three weeks, I now have just shy of seventy. Again, not huge, but a definite improvement in such a short time.
It’s safe to say that keeping myself organised is paying off for me. I’ll be keeping up the diary and the regular blogging.
I’m interested to know how you keep up your blogs. How do you plan ahead? Do you plan ahead, or post in the spur of the moment. It will be interesting to compare how different bloggers manage the workload.

Milestone! 

Hi everyone!!!
Thanks to you all, I now have fifty followers 😊

Source: Giphy
It’s a little victory I know, but it’s one I’m proud of. When I started this blog, much like other projects I wasn’t sure if I would keep it up or see it through. So far I have, and it is spurring me on more than ever to keep up with my reading challenge and to keep writing on a regular basis.
Once again I’d like to thank you all for your likes, support and comments! It means a lot to me 😊

Book Tag – My Life in Books!

Hi everybody!!
So I’ve seen this tag going around a little bit and decided that I should let you all know a little bit about me, instead of just what I’m reading at the moment 🙂 I hope you enjoy!
 
A book for each initial:-
R – The Rag Nymph by Catherine Cookson
E – Eragon (The Inheritance Cycle) by Christopher Paolini
B – Blood Song by Anthony Ryan
E – Elantris by Brandon Sanderson
C – The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett
C – A Clash of Kings by George R R Martin
A – Animal Farm by George Orwell
 
Age – Count your age along the bookshelf:-
Mother Tongue
Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson
Whilst I was still at school I was planning on going to University to study in Linguistics after taking a gap year, however by the end of A-Level exams I got thoroughly fed up. I got into full-time work and four years on I’ve never looked back. I still love the subject and am fascinated in the psychology of learning languages etc, but uni life would not be for me. It would require socialising for starters…
 
A book that represents a destination you wish to travel to one day:-
So I’m pretty boring in that I don’t really have anywhere I specifically want to travel to. If I had to pick anywhere, I would probably say Italy (and that’s not purely for the pizza/wine I promise!) I had to look up a book for this section and I’ve actually found one that I’m interested in reading, being The Borgia Bride by Jeanne Kalogridis.
The Borgia Bride.jpg
 
Favourite Colour:-
Less vehemently so than when I was younger, I have to say my favourite colour is purple. Everything in my bedroom used to be purple… like EVERYTHING! I’m for boring beige now, but it’s different when you’re an adult.
Mistborn
For this one, I chose Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson. I love this series. Somehow I’m yet to finish it. So many books, too little time! I appreciate this is an old cover, the more modern version is blue. I like blue too!
 
Fondest memories of:-
This one is an absolute no-brainer for me. I have read the books in this series twice, all the while waiting for number 7 to be released. They are full of action, back-stabbing, court intrigue and outright war and I absolutely love it! If anyone hasn’t guessed, I’m talking about A Game of Thrones by George R R Martin.
A Game of Thrones
 
Most difficult to read:-
This one isn’t particularly difficult for me to decide either. I did actually force myself to finish this book, although I shouldn’t have bothered. I clearly didn’t get anything out of it because I cannot remember what happened! I even attempted a re-read and got fed up again, so it’s fair to say this one isn’t for me. In theory, I should love it – I love other books with similar themes. I. Cannot. Get. Into. This. One.
This is The Darkness that Comes Before by Scott Bakker.
The Darkness
 
 
Book on my TBR list that I will get the greatest sense of accomplishment from:-
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Later on this year I plan on taking on this behemoth of a book – all 1,376 pages of it! My longest read so far (this year and all time) is War & Peace at just over 1,000 pages, so if I can manage to read both of these and meet my reading challenge target, I’ll be chuffed with myself.
I’m excited because although I haven’t read much Stephen King, I love what I have read. So this is a fairly new author and definitely a new genre for me too…
I’m not making things easy for myself… am I?!
 
I hope you have enjoyed getting to know a little bit about me! Being new to blogging and having a few new followers I think it would be good to get to know each other a little more. I won’t tag anybody but if this inspires you to give this tag a go, consider yourself tagged! Drop me a line in the comments so I can see your answers 🙂
 
Rebecca

Interim: Book Theme Analysis

Whilst I am working through my reading list for this month I have had something on my mind… And it something I wanted to share my opinion on.
This year I am endeavouring to read a variety of new books as a part of my book challenge, including new authors, different genres and also some classics.
My reading list has a couple of what I would define as classics on my list; namely Of Mice and Men and To Kill a Mockingbird are coming up shortly. I also have plans in the not too distant future to read Animal Farm and Lord of the Flies. Anyone in my generation (and in the UK particularly) will probably recognise these as the types of books that are currently studied in high school English lessons as part of the literature curriculum.
For the most part I loved school and particularly English. I left with pretty decent grades at both GCSE and A-Level (not top grades of the class – but still to be proud of) but I can safely say that since leaving school probably about 80 per cent of the topics we covered have gone straight out of my head. Never have I had to analyze a poster or piece of writing based on the themes of gender or power and the development of language in children is not something I have ever had to consider since I left that exam someday in June four years ago.

Never, in the four years since leaving school, have I had to tear a book to shreds by over-analyzing it and by God am I thankful for small mercies. 

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that I’m a great book lover. I love to read… Probably more than a large percentage of the general population, but it is the repeated assignments students have to complete discussing and scrutinizing  philosophical themes of books that really gets my goat.

I’m telling you now from first hand experience, the only thing that achieved for me was getting a grade B in English Literature and a loathing of classic books. 

I can hand on heart say that I enjoyed ONE book I studied at school… and that’s a shame.
As it happens I have come to realise the reason I disliked the books so much and I’ve overcome it by revisiting them. The books themselves aren’t at fault; its the way the “messages”, themes and concepts are mercilessly rammed down your throat by the teachers and the curriculum that takes all enjoyment out of reading them. Not only that, you then have to regurgitate all that crap onto paper in horrendous detail.
Yes books have messages, I’m not denying that for a second. To take Of Mice and Men as an example, it is fair to say that the book overall explores theme of the American Dream and how unattainable it is; the Green Mile by Stephen King highlights racial inequality.  On the other hand, arguing the presence of red curtains representing a character’s desire, promiscuity or lust… Now that’s a bit excessive. It is the over-analysis that I loathe and making kids read so in depth into the smallest, pettiest little details is what I think saps all the joy out of a book. To my mind it is a crime to inflict this on the youth of today and the future.
Yes, discuss philosophical themes, but know where to draw the line. I’m sure authors didn’t even intend half of the rubbish that gets analysed today. Please, for the love of all things sacred, for the love of our beautiful language and the joy of literature, make it stop.
I know I am not the only person to think this. As ever, I’d love your thoughts too. Do you think the education system has gone too far?