Friday, 24 June 2011

Friday Challenge

Ok so as it's Friday I thought I would do something different and  have posed a fun challenge for anyone to take part in. It's nothing too taxing- I am just interested to find out about my fellow readers and blog followers and  have composed a few questions for you to answer!

So that it isn't a one sided exercise, I have posted my answers underneath each question to help you get started.

So here goes;


A book that disappointed you

The Other Hand by Chris Cleave- this book was really hyped up at its release in 2008 but it left me cold.                                    

A book that surprised you
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier- This book was recommended to me by my Grandmother who is also an avid reader and it is amongst my all time favourites.

A book that frightened you

The Fog by James Herbert. I never finished it because it scared me so much and have been unable to read any more James Herbert since!

A book that shocked you 
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini - There are some very upsetting scenes in this book but it an excellent read and I recommend it highly.

A book that made you laugh out loud 

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 3/4- I read this first as a teenager but have been back to it since as an adult and still love it.

A book you didn't expect to enjoy

Star of the sea by Joseph O'Connor (Brother of Singer Sinead!) A surprisingly good read.

The book you have re-read the most

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte- This is the first book I fell in love with as a teenager. I have lost count of just how many times I have read it.

Your favourite genre

I like books from all genres but if I had to choose I would say historical fiction.

And finally......

Name a book that will always live on your bookshelf and why
Eckhart Tolle A New Earth (see my previous blog post)  

I am really looking forward to reading your answers and I hope you all enjoy taking part.

Happy Friday everyone!!


Thursday, 23 June 2011

Reading Challenge- 1st Book and Film completed

Well folks, I am pleased to say that I have just completed my first book and film  in the Two Bibiliomaniacs reading challenge.

First up is The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. I love historical novels and have read many over the years, but for some reason I have shied away from books about The Tudors.This may be because so many people have written about them and I already know quite a lot about Henry VIII and his wives from history lessons at school.

However, I picked up a copy of the book in a local charity shop and after reading the blurb decided to include it in the challenge. 

What can I say but "Why oh Why haven't I read Philippa Gregory before?"  From the first page I was hooked and spent several nights reading until I could no longer keep my eyes open. At over 500 pages long, it is a meaty book, but at no stage was I bored nor did I feel that the story was too long. In fact, I slowed down my reading towards the end as I did not want to leave the world of Mary Boelyn and her outrageous family.

Ms Gregory's style of prose is, in my opinion similar to that of one of my favourite authors, Ken Follett. The story moves along at a good pace- it isn't bogged down by overly descriptive phrases or stilted dialogue. All of the main characters are brought vividly to life and I found myself still thinking about them several days after I had finished reading.

As if you haven't already guessed, I loved The Other Boleyn Girl and give it  10 out of 10. It is without doubt the most engrossing book I have read for a very long time. Highly recommended.

This now leads me on to a review of the film.

Having enjoyed the book so much, I was prepared for the fact that I may not like the film as much as if I hadn't known the story first.
However, when the DVD dropped through my letterbox this morning, I was still excited to see how the book had been interpreted and from what I knew of the cast, and the writer Peter Morgan (The Last King of Scotland) it sounded very promising indeed.

Sadly, I have to say that I was very disappointed. I understand that it must be a real challenge to condense a 500+ page book into an under 2 hour film, and that parts of the storyline will, inevitably be affected.
However, many of the important threads in the book had either been totally omitted or changed beyond recognition and this made the film seem disjointed and  hard to follow. I became increasingly annoyed by the bits that were left out and by other elements of the story, (such as Anne's trial and execution) being rushed through.
I feel that it would have been far better to dramatise the story on TV over several parts and am sure the BBC with its talent for dramatic productions would have done it far much justice.

I would score this film 5 out of 10. It is not a bad film and I am sure if I hadn't read the book first, I would have enjoyed it more.  But I don't think I will be rushing to watch it again.

Anyway, that's the whole point of this challenge so on to the next one!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Hello Blogland

Hi All

Apologies for my lack of posts lately but I have lots of interesting things going on at the moment and just haven't been able to sit for long enough to focus on my blog.

The thing I am most excited about is I am going to start an honours degree in English Literature with The Open University.
It is something that I have wanted to do for a very long time but until now haven't had the opportunity.

However the time is right and so in October I will be embarking on a course titled Arts Past and Present. The description says 
This broadly-focused course introduces you to university-level study in the arts across a range of subject areas, including history, art history, philosophy, classical studies, history of science, religious studies, music and English. It is structured around four themes, guiding you through some of the basic concerns of arts subjects: Reputations; Tradition and Dissent; Cultural Encounters; and Place and Leisure. Your studies will range from poetry to string quartets, and from sculpture to short stories – across a wide variety of cultures and historical periods. This key introductory Level 1 course is also a useful means of acquiring the key skills required for further study of arts subjects
It sounds very interesting as I know next to nothing about art or classical studies and have never studied philosophy.
As well as expanding my knowledge and passion for literature, I am also hoping that a degree will enable me to write in a more insightful way and help me in my journey to becoming a professional writer.

Probably the thing I am most looking forward to on the course is the essay writing. A few years ago I did another OU course , An introduction to the social sciences and whilst I really enjoyed the coursework and the lectures I attended at Bournemouth University, the essay writing gave me both the greatest challenge and the most pleasure. Not sure what that says about me!
I have already bought the set books from ebay, saving myself a considerable amount of money and so am ready to go. Roll on October! I can't wait.

The next thing I need to do is fit in a trip to the cinema to see Water For Elephants as part of my Reading Challenge-I have already finished the book so need to get moving. Hopefully will be reviewing both very shortly.

Have a great weekend all