Tag Archives: 30 Day Challenge

30 Days of Books – Day 14

14 Nov

Favourite book of your favourite writer

Previously: Your favourite writer

My favourite book by my favourite author is The Monsters of Templeton. I bought this book at the central train station in Cologne. Due to the fact that there are a lot of international travellers coming through, this nice bookstore has a big selection of english books, much to my delight. I was attracted, yes I’m actually saying this, to said book because of it’s beautiful cover. See:

I just could not not buy it. And I regret nothing. The story is very nice and of course well written. ‘Willie’ Wilhelmina Upton, also called Sunshine by her mom, returns home after having had a failed affair with her much older and married professor. She returns to her family home in Templeton, New York. (Now you know where my alias comes from. I’m not very creative but it’s also a testament to how much I adore this book.)

And like that the story unfolds. Willie stays in town, trying to figure out what to do next while she also uncovers the story of who her father is and where her family comes from. On the day Willie returns to Templeton there is also a prehistoric monster discovered in the town lake.

Throughout the book not also characters from the present get to tell their stories but also those of the past that Willie uncovers as she digs deeper and deeper into her ancestry and the people who founded their town.

I can’t do this novel justice by how great I think it is. You have to see it for yourself!!

Next: Favourite male character

30 Days of Books – Day 08

8 Nov

Most overrated book

Previously: Most underrated book

Todays topic would have been an easy pick if I’d gone with the most obvious choice, which would have been Twilight and it’s equally repelling companions and Fifty Shades of Grey which is basically Twilight porn. I read all four Twilight books in a masochistic attempt at making up my own mind. OMG the writing is so terrible and the characters are incredible annoying. Don’t even get me started on the first movie, I couldn’t stop laughing while I was surrounded by 16-year olds who took the Bella-Edward romance too seriously for their own good. With FSoG I refused to read them but Lor over at SnarkSquad took it upon herself to recap every horrible chapter so I’m quite up to date with what’s happening.

But for today’s assignemnt I’m going with one of the worst books I had to read in high school: The Reader by Bernhard Schlink.

I can’t begin to express my loathing for this book. We had to read it in our last year of high school and despite the fact that I love reading, German was never my favourite subject. The (over)analysing of books and my bad grammar and punctuation skills all fuelled my dislike for this subject. And then we had to read this load of shit. As if talking about WW2 in history, english, french, religion, philosophy and previous german classes weren’t enough we had to read this sorry excuse of a post-war german version of The Graduate.

The writing is fairly simple and the story is overly uninteresting. The boy, Michael, makes the acquaintance of Hannah who is much, much older than him. They have a sexual relationship, are in love and everything. BLA BLA BLAHHH. Hannah is unable to read so Michael reads to her. Later he learns that Hannah was working for the Nazi’s and that is a whole big story. And I don’t remember much of this book anymore and I don’t want to look it up. I don’t understand how it got turned into a movie but ok. The only thing I will probably always remember is my teacher talking about the significance of the shift in sexual positions throughout the book. It changes form the missionary position to the woman being on top or the other way around (probably the other way around). I’m too lazy to look it up.

I just hated this book and I never understood why this was considered so much more important than all the other post WW2 stories by various German authors. Not that I’m too fond of those stories in general but there could have been a better choice somewhere than this book.

Next: A book you thought you wouldn’t like but you ended up loving

30 Days of Books – Day 06

6 Nov

A book that makes you sad

Previously: A book that makes you happy

Many books make me sad and happy at the same time or at least throughout the entire journey but finding one that makes me really sad was a bit difficult. I decided on ‘Out of Africa’ by Tania Blixen but I could have also gone with ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’. I think that Out of Africa is sadder though.

Many bibliophile people know this story already which was made famous by the movie starring Robert Redford and (Queen) Meryl Streep in 1985.

 

Even the beginning of the story is famous and quite beautiful:

I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills. The Equator runs across these highlands, a hundred miles to the north, and the farm lay at an altitude of over six thousand feet. In the day-time you felt that you had got high up; near to the sun, but the early mornings and evenings were limpid and restful, and the nights were cold.

It’s a memoir of Tania Blixen who moved from Denmark to Africa in the early 1900s with her husband, a danish Baron, to operate a tabac farm. Their marriage is not the best and Tania tries to build herself a life outside of it, being a nurse to the children and the workers of the farm. Over time she falls in love with Denys Finch Hatton a european fellow who is quite adventurous.

This novel is a testament of Blixen’s love for Africa and it was so, so sad when she had to leave Africa to return to Denmark. Her marriage failed, her lover gone and childless. Blixen was a very independent woman and she writes really beautifully.

I prefer the book over the movie anytime but then again it’s with Meryl Streep so it’s not bad at all. It just didn’t convey as much emotion as the written words did.

Next: Most underrated book

30 Days of Books – Day 05

5 Nov

A book that makes you happy

Previously: Favourite book of your favourite series

There are a lot of books that make me happy, look at Day 1 and Day 2 for example but I’m trying not to repeat myself in this 30 Day challenge so the book that makes me officially happy is ‘Sing you Home’ by Jodi Picoult.

This was my first and still only novel by Jodi Picoult and I absolutely loved it. As I gather from looking at some of her other books, there’s this typical way in which she constructs a book. Splitting it in parts that are told from the main characters of the story. In this book those are Zoe, her soon-to-be ex-husband Max and Vanessa. Zoe and Max have tried for years to get pregnant, they spent all of their money on in vitro but it never works. At the beginning if the novel Zoe is pregnant and quite far along but she looses the child and is naturally devastated.

Her marriage with Max has been crumbling around the edges for a long time and after the miscarriage they split up because it’s too painful for both of them. Zoe is a musical therapist and while she struggles to accept the loss of her hopes and dreams she becomes friends with Vanessa, a high school guidance counsellor. Vanessa is gay though and after s while, Zoe and Vanessa fall in love with each other. They get married and decide to try to have a baby with the few eggs Zoe still has stored at the fertility clinic. They need Max’s approval though and that sets off a whole fight for marriage equality and so on. While Zoe has found her new romance, Max found refuge in a rather conservative church which advocates against same sex marriage…you see where this is going…a big courtroom showdown.

What initially drew me to this book was the title because I love to sing and music is a constant in my life. The note on the back is very careful not to mention any of the lesbian part of the story and so I was kinda surprised but in a good way. I’m quite thankful to this book because even though it might seem stupid but it made me once and for all realise that I’m gay. The way Vanessa describes how she was always different from the other girls in her class and how she pretended to like the guys all the girls had crushes on even though she knew it wasn’t real for her. I found myself in her character on so many levels it was freaky. I read the 600-something pages in a bit over 24 hours which is FAST for me, really fast. I was THAT invested in the story.

Next: A book that makes you sad

30 Days of Books – Day 04

4 Nov

Favourite book of your favourite series

Previously: Your favourite series

Yesterday you learned that my favourite series is the Thursday-Next-series by Jasper Fforde. My favourite of the  seven books that were already published is the first one, ‘The Eyre Affair’.

As the title already hints, it’s mostly about Jane Eyre (which BTW I loved when I read it a while back). Jane Eyre gets kidnapped by a strange criminal sociopath and Thursday has to jump into the book world in order to save the character and thus the complete book because without Jane Eyre, there is not much of a story in Jane Eyre. Thursday goes undercover at Thornfield Hall. There she has interesting conversations with Mr. Rochester while she figures out how to get the heroin back. In the end Thursday naturally succeeds but is also responsible for changing the ending of Jane Eyre to the way we now know it. Normally that is a total no-go but the consensus of the readers found the new ending way better than the old one so the Council of Genres was ok with it.

This book is filled with insanity and literary references and is pure goodness. Jasper Fforde is a little like Terry Pratchett but also different. If you like Jane Eyre or Terry Pratchett you should definitely check this book out and maybe afterwards your as hooked on the alternative universe as I am.

Next: A book that makes you happy

30 Days of Books – Day 03

3 Nov

Your favourite series

Previously: A Book you’ve read more than 3 times

The obvious choice for todays question would be the Harry Potter series. Most kids of my generation grew up while reading the books and they are marvellous and great and just Harry Potter. Instead I opted for the ‘Thursday Next’-series by Jasper Fforde.

This series is very funny and especially the earlier books in the series are a gift for every book lover. The series plays in a slightly different world than our real one. England is a republic at war with Wales, there’s such a thing as the ‘Stupidity Surplus’ and forging books is a big deal.Thursday, who’s the daughter of Wednesday Next, is a Literary Detective. Her father is a rouge Colonel of the Chrono Guard, he can jump through time. Throughout the first book, Thursday learns how to jump into books and learns that there is a whole world that the general reader is not aware of. The characters we know from classics are more like actors, they have to appear on paper when they are in a scene but have a private live off page. It’s very fascinating.

The book world is not safe from crime though so Thursday becomes an apprentice whose superior is Miss Havisham from ‘Great Expectations‘. She is the reason I read Great Expectations and I was disappointed because she didn’t play such a big part in the storyline as I thought she would.

The world of Thursday Next is pretty crazy but also really cool and makes me jealous every time I read because I cannot actively jump into books.

If you ever wanted to know why a friend didn’t like the book you recommended even though you were sure he/she would love it, this series gives you the answer. Once a year the books world holds an award ceremony and all the top characters attend, leaving the understudies in place, who are of course not as good as the real characters. The series is full os stuff like that and I love it.

The latest additions to the series are not as good in my opinion as the first 4 books were but it’s still a magical, crazy and funny world. Also, the covers of the books are just so gorgeous:

Next: Favourite Book of your favourite series

30 Days of Books – Day 02

2 Nov

A Book that you’ve read more than 3 times

Previously: Best Book you read last year

I’m not much of a re-reader of books but ‘The Good Luck Girl’ by Kerry Reichs who is the daughter of Kathy Reichs didn’t give me a choice. I think I read it 3 or 4 times in one YEAR. Also, I gushed about this book before and why I love it so much, so check out my earlier post cause I’m too lazy to write about it again.

BTW, this book has two titles, in the US it’s called Leaving Unknown which I actually find more fitting for the storyline than the UK title.

At the moment I am actively trying to restrain myself from reading it again because there are a number of books sitting on my shelves waiting to be read but instead I want to grab this one and indulge myself again. But I won’t. I’ll stay strong.

Next: Your favourite Series

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