Tag: Classics

Shelf Control #24 – 14/08/2020

It’s Friday – welcome to a slightly later than usual Shelf Control post. Apologies it’s a little late – normally I draft these on a Thursday night but as I was working on yesterday’s Spotlight Feature post, I didn’t get round to it.

We’re concluding the run of classic books in today’s post. I went through a phase of adding quite a few classic novels to the TBR, as you have seen over the past several weeks.

In case you haven’t read one of these posts before, Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

Shall we check out today’s featured book?

 

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

Goodreads – The Book Thief

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.

By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.

In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

 

My Thoughts…

I’m a huge fan of historical fiction novels based around WW2. I’ve read and featured many on my blog over the past few years, so it’s not exactly a secret. Combine that with the main character who reveres books… I’m bound to love it!

It astounds me that the book has a rating of 4.3 on Goodreads and nearly 1.8 million ratings. That’s mad! If it’s rated that highly I have a lot of confidence I will feel the same way about it. Almost all of my Goodreads friends that have rated the book have given it 5 stars.

Have you read The Book Thief? Is it as good as it appears? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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Shelf Control #23 – 31/07/2020

Happy Friday and welcome to another Shelf Control post! We’re continuing with the theme of classics in today’s post. I went through a phase of adding classic novels to the TBR and so I’ve featured a lot lately. Today is no exception; however, we are coming to the end of them at last!

In case you haven’t read one of these posts before, Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

Shall we check out today’s featured book?

 

Catch-22 – Joseph Heller

Goodreads – Catch-22

Set in Italy during World War II, this is the story of the incomparable, malingering bombardier, Yossarian, a hero who is furious because thousands of people he has never met are trying to kill him. But his real problem is not the enemy—it is his own army, which keeps increasing the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. Yet if Yossarian makes any attempt to excuse himself from the perilous missions he’s assigned, he’ll be in violation of Catch-22, a hilariously sinister bureaucratic rule: a man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but if he makes a formal request to be removed from duty, he is proven sane and therefore ineligible to be relieved. Since its publication in 1961, no novel has matched Catch-22’s intensity and brilliance in depicting the brutal insanity of war.

 

My Thoughts…

I wonder how many people use the expression “catch-22” in day-to-day conversation without having read this book? For the moment I count among that number! You know a book is iconic when it makes such an impact on a society that it finds its way into a language.

I added this book to the TBR in 2018 at the same time as many other classics I want to read. As a historical fiction fan, I’m definitely looking forward to picking this up. If I had kept up with my Beat the Backlist Challenge, I could have been reading this later this year. Realistically that’s looking unlikely now. However, I will be chipping away at my backlist for the foreseeable. It shouldn’t be too long before I get around to this book.

Have you read Catch-22? What did you think of it if you have? If not, is it of any interest to you? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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Shelf Control – 10/07/2020

Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

In today’s post, I am featuring yet another classic novel that I really want to read. I know for a fact that other classes in my year at school studied this book, and I was always curious about it and why each class had different material.

Shall we check out today’s featured book?

 

Lord of the Flies – William Golding

Goodreads – Lord of the Flies

At the dawn of the next world war, a plane crashes on an uncharted island, stranding a group of schoolboys. At first, with no adult supervision, their freedom is something to celebrate; this far from civilization the boys can do anything they want. Anything. They attempt to forge their own society, failing, however, in the face of terror, sin and evil. And as order collapses, as strange howls echo in the night, as terror begins its reign, the hope of adventure seems as far from reality as the hope of being rescued. Labeled a parable, an allegory, a myth, a morality tale, a parody, a political treatise, even a vision of the apocalypse, Lord of the Flies is perhaps our most memorable novel about “the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart.”

 

My Thoughts…

I think Lord of the Flies will be a really interesting read. In just about everything there are rules, expectations of how to conduct yourself and behave. It’s drilled into us from childhood – from being polite and using your manners to society as a whole, there are a lot of conventions. Take that all away though, and what would happen?

Although I know the book was studied I don’t actually know it that well. I have no idea of the story or how events play out (although I can guess from the synopsis, not too well). It’s a relatively short read at just over 180 pages, so quite approachable. It also has good reviews from a number of my friends on Goodreads, so I’m pretty confident I’ll enjoy it!

Have you read Lord of the Flies? Would you recommend it? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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Shelf Control #21 – 26/06/2020

Today’s Shelf Control features yet another book on my TBR because I think we’ve ascertained I have no s(h)elf control when it comes to books! Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

In today’s post, I am featuring yet another classic novel that I want to read. The author of this classic isn’t new to me, so I’m confident I’ll be able to read and enjoy it. This was just one of the books I added to my list in a classics blitz – I decided one day that I should make an effort to read more and so added a bunch to the TBR all at once.

Shall we check out today’s featured book?

 

The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck

Goodreads – The Grapes of Wrath

The Pulitzer Prize-winning epic of the Great Depression, a book that galvanized—and sometimes outraged—millions of readers.

First published in 1939, Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize-winning epic of the Great Depression chronicles the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s and tells the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads—driven from their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California. Out of their trials and their repeated collisions against the hard realities of an America divided into Haves and Have-Nots evolves a drama that is intensely human yet majestic in its scale and moral vision, elemental yet plainspoken, tragic but ultimately stirring in its human dignity. A portrait of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless, of one man’s fierce reaction to injustice, and of one woman’s stoical strength, the novel captures the horrors of the Great Depression and probes into the very nature of equality and justice in America. At once a naturalistic epic, captivity narrative, road novel, and transcendental gospel, Steinbeck’s powerful landmark novel is perhaps the most American of American Classics.

 

My Thoughts…

If you’d asked me if I would ever pick up another book by John Steinbeck after I initially read Of Mice and Men, I would have answered no. I hated Of Mice and Men to start with. It was boring, depressing and it was a book I had to study for school. There is something about having to write essays about books… or micro-analyse them that sucks the joy out of reading. That’s why I disliked this first book so much.

I did actually read it again in 2017 and my attitude towards it was completely different. I had struggled to get on with this for my GCSE’s, but I read it within a couple of hours. And I enjoyed it! My newfound appreciation for Of Mice and Men is the driving force behind wanting to try The Grapes of Wrath. It’s also a classic, but I feel it will have the same vibe as Of Mice and Men and cover a period of history that is of interest to me – the Great Depression.

Have you read The Grapes of Wrath? Would you recommend it? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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Shelf Control 22/05/2020

Welcome to today’s Shelf Control post! I think we’ve already ascertained that I have no s(h)elf control, but let’s keep up with the pretence, shall we? Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

Shelf Control gives me the chance to look in more depth at the books I have added to my TBR. I talk about why I want to keep the featured book and it also acts as a second sweep to my Down the TBR Hole posts for anything that I may have changed my mind about. It’s been quite a while since I last looked at some of these books! I don’t necessarily own them all (yet), but I will have a reasonable number of them.

In today’s post I am featuring another classic novel that I think I would have actually enjoyed at school. Well, it’s hard to say. I only got to read a few classics in my school years and at the time; I didn’t like any of them. Analysing books to death just isn’t fun. I like to read them, not pick them apart!

Shall we check out today’s featured book?

 

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey

Goodreads – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Tyrannical Nurse Ratched rules her ward in an Oregon State mental hospital with a strict and unbending routine, unopposed by her patients, who remain cowed by mind-numbing medication and the threat of electric shock therapy. But her regime is disrupted by the arrival of McMurphy – the swaggering, fun-loving trickster with a devilish grin who resolves to oppose her rules on behalf of his fellow inmates. His struggle is seen through the eyes of Chief Bromden, a seemingly mute half-Indian patient who understands McMurphy’s heroic attempt to do battle with the powers that keep them imprisoned. Ken Kesey’s extraordinary first novel is an exuberant, ribald and devastatingly honest portrayal of the boundaries between sanity and madness.

 

My Thoughts…

I am trying to pick up more classic books. Since leaving school and re-reading a few of the classics I was *unfortunate* enough to have to study (not a fault of the book, but the education system’s idea of enriching teenagers minds), I want to pick up more of these books.

I hated pulling these books apart in school, mostly because it was so ridiculously tedious. I’m pretty sure half of the rubbish analysis is a load of **** anyway. I digress. My point is, I revisited these books and enjoyed just reading them. No analysing them to death, no over-thinking them. I didn’t get to read many classics, (which may in hindsight be for the best), so I want to make up for that now by reading some of the books studied by other classes.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest also interests me as it dabbles in psychology, and in particular, insanity. I loved my psychology class in school, so this aspect of the book will be right up my street. I can’t help but wonder if our protagonist has been declared insane as he seems to be one that challenges the system. Perhaps he’s made some powerful enemies? I literally have no idea – I have heard very little of the book. That’s why I want to read it! If that is the case then it will definitely be right up my street!

Have you read this classic? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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Shelf Control #19 – 08/05/2020

Today’s Friday feature post is all about Shelf Control (again) – or in my case, my absolute lack of it! Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

Shelf Control gives me the chance to look in more depth at the books I have added to my TBR. I get to talk about why I want to keep the featured book; it also acts as a second sweep to my Down the TBR Hole posts for anything that I may have changed my mind about. I don’t necessarily own all the books (yet), but I will have a reasonable number of them. I’ve also gone on to read a couple of the earliest books on the list, so this mini-series is proving useful!

In today’s post, I am featuring a classic novel that I want to try and read. I’m not 100% sure what I’ll make of it, but I’m interested enough to give it a go!

Shall we check out today’s featured book?

 

The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas

The Three Musketeers

 

Alexandre Dumas’s most famous tale— and possibly the most famous historical novel of all time— in a handsome hardcover volume.

This swashbuckling epic of chivalry, honor, and derring-do, set in France during the 1620s, is richly populated with romantic heroes, unattainable heroines, kings, queens, cavaliers, and criminals in a whirl of adventure, espionage, conspiracy, murder, vengeance, love, scandal, and suspense. Dumas transforms minor historical figures into larger- than-life characters: the Comte d’Artagnan, an impetuous young man in pursuit of glory; the beguilingly evil seductress “Milady”; the powerful and devious Cardinal Richelieu; the weak King Louis XIII and his unhappy queen—and, of course, the three musketeers themselves, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, whose motto “all for one, one for all” has come to epitomize devoted friendship. With a plot that delivers stolen diamonds, masked balls, purloined letters, and, of course, great bouts of swordplay, The Three Musketeers is eternally entertaining.

 

Purchase Links – Amazon UK     Amazon US     Waterstones

 

My Thoughts…

This classical novel made it to my TBR as it also blends with one of my favourite genres, historical fiction. I also decided I wanted to read it after watching and enjoying the series on Netflix.

The slight concern I have is how romanticised the characters are in the novel. Don’t get me wrong, they were in the series too and I didn’t mind it too much. It wasn’t lewd or anything like that. I’m hopeful that it strikes up a similar tone, as I will be able to get on with it quite well.

The synopsis suggests that the novel balances action with storyline well on the whole, which I am looking forward to seeing if that is the case. It definitely isn’t a time period that I have read previously, so it will be a new experience for me!

Depending on how well I get on with this first book, I may go on to read the rest of the series. I didn’t even know this was the first book in a series until today!

Have you read The Three Musketeers? What do you think? Or, have you watched the Netflix shows as I have? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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***Please note this post contains affiliate links, meaning that I will earn a small commission on purchases made through them. If you like what you read and are interested in purchasing a copy of the book(s) featured in this post, please consider using these links and supporting a book blogger!

Thank you!***

Shelf Control #18 – 17/04/2020

Today’s Friday feature post is all about Shelf Control – or in my case, lack of it (and deluding myself that I have it by way of these posts)! Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

Shelf Control gives me the chance to look in more depth at the books I have added to my TBR. It’s a great chance to talk about why I want to keep the featured book; it also acts as a second sweep to my Down the TBR Hole posts for anything that I may have changed my mind about. I have actually deleted a few books doing this sweep. I don’t necessarily own all the books (yet), but I will have a reasonable number of them. I’ve also gone on to read a couple of the earliest books on the list, so this mini-series is proving useful!

In today’s post, I am featuring a collection of short stories. I don’t have many of these on my reading list, but I wanted a physical copy of these specifically. They are stories that most people know, in some form.

Shall we check out today’s featured book?

 

The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm – Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

Goodreads – The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm

When Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published their Children’s and Household Tales in 1812, followed by a second volume in 1815, they had no idea that such stories as “Rapunzel,” “Hansel and Gretel,” and “Cinderella” would become the most celebrated in the world. Yet few people today are familiar with the majority of tales from the two early volumes, since in the next four decades the Grimms would publish six other editions, each extensively revised in content and style. For the very first time, The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm makes available in English all 156 stories from the 1812 and 1815 editions. These narrative gems, newly translated and brought together in one beautiful book, are accompanied by sumptuous new illustrations from award-winning artist Andrea Dezso.

From “The Frog King” to “The Golden Key,” wondrous worlds unfold–heroes and heroines are rewarded, weaker animals triumph over the strong, and simple bumpkins prove themselves not so simple after all. Esteemed fairy tale scholar Jack Zipes offers accessible translations that retain the spare description and engaging storytelling style of the originals. Indeed, this is what makes the tales from the 1812 and 1815 editions unique–they reflect diverse voices, rooted in oral traditions, that are absent from the Grimms’ later, more embellished collections of tales. Zipes’s introduction gives important historical context, and the book includes the Grimms’ prefaces and notes.

A delight to read, The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm presents these peerless stories to a whole new generation of readers.

 

Purchase LinksAmazon UK     Amazon US     Waterstones

 

My Thoughts…

You may be thinking, why would I want to read what are now children’s stories? The answer, simply, is this. The original tales written by the Brothers Grimm are not the fairytale stories we know today. The stories that we all know and loved as children are heavily revised and sanitised versions of these original tales.

In part, I want to read this to see how wildly different the stories are to the commonly told versions of it… but not just that. These editions of the stories are old. They were written between 1812 and 1815. The language and tone are going to be very different to that how, so I guess I also have an interest in the age and history of the writing too!

The edition I was gifted for my birthday a couple of years ago has beautiful illustrations in as well!

Have you read these original tales? Would you recommend them? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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***Please note this post contains affiliate links, meaning that I will earn a small commission on purchases made through them. If you like what you read and are interested in purchasing a copy of the book(s) featured in this post, please consider using these links and supporting a book blogger!

Thank you!***